My First Time:
From the moment I stepped on the set, I could feel the tension. Despite the high-powered cast, this was a series in trouble, and it seemed like everyone knew that cancellation was looming. To make matters worse, that day's major scene was being shot on location in an Upper East Side mansion, involving multiple rooms on multiple floors, dozens of characters, extras galore (did I mention the live string quartet?) -- an incredibly ambitious undertaking for a struggling one-hour show on a tight schedule -- which the director, channeling his inner Orson Welles, decided would be cool to shoot in one long, unedited five-minute take.
And where did my five lines fall in this mini-epic? On either end, where they could easily be snipped if the new guy screwed up? No, they were smack-dab in the middle. Meaning that if I blew a line, the cast, the crew, the dozens of extras, the Steadicam operator, the string quartet -- everyone would have to go "back to one" and start the whole elaborate process over from the beginning.
My very first television role. No pressure.