Thursday, February 15, 2007

Pretty Pretty Pics

The last installment of the "30 Rock" trilogy is coming, I swear. But in the meantime, I have posted some vintage pics on my Flickr page. Check them out, and leave some comments so I know you were there!

Love ya...


Friday, February 9, 2007

"30 Rock": Part II

In mid January I got a call from the background casting director for “30 Rock” asking if I would be available to stand in for Jane Krakowski for two days at the end of the week. Jane’s regular stand-in, who was also her stand-in for “Ally McBeal,” was on vacation. And of course I said yes. Stand-in work is really great- the principals (actors with lines) first rehearse the scene with the director and the stand-ins watch and mentally record all of their movements. The principals then head over to makeup and wardrobe, so stand-ins are needed by the crew to help set lighting levels and focus the camera. When the crew is set, the principals come back and the stand-ins get to watch the scene get filmed. It pays a little better than background work, and you get to feel like you are part of the crew building a great production.

Plus, because you are a stand-in you get to be around the principals as they are preparing for the scene, which means you can learn a lot from them, as well as converse when appropriate. When I arrived at the set, I delighted to find out that the same director who directed me in the flashback scene was also the director on this episode. (Directors tend to alternate episodes because when one episode is in post-production, the next episode is currently shooting, so unless there is a hiatus a director cannot often work on back to back episodes). I was telling a fellow stand-in about my experience the first time on the “30 Rock” set, and just as I finished to story the director, Don Scardino, walked by and said, “Hi, there. Nice to see you again!” My fellow stand-in turned to me and said, “Wow- he remembers you. That is a really good sign.”

Day 1: Cold cold Cold cold COLD!

The first day we were on location at various spots in midtown and the scenes we shot involved Tina Fey, Tracy Morgan, Jane Krakowski, Rachel Dratch and several of the other series regulars. However, much of the day we were shooting outdoors, so the principals spent their time in the trailers while we and the crew braved the cold winds. But I did get to talk to Jane for a bit about the sad news that she would not be able to do the Broadway run of “Xanadu.” I would have loved to have seen her in that. It was interesting to start to see Jane, and other mega-stars, as people like you and me. Jane and a few others were talking about a scene they shot previously which portrays Jane’s character, Jenna, as a un-American terrorist. Jane was talking about the fact that she was worried that some people will, without having watched the show to catch the humorous context of the “terrorist” label, hear about this and believe it to be personally true about Jane. She explained that people, especially in middle America, tend to blend the characters they watch with the people portraying them. It really put a spotlight on some of the downsides of being famous. I left that evening with a truer sense of what it means to be a professional actor.

Day 2: Dear Diary Moment

On the second day, we were in the studio shooting several scenes. Jane had the day off, so I stood in for a few guest stars instead. The highlight of my day was watching one of the scenes between Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, and two other very funny actors. Man, it is really great to see comic genius at work. (The episode is slated to air in two weeks, so make sure you have that stuff TiVo’d, yo.) As a stand-in, your job is to anticipate when they need you and make sure you are not in anyone’s way the rest of the time. When they call cut and indicate they are moving on to the next camera angle, you rush in to take the mark of the principal you are covering. Oftentimes, this means that you witness some very funny conversations that happen between the principals and the crew. As I slipped onto my mark, Alec Baldwin and the director were joking about something and were laughing, while I stood not two feet away trying not to listen in. So, it was a big surprise to me when Alec looks at me and asks,

Alec: Wow- what color are your eyes?” (And I was wearing glasses, so he really had to look hard!)
Erin: (pull off glasses and leaning forward) They are hazel. But they change color depending on what I am wearing or how angry I am.
Alec: They are just the most fantastic color. Amazing.
Director: (looking on, approvingly)
Erin: (starting to blush) Thanks... Ok, I am starting to blush now. See that? You made me blush.
Alec: (laughs)
Erin: I’m gonna write about you in my diary tonight. Dear Diary- Today, Alec Baldwin said I have...
Alec: No, no. Just use initials.
Erin: Ok. Dear Diary: A.B. said I have...
Alec: No, no. Just use “A.”
Erin: Right-o. Just “A.” Got it.

