You audition for a part, you don’t hear back, you act all “Frozen” and “let it go”, then you have 14 minutes to pack for your shoot in Baltimore tomorrow….
And with that, I announced to the world – specifically Facebook World – that I’d booked another TV show – all while barreling towards Baltimore on a high-speed train and feeling pretty fly, which I think was a very cool expression 10 years ago.
Getting cast on VEEP happens so quickly it is still sinking in even as I sink into my puffy bed at the Hilton. Suddenly, as I lie there, I’m hit with the realization that I have been freezing, needlessly, for hours. I’m outta NYC and in civilization, baby, where they have crazy modernities like CENTRAL HEAT. I literally leap for the thermostat with joyful vigor, setting it at a Floridian 74 degrees. Yessss. This is Luxury. I mean, I’ve got CABLE, people. And more free bottled water than I can possibly drink by 7am. Because it is 1am. And I’m not thirsty.
I stop writing and make myself drink more. Because free water tastes better. So instead of sleeping, I’m drinking. And then the thinking starts.
How do I turn my 8 seconds worth of words into a recurring character role?
Now the REAL question behind the question is: How do I get to stay in free hotels and drink free water and eat free breakfast and enjoy central heat and fall asleep watching HGTV on a regular basis? And I haven’t even mentioned the fancy high-speed luxury train ride and shiny black car with my name on it waiting for me. All true events. I feel like I accidentally stepped into a movie. Only it’s better than a movie because:
1. This car service is so fancy that instead of a paper sign, they use an iPad to let the world know this ride belongs to FAXAS
2. This is not a movie.
This is the moment we need to bring it down. Dim the lights. Slow the music. Keep it real.
I want this. Oh. So. Badly.
I heart my life. Absolutely. But I WANT THIS so much that I’m contemplating what happens if I don’t check out and just keep showing up to set every day.
I’m a visitor. But I want to be a resident. Capiche?
But enough of my yearnings….
Let’s discuss what it’s really all about: Craft Services.
CBS’s Person of Interest had excellent espresso, but too many carbs throughout my 13-hour day, ensuring I would starve. How would VEEP stack up?
Through the magic of writing, it is now 7 hours later and I can tell you this: I have no idea. I partake of the free breakfast at the Hilton, wisely, because once I get to set, There Is No Time. I am whisked from makeup to hair to wardrobe to set without pause. I meet all manner of Very Important People (VIPs) within 19 seconds, forgetting all their names in the immediate ensuing 10 seconds.
Overnight, Very Important Things (VITs) have happened. Things that have tripled my lines from one to three. I internally rejoice/frantically memorize as a microphone is being snaked up my purple top by a nice fellow named I-don’t-remember. Wardrobe has blessedly dressed me in a color that flatters my redheadedness.
I nail my part to my director’s liking in 4 takes. All this happens before 10am. Take that, HBO.
Now back to my evaluation of the food situation aka Craft Services. I still don’t know.
Because I’ve slept for 3.5 hours, I suddenly Can’t Go On. This collapse occurs aproximately 2 minutes after I complete taping. I return to my designated “room” in a trailer and maybe I fall asleep. Maybe I don’t. Maybe I cannot tell if I’m asleep or awake. It’s like that. But let’s just say I’m not moving for about an hour. And when I arise, I’m cranky and looking for craft services because Crankarella needs caffeine.
That’s when I discover the Epic Fail. THERE IS NO ESPRESSO ON SET.
I needed to give you time to let that sink in.
NO. ESPRESSO. But I’m nothing in life if not a fighter/survivor and a silver-lining-searcher. So I find a Coke Zero and some cheese sticks. And some dried cranberries. And a bag of salted peanuts. And a s’mores granola bar. And a pack of gum. And a Nutella travel pack. And another bottle of free-water-that-is-more-delicious-than-paid-water. And before I can visit the Craft Services for the 3rd time, I’m intercepted with the news that I’ve “been released”!
Within 20 minutes, I’m being driven to the train station by a perfectly lovely Teamster from Gettysburg who doesn’t remind me of Al Capone at all. Another luxurious train ride awaits me, during which I absolutely cannot sleep and text like a madwoman. Or like the average teenage girl. Then there’s another shiny black car temporarily named FAXAS awaiting me. And a plush ride to my front door where the fact that there is stop-and-go rush hour traffic matters not one whit because I’m in no hurry to end the glamorous life and am half asleep anyway. And while it’s true that I never experience a full on-set craft services meal on VEEP, somehow, the silver-lining-finder in me says “it’s okay anyway” and tells me that “next time”, a proper craft services experience awaits me. And central heat. And cable.
Until next time, alternative life……Until next time.