Sunday, December 26, 2004

I woke up this morning with motocross on my mind.....until I saw that we received several inches of snow overnight. Growing up in Virginia Beach taught me to take forecasts of snow with a grain of salt. Well surprise, surprise, no MX riding today.

My brothers and I talk "mad sh*t" on a daily basis about who has the motocross title in the family. The thing is that I only get to ride when I'm home while they ride quite often. I don't think they realize that the fact that they consider me a threat even though I don't get to ride much is a huge compliment.

They underestimate how much I study the sport. Living in Los Angeles means I get to see the best riders in the world race several times a year. I also read the magazines, study it on they internet and watch it on television. My approach is very similar to that of my acting career. For better or worse, LOL!!

Saturday, December 25, 2004

It's $&*#ing COLD in Virginia Beach!!! I don't know how I'm going to survive 2 weeks of this weather; nevertheless it's great to be home. Lately, every time I go home I think about the possibility of moving back. I've only felt that way in the last two years or so. I have some unfinished dealings with the family business that I left ten years ago........at least in my mind. My father is completely impossible for me to work with, but I'd love to work with my brothers. Don't get me wrong I really enjoy what I do in Los Angeles, but I have many other interests as well.

Usually, I'm really anxious to go motocross riding with my brothers. For some reason, this time, I was low-key about it. When my brother, Jeff, asked if I was ready to go tomorrow I was kinda slow to react. There was no way I was going to cancel, but I wasn't pushing the issue. It's like twenty degrees outside and I live in LA!!

Friday, December 24, 2004

I'm finally leaving for the holidays. Usually, I leave earlier, but last year I booked a commercial at the last minute and had to buy a new ticket because change fee for the ticket I already had was so high. I don't think I have ever needed a break like I do this year.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Yesterday my doctor called to tell me that my liver is perfect, that makes sense I've never had beer, wine or any kind of alcohol. She also told me that I am mildly anemic. Ooops. I'm sure this is not a big deal, but I've never been sick or on medication in my life and I am sorta freaked by the thought of it. I'll get another blood test today and go from there.
Another doctor appointment, this time they take more blood for testing and request another type of sample........uh yeah. I wish I understood more about what they are doing and why they are doing it. Maybe then, I wouldn't be so concerned. Well, I'm only concerned sometimes, but when I'm concerned I'm really concerned.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Audition: "Project View" @ Cathi Carlton Casting.Audition: "Sharp Copiers" @ Francene Selkirk CastingWow, I thought I was finished for the year. I wasn't expecting to have anymore auditions. I'm not complaining, I'll look at it '05 starting off with a bang. '05 here I come!!! BUT I really wanna go home too.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Tonight I attended a SAG "Roll Film" Event featuring Lauren Graham star of the WB hit "Gilmore Girls". It's incredibly inspiring to hear the stories of people who are successful at such high level in this business. In anything really. Anyway, she seems like a wonderful, funny woman who is much taller than I thought.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Today a friend of mine read some of what I've written so far. Of course he said it was brilliant. What else was he going to say? No, seriously this guy is a pretty straight shooter. He's not gonna blow smoke for me. He said the dialogue was good, it made sense, it was going somewhere and it kept him interested. About a year ago I was listening to new music from a friend, Jamie Green. She is definitely one of my favorite artist, local or not. She is an amazing singer/songwriter. Anyway, I was listening to this particular song and started to see the video in my head, then I started seeing myself directing the video, then I started seeing it as the ending of a film, then I wrote the scene in my head. That is where is the inspiration of this script came from. It's amazing how clear I see the ending in my head.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Thursday, December 16, 2004

I downloaded a demo copy of Final Draft and I actually started writing. I can't believe it. I wrote some stuff a while back, but this is different. It felt really good. I hope I keep it up.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Okay, today was a day of days for me. I was scheduled for "some" of the surgery on my gums. I was reluctant to go through with it because, simply, I can't afford it right now and all of this dental stuff is super expensive.
Fortunately, I have medical insurance, but there's always "your portion" that you have to pay. When I was there last week, I repeatedly explained to the periodontal specialist that I couldn't afford to do it right now. SHE repeatedly explained to me that I could. It was like this weird tug-of-war. Being a dental specialist in Beverly Hills probably made it difficult for her to understand "I'M BROKE!!!" LOL!!!

Anyway, she did a whole lot of talking about how she could make it work with my insurance so I wouldn't have to pay anything out of pocket. I was still reluctant. Ideally, when I get this work done I want to pay cash or mostly cash, but I was willing to listen.

