On Friday, I played Jermaine Fowler’s grandfather in a sketch for the second season of TruTV’s “Friends Of The People.” I was a high school principal in the first season, but it never aired. It was a pretty routine shoot and somewhat familiar. The pickup was at the same spot, 96th and Broadway. The 11:15a.m. call time was reasonable and I made it with minutes to spare.

There were several other players in the van. I remembered one from the Top Five shoot from 2013 (my scene didn’t make the final cut). The seven other actors and I rode out to a great big house in Westchester County that is often used for TV and movie shoots. I was told the owners live on the top floor and have rented out the rest of their massive home since 1980.

I filled out my paperwork and waited to go to wardrobe to get my “grandfather” clothes. I was asked to bring a sweater and shirt as this is not a great big budget production. They didn’t use my stuff and put me in a shirt and sweater/vest. The shirt was funky from a previous use, but it turned out they had to give me another after seeing a problem on camera.

Next was hair and makeup. The hair lady looked at me for 7 seconds and said I was cool. Now it’s time for the waffle hand. This was my first time having anything attached to me and it took more than a minute. My hand was slathered in glue and shredded cotton balls before the spongy plastic waffle was slipped on. It was then painted to match my skin tone and the effect worked, it looked like my hand was made of waffle.

My scene was ready and I headed to one of the living rooms with a couch. Jermaine and I sat and waited for the camera to roll. We each had just one line and after a few takes, we were wrapped. Now I’m hungry and head to the craft services table to see what was what. I hadn’t been there long enough for the lunch spread and had to settle for a sandwich a guy was handing out. I didn’t know what it was and bit into it to discover it was one of those foods I had never tried.

If I don’t like the way a food looks or smells, I don’t eat it. Hummus was on the top of my no-go list. I was right. It tasted like an alley taco.

William Stephenson

You may also like