Tuesday, November 30, 2004

A friend called at the last minute and asked if I would go with her to give blood at the Red Cross. As much as I hate needles I had no choice but to go. For the last couple of years I've made it a point to give blood 2-3 times a year. It's not always a pleasant experience, but a very necessary one.

One of the nurses said that only 3% of the population gives blood. I don't know if that's accurate, but it seems that the country's blood levels are always low. Drinks lots of water and give blood when you can.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Okay, I think the itch needs to scratched. It's time for me to stop thinking about it and start writing. I wrote my first scene tonight and sent it to my brother. He liked it; but he's my brother.

I have 3 different partial screenplays in my head. Really, just a collection of a few scenes. One, maybe two, with a partner and one by myself. I'm going to try to really do this and when I return from my vacation get a copy of Final Draft 7.0 and make some things happen.

The "partner thing" concerns me a little because I really can't expect anyone else to work in a similar fashion as myself. This could be a problem for me when working with others. In all of my years of pursuing this business I have yet to really team up with anyone. Most of it has to do with me though. I can't expect anyone else to "get up earlier than the competition and stay up later......consistantly". I know I can be a bear to work with at times.

Screening: "Friday Night Lights" with a Q&A with director Peter Berg moderated by director Michael Mann. What a great look inside of high school football in Texas. Peter really seemed like a regular guy with an East coast feel. He actually lived in Texas for over a year while researching the film

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Screening: "Closer" with a Q&A with Jude Law and Natalie Portman. Very, very simplistic work from Natalie especially. She just said the lines and trusted the dialogue; it was a joy to watch. Jude really seemed like a cool, humble guy. I guess he is what they mean by "star power"; he sure has it.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Happy Birthday Mom!! Today is a busy day; I have a workshop, then I go see "Hotel Rwanda" starring Don Cheadle and directed by Terry George and to finish it off I see "The Ten Commandments" at The Kodak Theatre. Terry was the director I worked with on "The District" several years ago. I met him at a party with Jim Sheridan. The scene that I'd booked in "Ocean's Twelve" was supposed to be with Don Cheadle. AHH! Too bad it was cut from the script.

I hadn't been to Hollywood & Highland since it first opened a couple of years ago; It's really nice up there. The Kodak is a beautiful theatre and I enjoyed the show. Val Kilmer wasn't performing tonight, but I may see it again next weekend.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Callback/Avail!!! YEAH!!! I can't believe I finally got a callback for Ross Lacy Casting. It's been a whole year. It's a national spot for "Degree" that shoots next month. Ironically, the character I'm going back in for is a rapper. Yeah, can you believe that? Actually, I booked a spot as a "hardcore rapper" a couple of years ago. Of course, I'd love to book this spot, but I really want to see Ross in the flesh and show him I'm worthy of all the appointments he gives me. 17 times this year alone. The callback goes really well, I think. They gave me direction and I took it. This would be really nice to book. Audition: "Blockbuster" @ (guess) Ross Lacy Casting. Another one that goes really well. I am way over due for "a commercial run". It would be nice to start with something like this.

I am always on the look out for any info that will help me in understanding the process of casting. I always look for the list of actors that have appointments to see if there are any interesting notes. As I was going in the room for the audition I saw my name on the list in bold lettering and had an asterisk on one side and "hero guy" on the other. I looked at the bottom of the list to see what the asterisk meant and it said "Talent was an add-in by the CD and not submitted by any agent"..........hmmmmm. Interesting. I wonder what the specs were that made it that I wasn't submitted. Did the specs change after the original notice was released? Who knows.

I'm really excited that one of the busiest commercial casting directors in Los Angeles thought of me without my being submitted for the "hero guy" in a "Blockbuster" national commercial.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Audition: “House” @ Amy Lippens Casting. This is for a small role that seems like it could recur. It’s going to be on tape for producers. I watched the pilot last night and really liked the show. The read goes well, so we’ll see what happens. I would really like to do more 1 hour dramas like this.

