Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Caste and the Crew

With my gorgeous Actress on stage performing a scene where she (blissfully) physically did nothing more than sit down and have dialogue with two other actors, I scurried up into the audience seating and rifled through the outer pocket of my purse in search of my lighter, contemplating the reckless abandon of sneaking outside for a ciggy puff or two on a show that has become a notoriously bladder-busting-bonanza for our crew.  Certainly no one would miss me for thirty seconds and should our AD eventually get around to calling an official “take five” I’d be properly “nicotined” in advance and able to run to the restroom with 75 other people who all seemed to be standing cross-legged in the “I Gotta Go” Polka dance pose on stage.
But as if I’d been reaching for a brownie at Craft Services – an ongoing Cosmic joke if you’ve been following my blog – I heard my name (or a familial version thereof) being whispered from the stage below the audience area.
“Psst!  Penelope!” my UPM waved me over to the railing as I guiltily knelt down beside him feeling like Sylvester with Tweety’s tail feathers in my mouth…  “So how’s it going?  How has everyone been treating you?” he asked thoughtfully.
As sure as I still have two legs to stand on after decades of dancing around the politics in this business, I could immediately sense the danger in the Hollywood Land Mine Line of Questioning and the risk/reward of “stepping in it”.  Yet having known our UPM since he was a mere Associate Producer - he being the first Executive to ever hire me way back when I was so painfully green, that I seriously thought McDonald’s commercials were actually shot with real McDonald’s employees – I naturally still consider him to be a friend, a confidant and mentor. 
And there was so much to tell him:
“My department desperately needs the normal paid prep time of a half hour before rehearsal to transfer our notes into the new scripts – which would have been a small price to pay that we would’ve run into a meal penalty on Thursday – but the simple payment of twenty-five bucks a piece certainly wouldn’t have broken the budget.  Plus, as we are all professionals and always here prior to our call time, it would be helpful if the DP didn’t have access to us until we’re officially on the clock.  We can’t exactly prep our scripts if he’s got us meandering around like monkeys in new sets every week while he checks for shadows on our faces.  We’ve been happy to help out thus far since rehearsals always seem to be behind schedule, and we’re more than willing to be of assistance should we be able to make the process move along more efficiently, but seriously, I had to throw away a plate with THREE strips of bacon this morning to go stand-in for lighting fifteen minutes before we’re even supposed to be here, and that’s just wrong” I sighed haplessly.  (I was really looking forward to that bacon!)
Personally, I thought it was an eloquent speech which hit all topics directly on the head without being accusatory in any manner whatsoever.  In fact, I was quite surprised that my pea-brain had formulated such a professional diatribe without prior rehearsal in the bathroom mirror and my own script changes.
I was a genius!
I was a fearless impromptu leader!
I was also being stared at by my UPM who hadn’t actually heard my internal mental outpouring, but was instead wondering why I was staring stupidly into space and hadn’t yet bothered to answer him.
“Good.  People are very nice” was all that fell inelegantly out of my mouth.
“Glad to hear it.  So, do you remember the name of that guy we had on our other show, ‘cause we need another stand-in for D.W., and he’d be great if we can get him for a day” my UPM retrained his focus to his smart phone.  “I think he friended me” he continued distractedly, pulling up his FaceBook page.
“Paul” I told him as he wandered off to send a text message.  And still squatting by the railing I whispered sarcastically to myself “Good job, Penny!”
As The Universe would continue its ongoing comedic antics, I found myself headed home behind a dark convertible on the canyon with a male driver who looked suspiciously like one of our Triad of Executive Producers.  I couldn’t be sure mind you, and the last thing I wanted to do was honk and wave at a total stranger as he turned off on Sunset Blvd., but I filed the info into my pea-brain should a moment occur to attempt a personal conversation with one of the Powers That Be. 
As my Dad always says, in the end we’re all people putting our pants on one leg at a time, right?  And although I’d kept my mouth shut to the UPM, I vowed to attempt to open up more personably should the opportunity avail itself ever again.
And standing alone at Craft Services without masses of assistants swarming the EP while he selected a heart-healthy breakfast, my next opportunity had clearly arrived.
“Do you by chance live in the West Hollywood area?” I asked casually plucking a sesame seed bagel off a tray.  “Because I could have sworn I followed you over Laurel Canyon the other night!” I smiled cheerily.
“Nearby” he offered pleasantly to the potentially creepy stalker (me) whose name he couldn’t quite recall at the moment.  “I’m actually up in the Hollywood Hills” he politely added (vaguely).
“I bet it WAS you!” I continued jovially.  “I’m still glad I didn’t honk and wave, but you have a dark colored convertible, maybe a Buick?” I offered sincerely, not particularly adept at identifying emblems on the backs of automobiles but making a valiant friendly effort nonetheless.
“Well it is a deep color, but not exactly a Buick” he smiled modestly, heading back on stage.
And ever so proud of myself for taking a chance at elevating my status from being regarded simply as a lowly stand-in to an Actual Human Being, I whispered smugly to myself “Good job, Penny!”
Seeing the convertible skirt its way up Laurel Canyon a few mornings later, Cecilia (my 1997 Toyota Tercel CE) and I smiled.  Not only did the EP presumably put his jeans on one leg at a time, but we dealt with the same traffic, the same gutter-snake drivers cutting us off and the same picturesque view as we headed into the Valley.  “We aren’t all that different in the big picture” I told Cecilia, aside from the EP pulling into the main gate, myself being routed to a parking structure a city block away.
And meandering across the lot on foot, I happened to notice the EP’s car in his designated spot near the stage, only to stumble upon and physically choke (up close and personal) at the insignia:

