The first one was a little show on Spike called 1000 Ways to Die. This basic gist of this show is that it's like a living, breathing version of The Darwin Awards. Re-enactments of the crazy, idiotic ways that people have managed to kill themselves.....like getting decapitated playing drunken mailbox baseball, strangled when tossing one's scarf into a ceiling fan, being blown away in a tent by a wind storm while pleasuring one's self (I actually auditioned for that one and didn't get cast). The one I got cast for.....I played a doctor and my patient liked to stick things up his ass. He died when he shoved some thermometers up his tuckus, they broke off when he sat on them and he got mercury poisoning along with bleeding to death. fun times.
I got all excited when i got cast....wooooooo my first tv role. I'm gonna be famous now. I'm not going to be rich though (those shows only pay about $100-$200 and you don't get residuals for the re-air either...I wish, they were showing this episode like every 5 days at one point. oh there's another text "hey amy, just saw you on Spike again". If I had a dollar for every time....well I could've at least gotten a couple frappacinos by now even without the promo Happy Hour). I kept waiting for my agent to send me my script...where's my script, it's a couple days before the shoot....no script (how am I supposed to learn my lines)....2 days before....no script (getting nervous here)....day before....no script (oh, it's improv-based...IMPROV BASED?!?! I don't have improv training! No Groundlings, No Improv Olympic, No Upright Citizens Brigade, No Second City!! How am I supposed to do this!?!? Sure I took a little workshop at this strip mall theater I performed in for a bit, but that's not formal training.....okay, just remember "YES, AND...." and roll with it). Get to set and yes, I'm a doctor....and....(channel my best Izzy Stevens from Grey's Anatomy) wouldn't you know it....I'm a bit of a natural at this. I must have been pretty good because they called me back for another episode.
About a year or so later, I'd changed my hair color and they called me for another episode....this time, i'm the wife playing mixed doubles with another couple and the other wife is flirting with my husband. Yes....and how would I react....the directors just let me go wild because they knew what I could bring to the table. I wish they had used some of the other stuff I'd said, but....time constraints. Yes....and I'm grateful they used any of my lines at all.
I've also been a nurse on "I Didn't Know I was Pregnant". That's the show where they re-enact the stories of women (and couples) who didn't know they were expecting a child until out comes baby!!!! That's also where I learned that freshly-born babies on tv shows are often 2-4 week old babies. they make them look freshly born by having the set nurse slather the baby with a combination of cream cheese and strawberry jam. The babies love it & keep trying to put it in their mouths. Also, the baby can't be on set for more than like 30-60 minutes, so you have to work fast & get the shot quickly.
Another little secret....not all court shows are real. Some of them are re-enactments of cases. That happens when the person wants to sell their case, but they themselves do not want to appear on camera. I did one of those shows as well. I got the general idea of the case and then had to make up my own lines from there.
Being a so-called natural has served me well in scripted cases as well....for example, I worked on a webseries where the other actor and I were supposed to have a child with a majority of the lines, but once on set, the child was a nightmare case with a really weird stage mom. Eventually the kid had to be sent home and the director just looked at us and said "change of plans, we're going to improv it from here and see where it goes". (just remember rule #1 of improv....yes....and)
Now (like a math equation), I shall show my work.....and maybe consider actually taking some real improv classes as well:
My first 1000 Ways to Die (Mercury in Uranus) at the :29 point
My second 1000 Ways to Die (Her Own Damn Fault): this is the whole segment and well the sound sucks because I had to record it from my iPhone because they never put the episode online:
And then rolling with the punches in Awkward Moments (at the 2:14 mark...though Destini is hilarious in the whole episode and series):