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Travel bucket lists and booking a role on Hawaii Five-O (Part II)

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Booking a role on Hawaii Five O

First Read :  Booking a role on…Hawaii Five-O (Part I)

Monday: The big Five-0 audition.

At Hawaii Five-0 studios in downtown Honolulu, I play my lines to the casting director in a bare room. It’s one scene. I’m an assistant to two bosses (a dead one and a murder suspect) and I’m being questioned by the Five-O team. The casting director has me perform it several times, adding different direction.

Now I have two thoughts burdening my mind:

– Will I get the Hawaii Five-O part?
What’s my decision about the Korea job?

My favorite two-word phrase silences all tensions and neurotic chattering.

Fuck it.

Tuesday: The result

My agent messages me. She is god! Good news, the director cast me. Now I need to wait and see if I clear network approval. Network could still say No.

But they don’t. I get the green light, so I shoot on Thursday!

One scene. Five lines.
Delivered to Mc Garrett (Alex O’Loughlin) and Dano (Scott Caan).

In alternate worlds, there are actresses jumping up and down, screaming, foreseeing their imagined-rise to fame or star-crazed fans dying for these guys to tear off their shirts. I’ll tell you how I took it… I slept off depression for the rest of the day!

That’s my process. Ask me if I’m excited and I won’t say ‘No‘. Instead, I’ll avoid saying ‘Yes‘, because uttering the word “excited” will awaken jangly nerves. Silence is best. I love good news! But GOOD BIG NEWS overwhelms me. And when people believe in you enough to give you “a big break”, its additional pressure and responsibility you don’t want to fail on.

Wednesday: Wardrobe fitting at the studios.

I discover either, I’ve gotten chubby or the clothing sizes I gave were wrong. The size 6’s feel like 4’s and size 4’s feel like 2’s. Too late for a diet.

The wardrobe designer, Cate has me try on many ‘Assistant’ outfits so we can photograph 5-6 looks for the producer to choose from. I’m delighted to find Cate is a fellow traveler. I notice a Thai amulet around her neck, she’s from the hip hippie era and she’s been to India so many times, you’d call her an expat. Each outfit I try on, drives the topic of a new country.

Finally, the top six designs are selected. But as lovely as her choices are, there’s only one outfit with a skirt. I think the producer’s gonna go with the skirt. Skirts score higher network ratings than slacks.

Thursday: Day of the Shoot

It’s the big day. Time to step up to the plate and bat a home run!

The whole night my dreams played my five lines forwards and backwards. I’m not sure if I’m rested, but I’m ready. If I’m excited, I still don’t admit it aloud to myself.

All I can think is– Thank God for acting class! Went to acting class last night and working on different scenes with other actors, helped me work my nerves out. The more lines and scenes I have playing in my head, alleviates the pressure of this one.

Now, home rehearsal with my retired parents. Mom plays Mc Garret & Dad plays Dano in front of the hall mirror. Okay laugh, but my retired folks are my best and most confidential resource in Hawaii and I need to be comfortable delivering my lines in different ways. It’s only 5 lines, but I have a fear of blanking on them.

My secret goal: don’t blank.

At the Hawaii Five-O studios:

10AM: Surprise! I have my own lovely trailer room, labeled “Assistant” on the door. My costume is hanging on a hook for me above my couch. It’s the skirt. People come by to tell me that if there’s anything I want or need, to let them know. They’re very nice, but I wish they told me what options I had to choose from.

my trailer

My trailer labeled “Assistant”. That’s my role!

my dressing room trailer

My trailer comes complete with flat screen tv, dvd & cd player, microwave, refrigerator and radio!

film trailers

Film set trailers

11AM: Welcome to Frankenstein’s Trailer

I meet Scott Caan and Alex O’Loughlin briefly in the hair and makeup trailer. Someone’s dog is in the trailer. Is there a dog on Hawaii Five-O? If he’s an actor dog, he’s very social. It’s actually Scott’s and it’s become the beloved pet on set. The boys go to set and now it’s my turn to sit in the chair to get my hair and makeup done.

