Brotherhood is not just a Bible word. Out of comradeship can come and will come the happy life for all. (Heywood Broun)
I have a tendency to forget just how many lives I’ve touched. Because I’m so physically removed from the area in which my work takes place, and I’m not at every single press function or party or whatever, I tend to think of myself as a fringe player – someone who goes unnoticed. But I’m almost always wrong.
Yesterday and today (or two days ago and yesterday by the time you’re reading this), I spent at NBC’s fall TCA session in support of the new dramas Blindspot and The Player, which both star old friends of mine. I thought nothing of driving three hours each way to do it; maybe I’m old-fashioned, but when my friends are doing something, I want to be there to support them. I figured I’d show up, cover the panels, and if I was lucky say hi to said friends in passing.
What I got was another reminder of how much good I can do in this world, and how much that means to me.
I was truly floored by the reaction I got at Wednesday night’s network party. Instead of being stuck in the corner alone, I got to sit and have a prolonged conversation with my friend Damon Gupton, whom I fell in love with working together on The Divide and who’s now on The Player.
When Sullivan Stapleton came by for our interview, he brought four of his co-stars. And just when I thought he might not be able to put the face to the name – given that he and I have not been in the same room physically in just over three years – he hugged me not once, not twice, but three times. I never thought I’d be showing pictures of last year’s Halloween costume to Marianne Jean-Baptiste, but there it was.
And then Blindspot creator Martin Gero came over to say hello and thank me for my work so far on the show, after which Jaimie Alexander stopped by for an interview of her own. All these people knowing who I am, and being genuinely happy to see me, and several of them making a point of wanting to spend time with me, was truly flattering because they are tremendous people.
Thursday became an even more mind-blowing experience for me. First, during the Blindspot panel, Sully saw me and nudged Marianne and pointed at me. I gave them a little wave back; color me surprised that they noticed, let alone wanted to acknowledge my existence.
Then a few hours later, was one person I needed to find still, and that was my friend and Sully’s former colleague Philip Winchester, who as you know is one of my favorite folks I’ve ever worked with and someone I don’t see enough of. That would be because he’s super-busy with The Player, so I had been told by the network that there was no way I could talk to him, as he was coming right in for the panel and then being pulled for other obligations.
That was before he spotted me and waved at me during the panel. And then afterward, as I’m standing to leave, the first thing he does is stand up and come directly over to me, pulling me in this huge hug and asking how I’m doing. He congratulated me on my getting a clean bill of health from my doctor and we caught up for a few minutes. Then I asked him if we could take a picture together, and he insisted on it before giving me another parting hug. Yes, they were still pulling him elsewhere, but not before he decided to come right to me first.
I don’t know if I have any words to accurately encapsulate how that makes me feel, but I’m sure as hell going to try. For one, Philip is someone I hold in extremely high regard both personally and professionally, so for him to be so happy to see me is a massive ego boost. And it wasn’t like we just ran into each other by chance; he intentionally wanted to talk to me.
That’s not the first time that’s happened, and every time it does I kind of stop and pinch myself. All I do is love what I do and work my ass off doing it. I don’t work for any big name and especially when I’m not around a lot, it means so much that people continue to not only remember me but respect me. I hadn’t been in the same room with Sully in three years, and he still knew exactly who I was. Martin and I only met once at Comic-Con, but he was still going over to talk to me. Damon made sure that we found each other, because he really wanted to see me.
It may be another year before I see any of them again (hopefully not, but you never know). We don’t talk all the time except for maybe an exchange of tweets on social media. But I know these people are my friends, because when we do interact, they make me feel like a million bucks. I know that they see what I do, and they care about it, and they care about me. When people ask me why I drive three hours just to sit in on two panels? This is why. Because these people really are my friends, and they support me just like I support them.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of NBC