I guess the title is a bit of a lie. We’ve technically been working at this since October. That makes it closer to something like Day 200. But today is Day 1 in my book. Something like twenty-two drafts later there’s 51 pages worth of script ready to shoot. Each role is cast, the bones are there and today we begin in earnest.
The sporadic bursts of rain sound like firecrackers going off outside my window and it’s a little hard to fall asleep. That’s a problem, because I have to be altogether myself come noon. There’s still half a million things to do and most of them are out of my control, but some things are.
We have a shot, a real shot. And I think that’s all that any sane actor asks for. There’s a part of me embedded in the work and it’s thrilling.
The other thing though, is that now I get to Act, with a capital A. So much of the every day grind is not that. It’s auditioning, reading, submitting, the list goes on and on, but hopefully after today, I can focus on acting, which is a gift unto itself.
Of course, nothing goes as planned. Big Beau ends up arriving two hours late, but hey, we have to go. We’ve gone through the pitch ourselves so many times, and I’ve had individually pitch to cast to get them to sign on. But, having the whole team there and seeing Wayne pitch the whole concept was something else entirely. Being on the receiving end, and then chiming in on what our vision was made the whole thing feel real. It was as if we said it out loud for the first time.
Then, we read the damn thing. It wasn’t our first table read, everyone had pretty much been there before at one point or another, but finally we had everyone (sans Big Beau) in their respective roles. It was a very solid read. Solid is the best word, and then we gave everyone a break, and got back at it.
That was when something special happened.
I had worked with most everyone before in some capacity or another. I believed that they could do the job and they all earned their spots at the table. But once we opened up the room and started to tear apart the script beat by beat, the magic appeared. The energy in the room jumped and for the first time I got to see the entire cast flex their talent.
Very often we don’t get to use our training. We’re told to go here, say this in this way, and then do it fifteen more times, and that’s completely okay. It’s a job and we get paid to do it. But seeing everyone in that room be in their element, attacking the work, bringing their perspective and being unafraid to voice their stance was breathtaking and humbling. I was probably the person with the least experience in that room all things considered but even then I was awed and thankful to be in the room. To have your words, your characters, your themes debated, broken down, and then stitched back together into something better before your eyes by a group of talented artists, it’s an experience that I’ll never forget.
And then, Big Beau finally showed up.
We continued to work as he prepped, ironed a lot of stuff out. By then we had broken into little groups. Big Beau had one scene, but it was the fulcrum that we build a big portion of the work on. We had been struggling for weeks to get someone who could land the role, but no dice. Without that scene, it leaves us on precarious footing. So, we ran it.
And the whole room knew we had it.
The last piece fell into place. Lines that hadn’t worked before all of a sudden did. The focus of the room was drawn directly into the rehearsal and after the second take, Wayne wrapped it up. Day 1 was in the bag. Not that each scene was perfect, but the bones are there, the structure is there, and if this is the floor, it’s our job to build that ceiling as high as we can push it.
After that we went out to eat and ride out the vibes for the rest of it. The road ahead only gets harder from here, but for a few hours, to see where the whole thing could come out, it was exhilarating. That’s usually when the floor falls out from under you, so you go back to the grind and trust the process.
But still, not a bad first day. Now for the crew.