Sunday, October 31, 2004

Tonight "For The Love of Freedom Part III: CHRISTOPHE (The Spirit) Passion and Glory" closed. What a shame, I feel that we could go on at least 4 more weekends. Well not really a shame, it's nice to go out on top. We weren't able to extend because we have to be out of the theatre.

I had another little surprise for "my lady" in our scene tonight. Last night I gave her the big kiss, tonight I put a ring on her finger THEN gave her the big kiss. HA!! It was funny to see the look on her face. It really added more texture for us in the scene. I don't anyone else could tell what was happening, but it definitely gave the two of us a new different for the moment. Geez, if we had another night who knows what've happened. I would have come up with something.

When the show was over it seemed like it took 30 minutes for everyone to hug each. Many, many tears were flowing........from the women. You could really feel the love from the fellas too.

The director, Ben Guillory, told me that "we are just getting started" and that "we will work together again". I look forward to it. This is the first time I've been on stage since 1997. I was terrified of getting involved in some bad, boring production of something that didn't really matter. This mattered, this totally mattered. I picked a winner, or better yet a winner picked me.

We had a wonderful wrap party that included a catered Haitian dinner, a DJ and a lot dancing. I had goat for the first time, it was quite tasty too. Some of us even went back onto to the set for one last time. It was like we just didn't want to leave. I am going to miss these people a lot, but I have a feeling that we will stay in touch.

I am not sure how I seemed to get involved with such great people and projects. I am not questioning it, just recognizing it. I am so fortunate and 2004 has been an unbelievable year for me in many ways. Two more months to go and I want more to happen to set me up for '05. I have had more auditions than ever since moving to Los Angeles, I hope it doesn't stop because the show has closed.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Tonight's show rocked!! Yeah, we put it down.........again. I had a little extra fun myself. In one of the scenes I have a "lady friend" that I am quite serious the scene. There is a part where we are admiring the Kings' palace and I motion to her that one day we will also have a palace and children of our own as I rub her belly. Well tonight I decided to do something a little different, I planted a big fat kiss on her lips. YEAH!! It was great to see her eyes light up. Not that me kissing someone make them light up, it was just getting a little stale night after night and I wanted to shake it up. I knew Mimi would be cool with it, she actually thanked me for stirring the pot a bit. Now.....what about tomorrow night? I don't want to do the same thing.......hmmmmm.

We had some high profile guest tonight, Barry 'Shabaka' Henley, CCH Pounder, Delroy Lindo and Angela Bassett. It was great to see them in the house to support us.

Afterwards, we hung out of course. It was our stage manager's, John's birthday. He is a great guy who kept this ship of 40+ plus people on track. THANKS John!!!

Friday, October 29, 2004

Audition: "Home" @ AFI. This audition goes really, really well. He said I would, most likely, hear something in the next couple of days.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

WHAT!!! Today is the beginning of the end. Yup, it's closing weekend for the show. I am SO going to miss this group of people. I hope that we will stay in touch and spend time together. During this process I have taken over 1,000 photos......yeah a 1,000. My screensaver will take me back to this experience on a very regular basis. I hope the rest of the cast gets the same joy as I do.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Rehearsal: "Pastime" @ AFI. This is a project for directing student Cam Mason. The rehearsal lasted about 20 minutes. It was great, we improved the scene and discussed some direction to go in. I really enjoy working with Cam. Hopefully I can get a good piece tape and start some good relationships.

Monday, October 25, 2004

This evening I spoke to a group of New York-based actor's from that are considering making the move to Los Angeles. I give them a taste of what to expect if they relocate to this market and answer a lot of questions. My opinions, of course. It goes well. As usual, it's a group of performers from many different backgrounds. They are all, at least, interested in exploring furthering their careers in Los Angeles. That's a good thought I think.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Audition: "Mainstream or Bust" @ Ricki Maslar Casting. Ricki hired me for a film back in Fall 2000 and called me for a staged reading while I was home over the Summer. The audition with casting, producers/writers/director goes really well. Ricki and her associate, Jay Michael Ferguson, greeted me like family. At my last two theatrical auditions I have been asked what it was it was like to work with Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. Hopefully, I can gather more credits like that in the near future.

Audition: "Honda" @ Ross Lacy Casting. It goes well.

Tonights performance was really, really tight although the crowd was a little reserved. We knew we delivered the goods. After the show we went to our usual spot to hang out and celebrate one of our castmates' birthday.

