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.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Do I have a job? ...hmmm. Good question...or maybe not. Or maybe a better question is "how long have I had this job?" I mean, obviously I've made my living solely as an actor for the last 5 ½ years - so maybe "acting" has been my job since the day I left The Standard as a waiter/valet guy – 5 ½ years ago. That was March 25th 2001 on a shift that began @ 11pm - yup, I worked graveyard.

I guess it kinda depends on what your definition as a "job or profession" is. I'm sure some of our parents or family members would say it’s not a “job or profession” if it cost you money to do it. I don’t necessarily agree with that.

I remember, years ago, when I worked at The Harley-Davidson Café in New York; the servers would talk during the shift and this always stood out to me. If you had been off for a day or a period of time, of course, people would ask what you did on your days off. In my case, I was off on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays; so it seemed like I was gone for a bit. Other times I was picking up shifts like crazy because I am a self-described workaholic.

Anyway, when the question of “what did you do on your days off?” was asked of me by other actors I would naturally answer that I’ve been “ya know, just working, trying to get it done” or “trying to make a dollar out of 15 cents” or “working the corner like a street walker” or whatever rhymed….or didn’t. Then they would say “you’ve been here? (meaning the restaurant) wow, it seems like I haven’t seen you for days”.

After that happened a couple of times it dawned on me that many actors (this was back in ’95-97) weren’t looking at their careers as a job. It seemed they thought of the “actor stuff” as simply “funtime”. They thought it was weird that I would say I was “working” when I hadn’t been at the restaurant for 3 days. By contrast, I thought I was weird that they didn’t seem to think that my workshops, mailings, postcarding, drop-offs, background, auditions, research, callbacks, etc – everything other than actually booking a job was “work”. I would just smile.

Another thing I would often hear is “wow….you run your career like a business”. Again, I would just smile. Trust me, holding my tongue was doing them a favor because I am so passionate about business and marketing I can go on and on and on ………and this was 10 years ago. Another thing that was subtle about that comment was that back then I didn’t “run my career like a business”. I ran a business…period, end of story. It’s kinda like Jay-Z said, “I’m not a businessman, I’m a BUSINESS MAN!” When I first heard that on the CD I was like “Whoa!” That’s hot!; as Paris Hilton would say. I also remember Ice Cube talking about his boys in the neighborhood growing up in Compton. He said, “everybody wanted to play for the Lakers”. Cube was like “why play for The Lakers when you can own them”. WHAT!!! That is some influential #^&*( right there! Perspective is huge.

I am not completely innocent in this; it took me a while before I could say “I’m an actor” without sorta laughing at the same time. Even today, when asked, I will often water it down by saying “I’m pursuing a career as an actor”. There is no question and never has been in my mind, but for some reason I say that. It’s odd because I’m very proud of my accomplishments.

In 1993 in Virginia Beach I had 3 jobs. I worked at my parent’s deli, Philadelphia Cold Cuts; in a surf shop in the local mall and I was an actor.

In 1995 in New York I had 2 jobs. I waited tables at The Harley-Davidson Café and was an actor.

In 1998 in Los Angeles I also had 2 jobs. I worked at Old Navy at the Beverly Connection and I was an actor. In late ’98 I completely, COMPLETELY ran out of money and had to go back to New York to work at the restaurant for a month or so to earn some cash – I was still an actor. I did workshops, drops and auditioned through my New York agents.

In April ’99, my car was impounded – long story – AGAIN, I had to go back to my job in New York at The Harley-Davidson Café to earn some cash. My 2 week trip, turned into 2 months – even longer story – I had my first and only experience with handcuffs…well, maybe not only…..ANYWAY, I was still an actor.

In 2001, I gave the two job thing “’da finga” and said, “peace, I’m outta here”. So the answer is a resounding “YES!!! I have a job” and it’s one of the coolest jobs in the world – I am an actor – period

Friday, September 22, 2006

Today is my anniversary of the beginning of my career. Wow, I can’t believe it’s been 13 years! I vividly remember that first night in class. I made a commitment then that I was going for it – like seriously. I had no idea how it was going to materialize, but I knew it was going to happen. I knew I had to study, learn the Mid-Atlantic market, move to New York, study, learn the New York market, move to Los Angeles, study, learn the Los Angeles market – all while creating my own way. I’ve got a long way to go, but I think I’ve made progress.

