Friday, December 02, 2005

First of December

Well, already December, is it? November seemed to fly by, even without the week off I had for Thanksgiving. I certainly worked a lot this past month, but I doubt I made as much money as I did in October. Gotta do the math sometime.

Yesterday, I did practically nothing. No work, just lying around, doing laundry, playing some video game I shouldn't have bought, snoozing. No big deal except that I vowed I would finish three stories by New Year's, so I shoulda been doing that instead of the great pile of nothing I actually accomplished.

Tuesday I was on a commercial for G.E.. The director, Joe Pytka, I had worked with before on a demolition derby shoot, which was my least-favourite commercial shoot so far. This one wasn't nearly so bad--it was a music recital with little kids and I had to sit and clap a few times, then go home. Nicely, it was on a higher rate, as commercials always seem to be. There was an adorable seven year old boy who gets up on stage in front of us to play his violin and freezes. He only had to pretend to be nervous, but after take after take after take with the psycho Pytka, the kid no longer had to pretend. I remember him being crazed and angry on the delotiion derby shoot, but this was way worse. I suppose he is a perfectionist, but he spoke to his crew like they were idiot children, or non-housetrained puppies. Now I know what a James Cameron set might be like. To his credit, he held in his anger as best he could when he was around the child actors, but his intensity was daunting and you'd have to be an idiot child to not be intimidated by him. Even so, I guess the little boy wasn't giving him the nervous performance Pytka wanted, so he (quietly) instructed us to boo the child when he came out the next time. I felt somewhat bad doing that, since he was such an innocent, well-behaved little boy, but I felt worse when I threw a head of cabbage at him the next take.

Okay, that part didn't happen.

We were supposed to do more later--shooting at the beach--but most of us were sent home early. I think I just ended up going to sleep, but I don't remember. Oh, I looked up Joe Pytka on the internet to see if he'd ever done anything besides commercials. Turns out he directed SPACE JAM.

I also went and got a haircut. This was the first one I've had to get since the embarrassing head-shaving incident this past summer. This cut I like more.

Definition of insanity? I watched CAT PEOPLE on Tuesday and hated it. Then, on Wednesday, I watched CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE. Fool me twice . . . shame on me.

I am currently in an unhappy funk, partly because I realise this whole extras thing isn't working out and partly because I've had two days off this week. I guess I should be strong and move back into the bosom of my family's good graces, putting away my dreams and embracing the death that surely awaits me there. I'm still fighting it, though.

Also, I got a call yesterday from Travis at Central Casting, offering me work. He said the production of "House" (the same guy who called me Tim, I have no doubt) had requested me personally to come in and reprise my role as the kiosk vendor. I was very excited, because a) it shoots at Fox, which is near to me; b) I always get cheap DVDs at the Fox studio store, sometimes making a bit of money reselling them; c) I like "House;" and most importantly, d) they had asked for me, which could mean a regular gig on the show and/or union work. All good things.

Well, my excitement didn't last, because I soon found out that my booking agency had me on some never-heard-of show in Woodland Hills (wherever that is) and wouldn't let me do "House." Travis from Central never called me back, so I guess there's a bridge burned on that one. Similar to what they did to me on SPIDER-MAN 3, except I'm not completely foashed*, since I still have a day's work on something else.

But the only time Central has ever called me, and the opportunity is blown.

I might not post this one. It may have been a mistake to start this blog altogether.

Now I'm working a show called "What About Brian?" With a title like that, I don't know how good it can be. I'm a patron in a nice restaurant, and later I'll be a driver getting groceries. Eventually, I'll get over my "House" What If, but for now, I'd rather be a kiosk vendor.

Still, it's a beautiful day today. Seems like there have been a lot of them lately. As it's probably my last December, I ought to take a moment to appreciate the warm sun in the blue-grey sky and the cool breeze that feels like the sweet breath of a woman blowing on the back of my neck. Green trees and orange leaves flutter in the breeze, and though we're not far from the city, I don't hear any city sounds. No horns honking, no tires screeching, no Hip-Hop thumping on the speakers of human excrement, no yelling (in Spanish or English), no one talking too loudly on their cellphones . . . just the occasional hiss of air brakes, car doors closing, planes passing overhead, a leafblower, and the sound of a nearby generator. Okay, to be honest, since I started writing this in my notebook, I heard a car alarm go off, an idiot on his cellphone, a belt sander, and a dude playing his stereo too loud. But it's still perfect weather outside.

I know myself well enough to recognise that, somewhere down the road, when I'm worse off than I am now, I'll look back on these past weeks doing extra work with fondness, nostalgia, and a wish that I could be here again, when everything was great.

Of course, everything is not great. It's never been great. And I'm not stupid enough to harbour hopes that it ever will be. But it's always through the window of memory that we see the good times as truly good, the fun moments as being the norm (not the exception), and the struggles as being not so bad. I'll reflect on the days of driving from one set to another, appreciating the newness of it all, not knowing where I'll be tomorrow or for how long. I'll remember how every day there was a chance to write, and read, and meet new people, and every week I got to do something I'd never done before. And though it doesn't pay a lot, it does pay, and sometimes very well.

Am I jealous of those who have an office job to go to, with the same desk and same routine every single day, always predictable, always secure in knowing what tomorrow brings, and next week, and next month?


Should I be?

Probably not.

In the three months I've been doing this, I've gone all over the county, in studios, buildings, clubs, and restaurants I'd never otherwise see. I've played a lot of parts, some of them even interesting. And got to work with Jim Carrey, Alan Alda, Bill Paxton, Sam Raimi, Bob Newhart, Jason Lee, Jimmy Smits, Clint Eastwood, James Spader, Kiefer Sutherland, Donald Sutherland, William Peterson, Steven Soderbergh, Candace Bergen, Oliver Stone, Thomas Haden Church, Brian Cranston, Carla Gugino, Alec Baldwin, and William Shatner. Oh yeah, and your mother. Not terribly shabby.

It's a few hours later, the sun has gone down, and I'm sitting in my car. It turned suddenly pretty chilly outside and it's warmer in here. Right now, we're at a Gelson's parking lot (that's an upscale grocery store). They're not using me anymore, but they ARE using my parked car, which means that I'm still on the clock, even though I'm only sitting around. Hey, it beats the hell out of real work. I just read a Batman comic and I'm sort of getting paid for it. Was I complaining before?

I do wonder, though, why it takes so long to do these productions? I really don't get it. This show, which took place in a restaurant and out of doors, had no stunts, no special effects, no dinosaurs or lightsabers or chest-bursters, yet it took, what, fourteen hours, to shoot the day's work. And the crew consisted of a massive collection of assistant directors, sound people, makeupers, costumers, lighting guys, grips, gaffers, transportation, and craft services . . . easily fifty people, and maybe more like seventy.

I just found out that Wendy Jo Sperber died. I was a fan. If I were making my own movies, instead of lurking in the background of other people's, I would surely have given her a part.

Today was quite a long day. I ended up getting home just after midnight, now hopped up on so much caffeine I may still be awake when I finish typing this. I'm a little less blue now than I was earlier, but don't worry, I'm sure I'll have plenty more to complain about come tomorrow.

Rish "Mister Sunshine" Outfield

*There's that word again, "foashed." Why are things so clogged in the future, is there a problem with your butt's sanitational pull?

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