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Keepin It Real ~ Chapter 2 by Jacqueline Nyahay

February 2011 ~

I worked at Zyla's school doing the Book Faire, one of my favorite things as I love books and checking out new interesting titles that come out for the kids.  I got a call from Jessica's on Friday to work 90210 on Monday.  Beach Club Member scenario with Springtime colors this time.  I also got a text from Kids Management that Zyla was picture picked to work the new Michelle Phiefer movie Welcome to People for the following Saturday.  She was to have a fitting on the Friday before.  She was torn about going since she had her friend's birthday party to go to and we were hoping the movie turned into a night shoot so she could do both.  The weekend was mellow and I headed out to set early Monday morning.  Wardrobe approved my first outfit, but didn't like any of the changes I brought for the second scene.  I guess a miscommunication with the casting director but they didn't want spring colors for the night scene in the Beach Club Bar.  Wardrobe gave me a dark maroon dress to wear instead.  The day went pretty quickly and I was working on set in the first two scenes.  I was paired up with a guy I knew from previous gigs so that was cool, we just stood around chatting in the scene.  In the second scene I changed over into the maroon dress and was paired up with a guy to stroll arm in arm around the bar on our way out for the night.  We did this behind the principal actors who were having a quiet conversation on the couches in the center of the room.  My friend and fellow stand in Christiane from BOT was on set so that was a pleasant surprise and we got to hang out and talk all day.  Left the lot for the walk away lunch and returned for the last scene we were in.  Since I'd been heavily featured in the first two scenes I wasn't chosen to work the last scene.  About 5 of us were sent back to holding.  I checked my phone and had messages.  I thought maybe Jessica was calling with a job for the following day, but instead it was my mom telling me to call her immediately, that my grandfather had just died.  I started choking up and hyperventilating, and left the holding tent as tears started pouring out of my eyes.  I called her back and agreed to look into flights when I got home.  I tried to keep it together.  I called Ed and he said I should just tell production and leave set.  I was so shaken with the news I didn't feel I could make the 1 ½ hour drive home from set in my condition so I stayed in holding trying to calm down.  I knew we would be wrapped soon so I waited it out, trying to call my sister to make plans for us to fly out together to the funeral in Iowa.  I called Jessica's List to book out for the rest of the week.  Then Kids Management called saying Zyla's fitting had to be moved from Friday to Wednesday.  Ed said he could take her after school since I wouldn't be in town.  All these new BG for the last scene of the day started arriving in holding.  They were all 18 to look youngers and gave me a distraction from my reality so I could calm down and focus on not being so emotional to drive home.  Finally I was wrapped and got my voucher back from wardrobe and headed home into 405 freeway nightmare rush hour traffic.  I held it together, got home and booked my flight out for Wednesday morning.


I woke up at 3am to get ready for my flight out of LAX.  I drove down to get my sister and we park in Lot C to shuttle over to US Airlines.  We packed light and avoided the baggage check in lines.  I had heard about the X-Ray machines at LAX, but as I walked up to the intimidating machine I felt like I was stepping into the future.  I stepped in and turned sideways, placed both feet in the yellow boxes and held my arms over my head crossed, looking forward.  I wasn't sure how long it would last, I looked over at the security guard.  She asked me to step out and then turn and face my luggage, which was in the plastic bins as they slid past inspection.  More little boxes to place my feet in on the walk way toward exiting security check point, when I was told by a female security officer that she was going to have to feel my butt with the backs of her hands.  Honestly I've never been stopped by security, so this was a surprise, especially after the X-Ray machine.  I guess the button snaps on the back of my jeans set off some alarm and I found myself getting felt up at the crack of dawn before I boarded the plane to our first layover in Phoenix.  We almost didn't make the funeral because snowstorms were in all the connecting cities except this one.  When we finally touched down in Iowa, it was so cold that I quickly resolving not to spend any time outside.  I was glad my sister and I could come back together and attend the funeral.  It was a beautiful sad affair, somehow more apropos in the cold snowy landscape of winter.  At the end of the tears we said our good byes and headed back home to Cally.  We ended up with a 3-hour layover in Denver which I believe the airlines do on purpose, some gimmick with the airport because there is a whole shopping mall in there!  We found ourselves in the cocktail lounge overlooking the affair sipping wine when I got a call from Kids Management for Zyla's gig the following day.  I called Ed to give him the details since he would be taking her in the morning.  Then I got a call from Jessica's with a booking on Monday for Desperate Housewives, playing a nurse.  Things were looking up as we boarded the last of our planes home and I pulled into my place at half past midnight.


