Tuesday, April 23, 2002

OMIGOD!! I didn't get fired, replaced, written out or anything else. Second, thanks Julia Flint and Kimberly Crandell for coming out to support me. It was a pleasant surprise to see the two of you there and it means a lot.

The shoot: After a noon start we had a camera rehearsal to tighten up our movements and work out the new dialogue.

Lunch: Boy are they feeding us well on this gig! This is like mom's cooking! Well, not really but sorta.

I gotta say that so much of what has happened in the last month is kinda surreal for me. I ask myself how these things keep happening. In reality, it is happening in the exact way that I planned, but still.

I've been reading a book about the industry "Showrunners", the ones that really make a lot of the big moves in the TV biz. When the two of them walked by and spoke to me. I just shook my head, after speaking back to them of course. WHAT!!

Not 5 minutes later while I was still reading, two women were coming from the other direction. I was stealing a glance at them thinking I recognized them. They looked at me and spoke; it was Amy & Wendy Engelberg, Executive Producer/Writers of the pilot "So Downtown" I worked on a month ago. It was a very small role that my agent didn't really want me to do, but I felt otherwise. They asked what I was working on and told me that they were still editing their show. They said they'll see me again in the future in a larger role. WHAT!!

The shoot:

We were shooting with a real studio audience, so the energy was great and honest. The "Bonnie Hunt" audience was made up of background actors. As each scene was shot the writers were huddled in front of the monitors and anything that was flat was rewritten on the spot. The actors got new lines right then and there and it was shot again right away. Yup!! Live audience, 4 film cameras running, studio heads, network heads, agents, managers and James Burrows, the top comedy TV director in the business!! ACTION! Cold reading skills are so important. Myself, I only had a 3 lines and nothing changed on set, just several times during the week. I was kinda under the radar, so I could do a lot of observing and learning. The shoot was "smoove like butta", this pilot is hot!! I'm sure NBC will promote it extensively. Also, I'm hearing talk of me being around when it goes in production this summer. We'll see.

Afterwards the producers invited the cast & crew to Mexicali, a nearby restaurant to celebrate. Hopefully, I'll see them in July/August.

Saturday, April 20, 2002

Today we had the studio & network run-thru for "Good Morning, Miami". It was really, really funny stuff. We had a full studio audience and it was filmed with one camera. Myself, I'm just happy to still have a job. In the sitcom world, especially, the script is a moving target. There are constant changes to fine tune. These writers are incredible to say the least. There are 6 regulars and I have seen the guest cast dance like this:

Last Saturday at the table read 5 in the guest cast.

Tuesday 2 in the guest cast.

Wednesday 5 in the guest cast.

Saturday (today) 4 in the guest cast. One role was written out (one of the new ones for Wednesday), one role was totally changed on the spot (she was brand new today). Keep those cold reading skills primed!! The pages we received just before going on stage were still warm!! I and one other actress have remained in every version so far.

At Monday's camera blocking rehearsal we have already been told there will be changes. Not necessarily anyone written in or out, but at least dialogue changes.

Tuesday, we shoot. Who knows maybe I'll actually still have a job. LOL!!

For me, it's fascinating to watch these writers/producers create this stuff first hand, then to be a part of molding and shaping it.

Friday, April 19, 2002

Tonight I attended a rough cut screening of "The Bonnie Hunt Show" pilot. It was hilarious to say the least!! It isn't hard to tell why she is a viable "lead" for a show. She really drives the vehicle. I was barely seen or heard, which I figured would be the case. The part that was interesting was getting all kinds of wonderful marks from Bonnie and the 1st AD. Bonnie was saying that I was the only one of the "production crew" on the show that wasn't a Second City friend from Chicago and that I came right in and was able to keep up. Why thank you, LOL!! It wasn't that hard, I've had lots of cold reading practice. Separately, the 1st was thanking me for being able to switch roles the way I did. I HAD 2 LINES!!! Don't get me wrong, I'm smart enough to know that getting compliments from Bonnie, her writing partner Don Lake, the 1st AD & others is where you wanna be.

I had a great time, but there wasn't a whole lot for me to do. It was a treat just to watch this woman work with her team. What was really cool was when I was leaving the studio and one of the PA's was at the security gate. He had kind words for me. I kinda shrugged it off, but he said that he had seen "all" of the rough footage and I was very funny. I will be surprised if this show isn't on the ABC Fall schedule. For me, it isn't so much about this particular job; it's more the relationships that I am cultivating.

