The Heidi Chronicles, Chapter 43: A visit to Central Casting
This is Heidi. Last year, she was "discovered" in the park by a pet talent agency; since then, she has embarked on a one-dog quest to break into the business. This is her Hollywood story as chronicled by Diane Haithman. And this is her "head shot": That longing look was achieved by placing a biscuit just out of reach.
Heidi may not yet have found fame, but her large, luscious ears seem likely to become the most notable showbiz twins since the Olsens thanks to animal photographer Andy Sheng of Otis & Lucy Photography, who volunteered to shoot Heidi awhile back and hung a black-and-white shot of The Ears at a promotional event last week.
Heidi attended the party at Grateful Dogs Clubhouse in El Segundo with her proud dad, Alan Feldstein, who shot Sheng's display (see below). If there's a market for dog body-part models, she's all ears.
But, in the ongoing effort to get the whole dog working in Hollywood, I recently grabbed another photo of Heidi -- full body shot -- and headed off to the Burbank offices of Central Casting.
As detailed in an earlier chapter, I had signed up with an online resource for non-union extras, Extras Access, in hopes that I might get a call for an extra-with-dog. Unfortunately, none of the wide range of extra calls I've received since then require a canine (although I think any of the low-budget vampire flicks that have seemed unnervingly interested in my profile could break out by including an undead shepherd with a taste for O-negative).
I thought we might have better luck with Central Casting, since I had read online that Central Casting will allow applicants to add a pet photo to their files. I will not work without the dog.
I discovered that going to the world-famous Central Casting office to sign up as a non-union extra is decidedly unglamorous; in fact, it's more akin to applying for a driver's license at the DMV.
Non-union extras may only apply from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. We are informed – by a stern, stocky woman who looked like a prison guard from, uh, Central Casting – that we must fill out our forms CORRECTLY or face being sent home. No lot parking for extras or you WILL be towed. Do NOT lie on your application: If you show up on the set and your Size 14 body does not fit into the Size 2 dress you claimed to wear, you will be fired and may face permanent suspension. And, under “skills”: Honey, do NOT check the box that says you can play the piano or swallow fire unless you’ve got the fingers of Van Cliburn or a Teflon throat.
Finally, after waiting in line, presenting my passport, paying $25 (cash only) and smiling for the one file photo Central Casting shoots for you as part of the package, I finally got to the part where I could ask the staff to add photos of Heidi to my file – although I cut my array of three dog shots down to one when I found out it costs $10 apiece to add photos. So far, no calls, not even for vampire movies, but it’s only been two weeks.
Meanwhile, speaking of dog photos: In last week’s Heidi Chronicles on doggie stage moms, I asked Judy Garland, mother of Gaby the poodle actress, to send us a photo from an audition where Garland cut her own hair on the spot in order to look more like her dog; Garland says there’s hot demand for people who look like their pets. Here's the photo at left (courtesy of Garland), about which I have no comment except to say I'm not sure it's a bad thing that all the plastic surgeons in Beverly Hills couldn’t lend me Heidi’s ears.
-- Diane Haithman