Romancing the Black Lace Water Dragon ~ Chapter 3 by Jacqueline Nyahay
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March 2012 ~
 

As the clock struck midnight, it became March 1st, my dad's birthday.  I said a little prayer for him before Ed and I both crashed out for the night.

 

Thursday, I was mellow, finished getting everything together for Ed's birthday, read some more of The Wolf Gift.  I felt Anne was playing it safe with the sexuality and descriptions of how Reuben transformed into a wolf.  Though not an original story, I felt like Anne was inspired to write it, and it did not hurt that werewolves were a current hot topic but it did not drive into me like her Vampire and Witch novels had.  Watched the latest episode of WhitneyHomeland Security'.  It was the depressing episode I had not found that funny during rehearsals.  It still felt that way watching it.  The ratings were still holding, I hoped the show would be picked up for a second season.  The second disk of Shameless had come from Netflix.  Ed and I were getting more into the story now, enjoying the Gallagher co-dependent dysfunctional teamwork. 

 

Friday I got Zyla off to school then went hiking with Lining at Stough Canyon.  I had not seen her since last October; it was nice to catch up along the beautifully breezy trail.  It was also Ed's Forever 39 Birthday.  When he got home from work, we celebrated with candles in canolies and an evening out to Teru Sushi.  I had called Kids Management last Wednesday to make sure Zyla's account was in good standing since I had not gotten a text from them for her in two months.  They assured me her account was good and things had been slow.  Two days later they are texting with a gig for Zyla.  I immediately called them back booking Zyla for Monday on her first gig of 2012.  I would be taking her to set myself, a new Fox show called Touch, starring Kiefer Sutherland, that sounded really cool.

 

The weekend was spent working on Zyla's Science Fair Project, prepping for her day on set, and anticipating the Whitney Wrap Party.  I still had my show night bracelet on from the last show night.  I could not bring myself to cut it off.  I had been bundled in my Whitney jacket all week, missing my job.  By Sunday night I cut it off as I got ready to enjoy my night out with Ed at The Federal Bar where the Whitney Wrap Party was being held.  We dropped Zyla at her friend's house and arrived right at 7pm to the party.  The bar had two floors.  We went upstairs to where the wrap party was being held.  It was a huge loft type atmosphere.  I felt like this could have been one of the sets for the Whitney show.  There were outdoor patio areas for smoking, back rooms looking out over Lankershim Blvd.  The place was pretty empty, I found out later a lot of people were at the downstairs bar first.  I enjoyed a lot of champagne.  Ed and I went downstairs to see if any of my friends were hanging out down there, but did not see any of them.  Around 9pm it was insanely crowded.  Whitney, Chris, Rhea, Dan, all the executives, writers, crew were in attendance.  Alex showed up with her mom and dad, but did not know she could have brought her boyfriend as her plus one.  He had worked the show almost as much as we had doing BG and it was unfortunate he could not be there.  Robson and Tiffany shared some drinks with me and we all laughed at the bloopers reel that was played on the many tv screens around the big room.  It was a wonderful, memorable evening and everyone was hoping for many more Whitney Wrap Parties to come.

 