Yep, definitely NOT a Buick!
(Say it with me now, “Good job, Penny!”)
“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” ~ Abraham Lincoln
With love and irony,
~One Red Cent

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Whinny and the Pooh

Cornered at a most inopportune moment during rehearsal by the AFTRA rep who desperately wanted to bend my ear over up-coming negotiations, I politely hushed her to be quiet while the Director was giving notes to my Actress.  And walking to the other side of the set to get better ears on the nuances of what the Director was looking for – and ultimately what I would need to recreate on camera – I tried to listen intently, only to be tailed by the rep insistent on pleading her case and stuffing a brochure in my hands titled “Background Actor Guide to the AFTRA Television Contract”.
“I don’t work as Background” I whispered, pushing the papers back in her hand, still trying to listen closely to the Director.
“But this affects Stand-ins too!” she hyped, shoving the pamphlet at me as I attempted to continue to take notes in my script.  “Why don’t you give me your email address and I’ll send you notifications when the meetings are coming up!” she continued, a four-foot pit bull refusing to let go of my jugular vein.
“Look lady” I whispered hostilely, “I’m trying to do my job here, and AFTRA hasn’t done crap for Stand-ins in twenty years.  You clearly lump us all together with Background Actors” I pointed perfunctorily at her brochure; “yet you expect us to do EVERYTHING our actors do on stage for a PITTANCE and nobody has the BALLS to stand up and fight for how much is demanded of us by so many different departments that don’t look at us like YOU do; like we’re replaceable, expendable and interchangeable” I huffed angrily.  “The crew actually appreciates us” I stomped my sneaker with appropriately unheard exasperation.
Frankly I don’t remember whistling to the stable or even saddling the stark-white stallion, but sure enough, there I sat on one of my High Horses aptly named “Propaganda”.  (Haven’t ridden in awhile, but the reins felt good in my hands!)
“See, that’s just the kind of fire we’re looking for!” the rep beamed voraciously.  “We’re trying to negotiate higher-paying contracts for three-hour a day Stand-ins who do award shows, game shows and the like.”
Whilst I can’t be entirely certain, my pea-brain has some vague recollection of utilizing one or more eyebrows in my repertoire to dramatically replicate to the best of my abilities, a silent scorned look meant to be interpreted by the dimmest of human beings as “Are you f***ing kidding me?”
“Just to be clear, you’re fighting for the people (bless their hearts) that walk to a spot on stage and just stand there?” I asked in utter confusion as to the apples and oranges she was suggesting I weigh and agree should get more money.  “That’s NOTHING compared to what’s expected of us on a multi-camera sit-com!” I whisper-erupted, Propaganda snorting furiously and pawing at the floor with his hooves impetuously.
“But if we get this agreement in the contract, it might eventually affect your category as well in a couple of years” she cheered on her cause.
