I am the Background. I am a doctor, police officer, factory worker and lady walking dog. Each show, movie or mini-series holds a new exciting character…in the deep, deep background. I have been making a living for the last 10 years as the faceless mass moving silently behind the beautiful people in the foreground. I am the blurred outline of the star’s work colleagues. I attend fake birthdays for false characters. I help students study for their LSATS. I bustle around busy lawyer offices. I run from threats be they Zombie, bomb or nuclear chemical spill. I hand off folders for important signatures. I am the mundane world behind the person with the fancy haircut and high-end shoes. I am the Background.
Sometimes, I am not a fan of my day job. Sure, I work for the film industry, but it is a wily mistress. Not the Glamazon she’s perceived to be. She is judgemental, stubborn, short-tempered and afraid of change. My job is usually thankless. The background (heretofore known as We) huddle in a mass to stay warm on exterior night-shoots lit to look like day. Moving from one location to the next, only to be forbidden to be there. We scramble to get the last shot before losing light. We sit in folding chairs trying not to wrinkle our wardrobe, even after 15 hours. We brave inclement weather, regardless of how many other businesses call a snow day. We shuffle along together silently with our hopes shoved into a box and hidden from the real world. Many have dreamt of greatness. So many, long-term goals, unwritten screenplays, unfinished business plans. And though I eagerly admit I don’t like being Background, I am surprised to find myself wanting. Because the only way I know how to pay for my dreams is to wait for the fickle casting call of fate…and my agent.
In my 10 years, I have been many things. Which is great ‘cuz I love variety. It is the spice to my lifestyle. I have photo-doubled hands, I have focused light, I have run lines with actors. I have invested so many hours of glorious daylight and long dark nights that I have forgotten what a real job entails. Undoubtedly, for me it would be a cubicle without windows. Pushing papers around a desk. Making invasive sales calls. Living for my inbox. Nine to Five with the same people.every.single.day. With the film industry so slow, I might have to go back to something I have never done. And I am not sure all my experience looking like I am working without actually working is a skill set. I know how to pretend to be so many things…but actually doing any of those things seems impossible. Except of course, lady walking dog. Jilly and I have been practising for years; and I think we’re finally ready for our close up.
P.S. If you’re an agent; I am fully available.