Saturday, July 30, 2005

Tonight I attended the wrap party for the film on “Easier, Softer Way”. It was a great time to say the least. It was held at Mekhi’s crib. Can I just say “Oh sh*t!”? His home is unbelievable; I just shook my head……did I say his home is unbelievable? What a great guy he is to open up his residence to hundreds of people.

It was cool because I got to see many of the actors I was a reader for during the auditions. I didn’t know who landed a lot of the roles until I saw them at the party and on the gag reel. Ya know, I have a friend who works at one of the Hollywood Hotspots on the Sunset strip and he often invites me to stop by there for private parties and such, but I never go because………I don’t know, it just seems weird for me to show up with no connection to the event. Plus, I’m not any good in the network or schmooze department so I think I would just be uncomfortable. This was different; I had a real reason to be there and felt like part of the group. I had never been to a wrap party of this magnitude that I had direct connection to. I could get used to that.

One of the first people I saw when my guest and I arrived was the Big “O”. No, not Oprah….Omarosa from “The Apprentice” fame. Admittedly, I was never a big fan of Omarosa, but I figured I would give her a chance to prove me wrong. She was shooting pool with another woman that I later found out was her mother, “Mamarosa”.

I had seen and heard about her beefs with Janice Dickinson on her new show. So I decided to ask her about it. The first thing she said to me was “Do you want to be next to get beat on the pool table?” I just laughed and said, “no, I’m not too much of a pool shark these days”. So we got to talking about her situation with Janice and I have to say she was really cool; at least with me. She’s no dummy; she’s working it and extending her 15 minutes of fame into who knows what. So I must say that after talking with “Lady O” my opinion changed….for the better. I mean, I don’t know that we’d, like hang out, but she definitely wasn’t the monster she’s portrayed to least not then. Oh yeah, she’s very, very “womanly” with many curves in the right places.

Later in the evening, I was able to speak at length with some people involved in the production of the film. I can tell you that as actors “we don’t know the half” of how some of these casting decision are made. There are so many variables that have nothing to do with the audition. Sometimes it works in your favor and other times…..well there are too many other times!!

While conversing with one of writers and leads in the film, Ronnie Warner, I found out a bit of the journey of the script. He shared with me how things came together for the film and that you just have to stay dedicated to “your” dream because other people will come and go throughout the process. I asked him if this was his first project that he’s written and gotten produced. What he responded to me with just confirmed my long-time belief of “anything can happen if you ‘truly’ believe it can happen”. He said “I ain’t never been on no movie set before this one”. Here he is on his first movie set and he is one of the stars of a film to be distributed by Sony. He also said that “he was na├»ve enough to believe that it could actually happen”. I say, congratulations Ronnie Warner for keeping your dream alive.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Today is my 7 year anniversary of moving to Los Angeles. I have survived……and cried(I miss my mom)…..and laughed………and thrived………

Whew!! Another day in the hot seat!! YEAH! I’m just trying to get it done, ya know, make it happen. I‘ve got to get these photos out there and KEEP ‘em out there. That is the key, staying power.

This new TV season is young and I’m trying to set myself up to have a nice, successful rest of the year. I would also like to eventually buy some property; that would make it easier for me to want to stay in Los Angeles. Not that I am trying to leave; it would just make it easier to really want to stay. I just my piece of the rock ya know.

I’ve been on the phone with my youngest brother Todd a lot lately. I mean we normally talk numerous times a day anyway, courtesy of Sprint free PCS to PCS. Matter of fact, often times I stay up until 3:30 am, 6:30 am for him on the East coast and we talk on his way to work and then I go to bed. We normally talk about business ventures back in Virginia Beach, but now it’s in a higher gear. I believe some things are ready to happen that will effect our family for years to come.

I connect really, really well with Todd; he understands me and he understands the way I think. He is definitely my ace. I can be kinda difficult sometimes because I am so curious about life and most people don’t have the patience to hear me rant. Not rant in the complaining sense; I just like to speculate about things……everything. I don’t blame them because I can go on and on……and on………and so on. I just love learning and listening…but I hate being misunderstood.

