Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Audition: "The Unit" @ Bialy/Thomas Casting. I did a drop at this office a couple of days ago, my second or third this season for "Bones" and "The Unit". I guess it helped me get in because the casting assistant said she sees my photo all over the place. I don’t know if she meant around town or that particular office. Anyway, that’s great to hear.

A little more than a year ago my longtime theatrical agency, Badgley/Connor joined forces with Schiowitz Clay Ankrum & Ross.

Up until now, it wasn't an official merger. I was still repped by my longtime agent, Erin Connor, as well as the new ones, David Ankrum & Josh Schiowitz, but this week it became an official merger.

Actually, I hadn't been officially under contract since my last one expired 3 years ago, so this "felt" new and exciting. I must admit I was a little surprised when they informed me that they are using Standard SAG Contracts. Cool, I expected a GSA.

So the official new name is Schiowitz, Connor, Ankrum, Wolf, Inc. Teresa Wolf is in the New York office. Ironically, Teresa was one of my agents for a short period of time years ago in New York @ The Luedtke Agency. I'm really happy with this group of people on my side, including the office manager and interns.

I've never worried too much about not having a demo reel, but now I’m more ready than ever to really get one together. Don't get me wrong, I know it can only help me as long it's solid material, but I've always felt they were much more instrumental in getting an agent and since I have rep I’ve concentrated on other things.

Anyway, they stated that it's becoming very important to have a demo reel available online. This is what I needed to hear AND from who I needed to hear it from in order to get my butt in gear to get my reel together. They said the online demo is becoming an actors' pre-read.

We, as actors, hear so much about it from the companies that provide the service, but hearing this particular thing from my agents means much more to me. They gave me a print out of four different services I could choose from. Hopefully, this “Love, Inc.” episode in a couple of weeks will be a great start.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Audition: “DuPont” @ Craig Colvin Casting. I really like Craig, he is a great guy and very busy casting director. I’ve had many, many callbacks for Craig in the past, but have yet to book. I even recommended my former girlfriend take his commercial class and she later started getting auditions through him and eventually booked a commercial that he cast. I’ll keep trying, my day will come!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Audition: “Tyco” @ TLC/Loree Booth Casting. Another chance at this “Big Dog” of commercial casting. It goes well, although I think my partner was very new to commercials. I was careful not to follow his lead.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Wow! Today is my 12 year anniversary of being in the entertainment business. I have to say that it’s been an interesting ride. I’ve had many, many high points and some not so high points, but through it all I have maintained my sanity.

Thinking back to that very first Wednesday night class in Virginia Beach, VA when I met William Gregory Lee seems so long ago. By the very next week, we became somewhat of a team. I think the most important thing for us was our vision of believing we could do it and not being afraid to try. It was never, even for a moment, a question of whether we would pursue this business on a grand scale or not. Most of the class was hedging or kinda testing the waters, we chose to jump in the water with our clothes on. I don’t know if that was the best way to do it, but it’s what we did.

Looking back, that blueprint is what freed us into the world of "what could be". We were off running and know one could stop us, not even our teacher, Sylvia Harman, who wasn’t very supportive of our determination, in the beginning. She was a great teacher, but I don’t think she understood what "our" realities were. So we had to do what we had to do…..and we did it.

Since those early days, I’ve yet to work with anyone else in such a partnership, but even that didn't last too long. Greg and I stopped working so closely together after moving to New York; even though we shared a bed for 4 months in the Hell’s Kitchen section of Manhattan. THAT was a whole ‘nother story!

We remained and still are very good friends, he is making big moves here in Los Angeles as we speak. We often talk about what is happening in our respective career and it's all good stuff.

So here I sit in 2005, obviously, older and more experienced than I was in 1993. Often times I wonder what the future holds. Will I be doing this in another 2 years, 5 years, 10 years; will I go back home to Virginia and sell Cheesesteaks with my family; will I write a book and become a motivational speaker/mentor to college students and other actors embarking on a their careers as actors…….I don’t know………I really don’t know. Maybe I’ll become a Honda salesperson, get married and start making babies. Ha!! Could be, could be not. In reality, I think it’ll be combination of all of it. I really love what I do. I think I'm where I should be, doing what I should be doing, but I also know there are so many other things I want to do as well. I am a very fortunate man.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Callback: “Listerine Pocket Mints” @ Joe Blake Casting. Another callback. YEAH!! It goes well, very simple stuff. It sure would be nice to book something…..soon.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Okay it looks like it's official, I've been released for the "Vodafone" spot. It's fun to get close, but it's much more fun to book.....but you knew that. Back to the drawing board.

