Saturday, December 30, 2006

Yeah!!! I got to go dirtbike riding today with my brother and my nephew. It was so much fun, but I was so out of shape it wasn’t even funny. I haven’t worked out since the Summer and I’m getting a little pudgy - I think. Gotta fix that in ’07. My brother whipped my butt partially because I was so tired and winded that I could hardly hold onto the bike.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

It’s so great to be leaving LA to go home!!! I waited until the last minute which was nice because I didn’t have to think about having to change my ticket for a last minute something. I’m on avail for a “Verizon” commercial for when I return.

Friday, December 22, 2006

YES!!! I’m on avail for the “Verizon” spot. I am determined to turn more of these avails into bookings; I hope I can start with this one.

I was shaving my head this morning and decided to get a Mohawk. Yeah. I’m not sure why, but I did. I didn’t plan to do it and I didn’t do a very good job, but what’s done is done.

The top...

Dag...I really jacked up the back! ...oh well.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Callback: “Verizon” @ Cathi Carlton Casting. Yes!! This was that one that should have been so simple, but wasn’t. I felt I was really right for it, so hopefully I can go in and represent. I’m not sure what I’ll be representing, but I’ll rep something… The callback goes really well. I would love to book this spot; of course.

Audition: “Century 21” @ Cathi Carlton Casting. This one goes just okay. There was a lot of dialogue. I did pretty well with the dialogue, but even I didn’t believe most of what I was saying. I had some good moments, but don’t think I put it all together too well…we’ll see…or not.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Audition “Best Buy” @ Craig Colvin Casting. This audition went GREAT! I mean really, really great. I’ve gotten many, many callbacks for Craig over the years, but have yet to book. I don’t know if I’ll get a callback this time, but I sure hope so.

Before I read, Winston the session runner, wanted to ask me something. He asked if I still hadn’t had any coffee or alcohol. I started laughing and said “No, but I think I wanna start drinking because I wouldn’t be such a boring person. I wanna have stories!!” Ya know, stories about “last night” – Like – “last night me and so and so got soooooo……..fill in the blank!!! I was craaaaazzy!” My problem is I remember everything. Drinkers have the greatest stories, at least the part they remember. I’m talking about real drinkers…..I’m kidding….sorta. Anyway, Winston also said he sees me quite often on TV. I guess it makes sense that he could say that because fortunately a lot of my bookings have been on what I call the “Blue Chip Shows” that run a lot in syndication.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Shooting “Brothers & Sisters” @ Disney Studios. This was my first time working on this studio lot and hopefully not the last. I had a quick afternoon of work. I was the only principal in the scene; just me and 3 background players. When I first saw director Michael Lange to thank him for the opportunity and thanked me and said “he hopes it won’t be 3 years before we work together again” (He directed me on “The O.C.” just over 2 years ago.) I was taken aback by that comment and the enthusiasm behind it.

When I arrived on-set I saw a crew member I recognized; so I approached him and introduced myself. We couldn’t figure where we had worked together as he went down his list of recent shows. In all honesty, I haven’t worked that much in recent years. Then it came to him; it was “Love, Inc.”! He even remembered that I had a commercial running at the time and I was just busy. I think I had 6 auditions in the 4 days I worked on the show; so yeah it was a busy week. He then kinda mumbled something to effect of “yeah, you’re out there all over the place”. That’s always kinda weird to me because I feel that I just work occasionally, but I guess I have built up a little “body of work” and that’s the key – create some heat and build a body of work.

We did a quick rehearsal and my stand-in, Shawn, took over while they set up the cameras and lights. It’s always odd to have a stand-in because I prefer to be on-set and in the mix. So after about 4 hours I was finished; I actually worked about a half an hour total. I said goodbye to the crew and Michael who said “we’ll do it again” and was on my way. It feels great to have a TV director at his level know who I am.
"Brothers & Sisters" - Disney Studios - Burbank, CA
Since I haven't heard anything; I'm officially releasing myself from the "Budweiser" avail.....unless they call and book me of course! It's funny, I often hear actors grumble about being put "on avail" and that being "on avail" means nothing - which I think is a silly way of looking at it. Personally, what is more annoying to me is not getting a release from the avail from the casting office. It would be nice to get beyond the "on avail" stage every now and then, but being "on avail means a lot to me. It means my name is floating around my agents office more often and that is a good thing. Matter of fact I was at my commercial agents office this evening and one of the assistants said that very thing - that my name is often in the air over there. That's a great feeling in an office like KSA. '07 is gonna be hot!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Audition: “Verizon” @ Cathi Carlton Casting. This went OK; it should have been so simple, but I just couldn’t smooth it out for some reason. I hope to get a callback – I think I am really right for it; so we’ll see.

The official booking came through for “Brothers & Sisters”; I work on Monday @ Disney Studios. It’ll be my first time working at Disney. Yes!!!

It’s cool watching how the script is changing through rewrites. I auditioned with the sides my agents sent; after I booked I was sent new material and then sent an even newer version after that. They even completely changed which lead character I interact with in the scene.

I called one of my other agents this afternoon to tell her what the casting associate said about how my resume credits were listed. She was thrilled that the associate said it was “a great strategy”. We talked about it for a while understanding that every casting professional may not be supportive of the resume style. I have to say it’s really cool to be able to pick up the phone or walk-in and communicate with my representatives.

I was talking to a client during a consultation about how and when I stop by or call my agents. She asked me how I handle it; I responded “I just handle it”; I don’t tip-toe or beat around the bush about it. If I need or want to stop by, I do it. That’s they way it’s always been for me and I’ve never had a problem with it. Actually, it’s all they know from me; so it’s normal that they see me on a regular basis. I also know when it’s not a good time and I respect that they are handling careers – mine included. If they don’t have time to talk I don’t take it personal.

As of 6:30 this evening/Friday I am still on avail for the “Budweiser” commercial.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

YES! Just before noon this morning my agent called to inform me that I’m on “Watch and Advise” for yesterday’s audition for “Brothers & Sisters”. He said it looks good and that they just needed to get their schedule set before they could officially book. I should hear something this evening or tomorrow. I guess I should go pay those SAG dues. I don’t normally pay my dues before I go home for the Holidays are when I go home in the Summer. Actually, what I do is hope I “have” to pay them before I leave – that’s mean I booked a job.

YES AGAIN!! I honestly thought they had moved on with this spot and “went another way”, but my agent called to inform me that they put me on avail for the “Budweiser” commercial @ Francene Selkirk for Tuesday – Thursday of next week. Alright!

I did a workshop with several casting associates tonight. My scene went really well; my partner was an actress I’ve been consulting for a good while. Afterwards, one of the casting associates asked about how my credits were listed on my resume. I knew this would eventually come up. On my resume I only list the project and the director in most cases – very little billing. Most actors don’t list their credits this way, but it’s part of a strategy to help me move to the next level.

I feel comfortable doing it because I have two recurring credits on big network shows. If I didn’t have those two particular credits it would look as though I’d only done co-star roles and was trying to trick them. What I am trying to do is to help casting directors/associates/assistants think of me as more than just an actor who does co-star roles. After I explained my strategy to the associate she said it’s a pretty good strategy. I couldn’t do it without those two recurring credits. Of course others may not agree with it, but at the moment this is how I’m doing it.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Audition/Producers: “Brothers & Sisters” @ Bacharach/O’Neill Casting. This one goes pretty well. It had been a while since I auditioned for Bacharach/O’Neill Casting so it was great to get back in their office. As soon as Gillian took me to the audition room director, Michael Lange, knew we had worked together before. I knew he was directing the episode before I went in and was hoping he would be there, but I didn’t really think he’d remember me. I refreshed his memory of the episode of “The OC”; he cast me in 2 years ago. We shot out at the mansion in Malibu – we both remembered that place well. That mansion was just too much and it overlooked the Pacific.

Anyway, I read the material once and was on my way. There was one little point I wish I would have paid a little more attention to; a technique thing. All said; I felt good on my way home; actually I felt great. A top casting office and a top TV director knows who I am. Cool.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

It looks like the "Priceline" spot has been booked, but the there is still hope for the "Budweiser" spot. I'm not holding my breath, but they will book somebody, maybe it'll be me.

Monday, December 11, 2006

ADR session for “Monk” @ Sunset Gower Studios. The session went well; I was in and out in 15 minutes. When I finished I saw the next actor in the waiting room. He looked at me like he knew me; like maybe we worked on the episode together. As I got closer I knew I didn’t know him, but I recognized him - it was Sean Astin from “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. I guess he was in a different episode - he sure seemed like a nice, friendly guy.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I went to see “Dreamgirls” tonight and really, really enjoyed it. I like to watch singers and this was full of singers; one of my favorite movies is “Moulin Rouge!”. I had an extra connection to “Dreamgirls” because I was a reader during the auditions. Every time a scene came up that I read I would get the chills – like seriously. When Jennifer Hudson was singing “And I Am Telling You” to Jamie Foxx’ character I was mesmerized. I had singer-actresses singing the same song to me during the auditions. That was a mind-blowing experience.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Callback: “Budweiser” @ Francene Selkirk Casting. YES! Another callback! Funny, I hadn’t been to this office for about 3 months and now I go there 4 days out of 5 – I can get used to this.
The callback went really, really well. I know it has little to do with whether I book or not or even get put on avail, but it sure feels good. Not much else I can do, but I’d love to book this spot. I might even start drinking Budweiser.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Callback: “Priceline” @ Francene Selkirk Casting. Yes! This goes really well. Not much more I can do. Afterwards the casting office called and added an extra date to the shoot window. They didn’t put me on avail, but they informed me of the extra date.

