Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Ectoplasmic Residue Excitation

Trapped like an ugly little spud in a Containment Unit as our DP glanced over the new sets to check his lighting on camera, I attempted to dart out of sight behind a metaphorical chandelier in an effort to finish copying my blocking notes and grab a quick breakfast.  “Penny, could you sit in the restaurant set for me?” our DP caught me temporarily in his photon stream.
“Um, I’m HER this morning, so I just need to finish my notes; but I’m all yours in about a half an hour!” I smiled pleasantly with a mouthful of sausage, egg, cheese and biscuit sandwich, hoping to buy myself and my fellow Second Teamers our much needed (and scheduled) thirty minutes of prep time.

“OK!” he grinned happily as he is wont to do.

And scampering back to Craft Services for a side of bacon (as I’m won’t to do!), I overheard one Gloomy Gus as she eyed the extravaganza of foodstuffs laid out before us. 
“Uck…  There’s NOTHING to eat that’s GOOD” she whined, bypassing sterno trays of eggs, egg whites, sausage, bacon, bagels; platters of fresh pre-cut melons and pineapples, bowls of yogurt, granola, tater-tots, assorted berries and heart-healthy oatmeal; not to mention an actual human being who had been hired to freshly prepare individual Belgian waffles upon request, who offered fresh bananas, strawberries, powdered sugar, butter, margarine and TWO kinds of syrup. 

“There’s no turkey bacon?” Gloomy Gus scoffed, as if this personal travesty was somehow everyone else’s fault that happened to be within earshot.

Talk about an ugly little spud!


Despite the alert from my AD the night before, and despite having read the script changes for the following day, nothing ever really prepares you for performing scenes with someone new on the set who is, by all accounts, a Hollywood Legend. 
“Could you feed me that line again, Pen?” our Guest Star whispered quietly to me, to properly set up his joke for the entire Crew standing in front of us.

“Yes, of course” I responded equally quietly and professionally (all the while, internally repressing some seriously career-ending Ethel-Mertz-Squealing at the fact that he had called me “Pen”!!!)
And feeding him the line, he delivered his first joke as only HE could possibly do whilst the Crew naturally erupted in genuine laughter. 

“Thanks, Pen” he smiled.  (!!!)  “Do you mind if we run the lines one more time?” he asked pleasantly as the cameras and booms rolled down the stage to the next scene.
“I’d be happy to” I nodded most amiably (trying terribly hard to disregard the out-of-body experience of hovering overhead and watching myself run lines with a Ghostbuster!!!)

“Pen-nay” my AD hollered as I obligingly scampered onstage.  “Our Guest Star might like to go over his lines before we pre-shoot the first scene” he whispered, giving me a quick  dart of the eyes and a sideways head-tilt towards The Legend who was sitting alone patiently in an unlit set with his script.

“Yes, of course” I replied (with yet another repressed squeal!) as I calmly sidled into the chair next to our Guest Star.  “Would you like to run the dialogue?” I asked casually; confident that as we had already performed three scenes together (!!!) he’d feel comfortable either way, knowing full-well that I’m not just some whack-a-doodle nut case fan trying to be near him.
After all, I’m nothing if not totally professional when it comes to my job.

“Can’t we just drop a movie quote or two out there, and see if he laughs?!” my Inner-Ethel battled for her God-given right to gush at a Movie Star.
But quashing Mrs. Mertz as necessary, I continued to go over the script with The Legend a couple of times until he appeared at ease with his cues.  And frankly, I kind of knew I could walk away at that point; but to leave a Ghostbuster all alone in the dark without a photon laser just felt wrong!

“Say out loud; “Listen… Do you smell something?”” my Inner-Ethel pummeled my pea-brain in a desperate struggle to bubble to the surface.
“So how long have you known our lovely Leading Lady?” I inquired; smartly getting out of my own meddling Mertz way and gently guiding the conversation towards our Guest Star and whatever he wished to share with me.  “And didn’t you appear on an episode of “Normal, Ohio” with John Goodman?” I queried politely (having been a stand-in on that show as well).

“Good memory, Pen!” he laughed as we nonchalantly whiled away the time.