This is really funny. A gentlemen approached me at the restaurant and said he really enjoy my performance in the march. I kinda looked at him thinking that he had to be joking. He had already mentioned it to the fight choreographer, Yvans Jourdain and Yvans told him to tell me. Needless to say I was completely flattered. I explained to him how difficult a time I had in learning those steps. Talk about coming full circle.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Unfortunately Roderick did not book the commercial he was up for, so he was at today's performance that we did for the area high school students. He suggested that we switch roles anyway. I am his understudy so I know a bit about his role, but I didn't feel as ready as I would have liked. He really wanted to shake things up and do it, so we did. So I'm trying on his costume and going through my script and a million people came to my assistance to make sure I felt great about what was happening. Can I tell you that I love this cast? These people are amazing and I will not soon forget them. Every step of the way someone was there to make sure I was cool with everything. It was a great time!! We had a wonderful show for the kids today. They were extremely present, commenting on everything we said.

Also, I booked a role in the American Film Institute (AFI) short film that I auditioned for. It's different role than I read for; a doctor. It shoots November 1st.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

It's official, the show will not be extended for another week. The theatre that we are in is already booked and we have to be out so that they can move in. I was really looking forward tot hat happening.

I got a call this morning from the stage manager saying that I may need to perform one of the roles that I am understudying for tomorrow's show. The other actor, Roderick, is close to booking a commercial that's shoots tomorrow. I hope he gets it, he's a great, talented guy. Although, I love what I get to do as a soldier in the play, it would be cool do what I am understudying as well.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Audition: "Quintuplets" @ Rick Millikan Casting. Rick hired me for "Sabrina, the Teenaged Witch" back in 2000. I also auditioned for a series regular role in a pilot for him in 2002. I obviously didn't book the regular role, but was offered a co-star. I politely declined the co-star booking. The pilot was not picked up. Hopefully, I can make something happen today.

The audition went okay, I guess. I was the first actor to sign-in and right before Rick was ready to start reading us the associate put out revised sides. To me, I thought it had a lot of potential to be a recurring role, but the sides didn't seem like it. When they put out the revised sides, they seemed more like recurring role sides. Anyway, I was the only African-American actor there. I think Rick threw me in as something different which was really cool of him. BUT I think the writers saw this character as Caucasian. Obviously, I had to get past Rick in order for the writers/producers/director to see the possibility of seeing it another way. Unfortunately that didn't happen.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

After many positive reviews around town. The question was posed to the cast today. "Are you willing/available to extend for additional weekend of performances". YES!!!! I was honored to be the first one to sign my name saying "yes". It seems like most people are willing/available to do it. I sure hope it really happens. I guess we'll know soon either way.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Audition: "Pastime" @ The American Film Institute (AFI). This audition went really well, I felt. I haven't done a student film in a couple of years. It's time get back in that mix, maybe I can get some good tape. The director gave me really good direction. Concise and to the point. The last thing they said was that "we'll be in touch". Hopefully they will.

I often talk about how this year has been a really good one. I have a new project on my mind. It won't sound like a big deal, but for some reason, for me, it is. I think I want to move out of this apartment. I've been saying it for years, but I always re-sign my lease. At the end of this lease it will be 7 years in this same apartment.

It's not a bad place, but it's small and seemingly getting smaller. It's a studio without parking. Of course, I 'd like to be able to buy a place, but that isn't in the cards at the moment. My lease isn't up until the end of July. Hopefully, by then I will have gathered the guts to at least entertain the thought of actually getting out of here. I really like this Miracle Mile area, mostly because it is very centrally located. I don't think I'd live in Santa Monica or Burbank just because it's so far on one side of town. I drive so much doing drops and the like that want to be centrally located. I even picked up an apartment guide to get me in the right space in my head. At the very least I need to get on a month to month lease. I used to think there was a reason why I've been here in this one spot so long, but there isn't any good reason. Maybe it was after moving around so much in New York that I wanted to stay put. I have to change my thought process about the whole thing. I have to think that I can grow more if I have a little more room to grow.

Tonight we put another spirited performance on the books. The show just gets better and better. I am learning so much as an actor from the cast. Things like voice, diction, commitment, movement, etc. It's been an amazing experience to say the least. Afterwards we went to one of the cast members apartment to chill. I got a chance to really talk to a few people that I hadn't previously. It is a very interesting bunch of artists. It's cool for me because it's a little break from the hustle/bustle business side of the industry to the creative/artistic side.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Audition: "T-Mobile" @, guess? Yup, Ross Lacy Casting. Ross must have a lot of confidence in me. I thank him for it because I haven't proven myself in quite a while in his office. The audition goes well though. We'll see.

