Friday, March 31, 2006

(818) 613-0002

Print go-see: “Sonance” @ Jim Purdum Photography. This went really, really well. I’m digging this print stuff.

FINALLY, I got my zed card today. I and my agents are really happy with the outcome. As soon as I left my agents office I went straight to LA Casting to get it scanned in the system. I'm not wasting any time. I'll hit Breakdown Services on Monday.

Something I was wondering was this: Why was I getting so many print appointments all of the sudden? I had 4 last year and 7 this month alone. I'm new in the print game so I'm not really sure how it works. I mean my zed card wasn't complete until today. Was Jenny submitting the new photos separately before the actual card was done? Well I got to ask her today and the answer was "no". She was only submitting my headshots like she's done for years. I was surprised when she told me that. I'll chalk it up to "it must be in the air" I guess things happen when they are supposed to. Well, I don't wanna just get appointments; I wanna book!

Also, the SAG rep called me bright and early this morning letting me know he straighten out my dental claim and it will be reprocessed. Cool, another great day. I'm getting things done.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

This morning I helped Casting Director Debra Zane and her associate Tannis Vallely move out of their offices on Wilshire. They just wanted me to watch the truck while the movers brought loads down. Okay cool, so I grab my new skateboard and I'm on my way.

When I arrive, to my surprise, the elevator is not working. Oh no! They are on the 6th floor of the building! So, of course, I dove right in to help. OMG!!! I must’ve made 10-12 trips up and down those stairs to the basement. For me it was the work out of all work outs. I didn’t eat anything before I left the house, which is normal because I’m a FREAKIN’ WAIF! After about the 3rd trip my legs were quivering for real. I kept it moving, slow and steady, and never stopped till we were done.

I gotta tell ya, being in an office of that magnitude is crazy because you hear and see how it all goes down at the very top level of the game – to me it’s fascinating. On top of that Deb and Tannis are so cool. Out of respect I won’t mention anything or any names I heard, but being a businessman by nature that kind of talk excites me to the max. I just love deal making.

Another thing that was really cool was taking the movie poster one sheets down to be loaded up. They were all films that Debra cast – “Men in Black”, “Seabiscuit”, “Catch Me If You Can”, “Road To Perdition”, “Ocean’s Eleven”, “Traffic”, “American Beauty”, “Pleasantville”, etc. and they we all autographed by the cast and/or director, producer or writer. Wow, what a body of work go Deb! .....hmmm I wonder if she's casting "Ocean's Thirteen". Hopefully, I'll know first hand in a couple of months.

Print go-see: "Wells Fargo" @ Connie Conway Casting. This one went great!

It actually felt like an on-camera commercial audition. Normally, when people ask "how it's going?" I can give them a true, resounding "GREAT! or "FANTASTIC!" and mean it from the bottom of my heart. It was funny because I could not really say that over the last several months. It would be "I'm aiight" or "Just tryin' to keep it together" or "I'm still here". Well, today when the casting director ask me how I was I said, without having to think about it, "FANTASTIC! and I meant it. It felt so good.

That doesn't mean I don't have any issues; for instance my zed card still isn't finished and I'm having a little situation with my dental insurance coverage. The great thing is that I went to the printer to find out what is going on and then made an extra phone call to see if I could make something happen sooner. With my dentist, I showed up at the office to get to bottom of situation with Delta Dental. THAT is how I would normally handle it; not making a phone call, leaving a message for someone that may or may not call me back. Now that I think about it the guy from SAG Pension and Health didn't call me back. Looks like I'm marching to the office in Burbank tomorrow to get to the bottom of it. Yeah, "don't wait for it to happen, make it happen!!" Print go-see: "IBM" @ All Print Media. I've done a couple of TV spots for "IBM" maybe that will give me an edge. Probably not, but wishful thinking. This one goes really well too. I guess.

