I was recently on an episode of Investigation Discovery’s “Murder Calls” where I play Nicole Whitcomb. By no means was this a big character at all (I had two scenes) or my “big break” but I thought it would be fun to just share a little bit of what the process of filming a crime show is like!
The whole casting process is usually pretty simple and quick. The agency I’m signed with (shout out to Talent Trek) works very closely with Jupiter Entertainment which is based in New York and Knoxville. Fun fact: Homicide Hunter, Murder comes to town, snapped, and other shows all film some scenes in Knoxville!
Jupiter needed someone to play a blonde haired blue eyed 15 year old so they contacted my agency who then contacted me to make sure I was free and then they submitted my information and pictures and I was in!
I was emailed the episode script two days before filming and was sent my call sheet (time and place to be on set) the night before.
Because I’m still a full time student, I can’t commit to many acting gigs because of class but luckily this was an afternoon shoot so I knew I could make it! So after a full morning of class I was on set for most of the afternoon and night and here’s some behind the scenes observations!
- We were in someone’s home- We were filming in two different houses in this suburb and so while we were waiting for our call we were just watching tv in some strangers living room. The woman was super nice and stayed out of the way and explained that she and the owner of the other house were getting paid for their time.
- Equipment for days- take the amount of cameras and lights you think it takes to film an episode and double it and throw a big truck in there. The entire driveway was filled with equipment that probably cost more than my house and there were five cameras just to film my two scenes!
- Two hours of waiting and six of working– Production never knows how quickly they’ll finish filming certain scenes so you usually wait around before you actually start filming. I got my makeup done, got my mic on, reviewed my lines, and played with the two child actors during my wait time.
- Crew is ready for it to be over with– While the cast is basking in every moment on camera, the crew is ready to leave the second they can. The whole crew of guys were always on the move doing whatever needed to be taken care of and were incredible at their job. They work all day and all night for a week to get this one episode finished so their “don’t mess with me” attitude was expected.
- The clipboard is used for every take– You know the clipboard that they slam down after saying “take 2” ?That’s a real thing and I almost geeked out every time I saw it. The previous two projects I’ve worked on just used an iPad for it which isn’t nearly as exciting.
- Close ups– During my scene we played around with camera angles (I think it only took about 5 takes for me and production) one of those was an extreme closeup so not only was the clipboard almost touching my nose, so was the huge camera that was bigger than my head!
- Everything is choreographed– The scene when police are interviewing the two kids took so long to film because every step was carefully planned out and we even had markers on the carpet that we had to stick to. With seven actors in one scene it definitely didn’t go perfectly every time.
This was so much fun to film and the cast and crew were a joy to work with! After filming, eating lunch, and finally wrapping up, it was time to go back to reality. Here’s to many more on-set stories!
Murder Calls episode “Death Mask” airs again on 7/23/17 on Investigation Discovery Channel!