INT. SALOON SET. EVENING.
“Cut!” The director snapped. “This isn’t working. We just can’t afford a conversation here. We already have to trim three minutes off the episode without this exchange.”
There seemed to be a collective sigh around the saloon set and Alan pushed his chair back from the table and kicked his feet up.
“But we need Alan’s character to learn that Jake is from El Paso,” said Walsh.
“Well we need to think of some other way, because it’s taking way too long to reach a logical point in the conversation where Jake would mention that to someone he’s just met.”
Holly leaned against the bar enjoying herself, however almost everyone else in the room was getting impatient. The heat had become intense since yesterday and none of the indoor sets had cooling systems. Also they’d been working on this scene for several hours already. The director had continually been unhappy with the way it was playing out and kept changing things, calling in the writers to try and fix lines of dialog and trying to move the actors to different locations in the room. None of it had seemed to him any happier. Filming had supposed to have ended early today, but as it got later most of the cast and crew had begun to realize they were going to be kept late instead and they resented it. Holly didn’t. She found it fun and exciting to watch everything.
The director tapped his leg impatiently and standing up from his chair began to pace.
“Both Jake and him are already in the saloon though from earlier in the scene. So it makes since to keep it between them. Anything else would just take more time,” pointed out Walsh.
“What if a regular character tells him?” asked the director. “Quick couple of lines, you don’t need all the introductory garbage…just drops it in passing…”
“No one else knows Jake is from El Paso.”
“Well Matthew does,” said one of the show writers, standing nearby.
“I already let Adam go home for the day,” muttered the director. “Could pull him back in…have to do costume and make up…doable though…”
“I have an idea,” announced Alan, tipped his chair back slightly. “Why don’t we have Holly tell me?”
“What?” Holly blinked, straightening up.
Alan glanced over at her and nodded encouragingly. “Sure. Didn’t Jake and Matthew have that conversation standing at the bar?”
“Where Liza the bartender was serving them in a perfect position to overhear and pass the information along!” said Walsh excitedly.
The writer nodded. “Sure. It would only take a couple of lines. After the argument instead of talking to Jake, Alan walks over to the bar and orders a drink. As he takes a sip he nods towards Jake and asks her what she knows about him and all she has to say is ‘I heard he’s from El Paso’.”
“Close up on Alan looking troubled, scene done in four lines!” Walsh finished.
There seemed to be a collective holding of breath as everyone in the room watched the director consider it.
Finally, slowly, the director nodded his head. “Good thinking Alan. Let’s do it.”
Alan nodded in satisfaction and got to his feet as everyone began to move about the room getting the changes ready. He crossed over to the bar and smiled at Holly. “Don’t worry,” he reassured her, “You’re going to be great.”
“I know it’s only two lines, but I’m nervous,” she whispered, placing her hands on the bar and leaning closer to avoid being overheard.
“That’s good. It means you’re also excited. But relax,” He laid his hand down on one of hers. “There’s really nothing to worry about.”
“Alan!” Walsh was calling for him.
He nodded once more at Holly and then walked away.
EXT. PARKING LOT. EVENING.
Holly stood alone in the parking lot for a moment. She felt gleeful and thrilled. She wanted to scream or dance or just twirl till she fell down dizzy. She wasn’t sure what she wanted. She just knew she needed to let her excitement out somehow…
It was silly to be this happy about it. It had only been two lines. ‘What do you want’ and ‘I heard he’s from El Paso’. But they were her first lines. The first time she’d ever spoken for the camera. The first time she was going to speak on TV. She’d have to tell her family. She’d have to make Amy watch it with her when it aired…
She looked around her at the studio lot. So many people here wouldn’t get it, wouldn’t understand why she was so pleased. A lot of them had probably had a lot more lines, or created so many films and done so many big things.
But this was her first; her first really big thing. It was a small thing to a lot of people, but to her it was a big accomplishment. And she was going to let herself be proud for the moment.
She pulled out her cellphone and dialed Amy’s number. It rang several times but no answer. She sighed as she remembered her roommate had mentioned going out to a cake decorating class.
Holly started to put her phone back in her purse and then hesitated. She considered for a moment and then pulled it back out again and opening the text messages, sent
Had first line on show today! –Holly
It was dusk now, most of cast and crew had already left and the parking lot was nearly empty. Holly took a deep breath and smiled to herself contentedly. She thought she liked the studio this way.
She took out her car keys, unlocked the door and slipped into the driver’s seat.
Just as she clicked her seatbelt, her phone gave a small jingle.
She glanced at the text message she’d just received.
Congratulations! That’s fantastic! I’m sure it’ll be the first of many. –Peter
She flipped the phone closed and smiling, drove out of the parking lot.