This is too funny. Remember that manager I mentioned the other day that asked me to leave his seminar? Well some people in attendance told me he went on and on about me after I left until it became uncomfortable for the actors there. I’m glad I had more respect for them to not make it about me or something other than what they went there for.

They reported that he thinks I take notes from him and sell it to other actors. Let me say this; and with all due respect to him. If I was taking notes about what he says and even attempting to sell it to other actors there is no way I would be a consultant on the business of the acting business. I’m not saying that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I’m just saying that the one dimensional, safe, inside the box type thinking is not something I would think of selling to other actors. He is in no way, shape or form my role model of how to navigate this business – or my manager.

So, with that being said; I think this all may be just a…….misunderstanding.

On to better, more interesting things. I got a call today from the production of “Monk”; they needed to schedule me for ADR for my episode. This was great news because I didn’t know if it aired or not. He explained that their 16 episode season was to air 8 in the Fall and 8 in the Winter. In the first group they shot 9 and aired 8; mine was the one they didn’t air. He said it will air with the second set of 8 episodes starting in January. Cool. I go in to record Monday morning; that’s another paycheck too I think.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Audition: “Budweiser” @ Francene Selkirk Casting. This one went okay; I think I might have pushed a little. Hopefully, I didn’t push too much and I’ll get a callback.

Last month I contacted Nosotros; a Latino entertainment organization here in LA and offered to donate my time and be a guest speaker at their monthly membership meeting. They had no idea who I was so I had to sell myself to them; which was interestingly cool. Anyway, I followed up they said they would consider putting me on the schedule for early ’07.

Last night they called to see if I could be the guest speaker for this months meeting. I was thrilled to help out. It went really went. Their members are at various levels in their careers and I think I caught them by surprise with my very direct, alternative, inspirational approach to “The Business of the Acting Business”. One person even asked if I had a DVD or tape available for purchase. A great evening for all involved.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Audition: “Priceline” @ Francene Selkirk Casting. This was a funny spot featuring William Shatner. It went well.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Audition: "Dairy Queen" @ Joe Blake Casting. Wow, a Sunday audition. I'll take however they come. I felt this one went okay, but not good enough for a callback. They were having callbacks a couple of hours later. Oh well...on to the next.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Wow, two interesting days in a row, but this time for a very different reason.

I've always attended acting related events around town. I did in New York and Virginia as well. Why? Because I'm an information junkie. I’m curious about everything - absolutely, positively.

Anyway, I attempted to attend an event yesterday, but was asked to leave by the guest. Why? Well, at first I thought it was a joke. Then I asked the guest why I was being asked to leave. Let me explain; this particular guest, a manager, speaks around town often and I attend if I can. During the events he usually called me out in some form or fashion, in a fun way, but no less embarrassing for me. It wasn’t “The Stephon Fuller Show”, it was his gig and I was a random actor in the audience. As a result others would assume I was a client of his – I wasn’t.

His problem with me attending was that he heard that I’m now consulting for a fee and he strongly disagrees with it. He went on about how I shouldn't be charging actors and that if I'm going to consult I should do it for free. This was in front of 25-30 actors.

I calmly listened to him with dignity; knowing that I have a tremendous amount to offer as a consultant and also that he's entitled to his opinion. But when he said something to the effect of " it for free and stop ripping off actors" I had to respond. "Ripping off actors?" What?! I say “whatever” to everything else he said, but to say that I need to stop “ripping off actors” was just stupid. What does he base that on in order to say it in front of 25-30 actors – some of which are my friends?

First, I had done a free event in the very same room less than two weeks ago and more importantly I'm doing anything but "ripping off actors". I very calmly told him exactly that, wished him a good day and left the room.

What was it all about? I don't know, but he's certainly entitled to his opinion. I must say, I would have expected him to handle it in a much more professional manner. The 25-30 actors there didn't attend this event to see a pissing match between him and I so I kept it short.

Could this be because I didn't accept his offer of management some time ago? I don’t know, I don’t think so. I had already hired theatrical, commercial and print agents for my team and didn’t feel it necessary to also bring in this management company at an additional 15% commission. If I’m going to pay 25% in commissions it better be for a good reason. Plus, I’m with KSA for commercials; why would I pay another 15% when I already have some of the best, most effective agents in the business on my team?

He thinks I gather information from him and pass it on to others; or sell it to others. Nothing could be further from the truth. Why would I do such a crazy thing? To be honest, the information that I hear at most of the events I go to is the reason why I need to consult actors and give them alternative ways of thinking. Most of what is passed on at these events, in my opinion, is “one-size fits all, general information”. What I offer is the complete opposite of that.
I remember one time, years ago, being on vacation in Virginia Beach and getting a call from his office asking if I was a groupie of his. I kinda laughed it off because I didn't want to draw more attention to me - that might have been a mistake. What it showed me was how off the mark he was about me. Groupie? Are you serious? What is there to be a groupie about? It's not like I subscribe to his philosophy of how the business works. That's pretty funny - or not.

It’s not that I think he’s a bad manager or anything like that; it just wouldn’t be a good fit for me - and fit is important. I’ve even recommended him to others over the years. I’ve kinda told myself that when I do decide to hire a management company it will be one that charges a 10% commission - yes, they are out there. I’ll shoot for a 10% manager when the time is right.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Half-pipe skills from back in the day - No helmet? Ha! It was the 80's.

I got some great news today. Last year an actress friend of mine had been urging me to move forward in my plans to consult actors on the business of the acting business for a fee. In reality, I'd been doing it for years, but I wanted to step it up a notch.

This young lady and I would often talk about the business in a general sense, but she wanted to have a sit-down and focus on her career. So she called and said in a very direct manner, "let me know what your fee is and when we can get together". She was right; I needed to move to the next level with it. She was the first person to actually pay me a fee for my time.

Even now we discuss every facet of her career; more because we're friends than client/consultant. During a consultation I'm very straight-forward and specific in my questions about exactly what a client is trying to accomplish. There were obvious areas in her business approach that I knew she could improve on. Her talent wasn't an issue; plus I'm not an acting teacher/coach.

One of the many things we discussed was the utilization of CD workshops. I didn't convince her to attend them; she was already attending them. Matter of fact I met her at years ago.

We also discussed her current agent/manager situation. In my opinion, she was spinning her wheels; it just wasn't working. She asked why I didn't have a manager; I told her I was managing myself. I don't have anything against managers; it's just that I largely feel that if I need a manager at my stage in my career I may really need a better agent. I have great agents through and through and haven't met a manager that I felt would bring more to the table than I already have. There are a lot of great managers out there but I'm not ready for that step just yet. Often times I find that actors give the power to someone else - I encourage actors to drive their careers and not wait to be driven.

Anyway, back to the actress, several months ago a certain great situation arose from one of the workshops she attended. I immediately knew how I felt it should be handled, but I can’t make anyone do anything. Every now and then the situation would come up and I would offer the same advice. Well, on this certain day I was a little “less nice” about what I thought should happen. I think it really clicked for her.

Within 3 days she had a meeting scheduled with a great agent and that agent got her an appointment for a film with a casting director. I didn’t get her the meeting with the agent. What I did was to consult her through the situation and prevent her from letting a great opportunity slip through her hands. This all came about from a CD workshop with a casting associate from a different office.

The film appointment, through no fault of her own, was cancelled; but the agent signed her about 3 weeks ago. She called me today to inform me that she booked an episode of “Criminal Minds”. I am completely thrilled for her! It’s her first job in two years and I must admit, I feel like my professional guidance made a difference.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Monday, November 27, 2006

YES!!! Callback “Jackson-Hewitt Tax Service” @ Ross Lacy Casting.

YES!!! Another second round shot. Cool. I'm so overdue for some bookings it's not even funny.

Callback: "FedEx" @ Kathy Knowles Casting. The only issue is that they are 15 minutes apart and one is in Hollywood and the other is in Santa Monica. I HAVE to find a way to get to them both.
The “Jackson-Hewitt Tax Service” callback goes great! My job is done there…for now. I got there early and it was running pretty much on time so I was able to get a good jump in traffic to Santa Monica.

There were quite a few people at the “FedEx” callback for the 6 spots they were casting. This one went really well too and I think I’m really right for it. So we’ll see; I’m determined to book something before the holidays. Ha!

