5 May 99
I can not work on the computer with these new glasses. I have an appointment tomorrow and hope that a prescription which works will be forthcoming. This is very, very annoying...
Monday afternoon Lew and I went to an open casting call for extras for the Farrelly brothers' new film Me, Myself, and Irene, which will star Jim Carey. The casting was being held at the Regatta Club, on Goat Island in Newport. We got there about an hour early-- it's less than an hour away-- so we were among the first thirty in line and we got to stand under the part of the awning that didn't leak. By two o'clock there were a couple of hundred people in a snake of a line that was getting pretty well watered everywhere but up against the building where we were. While we waited Lew chatted with friends from the other films he's worked as an extra in, Meet Joe Black, A Civil Action, A Wake In Providence.
A crew from one of the local TV stations showed up to cover the event-- the burgeoning Rhode Island movie industry is big news these days-- but they only stayed about three minutes. Ma told me later that the six o'clock news only showed a bit of an interview with someone from the casting company's staff. Guess we didn't look very interesting milling about under the dripping awning.
Assistants passed out the usual actor information cards for us to fill out: name, address, phone, e-mail, pager number, sex, age, eyes, hair, height, weight, ethnic type, special abilities, availability, shirt/blouse size, shoe size, pants/skirt size, coat size, hat size... Do you have a valid license? What kind of vehicle do you own? Year? Can you be called to work on short notice? Same old stuff. Stand in line. Fill out the card...
During the process, someone always says, "Sex? Yes, please." Someone always asks, "What's my ethnic type?" (Then you have to tell them how to spell "caucasian.") Sometimes I write "none" or "unclassifiable." Sometimes I write "WHT" or "WASP." Truth is, I could be just about anything. I've been taken for Asian, Mediterranian, and Native American. Go figure. One side of the family is came from Poland and England; the other from Scotland, Ireland, and England. But who is to say what that means? A point of departure doesn't tell you much-- Oh, by the way, in case you're wondering, on the card they ask you about your car in case they need traffic.
Assistants passed out the "Some Things for You to Know" sheets. This outlines, very briefly, the shooting schedule (May 11-24), and admonishes you to fill out the information form "CAREFULLY and CLEARLY so that we get all of your information CORRECTLY." It goes on to tell you that after you have filled out your form you will briefly meet the casting director, "who will be looking at you to determine where you might be appropriate in the world of this movie." It also outlines the basics of being an extra, which boils down to, yes, you will get paid $45.00 a day and food, but be prepared to be on time to hang around and be bored for as long as they need you.
A little after two o'clock, the SAG (Screen Actors Guild) members were called in out of the rain, and about twenty minutes later they began processing the rest of us in groups of ten. As we approached the door to the inner sanctum, people appeared to "staple" us, that is, to staple our pictures/resumes to the backs of our information cards. I had my resume-- which has a picture of me in the upper right corner-- duly stapled to my card.
Lew and I led the third group in. Assistants checked that we were properly stapled. Again we stood in line. While we waited we watched an assistant drag potted palms into positions that would delineate a new snake line. But, in less than three minutes, before we got to experience the full effect, we were whisked forward and a man behind a table (the casting director?) took my card/resume, checked to see that the card was filled out, thanked me, dropped the card/resume into a box on the table, and said, "Please exit at the exit sign."
It was pouring rain. We raced to Lew's van and were back at the cafe by quarter to four.
Now there's nothing to do but hang around and wait for a call.
I love acting. It's so interesting and exciting. And in a week-- maybe two, they'll make me a star!
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