Bill Prady revealed the title of this episode on Twitter earlier today, so I guess that means I can also reveal it, and perhaps explain why I nearly required medical attention when I opened up the script and saw it.
So it was another awesome day on the set of The Big Bang Theory. We rehearsed the show again this morning, and then we had our first run through for the producers after lunch. This first run through can be really stressful for some actors (including a rookie version of me) because we haven't had a lot of time with the script to get comfortable with the dialog, work out all the comedy beats, and settle on final blocking. I mean, we've only really run it once, and it can feel like putting on an incomplete performance or doing an underprepared audition for people you really want need to make happy.
I've done several run throughs (seven, total, over two episodes) while working on The Big Bang Theory, though, and it hasn't been stressful at all. In fact, it's been a whole lot of fun, and very informative to me as an actor. See, at some point in the last ten years or so, I realized that the writers and producers are working it out just as much as we are, and that they want it to be awesome just as much as we do; this is why we do the run throughs every day until we tape. Knowing this takes a lot of the pressure off for me.
Of course, it helps that the script is very good from the first draft we get. It helps that all the actors are incredibly professional, dedicated, friendly, and easy to get along with. It helps a lot to have a phenomenal director and a crew that seems to be one step ahead of us all day. When the writers and producers arrive, it helps that they know they're making a great show, so they're confident, relaxed, speak with a clear and unified voice, and give specific notes to make our performances better, instead of just giving notes for the sake of giving notes (which has happened to me in the past - not on this show - and was really frustrating, especially when I got five conflicting notes that were just given for the sake of giving them. Yes, I was expected to apply them all, yes, I tried, and yes, we ended up throwing them all out by the time we taped.)
Anyway, the schedule for the first five days of production is pretty much the same: we work all morning with the director (Mark Cendrowski, in this case, who is awesome), show the writers and producers where we are in the afternoon, get notes, apply notes, and do it all over the following day.
So, like I said, for a lot of actors, the daily run through can be stressful. Indeed it was for me when I was young and less experienced. However, I've come to embrace it as an opportunity to not only make my performance better, but to learn a lot about writing and performing comedy by listening and paying close attention to the notes the writers and producers give all the actors, not just to me.
I wish I'd figured this out when I was a younger actor, because I would have been a better actor if I had: there is XP all over the place when we're on the set, just waiting for us to collect it and level. So, actors, listen to me now: When you're on the set, be on the set. Pay attention to everything that's going on around you, because you will constantly be presented with opportunities to learn about and perfect your craft. If you're lucky like me and get to work with some of the best in the business, you're learning from some of the best in the business!
I know that I - and a lot of other people - would pay a lot of money to listen to Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady and Lee Aronsohn give a seminar on how to write and perform comedy for television. While we were getting notes today, I realized how lucky I am to be on their set, working on their show, learning from them and getting paid to do it.