Monday morning I was glad Zyla had the late morning call time for Touch.  We headed down to Downey Studios around 8am.  Traffic was not as bad as it could have been, getting us there by 9am.  We had an hour to hang out before being signed in.  Unfortunately there was no food around, the craft service was at set and we were told to hang out in the lunch box holding across the street from set.  At 10am we were checked in and went to wardrobe.  From then on the day was go go.  Zyla was told to change out of what she wore to set and into an outfit we had brought.  The Hair Dept put her hair up in a ponytail.  We were then brought over to set, inside the Columbia Memorial Space Center next door to the Downey Studios.  Production was filming on the first floor of the space center and our holding was on the second floor.  Space science exhibits surrounded us, the history of astronaut suits and simulators.  The schoolroom was also on the second floor.  For the rest of the morning, Zyla went from set to school and back again.  One of the mom's was sitting on the floor in holding because she had not been given a chair.  I found out later her child was the guest star principal actor on the show.  I had never seen a principal actors mom hanging out with the BG parents, let alone without a chair, seated on the floor.  There were staggered call times for the kids, some at 6:30am and 7am.  Crew call had been 6:30am, so lunch was called at 12:30pm.  We all headed over to eat in the mobile lunch box holding areas.  After lunch we went right back to our holding inside the Space Center, where the kids went back to school.  I was surprised that no craft service was within easy access for the parents or children all day.  Craft service was outside and around the corner of the museum and we were not allowed to go downstairs most of the day since that was where production was filming.  At 4pm, kids started getting wrapped.  Legally you cannot have a child work on set after 9 ½ hours.  But legally that means 5 hours on set, 3 hours at school, 1 hour for down time and half hour for lunch.  I don't know if the 6:30am kids ever got an hour of down time, but I do know that Zyla never did.  Between takes they sent the kids upstairs for a few minutes, enough time to use the bathroom, but not really a break to go to crafty or have a rest period.  The parents of the children who came at 7am were really upset when their kids were still on set being filmed after 4:30pm.  The set teachers had told production that they could not have those children anymore, but filming kept going on.  This was breaking Child Labor Laws and abusing the children.  I had never worked on a set where the children were treated this way.  All of Zyla's jobs last year, she wrapped out at 8 ½ hours, giving the kids the hour downtime to leave and go home.  Children are not compensated when production keeps them over the Child Labor Law limit.  At 7pm, a parent snuck out to get her child some food from the craft service since it had been 6 hours since we had eaten lunch.  When she got back to holding the PA told her to throw it away because no food was allowed in there.  All day we had never been told no food was allowed and there were no signs saying that.  The children were in a meal penalty and being told to throw food away.  Legally children are not allowed to go into meal penalties and can not be paid the fine that adults get when this issue comes up on set.  When it came time for Zyla to be wrapped, it felt like a really long day.  At 7:30pm we were told we were wrapped, but instead of signing the kids out immediately, in the Space Center holding, we were told to return our chairs outside, clean up, then go to the lunch box holding across the street to wrap out.  Every set I have worked on, children are wrapped out before adult BG because of the Labor Laws.  But when we arrived to the holding, the adult BG were being wrapped out first with an out time of 7:50pm.  By the time I got through the line it was well past 7:30pm, but all the kids vouchers had to say they were wrapped out at 7:30pm for legal issues.  Zyla was also in a meal penalty since she had not had a meal in 6 ½ hours but the PA signing us out would not let me put it on her voucher.  This was not the way to treat children on set.  They need to have access to food, they need to have their down time and production needs to follow Child Labor Laws.  I felt like this production was taking advantage of the children.  For a Fox network show, I was really surprised by this behavior and would not be returning to this show with Zyla again.  While Zyla did have fun and made new friends it was still a job.  They need to respect the children and labor laws. 

 

I was glad to not be working Tuesday.  After the late evening wrap party, and long day on set with Zyla I was exhausted.  I needed my own downtime.  A maintenance guy came by to make some repairs, but other than that I had the day to myself.  I emailed Kids Management about the Touch set.  They emailed me back asking me to call them.  I spoke to Laura about what had happened.  She was happy I spoke up.  She told me the Studio Teacher on set is the LAW regarding the children's welfare.  When production is nearing the Pumpkin time for the children to be Hard Wrapped out at 9 ½ hours the Studio Teacher is in charge of making sure Production is aware and getting the children out.  Yesterday, the Studio Teacher did tell production about the children who should have been wrapping out at 4:30pm to no avail.  Laura said the next time this happens no matter what time I should immediately call Kids Management so they can report the issue and have it resolved.  Kids are not allowed to go into meal penalties or overtime, production should have wrapped out Zyla before these issues came up.  She told me that some parents will fight with the PA for an extra wardrobe bump or something to be put on the voucher to compensate for breaking the law.  Zyla was afraid when I made a fuss she would never get to work again.  I explained to her that sometimes you have to speak up and fight for what is right.  She looks at the jobs as having fun, but in the end it's a long day of work and the children should be compensated for what they do, just like adult BG.  Unfortunately she would not be paid any extra overtime or meal penalty because legally that would get the production in trouble.  But Kids Management assured me that Zyla would be back on set again and wished more parents were educated and speaking up when things like this happened.  It was such a beautiful day, I got in my car and drove to Stough to hike up the Verdugo Mountains.  For the first time in quite a while I was greeted by a bunny as I entered the trail. 

