My life last week experienced a pleasant change of pace.
On Wednesday and Thursday I got up super early in order to do my usual sanding, sealing, mod-podging etc. Lots of coasters due. Lots of blocks needed.
Through a bit of protracted auditioning and waiting I ended up with a role on Hot in Cleveland.
Although acting has become a bit of a “back-burner” item for me I do still get a huge thrill when I walk on to the studio lot to work.
Hot in Cleveland is filmed at what is now called CBS Radford but the studio has a very long history. It was built in 1928 by Mack Sennett (keystone cops, early Charlie Chaplin etc). It’s also where Gunsmoke, Gilligans Island, The Wild Wild West, Mary Tyler Moore and hundreds of other iconic shows were filmed. Backlots, soundstages – these places are little cities unto themselves and it’s totally fun to be there.
The Hot in Cleveland people couldn’t have been nicer or more welcoming.
Doing little gigs like I do can most closely be described as being a temp in a very, very busy office. You’re essentially jumping onto a moving train – TV casts and crews have been working together for a while – there is a shorthand and a camaraderie that can be a bit intimidating at times. My job is to come in- do my thing and not get in the way (which is actually quite hard to do as there are a lot of people and a lot of equipment moving around). But these folks made it easy.
(usually they are pleasant but not very comfortable trailers)
But I spent no time there as I wanted to be on set as much as possible just to watch and enjoy.
It was a total honor to meet Betty White who couldn’t have been more charming or more funny. She made several off-the-cuff jokes over the course of the two days that had everyone rolling.
I had only one problem.
Valerie Bertinelli was my first official crush. As a kid, sure, I’d liked a lot of other women on TV– they were pretty and seemed very nice – Valerie Bertineilli was the first one that I thought “oh… I think I LIKE her.”
I wanted to tell her as much but was confronted with a dilemma.
If you say “I’ve had a crush on you since I was a child” it probably isn’t going to go over quite the way you’d hoped.
Conversely, if you say “I’ve had a crush on you since YOU we’re a child” you just sound suuuuper creepy.
In the end I didn’t say anything. I just contented myself with small talk and the awkwardness (due to camera angles) of having to stand, basically, with my butt in her face for two takes. She was quite gracious about it.
The next question is “when will it air.” Honestly, I have no idea. Also I don’t have my hopes up. Due to the situation (I’m making a solo speech at the top of a scene rather than interacting with anyone) it is highly likely that you’ll hear my voice and see me for about half a second.
But it was a terrific way to spend a couple of afternoons and a truly lovely break from being covered in sawdust and paint all day long.