“So you’ll fight for us to get more pay?” I asked warily, temporarily sliding off my High Horse’s sturdy and defiant spine. 
“We’re hoping to be able to change the multi-camera “Stand-in” title to “REHEARSAL ACTOR” she whisper-shrieked nearly breaking her arm as she metaphorically patted herself on the back.
“Wow” I uttered softly, nuzzling Propaganda who seemed to be standing a few feet taller (if that’s possible).  “That’s just…” I sighed as words escaped me.  “That’s just…” I stammered, grabbing the saddle horn and hoisting myself back atop my trusty steed.  “That’s just the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”
And clomping away I caught the equally annoyed eye roll of a fellow Second Team veteran pitching the same business card and pamphlet indiscriminately into the trash.
Frankly I found the entire conversation insulting.  And taking a well-deserved “five”, Propaganda and I clip-clopped up and down the outdoor New York Street area existing behind our stage for a bit of clear-headedness, fresh air (and of course a ciggy); when like a ghost from the past I could’ve sworn I saw my friend Sherry ride up on her equally High Horse, a gallant grey phantom named “I Told You So”.
“Keep in mind” she spoke sagely so many years ago:  “AFTRA is SAG’s ugly sister at the hole-in-the-wall pub; she’s always there ‘til last call and eagerly willing to go home with whatever cheap date she can get.”
It was a poetic speech (albeit a rather creepy euphemism), but nonetheless painfully true.  And resolving to be kinder (if only out of pity and a sense of human morality) to the rep next time around, I returned Propaganda to the stables and looked forward to (my previously blogged-about week) hiatus.
At the very least I could file for unemployment and take some small comfort knowing that with the four day rate I’m currently receiving at work, a frighteningly diminutively comparable check would arrive from the government just before the end of the month.  And poodling off to the mailbox Saturday to confirm my zero income, I gasped to discover the horror within…

(No, no, no, not the rug; the envelope I dropped in utter mortification ON the rug!)

And therein laid yet another moral dilemma:
Sure on the one hand, I could leave it stranded there atop the happy dancing skeletons until Monday afternoon and not admit to actually receiving any earnings until after my week off -- the amount of the unseen check having potentially significant bearings on what I might be paid by the EDD…
But if I didn’t maintain my own integrity, what High Horse would I ever legitimately have the right to saddle up again?
Tearing open the residual check and filling in my earnings (or lack thereof) for the last seven days on the EDD Continued Claim Form, I grunted at Question 6:
“Did you work or earn any money, WHETHER YOU WERE PAID OR NOT?
And with a heavy hand (but clear conscience!), I filled in the squares as to “yes” and how much. 
I’d like to personally thank AFTRA for my hearty residual check dated the FOURTH of MAY; for precisely $10.50 ($6.47 after taxes) and its timely arrival.  Your next drink is on me!
Riding off into the sunset on my High Horse,
~Cowboy Pardner P

