Friday, March 25, 2005

March 25, 2005
Woke up to more rain this morning. Took the dogs for a bike ride and they loved it.

Last night I watched the University of Arizona—Oklahoma State Sweet 16, B-Ball game. Before the game I started a new painting of the Fifth and Allen nighttime scene, bigger, more ambitious. Game was a real nail-biter. Everytime they went to a commercial (which was a lot), I would run over to the dining room table and lay in a wash. Game went right down to the last 2.3 seconds. Wildcats won, 79-78, on a clutch shot by Salim Stoudamire. The finish got me so jacked up I couldn't go to sleep. In fact I didn't eat dinner. Stayed up until midnite painting. Totally wired. Funny what sports can do to you. I kept saying, "It's just a game, they're just kids, they've had a good run, they'll learn more from defeat than victory, let it go." And then, "YESSSSSSSS!!! Salim!!!!” At one point I jumped over the couch, clapping loudly and yelling. Woke up Kathy, who came out and looked around the corner and said, "Are you alright?"

Obviously not.

One of my favorite show biz stories is of Jim Nabors (Gomer Pyle ) who hit it big with the TV series Mayberry back in the 1950s. He kept an account in his small hometown bank, and would deposit his weekly checks (several thousand dollars) from the series there. One day, while home visiting his mother, he went into the bank and one of the local tellers couldn't help herself and said to him, "No offense Jim, but they sure pay you a lot for only working a half -hour a week."

Which leads me to my follow-up questions to John Apicella. I wanted to know how long he worked on the Seinfeld episode, what he got paid, etc. Here's his reply:

"The Seinfeld episode I was in is called 'The Tape,' and aired about 1994. I had eight or nine lines, but they trimmed it for air and I probably ended up with five or six.

"I think I got $1,500 with 'Guest Star' billing, 'top of show' for that era. 'Top of show' is the top pay for guest actors on a given show. Regulars make considerably more, from $10,000 to who knows what. Today, 'top of show' might be $1,800 or more for a sitcom. An hour episodic, like WEST WING, might pay $1,200 for one day, $5,000 for a week. The SEINFELD job worked a full week, (a comparable job these days would be a two or three day job with proportionately less pay).

"The average sitcom week goes something like this: Day One, table reading and initial blocking and rehearsal. Day Two, table reading of revised script, completion of blocking and rehearsal, run-thru for the writers and producers. Day Three, rehearse re-writes, if any; polish blocking, run-thru for the network. Day Four, camera blocking (camera crew, no makeup or costumes). Day Five, Dress Rehearsal with camera, dinner break (dinner is provided, cafeteria-style) then Taping.

"The work day usually starts at 10:00 and you're done by 6:00. If you're in just one scene, you might have shorter days. Since my scene in this show was scene one, I was probably out of there by lunchtime on the first day, got called in later on Day Two, worked 10 to 6 on Days Three and Four, got called at 11:00 am on Tape Day and stayed until the taping was done (in case retakes were needed after the audience was released), until maybe 11:00 pm. When Tape Day goes longer than 8 hours, there is overtime, which can add up to a bundle. My $1,500 might have gone up to $1,750.

"First network rerun gets full fee (i.e., $1,750). Repeated network runs get reduced fees, syndication considerably less, cable (except premium-cable—HBO, Showtime, etc.) almost negligible. DVD payments are a percentage of actual sales, for SEINFELD, not too shabby.

"Sounds like a great gig—and it was—but keep in mind most working actors get maybe one job like that every month or two if they're really busy. What with reality shows, Canadian production, and middle-age, I haven't booked a TV job in nearly two years—that brings the average down a bit."
—John Apicella

Speaking of Seinfeld, the actor who played his dad (there were three or four, but he was the one most identified with the show) just died and one of my mysterious blogger pals, "Scoggin," sent me to this bizarre site which tracks dead people (Our Daily Dead) and gives you links to buy the dead people's stuff (perhaps as a bad omen, True West magazine is linked). Check it out at:

Trying to finish three paintings for the Virgil Earp shooting today. Need to go home and wrap them up. Gus is making a cool little map of where the shooters hid their horses and where they shot from.

"Our children give us the opportunity to become the parents we always wished we’d had."
—Louise Hart, who should have added, "and our children bond with their grandparents and wish they had been raised by them, and so it goes."

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post your comments