Stories from the Set
  by Tally Briggs

I want to remind you all that this is a small role.  Miniscule in fact. If I’m not cut, don’t blink, or you’ll miss me.

My call time was 8am, on the Universal lot.  I arrived around 7:50am, since I live literally up the street, and it took three minutes because I didn’t hit any lights. (I really should send them a thank you note for being so conveniently located.)

I found Toffer, one of the A.D.s, who was the nicest, cutest thing, and he started to walk me to my trailer, then suggested he show me where craft services was first, so I could get some breakfast and coffee.  I told him I wasn’t really hungry, and if I had any more caffeine, I’d be in orbit, so we headed to my trailer instead.  Being a co-star, my trailer was just a small thing, about a 7x7x7 space – part of a larger unit, but nice all the same. It had a lighted makeup mirror on one wall, with a small desk and two chairs, and a sofa. It was located along the back of Stage 24, which is next to the lower lot where part of the Universal Studios Tour is located.  My door opened onto the tram route, and faced the back of the Jurassic Park queue area, so all day long there were tour trams going by to the sound of the Jurassic Park theme getting blasted through the air. So funny!

I was called to hair & makeup about 8:30, and sat between Melina Kanakaredes, who is even more beautiful in real life than should be allowed, and Paula Cale, who is also much prettier in person – if that is possible.  The makeup gurus dolled me up, and the hair gal was impressed that I had already done my hair, and so well too, I became her hero. I explained to her that I have hair that definitely has a will of it’s own, and when I did CYBILL, it took over two hours for the hair person to get the hang of how to make my hair even bend… so I thought, hey, I know how to beat it into submission, so I might as well, then they can either leave it, or do something else. At least there will be a choice. (It’s the small things…)  We even discovered she knows my ex-hairdresser who I lost to first Lois & Clark and then The X-Files.  It is really a small town in so many ways!

Then, I spent the next two hours in my trailer, reading my book, waiting for my call, and watching the tour trams go by. It was such a nice day, with a bit of a lingering marine layer, so I turned off my AC, and left the door open.  They had four scenes to shoot that day, mine being the second one.

The A.D. came and got me about 11:30am, and off to the set we went.  They had constructed a Bridal Salon on the sound stage, complete with dressing room, and lots of gowns.  The best moments were watching these big burly stagehands and set dressers walk around the set, Bridal magazines in hand, studiously comparing the set with the photo spreads.  And they were so SERIOUS.  Watching a big burley guy making sure that opera gloves were just perfectly placed. It was hysterical!

My scene was with Miriam Flynn as Mrs. Hartford (the lady returning the bridal gown)  – who has worked FOREVER (look her up on for an impressive resume), Maria Pitillo as Tina (who is also more beautiful than should be allowed with her angelic Bottecelli face and hair.), and Paula Cale as Joanie.  We shot the scene from every almost every angle imaginable, other than up my skirt! (so if I am seen at all it will be a miracle.)  But it is a very cute and funny scene.
Paula is so great with comedy, and Maria made a so-so dress look absolutely divine.

Everyone was sooo nice!  The writer Carol Barbee, came up to me at one point and said, “I want to tell you a story about
your casting, and how amazing and wonderful the casting director Susan Bluestein is.”  She told me how I was everyone’s
first choice for the role, and when it came down to casting, after everyone made me their choice, someone had said,
“What if she looks too much like Miriam Flynn?”  At that point, they only had our 8x10s and our basic stats – both
about the same height, both similar hairstyles, both red heads.  Well, Miriam is older than me, and her hair is dark auburn
as mine is more red/blond at this point, but you couldn’t discern that in the B&W phots.  Carol said that Susan could see
the train wreck that was about to happen, and intervened.  “Tally is the best.  Go with the best.”  So much thanks
goes to my Guardian Angel Susan Goddess Bluestein, who saved my ass!  What really blew me away was the fact that
Carol was so sweet to even take the time to mention it.  I also mentioned to her my idea of a sitcom set in a bridal salon
(staring me, natch), and she thought it would be fun.  (How much do I wish she were a moneybags producer!)

I mean, I only had TWO LINES.  TWO VERY SHORT lines. It was amazing how kind and generous everyone was!
From the crew to the rest of the cast!  Michael Fresco, who is one of the executive producers, also directed this episode,
and what a doll!  Talk about kind!  He genuinely seemed delighted to see me, and handled everyone like we were all thespian geniuses!  Came and shook my hand and thanked me for my ‘perseverance’ when we wrapped and told me I was ‘a delight’.  (did I mention I only had TWO LINES?)  Miriam was a hoot as well…. A perfect Mrs. Hartford, wait until you see.

The crew were also amazing!  They reset lights and cameras like a well-oiled machine, all cracking jokes, and making me
howl with laughter the entire time.  At one point one of them leaned over and said to me, “Don’t worry, we don’t normally
have this much fun.”  I responded, “It must be the bridal gowns!”  He cracked up.  About noon there was word they had added an extra scene for the day, which meant there were three more scenes to shoot after they wrapped ours.  YIKES!

The two, second unit stand in gals were also totally fun!  At one point they were in place as Mrs. Hartford and myself, while
the crew were setting up our shot, and Miriam and I were busy getting touched up (we were going on hour 8 at this point).  After I was finished being made beautiful, I wandered back over to the set, and came up to them to just hang.  They were so sweet!  It was funny, I don’t think they knew what to do with me really at first, having an actor crowd their space, but I said,
“I can’t take another minute in my trailer, I’m from the theatre, and I just need something to do, and human companionship!”  They cracked up, and were my best friends. So we started going through the bridal magazines ragging on all the puffy dresses.  We had a blast.

Unfortunately I don’t have any good craft services, or commissary stories for you, all I partook of was a banana and a carrot stick.  (boring, I know)

We wrapped our scene about 4:45pm, and I was signed out by 5pm.  Boo-hoo, no O.T. for me.  But what a blast of a day
for only two lines! So when I dropped off my thank-you notes, (along with bottles of TALLEY wine – from my private
winery – too bad they spell it wrong), I dropped some hints to Michael Fresco that we need to have my bridal salon
spin-off show – starring ME!!!

 [In today's mail:]

 ok - TAPE IT. Otherwise you'll miss me! By the time you realize, "HEY! That's HER!" I'll be gone.
My scene is about halfway through the show - at least it was that way in the shooting script - and my first line
is most likely off camera as it gets the attention of Joanie and Tina in the dressing room of the bridal salon.

Then my next three word line, and...POOF. Then you can rewind it and have a laugh at the unfortunate wardrobe
choice they made for me (I am wearing my t-shirt as a skirt!) and see if the flourescent light
with the yellow gel that was two feet from my face really makes my green eyes "POP" or just makes me
look haggard, jaundiced and old.

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