With the announcement that we were finally only minutes away from shooting, I allowed my Inner-Ethel ONE small gush as to my appreciation of The Legend’s other business of producing a certain Crystal Head vodka that I’d purchased a while ago (only the itty-bitty size), that I’d popped in the freezer and had spread out over a couple of days like a delectable appetizer vis-à-vis my usual cheap hooch.
“I gotta say that was DELICIOUS, Dan!” I shared with my new BFF.

“Thanks Pen!” he smiled, patting my arm briefly before walking onto the set.
“That’s GREAT!  Actual physical contact!  Can you move?” my Inner-Ethel giddily quoted our visiting Ghostbuster, infinitely pleased with her self-restraint.  “Of course, you might have mentioned that ten bucks for the itty-bitty sized vodka seems a bit PRICEY…” Inner-Ethel elbowed me frugally at a missed-out voddy opportunity.

Gathered together in front of our elephant doors outside the stage painted with our logo, our cast and crew (and a few Executives from the cable network) smiled pleasantly for our Season Two photo.

“That’s terrific!” the silver-haired top Exec shouted out of the blue.  “But let’s take just one more, to see what you all look like knowing that you’ve been picked up for TWELVE MORE EPISODES!” he shouted jubilantly as we erupted happily.

Finding myself in the presence of our Gloomy Gus later in the day, I was asked my opinion as to our “good news” she smirked with finger air quotes.
“I don’t understand” I replied honestly, mentally savoring the meal of twelve more weeks of gainful employment this fall after hiatus.

“Uck…” she rolled her eyes in disdain.  “I just hope I book a Network show before then” she sighed.

“I hope you do too!” I smiled enthusiastically!

To the Belgian Waffle Man, may I please apologize to you on behalf of Gloomy Gus?  You did a fantastic job, and please know that all your hard work and thoughtfulness did not go unnoticed or unappreciated.

To The Legend Mr. Dan Aykroyd, I thank you for your kindness, your wonderful sense of humor and for treating this humble stand-in like a true Co-Star.
And to Gus…  Let me know if I can make any calls for you; because for me, this week was mostly AWESOME!!! 

Living in the Ectoplasm Cosmos of Gratitude,
~Happy Little Spud P

(Completely unrelated, but working on the Sony lot last year, my friends and I stumbled upon "ECTO1" patiently waiting for its return to the silver screen.)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Worst Diva!

“You’d think that after all this time, she’d have learned her lesson on how to behave on a television show” our Craft Services Guy whispered in my ear.  “You’d think she would’ve figured it out by now” he added, arms folded in disbelief at her outlandish behavior.
“Right?” I agreed, palms in the air at how to possibly begin to grasp at just what to do with our Star.  “I don’t even know where to begin” I whimpered as she walked on stage.  “But we’ll get through this together” I hugged him, having not faced the likes of HER in many, many years.

“Eric?” our Leading Lady called out as she took a seat at the table.  “What have you done?!” she bellowed.
“That’s my cue” Eric puttered on stage humbly.

“This is the most beautiful lunch that you’ve set out for everybody!  Thank you!” our Star smiled, giving him an affectionate hug.
And walking back to me, he stood flabbergasted (as we all are), whenever we find our mere mortal selves in her presence.

“She’s just…” he faltered.
“I know…” I added, shaking my head.

Expecting to spend approximately a half an hour or so for Lighting in a multi-cam complicated set-up for a group of our Cast in a truck, I hung my designated sign around my neck alerting to the Crew who I was, and assumed my position at the driver’s wheel.

“Well, I can sit there, Penelope!” our Star announced using her personal nickname for me.  “Go have yourself some breakfast!” she prodded, gently shooing me away.
And catching one of my ADs’ faces, I looked helplessly for some sort of stage-appropriate response as to why our Star needn’t sit under the hot lights in full hair and make-up for 30 minutes before shooting. 

“Go on!  Git!” our Leading Lady smiled, taking me by the hand and physically helping me to step down from the elevated vehicle.
“Isn’t she unbelievable?” I sighed to the AD who never in his WILDEST dreams could imagine The Star Of The Show arriving not only first on the set; but who actually wanted to sit there with the rest of the Stand-Ins for Lighting.