So I had two really good callbacks today AND I even got several drops in that I didn’t think I’d get done.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Finally, I’m finished – for the moment. I got the rest of 23 out of 24 drops that I didn't finish yesterday done this afternoon. The 24th will get done eventually - maybe.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Audition: "Jackson-Hewitt Tax Service" @ Ross Lacy Casting. I did a commercial for them back in '94 in Virginia Beach when I was non-union and they shot non-union - I guess we've both come a long way.

Alright, I get to this audition and get the group explanation. All good, right? Wrong!!! I was so pre-occupied with “my busy day” that I didn’t hear what the session runner was explanation. I mean I heard him, I was just ‘out to lunch’. Bad Stephon!!

While we were doing the rehearsal I just stopped and asked the session runner to help me though it. Fortunately, I audition for him often and he didn’t give me a hard time. So then we go to tape it and I had to stop again. WHAT!! The funny thing about it was that I felt that I would pull it together somehow and it would have the right amount of realness to it – my voice, my realness. The smart thing to do was to stop and start over – own MY AUDITION…well, mine and my partners’ audition.

See, I knew the director, producer, ad agency and Ross Lacy the Casting Director wasn’t going to see all of my “tune-up work”; they would only see the ‘money shot’. Actually, that’s not totally true, some audition rooms have cameras watching them from the casting office. The last thing I wanted to do was perform the ‘money shot’ in the car later while doing drop-offs.

The last take was it. It felt great; a little off balance, my vision, my voice – worth watching. I felt weird when I got to my car; rattled and little embarrased. I was also proud that I had a say in the outcome, because as actors we do have a say – and I said it this morning – Good Stephon!

So I get home from the audition and my agent calls and asked if I made it to the appointment. I answer, “Yeah, I just got home”. She says, “Okay, they didn’t remember you coming in. “Really”, I answer. She says, “Yeah, no problem. Sometimes, the front office isn’t sure what the back office is doing.” “Okay”, I say. Then she asked, “Did you sign in and out?” Complete silence…………”Oh $%^#, I forgot to sign in and out! I’m sorry…….” Yeah, I was out to lunch……

Today was a really busy day for a very specific reason. It’s my mother’s birthday; I lost her 4 years ago last week. I knew if I sat around and did nothing I would be depresed…I don’t like being depressed.

What to do, what to do? I wrote up a route with 24 drop-off stops on it; from the far reaches of Northeast Burbank to Malibu and Venice. I didn’t expect to get it all done, but I was going to try. Since I had to move my car @ 8am for street sweeping I figured I’d start then.

My plan was to get a good chunk done in the Valley before going back home to put on a suit for my 11:15 audition at the Casting Studios. After that I’d grab a bite to eat and work my way through Beverly Hills, West LA and out to Malibu. Then I’d swing back through Santa Monica for my audition and continue to Venice and Culver City.

I think keeping myself busy worked. Of course I often thought about my mom, but I wasn’t overwhelmed with grief. To be honest, I miss my mom terribly, but I’m happy that she’s resting in peace. I couldn’t have imagined her, me or the rest of my family going through her illness for one moment longer than we did. Happy Birthday Ma! We love you, We miss you.

Audition: "FedEx" @ Kathy Knowles Casting. I booked here in late '03 and have gotten close many times since - it's time to revisit.
Alright, I get to this appointment and least this time I remembered to sign in. After a while the session runner takes 5 of us in for an explanation and he goes through it so fast that everybody’s head was spinning. We all just looked at each other and proceeded to take a shot at it. I can always tell if this particular session runner likes what you did; he doesn’t hesitate to let you know. He liked it and we did another one for kicks. Cool! Two really good auditions today!
I got 16 of the 24 drops done today. Whew!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Today I'm doing a group consultation @ Actorsite. It's free for Actorsite members and at a promo rate for non-members.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

My agent calls this morning to say that my December 22nd shoot date for "Privileged" that changed to December 8th has now changed to January 26th '07. That's a pretty big change; I wonder if they will lose some actors due to scheduling. Make me think I'll be working as a reader some more on this in the future.

While out preparing to do drops today I get a call from my agency @ 3pm to see if I could make a 4:15 producer session for a one day Guest Star. I wasn’t home and I needed to get home to shower, shave, put on a suit, print material, fight traffic to Universal, but I thought I could make it.

Audition “Crossing Jordan” @ LaPadura/Hart Casting. I didn’t feel so great about this one – bottom line; I wasn’t as prepared as I would have liked to be. The only time I really read the material was in the car on the way to the studio. That is okay to get the words down, but not enough to make real choices. Thankfully, we usually aren’t as bad as we think we are.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Audition/Tape ”Jericho” @ Bialy/Thomas Casting. YES! I had an appointment at this office about a month ago for a small co-star role on “The Unit” and passed with hopes of getting in for something more substantial. This is a recurring co-star role.

I read with CD Sherry Thomas and I was very happy with how it went. She wanted it real with a foundation – not a lot of “stuff”. I was pleased with the first read; she gave me some direction and I did it again. I felt like I was a bit young for the part, but I can’t do anything about that; I just wanna be solid and continue the relationship. The bookings will come soon enough. Who knows, maybe the producers will see something they can use.

I went to my fitting for "Privileged" this afternoon. While I was there I went in the director office and got a photo of the cast on the wall. I always like seeing myself on "the wall".

"Privileged" - The Wall

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Back on a plane to LA. My layover was in Cincinnati and shortly after we took off there a medical emergency on the plane. A lady with two children had collapsed and needed medical attention. I must admit I got the chills when the flight attendants asked over the PA system “is there a doctor on board?”. There wasn’t. I played one in an ABC pilot, but this was for real. A moment later a young soldier volunteered to help.

I don’t know what had happened to the woman, but for the next 3 hours there was 1-3 people attending to her. It made me remember to enter my ICE (In Case of Emergency) entry in my new cell phone. I don’t know if the ICE thing is a hoax, but it makes sense to me so I do it. She had two children with her at 30,000 feet and she was totally incoherent.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Tonight I spoke to a group of actors in Virginia Beach about the business of acting. It reminded me of when I was starting out. It was a little different than my usual consulting because they aren’t in a major market yet, but it was great for them get a sense of what to expect if they choose continue in the business. I may return in March/April to do a full seminar/consultation session.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Today we went to two youth football games. One of them was my nephew’s team; they had an undefeated season and were playing a team from another city in a bowl game. It was a pretty good game, but they lost 13-7.

Father and Son

Every time I got back to the house I would enter through the garage rather than the front door. Why? So I could walk past my motocross bike. I just like seeing it – it gets me really excited. My older brother, Tommy, wanted to go for a spin. So I put on my new gear, got Todd and the three of us blasted up to “the field” to get in a few laps. It only lasted about 10 minutes, but it was SOOO much fun. It was definitely one of the highlights of my trips.

My family has had a couple of very, very successful Philadelphia-style hoagie shops for 26 years – Philadelphia Cold Cuts is the name of the business. Myself, I worked there for 15, so I’ve sliced enough onions for a lifetime. When I stopped by to get a bite to eat my brother Jeff, who runs one of the shops surprised me with some remodeling he had done. It’s just the beginning, but it’s what I’ve wanted to do years and years ago. I don’t know how much longer my father will be working everyday, so my brother will eventually take over. I was really happy to see this new beginning. I constantly think about being back there in Virginia Beach in the family business – maybe one day.

Friday, November 10, 2006

LAX here I come!!! I’m taking a little break to go to Virginia Beach to see my brother Tommy that lives in Prague and his daughter, Nikita, who I’ll be meeting for the first time.
Here I am arriving in Atlanta for my connecting flight home and who do I see? One of the actors I read with yesterday for “Privileged”. Small world - and getting smaller. For some reason when things like that happen I always feel like I’m in the right business.

YES!! I’m glad to be home. It’s always great to get away from the hustle of the big city. It’s nice to NOT have to parallel park so often; I’m pretty good at it since I used to be a valet, but it signifies congestion to me.

Two of my brothers picked me up at the airport and 20 minutes later I got to see my niece Nikita for the first time. She just started walking last week. As expected, she wondered who the heck I was and already had her favorite people since she had been in town for week. I had my work cut out for me.

Nikita and Dad

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I took my brother, Todd, to meet my agents today. It's funny, because it was like they already knew him. I guess I really do talk about my family a lot. I wanted him to see the people I talk about so often.

AGAIN!!! I get another last minute request from the director of "Privileged" to read with two actors this afternoon for the same role that they've been having a hard time casting.

I thought one of the actors was really right, really prepared and really good. After we read the second actor myself and the director had a nice little chat about what we saw - I'm always mindful to keep those conversations at arms length. It’s easy to get “caught up”.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Producers: “The New Adventures of Old Christine” @ Katherine Eckert Casting. This is a co-star role. My agents are trying to get me in for more guest star roles, but it’s going to take time. I don’t have a problem going in for co-star roles, but I won’t go in on all of them – just depends on the who, what and where.