In the U.S. I’ve never experienced a makeover, which has left me feeling well,…”beautiful”. It’s not anyone’s fault. If you’re an Asian American, likelihood is, you don’t even know how to tap your own beauty potential! You grow up having to force-fit it either, into a Caucasian look or a generic ‘Asian’ prescription. If you don’t believe me, walk into a Lens Crafter eyeglass store and you’ll find the only style made for Asian faces is a wire-framed pocket-protector look! Korea has indeed, spoiled me with its options for Asian glamor.

Makeup feels like mud on my face, in general. Only after Korea, did I start trusting BB cream foundation. Practically every Korean woman wears it and the look is radiant and flawless. But… I’m in the U.S., so more makeup goes on over my foundation. Now I’m tan. Eye shadow? Call me ‘Asian Dragon Lady’. Lipstick? My lips weld into a thin, crisp line of red. I’m glad I’m not playing a Hotel Street hooker. I don’t think I could take the makeup quantity.

My cool Korean perm? Whisked up into an semi-sumo girl do. U.S. stylists (even the most brilliant) never know what to do with my hair, so I’ve gotten a lot of updo styles and hair straightenings, which don’t match or… flatter my face. Do I have ugly hair or an odd-shaped face? Sitting in these chairs, tell me, I must have both!

Actor’s vanity? Sure. But human ones also. I’ll have to live this ‘unflattering look’ through re-runs;  worse, I’ll have to act confidently in the face of feeling ugly!

When I get home, I’ll razor my hair into bangs.  No stylist will give me a updo again!

On-location at the harbor and shipping piers

12 PM: Call time on set. No time for food. My stomach growls. It seldom growls. I’ve walked and trekked through 3rd world countries in burning heat and on less food, but today, it growls.

I’m driven to the shoot location: the harbor. There’s freight boats, rusted metal and all the seafaring stuff that makes a scene look gritty and macho. The crew is already shooting a scene and it’s taking longer than expected. It’s a scene where the Five-0 team is questioning my suspect boss. Off-set, Patrick Fabian, the actor, is gentlemanly and thoughtful. He offers me a chair; doesn’t seem like a ‘murderer’ to me.

actor side sheet

My call sheet for the day’s shoot

They break scene to reload the camera. Alex O’Loughlin comes over to formally introduce himself with a handshake. In person, he looks nice and…. human-looking, like most actors do.  I smile, imagining a throng of frenzied female fans behind me, waving hand-painted “We love you, Alex!” signs. It feels surreal to be my shoes. To think people might envy my ‘Size 9’ loaners!

Where do I sit? A crew person leads me over to a shaded area and points to a blue movie set chair, labeled “Cast”. At last, I get to sit on one! Not as a fool-around prop or some Universal Studios theme park set, but because I’m earning it… the real way.

My chair? Parked next to chairs labeled, “Alex” and “Scott“.

Awkward.

I haven’t been on a film or TV set for a while. I forgot how long it takes before you shoot a scene. I didn’t bring anything to occupy me, like my iPod Touch or a book. So I sit with my water bottle in hand, as the makeup lady welds more red lipstick on my mouth and as Scott plays on his iPad, right next to me.

More awkward.

This is the dream, where you wake up and realize you ARE naked on stage

2 PM-ish: My scene is up and the crew goes into warp-speed, moving equipment.

I love the look of the set! It has a nice raw and industrial appeal. Large open warehouse, some desks, architectural drafts and three background extras, who play my “engineers”. My engineers are a shy and quiet bunch; they’re real Hawaii folk working a gig, not actors. I try to break into ‘small talk’ with them to loosen up nerves before going into scene. I get a one-word answer here or there. The drought of conversation. New York extra actors? Different story. Everyone spins tales non-stop about their favorite subjects: acting and themselves.

The director stages us for blocking, camera setup and lighting. The two stars stand across of me.

The Director yells “Rehearsal!“.  An camera assistant quickly drops X’s in front of us, before we leave to get into place. Mine is yellow. Whatever action I’m doing and wherever I’m placed, I’ll need to make sure I get to this ‘yellow X’ to deliver my lines.

Action!

I turn and quickly cheat a peek at my mark so I don’t overshoot. So far, so good. Then, I turn to Alex to deliver my second line, when my mind starts reeling for it. Everyone — crew, director, cast– leans forward, I imagine, waiting for me to deliver my line.

