Last February I was cast in my first TV role. (Yes I screamed my head off.) The show was “Masters of Sex” for Showtime and was slated to premiere in the fall. It was a small role, what’s called a co-star. (My episode is slated to show this Sunday, October 20th at 10pm, following Homeland.)
In television there are six different roles you could be cast in: series regular, recurring guest star, guest star, recurring co-star, co-star, or extra. (There is also a term called Under 5, which means the role has less than 5 lines.) While every actor dreams of having a series regular role, we all start at the bottom with co-star roles. These are the small roles that are usually a few lines that are only needed for one or two days of shooting. You’re lucky if you get a name, usually it’s “Nurse” or “Skater Boy”. For me I would be “Young Woman” in Episode 4, and it was some of the best 2 days of my Los Angeles acting life.
I auditioned on a Thursday afternoon for Risa Bramon Garcia (the casting director), received a call the next afternoon from my manager that I was booked and was scheduled to shoot the following week on Wednesday and Thursday. I also had a Monday morning appointment with wardrobe. I arrived on the Sony lot and followed the directions the security person had given me and ended up in the basement of one of the buildings. The room was filled with so many period pieces my eyes widened and all I thought about while I waited my turn was that my friend Mary would have a field day in there!
Everyone was really nice and I was ushered into the dressing room where they had pulled a dress (and period undergarments-way cool!) for me to try on. She came back with shoes, a purse, and a pink ribbon to serve as a sash. She made a few adjustments and I was done. They were excited that I fit in the dress they had dubbed the “pink saucer dress”. It was a favorite of theirs and they had been looking forward to the day they could finally use it. I was happy to oblige!
On Tuesday morning I received a call from the AD with an estimated call time the next morning of 6:00am. He told me it would probably change as the day progressed. Change it did. A little after 8:30pm I received the final call sheet and my new call time was 9:30am. I was looking forward to not getting up at 4am.
The Sony lot is located in Culver City, and on a good day (ie. no traffic) it takes about 30 minutes to get there from Glendale. During morning rush hour I left just before 8am to be on the safe side. I arrived on set and found a PA (production assistant) to check in with. Mona showed me to my dressing room, which was one-third of a trailer, or honeywagon, as they are called. My dress was hanging on the door and my shoes, purse and nylons were sitting on the counter. It was my own space, and for a quick minute I felt a little like a movie star.
After dropping my stuff I found my way over to the make-up and hair trailer. One of the things that I was looking forward to was getting my hair and make-up done not only by professionals, but it would be period, ie. 1950s. I sat in the chair and a lovely woman came over and introduced herself as Norma Lee and started working on my hair. Before she could finish putting my hair in curlers however, Mona came into the trailer to let me know that my scene had been pushed to later in the afternoon so there was no rush to get me done.
It was nice to just relax while someone did my hair and then later my make-up. And my make-up artist was fabulous! Her name is Julie Hewett and she’s so good she even has her own line of make-up. One of the tidbits I learned while there was that on some of the movies she worked on she created a specific color for the lead actress and then named it after them. (Way cool!) She was an amazing artist and was great to talk with while waiting (which turned out to be quite a while) throughout the shoot days.
After getting hair and make-up done I relaxed for a bit and then changed into my pink saucer dress, expecting to be called to set before lunch. I wandered over to the set and checked out craft services and also got to see what everything looked liked. By the time lunch was called though I still hadn’t shot my scene. Mona knocked on my trailer (man that sounds so Hollywood, LOL) and said we had an hour for lunch and my scene would be shot after. So I grabbed lunch and talked with some of the other actors on set. I think this was the first time in my life I wasn’t going crazy not doing anything. For once I was able to relax and just be there. Plus it was a gorgeous day in Los Angeles!
To be continued…
*Please note that “Masters of Sex” is rated TVMA and is for mature audiences only.*