Thursday, January 7, 2010

Making it Big on the set of Doyle

So I made my big break on the new t.v. show The Republic of Doyle last night. You might have missed me, though, if you didn't know what to look for. Heck, I'm sure my own my mother didn't recognize me in that big penitentiary guard hat and fog-gray uniform.

I enjoyed the show and early reviews were fantastic, from the Globe and Mail and from family and friends. I hope the show gets picked up for another season because it means millions of dollars into the local economy and a lot of actors, background actors (like me!), technicians, make-up people, and tons of other people get some work they can depend on for a while.

St. John's has never looked more beautiful, except maybe on a sunny day in autumn, and I love that they imported sunshine from the mainland, much as they did with most of the primary actors who were posing as local. They did a great job, mind you--can't fault them on that. And it was good to see a lot of local people playing minor roles--Sean Panting as the lawyer, plus a few other familiar faces, and of course Bell Island's own Allan Hawco in the lead role. For someone who doesn't look or sound like the prototypical lead actor, he's making a fine living for himself, it would seem, just by being a pretty good actor. The writing was actually quite good for a first episode. These things, from what I know, usually take a while to gel, and there were some inspired moments that made me laugh out loud. I'm looking forward to the next episode.

Oh, and as for my small role. If you look real close near the end when Shaun Majumner is entering (leaving?) a cell to meet with his father, the guard who lets him in (out?) is me. At first, you just see an extreme close-up of my cheek bone as I close the cell door. A few seconds later, you see me walking away in my over-sized hat that looks like it belongs on the head of an actor with a much larger head (I'm sure there are some).

While the part was small (there might be others as the season go on--it's hard to say how they edit these things), I was grateful to have made it on screen at all. They cut these scenes down to their barest, most essential bones so they only need a glimpse of, say, a guard to suggest the idea of a prison. Plus, there were nearly a dozen of us there that day as background actors and only two of us actually made it into the first episode. Hopefully, some of them will be seen throughout the season. They're good people who put in a long day's work that day. The whole thing was an enlightening and joyful experience that I hope to repeat many times, if the show gets picked up again. I kept having to turn them down over the past few months because of my teaching schedule. But if they shoot again this summer, I hope to be there.

Besides, a writer needs his experiences. I've already found the whole thing useful in writing my new novel called "Two Sisters" (almost finished).

Back to work.


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