I’ll definitely go in on this one for Katherine Eckert. Katherine was who brought me in for the pilot of “Good Morning, Miami” when she was an associate at Tracy Lilienfield Casting. They hired me for what they knew to be a recurring role without even sending me to producers. My agent called with the booking before I got home from the audition. I booked roles in 3 pilots that season; 2 of which got picked up. The other one that was picked up was “Life with Bonnie” in which Deborah Barylski hired me as well without going to producers.

As I was walking up to Bldg 136 on the Warner Bros lot I saw a gentleman that looked familiar, but I had no idea from where. He stopped and greeted me, but I didn’t know his name. It was Paul Walia, the actor who replaced me in “Ocean’s Thirteen”. How funny.

I go in and read and it goes well; I understood the piece and I’m right for it. It’s great to get back in to read for Katherine Eckert. On the way out I catch up with Paul. We’d never actually met, only spoken to each other on the phone and through e-mails. I could still tell that he appreciated how I handled him getting the role that I had in “O13”. It couldn’t have gone to nicer and more appreciative actor; funny I thought the same thing when the role was mine. I’m kidding! I’m sure I’ll get something else soon.

It seems to have really set Paul off on a roll of sorts. He did 3 jobs in 3 weeks. The very next day after shooting “O13” he auditioned for “Old Christine”, didn’t get the role, but was called back to do a voiceover, then booked a commercial for “Chrylser” now he was back auditioning for “Old Christine” again. Go Paul!!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Audition/Tape “The Daily Show” @ Zane/Pillsbury Casting. I was ready, I watched the show to get a since of the satire and the style of the correspondents. Let me tell you, it was work. This political satire doesn’t naturally come off my tongue, but I listen to enough of it on talk radio to know how it sounds. The first “scene” was going well until about ¾ of the way through when I stuttered..and stuttered..and stuttered. We finally just stopped and picked it up again were I stumbled. I got through the rest of it with a sigh of relief.

I took a moment before starting the second scene and another huge mouthful of dialogue; actually it was much more like a monologue really. I didn’t want to get rattled and then regret it in the car 5 minutes later so I found my center and proceeded. The second one went okay; I definitely had a few high points, but all-in-all I left feeling kinda “partly cloudy”. I do think I am “right” for it though.

Monday, November 06, 2006

So Caleigh, my theatrical agent calls me this morning and asked if would consider relocating to New York. The question caught me off guard, but after thinking about it for 9 seconds I said “yes, of course”. She was calling about a recurring role as a correspondent on “The Daily Show”. It’s very different than what I’m used to, but I confirmed and said I’m stop by stop pick up the material. One problem, the audition is scheduled for Monday 13th when I will be in Virginia Beach.

This project “Privileged’ that I’ve been a reader for @ Cathy Henderson-Martin Casting just doesn’t want to seem to end. It's cool with me because I get to read with actors again, but I'm sure the producers would like to get it finished. There is still one role that needs to be cast. So I was there today reader with about 6-8 guys. It’s amazing to see the process working in front of your eyes.

I hope they get it cast from this session. They even asked me what I thought and who I liked; I was careful not to get too involved in that conversation. It was a good short session and I think they saw someone they liked, but that is only the beginning - there's the whole negotiation part.

Cool, my agent got me rescheduled for tomorrow for “The Daily Show”. It’s FIFTEEN pages of dialogue! I don’t know if I’ve had that much dialogue in auditions all year!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Cool!!! My youngest brother, Todd, is flying in today.

My 'lil bro Todd - the subject of my lens back in the day

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Audition/Callback: “HBO Promo” @ Joe Blake Casting. I didn’t know this was a callback until I got there. It was a funny spot with a lot of profanity – I mean a lot. “Mofo this, mofo that”; I don’t normally talk like that so it was fun doing it in the audition. I got to reenact one of the more memorable scenes from “American Pie” – hilarious! I don’t how I looked them in the eye on the way out of the room.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Back in the saddle as a reader for "Privileged" @ Cathy Henderson-Martin Casting. It's always interesting and today was no exception. These were final callbacks; the director had seen some of the actors before and others only on tape. There was a lot talent in the room.

One of the most interesting things was the actor that had a tremendous amount of white space on his resume. Actually, he only had one credit. Seriously; one, single credit. That one credit is the lead in a yet to be released film. The director of this film is a known actor and this is his feature film directorial debut. The agency this actor is repped by is.............ICM. Yup, the kid is with ICM with only one professional credit. Simply amazing.....or is it? I don't think it's all that amazing, but it is rare.

Did he get the film and then land at ICM or was it the other way around? I’m sure the film was shot about a year ago, but there isn’t any more credits listed from that time to now. Who knows? It’s one of the things I love about this business; you just never know.

I read with the young actor last week, but this was his first time with the director. The buzz from his one professional credit preceded him in the room. It was amazing to watch as it all went down.

I passed the Xeroxed headshot (with the single credit on the back) to the director and Cathy relayed the buzz and informed the director that she could get a copy of the film. The actor read and he was really solid again; I don’t think he’s perfect for the role though.

There were only two roles being cast today and the actress who is playing the girlfriend of one of them was there. I guess she'll have an opinion on who gets the role of her boyfriend. I know who I think is the right guy for the role, but of course what I think doesn't matter.

I don't think I've ever seen so many actors take complete control of the room. The guys owned their performances today. By contrast there was another actor who just wasn’t having a great day. He didn’t feel like he was “getting it” although I think he was right for the role; which sometimes is more important. He came back like 20 minutes after his audition and asked to read again; he was allowed to.

Oh yeah, when I showed up this morning Cathy let me know that she pitched me for one of the leads in the film. I thanked her, but I didn’t feel I was right for it and way too old. It interesting that I could be seen as that young though – wow. So just a bit later when the director arrived he said the same thing. I thanked him for thinking of me and assured him that I my position was the reader and if anything else came out of it – great. I was building a relationship and learning; not trying to get a particular job – besides, I had already been offered a role in the film.

Anyway, when the day was almost over the director wanted me to read for this other, larger role. We had one more actor to read and then it was to be me. Let’s not forget that I’d been reading opposite this role for days as the reader. I had to unwind all that and sneak out to prepare. I came back in and read and felt great about it – wrong, but great. The director said the same thing and asked for my direct contact information; so I gave him a headshot and resume and a business card.
So I guess that’s it for this project until I go to work on it next month – that means I’ll have to pay my SAG dues before Christmas vacation.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Audition: “Kellogg’s Raisin Bran” @ Kathy Knowles. I get to this appointment about 3 hours early in Santa Monica so I can make it to Burbank on time to be a reader. I don’t usually like to be in the first group when being put on tape, but today I was and I was in with two other fun guys. I was the third actor there and I saw that the spot had 3 guys so when they walked in I asked them if they wanted to read it together. They did and we clicked immediately.

This is a big campaign. The contract is for up to 6 spots at scale during the first 21 months and 6 more spots at an overscale rate for the second 21 month period. Whoa! Wouldn’t I love to be a part of this.

The actual audition went great! I am so excited, not only because this went well, but a lot have gone well lately. I haven’t booked much, but that will come in due time.

So I make my way over to Burbank with a little time to spare and as soon as I arrived my print agent calls with an appointment for this afternoon. They wanted couples, so I called someone I’ve clicked with at workshops. Fortunately, she was able to make it last minute.

The reader session is usually a great real world workout. Today was no exception. I saw some really talented people for these callbacks. It’s interesting when you see an actor that literally only has two credits and they are repped by Innovative, ICM or UTA. How does that happen? They are a zillion ways it can happen. Young and pretty is one of them. Let me tell you some of these youngsters are really talented, serious artists.

I love to watch these actors break “the rules” – you know the things that “they” say you cannot do. Another thing it shows me is that I am on the right track, doing the right thing. Sometimes the right thing is poising yourself for the next step and the next set of strategies. Things are good for me.

The really cool thing is knowing, absolutely, without exception that I am seeing the next Hilary Swank, Derek Luke, Leonardo DiCaprio, in these sessions right now. I guarantee you that some of these actors I am reading today will be stars in five years.

Afterwards I went to the print go-see with my friend and it went great! They probably thought we were really a couple; we had a ball on camera.

Monday, October 23, 2006

So I get an e-mail from Casting Director Cathy Henderson checking to see if I can be a reader for the film she is casting tomorrow. Of course I’ll do it. I tell her I’m available, but it’s been pretty quiet lately audition-wise, which means things are going to pick up; I just don’t know when.

Of course, two hours later, my commercial agent calls with an appointment right in the middle of when I am supposed to be reading actors. I call back and check time frames for the audition and I think I can do both.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

AHH! I'm so pissed. Well, maybe irritated is more accurate - really irritated. I received my SAG dues statement in the mail today. My dues for this 6-month period are $469. This wasn't unexpected; I had the same irritation 6-months ago.