 

Wednesday I sat down for eight straight hours doing our taxes online.  I was glad to get it over with, not happy that we owed money, but I guess not enough was being taken out of our paychecks.  As I was driving home from picking up Zyla, Jessica's called with an interview for a movie.  It was not stand in work so they wanted to make sure I was ok with it.  It was for four days of featured BG work on Get A Job, starring Brian Cranston, my favorite Breaking Bad actor.  It was through Rich King and I had been picture picked.  Sounded like it would be a nice paycheck, so I said yes. 

 

Thursday was a mellow morning.  I got ready for the interview around noon.  It was at CBS Radford.  Awe, sweet memories as I drove on the lot again and parked up on the 5th floor.  I walked over to Stage 19 Basement.  The interview was twelve of us actors sitting on one side of a conference table while the 1st AD and Director told us all about the movie.  Then we introduced ourselves on the 1st AD's videophone and were wrapped out.  The director said he would see us on set.  They had pretty much decided we were who they wanted being picture picked and all, this was just a formality, to meet us before shooting commenced since the scene was small.  They wanted to confirm we were cool with acting right next to A-listers, not just doing crosses in the back, nothing new for me.

 

My friend Sonia, whom I had not seen in years and years, finally came out to Los Angeles for a visit with her husband and tribe of four children.  They were in town for a conference but also vacationing.  We had made so many plans of things we would do over the weekend, but none of them worked out.  I was beginning to think I would never see her this trip.  Andrew came over Friday night with tasty treats.  We spent time laughing and telling stories.  By Monday, Sonia promised we would see each other.  I had not seen her since she flew me out to New Mexico 6 ½ years ago to be her first-born daughter Lillian's Godmother at her baptism.  I hadn't seen little Lillian in forever and Sonia hadn't seen my daughter Zyla since I was breastfeeding her in Florida!  Sonia kept bouncing from one hotel to the next but settled in Beverly Hills for the night and invited my family to visit.  As fate would have it, there was an open bar with appetizers being offered in her hotel lobby so we situated the children at a booth with a TV and sat down to wine and conversation.  It was so much fun to see her again and meet all of her family.  The time flew by and before we knew it, they were off to Santa Monica Pier at 8pm while I had to get Zyla home to bed for school the next day.  I was really enjoying my time off work, going for hikes, being leisurely and happy that I was able to spend time with my dear friends I had been missing.  Sean wanted me to join him at the Comedy Store Thursday.  I had not seen him since last summer.  It was an amazing night.  I had no idea so many A-list comedians would be performing for us.  Jeff Garlin, Chris Rock, Pauly Shore, Ahmed Ahmed, Neal Brennan, Mat Edgar, Argus Hamilton.  I felt blessed to be there and thankful for such a magical night of laughter shared with my dear friend.  And a shout out to Steve Simeone who not only made me laugh but comped us our tickets to this all-star show so Thank you Thank you! 

