A Day in the Life of a Degrassi Actor

Posted on Jun 04, 2010 by Mary

Charlotte Arnold studies her nails as she waits hours and hours and hours between shots but can't take a nap because of that hat thingy.

Being a fly on the wall on-set at the Degrassi carnival shoot, I finally got a feel for what it might be like to be an actor. It's not a horrible job, for sure... but it's also not totally as glamorous as I thought. Here's my impression of... A Day in the Life of "The Talent."

- Def have to be able to wake up early. Hair, make-up, and wardrobe calls can be at the buttcrack-of-dawn. You probably already know this. And you have to be ON-TIME. Now all those gossip stories of Lindsay Lohan being like 4 hours late on shoots sound insane to me, because Ray Ablack (Sav) was lamenting the fact that he had been 8 minutes late that morning. I seriously thought he was joking, but he was like, no, that matters... every minute matters because there's a cascade effect that can turn into hours by the end of the day.

- The idea of doing something really emotional take after take always sounded hard to me, but seeing it in action looked even harder. I would feel so much pressure to do it perfectly every time (which, predictably, the Degrassi kids all could, hence they have jobs) because sooo many things can go wrong in a shot -- something's casting a shadow, a prop falls over, the snake's head is pointed wrong, something doesn't land where it's supposed to land, or someone screws up a line. And you don't want to be the thing that's screwing up the shot, because of that cascading time effect. I would probably collapse into a ball of guilt at the end of each day, personally, but that's just me.

- Don't get me wrong, there are perks. Charlotte Arnold (Holly J) said she doesn't mind getting up early because it's fun and relaxing to get your hair and make-up done. And the food is rad. And the snakes. And everyone's SO nice. And while you're milling about backstage, there'll be someone walking around with like, a plate of grilled cheese on nice bread. (And no, sane actors do not starve themselves... people helped themselves to the grilled cheese. It was delicious.)

- So. Much. Repetition.... So. Many. Takes.... and then hours of waiting around while stuff gets set up for the next shot. Or if you're Charlotte that day, hooooouuuuurrrrrs of waiting around -- in costume -- until you're needed again.

- The hair and make-up, to me, looked kind of suffocating. Especially wearing full make-up for like 12 hours. I would have been clawing at my face, personally. But I guess you get used to it. And you can afford nice facials, I'm sure.

- You have to be pretty comfortable with random people just walking up to you and touching you. I mean, not totally random, it's only the hair/make-up/wardrobe people, but you'll just be standing there having a conversation and someone will come up and hold a little piece of your hair back, trying to get it to stay there. I would have wanted to swat their hands away after a while, but the actors were totally patient about it.

- I sound like such a whiner, but believe me, no one was complaining. They were probably looking at the bright side -- they got to be in this insane magic indoor carnival, they were with friends all day, they were making money, they're on a show that people really care about, the shots all looked beautiful, and they were doing what they love for a living. Not too shabby of a job by any measure.

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