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Keepin It Real ~ Chapter 8 by Jacqueline Nyahay

August 2011 ~

Sunday night I went to bed very early and got up at 3:30am to start getting ready for set.  I was booked on Jane by Design, some new ABC Family show that was slated to start airing in January 2012.  We were shooting on location in South Pasadena at a cute little French bistro.  The scene was supposed to take place in upper state New York.  I was told to bring very nice dresses for late fall, dark colors.  Since there is no traffic at 5am, I flew to set and was an hour early.  Thankfully an entire breakfast spread was available and I had something to eat.  After checking in, I went to wardrobe.  I was told my dresses were too summery with the spaghetti straps, yet the amazingly beautiful dress wardrobe gave me to wear was sleeveless as well.  Fit like a glove, wine red, shimmering dress that I fell in love with, is what I wore all day.  Our holding was under a pop up tent in the grass just outside the Mission Street metro stop, a block down from the French restaurant.  My friend Anna was there so we hung out and talked.  I had been seeing so much of her lately.  I originally met her doing Stand in on The Bachelor, then she got the regular gig on Brothers and Sisters and I had seen her there when I worked it.  But lately she kept showing up to all the same sets as me over the summer.  The temperatures started rising and it became very warm and then hot sitting outside, but even hotter on set, in the little tiny room we were shooting in, with no air conditioning.  I felt bad for the guys in suits; sweat was dripping down their faces.  When they removed their suit jackets, their shirts were drenched.  Sweat kept making my dress stick to me.  We all thought it would be a really short day, since it was a lower budget AFTRA show, and someone had heard that crew had to be out of the location by 6pm.  Lunch was served and thankfully the big Lunch Box holding was brought in, a mobile room with air conditioning to house everyone in comfort while we ate.  I had sushi and some chicken and rice.  Downed a lot of water and lemonade.  My scene partner Jeremy was really funny and we had a good time playing out our romantic dinner for two just behind the principals' table.  As the day wore on, it was interesting watching all the people who use the metro as we sat in the grass of our holding.  Then one guy got us worried.  He kept coming close and eyeing everyone's things.  Our security kept hanging out in the shade around the corner from all our belongings and made us nervous to leave our stuff there with random people just wandering around from the train.  I think I watched this one guy for an hour, hide behind trees to spy on us, walk across the street then come back, sit on a park bench, go to the trains then come back.  Finally he disappeared we believe on a train and that was the end of our entertainment outside.  Pam the stand in I met and worked with on 10 Things I Hate About You was standing in on this show and I spoke with her between takes.  She confirmed that 10 Things had been cancelled, shame because my family really loved that show.  The rumor of crew being out by 6 was a joke.  Not that we minded since we were going into overtime and then meal penalties.  I finally wrapped out by 8:30pm and headed home.  No call from Jessica's about The Mentalist.  I assumed I was not picked to be a regular CBI on the show.  Now I had no job for Tuesday, which was fine because I was exhausted after Jane by Design and ready for a day off again. 

I spent my day off running errands.  Even with my family out of town, there was still dry cleaning to collect, bills to pay, cleaning and laundry to do.  Ed had asked if I had gotten around to reading his script.  I had been so busy working I had not, so I spent the afternoon reading it and critiquing it for him, finding continuity errors and such.  He had originally written the script when we were first married for us to star in together, then he converted it into the book form Wings of Flesh.  Now over a decade later he was revisiting, revising the script for the new generation of young actors coming out of the Disney machine.  I watched an old classic A Woman Under the Influence with Peter Falk and Gena Gowlands, great acting.  Jodi texted me to come over and watch the True Blood episode 6 I had missed Sunday night, so I headed to her house for the rest of the evening. 

Wednesday I slept in late after coming home in the wee hours of the morning from Jodi's.  Another day without a gig.  I leisurely made coffee and took my time showering and talking on the phone with Ed and Zyla in Ohio.  I was really starting to miss them very much and looked forward to them coming home in the next few days.  After spending a few weeks with Anais in her diary, taking her to all the sets with me, I finished her book.  There was still more diaries in the series of edited ones that I would probably end up getting next time I went to the library.  In the meantime I was going to go back to her first unexpurgated diary of Henry and June, which I had not read, only seen the film version of.  Jessica's called me early afternoon to say I was booked back to The Mentalist for the following day.  I guess I had been picked to be a regular CBI on the show!  I spent the afternoon watching Between Two Women, beautifully acted.