 

Tom Walsh called me to find out when I would be available to do the voice of my animated monster for his new webisode.  Ed had given him the footage from his students which was part of this pilot project Tom was pitching to be a daily good news webisode.  I had been off work for 2 weeks already, but now things were going back to busy.  I let him know of 4 days I could possibly come in and he said he would call me back.  The weekend was a stormy one, which my family spent inside working on Zyla's Science Fair project.  I had Hugo in the mail from Netflix.  We all sat down to enjoy the Martin Scorsese film of Parisian romance and adventure.  Zyla remembered when I had read her the book a few years back falling in love with the story again.  We also spent time singing karaoke and I danced to my drum dance CD I had created last year.  I noticed my dance to it had changed, I had evolved and changed.  I finished reading Aleph by Paulo Coelho.  It touched me deeply.  I wanted to embrace the golden ring of fire, I wondered if I could find it dancing to the drums.

 

Monday I had to take my car in for a 90K mile check up.  I had three days left before I went back to work.  At the library I got new books to read on set.  Found The Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse that looked interesting.  Jessica's called me about the movie saying that they wanted me on Tuesday/Wednesday of next week and not on Monday anymore.  My call time for Thursday was at 1:30pm.  I arrived to set early.  Our base camp was located at the Daily News Building in Woodland Hills.  I had been here before, a year ago, on the pilot Common Law and remembered that reception for my phone was non-existent.  Had some lunch, burgers provided by catering, then signed in and went to wardrobe.  Only three of us were there playing executives, Brian, Jason and myself.  I guess the others did not get picked from the interview.  I felt blessed to be working.  Wardrobe did not want us in blue shirts, which is what I had worn to the interview.  I was switched into my white silk blouse instead to wear with my black suit.  Thankfully we were shuttled to set at the Xerox Lobby and Plaza of the Warner Center.  It was a tall high-rise building made of glass.  Our holding was on the 11th floor.  The entire building was made of windows so we had beautiful views of the surrounding mountains of the valley.  The Wilheimer Office scenes were taking place on the 12th floor, while the Christmas party scene was on the 11th.  I was happy to have full bar reception on my phone.  I was brought to set with the other two gentlemen playing executives.  Bryan Cranston and Miles Teller were in the conference room, full of windows, playing out their scene, while I walked past outside the room.  We did that take a few times, then went back to holding.  It was cool to see Bryan, as I am a big fan.  The last time I had seen him on set, he was rubbing my feet on Malcolm In the Middle when I foot doubled for Jane Kaczmarek, but more resently I was addicted to his latest hit series Breaking Bad.  The rest of the afternoon we hung out in holding.  Eight more conference room employees showed up, but one of the scenes was cut so they did not work until we all changed over into the Christmas party attire.  Dinner was served, salmon, lamb, roast vegetables, pasta bar.  Some of us stood outside after dinner looking at Venus shining so brightly above.  About 40 more BG to play employees of Wilheimer showed up in the evening for the Christmas party scene.  Wardrobe had given me a dark rose silk blouse to wear in the scene with my black pants.  At first they thought of putting me in a red dress, but then decided I would upstage the principal in the scene.  I was told by the 2nd AD, Johnny, that I would be featured as one of the executives at the party and not doing random crosses.  He wanted to tell a story with the three executives since we would be working the movie many days and in many shots.  Brian and Jason were brought to set and given specific direction to walk through the party of dancers.  When I got to set, I was told to make an entrance down the staircase into the party and join it.  I did not realize this meant they also wanted me to be dancing and jumping up and down along with the principal, Alison Brie.  She plays an employee who is getting the party jumping with her karaoke singing and dancing.  At one point she has everyone with their fist in the air and jumping up and down.  We did this take over and over while the dialog between Anna Kendrick and Miles Teller was happening just behind this action.  I was worried my heels would break, since they were not really shoes for jumping up and down.  I did not know how I got roped into this, since we were told at the interview we would be doing a sit down conference room scene.  At one point in the evening, some guy came up to tell me I looked like young Cameron Diaz.  I thought what do you mean young, she is my age.  But he meant circa The Mask, which I took as a compliment.  I enjoyed the night, the crew was cool, and Alison was adorable and fun to work with.  Marcia Gay Harden was on the staircase as well, making an entrance before I did.  At one point during the night, right as the cameras were about to roll, she started singing Silver Bells.  It all felt very magical as a hush came over the crowd and we listened to her voice.  I wrapped out at 2:30am, being told to be back again tomorrow at 2:30pm.  I got a little lost on the way back to the freeway, but eventually made it home to crash out.

