Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spare Change?

On Saturday I was a creepy online predator... scratch that. On Saturday, I portrayed a creepy online predator. Would you like more leering? Less leering? I asked the director. Don't worry about it, he said. The lighting is doing half the work. Great. Upstaged by a bulb.

On Sunday, I was slated to play a missionary, but an actor who was supposed to play a homeless man dropped out, so I ended up with both roles. So as I'm getting ready for my big panhandling moment, I hear the cameraman tell the director, "It looks like shit and we probably won't be able to use it, but let's just get it done." Always an encouraging thing for an actor to hear. Seems the lighting is either outshining me or dragging me down.

Then I rushed to the bathroom (no Star Waggon for me), washed the artificial dirt off my face, and attempted to shave off a five-day beard. I say "attempted" because I had made the mistake of buying cheap disposable razors for the occasion, not wanting to risk losing my regular razor. Instead, I ended up losing small pieces of my face. Thanks, Equaline, with your blades forged by Lucifer himself. With a closeup looming in my near future, I waited just long enough for the bleeding to stop before trying to conceal the damage with Cover Girl Clean Makeup 110 Natural Ivory. (Yes, I carry Cover Girl for such occasions. It's cheaper than Ben Nye.) Applying it to open wounds is probably not anything your doctor would recommend, but I was thinking more of short-term appearances than potential long-term damage.

After slicking down my hair and donning a fresh wardrobe, I looked in the mirror to see my collar conspicuously stained with a mixture of 110 and type A. What is that, light coral? Pale salmon? Whatever, it contrasted sharply with my powder blue shirt. Fortunately, I had a backup. So I rushed back to set, only to be told by the writer-star-producer that we wouldn't have time to get to my scene, so it had been cut.

I can't remember my exact choice of words, but apparently my reply convinced her to find time to shoot the scene after all. So with the sun setting behind the Hollywood Hills (or were those the San Gabriel Mountains?), we set up for the last shot. Just as the director was about to call action, the writer-star-producer hooked one of her stillettos on a poorly placed garden hose and tumbled down, hitting her knee on the sidewalk. As she lay writhing in pain, with a possible cracked patella or other disabling injury, I had one thought in mind: You really don't want to do this scene, do you?

But we did shoot the scene, and when I got home I gently washed off the makeup and applied Bag Balm to my wounds. (It's an ointment made for dairy farmers to use on their cows' udders, but it's been sort of a panacea in my family for generations and so far I haven't started lactating.) I still looked like I shaved with a wolverine, but I think I'll be OK. If not, maybe I can pass them off as dueling scars.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


As if I didn't feel old enough before, last weekend I was part of the judging committee for the improv event at a theater festival at a local college. Hundreds of high school students competed. The winners, Mira Costa High School Comedy Sportz, were quite impressive with their ability to think on their feet, their versatility, and their sheer enthusiasm. Overall, the energy level during the two-day festival was almost overpowering. Did I EVER have that much energy, I asked myself. (No, I answered.) At the beginning of the finals, as we were seated in front of the performance space and the spectators entered behind us, I felt like I was about to be crushed by a stampede of wildebeests -- screaming, giggling, wildebeests.

Sunday evening, my parents took me out for a belated birthday dinner. My father asked me how old I was now. I told him we should change the subject because I didn't think the answer would make any of us happy.

After the celebration, I received an e-mail from a student filmmaker I worked with last year. Apparently he needed a creepy old guy for a project he was working on, and I was the first person he thought of. Thanks, kid!