Audition: “Progressive Insurance” @ Jane Doe Casting. This is the first time I’ve heard of this casting company.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

This morning I am shooting another AFI student project. I was a little concerned about this one because the schedule kept changing and it seemed to lack a little organization. I try to be understanding because I know that the students are under enormous pressure to deliver. I try to be on time, prepared and giving. The shoot was a lot of fun. I played a businessman who was being harassed by a homeless looking woman. In reality, in the film, she had escaped from a hospital and was trying call her daughter. She wanted to use my cell phone. I couldn’t help her with that, but I dropped some coins on the ground for her to use a payphone. We were shooting downtown and many people thought she was really bothering me which was cool except that a few people looked in the camera.

Audition: “Center of the Universe” @ Valko/Miller Casting. This is my 3rd time auditioning for this show this season. After the initial read CD Nikki Valko asked if I had done an episode yet. I said “no” but I’m dying to do one. I got a callback on the spot, my third.

The producer session goes well. I think they will book today because it starts working tomorrow. I will get on this show somehow. CBS just ordered a few more episodes from them so I guess things look pretty good for them.

Like a ton of bricks this evening I go into a serious depression this evening. It’s never a good sign when I go to bed at 8 or 9pm. I miss my mother more than words could ever describe. I don’t know if it gets any easier, but it really sucks to miss someone so much. Then again it really makes you “feel”.

I read a poem that my niece wrote around the time of my mom’s funeral and it always completely tears me to pieces.
Here begins the prologue to A Story to Remember

The twenty-third day of the month of November
Became a day that many will remember.

Heaven was now my grandmother's destination,
Her life now called for celebration.

First Lynnhaven Baptist Church could seat no more,
Over three hundred, and more at the door.

Family and friends came from far and wide,
Car, bus and plane just to be by her side.

Czech Republic, L. A. could all be seen,
Birmingham, Philly, and points in between.

Virginia Beach was there for the family's sake
And said goodbye to the queen of Philly Cheese Steak.

So here are Cecil, and actor
Avis, Jeanetta, and the grandmother

There the mother, grandmother, and wife lay
She wore a white sheath adorned with applique'.

With pearls in her ears and around her neck,
She was not a corpse that looked like a wreck.

Over forty years ago she married a Navy man
They moved state to state according to the Navy's plan.

California and Tennessee to name a few
Massachusetts and Pennsylvania too.

Then children were added and oh how they came,
A total of six in all and no two the same.

At their house there was always fun things to do,
With two girls and four boys rounding out the crew.

The pool outside and the pool table in the house
Made it so you could never hear a mouse.

She never complained when the boys were outside
Building bike ramps without any guide.

All neighborhood kids flocked to this playground
Here the imagination had no bounds.

Many other kids wished she was their mother
A better person than her was no other

The actor was simply fulfilling a dream
Just the talk of that business caused him to beam

He had started out small and worked his way up
No more waiting tables or passing out cups

He started with classes to get in the game
From that point on he was headed to fame

He claimed dreadlocks as his unique look
His body seems like it comes from a book.

Began in the Big Apple, but needed opportunity
So he drove out to L. A, the actor's place to be.

As he moves up in this business, I wish him the best
That's all I can say, he must do the rest

E, the grandson, only four years old,
To him the situation cannot be explained or told.

He did not understand why Grandma Fuller laid there
Her eyes closed and her expression bare.

He is very intelligent and listens well
A long story he does not hesitate to tell.

He rides a bike like he has done it for years
His aggressiveness will make you laugh to tears.

Cecil came to the states from St. Thomas
He worked in our store, became family to us

Grandma Fuller was a mother to him
To help the family he went out on a limb.

He visited for hours while she was sick
Silent, said nothing, what made him tick?

His features were distinct of an islander
He had smooth brown skin and small in stature

Avis was the youngest daughter born to her mum
All her life she had been touched with Down's Syndrome.