New York City, Hell's Kitchen, 46th btw. 9th & 10th - May '95
I didn’t have any reason to believe that I would ever live a freelance lifestyle. My family, for the last 26 years, has had a very successful business back at home, but for several reason I felt I needed to do my own thing. I think my entrepreneurial spirit has been a big factor in being able to move ahead in my career.

I’ve learned a lot along the way; I’ve been tested like never before. Sometimes I don’t know how I keep it all together; probably because I don’t always keep it all together. I do the best I can. It has been a journey, it has been a ride. I’ve had some amazing experiences, met some amazing people and gone to some amazing places. I’m excited about the future. I definitely don’t have the answer to how this business works, but I am an expert on my opinion. I look forward to sharing the things I’ve learned with other actors on a larger scale. Maybe I’ll conduct seminars across the country and call it “My Long Ass Opinion”. Catchy huh?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

No rest for me and I’m not complaining! I thought I was gonna chill today and figure out my new phone and my new printer. NOT!!

At 10:39 KSA calls with an apointment for this afternoon. Cool. Then at 11:59 KSA calls again. I let it go to voicemail. When I checked it the first thing that surprised me was hearing my agent Alicia’s voice and not Donn who normally puts out the calls/emails for appointments. I always smile when I hear from KSA because I really like them and they usually have opportunities for me. BUT when I hear Alicia or Brooke’s voice on the phone it often means something else…….and this time it meant that I booked a national and cable commercial for “Michelin” for Ross Lacy Casting! It's about time I booked something for Ross' office; he calls me in commercially more than anyone else in this town. Thanks for continuing to believe in me Ross!

This is the one that was a same-day call last Thursday when I wanted to go home and sleep. The next day, Friday, I had a same day call for the callback – when I wanted to sleep. I’m glad I have people in my life to “save me from me”. Besides “sleep is for suckers” or normal people, lol! Okay, now that I booked it, the next step is getting to actually shoot it.

Audition: “US Cellular” @ Pamela Starks Casting. Ooops! When they brought us in for the group explanation I thought I understood the spot and what was going on. Well, I did, but when I auditioned I totally forgot the major conflict that the character was dealing with. Fortunately the session runner stopped the tape and told me what I was missing and he let me start over. I really appreciated that; he could've just kept going. The second take went much better. Now, I hope they edit out the first take.

Callback: “AMP’D Mobile” @ Francene Selkirk Casting. This callback went great and I think I'm really right for it. I would love to book this spot, especially since it's for the Supercross and I'm a huge Supercross fan.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Audition: "Boston Legal" @ Valko/Miller Casting. I only felt okay about this one. The funny thing is that I used to better able to nail these small co-star roles with great precision. That day may be done. I hope not because I still want to work and I’d rather be on-set than at home watching Jerry Springer. I mean there is a fine line, but still, I need to get that precision back. No big deal, I didn’t make a fool of myself or anything like that, but I’d like to work on this show.
Audition: "UPS" @ Jeff Rosenman Casting. This one went pretty well. It had a lot of dialogue for a commercial.

So I did a bit of surgery on my resume and I’m really happy with the results. Steve, one of the assistants, recommended that I remove the billing column from my TV credits. I’ve seen this a lot in my time working as a reader. I just never knew when I would make the transistion of doing it myself. So I was really excited when he suggested I do it. I was also glad to be included by them in a category of someone who has “worked so much”. I don’t normally feel that way. They have many clients with great credits and I am honored to be looked at as one of them.

So after I removed the billing column of the TV credits I wasn’t happy with the look of the resume since the billing column of my film was still there. I seemed off balance. I then removed my film and theatre billing as well. I like the result. I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the best in the industry and it’s right there on the page. So it kinda say’s “he’s already worked with these people on these projects; maybe you should give him a shot too”. This may help me get more guest-star/film appointments. I don’t want it to kill my co-star appointments because I still need to work as much as possible and there are plenty of great co-star roles out there.

It’s just that my resume had so many co-star credits and me and my team wanna move forward. I also toned down the overall feel of the resume. I used to have a lot of bells and whistles on it, but once a year or so I scale it down. So we’ll see what happens.