The thing is that SAG wants (and gets) 1.85% of every dollar I make up to $200,000 and between $200,001 and $500,000 they want another .50%. That extra .50% really gets me. Not really because I’ve never made over $200,000, but when I do I’ll know I’m getting off easy. Why do I say that? Well, because my dues for the year are $938 and Julia, Tom, Brad, Reese, Denzel, Leonardo, are only $5,300. Wow. Talk about unbalanced. I am not saying that the big stars should pay 1.85% on every dollar, but the current percentages are really out of wack in my opinion.

Oh yeah and SAG has a dues increase proposal on the horizon. Supposedly, it’s mostly to keep ahead of “new technologies” which is very important. I don’t have a problem with the increase they are asking for if it’s truly to help SAG get out from behind the curve and be more aggressive and forward thinking. These contract negotiations are so very important to our futures.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

If you don't blink you might catch me on "Criminal Minds" tonight @ 9pm on CBS.

What a great surprise!! My little brother, Todd, who lives in Virginia Beach, is coming out to Los Angeles on business for an entire week! It's around the same time my older brother, Thomas, who lives in Prague, Czech Republic will be visiting Virginia Beach. I was hoping to get back there to meet Thomas' daughter, my almost one year-old niece, Nikita.

Nikita F - hiding out in Prague...for now.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Print go-see: “Microsoft Windows” @ Paula Van Norden Casting. This go-see felt like a commercial audition; it went great. I would love to book one of these one day...I will...I have, but it's been a while.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Auditon: “Jack-in-the-Box” @ Alyson Horn Casting. This goes really well and I think I’m perfect it. I’ve booked through Alyson in the past and have gotten close numerous other times. Callbacks are Friday.

Audition/Pilot: “The Minister of Divine” @ Susan Edelman Casting. This is a series regular role. I felt great about this one too. I don’t go in on series regular roles that often, but I wasn’t nervous. I did have to work on getting out of the “movin’ the story along” mindset of the smaller co-star roles. This character is one of the stars of the show so I was able to take my time a bit with the dialogue.

It’s funny because I’ve worked with, Suzanne Martin, the creator of this pilot during pilot season ’05. She created and executive produced “Hot Properties” and I was in the pilot, but that credit was removed from my resume when I revamped it several weeks ago. But you better believe I put the credit back on for this particular audition. Sure enough, Susan saw it and asked about it.

She also asked where I was from and I told her Virginia Beach and that I moved to LA from New York. She asked what I did in New York and I told her a little film, a little TV, a lot of background, several commercials, a little stage and I waiting on A LOT of tables at the Harley-Davidson Café. She saw my eyes light up when I spoke of my old job waiting tables and really wanted to hear more. I don’t think she’d ever heard an actor speak so highly about being a waiter. She wanted to know why it was such a great experience and you better believe I told her. I went on and on about the Harley-Davidson Café. She was very surprised to say the least.

I read the scene once, thanked her and left. So we’ll see what happens…hopefully something.

Afterwards I returned a call to my agent, Erin, about the offer from casting director Cathy Henderson for the film “Privileged”. She gave me the run-down of what Cathy said, told me the scene is with Tatyana Ali and asked if I was interested in doing it. Oh, and this was the best part. She said, “Cathy, said she would consider it a favor if I’d do it.” “Sure, I’ll do it” I replied. So that’s a booking, they are sending a script and I work on December 22nd.

Friday, October 13, 2006

I did a bunch of running around today inquiring about advertising for my new consulting venture. It’s weird because I’m having to pitch myself to total strangers. The really cool thing is that I’m totally confidant in what I have to offer; which is a great feeling. I would think it’s like what a Honda salesperson must feel like – totally confident.

I just think what I offer is more unique than most of what’s out there because I’m a working actor that is currently in the game on a daily basis. Most that are teaching about the business don’t have that same perspective – I don’t think. Anyway, I should probably start getting on some panels around town to speak and get the word out.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Dag! I passed on another co-star audition on a show I really wanna get on. My agents and I are trying to get more guest-star and series regular appointments. There was an extra twist in this particular situation that made me decline because I might have gone in on it, but I felt it was more important to sit this one out. It’s always hard to turn down an appointment because I would rather be auditioning or on set than not. It’s also important know when to rely on the advice of the agents that I have hired to work for my company; they help to “save me from myself”.

Reader: “Privileged” @ Cathy Henderson Casting. I read 35-40 actors today; women and men, mostly adults. I’ve read hundreds, if not a thousand actors over the years, and I always see something new. What I saw today amazed me. I kid you not; it’s very interesting how these productions come together.

I read actors from ICM and down to actors that had no representation at all. There were some higher profile people who came in for meetings that don’t actually read for all projects. Surprisingly enough, some of them who were only scheduled for meetings, volunteered to read.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Shooting "Michelin" @ Hayvenhurst Studios, Van Nuys, CA. My call this morning was a very casual 10:30am; which was nice, but even if the call was 4:30am I would've been there with a smile.

So arrived, checked in, got settled and, of course, found the craft services table. Gotta get my junk food fix. After a while it's into wardrobe for client/ad agency/director approvals; then it's "hurry up a wait".

Soon enough, our contracts were presented to me and the other two engineers in the commercial. Ooops…There is an issue on the contract. The “Dealer A” box is checked, but it doesn’t say “National Network” anywhere. It doesn’t usually say “National Network” on the contract, so that didn’t concern me, but it did concern me a bit that “Dealer A” was checked.

My agent, Alicia, explicitly told me what the booking was: National network and cable - intended use; new media to be negotiated (written in the ‘special provisions’ area of the contract); internet, if used to be paid at scale.

Now, in reality, it doesn’t mean much when we actors are told that a commercial audition is for national network, cable, regional, seasonal, foreign use, etc. Why? Because it’s all “intended use”. In the end, they can run it however they see fit – and that goes both ways. After booking my “IBM” last year as a national network spot they added an internet spot to shoot two days later. It paid triple scale and shot on a Saturday which is double pay – I made a lot of money for 2 ½ hours of work.

When I called the ad agency to find out when it would run I was told that it would not be running on network, just cable. In the end, not only did it run a lot on network, it also ran in a whole bunch of foreign territories – THAT was a very nice surprise of a check. I was told that they ended up using it on network because their next campaign was behind schedule. So you never know how it’s gonna turn out.

Anyway, me and the other two actors were on the phone to our agents to figure out what to do. Alicia, was unavailable, so my other agent, Brooke, was right there to help. I told Brooke what Alicia said at the time of booking and what I was going to write on the contract. I did that and faxed it to her from the studio and she approved.

This part was a little funny. After I got off the phone with Brooke I went to the production office to turn in my contract. My fellow actors in the spot were already there. They were talking to the 2nd AD who was handling the paperwork and “another gentleman”. I didn’t know who the “other gentleman” was. Mind you, out of the three actors, I was the youngest looking and probably, based on appearance, the least likely to understand the contract – judging by the cool a** hat I was wearing and phat a** phone I was carrying – no Bluetooth earpiece though, I ain’t THAT cool.

I just remember the 2nd AD saying something to me and me responding “No, I’m going to put what my agent told me to put. I’ve written in the special provisions section “new media to be negotiated”.
Complete silence followed......I could feel everyone looking at me.
Then the “other gentleman” said “that’s the internet”. I said, very firmly while looking him directly in the eye, “No, it’s not. The internet is not the same as ‘new media’. The internet already has recognized jurisdiction, ‘new media’ does not. “New media is webisodes, mobisodes, things playing on ipod’s, etc. That is not the internet, the internet scale rate is, I believe, $1,500 for 1 year, ‘new media’ doesn’t have a scale rate as of yet.
“New media” is covered in the new two-year extension to the commercial contract going into effect at the end of the month, but it still won’t have a scale rate. That is up to our agents to get us the best deal they can get.

I later found out that gentleman was the person listed as “producer” on the contract. He is the Senior VP/Executive Producer for the advertising agency. Ooops!!

Not Ooops, I was very respectful, just firm. I knew what I was talking about. Then the other two actors had more questions about it and added the same to their contracts. I ended having a great conversation about the advertising business with the Senior VP.

Since I didn’t get in front of the cameras until after 4pm I couldn’t help but think “I could have been at Warner Bros. shooting “Ocean’s Thirteen” and chillin’ with Al Pacino”, LOL!!! Just kidding. No, of course that crossed my mind. Would you believe me if I said I never thought about it – trust me, I’ll continue to think about it, just like I think about “Ocean’s Twelve”. It doesn’t have a negative effect on me though.

The shoot went great. The director, Cris Blyth, was wonderful to work with and I had long conversations with the art director and copywriter of the spot. They were very open with their part of the process which I am fascinated by.

The spot has a tremendous amount of special effects and isn’t scheduled to run until mid-February. For some reason I have a really good feeling about this one. I’m not sure why, it just seems that all of the elements are there for it to be one those really good ones.
Gustova Rex, Ajay Mehta and myself.
Getting ready for some green screen shooting.