I did not have a super early call time and enjoyed a glass of wine while watching Aimee & Jaguar, a brilliantly acted true story about life in Germany during WWII.  Fell asleep, wondering if I should bring more clothes to set.  When I had left The Mentalist on Friday, the wardrobe girl had told me just to bring back the outfit I was wearing.  The call box did not have details to the scenes we would do since the main casting director was out of town and his assistant was not relaying the correct information.  I decided to iron some more stuff and bring it with me.  I am glad I did.  I showed up to set and they wanted us in three changes.  Wardrobe had provided me with one of them last Friday, and then picked another blouse from my selection.  Some other new folks had not brought anything extra with them.  The show was still bringing in new faces, trying people out to be regulars.  Some had been back on the Tuesday.  The day was easy enough.  I was blessed to be in a nice air-conditioned sound stage all day while the temperatures reach up into the 90's outside on the Warner Brothers Lot.  Met a lot of nice BG, saw the regulars who had been doing the show for years, only a handful left.  Breakfast was served again and this time I did not eat before set and enjoyed their food.  For a snack pre-packaged salads arrived.  I guess a new thing was a crack down from the health inspector over food served on set.  A lot of shows had to resort to pre-packaged individual servings of things.  It was frustrating.  The morning went by fast and I did get a little reading in.  I chose to bring Collages by Anais Nin, a sweet little book that fit snug in my bag.  Her writing of fiction had improved immensely compared to her earlier works I had read.  Lunch was walk-away since we had an early call and the commissary was still open.  I ended up buying some pasta there that was very tasty.  It was just too hot to wander around the lot, so I went back to our holding on stage in the a/c.  The rest of the time flew by, and everyone was asking each other if they were coming back the following day.  I got a call from Jessica but not to come back to The Mentalist.  I guess I was not picked to be a regular after all, but maybe an alternate regular, or who really knows.  I was not too upset about it, considering I really had my heart set on a regular stand in gig.  I was booked to stand in on Sing Off, some AFTRA promo.  Step in the right direction for me!  Thank you God!  I wrapped out at 7:15pm, when they could only keep 5 of the real regulars of the show.  I found out I would have to be down to Sony Studios tomorrow.  I hadn't been there in forever and knew traffic would be a nightmare for a late morning call, but it was all good.  I sat down with my glass of wine and watched Julie Johnson, fun movie with Courtney Love and Lili Taylor.

On Friday I woke up early to get ready for set.  Tomorrow Ed and Zyla would return.  I had really enjoyed my time off and just relaxing and doing what I wanted to do.  I had not gotten a chance to get into writing my novel, but I had enjoyed my mini film festival I gave myself and all the sets and friends I was able to spend time with.  I felt refreshed and was looking forward to my family's homecoming.  I left for the Sony Studios two hours early since traffic mid morning going to Culver City from Burbank can be horrible.  It took me a little over an hour to get there, and I was the first stand in to arrive at stage 27.  The sound stage was gi-normous!  All that was in there was a huge stage at the far end of the room.  It had light bars glowing and pulsing with purple, pinks and blue.  The atmosphere was like a dance club, with strobe lights flashing all around flower patterns and such.  I felt excited about the day and was happy I had been picture picked to come.  I met the 1st AD, Producer and creator of the show, then hung out waiting for the other 4 stand ins.  When they arrived, they all knew each other since they all stand in together on Harry's Law.  We immediately got to work, going to the stage and meeting with the professional choreographer Tony G, who taught us a full dance number.  After an hour of working our butts off and sweating all over the place, we almost had the first dance nailed.  It was intense.  We were told that they did not hire professional dancers to do this camera test because they wanted to see how Tony G trains non-dancers and how quickly we could pick up steps.  He was going to have to train the principal singers for the following nights show/promo/commercial.  It was frustrating because he would tell us that we were not hired as dancers so stop trying to be perfect, meantime he would get upset if we weren't listening and getting it quickly or smiling at all times.  We would learn something and go over and over it, only to have it all changed or switched around.  He put us down as actors saying we should get into character, and figure it out.  Honestly as an actor I don't bring it while I am rehearsing and learning lines.  I am memorizing my work to then perform.  I had no issue smiling and bringing it when we had to perform for camera.  He was saying that kids learn quicker than we do.  I know from personal experience with Zyla, if she had been there, she would have been in tears.  It is a lot to memorize choreography.  Children might show up for an hour class, then that's it, you learn a couple 8 counts, which is all your brain can handle and work on that until next class.  We had to learn two full dance routines and perform them in a short period of time.  Since none of us were dancers, I thought it was all a bit much.  When I had booked the job I was told it would be light choreography.  I had assumed stage crosses, maybe a twirl or something, but nothing like this.  We were told to wear jeans and comfortable shoes, but should have been told it would be a full aerobic workout and come prepared.  Why I needed to do my hair and make up when sweat was pouring down my face and my hair had to be tied up in a ponytail I have no idea.  I felt like I was back in Amanda's dance class with Zyla last year.  And he never had us do stretching or anything before getting right into it.  Zyla's dance classes always have at least 30 minutes of stretching before starting to dance.  When I had first arrived on set, we were told lunch would be walk-away, but I think the producer felt bad for us and they offered to buy us all lunch at the commissary.  While eating one of the other stand ins called AFTRA to find out what kind of bump or something we should get because this was insane.  We were told that we should be on principal contracts and that this went way beyond the stand in duty.  Supposedly AFTRA was going to work on our claim to get us more money.  After lunch I was exhausted and my brain fried and we still had to learn the second half of the second dance.  First we had to perform the first dance again, which slowly was leaving our memories.  As an actor you learn your stuff, perform it, then move on with your life.  I don't retain my lines or whatever once the job is done.  But Tony was upset we were not retaining the dance moves after lunch and he had to go over it all again.  I said whatever because I am not a professional dancer and do not care to be and was getting tired of him comparing it to acting.  We finally got through everything and were done with the dancing.  That was only half of the 8-hour day.  We then had more down time to chill.  My whole body was in pain, I had a headache and was happy I did not have to come back again tomorrow.  Some of the other stand ins were going to return to help with the final show.  We finally got to some actual standing in, and stood on the stage so they could run tests with the lights against the colors of the costumes, which they put us in.  They told us we did not have to dance anymore, so I did not.  The two guys standing in were dancing but just fooling around, not the routines we had learned.  A huge black curtain was draped in the back of the sound stage and everything was ready for the hundreds of BG who would come the following day for the promo to cheer the dancers.  Our holding area was behind the curtain and when we finally wrapped out, I found someone had been through my purse and wallet.  I felt very upset, violated, but thankfully nothing was stolen.  I only had a dollar in my wallet and whoever went through it had pulled it out, then folded it and put it back.  They left my purse open with the wallet unsnapped and my bag lying open that my purse was in.  I had heard of people stealing on set, you just never know, but it had never happened to me before.  It seemed crazy after working The Mentalist yesterday where everyone has a laptop out all day long and so trusting that nothing get stolen, then the next day I'm on a set and being victimized.  There really was not anything to do about it and since nothing was missing, I checked out and left for the parking structure.  My friend Jodi was able to sneak out of her house and come hang out with me for a few hours and have some wine.  Ed was worried whoever had looked through my stuff might try to follow me home or something and was glad I was having a friend over.  She left a little after midnight and I went to bed, knowing Ed and Zyla would be home from Ohio later that day.