I’ve also considered shooting some new photos; so I asked Caleigh. She thinks my photos are great and she took them in two ask my other two agents and think they are great too. Once again, a great example of others “saving me from me”. So maybe I’ll still shoot some stuff for my commercial agents. I love having such a connection with my agents – I’m quite fortunate in that.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Audition “AMP’D Mobile” @ Francene Selkirk Casting. This went well. I remember their spots from last year; they were pretty edgy and this is the same. They run constantly during the Supercross races. That would be cool to have a spot running during my favorite sport. How about a callback guys?

Audition/Producers: “Dirt” @ FMW Casting. This is a pilot for F/X; I think it’s a reshoot. I don’t know if they are reshooting the entire pilot or just part of it. It doesn’t matter too much to me I would just like to be a part of whatever they are doing. This is a recurring co-star role that is part of the office staff.

This call came not less than an hour after I dropped off a photo to the studio. I did a general drops for “Dirt” and “Grey’s Anatomy”. To be honest, I don’t think they had even seen my drop yet. I left it at the mailroom so it was probably something my agent submitted me for. Again, I don’t care, I’m just happy to get a shot.
My printer has been giving my trouble for a while now, but it hadn’t been in my new budget to get a new one just yet. So when I tried to print the sides for this audition my printer wasn’t interested in participating. I actually had to write the scene in my horrible handwriting. It looked pretty funny; especially since I highlighted my lines.

The audition was going well until I totally flubbed the lines at the end. So I took my power and I started over and did it again. It didn’t ask; I just did it. I don’t know; I think it went good. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Oh yeah, I ordered a new printer. It should be delivered tomorrow and I finally got a new phone! I can text message again! I never really told anyone I couldn’t send or receive text messages when my old phone died two months ago. Ooops, I hope know one sent any because I didn’t get any after July 7th, but I’m back in business.

I stopped by agent this evening to drop-off an embarrassingly small stack of photos to them. Between my printer woes and needing to order more reprints I’m a little unsure as to what I’m going to do. I think I’m going to re-shoot, so I don’t really want to order more, but I might have to.

Anyway, Steve, one of the great assistants at my theatrical agency suggested I make some changes to my resume. I really liked his ideas and I am going to perform a little reconstructive surgery on it. I think these changes are going to help me get auditions for more substantial roles. It was great to be able to walk in, without an appointment, and be able to talk to all 3 of my agents about whatever. I also asked if I'll be going any further for “Who’s Your Caddy”. He’s going to put in a call.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Audition: “PSA: Anti-Obesity” @ Sheila Manning Casting. This went well and I had fun. I portrayed an aerobics instructor for kids ages 6-10. There weren’t any kids there, but I made them up in my mind. I even gave them names; I used my neice and nephews and their friends’ names back home in Virginia. This PSA doesn’t pay residuals, just a session fee. That’s okay, I would love to book it and get to work with a bunch kids. I should probably just hope for a callback at this point huh?

The session runner for this spot was the same gentleman who ran the session for the “Michelin” callback for Ross Lacy. He asked me if I’d heard anything (I haven’t) and said that they liked me for the role. That’s good news; it doesn’t shoot until next month so it could be a while before they book. Then again, they could have already booked because I don’t get word that I’ve been released. I guess time will tell.

I also ran into a lady who works at TLC/Booth Casting quite often. She gave me some insight into how things work over there with legendary commercial Joe Pytka. I think I’m in good hands and in a good place in general.

Friday, September 15, 2006

OMG! My head is pounding! Maybe I got too much sleep. I went to bed before midnight last night and got more than 8 hours of sleep; which I rarely do. I also had an interesting dream that was a little concerning to me – no, it didn’t involve bats in my apartment.

I got up a couple of times and couldn’t really do anything, so I took an ibuprofen and laid back down – a couple of times. Then @ 12:34 my commercial agent calls. They have a callback for me for 3:15 this afternoon for yesterday’s “Michelin” spot @ Ross Lacy Casting. Okay, I HAD to get moving now. So I decided to head over to Studio City to check-in with the Actor’s Connection New York group that is in town this week. They usually have things they wanna discuss about the LA market. That would get me up to speed and it wouldn’t seem like I rolled out of bed to show up at the callback.

Callback: “Michelin” @ Ross Lacy Casting. It went GREAT!!! I couldn’t have imagined it going any better than it did. I took the direction from the session runner, kept it real and rooted and conveyed it in the room and knew when to leave. This happens a lot at Ross’ office for me. I do well for him; not usually enough to book, but well enough to get callback and avails – and we know how well callbacks and avails pay the bills.

