A tale of two Garths. Chapter 30. Suck on that one Joan!
Having gone into total denial about Garth not coming home that one night, I threw myself back into work and acting. I had started doing student films and was really enjoying the opportunity just to get my feet wet again. Sure I wasn’t getting paid for them, but I was getting to do something I really loved to do. The auditions kept coming. And as usual I kept striking out.
“You may go to a hundred auditions before you land even one.” my acting friends kept reminding me. But I didn’t want to go to a hundred auditions. I was more like Veruca Salt from the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
I want some fame.
I want some BIG fame.
I want nice cars, to hob knob with stars, to be adored by Czars!
I want free swag.
Give me some Gucci.
I need some slaves who will clean up my cave and will help me to shave!
I…. want…. fame.
I want it now.
I…. want…. fame.
I want it nooooooooooowwwwwwww……
And that’s when I fell down a trash shoot and plummeted towards a scary incinerator. No that wasn’t me. That was Garth. (Oh, if I had only been so lucky) But on with the story.
So I had one commercial agent sending me on auditions, and one manager sending me on auditions. 1+1=2. Divide 100 auditions by that and I was going to need to get 50 auditions out of each before I would logistically land a job. Those odds sucked! I’m going to need more representation! I thought to myself. Now the deal is, if you sign with someone, say a commercial agent, another commercial agent cannot represent you. So managers and commercial agents were out. But I still had option C open. A film and TV agent. *Smiley face* Now I just had to find one.
I went through all the “Industry Mags” and started frantically submitting headshots by the dozens. I probably spent more on postage than I did on rent and came up with one big giant goose egg. Is there something wrong with me? Is it my hair lip and the fact that I have one leg considerably shorter than the other one? Seriously? What the hell is wrong with me? But before I could follow in the footsteps of others and jump off the Hollywood sign to what I’m sure is a painful, and weed infested death, a friend of mine came to my rescue.
“We are having an agents night?” my friend Thomas told me over the phone. “Are you interested?”
“What’s an agents night?” I asked.
“Well we get a group of actors together who don’t have representation and we all pitch in some money to send out invitations to agents to ask them to come watch us act.”
“And this works?”
“Yeah. All the time.” It sounded too good to be true and I wanted to know exactly how much we were talking about before I just jumped on board.
“Oh, only like $100,” he told me. “One of the other actors is in a theater group and was able to get us the theater for free. We’ll set up our own lighting ahead of time and do all the set up and clean up, so all we technically have to pay for is invitations and some food for the reception.” Thomas is a genius!
Cut to the night of the performances and Thomas and I did our scene together where of course I played a domineering woman who ends up slapping him across the face. I got so into the character you could hear the slap all the way to the unemployment line. We did great! We both were approached after the show was over and I got an interview with who was to become my new TV and film agent that next Monday. SCORE!!!!
My first real job (paid acting job, that is) was to be a “Stand in” for Joan Severance. Meaning, that when she wasn’t shooting a scene, I was going to stand there so the lighting and camera guys could set up for the next shot. So I roughly had to look a little like her.
“Sure. I can do that.” I told my new agent over the phone. This was working out great. I already had a job and I didn’t even have to audition for it. All I had to do was show up on set the next morning at a really nice restaurant in Hollywood, and I was on my way to becoming a star!!!
The next morning, I parked my car in the lot and walked the half block to the set. When I walked onto the set a very nervous young man greeted me.
“Hi, are you Stacy?” he asked quickly.
“You’re perfect! Just perfect!” Well, I have had some work done. “We need to get you into a trailer before Joan sees you,” he said as he grabbed my arm and hustled me into one of the Honey Wagons. A Honey Wagon is a trailer where the actors get to hang out on their down time and the one I got was pretty plush. I can handle this.
“Are you hungry? Can I get you anything?” he asked me.
“Um, I’m okay. Thanks.”
“Okay, my name is Dan and I’m going to come back and check on you from time to time so just hang out here until we call for you okay.” And that was it; my new friend Dan was gone. Like really, really gone. Like never to return gone. And I sat there. I sat there and watched TV. I sat there and stared at the ceiling. I sat there and looked out the window wondering what it would be like to go outside. I sat there….until I fell asleep.
