Shit happens...

This has been quite the month. I was on hold for 3 U.S. Nationals, and an episode of a tv show and none of them has worked out. The commercials went a different way, and the part in the tv show got written out, and the one that looked like a sure bet wasn't.

I spent the entire day on set today waiting to shoot my commercial. I was processed through hair and make-up, did the blocking for lighting and then waited to be used. The only problem was I never was. The spot had 4 customers in it and today when I showed up there were 6 of us. My spidey senses went off immediately, especially when the storyboard showed only 4 customers. 4 not 6. But nobody was talking to the talent and we were left to chat amongst ourselves and trade the inevitable horror stories of shooting and being cut out and receiving that little letter in the mail, that says, sorry no residuals for you, you've been downgraded. I've never received one of those letters, but all day, I had this weird feeling that my time might be coming up. And after almost 8 hours on set, being lit and then led out outside, it seemed I was right. As I stood outside of the location with my fellow actor, we heard the ad company say over the walkie talkie, about 4 feet behind us, "the two principals that aren't in the shot right now...they can be released." And then as if we didn't hear, the production assistant walked over to us and dragged his thumb across his throat indicating, that we were "Cut."

It was a pretty crappy move, and when he asked if there was anyone else that hadn't been used, I replied, "no we are the only two that haven't been used all day." His reaction made me think that I should have just kept quiet, but it was true, and there was no reason or explaination, except, that the director had decided that "the shot looked crowded with 6, and didn't want to pay us anything more." Nice.

After signing my contract and being told that "at least I made easy money", I thought to myself how it wasn't easy. Sure it's more than most people will make in a day, but it's just one day, no residuals and then again when most people are told that they have a job, they don't go into their office and find that there is no desk for them after all, and are sent home. It's a strange business and all I could say to the production assistant was that I just wished that they had done their casting before we got to set. Because that's what today was really about...keeping options open, putting together the look of all of us on the day was cheaper than having another session and taking the time to do it right in the first place. We weren't people, we were colors and ages and sexes and they had older blond, younger brunette, 30's African American male, 20's Caucasian male. They didn't need a late 20's Asian professional guy and a mid 30's Jewish/Italian woman.
We didn't do anything wrong, as we never even had the chance. Sigh.

Of course apart from all the embarrassment of celebrating a job that goes away...I wondered is there a lesson to be learned? Should I not have told people about the work? Was I being punished for celebrating? Was there something greater on the horizon? A sign?

Well, like a book that doesn't find a publisher, a screenplay that is optioned but never made or a job that is booked that never happens...I think that the answer is that the only thing that we can really be responsible for, is the production and quality of the work. I gave great auditions and those auditions got me called back and put on hold, and even booked...but the rest, what the market is looking for, what the demographics are, what the networks want, the publishers want, the studios want, those things are not up to us. We can't control any of that, all that we can do is keep on. Keep on being as brilliant as we can be and move on, try as hard as we can and leave the rest up to fate, the Gods, the universe or even some ad company that can't make up it's mind...but none of that has anything to do with the work. The work is the only thing that is up to me and when things go great, fantastic, and when they don't, it's just important to remember that sometimes...shit happens.

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