48 hours - A Cautionary Tale: By Ari Hoptman

There’s this movie from the late 70s that I like. It has a small cult following. Not a weird film, just one that is not terribly well known.

Using the inter-net, I recently discovered that one of the actors, Ted Conroy*, has his very own website. There he was. Good photos, too. He's also a director. Hm. Not surprising. And he's still rockin’ it after decades in the industry. 

I dropped him a line telling him that he did a very good job in that film and also that – ha ha! – I supposed he was probably tired of people referring to a movie that is over 35 years old now. I also mentioned, briefly, that I do a fair amount of theater when I can.

Three days later I got an email via Backstage, a website that keeps people up to date on auditions and shows and so forth. I had all but forgotten that I had an account on that site, but I did, with my headshot, my resume, and all kinds of info about myself, down to my shoe size (literally).

The email was from a director named Ted Conroy.

He asked if I wanted to audition for a short movie (!) that he was filming in Minnesota (!!). I said, of course (!!!). I put together a video audition that very evening – the greeting card monolog by James Vculek – and posted it on youtube. He wrote back and said that he was impressed and that he would let me know. A couple of days later, I was in. In like Flynn.

But wait, was it THE Ted Conroy? Well, I couldn’t find a single other filmmaker with that name, certainly not in Minnesota!

There was not much information about the character, but oh well. Clearly, I was not at the top of the totem pole on this project. Fine. Found and bought a piece of special wardrobe. Arranged for subs at work. I cancelled a class. I took time over the weekend writing E-Z lesson plans for my subs, since they were doing me a big favor. 

Monday came, and I was ready for the first day of the two-day shoot and for my 75-mile drive (one-way) to meet the man and do the part, whatever it was. Maybe it would lead to other things, maybe not. Either way – something to remember. 

Don’t want to be late. Keep driving. (Got gas last night – smart me!) 

Finally made it there, even a few minutes early. Wow, what a long drive that was. Glad I don’t drive like this every day.

There’s the address. Looks right. OK, Ari, off you go. Stand up tall, go in, show respect, and just be ready to do whatever needs to be done. Good thing you bought papers to grade during down times.

I walked in and was greeted by a 21-year old college student and his crew of two. 

“Hi,” he said, extending his hand to me. “I’m Ted. Thanks so much for being in my movie.” 

There he was. Ted Conroy. 


He was making a two-scene film for a film class.

Maybe this young fella could make a more-than-decent movie. Maybe he even had a track record. Maybe he was the next Francis Ford Coppola or Orson Welles, but still.

Still . . .

The production manager wasn’t there – she had a big test that day. Another crew member couldn’t stay long – he had a class at 2:10, you see. 

Yep, I guess he WAS that Ted Conroy. To his parents at least. 

Two days. 300 miles.

I hope his movie turns out good.

~Ari Hoptman


*Names have been changed