Blog | raymond ablack

  • A Day in the Life of a Degrassi Actor

    Posted on 06/04/2010 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.

  • Dear Degrassi: Advice from Ray "Sav" Ablack

    Posted on 04/06/2010 by Mary

    This week's advice-seeker says:
    So me and my guy friend are really close, and of course everyone thinks that there's "something going on between us," but I really haven't thought much of it. I usually just brush it off, but last night I had a dream about us in a relationship. I'm still a bit freaked out by it and I don't know if my subconscious is trying to tell me something. I mean I haven't really thought about it, but we're so much alike that we would be a great match and since were already so close we don't have any of those awkward pauses... ever. Now a part of me really thinks that we could work, but the other half is a bit cautious about it.

    Now my feelings for him are mixed . I'm not quite sure if I should tell him though because we talk about everything and he has vented to me about how he hates girls chasing after him and every girl he talks to ends up liking him and that I am the only one who hasn't, and he totally appreciates it. Now I'm stuck with the dilemma of telling him and he may freak out and we would lose our friendship. Or tell him how I really feel, get it off my chest, and possibly have a chance for a new relationship.

    I can't make up my mind, what should i do?"

    Raymond Ablack, Sav from Degrassi And Ray says...
    "Hey, that's a tough spot for sure. I'll preface my response with the fact that I think I'm a sadist, and am probably not qualified to offer the advice or answer that you'll want to hear, but if after reading my disclaimer you still want my two cents, then I hope this helps?

    After reading your question, I feel like you're confused about how you feel for your guy friend. I'd say first off: figure out how you feel internally and then go honestly from there. Discover how you alone feel. Disregard what your friends may think could be a 'cute' couple, and disregard your dream; as a psychology student I've learned that we really know nothing about our dreams and whether or not they have any implications in R.L. so don't put too much weight on this one. Sounds like your mind and heart are playing tricks on you. If at the end of the day however, you feel like you do have feelings for him, then tell him. - Yeah, he might freak. And that could suck. But maybe he won't, you said yourself you two have a good friendship? Perhaps he'll feel the same way and you could go further? And even if he doesn't want to, if the friendship is indeed strong, then this situation shouldn't break it.

    I had a similar experience in grade ten. I went out with my best friend, thinking that it would be swell. After all, she used to make me cookie dough, and then we'd eat it together in class. Things started falling apart though. We broke up, but remained best friends (with some rough patches, of course). We were better as friends than as a couple . All this back story to say that even if you can't have the romantic relationship your friendship shouldn't be lost, so why not go for it? - You've got nothing to lose? But at the same time, being in a relationship isn't the be all and end all of everything, although it seems like kids our age, 'Alli' for example, are transfixed on the idea of a relationship and that it will make their lives complete. You don't have to fall for it too though. - But I'm probably just bitter or something?

    I guess you gotta figure it out on your own. I'd start off with discovering what you actually feel though, not what your friends, your dreams, or society tells you? Hope I helped.

    Ray"