Wednesday, June 11, 2008

You Wanna Be In Movies, Part Six

Tell me that you don't wanna be a star. Tell me all about how you're ready for a life of obscurity. Tell me that deep inside you don't nurture the faintest hope of one day seeing your own smiling face looking down on you from a billboard as you walk down Hollywood Boulevard.

OK, maybe you'd rather be a politician instead and follow in the hallowed footsteps of our great leaders. We are currently a bit short of great leaders. Most of whom have passed from this plane of existence. You can do either act, all you need is drive, ego and maybe a bit of luck.

The one thing that you'll have to do in either case is sell yourself. This might require a bit of soul-searching, if you' re the reflective type or just the willingness to sell your soul, if you're the me-first type.

No problem in either case, just bring plenty of ego. Lots will be used up, if not crushed in some cases, but fans will resupply you with heaping helpings of adoration. Always an ego booster. Did I mention all that free nookie? Ask Bill.

After arriving on the set Sunday afternoon, I began to meet my fellow actors. We eyeballed each other as we sat under the off-white canvas of the large tent, scattered amongst the tables, filling in our paperwork for the casting company. Everyone a bit nervous, an undercurrent of tension vibrated in the tent.

It was a small cast, only 18 of us. Which raised the hopes of everyone. With that limited number, the possibility of being in a scene with one of the stars went up, astronomically. We ranged in age from young college studs and lovely coeds to retired teachers and your dissipated scribe. In general, a cross-section of middle America, Southern style. Which was a good thing that none of us had speaking roles. Since we were in a movie that was supposed to represent a time and place a bit further north, like around Chicago.

Although there were many from the south, a good portion of us had moved back or relocated here from other parts of America. I didn't get to know everyone, so there will be some who won't be covered. My apologies to all concerned.

The retiree from California, the retired teacher from right up the road, but who has travelled the world, the young mother who left her babies at home, but still had that star-struck gleam in her eyes. A young couple, married for just over a year, excited that they were going to be in a film.

A middle-thirties actor, back home after a stint as a struggling actor, but reticent about himself, acting totally bored by the entire ordeal. An ex-military man, who could have made a career of the service, but got out, now working in a hospital. Just the edge of doubt about him, as if he questioned whether he had done the right thing. He always talked about how exciting the military life had been, when it wasn't full of crushing boredom, sitting around the base.

A smattering of college/post-college boys, all unbounded energy and studly attitude. A business yuppie, briefcase, cellphone, trying to be Wall St. while located about 500 miles too far south of the real deal.

The politician, as I dubbed him, who really is a waiter in life at a local restaurant. When he isn't strumming his guitar, crooning for the ladies. Never leave your props behind. Somehow he managed to drag his guitar onto the set. He played it while we got our haircuts. He played it while we ate. He played it standing in the middle of the parking lot. The ladies loved it, the men just wanted to kill him.

So, we have our basic cast of characters. The 'background extras'.
Tomorrow, the stars.

All the world's a stage, as the great bard, William Shakespeare tells us.
Just don't trip up when you walk out upon it.
A pratfall could ruin your makeup.
Not to mention what it'll do to your ego.

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