Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Shooting: “Monk” on location in the Hancock Park area of LA. Today was my first of two days on the show. Can I say that I really enjoy working? I mean really, it’s a lot of fun and I look forward too much more of it in the future…and it pays the bills.

Arriving at basecamp was typical: Sign-in, taken to trailer, packet of paper work/contract, wardrobe/make-up. Then hurry up and wait. During the wait my scene partner Craig Patton came over and we ran dialogue and just kicked for a bit. A short 30 minutes later a van came to take us to the actual set which was a mutli-million dollar home in a nearby neighborhood. I wanna live in this neighborhood one day; it’s beautiful.

My character is a man that works for the local gas company. Part of my prop was a tool belt that I swear weighed as much as I did! That thing was heavy around my waist for take after take, but I gave me an authentic feel of the character.

Ironically enough one of the first people I saw was Jennifer Dunn; I’ve worked with her on several TV and commercial projects in the past. It’s always great to see familiar faces. While I was being wired for sound I saw someone walking in my direction; actually coming straight at me. I knew it was series star Tony Shalhoub, but I couldn’t figure out why he would be heading towards me. Maybe he was heading past me to the DP. Nope; he came straight to me with an outstretched hand of thanks. Yeah, he thanked me for doing the show. I guess he saw me on the tape from the producers session; he is a producer on the show afterall. Tony seems to be a very nice man.

After a couple of false starts I was up for rehearsal for the wide shot. One walk-thru and two takes and we heard “Check the gate!” Next up was the medium shot which was also done in a couple of takes. After another camera move we did 2-3 more shots and were done for the night.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Fitting: “Monk” @ Ren-Mar Studios. Of course the first person I saw at the gate was the female security guard who told me that I wasn’t allowed on the lot last week. I didn’t know if she was going to give me “da finga”, kiss with me with apologies or act as though nothing happened. I was hoping for a kiss, but it wasn’t to be; she did touch me on the shoulder though. That was pretty cool; I felt the electricity. Not really. She was very apologetic and said she was “having a bad day” and was very sorry for what happened. I said, “No problem”, it happens. I’ve definitely had my share of bad days.

It’s been a while since I’ve had a fitting it seems. I realized that when I was trying to figure where bungalow “I” was for wardrobe. I saw a group of background players on one of the stages and it reminded me of working on “Good Morning, Miami” so long ago. I used to hang with the background players more than I would be in my trailer. They were much more interesting than being alone in a room and I still occasionally see some of them.

The fitting goes by quickly; I was in and out in less than 15 minutes. On the way out I stopped by casting director Corbin Bronson’s office and thanked him for bringing me in for producers. Oh yeah, I had very mushy “good-bye” for the security lady. I think we’re in love again.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Ugh! The gym - I don't particularly enjoy working out. At least not usually, but I do it pretty regularly. How else am I going to keep my girlish LA figure?

So @ 10:26 this morning I'm sitting in my car trying to convince myself to actually go inside Bally's, get on the elliptical and sweat. Make no mistake, I am pretty athletic, it's just that I'd rather be on my skateboard, snowboard, mountain bike, motorcycle, bodyboard or skis. Nevertheless, I know working out is good for me, plus I need to be in shape to represent on the MX bikes against my little brother's this Summer.

So, just as I gather the courage to head into gym my cell phone rings. It's the special ringer of Schiowitz, Connor, Ankrum & Wolf (SCAW), my theatrical agency. The ring tone is kinda sinister and dark which symbolizes drama, lol!. There is even a green four-leaf clover that comes up on the screen. Why the clover? Erin Connor is the agent I've been with the longest there and "Connor" is an Irish surname; at least I think it is.

For KSA I have a happy ringer that symbolizes commercials and a rose that appears on the screen. The rose is for the greatness of KSA and also Rose Marsten who is so wonderful in the print department.

Anyway, so I retrieve the voicemail message and it's Erin at SCAW. Usually, if it's an audition she'll leave the info and I'll call back to confirm or pass, but this time she just said to call when I get this message. That is usually good news.

Of course, while dialing, my mind went straight to thinking I got an offer for "Evan Almighty" and I'm going to Virginia to shoot. So after hearing all the Sprint menus Erin's voice finally comes on says "Stephon I have an offer for..............."Monk". What? After all that drama I went through just getting on the lot for the audition? Wow, I guess I earned it.

Although, I felt the "Monk" audition went very, very well I had kinda forgotten about it because I had "Evan Almighty" on my mind. Why? Well, it's another acting role, a studio film, it will get released, it shoots in Virginia, and there are two people from Actorsite already booked on it among other things.

Shelley Dowdy is already on location in Virginia working and Bruno Amato is leaving Saturday morning. I know Bruno’s dates got pushed so I figured there was still a chance for me! It's always cool to work with people you know. I worked with Lydia Blanco on "The Terminal", Paul McKinney on "Yes, Dear", Joan Blair & Barbara Kerr Condon on the soon to be finished "Boppin' at the Glue Factory". Actually, Shelly and I worked together a couple of months ago on a project too.

Erin was calling to inform me that they wanted to book me on the show, but she wanted to double check my quote before she started negotiated. I told her what my quote was for “The O.C.” and that gave her a place to start from.

She called back later with the official booking and to let me know they were not willing to pay more than my day rate, but were willing to meet it. So I got my day rate, which is a little over-scale for two days of work. These days just getting your quote is an accomplishment. Their reasoning was that they don’t have the budget of “The OC” and they are on cable. Ok, we tried.
Just before hanging up Erin confirmed that I was available, and I love this part, at the very end Erin asked, “Are you interested in doing it?” I love that she doesn’t just assume that I want to even do it. I look forward to the day when she really has something to fight for on my behalf.