“Isn’t she unbelievable?” I repeated to the stymied AD.
“She’s just…” he replied in a stupor.

“I know…” I nodded.

As supremely idyllic a pilot as this could EVER possibly be, and savoring the experience like some sort of divinely rich cheesecake that miraculously never makes you gain weight, I found myself facing a most unusual lard-like obstacle; that being the occasionally amiable yet quick-to-blow (you-never-know!) volcanic temperament of our Director…
Now, I think… no, I KNOW that I am generally a Director’s dream!  I’m tuned into the nuances of my Actresses, studying them microscopically for gestures, inflections, camera angles, body positions, timing, blocking and even verbal deliveries of jokes.

I’m good at my job, damnit!
But suffering through some teeth-pulling, toothpicks-under-the-fingernails, slow-drip water-torture camera blocking, I was starting to feel like a trained monkey with a hundred and ninety-pound Organ Grinder riding on my back.

“Go to your first mark, Penny” our Director shouted; to which I scampered upon immediately obediently.  “No, NO, NO, your first mark ON CAMERA!” he huffed.  “I’m setting the opening shot for when she lands!”
“Copy that!  Sorry, sir!”

“And she crosses camera right…” he continued (as did I, as apparently instructed).  “Not YET Penny!” he hollered, as I scurried back to my mark.  “Wait for my CUE!” he shouted.
“Gotcha” I blanched with all due proper respect and humility.

“And then she exits…” he announced, as I stood quietly on my mark.  “And then she EXITS…” he repeated louder.  GO Penny!” he roared.
“Going!” I whimpered; walking through the door and off stage as our Leading Lady had done.

“No, NO, NO!” he bellowed.  “I’m having her walk all the way through the Living Room set after her exit from here, and continue out the upstage FRONT DOOR!”
“My apologies” I nodded submissively, wondering how I could have possibly missed that note which appeared to reside solely in our Director’s head, yet not in the actual script.

“OK, let’s walk this next scene at HALF speed.  Are we CLEAR on that?!” our Director irritably informed me and my fellow Second Teamers as we all nodded in edgy compliance. 
“And Penny enters…” he spoke in a re-adjusted well-controlled voice.

And enter, I did.
“Penny walks up onto the patio speaking the dialogue for cameras and line cues as she makes a fluid circle while picking up clothing…” he continued in monotone.

And a circle, I made, as I talked.
“Dear GOD, you’re KILLING ME here with the SLOW TIMING, PENNY!!!” he suddenly erupted.  “Just FOREGO the PROPS already!  Just make the MOVES for the CAMERAS!!!”

“Thank you, sir!” I smiled with a feigned *whew!* that it was most likely ever-so, yes-indeed, all the PROPS that had screwed up the scene and the camera timing; as opposed to the HIGHLY UNLIKELY specific direction for me to move at HALF speed.
“Moving on your cue, sir!” I smiled directly into the jib camera lens with a small salute (secretly hoping that if I touched my forehead, I might be able to tap into my latent psychic abilities and for the first time ever, learn how to read someone’s fucking mind!!!)

“He makes me so… flustered! I stressed-out to our Camera Coordinator who works with this particular Director rather regularly. 

“Well…” my co-worker attempted to interject.
“And I feel like I’m a complete moron who doesn’t know how to do the job!” I added as I continued to blather all over the poor fellow whose ear I had bent. 

“The thing is…” he tried again before I cut him off.
“Does The Director think I’m a total idiot?!” I worried, knowing full-well that reputation and work ethics in Show Business are everything.

“No, Pen” our Camera Coordinator finally got a word in edgewise.  “The Director is, um, shall we say ‘abrasive’, and he often comes off a bit too harsh; but he IS a good Director, and you do need a thick skin” he acquiesced. 
“Does that whole ‘thick skin thing’ happen anytime soon?” I wondered after only four days; “because quite frankly, all that YELLING nonsense is kind of having an adverse reaction going on for me here!!!”