Saturday, Ed felt like he was sick but insisted he was fine and took Zyla to set so I could rest but all I ended up doing was getting the house back in order.  By the time he came home from set with her, he was in full fever and crashed out for 16 hours.  Put a damper in our Valentine's Day plans.  Zyla had a sleep over at the gym and we were suppose to go out to the Comedy Club all night.  So I spent the night watching movies on Netflix and picked up Zyla from the sleep over in the morning.  Ed was feeling better and we ate See's chocolate and fresh strawberries, drank champagne and watched our last two episodes of Glee


Valentine's Day fell on a Monday this year and I spent it on set with the Desperate Housewives in the hospital scenes.  I dropped Zyla at school and went over to Universal to check in with wardrobe and get my lavender scrubs.  The day went by fairly quickly, I did some crosses, watched the girls act.  I had never seen the show, but of course knew all their faces and had heard about it for years.  The scene was sad, as a neighbor friend had committed suicide to donate her organ to another friend of theirs.  The news came as a blow by the doctor in the waiting room.  In the second scene, I escorted an elderly man across the hall and worked at the nurse's station desk.  They fed us lunch and we were wrapped out at straight 8.  I especially liked the personalized bottled water on the set featuring all the Desperate Housewives.  I almost missed my call from Jessica's to work because of the horrible signal on the stages and in holding.  But as I was wrapped out for the night, I got a voice mail from the costume department of Raising Hope saying I was working tomorrow and what to wear in the grocery store scene.  But my phone said the number that called me was Jessica's.  So I called Jessica's to see what was going on and they gave me my details for the following day.


Tuesday morning I again had a late morning call so I took Zyla to school before heading out to Sherman Oaks to the studios where last I'd been years back when I worked 24.  I parked down the street in BG parking and waited a half hour for the shuttle to come back.  When I arrived at the stages I went straight to the omelet bar set up.  Catering on this show is awesome!  The day went by pretty quickly.  The PA gave all the BG sides, then she read the scenes out to us.  We were just in two scenes in the grocery store.  I stood at the deli case for a few minutes in one and then took a basket around to shop then headed for check out in the second.  We were finished in under 4 hours and I was on my way home for lunch.  I picked up Zyla from school, helped her with homework, got dinner ready, and called Jessica's to book out for Friday.  Zyla was really upset she had missed her friend's ice skate birthday party to do her gig on Welcome to People so I set up a play date with the birthday girl for Friday so Zyla could give her her gift.  Jessica's called back saying it was fine for me to book out Friday, and that I was booked for Wednesday on Common Law, a new SAG pilot. 


Again with a late call time, I was able to get Zyla to school and make it over to set, which was on location in Woodland Hills.  The van was really slow in coming back to pick us up so while we waited the security guard pumped up the latin music in his car so he could dance.  Some of the other BG joined in.  Gerald the stand in from Flash Forward showed up so it was nice to see a familiar face.  We got over to set and Jason Roberts the 2nd AD from BOT stepped out of the Production Trailer.  We got caught up all day since it had been a year since I'd seen him on the Orlando Bloom movie Good Doctor.  Christiane was standing in on this pilot but unfortunately not today.  It was a funny day in holding because more of my stand in friends were there,  Jeff from Dexter and Veda from BOT.  Also Colleen and Katie from BOT were working with Crew so I felt very comfortable and at home.  Wardrobe put me in blue scrubs for the Morgue Hallway scene.  We sat around all day, in a building with bad reception so I kept loosing my signal on my phone and sneaking outside to make calls.  Lunch was catered and quite good.  After 6 hours we finally were called to set for the last scene of the day.  I stood talking to a doctor then make my way down the hall, in the wide shot.  Then in the close ups, almost all the BG but 3 were wrapped and I was kept to do more walking down the hall.  The martini shot was up and to play a joke I was asked to take my scrub top off and give it to Jason to put on so he could make a cross.  The day ended on a lighthearted fun note and I headed back to crew parking and made it home by 8pm.  Jessica's called 20 minutes later with a booking for the following day on Death Valley, some new MTV horror comedy.  I was going to be working a night shoot but they said not all night at a mall in Sun Valley, playing a woman shopper.


