Patrick will be starring in the Last Cyclist at the West End Theater this May - June. Click here for info

Sunday, January 22, 2006

I'm Going to be on Law & Order: SVU!!

Acting work on Law & Order

Today I was lucky enough to be called in for background extra work on Law&Order: SVU. There is nothing glamorous about background work. It is goofy cheesy work and your only job is to fill in the spaces between the professinal actors. However, every striving young actor pays his or her dues as an extra be it in a film or a television series.

The shoot was easy and luckily it was a beautiful New York winter day. Somewhere in the 50 degree area I think. We were cast as a group of protestors complaining about genetically engineered foods. A worthy cause I think. Two of the main female actresses were in this
particular scene.

At this point I should say that I have no idea who they are. I never watch the show. I am not a big TV fan. This, coming from an actor. Funny.

A lot of people, when you tell them you filmed a scene for such and such a show, are impressed and very interested in any details you can provide. Well, I’m sorry. I have no interesting details. It is long, boring work. We do the same scene over and over again. Af few rehearsals no actors. A few with actors. A few with cameras and no actors. A few with everybody. Then they film a few.

After that, we do the same thing, but with a different camera angle. Fun times, huh?
The most enjoyable things about it though are the professional background actors. These are the people that are not going to go anywhere in the business because they choose not to. This is what they do and they have built a whole little world and career around them. There is this whole network of actors who know eachother from doing film and TV background work. They all drop names like Tarantino, and Spielberg. The truth is, you probably could never pick them out in the film since there are so many extras in these things.

We do it because it’s a necessary step in the career of an actor (usually). But these other actors who take it way too seriously are hilarious. They are those people we all come in contact with. The loud, boisterous social butterflys who like to show that they know everyone. One came up to me, gave me a hug and said, “Its so good to see you, how is your wife.”

I’m not married and have never seen this woman before in my life.

So there are the actors like me, getting our minimum wage and hoping this could lead to bigger things, the show off actors who only do background work(because in this little world they feel they are somebody), and then the third group.

This last group is the socially inept group. They try to make jokes, but fail miserably. Examples: I am sitting on a wooden platform with one of these actors waiting for the director to come talk to us. This actor, after some time thinking about this joke, turns to me and says, “we’re sittingon wood.” Then he proceeds to laugh at his well crafted bomb of a joke. Nothing funny about this. But me, idiot that I am, politely chuckle hoping he’ll stop. Nope. This is fuel for his comedic talent and proceeds to fire a bevy of horrible and tasteless jokes at me.

Eventually I am resued by the director only to be placed next to this tall, lanky, somewhat smelly fellow who is railing against Bush, and how the picket signs we are holding were not constructed to the proper code. Excuse me? We were playing hippie protestors…there is no code.

The only real defense…run. As fast as you can, drun away and hope that a casting director or agent or someone in the biz will see you and help you get away from the professional background actors’ politics, and the socially inept actors’ tasteless jokes and annoying rants.

Other than that, I’m gonna be on Law & Order: SVU. The Episode title is INFORMED.
Look for it. I’m the mop-headed actor in the big green military jacket. I’m sure you can see me laughing at all the absurdity around me.