I would call myself a morning person. And while I do thrive in the morning, I don’t appreciate being around people who are full of self importance; especially in the morning! You know the kind I am referring to.
Allow me to demonstrate this for you, as if I am a person who is full of themselves and wants you to think I am far more important than I am, using one of my recent bookings.
*Since I love mornings so much, I agreed to do a job that started really early. I didn’t mind though because I was cast in a starring role for the project. I had the choice between car service and train, but I chose the train because I like to people watch. When I got to set it was still dark out, but they had set up a special tent for me so I could enjoy coffee and breakfast on them. So many people were on set that I never had to want for anything. They were always asking me if I needed anything to be more comfortable. When they walked me to set I felt like I was POTUS because they spoke into their walkie talkies “Walking Gretchen to set.” They chose the wardrobe with me in mind. And the make up guy said how much he loved my hair! The director was superb and even mentioned that we may have worked together before, but I work so much that I didn’t remember them. When the shoot was over they all applauded and the client rushed over to shake my hand. I decided to train it from Brooklyn back to Long Island because I finished early because I’m so good at what I do and besides, taking an Uber would have been much longer and I just wanted to get home and toast a job well done with my lover.
I mean, how glamorous and special am I? You’d think I have it going on, wouldn’t you?
Okay, the real story, which shows you just how un-glamorous I am and how I clearly do not have it going on at all.
*I was told I had to get a manicure before the shoot since they would be shooting up close on the product and I had to show them proof of said manicure along with my passport, drivers license, covid vaccine card and rapid test results.
I don’t think I have talked about how much preparation one must do now when acting. Not only am I the camera man, the techy that edits everything, the one who has to buy voice over equipment, tripods and lights, I also have to cater to Covid!
Those rapid tests are next to impossible to get the same day. I equate it to trying to get booked at an exclusive restaurant. You literally have to have a reservation. Sometimes jobs are booked overnight. Sometimes you get notice. This job gave me notice and were okay with the results a week prior to the shoot. WTF? I could literally get Covid the next day or within the week. I just don’t get the logic behind this. There’s also someone there to swipe your nostrils the minute you arrive because a vaccine, card, and rapid test results aren’t enough.
I get it! People are worried, but then there’s overkill and I’m sorry, sometimes those tests on set aren’t even readable until the day is over (the technicians who do this told me so). Everyone has a mask on until they don’t and by the way, I can’t hear a fucking thing they are saying to me with them on!
I got up so early in the morning to make it to that thing, even the roosters were still sleeping! There are cameras in my building and this is the second time I have left my apartment at this hour with a suitcase. I can only imagine what the man thinks who owns this place!
I dragged my wheel bag behind me with 14 clothing items that wardrobe will never use, but demand I bring regardless, to the only train available that would get me to where I needed to be on time, which was the unGodly hour of 5:16am. I then took that train to Penn Station, walked to 34th street dragging the bag, and took another train to Brooklyn, then walked…oh, I don’t know, another 10 minutes to my destination. Did I mention there were stairs? Lots of stairs, which meant I couldn’t carry a coffee. I like my keto coffee! I had been up for 2 1/2 hours at that point without one drop! I stopped at a deli in the middle of Brooklyn for a shitty cup and spilled half of it on my hand.
When I got there the girl on set was in a mood. Remember the self importance I talked about earlier? Yeah! Lots of that going on. Bossy, moody, pointing to this person and that person, talking down to people. It was way too early in the morning for attitude and I wasn’t going to engage. She directed me to a tent and said, “Wait over there!”
There was coffee and food in boxes, so I refilled the cup I had with theirs. I usually don’t eat when I work, so I sat on my suitcase outside in the frigid air while they prepared the house for all of us to come in. At this point I am wondering why I had a 7am call time, since they weren’t ready for me. In fact, I didn’t even start shooting until 10am.
Let’s talk about wardrobe! I brought 14 items and two pairs of shoes. Cute things, elegant things, comfortable things. They used my loafers. They always dress me as the frump. It’s hysterical! Internally I feel like the va va va voom girl, the gangster, the drama queen, but they always cast me as the dowdy woman. I’m starting to get a little self conscious. Just a little!
The make-up guy was nice. We chatted about dating. We both agreed that you have to meet someone organically, which is why I am moving far away from where I am currently living, the minute my son graduates high school. This day will be here in a blink of an eye, which is why I am already getting listings from various locations.
Do you know how many people it takes to make a commercial? 20 would be pushing it. At this last job you wouldn’t even think Covid was their concern, but I already told you that it was, which is why I don’t understand how 50 people were needed. I did get walked to set with a girl carrying a walkie. But she said “talent” not Gretchen.
Lunch was catered in a box; thank you Covid! I did eat a bit at this point but it was a cold Quinoa burger and utterly disgusting so I drank a seltzer and munched on a few pecans I had brought instead.
No one offered me anything to drink until I had said the lines they threw at me outside of the script 50 times in a row. It’s always water with a straw-can’t have you ruining the ugly lipstick shade you would never be caught in, outside of the fake world of commercials.
There was also an added Voice Over no one had mentioned prior. This ticks me off beyond belief! Voice over is a whole other category of pay, but hey, when you’re there you do what they ask, all the while seething inside at how they are taking full advantage of you.
When the shoot was over the director did clap, gave me a hug and said they hoped we worked together again soon. I went over to the clients (because I’m a professional) and thanked them. The man asked me if I liked to read. I thought it was a trick question and honestly, aside from asking everything of me except jumping up and down on one foot, I wasn’t in the mood. Not only that, they asked me to improvise and they will probably use my lines because they all laughed, but I won’t get any credit for that either.
I simply said, “Yes, of course!” After all, they were book of the month club. He handed me a few cards and said, “Enjoy a book on us.” At this point I was in a daze. I think I thanked him, smiled and said, “Safe travels!” It was a nice gesture on his part, but I saw two of their books on set and since I write my own Chick Shit, with far better titles, I don’t think I would ever buy theirs.
I did the reverse trip on the way home but made the mistake of stopping in the wrong station thinking it would make my trip faster. It actually delayed my arrival by about 40 minutes give or take and while I was utterly exhausted, I still stopped at the wine store and bought myself a split of Prosecco which I always drink to celebrate my wins. No lover was involved this time, but who knows what tomorrow brings. Hopefully a lover!
While some people’s jobs may seem glamorous, they are still jobs. And it has been my experience that people who brag, blow things out of proportion or exaggerate are simply liars, because no one’s life is that bad or that awesome.
Our lives are simply what we make them. We have all the control. They are either full, half full, or just plain empty. It all depends on the lens in which you are seeing it. Mine is half full, going towards full.
And while I do love what I do, I sure do wish I had later call times!