"Do I need to go with them," I asked, holding up my bagged dress in puzzlement.
"What's your name?"
"Amanda Blackwood," I told him.
"Nope, you're on my list, not his. Whats that you got there?"
"It's my dress, Sir."
"Your dress? You're not in that scene. Well, you are, but not in a dress. Did you bring your tv crew clothes?"
"No Sir. This is what I was told to bring."
"I don't know who told you to bring that, but they're either stupid or wrong. Or both." He rolled his eyes at me and my face turned bright red. I felt like a moron. I shut my mouth and listened intently, trying to forget I had a dress and full makeup kit with me.
We were guided down to the stage setting. I could see room after room set up to face the audience seating. I went from standing in a restaurant to standing in the main living room of Will and Grace with one footstep. The other group of people were being shuffled from seat to seat in the dining room set as the directors were trying to decide which placement would be best based on hair color. It was a strange sight to see.
The director in charge of my group guided us onto the set to briefly chat with the other director. Then he led us around the edge of the set and off through the rigging and gaffers. A man that looked just like Will from the show walked past us. Had it not been for the shape of his mouth and nose I would have sworn it was him. Instead it turned out to be his stand-in. He walked straight up to Debra Messing's double and the two of them chatted for a moment. Then Will's double came back to the dining room set and sat down at one of the tables. I watched all of this through the curious eyes normally only belonging to children.
The casting director handed each of us clip boards and ink pens. We were briefed on what and who we were supposed to be. It turned out that my group of 5 or 6 people, including Nathan Hong, were to be part of the filming crew that belonged to Jack's TV show, Pinked. It was a play on words - pinked instead of punked. The people in the dining set would only get one scene, but I was part of the hand picked "Out TV" crew specifically there to be on screen twice.
In the first scene we were supposed to walk out once Will discovered that the blind date he had been set up on was actually blind. We were to walk out directly behind Jack and laugh at Will. It was quick and simple, but there is no mistaking me in the scene. We didn't meet any of the actors until curtain, but rehersals were fun.
The second scene was supposed to be in Will and Grace's living room. The Out TV crew and I were supposed to hide in Grace's bedroom behind the door, but it turned out to be a door into a particle board room barely big enough for us to squeeze into. When we got our cue, we were to walk out to the living room and gather around the couch, laughing and jotting down notes on our borrowed clip boards.
The next day all of us were ready when it came curtain time. I had spent two days on the set at that point and had gotten to know the other Out TV crew cast as well as the casting director. He thought I was a sweet little kid and told me that was something he really wasn't used to. I told him I wouldn't be doing it again since it had caused problems both at work and at home for me and he wished me luck, though he looked genuinely sorry to hear that.
I stood there beside Nathan and waited for our cue. Just before we got it, a face I more than recognized crammed herself in next to us in the close space. Debbie Reynolds looked at me and smiled. She made a comment on how much she loved my red hair, motioned to the casting director guiding us, and disappeared again.
I ignored the crowd of people inthe stands - a live audience can intimidate most people if they let it. I always walk as though I own the room and nobody knows the difference. I refuse to show that I'm weak to anyone I can't trust. Since it was a room full of strangers, I was the strongest person in the room. I didn't even hear them laughing at the obviously funny surprise of the Out TV crew walking out of the kitchen area of the restaurant onto the set to surprise Will.
The second time I can't give away for any of those out there interested in watching the episode. However, if anyone out there has either clip of Season 7, Episode 21 – Aired: 5/5/2005 handy, please let us all know! I've never owned any episode of any show I've ever been on.
It was less than two weeks later when Michael from Central Casting called me again. I was asked for by name once more. The directors of Will & Grace liked me so much they wanted me to come back on the show in the same role as before. I was told that it had the full potential and intention of being a reoccuring role on the show. If I hadn't turned it down, I would have been a regular on the show during the last 2 seasons it was on the air. I regretted that ... I regret turning it down even now.
Thanks to a blog reader and family friend, the entire episode is now available for you to watch.