“Yeah…” he sighed, quietly searching his mental archives.  “I’d say it took me at least three months to get used to him.  And even then, please know it’s never personal; he treats EVERYONE the same way; he just kind of has tunnel vision when it comes to WHAT HE WANTS…” my friend emphasized, taking off his reading glasses and rubbing his temples wearily.

Still rather off my game (but glad to know that I wasn’t alone!), we proceeded to camera block the last of the remaining scenes on my final day.
“Well, when we shoot this with HER, she’ll do it naturally with more attitude, and FASTER” our Director informed the crew.  “But let’s try it again, if you could possibly do that for me Terry?” he bristled as he walked away.

“Or, you know, maybe ‘Penny’ could do that for you?” I suggested out loud.
(Did I ACTUALLY hear the entire crew GASP, or was it just me?)

Hey, I’m no Lady Gaga here, but a bully is a bully: and sometimes you simply have to stand up for yourself.
In what was most likely a nanosecond of a nanosecond of a nanosecond that no one else in the Universe experienced, I watched bravely (i.e. in a mild manner of profound terror) as the Director’s facial expression dramatically changed before meeting my (seriously, ready to pee in my pants…) defiant gaze.

“Sorry, Penny!” he patted my back apologetically.
And frankly, that was all that I required; one freakin’ ounce of respect!

As my Angelic Actress was engaged in a few last minute touch-ups with hair and make-up, the Director decided to have me run the short scene in her place with the rest of the Cast.  And with only four lines of dialogue, I delivered them with as much passion as she had done, and hoped that I was as close to her comedic timing and accent as possible.

And whether I deserved it or not, my extraordinarily supportive Crew laughed!

“Places, please” our AD summoned the Cast, as I scampered back appropriately into the shadows; only to hear a “Psst!” from the delightful guy that has attended to our Leading Lady’s famous red tresses in what seems like forever. 
“I just wanted to tell you that she was watching you on the monitor backstage.  And after all these years, she still thinks you’re an absolute HOOT when you impersonate her!” he laughed. 

“Of course she did…” I threw my hands in the air, resigned once again to accept the unbridled compassion, lack of ego and overwhelming kindness.
“Let’s hope for ANOTHER six years together!” he knuckle-bumped me before wandering back on stage.  “I’ll see you in August, I hope!” he whispered as he disappeared.

“What is she DOING?” a co-worker elbowed me as we lined up together for the Crew Feed in the Commissary before the Audience show.  “Doesn’t she know that she’s a cultural ICON?”

“There’s no rational way to explain it” I sighed.  “But yeah, she’s waiting her turn, fixing her own plate and will dine with whatever people have an open seat at their table.

“Shouldn’t she…?”

“You’d think!”
“Is she really…?”

“Well then, she’s just…”

“Yeah, I know…  AMAZING.

I must say, I’m forever to this day astonished at the massive spectrum of behavior in this business; and in this case, how such polar opposite personalities can even BEGIN to possibly co-exist in the same atmosphere! 

And while I may never make sense of that part of the Universe, I can at least take heart in choosing to believe that for every obnoxious, abrasive, self-absorbed ass-wipe on the planet, there exists at least one (if not more!) sympathetic, gentle, self-aware and compassionate human being.
Hoping you find yourself exponentially surrounded by the latter of the two this week,


Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Bestest Stupidest Week

Potentially blind in my left eye after a visit to the Lens Crafters in Beverly Hills and only a moderate menace on the road, I managed to steer Cecilia (my car) home safely to the joyful rejuvenation of an ocular saline bath which smeared all of the remaining make-up down my face like a forlorn clown.

My chin and forehead L’Oreal foundation had already been left behind on the machinery, and with my trial contact lenses in my skull, I’d been scanned, measured and deigned fit to operate a motor vehicle until my first two month supply of disposables arrived.
“Are they f***ing kidding me?” I blinked in the mirror as I squirted the saline, only to discover that the lens had popped out in its own suicide mission and landed acrobatically miraculously gracefully in the palm of my hand.  “Let’s try this again” I sighed, rinsing with all due sterility and plucking my eyeball open once more to make room for the Saran Wrap-esque plastic cup-o-vision.