Friday, September 16, 2005

I guess no news is good news. I expected to be released by “Vodafone” by now. I’m kidding, but I did expect to hear something. Well, I’ll have to assume I’m still in the running. I know it shoots Tuesday and/or Wednesday of next week. So maybe they're booking them on Monday or maybe they have already booked and I didn’t get the memo. I usually get an official release. Time will tell………

Audition: “Listerine Pocket Mints” @ Joe Blake Casting. This goes really, really well and I think I’m really, really right for it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Callback: “Vodafone” @ Maryclaire Sweeters Casting. This callback goes really, really well. The director just wanted it to be very small and real. Sometimes, I feel myself doing a little too much; it may be just facial expression or indicating, but this time I got it right……I think. I guess time will tell.

I guess “Joey” moved on without me. That’s okay, because I felt I did a great job and I’ll get another chance on another day.

I read in the trades this morning that ”Love, Inc.” has been moved from Thursdays at 9:30pm to 8:30pm. Now it directly follows “Everybody Hates Chris”, THAT is great news….really great news. Funny enough, I was talking to one of the regulars about how it would be a great thing to be in that slot. I am in the fifth episode of the season airing October 20th…and hopefully more.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Just as I'm getting all my stuff together to do some drop-offs my agents calls with an audition this afternoon for "Joey" @ Valko/Miller Casting. Cool, I'm glad I was still close to home so I could change clothes before going to it.

The only problem is that I have a commercial audition at the same time. I'll try to get in on that early then go to the other side of the hill for "Joey".

Audition: "Sears" @ Ross Lacy Casting. This one is really, really fun. I'm not sure if that means it went well, since I don't know what they are looking for, but it was definitely fun.

Audition: "Joey" @ Valko/Miller Casting. I went in for one of their shows 3 times last year and was called back each time, but didn't book. It's time to score again.

I was reading with the associate, Peter Pappas, with owner Nikki Valko observing. When Peter started the scene I was like a "deer in headlights". Why? Because I was given the wrong material and the wrong character. Ooops. I got the right sides and left to prepare.

Okay, back in the room and ready to do it. The first read goes well, they redirect me and it goes even better. They give me a callback on the spot for 2 hours later @ Warner Bros.

I get word that I'm on avail and have a callback for the "Vodafone" commercial I went in on last week.

Callback: "Joey" @ Valko/Miller Casting. As expected, Kevin Bright was in the room at the callback. I read it once, got direction and read it again. Regardless of what happens, I felt great about my performance. Kevin directed the episode of "Friends" I did back in '99.

While at the audition I spoke to Collin Daniel & Brett Greenstein. Colin is the one who brought me in for “Frasier” several years ago. They informed me that they are the new Casting Directors on “Joey” starting with the next episode.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Audition: "Sons and Daughters" @ ASG Casting. Oh, no! The traffic lights are broken! What the heck is going on in Los Angeles. Wow, it really makes you appreciate when things work like they are designed to. I didn't know if the audition was going to be rescheduled or what was happening. When I finally arrived at the casting office the halls were dark, only lit by candles. Fortunately, the camera was battery operated and the room had lots of natural light.

This audition was all improvisation. They wanted three different ways and I gave it to them. All in all, a good time.

Finally, the "IBM" call comes in and.........I've been released…..again. Ugh! I was hoping to get to work with Kevin Christy again. Oh well, I get 'em next time.
Shooting: “Love, Inc.” @ Paramount Studios. Yeah, show night!! Cool! This is the first live audience gig in about 3 years for me. It’s going to be a long day, but not too demanding because we’ve already shot about 4 scenes. Get this? After running around like crazy all week, I don’t have any auditions today. Just chilling and concentrating on one thing.

In and out of make-up in a flash and I’m ready to rock and roll. We run the two scenes I have left and I’m done until lunch. I actually did the intelligent thing during my break. I didn’t yack on the phone or fiddle with my PDA; I took a freakin’ nap and it was great.

During lunch I get a welcoming call from my agent. Well, most calls from my agent are welcoming, but this was especially. I am on-hold for the “IBM” spot I busted my butt to get to yesterday. Yeah!! They should know for sure on Monday. Funny enough, one of the other “nerds”, Kevin Christy, is already scheduled to shoot an “IBM” next week. We both currently have “IBM” spots running. The difference is “Mr. Christy” is a bit higher on the totem pole than myself because he rarely has to audition for “IBM/Pytka” anymore. He’s done several spots for them. I’m not quite there yet, but I’m working on it.

