The Untitled and Confidential Project: Exposed (Blogisode Five)

Happening now.  She doesn't make it easy to concentrate.

Happening now. She doesn’t make it easy to concentrate.

Happy Thursday and welcome back!  Eleven shopping days until Christmas, but don’t panic because I guarantee you are further along than I am.  Beatrix and I are back in the trusty and lovely Anderson Township Library and the Beaz is piling gigantic pillows on top of each other.  Picture the princess and the pea on Red Bull.  She’s sweating.  It’s hilarious.  At 4-years-old Charlotte would be surrounded by books and reading for hours.  Beatrix instead wrestles with giant giraffe pillows and belly laughs with glee.  Different strokes for different folks.  Speaking of folks, a quick update on my parents.  My mother continues to do well on her probiotic/candida diet regime.  My father’s foot is not healing as quickly as we’d like so we’ve opted for an angioplasty in that leg which will open up the three big veins and promote blood flow.  Or maybe just one vein depending on what they find when they get in there.  Personally I think my father’s veins are full of butter and mayonnaise, which he claims, “keeps things slick and flowing smoothly.”  I’m not sure the doctors agree with this, but he does have shockingly low cholesterol for a guy who survives on Hellmans.  He’s in good spirits and despite missing Rob and Charlotte ferociously (9 days until we see them, but who’s counting???) I do believe that coming to Cincinnati was the right thing to do.  I mean, I might not have a single Christmas present yet (okay, a few for Beatrix) but boy-oh-boy that podiatrist and I are best buds and my Dad is laughing and my mother is good.

Beatrix just walked up to the main desk and unbeknownst to me asked the librarian to help her find the Peter Rabbit book by Beatrix.  Hilarious.  And the woman is now IN the children’s library helping her.  And now I just look like a bad parent so I’ve gotta go.  Trying to do this at the library was a terrible idea even though it worked just fine a week ago.  Hold tight, I’ll be back.

Okay, back and now it is 11:22 pm and I am exhausted but finally able to concentrate.  I have head phones on with no music playing just to muffle the sound of the news which is blaring even though my father is sleeping in his chair right next to me.  Every once in a while he wakes up and makes me watch a commercial.  Like right now he is talking about the Ov-Glove.  Before we re-start on the Lifetime story, I have to say something because this kept me awake the other night.  I have the following DISCLAIMER.

I have hundreds of friends who’ve worked on much bigger TV shows and major motion pictures and national commercials and they are every variation of fancy.  If any of them are reading this and wondering why I would want to write a blog series about being on one episode of a silly little Lifetime TV show I say to them, well, honestly the first thing I would say is hey–don’t judge me too hard because we all start somewhere–but also I’m writing this because it would be a total travesty to do this three day shoot and NOT write a blog about it.  Sure, I wish I had a starring role on a sexier show like Homeland or something, but it is what it is and–quite frankly–I promise you it wouldn’t have made as good of a blog.  No way.  And besides, even I shot a feature film this year and it was super fancy and fun and full of details like a trailer and golf carts to drive me around on set–but still (and trust me on this) this is the better story.

So we left off with me in hair and makeup and costume and wandering around trying to figure out what in the world I was going to be asked to do–remember–there was NO SCRIPT.  During this time the person whom I would call the company manager if it were theater (what do you call that person on a film set?) tracked me down with my contract (yes, you read that right, I did all of this with no contract until right before shooting.  Based on my experience with the movie this fall, it seems to be common.  And–just to toss it in–it is perfectly normal to start rehearsals for a show–even on Broadway–without signing a contract.  Because my friends from Actors’ Equity Association might be reading this I am not condoning this behavior, merely reporting it.)  Part of the contract, and this gets us back to the title, was a confidentiality agreement.  I will tell you for the record that I called numerous times to get permission to write this blog to no avail, and finally decided that I’d go with what the director told me the second day of shooting, which was that once the episode airs no one will care.

I occupied myself by taking pictures of my makeup and sending them to Charlotte.  It's a quiet thing to do.

I occupied myself by taking pictures of my hair and makeup and sending them to Charlotte for her entertainment. This was my “up” do.

Fingers crossed.  Otherwise, please save a little of your Christmas budget to bail me out of jail.  Thanks.

Speaking of the director, please let me tell you just exactly how I met him.

I mean, I’d met him in the audition, but I hadn’t seen him on set, yet, and considering that as Maryday would tell you I was way more interested in our power walk than my audition, I couldn’t have picked him out of a lineup.  That said, I did behave like any self respecting 20’s hipster and Google imaged him the night before so that I wouldn’t make a total arse out of myself if I saw him.  And here is how I saw him.

About two hours after I’d arrived they took a lunch break.  I hadn’t shot a thing yet, I was just trying to keep my makeup intact and my clothes sweat and wrinkle free which is much harder than it seems.  On a normal TV set you’d have a trailer to hang out in and make phone calls or sleep or whatever and also a script to continuously pour over to look busy.  I had neither and the added burden of having to stay quiet the majority of the time, so when they called lunch I really thought, “Oh thank god.  Something to do.”

I noticed everyone lining up in the driveway and realized they were getting in line for food.  So I got in line for food, even though I wasn’t hungry.  Remember, I had a bag food at the ready because I didn’t want to pass out on set, but the food looked good and everyone was getting in line so I herded in like a sheep.  And this is where I learned lesson number 3 (are we to lesson #3?  I’ve lost track).

Lesson #3.  On a film or TV set the crew goes to the front of the line and the actors and everyone else eats after.

And here is how I found that out.  The director walked up to me and made some very nice chit chat along the lines of nice to see you, glad we could work around the vacation schedule, yes this is my dog and then the stinger, “You should probably let the crew eat first.”

And then I noticed that all the other actors were crowding around in the back just waiting.

And…….cut to me….turning red and totally mortified.  Totally MORTIFIED. I stammered out something like, “Oh….uh…right…..of course….I’m not even hungry anyway….good to see you…” and then I turned on my heel and left.

And you see how my number one goal of no one knowing that this was my first day on a TV set was totally blown the very first second I saw the director.  Glorious.

And it wasn’t my last mistake that day.

And then on top of everything else I was about to get a bad news text message from our new babysitter.

But now it is 12:25 am and I have to get to bed so we’ll save humiliating mistake number two for tomorrow.  But–I did manage to sneak a shot of the catering menu for all of you (I’ll talk more about catering as we go along.  No worries.)

Despite the fact that any appetite I may have had was obliterated by embarrassment, the food was terrific.

Despite the fact that any appetite I may have had was obliterated by embarrassment, the food was terrific.

(To read the next post in this series, go here)






About Sharon Wheatley

I'm a mother, an actress and a writer. I'm glad you're here.
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