It would appear (if you will) that I actually have excellent eyesight when one lens isn’t inside out!

Prior to my semi-hiatus, I couldn’t help but pony up to my raven-haired Gorgeous Actress on my regular show, and ask out of blatant curiosity just what booties she had worn during rehearsals for two seasons that made her feeties resemble my kitty’s paws.
“Oh, these are UGG Cardys” she laughed.  “They’re so comfy, Pen!  And they come in ALL kinds of colors.  “Cardy” like cardigan” she smiled, walking me arm-in-arm down the stage as PAs scurried about to move her podium and personalized Director’s chair.



Personally, I’ve always associated UGG boots with vapid, anorexic blondes who shiver like teacup Chihuahuas when it is 80 degrees outside, and who wear mittens on stage and puffy coats with fur-lined hoods that make them look like the Michelin Man on a ski vacation. 
But who was I to judge a boot by association?

Camped out at my lousy old laptop waiting for it to finish its nightly meditation before allowing me access, I eventually found the desired UGG booties at who promised free shipping both ways.  It was a tempting purchase to be sure; but $140.00???  I’d have to be absolutely DAFT to shell out that kind of money, when clearly my most immediate expenditure (if any) should be a computer that at the very least has actual sound and a working optical D: Drive.  (The blind leading the blind?  Oh, the irony!)
Suffice it to say, as a fiscally savvy Capricorn, the boots were not an option.

Unfortunately however, this fiscally savvy Capricorn was on a semi-hiatus, and with a couple of alcoholic beverages in her system, she absolutely had to (ever-so vodka-logically) click to buy!
OK, OK, so it was a stupid, living-in-the-moment, reckless decision…  And accepting the package from my UPS driver a few days later, I was at ease in knowing that I could immediately send them back for a full refund.

And then I was all the more at ease wearing the WORLD’S COMFIEST BOOTIES!!!  They had heel support!  They had arch support!  And hand to heart with God as my witness, I shall NEVER again mentally mock another vapid, anorexic blonde for her choice of footwear!  (Seriously, that was my last time, because CLEARLY they are NOT that vapid!)

Boinging up and down like a giddy kid on a Christmas Day pogo stick, I saw the flash of red hair and heard the familiar call of the only person on the planet who sings out my name with the voice of an Angel.  “There’s my Penny!” she smiled with open arms as I sifted my way through a crowd of people for a far-too-long overdue hug.  “You haven’t changed one little bit!” she smiled genuinely.

“Neither have you!” I squealed sincerely.
“Or maybe both of our eyesight’s failin’, but yeah, let’s stick with that!” she laughed good-naturedly.  (Again:  Oh, the irony!) 

Now, having never worked with the ADs, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  I’d only worked with the somewhat temperamental Director once before on another pilot, and I had absolutely no expectations that he would remember me (I don’t think he did).

But taking me under her wing, our Script Supervisor went out of her way to quietly introduce me to everyone.  And feeling somewhat comfortable (which is usually an awkward task to achieve on day one), I clutched my script and did the only two things I could:  observe, and, well, laugh!
Assuming my usual paradoxical boundary of being near enough but not too close to the stage, we began the first scene of rehearsal:  and as if six years apart never occurred, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at my Actress’s delivery; only to witness the Director immediately whipping his head around and meeting my gaze.

“Well, it was fun for a nanosecond” I thought, hoping I’d at least get paid for showing up before getting fired.

And then…
“Thank You!” the Director mouthed silently to me with a smile and a nod as the scene continued.

And just like that, I was back on my pogo stick!  Boing, boing, boing!

Taking a five after rehearsing a few scenes out of order, a lady in dark sun glasses approached me.
“Are you by chance Emily?” she wanted to know.

“No, I’m Penny” I smiled, shaking her outstretched hand.  “I’m a stand-in”.
“Nice to meet you, Penny, I’m Lily.  Sorry to bother you dear” she smiled, taking off her sunglasses and patting my hand maternally.