Hey!! Remember me saying that my “IBM” spot was dead? I got a residual check today. That was a nice surprise on a already great day. I don’t expect to see anymore though.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Print go-see: "Nestle's Crunch" @ Michael Harrelson. YES another go-see! Hopefully, this will become a regular thing that will lead to more bookings in this new area. I've only done one print job since I've been in LA and that was from a drop-off, but I've gotten close on several others.

This went well, I guess. It took all of 37 seconds after waiting an hour. I wasn't complaining though, I saw several people that I knew and hadn't talk to in a while. A good day.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

This afternoon I attended the Basic Cable Live Action Strike Authorization Caucus. It was encouraging......I think. The SAG President, Alan Rosenberg, and his team were very good about explaining exactly what we are up against. Let me tell you, we’re up against some of the biggest corporations in the world…..I guess. They’re big!! And they have big global interest.

In my opinion SAG has been behind the curve for far too long. The current leadership seems to honestly want to break the mold of what has gotten us in such a tough position. Breaking that mold may include a strike in the near future. I don't look forward to being on strike, but I think it's an important tool for the leadership to have at its disposal.

I really wish I would have seen more of my fellow performers in attendance. This stuff is so important to our futures in the business. If the opposition could get away without paying us any residuals at all I think they probably would. Many think just getting a couple of national commercials can take care of everything. As someone who has done a national or two or three I can tell you that is not the whole story. These figures are based on a very complicated formula and it’s very difficult to keep track of it. I have had at least two of my commercials that others have said they saw in Europe, yet I wasn’t paid any foreign use fees. Fortunately, my recent “IBM” spot did run in foreign markets and I was paid for it.

I’m not saying you have to be on the board of SAG or anything like that. I just think it’s really important to be informed about how we are compensated. I must say I left there with a better feeling than I have in the past. The commercial contract expires in October and I’ll be watching what happens like a hawk.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Today marks my 5-year anniversary of leaving my job waiting tables at The Hollywood Standard. I simply say "Wow!" Five years of making my entire living solely as an actor.

It hasn't always been easy, but sometimes it's been very easy. I've lived a pretty good life since entering the entertainment business, especially after moving to New York to really pursue it.

I remember when I first considered leaving The Standard; I didn't know if or when I would need to return. What I did know was that is was a chance that I had to take. The way I looked at it I wasn’t making that much money for the effort I was putting out. I worked the graveyard shift, 11pm – 7am. I probably could have gotten a more profitable shift like 5pm – midnight, but that would have conflicted with my workshops and classes. Those were considered the “good shifts” and all the “veterans” had those. I had a different plan.

It’s funny, my fellow employees would ask how in the heck I could stand to work the hours that I did. Let me tell you, I played a lot of mind games with myself to justify it. My answer would usually be, “I’m doing this so I won’t have to do this”. Remember, I was working the graveyard shift at a Hollywood Hotspot on The Sunset Strip. Whew!

There were so many shifts when I would be at work at 4:30 am wondering if I was crazy for putting myself through it. I knew one day I would go back there and not have to serve a burger or a mixed drink. That day came when I booked the commercial for Honda/Japan. The production, advertising execs and director happened to be staying at The Standard and had the wardrobe fitting there…….by the pool! It was quite interesting because at the time I had been gone from the job for about a year, but several of the same people still worked there. They were wondering why I was kinda hanging out in the middle of the day sitting in those funky chairs in the lobby. I was waiting for my close-up! I’m kidding, but I must admit that it felt great to be back in that way.

The moment I knew I had to leave was the morning I got off work and parked my car in front of a driveway from like 7:20am until 2pm! Ooops! I was lucky that I didn’t get a ticket or worse towed. Something had to give, I was going crazy.

At first when I left I'd drive by the hotel and wonder if or when I would return. That eventually changed to "I am on a leave of absence from there" to "I used to work there" to "Wow, I used to work there!" to now I can drive by there and not even notice the building. I have to say that is a really great feeling.