What was the line? The line? The lin…

O. M. G. I just blanked.

What kind of idiot would forget his lines if he only had five?!

My ‘inner umpire’ bellows loudly, “Strriiiike One!” My past revives itself in the self-torturing form of pressure-cooker college sports matches and old dance recitals,…

Everyone seems fine with it, though. The director, Steve Boyum, jokes reassuringly, “These things happen. These guys have blown lines the entire morning“. I dunno if that’s true, but I like Steve.  Aside from being a genuinely interesting and good guy, he gets how I’m feeling and tries to make me feel comfortable.

Cameras are now ready to roll for real now.

Action!

Three takes wide, three takes (over my shoulder) on Alex and Scott, and then, three takes on me. Then we do a handful of takes on the Five-O guys leaving. Things are going smoothly. At one point, the actors’ stand-ins come in so the guys can take a break. Obviously, I don’t have “a double”. Not a problem. I stand with the stand-ins as the D.P. decides on the shot and lighting. I find the stars’ doubles actually more intimidating than the stars, themselves. They’re like presidential bodyguards with snarling eyes, which could easily burn a hole through you. I try not to make eye contact.

4:30 PM we wrap the scene.

Within this quick window of time, I’ve questioned how much I love acting?

Actually, the rewards of acting are many. It’s as much as traveling and living in Korea (and true, nabbing a role on a popular TV show doesn’t hurt either!). Yet there’s one differentiating challenge, a dark underlining, which forces questions. It’s something most actors, athletes and ‘creative types’, in general, suffer under:

Can you master (or even survive) you own ‘worst inner critic’?

What do you think my travel gut says?

P.S. I recently returned to the Hawaii Five O studios to record an extra line for my scene. Now I have SIX lines vs. only five! Getting there slowly– one line at a time.

<< Read Part I:   Travel Bucket List 2012: Booking a role on Hawaii Five-O

Please join me on Monday, February 20th for Hawaii Five-O’s episode ‘Kupale’. 10/9P Central time. For sports fans, there are two guest appearances you might like: check out this press release.

Below is my scene. Hoping to do better next time!

 

60 Comments

  1. How fun! Congrats!! You did wonderfully! and loved the true and honest recap of your feelings throughout. Hope to see more of you on tv!

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      Thanks @Glamorous!I feel like I should be seeing you on TV too! =)

  2. Wow that was amazing. I’m into acting as well and you just showed me everything is possible.
    Reading this filled me with joy and at the end your last line cracked me up.
    You rock!!

    • Christine Kaaloa says:

      @Yassine: Super glad to meet another actor/travel blogger! Dreams are always possible. You just need to reach for them. ;D

  3. Rosa says:

    what agency do you go through to land roles?

  4. Barbara says:

    Just watched it. Very cool. Congrats!

  5. Akila says:

    This is a great and hilarious post! Loved it – and loved the hour by hour recap of what it’s really like to be on set.

  6. Wow! Exciting stuff! You’re living the dream travelling the world and making TV appearances alongside sexy people. They probably haven’t got a patch on me though right?

  7. jooliyah says:

    saw it. you did amazing!! totally believable! and looked great!!! congratulations, what an awesome thing to check off your list!!

    • @jooliyah: Thanks. My mom almost missed me– she didn’t think I looked at all like my normal self. Don’t think I did either. But I did get to check it off the list! Thanx for watching. Sending aloha from home.

  8. houseofannie says:

    Maika’i loa!!! Too cool recap of your time on set. H50 plays here in Malaysia, but the episodes don’t air the same week as in the US. So I won’t be able to watch it tonight. Hopefully will be able to catch it some other time.

  9. thelotuspond says:

    Christine, i love the play by play and congrats again. I’m waiting for it to start!
    Aloha,
    m

  10. Dave says:

    @Christine

    Think I found a place that “shows” some shows. But it takes a day or two to catch up. I’ll try Hulu too if the internet here can handle it. But by ironies chance, there’s a Korean cafe that’s got good internet!

