Saturday, June 14, 2008

Spitfire 3 – “…something that was going on somewhere…”

We finished shooting the pilot today. Thank God.

Don’t get me wrong; it was fun and all and I liked the challenge but sometimes things go on for a bit too long. What do they say? “Familiarity breeds contempt”? Yeah, there were a few people on that set I would have liked to murder. The director, the producers, the stagehands, the prop guy, the script girl, all of my co-stars, the writers, the gaffer and the key grip – just to name a few. There’s more. Trust me.

But all of that’s in the past, far as I’m concerned. It’s done, in the can as they say and I’m looking at what’s next. Oh sure, this thing could get picked up, I realize that, but a good actor can’t just wait around for the applause – he needs to work.

There was a little party after we wrapped but it wasn’t well-attended, what with so many of the crew still out sick. Some kind of flu, I guess. Lots of throwing up, chills, the works. I was there, of course, and most of the main actors and the director and the producers. Kind of a somber affair, like everyone knew the pilot wasn’t going to fly.

“Dee…I gotta talk to…you,” said Freddy as he pulled me aside at the party. “As your…agent I have to be honest…I don’t have…anything lined up…for you.”

“Not to worry, old chum,” I told him, with a kind of joie de vie I didn’t really feel at the moment. “You’ve always come through for me before, eh? I mean, right?”

Freddy gave me his sure-sure look and shuffled off to the food table, his eye on the producers. I let him go, hoping he had some sort of plan and wondering whether I should take a more active role in my immediate future as an actor – no, wait; Freddy was good, very good. He’d get me something.

Some idiot had the radio on and there was some bit about something that was going on somewhere, something bad. Something in another country that I didn’t want to give a damn about right then and there. It harshed my mellow and I contemplated drop-kicking the damn radio across the room – but I didn’t. Probably’d hit someone.

As I left I noticed the script girl was in the corner, puking into a prop vase. Jesus, what the hell was that all about? The prop guy would drop a brick if he saw that.

I looked back at the food table and for the first time saw the flies that were buzzing around the cold cut tray. Huh.

Outside, in the fresh air, I began to feel a bit better. I thought about the work I had done on the pilot, the silly dressing-up thing, the humor in the script, the really imaginative sets, and, yes, I’ll admit it, the fairly good directing. It all was good, I thought. Wasn’t it? The script had moments I perceived as almost brilliant – there was nothing else like it that I knew of, but - what did I know, really?

Did I have enough experience to really judge what I saw? No, Freddy thought it was good, too. Didn’t he?

Oh…crap. What did I just do? What did I just spend weeks of my life on? Bloody hell, did I just waste my time? Am I going to be a laughing stock? God, that costume! No, no, it’s a well loved character, millions of fans, been around for decades – oh Christ, I’m sunk. What, what, what did I do?

A big, fat raindrop hit me in the forehead so hard it shattered me. I nearly fell down. I looked up and another hit me square in the eye. The wind started blowing and I ran. I ran to my car, one eye blinded, and got inside and started the engine. I wasn’t going to just stand there and get soaked. Wasn’t going to stand there and wonder about what I just did with my life for the past however many weeks and want to cut my throat.

I didn’t want to turn my head and look out the car window and see the trees move again.

To be continued – on or about June 21st.

(c) 2008 Jim Beard

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