Although, it doesn't always feel like such an incredible feat; I know when I look at the numbers of SAG members and the odds against me making a freaking dime in the business it's something to be very excited and proud about.

Being an actor is the best job I've ever had, but I have to say that working at The Harley-Davidson Café was a close second. That was a great time. Well, wait a minute. I HAVE to include my 15+ years working for my parents at the family deli, Philadelphia Cold Cuts, in Virginia Beach, VA. Although it wasn't always a smooth situation; it did teach me things about business and life. My tireless work ethic definitely came from my experiences there. I hope to never have to serve another burger or mixed drink unless it's in a film, TV, stage or commercial project. Don't get me started on working at Old Navy/Beverly Center. Now THAT was a whole ‘nother thing.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Ya know, occasionally over the years people have told me that I have lost weight or tell me how “little” I am. I usually correct them and say “I’m not little like a chick or nothing like that; I’m just slight and but fit”. I know I lost some weight years ago when I moved to New York, but I think I look pretty much the same.

Since I’m in the process of getting my zed card done I really wanted to get my sizes right. Well the verdict is in; I AM smaller than I was years ago. How the heck did that happen? I thought I wore a 38R suit jacket. Well, I did, I have one and it used to fit. Actually, it was a suit that my father bought for me. Imagine that; my dad buying me something. It was a while ago. I have another suit that I usually wear on the rare occasions that I wear a suit. I “thought” it was a 38R. Upon closer inspection I saw that it’s a 36R. WHAT!!! I’m freakin’ smaller than I was when I graduated from high school!

I don’t get it. I mean I’m not trying to gain weight or anything like that, I just think that I would naturally put on some weight as I got older…..and I am getting older. At the same time I don’t want to waste away in my later years either. Both of my “little” brothers are bigger than me too. Maybe it’s an LA thing! I work out and I am pretty active, but I wouldn’t think I would be getting smaller.

I’m going skiing next week so I pulled out my ski pants that I haven’t worn in years thinking they would be too small because they were a little snug the last time I wore them. I tried them on they fit!! WHAT!!?? I mean that’s great because I won’t have to buy new ones, but dag I’m a waif. I guess the last 6-7 months have been as rough as they have felt. ……..hmmmm if I could only do something about these size 11 feet.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Audition: "Lowe's" @ Kathy Knowles Casting. As soon as I walked in the session director informed me that my character had changed from "customer" to "employee". Hmmmm, I would have worn a different shirt. That's okay, I'll give 'em what I got. I felt great about it, hopefully I'll get a callback.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Jury duty. Ugh! I was selected about 3 years ago, shortly after my mom passed away and was excused. So here I am again. I gotta tell ya, dealing with the City/State is always interesting. It's as different a world as Hollywood; it's like going to DMV. I guess I'm getting used to Hollywood; I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing......or both.

Fortunately, I was to sneak out to my commercial audition during lunch from jury duty.

Audition: "" @ Joe Blake Casting. I think I might be a little young for a bank manager, but it went well.

I made it back to the courthouse just in time. Thankfully, we actually had a 2-hour lunch so that worked in my favor. Shortly after lunch I was called to be a potential juror. Me and about 18 others waited outside the courtroom for 20 minutes and then the defendant plea bargained. As a result we were sent back to the holding area and released about 30 minutes later. I gotta tell you being at the courthouse sucks. I wouldn't want regular visits there to be in my future, no no no!. I mean, I guess there are other reasons to be there, but it just doesn't feel good.

All in all a good experience. They were nice and I didn't have to pay for parking. I wouldn't mind serving on a jury; I bet it's a very interesting experience. It's just that it could play havoc on my schedule. Since auditioning is my current job I can't miss them unless it's a great reason. One day, I'll get to serve.....if the timing is right.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Okay, it’s official I’ve been released from my conflict on the “IBM” spot. It turned out really well for me. Although, I kinda thought they would pay 2 more cycles; it’s okay that they didn’t. It ran more than I thought it would and the ad agency told me that it wouldn’t run on Class A Network. Not only did it get a lot of Class A run, I received a nice foreign check and great internet spot out of it too.

