Freudian Slips: April 2010

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

April 25, 2010

Life Comes at You in Waves

Jennifer Aniston
The scene of the embarrassing incident occured on the set of The Bounty Hunter. I reacted like any warm-blooded man would have done placed in the same awkward situation. It meant less to her than it did me. It involved nothing more than a wave back, a long distance greeting with a celebrity you cannot get closer to without risking unemployment as an actor or arrest.

Let me set the scene within a scene. I am standing on my first mark at the bottom of the escalators underneath the Taj Majal’s signature chandeliers. The crew is methodically preparing the environment. It is the first take on the second day of this scene, which involves the two principle actors, Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler, bantering down the escalators.
An unusual thing happened. Jennifer Aniston waved my way after boarding the escalator. A sight to behold, she was looking my way and smiling charismatically. Even more impressively, nobody stood in between us. I had only clear sightlines of a sultry Jennifer Aniston dressed provocatively in a grey skirt and clingy low cut top. She had me.
I felt pints of blood rush through my body. I remained levelheaded while I quickly thought to myself. Aniston must recognize me from working together the day before. Our fleet relationship had spun all the way out of control to acquaintances. Judging social protocol, Aniston and Tornatore were a conversation from being friends. I raised my hand and gave a stiff armed wave back. Ah, therein lies the shame of it all. My wave showed the lack of confidence of a George Costanza, undeserving of the recipients time of day or acknowledgement.
After waving back to Aniston, hundreds of fans held precariously behind yellow caution tape and security guards erupted in enthusiastic applause. I had mentally blocked out this crowd to eliminate any performance anxiety. The screams and catcalls to Aniston flooded my consciousness. On Aniston’s continued ride up the escalator, I could not have appeared much smaller. Aniston cocked her head to the side. She gave me a smirk like… you silly middle-aged overweight man, you thought I was waving at you. Life comes at you in waves. I would do it again in a fast heartbeat.


April 15, 2010

Burning Sixteen Candles

For the last couple of months, I have morbidly saved the newspapers clippings about a double suicide in Norwood, Pennsylvania. I find myself occasionally staring at the smiling profile pictures of two pretty teenage girls, Gina Gentile and Vanessa Dorwart. One harrowing detail about this case haunts me. The social ease of an instantaneous text message the girls shared moments prior to committing suicide may offer a human x-ray of their derailed psyche.
It read, “Hurry up! The train is coming.”
To express concern about being late for your own funeral is a suicide note in and of itself. The text message is received right as the southbound train blows its approach whistle. The sixteen candles their parents readied to top their birthday cakes were about to be snuffed out and nobody close to them apparently saw the train coming.
I suppose my zest for a measured life makes the act of suicide inconceivable for me to fathom as anything but an irrational desperate act of surrender. Life should be revered as a miracle, a coveted blessing to be time honored for its natural duration. After squeezing every possible experience out of this world, mark my words that I will fight for my last breath. I bask in this thing called life so much so that I wish that I could live longer than Methuselah. Perhaps, I should count my blessings because I have not experienced dire circumstances that would prompt me to terminate my existence. For this logical reason alone, I keep staring at this newspaper article trying to make sense of it all.
Possibly suffering from untreated clinical depression, these two high school girls mourned the recent accidental death of their mutual close friend, Bill Bradley. Believing that they could not live without their departed friend, who got hit by a car while riding a bicycle, they trumped his death by kissing a speeding train. These distraught girls gained strength in tandem what they may not have been strong enough psychologically to carry out alone. With truth a stranger, they stepped onto the tracks together. They embraced each other through the train steamroll. As far as suicides go, its execution proved flawless.
I wonder whether their souls in the hereafter are accountable for murdering the breath of life that was given to them or is suicide nothing more than exercising freedom of choice? I pause to think that maybe they must make amends for the pain and suffering they caused on their loved ones suddenly left behind.
Life moves faster than a speeding locomotive to begin with. Getting in its way, does not seem an answer on any level. We should follow profound light or seek professional help. Life not death should be kept in front of you…maybe no more so than at sixteen candles.


April 12, 2010

The Odds of a Pilot Taking Off

actor Jimmy Smits

The odds of a new television show airing on prime time are approximately four hundred to one. That means there are three hundred ninety nine promoted failures for every new TV Guide listing. If a production garners enough financial banking to actually hire cast and crew then role cameras to film the pilot, the odds of it airing on TV markedly improve to about 80 to 1.
If I could live long enough to work as an actor on eighty pilots, just one of those episodes might land Nielson ratings. Not exactly a body of work. If I stopped to consider the long shot odds of an extra like me making the final cut in real time discernable frame on a TV pilot, I should give up acting if fame is an objective. Lucky for me, I enjoy my experiences on a set however insignificant my role.
Such was the case when filming began locally for a new NBC television pilot called Garza. Bankrolled by Conan O’Brien and starring gifted actor Jimmy Smits, the show is being promoted as a former Supreme Court Justice entering private law.
I filmed three scenes, most noticeably as a protester on a capital punishment case. A murky fog rolls off of the dark Atlantic Ocean as actors complete rehearsals outside Resorts casino in Atlantic City. In between takes of omni audio wild track as they say in the biz, the prayerful nun placed to my right performs raspy impersonations from the movie Exorcist. The principle actress to my immediate left ignores the nun, me and everyone else as she mentally prepares for her upcoming scene after being propped and wardrobe approved.
The director yells background action. Supplanting his stand-in, Jimmy Smits stridently walks by me on cue for the first take. He carries a strong confident presence. The actress next to me separates herself from the throng of protestors. She and Smits engage in passionate dialogue a few feet from my mark. I mouth pantomime shouts at Smits. I think to myself that living in the moment doesn’t get any better than this. Although hired to protest capital punishment, watching the execution of Smits acting constituted a dream come true. I doubt anyone will compliment my heckling of Smits in my role of a nighttime. After all, the odds are against me. It was only my third TV pilot.


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