What Actors REALLY Do on Film Shoots Abroad


The breakfast room, Boscolo Hotel, Budapest
Here I am, enjoying a green tea and some banana bread at a coffee shop in Budapest, Hungary, overlooking the Danube River. I have been here 46 hours. I have worked for 1.5 of them. See, I'm on a film shoot. It's gruelling. I flew in Wednesday, was driven to my ridiculously luxurious hotel, had the evening off, did some yoga the next morning, ate the sumptuous free breakfast (see pic on right), had a costume fitting, then had the rest of the day to sight-see. Today my call is at 2:10pm. I am basically on an all expense paid holiday.

Is it always like this? No. The bigger the role, the more you -- no wait. Even then there's a surprising amount of free time. At least in my experience. Since moving to London I've had the pleasure of a handful of holid- FILM SHOOTS - in some great locations:
  • Malta
  • The Canary Islands
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • Vilnius, Lithuania

That's why we're here of course. So we learn the lines, develop a character, immerse ourselves in the story, analyze our scenes, talk earnestly about what the piece 'means,' rehearse and finally... perform.


But that stuff doesn't take THAT long. We're pros, guys! Especially if we're in a supporting role, which I often am, there's more time off-camera than on. And we're with our tribe, man. Actors know how to have fun. And if we've got someone like the incomparable Trevor White in the cast - who becomes a local expert and finds out about all the cool stuff - we just PAR-TAY. But we won't always call it that. Actors can justify pretty much ANY experience as either necessary for our character research, building cast rapport or caring for our instrument. So what do we do? A little sampling of past adventures:

During the day:
  • Sight-see - take lots of selfies in front of impressive architectural wonders, tweet them
  • Visit quaint little coffee shops - if there's free wifi use any opportunity to say 'I'm on a film shoot in x" in all emails and social media posts - even if we have only one line
  • Indulge at a spa - full body mud-wrap and Thai massage, natch
  • Segway tours - complete with epic wipe-out and attempted smooth recovery in a major central square
  • 10-pin bowling - no competitiveness whatsoever*
  • Canoe in a lake - and lose an oar
  • Trek in a national park - one female cast member went topless. 'It was hot'
  • Swim in the sea
  • Sail on a yacht in the Mediterranean - for research
  • Eat local delicacies - love that per diem
  • Drink

At Night:
  • Drink more 
  • Boast about shenanigans on previous film shoots
  • Impromptu clubbing - bully the non-English speaking DJ to play ONLY Rhianna
  • Party until 5am to 'adjust our body clock' for a night shoot the next day
  • Go to a Bob Dylan concert
  • Tell a Tom Cruise story - there's at least one in every cast - he's today's Kevin Bacon
  • Karaoke - where actors who 'don't really sing' perform their show-stealing party piece
  • Inadvertantly sun-bathe - one guy passed out on the beach, woke up at midday in full sun to discover some of the crew had spelled out "idiot" in sun cream. A fun reverse tattoo.
  • Refer to big stars by their first names - because we've worked with them
*It got ugly


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