Friday, February 5, 2010

Perception and the Art of Jack Shephard

I step out of my triple banger just as Matthew Fox is getting out of his car. Ashley*, the quintessential set PA (petite and whip-smart) calls out to him. “Hey Matt, I know you just got here, but John wants a quick rehearsal so they can start lighting.” No eye contact, just a silent nod, and into his trailer he goes. Seconds later, he emerges in wardrobe and heads straight past us into the studio. “Matt and Teresa flying in,” Ashley announces on her radio as we follow behind.

Rehearsal is fast and serious. Matthew mapping out the scene with the DP and director. Take out this wall and go over the sink for my close-up. Are we wearing gloves yet? No. Still scrubbing in. Need a nurse extra to hand Matthew a towel.

About five minutes into this, Matthew turns and looks at me for the first time. “Are you with me in this scene?” I introduce myself quickly, extending my hand. He shakes it and gets back to business. Let’s upcut into this. Need the medical advisor to show us where the dural sack is located on the x-ray.

Once the scene is mapped, second team is called in and Matthew disappears. I’m not offended he didn’t welcome me more warmly, because really, why should he? He’s #1 on the callsheet for the #1 show on television. He’s at work, trying to make the final season of LOST the best ever. Perception can be a subjective mistress, but as a working actor, I appreciated and admired his focus. He was a consummate professional throughout the day, always striving to make every moment authentic, believable, and compelling.

This is not to say that actors who are chatty and relaxed on set are not professionals. Every actor works differently. Success comes from knowing what you need to do your best work and making sure you get it when you need it.

A commitment that could stand to be stronger in my personal life. I’ve never been good at asking for what I want for fear of judgment or loss of approval. But the reality is, I can’t control anyone else’s perception of me, so why try? People see what they want to see. Some actors might perceive Matthew Fox’s demeanor as cold or unfriendly. What I saw was a professional with a strong and unwavering intention – make the show great. For the producers, for the fans…for himself.

And just like that, Matthew Fox has one more devoted fan in me.

* Names have been changed to protect the awesome that was the LOST crew. All names except Matthew Fox, of course.


  1. Could you tell me something about your encounters with Terry and Josh? How are they? They are my favorite actors from Lost, along with Emerson.
    Thank you in advance.

  2. You're so lucky that you got to meet him! And it's very refreshing to read that there are other people out there that respect a particular work ethic.

  3. I loved reading what you think of Matthew Fox. It's really nice to see people smart enough to understand the way he works instead of just calling him unfriendly or cold. He just seems to love to focus on his job and it's quite understandable.

    It's awesome you got to work on LOST! :D

  4. blur79 - Terry and Josh were incredibly nice and very easy going. Planning to blog about my Josh Holloway encounter specifically soon. Emerson is one of my faves too! What an arc that guy's had on this show!

    CL and eweiss - thanks for recognizing my recognition! It really made me think twice about all the stories I've heard from actors about so-and-so being a jerk.