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I live in Brooklyn, NY and I love it here.  I came here for my career in 2009 and haven't once looked back. 

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hudson River Flicks and The day I almost saw Jennifer Aniston...

Today I was supposed to be an extra in a Jennifer Aniston picture called "The Bounty." I snagged the ad for extras on craigslist probably about 45 minutes after it had been posted and knew that if I hesitated to contact them, then there would be no need to bother. This is, as I've learned, why they post the ad on the day before the actual job. Otherwise, they'd be inundated with emails...well, they probably are anyway, but imagine if they had to sift through several days worth of emails of people wanting to be extras as opposed to just a few hours worth of emails.

Anyway, I went back to steeping the grains for my homebrew and waiting for my friend Mike to show up to help out with the rest of the process, checking back on my yahoo account every once in a while. Somewhere between taking the grains out of the pot and dropping the first dose of hops in the boil, I got an email back from them with a ton of info on the shoot, what I'd need to bring, where it would be, what kind of ID to bring, how to confirm I'd be coming. This is good because it certainly makes them look more legit. At this point, I had the epiphany that this has to be the closest I've been to getting an actual paid background acting gig. I was in. I had an effing number and everything. All I had to do was respond to the email with my name and phone number saying I was legal to work in the US and was non-union. And then, after 10, they wanted me to call the hotline to check in and get info on where to meet the van that would be driving out to Elmont, Queens where they'd be shooting a scene at the racetrack there.

Mike and I got the brew cooled down and pitched the yeast around 4:30pm with very few mishaps (okay, so I did accidentally spill a bit of the beer all over a dish towel, the microwave cart and the floor when I was trying to take a gravity reading before pitching the yeast in). I showed him my new guitar processing software and we messed around with that for a good bit, passing the guitar back and forth. At around 5:30 he headed off and we planned on meeting back up in Chelsea for the last of the Hudson River Flicks outdoor screenings. The movie last night was Pineapple Express.

I figured, when the movie was over, I would call the hotline and check in as they had asked. Hopefully, it would be not too early of a call time and I would be able to get to the van with no problem. Getting to Elmont on my own steam was sure to be a ridiculous adventure without their transportation.

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I used Mike's Blackberry to check my email again, because I hadn't thought to actually write everything down before I left the house, and, since I didn't have a pen with me at the time, I texted the instructions to myself and then saved the phone number in my phone as Jennifer Aniston's. When I called, I was sort of expecting to talk with a human but instead got a pre-recorded run down of the day's events, where to get the van (33rd and 3rd in Manhattan, Dad), what kind of outfits to bring, what colors not to wear, and a whole lot of other stuff that I can't remember right now, because the person on the recording was talking fast, monotone and haphazardly injecting 'um's' in her speech. The first thing that the recording said, unfortunately, was that numbers 160-270 needn't bother showing up because we weren't needed. I was number 258.

I really wanted to be typing this blog about my first experience with background acting in NYC, too. But, regardless, I've finally got a real strategy for getting background work and that I'm sure is a little more legitimate than taking my head shots to another "casting agency." When I called, instead of just dialing option 3, and then dialing 21 like they told me to in the email, I listened to some of the other menu options. This agency apparently casts for Law and Order SVU, and some other movies, Morning Glory included, that I happen to know are in production right now. So they sound pretty legit, and they didn't make me pay to be listed with them. This was an actual gig, unlike the other week when I went into that talent agency WMT casting that turned out to be a scam. So, now I know, the only really good way to get my feet wet doing this is to scour craigslist the day before one of my days off and respond as soon as the ads pop up. There's no use looking a few days in advance. So, now, with this deliberate plan, I think I'm going to implement it next time I have a day off...which may not be for over a week. I work 6am to 2pm tomorrow, have a film shoot on Saturday, 10am to 6pm on Sunday and then, from Monday to Friday, I work 6am to 2pm. If I can survive this, I can do anything...including pay rent.

Anyway, after I hung up the phone from that disappointing recorded phone call, I rejoined Mike and his friend in Vynl, a club/diner/bar on the corner of 15th and 9th Avenue in Chelsea where his friend worked. The menus were all old vinyl ablum covers. The bathroom door had Justin Timberlake's name on it, as though it were his dressing room. Oh, and Pineapple Express was a pretty funny movie. Kind of ridiculous in a way but entertaining despite that. Here are some pics on the pier where they show the movies, that Mike informed us was actually the pier where the Titanic should have docked...oops.

Hudson River Flicks

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