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Just checking in with what has been going on the last couple of days. Tuesday morning I get the scripts for both "Bonnie Hunt" & "Good Morning, Miami". Tuesday is shoot day for "BH" & the first day of rehearsal for "GM, M".

My agents had worked it out and "GM, M" was aware that I wouldn't be there for the first rehearsal. I only had a couple of lines so it didn't seem like a big deal. When I open the "GM, M" script I see that more than half of the guest cast was gone and there were some pretty significant changes in the script. "Omigod, have I been written out?!?!"(I have this thing were I think I am going to replaced everyday, weird huh). No. They wouldn't have sent me a script if I was no longer part of it. So I start looking for the changes. My role had changed a bit, now I was in the opening scene with the series lead and it was more than a couple of lines.

One problem, I WON'T BE THERE TO REHEARSE!! I am @ "BH" shooting! I was curious as to what this would mean, if anything. So the entire day at "BH" and wondering if I am gonna get replaced "GM, M". I am not freaked out about getting replaced, it happens. I sorta feel like I will have arrived when it does happen. I would think that quite a few big name actors have been replaced, fired, written out, sort of a right-of-passage maybe.

Towards the end of the 12 hour day @ "BH" my agent calls with my call time for "GM, M". I'm still employed!! LOL!! I was expecting more changes in the script Wednesday morning. Of course there were changes that included me, plus they added 3 characters. When casting directors' say that things happen fast, they mean it. Keep sending those postcards. The small roles that pop-up at the last minute are, most likely, being cast from their files. It is interesting actually witnessing the process in real time.

Wednesday 9AM-I meet 2 of the 3 new cast members and we table read the new script with director James Burrows. After that, we do a blocking rehearsal. Later we do a run-thru with the producers and entire "Will & Grace" writing staff, working each scene as we go. 4 more days to go, I am curious to see if I will survive the rewrites...........Oh yeah, the third role hadn't been cast yet. Doesn't matter, it was cut during the producer run-thru. Things happen fast.

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

Tonight I finished my week on "The Bonnie Hunt Show" pilot. It was a complete blast. Definitely a loose set to work on. She is truly in the moment. You never know what she is going to say or do. Since she was also directing, it was just a barrel of fun. I just had a couple of lines, but I am her wardrobe person so I stick pretty close to her at all times when we are in the TV studio on the show. David Alan Grier is hysterical to say the least. Many of the cast had worked with Bonnie before; it was like she opened her address book and called her friends. Quite a few being from Chicago's famed Second City. One guy met her last year at a charity event at his school and she told him that if she gets this pilot he'll be in it. He was there on his first TV gig ever.

Talk continued today about my role coming back in the future. We'll see; I am not holding my breath. When I said thanks and goodbye to her tonight she even said I'll be back. Anyway when this show goes into production this summer make it your business to get on it. Not only is she very talented person to work with. She is wonderful woman; very working-class. She told me that she got a few breaks early in her career that encouraged her to keep going. You might think that she would be going nuts since she is the Star, Producer, Writer and Director of the show. She was cool as ever.

Saturday, April 13, 2002

Today I participated in the table read for "Good Morning, Miami". For me, it is almost surreal to get to rub elbows with the people that I have since moving to LA. This was no exception, when we read Suzanne Pleshette was on my left and premier TV director James Burrows was on my right. I asked myself "how did I get here"? First we read it for James and Dave Kohan & Max Mutchnick; they are the writers/producers of "Will & Grace" and are behind this pilot as well. It was very well received by just us in the room. Forty-five minutes later we were scheduled to read it again for the network brass. The producers wanted all us to stay in the bungalow so that we would be presented to the network as a team. There were 40-45 people in the room. It was just weird to walk in have all these people applauding us. "How did I get here?"

Anyway we read it again with great responses from the room. You can really tell why these actors are working constantly; they really take the words and give them life. The show is already picked up for 13 episodes and since I have a very small, but sorta significant role there is talk of it recurring. Time will tell. I finish "The Bonnie Hunt Show"on Tuesday & start "GM, M" on Wednesday.