Friday, June 17, 2011

Alien Invasion

Despite actually being a forty-five year old woman, I bolted shut my apartment door from the inside like a belligerent misunderstood emo teenager in a bedroom inside her parent’s house and whined out loud.  I wanted nothing more than to peel off my jacket, leave it tossed vicariously on the floor, shoes kicked off where they may lay and television nonsense flooding my ears (I don’t have an I-pod) until someone called me and my adolescent palate to a comforting suppertime meal of macaroni and cheese!  (Personally I love/blame “The Living End” for singing “Prisoner of Society” on the radio in my car, thus encouraging me to sing, cheer and feel like total brat.) 
Oh, the teen angst was nearly unbearable!  Oh, I feared my immortal soul was already in jeopardy!  Oh, where the hell were all of my old defiant punk rock CDs?!
But surveying my new/old bat-cave, I crawled back into my forty-five year old skin, picked up my sweatshirt and hung it delicately in the closet like an Adult.
Would this be my future?  Would there be no more random kicking off of clothing?  No more piles of shoes at the doorway?  Was I meant to spend the rest of my life carrying boots to a closet in preferential treatment to the possibility of repercussions by the temperamental rantings of an overly aggressive “parental” landlord?  (*shudder*)
Clearly there was only one solution available to me, as I still needed to tackle the kitchen floor…
I needed black eyeliner!
Despite warnings from my last crew’s on-set dresser (let’s call her “Shannon”) I tackled my ceramic kitchen tile with eyes as dark as Illusionist Chriss Angel and one handy green Swiffer wet mop. 
Yet as predicted by Shannon, I found myself befuddled by a streaky mess…  (The floor, not my eyeliner.)
No worries though!  
I also had (in my cache of only-possibly-toxic chemicals under the kitchen sink) possession of some Oxy-foamy thingy!  And squirting the eco-goo onto the tile as it dripped lovingly down my arm, I was certain that the planet-friendly enzymes would easily dissolve the soapy scum, and with a bit of elbow grease, I could help save the Earth! (Once a month or so…) 
I would go completely green! 
I would purchase only environmentally safe products! 
I would…, um…
I would…, er…
I would stare at the impenetrable cake forming on the tile for the next twenty years...???
Retrieving one more long-lost bottle of cleaner, I hosed down the area like a riot squad with rubber bullets tackling an unruly mob.  My adolescent phase long passed by now, I assaulted the out-of-control scene with as much fire power as was in my arsenal; and smiling with militant satisfaction as the debris lifted, disappeared and washed away I raised a triumphant fist.
“Clean at last!  Clean at last!” I exulted to my kitty, ever so tempted to hoist all of her five furry pounds into the air jubilantly!
Unfortunately however, Miss Pretty would have no part in my juvenile behavior as she has been apparently dealing with her own teen angst.  Her protective “fort” (i.e. the old desktop computer with the dot-matrix printer and sheet thrown over the top) where she used to hide was gone; her litter box had been replaced with a swanky new covered number now lurking in the bathroom; and for no discernable reason other than maybe the plushiness feels good underneath her paws, she has taken to spending some serious OCD moments staring endlessly at the fleur-de-lis pattern on one of the new throw rugs…
But stepping onto the magnificent ceramic surface of the kitchen floor to replace Pretty’s bowl of kibble in order to bring some semblance back to our bat-cave, I heard/felt the unmistakable sound/sensation of what can only be described as “sticky”…
And on hands and knees with nothing but wet paper towels until midnight, this middle-aged glamorous Hollywood gal flopped down like a bloated sea otter on her belly and meticulously cleaned the kitchen square by square with dual flippers.
In hindsight, I suppose my teen rebellion might have stemmed from being milked like a heifer to repeat scene after scene for my beloved Actress while the crew rolled tape and shot extensive footage of our Background Actors’ reactions.  (Not really sure they can do that without paying me more money, but in this economy I’m just thrilled to have a show!)
After all, the Producers legitimately owned me for the day, and who am I to turn down an opportunity to perform, let alone receive a well-scripted hug (four times over!) from one of the brooding cast members of an old television series (somewhere in the “90210” area) that I grew up watching?
But after a few days off on our one week hiatus, vacuuming almost daily like an OCD Adult and spending stupid amounts of time fretting about hanging up coats, dusting table tops, worrying about proper placements of shoes in closets and stressing for no reason other than my own ridiculous insanity, I took a step back.
Sometimes you gotta be true to your self, and for now, I’m choosing to be a brat on hiatus. 
With three-day-unwashed hair, disheveled pajamas (and far too much black eyeliner), I popped by the local Mickey D’s drive-thru for an Angus burger.  And sharing the feast with my heroic feline sidekick in front of the television we watched the TiVo’d premiere of my new show happily together.
(And only AFTERWARD, did I actually hang up my jacket!)
Livin’ the dream,
~Teen Rebel P  ;-)


