EXT. STUDIO LOT. DAY.
Holly handed her ID up to the guard for him to look over and then waited as he consulted his clipboard. He jotted down the time and then handed back the ID.
“You want to go straight until the end and then turn right. You can’t miss it. It’s the only western town on the lot.”
“There’s parking right next to it.”
The electronic gate clicked and then rolled back and Holly drove through.
She felt a jolt of excitement somewhere in her gut as she nosed the car along. This was her first part. This was her first film set. It almost felt like this was her first real day in Hollywood. Everything else, these past months….that had just been life in Los Angeles, this was Hollywood. Not Hollywood some district in a city, but the Hollywood of films and living legends…
The wide road was busy with cars and trucks, a few people lugging sets and scenery and the occasional parked trailer. Buildings containing soundstages were on either side, some with their doors open as people carried in equipment and props. There were open swaths of concrete on which had been set up tables, chairs and food serving stations among other things. She passed the occasional office building and many harried looking people.
She gripped the wheel in excitement and slowed to a stop as she let a truck pass that had a bed full of boxes.
It hadn’t been the part she was hoping for when Amy had told her about the call. A wild hope had flashed through her mind that perhaps the director had cast the part of Katie Woodward before McCall had had a time to sabotage it for her.
And it had been Kate, the casting director, on the line. The second Holly had heard her voice she had been sure it was all going to work out after all. But it took about five words from Kate to dash that hope.
Kate had explained that Abel had decided to go in another direction, with a more prominent star, someone who’d had some parts and experience. Holly had assured her she understood and tried to hang up before she sounded too disappointed but that’s when Kate surprised her.
She’d explained she had been doing casting for the tv show ‘Homestead’, she was sure Holly had heard of it, the western show Alan Ryder was in. They were looking for a regular to play a background character. A female bartender for the saloon. Someone who’d always be there, to make the town seem more real. Of course there weren’t really any lines, maybe the occasional ‘what do you want’ and ‘what can I get you’, but you never knew, parts like that had been known to be expanded, and besides it would get Holly some experience and something to put on her resume and Kate thought it’d be a great opportunity.
Holly had gone by Kate’s office later that day and an hour later the contract had been signed and she been told to come to the set the next day.
She still couldn’t really believe it. Just yesterday she had signed a contract for her very first role. Alright, so maybe it was background, a glorified extra…actually, she corrected herself, probably just an extra, but it was still exciting. It was still a role.
She reached the end of the street, where it split off to the left and the right. She turned right. She already saw it, there was a parking lot on the left and then ahead of that, the concrete road turned to dirt and a town straight out of the Wild West began. People were milling around it. Some dressed in period costumes, some shouting orders, some carrying boom sticks or clipboards.
Holly parked the car and got out, approaching the set with trepidation. She realized belatedly that she hadn’t actually asked Kate, or had any idea of her own, who she was supposed to report to on arriving.
She entered the fake town and looked around. There was a building with ‘General Store’ written over its doorway, another with ‘Briar Saloon’ and there was a jail over there. It was incredibly exciting and Holly couldn’t help but grin to herself as she looking around. A couple of men passed dressed as cowboys, she heard the neighing of a horse, and she felt she could stay here forever.
Pulling herself back to reality she remembered she had to report to someone. But who…
She tapped a nearby man, clipboard in hand, on the shoulder.
“No time,” he snapped, “Behind schedule.” And he was off.
Holly blinked. “Okay…there’s got to be someone.” She tried to flag down two more people but each seemed too busy to even give her the time of day. The hustle and bustle was beginning to get to her. It no longer felt exciting, it felt overwhelming. The noises were too loud, the bustle beginning to wear on her. Someone jostled into her, someone else a foot away started yelling across at the camera man.
“Sweetheart, you look like a chicken lost in the slaughter house.”
Holly turned to the speaker. It was a woman, fifty or sixty perhaps. It was hard to tell. There was an artificial attempt at youth on her face which muddied the waters. Her hair was dyed a golden blonde and as she laid a hand on Holly’s arm it felt thick with lotion and crème.
But she was smiling and looking friendly and right now Holly needed that.
“I don’t know where I’m supposed to go.”
“Well, I can probably help you find out. Come this way dear, away from the maddening crowd. I’m afraid they’re all a bit harried today. Have to shoot three scenes on the budget of one. No matter how many Emmys a show wins the network always want it cheaper. Now, in here dear.”
“In…here?” Holly looked doubtful.
“Oh there aren’t any scenes being filmed in the jail today, it’ll be nice and quiet in there. And it is so hot out today.” The woman pushed open the door to the jail and, after a moment’s of hesitation, Holly followed her.
Holly smiled as she looked around the room. “I feel like I just stepped into a John Wayne movie,” she whispered.
“I believe this set was used in one once,” commented the older woman, with a shrug. “Now, this is much better isn’t it? Quieter, out of the sun. You were completely lost out there, I could tell. So, how can I help you?”
Holly dragged her eyes away from admiring the set and looked at the woman. “I was trying to find out who I should report to but no one would answer me.”
“Well it all depends. What are you here for?”
“I was cast yesterday?…as the saloon barkeep?” she added helpfully.
“Ah. Yes, I heard they wanted a regular for that. You’ll want the assistant director then. I can help you find him. Walsh is probably losing his head about now with the rewrites so who knows where he’ll be. They’ll probably take you to costume fitting after that. We’re filming a saloon scene this afternoon so I suspect they’ll want to get you processed quite quickly.”
“Thank you, I appreciate it.”
“It’s not like I have much else to do dear, but you’re welcome. What’s your name anyways?”
“I’m Evelyne Martin.”
Holly blinked. “Evelyne Martin? You’re…you’re not the Evelyn Martin?”
“Well I hear there’s an Evelyne Martin living in Canada somewhere, who might take exception at me being called the Evelyn Martin, but I’m probably the one you’re thinking off.”
“I loved your movies when I was little! There aren’t really many actors I know, but you! I admire your work so much!”
“Yes, and look at me now. A supporting role on a western show.” The woman smiled as she saw Holly face wilt a little in confusion. “Well never mind that my dear. Come, let me take you to the assistant director.”