This post is a transcript of an email/text conversation between myself and a manager in pursuit of getting three days of background work. As you will see, ultimately I did not get the work. I am putting it up because it strikes me as very silly. Background work does not pay tons of $$$, but it can be close to as arbitrary for big $$$ commercial work as a principal. I think there are a lot of things wrong with what goes on in this exchange, most of which you won't recognize if you don't engage in these activities. I won't point them out. Just read through it and enjoy yourself.
Perry Mason Timeline
>Aug 28 at 11:56 AM
Hello 1930's style musicians!
Checking your availability to work 3 days on the HBO show: Perry Mason. The work dates are:
Thursday, Sept 19
Friday, Sept 20
Monday, Sept 23
Rate is $275/up to 8 hr day, followed by overtime at time and a half, double time and possible golden time (the day rate per hour). On top of that are instrument bumps ($25), possible wardrobe bumps, possible smoke bumps, and oftentimes, meal penalties as well. So, please don't fixate on the 'day rate' as these jobs usually pay way more than that, along with free food all day on set :-)
Please REPLY with your FULL AVAILABILITY for ALL 3 days PLUS the instrument(s) you could bring to set. See list below.
After that, each of you needs to be approved by the production team before booking.
Here's what they're looking for:
Clean cut, no facial hair, no tattoos, nice clean cut.
20 member band - 15 Men, 5 Women - all Caucasian but 4 can be different races. If anyone has the period instruments please let me know.
3 coronets (regular)
3 trombones (2 tenor, 1 bass)
3 Alto horns (not saxes, they are in the French horn range)
1 baritone horn (again, not a sax)
Bass drum (the one that looks like it would be in a marching band)
Crash cymbal (like held upright in 2 hands, again marching band visual)
Again, please REPLY with your FULL AVAILABILITY for ALL 3 days PLUS the instrument(s) you could bring to set. If you are NOT available at all, there's no need to reply at all. Thank you!
>Aug 28 at 12:00 PM
Also, there will be a fitting day, if you get selected for this work call. The fitting will be during a 2 hour window and I'll do my best to work with your schedule. This will take place the week prior. Fittings pay 1/4 of the day rate. For this call, the fitting would pay $68.75.
Again...if you're not available at all for this job, there is no need to respond at all. Thank you!
>Aug 28, 2019 at 12:23 PM William Roper
I am not Caucasian, so I would have to be one of the four.
Available all stated days. Can't say about the wardrobe day, since you don't know it.
Instruments available: (btw, it is cornet, not coronet)
2. Alto horn (oval style)
3. Euphonium (period)
4. Tuba (period)
5. Baritone horn
If I have to actually play something, limit it to euphonium, baritone horn and tuba.
>Aug 28 at 12:26 PM
Thanks...will keep you posted if they select you. Fingers crossed!
>Aug 28, 2019 at 12:26 PM William Roper
It doesn't say if this is a SAG job. If it is not, then don't send my name in.
>Aug 28 at 12:27 PM
It's SAG. I negotiated a higher rate but it's still on SAG contracts.
>Aug 28 at 6:34 PM
Just to clarify, we do need all ethnicities on this call. Please reply only if you're available. Thanks a bunch ;-)
>Aug 29 at 10:42 AM
Hello 1930's band fellas,
We don't have a definite booking yet but it's looking pretty good. I"ll get more concrete info as soon as I can.
For now, we need your jacket size ASAP. There will be a fitting as well, so they may be able to tweak here and there.
Here are the sizes of jackets they have. Which one(s) suit you? Please give all possible options so we have choices:
2 size 38
3 size 40
5 size 42
2 size 44
1 size 46
1 size 48
Thanks for replying with your best option(s)!!
>Aug 29, 2019 at 10:55 AM William Roper
I am a snug 48R, but I wear it. No way a 46. A comfortable 52.
I can assume this means that I am in the running?
>Aug 29 at 11:01 AM
As I said, it's looking good but we don't have a definite booking yet. Are you willing to wear a wig provided by hair/makeup dept? They won't accept your beautiful bald head this time around ;-)
>Aug 29, 2019 at 11:03 AM William Roper
I'll wear a wig and a dress. BTW, I have 30 Afro wigs of my own.
>Aug 29 at 11:05 AM
WOAH...dude! That's awesome!! I don't even have one, lol! Ok, I'm working on that. They said they wouldn't have you on the job because of the bald head but I asked about a wig so they're considering it. Think outside the box, right??
>Aug 29, 2019 at 11:10 AM William Roper
Correct. The bald head is sometimes a drawback, mostly for period stuff. But, the long hair is very grey these days.
You can see a little of it on here (in your spare time):
>Aug 29 at 11:12 AM
OMG...bizarre but wonderful!!
>Aug 29 at 9:17 PM
We need photos of some of your wigs. We’re trying to find the ones that would most likely be used for 1930s scene. I also have one more African-American who is bald, Calvin Winbush, do you know him? He would also need a wig.
You wouldn’t happen to have two wigs that would be suitable, do you?
>Aug 29, 2019, at 9:29 PM William Roper
I have 30 Afro wigs, all the same. And one Trump wig. Those won't work for the 1930's. What next? I can't go out and buy a wig now.
>Aug 29 at 9:52 PM
No, definitely not. I don’t think it’s going to work then unless you have one that can pass for 1930?
We move to texts:
>Thu 9:28 PM William Roper: ______, I've got your email about the wigs. They are afro wigs. They are all the same. 30 of the same wig. And afterwards don't really go with the 30s. I also have a trump wig. Which won't work either. What's your advice?
>Thu 9:57 PM: We'll have to pass on this call. It's not a definite booking for anyone officially yet.
>Thu 9:59 PM William Roper: I suspected as much. Sorry for the misunderstanding on the wigs. You would think they'd have one or two in their coffers. But why should they make it hard when they can be easy. So it goes. Thanks much.
>Thu 9:59 PM: They prob don't have a wig dept for this show.
>Thu 10:00 PM: If anything changes, I'll let you know!
>Thu 10:01 PM William Roper: Okay, thanks. Not to complicate things, but I have a hundred different hats/caps, of which I do have photos of. If they want to cover my head that is.
>Thu 10:02 PM: No hats/caps. If you want to try on some wigs & take pix for me, that might work. You could write it off.
>Thu 10:04 PM William Roper: In future. But, I've looked at wigs in these few minutes and you're talkin like $150 for a wig. It's a big investment even getting one, two or three it gets to be real money. But I'll check it out.
>Thu 10:05 PM: Ok.