Friday, April 20, 2012

Long (and Lucrative) Day

Oh, boy, am I tired.

We had a mercifully late call out to Boardwalk Empire yesterday...mercifully, because they decided we should self-report; i.e., get there on our own instead of providing a van.  In my case, for an 8:45 am report time, this meant leaving the house at 6:30 and taking the M14  bus to 1st Avenue and 14th Street followed by the L train to Lorimer, followed by the G train to Green Point Avenue.  God bless them, they did provide a van at the subway stop, because we were in holding/wardrobe/makeup/hair at our basic set, the actual Boardwalk set, which isn't anywhere you can get to easily.  I was actually early at the subway station, even though I originally got on the wrong G train - going in the wrong direction - and had to backtrack a few stations.  Luckily I noticed this (always look up your subway stations) before it got too crazy.  This sort of thing (not to mention the occasional and often bizarre problems that occur on NYC public transportation - you know, body on the track, police activity, fleeing suspect, dog never know) is why I tend to leave early.

Anyway, into holding, wardrobe (my God, they really do hate me with that damned costume...I couldn't look worse...oh, wait, yes, I could - see below), hair, which they proceeded to destroy by deciding to spray my gray streaks (well, I've been so flying broke I couldn't afford to dye it before the shoot, and anyway I figured that if I was a toothless old broad in a dive bar, the gray streaks were appropriate) with some kind of color spray to hide them.  The resllt of this is that my hair was not only teased and hairsprayed, but covered in this gook that made the whole thing feel like cement.  And Lisa, the head of costumes, was annoyed because she agreed with me that the gray would have been totally appropriate.  So nice to be vindicated.

Then breakfast and a van to the set, which was a dive bar a few blocks away.  I don't think it was purpose-built for the show, because if they were going to do that, they simply would have built it at Steiner Studios, where most of the interiors are shot.  But it was appropriately disheveled and smoky(causing me a good bit of nostalgia for the old days when you didn't have to get up and go outside to have a damn cigarette in a bar).

They seated me right in front of the camera, out came the teeth, and there I will be, ladies and gentlemen, in Episode 4, laughing uproariously with my head thrown back, my mouth wide open...and no teeth.  I can't WAIT to see this one.

It was an odd day in one respect.  While I know a lot of the regular crew on the set (well, after three years I damn well should, and besides that, you meet them on other sets, too), and they always greet me when I turn up, yesterday I was flavor of the month.  Everybody knew my name, everybody was very busy trying to accommodate me in one way or was fascinating.  Of course, this was because you see, it turned out that I was the only person on the set minus teeth.  Therefore I was just as visible as hell (gumming my way through the day and doing that great big horselaugh) and I think that people were completely fascinated that I would do the thing at all.  And boy, were they determined that I'd be visible...Ingrid the makeup gal came by about every five minutes to smear more red lipstick on me to make SURE people could see my mouth.  Um...thanks, I think.  Of course, on any period set, you get used to people wandering around and suddenly darting at you with powder or lipstick or coming out of nowhere to readjust your hat or stick another bobby pin in your get so that you really barely notice the fact that people are picking at the hair on your neck or twitching at your hat or whatever.

And it went on and on and on.  Lately I've been doing quite short shoots on 6 hours or something...but this was an old-fashioned in it for the duration at 8:45 am on the clock, signed out at 11:30 pm.  Plus three meal penalties (we ate lunch at 5:30 pm), smoke pay, some night differential, for a glorious total of 13.8 hours.  This means that my paycheck will be a fairly hefty one...over 300 bucks.

And boy, can I use the money.  I am so broke.  The problem, of course, is that you have to wait for your checks from movie companies.  The prison shoot for Bitter Pill hasn't paid me yet, but that check should, please God, be arriving within the next couple of days.  I was hoping for it today, but no such luck.  Tomorrow, please God.  I've got just enough money (if I ration cigarettes) to get through tomorrow and get the Sunday papers (on Sunday...duh), but Monday will be interesting to say the least.  This sort of thing is terribly annoying because I've got all this money in the pipeline...the Bitter Pill check and my tax refunds (and Boardwalk, of course, but that'll be a week and a half).  Oh, well.  I always manage to survive.  If worst comes to worst, since I sensibly bought a new Metrocard yesterday, I'll go see Sarah on Sunday and beg a pack of cigarettes from her. 

It was a pleasure...if an exhausting be out on a good old fashioned long Boardwalk day.  It's by far my favorite show to work, and the usual players were there, so there was lots of good talk with us old hands showing off for the newbies and goofing around and the odd conversations you tend to have in holding.  There was one conversation about men's underwear, for some reason or other that I forget, for one yesterday.

And when I was changing to finally come home (yes, of course we had a van was after 9 pm, and them's the rules), one of the costume gals told me that she had just loved my laughing turn..."There was such pure joy on your face!"  I may marry that child.

Now I'm going to submit for a Law & Order that just turned up in my inbox and seems to be filming right here in the neighborhood.  Wish me luck!

Love, Wendy (otherwise known as Tessie the Toothless)

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