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From the desk of….. Non-Descript Passerby

June 17, 2011

I’m writing this blog in the background actor holding area near the set of a big time TV show.

Like many of you, I do do background work, to help pay the bills. And yes, I did mean that double verb in the previous sentence because, let’s face it, doing background work can often make you feel like do do.

So I’ve developed a strategy to make it through the long and sometimes soul-destroying  days.

There are other well-written blogs on the practicalities of doing background work (how to dress, how to act, what to bring, etc.) So I wanted to give you my idea on how to just stay positive.  And yes, I’m partly trying to convince myself! (remember, I am sitting in holding right now. And I was just told by a Wardrobe Assistant, WHO WAS DRINKING A CUP OF COFFEE, that she could not answer my question, “Excuse me, where is the coffee?”  She said she would only answer questions about wardrobe…… NOT that she didn’t KNOW where the coffee is, but that SHE WOULDN’T ANSWER THE QUESTION BECAUSE IT WAS NOT ABOUT WARDROBE….yes, it can be like that on set …. But back to being postitive……  🙂 🙂 🙂

I give myself a challenge every time I work background to learn something…. Often, it’s the title and responsibilities of a crew member that I learn (so I now know what those long lists of credits at the end of a film really mean.)  Sometimes, it’s watching the principals’ behavior (good or bad) that teaches me what kind of actor I want to be. Still, other times, it’s just a simple tip about living that I learn on set (like that your SAG card gets you two free tickets to the first screening of the day at Pavilion Theatre in Park Slope—I would have never known that if another background actor and I hadn’t chatted on set one day).

It’s simple, but it’s a strategy that keeps my mind out of the do do.  Maybe all you other BG’s out there can fill us in our your ideas for staying positive on set?

Oh, and Bemba is a language spoken in Zambia. Who knew?  Well, this other background actor working today who speaks it fluently.  Today’s lesson complete. And the coffee… it was right in the back room here in holding.  I found it myself, thank you very much.

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 17, 2011 2:38 pm

    I love this way of thinking about it. I had to take a break from doing background work because I started feeling like a bitter actor and I never want to be that person. Will definitely do this next time I work as the “non-descript passerby”! 🙂

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