I couldn't believe I was going to be a main focus for a camera on my favorite show at the time. I really didn't want to screw it up and I was incredibly scared I was going to trip on my own feet and fall over. The heels were far too high for me, but I knew that I would just have to suck it up and do what was asked of me. I took a step...
Somehow I managed to walk as though I had grown up in stiletto heels. I gracefully crossed the room, turned to the left of the camera slightly to walk right past the camera man around 4 feet away and continued my walk all the way to the martini bar at the far end. I couldn't believe I had done it. Somehow I had crossed the room gracefully without breaking my neck. I was astonished. I don't think anyone else in the world knew that I had been so nervous about it but me. That was how I had planned to keep it.
Something had gone wrong with the take. They wanted to do it again. I walked back to my starting position, repeated every thought in my head with full strength of fear returning. My knees started to shake all the way up until they said to go. I started to walk and with my first step my knees settled down, I walked gracefully as possible, and felt like I was on top of the world. I just hoped that time would be good enough for them. It wasn't.
It wasn't me messing up the shots though. The actor was going for a different approach and the directors didn't like it. They were having him re-do the scene about 18 times just to make it right. By the time take 13 came around my feet were throbbing and I no longer worried about tripping over the shoes. I was more worried about tripping over my own numb feet. Somehow I struggled through every take as well as I did the first.
The camera moved angle and they started to set up another shot. The camera was pointing directly at me once more, but this time they wanted me to start next to the camera and walk away from it. It was something to do with continuing the shot, where the actor had spotted someone across the room and his gaze was supposed to follow me as a decoy to look at the bad guy. It was an interesting ploy, but this time would be much harder for me I could tell.
They told me to start out next to the camera and walk away towards the martini bar. Once there I was to pretend to order two martinis, pick up the very full glasses and walk back towards the camera again, going past it once more as though I were bringing a drink to someone else. I was in serious pain by this point. My feet were so sore I could barely feel them under me. My stomach was growling loudly and I could feel the eye lashes coming off of my eyes.
"Make up!" The casting director called again. The same woman came running out of the darkness. Just then a head popped into the room from the staircase announcing lunch was ready. I had been walking up and down that room for hours and it was now after noon! It was no wonder my stomach was growling.
We all went up the stairs (me with my shoes in my hand) and across the street to the food tent, also known in the 'industry' as Kraft services. I don't remember what there was to eat that day, but I remember the spread was enormous. The extras all had to sit and wait patiently while the stars got their food. I began to see them as rather rude people instead of the stars of my favorite show just then. We were the hired help, not even allowed to eat the same time or in the same place as these other people, who were in fact just people. They hadn't done much all day but memorize lines and sit on couches and turn their gaze while leaning against a bar, while I (and a couple of the other extras) stood pacing the room all day long on the orders of the director and we couldn't even eat at the same time.
Finally we were allowed to go get our food. I was starving, I wasn't going to wait for everyone else to get in line before I jumped up. I raced over, shoes in hand, and started shoving food on a plate. It was so full I had a hard time managing the plate with one hand, so I balanced it on top of my other hand holding the shoes. I realized as I stood in front of the lemonade dispenser that I didn't have a free hand for a cup.
"Let me give you a hand," a somewhat familiar voice said to me from behind. It was Taso, the gentleman I had talked to when I wasn't supposed to.
"Oh, thanks!" I said, relieved that someone was helping me. None of the other extras had come forward to give me a hand. Each in turn was too worried about their own food, but to be perfectly fair, so was I.
Taso filled up my cup with lemonade, asked where I was sitting, and escorted me over to my chair. Then he asked if I would mind him joining me, to which I said I didn't mind at all. He didn't seem like the rest of the actors. He didn't hold his title or position over anyone's head. He was just a nice person who wanted to be treated like a nice person. I had the courage in my stupidity to say hello to him earlier and he had remembered that.
Actors aren't untouchables, I said to myself. They're normal people, and if they think anything differently than that, then that's what makes them rude people. Taso and I had a long discussion on that very subject over lunch that day and he more than agreed with me. The majority of actors, it turned out, did think of themselves as untouchables. They were incredibly rude and selfish, they thought the world owed them something because they were famous and people knew who they were.
I finished the day with more than a half dozen close up shots being filmed for the episode. Of those shots, a total of 4 were used, including the ones where I walked toward the camera in a long, sweeping motion. I was even billed on the episode as being a "Bar Beauty" to which I took to be considerably flattering.
Unfortunately I had told a few lies that day. It wasn't going to end up being the only show I would ever be on. At the end of the 15 hour day when I gave back the dress and shoes, I fully intended it to be. Little did I know that fate would have something else in mind for me completely.
My bloody, blistered feet wouldn't fit into a pair of shoes with socks on for days after that. Well worth it in the end, just for the experience.
NOTE: The Huka bar scene in that particular episode of Alias took no more than 10 minutes of the full hour long episode run time. Filmed and aired in 2004.