Friday, June 10, 2011

A Pox Eclipse Now

 “I need you to play ‘Customer’ and ‘Mary’, and by “play” I mean really play the roles ‘cause we’re trying to get you a speaking part, my AD informed me with a cheerful insider wink. 
It was a kind gesture indeed, thoughtful too, but as deadly a phrase to an actor as the equivalent superstitious dagger of saying “good luck”.  (Seriously, you might as well just trip my foot as I make a grand entrance.)
But I’ve always attempted to play every role to the best of my ability for two understandable reasons:  #1, I want to do my job well. And #2, I will milk the hell out of a bit part if I think I can get a laugh!  So regardless of the AD jinx (seriously, is this “how to successfully kill a role” kiss of death listed somewhere in their DGA manuals?), I remained sunny and hopeful!
After all, my performance at the Network run-thru got laughs in all the right places, my gracious cast were kind enough to tell me “great job!”, and heck, even my glamorous Actress’ chocolate Pomeranian ‘smiled’ at me as she was pamper-pushed set to set by a personal assistant in her baby stroller!  (Don’t know; don’t need to know…)
Arriving home happily around five, head in the clouds, I joyously retrieved a residual check from the mailbox for old episodes of on-camera appearances and voice-overs from “Saved by the Bell”; a whopping total of forty-two dollars yet potentially a sign of the future?!?!
And has Fate would intervene I nearly bumped into my landlord head on, a lovely (so I thought) happenstance as all but one of the overhead fluorescents in my kitchen sighed a final breath ominously the night before, leaving a spooky glow as I attempted to pour celebratory cocktails by the light of the open refrigerator door.  (Yeah, I still managed.)
“I get radder” Mr. Yang toddled off politely as my day became even that much rosier.
I HATE my landlord.
The word “hate” is powerful and not a verb I’m terribly comfortable with, but after seventy-two hours, yes, I HATE my landlord.  Berating me for “too much crutter in riving loom” and threatening to call the “Hef Depaltment” for having my kitty’s litter box surrounded by a protective moat of clumping sand to protect the carpet, he asked me if I have any education.
“Yes, I have a college degree.”
“Well, maybe Hef Depaltment gives you moh education!” the little man continued his verbal assault on me in my home.  “Dis apartment go for $1,600 and you only pay haf because of lent contlol!  I give you fwee days!  Or I call Hef Depaltment and have you evicted!” he threatened menacingly.  “I not let anybody have pet no moh!” he continued.  “Fix prace or I make kitty go!  And crutter go too!  You want to rive on street, fine!  But I work hahd to buy building, and you take care of apahtment or I give eviction!”
“My kitty is nineteen years old.  I can’t ship her off to a shelter” I replied defensively.
“You can’t talk to me dis way!” he cringed.  (I’ve always suspected that his wife beats him on a daily basis.  I’ve got no proof, but given the chance with a sack full of rocks, well, I’m just sayin’…)
Regardless, I began the lengthy process of trying to appease the annoying little man, if not to secure the sanctuary of the rent-controlled bat-cave, but to resiliently protect by all means necessary the continued companionship of my comforting kitty!
And from 5:30PM ‘til 2:00AM, I boxed, bagged, lugged, trashed and hauled as much as possible by myself.  Sure the pressure from my landlord was a deciding factor, but to be completely honest, yeah, after 23 years in the same apartment some shit really needed to go.  But as a recycling addict, I couldn’t just stuff things into the trash bin. 
With obsolete computers (3), non-working printers (3), one crappy heavy nearly unusable vacuum cleaner, one well-used manual treadmill (well, used as a coat rack anyway) and a couple piles of scripts, tax documents, plus clothing and shoes that haven’t seen the light of day in over a decade, I ponied up the cash for the boys at 1-800-GOT-JUNK?.