I’m really excited about my future, in and out of Hollywood. Then, another side of me says, “Truth be told; if I didn’t feel I was in such a wonderful position in my quest I don’t know that I’d stay in Los Angeles long term”. That may sound funny, but there are so many other things I‘d like to do in addition to what I’m already doing. The notion of going back to Virginia Beach to be with my family crosses my mind every week if not several times a week. Hmmm……maybe I’d feel different if I had my own family here in Los Angeles………maybe not. I’d have to get married first and that doesn’t seem to be in my immediate future. I couldn’t imagine raising a child here, many people do it successfully.

I feel like one of the luckiest guys in the world. I have a great team doing their part. Thank you Alicia, Brooke & Linda, Erin, Jeralyn, Kelley & Gordon, Cynthia & Pammela, Josh & David, Tracy & Kelly, Jenny & Rose, Michael, Steven, Julia, Hesper, JP @ Actorsite and many other special people at my agencies and various other places over the years. It’s great to work with, not only capable people, but nice, good hearted people too. I can’t believe it’s been 7 years already.

I come from a family of entrepreneurs; we’ve had a thriving, successful family business for over 25 years back in Virginia Beach. That is where the core of my business sense comes from. Even though I didn’t and still don’t see eye-to-eye with my father I learned a lot just because I was there working everyday.

As I was driving today to my first drop-off I thought about the fact that I am running my own business. I haven’t punched a clock in almost 4 ½ years. It hasn’t necessarily been easy. Actually, some of it has been unbelievably difficult and other parts of it have surreal, but I am still here doing my best to make it work.

I don’t know, today it just hit me kinda different and it really pumped me up and I’m usually pretty pumped up as it is. It feels great to be going after my future vs. just waiting to see what happens.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Audition: “Cheese Nips” @ Mimi Webb-Miller Casting. I guess I didn’t ruin my chances at this office for getting into a little “discussion” with the session runner last week. They called me in again. I think this one went pretty well; yeah it did!! Hopefully, they’ll call me back.

Audition: Short film “Robbers” @ AFI. It’s, if I understand correctly, a spoof on “Cops” called “Robbers” with a reality element to it. I felt that the audition went well.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Today is my day of work on “Easier, Softer Way”. Since I had a 12:30pm call I was able to get some drop-offs done in the morning. The first thing I notice after arriving on set was Danny Masterson’s name on the call sheet. All along I thought that Scott Grimes was playing one of the leads. Well I guess things change don’t they?

After checking in with the appropriate people and going through make-up and wardrobe I decide to go to the set and check out what they were shooting during the “hurry-up and wait” period. I catch up with Mekhi and Ronnie and say my hello’s and am meet Mekhi’s little brother; he’s a cool young cat who is looking to make moves himself.

The first AD on the shoot is Babu Subrumaniam; Babu directed the episode of “ER” that I worked on a couple of years ago. Matter of fact many of the crew are from “ER”. Mekhi is an actor’s director; he knows how to communicate to actors. He knows what he wants, is direct, but willing to listen. He also is the first to let you know when he likes something: you’ll see that big smile or hear him laughing out loud.

The scene was pretty quick for me; I was just in the very beginning of a larger set-up. All-in-all, it feels great to see what he’s doing and watch his career develop. I went to one of the open calls for “Clockers” back in 1993 in Philadelphia. Mekhi was booked for that film from an open call in New York. It didn’t matter how wrong I was for that character, I went anyway. Of course I had never heard of him because it was his first job. I was thrilled to get to work with him in 1997 in the film “Hell’s Kitchen”, again in 2003 on “ER” and now to be directed by him in “Easier, Softer Way”.

After I wrapped for the day I thanked Mekhi and said to call me if he ever needs a reader; he responded by saying he’ll call when needs another actor. I probably sounded like I was selling myself short, ooops. Anyway, he is a very down to earth, cool dude.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

I spend an insane amount of time in my car doing drop-offs and stuff like that. I even drove out to Chatsworth today, Saturday, to drop-off for FOX drama “24” (nobody was there, I threw it over the fence to the security booth). I was in the area and didn’t wanna make another trip out there.

For the most part, I listen to AM talk radio. Whatever I can find, right wing, left wing, Dr. Laura, financial, real estate, computer, auto shows with a little Howard Stern and Tom Leykus thrown in for laughs….well the right/left wing shows make me laugh too…..and wanna cry sometimes too. I don’t listen to music that often, although I LOVE music but the radio doesn’t really do it for me and since some jerk stole my CD player a couple months ago I’m kinda stuck. So what happens is that I start feigning for some music in my car. Maybe I should put my old CD player from my old car back in…..