Okay, locked and loaded. It’s time to put this thing in the can. The audience is in place and the cast is in the make-up room doing the speed read before we go on stage. The energy is electric; the cast and crew is confident in what we have to present tonight. Scene “A” starts out with a bang. My first scene is “B”; we do a take, get a notes and do another take, then a pick-up. Production tells us that we’ll pick it up later, after we let the audience go, to get it “clean” without the audience laughter.

I hang around and watch some of the rest of the scenes being shot. Next up for me was scene “M”, the last scene of the night. This time we had a really rough first take. We got re-writes/notes and did another take. Both takes had great parts and not so great parts, but I guess between the two of them we got it right. They said they would release the audience do pick-ups for this scene as well.

Before the pick-ups I got a chance to talk, one on one, with the director Arlene Sanford. Arlene is rare in television directing in that she does ½ hour multi-camera, ½ hour single camera, one hour drama, one hour dramedy and film. She told me a bit about her journey and said to keep doing my research. I’ve always felt it was best to get to know writers/producers and directors in this manner.

After pick-ups we were done for the week. It was great experience. Lots of hugs and “thank yous” were going around. When I was thanking Executive Producer Adam Chase, I mentioned to him that I my first TV job was on “Friends”. He was a writer/producer on “Friends” and wrote the episode that I was in back in ’99. Adam mentioned that to the 1st AD of "Love, Inc.", who was the 2nd AD on “Friends” when I worked on it. The first day on “Love, Inc.” we all thought we knew each other but couldn’t remember from where; at the last hour we figured it out.

The way the story line of “the nerds” goes there is room for us to return. I won’t hold my breath, but you never know….I’d love to go back for another episode.
After a crazy week, I want to thank both of my agencies for making many extra phone calls to accomidate my schedule. I worked all week plus had six auditions and was able to make all of them. Thanks!!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Shooting: “Love, Inc.” @ Paramount Studios. Alright, today I gotta keep my game face on. We are pre-shooting two of the four scenes I’m in and I have two commercial auditions.

There was no script at my door this morning so that tells me their are no re-writes or they are STILL re-writing. As soon as I get there they are ready to run one of the scenes I’m in. So I grab a white script, yesterdays was blue, I start doing it. Yup, there are rewrites! I like the new stuff, the old stuff was cool, but this is better and better for me. When I first walked in the director, Arlene Sanford, hardly recognized me because I was clean shaven. I look like a college kid!!

Of course, I’m plotting and planning how I’m going to slip out to the “IBM” audition. I simply CAN'T miss this appointment. I don’t want to miss the other one either, but “IBM/Pytka/TLC/Loree Booth Casting situations are pretty unique in my eyes ABD it’s not looking good.

So back to work……I go into make-up to get all pretty and whoa!! They don’t usually spend that much time on me, but this make-up artist really laid it on. Oh well, I’m pretty………pretty made up. Geez.

I get into wardrobe as the nerd, which was a pretty cool outfit. I’d wear it in my regular life, maybe I really am a nerd. That’s okay with me. We do a camera blocking of the scene and the new dialogue that I got is great. It worked well for me. Then the stand-ins take over. My stand-in is a woman……WHAT!!?? I’m kidding, she was a very nice woman.

It’s time to shoot!! These are pre-shoots so there is no “live audience”, although there is a lot of people there. It goes really well. The next scene was in a night club and that one went well too. We, the nerds, worked mostly with Reagan Gomez-Preston and Vince Vieluf. Vince is really funny and non-stop energy, Regean is very sweet and really, really hot. Reagan even made the comment that “these guys should come back on the show” in front of the writer. I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if they brought us back in the future; our situation isn’t resolved by the end of the episode.

So now I’m trying to get released and it’s not working. I must be driving the 2nd AD, Michelle, crazy by now. It seems that everyday I have had a request to leave for an appointment. I would never be high-maintenance unless I had to.

An hour goes by and I’m still there. I could have been gone and back by now!! I understand from their point of view, they are paying me to be there, but still………

After a while one the other production guys, Kevin, comes by to pick up my contract and I ask him about the likelihood of me leaving. He suggested that I go ask again. I was walking down the hall to the 2nd AD’s office and I spotted her walking towards me. She released me and said to just return after lunch. So I called my agent right away and she called casting and they said I could come by right now. So I made it. Then production called and said that I didn’t have to come back until tomorrow. Cool! So now I can make my other audition too.

Audition: “IBM” @ TLC/Loree Booth Casting. Yup, it goes well.

