As many of you already know I have been an Actor in films and episodic television for some time. I enjoy working in front of the camera, I enjoy the people, the pressure and working with really talented artists. I’m not just talking about the talent, but the crew as well. From Grip to Greensman, from Director to PA, they are all artists.
I have just recently started working in front of the camera again. I had taken a break for a while to work on other projects that interested me. For us Actors, sometimes that can be very rewarding. Other times it’s a career killer. For ME it was rewarding.
I stayed in the business, I was a Locations Manager for Viacom for a while, found places to shoot things like “Ladybugs”, and “Father Dowling” and “Perry Mason” TV movies. Denver was nice, and we shot a LOT down there.
Then Raymond Burr died.
I moved up to Portland Oregon. At first I enjoyed the green culture (Not THAT green culture!) and the fresh air. I explored photography, started an Indie film Company that won a small award one year at Palm Springs International, and even met my future wife. All good things. But I’m an Actor, an Entertainer.
I volunteered in children’s theater, caught some roles in adult theater, and then started doing commercials again.
It’s a weird thing this Acting gig, sometimes the work just finds you, even if your hiding from it.
Finally I got a small role in a Harrison Ford/ Brendan Fraser film called “Extraordinary Measures”. I was slowly getting hooked again. It didn’t take much. I was still on the fence about really JUMPING back into that whole world. I was not 12 years old and working on a show like “Father Murphy” anymore. I was never a big name, I’m a working Actor, and if I DID jump back in, it would be just that, a whole lot of work. A lot of thoughts crossed my mind. I would have to move BACK to L.A. , what would my new fiance’ think? She had not really signed on for the type of bull you can run into in this industry, and I’m older now, I’m a “New” product, as someone I know had recently mentioned…he was not talking about me personally, but he was right. It’s true of all “Child” Actors that take on the business later on in life.
And then came “Leverage”.
I went onto that set my first day as an Extra, pretty much at the bottom end of the food chain. I went in with four or five OTHER Extras that had been called and we did what you do on set all day. Keep quiet and hurry up and wait. I had a lot of time to watch and reflect. Did I really want to do this again? The long days that turn into even longer nights? The auditions, the rejection, the running around in L.A. traffic.
I guess one of the Grips had kind of been watching me. He was a Teamster type, 300lbs of tough. I saw him walk up to me and right away I thought I must be in the way of something. Teamsters are always telling people to get out of the way, but hey, THAT’S THEIR JOB! Much to my surprise he hands me a cold bottle of water and says “Hey, are you ok? You look like a guy in deep thought”.
I had not heard that from a Teamster/Grip before, and surely never my first day on set. I was an Extra, a stranger.
We chatted a lot during the couple of days of that first episode of Leverage. I felt comfortable and welcome, in FACT I went back to do TWO more episodes. I met up with him again at my last Leverage episode, “Reunion” (Season 3) and we had lunch together. Leverage is shot in Portland, and my choice had been made. I moved back to L.A. and it was not long before I started finding work, and it started finding me. I’m a lucky guy, I get to do what I like and what makes me happy..I also get paid for it. My Fiance’ had decided and we jumped into this together and things are GREAT. I learned that not everyone in this business is an ass. Not Everyone is a shark. Don’t get me wrong there ARE those out there, but you attract what you put out. I was back.
So what’s the icing on the cake?
I get a Tweet from Dean D. from Leverage, a public Tweet that there will be a special SNEEK preview of the show at the DGA Theater, and if you RSVP you could get a ticket to see it. We went, and one of the episodes they screened was the one I was in. What a treat!
After the screening I got to chat with a fellow Actor that was a Guest Star in that same episode who was genuinely glad to see me, as was Dean. I felt at home, like I had never left L.A.! It felt nice.
When you work on a TV show for any length of time you bond with your cast mates. I still talk to friends from shows years back, and some of them even come on my talk show now and then. But it’s RARE to find a group of people that make you feel so at home on set as they did on Leverage. It’s not such a bad business after all.
All because one crew member handed me a bottle of ice water.