Actually, that was all prelude to saying that the new Mariah Carey CD “The Emancipation of Mimi” is really, really hot. Yup, I’ve been a Mariah Carey fan since 1990. I’m not like a fanatic or nothing like that. I don't follow her tour or anything like that, but I wouldn't mind seeing her live. I mean, I don’t know who “Mimi” is; I thought her name was Mariah. Maybe it’s like Puffy/P-Diddy or Prince and that weird sign thingy. Anyway, Mariah's CD is hot and worth checking out.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Audition/Producers “Just Legal” @ UDK Casting. Imagine that!! I was just telling a friend that I haven’t had an audition at UDK for three years. THREE YEARS!!! I still drop-off there, but I rarely get in. Matter of fact, I dropped there two days ago, but for a different project. I think the last time I auditioned there was when I worked on “CSI”.

Anyway, the read went well and it was great to see casting director Robert Ulrich whom I know through my friend William Gregory Lee. Maybe this will help me get back on the map at this office. No matter what, I will keep dropping off my photos.

After doing some early drops this morning I was looking forward to going home to chill, but my commercial agent called with an appointment for this afternoon. It was straight to callbacks for a “FedEx” national spot @ Mimi Webb-Miller Casting. YES!! This one goes well…sorta. I mean the read was good, but I had an issue with the session runner.

I like to think I’m a nice, understanding guy, but I don’t like to be disrespected for no reason. I could see that the young lady running the session was really busy so I tried to stay out of the way and have all my stuff ready. It just seemed like everything she said to me specifically was rude and nasty. Again, I understood that she was really busy. Well, the third time I’d had it and I told her that she was very rude to me numerous times for no reason. We kinda got into a bit and she apologized….I didn’t. I had no reason too.

I work as a session runner too and I know how busy it can get, but I do my best to treat people with respect. Maybe she was doing her best, I don’t know. Sometimes, people just need a reality check and I think we both got one. After a while, I got her attention and sincerely apologized. I didn’t want her to think I was a prick that just didn’t care about her because I’m sure she’s a wonderful young lady. I told her I understood that she was under a bit of pressure and that I was sorry. She accepted and even gave me a big hug! That, in itself, made the whole thing worth it! I’m kidding. All in all it was good experience with a little bump in the road. We all make mistakes, the important thing is what we do about them. We both will be able to rest easy tonight because we did the right thing and said we were sorry.

No news on the print job for Tuesday or Wednesday. I guess I’m still on hold, at least I hope so.

Cool! I get my call time for Monday on “Easier, Softer Way”. We are shooting in downtown LA.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

More drops and more blood, sweat & tears out on the pavement. It’s amazing how empowered being out in the field makes me feel. Even if I’m not getting calls at a given moment; it feels great to be at least attempting to make it happen.

THIS JUST IN!! Ha!! I went in for a “Dolby” print job last week and just got the call that I am on hold for Monday or Tuesday. Cool! That’s 2-2 this year for print. Not bookings, but being placed on hold. I know that I don’t get paid for it, but usually you have to get an “on hold” before you’re going to make any scrilla(cheese, cash, dough, dollars, deniro, pesos or money). Hmmm…maybe there is a market for me in the print world too.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Lots and lots off drop-offs today and let me tell you it’s freaking hot outside, but I must continue!

My orientation session went well tonight with a group of mostly New York-based actors who are testing the waters in Los Angeles. The had great questions that answered from my point-of-view; which can be odd. My point-of-view that is.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Bright and early this morning I attended the Broadcast Preview for Fall programming. I saw a lot of stuff that I enjoyed, including the pilot that I worked on “ABC Comedy “Hot Properties”. I have to tell you that “Everybody Hates Chris” a single camera comedy based on the life of Chris Rock and narrated by Chris is very, very, very funny.

It’s a long morning, but it’s always inspiring to see all these new opportunities for acting work. I must admit that it feels great to see so many people that I know or have worked with in the past. PBS had a Bob Dylan special and I’m thinking to myself that I’ve been directed by his son, Jesse Dylan, in a “Pizza Hut” commercial with Carmen Electra. It makes me feel that I’m on the right track. I’m really excited by this new season and feel great things in the air.