“Garments are here, technology over there, kitchen wares in these three and paperwork in that pile over there” I sighed at the overload of trash bags brimming in my living room.  “So… is this bad…?” I asked Charles who surveyed the apartment officially.
“SHEE-IT!” he laughed.  “Yesterday we tackled a possum in a laundry room!  This is MILD by our standards!” he giggled, putting me at ease for the first time in two highly stressful days. 
“And compared to what we usually see” his hefty partner Sven piped up, “DAY-UM you’re organized!” he beamed.
Filling up half a truck bed in approximately one hour, I handed over my credit card with all due gratitude and one final container that nearly broke my heart.  Presenting the box with extreme reverence, I stroked the lid lovingly.  The contents were no less than priceless works of art to me, $150 retail, but purchased at at 75% off.
“I hope one of you have a special lady in your life who might appreciate these.  They’ve never been worn outside because unless someone is going to pick me up, carry me to the car, carry me to dinner and carry me home, I bloody hell can’t even stand up in these, let alone walk!” 
And while I’m sure that the effect of revealing the contents was nothing more than the blinding new fluorescent lights from the kitchen, I could’ve sworn the boots were emanating their very own special aura from within the wrappings: 

“DAY-UM!” Sven gaped, dabbing a bead of sweat off his brow.  “I just might try to squeeze into ‘em myself!”
Having shelled out $443 bucks to 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, $140 for a new Hoover Windtunnel vacuum cleaner that ravenously scarfed up everything in its path (with excellent attachments as well!), two new throw rugs ($25 total) and a covered kitty litter box for $24 (to exist from now on in the linoleum-floor covered bathroom), my deadline for possible eviction passed quietly by. 
Reticent to share the stress of the prior days with anyone who might choose to label and dismiss me as a “hoarder”, eventually I had to literally “come clean” with a couple of friends who just know my usually happy demeanor far too well (and obvious lack therein).  And unburdening my tale, I was gratefully comforted by their extreme compassion – coupled with a startling look of panic in their eyes should their sanctuaries suddenly be scrutinized so harshly by a landlord.  “He can’t do that to you, can he?!”  “Is that even legal?!”  “How can he decide what constitutes clutter?!” they fretted.
For what it’s worth though, the deed is done, and aside from lots of sore muscles, physical and mental exhaustion and the oddest feeling that I’m walking into someone else’s home every time I open the door to my bat-cave, my astonishingly adaptable feline sidekick Pretty and I are coping to the best of our abilities.
Now, if I could just learn that I don’t have to “banana” around the ghost of the treadmill/coat rack as I’ve done for so many years, perhaps I will find my new path…
NOT sorry to NOT get a speaking part on the show this week!
~Partially Pressure-Free P

