Greetings from Vancouver, where I sit high above the city, looking out over a balcony, through a sliding glass door that I dare not open, because single digit temperatures in Celsius are just as cold as their Fahrenheit cousins.
If you're joining the broadcast late, I'm here for an episode of Eureka, playing a brilliant-but-sarcastic scientist who is sort of a nemesis to Fargo, and my episode airs July 23rd on the Sci-Fi – *grumble* I mean SyFy – channel.
My day started at areyoufuckingserious in the morning, so I'm more than a little blurry in the brain, but I had some stuff I wanted to share:
The cast and crew of Eureka are, without exception, awesome. Every single person I've interacted with has been incredibly kind and welcoming, and I instantly felt at home on the set. I've only been here two days, but it feels like everyone likes each other, which confirms what I'd heard from people who have worked on the show when I asked about it.
We did a read through of the episode yesterday, but not all of the actors could be there, so a lot of the regulars just filled in for them. I thought I was going to fall out of my chair laughing when Colin Ferguson read one of them - who will remain nameless - in a voice that was disturbingly (or amazingly, depending on your point of view) similar to Mayor McCheese. After fifteen minutes with him, I could see where Carter's wry humor comes from.
Last night, I had dinner with my friend Aaron, who is also an actor and lives here. While we were waiting for our check, he asked me if I was excited to "go be an actor for a week."
"I really am," I said, "but I'm also a little nervous. I've spent so much time being a writer, I'm afraid that I'll get stuck in my head once I'm on the set."
I was talking about this thing that can happen to actors who are over-prepared or inexperienced. To really live in a scene and to really be connected to the other actors, we have to stay in each moment, reacting honestly and simply to what the other actors are doing. I do a ton of character preparation. In addition to knowing what my lines are, I know why I say each one. I know all sorts of stuff about my characters, because the more I know about a character, the wider my range is when I play him. I need to know what I want from each other character, what my purpose is in a scene, and then let all of that stuff fall away into some kind of subconscious background noise while I'm actually performing the scene ... or I'm stuck in my head, thinking about things and watching things, instead of living in the scene.
I continued, "so I think I'll probably be a little rusty at first, but I've done this long enough to trust that I'll settle in. Not as quickly as I'd like, but I'll settle in."
"Well, I'm sure you're going to have a great time," he said, in that way one actor tells another to get the frak out of his own way, trust his instincts, and just enjoy the work, without really saying that. It's sort of a pep talk between friends, I guess, and it's one of those things that I just love about being an actor with some good friends.
I got to work with Neil and Erica for 6/8 of a page today, and though it took me longer to find my character and settle in than I wanted, it was, as they say, like riding a bike ... and I didn't even fall off and scrape my knees.
Between rehearsal and filming today, I walked around the set a little bit. It's magnificent; I felt a sense of wonder and awe that I haven't felt since the first time I walked through the Enterprise on stage nine in 1987. The little details, like the signs on the walls, fingerprint scanners at the doors and the texture of the fake concrete make it feel like it's an actual building that happens to extend fourteen stories underground. I just love that I get to use my imagination to pretend I'm a person who works in this place.
Vancouver is as beautiful as I remember it, and since I have the next three days off, I plan to put on my tourist hat (which is actually just a PAN Fleece to carry my geek gear) and see as much of it as I can.
If any locals want to mention some must-see places – especially art, non-touristy or geek-related – in the comments, I'd love that.