Hey guys! Before I release you over to Ben I want to give you some context. In my pervious article, I reached out to a bunch of folks I know who are NON-actors dating/in relationships/married to actors.
I got some stellar responses, but Ben’s (practically an essay) by far took the cake.
Following the podcast with Katrina, Ben’s wife and awesome actress, I thought this would be a perfect time to share it with you. So please enjoy this look from the other side of the self-tape camera….
My name is Ben Jorgensen and I am married to an actress.
I have learned a great deal throughout the years that I have been with my wife about how to be a successfully supportive significant other through some utterly bizarre situations. I’m writing this list down for others out there who may be new to dating an actor/actress (from now on referred to solely as “actor”), and in very practical terms I hope I can help you out, because I know for sure that I had to adjust to some very weird shit.
1) “Crafty” (short for “Craft Services”) is the name of the place where snacks and sodas are located when visiting your actor-significant- other on set. There are tons of people working on film and TV productions, so no one will question you if you hang out there and eat like 2 or 3 Nutri-grain bars in a row. You will blend right in, so don’t be afraid to sample all the exotic and sometimes exciting trail-mixes you may see. In fact, the very act of asking literally anyone on a set this very question: “hey, where’s crafty?” will make it seem like you in fact work on the set as well, and you can then snack the day away in peace.
2) You will be helping your actor prepare for auditions by reading their audition scenes with them (otherwise known as “sides”). Even though you will be doing this many times over and could become bored with the endless readings, do not start giving the characters you are assigned to voice various accents from around the world. You might think it’s a good time to work on your own Australian, South African, or maybe even Scottish accents, but from my experience, even though it might liven up the process for you, your actor will not appreciate it at all. Do not even ask before reading the scene if the character you are about to voice is perhaps from another country (i.e: “so I haven’t read the whole script yet, but are you suuuure Danny is not Australian?”). Just don’t do it. Things will go south quickly.
3) Your person will be auditioning a lot. There will be some projects that they’ll be extra excited to go in and read for. When they come home, ask them how the audition went, but then don’t ask any follow ups in the coming days to see if they have heard back from casting yet or have any other updates about it. If any good news comes through, you will be the first to know, otherwise don’t bring it up again.
4) If you have to help your actor make audition tapes at home (“self-tapes”), no matter how awesome of a job you may have done at filming, lighting, and reading the scenes with them, they are going to hate what they see. You’ll probably film thirty amazing seemingly Oscar-worthy takes of the audition only to have them barely approve to use the very last one of their takes because they “guess it didn’t suck as much as the others”. This is normal. Do not be offended. I’m sure you did a killer job filming. You know how weird it is hearing your recorded voice played back to you. Actors experience that to the power of five thousand, and I don’t think it ever truly becomes normal to them.
5) On set, have full knowledge that entering the hair and make-up trailer will make you peer deeper into your soul and discover who you really are as a human-being in a more powerful way than you ever have before. There’s nothing innately wrong with that experience if that’s what you’re looking for, but just be sure you don’t have anywhere you need to be before stepping into that vortex. This is because, without fail, at least one of the hair and makeup people on set will seemingly have some other-worldly connections to mysterious Astrological powers, and will want to analyze you the second you enter the trailer, and tell you all about your aura and other things you’ve probably never really thought much about. There’s over a 90% chance that they will give you some sort of crystal that they’ll tell you will heal some damaged part of your spirit, which will be pretty cool, but if you are hungry and/or were just dipping into the hair and makeup trailer to say goodbye to your actor, you’ve just messed up as you are now obligated to have a very deep conversation for at least the next 90 minutes of your life.
6) Everything is fleeting. Believe it or not, being with an actor has actually taught me something valuable, and that is that good times don’t last forever, but times that suck will subside eventually too. Aside from Law & Order, no TV show lasts forever, and no run of a movie, no matter how huge, does either. Everything eventually will run its course and your actor will have to audition all over again and book another job. What I’ve learned is that although this seems annoying, it actually is not a bummer because ultimately it makes you appreciate whatever project you are working on in the moment and accept it for what it is knowing that it will come to an end eventually. On the other side of that, during stretches of time in between gigs, I’ve had to be supportive and I’ve learned that those bad times don’t last forever either. Eventually something comes along that makes all those days of anxiety and bewilderment seem not all that bad. Also, I’ve learned that like in any other job, it takes someone with a good head on their shoulders to maintain perspective throughout the good things and the not so good things. Truly bad people will become worse in this business, and the good ones will find a way to not take for granted the good, while understanding the bad will eventually roll through too.
So I guess my advice to you, if you’re dating an actor, would be to make sure you picked someone who is truly good before anything fortunate and/or unfortunate happens to them in their careers. If you picked correctly, no matter what, they’ll be able to find their way through all the weirdness, and they’ll always be appreciative of you for trying to navigate through it all with them. even if you mess up sometimes, and as long as you’re not an asshole. In that case, I’m not sure I have any advice for you.
And if there are Nutri-grain bars at Crafty, put like 3 in your pocket because they go fast.