Saturday, December 17, 2016

STRICTLY ON BACKROUND, PT. 2: BULL

As of this writing, I've had 16 gigs since starting background work in early September; two of the shows have aired so far. You may remember the first, Law & Order: SVU, where I played a photographer whose face was hidden by his camera. At least I stayed in character.

I was shown to better advantage in my second show, Bull, on CBS. But you still can't see my face head-on, which may or may not be a plus.

Elmsford welcomed me... I think.
Bull was my first time shooting outside New York City, in a small town about 40 minutes north, which stood in for the fictional Kavanaugh, New Hampshire, the titular Bull's hometown. 

I'm a little hazy on the location -- it might have been Elmsford, NY -- having awoken quite early in order to make sure I caught the show's bus, which left from Broadway & 96th at 6:30 AM. 

I shot three scenes: two in the town square, which was turned into a greenmarket featuring real stands selling food and arts & crafts, and one outside a bar. All were shot on the same day.

However, I can be glimpsed only once, in one of the greenmarket shots. If they gave credit to extras, I would be "Guy Sampling Pickles." 

Being a method extra, I zeroed in on the horseradish sliced pickles -- I never make a cheeseburger without slathering it in horseradish. Marlon Brando would have been proud of me, then eaten everything on the table.

During a break, Bull's star, Paul Weatherly, wandered over, and introduced himself to the dealers. He's even taller and broader in person than on the screen. Like former football player big, one who got out of the racket after high school, but stayed in shape so he could become, well, a TV star.

He's also incredibly gracious and charismatic. They say people used to turn around when Cary Grant entered a room -- they could just feel his presence. I don't know if they do it with Paul Weatherly, but I'm telling you, you know he's a TV star just by looking at him. Just like you know I'm an extra.

His co-star, Freddy Rodriguez, ambled over for a chat with the pickle guy as well. Utterly unpretentious, down-to-earth, and rather humble. Those TV folks make me feel like I'm just like them -- that is, if I were unpretentious, down-to-earth, and rather humble.

As for my moment onscreen, I was unmistakable, at least to me, over the shoulder of the woman in red:

It looks like I'm about to dive headfirst into those pickles. Unlike my debut on SVU, I was actually onscreen for several seconds. It was funny recognizing the other extras in that scene. I felt like I was back home in Kavanaugh, New Hampshire, strolling around the old town square on a sunny October morning. 

Next time, I just hope they powder my scalp so it doesn't reflect the sun so much.

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