24 March 2010
EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!!
Unless your name is JOHN EDWARDS or GARY HART, we all start out in life wanting to GROW UP to be President. Very few of us achieve that lofty goal. Only 43 men (sorry ladies, but your day is coming) have ever done it, mostly due to the fact that along life's journey our focus on the Presidency is diverted by other factors such as money, necessity, family, or just other jobs that come along and grab our fancy.
My first diversion came about at the age of 4 or 5 when I became so fascinated by the garbage truck that ventured down our street 3X a week that I would dash outside in my footie PJ's and mesmerize myself watching the guys riding on the back of it. (And then it was back inside to watch Spanky and Alfalfa chasing Darla on the Tube of Life, fantasizing the dream of being a Little Rascal).
I wanted to grow up and ride on the back of a garbage truck like the garbagemen did. I dreamed about jumping off the truck and beating the hell out of galvanized steel garbage cans, (with lids that only fit snuggly on top of the can for about a week after purchase), before jumping back on the rear of the truck like The Lone Ranger jumped on Silver, as it was rolling on to my neighbor's house.
Since then, I've always had an affinity for other semi-glamorous jobs; temporary occupations that captured some odd fantasy, a peer driven status need to be fulfilled, or positions that simply satisfied some kind of "hey, that sounds like fun" desire. Odd jobs that included, but not limited to, a Newsday paperboy, a caddy at Bethpage State Park (my very 1st loop was The Black), a beanie topped/smock accessorized vendor at Madison Square Garden, or a messenger riding and learning the mass transit system of Midtown Manhattan.
So when my internet surfing came across a casting call for extras for the pilot of a TV show (The Odds) being filmed in the 505 last weekend, I said....what da hey! Who knows? Maybe I'll run into Darla. I followed the instructions and e-mailed a brief physical description and 3 head shots of myself.
(Plus this one....with a written challenge to the recipient of the e-mail to guess which picture wasn't me):
Lo and Behold, the next morning, I received a return e-mail telling me that I had been "selected" to be a "College Professor" for a day, with instructions on what to wear and to prepare for an 8-12 hour day on Sunday. At $9.50/hr plus overtime.....what the hell said I, I'm in.. if nothing else this would provide me with another unique snapshot of the American Experience.
And I wasn't disappointed.
I arrived promptly at 8am at the UNM Student Union, even received a phone call from the casting rep while I was about a mile away, to make sure that I was really coming. When I arrived I quickly discerned why I received the call. There were about 120 people in the assembly hall (the cafeteria) and 110 of them were college students, while the rest were women approaching my age. There were NO other men anywhere near my age. My first reaction was to question my sexuality at being the only male over the age of 21 in this throng.....but then I said to myself...."Self? there are lots of young women dressed in bikinis in here on this 29 degree morning, why the hell would you question your sexuality at this point in life?"
After quickly righting my ship, I filled out all the required paperwork and sat at a table with some women that were close to my generation and began exchanging pleasantries. There was already some filming going on outside the cafeteria, filming that had begun at 6AM that this lone oldest male wasn't needed for.
Fine by me....it's cold outside, the college kids who were standing around out there in required summer attire of shorts and t-shirts for numerous re-takes were turning all kinds of technicolor blue. I thought to myself that at $9.50/hr they better pray that Obamacare gets passed before noon this day.
So after visiting the stocked buffet table for some donuts and juice, I struck up a conversation with 2 women at my table. They were veterans of the "extra" industry that has blossomed in the 505 in recent years. One thing I will say about Governor Bill Richardson (the only GOOD thing) is that he has turned the 505 into a mini-Hollywood in recent years with all kinds of incentives for the film/TV industry to shoot here. Recent movies like Road Hogs and No Country For Old Men were done here, (True Grit is in production), and current cable series like In Plain Sight and Breaking Bad are shot here. There's plenty of work...and I got the impression from the two women I was speaking with, that for many people....being an "extra" is almost a full time profession. Indeed, after I informed them of my extra virginity, I was subjected to a veritable rolling screen of their own movie credits and actors they have met as each of them tried to one up the other with their film and TV accomplishments. "Lord Save Me", I quietly uttered on this Sabbath Day.
But the highlight of this brief conversation with Robin and Dawn was the disclosure that the real (reel?) highlights of this job for them was, get this, Dawn was there "for the food" (all meals and beverages are provided by the studios) and the food was much better for movie productions than TV shows, and Robin, who has a union card ya' know, and "was hoping to meet a single man with a full time job". After she showed me a picture of her 15 year old son with hair down below his ass, who had already called her 3X this morning complaining about being ill, ("Tell him to open a can of chicken soup" said I, "You mean VEGAN Soup" said Mom).....I quickly advised Robin that I was neither.
End of Part 1....Enjoy the interlude, go smoke a cigarette or buy some popcorn in the lobby.
Come back tomorrow for Part 2.