Thank you CFB Casting; Anya Colloff, Amy McIntyre-Britt and Corbin Bronson. This is the second time Corbin has called me directly for Monk; the last time I was on vacation. Its the 6th time Ive audition for the show. My last theatrical booking was a call directly from the casting director too. I'm really excited to get to work on the show. I booked "Weeds" through CFB Casting exactly one year and two weeks ago.

This part is pretty cool too. I rarely pay my SAG dues before I go on Summer vacation unless I book a job after June 1st. SAG won't usually give you a hard time about dues until June. I figure why pay them almost $500 hundred bucks and then go on vacation for a month? I can be earning a least a little interest on it myself. This job starts May 31st so I should be in the clear.

Maybe I would feel different if my 3 payment claims on 3 different projects were settled. Especially "Hell's Kitchen" starring Mekhi Phifer, Rosanna Arquette William Forsythe and Angelina Jolie. I watched that film play on PPV and HBO forever and never received a dime in residual. Nothing at all. SAG will get their money when I get back in town, unless of course I book again before I leave, which I am trying to do.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Audition: “Capital One” @ Joe Blake Casting. This goes really well.

Audition/Producers: “Monk” @ CFB Casting. I had an interesting experience when I showed up at the Ren-Mar Studios security gate. I’ve read for “Monk” probably 5 times over the years and hopefully, one day I will book a role on the show. Things were looking good, I found a parking space right across the street; I was feeling confident.

As I walked to the security office to check-in I saw the woman who is usually there when I do drop-offs. She is always very nice and pleasant and I am the same to her; I was last there about 2 weeks ago dropping–off for “Monk” or maybe it was a pilot. This is how it went.


Several people are waiting outside a trailer with a sign on it that says “Extras changing”. A few feet back is a small security office with an actor checking in. Exiting the studio is a blonde “actress” type with healthy…umm…assets. She was confused about something and talking to whomever would listen as she walked by; obviously I was listening. STEPHON, African-American, late 20’s early 30’s, actor, patiently waits his turn to check-in. As the actor in front of him finishes.

Stephon: Hi, I’m Stephon Fuller-

Security: (As she looks at a memo on the wall in front of her that I couldn’t read from where I was standing.) You aren’t allowed on the lot.

Stephon: Excuse me?

Security: You aren’t allowed on the lot.

Stephon: You’re kidding right?

Security: No, I’m sorry.

Stephon: Is there any particular reason I’m not allowed on the lot.

Security: They don’t have to give a reason.

Stephon: So you’re telling me I can’t get on the lot even if I have an appointment?

Security: Who do you have an appointment with?

Stephon: Corbin Bronson for “Monk”.

Security: Let me try to call. (She dials)

Stephon: You’re telling me I’m banned from the lot and you have no idea why? Am I on a list or something?

Security: Sometimes they put people on a list and then they change their mind and let them back on.

Stephon: Am I not on the list of actors who have an appointment for “Monk” today?

Security: Wait a minute.

Stephon is starting to get noticeably agitated. RE: Pissed.

Stephon: I have an audition that I am now late for and you won’t let me on the lot AND you don’t have a reason.

Security: Don’t get upset sir.

Stephon: I have an appointment and I don’t really need this right before my audition. “Why” are you saying this? Am I on a watch list or something? What does it say about me? What are you looking at on the wall? Can I look to a look at it?

Security: Sure.

Stephon: I didn’t want to just stick my head in your office and really start trouble.

Security: No problem.

Stephon peers into the office to look at the “memo” that she has been looking at. It’s two Xerox copies of the same white guy and it says something like “Banned from Ren-mar” in red ink.

Stephon: That’s not me; that’s a white guy.

Security: I know that’s not you; I can tell he’s white.

Stephon: But you looked straight at that memo when you first told me I wasn’t allowed on the lot. Why did you look at a white guy and then tell me I’m banned? How did that happen?

Security: I’m just doing my job.

Stephon: I understand that, but I’m trying to figure out why you just randomly said I’ve been banned from the lot.

Security: What is your name?

Stephon: Stephon Fuller, my agency is Schiowitz, Connor, Ankrum & Wolf. Are you telling me that my name is not on that list right in front of you? My appointment was @ 4:30.

The security guard takes a look.

Security: Yes, there it is.

Stephon: So it was there the whole time?

Security: I am very sorry; I got confused.

Stephon: No problem.

Security: Do you know where building F is?

Stephon: Yeah, around the corner to the right.

Security: I am so sorry……..

Can you believe that? In the beginning I was wondering what the heck I could have done to piss someone off. Yeah, I have dropped off there many times in the past, but I am never pushy or disrespectful. CFB Casting has called me in numerous times in the past and I booked through them a year ago. I didn’t think Corbin would call me on my cell phone with a producer session and then ban me from the lot the next day. Stranger things have happened I guess.

When I finally sign-in and get settled I see fellow actor Denver Dowridge at the audition as well. Denver and I are very similar types and are often mistaken for each other. We hadn’t seen each other for a while, although I see him on TV quite a bit. I assume we were reading for the same role. I wonder if he booked any of the many commercials I’ve been on avail for lately, lol!. Anyway, cool brother.

The audition went really, really well. There was about 8 people in the room and I did what I wanted to do. I was very happy when I left and can’t ask for much more than that. One of the days I am going to book this show – maybe today!Oh yeah, I made sure I waved good-bye and said thank you to the wonderful security guard on the way out. That was just weird; we had had such great encounters before.

