I had a potentially exciting experience this last week which I was so excited to share and barely managed to keep under wraps. Last week I was asked to interview with a director to be a “featured extra” on a pilot. (“featured extra” means you don’t have any lines, but you may have a close up on camera for a few seconds. “pilot” is the first episode of a TV series.) On Friday, I went in to interview with the director of the pilot on the Disney lot (pretty exciting!). An hour later, I got the call that I had booked the job!!! Sweet! I later found out that my picture had been selected from a bunch of headshots at a background casting agency. Pretty cool! The most exciting part of this was that the “featured extra” role that I booked, had a name. On my own, I was able to read the script and my mind went wild with the possibilities of this gig turning into an actual role if the pilot were picked up and went to network television. (The chances of all that happening are so infinitesimally small… yet a girl can dream, right!?) I got to base-camp, got my wardrobe, went to hair and make-up; things were great! Then I get an email asking if I can switch my availability to a different day(It was going to rain in LA so they have to change the shooting schedule). The problem is that I had just booked my first commercial gig that was shooting the day they wanted me to be the “featured extra.” (The commercial paid more and I didn’t want to jeopardize my relationship with my agent so I didn’t want to change it.) Crap! Next thing I know, they are looking for someone to replace me. So instead of getting two days of shooting, a possible close-up and a character name, I ended up walking back and forth in the background. *Wah-wha*
*On the bright side, I got to stay a little longer after a lot of the extras were released and I had the chance to watch the monitors from behind the director and observe the process. Maybe the director will remember me. Maybe not. It was still a cool experience.
A couple of years ago I auditioned for this movie that filmed just outside Seattle with some recognizable actors in it. I was called the night before the shoot to come in and deliver one line. At the time, it was a pretty big deal because it was the first thing I booked through my agent and it paid more than I’d ever made in one day before! (Actually, it would still be a pretty big deal!) I scrambled to get work covered and said “Yes!” to the job. At base-camp I got my own little sliver of a trailer, was treated to wardrobe and make-up and whisked away to set. When I arrived with a group of extras for my scene we were all directed to spread out, which put me at the end of the line, furthest away from the camera. I doubt the camera caught my one line and when I saw the movie you could barely make me out in the background. Fortunately, I still got paid for that one line, but that goes to show you… you never know how things will change on set.
*In the end I was kind of glad my face didn’t make an appearance in that movie. Sometimes these changes work out for the best.
A few weeks after arriving in LA last November, I booked a non-union commercial for Oil of Olay that was supposed to air in Thailand. I was playing a college student in a French class. I got an email the day before the shoot saying it would be postponed a week. Then a week later I got another email saying the shoot had been cancelled until further notice, because the client was “going in a different direction.” About a month after that I saw the identical audition notice (for students in a French class for Oil of Olay) up on the casting site. I resubmitted saying, “Hey! Remember me? Great to see you are doing this casting again.” No response. I have no idea what happened with that one.
If you are an actor reading this, I’m sure you have many stories of when you thought one thing would happen but then everything changed; your scene was cut in the final edit, the film didn’t get enough money to finish post-production, you booked the pilot but then the producers didn’t like you and replaced you with someone else for the series. If you are not an actor reading this, hopefully you get an inside look into the volatile nature of this business. (You might also see why it’s tricky sharing exciting news. We, actors, aren’t sure if that great news won’t be so great after all.) Things change ALL THE TIME. Mostly it isn’t fair and sometimes it really sucks. Then again, sometimes things change for the best-est and then it’s AMAZING!!! This is the crazy world we embrace!