Audition: “Expedia” @ Deborah Kurtz Casting. This one goes well too, I was paired up with Rachel, who I worked with in a “Denny’s” commercial several years ago.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Shooting: “Love, Inc.” @ Paramount Studios. Today things were pretty routine on set @ “Love, Inc.”. Surprisingly, there were no rewrites for the “nerds”. We had a great time with lots of laughing. We also had a network run-thru which seemed to go well. I have had the best of luck with fitting in other auditions. Right before lunch I slipped away for a commercial audition. One of the other “nerds”, Jeremy Guskin, wasn’t able to attend rehearsal today because he booked a national commercial for “Del Taco”. Go Jeremy!

Auditon: “Capital One” @ Ross Lacy Casting. I barely made it to this and back during my lunch break. It goes well.

The 2nd AD, Michelle, calls and asked me to be clean shaven for tomorrows pre-shoots. I already shaved my little goatee and now they want to be clean, clean shaven. The other two are younger than me and they want us all to look about the same age. So they are having me shave and telling them NOT to shave. I guess I’m getting older.

I have two commercial auditions tomorrow and I really hope I can make them both especially the “IBM” one. Oh yeah, I finally saw the “IBM” one I did back in June. It looks fun, totally different than what I envisioned. I like it, I hope it runs a lot.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Shooting: “Love, Inc.” @ Paramount Studios. It was great to finally get a job on this lot again….or any studio lot for that matter. I think the last time I worked here was my second episode of "Frasier". That was October '02.

I remember it vividly and it was, without question, the hardest period in my life. Things were going great in my career and terribly in my personal life. Just a day before I'd returned from Tokyo, Japan shooting a commercial for "Honda" and "Good Morning, Miami" had me scheduled to work right after finishing "Frasier". Right now, as I close my eyes I can see myself outside of Stage 25 where "Frasier" and before that "Cheers" was filmed. I was broken down in tears talking on my cell phone to my younger brother, Todd, back in Virginia. We were both coming to terms with the fact that we were losing our mother to pancreatic cancer.

She took sick and her condition rapidly deteriorated, but still, we believed that she would recover. It was about this time that we realized her time with us was ending. Exactly one month later, again on the phone with Todd, this story repeated itself @ CBS Radford while working on "GMM". I was in my trailer crying my eyes out just before going on stage to shoot the episode. Mom had really taken a turn for the worse and I was praying it would end soon. The next day, November 15th 2002, my prayers were answered. After traveling back and forth to Virginia numerous times with little hope I was relieved for her to be able to rest.

Sorry about the sad story, it just kinda came over me.

So back to the present. I find Stage 19 and the first person I see is Kevin Christy. Kevin is playing one of the other nerds. He and I worked together a couple of years ago on a pilot presentation for the BBC.

The morning starts with cast introductions and a table read of the script. Cast and crew were all very nice and personable. At that point writer/creator, Andy Secunda and director Arlene Sanford realized that me and one of the other "nerds" had been cast in the wrong role. Ooops! So we switched and read it as requested. It was fun and funny. Following the table read the writers got together for notes and we were released.

I told the 2nd AD that I had an audition on the lot and asked if it was okay for me to go. She said "cool".

Audition: “Threshold” @ Ronnie Yeskel Casting. Get this, it’s at Paramount Studios as well, literally 50 yards from Stage 19 where I’ll be working on “Love, Inc.”. I did a general drop for “Threshold” several weeks ago, maybe they just got it! Ha! The mailroom at Paramount is notoriously bad from what I hear from casting associates. Or maybe my agent submitted me and I was called in, the old fashion way. Hey, I’ll take it however it comes.Ironically, I dropped off there for some friends while I was on the lot for "Girlfriends". Then when I went back later in the day for the producer session for "Love, Inc." I was given the wrong building and was kind of lost. I walked in to the casting office for "Threshold" and Ronnie was the one who gave me directions.So I'm in the waiting room with several other actors hoping it doesn't take too, too long. Right then Casting Director Chuck McCollum enters the room. He's getting his stuff together to begin the session and spots me.

Hey Stephon. (then approaches me) Are you okay for time?

Yeah, I should be good. Thanks.

Just let me know if you need to go in early, because I know you're working on the lot today.

You're reading my mind.

Yeah, I talked to your agent and he told me what was going on.

Thanks, I really appreciate it.

No problem.

Ya know, it was a little weird because I didn’t want to be “that actor”, the one who gets special treatment. I guess it was okay because my agent spoke to him about it ahead of time. At the same time it was great to be reading for another job while on a break from a booking. I always wanted to experience that. As a reader I would see that all the time, actors auditioning while on break from a series or a film.

