Behind the Scenes at Silicon Valley Season Four, Ep. 2

One of the challenges of being an actor is something they don’t teach in acting class. Distraction. On movies and television shows you often have an entire crew of people in your field of vision. In Ep. 1 of Silicon Valley Matt Ross and I were on a private jet, similar to one that Jettly Charters provides. Or at least, in our minds it was. That, of course, was no jet. It was a metal tube on the SONY lot crammed with camera people. Matt and I rarely got to make eye contact during our scene. We often had to speak to a taped X on the camera. Once I had to speak to the cameraman’s foot.

BUT NOTHING prepared me for Ep.2. They brought in a real acupuncturist who inserted needles into about twelve of Matt’s facial pressure points. As awful as it was for me to act looking at Matt, I can’t imagine being Matt. I asked him if he knew what pressure points were being stimulated. Matt shrugged and said, “I think my sinuses? Maybe where I hold tension?”

“Yeah Matt, but how much tension are you holding having needles in your face for over an hour while we shoot?”

Mike Judge walked by after the first take and said, “Looks great Matt. I think we’ll be able to use the acupuncture this time.”

“This time?” I asked.

Matt laughed as much as he could with his head covered with needles, “Yeah. We used the needles before but the shot always got cut.”

That – ladies and gentlemen – is a PROFESSIONAL ACTOR!


  1. Mark Olmsted on May 17, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    The illusion that you are completely undistracted is total. Not to mention Jack Barker as been hysterical this season – but you always are.

  2. Darren Card on June 3, 2017 at 2:33 am

    I wonder how many people think your job is like playing cowboys & Indians rather than the technical occupation it is?
    Thank you for re-starting the Tobolowsky files, I have missed travelling through the long nights in my truck, listening to your beautifully crafted stories!
    You Stephen, are a master storyteller.

    • Stephen Tobolowsky on July 27, 2017 at 7:29 am

      Darren…when I do a story I think of you and a great play I saw in college. “All Night Rider.”