Monday, October 30, 2000

(This continues from several weeks ago when my buddy told me about the film I mentioned before - XCU).

Buddy tells me about film.

Three of my friends had appointments.

Talk to my manager.

He calls CD Ricki Maslar, she informs him about a role that is African-American (the brother of one of the leads). It is a small role and a couple weeks away. Read script; find out which photos to send.

Weeks later I remind my manager, he puts in another call and leaves a message.

Then I'm dropped by Manager.

Anyway, last week my agent called with an appointment for the film. I go in and Ricki and her staff are apologizing for bringing me in for such a small role. They say that I am their favorite actor from the workshops. WHO KNEW!!!! In all honesty it must have been my charm (ha ha!) because I do not recall having a stellar performance when I met them. After assuring them I would come in for almost anything she told me that I was really right for this and it was going to be cast from the tape. My agency is a guest-star agency and I have never been a guest star. I have no problem with the smaller stuff at this point in my career. The series regular auditions are great, but I need to be the clerk, the pizza guy, the waiter, etc. right now. Then I'll be a guest-star. I just don't want to skip any steps. I got the part.

Saturday, October 28, 2000

You might not believe this one. Here it goes. I work the graveyard shift. So I am at work and it's a pretty routine evening/morning. I get home @ 6:30am ready to hop in the bed so that I can catch a 10am workshop. I figure I'll check my e-mail quickly before hitting the sack. I was amazed that I was able to get my computer started because it's been giving me quite the headache lately. So as I'm surfing the Actorsite forum and nodding at my desk because I am exhausted I see my name. It says "Urgent!! Stephon Fuller.......If you know him call him...............Suddenly my heart is racing, I'm wondering what the heck happened. It was posted @ 11:24pm the previous night, obviously I was at work. It is from a fellow actor, John Jabaley, he reports that he is locations managing a BET m.o.w. and a role needed to be cast right away and @ 11pm last night and he thought of me. He left numbers and times where I could reach him. At this point it is almost 7am; I figure I can get an hour of sleep before I call John (In hindsight I should have called right away). So I set 2 alarms on my pager, at 8 and 8:05am, of course I sleep through both of them. I wake up in cold sweat @ 8:25am and call John, he gives me the lowdown. In and out of the shower in a flash and off I go to Sun Valley, about 30 minutes away.

I arrive, they called John on the radio and he introduces me to the producer and director and took me upstairs. At this point it was just like being at a workshop. I got the sides and ten minutes later I was reading for the director with John as the reader. It wasn't a lot of material, but my head was still spinning. It was only I and one other actress, a person that John knew as well. So I go in and read and it goes well, then I could hear the actress reading through the door and she sounded great. I really thought that they would go with her; she played a little older and really looked the part. At this point I was thinking that I could still make it to that 10am workshop.

After about five minutes they came out and the director said "you both were great, thank you very much" I didn't they were going to take either of us. So I was cool, by now me and the other actress were talking about all kinds of things. We were both gathering our things to leave and John asked me to stay. I was shocked; it came down to me being a man. There was already a woman reporter in the film. I was taken straight to wardrobe & make-up. An hour later I was doing a scene with Kadeem Hardison (A Different World) and Lark Voorhies (Saved by the Bell). They were unbelievably nice and fun to work with, I had a great time.

When we broke for lunch I made a couple of phone calls, so I didn't get my food right away. As I was patiently waiting my turn in line one of AD's forced me to go to the front of the line. Weird. They were just making sure I was taken care of. The shoot was great, definitely the most attention I have ever had on set. I did one scene and I cannot say enough about Kadeem & Lark they were the best, funny & very engaging. The crew really took care of me as well. I also had a chance to ask him a question that I had been waiting for 5 years to ask him. We had the same manager years ago-him years & years ago and me-just years ago (Jan '95-June '96 while I lived NYC). When I signed with her she told me that she used to rep Kadeem, Giancarlo Esposito & Tom Cruise. She said she was the one who changed Tom's name from Thomas Mapother IV to Tom Cruise. Tom supposedly did his first two films with her and Kadeem booked "A Different World" thru her. I believed her, but Kadeem quickly confirmed that it was all true.

You never know where the day will take you, at 4:30 this morning I was waiting on Val Kilmer at the restaurant anticipating getting off to rest. It was not to be-Thankfully. I want to shout a huge "THANK YOU" out to John Jabaley - what you did was too cool for words. This month I waited on Benicio Del Toro (very cool @ 4am) & Mark Wahlberg (very polite) & Jordana Brewster (very polite & beautiful).