Well, my work is done. Now, I would love to book more spots before this one airs.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Audition: “Two and a Half Men” @ Valko/Miller Casting. I went in for two different co-star roles and felt good about both of them. Ooops, that's not totally true, there was one thing I wanted to ask about before I read, but I forgot. Ya know when you get sides that have a bunch of stuff crossed out and your character is sprinkled throughout the scene? I've been tripped up by that in the past, but this time I paid close attention to the drops and pick-ups, but there was one line that wasn't crossed out; I wasn’t sure if the reading was to read it or not. When that line came up I waited a beat before responding and it came off kinda funny.

In my experience with this office they usually give callbacks in the room. I didn't get a callback, but I didn't get a sense that anybody else got one either. My understanding of the casting process is pretty keen. So maybe it's not next week's episode or they are a little ahead in the casting process. It doesn't really matter, if I get a callback I'm sure I'll hear about it.

Shortly after I left that audition my commercial agent called with an appointment for this afternoon - gotta love the same day calls.

Audition: "Wal-Mart" @ Barbara Divisek Casting. This is a holiday spot and it goes well. Callbacks are tomorrow; hopefully I'll get one.

This "Ocean's Thirteen" thing keeps getting cooler and cooler. When my scene was cut from "Ocean's Twelve" I left myself on IMDB until they removed it. This time, for "Ocean's Thirteen"; I wanted to remove it myself. I think that is a sign of growth. The role is no longer mine; it belongs to Paul Walia and I look forward to seeing his name listed.

Okay, to the supercool part. When I was navigating through the menus of the imdb site to delete the credit; there was a box where I had to explain why I was deleting the credit. Without thinking I wrote, "I had to back out because of scheduling conflicts". Right then, at that very moment, it resonated with me. "scheduling conflicts" are you kidding me!? I LOVE that! I've seen that very phrase in Variety and The Hollywood Reporter for years. Wow, Stephon Fuller pulled out of a studio film because of scheduling conflicts. I won't make it a habit, but it sure sounds interesting. I think this "rite of passage" and "earning my stripes" thing is very real.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Reader: “Privileged” @ Cathy Henderson-Martin Casting.

As I’ve said in the past being a reader is an unbelievably, eye-opening experience. I had a lot of fun reading today for casting director Cathy Henderson. Most of the actor were late teens to early 20’s. Many of them were represented by agents and managers in the upper echelon of the business: ICM, Gersh, Innovative, Brillstein/Grey, APA, etc. It was quite obvious why some of them had the representation that they did, others not so obvious. Not that any were really bad, just inexperienced. It’s amazing how few credits some of them have, but others have been working for a long time.

After about two hours there I was offered a small part in the film; which I said yes to. Later I thought I might have made a mistake, thinking maybe it wasn’t the right decision…hmm. Not to worry. It’s a young director who will do more in the future I’m sure.

After leaving the casting office I stopped by KSA and talked with my commercial and print agents and filled them in on my consulting plan. They were very supportive and excited for me. I’m excited too. I made some phone calls inquiring about studio rental in New York; so I am trying to make things happen.

STEPHON FULLER launches consulting firm!

How well do you know "The Business of the Acting Business"?

Working actor, Stephon Fuller, is now available for group consultations.

Are you working hard enough?
More importantly, are you working smart enough?
How to use casting director workshops?
What about drop-offs?
Are you targeting the right shows?
Who has the power in your career?
What are your expectations - realistically?
What about the 90%/10% theory?
Are you "really" putting it out there to give yourself a fair chance?
Are you kidding yourself?

Learn from someone who is currently working, making a living in the acting business. Speak to someone who truly understands what an actor experiences on a daily basis. Learn alternative methods to build a solid foundation for your career.

The first seminar in Los Angeles will be Sunday, October 22nd, 11am-2pm - $100 per person.

Also - Attention New York actors planning to move to Los Angeles. Get current insight on what to expect in the LA market. Don't spend 2 or 3 years figuring it out? A workshop for New York actors planning to move to the LA market is in the planning stages. Let me know if you're interested. Please pass this onto any actors you think it may be useful for in any market.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Audition: "Lincoln" @ Sheila Manning Casting. Another same-day call; I seem to be getting more and more of those. Cool, no complaints from me. I'm just glad I have such flexibilty with being able to be totally available. Afterall, this IS what I moved here for.
The audition went great! It was four different holiday spots that we were reading for and I felt great about all of them. The session runner was the same gentleman who ran the initial audition and callback for the “Michelin” spot. He was happy for me that they actually booked me.

This “O13” plot keeps getting thicker. Well not really thicker; “better” might be a more accurate term. Remember yesterday when I mentioned that I read a post on that another actor had his availability checked for what I thought to be my role in “O13”? Part of his post about a certain agent included:

“In fact I just got a call this morning from them checking my availability for Ocean's 13 next week.”

I responded to the post “good luck with “O13” – and I meant it sincerely, I had already pulled out. I had no reason to beieve that this actor had any idea who I was.

Well, this afternon I get an email from him saying that he’d been reading my blog for a LONG time. What? Yeah, he also auditioned for the role I got in “The Terminal”. WHAT? This is too crazy. He knew he didn’t get the “O13” job back in June because he read in my blog that I got it. He was disappointed, but happy for me – even though we didn’t know each other.

Anyway, he wrote because he felt guilty because it was my job to begin with and now he’s been booked on it because of my situation. His name is Paul Walia and fortunately he included his phone number in the e-mail. I decided to give him a call.

He really thought I was having a hard time dealing with it, but I quickly cleared that up. I mean sure, it wasn’t so great two days ago, but once I stepped back I knew someone else was going to get a great phone call – that made me smile.

I demanded that he shed no tears for me. There are many other ”O12” and “O13”’s out there for me – I know it. I didn’t even start focusing on studio films until 2003 and since then I’ve booked 3 of them – there are many, many more in my future. I really believe the “rite of passage” and “earning my stripes” angle. I said to Paul “enjoy it, man. Have fun!”, afterall we’ll both be working at the same time. Paul Walia is a great guy and I trust that he’s going to make the most of this opportunity.

Later I stopped by to see my agent Caleigh so I could give her a hug after all of this “stuff”. She felt much better after she talked to Debra herself. Deb assured her that my status in her office is not in danger in any way, shape or form. The dynamic was a little odd because I chose to handle it myself with the casting office where typically the agent would have handled it and informed the actor. I HAD to step up to the plate on this and be very hands on to ease my mind. I can’t think of another office where I would have done the same, this was a very unique situation.

When I think about it, it kinda makes sense that I was very hands on because when I got the booking Debra called me directly on my cell phone with it. She said, “Stephon, I don’t have very many numbers in my cell phone, but I have yours and I want you to be the first to know that you booked “Ocean’s Thirteen”!! And you have a scene with Al Pacino”. THAT was personal service, so I think it’s full circle that I acted in the same manner. We actors have to “drive the car versus being driven”. I’m a driver.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

OMG!! I slept HORRIBLY most of the night. I tossed and turned until about 5:37 am when I woke up and got on the internet to double check exactly who it was who called me from production. I had a bright idea. So bright that I got back in the bed and slept like a baby until 9:14 am. I had a dream that I was on a movie set. Not just any movie set, but the set of “OCEAN’S FREAKIN’ THIRTEEN!!” I even had a wardrobe fitting. I woke up with a smile on my face thinking it had all worked itself out. Well, after being up for about 45 minutes I figured out that I wasn’t in a makeup chair with some hot female all up in my grill making sure I was camera ready. It was just a dream, actually I was sitting at my desk in the same great predicament I was in last night.

Yes, I said “great predicament” and I mean it too. No matter what happens, this is a beautiful thing. I look at it as a “rite of passage” or “the earning of my stripes”; meaning that if you work enough in this town this WILL eventually happen. You WILL find yourself in situations like this. It WILL suck and you WILL move on. So maybe “I have arrived” and this is a gateway to bigger and better things. So, what to do, what to do.

I’m out. Yeah, I’m out. I’m stepping down. Peace, I’ll catch you next time. Release it. I would say “I can’t believe I’m pulling out of this film”, but you know what? “I CAN believe I’m pulling out of this film” and it’s okay – I think. I need to be very hands on with this one – I think. I’m gonna drive my narrow tail to Debra Zane’s office and do it myself, in person – I think. Unless my friend Jon “saves me from myself”. He lives on the way to the office – I think.


I arrive at Jon’s place and tell him what my plan is. He’s like “whoa, whoa, whoa”. I then bring him up to speed with what has gone on in my head and he’s pretty much in agreement. As I’m leaving his house I tell him for some reason I don’t think Deb and Tannis are in the office today so I don’t really know where I’m going and he says “why don’t you just call instead of driving over? Especially if you don’t think they’re there?” “Good question”, I reply. I pondered for a moment and replied, “because I’m a ‘get out there in it kinda guy’.