“Lovely to meet you!” I (may or may not have loudly) shrieked as I suddenly recognized her from two of my all-time favorite 1980s films.  “I’m a huge fan!!!” I continued excitedly (my inner Ethel Mertz bubbling up most inappropriately).
“Oh, you’re very kind.  But thank you!” she nodded, walking off to wherever it is that Famous People go when they sense a looming ‘Ethel Mertzing’ about to occur.

Camped out in front of my lousy old laptop once more, I eventually clicked on my email, only to discover that I had already been sent the shooting script of the pilot on a Thursday night.  WHAAAT???  The process was all so easy!  No last minute rewrites, no “pages to come”, just a complete script with maybe ten asterisks of small line changes.  And we weren’t even pre-shooting until Monday!

Life was good!
But clicking on the end of the script, my laptop chose once again to freeze up and disallow me access to shutting down the program.  (Shocking, I know.)

Finding an unanticipated largish residual check in my mail box (!!!), I headed to the local Best Buy to replace my weary poot. 

“So what do you generally use your computer for?” the helpful gentleman wanted to know.
“Just email, work PDFs, photos and Word for writing my blog” I told him.  “And if at all possible, I’d like to be OUT THE DOOR with a laptop UNDER $400.00” I added with all due The-Customer-is-Always-Right (feigned) Assertiveness.

“Gotcha.  Here’s a very affordable HP that should meet your needs, and it’s on sale for $329.00.  It’s a tad bit slower than the higher-end models, but it’s excellent for pictures as it has the E2 VISION chip inside.”  (Again:  Oh, the irony!)  “But you’ll have to buy Word separately since it’s no longer included with Windows 7” he apologized.  (Aw, C’MON!)

Cross-legged and wearing the World’s Comfiest Booties Whatever Lived, I followed all the instructions for essentially bringing my new laptop alive.  Yes!  Allow!  Run!  Continue!  Agreed!  Agreed!  Agreed!  “Holy crap, I’m like the Dr. Frankenstein of the I.T. Universe!” I beamed smugly to my kitty.
But placing the Word disc into the optical D: Drive, my new poot beeped and fretted all over itself; initializing multiple screens of red shields with big white X’s warning of potential harm.

Apparently The Universe frowns upon “smugness”.

“Will you allow me access to your computer?” Agent Jared H from the Best Buy Geek Squad Online Tech Support inquired as I quickly stuck a thick Post-it Note over the creepy standard web-cam on the new laptop.
“Have at it” I typed, poodling off for a cocktail.

“Do you have a Tech Support Account?” Agent Jared H typed as I returned.
(I KNEW life was too good to be TRUE!)

But supplying him with a debit card number to OWN The Geeks for the next two years, I sat amazed as he manipulated a gazillion different menus on the screen.
“Dude, you’re like ‘Sheldon’ from “The Big Bang Theory”” I humbly typed in awe.

“ :) ”, he replied.

Living in continued gratitude for every stupid and wonderful event of the week, and wishing you all a positively stupid and wonderful day,
~UGGy P :)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

And The Universe Continues to Aspire to Assist!

