As the PA pushed the pie towards my face, all I could think was “please don’t break my nose, please don’t break my nose.” I pictured my glasses cracking under the pie tin, blood oozing out of my nose and mixing with the whipped cream, effectively destroying the only take we had to shoot the spot.
A super close second thought was “how did I get here?”
“Here” was a commercial shoot that had booked me late last night, after apologizing for “booking the wrong Sarah” (aka the one who wasn’t me) initially. Today being my day off, I told them I was free, and they sent me the specs of what to bring, etc. At the bottom of the email, an afterthought, really, was a single sentence: “you’ll be getting a pie in the face, btw.”
Oh, ok. Sure thing guys. Here’s a thumbs up emoji to match your abbreviated casualness.
Day to day bookings usually run something like this. Today it was a pie in the face. A few months ago it was “coaching your sister through labor.” A couple years ago it was “surprise! you’re going to be suffering through cholera. In close up. Making vomit noises.”
What I’m trying to tell you is my life is sheer glamour.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not complaining. I’m saying this to explain that this is the reality. This is the type of money making, ridiculous thing you do with your BA in English Lit and Dramatic Arts. Maybe what I should have done was gone to mime school…at least then I could convincingly strap an invisible Christmas tree to my back and attempt to board an invisible bus.*
When the take was over, I got a standing ovation from the crew. Ok they were already standing, but they definitely clapped. Twelve people started wiping the whipped cream off of me, trying to prevent as much as possible from seeping into my clothes and hair. They invited me to watch the replay, and I have to admit, it looked really cool. I wouldn’t say that in that moment I knew why I was doing this, or felt validated as an actor or anything like that. Honestly, I was just glad I didn’t flinch or make some ugly face while the pie came towards me. I looked pretty, I looked confident, I looked like I knew what I was doing.
And for today, that’s enough.
*a real thing I was asked to do in an audition recently.