    As for your follow ups. Well aside from that little extra line in your resume, who knows where or when the follow up will be. Hopefully it will all fall into place for you. But, you also seem like a get up and just do it type of person, so I’m sure that will help. Either way, I’m quite sure you can make what every you want, happen!

    • @Dave: I guess Koreans love their high-speed internet, even in Nepal where there’s frequent electrical shortages! FYI, my scene goes by in a blip and it’s towards the end of the show. A small part. Not saying it’s not worth the watch but the internet download (in Nepal)? Slow & costly. You can hulu.com when you find a bored moment and a free wifi connection. 😉

      For the moment, I’ll ride the wave of life. Don’t have a clear sense just yet, even about where I want to travel to this year…. & I’m starting to deal with travel withdrawals already! Should be a mildly terrifying ride.

  11. Nice, congrats on the role. So, any gossip? What’s Scott Caan really like?

    • @Nate: Ah, a Scott Caan fan. I did see him shirtless and he has Angry Birds on his iPad (I sneaked a peek). Between the two, he seems a bit more to himself and shy, though I could be off the mark.

  12. jooliyah says:

    wow! so exciting! ok. i can totally see why that tug the other way is so strong. we have a slingbox going and five-o is tivoed so i will definitely be catching this episode. fun!

    • @Jooliyah: Ahh, that’s right– you tivo Five-O cause you miss home! Well, I’ll tell you a little secret– I initially wished to shoot a scene with Daniel, instead! Only so I could sneak a pic with him, in the case I end up back in Korea. Then I’d get to show it off to my Korean students. Me acting with Daniel Dae Kim! Anyways, it would be nice to see it there with some kimchi and soondubu jigae. 😉

  13. Gray says:

    OH MY GOD! Christine!!! How very cool! No wonder you’ve been keeping mum about things. What a great reveal about what you’ve been up to! I’m so excited for you. I’ll have to watch the eppy on Hulu, since I don’t have TV, but I will watch it. Congrats!

  14. Katja says:

    You do inspire me, Chris! Whenever I read one of your posts I feel OBLIGED to comment, one way or another. I never understood TV or the film industry in general..I watch CSI and think “where did the director tell them to stand and how did they have to repeat their sentences four times”…the genuine feeling is lost on me. The only film that felt ever real to me was the Blair Witch Project and I had nightmares for weeks…so KUDOS to you making me DVR the episode with you in it. Anm assistant or not. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

    • @Katja: And I thank you for your obliged feeling to comment! I like when people comment.

      Unfortunately, I don’t think HI 5-0 will feel any more real than the Blair Witch project, but it does help to get a little behind-the-scenes peek into the Acting for Television process. Some of it I knew coming from the production end but others were like Whoa! You’re learning as you go. It’s small tics, for instance, there’s a slight achronology to the tape marking/rehearsal to shoot part. They actually planted the X marks immediately after the Director shouted “from the top… we’re gonna roll”, so I didn’t have time to practice how many steps it was to my mark. Really didn’t realize how quickly they roll into things.

  15. Dave says:

    Congratulations!!!

    I’ve really been enjoying your TV adventure/career vs Korea.

    Great read that has me scouring the internet trying to find where I can watch this episode as it doesn’t show over here at all.

    So is there’s sequel to this post too? I’m think so …

    • @Dave: To be honest, you’re the one blog I”m glued to as well, Dave.

      Hmmm… I wish there was a sequel, cause I enjoyed writing about it. The only thing left to talk about it my ADR recording. Anyways, seeing as my face will be seen, I’ll be dead to that show for some time. =( Guess I’ll just have to find another way to top myself. FYI: watching anything from the US while you’re abroad: Hulu.com is something a lot of expats use to watch tv shows in Korea. No worries, my scene is towards the end (so it’d take too long to stream) and though I promote it, it gives me shivers to think friends will watch it. LOL. I don’t feel like it looks like me.

  16. murissa says:

    Hah! Great & funny post! Congrats on the part, just found your blog via twitter and you’ve sold me on being a follower of yours.
    One question…is your character guilty or whatever murder?
    I will watch to find out!

    The Wanderfull Traveler

    • @Murissa: Glad I could make you laugh and thanks for the follow. 😉 My character isn’t guilty but very closely related to the murdered and murderer.

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