Monday, August 30, 2004

Yesterday at rehearsal, the screen cracked on my HP iPAQ PDA, the little Pocket PC that I carry everywhere. WHAT!!!! I don't think I took a breath for 5 minutes afterwards. I just stared at it and said........well you don't need to know what I sounded like "%^$#&**&^%!!!" I use it CONSTANTLY for everything, scheduling, contacts, e-mail, tasks, notes, photos, etc. I know it's a chance that I take that I will either break it or lose it, but it still hurts.

My saving saving grace was that I purchased it at Costco and I am a HUGE fan of I don't expect them to take care of it because it would be so easy for them to say that I dropped it or somehow abused it. I didn't, I swear. I had it in a protective leather case in my side cargo pocket and I didn't sit on it or anything like that. I could see if I was rough housing or something like that, but I wasn't. I had just used it 5 minutes before I discovered it was broken. Ugh!!! Anyway, I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Speaking of Costco, last month I changed my car insurance to Costco, yeah Costco. It's backed by American Express. Yeah, I had been insured by "21st Century Insurance" and didn't have any problems or claims, but I wanted to shop around to see if I could get more for my money. Actually, I stayed with them a little longer than I might have out of of guilt.

I did a commercial for "21st" in the Fall of 2002. It was a testimonial, so I had to actually be a policy holder. They even did a background check on me. I guess it came up clean.....or clean enough! Anyway, when the check arrived they included a bounus of $200 to thank me for being a customer. WHAT!!! I thought it was a mistake, I called my agent because I couldn't figure why I had been over-paid. I wanted to give the money back before I cashed the check. Needless to say I was quite surprised and that made me a customer of "21st" for longer than I might have been. To make a long story short my coverage went from:

Bodily Injury $15,000 each person/$30,000 each accident
Property damage $10,000
Including Comprehensive & Collision
Uninsured motorist $15,000 each person/$30,000 each accident

Bodily Injury $100,000/$300,000 each accident
Property damage $100,000
Including Comprehensive & Collision
Uninsured motorist $100,000 each person/$300,000 each accident

For the same price, yup the same price. My sister-in-law works for one of the major insurance carriers and she has told horror stories of being under insured.

Cut to:
4:30pm-I just got back from Costco and they let me return my PDA and gave me cash back. This is really good news, I didn't want to spend several hundred bucks on a new one. Now I just have to wait for them to get them back in stock. Thank you Costco!!

Sunday, August 29, 2004

*Another day in the saddle at rehearsal for "For the Love of Freedom". I'm getting a 'little' less nervous these days, but I am still freaked at the notion of not being ready to perform. The thing is that I'm covering 3 different roles and two of the actors are usually at rehearsal and one of them is rarely there. I end up rehearsing as that character and am so consumed with that that it's difficult to keep up with the other characters that I'm covering too.

I'm starting to get to know more of the cast members as well. They are a really talented bunch and I am honored to be a part of this production. For some reason it feels really "East Coast" to me, what ever that means. I don't just kinda safe.

Also, often times there are other actors who aren't in attendance for various reasons so I sometimes end up reading those roles too. It's funny because I'm torn between being the actor who is always available to fill-in and the guy who just wants to blend in and kinda be invisible. I just don't want to get in too far over my head. My instinct is to "be there, be there, be there" and my head says "be careful, are you sure you can handle this?" It may just be fear of the unknown. Thus far, my instinct has won out and I haven't failed to step up to the plate to help when I can. The director sees that I am always close by and seems to really appreciate it.

I'm sure many actors have done much, much more. I'm trying to change the way I do some things in my life these days. This is perfect, it wrecks my confidence at times, but perfect.

Something that's really interesting for me with this experience is watching the director and thinking of my father. I can't pinpoint it just yet, but something is going on. It's like he says things that I "think" my father would say and even says them the way i "think" he would say them. Sometimes I could close my eyes and think I'm hearing my father. The is shit that has never happened to me before. It's either really right or really wrong.

Admittedly, I almost didn't even go to the meeting with Ben, but a friend told me I "had" to go. Even as I drove there and parked I was reluctant, but she was like a bird on my shoulder that kept me on the straight and narrow. I gave up the control that I usually have and went for it. I am thankful to both of them for this experience thus far.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Audition: "Toyota" @ Cathy Carlton Casting. This one goes really well too! I've booked through this office twice in the past and would love to score again. I don't know who is directing, but maybe it's the same one who has hired me twice before. I think I am right for the spot.

