It’s not only at New Year’s that I set goals and challenges for myself. I do it in September when a new school year started. And in 2010, I set two goals for my summer vacation.
Being a Doyle extra isn’t hard. Tons of people in St. John’s have done it. You can sign up for their database and get calls when they’re filming a crowd scene or anything that needs a bunch of background performers. Since I don’t have work to get in the way during the summer, when they began filming for season 2, I figured this would be perfect. I registered with their database. For a laugh, so did Jason, though he has far less free time than I do in the summer.
The first email I got asked if I was available for a scene was the same day as the Tely 10. Oh well, I thought, my two summer plans converged on the same day. But that was all right; there’d be other opportunities.
Then the kids went to camp for a week. I figured this was my ideal week to get a Doyle call; my time was almost completely my own. No work; no kids. One morning I was at the library doing some writing, when I checked Facebook and saw that Republic of Doyle was filming a scene in Bannerman Park and needed more extras. I dropped everything and tore over to the park. Saw the main cast members standing around, along with camera people, crew, and a bunch of extras. I went to the extras holding pen to sign in and register. Wardrobe people came up and told me my T-shirt was too busy for the camera and they’d find me a new one. I was within a hair’s breadth of fame!
At that moment, my phone rang. It was the furniture store. They were delivering the new bed I’d ordered for Aunt Gertie’s house (my other big accomplishment this summer was to coerce my 96-year-old aunt to sleep downstairs instead of upstairs, somewhat against her will but out of concern for her safety). I had promised her I’d be there when it was delivered, and the delivery truck was on its way. With regret, I left the park and missed my chance to be an extra on Republic of Doyle that day.
Soon after, we went on vacation, then I went back to work. Twice more I got emails or calls about Republic of Doyle scenes, but I wasn’t free to go.
Then one day Jason got a mysterious phone call which Emma and I listened to, trying to figure out who could possibly want to know how tall he was, if he was free at 6 a.m., and whether he owned a pair of work boots. Turned out it was the RoD casting crowd — they needed him, not for a scene as such, but for a photo shoot for a picture that was going to be used as evidence in a scene on the show. Jason was absolutely thrilled with his few seconds of fame, and I was happy for him, though a bit jealous.
The next day he got another call! Same episode, different scene — he was going to be one of a couple of men dressed like lawyers walking across a parking lot in the background of a scene. His boss at work, who has been on RoD a couple of times himself, gave Jason the morning off to go filming, and Jason was able to pretend to be a lawyer. The director said he “walked with purpose.” Jason was so elated he went into a whole riff about how his secret identity is “The Chameleon” and maybe in Season 3 he’d have an increased role as Jake Doyle’s nemesis: a mysterious character who can be a construction worker, a lawyer, anything.
Shortly after that, filming wrapped for Season 2.
For Christmas, I gave Jason the Season One Doyle DVDs. I stood in line to get star Allan Hawco to autograph them to “Jason, AKA The Chameleon.” He was extremely pleased.
He says if everyone gets 15 minutes of fame, he’s probably still got 14 minutes left, since his two scenes, if they don’t end up on the cutting-room floor, will total far less than a minute. I hope he shares some of it with me, since I’ve still got an unfulfilled goal.
Republic of Doyle, season 2, premieres tonight on CBC TV. If you’re not familiar with the show, it’s a funny detective show (the show’s creators pay a lot of homage to The Rockford Files) starring the beautiful city of St. John’s and the equally beautiful Allan Hawco, and it’s always good for a laugh. My only reservation is that some of the scenes of Jake Doyle with his various lady friends involve a little more removal of clothing than I’m comfortable with for family viewing, so thus far we haven’t let the kids watch it with us — though they’ll no doubt be seeing Episode 11, in which their father may appear briefly! You won’t see me onscreen anytime in Season 2 — but maybe if they get renewed for a third season, there’s still hope. Season 2 is definitely worth watching though, even without an appearance from me!