Sweet sweet homecoming of my family!  I was so happy to see them and hold them in my arms again.  We spent the weekend listening to stories of their adventures in Ohio.  On Sunday night I went over to Jodi's house with a bottle of Vamp Chardonnay and watched the 7th episode of season 4 with her.  Monday, I had no work, so I took Zyla to all the stores gathering her huge list of school supplies for the first day of school.  Jessica's called with a booking through Creative Extras Casting for reshoots on the movie I Don't Know How She Does It.  Ed had started back to work at his job, but Zyla still had three weeks of summer break left, so she went over to Jodi's for a playdate with her classmate and his sisters, while I headed over to Ave 6 Studios in Van Nuys.  I was playing a Boston businessperson.  I got there early and was told to park out on the street.  The studio was really tiny with very little parking on the lot.  It had some exterior facades of a Boston street, and we were asked to make crosses up and down the street while the principal actress Christina Hendricks was delivering her lines.  Then we moved inside to a conference room scene.  Christina and Busy Philipps were discussing business in the Attorneys at Law conference room while the BG made crosses outside the room.  At one point in the scene I walk into the conference room and lay a file between Christina and Busy for their meeting, then exit.  We had been served breakfast from the omelet bar, and for lunch catering brought in a small spread.  It was about the size of a hot snack that would be served on an average SAG set, but it would do to feed us for lunch and move on with our day.  We were expecting to get out quickly knowing the production had to finish the reshoots down at the beach later that afternoon, but we did not get wrapped out until 5pm.  That still gave us a little overtime so it was not all bad and I headed home to have dinner with my family.  I had finished reading Anais Nin Collages during my down time on set.  I loved the way she tied the beginning into the ending.  I was curious to see who might manifest when my book was eventually published. :)

On my day off, things went back to normal summer speed.  Zyla slept in until 10am, some maintenance guy showed up unannounced to check out her bathtub, which magically was draining fine the moment they get there.  I listened to Zyla read to me then she wandered off to play with the neighbor.  I picked up Anais Nin's Henry and June From the Unexpurgated Diary and ended up reading the first 100 pages.  Jessica's called me saying Adam at Central wanted me to be a regular stand in on the show Whitney.  I needed to call back since I was booked out for the first two days of shooting to let them know if I was available and wanted the gig.  I felt like de ja vue from Better Off Ted days.  I had booked out a few weeks in August that year since Zyla is out of school for three weeks after Ed goes back and it is hard to juggle babysitters, but for a regular stand in job I would do it.  It was also funny that I was being requested considering that my friend Joleen had texted me about this stand in job last Friday, it was posted on Facebook and on the Central hotlines, but since Adam had specifically requested that anyone submitting must have 3-4 camera experience on a sit-com, I had not submitted because I did not have that exact experience.  A week later, I guess they could not find anyone with the experience and I was happy he thought of me.  I immediately called my friend Jodi to see if she would be available to watch Zyla and then called Jessica's back saying yes I could swing juggling my days I booked out for a regular stand in gig.  I did not hear back from Jessica's for over an hour and was worried I had not called back in time and someone else had been given the job.  Then I get the call from Jessica's but it is for a booking for the following day on Exit 19.  I asked about the stand in job, did I get it, would there be an interview?  I was told that there would be no interview, that I 99% had it and that Adam had me on hold for it to start Friday and they would call me with details the following day.  In the meantime I was needed to play an on camera reporter for Exit 19 and had to wait until 10pm at night for my details from Webster Davis Casting.  I lined up for my neighbor to watch Zyla and have a playdate with her daughter for the following day.  At 10pm, I found out my call time would not be until 6pm, so I did not need a sitter after all, but since the girls were so excited about the sleep over, they still went ahead with that.  I had to be all the way back down to Culver City, by Sony but at the Culver City Studios instead.  Crew call was 11am and I really hoped I would not be there past midnight and that my call time on my new stand in job for the following day would not be too early or too far away. 