Monday, May 22, 2006

I’m really tired; really, really tired, but the show must go on. At least until I leave town. I went a MX race over the weekend and I am paying the price for spending all that time out in the rain and driving. My much needed, annual break from Hollywood is approaching; I can smell it.

Print go-see: “Traveler’s Insurance” @ Yvonne Armstrong Casting. This went well.

After my go-see I went to the dentist because I don’t think the surgery in my mouth is healing correctly. So I reluctantly get in the chair and she takes a look. Sure enough I have a rather large blood clot forming. SH*T! She informs me that she has to drain it; which means that ******* needle is going into the roof of my mouth again.


I can’t stand this beeyotch! I call her “Nadine”; “Nadine the needle”. She is a necessary evil, but I give her “da finga” every chance I get. She is one mean mutha. I really need to work on my relationship with Nadine, because in reality she makes my life a lot easier by taking away some of the real pain. Just thinking about her makes my eyes water. Part of the problem is that I am such the thinker and I know that when the dentist is talking to me right before Nadine settles into my gums she, the dentist, is really just trying to take my mind off of what is really happening. I need to not out think the system and just relax. I’ve come up with a way to take my mind off of what is happening. I count on my fingers and toes; counter-counter clock-wise and then clock-wise. Usually it takes a bit of concentration and I can get through the pain.

Here we go. I see “Nadine the Needle” and look her dead in her eyes. She throws an especially sinister look back at me. I say “WHAT WHAT! DO SOMETHING TRICK!” She just laughed and said “Ima bust yo ass punk”. I say, “Whatever, here’s an Altoid”. I think that last comment was a mistake because Nadine laid into me with all of her fury. Counting on my fingers and toes was the last thing on my mind; it was all about survival. First, both of my hands balled up into fists and my toes curled up like I was toes curled up. Then my eyes started watering. My body was so tense it wasn’t funny. Nadine came out of my mouth and said “NOW WHAT?! SAY SOMETHING!” I couldn’t even speak; I had lock-jaw. After a moment my body started to relax.

So they drain the blood clot and stitched me up AGAIN and send me on my way with another prescription of Motrin aka “Mo”. I leave with a huge piece of gauze that I had to leave in my mouth for 30 minutes. Ugh, this sucks. From there I had an appointment with the podiatrist to pick-up my inserts for my flat feet. The funny part was that I had to sit in the car and wait before going in because I couldn’t talk. Why? Because I had a FREAKIN TAMPON in my mouth. Oops; I mean a huge piece of gauze. The trip to the podiatrist was much more pleasant. I got my custom inserts and, get this, they even have my name engraved in them. I wonder if SAG is paying extra for that. All I know that they didn’t ask me for any money and my parking meter was again broken so it didn’t cost me anything. I was in and out in 7 minutes.

A couple of hours later Casting Director Corbin Bronson from CFB Casting called me on my cell phone to bring me in for a producer session tomorrow for “Monk”. Cool. I did a general drop for the show about 2-3 weeks ago at the studio. Yup, drops-off do work.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Ooops. One of my theatrical agents, Erin, left a message with an appointment for the new Showtime Episodic "Dexter" @ UDK Casting. She made it clear that she didn't submit me for the role and would rather that I didn't go in on it.

The appointment was scheduled for this Sunday. Sunday? Yeah, Sunday. I don't like passing on auditions, but sometimes it's the right thing to do. It's small co-star role. The thing that Erin doesn’t know is that I did a general drop for this show two days ago. I’m really glad they called, but not for this role, even though I really want to get in this office more often.

Hmm…what to do? What am I gonna tell Erin? I have the last word on whether I go in or not and I have gone in on things in the past when they wished other-wise. I have obligations to meet and they are very respectful of that. It’s great to have a people like that on my side. They protect me from myself. I really want to book something before I go on vacation and turning down auditions is not the way to do it.

Ha! I’m going out of town this weekend. That’s right! Cool; it’s settled. I called Erin back and she was glad I was to be out of town so I wouldn’t be officially passing on the project, but still not going in. I’m sure UDK wasn’t shocked that some people are gone for the weekend. I guess these things called “drop-offs” do work. Now, if I can get them to call me in for something else soon.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

This afternoon I attended a therapy session. Yup, I stopped by my commercial agents’ office to ask them about my avail/release situation. I wanted to tap into their wisdom of being top agents at one the top commercial agencies in the country. I know they’ve seen it all or at least most of it.

They assured me that there is no “situation” at all and that every working commercial actor goes through these times of not booking as much as in the past. It was a pretty funny site to see, Alicia was on my right at her desk and Brooke on my left at hers. I was sitting in between them on the couch. I totally felt like I was in therapy, not that I know what that is like…at least not yet. Alicia asked me about the types I’m seeing at the callbacks; younger, older, character? Brooke assured me that “I’ve booked a lot” through them and it’s nothing to be concerned about. I’m getting callbacks and avails; the rest is out of my control. That was great to hear from such an agency.

