Wednesday, February 10, 2010


in april of last year, i worked background on the season finale of ugly betty. it was a great scene. awards banquet when one of the characters seems to see the ghost of his just deceased wife. if you follow the show, you probably know what i'm talking about.

the shoot took place in the lovely waldorf-astoria hotel on park ave between 49th and 50th. you simply have to see this place! it really is magnificent from the entry way to the lounge and restaurant, the shops and, i would assume, the rooms. we shot in the entry way for the arrival of the guests to the banquet. then used one of the ballrooms for the banquet scene.

the usual routine for background actors is to be on set for the shots, of course, and then be in one of two places: holding, or crafty. the holding area is a designated space where everyone chills when they're not needed on set. people talk, read, sleep, and generally just relax. you meet a lot of people in holding and most of them become your facebook friends. this, by the way, is one reason that actors have so many "friends" on facebook. we want to keep up with other actors and facebook is the networking tool.

the other place you find actors is craft services, affectionately referred to as "crafty." this is the snack bar of any film/tv shoot. it's usually outside on a nearby sidewalk (in this case, on the corner of park ave. and 50th street) and has all kinds of food, all through out the shoot. some healthy, some not. some hot, some not. some tasty, some...

it was during one of my excursions to crafty that a man and a woman in business attire happened to catch me with some food in my hand and asked a question. from their perspective it must seem strange to have a bunch of tuxedo wearing men, and formal gown wearing ladies, stuffing their faces on the sidewalk outside the waldorf. i'm sure i'd ask some questions, as well. so, these two did. i was the one that happened to hear them and respond.

"what's going on?" they asked. i explained what was happening and then engaged them a bit on what they were doing on the sidewalk late at night. they were two maritime lawyers who had been at a conference in the city. patrick was kelli's boss, i think, and they shared a bit about what they do. i didn't realize there was such a crowd of lawyers who focused only on laws surrounding ships, etc.

i told them about how i had come to be an actor in the city and i think they felt sorry for me since the best food i was getting was this little stand on the sidewalk with a small canopy keeping the rain of the cornflakes and other snacks. very kindly, patrick offered to buy me a steak the next time he was in town. i, of course, agreed completely to this plan and took his card. i sent him an email a couple days later.

well, last week, patrick wrote me to say that he'd be in town and was inviting me to a little dinner party he was throwing...9 months later! i was overjoyed! getting a balanced meal is a rarity for me so i started the whole evening already grateful for god's provision in my life. we started the evening with some drinks at the yale club on vanderbilt ave. across from grand central station. here i met some of his friends and colleagues. one of them was a retired ship captain with lots of interesting stories about buying his way through the suez canal with cartons of cigarettes. who knew?

from the yale club we went to a nice restaurant called avra on 48th street between lexington and 3rd ave. the ship captain's wife met us there. she and i spent much of the dinner talking about buddhism which she practices. jeremy and francesca were the other couple. they are young and fun with tremendous energy and intellects. it really was a great meal. the steak was great but what mom would be happiest about is that i ate my vegetables. a side of broccoli ...smothered in feta and garlic! mmmmmmmmm! :)

thanks, patrick, for a great balanced meal with great people!

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