Friday, April 12, 2002

Alright, I'm still employed!! Today we had the run-thru for the network (ABC). They are the powers that be and their opinions count. It went well and, to me, things look really good. There is a bit of talk about my new role recurring. Wouldn't that be nice? A couple of series regulars and even casting is saying "it looks good", we'll see. Not being one to count my chickens before they hatch, I must say it looks promising. I'll believe it when I see it; in the mean time it is exciting. My commercial agent calls and has an avail for me for "Red Lobster", but I have to cancel because I am not available for both shoot dates. It conflicts with "Good Morning, Miami" rehearsal. I guess I gotta take the good with the not-so-good.

Thursday, April 11, 2002

I wake up this morning and the new "The Bonnie Hunt Show" script is outside my door. I casually open it not knowing what to expect. They have written a new character for me and worked it into another scene. It's a smaller part but a better part. I am now her wardrobe person!! She gave me the wink and said "this works out better for you huh?" YEAH!!

So if the show gets picked up hopefully she will need her wardrobe guy close by, ya think. After all, it is a morning entertainment talk show like "Regis". We had the table read today for the studio and it was hilarious, tomorrow is for the network. Hopefully, I won't get written out tomorrow. LOL!! Also, the original role that I had been cast in hadn't been filled today; one of the writers read it. I guess someone will be there tomorrow. Lastly, from what I understand the "Good Morning, Miami" pilot that I start next Wednesday is being directed by the acclaimed James Burrows. Gotta Keep Movin'!!

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

It's amazing what can happen in 3 hours, today was a some kind of day. I go to rehearsal for "The Bonnie Hunt Show" this afternoon and after going through wardrobe I was taken to set. First Bonnie wanted to talk to me. HUH? Some questions had come up about the scene I'm in.

They thought something could, in a round-about-kinda-way be look at as racist. She wanted to know how I felt about it. HUH? Yeah, she sat me down and we discussed it for 10 minutes, just her and I. Obviously, the decision was hers and hers only, but she wanted to know if I wanted to just do it or switch with the other guy in the scene. She said if the show gets picked up she would bring me back to do another episode.

So I'm thinking. Should I step down (the other role was smaller) or step out altogether. My mind is racing a mile a minute. I figure if I step down, the other role has fewer lines. If I step out, Bonnie will look out for me later. She will be actively trying to make something happen for me. Not a bad way for her to remember me I feel. I'll get paid for week either way.

I tell her that I trust her judgment; I feel the show will be picked up and I'll see her during the season. She thinks I made a smart move (believe me, I know it ain't about me, it's gonna be her decision). I had previously checked the IMDB's of all of the regulars and guest cast and she had worked with about half of them before. Also, the way I looked at it, there wasn't really anywhere for my character to go, as far as coming back on the show.

This leaves the door open for her to write something for "me" in this project or another. She shook my hand and gave me her word. Cool and surreal at the same time. I am still due to be there tomorrow so who knows what will happen between now and then.

I call my agent to fill her in on the details. Ten minutes later my agent calls back with an audition for a pilot called "Good Morning, Miami". It's from the same creative team as "Will & Grace". Tracy Lilienfield & Katherine Eckert are casting @ CBS Radford (last week while on the lot for something else I did drop-offs to everyone over there I could find). I was in Culver City, so she said to just get over there when I could.

Soon as I get on the lot I see Daniel Spanton, he's reading for a different show, love to see others in the field. The role is just a couple of lines, BUT it's the stage manager of a morning show. Yeah, you know what I'm thinking. They gotta have stage manager, right!?! Before I even got home I found out that I got the role, and it's already been picked up for 13 episodes. All that happened in 3 hours. I could get used to this.......

Monday, April 08, 2002

Today I attended the table read for "Life With Bonnie" it was hilarious. Seeing Bonnie Hunt & David Alan Grier go at it was a real treat. On my way to my dressing room I found a room that had the entire cast of the pilot on a wall. I always wanted to see my photo on the cast wall. We all know it's in enough trash cans around town, this is a nice change of pace. LOL!

Friday, April 05, 2002

I guess it helps to "not" wait for the phone to ring. While not waiting for it to ring I got word that I booked a role in "The Bonnie Hunt Show" pilot. David Alan Grier is in too. It is part single-camera/part-multi camera. The table read is Monday and I work a couple of days during the week.