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Inspiration

Dhoom 3: Booked!

Accomplishing goals is pretty sweet. I highly recommend it. Recently, I got to be part of a major film being shot here in Chicago. A major film that most people will probably never see or hear anything about – at least in the US. I’m talking about the Bollywood Blockbuster Dhoom 3 (pronounced Doom). More on my personal experience in a paragraph, but first a bit about Dhoom.

The Dhoom franchise is huge in India. Dhoom 2 was one of the top grossing films in Bollywood history and one of the most profitable films of all time. Abhishek Bachchan and Uday Chopra are the leads and Dhoom 3 also features Aamir Khan. These are names almost unrecognizable in the US, but internationally, we’re talking about major movie stars – as big as Pitt and Clooney. Aamir is arguably the biggest star in Bollywood. Abhishek is also one of their most famous actors. Uday is the son of legendary filmmaker Yash Chopra. Dhoom 3 spent 60-some days shooting in Chicago and is the biggest moive being shot here in 2012.

Now, for my connection to the film… Back in July, I got a call from my agent for a film audition – Dhoom 3. The name meant nothing to me at the time. I did some research and quickly learned this film was kind of a big deal. Like any other audition, I did whatever I could to prep. I was told it would be fully improvised and was only given a few specifics about the film and the role going in. I was a banker. We’re scared of our boss. We just got robbed.  You see us throughout the film. That’s it.

The night before, I went on Netflix and watched Dhoom 2. I found myself thoroughly enjoying it. Picture a throw-back buddy cop movie with a sense of humor (and the requisite Bollywood singing and dancing).  In retrospect, watching the film paid tremendous dividends when it came to the audition. I spent some time jotting down ideas before hitting the sack that night and got mentally ready for my audition.

As it turns out, I was the first person they saw in Chicago. The audition itself was like any other. I was relaxed and I had fun. I got there early and had a great conversation with another actor – Roger – who I just met and was auditioning for the same role. I left feeling good about what I did, but, as an actor does, followed Jay Z’s mantra once I left – on to the next one.

I didn’t hear anything right away. So, I figured they went another direction. The life of an actor – no biggie. Then more than a week later, I got a call from my agent, telling me they wanted to book me. Woohoo! Nice. This “seemed” like it would only be a small paycheck, $150 a day, but it’s always exciting to get a booking – especially in a major film.

Of course, I knew it had the potential to be something bigger. At the time of the audition, the role had no scripted lines, but the Casting Director told me she wouldn’t be surprised if the Director added some. What’s key here, is that if there are lines (when it comes to a major production like Dhoom 3), it becomes a union job. My goal – like many actors – is to become union. Of course, the primary way to become SAG-AFTRA is to book a union job. Another nice benefit of a union job, it that it comes with a much bigger paycheck.

I knew in the back of my mind this was a possibility. I spoke to some actor friends about it and asked for advice on how to handle the situation. My plan was to be prepared and just see what happens.

About a month passed. I was still waiting for my contract. The days I was supposed to work came and went and I still didn’t quite know what was going to happen. Then, on August 15, I got a nice little surprise from my agent. She e-mailed me to let me know what days I would be shooting (finally). There would be five instead of just one or two. Nice. Plus, production was going to have to Taft Hartley me into the Union. Yes! I remember reading the e-mail while I was waiting for the train. I instantly filled with joy and excitement. Then, I quickly put my phone away in an attempt to contain myself. As if putting my iPhone in my pocket would make me forget about what I just read. This was a big, big deal. My goal of getting into SAG-AFTRA was happening. Of course, now, I had to wait more than a month to start shooting. Ugh…

Normally, I might post something on social media or my website or blog, but I only shared the news to select few. To me, this wasn’t real until it actually happened.

Well, it finally did happen. Roger, the actor I met at the audition, also got cast. He and I became fast friends and becasue we were the two bankers were practically chained at the hip on set. It was something to be part of such a huge production. I ended up being called for eight days and met some amazing people as part of the experience. And, that’s what it was: an experience. When I finally got to say my first lines as a SAG-AFTRA actor on screen (“Your tea sir”), everything became real. I felt like I could finally share the great news with everyone.

I have big dreams as an actor. I make no apologies for what I want. I felt so confident in myself and my vision, I left a comfortable life and six figure salary to do it. I’m not going to reach my goals overnight. And, while accomplishing a dream and reaching a destination is wonderful, as the saying goes, it’s about the journey. No matter what heights I reach in the arts, Dhoom 3 will always have a special place in my heart. This experience is part of my journey and it was a blast. It’s what will make me smile and feel a sense of pride when I look back. I’m just glad I can finally share it with everyone.

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  1. […] Booked a principle role in the Bollywood blockbuster Dhoom 3. This film is a pretty big deal – at least outside the US. It’s also the biggest film shooting in Chicago this year. I play the part of a Banker with a few lines (we’ll see what actually makes the cut – due out December 2013). You can read more about Dhoom 3 as well as my experience booking the role by clicking here. […]

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