Wow. 2016, and now into 2017, have turned out to be very interesting indeed. Back in early 2016 – a very good buddy of mine called and asked if I’d like to work in the Locations Department of a TV show called THE NEW CELEBRITY APPRENTICE for NBC. Beginning something brand new in your 50’s can be challenging. And I mean learning from scratch. But, thanks to my friend – the door opened – and I decided to say ‘yes’ and go through the door. Well, it has been a year now – (my anniversary date was January 18) and I gotta say – it’s still interesting for me. The pace of working in production can be addictive – and exhausting. The people I’ve been lucky enough to work with are truly fantastic – and super helpful to this newcomer.
But saying goodbye to Hamilton Elementary School was tough. I was their Library Coordinator and Improv teacher for over a year. Hamilton is a wonderful school in Pasadena with an outstanding staff and extremely supportive principal – Frances Weissenberger. They could not have made me feel more welcome – and part of the team. As Library Coordinator, I would search for new books every week to introduce to the students. I had the pleasure of reading to each and every class every week. And teaching the improv classes was terrific. On my last day there – an announcement to the entire school came over the intercom. I pressed ‘record’ on my phone – and this is what I recorded.
So, as I mentioned, the first show I worked on, after saying goodbye to Hamilton Elementary School, was THE NEW CELEBRITY APPRENTICE. A very fast paced show to say the least. There are times when I was actually in a location getting the store owner to sign the necessary paperwork – and the camera crew + celebrities were coming through the door. Filming. Talk about quick turn-around. But still, it was fun and I learned a lot.
At the end of the show – Arnold Schwarzenegger gave a wonderful speech to the crew of THE NEW CELEBRITY APPRENTICE. He’s quite a guy…
After that show, I was invited to work in the Locations Department on a new show for Amazon called GOOD GIRLS REVOLT. It was a period piece based on the book by Lynn Povich called “The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued Their Bosses and Changed the Workplace”. Working on a period piece is a challenge for any locations department because it has to be accurate for that period. That eliminates a lot of great locations. But, luckily, in LA – there is still a lot to choose from – if you know where to look. I learned a lot from this team and this experience.
In May 2016 – I was invited to play Santa in one of the promos for BAD SANTA 2. I loved it. The make-up person – Dina Ousley – who did the make-up for the FORD commercials I did a couple of years ago – did the make-up. She is fantastic. Such a joy to work with. And she also has created this wonderful line of airbrushes with which to apply make-up. And she runs her own make-up school! Here’s her website so you can look her up: http://www.dinair.com She really is one of the best.
And, finally, here is the Bad Santa 2 Teaser. PS. I’m the “good” Santa!
Then came COLONY – Season 2. Great show on the USA Network. The production offices for the show were on the Universal lot in Universal City. And it’s ironic that the parking structure I park in was called the Abbott and Costello Lot. Many years ago – I performed “Who’s On First?” with my ol’ buddy Brian Mulligan as Abbott and Costello. Full circle? Who knows….
But the Locations Department is headed up by Scott Poole. He is a wonderful guy and a great Locations Manager. He is extremely knowledgeable about everything locations and is an absolute treat with which to work. And, to be honest, the rest of the location’s team is pretty damn great, too.
COLONY is a science fiction, action, fantasy TV show on the USA Network. It’s really well done and very creepy. The leads in the show, Josh Holloway and Sarah Wayne Callies couldn’t be nicer people to work with.
The challenge for the Locations Department is that the show is set in the future where only the very privileged have vehicles. So, any neighborhood we go into to film – we have to request that the folks who live there park their cars somewhere else. Sometimes it works like a charm and neighbors are great to work with….and sometimes it is more of a challenge. But, suffice it to say, never a dull moment on COLONY.
Now, I’m working on a TV show called ANGIE TRIBECA for TBS network. Thankfully, I’m lucky to be working with much of the same team from COLONY. Great folks.
ANGIE TRIBECA is a comedy. And it’s really funny and worth catching.
I’m having a great time working on the show. The tone on the set is light (it is a comedy, after all). The best part for me – being the movie buff that I am – is that a lot of the show is filmed on the Universal backlot. “There’s the LEAVE IT TO BEAVER house!” or “There’s where they filmed PSYCHO!” never gets old for me.
Is it strange working behind the camera instead of in front of it? Yes – it has taken some time to get used to – but y’know, I like it. I’m still in production (a world I’m very comfortable in), and I don’t have the pressure of looking for a job every day. Gotta tell you, that is pretty great. And after doing it for 30 years – the change feels good. And I became a Teamster! No complaints from me.
And last, but by far not least, I was invited by my ol’ school chum – Terence Gannon – to be a part of his podcast series called The WorkNotWork Show. Every episode, Terence interviews a different person in a different field. He has interviewed a number of fascinating people – and the show is very well worth checking out. After listening to the episode in which Terence interviewed Dr. Robert Thirsk – Astronaut/Engineer/Physician/University Chancellor – I was sold. Terence and his show should be picked up by the CBC (The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) or NPR!! He is very professional and knowledgeable. Check out the show!!
Terence interviewed me a couple of weeks ago – I had a blast. And had Terence done his homework!! The most wonderful thing for me, besides having the glorious opportunity to talk about myself and my life (some of which I had to confirm on IMDB!), was having the chance to chat with Terence who I had not spoken to for 37 years! Wow!
Give it a listen and see what you think. I really loved doing it!
That’s it for now. Best wishes to all of you!!