I woke up Thursday morning and took Zyla to school.  I got a call from Jessica's List saying that production wanted to know if I would be comfortable being made into a zombie for the evening shoot I was going to.  Hell Yeah!  I got ready for set, picked up Zyla from school then headed out to my gig, short drive away in Sun Valley.  We were told we'd be inside a mall and to come with coats for our holding, which would be a tent outside.  In reality, our holding was inside, but set was a strip mall and we were placed outside the store and weren't allowed to wear jackets and froze.  The scene was suppose to be that the shoppers had just run from the store after seeing a zombie in the store and we were waiting outside for the Undead Police to come get the zombie.  We were told this was a scripted reality show, based in make-believe since it had zombies, werewolves and vampires.  There was a kissing couple that I guess had no clue about the zombie and they were making out as the cop car drove up.  The girl hired to be in the kissing couple had only taken the job off the hotline because she hadn't worked in two months.  She started freaking out when she realized she'd have to do take after take of making out with this older guy out in the parking lot of this strip mall.  The scene was weird because they wanted the guy to look really old like her father and her to look really young.  She was taken to make up and they took off all her make up and put her hair in a ponytail but she was tall and didn't look like the guys daughter, which is what they were going for.  What this had to do with zombies I have no idea, but production decided to ask this other cute little blonde to do it instead.  She'd been standing next to me saying how she'd never do a kissing scene, but she thought they might ask her since she looked 12.  They did and she accepted the bump on the voucher and started making out with the guy who looked like her father.  Meantime we were told when we first arrived that production still wasn't sure who would be made over into zombies.  Hours later we were asked again who wanted to be a zombie and everyone did.  We finished our scene and they collected our props and we thought we'd be done, but sat around for 2 hours while production decided whether they would in fact make anyone else a zombie.  They decided not to and we were wrapped right before dinner was served.  I made it home by midnight.


Presidents Day Weekend had amazing weather and my family and I spent most of the time enjoying the outdoors.  Late Monday night I got a call from Jessica's saying I was going to replace a girl who had been booked on Castle as a CSU tech for Tuesday.  It was a late morning call time so I was able to get Zyla to school and head over to set, which was on location.  Crew parking was in some lot off the 5 freeway near Glendale.  I was then shuttled to base camp and hung out there for a few hours, ate lunch and finally headed over to set.  We were filming at the old Full Moon Stages, so that brought back those memories again.  The last time I was there, I think it was for that Bachelor "Women Tell All" episode, standing in.  Now All My Children soap opera had taken over the stages for over a year now and the scene for Castle was a murder at the soap opera.  The real soap was on hiatus so we had full use of their sets.  In the scene I was in, the murdered girl is on the floor with an axe in her back.  I enter the scene and look around the bed for clues.  I saw my stand in friends Chanda and Kerry.  Waved to my friend Matt from High School still working with the camera department.  The 1st AD took a liking to me and started introducing me to everyone.  When Nathan walked by he introduced us and Nathan wanted to know if I had any communicable diseases since I was wearing the latex gloves for the scene.  It was a fun, silly mood on set and the 1st AD wanted me to walk into the scene then do my job but glance up and look at him.  So I did.  He was having fun watching me.  Then in holding there were TV's and someone turned them on to TNT.  It was the debut of my daughter Zyla being on television and I was excited I was going to get to see her!  Right as we were getting wrapped out, her part came on and I got to see her on TV and tell everyone about my baby!  I made it home with some over time and meal penalties and enjoyed telling Ed all about my day.