By the time she'd finished talking she had set me up with an appointment AND given me a prescription for pain killers. I walked out of there pissed! I felt like I had been railroaded or something. Nevertheless, I figured, she knew more than me about dealing with insurance companies. Oh yeah, she scheduled the appointment on the same day that I already had a physical scheduled.

All right, so I walk in this morning and I am completely terrified. I don't know, the notion of surgery in my mouth sounds like insanity. She asked if there was anything she could do to make me more comfortable. I told her that my biggest fear was that I would get a bill for this procedure in four months. She assured me that it wouldn't cost me anything. I put on my headphones, she numbed my mouth and I closed my eyes for the next hour.
I survived.

I walked back to my car damn near in tears, in pain, on medication with stitches in my mouth. I took the back roads home, parked in front of my apartment and fell asleep in my car. I got tell you these days I feel like a woman going through her time of the month. Not that I know what that feels like but.........I just need to go home and do some very non-LA things for a couple of weeks.

Continuous: An hour later:

I'm at the Bob Hope Health Center for my Comprehensive Physical Examination (CPE). I have been trying to avoid this for two years. Excuse after excuse after excuse. It's been on my schedule to set up an appointment for over a year, but everytime it comes up I reset it for two weeks later. My mother lost her life to cancer, her mother lost a breast and another member of my family was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer. I needed to get looked at just to be sure. I've been totally in denial about it, but 2004 has been dedicated to getting some things straightened out in my personal life. I have to say that I am very, very happy with the progression in that area. I feel I'm laying fertile soil to bloom in '05.

There has to be a script somewhere buried in my life. Or maybe I'm just naive. I don't know. Anyway, here I am in the examination room. I am given a smock to put on. So I'm thinking "am I supposed to be completely naked under here? Or should I keep my boxers on? I don't even know this woman." Oh yeah, I had requested a woman doctor to do the exam because, I figured, if I was going to do this I should really challenge myself. Yeah, some random woman who I've never met seeing me completely naked, that's a challenge for me. I am really a shy guy. Well, I mean, she is a doctor, but still. One night stands are different. I'M KIDDING......sorta....no seriously..........no sorta...........

Moving right along, the doctor comes in and asked me all kinds of questions about my medical history. Some I was able to answer, others I didn't really know.
Like "how's your father's health?"
Ooops, I don't really know, I haven't spoken to him in a year and half.

Or "when was the last time you had a tetanus shot?"
Ahhh, I don't know if I've ever had one.
Okay......well, you'll get one today.
Do I have to? I mean, why do I need one? Will it make me sick? Why, why why.....

I was sweating bullets. So she's doing all the routine stuff, cleaning my ears, checking my eyes. Everything looks great. My heart is fantastic. She keeps telling me how great a shape I'm in. Cool. Then she lays me down, mind you, I'm completely naked under this smock and tripping out. Oh sh*t, what's next? So she pulls the smock back and.........(fill in the blank)...........has me cough. LOL!!!! What!!!! She says "OK great". Before I recover from that, she has me bend my knees and turn over on my left side. Let's not forget I'm shy and naked under this smock.
This is where it got really, really crazy. As I was turning on my side, I saw her slip on a pair of surgical gloves. I heard that familiar "pop" when you snap them on. I didn't think much of it at that moment. When I turned over on my side I was face to face with a stainless steel table that had random medical stuff on it. The doctor came around to the table, picked up a tube of "gel" opened it and put some on one finger. MY WORLD STOPPED COLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh--no--she--isn't!! Oh--yes--she--is!!..............................And, my prostate is fine. ^$%*!!

Friday, December 10, 2004

R RESTRICTED
Under 17 Requires an accompanying Parent or Adult GuardianThis paragraph contains some material that many parents would find unsuitable for children under 17 years of age. Parents are strongly urged to exercise great care in monitoring this paragraph and are cautioned against letting children under the age of 17 read unattended. This paragraph contains one or more of the following: intense violence (V), intense sexual situations (S), strong coarse language (L), or intensely suggestive dialogue (D).

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DECEMBER 10th '04*This is hilarious.......or scary. Remember that "lovely young actress" that slapped the sh*t out of me a couple of days ago. Well, after getting comments about the situation from a couple of people I decided that I really needed to speak with her about it. She needs to know that she can't do that to anyone else. Therefore, I called her and it went a bit like this.

INT. Honda Accord Coupe.