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Running With the Big Dogs

“I have to take my shoes off and crawl into bed with two men on-camera this morning.  What socks do you think I should wear?” I asked my sleepy feline sidekick Pretty at 5:30AM who gazed at me slit-eyed blankly.  “Traditional black?  Store-bought bright white?  Or maybe orange Skull and Crossbones?”  I sing-song suggested (myself clearly favoring the latter).  But not one for early morning banter or wardrobe selection before full sunrise (and me taking a shower) Pretty summarily ignored me in catty preference to returning back to snoozing directly on her face.
Perhaps it wasn’t the usual discourse in everyone’s household, but who’s to say?
Yet lying comfortably on the bed on stage I closed my eyes and listened to the quiet hum of the television crew as they lit the eerie glow of an alarm clock before me; and curled up with my fellow Stand-ins (and NO, you don’t get to add a “Bow-chicka-bow-wow” soundtrack here) we three spooned happily atop the mattress, along with one spectacular pair of camera-friendly-cream-colored argyle socks.  (What can I tell you, Pretty has excellent discerning taste when she’s awake.) 
“Everything looks fantastic!” our Director shouted happily to the crew.
And with that, I exhaled a long held breath for the first time in two weeks.
Swimming through the amniotic fluid of the re-writes for the birth of this new show, I scrambled to keep up with the changes sent down to us by the Triangle of Powers That Be.  The energy had become frenetic; the crew was anxious and by at least one account – that being our frowning hovercraft (aka UPM) constantly checking his watch – we were painfully behind schedule.
But despite the mayhem and myriad of multi-colored pages to be collated into our scripts, one elegant scene had remained untouched…
I had watched the rehearsals extensively in order to properly recreate every movement of my gorgeous actress, but by my own standards I failed miserably in my note-taking process as to her precise actions.  The impetus to bring our Stars together had been so well-written that despite my efforts to remain steeled to the necessary fastidious of what I should have been writing down, I instead sat glued to my chair with a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat as the bitter-sweet scene unfolded.
So I suppose it’s no big fat surprise that having poodled off to Craft Services for a brownie the next afternoon (don’t know what The Universe has against me eating brownies but I’m beginning to think it’s some sort of cosmic joke) I heard my name being shouted on stage.  “She’s with the producers working on some more re-writes, so you’ll have to be her with the rest of the cast for the dancing scene” my AD informed me.
But refusing to let on that I had been so mesmerized by the performances that I’d slacked off in my duties, I headed to her opening mark and waited patiently for her cue; palms in the air, come what may.
What WAS surprising however, was the ease at which the moments played out.  Between the impeccably written dialogue, the emotion I felt having watched the scene vis-à-vis the emotion of being IN the scene, and the kindness I felt from our Hero who gracefully choreographed my positions for cameras easily, we finished the scene hand-in-hand, smiling cheek-to-cheek.  
And with that, I exhaled a long held breath for the second time in three weeks!
Striding onto our sound stage the well-dressed gentleman hugged our Director affectionately.  They had apparently known each other for years, and as she gleefully introduced our cast with great humbleness to him, I hovered nearby, always invisible yet visible as necessary (that’s kinda part of my job). 
“This is Asaad Kelada!” she beamed, as he graciously greeted all the actors pleasantly.
(Back-story:  If you’re unfamiliar with the name, please note that he is a famous Director whose credits have appeared on nearly every sit-com I have ever loved since the ‘70s!)
Staring at the legendary man, I could feel my Ethel Mertz Syndrome beginning to bubble to the surface once again…  The words had already begun to formulate in my pea-brain; an incongruous string of thought something akin to “On screen your name me see when eight years old when I was and still all sit-coms therein your name!” 
But call it a conciliatory brownie from The Universe, I sat stupidly quiet in my chair; Ethel temporarily stifled, yet apparently, um, still APPARENT in my eyes.
“Hi!” he smiled to my face, evidently conscious of my unbridled enthusiasm.
“Hi!”  I gushed (never more thrilled in my life to say absolutely nothing else!)
And watching him depart the stage, I clutched my script joyously to my heart knowing that for a simple Midwest girl who grew up loving and watching sit-coms, absolutely anything is possible.  DREAM HUGE!
“Wow…” I muttered to myself, embracing our brief encounter as an historical souvenir to be cherished in my humble collection of Hollywood experiences.
And moving to my side (I assumed to share the moment of awe) our amiable DP stared after the man silently for a long moment before speaking…
“So, who’s Asaad Kelada?” he asked sincerely.
Looking forward to whatever next may take my breath away,
~Pooped Ethel P Dawg