“Yeah, sometimes picking up the phone is just too easy. I like being out in the field and actually living it”. I said, “the whole reason we are even having this conversation is because I’d rather be out in it than just pick up the phone. That’s how I got “The Terminal” in the first place which has lead to “O12” and “O13”. Jon nodded in agreement; we’ve known each for more than 20 years. I got “The Terminal” from walking to Deb’s office and dropping of my headshot – through the slot in the door. With that, I was on my way.


I’m about a mile from Deb’s office and my cell phone rings; it’s the ‘619’ area code. What? 619? I answer and it’s wardrobe from the “Michelin” spot asking me to bring a couple of things to my fitting this afternoon. What fitting??? I TOTALLY forgot that I have a fitting this afternoon in Santa Monica. I don’t usually forget things I’m getting paid for, but this slipped completely off my radar. My heart is beating a mile a minute because I didn’t know what else I might have forgotten. When I got the “O13” call yesterday I was in the middle of putting together advertising materials for my new consulting endeavor and that just went completely went out the window – I had some momentum going too. I actually had a meeting last week with the owner of TVI Studios – don’t know where that will go, if anywhere.

Anyway, I was reminded that I’m being paid to try on clothes this afternoon – good, no great! For the second time in 24 hours I find myself in Debra Zane’s parking, just sitting in my car. What to do, what to do. I’ve been looking forward to this job for 4 months and here I am getting ready to tell the casting director that I can’t do it. What?! Yeah, it’s time to handle my business.

I walked through the beautiful atrium with my head held high and stopped at the front door. I looked at the door handle, took a deep breath and attempted to turn it - it’s locked - as expected, but the lights are on. I wanted them to be there today because I needed to get this taken care of for all parties involved – it was wearing on me, but I was confidant – until I saw Tannis peek her head out of the back office. She saw that I was at the door, but I was in a shadow so she didn’t know who I was until she got closer. Tannis was 10 feet away, walking to let me in and I didn’t look so confident – in fact, I looked pathetic. Tannis, a former child star herself, sensed something was wrong.

She greeted me and asked what was the matter. I told her I booked the commercial and the whole date change thing – they were kinda aware of it because my agent had called last week. Deb came out, gave me a hug, told me not to worry and that these things happen. We talked about scenarios that could work and couldn’t come up with anything. It just wasn’t meant to be. They assured me that I’d be back in their office; which I never doubted. A load had been taken off of me; I immediately felt better.

We proceeded to talk for 30 minutes and I knew I had done the right thing to handle this myself, in person. Ironically, the actress I was scheduled to work with in “Ocean’s Twelve”, Margaret Travolta, was working today on “Ocean’s Thirteen”! Funny.

They were so understanding, supportive and happy that booked a national commercial. I’m glad I didn’t “just pick up the phone and call” instead of showing up in the flesh. We talked and we laughed and they shared stories with me, as they usually do. I really wish I could write, in depth, about the things I learn from them, but I think I run my mouth enough as it is.

We talked about so many things, one of which was my plans to start consulting on “The Business of the Acting Business”. Deb and Tannis were VERY supportive of that idea. So it worked out really well and I am moving on to the next project – which is a NATIONAL COMMERCIAL on Monday!! I am really excited.

It’s funny, at first I was thinking if there was any casting office I wouldn’t have wanted this to have happened to it would have been Deb’s office. In hindsight, this was the best office that it could have happened at because of my relationship with them. I feel great about what I did and they way I handled it.

While talking with Deb and Tannis my friend, Gwendolyn Oliver, left a voicemail. Gwen and I interned and were readers at Henderson/Zuckerman casting a long time ago. She had recently spoken to Cathy Henderson and mentioned my name. She gave me Cathy’s number to give her a call to catch up a maybe help out with a project she is working on.

Afterwards, I drove to my theatrical agents’ office to tell Caleigh how it went, but they were gone for lunch. She called me later and was not happy with losing the booking, but very understanding nonetheless. We’ll get another one soon.

Before I even got a chance to call Cathy she called me. It was great to catch up with her and I’m going to be her reader on Thursday; if I don’t have any conflicts. It’s been a little quiet this week audition-wise, so I have a feeling I might get a call for Thursday. Hopefully, it will all work out.

This makes me think of something. One time when I was a reader for them back in 2000 I got an audition for “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, but I had already committed to be a reader and I didn’t want to cancel. Plus, there was a role I was right for in the project and since I was in the room with the producers I almost felt like it was a callback. They couldn’t change the time of the “Sabrina” audition so I passed; my agent at the time trusted my judgment and was understanding. Well, Dori Zuckerman; overheard from the office assistant that I passed on an audition and offered to call Rick Milliken’s office to make sure I was seen. She called and got me seen and I ended up booking the role on “Sabrina” AND getting a part in the project I was a reader for. How cool is that?

My next call was to Alicia, my commercial agent. She had been trying to help the situation so that I might be able to do both, but it wasn’t to be. I told her I pulled out of “O13”. She was saddened that I had to do that, but happy things were settled. I told her about my “right of passage” and “earning my stripes” outlook and she agreed wholeheartedly. We also talked about me being a consultant on “The Business of the Business of Acting” and she was also very supportive.

So, to the fitting for “Michelin”. It goes fairly quick. I have a sneaking feeling that this is going to be a good spot for me. I don’t know why, but I do. There are 8 people and I am the only African-American male – there are other elements that give me a good feeling too.

So, I guess it’s truly on to the next.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The plot gets thicker.... I had a feeling this could happen. Well, I knew it could happen, but I had a feeling it actually might happen. My shoot date for "O13" is still moving in a not so great direction and looking to collide with my shoot date for the "Michelin" commercial. In fact, it has collided.

There are injuries; some minor some major. I tried to be safe, wore my seatbelt, obeyed speed limits, checked my tire pressure, etc. I saw this accident as it was happening and was hoping I could swerve to avoid it.

The exact time of the impact was 11:53 this morning when the UPM of "O13" called to say that another day had been added to my booking. I gripped the steering wheel tight.

He added that the additional date was Monday. I slammed on the brakes and started sliding sideways. That's when I hit the wall; the airbag immediately deployed and the car burst into flames. I was able to get out of the vehicle before the explosion that followed. As paramedics arrived on the scene I sat dazed & confused; I was shook.

This wasn't supposed to happen this way...or maybe this is exactly how it's supposed to happen. I auditioned for "Ocean's Thirteen" on June 7th and got the booking phone call directly from the casting director, Debra Zane, on June 20th while on vacation in Virginia Beach.

Several weeks later I got my work date of October 12th. Great! Since my part in “Ocean’s Twelve” was cut from the script I was especially excited to be a part of the project and to get a second chance at working with director Steven Soderbergh.


SFX: Cell phone ringing...

Stephon: Hello?

UPM: Hey Stephon, it's Basti from "Ocean's Thirteen" production.

Stephon: Good morning; how are you?

UPM: I’m good thanks. Hey, it looks like we’re going to get into your stuff on Monday and most likely Tuesday.

Stephon: Really? You’re kidding.

UPM: No, that’s the way the boards look.

Stephon: Wow, I’m already working on that day.

UPM: That’s why I wanted to contact you early to give you a chance to figure out what you wanted to do.

Stephon: I appreciate that. Alright, I’ll figure it out……..


Back to me sitting on the curb surrounded by paramedics. I've got a serious gash on my left leg, but other than that I'm okay. I’ve lost a bit of blood, but I think I’m gonna make it.


The first call goes to Caleigh, my theatrical agent handling this job. I give her the news and of course she is not happy. Then I ring Alicia, my commercial agent. Of course she isn’t happy either, but she also knows that the commercial booking is in first position since I was clear when I committed to the date. We discuss the legalities of this situation - and trust me, there are legalities. It’s “O13” that’s ahead of schedule.

After hanging up the phone I just sat at my desk and thought…and thought…and thought…and thought some more. How could I get this to work out? Honestly, considering the news and knowing what needs to be shot I didn’t think it would work out. The elements just weren’t there, but I wasn’t going to give up without a fight.

Things have worked so well for me, in my life in general, that I had a feeling that this time I was gonna feel a little pain…and I was ready – at least I think so. I didn’t know what to do. I thought of a zillion different scenarios and none of them seemed to really work – even in my head. It was slipping through my fingers – “like sand slipping through the hour-glass, this is a day in my life.”

So I hop in my car and drive aimlessly; I stop by my friend Jon’s spot – he wasn’t home. I usually bounce things off Jon. It’s funny because we have totally different thought processes so I have to constantly fight to make my point. It’s a good thing because it forces me to challenge my way of thinking and you’d be shocked at what goes through my head. But he wasn’t home and I was on my own – hey, that kinda rhymes…..

15 minutes later I found myself in casting director Debra Zane’s parking lot just sitting in my car. I wasn’t even sure why I was there. I wasn’t sure I was doing the right thing. I walked up to the office and it was dark and the door was locked – good. The locked door was “saving me from myself” – I think. I didn’t knock or ring the bell. Deep down, I knew that the door is usually locked and they may be in the back, but I needed an excuse to not push a situation that I wasn’t sure about.