My head is still pounding, not as bad as before, but enough to mention. I am wiped out. I wanna get a nap in before I go to see the new CW pilots at the Museum of Television and Radio. Thankfully, there were only two pilots to see and it would be a short night. “Runaway” was pretty cool I guess; I was able to watch it without a problem. “The Game” was pretty funny.

4:52pm: There goes that cell phone again – it’s KSA. Two things; an audition for Monday AND I’m on avail for “Michelin” Cool! I’m gonna book one of these commercial jobs one day. I don’t worry about it, I just keep showing up and I’ll be shocked and be the choice when I least expect it. Right?

How funny is this? I’ve been out commercially everyday since I stopped by to see my agents last Thursday. I hadn’t been out in two weeks and in the last week I’ve had 7 commercial appointments plus another on Monday. I don’t think it’s “out of sight, out of mind” I think it’s just a coincidence really – I don’t think they forgot about me for a second; it just comes and goes in waves. My agents are the best.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I'm beat. I'm really tired from all of the running around I do and my December vacation is still several months away. This acting thing is a lot of work, trust me.

The amount of effort I have and continue to put into my career is overwhelming. Fortunately, I love business - any kind of business, especially the entertainment business. The "show" part is equally thrilling and I've had the opportunity to work some of the best in the business. Don't get me wrong, many aspects of the business are completely absurd, but that is part of what makes it such a great business to be in.

As I was thinking about how tired I was a huge smile began to form. Why? Because I’m working at exactly what I moved across the country to work on. Being tired for these reasons is music to my ears. I am quite fortunate; not necessarily lucky, fortunate. Anyway, I have two appointments early today and then I plan to go home sleep until my workshop tonight.

Audition: “Nissan Altima” @ Melissa Martin Casting. When I walked in the audition room I was a little thrown to see director/ad people/client/whoever sitting there. Ooops! I didn’t know this was a “callback”. Anyway, I didn’t go all that well. I was just boring and I think they needed more – I didn’t have it. Oh well, sorry.

As soon as I left the office my phone rang and it was KSA. As usual I let it go voicemail. I was thinking maybe they needed me to return for some reason and I wasn’t as bad as I thought I was. Nope, it was another commercial appointment for this afternoon. I guess I won’t be getting all that sleep I was talking about huh?

Print go-see: “My Best Friend” @ Connie Conway Casting. This is actually a new pet pharmaceutical that they don’t have a name for yet. I was in and out in about 2 minutes. I’m gonna book one of these print jobs one day. I don’t worry about it, I just keep showing up and I’ll be shocked and be the choice when I least expect it. Right?

Audition: “Michelin” @ Ross Lacy Casting. This is the one that is cutting into my sleep time. I guess I can sleep later; actually I did squeeze a 35 minute nap in before I went. Ross calls me in more than anyone else in this town for commercials and I am very thankful for it. The role is perfect for me – a research scientist. I goes well. So we’ll see – or not.

What a day and I still have a workshop tonight. I spend so much time in the car it’s crazy, but it’s paying off – always has. I’d much rather be doing this than some of the other things I’ve done for money. Well, it looks like tomorrow is clear and since I’m not feeling to well I can sleep ALL DAY if I want – I probably won’t though.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Callback: "Statefarm" @ Kathy Knowles Casting. Oh yeah! This callback went really, really well. Let me back up; I had a lot of fun. That doesn't mean, it necessarily went well, but it felt great. I’m ready for some of that “Hollywood Theory”.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Audition: "Wendy's" @ Craig Colvin Casting. This went really well and I had a great time. I portrayed a husband giving birth. I've had numerous auditions, callbacks and avails at Craig’s office over the years, but have yet to book anything. By contrast, I did book a "Wendy's" spot that shot in Miami back when I lived in New York.

I have to say that my patience and optimism is amazing – even to me. I truly believe that I'll book again - soon, but I've been saying that for a loooong time. The last commercial I booked was 15 months ago in June '05; before that April '04 and December '03 before that.

The time frame curve is not encouraging, but I remain optimistic. In theory it would make sense that I won't book again until sometime next year. Could be, could be not. This is the where the beauty of our business comes in.

"theory" and "Hollywood Theory" are two completely different things. I understand "Hollywood Theory"; and of course I understand "theory". BUT, not only do I understand "Hollywood Theory", I live in it. I better, because if I don't understand it I should find another line of work.

