This is Rob Long with Martini Shot on KCRW.
I went away for a few weeks this summer, and I grew a beard. I didn't plan to grow it. I just planned not to shave. You know how that is.
The alarming thing about growing a beard is that for me, anyway, it grows in grey. Meaning, it grows in old. But I let it grow, came back to town, had a few meetings and got that "hi! How...um....was your trip? You look great, by the way," which means, when translated out of business-friendly - "Hi! How....um....was your trip? You look really old, by the way. This is going to be a problem when we pitch to the network."
Or something like that. But I'm telling this story because I want to make it clear that I'm not immune to those kinds of concerns. I don't want to look old. I don't want to have grey hair. But I am of an age in which the hair turns grey.
But the reason I bring this up is because I want to talk directly to any actress or actor who might be listening and who might be thinking about getting some work done - you know what I mean, a little skin fold clip, a little fat suck, a little tighten, a little lift.
Don't do it. It will look terrible. Don't trust me? Did you watch the Emmys?
You know, I have been in casting meetings - high level casting meetings, with heads of networks, heads of studios, casting directors, everyone - all trying to cast a juicy part for a slightly older female. See if you can do this: try to cast a young, vibrant, funny older female in your head. Think of a TV star to play the role.
Now ask yourself: how does she look these days? Weird, right? All saucer-eyed and lip-pulled back and cheekbones high. Like the Joker. Like some kind of fish,
The last time we had to cast a part like that the top three women on our list - women whose names you know, by the way. Stars. - we all excluded right at the start of the meeting because they look too...weird. Not too old. Old is okay. Old you can light. Weird you can't do a thing about.
We'd tried to cast the part for weeks, and finally decided, well, maybe in person, up close, one of these actresses didn't look so permanently alarmed. So facially twisted into a ghastly rictus. Maybe one of them looked actually saggy and real. Not too saggy, of course, but you get what we were going for. So we were assured by the manager of one of them that the browlift was, in his words "subtle." That the eye lift had been, again, in his words, "just refreshment." That her lips and mouth could still close in an "O" shape, and that the work was, in general, European. Subtle,
She came into our office the next day and looked, well, she looked fully amphibious. Eyes stretched to the side of her head. Mouth carved into a permanent non-smile. If you somehow electrocuted a sand dab...well, you get the idea.
What could we do? We had a nice meeting, but had to pass. If we wanted to go for that kind of look, we'd do animation.
Which brings me back to my grey beard. Who am I to talk? This is a young business, an appearance business, and so it matters, I think, what you look like, what image you project. So I understand what those women were thinking when they went into the doctor's office and said "stretch this" and "lift that" and "pull this back behind my head and tie it off."
So this morning, I was about to shave the beard off. And something stopped me. Pride, maybe. Dignity. A certain courage. But luckily, that passed and I shaved the damn thing off. Everyone's gotta make a living, you know?
That's it for this week. Next week, we'll shoot it single camera. For KCRW, this is Rob Long with Martini Shot.