Mr. DeMille, I’m Ready for My Closeup

My life has been unusually balanced lately.

In the past, it has seemed like there were hardly enough hours in the day to get everything accomplished – even being out of work. I’d felt like I was too busy online to watch any TV, too busy watching TV to read a book, too busy reading a book to sleep, too busy sleeping to get online. It was a vicious circle from which there was seemingly no escape. This dates back years, and it was worse when I had a job, because then I was too busy working to get anything done. For whatever reason though, lately it feels like I’ve been branching out and getting lots of things done without spreading myself too thin, leading to a strange but welcome sense of harmony. I feel all Zen-like and at peace, like no goal is too distant or out of reach. Like I can take on the world, even.

I feel like there is nothing I can’t try. Never heard the word “impossible.” This time, there’s no stopping me. I’m gonna do it!

Good lord, did I just channel the spirit of Laverne & Shirley?! Schlemeel, schlamazel indeed.


Take yesterday, for example. I woke up after a solid eight hours of sleep. Brewed a pot of coffee, read the paper. Watched some TV. Made a killer sandwich for lunch. Applied for a whole bunch of jobs while listening to music. Put away dishes, cleaned the kitchen, topped off the aquarium, scooped the litterbox, watched a little more TV, headed to my parents’ house for dinner, came home, chatted with my girlfriend for more than two hours, read a couple of chapters of The Hunger Games (which I finally picked up and started the other day, and became instantly infatuated with), and then went to bed. That, my friends, is a full day. And very balanced.

Oh, and I also applied to be an extra on a TV show. That came right after dinner with my parents but before the phone call with my girlfriend, if you’re keeping track.

Earlier in the day, I’d checked out Grimm for the first time. It’s a drama on NBC centered around a homicide detective who learns he is a descendant of the brothers Grimm, whose dark and sinister fairy tale characters weren’t just figments of the imagination, but real-life creatures who have preyed on humanity for centuries. This guy can see through their disguises and must protect the citizens of present day Portland, Oregon from their maniacal plots. Pretty cool concept, though in truth I was drawn to it mainly because it is set in Portland. I enjoyed the first episode very much, and intend to get caught up since the rest of the season is available for viewing On Demand. My tastes in television have definitely evolved over the years; I’ve dropped a lot of reality TV and standard issue procedurals (like C.S.I.) in favor of darker and quirkier programming. Think The Walking Dead and Dexter and Breaking Badย and ABC’s new drama The River. So in that regard, Grimm is right up my alley.

Hey, I could be Random Dead Body #3! (Courtesy of

After finishing the show I got on Facebook and, coincidentally, there was a link from one of the local news stations – a story about how Grimm was putting out a casting call and looking for extras. They’re shooting episodes around Portland from now until April and are looking for a good mix of people to fill a variety of different roles, including stand-in, speaking, and non-speaking extras. The article went on to state that “ALL ages are welcome; ALL body types; ALL experience levels; and ALL roles are paid.” Well hell, I thought. Why not throw my hat in the ring? Might as well take advantage of this still-unemployed situation while I can.

Maybe it’ll lead to bigger and better things. Question: do they hand out Emmy awards for Random Guy Walking Down The Street? What if I’m a really convincing stroller?! I’m willing to practice, you know. I’m a firm believer in “method acting.” I’ll spend all day walking down the street if I have to, just so I can really nail the role. I can mix things up a little, too. Have a newspaper tucked beneath my arm in one scene. Maybe hold a Starbucks cup in another. And I’m willing to improvise. Whip out my phone and hold a fake conversation. Pretend to hail a taxi. Jump away from the curb in order to avoid being splashed by a bicyclist careening through a puddle. I can’t wait ’til they seat me next to Bryan Cranston at the awards ceremonies (I won’t let fame go to my head, I promise, but I’m going to insist on this arrangement; he is so fantastic on Breaking Bad that I’d like to pick his brain on future walking-down-the street ideas, like for instance, could I get away with skipping if the scene was in need of a little levity? What about impromptu hop-scotching?).ย I’ll do whatever I need to, because we actors take our craft very seriously.

I draw the line at nudity, though.

Unless it’s tastefully done and central to the plot, of course.

So, we’ll see what comes of this! The application process was straightforward and simple. I had to answer a few questions (height, weight, shoe size, make and ย model of my car, do I own a dog and would I be willing to bring him on the set (okay, that one was a little odd, but aren’t those Hollywood folk a strange lot to begin with?)) and submit a couple of photos. Done, and done. Now I’ll just wait for the president of NBC to call me personally and tell me I’m hired.

Or, you know. Some assistant of an assistant to an assistant.


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

24 thoughts on “Mr. DeMille, I’m Ready for My Closeup

  1. …and we’ll all fondly recall, “I remember him when…before he was Random Guy Walking Down The Street…”

    The future, Mr. Petruska, is yours for the taking! Go big, go naked or go home!


