I went out there a nobody, I came back a star with low testosterone!

As I said this morning, this week was a mess.

TYG’s schedule exploded, so I was busy with lots of extra dog care, starting on the weekend. As a result it was next to impossible to get much done: any time I’d start to concentrate, there’d be dogs. And even when they were lying quietly in my lap, the accumulated extra time was wearing me down. I’ve had this experience before; after a certain point I just feel my personal space is eroded and my brain clogs up. So while I got some Leaf articles done, that was about it (to make it clear, no blame attaches to TYG. She’d much sooner walk the dogs in the morning than have me do it, but it just wasn’t an option. Not her fault).

So let’s talk about Wednesday and my return to acting for the first time since I arrived in Durham (I also finished my federal taxes, but that’s not as cool).

Walking the dogs, I’ve met a lot of people in the neighborhood. One of them, Gwen, the owner of a shih tsu rescue dog (too abused to be friendly to other dogs, alas), works for Web MD. Via MedScape that company puts up training videos for doctors, where they get to see scripted doctor/patient interactions. Gwen mentioned last month that they were working on a video for English MDs and were having trouble finding a middle-aged English man to play the role. And here I was, and I’d mentioned I used to do theater, so—?

I said sure! And after paperwork, and talking with one of WebMD’s people by email, I showed up at their Durham office Wednesday to play The Man With Low Testosterone. Actually, that’s only alluded to in passing; most of the conversation in the script they sent me focused on symptoms and life situations. As “Gilbert” I have Type II diabetes and some urination problems (antibiotics helped with that). I also can’t seem to get it up. And I have a younger girlfriend so I’m scared I won’t be satisfactory when we get to the bedroom. The script ends after I detail all this and the doctor reassures me I’m perfectly normal.

The office/studio was in a fancy big office building off Miami, conveniently close to my home. It looked almost like a TV set, somehow: lots of people writing or working at desks, sandwiches available for lunch (including vegetarian happily), and the studio. Both the director and the woman playing the doctor were Brits too. I talked with the director about how I figured on playing the part (comfortable, pleased with progress on my urinary issues, embarrassed and awkward when we reached the sex talk). He approved. I got made up, took a seat on the set and did my acting with face and some hand movements. And voice, of course. The lines were on a teleprompter so I didn’t have to worry about getting them right; my biggest challenge was looking as if I were actually making eye contact with the doctor when she spoke.

They’d set aside two hours for the gig, but we wrapped up in 40 minutes. Other than a couple of instructions (pausing in a couple of spots) the director was pleased with my reading so it was just a matter of getting two or three takes they could pick from. Then we were done. And I even get paid!

Getting done so early, I went to the blood bank to donate, but they were booked up with an hour of appointments when I arrived there. I ran some errands instead, including getting a haircut. And I discovered chai tea at the local coffee/tea shop is not the same as their chai latte, and considerably less satisfying.

It was a fun day in an otherwise frustrating week. But the pups are still adorable, so that’s something.

#SFWApro. Image is mine.

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Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, Writing

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