Hawaii Five-0 is such an iconic series, still so loved in the hearts and minds of many, 30 years after its last show. It's so incredible that any show would have that kind of lasting impression. I remember watching it when I was a child, and feeling connected to it more because it was shot in my home state of Hawaii.
It was also a time when there were so few actors (or even newscasters) of color on national television, so I remember a feeling of pride that Kam Fong, Zulu, Al Harrington, and all the other ethnic actors were out there representin'.
Forward to 2009, and as a resident of the state, I was excited to hear CBS was reviving the show. I don't have acting aspirations, but when I was recently offered a cameo as a television news reporter in episode nine, I certainly jumped at the chance. Who wouldn't want to be associated with Hawaii 5-0, whether it be the original or the 2.0 version?
I'm playing reporter Meredith Michaels of Channel 9 News. The mic flag, the fake Beta cam, and the news car have the CBS logo and the call letters of the local CBS affiliate, KGMB. Yes, the irony is not lost on me that I'm portraying a newscaster from a station that I would have been working at, had I been retained in the merger of my station (NBC) with the CBS station, and that the shoot takes place near the one year anniversary of my layoff. Just a funny little coincidence, though. It does not make me feel sad or anything.
Me and my photographer for the day (he doesn't really work news)
I'm so lucky I have a nice boss who approved my dabbling in the TV industry again. On the day of shooting, I had to be there at 5:30 a.m. They call the old Honolulu Advertiser building "base camp," so that's where I reported to. I was shown to my own trailer! I was offered a hot breakfast and taken into makeup, where the main actors walked in to also be prepared.
Alex O'Loughlin walked in shortly after me, and he's every bit as hunky as all the gossip columns say. He is tall and extremely friendly. He introduced himself to me when he passed my chair- so down-to-earth! He doesn't need makeup, in my opinion!
I was sitting facing the mirror getting makeup and hair done so I couldn't turn my head around much, but I then heard clacking of nails and panting. Could it really be... a dog?? It was! It was Scott Caan's Australian blue heeler, Dot! She is a sweet dog. His chair even says "Scott n' Dot." He was also super nice, shook my hand, and joked around with the rest of the staffers. I only work with these two actors, so I never met or saw Daniel Dae Kim or Grace Park.
My scene's at the top of parking garage
We caught a shuttle to the location of the day, Hawaii Medical Center in Liliha. I rush up to the two police officers to try to get a scoop, and I end up revealing some critical information. The scene was shot ten different ways.
It is nothing like television news; it's precise, marks must be hit, timing must be correct, the script must be memorized word for word, and all of it has to be done around the weather and the environment. We stopped briefly for an airplane passing; we shot a scene again because the sun was changing position in the sky and hitting a nearby car window, thus reflecting light off the actor's face; and we re-shot what would have been a perfect scene because the audio guy realized he could hear the construction workers on the roof who were watching us and talking. I'm amazed at how the director keeps track of all this information.
News was never like this. In news, the things that matter are hitting your key talking points and if you're walking, then hitting your approximate mark by the end of your speech. The words that you use to connect those ideas are less critical, and sometimes, depending on the camera framing, your feet can be within a couple inches of the mark.
I have six lines, and I memorized those lines like my life depended on it. It is my paranoia that I'll be the one to hold up the crew and get the dirty looks, so I made sure to have it down cold. It all went well.
I have no frame of reference, but others on set told me this director is very efficient, and was moving things along pretty quickly. I had a very enjoyable time, and was lucky enough to get Alex O'Loughlin and Scott Caan to take a picture with me. The crew all say they're really, really nice guys, and that not every actor is as friendly and accessible as these two are.
Scott Caan, me, Alex O'Loughlin
I'm told the air date for Episode 9 is November 22. So - that's a wrap! I enjoy that I can now honestly joke: "I'm not a reporter, I just play one on TV."
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