So in case you didn’t know, I’m actually in Ohio right now! I had a commercial shoot yesterday, two auditions today, and I feel a bit like a chicken with its head cut off.
And…typing that little saying out…I’ve never really considered how gruesome it really is. Yikes.
Love life update: I’ve been kind of “talking” with a gentleman caller. And in conversation, he admitted that he has no idea what my job is actually like. He knows I’m an actor, but he confessed that that whole industry is completely foreign to him.
And talking to my mom, she admitted that, she, too, has no idea what my job is really like.
So. I thought I’d pull back the curtain and share what it is actually like on a shoot.
A few weeks back, I auditioned for the role. My agent called me up with the audition opportunity. I learned the script, showed up “camera ready” in jeans and a plain, bright colored T-shirt, handed them my headshot and resume and did my best.
And then I forgot about it. Here’s the thing: for every “yes” — you get about ten “no’s.” So the best M.O. for your mental health is to just forget about every audition once you leave the room. You only hear back if you get the role, so if you forget about it, you are pleasantly surprised if you “get the call.”
Anywho, last week, I got a callback for the role. I was already back in NYC, so I sent in a “self tape” and the next day, I got the call that I booked the job!
So then, it was just prepping for the big day.
I memorized the script all week, and the day before, I did my nails, a face mask, tried not to eat too much sodium, and got a good night’s sleep.
So I showed up at a beautiful historic building downtown where the set was. You show up and are met by the “talent wrangler.” She introduced me to the director, producer, sound guy, camera men, clients, everyone. The whole time, I’m just thinking in my head — please let me remember their names!!
Then I go to hair and makeup, and wardrobe. The makeup people are always so wonderful. They’re fun to talk to, always have a story, and plus…it’s literally their job to make you look your best. So they’re awesome people! I always try to take away a tip or a trick, or their favorite “secret holy grail” product from each shoot. Yesterday, it was Urban Decay’s All Nighter Setting Spray! It’s literally like hairspray for your face! haha
The hair and makeup is always by “Craft Services.” Or “crafty” as it’s often called…which is everyone’s favorite place. It’s the table with the coffee, donuts, snacks, mints, fruit. — It’s basically it’s like walking into your best friend’s pantry, and finding all the goodies that your mother never let you eat in your own house. We’re talking candy, Little Debbies, there are always Dunkin Donuts. Sadly, most things aren’t on my Specific Carb Diet, so I always end up bringing my own food on set.
After hair and makeup, it was time for the photo shoot. Oftentimes, they’ll take stills for promotional materials, or their website/social media, so I worked with the director of photography. He would give me direction on what the client is looking for, how to use the product, etc. And then it’s just time to have fun. They’ll usually play some music during this time. I always request Justin Bieber. 🙂
Finally, it’s time for the commercial shoot. The name of the game is hurry up and wait. There are so many things to do before the director can actually yell “Action!” Like, putting on your microphone and adjusting the volume, adjusting the lights, focusing the cameras, practicing the cameras’ movements, adjusting the script for any last minute edits, perfecting the set, final hair and makeup touchups. You’ve got to exercise some major patience behind the scenes, all while being professional with a smile on your face.
So then you finally perform the script. You give it 110% and perform your heart out. I always like to pretend that the lens of the camera is someone I care about — my best friend, or my brother, or a crush (if that’s the tone of the scene) — because it really helps make your delivery more natural.
But during this, you take direction, make adjustments on the fly, and basically just have fun! — Albeit stressful and the-success-of-this-project-is-riding-on-you kind of pressure…it’s fun.
And that’s a wrap! Everyone cheers, you shake people’s hands, sign release papers, pack up and go home!
And it’s onto the next audition! There will be days where I literally swing by an audition on the way home from the shoot. You can’t let any grass grow if you want to be a working actor!
Thennn the waiting game begins! It will usually be several months before you get to see what you actually produced, if you get to see it at all!
So there ya go! A day in the life of a working actor. It’s definitely not glamorous, but if it’s your passion, you will put up with the inconsistent jobs, being the bottom of the totem pole, long hours, and constant rejection to pursue what makes you feel fully alive. 🙂
Hope you all are having a great week!
See ya Monday!
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