Tonight's show kicked A**!!! I mean it. We were on fire. Movie star and co-founder of The Robey Theatre Company Danny Glover was in attendance. I don't think most of the cast knew until it was over. It was a really great night. We hung out as a group afterwards. I am really going to miss this when it's over.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Voiceover audition: "KFC" @ Kalmenson & Kalmenson. Since they hadn't had me in for a while they asked if currently had a v/o agent. I said no, but if by some chance I do book this commercial you can bet I'm going to have them call Pat Brady @ Cunningham, Escott & Dipene (CED) to do the deal. It would be my way of paying her back for all of the support she gave me.

This audition went well. Hopefully they will start calling me on a more regular basis. I would love to book some voiceovers. I would also love to throw a surprise booking to Pat @ CED.

While I was there I saw Dionne Lea. I met Dionne Lea while doing the only other play I have done while back in New York. It was great to see her, I hadn't seen since then which was '97.

The matinee show today for the high school kids was okay, I felt. The kids were really into it and paid attention which was a really good thing because it is a lengthy piece.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Audition: "Dr. Vegas" @ Shaner/Testa Casting. I've been dropping off at this office for years it seems.....actually it's true. Finally, I'm going to producers for something. I met associate Alpha Tyler years ago and she always happily takes my headshot when I drop by the office. Now it's time to go and deliver the goods. I'm not trying to book the role just build up some trust.

I'm not sure how this one went. I was reading for the role of "Broker #1". It even said on the sides to read "Broker #1". BUT as the CD was taking me in the room for producers he said "we're having people read "brokers #1 & 2". I stopped in my tracks and wanted more time. Usually combining two characters like that isn't a big deal at all, but the writing need to be altered to have it make sense. There were 4 people in the scene and they referred to each other. My issue was: "do I change their writing?" I kinda got in my head about that, I finally just said "whatever", it needs to make sense. So I changed their words. Of course I was wondering if they were offended by it. Oh well, who knows. I think I was right for the part. Maybe a little young, but close enough.

I finally got my 215 postcards in the mail. Thanks to "Mail Merge". It would have taken me two weeks to get those out. I remember life before "mail merge". I used to type each and every address. Ugh!

I bought the stamps at Costco. I am a HUGE Costco fan as you can probably tell. I absolutely LOVE going there to shop. I look forward to getting married and having 20 kids so I can take the Honda/Acura minivan to Costco and buy all that we need for the family. I even looked at wedding rings!! 20 kids? Hmmmm......I better be pulling in some serious dough to afford that. That means lots of drop-offs and lots of postcarding. Some people like Macy's & Bloomingdale's. For me it's Costco & the 99 cents store. Well, maybe not 20 kids.

I'm not sure what it is about Costco, it just seems like a really good company. I like that the CEO says that he believes his employees should have health insurance and be able to afford a home. I don't look at it in a socialist sorta way, but just treating people fairly and they will work hard for you. Makes sense to me.

This afternoon I got a call from voiceover giants Kalmenson & Kalmenson. I used to audition there quite often when I was repped by KSA for voiceover, but when top agent Pat Brady left for Cunningham, Escott & Dipene (CED) Kazarian-Spencer (KSA) closed the entire department. I haven't had a voiceover audition in over 2 years, but I have one tomorrow. YAY!! Pat used to get me in for great stuff on a regular basis, but I never made her any money really. I did book one of the first ones she sent me on, but that was back in '99. She got me a couple of auditions after she went to CED, but I haven't spoken to her in a while. I really appreciated her support because, although I did take a v/o class at K&K, I never had a CD to promote myself professionally.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Audition: "Sprint" @ Gabrielle Schary Casting. This audition goes really well.

Monday, October 11, 2004

As I was leaving the theatre yesterday the writer, Levy Lee Simon, asked me if I was coming to the reading. I didn't know what he was talking about, but he told me what it was. I had two other things planned, but I figured I would cancel. He said it was going to be readings of two one acts that he had written.

I am so glad that I went. They were so, so entertaining. It was a full house at The Greenway Court Theatre. Levy's writing had us laughing the entire time. It was like a who's who of the LA Black theatre ranks. I was honored to be there. About half of the cast of our show came out to support Levy's work. It felt great to be in the company of such talent. I can't believe that a short two months ago I didn't know any of these actor's. I even saw several people who I knew in New York that I hadn't seen in years.