I took a little nap before I finished getting ready for set.  I parked at the Trader Joes and walked across the street to enter the Studios.  Holding was in this open lobby area next door to the sound stage production was using.  When I got there everyone was on walk-away lunch, so I waited for a PA to come in with vouchers and information.  Right at 6pm we were given vouchers and getting ready to go to wardrobe when a little drama occurred.  One of the call in services had booked a bunch of actors as non-union when they were in fact union members of AFTRA.  The PA got on the phone and found out the problem was the call in service thought the job was SAG and not AFTRA and sent the wrong people.  The BG union actors were offered to stay for non-union pay or go home with a stamp to validate their parking.  Almost all of them left.  Working non-union when you are union is cause for your union to throw you out.  A rush call went out to replace them.  At wardrobe we had been told to bring dark colors but then the principal actor was in dark colored suits and they decided we should be in light colors.  Thankfully they picked something I brought, while they redressed everyone else in wardrobe departments clothes.  Then I sat around in holding a few more hours while a restaurant scene was filmed that I was not in.  I got the call from Jessica's that I was booked as the regular stand-in on Whitney and my call time the next day would be 9am at CBS Radford.  I was so happy to finally have a regular stand in job and so close to my house!  I did not work until the last scene of the night.  A conference room scene where a speech is being given by Vivica Fox.  I sat in the front row and listened to her performance, which was beautiful.  Then, with the cameras at the back of the room, we were asked to pick up our chairs and turn them to face camera and they shot the turn around that way.  The podium and flags were removed from the stage where she had just delivered her speech and the lights dimmed in the back to give the illusion.  Of course now I was sitting in the back row for the turn around, oh well.  Then we turned our chairs back to the front and the podium and flags were brought back in and Vivica changed into another outfit for another press conference scene.  Her delivery brilliant again, her eyes have that magic sparkle that seduces!  We did not have to turn our chairs around again for a turn around shot, we were done for the night wrapped at 11:15pm.  I was able to get home, with no traffic, and have a glass of wine before crashing out a little after midnight. 

I woke up the next day with the rest of my family, all of us scrambling to get ready.  Ed took Zyla to Jodi's then off to work while I headed over to CBS Radford in Studio City.  When I found my way to stage 10, about a half hour early, I found 3 of the other stand-ins there getting scripts.  I got my script and name badge of the character I was standing-in for~Roxanne.  It was not really a badge, more a sign hanging from a metal chain around our necks, really obnoxious, but I had seen this before.  Since I had never stood in on a multi-camera sit-com show, it was interesting to see how it all worked.  Their work week started Wednesdays and no stand-ins were needed the first two days of actors learning lines and blocking.  On Fridays, we then came in to watch the actors run rehearsals of all the scenes for that episode and write notes on every little thing our actor does.  Almost like a script supervisor.  What hand picks up or puts down whatever on what line, etc.  It was very detailed.  We had to then keep all these notes because no marks are laid down on the floor and then we are expected to act it all out the way they did for lighting the following week.  Of course anything could change at any time, script re-writes or change in direction so being constantly aware and paying attention and keeping details was crucial.  I could understand why the casting director wanted someone who had done it before because it was pretty involved.  I was glad my girl was more a co-star and not in every single scene.  All the stand-ins were really nice and the crew seemed really friendly.  We were being introduced and meeting people left and right and it was hard to keep all the names straight.  Whitney came and said hi to us and we all introduced ourselves.  There was breakfast served and then lunch.  Amber, the stand-in for Lilly, was telling me about the Warner Brothers Museum that is on the Warner Bros lot and open to anyone on the lot.  I had never heard of it before, but occasionally worked at WB and wanted to check it out after hearing about all the Harry Potter and cool stuff that was there on display.  We spent all morning taking notes while watching rehearsals of all the scenes in the episode.  Then the producers, executives, writers, creative team, etc were brought in for a big run through of the entire episode for them.  Afterward they congregated in one of the sets to talk about it.  We were sitting in the audience section for the show most of the day.  We were required to watch and take our notes from there unless the set was off to the side somewhere.  During the private meeting, some of the stand-ins on the far side of the audience section were told to move so they would not overhear the meeting.  We wrapped out at 3pm and I was able to meet Jodi at the park where she had brought all the kids.  Zyla's best friend, who had moved away, was back in town for a visit with all her favorite classmates.  It was such a beautiful day, breeze through the trees, not to hot.  The weather had calmed down again and it was chilly and overcast most mornings.  I was happy to spend time outside with some of the mom's from Zyla's class.  Afterward, Zyla and I headed home to meet up with Ed for dinner.  My call time for Monday was not until 9:30 am so I would be able to go to Jodi's for True Blood on Sunday night again, I was excited!

The weekend was mellow, ran some errands and mostly chilled with my family.  Got some Vamper Juice and headed to Jodi's for True Blood episode 8 Sunday night.   Monday morning I woke up and got ready for set.  Took Zyla to Jodi's and headed into CBS Radford a half hour before my call time.  New scripts were waiting for all the stand-ins along with our vouchers in the audience section.  We were put in the far right section so BG could use the rest of the area as their holding.  The day was spent doing pre-shoots of scenes that would not be acted out in front of the live audience.  Matt, Robson, Amber and I had it easy since our actors' were only in a handful of scenes compared to the two leads of the show.  Matt remembered where we had worked together before, a year and a half ago on my one day of standing in on 10 Things I Hate About You.  I told him I had just seen Pam working a new show.  Things ran insanely behind schedule because of all that was slated to shoot taking much longer than anticipated.  For one scene Whitney does a montage of things in the lobby of her apartment complex.  They were just quick little things, but each piece was taking forever.  Then a BG who was picked to be a fruit basket delivery guy decided to try to throw in a line.  The piece was just a quick shot of her signing for the basket, no dialog, so the director told him not to add lines.  Then they wanted him to be checking out her butt while she is signing for the basket and he could not seem to figure out how to do that, so that piece kept dragging on and on.  A little bit of drama ensued with that same BG actor claiming his cell phone went missing, then his wallet.  He was wandering around all the sets looking behind curtains, etc., places he had never been, where his things would never be.  Then his eyes started roaming through the stand-in section but I was there guarding over our bags watching him.  We broke for lunch but I was so full from all the food that is always at crafty I just stayed in my seat reading Anais.  The scene that took the longest to figure out and shoot was a 7-page grand finale kind of scene in the Black Market bar with all the BG.  There are all these pieces so the cameras all moved around 7 different set ups, and the BG all had different places for each camera move.  It was sort of complicated.  My girl, Rhea Seehorn, introduced herself to me, she seemed cool.  We got all the pieces but the very last one of Whitney and Alex, played by Chris D'Elia leaving the bar.  Then a shower scene had to be shot.  It kept getting later and later and we were still supposed to run camera blocking for all the scenes to be done in front of the audience the following day.  At 8:15pm, I was wrapped out.  We never got to the camera blocking and all the stand-ins were coming in an hour earlier the following day to finish camera blocking. 