She knows good and well how to love and have fun
And she types during the day with the light of the sun.

Her hair was slicked back for the funeral
The new suit she wore turned the eyes of all.

The suit was black with contrasting white stitch
Her Mongolian features were obvious and rich.

Jeanetta came although her work was done.
She witnessed the number of breaths being none.

She worked for the hospice company
And proved to be one of their best employees.

She noticed from the beginning how much we cared
Her service will not simply dissolve in the air.

A beautiful lady and sophisticated too,
My grandmother wasn't just another client turned blue.

So here they all gathered at the funeral
The relation to the deceased was different for all

Next they would all observe the service of celebration
This was the reason for the peregrination.

After the funeral was over there was a caravan
To the mausoleum, and there drove every man.

Following this ceremony all released balloons
Slowly they floated; up, up to the moon.

All mourners scattered when the eye could see no more,
They went on with their lives; although hearts still sore.
My Niece
Candace Renee Young
November ‘02

Monday, November 15, 2004

This morning I spoke to three classes at Reseda High School. It was quite interesting for me to say the least. I was a nervous wreck when I first got there, but quickly loosened up. The first class was still waking up it seemed and wasn’t very interactive, but the second and third classes had a lot more to say. They had a lot of questions for me about my profession and I had more questions for them about being sons, daughters, students, friends, etc. It was cool. It seems that they feel that nobody really cares what they have to say. They just need positive attention from us adults; someone to “really” listen to them. I they are incredible. I hope to do more of this in the future, but I will want to have more of structure as to why I am there. In due time.

Audition “Chevy” @ ASG Casting. I did my first commercial in LA through this office back in ’99. It went well.

Today was the 2nd anniversary of my mother’s passing and I seem to have made it through okay. I checked on my siblings and they checked on me. Ironically, I don’t think my dad checked on anyone. He definitely didn’t call me, I haven’t spoken to him in almost 18 months. I don’t understand that guy. Maybe I’m not supposed to understand it.

Friday, November 12, 2004

This morning I attended a screening of the AFI film "Pastime" that I did last week. I was little concerned about my performance, but it came out well. I don't really like seeing myself on camera, but it is necessary. I learned at least a thing or two about my work that I need to work on. I wasn't crazy about the angle that the scene was shot at, but it may have been a certain thing that the filmmaker had to do as a student of film.

Audition: "Degree" @ (guess who?) yup, Ross Lacy Casting. It goes well. This was the 17th audition I have had for Ross THIS YEAR without ONE callback!!!! What?!?! Thankfully he is still giving me chances. Ironically, the last callback I had for his office was exactly one year ago today for "Dominos".

Thursday, November 11, 2004

This morning the director of the other AFI film I'm doing this weekend called to say that one of the other actors is sick and won't be able to shoot his scene. So he asked if I could play that role as well. Of course I'll do it!! So now I am the businessman and the cab driver. Cool! That other actor must be pretty sick to know that he can't work 4 days into the future. I hope he gets well soon.

This afternoon, Alicia, one of my wonderful commercial agents called with some interesting and good news. To be honest, I was hoping she'd say I'd booked the "IBM" spot from last week.

Actually it was about a job I did more than two years ago for "21st Century Insurance". I'm still a little confused about what happened. Evidently, the job, which consisted of testimonials of actual policy holders was supposed to be nonunion. Somehow, me and a few other union actors booked the job. Anyway, there was a settlement (I really don't know who settled what) and I will be receiving an extra $500 holding fee. Well I'll take that!!! My spot never even ran, they held it for over a year and paid holding fees every 13 weeks. I really wanted to see that spot because I got to rant about this other insurance company, that I won't name, that forged my name on some documents. Yeah.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