As soon as I got off set I immediately texted Tom to tell him about it. He told his friends I was gonna sleep with “A.” As if.

Well, the best part of this whole thing was that the director was standing there the whole time. And, remember, this was the director who said he wanted to see me read for him sometime. So, the fact that I had some sort of appeal to Alec and that the director thought I had a good look hopefully has created some sort of value for me in his eye. After that, I wanted to be sure I found a way to let the director know that I’d still like to be considered for a role next time one became available. So, at the end of the shoot, I went up to him, handed him my business card and said, “I have had such a great time these past few days. I would love to have the chance to read for you. Here is my card. I’ll make sure the casting agent has my updated information.”

Boo-ya.

Stay tuned for Part III where you’ll find out one of the following:

a) Erin was cited for stalking
b) Erin was banned from the set of 30 Rock
c) Erin miraculously got called in again to stand-in for Jane’s stand-in
d) Erin is now a big fat star, and has an intern write this blog


Wednesday, February 7, 2007

"30 Rock": Part I

Recently I had the extreme pleasure of working on several episodes of “30 Rock”- once on camera as a featured extra, and several times as a stand-in. Not only has it been exciting working on the set and experiencing the talent of Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan and Jane Krakowski (and others), but being there has possibly opened a door to the next level of my career. Yippee!

I have broken this story into 3 parts, not to create a cliffhanger but because I will NEVER write it if I have to do it all at once.

30 Rock- Part I
In late October I got a message from a background casting director who asked, “Hi, Erin. Are you still blonde, a size 4, and wear a size 8 shoe? If so, please give me a call back. I want to submit you for featured background work.” I called back excitedly- “Yes, I am all of those things!” She asked if I had roots (which is fair to ask any blonde). I told her that, if cast, I could easily have them touched up before the shoot. Why? “Because the scene I am submitting you for is a flashback scene to the 70s. We need an All-American school teacher. So it is important that you look just like your headshot. And you have to be that exact size so you can fit into the costume.”

A few days later, I learned that I was selected for the role from the series of headshots provided to the director. I went in to shoot the scene in early November. It was a scene where Jack (Alec Baldwin) has a memory of being 10 years old and in a school play. Flashback: Jack doesn’t want to go on stage, so I (as his teacher) push him on stage. He forgets his line, then shouts, “Line?!? ... Son of a bitch!” All the while wearing a costume that is an ear of corn (it is a school play, after all.) End scene.

While reloading the camera, the director comes on stage to see how to kids are doing- the one playing little Jack (ear of corn) and the other background kid (carton of milk). Both were wearing these huge costumes and wearing colored tights. I was wearing a brown 1970s shift dress and tanned nylons- I looked like a paper bag. The director asks the kids how they are feeling, saying to each individually, “So, how does that costume feel? Are you hot in there?” He then turns to me, and you can see he almost asks the same thing. But he stops himself and says, instead, “Oh, well, you’re probably not hot at all in that costume.” I said, “Oh, I’m hot. Just not the kind you mean.” (I swear, I actually said that. My sense of humor assaults people like Tourette’s)

He laughed (thank dog- score one for Erin). He then says, “Thanks for all of your hard work. You’re very good up here. You know, I picked you from a headshot. And you look just like your picture...” (score two for Erin) “... I should get you in to read for me sometime. Get you some lines.”

(time stands still)

“Uh, yeah, ” I said. “You should!”

(score three for Erin)

I assumed he was just being nice, so I sort of shrugged it off (after doing the lucky dance inside, of course). But at the end of the shoot, he shook my hand and mentioned having me read for him again (mentioning it twice is the international signal for “I’m not kidding.”) I thanked him, said I would love to come in to read for him, and went on my way. He knew where to find me- the casting director had my headshot, so I left it at that.

Sadly, the part of the scene I was in was cut from the actual episode, so I never made it on film. But the good part is, since I was not on that episode it leaves me available to do another episode as another character. Coincidence??? Or careful planning???

Check back for parts II and III, coming shortly...



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