2004 has been a great year for me. I haven't booked a lot of jobs or made a lot of money, but I have done gotten some important things done. I guess like the heavy lifting. Things that I may have been in denial about, but needed to get done nevertheless.....personally, privately, professionally, etc.

One thing was doing theatre in LA. This is such an amazing experience. I can't really understand why so many fantastic things have happened for me on my journey. I'm not questioning it. I just feel so fortunate in my life and I need to say it out loud. I am exhausted most of the time these days.....and why?....from rehearsing, audition and even working. The things I moved here for. Tonight was another great evening.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

I'm so exhausted!!! What the heck am I thinking???

THURSDAY:a matinee performance, an audition and a workshop

FRIDAY:4 auditions, a callback, an understudy rehearsal, a performance and going out with cast after the show

SATURDAY:2 workshops, a performance and a get-together at one of the cast members apartment

I'm beat. I'm also not complaining, just commenting. I'm thankful that I'm tired from doing what I moved here to do.Tonight's show kicked a**!!! Yes! We were on fire!

Friday, October 08, 2004

It looks this is going to be a really busy day. No complaints, that's why I moved here.

Audition: "Center of the Universe" @ Valko/Miller Casting. I went to producers for this show about two weeks ago. It went well that time, but I didn't book. Again, it's a character that's looks like it could recur. CD associate Peter Pappas takes me in the room and partner Nikki Valko is there. The last time I read for the other partner Ken Miller. The read goes really well and they ask if I can wait outside. They finish with the rest of the other actors and bring me back in with news of a callback in two hours. YES!!! AND it doesn't conflict, time wise, with 3 other appointment I have today.

The callback goes really well too. I would love to book this, but at minimum, Nikki Valko, Ken Miller & Peter Pappas know that I can come in the room and deliver the goods. THAT is a good feeling.

Audition: "The Suite Life" @ London/Stroud Casting. I booked "Arli$$" through this office several years ago. When my agent called she hadn't seen the sides and wasn't sure if I wanted to go in on it. I checked the material and it looked like a character that could return to the show so I said "yeah". She seemed a little surprised. Maybe because I turned down an audition last week for a one line role.

This one went really well UNTIL I went in the room. I don't know, I felt really prepared, but then I got in the room and kinda froze. I don't think I made a fool of myself. I just know that I could have done a lot better. There was producer and director in the room as well. The casting director was cool, but I didn't feel free for some reason. Who knows, sometimes we are better than we think we are. This kinda hurts because I think I was really right for it.

Audition: "Monk" @ CFB Casting. This is like the fourth time I've auditioned for this show, one of these days I am going to book. I promise!!! CD associate Cheryl Kloner called me directly for this. I felt a little young for this role as a doctor, but I went for it anyway. I flipped the last line around backwards/forward, but I felt that character was there. I don't think this will be the time I will score the show, but who knows.

Audition: "Citizen's Bank" @ Ross Lacy Casting. Sometimes I think Ross calls me in so often to see how many times I can audition for his office and NOT book. It's the 3rd time this week I've been to his office. This audition goes really well, but I think I am too young.

After these 4 auditions and a callback I make to my understudy rehearsal an hour late. Yeah, understudy rehearsal. It didn't really help me out too much, but I was there to try learn the blocking/lines of the characters I'm covering. It's difficult because I am in the same scenes as most of them. It was good for me though.

We've had two really good reviews for the show so far that we are excited about. Tonight's performance had a weird little vibe to it. I think the casts', me included, concentration was a little off. This weekend we are sharing dressing rooms with several opera performers and they were doing their vocal warm-ups which kinda changed our prep. Also, the house speakers so that we can hear the show in the dressing rooms were not working for some reason. I felt we were a little disconnected. All in all it was good, but not great. After the show I met an actress from NY who I have communicated with online, but never in person. She just moved to LA and came to see the show. Thanks Pepper!!!

Afterwards, most of the cast went to a restaurant for drinks. It's great getting to hang with everyone, I don't usually go out on the the town that often so it's a great change of pace. This outing with the cast was nothing like last weeks at The Standard and that was probably a good thing.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Today we had our first matinee performance for LAUSD high school students. There was one problem: only 11 out of 80 students showed up. Something about them having a substitute teacher today and when that happens the kids skip school. We got the word right before we went on and the show went as schedule. It was a spirited performance for the kids especially. Let me tell you, those 11 kids paid attention to the story let us know that they were really in to it.

