Tuesday, September 06, 2011
So many films and TV shows have portrayed New York City as the place where an individual can be discovered, get a big break into showbiz, and make it big, maybe even become a movie star. Of course it happens, but, like depictions of the wild West, the reality is far less glamorous, and shootouts on the streets of Laredo are rare. Making it in the performing arts is mostly a process of auditioning, waiting, and rejection. Who has the staying power for this lifestyle?
Many months ago, I was chatting with Joe Rios, an acquaintance from Washington Square Park. At one juncture, I spoke of my experience with Ferris Butler and MNN Cable Access TV. I was surprised to learn that Joe was very involved with the network and was going through training at their facilities. As part of his advancement with the network, there are requirements, including production of a program.
Talk turned to his personal project, a TV show on the musicians of Washington Square Park. He was looking for a moderator/host, someone who would conduct interviews with the musicians. He offered me the job - he said he had an instinct and implicit faith in me. I was flattered but was not nearly as confident as he was as to my ability to perform well. Nonetheless, I could not turn down the offer - it was just too exciting. I told him I had zero experience with this type of thing, but Joe was undaunted. I said I would give him 130%.
There would be filming of musicians in the park playing, and I would conduct spot interviews. In October, there will be a panel discussion and music performances in a studio with a live audience, to be broadcast on public access cable and streamed on the Internet. The park footage will be used as field footage and will be shown during the studio airing.
I had no idea if this project would really happen. There was talk from time to time, but talk is cheap and many talk of lifelong dreams with nary a step in that direction. One day, Joe showed me the paperwork: a formal project description, call sheets, names of the members of a professional and production camera crew, and a schedule with dates and times. Permits had been acquired. This was really going to happen.
On Thursday, September 1st, the shooting began. This week, there will be more filming.
Part of the decision to use me was based on the executive producer's reading of this blog. I was not aware while talking to Joey that this was not just going to be aired on local access cable. It is also being shot as a film documentary and will be presented at film festivals and marketed. I was also told that the project had changed. It was now being filmed as seen through my eyes. There will be some filming done from my apartment which overlooks Washington Square Park.* This is an honor and opportunity beyond my wildest dreams. Time will tell if my work will be well received at all.
It is the classic New York story. Pay your dues and work your craft with unflagging dedication. Be tenacious as hell. Then one day, with some luck, you will be at the right place at the right time, and next thing you know, you're a Movie Star :)
Photos courtesy of Sandy Hechtman.
*Seasonal views from my window: Signs of Summer, Enchanted April, White By Design 2, Wood, Glass, Brass and Trees
Posts overlooking Washington Square Park: Boxing Al Fresco, Urban Elephants and Hydraulic Tusks, We've Got Skiing Too, Meetings With Remarkable Men Part 1, Shifting Gears
Related Posts: Do It in the Road, Sisterhood, I Am Legend, I Love New York