I ended up in my first independent movie by accident, really. I was on campus at Wright State University during the fall of 2001. In the building that held the theatrical stages, I wandered around aimlessly as I waited for the rest of the cast of the student production I was in to arrive for one of our shows.
I am not sure what made me arrive early, but perhaps it was a good thing. Had I not been there, racing through the halls in my wheelchair, up and down the curvy path, I would not have seen the audition notice in the small, quiet, acting room. I was not one to just pick up audition sides and go right in without even knowing what I was getting myself into, but for some reason, I picked up the papers outside the room to read over what the audition was all about.
I had always loved film. I still do. I always found more comfort in front of the camera than up on stage where the first moment of any show was a terrifying, stage fright-filled endeavor. Once I got past my first line on stage though, I always seemed to relax.
This was different, though. I had been in front of cameras since I was ten years old when I was representing a disability organization as their poster child. I had been on television more times then you could count, made television spots, video recordings, and so on. I was comfortable with cameras and it really made me feel like I was coming home.
So, as I sat in the building outside the audition room I scanned over the paper, which gave minimal information on the concept as well as the cast of characters. I was a little confused because it seemed as though this movie was about a group of people making a movie. I had never made a movie. What kind of role could I play?
I scanned the list, looking for the perfect role for a short, stout, disabled, transgendered person in a wheelchair. As I went down the list, I tossed out various roles I knew I could not play.
Grips were out, as were booms, because they required way too much physical activity for one little gimp to handle. I had no idea of what the heck a gaffer did (though I learned!), so that was out. Eventually, I had narrowed it down to two options: makeup artist and craft services.
Anyone who knows me knows that even before I transitioned from my birth name to Dominick and who I am today, I was relatively masculine in behavior and not very domestic. It seems that these were probably the least likely jobs I would have on a movie set, and yet I felt I could work with them.