I saw a screening of "Ray" tonight. Incredible performances are everywhere. The director, Taylor Hackford; stars Jamie Foxx, Regina King and newcomer Sharon Warren were there afterwards and did a Q&A for the audience. It's always great to hear their stories directly from them. Something that really stood out that they discussed is the power of fear. Fear can be absolutely paralyzing.......if you let it. In most cases it's not all that important that you may be scared, the important thing is "what are you going to do about it?" Case in point, Sharon Warren, who is stunning as "Ray's" mother in the film crashed the audition and didn't even know what was being cast. That isn't to say everyone should crash auditions, but don't be driven by fear. She wasn't even in the union and has virtually no credits, but she booked this amazing role.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Today one of my dreams came true. YES!!! I got a call this morning from one of the cast members who is a teacher. She asked if I would participate in the "Speaker's Program" for the students at the school where she teaches. I was a little reluctant at first. Not because I didn't want to do it, because I wasn't sure what I had to offer. I thought about it for a moment and said "Yes!!"

Annika gave me the choice of this coming Monday the 15th or next Monday the 22nd. I had one big problem. I wanted to do it this Monday BUT this Monday is the 2nd anniversary of my mother's death. I didn't know what state of mind I would be in. I wanted to be fully available to the students. Last year I was fine for most of the day and then became a complete wreck in the evening. It was not a good day. I thought about my dilemma. How could I make it work? Hmmmm........I got it. I'll do it on the 15th in honor of my mother. YES!!! This is something she would do!!

I'm a little nervous, but really excited. I have always wanted to talk to kids, they are the future after all. I can't wait. This is truly a dream come true.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Today I was interviewed for a book about actors due out next Spring. It was pretty cool. It really made me think about my journey. I almost started tearing up when revisiting some of my past. We talked for about 90 minutes, but in reality it would take hours to REALLY hear it all. I wouldn't put anyone through that....would I?....did I?......have I?...am I?

Tonight I attended the Los Angeles premiere of "Kinsey" in Westwood. All that red carpet stuff is quite a trip. Being a "nobody" is pretty cool. The film was quite entertaining, it'll do well.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Tonight I attended a birthday party of one of the cast members in the play. Several of the cast members where in a attendance and it was great to see them again. I know it has only been a week, but we really miss each others company.

It's funny because during the production they saw a side of me that usually only my family at home sees. In general, I'm pretty low-key, very quiet and a master at observation, but around them I'm border line out of control. It's a side of me that is seen maybe 10-15% of the time, but they saw it 95% of the time. So they really only believe that I am the "complete life of the party". IT AIN"T TRUE!!!! It's cool though, I'll wear the title proudly.

This really tripped me out. Yesterday I met someone who highly recommended that I see the film "The Power of One" starring Morgan Freeman and Steven Dorff. I said I would. When I walked into Hollywood Video I heard dialogue that I'd heard before. At that moment I didn't know where I'd heard it, but then found the cluster of TV monitors. I looked directly at the screen and saw myself!!! Yeah! It was the episode of "Friends" I did several years ago. Of course I didn't hear my dialogue because it was "left on the cutting room floor". Still, quite trippy, being surprise by myself on the screen. Then when I was paying for the rental I glanced to my left and saw the sign for "The Terminal" DVD release coming soon. I thought to myself that I must be in the right business.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Audition: "IBM" @ TLC/Loree Booth Casting. Here is another chance to really "get in the family" @ Pytka. I assume Joe Pytka is directing this commercial. I booked for him several years ago and have gotten close a couple of other times. He uses actors over and over again which is great if you are one of those actors. I am trying to be one of those actors. The audition goes really well and I think I am totally right for it. I thinks it's time for Joe Pytka and I to work together again. What do you say Joe?

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Audition: "Hertz" @ Francene Selkirk Casting. The audition goes well, but I don't feel a callback. I hope I'm wrong.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Cool!! I booked a role in that other AFI film I auditioned for, it's titled "Home". It shoots in the next couple of weeks.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Shooting: "Pastime" @ AFI. This shoot went okay, I guess. I felt that the audition and the rehearsal went better though. Hopefully it will come out good. I really wanted one more take, but they had to move on. Oh well.