Tuesday, March 27, 2007

the shoot, the wig and the fun i had

freshly scrubbed and ready for work

here i am, ready for work.

i had just come from 125th street, where a beautiful african woman from ghana named tata cornrowed my hair in about an hour. i insisted on getting my hair done in spite of the fact that production called to bump up my call time to 10am instead of 11am. i knew that the wig would fit better (and i was right). i spent the next half hour or so in and out of four different gypsy cabs, trying to convince someone to give me a ride to silver cup east in queens. in retrospect, i suppose it would have been easier if i spoke more than just a little french -- but that's harlem for you. in the end my not so spectacular spanish won out -- a very polite non-english speaking Mexican who knew exactly where it was took me straight there for $35. of course, he made me pay him first. and of course, they reimbursed me.

the finished product

and here is the finished product. i think i look fairly lacquered. frances was a great make-up artist. really wonderful to get to know. she's from california, a former graham dancer and yoga enthusiast. this process took about an hour. she even trimmed the bangs on the wig. overall, the look was exactly what they wanted.

on the set - the prego commercial

and here i am, on the set with salim who's from chicago by way of southern california and who lives in central harlem. we had a lot of fun improvising and in the end they were totally elated with what we did.

on the set - the prego commercial

this is the set, which was an absolute blast. what a whole new world for me. everything that everyone did -- from the director and the producers staring at the monitor with each take to the best boy and the key grip to the catering crew -- was fascinating. all of it came together seamlessly. it was like becoming an ant and stepping into an anthill -- everyone crazy busy, moving in every direction and somehow moving as one and getting an enormous amount of work done in a minimal amount of time.

they were there from the wee hours of the morning until 11pm or so. they must have shot at least a half-dozen commercials, including ours.

funny thing. as the crew began to break down the set and we watched the last few takes on the monitor, one of the producers remarked to no one in particular that i was ready for a sit-com. when i tilted my head and looked at her, she looked at me and added, if i wanted it. she's the one that googled me, found my website and read up on me before we met at the costume fitting two days earlier.

i knew that she was right. i don't know what else i can do to make any of that happen, other than continuing to audition my brains out strategically. i've always been a bit of a purist about acting, which is why i stayed in the theater world for as long as i have. and i'm grateful that i did because i know what i'm doing and there isn't much that i can think of that feels better than that -- especially in those moments when i'm surrounded by actors who don't really know how to act.

the thing is, i don't know if i could say no to $25,000 a week. at this point, i'm not so sure that i should.

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