Today's mail brought my final paycheck for 2007. It was a residual for an episode of "The Wire." I laughed out loud, then started wondering if it was a harbinger of the new year...
I started 2007 unemployed, but was not worried in the least. I had just completed two gigs in late 2006, and had several projects already lined up for the new year. I spent a very busy spring doing two shows simultaneously, Shear Madness at the Kennedy Center, and Opus at the Washington Stage Guild. I had a ball.
The summer brought some stock, playing one of my dream roles, Harry MacAfee in "Bye Bye Birdie." The fall included a remount of "Opus" and my debut at Olney Theatre, in "Of Mice and Men."
I had a very good year.
But I had to laugh at today's residual check. It reminded me of a neighborhood bar in Studio City, CA, which I was told about recently (I never heard of it when I lived in LA). It's called Re$iduals, and is located close to Universal, Warner Bros, NBC, and other spots where actors occasionally make money. The "hook" at this bar was this: any actor who brought in a paycheck under a dollar received a free drink.
We work for poverty wages all the time in this business, but when I heard this, I rolled my eyes. A paycheck for under a buck?
I'm not rolling my eyes anymore. The amount of my residual check for "The Wire" was 87 cents.