Thursday, September 21, 2006

Time-Space Compression On Set

How do you work six days of work over five days? Easy - Do what I did this week.

I was recalled on the regular gig today; only three union backgrounders waiting around for hours and hours. The call sheet indicated that we would be working most scenes, and the key 2nd AD told one of us, "Hope you brought a book."

But, as things happen, they changed the shooting shedule and wrapped us early, just in time to fight rush hour traffic through Los Angeles. Bleh.

And it was on the way back that I got a call from the big casting agency, "Hey, we'd like to know where you are since you are booked to be on show X at this hour." "Woah!" was my reaction, since I had been recalled for show Y that day.

A recalled background actor, you see, takes the highest precedence: If you are established in a scene, and they need to shoot an additional day, casting directors can pull you off other shows, even if booked long in advance, so as not to ruin the continuity of a scene. It's one of the golden rules of the business.

Problem is, the agency recalled on one show, but forgot to take me off the skins (i.e., background actor rosters) on the other show. Whoops! Not my mistake, thank goodness.

Since I was en route home, I said I could work this other show, even with the traffic and a wardrobe bag packed for formal clothes - not what was requested on this gig. "Perfect," he said, and so I turned around and headed back to the westside of LA.

So, I show up "technically" two hours late, but the AD informs me he heard all about it from the CD, so I'm off the hook. In fact, I'm they guy who looks good, since they didn't have to put out a rush call to fill the slot.

And what would that be? Well, it was a four-camera show, so today was rehearsal day, and I'm recalled for the live audience shoot tomorrow. Quick stuff, a simple cross, to be done on tape in front of an audience. Not even close to eight hours either today, or tomorrow.

But, according to union and non-union rules, you get your eight hours mininum in anyway.

Ergo, I'm looking at two full-day union pay vouchers for one hectic day of driving and waiting.

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