Maybe I’ll eventually get used to the slight strangeness of walking off set when the shooting day is over. But for now, it strikes me every time that it’s just a little bizarre, and that I am really quite lucky to put Real Life on hold for a bit and jump into another.
But it is a little bizarre, isn’t it? Not the transformation, but the return. I feel the slight jar when it’s time to jump back into Real Life in progress. No matter how long the shoot, no matter how long I spent memorizing and working on Who This Person Necessarily Is. No matter how emotionally invested I am, or–as is often the case with corporate or commercial shoots–no matter how hard I work to spontaneously bring some real life to a person who’s entire credibility rests on 1 to 3 lines.
I feel it in the moments right after I change back into whatever clothes I rode in with, pull my comfy shoes back on, and because it’s June and finally starting to look like summer in the Northwest, head back into the sunshine–back to me.
There are no vestiges of the character or the story, all their silliness and genuine needs. You walk away from all that, just like you walked right into it all. Turn your back on the make-believe the way you did on Real Life.
There’s nothing to show or prove the existence of the world you just helped to create. Like today. Today, I’m wrapped after a couple of hours in a skirt suit and a green screen, and it’s just me.
Just me, with a kid to pick up from daycare, a plan to watch 30 Rock with the husband before bed, or like today, a few hours extra work to make up for the ones I spent on-set.
Me, who has no idea what happened in the Real World for at least a few hours. Me, with just that moment’s sense of having been somewhere secret and special.
If I’m really smart, it’s me with a date night planned or an evening out, because it’s me again.
Me, with better hair and make-up.