Fortunately, I am not someone who is completely driven up the wall about the avails and releases. I am not at my wits end; I have a great understanding of how the process works and am sure my ride will come back around with greater frequency. I just needed to get the POV of them who are seeing the bigger picture on a regular basis. So, I guess the bottom line is that I’m doing much, much more right than I am doing wrong. I also think my classes with Carolyne Barry and her associate Amy Van Horne helped a lot.
It doesn't always happen like this because they are usually quite busy, but it's great to be able walk into my agents' office, unannounced, and get a 15-minute sit-down meeting. Reason #112,033 why I'm really happy being repped by Kazarian-Spencer & Associates, thanks Alicia & Brooke!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

More shocking news for me this morning, I was released from my avail for “KFC” at Ross Lacy Casting. I don’t even know what to say about not getting past the avail point for almost a year. At least I’ll get paid for the second callback, but still.

By contrast, something I’m really happy about is that Ross Lacy calls me in more than anybody else in this entire city and for a good while I rarely got ANY callbacks for him. In 2004 I auditioned 16 times for Ross with only one callback and that was the last one of the year. In 2005 I also went in 16 times with 2 callbacks. So far in ’06 I’ve auditioned for him 10 times and have had a total of 5 callbacks or 2nd callbacks/avails. So the fact that I’m getting callbacks, second callbacks and avails for one of the most important commercial offices in town is a good thing. So that is progress and I have to remember that! I booked the first time I auditioned for him back in 2000 and wanna get back there.

Audition: “Mastercard” @ Ross Lacy Casting. This went really well.

Audition: “Drake & Josh” @ Krisha Bullock Casting. Ah, this didn’t go so well. I had a lot of baggage about this one. The biggest thing is that it’s an AFTRA show and I don’t usually pursue AFTRA shows. I know it sounds really stupid and I’m trying to get over it, but to be honest my feeling runs SO deep about us having two different guilds covering TV work that it gets in the way of having fun. Plus, I’m an AFTRA must join from a job I did in ’93 and I don’t wanna pay them to join. I don’t really care to be a member of AFTRA. Then I would be paying more dues to another guild and for what? Normally, I don’t even drop-off to AFTRA shows. It’s a complicated guild issue.
The good thing is that as bad as I was there were bright spots during the audition and I got to meet Krisha for the first time.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Tonight I was an observer at a SAG Hollywood Board meeting. From what I understand this is only the second meeting in the history of SAG that has been open to members; therefore I was one of the first 30 members to witness the process. It was pretty fascinating to watch even though I had no idea what was going on for the most part. It was kinda like coming into a discussion that had been going on for weeks or even months and years. There where other things that I understood perfectly, and frankly irritated me. I was aware of this prior to hearing it tonight and for the life of me still cannot understand it. Why does SAG spend $250,000 a month to lease the building it is in? From what I’ve read we/SAG are in a 10-year, 29 million dollar lease. Yes $29,000,000 and after 10 years we’ll have nothing. I thought me paying rent on my apartment was stupid for all of these years, but SAG’s situation is STUPID! Are you freaking kidding me? What doesn’t SAG have its own building? Actually, the deal was done under the previous administration and I am not shocked by it at all.

I truly appreciate the time the board members donate to help actors get a fair deal. They don’t get paid for the tremendous amount of work they do. There were some recognizable faces there too: Morgan Fairchild, I have to say she looks pretty good for 56!, JoBeth Williams and Elliott Gould, I spoke to Elliott briefly, I told him I was cast in a scene with him and Don Cheadle in “Ocean’s Twelve”, but it was cut before shooting. He said he heard that he himself going to be in “Ocean’s Thirteen”. Maybe Mr. Soderbergh will hire me again.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

I miss my mom, I really, really miss her. I wish I had the luxury of picking up the phone and calling her today; or any other day for that matter. My mom was a funny lady; hilarious. She could roll with the best of them and she did a lot of nice things for a lot of people. I did talk to or left messages for some other moms though.

One woman I spoke to used to work for our family business back in Virginia years ago. Her name is Christine. I hadn't spoken to her in at least 15 years. Needless to say she was very suprised to hear from me. Christine is, I would guess, in her 80's and unfortunately her health is failing. I'm glad I had a chance to talk to her. She thought it was a really big deal that I called long distance from Los Angeles. I told her that a lot had changed over the years and "long distance" isn't wasn't it used to be.
I also babysat my Goddaughter Hazel while her mother and grandmother spent some time together. We had a great time at the park and went to the mall for pizza! She's almost 2 and ate about as much pizza as I did. No wonder I'm so thin!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Gotta love the same day auditions; especially when nothing else is going on. Well, I assume I’m still on avail for “KFC”, but no appointments for today. That is until Erin, one of my theatrical agents called with one for this evening. Yup, 6:55 this evening. Cool, I’ll take that!

Get this, I go to the post office this afternoon and who gets in line behind me? The star of Fox hit “Prison BreakWentworth Miller. He was being kinda low-key hiding behind aviator sunglasses and I could tell by his posture he was trying to be anonymous. I wanted to say something to him, but not reveal him to the other customers. To be honest, I don’t know if anyone else knew who he was. On the down-low I say, “Congratulations on the show”. He replies, “Thanks”. I asked him about the new season pick up and he seemed surprised I knew about it. I also asked him if they were still going to be shooting in Chicago and say “no” the show will be shooting in Texas next season. Huh, Texas? He seemed like a nice, regular guy. I say “good luck”, he said “thanks” and I made my way to the window to handle my business. Not two minutes after that I am walking back to my apartment and who walks right past me on the sidewalk? Actor-comedian Bill Bellamy. Yeah, right in my neighborhood. I guess this means I moved to the right city to further my career.

