Situation Normal: All Made Up

I got onto the subway train with my face and hands smudged, looking like I rolled around in the dirt all day. Of course, this being NYC, no one gave me a second look. Maybe they thought I still haven’t recovered from Halloween. More likely though, they didn’t think about it at all – once they decided that I didn’t look or smell like a homeless person. It takes a lot to make a New Yorker give up their hard-won seat on the subway.

It was actually makeup from Hollywood’s version of Occupy Wall Street – shooting on the set of The Dark Knight Rises – the latest Batman movie from director Chris Nolan, starring Christian Bale (Batman), Gary Oldman (Commissioner Gordon), Anne Hathaway (Catwoman), Tom Hardy (Bane), and others.

Here’s a taste of one of the mass fight scenes, filmed by someone who lives above Wall Street, where we were shooting. I was one of over 1000 extras, which apparently breaks the record for the number of paid extras used for shooting a movie in NYC.

Showbiz is often surreal. One moment you’re running down Wall Street, screaming your head off with a thousand other people in full costume. Next thing you know, you’re stepping beyond the barricades surrounding the set, back to the “real world” of paying taxes, hanging out with friends, and having fun the normal way, like going to the movies… oh wait. Is the real world actually that different?

Wardrobe? Business clothes – check.
Hair & makeup? You have to look the right way every day – check.
Script? “To be or not to be, that is the question” vs. “let’s get on the same page about the synergies from pooling these value-added services with your portfolio” – check.
Credit? You get a title to play a role on the company org chart – check.
Resume? Listing your professional training, experience and skills – check!

Of course – there are differences, if you want to nitpick. Perhaps showbiz is a little more upfront about the fact that you’re putting on a show. And the same applies in reverse – show business is just that – a business. However, that doesn’t take away the creativity – just as there are showbiz people who are great on the business side, there are designers and engineers and managers in the corporate world who are just as creative as anybody in showbiz. Just specific skills applied in different contexts. And I will always admire and respect professional behavior and spectacular work, wherever I encounter it.


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