Past Tense: My Background as an Actor

Past Tense: My Background as an Actor

Tune your TV to Joan of Arcadia on Feb. 25th (episode Shadows and Light) and you may just see me! Of course, since most of you have NO idea what I look like, it probably won’t make any difference, but if you care to look, I’m the lady talking to Haylee Duff when the parent teacher night scene opens.

Ah the glamour, the glitz, the fourteen hour days spent mostly with my butt in a hard metal chair. Still, I’m not complaining (okay, I was complaining but I’m over it). Being an extra on a TV show is an experience like no other. Being the TV freak that I am, I just love the whole structure that is production. The lights, the cameras, the actors repeating the same four lines over and over and over again.

Over the last ten years, I’ve watched the filming of a number of shows and movies, many Buffy eps, Cradle 2 Grave, Martial Law, Idle Hands (with Seth Green), still there’s something exciting about hearing that director yell ACTION and knowing he means YOU! (and thirty other people, but still. . . )

All of this is part of my mid-life crisis quest to do what I always wanted to do – be a part of movie making. It’s why I studied to be an actress in NY at the age of twenty. Why I moved to Southern California at the age of thirty and . . . how I ended up as a teacher, purchasing manager, bakery receptionist, Gymboree store manager, admin assistant. . . I’ll never know.

What I do know is that a lot of my friends (particularly my virtual ones like Shannon in Canada) encouraged me to throw caution to the wind, the bills down the garbage disposal and my sanity into the closet – all in the name of doing what I really want. (Or what I think I really want).

Right now, I’m really teetering, not sure if this is the life I imagined it to be. Too early to tell. Stick around and see how it all turns out because next week, I’m on to phase two. Cross your fingers and don’t miss Joan of Arcadia on Feb. 25th.


* I was cleaning out my old computer discs and found a bunch of entries from an online journal I as keeping at the time. I thought they were worth sharing again, so no, you’re not confused, Joan of Arcadia is no longer on the air.

As I recall, you only see a quick glimpse of me in the episode. I thought that since I was standing right next to one of the stars at the start of the scene, I’d have more screen time. Alas, I didn’t. It was a long, boring, unfriendly (what’s with these extras!) day and in many ways it put me off working as an extra. Thinking back on it, I think it was my worst on-set experience. My best was when I worked on Blue Collar TV, but that’s a story for another day, or for that book that I keep swearing I’m going to write. Would you read it if I did?

Original publication date:

Sunday, February 13, 2005*

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