 

Friday, I slept in a bit before getting ready to do it all again.  I had been told to bring the same clothes I had worn, but when I got to set Wardrobe was worried I should be in a new outfit and gave me a gray with light blue pinstripe skirt suit with a light blue blouse.  It fit amazingly.  We were shuttled to set, and I was placed on set with direction, but then the director chose not to have the executives, who are not fired, in the shot.  So I went back to holding.  More of the people who had been at the interview were here to play executives who get fired.  On another angle of the scene, I was told to sit in the conference room and pretend to give a presentation.  There was a small chance the camera might catch me in there through the window, though I don't think it did.  One of the other executives and Jorge Garcia, from Lost, playing Fernando the Janitor were hanging in the room as well.  Jorge joined in on my conversations about DMT: The Spirit Molecule, which no one had heard of or seen.  Jessica's called saying I was working the movie Monday and I worried about the email I had sent Tom to work for him Monday doing the cartoon voice for the webisode.  It was all resolved by 8pm when Jessica's called again saying that the movie did not need me Monday.  Everyone was asked to switch over into their Christmas party clothes.  We started shooting one of those scenes before breaking for lunch at 9:18pm.  I was happy for a meal penalty!  I was starving.  I had not eaten the burger earlier when I originally showed up to base camp, just a juice smoothie and some teacake and almonds from crafty.  Steak, chicken, vegetables and rice, big salad filled me up and I felt much better going back to set for the night.  I met a nice girl named Lindsay who had just gotten to California six months ago.  She had a lot of questions about the business that I helped her with.  She was attending acting school at the Joanne Barron/DW Brown Studio I had gone to so many years ago!  Another girl, Sara, joined our conversation.  She looked like she had stepped off the True Blood set, dark hair, intense light blue eyes.  We were all put together to dance in the scene when Marcia's character is shown an embarrassing video of herself.  A coffee bar came as well as Fatburgers around midnight but I did not partake.  The night seemed to fly by and before I knew it wrap was called at 4:30am.  I made it home by 5am and fell asleep.  It takes me a day or so to recover from night shoots, so my Saturday was shot.  I woke at noon to pick up Zyla from gymnastics.  I fed her lunch, then helped her with a history paper before going back to bed for a nap.  That evening, Ed helped her finish up the final touches to her Science Fair Project.  Sunday was a stormy, wet day.  We stayed in watching movies.  Zyla likes body-switching movies so we had Vise Versa from Netflix, but it was a damaged disk and we only got to see the first 30 minutes of the movie.  I called to complain and was told they would mail out a new copy immediately.  Zyla's paycheck from the Touch shoot came in the mail.  She was paid one-hour overtime.  I was really happy she received most of the extra money she deserved. 

 

Monday, I woke up working on my voice for Tom again, before heading into his studio to record.  It was back to bright and sunny, thankfully, meaning traffic to Santa Monica was not too bad getting me there a bit early.  Tom worked with me a bit on his vision for the voice of my character.  I met with one of the other actors who was doing the voice of the co-star, who gave me some ideas as well.  Once in the studio recording, everything flowed beautifully and we got what we wanted, a fun, wacky, nervous, cosmic news reporter.  I went home happy with my performance and looking forward to this pilot being picked up. 

