April 29, 2008

Slow food and cattle calls

Spring is traditionally a slow time for the entertainment business. In an era of video games television production is a declining industry, so jobs are scarcer than before. The declining economy, coupled with a Writer's strike and a general feeling of anomie has meant that this year's TV season is a little delayed. Companies are just beginning to gear up for the "production season" and I am sending out lots of feelers looking for work for this summer and fall.

Out on the ranch I tend to get a little isolated, with the carpal tunnel wrist still sore much of the time I don't work on my computer as much as I have in the past. But I'm looking to do what I can and so I thought it might be fun to go down and apply to be a contestant on a game show. Trying out for an open acting audition is called a "cattle call." That's what this was.

Now I've worked on lots of game shows behind the scenes but I've never attempted to become a contestant. I wouldn't recommend it as an experience. Alfred Hitchcock supposedly said "I didn't say actors are cattle. What I said was, actors should be treated like cattle." That's pretty much what trying out was like. Lines, in the sun waiting to go inside, mug shot style photo taken, wait and watch 50 other people try out in front of the camera, then a minute in front of the camera and on to the next.

Really, I exited the cattle call casting event feeling very much like one of a herd of mixed strays, perhaps like a Holstein steer*, rather than the star. They said that they'd get back to me but I expect little. Very little.

So then I came home and was hungry. What is in big supply on the ranch today is spring peas. They take time to pick (30 minutes), they take time to shell (30 minutes), but they are really quick to eat (3 minutes). So sweet and perfect. A tasty way to end a day of feeling ... not quite enough.

Each cup of peas generates about a quart of pods....

* Holstein steers are kind of extra, as Holsteins are a milk cow and the steers...well...are kind of bony and not good for much except becoming hamburger