Sporting my spiffy new contacts that enhanced my vision of every tree leaf and spectacular flower in sight in the lovely city of Los Angeles, I glanced into the mirror in my bathroom and wilted like an unattended high-maintenance orchid at the sight of puffy bags under my eyes and the ever-so-resilient silver roots that thrive like bastard dandelions in the front lawn that is my (and Miss Clairol’s boxed #110 “Light Auburn”) hair.
I could already see the cover of People magazine …
“Prolific Hollywood “Stand-In to the Stars” Rushed to Emergency Room Due to Exhaustion and Dehydration!” 
(OK, so maybe I wouldn’t actually make the cover, but if you haven’t noticed my blogs subtitle, I dream HUGE!)
Suffice it say, I was TIRED
Dear GOD, eight weeks in a row without a break!  What a blessing and a curse!
Now, I know full-well that people who work outside of my bizarre chosen path in the Hollywood Industry are consistently baffled that we, (in the effed-up world of entertainment, and in my case, multi-camera sit-coms) need hiatuses to recuperate after what appears to be nothing more than going to a job and laughing and having fun. 
And there IS a hearty truth to that! 
But just ask any Script Supervisor, Electrician, Grip, Painter, Set Dresser, Props, Construction, Hair, Make-Up, Cameras, Audio, ADs, P.A’s., Interns, or humble Stand–In (please forgive me if I left anyone out, but I’m on a typing tirade here!) how unbelievably mentally draining the creative process can be.
Rome wasn’t built in a day – and for whatever multiple reasons, neither is a 19:37 minute sitcom!
But tired or not, Miss Clairol  and I were going to have to tend to the problem, even if only for a couple of days on the DP’s $37,000 High Def monitor, darn it!  And then finally, HIATUS!!!
With Pilot Season in full bloom like the White House Garden of Roses and a gazillion smiling faces adorning the Studio Lot like buds in blossom all reaching toward the sun hoping for a full season of shows, three people threw their arms around me and congratulated me on an upcoming pilot.
“I’m SO GLAD you get to be HER!” one extremely competitive (also red-headed) fellow Stand-In offered cheerily, clasping me in a superficial Hollywood hug as I stared at her blankly.
“I’m not following you…” I replied honestly.
“Well, naturally I thought I was going to be HER, but I guess SHE told them that she has her own Stand-In.”
“I’m still not getting what you’re saying…” I continued, utterly baffled.  “I’m on my first hiatus in a long time next week, then wrapping out our last three episodes of Season Two on this show” I told her, pointing at the massive elephant doors painted with our title.
“Hunh…  Well, I guess I was wrong then!” my competition beamed, cocking her head and patting me ‘supportively’ on the arm.  “Have a super-duper GREAT hiatus!” she added with both shoulders up and an eerie twinkle glowing in her eyes.
Walking back onstage, I couldn’t help but shake my head in confusion.
“What’s up, Pen?” a co-worker wondered as I relayed the previous events of lunchtime.  “Oh, you mean the pilot for ABC?” he laughed.  “Yeah, you’re already on board!  Let me email you the crew list” he added helpfully, naturally assuming that I had some sort of magical technical device with which to open and view said email on my person.
“Thanks!” I smiled, my ancient flip-phone blinking an apologetic green light at its helpless inability to access the World Wide Web.  “Do you happen to know who the ADs are?” I mused ever-so-casually.
“Oh sure.  Let me write down their numbers for you” he added, scrolling through his techno gizmo.
After a couple of dropped calls to the first AD on the pilot (and a few more hours of camera blocking on my regular show), I eventually found a place of solitude and quiet to speak to whomever it might have been that had potentially hired me without my knowledge.
“I’m hoping to bring in all the Stand-Ins sooner” the lady informed me.  “But for now, it’s budgeted at just Friday, Monday and Tuesday; but lots of them – not YOU of course – need to cover multiple characters.”
“Okay…” I added still ever-so-confused in the moment, as she continued to provide me with further information; one particular nugget of which sent me positively over the moon with joy!
“Um, I seem to have booked a pilot during our hiatus” I explained with all due humility to my first AD.
“How are you doing a pilot if I’m not doing the pilot?” he retorted sarcastically.
“Uh… apparently I was kinda requested…” I squirmed uncomfortably.  “And I’d have to miss ONE day here, a MONDAY, but then I’d be back on WEDNESDAY for SURE, and we always have re-writes any way, PLUS the office emails us all the scripts and I already have someone to cover me!” I cowered properly submissively.
“Let me think about that…” my AD wandered off.
“Yes sir” I replied complacently.
Truth be told, as servile as I may have appeared in the moment, (I’ve been told that I’m a relatively decent Actress), come hell or high water and exhaustion be damned, I was destined to work on this pilot!
Yes dear friends, I have been invited to be reunited with a very special lady indeed!  (Not to mention a HOST of people that I spent six and a half years of my life with as “family”!)
Now if I can only retrain my current pea-brain and vocal chords to go from New York Yiddish to an acceptable blend of Oklahoma/Texas/Tennessee accents without any transitional meshegas, I think I just might pull this off!
Looking forward to my very first visit to the Walt Disney Studios (the last on my Bucket List of locations) and pleased to be under a Network contract if only for a few days,
~One (Adaptable!) Red Cent