Stephon sits in his car on a tree-lined street. He dials his cell phone.

Lovely young actress who will remain nameless (LYAWWRN)

LYAWWRN
Hello.

STEPHON
Hey LYAWWRN. It's Stephon, how are you?

LYAWWRN
I'm okay.

STEPHON
Good. I wanted to talk to you about the scene we did on Saturday.

LYAWWRN
What about it Steven?

STEPHON
Ahh.....when you slapped me.

LYAWWRN
Steven don't make a big deal about that-

STEPHON
It's Stephon. My name is Stephon.

LYAWWRN
Steven! As an actor you have to know that anything can happen in a scene!

STEPHON
No! I don't expect that someone is going to slap me the way you did.

LYAWWRN
I can't believe this--don't call me again!-(hangs up phone again).

STEPHON
Oh sh*t, she just hung up on me.

CONTINUOUS-2 minutes later.

SFX: Cell phone rings.

STEPHON
Hello.

LYAWWRN
Steven you're a pu**y and you'll never make it in this business.

STEPHON
You've got to be kidding.

LYAWWRN
You can't going around--

STEPHON
Did you just call me a pu**y?

LYAWWRN
Yes. You're a pu**y. (she hangs up again)

Stephon sits. This time completely, completely stunned.

STEPHON
She just called me a pu**y. WHAT? (Laughs) This chick is completely out of her fu*#ing mind.

I swear to you that's how the "conversation" went. She called me a pu**y. I can't believe that. It's makes no sense at all. Because she slapped me and I didn't like it I won't make it in this business? Well "that" makes a lot of sense. What a stupid thing to say. I guess now that she has said that I won't make it I should give up. Yeah.....crazy lady.

To be honest, this particular actress has intrigued me for some time. Intrigued in sense of she's really interesting to watch. I don't mean so much as an actress; although she is a fine actress, but more as a person. She's just like........I don't know. You never know what she's going to do next or who she going to offend. I would love to be a fly on the wall in "her world" for a week to see where she gets her sense of entitlement at the expense of others. I figured, either it's not the first time she has slapped someone like that or maybe she has been slapped herself like that.

I went to a dental specialist today for a second consultation. It was not pleasant. Not painful, just that I need a bit of work done.I was released from being on avail for the "Degree" commercial from a couple of weeks. No problem, I had released my self in my mind a long time ago. I was surprised to even get the call.

Screening: "Sideways". I enjoyed this film a lot more than I thought I would. It was really cool.

