Killing Poe

Tuesday July30th, 2013 – Mundelein, IL

   No sleep for me. After my grueling 24 hour marathon return trek from Florida, I was scheduled to be in Mundelein, IL at 10am on the set of the movie “Killing Poe”. I was supposed to film my bit part as a bumbling campus security guard several days ago, but as happens things fell behind.

   I’m fine with being flexible, but it sure would have been nice to get some quality sleep after the serious week of driving I just had. I didn’t get word until last night I would be needed today, and it sucked the wind out of my sail immediately. I did make the commitment though, so that’s that.

   Not showing up was not an option, so after getting to bed at 3am I dragged myself out of bed at 7 to make sure I would get there on time. They told me to “be prepared to kill time”, so I brought a thick book just in case but hoped I could zip in and zip out so I could go straight back to sleep.

   Anyone that has ever been on a movie set knows that absolutely NOTHING ever “zips” in, out or any other direction. It’s a long, slow boring process, and that’s why I’ve never wanted to be an actor. I love the immediate buzz of a live performance, but in retrospect I should have done both.

   The live performance is over forever as soon as the show ends, but TV and film work becomes a time capsule and endures indefinitely. I wish I would have realized that a lot sooner, and made the effort to pursue it even a little bit more. But I knew everything and wouldn’t hear of any of it.

   My role in this project doesn’t require much acting talent, but it is an integral part of a complex story line and it’s a fun character to play. I have seven lines, and I must have rehearsed them five hundred times in the last couple of weeks. I’ve never been good at memorizing lines, but I didn’t want to make me or anyone else look bad so I made absolutely sure I was ready when I got there.

   I’ve always respected the magnitude of any filming project, and the last thing I ever want to be is a prima donna or think I’m running the show. There are a lot of people in one place, and it’s not easy to pull everything together. I totally see why schedules fall apart, as glitches are inevitable.

   I made it to the set right on time, and was immediately told there would be a “slight delay” and they’d let me know when they’d need me. Everyone was very friendly, and I wasn’t about to tell them to hurry up because I knew that’s not how this game works. I waited until they were ready.

   Unfortunately, that took until 6:15pm. I felt the entire day slip away, but there was nothing any of us could do but wait it out. I read my book and shut my mouth, knowing in the long run this is a worthwhile opportunity. It’s my first speaking role in a feature film, and it gives me credibility.

   I should have been doing this decades ago, as I see now how the game works. Connections get made in situations like this, much like on a golf course in the business world. I got to chat with a wide array of people from actors to crew, and even got some one on one time with the director.

   Most of them found it fascinating I did standup comedy, and wanted to know more about it. It became obvious that this is how people network, and I should have been doing it all along. I did everything the director told me to do, and all my scenes went smoothly. I’m glad I showed up.

   It wasn’t the most convenient day to do this, but it was a very significant career leap for me. It will be a legitimate acting credit, and hopefully open doors I should have knocked on long ago.

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