DROPS!!!!!!! Hours and hours were spent in the car today. Gotta keep those fires burning. It's all good though, it's amazing how much casting is going on out there. I even dropped for a daytime soap today. I'm not even sure why to be honest, I rarely if ever pursue soaps. Plus I owe AFTRA money!! I had a friend with me and it was good for her to drop hers so maybe that's the reason.

I did a drop-off a couple of weeks ago at Pemrick/Fronk Casting for a film and my buddy, William Gregory Lee, booked the lead in it. He will be shooting in Vancouver for 4-6 weeks. Good for him. I don't know what it is about him, but it seems that if the project does 'not' shoot in LA he has a much better chance of booking it. He been to South Africa, New Zealand, Vancouver, New York, Hawaii, the Carribean, etc. all for acting. I wanna go somewhere too!

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Audition: "V-8" @ Craig Colvin Casting. This one goes really well. It's being directed by film director Kevin Smith. I've gotten really close to booking with Craig and Kevin in the past so hopefully I can take it a step further this time.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Audition: "Wanda Sykes Comedy Central Promo" @ Francene Selkirk Casting. The audition goes alright I guess, I kinda got tripped up by the copy. I think I'm right for it though.

Monday, August 23, 2004

I am still sore from rehearsal two days ago. My arm is killing me from one of the moves we were doing. BUT I think I'm going to start attending more of the rehearsals, even the ones I am not in. I really want to get this piece under my skin. I'm not really a "quick-study" so it takes me longer than most to get things. Plus I always have tons of questions, I over analyze things. When I don't "get it" I lose confidence.

It happened again today! While doing a drop-off at Raleigh Studios the guard let me on the lot. Actually, it seemed it was my only choice since I couldn't leave the photo at the gate. I'm usually a little weary of rolling up to the offices on the lot, but I just left it at the door and bounced.

Also, I did a drop at Tepper-Gellegos Casting and they were seeing actors for a "Chevy" spot that I felt I was right for, so I scoped out the joint to see what I might be able to do. The session runner ask my name to see where I was on the list. I told her I didn't have an appointment, but I was repped by KSA. She asked my name and called her boss upstairs to see what I should do. The answer was to leave my photo and they'll see. On the way home I called my wonderful agents at KSA and spoke with Angie. She passed the word to one of my agents, Brooke, who made a call and got back to me. The verdict is that I should get seen on Wednesday. Cool, I'll take that.

Okay, tonight I audit the scene-study class that the director, Ben Guillory teaches. This guy is the shit! Sorry, I don't know how else to put it. A four hour class and he left no stone unturned. Of course, I'm still getting to know Ben, but he sure seems like a great guy. Simply auditing that class will help me in rehearsal for the play.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Rehearsal: "For The Love Of Freedom". Okay no one told me that we were rehearsing with the choreographer today. It was more like an aerobic work out. I was sweating like a pig. I thought I was going to pass out right there in the gym. I'm not much of a dancer in the first place so these movements really had me like a deer in headlights. I did the best I could and I'll keep working on it. It felt really great because it was all a part of the journey to the characters that make up the production as a whole.

After having such an incredible experience with "The Darker Face of the Earth" in New York and Washington, DC I was concerned about getting involved in a crappy production of some sort. This is only my second theatre experience and both of them have been Black theatre. This is great because, thus far, most of my work experiences have been very, very mainstream projects. You don't get much more mainstream than "Friends", "Frasier", and Tom Hanks. So this is a quite welcome change.

Don't get me wrong I am very thankful for those mainstream gigs, they are a lot of fun and they pay the bills much better than this me. It's just that I'm getting to learn about Black history and having an incredible acting experience at the same time.

I have felt like a little bit of an outsider because quite a few of the other actors already know each other and some were involved in the first two parts of the play. That is quickly changing and I'm feeling more and more like part of the team.

The director, Ben Guillory, is quite incredible as are the actors that I'm working with. I think this was the right theatre piece for me to get involved in.

2004 has been an incredible year for me. I have gotten some important things accomplished in my personal life. Of course there is still many more things to do, but I am at least giving attention to them like I haven't in the past. I haven't really made a lot of money or booked a lot of jobs, but I have faith that I'll be able to keep the lights on through it all.


