The director, a teacher at the school who has spent some time on the West Coast working in the 'real' movies, thanks me. It is now going on 3:30. Since I am now covered with fake blood, this is, of necessity, my last scene. A production assistant offers me a wet towel. The student producer offers me a dry towel and promises me a DVD when the editing is completed. This is a promise often made, and not often kept. The crew gives me a hand, and I exit tired and sticky. My car is parked two blocks away. I wonder how I will explain my blood stains to the local constabulary if I should happen to get stopped on the way home.
More often than not, this is the kind of work available to actors in the hinterlands. Of course, if you look over the ads in theatrical papers like Backstage, this kind of work is not limited to the hinterlands. Students, aspiring amateurs, professionals with limited budgets, and the like are always in search of actors willing to work for little or nothing. And actors, for the most part, are very willing to oblige. At the back of the mind there is always the thought that Steven Spielberg will somehow see this untitled masterpiece. He’ll get on the phone to his....to whomever he gets on the phone with, and demand: "Get me that old guy in that blood-soaked shirt. No one does blood-soaked shirt like he does."
It could happen.
Last week I got a call from a Pittsburgh casting agent. She asked me to audition for the part of an elderly man in the Russell Crowe movie. There is even a line of dialogue. Who knows, next time the phone rings, it might be Steven.