The following day I got up to do it all again.  Dropped Zyla at Jodi's and headed into set at 10:30am.  I got there a half hour early and barely got the last parking spot on the roof of the structure.  Amber texted me saying she was told to park at a different structure further away.  We ran the camera blocking for everything the audience would see.  We also ran camera blocking for the Black Market bar even though we had pre-taped the entire thing, minus the ending exit.  I thought maybe they were just going to do the ending exit live for the audience, but they planned to run the whole 7 page scene for the audience with all the camera moves etc.  At 3pm we were done and the actors were sent to hair and make up.  We thought we might be wrapped but were told to hang out until 4pm to find out.  At 4pm it was catered lunch and we were still sitting waiting to hear our fate.  We were told to go to lunch and come back at 5pm.  We did not get bracelets to go to lunch, but walked over anyway and found out that the bracelets were needed to get back on stage after 5pm, when the audience arrived.  The security was pumped up ten fold and if you had no bracelet you had no access.  The stand-ins were given bracelets at lunch and at 5pm I went back inside to find out that they wanted us to stay because we would be working after the taping to finish the last piece of the scene we did not finish pre-taping the night before.  We were told we could hang out and watch the show, but there was no seats for us, or just come back in 3 hours.  I did not feel like standing around watching, being in the way, carrying all my stuff for 3 hours, so I went to my car to chill.  I could not find any of the other stand-ins and my car was baking on the roof in the sun.  I texted Amber and she told me an ice cream truck had come for us.  I moved my car to some shade on the next level down and returned to the stages to get some ice cream.  The stand-ins Amber and Alex met me at the ice cream truck where we got yummy treats.  Then we walked over to the commissary to hang out in the air conditioning and tell funny stories.  The commissary was closed and they humored us for an hour letting us sit in there, but finally we were kicked out to the benches outside.  We continued sharing stories about high school, sneaking out, TPing type things, when Robson, the stand-in for Neal/Maulik Pancholy found us.  At 8pm we entered the stages and they were still taping in front of a live audience and only seemed to be halfway done.  Alex said her dad told her it was cool for us to hang in the AD office so we all crashed out in there sharing more stories.  Eventually the other two stand-ins Matt and Ryan found us.  Matt stayed to hang, Ryan was enjoying watching the taping.  More food was brought and we just kept hanging out.  We were all in overtime so no one really cared that we had to stay so late not really doing anything.  Around 10:30pm, they got to the Black Market scene to play out for the audience.  I guess whatever we had taped of it the night before was for safety, and the producers liked what was taped of the ending piece in front of the live audience, so we were no longer needed to stay and do that piece after and were wrapped out at 11pm.  The audience was still there watching the last tag scene of the episode play out as I exited the stage and headed home.  I had no idea watching a half hour live taping of a show could take so long!  I was happy the stand-ins were given that time to hang out and bond.  It was a nice little group and I was happy and felt blessed to be part of it all.

On my day off, I had to stay home and watch these guys come tear up the flooring in my kitchen and dining room to lay new tile.  I finished reading Henry & June.  It felt like forever ago I had watched the movie to it and I enjoyed it but not as much as Incest.  She seemed so back and forth about Henry and whether she was committed to him or not, whether she could give herself completely to him or not.  Her thoughts and emotions seemed to swing wildly from one extreme to the other, it was like you could never be sure of anything as she might change her mind again.  Maybe since I had already read the rest of her diaries beyond this one, I knew too much and how everything eventually ends up.  My view may have been tainted by that.  In any event I find Anais adorable and planned to return everything to the library and find more of her and Henry's books.  My cartoon Dwegons release date was pushed again.  It had been listed on imdb to be released this third week of August, but the domestic distributors pulled out because the cartoon was not 3D.  I think it was probably a wise move not to release it during Smurfs release since that's about little magical creatures helping people too.  When I talked to the creator/director Tom about it, he said foreign distribution might release it first at Christmas and that they were looking for new domestic distributors.  When I checked imdb again, a new release date for the cartoon was scheduled in February 2012. 

