From Slacker Stoner To Uniformed Officer
So we're two weeks in to our Indiegogo campaign for Dave and Greg and the pilot is almost at 1,000 views! Which is pretty exciting, and although the donations aren't coming in as quickly as we all would like (sorry just being honest here), the feedback and support from friends and family has been incredibly positive and I'm sure I can speak for all of us in saying that we know we've created something incredibly entertaining and funny. If you're reading this and you haven't watched the pilot or checked out our campaign page head over to daveandgreg.com and give it a look. If you like comedies like Clerks or It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia... This show is right up your alley. We have some great perks, and a lot of extra footage there too! Including a great little nod to The Breakfast Club.
Okay enough with the senseless plugging and on with my little story.
I'm just one of the blurry guys
Two days after the Dave and Greg pilot launched I was just lounging around, completely full of nerves and extremely self conscious. It's strange that I've written/directed nine short films, I can get up in front of a room full of strangers and try to make them laugh, I maintain this blog, and a podcast and although each of these things come with some nervousness and complete uncertainty it was nothing like I had been feeling for those two days. I was terrified, almost cripplingly so. I had never felt this self conscious about anything creative I've put out into the world before. Luckily someone put it into perspective with one simple sentence:
"The reason you're so nervous Matt is because you know it's really great, and that you're really great in it."
Now I've never really considered myself an actor, and I've addressed that a few times in past posts. But from all the feed back I was receiving it turns out I'm alright at it. That new information about myself was really what I was trying to digest that day. And how did I digest it? What's my process? Lounging around on the couch and playing Assassin's Creed: Black Flag. Gary Oldman would be proud right?
I took a break from pillaging ships, and assassinating random soldiers to hop on Facebook to pimp the show a little more. That's when I saw a post from fellow Hamilton comedian Manolis Zontanos, he's a hilarious dude definitely check him out and say hi on Twitter. Manolis' status was a brief three sentences:
"If you're a dude and interested in doing extra work tomorrow in Hamilton for $150 for a tv show. You have to be clean-shaven and you will be playing a cop. If interested inbox me and I will give you the contact number to call."
So I quickly private messaged him and within less than two hours I had gotten in contact with the casting agency and received all my maps and call times for the show. Now I'm sure a lot of you know I've done a bunch of extra work. Sorry, "background performer" some actors get really upset when you use the term "extra." I have no idea why, maybe it's an ego thing I'll never understand.
In many ways extra work is incredibly easy. The only down side for a lot of people who try it is the hours upon hours spent just sitting around. This is another thing that always baffles me. You're telling me sitting around waiting to "make pretend," even in a minute way, while eating free catered food and getting paid for it is a struggle?? Jesus, I think you've made the wrong career choice. Even in the heaviest of prosthetic make up roles I've done I never bitch, or whine, or complain because even when you're an extra this gig is awesome!
Luckily for me there wasn't much waiting around in background holding for me on this shoot. As soon as I arrived I was rushed through make up and wardrobe and sent right to set. The entire day the only times I left was to sneak a quick cigarette, and when we broke for lunch. The rest of the time I was right there in the thick of it. Which, for me, is my favourite part and a really great way to further my skills as a filmmaker.
I try to give this advice to a lot of people who ask me about making movies or tv shows, and are debating about going to film school. Most of the technical stuff you can learn from a book, but one of the best ways is to get a job on a set. It doesn't matter if you're a P.A. (production assistant), helping craft service, or even working as a grip. By just being there you can see how a set is run and by just watching what the Director and D.O.P. (Director of Photography) do with their set ups and camera movement you can learn from both their victories and mistakes. It's getting paid to learn something you love.
With this shoot I do what I always tend to do when I'm not needed in the shot. I quietly position myself out of the way of the rest of the crew where I can see the monitor. This way I'm watching exactly what the Director is for every shot I'm not in. It's nerdy I know, but it's also extremely helpful in my own work.
What do you see?
I have to admit when I was emailed my call sheet and the map to the studio I was initially confused by the show. Not because I couldn't find the location, it was the title of the project. The show is called See No Evil. Now my immediate reaction was probably the same as yours. "You mean they made a TV series out of those two horrible slasher movies starring the Kane the pro wrestler?" Nope. Turns out it's a completely different thing.
After I quick IMDb search it turns out this See No Evil is in its second season on the Slice network. It's one of those true crime/reenactment shows that pretty much every woman I know seems to love. You know the ones that take a true story and then utilizing a lot of voice over, and actors they reenact the crime. The twist for this one is there's a lot of security camera footage. Now I'm not shitting on the show or the producer's concept of how to make it different from the 10,000 other shows like this. I'm just trying to paint a picture. I will say that everyone involved in this show was fantastic and extremely approachable.
As the day wore on, I started giggling to myself. Here I was standing in a mock up of a police station, in full uniform, relentlessly trying to help my superiors track down this suspect, and less than a week before I was a lazy pot head sitting on the couch. Who's only motivation is to score more dope, and convince my best friend he shouldn't get married. It was at that moment that I realized I'd found a new creative outlet that I love.
As I said before, "I never really saw myself as an actor." But it turns out that, deep down, I just might be.