There is certain rhythm that you fall into once you do enough work. The cycle of audition, rejection, audition, then (hopefully) small success. Rinse and repeat.
I was obviously over the moon about this job, but I knew in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t amount to much. But to me, it was everything. It was a step, validation, amongst a lot of other things. That excitement and giddiness would be something that I would have to carry within myself for the time being.
The day finally arrived and I went to meet my pickup downtown. I don’t care how excited you are for something, if you’re supposed to be up between four and five AM, there is no amount of cheer that gets you in the right head space. Groggily getting to the car is all that you can really do.
Once I landed on set, it was evident that the crew had been working overtime. I found out that the episode that I was shooting was the final one. Everyone looked and felt a bit browbeaten, but they were still in relatively high spirits. Like I said, I had worked with these guys before, but I think this was a new level for everyone involved, myself included.
I greeted everyone and I ate my customary (terrible) breakfast of black coffee and fruit snacks. Listen, there’s a reason why craft services exists, and it’s just to get me through the beginning of the day.
Things that have changed from year one to year two. Going through hair, makeup, and wardrobe has gone from a novel experience to something of a meditative experience. It’s a moment where you have minimal interaction with people and can get your bearings. I then popped over to the costume designer Hannah, and marveled at her work. We talked about our love of all things Mouse, and then she showed me some of the designs that she had to make for the show, and well, I actually can’t wait for you to see what she came up with.
My call time was way before we had to get started, so I was able to roam the grounds. The location we were shooting at that day was a zoo. Wandering the paths just after sunrise was a surreal experience. All the animals had just gotten up and all the keepers were getting them fed. As we had nothing to do, we were invited to get an up close and personal view of everything. This meant the start of the day was greeting sea lions, spider monkeys, and a whole array of other creatures. The most striking thing however, were a pair of male peacocks that were allowed to roam the grounds at will. These magnificent birds would leap, preen, and caw at just about anything, but it was all forgotten when they displayed their beautiful plumage. Literally everyone on set was taking pictures.
As the cameras were getting set and we were getting set with mics, the director was running us through the gamut and the work with the effects team. It was absolutely nuts when a representative showed up, I can’t speak for everyone, but my hair definitely stood up a little bit.
It is different when you’re on the inside of the magic, knowing that you’re hopefully making something that will bring joy to people. I’ve been on enough sets, big ones, small ones, ones with millions in backing, ones where you’re filming on an iPhone; but this had a different energy. I won’t spoil anything, but it was a really fun (but exhausting) day of filming. The whole thing was released last Friday on the Mouse’s new streaming service.
My personal and secret goal for 2019 was to be cast as a principal on a show. I was fortunate enough for that to come to pass in May. I know that it’s a tiny bit, but it’s still a victory. If I was able to travel back in time and tell myself when I decided to start my career over that in a little less than two years I’d have this thing under my belt, well, I’m not sure exactly how I would react.
One of the things you realize is that every line in a movie or a television show can be a monumental achievement in someone’s journey. I never used to think like that, but now it makes me try to appreciate each part of a work, no matter how slight it may seem on the outside.
It was thrilling and sobering at the same time to finally have achieved this. I realized that I was lucky to be in the position to be that I was in; lucky to be afforded the opportunities, and lucky to be able-bodied and willing to maximize those opportunities. So then the question is…