For some reason today was not a good day. In fact, it was the worst day I've had in a long, long time. I knew it when I woke up this morning. That doesn't happen to me that often. Ironically, it's has nothing to do with the dentist appointment or being released from the commercial.........or being called a pu**y for that matter. I think I'm just really, really tired and ready to go home for the holidays. It's been a great year, in a lot of ways, but I am ready for it to be over. I'll keep working until I leave though, I can sleep on the plane.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Callback!!! YEAH!!! I got a callback for that "DirecTV" spot I went in for last week. At the audition I was portraying someone on an exercise bike. I did a "California Lottery" commercial where I was on an exercise bike a several years ago and it was quite embarrassing. My cardio was not up to par; I was so winded it wasn't funny. I think I am in much better shape these days, hopefully I'll get a chance to prove it on-set.The callback went great.....I think. I couldn't understand a thing the director said. He had a really strong accent, I think it was french. At any rate I felt really great about it.A couple of weeks ago someone inquired about a manager I had for a short time years ago in New York. The actor was meeting with her and wanted to know what my experience was with her. I was honest and, in short, felt that she didn't help me too much, but I saw her help others. I felt she was signing me in order to get to my friend whom she "really" wanted to rep. She thought that I was the "brains of the duo" and if I signed he would sign. She was wrong about that; he didn't need me to make his decisions. Anyway, when this actor met with her she asked him to have me call her to catch up. So I called her and left a message and she called me back. It was the same as it was years ago when I was repped by her. She didn't want to know what I was up to, she just wanted to hear was my friend from way back then was up to. It's funny to think about it now. I remember back when I requested for a release from the contract I had with her, I heard through the grapevine that she said I would never work in New York. How wrong she was. Tonight I saw "Hotel Rwanda" again. This time lead actor Don Cheadle was there for a Q&A. He is completely amazing to me. This film is incredibly touching. It's hard to believe that stuff like this still goes on in our world......then again it isn't so hard to believe. This is a story that director Terry George had been trying get produced for 5+ years. I, for one, am glad he got it finished. Don shared a lot of things with us about his journey and also about the power of turning down projects that he doesn't want to do. I must admit that it's hard knowing how close I was to working with him in "Ocean's Twelve". The scene that I was cast in would have been with him and Elliot Gould. I'll get to work with him another time and another place.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Today I attended a director workshop with casting director/director Ellie Kanner. She cast the pilot and first year of "Friends" and "Dawson Creek". It was one of the best workshops I've ever participated in. The place where I have taken most of my workshops, Actorsite aka Hollywood Workshop.com, is really pushing forward in the area of bringing in directors/producers for actors to learn from. The entire session last about 5 hours. I actually had to postpone my dentist appointment because I didn't want to leave early and miss something.She broke us up in about four different groups. Each group had a different scene. The rest of the class other than the group that was reading anonymously gave feedback. Then, along with Ellie's professional feedback it was then delivered to the actor in a positive, honest and constructive manner. It was great to get such insight from a director. She even designated an assistant in the class to bring us in the room as we were coming in to read our scenes. She really touched on a lot of things that we sometimes forget. I definitely learned a thing or two or ten today.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Audition: "the bad girls' guide to life" @ Susan Vash Casting. My first pilot audition of the season. I haven't booked for Susan yet, but I have had been to producers several times. This a 1/2 hour pilot for UPN. I think I am really right for this role. I plan to make a strong choice and get to the next step. When I walked in the associate, Reyna Karp, told me that she saw me in "The Terminal". YAY!! I felt the audition went well. I really hope to get a callback on this one.
As I was leaving the Paramount lot, (after doing some drop-offs of course) I saw someone I recognized, but I couldn't place the face at first. In an instance it came to me. It was Katy Garretson. Katy was the 1st AD and also a director of "Frasier". She directed the first episode I did. I stopped and spoke to her for a bit, she was directing and episode of "Girlfriends". She said she really like the episode and had a photo of me when I had hair.Tonight I attended a SAG "Roll Film" Event that featured the cast of CBS drama "Navy NCIS". I met one of the regulars, Pauley Perrette, back in 2000 when I worked as a reader on a pilot @ Henderson/Zuckerman Casting. I remember reading with her back then and she just lit up the room.....and booked the pilot. For a while it seemed like everytime I visited my local Ralph's grocery store I'd run into her and we'd chat. I hadn't seen her in a while and it was really good to see her tonight and get to chat with her. Something she said to the crowd really struck me. She stressed having a life outside of the business and just dealing with real people. Not that Hollywood isn't real, but I think you can live your life in a vacuum if you aren't careful. I witnessed this woman, who is a series regular on a hit CBS drama, rush to catch a taxi to the screening of a short film that she is in.......in the rain. Yeah, that is what I call keeping it real. You go Pauley!!

Monday, December 06, 2004

SAG "Roll Film" Event featuring the cast of "ER". I can't tell how inspiring these events are for me. Just getting to hear someone else's story is the greatest thing for me. I am insanely curious about the most random things and I just love to know how people get to where there are in life. Anyone, not just performers. I'd worked with one of the cast members, Mekhi Phifer, back in New York on a film called "Hell's Kitchen". Actually, I got work with him in here in LA on "ER" too. I spoke to him briefly and even seem to remember me from the shoot in NYC. I don't think he did. How could he? They meet so many people? Anyway, I'm really glad to see his career keep moving forward, he seems like a great guy.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

I've attended hundreds of CD workshops in my years of pursuing my career, but one of the ones I attended today was probably the most interesting. The guest, Scott David, was fabulous!! He gave us a bunch of info on how things work in his office, his background, the tone of their shows, upcoming projects and the like, which is standard. Instead of giving out sides, he paired us up and gave us one word or a phrase to base an improv on. I was so impressed with what everyone came up with. I really felt like I was surrounded by a group of very, very creative people.Anyway, here's where it got quite interesting for me. I was paired up with a lovely young actress and our topic was "family feud". We had about 15 minutes to come up with something. We decided that we were a couple that was attending a family outing and we'd planned to announce our engagement. Her father, "Frank", privately gave her the news that I was his illegitimate son from an affair. Hence, we were siblings. I didn't believe it at first because "Frank" has a drinking problem and often "runs off at the mouth". My fiancé convinced me that it was true and then dropped the bombshell that she was pregnant with my child. WHAT!!!

