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.
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 day.....it'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.