Friday, I headed into set after dropping Zyla at Jodi's.  It was nice knowing what to expect and things ran pretty much the same way they had the previous Friday.  The stand ins were given two vouchers since our first ones last Friday had a misprint of the AFTRA rate on them and the payroll company couldn't figure it out since this was a SAG show.  We had to submit new vouchers to payroll to be paid for last Friday under the SAG rate.  We watched the rehearsals of all the scenes for episode 3.  Things seemed a lot mellower and a lot less people running around than last Friday.  The producers showed up at 1pm to watch a run through of the episode.  We did not help set any lighting like last week and we were wrapped at 2pm.  I was happy to get out so early considering the call sheet listed more rehearsals after lunch and I had overheard Rhea talking about possible rehearsals of a hospital scene, which was part of the pilot/episode 1 scheduled to be reshot.  I was coming back on Sunday to do what we normally would be doing Monday, shooting the pre-shoot scenes for episode 3, so that Monday we could re-shoot the hospital scenes from the pilot. 

Saturday was mellow running errands and just relaxing.  Sunday I got up with a call saying my call time was changed to an hour earlier.  Started getting ready and headed out to set.  The day went really smooth.  I am not sure why I was called in an hour earlier, since the scenes I stood in on didn't happen for another 2 hours, but it was fun to watch.  Rhea said hi to me and remembered my name.  I was really enjoying watching her and mimicking what she does.  I liked her deep voice; it was unique along with her style and acting choices.  Lunch was served at 2pm, catered and we wrapped out by 6:30pm, finishing everything we set out to do of pre-shoots for episode 3.  I found a lot of funny moments in this episode all about the silent treatment.  It was interesting to watch the acting and dialog take after take.  The producers, writers, and creative team were always on hand changing it up, and every take the actors might have new dialog to throw out trying to make the scene the funniest it could be.  The 2nd Team started planning our first field trip.  Alex told us she was in a band called The 40 Wink Slumber and we all wanted to try to make it to one of her shows!  I caught one of her performances on youtube and I liked her style and sound.  I was able to drive home and eat some dinner before Ed, Zyla and I headed to Jodi's to watch True Blood episode 9 that I was in.  Well Zyla did not watch, she hung out with the kids.  It was a great episode and I was able to spot myself 5 times at the Tolerance Festival standing in the front row with Caitlin!

Monday morning I woke up early along with my family, getting ready for the day.  Ed dropped Zyla to Jodi, while I headed into CBS Radford.  When I arrived on set, the schedule had been flip flopped and we were now doing all the camera blocking for the live taping first, then after lunch doing the reshoots for the pilot episode.  The camera blocking went quickly, getting everything done ahead of schedule.  Breakfast was served and I ate some eggs and sausage.  We then watched a rehearsal of one of the hospital scenes of the pilot that would be up first to shoot after lunch.  The cast had to go through hair and make-up so we were given 2 ½ hours off to eat lunch and chill.  I thought about driving home, but did not want to loose my parking spot in the structure and have to park at the far away one.  Another hot snack was provided as we were leaving, so I grabbed up some empanadas around noon, then headed to my car.  Amber said she was going to nap in her car, and all the stand-ins seemed to have their own agenda.  I relaxed in my car reading The Diary of Anais Nin Volume Four.  I really loved this volume of the diary.  She wrote about the difference in writing the diary compared to her fiction and how she was not willing to compromise her artistic integrity when everyone else was telling her that her style was not the proper way.   I found many similarities between Anais and myself.  I loved her analytical mind and the way she formulated thoughts and drew conclusions for her characters.  She made me excited to get back into my novel if only I had the time.  Again in this volume it was as if her husband does not exist, she never speaks of him.  She devotes all her time to her writing and the printing press.  And even though she treats her friends as her children, and at times they are young enough to be her children, I still feel it is not quite the same as actually raising a child and the time and energy that goes into that.  So I tried not to be too down on myself that I was not producing more when I was already so busy with everything else in my life.  When the break was coming to an end, I was walking back to set and ran into the other stand-ins Ryan and Robson who were getting their license plate info to get crew id badges for the security gates.  I went back to my car to get my info and then to set to fill out the paperwork.  I made it just as the security office was closing, poising for my picture id badge!  I felt official and was happy I would not have to get a parking pass every day and could just breeze through security from now on.  Back on set, Jane Kaczmarek was in the house!  I was like, I haven't seen her since I played her feet as her foot double on Malcolm in the Middle, 5 years ago!  She was playing Whitney's mom for the reshoots of the hospital scenes.  She looked very similar to Whitney and we all thought it was a good match.  But Amber later told us when she worked on the pilot another actress had shot the scene as her mom and I felt bad for her that she was replaced.  The actors did some photo shoot promo stuff and we finally got back into the groove of the reshoot.  The first shot up was the ending with Whitney coming into the hospital room of Alex and proposing marriage.  She had on this skimpy little stripper nurse costume and it was unbelievable how many guys showed up to watch the taping.  Producers, executives, etc. everyone there for the show.  Whitney pulled it off, she's not only amazingly gorgeous but insanely funny and good spirited and comfortable with her body.  Some of the banter coming out of her mouth along with the director Andy Ackerman had us dieing laughing.  It was great!  Moving on to the next scene my girl was in and I studied her moves and stood in for cameras to align their shots.  Then the scene was up and I was starving.  I had not eaten since the snack at noon and now it was 7pm and no hot food.  Finally around 7:30pm some hot dogs and toppings came and I created a masterpiece to devour.  I was wrapped out at 8pm, home in time to hang with my family, send Zyla to bed and watch some Entourage with Ed.  I did not have to be to set until noon the next day and everyone was hoping for a short day.  It seemed like we had gotten everything done and I could not imagine why we would have to stay for the audience, but you never know how it will go.