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R RESTRICTED

Under 17 Requires an accompanying Parent or Adult GuardianThis paragraph contains some material that many parents would find unsuitable for children under 17 years of age. Parents are strongly urged to exercise great care in monitoring this paragraph and are cautioned against letting children under the age of 17 read unattended. This paragraph contains one or more of the following: intense violence (V), intense sexual situations (S), strong coarse language (L), or intensely suggestive dialogue (D).

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Around this time, the improv took a serious turn; I suspected her of knowing all along that I was her brother. Of course things became heated (within the scene) and out of the blue she slapped the SH*T out of me. OH--MY--GOD!! I NEVER saw it coming. The slap had not been rehearsed or even talked about. Everything in my world turned white for an instant. Pardon my French, but what the &*^% was she THINKING? Maybe she was just in the moment and wasn't thinking at all. I was in the moment too but I didn't B*&ch slap her! Luckily, I'm a pretty mellow guy, but another actor that was maybe "a little unstable" might have whipped her a** on the spot in front of everyone. If that would've happened I would tried to stop it because I don't like to see men beat up women, but at the same time if you slap someone like that you open the possibility of getting your a** kicked. She never even acknowledged that it "might" have been a little over the top. She definitely didn't apologize. The only thing she said in response to "ooohs and aaahs" from the rest of the actors was "Please, I didn't hit him that hard". She never said a word to me at all. No apology. Nothing. I spoke to the guest about my headshot and before I could get to her, she had left. A couple of hours later my ear stopped ringing so I guess I'll live. I'll have to have a word with her next time I see her.

Tonight I attended a birthday party of a couple of friends who I worked with in New York at The Harley-Davidson Cafe. It was great to see them. Of course it made me think of the incredible experience I had in New York and that so many of us are still in touch. There are literally 20-30 people here in LA that I worked with at the restaurant. I still thinks that's amazing.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Screening: "Million Dollar Baby" with a Q&A with Hilary Swank. What a cool chick!! She plays a boxer in the film and has a banged-up face for much of it. Between that and "Boys Don't Cry" you would never know how attractive she is.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Audition: "Direct TV" @ ASG Casting. This one goes really well. I have one question. Will I ever book another commercial? ahhh..........of course I will. Actually, I got a residual yesterday for this really small commercial I did about 6 months ago. So I, at least, still feel like I'm a part of the commercial world. I might need to take another commercial course to refresh my chops in that area.
I saw "The Aviator" today. Well actually I saw the beginning and the very end. I left to go to the audition I just mentioned and came back because Leonardo DiCaprio, John C. Reilly and Alan Alda were going to do a Q&A. My friend and I sat in the very front row because she's a huge fan of Leonardo and wanted to be really close up front for the talk. To be honest, I'm a really, really big fan of Leo myself. When I first started taking acting classes I heard all this Oscar hype about him and wanted to check him out. I vividly remember watching him in the very first scene in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape". My little sister, Avis, has Down's Syndrome so I've been around it all of my life and I know what it looks like. When I saw that performance I became a fan for life. Of course there have been several other films like "This Boy's Life", "The Basketball Diaries", "Marvin's Room" & "The Beach" that I have enjoyed as well. The Q&A was great. Everytime I attend one I leave feeling extra inspired about the career choice I have made. I met Leo at an ATM in New York (57th & 6th) back in '97. I told him how much I enjoyed his work in "Gilbert Grape" and he was quite gracious. I went on my way and his friend came after me and asked if I was an actor and if I had a card.....of course I did. I gave it to him. I didn't expect to hear from them and.........surprise......I didn't, but it was cool to meet him.
Since we sat in the very first row and watched what had to be the widest screen in Hollywood I knew I'd need to see the film again......from another part of the theatre. I'll check it again out soon.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Ahh! This morning I went to a dental specialist to have my gums looked at. I'm planning to have some major dental work done in the future and I want to check the health of my gums first. The news wasn't particularly good, so I may have to get some work done there first.I haven't had an audition in almost in 2 weeks. That's cool. I'm not sweating it too much because I am so ready to get out of town for a minute. I can't wait, I'm tired and I need a break from all this running around.Screening: "Fahrenheit 9/11" with a Q&A with Michael Moore. I'd seen the film back in the Summer, but my friend Jennifer is a huge fan so I figured we'd check it out again. I don't know a lot about Michael Moore, but he is dedicated to his cause. I'm not particularly a fan or particularly "not" a fan, but I am very interested in his POV. It was cool to hear the things he went through to make such a docu-drama. His next film "Sicko" which will focus on the healthcare system is sure to make noise next year.