Largely, the way I look at it if you’re not going to run it please release me and give me the chance to book some thing else in that category. I’ve others that have held me for a year and not run in busy categories like beer. So now I am free to audition for hardware and software again. Watch out!!!!

Friday, March 17, 2006

I got some great news from my friend Jonathan Julian. Jon and I have been friends for more than 20 years. Actually, he introduced me to my first acting teacher in Virginia Beach.

Anyway, back in 2002 he self-submitted for a project called "Noah's Arc" on He got an appointment, auditioned and booked a recurring role. It seemed like it took a year before they even shot the two episodes, but he was patient. Periodically, Jon would hear from the director, Patrick-Ian Polk, saying that he's "still writing" or "taking meetings". Jon didn't sweat it. Ya know how it is in Hollywood, everybody has something they're writing or pitching.

Patrick gained success some years ago with a feature called "Punks", so Jon knew he knew how to get something shot and finished.

One day in late 2004 Jon got word that Viacom was interested. They were starting a new network called "Logo". A couple of months later it was official! The deal was done; he was to recur in 6 of the 8 scheduled episodes.

He shot them, learned a lot, met a lot of people and even did some press junkets in and out of town. The episodes aired and were well-received.

They were picked up for a second season and just this week he got the news that he's been upgraded to a series regular. I am so excited for him. The gig will take him to Vancouver for two months of filming.

The funny part about this or not so funny is that he still doesn't have a theatrical agent therefore he doesn't get too many TV/Film appointments. Last pilot season he booked 5-6 days of work in the pilot of ABC's "In Justice" through a direct call from Zane/Pillsbury Casting. Just this week Zane/Pillsbury called him again for another pilot called "Alpha Mom" and he booked a role in that too. Through some other deveolpments I looks like some agent meetings are on the horizon for him. Go Jon!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Print go-see: "AOL" @ Lien/Cowan Casting. This is great! Jenny, my print agent, called to say she put my zed card together and sent it to the printers to be proofed. She seemed really happy with the outcome and thinks I will be the same. I gotta tell ya, I can't believe I got the card done in the time frame she requested. Getting my mojo back? Perhaps.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Audition: "Washington Lotto" @ Ross Lacy Casting. I felt great about this one. My auditioning partner and I did a "Denny's" commercial together years ago.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Audition: "Wachovia" @ Deborah Kurtz Casting. I was a father and husband in the spot. My "daughter" was the cutest little 4-year old girl. I booked a "Pizza Hut" through Deborah years ago. Time to strike again or at least get close.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Wow, today is my dad's birthday. We haven't spoken in about 3 years; I wonder if that'll ever change. Interesting, I guess I could change it by picking up the phone and calling him. Huh? Something to think about.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Of course my scheduled background work was while there was a big storm in town. The forecast was cold and wet. Dag!! I hate being cold and/or uncomfortable if I can help it. At least I'm getting paid AND the earnings go toward my SAG insurance.....gotta keep that coverage.

So I show up on-set in the Media Center Mall area of Burbank. Okay, the irony in my life really needs to stop because.......well just because......long story.

I gotta tell ya, it was interesting to show up as a background player. I'm much more used to being part of "the cast" and having a trailer. I checked in and took a seat outside under the canopy. Fortunately, it was a pretty small call, only about 10 background total. It was cool, I don't have a big ego or anything like that so I was chillin'.....literally, LOL!.

Sitting under the open-air canopy I realized immediately that one of two things was going to happen. Either this production worker, Mike, was going to be able to light the huge propane heater that sat in front of me OR all 10 of us were going to freeze our asses off. Afterall, it's only 8:30pm and they said we won't finish until daybreak. Needless to say, I was hoping for the former. After a few minutes it wasn't looking good, he couldn't get it to fire up. Oh nooo!