I could have just had my agents handle things, but I knew I needed to be very, very hands on with this one. Debra and Tannis and very, very special to me.

I just stood outside the door for a while just sorta pacing and probably looking mad suspicious. After a while I went back to sit in my car.

This isn’t something I would want to happen with any casting office in town, but Debra Zane and Ross Lacy???? WHAT!!! These are two of my biggest supporters in casting. In 2006 I have had auditions, callbacks or 2nd callbacks a total of 20 times at just Ross Lacy casting. Debra has booked me on 3 studio films. Finally, I get my head together and get on my way.

This is funny – really funny. Late tonight, I was on the forum reading a post about agents. An actor had responded to a topic and in his post this was included:

“In fact I just got a call this morning from them checking my availability for Ocean's 13 next week.”

WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I betcha that is my freakin role!! LOL!!!! How funny is that? I couldn’t do anything but laugh – out loud. Here is an actor who auditioned for this movie BACK IN JUNE and didn’t get the role, but now he gets a call because of my drama. This is the casting process at work and I love it – even if I may lose something in the process. I don’t know what’s going to happen at this point, but I’m really happy that somebody just might get a great surprise of working with Al Pacino – I wish it was me, but You can’t have everything. I’ve been the recipient of the wonderfulness of this business so many times and I’m willing to share – if I have to, lol!

Make no mistake, I have NOT given up. Not yet!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Audition: “Comcast” @ Cathi Carlton Casting. This one went really well. I have not been to Cathi’s office in a while; so hopefully this is the start of me getting back in on a regular basis.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I re-signed with my theatrical agents for 3 years today – wow, that’s a commitment. It feels right though – that will take me to 11 years with them. I must have a lot of confidence in them huh? They in me too.

My next stop was to Warner Bros Studios for my “Ocean’s Thirteen” fitting. I auditioned for this project on June 7th and got word I booked on June 20th. Three months ago and I still have two weeks to go. I’m not complaining; it’s been really cool knowing that I had this job to look forward to from so long ago. My experience with “Ocean’s Twelve” was similar with the long lead time, but my scene was cut before shooting.

While trying to find the correct room I ran into Jason Killalee. Jason and I worked together back in New York at The Harley-Davidson Café. Just thinking of that place makes me smile; I had such a great time. Waiting tables there, with that group of people definitely did not suck. Here we are all of these years later still making it happen. Jason just booked a role on new CBS drama “Smith” and was there for a fitting too. I was in and in out in a flash.

Oh yeah, I finally got my pages for my character. It looks like I am in 4 scenes with a little bit of dialogue in two of them. Al Pacino is in one or two of them, but I don’t think I have dialogue with him anymore.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

It finally happened again! I knew it would, I just didn’t know when. Now that I think about it; it happened in the same place as before – years ago!

This morning I’m on my way to move my car so I don’t get a parking ticket; this is where it starts getting fun – or funny. Since I don’t have parking where I live I have to move my car way more often than what is normal. I am a pretty even keeled person in most situations, but parking in Los Angeles drives me up the freakin’ wall. To keep me somewhat sane I have a skateboard so I can skate back forth to my car; it helps me forget having to park a half mile away. I love riding my skateboard.

So I’m skateboarding and I’m almost all the way to my car going from the street back to the sidewalk. There was a little lip on the curb; nothing the skateboard or I couldn’t handle, but I was hitting it at the wrong angle – and I knew it, but it was too late, I was going too fast.

The two front wheels of the skateboard hit the lip on the curb and stopped cold. The problem was that my body didn’t stop. At this point my life went into slow-motion and everything was completely silent. In an instant my body was 4 feet off the ground and perfectly horizontal. I could see the red curb clear in my view but it was too far away too for me to reach. About this time I began to descend back to earth and my glasses started to fall away from my face. I reached for them and touched them but they got away. At this point I had to use my hands to break my fall; hopefully my glasses would survive to guide me through another day.

I got my hands out (including my wrist that has been sore for months) to break my fall, but I kinda landed in that weird running position were you’re trying to get your feet under you. It didn’t work. I ended up “running” for a spell and then I did this weird, but cool as heck spin in the air. I spun around and landed on my back with a thud. I spun two more times on the asphalt and popped up and landed on my feet like I did it on purpose. I must’ve looked like a circus act; I wish I could’ve seen it.

So I land, gather my head back together and find my glasses. Cars are slowing down looking at me. I had the biggest smile on my face; it was an exhilarating feeling. At that point I realized that this whole thing happened because I was riding a skateboard. Where was that skateboard? Ummmm… I’m frantically looking around and there it is; in the distance in the middle of the street with cars slowing to dodge it. I sprint over, looking both ways and creep in the street to retrieve it.

I skated the rest of the way to my car with the biggest smile on my face. I so wish I could see the whole thing on tape – it had to have been hilarious. I scraped my knee up a little and my wrist is sore, but I came away okay. It could have been real ugly if a car would have been coming around that corner. I’m pretty careful, on my skateboard, bike, motorcycle and snowboard. I am a bit of risking taker – I can’t help it.
Not too long after getting back to my apartment and letting my heartbeat go back to normal my commercial agent calls with a callback for this afternoon for the spot I went out on yesterday.

Callback: “Miller Beer” @ Kathy Knowles Casting. This went great. They took us in in groups of 3, but we performed on our own. I went first and was really happy with how it went, but the guy who went after me was sooooo funny. To be honest I don’t think he knew what was going on – or maybe he was faking it. I don’t know, but that dude was funny. I still think they should cast me though – I love “Miller Beer”; I just don’t drink it.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Audition: “Miller Beer” @ Kathy Knowles. I thought I was going to be totally free to just hustle drops today/Monday since I hadn’t gotten any appointments by 8pm on Friday. Actually, I didn’t go out of the house the entire day on Friday. I was exhausted.

Sure enough, @ 4:18pm on Saturday I get an email from KSA for an appointment for this morning. KSA rocks!!
When I signed in I scanned over the list of actors who had appointments throughout the day for this commercial and was amazed that I was one of them - I'm ALWAYS amazed and grateful for the appointments I get. I mean, I shouldn't be amazed, I have great agents, the right photos, I've trained - I've definitely done my part to make it happen, but it's still surreal to me that it's actually working. I should be used to it by now.

The audition goes well. I got great direction from the session runner and I was on my way. Good thing they didn't need headshots for this one because the last line on my resume says:

"Guess What. You're not gonna believe this, but I've never had coffee or any kind of alcohol. Never. Ever."

Nope, I've never had a beer, but I've done commercials for "Icehouse", "Michelob Ultra" and sold a lot of it when I was a waiter. I need to book a Starbucks commercial too.

Uh, no!! My work date for "Ocean's Thirteen" is changing a little and it's encroaching on the date that I shoot the Michelin" commercial. At first it was Monday for the commercial and Thursday of the same week for “O13”, but now my date for “O13” has changed from Thursday to Tuesday with no guarantee that it won’t change even more. Ooops, I would hate to miss out on one of these jobs. That would not be good. I trust that it will all work out. It's a great problem to have.

You don't really think about what "O/A" means in contractual terms until it seems like it might affect you. "O/A" means "On or about" as in start of employment. I'm not sure what the window is, but in these situations employers have some leeway. I don't think it's going to be a problem. It's great to have your agent making phone calls because you've booked other jobs that may conflict with previous bookings.

I remember in October of 2002; a couple of months after shooting the ‘Honda of Japan” commercials. I had flown back to Virginia Beach to see my mother who was ill.

I landed on a Friday afternoon and checked my voicemail. I had a message from my commercial agent saying that the production of the Honda spots was checking my availability to be in Tokyo the following Wednesday through Sunday, but they wouldn't know until Monday. Okaay.

Cut to: Monday afternoon - East Coast

The word comes in that everything is a go. A couple of hours later I’m on a plane back to Los Angeles and arrive late Monday night. Tuesday morning I go to Susan Haven's casting office to pickup my plane ticket to the Far East.

Wednesday morning I leave for Tokyo, Japan! WHAT! Yeah. We land, go straight to a fitting, dinner and check into the Tokyo Prince Hotel. I check my voicemail and my theatrical agent has left a message saying "Frasier" is checking your availability for next Tuesday and Wednesday.

I finish shooting the "Honda" spots, fly back to LA Sunday afternoon and Monday morning I get the booking for Tuesday/Wednesday on "Frasier". That afternoon "Good Morning, Miami" calls to book me for Wednesday/Thursday. Obviously, I was already booked on "Frasier" for Wednesday “GMM” and said it would be cool if I could only work on Thursday. All that worked out – I’m confident that the "Michelin" vs. “Ocean’s Thirteen” chronicles will work out too. I must say, it feels good to have a couple of things on my plate.