Brad Pitt



I have spent an entire lifetime mocking actors. They make a living pretending to be someone else, for crying out loud. They don’t have real talent – they just look attractive and the editors/producers/directors do the rest. How hard can it be, really, to say a few lines that someone else writes for you? It’s not like actors have to actually DO anything.

Or so I believed until last week, when I was in a commercial.

It was a sixty second commercial, to be exact. One minute. There were a total of 130 words in the script, and there were four of us with speaking parts. So it wasn’t exactly War and Peace, if you know what I mean. It was going to be a piece of cake.

And then they stuck a camera in my face.

Time slowed. The nerve passages that transmit thought to spoken word inexplicably began to break down. My palms began to sweat. I had to go to the bathroom. My short term memory – nothing to brag about in the first place – all but disappeared. The little unblinking eye of the camera bored a hole into my brain. I began to feel faint.

Luckily, the director and producer were gentle and helpful, which – quite frankly – confused me. They threw me softballs and all I had to do was hit them out of the park. They read my lines to me in three or four word bursts, and my only task was to repeat them.

Here is a typical taping session:

Director: They’ve served. They’ve sacrificed.
Me: They serv –
Director: They’ve
Me: They’ve
Director: They’ve served. They’ve sacrificed.
Me: They serv-
Director: They’ve
Me: They’ve
Director: They’ve served. They’ve sacrificed.
Me: They’ve served. They’ve sacrificed.
Producer: You sound like you are reading the words. Feel them.
Me: They’ve SERVED! They’ve SACRIFICED!
Director: Let’s take a break for lunch.

And so it went.

The shooting continued for two days, during which I proved to the entire film crew that acting was decidedly NOT in my blood. As I drove home after the “wrap”, it occurred to me that without Brad Pitt’s looks OR talent, my options in the film industry had become somewhat…limited.

Then again, there is always radio.


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  1. I was an extra for the first episode of JAG and the film Pearl Harbor. I learned quickly that Hollywood unions are the worst in the world and I could never work in that environment. As for the directors, Donald Bellisario (JAG), he was a great person and listened to what I had to say about working on a flight deck (I was an AQ for my first nine years). As for Michael Bay (Pearl Harbor), he listened a little (about how a ship’s bridge is run) but still told me that he needed “enough action” for the film. Thankfully I didn’t have any speaking parts because neither of these films had actors speaking like real sailors.

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