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This is Hollywood

February 23, 2009

I spent my Saturday night pretending to drink and snort cocaine.  Earlier that day while I was at a showing of He’s Just Not That Into You, my friend K. called and asked if I wanted to join her as an extra for some house party scene shooting in Culver City.

“Sure,” I said, figuring that it would be fun, and if nothing else I’d have something to blog about.  She forwarded me the information, and said she’d pick me up.

I read the scene attached to the e-mail, and realized I was grossly out of my depth.  Not in terms of my acting ability, but in terms of my social ability.  It was the kind of party I’d never be invited to in real life.  For starters, I was supposed to have ‘club wear’.  I’ve never been to a club.  I don’t own club-appropriate clothes.  I did my best, but absolutely drew the line at bringing a bathing suit for the pool.  Believe me when I say no one wants to see me in a bikini.

K. arrived at my house from another shoot, so she had a bag of clothes in her car to change into.

“Where did you hear about this anyway?” I asked.

“Craigslist,” she said.  Everyone posting on craigslist expects you to work for free.

We were running late, but the director was waiting for us.  I didn’t understand why until we got there and saw that there were hardly any people, especially women.

I signed my non-disclosure agreement and the piece of paper stating that I understood I wasn’t getting paid for this.  Then I stood next to the pool in a line with several other women who made me feel extremely out of shape, and was directed to the lounge seat.  Apparently I have the look of a coke-fiend.

With my plastic cup of apple cider pretending to be alcohol, I sat down next to Jim, an actor from Buffalo living in San Diego.  On Jim’s other side, eating from a bag of veggie chips, was Sasha, who struck me at first as embodying every Hollywood cliche.  She held a cigarette like a woman who calls people “Dahling,” had an accent that swayed between British and Southern, and looked stick-thin in her black cocktail dress and peach pashmina.

She spoke about the filming with authority, so I took her for a jaded actress who ‘did this sort of thing all the time’.  As the night progressed, however, I learned that this girl from Capetown, South Africa was actually in charge of the lighting design and had never been seen in a dress before by her fellow crew.  Due to the lack of female party-goers, she’d been conscripted.

Knowing when the camera would actually be on her, Sasha ignored the call for cameras to start rolling and finished her Trader Joes fish wraps, storing the container under the bench and out of sight.

“I’m a pesce-vegetarian,” she told us later while we were huddled over the lines of flour that were our drugs on a dirty glass plate.  On a brief break while the camera was moved, we had a discussion about the merits and difficulties of forgoing meat while my stomach growled and I made K. promise to stop for fast food on the way home.

Having never even been in proximity to cocaine before, I watched Jim stick his finger in one of the lines and rub the flour on his gums.  Fortunately, giggling was appropriate to the situation – it was one of the more ridiculous things I’ve seen.  I opted for licking it off my finger in what I hoped was a sexy way.  The director seemed to like it.

For another take we were supposed to pretend to snort it.  No one particularly wanted flour up their nose.  I’m fairly sure I was the least convincing snorter anyone’s ever seen, but I added a little cough afterward which was a big hit.  It seems logical to me to cough after a powdered substance goes up the nose.

It was cold in that backyard and most everyone was exposed.  The bikini girls froze their asses off, and the poor assistant director had to run back and forth between takes with sweaters and jackets.

For a later portion of the scene I was sitting in a chair on a ledge by the pool, in a spot that no one would actually stand in for the purposes of conversation.  There I met Chris and had a whispered conversation about Egyptian mythology and our favorite T.V. shows.   Poor Chris was barefoot.  I got a crick in my neck from having to look up at the three guys supposedly fawning over me.

The night wrapped for K. and me around 1 am, and I was ready for it.  Remember, if you happen to see a girl snorting cocaine during a party, wearing a turquoise top and a lightning bolt necklace, that’s me!

Quote of the Day:

“And now, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Craigslist Dancers!” – Hugh Jackman, hosting the Oscars

Link of the Day: los angeles craigslist > tv/film/video/radio jobs – you too can work without pay!  But seriously, it’s a fun way to spend an evening if you’ve got nothing else to do.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Stephanie permalink
    February 23, 2009 11:46 am

    Funny! :D

  2. March 25, 2009 7:18 pm

    I like your writings. Simple to read but inspiring. I have bookmarked your site so I can read more later when I need some inspiration. My Best Regards : )

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