Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Tough Job of Acting

A few years ago, I sat on a staircase for an afternoon. The staircase seemed like it was at a tropical retreat. If you went up the stairs, I think there was some rooms up there, but not sure. The hallway was long, the floor tiled, but at each end of the hallway, nothing, just open. Outside the windows, palm trees. And a craft services table. I was on the Sony lot and they were filming one of those horror-lite movies that there was a slew of in the early 2000's. I think it was one of the "I Know What You Did" movies. I never actually saw the movie.

But I sat there for an entire afternoon and in front of me, over and over and over again, one of the characters interacted with the bellhop who lifted suitcases from the floor, placed them on the luggage cart. And then they'd yell cut, the luggage would move back to the floor and they'd do it again.

It's amazing when you are able to spot errors in movies, since they do things so many times trying to get it just right. And at the same time, it's not at all surprising, because if you've done it that many times and a mistake gets in, you're probably just hoping no one will notice it and call it good.

And at the same time, there's lots of down-time. Waiting for setups, not being needed in a scene, etc. And then when you're done, you're done. I can see why actors like movies.

But television... if you're an actor, you're probably a really creative person. And then you do television where you're asked to become this character and hold it for as long as possible. Even your haircuts have to be approved. That's gotta really be difficult. Which makes it all the more understandable when someone leaves a show despite having it made, making sometimes more than a million dollars for a single episode (obscene!). As an audience, we want it to go on forever, the shows become a part of our life, something that's the same and predictable even as the rest of life has its ups and downs. So when shows go on for a long time, I think we underappreciate the sacrifices the actors make.

Now... doing the exact same show every night on Broadway.. that's just someone who has a need to torture themselves.
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