Thursday, October 12, 2000

For the last month I have been a reader for Henderson/Zuckerman Casting. This has been one of the best opportunities I have had as an actor. I was getting to see and hear everything. It really showed me where I need to be to even be considered for a film or TV project. THIS JUST IN!! I am abruptly dropped by my manager!!! Yeah, what the F!&#$!! He had been working on becoming a producer and now was the time. So he only kept a couple of clients that were really moving along well. Totally caught me by surprise, I thought some good things were going to happen for the both of us.

Meanwhile I have to say that the new position at my night job is working out well. It accomplished 2 things: I made more money in less time and I didn't have to get another job and "act" like I really wanted to be there. I was just trying to make my situation better, I had been doing this overnight thing for over 2 years and it was killing me. I knew I had to continue because it was my ticket out of doing it. So, I guess I was "doing it so I wouldn't have to do it". There are times when I fall asleep in my car after getting home from work at 6 or 7 in the morning. Not good.

On the other hand October was heating up nicely. We were still on strike, but the end "had" to be near I thought. I was getting theatrical auditions. WHAT!!! I don't get that many TV/Film auditions, but I was getting them now.

Being a reader it was an eye-opening experience, I highly recommend it. The first project I worked on was "Bluehill Ave" it shot in Canada. The leads are William Forsythe, Clarence Williams III and Allen Payne. There was some talk of me possibly landing a role, but the director could only take so many to Canada for budget reasons. In all honesty I didn't think I was really right for anything in the film. I was just happy to be there and be part of the process and hear the business talk. I really got a chance to know the director and he asked my opinion on some things. The project that I am working on now with them is called "Smash" it is a VH-1 comedy pilot. It is kinda like Fox's "Action" set to the music industry. There is a small role in the pilot that I have my eye on, that is possibly recurring if the series is picked up.

After reading hundreds of actors I really can now understand when a casting director says do not touch them or break that circle of their space. Some of the material that I've been reading has been pretty provocative, and the young women that are coming in are like "WHAT!!!" let's just say some of "Hollywood's Finest". Anyway, I have been touched, groped even kissed smack on the mouth (yes, by a woman); and there was no kiss in the scene!! That's cool whatever works, I am there for them. The actors have really been great; they really appreciate having another actor to read with. Some I have read with 2 or 3 times and they have made comments to the producers/director that "they should hire this guy" meaning me. We'll see about that. It really has shown me what it takes to light up the room, especially in comedy. In most cases you can really tell the people who have worked.

After being in there over a dozen times, I can tell you at least at that office that they call people in without representation, from workshops and without extensive credits. At the same time there are a lot of people who have worked a lot and are with top agencies. As an actor who has to beg, borrow and steal to get a theatrical audition the chance to be a reader is a way to stay in and be around the game.

Usually when I am a reader I start to get appointments. So this one time I am scheduled for a short producer/director session, just from 11am-12:30pm, of course I get a call for an audition @12 noon. I tried to reschedule, but they were only going until noon. After thinking long and hard I tell my agent that I won't be able to make it.

My agents know that I have been reading for them, but they don't really know to what extent. My agent trusted that I was making the right decision and left it at that. I know it sounds crazy that I would turn down a pre-read for "Sabrina" with Rick Millikan for a co-star to be a reader. I kinda feel like I have a lot invested now in this project, I have been reading with the producers/director, I am right for the role, it is possibly recurring and Cathy & Dori will push hard for me after the leads are set. After telling my agent that I cannot make the audition I figured I would call Henderson/Zuckerman just to make sure that everything was on schedule and that I indeed could not make it. Cathy & Dori heard in the background that I had an audition and were adamant about me not missing it; they would find a replacement for me. I told them my angle on the whole thing and they agreed, but then they offered to call Rick Millikan and see what they could do. They were able to get me rescheduled. I had a really good read and got a callback to producers and found out today that I have been booked for Wednesday of next week. Nothing huge and that's fine with me, it's a co-star about 4 lines and believe it or not my quote inched up a little higher. (I can't believe I have a quote). Oh, and it's directed by Melissa Joan Hart. Back at the job, I waited on Martin Lawrence and he left me $185 on an $85 check. He was very, very cool and low-key.