It's been 21 months since I lost my mother and it still stops me dead in my tracks if I think about the wrong thing at the wrong time. It's amazing, it can be a song, a photo or any other seemingly insignificant thing that can completely put me on my ass. I mean to the point where I have to pull over in my car or even just go home. Just writing about it brings tears to my eyes.

I write that because as I was watching Ben direct rehearsal today I thought of my own father and wondered what the heck goes through his mind on a daily basis. Also, I was talking to a friend on the phone and her father beeped in on call waiting. I thought to myself, "That's so cool." Unfortunately, I don't believe that I'll ever have that. I don't think about it a lot, but when I do it's a tragic thought. I feel like an orphan often times.

Funny enough, the topic of this piece is something that my father would really be interested in. Too bad he'll never hear about it. I left Virginia Beach for New York nearly 10 years ago and my father has not one time picked up the phone to see how I'm doing. He wouldn't even know my phone number unless someone gave it to him.

Sometimes I wonder if what I'm doing ever crosses his mind. Or if he hears about "California Wildfires", "Earthquakes" or even the "price of gas" does he remember that he has a son out here. I honestly don't know. I haven't spoken to him in over a year and even stopped calling on his birthday.

I don't know. I mean I'm not perfect, but I do try to do better. It's just kinda disheartning know that I may have spoken to my father for the last time and we are both still here on earth now.


Thursday, August 19, 2004

Audition: "Hyatt Hotels" @ Deborah Kurtz Casting. This one goes well, I portray a waiter. Go figure. I hope that isn't a sign of things to come.

Rehearsal: "For The Love of Freedom". One of the actors that I am understudying wasn't there so I got to work for the whole 3 hours. That made it a lot more fun for me.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Finally!!! It's been almost a year since I've worked on a sitcom. Today I worked on the CBS comedy "yes, dear". I auditioned for a different episode about 3 weeks ago, but didn't book. Last week they called my agent and offered me this role. It's the first time I've been hired without reading for the role. It's a small co-star, but it's a first and I was flattered.

While talking to my agent we considered not taking the role because of the pay and the size, but I believe "the more you work, the more you're gonna work." Bills, bills, bills baby!! AND, it's always good to meet new producers, directors & writers.

The shoot was quick-fast, I was done in 3 hours. It seemed like I spent most of it in the make-up chair. The make-up artist put so much stuff on my face that I felt like Michael Jackson in 'Thriller'.......well not really.

I got to work with kids for the first time. They were the cutest little professionals. Anyway, I portrayed an orderly in a rest home.

This is the fifth season for the show, but it's a mid-season replacement. I have no idea when it will air.

Tonight I did a workshop with sitcom director Mary Lou Belli. Can I just say "incredible" it was unbelievably informative. She regularly directs UPN's "One On One" and "Eve". She gave us tons of insight into the realities of doing the job in half-hour comedy. She has even written a book called "The Sitcom Career Book". Needless to say I will be getting her book ASAP.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Audition: "That 70's Show" @ G. Charles Wright Casting.

Audition: "CitiBank" @ Beth Holmes Casting. I just dropped of there the other day.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

What!!! After a week of hearing nothing I get a call from the stage manager of "For the Love Of Freedom" asking if I can be at rehearsal in an hour. Huh? Yeah, I can make it in an hour and a half.

So 90 minutes later I'm at rehearsal with no script and no idea what roles I am understudying. Then, the director, Ben Guillory approaches me, thanks me for coming on such short notice and explains everything to me. He then informs that I am covering 3 different roles. WHAT!!! I've never covered a role in a play before much less 3 roles. I am completely freaked out. Yes, completely.

BUT!!! This is something that I need to do.....something that I want to do......something that I will do.The rehearsal was a lot of fun and one of the actor I'm covering wasn't there so I was able to actually rehearse. I have a feeling this is going to be a pretty special experience for me.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Drops usually work pretty smooth for me, but today I ran into a situation where I have never been so unhappy to get on a studio lot. I was doing a drop at Culver Studios for an "Untitled Albert Brooks Project". I approached the guard at the gate just to explain that I wanted to just leave in the drop box/mailroom whatever. You would think that they get that a lot right? Anyway, to my horror he calls the casting office to get me a walk-on. NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! I don't want or need a walk-on. He was just being nice, but it screwed up my approach. I didn't want to draw focus in this situation, just get my photo in the pile. So he gives me directions to the bungalow and I don't even go inside. I just left it at the door and bounced out of the there.

