I just got home a little while ago from the set of a MOW (movie of the week) called Joseph and Mary, and boy, am I tired. Unless you’re a lead, being on set is a lot of hurry up and wait, but it’s still tiring. However, every experience is one you can learn from. Many people I know get excited when I talk about my time on set – it’s an entirely different world for those who aren’t in it.
As I sat in my trailer for the better part of the day, I thought it would be pretty cool to give you a little glimpse into the life of an actor; in my case, a day player (someone who starts, works, and finishes work all in one day).
5:13 am – I woke up half an hour before my alarm. Why? Couldn’t really sleep. I had to drive from Sudbury to North Bay, and I guess I was subconsciously worried that I would sleep through my alarm. Definitely not the case. I tossed around in bed for the next 30 minutes or so, until I finally got up, showered and made my way outside into the pitch dark. Seriously though, this was my view of the sky at 6:15 in the morning. Hello there, moon.
8:30 am – After stopping for coffee and making the long drive into the sunrise, I arrived to set. I parked my car, walked over, and was immediately whisked away into wardrobe. After being fitted with a light brown frock, blue overcoat, and some old school Nazarene sandals, I went back to my trailer (yes, I have a trailer!) and hung out, waiting for them to call me into hair and makeup.
10:30 am – According to my call sheet, I was supposed to be on set an hour ago. Often times, scenes don’t go quite the way they’re planned so it takes a while longer. That, technical delays, actors flubbing their lines.. every little thing can impact timing. Sometimes, it just takes longer than anticipated, especially when you’ve got live animals in your scenes!
12:42 pm – Alright, now I’m getting antsy. For some reason, I didn’t think to bring my phone charger, so slowly but surely my phone is dying on me. Right now, it’s at about 45%, and I know I’ll be waiting for a little while longer. I also brought my iPad, but that’ll die soon enough. I don’t know why I didn’t charge anything the night before. My brain was obviously not working properly. I didn’t bring my computer either, so everything you’re reading was written by hand in a little notebook I had in my purse. I also have a book of crossword puzzles, so I’ve got that, too.
1:17 pm – I was finally taken into hair and makeup around 1 pm, but because it’s a period piece, my makeup was a ‘barely there’ look, and I’ll be wearing a veil so nothing was really done to my hair. Blah. I always love getting my hair and makeup done, but it’s understandable. Because I’ll be wearing a pair of sandals that reveal the top of my foot, I had to get the tattoo covered. It only makes sense; I don’t think many Nazarene women had tattoos. To be honest, it’s pretty neat to see my foot without a tattoo on it after a few years.
3:16 pm – Well, we broke for lunch, my phone is at 14%, my iPad is dead for sure, and my pen is slowly dying; even ink is failing on me now! Why I didn’t bring anything else with me is beyond me. I’m definitely kicking myself right now. I should turn my phone off if I’m being smart. I have a charger in the car, but I don’t have anywhere to plug it into in my trailer, and I can’t really leave considering they could call me to set at any time. I’m going to nap.
3:45 pm – FINALLY. Just got a knock on my door that blocking for my scene will begin in about 10 minutes. My phone’s off and my costume is on; now I wait to be whisked away to set.
5:04 pm – And that’s a wrap. I’m back in my trailer now, and I’ve just changed back into my regular clothes. Even though my time on set was short, it was still a great experience. I got to work with TV’s Hercules (Kevin Sorbo), and acting with such an experienced actor is always great. Between takes, he’d talk about movies and places he’s lived and worked before. He joked around with the background actors and with me as well, trying to teach me Italian (only the swear words though!) Keeping things light on set makes for a very enjoyable hour! Now I’ll go to the production office, sign out, and head home.
7:54 pm – After stopping to fill up the gas tank on the way home, I drove the almost two-hour drive back home. I. Am. Exhausted. Like I said earlier, it’s a long day of “hurry up and wait”, but now that I’m home, sitting on the couch and typing this up, I can feel my body just sinking in and getting way too comfortable for my own good. I’m looking forward to crawling into bed.
And that, my friends, is the day of an actor on set. Or, at least how my day went.
Whether or not you feel like you’re learning when you’re only on set for an hour, you are. There are so many new experiences I got to take in: working with a new director (Oscar winner Roger Christian), working on a period piece for the first time, and regardless of how little time was spent on set, every single minute of that hour will be remembered as a great experience. I’ve also learned my lesson, and will be much more prepared when it comes to bringing a phone charger. Or, you know, something else to occupy my time!
I thoroughly am looking forward to the next time I’ll be on set! For now, I’ll leave you with a photo of myself and Kevin Sorbo.