Saturday, May 17, 2008

Post "House" post (finally!)

A week ago I had the pleasure of doing a guest star role on the fabulous television show House.

It was great. The producers, director and the regular actors did their best to make me and the other guest actors feel welcome, from the table-read through the shoot. Just a wonderful experience.

House has a table-read (a read-through of the entire script with the full cast) before each weeks episodes filming begins. This is usual in half-hour comedy but not so much in one-hour. The pace of one-hour television shoots is usually too intense. In fact the actors on House give up their lunch hour to do the table-read. It is nice to have the opportunity for a read-through because you get a feeling of the flow of the show. And speaking for myself, it really helps create a feeling of ensemble. I feel like I am a part of the process of the whole show rather than just a gun-for-hire coming in for a day or two to shoot my scenes, often never even meeting the other actors on that weeks episode.

One of my students asked me how the regular actors performed at the table read---he asked if they were at “performance level”. He assumed that the guest actors would be because they could easily be replaced, but wondered about the regulars. The regular actors on House gave as much at this reading as the guests. In my experience most actors do. I think they realize how important is for everyone to get a real sense of the script. Especially the writers. There will often be re-writes after the table read. Especially in half-hour where the script changes sometimes after every run-through.

When I do a guest role on a show I really look at it like I am a guest in someone’s home. If I am invited for dinner I don't complain about the food, I don’t tell my hosts how they should rearrange their furniture. Likewise, on a set, I don’t change my lines--I learn them “word-perfect”, I show up on time. I know that if I am a gracious guest, I may be invited back. This was a great “House” to visit, the “hosts” were incredibly warm and gracious, I would love to visit again…

FYI: my episode is the first of the new season. It will air in the Fall.

8 comments:

harryn said...

good for you jamie - can't wait to see it - probably the only program on tv i watch with any regularity, but i'd love to hear about more inside stuff ...
the acting always seems so believable and the dialogue really flows - how much has to do with the writing and how much has to do with hugh's improv on the lines to make it so convincingly his own ?
how separate are the characters from their own personalities ?
there seems to be a lot of dialogue walking through corridors [often different] - how extensive is the set ?
is the entire show filmed in la ?
any photos ?

Vince Liaguno said...

We have to wait until September? That's what they call "cruel and unusual punishment." OK...now we're going to need a detail or a photo or something to tide us over, Jamie. LOL! You can't close the door on the Pandora's Box once it's been opened! Any chance this has something to do with the rumored spinoff series? (He says crossing fingers.)

Jamie Rose said...

Sorry guys--no pics on this one.

My scenes didn't involve any of the regular cast. I only met them at the table-read, so sorry Paul, I can't answer too many of your questions.

Having read the script I will say that everything is scripted. It's a very well-written show. One really great thing about on-going series is that the writers really get to know the actors and start to write for them. So your wondering if Hugh Laurie improvises his lines is probably due to that.

The sets were as extensive as other medical shows I've done like ER. Hospital rooms and corridors are fully tricked out and of course there is a medical advisor on set.

Yep. The show is filmed in LA.

A bit of trivia. Hugh Laurie was leaving the set when I arrived to work and he was wearing motorcycle leathers and a helmet emblazoned with the British flag. I must say, he looked very cool. Nice guy too.

Jamie Rose said...

Oh, and sorry, no pics on this one...

RJ said...

It is good to see you back on tv! I can't wait to see it! To bad we have to wait till fall!

There is one show I would love to see you do and this is a reunion show with your Falcon Crest cast mates! Any chance of that happening?

Jamie Rose said...

I doubt there will be an FC reunion. Sadly, Jane is gone and what is FC without her? And there were so many permutations of the regulars on that show I'm not sure which cast would be reunited...I'd love it though...I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for Miss Vicki Gioberti...

RJ said...

Your Falcon Crest fans will always hope for a reunion show!! Even though Jane would not be there, she would be missed, a reunion show with any of the cast would be great!

Can't wait to see your House episode!

R said...

Hugh as Bertie Wooster with a Union Jack motorcycle helmet - that's a thought!