Audition: “Evan Almighty” @ Aquila/Wood Casting. The role is that of a reporter; actually one of 3 reporters AND it shoots in Virginia. Yeah, so I can’t help but to plan out my whole trip if I am fortunate enough to book a role. I felt great about my preparation and was quite confident going to the appointment. The audition was in the same building that my theatrical agency is in; one floor below. So I arrive at the casting office and sign in and there are about 10-12 actors ahead of me. I hang out for a bit rehearsing and then figure I’d go outside so I could rehearse at full volume instead of whispering in the halls of the building.

One of my dilemmas was using a prop or not. My character was a reporter interviewing and thought it made sense that he would have a microphone. Ya know; you always hear “NO PROPS!” and “NO MIMING!” I didn’t have a microphone anyway, but I did have one of those little umbrellas that’s about the size of microphone, when closed, in the trunk of my car. I went back and forth for a bit about it and decided to own it and use it. Who cares what they think, it’s my audition! Right? Truthfully, I did care, but not enough to not use it. I thought about the hundreds of actors that I’ve auditioned with when working as a reader and what the most effective thing they had in their favor. More often than not it was their ownership of their performance. I’m gonna own this performance dammit!

So I’m back downstairs on the street, umbrella in hand, rehearsing at full volume. People in cars are driving by looking at me, talking to myself, in a suit, with an unbrella in my hand. Yeah, I was getting some funny looks, but you know what? It was a great feeling. Why? Because, I had to NOT be afraid of making a fool of myself. The location was Hollywood & Vine which is undergoing a lot of construction and the area is a little haphazard at best. I was rehearsing in the doorway of an empty storefront; an area where a homeless person might take a dump or vomit. It wasn’t too bad in there, a little cleaner than I expected.

So I’m reading the material, people are looking at me and I decide to move a little closer to the sidewalk to really expose myself and what I was doing. What happened next was kinda surreal. Who walks by? Not 1 of my theatrical agents, not 2 of my theatrical agents but all 3 OF MY THEATRICAL AGENTS!!! LOL! Yeah, Erin, David and Caleigh were leaving the building after work. So I had a little explaining to do, especially the umbrella in my hand that I was talking into. It was pretty funny. They were quite supportive and glad to see me working on my stuff. They also liked how I looked in a suit. I love my agents.

Back upstairs and all systems are go! I enter the room and Tricia says the umbrella/microphone is a good idea. The scenes went great. She gave me a little direction and we did some of them a second time. At the end they requested a 30 second improv. My “microphone” turned into umbrella again and it worked well for the scenario I came up with. I felt great about the outcome, so we’ll see what happens….or not. I have plans to be out of town next weekend, but given a choice I’d rather be on a plane to Virginia.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

2nd Callback/Avail “KFC” @ Ross Lacy Casting. This 2nd callback went really, really well. I went in with a great group of guys, I took direction and had a lot of confidence, but for some reason I was kinda down when I left. I'm not sure what it was, but I felt the very familiar "you've been released" lurking closely around the corner. It's rare for me to feel that way. I mean I don't necessarily expect to book from an avail, but I don't take it personal and get too wrapped up in it either.

I guess it doesn't really matter since I left good stuff in the room. They don't have to know I was severely depressed on my way back to my car. THEY don't have to know I was calling my therapist for an emergency session to JUST GET THROUGH IT! THEY don't have to know I was looking at my wrist with a Swiss-Army knife in the other hand ready to CUT MY EFFING WRIST! THEY don't have to know it I went straight home, got into bed, curled up in a FETAL-POSITION with my thumb in my mouth! THEY don't have to know I looked at some of my extra Vicodin and was ready to END IT ALL DAMMIT!!

They don't have to know any of that. Why? Because it didn't happen and Vicodin is for pain. I think Prozac is the one I'm thinking of. Maybe for my next dental procedure I can talk the doc into some of that Prozac shit. Let me tell you, the ONLY reason none of that stuff happened is because I had to go home, change and rush to another audition. Without the annoyance of ANOTHER FREAKIN COMMERCIAL AUDITION you can bet I would have been home, naked, in a fetal-position, bleeding from the wrist, popping Vicodin every 10 minutes - convincing myself it was Prozac.

Audition: “Red Stripe Beer” @ Francene Selkirk Casting. This one went great. It was funny because they were waiting and waiting for an Asian guy to go in with this Asian woman who was there before me. Also, there wasn't a Black woman for me to go in with. So we both just had to wait, which wasn't a problem for me, but why? I'm thinking, are you kidding me it's freakin 2006?

Look, I don't know if the Asian woman was Japanese or not, but I do know that I've been to Tokyo and trust me, "it's all good" there is no problem with a Black man and an Asian woman having a little something in common - at least for a commercial audition. Sometimes the ad agency wants to see things a certain way I guess.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I had a busy day today. Mostly mental, just because I've got so much on my mind I sometimes feel like I'm going to explode. It’s all good stuff, but stuff nonetheless.

This marks the 11 year anniversary of my moving from Virginia Beach to New York. WHAT!? 11 years? Yeah, 11 years. Wow. Even I can hardly believe it. I gotta tell you I've had a good ride, a really good ride. I was talking to my friend SonHui just last night. She is embarking on a career transition and used me as a sounding board for some ideas she has about making it happen. I don’t feel like I have much to offer in the way of answers, but something she said kinda resonated with me. She commented that “you did it, you up and moved to New York to follow your dreams. Look at all the things you’ve done in the last 11 years.” “Huh”, I thought. I guess I have gotten a thing or two done in my time at the wheel. I mean I don’t usually see myself as someone who just up and does whatever it takes to make changes. I have a master’s degree in “procrastination” trust me, but I guess it’s all relative to what you’re comparing it to.