Tuesday morning found me spraying Zyla down with sun block.  She was heading to the beach with some girlfriends from her class.  I dropped her off hours before I actually had to leave for my noon call time to set.  I arrived to Stage 10 a half hour early, got some breakfast huevos rancheros and seated myself in the audience section in front of the monitor.  The other stand-ins trickled in and a camera refresh commenced.  What that meant was the actors rehearsed again all the scenes we had already blocked out the day before, this time with the BG.  The stand-ins were never used since it was already blocked out, so we just sat around for 3 hours watching.  It was more for the actors to be fresh for that evenings live performance and the BG to be prepared and aware of their action.  At 3pm, Alex talked to her dad, the 1st AD and got wrapped out.  She told us we would all be wrapped shortly, she had to get to her band rehearsal.  At 4pm we were told to go to the catered lunch and come back at 5pm.  At 5pm, no one could tell us what was going on and if we could be wrapped, so we sat around in the AD office until 6pm.  That is when the show was starting and no one had time to deal with whether we could be wrapped out and we were told to come back at 9pm.  It is a little frustrating on show night when this happens and we wished they could have just told us at 3pm to come back at 9pm.  I went to the parking garage and sat in my car reading Anais diary.  I found a bunch of cool quotes I wanted to write down in my quote diary.  I had a touch of nostalgia when I read about Anais being in Yonkers, NY dancing among imitation-Greek columns and statues back in 1946.  I had been to that exact same place when I lived there in 2004!  I remembered dancing too and then acting out scenes with Ed and singing in the beautiful Greek garden setting.  I returned to set at 8:30pm and sat around in the AD office again.  The other stand-ins showed up and we were talking about wild life, adventures in nature and travel.  The live audience show ended at 9:30pm, much earlier than the week before, seems a better groove was struck now.  Wrapped out and headed home to put Zyla to bed and finish up Entourage season 7 with Ed. 

My two days off were spent inside since it was way too hot to do anything else.  Zyla helped me label all her school supplies.  Did the bills and banking.  Laundry.  Finished reading Anais Nin's Fourth Volume.  I loved her ending escape from New York road trip across the west.  It reminded me of the many road trips I have taken cris-crossing the states.  I looked up Whitney on Netflix to see if she had any of her comedy on there.  I was in luck!  One of her hour-long specials Whitney Cummings: Money Shot was available on instant.  I sat Ed down to watch who I work with every day.  She was awesome, really funny and tons of the bits had morphed into the episodes I had been watching the past few weeks on set.  Then I saw she was in Live Nude Comedy, also on instant from Netflix.  I had seen one episode of the show months ago and did not realize it was a series that Whitney is an executive producer of as well!  Ed and I watched the second episode that featured her and found a lot of the same material as her hour special.  We then watched episode 4 which featured her co-star love interest Chris D'Elia doing a hilarious routine that had me dieing laughing.  These two stand-ups together doing a sitcom for NBC was brilliant.  Whitney, only 28 years old had already starred and produced her own comedy series and now NBC show, I was impressed.  Posters started shooting up all over town, a big publicity push was going out for the show including TV guest spots.  I felt lucky to be part of it all.

Friday morning I dropped Zyla at Jodi's for the last time that summer break and headed into work.  Got there early along with Ryan, Robson and Matt.  We sat reading the new script for episode 4.  As the rehearsals commenced, I was so happy that this was my job.  A nice air-conditioned stage.  Watching top-notch comedians pull together a sitcom.  Laughter always in the air and encouraged.  Good food, good friends.  Such a difference from last year when I did Dexter.  I love Dexter, but it was always a heavy dark vibe.  The atmosphere of Whitney was changing me into a happier person.  I felt in a better mood after being on set.  The new episode was about romance, which made me love and appreciate my husband all the more and send him texts about it. :)

My call time for Monday was not until 9:30am, so I would be able to attend the morning festivities of Zyla's 1st day of 5th Grade.  I had not been able to go the past two years since I was always working an early morning call, and was happy everything worked out.  The weekend was chill.  Ed and I watched United States of Tara Season 3.  Our cousin, Rebecca Nyahay, flew into town from New York and cruised out to see us and catch up over some spicy Thai.  She had a new horror short prepping for Sundance, she was excited about.  Sunday morning we woke up early and flew down the empty freeway to Disneyland.  Went on our top 10 favorite rides, had some lunch and checked out before the temperatures soared into the 100's.  Made some rice crispy treats for Zyla to snack on for her 1st day of school and got her in bed in time for me to join Jodi at her house for some True Blood action. 

Zyla's 1st day of 5th Grade got off to a great start!  The morning festivities went quickly and I found myself at the studio an hour early.  It was all good because the cast and crew were there early shooting spots for E! to promote the show.  The day was fun watching all the scenes again for the romantic episode.  First we did the pre-shoots for the scenes the audience would not see live.  My girl was not in any of those so I just chilled.  Though they got started 10 minutes early since the E! crew finished early with the actors and Alex was running late to set, so I stood in for Whitney until she showed up.  At lunch, there was a mandatory Harassment meeting, so they fed us and we sat for an hour watching a power point presentation of what harassment is and how to file harassment claims.  Back at set, we were actually running on time with all blocking for the scenes that would play live for the audience show.  Tentatively we were told we would be done around 6:30pm, but at 4:30pm, they wrapped all the actors and just decided to skip the blocking on scene M and do it the next day.  They were actually going to pre-shoot it as well the next day, so it would probably play live for audience but there would be a safety version already taped.  I was happy to cut out early and get home to see Zyla and hear all about her first big day of school. 

