If I don't get this post written now, I never will. I'm tired - working production again for the next three weeks, and I also have an audition tomorrow, so I need to dig into the script, but I promised I would tell you about my "Wizards of Waverly Place" shoot, and it was a cool experience that I really would like to share.
I wasn't called until noon, so I got up and got myself moving at a leisurely pace before driving to Hollywood Center Studios, where the show shoots. I pulled in through the gate where I usually walk on, and was told that I wasn't on the "extras list." I told the security guy that I wasn't an extra. He didn't seem to believe me, and got on the phone. I got on my cell phone and called the 2nd AD for the show, who told me that I was at the wrong gate. The security guy told me that they weren't going to let me in either because I wasn't on the list. Whatever, man.
I drove around to the other gate, and wouldn'tcha know - SAME THING. I called the 2nd AD back & he told me to hang out for 3 minutes, and he would get clearance for me. I asked this security dude if I could just pull over to the side and sit. He started yelling at me and ranting about "I'm just doing my job - you're not on the list, they do this to me all the time...blah blah blah." I assured him that I understood that it wasn't his fault, and he kept on yelling. I didn't want to hear all that, so I pulled over and sat, all the while thinking "I'll bet this is why celebs go all 'Don't you know who I AM?!' from time to time. I heard his phone ring, then he came out of his booth and brought me a pass. I wanted to say "Gimme that damned pass!" and snatch it out of his hand, but it was clear that he was having a bad day already, so I played nice. I didn't say "thank you" though. He told me where to put my car. The valet situation was it's own mini-drama, but I'll spare you the details. Suffice it to say that the day had lost its glow by the time I trekked across the (hot) lot to the sound stage.
I got to my dressing room, still kinda salty until I turned on the TV and saw one of my favorite movies: "Point Break." That made things a little better. Then I went to hair and makeup. What a lively room - everyone was chatting and there were kids in and out - I mostly sat, listened, and watched. I overheard the guy in the next chair saying something about Chicago, and it turns out that he's from there as well, so we chatted about that as we got our makeup done.
I went back to my trailer, finished watching Point Break, then went to rehearsal. It was my first time in front of a live studio audience. I mean, I've done lots of theatre (which I LOVE), but since I began working on-camera, I've missed the energy that comes from having an audience there watching. When you do theatre, I think it forces you bring your "A" game because there are no do-overs. When you work on camera, they can do take after take after take. Don't know your lines? Not too big of a deal, they can feed you lines and you can record them one by one (I saw this once. It was ugly). This was somewhere in-between. There were still multiple takes, but I think having the audience there makes you want to be great EVERY time. That's my opinion. I would L-O-V-E to do a sitcom with a live studio audience.
At rehearsal, some guy (forgot his name, and his job title, sorry) walked me through my blocking, so that I would know where to walk, stand, and exit. We ran it several times, and the director fixed any "issues" that came up: like, the scene called for me to have a sandwich in hand, so the props lady came and gave me a realistic-looking plastic sandwich wrapped in paper; that sort of thing. How people entering and exiting could cross the set and not run into or block one another from the view of the camera(s). I met Selena Gomez (who is really quite talented, and has the most awesome hair), Jake T. Austin (what a cute kid), Maria Canals-Barrera (does her own makeup, has great hair as well, and is really cool), David DeLuise (nice guy who went up and entertained the kids in the audience between shots), Moises Arias (seemed really smart), and Jennifer Stone (who went up and DANCED with the kids - they L-O-V-E-D it)! I have nothing but good things to say about all of them. And the crew as well.
I went back to my room, watched "Jerry Maguire" (also in my top 10) and found myself in a great mood. I changed into my wardrobe, went back to the set and waited for the festivities to begin. My scene was in the middle of the episode, so I watched everyone else work for a while. I love to do that. I also watched the warm-up comedians keep the kids in the audience entertained between takes. I laughed out loud more than once. Finally, it was my turn - the director, Victor Gonzalez, told me to just have fun. And I did! When I first booked the job, I had 4 lines. As I received revised scripts, I kept losing lines. When I arrived on set, I only had one line, but during the course of the shoot, they decided they needed to add another one. At the end of the scene (since it was my only one), I was introduced to the audience and they all clapped. It was cool. I went back to my dressing room, changed out of my wardrobe items, and waited for the curtain call to take place at the end of the show. Good times. Almost felt like theatre. As people seeking autographs from the series regulars formed long lines, I went back to my room, gathered my things, and left. Happy.
I got pissed again when I realized I had to walk around the friggin' lot at 10:30PM by myself because they locked the gate that led directly to my car. Then I got to my car and the windows were open and there was a moth inside (they give me the creeps).
All in all, it was a very enjoyable experience, and I sooooo look forward to the next one.
I'm out. Duty still calls!