It was also an interesting day for another reason. My friend, Jonathan Julian, left this afternoon for Vancouver to work on "Noah's Arc"; a show that he is a series regular on. As I've mentioned before, he landed this role from a self-submission on NowCasting. Anyway Jon and I have been friends for a long time. He introduced me to my first acting teacher, Sylvia Harman, in Virginia Beach back in 1993.

When I think back to whom I studied with back then, so many years ago, and what some of them are doing in the business it bring a smile to my face. As mentioned Jonathan is in Vancouver, Michelle Krusiec is always working on something, Joanna Canton is anticipating pick-up on a new ABC pilot and William Gregory Lee is currently in Hawaii working on a series as well. I feel like I’m in pretty good company, but I better get my a** in gear to keep up!

Bright and early this morning I had my stitches removed from my mouth. It seems that my recovery is moving along well. While there I saw the gentleman who gave me a ride home last week after the surgery. It was then that it dawned on me that I had no recollection of getting into his SUV. I was on four different medications plus whatever I was given through the needle in my mouth. I totally underestimated what I was in for. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t do everything I was used to doing. Hello, I had been through a surgical procedure, duh. It worked out great though, I only missed one theatrical audition during the week and I was okay with that.

OMG! While they were removing the stitches I got pinched a couple of times. I was squirming in the chair like crazy trying to be a big boy about it. I’m really glad those stitches are gone, because some of them were coming out on their own and I would swallow them or worse “almost swallow them”. Yeah, if you saw a young African-American male running in the street looking for a bottle of water while making sounds like a cat with a hairball in its throat it was probably me. Good riddance to those stitches; it’s not natural to have thread in your mouth anyway.

I gotta tell you this dental stuff is crazy expensive and while there I had to purchase this special rinse to aid in the healing for $25. WHAT? The good thing was that when I parked to go to the appointment the parking meter was broken so I didn’t have to pay. Yeah! So I saved like a $1 right there. Every little bit counts. The even better thing was that when I was leaving the office I found $20 on the ground. There was nobody around, just cars waiting for the light. Yup, you got it; it went straight in my pocket. I knew when I woke up this morning it was going to be a good day. Free money before noon is always a good start.

From there I ran and did a quick drop-off. The drops will start to slow down since I am planning my month long break from Los Angeles soon. I’m really looking forward to that; I’d love to leave with a booking or two.

Callback/Avail "KFC" @ Ross Lacy Casting. Another one in the books; it went really well. I did all I could, so we’ll see. This is especially great because I didn’t originally have an appointment for it.

CUT TO: one hour later – 3:50pm.

My agent calls to inform me that I have another callback tomorrow for this same “KFC” spot and I'm still on avail. Well that’s good right? Of course yeah I’m still in the game! I don’t get paid to audition very often, but I’ll get another $133.75 for this 3rd audition. Oh yeah and I’ll get to eat some sort of hot wings or whatever it was we were pitching in the spot. Lunch is good, and I like chicken…it is chicken right? Of course it’s chicken! It’s right in the name “Kentucky Fried CHICKEN” – KFC.

It seems these days I attend as many financial/real estate seminars as acting related events. This one tonight was at the Marriot/LAX and it was about real estate investing and the importance of credit scores. I gotta tell you the financial world is just as interesting as Hollywood to me; incredibly creative.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Yes!! Remember that "KFC" spot I wiggled my way into a couple of days ago? Well I got a callback and they put me on avail. No, it's not a booking, but I'm really excited to get to the next round. I think I'm really right for it and, who knows, maybe it'll go my way. It's amazing how many opportunities they are here in Los Angeles. It's not easy to get them, but they are here right under our noses. I am thankful for each and every one I get; and to think I considered letting this opportunity slide - for a moment.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Print go-see: “Wells Fargo” @ Connie Conway Casting. Who knows how this went, I was in and out in 3 minutes. It felt great to have my zed card and not a headshot. I'm gonna start booking print eventually, at least that's what I tell myself!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

I had 3 commercial auditions yesterday. Well, actually I had two scheduled, but when I went to the first one I peeped what was going on in the next room. It was a “KFC” spot also being cast by Ross Lacy. While I waited to go in for my scheduled one, I scoped out the “KFC” to see exactly who was going in for it. I saw several African-American guys that were my type; some of them I’ve auditioned with before. Hmm, should I make a move? What should I do?

On the one hand Ross calls me quite often and there might have been a specific reason while wasn’t being seen for this one so I wanted to really think about my next move. Actually, this same scenario has happened before and I elected to let it ride for various reasons. So I figured I could do one of 4 things:
  • Try to straight up crash the audition and weasel my way in. (not likely, although I did do a version of that one time and booked a national “Pizza Hut” spot.)
  • Ask the session runner. (I didn’t want to do that; I recognized the guy and didn’t think it would work.)
  • Call my agents, let them know what I saw and see if they could get me in.
  • Be happy that I have 2 auditions and call it a day.

I thought about it for a minute and there is something to be said for being able to recognize an opportunity when it is in front of you. That is a sense I think I have and it has served me in the past. It’s exactly how I got the “Honda” gig I went to Japan for; it ended up being like $10,000 when it was all over. I can’t afford to possibly leave 10K on the table if I can do something about it. I could probably pick-up some new gym shoes with 10K…or better yet get closer to buying a condo.

I opted for choice #3 - call my agents. So I speak to Don, one of the assistants and tell him what I saw. He says he’ll talk to the agent and get back to me. Cool. The great thing about my relationship with my agents is that I have confidence that they will, at the very least, try to get me in.