On the way out I walked past the stage where I worked on the pilot of "Life With Bonnie". That brought back pleasant memories of being a working actor. Ha! Imagine that? A working actor.............

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Yes!! Audition: "SBC Global" @ Francene Selkirk Casting. This audition went really well and of course I hope to get a callback. My first audition in LA was @ this office on July 29th, 1998 and I got a callback.

Also my agent calls to say that I've been offered a small role on CBS's "yes, dear". It's just a day of work and of course I wish it was more, but I feel that's it's good to be working. The role doesn't help my quote, but that isn't everything. I'm just glad to be back on a set. You never know what these things can lead to. I auditioned for a different episode a couple of weeks ago and didn't booked and now they are using me for a different role in a different episode. That's cool that someone remembered me.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Drops, drops and more drops!! It's amazing how I drive around this town on a regular basis. Between the driver seat in my car and the chair at my desk my ass is sore!!!!!! That is all going to change because I have committed myself to going out more often. I even got a library card a couple of weeks ago. So more time on my mountain bike, more time just doing different things is in store for me. I wish I had a dirt bike out day.

During the drops today I stopped by Henderson/Zuckerman Casting and I happened to see Dori Zuckerman. She informed me of a project they had coming up and said she would bring me in for it. I hope to score again at this office. I booked a job early in the year for them, but the project lost its funding.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Today is the table read and first rehearsal for the play that I guess I am understudying in. I say "I guess" because I haven't really been told for sure. The name of the production is: "For the Love Of Freedom, Part III: Christophe (The Spirit) Passion and Glory". This is a powerful piece to say the least. It is a story about the Haitian slave revolt.

After the table read I still had no idea what role(s) I was understudying and did not get a script. I was a little confused and had to leave a tad bit early. I figured, they have my number they'll call when they need me. In truth, I was overwhelmed with not knowing what was being asked of me. I avoid giving my word to something I cannot do. At the same time I feel that there is some magic happening with this show. So I'm down for the cause.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Finally!! The postcards are gone. It took longer than usual because I'm using old postcards and I had to get a little creative to make it work. Hopefully, my theatrical appointments will spike next week.

Later I dropped by my theatrical agency; it's always great to see my agents they are wonderful ladies. One of the agents informed me that she's leaving the business. This news totally caught me by surprise, I was speechless. She became a first-time mother late last year and wants to be with her daughter.

Don't get me wrong, I'm only about 10% upset. I think it's an absolutely beautiful thing that she is doing. Her daughter is sooooooo cute and sweet. Everytime I go to the office she is so happy and playful. I don't know how they're going to keep her out of show business, she seems like she should be doing commercials already. Makes me want to have a family of my own.......soon.......well maybe not that soon.

So what does this all mean for me? I'm not sure really. At this point things are still being worked out. I've been told the options are:

Hiring a new agent.
Bringing in a partner.
Merging with another entity or vice-versa, etc.

You never know how these things will play out. I don't have any reason to believe I would be dropped from or leave the agency. I'm very happy there and have been for 6 years and I have reason to believe that they are happy having me as a client as well. BUT!! Sometimes new energy comes in and they tighten up the client list. You never "really" know where you stand until you really know where you stand. So with that being said I have to be prepared for the phone call or letter saying that I've been dropped from the list. I've put my game face on for a potential agent search just in case. I believe things will work out just fine though.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Audition: "NEXTEL" @ Kathy Knowles Casting. This audition goes really well. Of course I'd love to get a callback. The last time I was at this office I got a callback and the time before that I booked the "Michelob Ultra" spot. Hopefully this is a good thing because this spot shoots in NYC and I would LOVE to go to NYC next week. Back to the postcards!

Monday, August 02, 2004

Today is the first day for my commercial agency, Kazarian-Spencer & Associates(KSA) in the their new location. I wanted to stop by and check it out. The place looks great and I got a chance to chat with my agents, Alicia & Brooke, for a bit. We talked about stocks, buying property, girls, girlfriends, old girlfriends, new girlfriends; everything but acting. While we were talking Alicia was quietly submitting me for a project. Seconds later, while we were still talking, I got the audition! YES!! I guess that's LA Casting at work. Things really move fast these days in the business. Back to the drops.