From there I attended a registration for a SAG background company. I’m not sure how they got my stuff, they may be on my postcard list. Anyway, I went and now my name and photo is in the their books. I hope it wasn’t a mistake.

Lastly, Audition: “Sprint” @ Kathy Knowles Casting. This one shoots in New York next week. The audition was great; my partner Scott and just improved our way through and had a ball. Hopefully, we’ll get a callback. How much would I love to go to NYC? Yeah, that much!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Go-see: “Dolby” @ Emily Mueller Casting. This took a whole two minutes including the paper work. Cool, I can take that. I'm gonna see what I can do to raise my profile in the print world. Actually, after I finished the "Dolby" go-see I scoped out the place to see what else was going on and saw another print job for "Nissan" going on. I figured I would go over and at least drop a photo for their files. The young lady running it said "Why don't just come in and get seen? We're seeing everybody." I was like, "okay, sure". Then she went in the room with my photo; she returned a moment later and said "ooops, I guess not". SHe happily took my photo for her files though; I'll take that.

Callback: “Charmed” @ Kimberly Lanae Foster. I didn't feel great, but definitely good enough. The only this is that "good enough" isn't usually good enough. I guess time will tell.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Cool, the call came in for the “Charmed” callback tomorrow. I got another call that TOTALLY caught me by surprise. Yeah, I got an appointment for a print go-see. I don’t go out for print very often, although I do have a print agent @ KSA. In all honestly, I haven’t given her the proper tools like a zed card so I don’t complain much. I’ll take what I can get…but I have been thinking about getting a card done so I can increase my chance of working.

Speaking of choices, I got a call from a commercial background company inviting me to a registration for their files. I did tons of commercial background in New York, but none here in Los Angeles. I’m not oppose to doing it, but I do audition on a regular basis and I wouldn’t want it to conflict with that, but I don’t audition ALL the time. I like having many irons in the fire so I can increase my choices. I think it’s good to be on-set, the pay isn’t bad AND it goes to my SAG insurance and pension. So I think I’ll at least go register and see what happens.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Audition: "Charmed" @ Kimberly Lanae Foster Casting. I told myself that I wasn't going to get caught up in too much small talk about her new position and just concentrate on my work. Of course I failed because I was so happy for her and wanted her to know it. So we chatted about it for a moment and got down to business. I had rehearsed it with my friend Jon and came up with some stuff, but we were wrong. She could tell my take was wrong before I even uttered a word and stopped me to give me more info. We did it twice and she said she's bringing me back for producers. Cool! I hope it, in fact, happens.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

YES!! I got an audition for "Charmed" for tomorrow. I don't know if it was from my drop-off, an agent submission or their files, but I'm just happy to have an appointment. It's my first since getting back in town.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Big day today for drops. I had to pick and choose carefully because so many casting changes have taken places and my database isn't completely updated. Are they ever updated?

Anyway, one of the most significant changes, at least to me, is that Kimberly Lanae Foster is now the CD of WB drama "Charmed". I met Kim many years ago through my friend William Gregory Lee while attending a staged reading she had cast him in. The big deal is, at least in my mind, is that she is an African-American casting director casting a one hour, primetime drama WITHOUT African-American leads, AND for Aaron Spelling Productions.

I’m not saying it’s great because she’s black and I’m black so now she gonna call everyone who is black to audition. No! I went to producers several times for previous CD Leslee Dennis and her associate Megan Entriken; they were particularly great ladies too. I just think it’s great for Kim because I understand how she is making her dreams become her reality and I’m tickled to see it happen.

Needless to say, I made sure I dropped a photo over to Kim with a note of congratulations.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

I was hoping to get back in the streets today to start doing drop and the like, but my body had other ideas. I am completely beat. Jet lag maybe? I don't know, but I'm going back to sleep!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Well, it's that time again; time to go back to Los Angeles. I'm cool with that....I need to check my mail anyway. I'm kidding, I just need a break to chill for a bit and I got it. I had a great time at home; it always resets my clock and enables me to fight for another day. My brothers and I did a lot of talking about some business things we plan to do. The future is really the business and out.