Tuesday I was able to drop Zyla at school and return home to finish getting ready for set.  When I arrived to the sound stage a half hour early, the singer and violinist for scene M were rehearsing their pieces.  Then the swans came in.  They were insanely loud and I felt like I was outside at some park, not inside a dark air-conditioned sound stage.  We got to work watching the rehearsal of scene M and then crew had the set.  My girl comes in half way through scene M, so I was waiting in the wings to enter on my cue.  After running the rehearsal Rhea asked if she could kick the girl, the day player guest star working that day who exits the scene as Rhea enters.  I gave her all the notes from the camera crew but did not know anything about her kicking anyone.  She was just messing with me, in a good way, and I was happy our working relationship was in a comfortable place.  We had a new stand-in working for the extra actress in that scene, and I talked with her a bit about doing stand-in, since she had just gotten into BG and stand-in work a month ago.  The rest of the day we sat around in the audience section.  Amber was writing her girl Zoey and Whitney a note good bye and good luck with the show.  This would be her last day with us as she had previously promised to stand-in on another show starting up in September.  We were all sad she was leaving and would miss her.  A few minutes to 4pm, Ryan managed to get our bracelets for the audience show access and we put them on.  The AD's came over and said we could walk-away for 4 hours and to be back at 8pm in case we were needed to fix the M scene after the live taping.  This time I drove home.  I was able to have some quiet time with Ed, go watch Zyla at her gymnastics, eat dinner with my family and make it back in plenty of time.  Jessica's called me while I was at the gym watching Zyla to say I was booked on 90210 for the following day.  I thought I had booked out, but they did not get my email saying all the hiatus days and what days I wanted booked out.  I had made it complicated in my head and emailed because I thought it would be too much to leave on a voice mail answering service.  I guess the girl I had emailed in the office had been out of town and no one knew my hiatus days or what I wanted booked out.  I decided to call in and leave a message with the days I was actually available for other work, a total of 7 days for September and booked out all the rest for the Whitney show.  Thankfully the details for 90210 were available before I had to go back to Whitney and I prepped all my clothes and directions for the following day ahead of time.  All the stand-ins met up in the AD office behind the sets to hang at 8pm.  Amber wanted to tell funny embarrassing stories, but since she was leaving and we were all staying to work with each other, she was the only one telling the stories.  It was fun and a little after 10pm, we were told the show was over and we were wrapped.  I got home, had some wine and crashed out.

Again I was able to take Zyla to school, and then return home to finish getting ready for set.  Thankfully 90210 was shooting on location in Pasadena and not all the way down at their studios in Manhattan Beach.  I made it to set an hour early and caught the last of the breakfast before it was shut down.  We were shooting at the Langham Hotel, which was really upscale nestled in the residential section of South Pasadena.  Our holding was in one of the ballrooms sitting around big tables under huge chandeliers.  Michael, another BG actor I had met on 90210 before showed up and he was showing me all the great clothes he got at Out of the Closet.  I needed to go shopping for more business stuff and he said Sundays there was a $1 rack with the best deals.  Michael was very open with everyone about his other job as a dominatrix.  It was interesting hearing the suplimental work BG artists had to make ends meet.  I thought Michael was very brave to openly talk about doing something in the adult industry when it is usually frowned upon by mainstream sets.  The beauty of BG is you are not judged for anything that might seem taboo because your name is not appearing in the credits, the focus of the world is not on you and therefore the advertisers, executives and producers are not affected by your involvement in other things.  I know for myself, my past has been a major issue in going further in the mainstream market, and even though I am no longer involved in certain things, they still remain alive on the internet, completely out of my control, but continuing to affect my future as a mainstream actress.  I saw Genie, the script supervisor leaving the breakfast area but did not feel like going up to her.  Since she had blown off my email last year, I just did not feel like making an effort.  Wardrobe did not like my clothes.  We weren't given much details on what to bring and I forgot Brian Reynold's was DP'ing this season and freaks over red.  I brought a beautiful wine colored dress but even that was sketchy with his issues and Wardrobe decided they would just find me something in their truck.  They brought me back a cute little blue peacock patterned dress that was size XS.  It was so tight I was afraid I would rip it pulling it on, but it was sort of stretchy and worked.  It was insanely tight but I guess I pulled it off and they were happy.  We all went into set to sit in the bar of the hotel.  It was a quick scene, then the crew moved on to an outside shot.  We hung out in the bar area until lunchtime.  After lunch we thought we might be wrapped and waited until the rehearsal of the last scene was done.  I changed out of my dress, got my voucher back from Wardrobe and checked out.  I beat Ed and Zyla home by seconds and started making dinner.  After dinner Zyla read to me, then showered so we could watch our new family show Switched at Birth.  Bedtime prayers to put Zyla to sleep, meant Ed and I could chill with some wine and watch the second disk to United States of Tara that had arrived from Netflix. 


Jacqueline, Alex and Amber Standing In on Whitney!
Black Market Bar Scene episode 2
Jacqueline, Amber and Alex Standing In on Whitney!
Raw Vegan Cafe Scene from episode 4

Keepin It Real ~ Chapter 9 September 2011 Click Here to Continue reading...