Working on Two and a Half Men was a blast. I had forgotten how wonderful it is to work on a four-camera show. We rehearsed on Monday and Tuesday and then did some “pre-shoots” on Wednesday and Thursday—scenes that had a lot of complicated camera set-ups so wouldn’t be appropriate to shoot in front of a live audience. Then on Friday, more rehearsal and then we did the show in front of a live audience. The pre-shot scenes were shown in playback on monitors so the audience could get the flow of the show. As it turned out, most of my scenes were shot in front of the live audience. I was a little nervous—it’s been a few years since I did a play and I haven’t done a sitcom in forever but as soon as I heard that laughter I felt like I was home. All my old comedy chops came back. Holding for the laugh—sometimes getting another one if you hold correctly—letting the wave of laughter subside and then feeling it start to swell again--the laughs are so addicting!
On the night of the show, there were several times (between scenes of course!) that I felt moved to tears for being there. Having the perspective of knowing so many talented actors who rarely if ever get the chance to work (and spending plenty of time out-of-work myself!) makes me so appreciative when I get to work as an actor. It really feels like a gift. The auditioning, the rejections, the having faith when all seems lost is the real work of the actor. The job is the pay off! A manager I know tells new actors that their job is not acting, it is auditioning, and I think she’s right. And I don’t just mean the audition itself. It’s all that in between time. Keeping your spirit and your acting chops up when you don’t have any auditions. Then finally getting one and preparing—giving it your all and then after the audition—what I call the after-burn—not hearing anything. Was I good? Did they like me? We actors rarely get feedback on our work. Certainly if you get the job or a callback after a pre-read that is your feedback, but at the producer callback level the playing field is pretty even-most everyone there can do the role and do it well—at that point it’s mostly a matter of type. Are you the producer and/or directors vision? All you can control is the quality of your acting work; you can’t control their creative process or subjective opinions. The fact is that you are probably not going to book most of the roles you go in for but that doesn’t necessarily mean you are doing a bad job. Look at me and my Two and a Half Men experience—I auditioned for that show four times before I got a role. Believe me, if I had been doing a bad job on my auditions the producers would not have kept bringing me back.
And now for the other kind of “after-burn”, the post-job blues…sigh…but before that, here are some pics from Two and a Half Men.
Robert Wagner. Yum! I love having the chance to work with Hollywood Icons like "RJ." I always feel like I am connected to Hollywood history. When I touch him I am connected to Natalie Wood, Jill St. John--wow! And he is still such a looker!
Jon Cryer is an absolute sweetheart. And of course a comic genius. Turns out that our parents worked together in the early 1960's! It was a production of Guys and Dolls, my dad played "Skye Masterson" and my mother and his parents were in the chorus!
Holland Taylor has been added to my list of all time favorite actresses. Watching her work was an acting lesson. Brilliant! And gracious and beautiful too. (BTW: that chest is not entirely mine...part of a gag in the show...EGADS!)
Conchatta Farrel is warm, kind, supportive, sensitive and yet another comic genius. Meeting her was an absolute gift. The women on this show are incredible.
OK. Remember to watch on Monday May 5th! (I play a CSI-Marg Helgenberger type....)