A Day on the Set of Queer As Folk
~ one actor's experience ~

  Ryan Booth is an up-and-coming Canadian actor who has been fortunate enough to find steady work in Toronto, Ontario. In addition to commercials and independent projects, he has been working as a personal trainer and as a club bouncer to put food on the table for himself and for Edwin, his new puppy (all together now, awwww...). Despite a hectic schedule, Ryan found some time to talk to us about his experience on Queer As Folk, and has graciously agreed to let us feature him on our site.

Ross Clydesdale, one of the casting directors for Queer As Folk, had seen Ryan for small parts on the series as well as for other shows, and was interested in him for a role in episode 109. Last fall, Ryan's agent presented the offer to him, but pointed out that the scene in question implied sexual acts -- although there was no nudity.

The role?

usemyhole27, Emmett's cyber-sex partner. *g*

Okay, so his character didn't exactly have a 'name' but he had a 'handle' (there's a joke in there, but it's too easy... moving on!)

At the audition, Ryan learned that John Greyson, who directed 'Lillies,' an award-winning Canadian film, was going to be directing episode 109. Ryan was thrilled to be working with such a talented artist, who he feels brings out the best in his actors. Brent Carver, an actor with whom Ryan did some stage work a couple of years ago at Niagara on the Lake, gave an amazing performance in 'Lillies,' which Ryan credits, in part, to Greyson.

At the reading, Ryan worked through the scene with Mr. Greyson and Mr. Clydesdale, and a few others from the show. Needless to say, they liked his performance and he got the role! The episode was filmed in November of 2000, at the Dufferin Gate studios in Toronto.

The day Ryan taped his scene was the third day of shooting for that particular script. He arrived early, and was taken to wardrobe. In the makeup room, Polaroids of the actors adorn the walls, most of them guest stars dressed in full costume and 'war paint.' Ryan immediately recognized his friend and fellow Canadian actor, Noah Danby, who played Tattoo in episode 105 and Captain Astro in episode 111, as well as Matt Taylor, who played Zack O'Tool in episode 113. Small world!

Once he was properly primped and preened, Ryan made his way to the set, where all the filming is done. For anyone who hasn't been on a set before, the different 'locations' (kitchen, living room, diner, etc.) are set up side by side in a large, warehouse area, with spotlights and rigging hanging overhead. In the scene Ryan did, Usemyhole27 appears in the doorway of his apartment, while Emmett and Pitts9x6 are outside in the hallway.

Where Ryan stood was actually a narrow hallway between two other walkways; there was a purple backdrop, and a bit of a room behind him with some miscellaneous props --- things a guy who looks like a beefy, brutal top but who's really a big nelly bottom might have hiding in there, LOL. There were two small tables, a kitchen, and then another hallway to the left, beyond which were some of the crew sitting with the video playback and a boom (microphone). Unlike some studios where the operators are front and center, near the cameras, these guys were literally 'behind the scenes.'

As far as how he was treated on the set, Ryan said that everyone was polite and friendly, and from the moment he stepped into the studio, there were no issues as to whether he was gay or straight he was there to do a job, plain and simple. The actor who played Pitts9x6, Steve Boyle, walked around most of the day wearing his character's cut-off denim shorts, receiving many appreciative glances from both the male and female staff.

Ryan had nothing but good things to say about Peter Paige. Many fans have the impression from the interviews they've seen and read that Peter is a great guy, and Ryan confirmed this. "He's absolutely that guy you see in the interviews; very down-to-earth and genuine." The first thing Peter said to Ryan was "Welcome," and then thanked him for doing the show! Peter said they really appreciated it and was extremely warm and put Ryan immediately at ease. How cool is that? That was something he didn't have to do, especially in a professional environment like that.

As an actor, Peter was very generous; he met Ryan at whatever length he was willing to rehearse, even asking how he wanted to approach the scene, and what he was comfortable with. Ryan said Peter was also very forthright (with him, what you see is what you get -- he tells it like it is), and even above and beyond all that, an extremely talented actor. Unfortunately, that is sometimes overlooked or taken for granted when a character is so flamboyant, Ryan pointed out.

In Ryan's opinion, Peter is not as effeminate as Emmett, and was very attentive (not flighty at all). The one hint of flamboyancy in Peter that Ryan noticed, however, was at one point during their rehearsal, one of the wardrobe guys came up to the set to show Peter the purple jacket that Em was to wear in the next episode on the 'road trip.' Peter immediately lit up when he saw the item and exclaimed, "Yes! This is such a FABULOUS purchase!" LOL

The actors did the blocking, rehearsed the scene three or four times, and finally shot it from a few different angles. Most of the 'preparations' had been done ahead of time at the audition.

Altogether, it was about a six or seven hour day for Ryan. His experience was very positive, and he would definitely do it again if asked (write those letters, everyone! LOL).

Ryan has been recognized for his role on QAF by people on the street in Toronto a couple of times, but generally he keeps a low profile. Kris Booth, his brother, has a production company called Shoes Full of Feet, and they've asked Ryan to play the lead in several of their productions. One of the script writers who did a project called No Man's Land about World War One is now working on a romantic comedy Christmas story (with NO Santa, LOL) called Mistletoe. Another project on the go for them is Kingsbury Run about the black daliah murders. The screenwriter is working on two projects specifically for Ryan. He has an official Website in the works, so stay tuned!

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