He put in a call to PA "Burke". A moment later, "Burke" made a guest appearance and sparked it right up. Thank God for Burke! That propane heater really put out some serious freakin' heat. We were almost as good as being inside.

Usually, in this business the name of the game is "hurry up and wait". I was prepared, I had my big "East Coast coat", 3 pairs on thermal underwear, gloves, several magazines, this new life altering book I've been reading for a couple of weeks and of course my trusty PDA.

Believe it or not after only about 15 minutes they came to get me and 3 others. Two of the others, actually a husband and wife team, seemed to know quite a bit about the business of SAG background work. While we walked to set they explained a bit of the "Background language" to me and the other first timer. They also told me it was double pay since it was Saturday, plus a night premium and an extra fee for the use of my car! Okay, cool. I knew when I've worked as a principal on a Saturday it was double pay, but I wasn't aware it was the same for background.

So we get to set and I see that it's a "VW Jetta" we are working with. I'm thinking to myself "not only is this a VW spot, but why a Jetta? Of all of the cars out there why a Jetta?" Don't get me wrong it's a beautiful car; I'd love to have it. Matter of fact, my first car was a VW Super Beatle back in the day. I know this seems weird for me to trip about this..........but it's a long story. Trust me, long and depressing, LOL!.

Immediately, I'm instructed to get in the drivers seat. After a moment or two I figure out that I am actually doing stand-in work. I've never been a stand-in before, actually I'm more used to having a stand-in. I guess that puts me one step closer to being able to say "I've done it all" LOL!

After 20 minutes of stand-in work sitting in the driver's seat. I sat in my car for about 3 hours and read, wrote and slept. Then dinner came at like 1 am and more sleep. After a while the 2nd AD came to get me to stand in again. I stood in for about 1 minute and went back to my car to read, sleep and write. At 5 am some of us were finished, but they needed 6 drivers. I volunteered to stay; we were already into overtime so it was good for the bottom line. I spent almost an hour waiting in my car for them to get the shot ready and then worked for about 7 minutes. After that @ 6am it was a wrap!

What a pleasant experience; 10 hours of sleeping, reading, eating and writing.......oh and a little bit of work. Everybody I met was very nice and personable, cast and crew. I was prepared for the worst, but it ended up being a very positive experience plus it didn't rain AND double $$$$.

Friday, March 10, 2006

I e-mailed my selects from the photo shoot to my print agent and she seemed very happy with the results. I don't really know much about the print arena so I'm just following what Jenny is telling me to do.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

My friend Heather Witbeck who I used to wait tables with in New York at The Harley-Davidson Café sent me a text message letting me know my episode of “Love, Inc.” was on. I turned on the TV and there I was right on the screen! Ha! How did I miss that? I would have sent out postcards if I knew it was coming up. Oh well, at least I’ll get paid again.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Funny how this bio/blog works sometimes. The whole blogger thing is trip; it's especially interesting how they are used by some. Good, bad or indifferent they are always entertaining. I try to keep mine uplifting and positive.

Anyway, a friend of mine who I hadn't spoken to in a while read about some of the things I am currently up to........for better or for worse, lol!

He's a photographer and offered to shoot my zed card for a very, very, very reasonable rate. Last Summer/Fall he went on an incredible 6-month photo journey to Europe and took over 100,000 photos. I don't think there is any way I could embark on such a journey alone. Most of the time he didn't know the language or where he was sleeping on a given night.

He recounted a harrowing experience in Serbia where he was removed from the bus he was riding and accused of being a terrorist. WHAT??! Yeah, they checked his passport and all the countries he'd been too and he looked quite suspicious. Then they said his passport was a fake. He somehow wiggled his way out of it. Afterall, (his words) "I'm just a white kid from Chicago".