It’s not that important to me if they actually do. Well of course I want to get seen, but they great thing is that they take me seriously. They could easily just say “Oh yeah we submitted you; maybe they’ll go another day.” I would bet that I was submitted, but for whatever reason was not given an appointment. Who knows what the reason might be, but the key is trying to change that. I am very selective about when I call them for these types situations; I don’t want them to think I call about anything and everything just for attention.

19 minutes later Don calls back with an appointment. Bingo! That made 3 auditions for yesterday – and they all went really well.

Yesterday evening I attended a celebration for one my commercial agents who got a huge promotion. I am so excited for her; it’s great to see people move forward in their chosen field. I’m always going on and on about how great it is to be represented by these wonderful people – I can’t help it. All of my agents and assistants were there and I even met some casting people. I almost felt like I was doing the “Hollywood Thing!!” I had a great time.

Afterwards I went to a surprise birthday party for my friend Tanika Brown. I hadn’t seen her for a good while and it really showed me how the internet makes me feel like I’m in touch with folks, but in reality I’m in touch in a virtual world kinda way. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s priceless to actually get out in the company of others and have human contact. I was only there for a little while, but Tanika, myself, Melissa Madison and others at the party had some great laughs and the internet can’t really compete with that. I’ve gotta do that more often.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Audition: “Hummer” @ Ross Lacy Casting. I think my new strategy at this office will be to try “not” to book; maybe that will help me. I booked the first time I auditioned there it’s been downhill from there, LOL! I’m just kidding, not downhill, but Ross calls me in A LOT and I would like to score some points for the home team.

Now that I think about it I should be getting that 3rd callback check for that “Sprint” spot I was on avail for a couple of weeks ago at Ross’ office. Every little bit helps.
Audition: “KFC” @ Ross Lacy Casting. This went quite well and I feel really right for it. Hopefully, I’ll get a callback.

Audition: “Budweiser” @ TLC/Loree Booth Casting. I have booked two “IBM” spots at this office. The really cool thing about this office is that the first call is sorta like a callback because a lot of times director, the legendary Joe Pytka, already knows who he wants to see. They don’t usually have callbacks at all. It’s audition, hopefully an avail then a booking…or not.

I made it a specific point to get in this office years ago. I was on a mission to find out who the top commercial directors were. The name Joe Pytka kept coming up. I remember being at a producer session in January 2001 at Universal and I was talking to an actor who had just done a “Pepsi” spot directed by Mr. Pytka. It was his first time working with Joe, but he was telling me about another actress who was in the spot as well. She had made over $100,000 total after doing several Pytka directed spots. This actress said that she didn’t even think Pytka knew her name, but he kept calling her for jobs. If you’ve ever worked with him you’d understand; he is an enigma. He is also basketball fanatic; all of his commercial sets have a basketball court set-up for him challenge the crew…cast.

Needless to say he quickly went to the top of my list because I always heard he uses actors over and over and over again. I really wanted to get on that list. I had to do some research because it’s hard to get to commercial directors, so I figured if I could find who cast his spots I could eventually get to Joe. I found out that it was TLC/Booth Casting that did almost all of his spots and keyed in on them for drops and postcards. Now this was before online casting was what it is today.

Of course, all of this time my wonderful agents @ KSA were doing all they could to get me in this office too, like every other office in town, but I was really concentrating on this one. By June of 2001 I had started auditioning there and on my 4th time in May 2002 I booked an “IBM” spot! Sure enough one of the other actors in the commercial was shooting his eighth spot and last year while working on “Love, Inc.” one of those actors has done so many Pytka spots he doesn’t even audition anymore.

I’ve had several avails there over the years and booked another “IBM” last year, but don’t feel like family yet. I kinda feel like extended family; maybe a second cousin or something. I’m still working on it though.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

I’m feeling a bit better these days; although I’m still bleeding a little, but sometimes a lot from the roof of my mouth. The swelling is almost gone, but I can still tell. I’ve slept till noon two days in a row. That is very unlike me, but very nice at the same time.

As far as the triplets go; “Moxie” moved back to the East coast, she and I are done. “Mo”, we talk every now and then, but I think it’s a wrap between us too. I still have her number and she has mine, but it ain’t what it was. “Vicky”, geez, we broke up and got back together and now it’s kinda strained and to be honest it’s best that we move on our separate ways. Dag! I used to luv her too, but too much of anything is probably not good.

On another note; I just talked to my brother in Prague and I was able to hear my 6-month old niece, Nikita, laughing in the background which made me want to get on plane right then and there an go see her. It made my brother think of this link he found of a laughing set of quads. It definitely made me laugh at 2 am.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The saga continues…Yeah, the swelling has gone down, but I still bleed overnight while I sleep. The black-eye is getting cooler everyday, but since I wear glasses you can’t see it too well. Actually, I wish more people could see it so when they saw me in public they would “bac ‘da eff up!” Ya, know, they would think I got drunk the night before and kicked some ass or something. I’m dying to yell “WHAT THE EFF YOU LOOKIN’ AT?” Okay, not really.

Check this out. Through this whole situation I have talked and talked about it, but fortunately I have not been in pain. I haven’t gotten much sleep, but I’ve been largely pain-free. Well, last night I was preparing to take my 9pm dose of Vicodin and noticed that it was the last one. Hmmm, I thought. “Do I really need to take this?” I was like “Nah, I’m going to save it.”