I have no idea how long I was out. But when nervous Dan returned I felt rejuvenated.
“Are you ready?” he asked me. But the way he asked me made me almost as nervous as he was. Ready for what? I had to wonder.
“Sure,” I told him as I shrugged my shoulders. I mean he was paying me something like $50 a day and so far he had paid me to do absolutely noting. As far as I was concerned it was money well spent.
“You are going to meet Joan now.”
“She’s fired three girls already and you’re number four.”
“Huh?!” Okay, now I understood why Dan was so nervous and I was right there along with him.
“But why?” I asked.
“I’m not really sure why she didn’t like the first girl. But she fired the second girl because she was too fat, and the third girl because she was too ugly.” Oh good. Now I get to be put on stage for the great Joan Severance seal of approval? All of a sudden I was feeling a little ill.
Dan walked me out of the trailer and towards the interior of the restaurant where they were shooting the movie. I could feel every eye watching me make my way to the set. Dead man walking. Everyone out of her way! People parted like the red sea.
“Just try and blend in,” he told me as we entered the dark restaurant. I could see where the shot was taking place from the angle of the lights and cameras. And I could also see the director and Joan sitting in those cool movie chairs across the room from me discussing what was most likely the upcoming scene. I did my best to blend into the wall behind me but for all the good it did, I might as well have just run in banging a pot and pan, screaming “Oklahoma!” She found me quicker than you can say “Busted!” I could feel her laser eyes literally peeling the skin back from my face and drilling holes into my skull. The pain. Oh the pain!!!!
“She’s spotted you,” Dan leaned over and said to me.
“Well… we might as well go ahead and get this over with,” he told me and led me across the room to where she was sitting. She looked at me like I was some bug that landed on the new import car she had just ordered and unwrapped.
“Is she thin enough to fit into my clothes?” she asked no one in particular while grabbing what little skin I had left on the back of my arm. Look bitch… But before my thoughts could make their way through my brain and out my mouth some enabling woman from the costume department led me off to decide my fate. If I fit in Joan’s cloths I was apparently pretty enough to keep the job. If I didn’t… I was going to take my fifty bucks, find the other three girls Joan had fired, and drink to the fact we didn’t have to deal with the bitch anymore. But as luck would have it, I not only fit in her clothes, they were even a wee bit big on me. In your face!!!!! So I had the job. *Un smiley face*
So from there on out my job was to study Joan. Become Joan. Learn Joan’s walk. Learn how she stood, how she sat, how she ate. Hell I’m pretty sure if she would have had her way I probably would have had to learn to shit like her as well.
Cut to thirteen hours later. Yes, I said thirteen. We were now at LAX and I was watching Joan. Living Joan. Hating Joan!
“You’re so much prettier that she is,” one of the crew guys told me as I was watching her strut her stuff once again.
“Shhhhh. You’re going to get me fired!” I snapped. “But thank you.” It didn’t take me too long before I realized I wasn’t going to be Joan’s stand in. I was going to be her body double.
I didn’t get home till well after midnight. After we had shot at LAX I got on the 405 freeway and drove my frustrated ass home when the City of Angels thought that would be a perfect time to shut down the entire 405 for some construction. Not just one or two lanes. The entire freeway!!! People went crazy. People got out of their cars and walked all over the freeway. Yelling and screaming “Open up a lane!” People were sitting on the hoods of cars, dancing in the lanes. It was like a scene out of one of those end of the world movies. I just sat in my car with the doors locked and the engine off and smoked a joint. All I could think of was. $50 a day. $50 lousy dollars a day.
The next morning I called my new agent and we talked about the logistics. What I was going to get out of the deal was $50 a day and something on my resume. What they were going to get out of it was about 6 inches of my hair. My long beautiful hair. They could try to wig me, but if it didn’t look natural they were going to have to cut it. Also Joan Severance does nude scenes. What was happening was, Joan’s time on the movie was done. And I was going to become Joan so to speak. But only from the back. So I was going to play the lead, from behind, for a month or maybe even more. The production company couldn’t afford to pay her anymore and this was the next best thing. I was also possibly going to have to cut my hair and take my clothes off for a woman I couldn’t stand. So I did to Joan what she had done to the three girls before me. I fired her ass.
Suck on that one Joan!
To be continued.