    I’m so glad you’re in a place of balance. I’m anything BUT balanced these days. My kids have been out of the country, floating on a giant city in the middle of the ocean with my ex and their step mom, and I’ve been out of touch for 5 of 7 days. No contact … no nothing. And I feel lost. Sad. Unproductive. Depressed.

    Can you send Laverne & Shirley my way?

    Best of luck on your endeavors. I’m sure you’ll go far — especially if you showed a little cleavage…


    1. At first I was thinking Honolulu, but then realized they must be on a cruise ship. That’s gotta be tough, Mikalee – hang in there! They’ll be back soon enough, and balance will be restored to your life.

      Cleavage is the trick, you think? I suppose it’s better than succumbing to the infamous “casting couch.”


  2. Gosh, that does sound productive, Mark. I’m also a big fan of the Hunger Games. By the way, have you ever watched “Portlandia?” Sara and I are becoming big fans via the internet. I think of you when I watch it.


    1. Oh, Kathy. My love for Portlandia is intense. I even wrote a blog post about it last year – and Season 2 is about a hundred times better!! Fantastic show. Can’t get enough of it. Glad you’re a fan, too. ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Schlemeel – only one thing worse: a jadrool. Been retired since 2006 and I can’t believe how much there is to do, none of it very meaningful except doing the puzzle in the waiting room of this doctor or that doctor. I wonder how I did it when I worked AND drank a 5th of vodka every day.


  4. Haven’t seen Grimm yet but I would just to see you have a newspaper tucked beneath your arm while walking down the street, holding a Starbucks cup, whipping out your phone and holding a fake conversation, pretending to hail a taxi, jumping away from the curb in order to avoid being splashed by a bicyclist careening through a puddle, eating a Maple Bacon Bar from Voodoo Donuts, and reading a book from Powell’s. They should be thrilled that you are such a great multi-tasker!!

    Please tell Byian hello and tell him for me that I loved him in Malcom in the Middle.


    1. Funny, I watched episode #2 of Grimm this evening and Voodoo Doughnuts were featured in one scene!

      I’ll have to keep it a secret from Bryan that I have never seen a single episode of Malcolm In The Middle, though.


  5. “Schlemeel, schlamazel indeed”… SO MUCH LAUGHING! I’m excited for your big debut! I think with your hop-scotching will win the assistant to the assistant to the semi formal assistant to the chief assistant to the TV big wig over. I just know it ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. I just this second realized that in the Laverne & Shirley opening, there’s a scene where they’ve got their arms around each other and are skipping down the street together. THEY STOLE MY MOVE!!


  6. *applauding*

    Well, having been an actor myself, I can’t tell you how excited I am for you to be doing some ‘extra work’ on Grimm!!!!! And I can almost BET you’re gonna get called to do it!

    You crack me up……

    ” Iโ€™m a firm believer in โ€œmethod acting.โ€ Iโ€™ll spend all day walking down the street if I have to, just so I can really nail the role. I can mix things up a little, too. Have a newspaper tucked beneath my arm in one scene. Maybe hold a Starbucks cup in another. And Iโ€™m willing to improvise. Whip out my phone and hold a fake conversation……”


    Mark Brando, the next famous method actor!

    All kidding aside, I bet you’d make a good actor.

    So glad to hear that things are going well for you, buddy, and that your life is feeling balanced and your getting lots accomplished!

    You GO, boy!


    1. Whew! I’m glad you held your tongue and didn’t say anything inappropriate. If you’d gone there, you’d just be opening yourself up to something, anyway.

      Err…so to speak…


  7. Send some of that blanacing karma my way! LOL And I too, am a fan of Grimm and will feel like one of the cool kids if you get a random part and I can name drop you like there’s no tomorrow ๐Ÿ˜› Have a great weekend!


  8. Okay I have not watched Grimm yet, as i already have too many shows that i follow, or try to, and holy crap I do not need to watch more tv, but some coworkers were raving about it, and now this makes it intriguing to me.

    As for the nudity, no damn fun if tastefully done and integral to the plot… BRING ON THE GRATUITIOUS NUDITY!


    1. My two favorite words are “gratuitous” and “nudity.” I also like “fettucine” because it rolls off the tongue and sounds classy, but it really doesn’t have anything to do with the other two.


    1. Addictive is right! I’m flying through the book, and already nearing the end. I’m going to have to go buy the next two in the series, even though they’re only available in hard cover, impatient guy that I am!


  9. I haven’t seen Grimm yet, but it does look interesting. Also hope you get a call back! Practice your walking now… you want to make sure you nail your scene when your time comes ๐Ÿ™‚


  10. Grimm sounds a lot like the book series The Sisters Grimm – except it’s set in upstate New York – same premise but with young girls and their grandmother doing the mystery solving. I just finished the first Hunger Games – very enjoyable – in a dark and murderous kind of way.

    Make sure you don’t forget about all of us little people when you become a famous TV extra.


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