I wanted to know what it would feel like to always have a Vicodin at my disposal, even if it was only one single pill. It would just make me smile to know that I had it. I mean I hear so much about Vicodin in the news. Isn’t that what got Courtney Love, Whitney and now Charlie Sheen in trouble? Does that sound weird? It may, but you have to understand I am a guy that has had a gift certificate for a full session massage from Burke Williams for over almost 5 years – gratuity included. Yup, my girlfriend at the time gave it to me as a birthday gift. I just like to know that I have it “if” I wanna use it. I take it out of the gift box and look at it every now and then. When the time is right I’ll use it. I’m letting it mature like a blue-chip stock.

The real reason is that this same girlfriend bought me another one for a full body message when we lived in New York. That time it was at The Peninsula Hotel on 55th & Fifth Ave. I was very careful to use it when I really felt the time was right. OMG!!! It was out of this world! The very next day I had the audition for the “Pepsi” commercial that I booked and went to Madrid, Spain for a week. WHAT!! Yeah, to this day I still believe that part of the reason I booked that commercial was because of her and that massage. Ironically, exactly nine years ago, right now, as I write this I was flying over the Atlantic on my return trip from Madrid to JFK after shooting the spot. She has great taste. Thank you again!

Anyway, back to the Vicodin. I decided not to take the last one and let me tell you that stuff really works ‘cause pretty soon my whole mouth was throbbing and I had a pretty bad headache. I guess I had stayed ahead of the pain by taking everything on the proper schedule and I screwed it up by trying to be smart. That serves me right for trying to beat the system.

I didn’t want to just catch up on that now late Vicodin because my Motrin dose was coming up so I waited until 3am to pop that last Vicodin. I should have “just said yes” before; but I was curious to see if these drugs really make a difference – they do. Since I was now out of Vicodin and had to see if I was going to be cool without it. Well as the day went on I got my answer. I called the dentist and said “hey Doc, I’m dying over here. You gotta write me another script”. I love the underworld slang; “script”. I feel like I’ve really arrived in Hollywood now. The headline could say: STEPHON FULLER – PRESCRIPTION DRUGS? Looks like me and Vicodin aka “Vicky” are dating again. I pick up the refill tomorrow.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Guess what? It's 6am and I'm reporting for my morning meeting with my mistress; this chick named "Motrin" (‘Mo’ for short). Now, Motrin and I haven't known each other long, not even a week. We have an understanding. It's all good, I open her up, look around, swallow and that’s that…until we meet again.

I ain’t trying to say that "Mo" is a bootie call or nuttin like that. I have the utmost respect for her power and position in my life, but I'm hollering at this hottie named "Vicodin" (‘Vicky’ for short) too. You see "Vicky" has a twin sister named "Amoxicillin"; I call her "Moxie" and “Moxie” is something else!

At yesterday's morning staff meeting I was "swole up fo real" and I had a cool ass black eye developing. But after a threesome with Moxie, Mo & Vicky I was feeling much better and the swelling went down considerably. By the end of the day I felt I was getting back to normal. Well, that’s what I thought.

Last night, actually early this morning around 3am I sent a text message to Vicky and she didn’t like my approach and we got into a huge….disagreement. I thought we had worked it out and agreed to disagree. Well I wake up at 6am and get this; I’m freakin’ bleeding from my mouth and swole up - AGAIN! She let me know who was running thangs. I looked like a dump truck or Mike Tyson after Buster Douglas whipped his butt. This has to turn around soon.

I hadn’t mentioned this before, but I have a lot of bruising on the inside of my top lip and the bruising is slowly traveling to the outside of my lip. So I’m getting a ruby-red color to my lips, like lip stick – nice. It’s like one step forward and two steps back.

Something else I don’t think I mentioned is that I have an appointment with a podiatrist this morning. Yeah, I was getting my yearly physical a couple of weeks ago and the doctor asked me….

Doc: Do you have flat feet?

Me: Ahh…I don’t know.

Doc: Do your feet bother you? Or your back? Or Shins?

Me: As a matter of fact they do sometimes; yeah even when I’m not on them.

Doc: Yeah, you definitely have flat feet. I’ll give you a referral to a podiatrist to get them checked out.

I truly didn’t know; it’s not like I ever tried on someone else’s feet and could compare the two. What really tripped me out was that I had socks on and he could still tell. I guess that’s why he gets the big bucks and my feet are really flat.

This physical wasn’t as interesting as the one on Dec 15th ’04, yes I remember the date, when I surprisingly got my prostate examined as part of the procedure. If you’re familiar with what a prostate exam entails; imagine not having any idea it was going to happen until the probing finger was…….probing. Yeah, “in through the out door” and yes it is only an out door. Unless, of course, I’m getting my prostate examined….

Okay, so to the podiatrist office. The doctor takes a look at my feet and ask some questions. He has me roll up pants to my knees and walk. Right away he notices that my right side droops when I walk and my right leg is about an inch shorter than my left. WHAT!!! Yeah, WTF is going on? So he gives me temporary inserts for my shoes now and takes plaster cast of my feet for custom inserts. Yup, they’ll be ready in 10 days. All for a $15 co-pay. Gotta love that SAG coverage.

Lastly, this is worth mentioning I think. I have direct deposit for TV/Film Residuals through my credit union. So the checks go directly to the credit union to be deposited and the credit union sends me a credit union statement and the statement from the check. I’m guilty of not always looking at that mail right away because I know there isn’t any checks, just statements and I’m ALL about the money. Well I got one today and I opened it for some reason and sure enough there was actually a check in there. Moral of the story for me: check your mail it might be residual from “Yes, Dear”.