Cut to: LAX

Wow, I really am back in town. I get to my apartment go through tons of mail and get in the car to see my agents. When I return from vacation I always want them to see me in the flesh. They are great people that I like seeing anyway. So hopefully, things will get moving soon.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Race day!! Yeah, my brother's convinced me to race today. WHAT?!

I haven't been this nervous in a while. Actually, "slightly freaking out" was more accurate. My strategy was to chill and do "my" thing, ya know, ride my own race. The number one goal was to not injure myself and goal number two was to not mess up the motorcycle.

Okay, first practice is up. I tried to get a feel for the track, but it all happened so fast. I was only able to get two laps completed before it was over. I didn't fall! That was a big accomplishment in itself! I have a bit of reputation for "going for it" and taking "dirt naps" as a result.

So I made it through practice and felt really good. We still had a couple of hours before our first moto was up. I went into shut-down mode. There was no smack-talk coming from me. None. I was just trying to calm myself and breathe; I didn't want to get on the line and tighten up.

Our first moto is on the gate; my brothers Jeff and Todd are beside me. 18 motocross bikes are singing at peak RPM's. BAM!! And the gate slams down! I hit the throttle hard and began to slide a bit so I backed off. Mud, rocks, saw dust, etc are flying everywhere. I see Jeff a couple a spots in front of me; I had a decent mid-pack start.

I made it out of the first and second turns without too much trouble. Up next was a series of about 12-14 small jumps called whoops. Whoops are notorious for bucking riders off of their bike. I went through them slow and steady and passed Jeff. I still hadn't seen Todd.

Out of the whoops there was a right turn which was a bit muddy. It wasn't that bad, but I was tentative and that is the wrong thing to do in the mud. You have to go for it and keep your momentum. UGH!! I was running pretty good and I went down. Yeah, my front wheel slid out on me. I really thought I was going to get run over by one of the many riders behind me. I had some close calls, but fortunately I didn't get hit. When I got up I was almost in last place; after a bit I got the bike restarted and on my way. Todd had gone down earlier too because he passed me; I figured I'd try to follow him and move through the pack some. I stayed behind him for a while until he started to get away THEN I saw Jeff; at that moment I became a lion on the hunt. I really wanted to finish ahead of him. I passed him on an uphill jump, in the air, one turn before the finish line. YES!!

All-in-all we did just okay; out 18 riders in the 125D class Todd finished 11th, me 12th & Jeff 13th. Todd and I definitely should have been in the top 8. Jeff rides cautiously and rarely falls and probably could have been in the top 10. Todd and I hate getting beat by him because he doesn't take chances. It's all good, he has his strategy and we have ours.

Back in the pits we all talked a lot of crap and got our laugh on. I felt pretty good about things and was ready to do better in the second moto. So we're back on the gate waiting for it to drop and NOOOOO!!!! I get caught in the backward falling gate AND stall the engine. I finally get the bike started and blast down the start straight. I was determined to make up time and was doing okay, much better than the first moto. I was passing some riders and moving forward.

There were a couple of jumps that I felt like I could do if I put my mind to it. It was a double to a step up to a double combination. I wanted to just go for it and see what I could do; I didn't want to regret not trying it. So I come around the corner and hit the jump and come up short with a bone-jarring landing. I was barely able to stay on the bike and kept moving forward. Then I see Jeff again and I really wanted to finish ahead of him and I go for the jump again and come up even more short. In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have done it because I could've passed Jeff on the uphill, but I went for it. For some reason I was going even slower this time and landed right beside Jeff and then bounced into him. My bike started sliding and I bounced into him again and crashed in a heap. Again I thought I was going to get run over, but I didn't. I ran over to the bike got it restarted and was back in the chase.

Todd was in sight; he had wrecked a bunch of times too. He was in front of me and I was going to follow him to catch up to Jeff, but then Todd went down again. I ran out of time to catch Jeff. Todd and I were really frustrated anf Jeff was happy that he didn't fall. Jeff finish 10th, me 13th and Todd 14th. Our overall finishes were Jeff 11th, me 12th and Todd 13th out of 18 riders. Jeff was really happy that he finished ahead of us. None of us were particularly happy overall, but the great thing is that nobody got hurt and the bikes ran great. It was a great family day.