His name is Aaron Wulf; he is currently re-working his website. I'll post a link when it's up and running. We had a great time shooting. The best part for me was getting to flex a little on my mountain bike. I ain't saying I got mad skills or nuttin' like that, but for a cat my age I can definitely get down wit da get down......a little. I really need to ride more often.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Ya know, I've been in Los Angeles for almost 8 years and I have yet to have a single audition for a daytime soap. Not even once and I've tried. I was in New York for 4 years and only had one soap audition in all of that time.

Another market I've tried to crack at various times with absolutely no success is the SAG background work market. I did a lot of it in New York and would've done the same here except for two reasons.

One: I was a little confused by the having to register with a "background agency". What? I don't remember ever doing that in New York.

Two: I literally started auditioning for principal roles in commercials the first day I landed in Los Angeles. I had 3 auditions and 3 callbacks the first week I was in town, thanks to my wonderful agents @ KSA.

The last thing I wanted to do was have background work conflict with principal auditions that my agents were working so hard to get for me. So I didn't pursue it.

A couple of years later after leaving my job @ The Hollywood Standard I decided to try to open up more revenue streams in "the biz". So I submitted to 3 or 4 commercial background agencies to attempt to get in their files. I mailed and I mailed and I mailed some more and nobody would ever call me to get in their books so I could actually be submitted for work.

I never got upset or frustrated. Actually, I thought it was kind of funny. Here I was able to book a series of commercials that ended up being 4 days of work in Los Angeles and later 5 more in Japan and a role in "The Terminal" with Tom Hanks directed by Steven Spielberg all from dropping off my own photo. Yes, a drop-off BUT I couldn't get a call from a commercial background agency to save my life!

So, needless to say, I was shocked when Alice Ellis Casting called to see if I was available to work on a "Volkswagen" commercial on Saturday night. Sure, I have nothing going on Saturday night that's going to earn me a check (Although, I wished it was any other carmaker than Volkswagen.....long story).

It's great timing because I didn't have one single audition this week, which is kinda rare for me.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Print go-see: "HSBC" @ Brigid McBride Casting. WHAT!!! Already? I haven't even gotten my zed card done yet. I'm kidding, I'm sure it's just a coincidence. I had to strip down to my underwear for this one. Huh! Me? What the heck were they thinking? Oh well.

I haven't been on my regular workout schedule for a minute, but I sure snuck one in early this morning before going in. Thankfully, I had that motivation because I definitely would NOT have been at the gym. Maybe this is a good sign to breathe new life into my print career. Ha! Time will tell. Off to the races in San Bernardino.

Friday, March 03, 2006

The piece I did for NPR with Debra Zane Casting and her associate Tannis Vallely aired this morning. Obviously, I knew I had done it and Deb called to tell me when it was running, but I just thought it was for local radio. I forgot that NPR stands for National Public Radio. I was surprised when I got calls from people in other states. My voice sounds funny to me on the radio, but maybe that's good. Click to listen. I even got a photo with Deb!! What!!! They even spelled AND pronounced my name wrong. What!!!

Also this morning I met with Kelsey Edwards to discuss shooting my zed card for print. I really liked her and I think she liked me…..imagine that!!! She even liked what I wore, which was great because I don't have a whole lot of style to speak of. We were on the same page as far as what I'd be trying to sell so I think that's a great start. I also met with Karl Preston and I liked him too, but I think I'm set on shooting digitally. I'll be meeting with a few others and checking websites to make a decision and get on with it.

Audition: "McDonald's" @ Cervantes/Nomad Casting. Went great!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Audition: "Cingular" @ Sobo Casting. This one had a lot of copy which I think I handled quite well. Callbacks are in the morning so I'll guess I'll know soon enough.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Audition: “Freddie” @ Zane/Pillsbury Casting. This was straight to producers and it went really well. I’ll know one way or the other because it works tomorrow. I’ve booked twice through Debra Zane Casting, but I can’t seem to stick in her sisters’ Bonnie Zane’s office. I’ll get it right one day; they keep calling me in so I must be doing something right.