I spent the next two days hiking alone in the Verdugo Mountains during our beautiful sunny California weather.  Jessica's called me with a booking to return to Torchwood doing BG this time as a Medical Panelist touring a hospital.  They were shooting on location at the place of my birth!  I made my way down to the Daniel Freeman Medical Center very nostalgic for my childhood, knowing the last time I had been in this hospital was 36 years ago.  The sky was moody overhead and it ended up raining on us in the outdoor scene.  The weather also caused technical issues with the cameras so we ended up running 5 hours behind in the course of the day.  I ran into the security guard from Dexter so it was cool so see a familiar face.  The catering served up omelets for breakfast and wardrobe ended up putting me in one of their dark tan skirt business suits since they said the principal was wearing gray.  Almost everyone had shown up in gray, they really should have let us know.  I worked non-stop the entire day, a rare thing, and they didn't give us any breaks until lunch.  I was in 2 scenes, the second one being most painful of all.  The main actress didn't know her lines because she'd been handed the script that morning and it was practically a 4 page monologue of her taking us on this tour of the facility.  I thought it would never end and reminded me of how much I hated those type of situations, since I always needed a good amount of time to memorize something exactly.  They weren't letting her get away with paraphrasing or missing one tiny word.  Everything had to be exactly as scripted and her mind turned to jello as we did it again, and again, and again, and one more time and one more time and endless.  Lunch was not that great, and I was happy to be wrapped with some overtime and meal penalties but not excited that it was 6:30pm on a Friday and totally raining.  It took me just under 2 hours to get home, it had taken 40 minutes to get there in the morning.  I was mentally drained by the time I got home and crashed out early.  I did get a call from Jessica's while I was on set saying I was booked for the following day, Saturday, for a fitting to work on the same movie Zyla had just done two weeks ago!  I was excited that me and my baby would be in the same movie together. :)


The following afternoon, I arrived back at Sunset/Gower for the fitting on Welcome to People.  Their production was all set up in the back where Dexter use to be.  It was sad going there and not seeing Dexter, I miss working that show.  Ed had told me wardrobe would take the whole two hours and were really slow when he had brought Zyla.  He was right; I sat in holding for over an hour and finally went to wardrobe to try on the flight attendant outfit.  We were going to be shooting at the Ontario Airport on Wednesday.  Unfortunately wardrobe only had five outfits and had booked six girls and so the last girl was told sorry, she wouldn't be a flight attendant but that she would work that day as regular BG airport passenger type.  She didn't seem happy about that.  I thought they might cancel me because they didn't seem to like the way the sweater hung on me, it felt a bit big, but they rearranged it and took my picture and I was sent home.  While I had been waiting Ed had called saying it was hailing in Burbank.  I couldn't believe it, I mean there had been dark moody clouds in the sky as I made my way over to Hollywood from the Valley, but hail in Burbank?  I said it was sunny but very windy in Hollywood and that we should go for a hike in this hail when I got home.  So we did and ended up in a winter wonderland once in a lifetime experience I will never forget.  It was about 4:30pm and the gate to Stough Canyon closes at 5pm.  We parked down below the sign and walked up.  No one was on the trail and we had the place to ourselves, like our own private woodland path.  We made our way up the mountain when the snow started to fall.  Not in 60 years had it snowed in Burbank and it was falling on us.  We continued up the path and made it to the top.  The view was epic.  You can see across the entire valley and out over the mountains and to the ocean beyond, and on a clear day to Catalina.  So it was snowing on us and we were laughing and dancing in the powder white and looking out at the view because out far in the valley it was bright and sunny while we were covered in the white stuff!  We took a bunch of pictures because who would ever believe it would snow in Burbank.  We decided to start our walk back down and found a 2-inch thick carpet of snow blanketing the trail.  It was magical being the first ones to step down the path and looking back at our feet print in the snow, realizing this was all for us alone, we had the mountain to ourselves.  We could hear laughter from below and when we finally made our way down to the Nature Center the road was covered in snow.  The bridge was covered in snow and I laid down in it to make a snow angel.  It was amazing and I thanked god for this beautiful pleasure and magical experience.  We got back to the car and found snow all over it.  Ed shot a video of me throwing the snow at him from the hood of my car, but he couldn't figure out how to get it off his phone.  We got home and Zyla and Ed took snow off the hood of my car and had a snowball fight in the parking garage.  It was simply a truly unbelievable day!  Even more unbelievable was spending the next day at Disneyland!  After a year and two months I finally made my way back to the Magic Kingdom.  We had gotten annual passes for Christmas but hadn't started using them yet.  So to celebrate Ed's birthday we drove down to Disney and got our pictures taken for our new magically year to begin.  It was a crisp cool morning, but bright and sunshiney.  Not too crowded, we managed to get on 11 rides, have breakfast on Main Street and see Captain EO!  I had never seen it before and was so excited Disney brought it back from my childhood. 


Edward and Jacqueline
Hiking Verdugo Mountains, Burbank, California

Keepin It Real ~ Chapter 3 click here to continue reading...