So I get in the room and read it once. I felt good about it and they gave me direction. I took the direction and got a callback on the spot for later in the afternoon.

Next, I hurry back to "Love, Inc." and the timing is perfect. We run a rough blocking of 3 of the 4 scenes and are released for the's only 12:15pm.

Callback: "Threshold" @ Ronnie Yeskel Casting. I didn't recognize any of the actors from the pre-reads, so this must have been the “straight-to-producers crew”. Anyway, the callback goes pretty well, I jumbled some words a little, but I think the character was intact. We’ll see.

Audition: “Vodafone” @ Mayclaire Sweeters Casting. I barely made it to this one. Actually, I was about 40 minutes late and the very last one to be seen. The session runner had to put me on tape by myself instead of the groups of five he had been doing since there was no one else there. Again, we’ll see, hopefully I’ll get a callback.

Wow!! What a day today was. I worked, made all three of my AND did a bunch of drop-offs. Tomorrow is a new challenge.

Friday, September 02, 2005

YES!!! So the call comes in…….…and…………I’m BOOKED! Yeah, I’m so excited. It’s one of the computer nerds on UPN’s “Love, Inc.”. This is my first show with “Guest Star” billing, which totally caught me by surprise. I knew the character was in at least three scenes, but I wasn’t aware that it was a guest starring role. It should be a lot of fun.

Right after my agent, Josh Schiowitz, called with the good news the CD, Susan Vash, called with congratulations and the details. I got a chance to thank her for calling me directly when she had trouble finding me through my agent. She was like “Of course! When I want to find someone I don’t stop until I do.” Thank you Susan!!

An hour later I get a call from my agency confirming that I should still go to the callback for "Girlfriends". It crossed my mind that "Love, Inc." and "Girlfriends", if I book, may shoot at the same time, but I didn't want to be too presumptuous and ask; I figured I'd cross that bridge if and when I got there. They were being proactive!! They found out that "Girlfriends" doesn't shoot until later in the month. Yes!! I like my agents.

I was determined to make something happen this week. I hit the ground really hard with the drops on Monday morning and Casting Director Susan Vash called me that afternoon. Of course, this specific situation wasn’t a result of my efforts this week, but it worked the way I designed it to work.

Which is:

1. Stay really, really busy hustling to create opportunities.

2. Know that everything done to further my career means something. It may not always be tangible, but it matters in the big picture. Sometimes it takes years to see the result of an effort made today.

3. Don’t worry about what my agents are doing, I trust that they are doing their job. I realize I may be in the minority on that.

4. Remember that I get 90% and my agents only get 10%. So I need to do my fair share.

Callback: “Girlfriends” @ Susan Goddard-Smythe Casting. This goes really well and I think I’m right for it. Regardless, I think Susan will call me in again and the season is still young.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Audition: "Girlfriends" @ Susan Goddard Smythe Casting. The audition goes great. Susan is incredibly actor-friendly. There were about 6 different smaller roles and I was to chose 3 of them to read. She worked with me like any actor would want and was very specific with her direction. She eventually got me where she wanted me. Hopefully, I’ll get a callback.

Audition/Producers: “Love, Inc.” @ Susan Vash Casting. This character is perfect for me; it’s one of three computer nerds trying to attract women to date. Ha!!! Anyway, interesting enough the casting director called me on my cell phone. She had an old resume which had the old number for my theatrical agent on it. Cool, I’ll take it however I can get it. Remember those direct contact numbers for situations like that.

This goes great too! I felt really good about the character, a computer nerd. Ha! It fit me perfectly! The room was full of the usual suspects; director, writers/producers, casting, camera operator and reader. It just seemed to click for me, even though I kinda chewed up a little bit of the dialogue the character was intact. They laughed a lot. I guess it’s wait and see now.

Afterwards I stopped by my theatrical agency to say good-bye to the office manager Michael. He is moving on to do some different things in the business. I met Steve who will be his replacement. I also got word that an official name change of the agency is in the works, probably sometime in the Fall. I'm really happy with my agents....I am fortunate.

YES!! I get the call that I am one of the “choices” for a role in “Love, Inc.”. They won’t know until tomorrow, but she said it “looks very strong at this point”. Alright, I’ll take that.

So what happened today?

  • I had 2 auditions.
  • Both were at Paramount Studios.
  • Both were reading 3 different roles.
  • Both of the Casting Directors names are Susan.
  • Both scenes are with African-Amercian females.