This had my heart beating a bit. 10 minutes to places and one of the guys I am understudying wasn't there. Oh sh*t!! Am I gonna have to go right now. At first I was a nervous, but then I stepped up and started getting my head right just in case it was really going to go down. I think I could have gotten through it and brought something to plate. I was ready!! At the last minute my man Roderick showed up. He had an audition and was running late. Whew!!!

Audition: "Border's Books" @ Ross Lacy Casting. This one goes well enough, so we'll see. I mentioned this audition info to my buddy John. He called his agent and got an appointment too. I offered to watch his 4-month old daughter Hazel (I am her Godfather) while he auditioned. Let me tell you it's amazing the way people respond to children, especially women!! I should take her everywhere with me. It might be for selfish reasons though.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The other day I saw something that kinda disturbed me a bit. It was this: "'Fear Factor' Fives Nights a Week". Yeah, I didn't expect to see reality in repeats or syndication. I guess I should have known better. I am guilty of watching a little of it myself. I love "The Apprentice" and I enjoy "Top Model", but that's about it. Beyond that it's "Nip/Tuck", "ER", "Cold Case", "Without A Trace", "NASCAR", anything of "The Discovery Channel" and of course my motocross racing on ESPN2. Even just the two reality shows I watch prevent hundreds of actors from working in a given season, not to mention writers and directors.

This morning I read some encouraging news though. There are several scripted shows that are doing quite well. "Lost", "Desperate Housewives", "Joey" and "CSI: NY" seem to be doing quite well. It's still early and some of the hype may be from networks themselves. I hope they stay strong in the ratings. That will hopefully lead to more scripted programming for actors in the near future.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Audition: "IAMS" @ Ross Lacy Casting. Will I ever book for you again Ross? I sure hope so. You call me in more than anyone else and I can't seen to close the deal again. The audition today went pretty well, I think.

I was a bad boy in the waiting area. I saw a guy I hadn't seen in a long time and I was running my mouth and didn't fully read the storyboard. When I got in the room I wasn't sure what was going on. Actually, I think it worked in my favor because I totally committed to whatever it was I did. I was probably either really right or really wrong?

I have to say that I miss doing the show, although it's nice to have a break from going to the filthy downtown LA area. I am trying to get back on track with my drop-offs and the like. Running around during the day and rehearsing at night has definitely taken its toll on me. I'm exhausted. I need to get some rest and start fresh. I feel myself not getting things done, I have to find my center again. I really want to round out 2004 in a very strong way. I have to keep moving forward.

I find myself missing my mother often these days. It's hard not to think about what I was going through exactly two years ago. I was home in Virginia getting ready to go to Japan and my mom was slipping away. I was coming to the realization that she was, most likely, not going to survive. She was so happy that I was going that I thought for a moment that she was going to get better. They say its gets easier with time and it has, but when it hits me it hits like a ton of bricks. I feel like such a baby at times.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Of the 3 shows we've done today was the most spirited. They were really, really listening and following the story. Several were of Haitian descent and were really moved by the story. Afterwards we had a Q&A with the audience. I have heard rumblings of a condensed version of the trilogy in the future.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Tonights performance went even better than last night. The show is just getting better. It's cool to watch different things happen from night to night. It's truly a live performance, you never really know what is going to happen. After the show me and several cast members along with the writer, Levey Lee Simon, went to The Downtown Standard for drinks. Well, they had drinks. I had "two eggs, any style(scrambled) and an english muffin". I have to say it was one of the most interesting evenings that I've ever had..........ever. Did I say ever? Yeah, ever.

Friday, October 01, 2004

WE DID IT!!!!!! Yup, "For The Love Of Freedom" Part III: Christophe (The Spirit) Passion and Glory" is officially open. After 7 weeks of rehearsal we are out for the world to see and it felt good. Actually, it felt great!!!! There are still some things to tweak, but we were on fire. It was like everyone had 15-20% in reserve to unleash when the butts were in the seats. It truly felt like an ensemble, we were all there for each other and more importantly the Haitian people.

I am so honored to be a part of this production. These artists, in front of and behind the scenes, are amazing to say the least. I have had so many incredible things happen for me in my years in the business and this is without question another one.

After the performance we had a reception that sealed the love and commitment to the piece. There was so much support in that room that we could tell that people were moved. It will only get better from here on out.