 

Tuesday I was back on set super early.  Unlike last week's night shoots, now we were doing early morning call times.  I went to bed early and ended up waking at 2am.  That is not when I wanted to get up, and had a hard time falling back to sleep.  I finally got up at 3:45am to shower and get ready.  I made it to set a few minutes before my 6:12am call time.  Had some breakfast.  The juicer bar was open, so he blended me some carrots, ginger, pineapple, apples, and oranges.  Went through Wardrobe, got approved and headed to set.  Honestly the next three days were a blur.  I remember I was not picked to be in the conference room scene I had interviewed for.  They actually only went with Brian and then another girl who had been at the interview but gets fired so she was not in the Christmas party scenes the week before.  Jason and I felt left out, but whatever it is what it is.  I was put in an office down the hall from the conference room where I was not really seen but felt as the 2nd AD put it to me.  I was just happy to be working on a SAG movie getting all this fabulous overtime, which seemed to be few and far between when it happened lately.  Brian could not come back on Wednesday; he was involved in opening night for a play he was starring in and not available.  When we came back on Wednesday, a photo double for Brian was brought in to finish up the conference room scene.  None of us thought he looked anything like Brian.  I remember that I was featured during the fire drill scene, walking straight at the camera and around a corner to head down the stairs of the building, as well as a scene with Alison and Miles walking down a the staircase as I exit the conference room behind them.  And there was a scene where Miles talks to Marsha and Bruce on the landing outside the conference room, just as the fire drill is pulled and I'm in the conference room behind them and then hurry out at the sound of the alarm.  I was brought back again Thursday to finish out this location for the movie.  We did a little thing outside the building where Miles drives his car fast around the corner into the lot of the building and I'm walking with a co-worker down the sidewalk to the entrance and see him.  Jason had terrible pain in his back molar which needed to be drilled, it was causing him to have ear pain and they finally let him leave early around noon.  So now out of the original three it was down to just me.  I wasn't used much since the 2nd AD had featured me in other places and did not want to ruin the integrity of the film having me everywhere.  He had told the story he wanted to with me so I spent a lot just off set watching monitors or in holding.  It was so beautiful in holding, the view of the surrounding mountains, being up so high, very peaceful.  I did get some reading in of Hermann Hesse's fairy tales.  I had to say the working conditions on this movie were wonderful.  We always had plenty of food; we were inside with air conditioning, comfortable atmosphere.  The crew was wonderful and I was blessed by the entire experience.  When it all came to an end, I said good-bye to new friends knowing I would probably see them on another set again soon.  I was exhausted but happy.  In the meantime Jessica's had called Tuesday saying the pilot I was booked to stand in on for my 1st AD Joe from Whitney, got pushed meaning I would not be able to work the last day of it, since I was going out of town right after Easter Sunday.  Because it was pushed, I was able to work the extra day on the movie.  On Thursday she called again saying the pilot got pushed again to the week after Easter and since I would be out of town they had to replace me.  I was bummed out about that, but not willing to change my plans for a pilot whose start date kept changing.  I was looking forward to seeing my family in Iowa and that was more important.  I felt confident that everything would work out and some other job would come along just as fabulous when I got back to town.  The big talk on set had been about the Lottery climbing into the half a billion dollars mark so Ed bought us all tickets.  I looked forward to a relaxing weekend without having to work on any project for Zyla's school.  I could not believe Easter was only a week away, where did my Lent go?

 

Netflix sent a new copy so Zyla and I finished watching Vice Versa.  That really was one of the funniest body switch movies we had seen.  We did not win the lottery; Ed did not win a call back to The Voice audition he went to.  My girlfriend Joleen invited us to her house for drinks on Saturday afternoon.  We drove over to Hollywood with some Pinot Noir.  Let us raise our glasses in a toast... To SAG-AFTRA, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.  Cheers.  The unions had merged though we had all voted no.  I wondered where this new chapter would take us.  

Romancing the Black Lace Water Dragon ~ Chapter 4 Click Here to continue reading...