When "Hollywood Theory" is working in your favor it’s a beautiful thing. I've experienced it; I am experiencing. "Hollywood Theory" really only makes sense in Hollywood.

In "theory" it doesn't make sense that I could book a "Pizza Hut" national commercial without appointment and then subsequently be hired for 2 additional ones.

It also doesn't make sense that I could seek out my two target LA agencies, send them a headshot/resume/cover letter from New York, fly out for meetings, sign contracts AND be happy after eight years of being represented by them.

Lastly, it doesn't make sense that I could book a job with Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks that would lead to another job with Steven Soderbergh and Al Pacino from simply walking to a casting office and dropping off my photo – actually putting it through the slot in the door.

Ooops, sorry - one more. It doesn't make sense that I could be working on one pilot, get a call for another pilot on the other side of town for a 3-line co-star role, be told that "they really just want to see you", show up and "get seen", read, get word that I have the job (without going to producers), before I even get home and have those 3-lines turn into 14 episodes over two seasons.

"Hollywood Theory" is a friend of mine! A good friend too. Why I am talking so much about it? It’s this same “Hollywood Theory” that will be responsible for me booking a commercial before “sometime next year”.

It’s kinda like “they” saying you have to “Pay your dues”, “it takes time for casting to want to see you” or “get in line”. Is that stuff true? I don’t know, maybe. It wasn’t all that true for me. I had 3 audition and three callbacks in my first week of being in Los Angeles and booked a TV gig and a commercial in my first 4 months. What line did I not get in?

I always wonder, who is “they”. The people that say:

“drop-offs are a waste of time”
“mailings don’t work”
“the only thing you’ll learn in a CD workshop is ‘don’t ask to use my stapler’”
“you have to have an agent to get work”
“commercials are just about a look”

The list goes on and on. I would love to meet “they”, but I can never find them. Don’t get me wrong, I am part of “they” too. But, I think the difference is that I’m not going to just pass on information that isn’t based in anything concrete. Bring on that “Hollywood Theory!!”

Monday, September 11, 2006

Audition: “Bahamas Tourism” @ Melissa Martin Casting.

Tonight I’m speaking to the Actor’s Connection “LA Connection” group of actors; which are actors on a week scouting trip to see what LA is all about. Should be fun. I may be going back East to speak in the near future as well.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

I went to a motocross race today in San Bernardino. I almost didn’t go because since I’ve been using my new Quicken financial program I can look at my spending and see the numbers. So now I justify every dollar that goes out. I’m pretty hard on myself too. Even up to last night I still wasn’t sure I was going to spend the money on “entertainment” to attend the event. I also had to consider the “gas budget” for the 140 mile round trip.

So I decided to cancel my three CD workshops I have scheduled for this coming week to equal out the gas a little. Driving to the workshop is 26 miles roundtrip, that’s 78 miles for three days. Instead, I’ll go see the new ABC, NBC, CBS and CW pilots being shown at the MTR; it’s a much closer drive.

I haven’t even bought a new cell phone yet. My phone broke when I was on vacation in July and I’ve been using a back up phone. I can’t send or receive text messages on my back-up phone. Normally, I would have gotten a new phone by now – I kinda like gadgets, not that I have many – I don’t, but Quicken has curbed my appetite.
I justified going because I’ve been really good with the budget, plus it’s something that I enjoy tremendously. I had a lot fun today and the drive wasn’t bad at all. For some reason I like being out in the dirt and getting all sweaty. My mom told me when I was a kid I would pour dirt on my head, fortunately I also like to shower and smell fresh.

I wish I could ride a motorcycle like those guys. Well sorta, it’s really dangerous and my bouncing off the dirt days are hopefully behind me. I didn’t spend any extra money at the park; I brought my own water and made sandwiches to keep cost in order.

Something really funny happened too. Normally, at the races I am one of relatively few African-Americans in attendance. Out of 23,000 people I would guess that maybe 200-300 are Black. I always meet people to “talk motocross” with; I am an avid fan of the sport and love to talk about it.

Most of the day I spent with these two guys and their sons on my right and after a while this other guy and his wife on my left starting asking me question about riders and stuff – all Caucasian on both sides. I must say when the young husband of the couple on my left asked me if I had any sunscreen I was a little caught of guard. For some reason I got a real chuckle out of that. Not that black people shouldn’t use sunscreen, we should, just like our more fair-skinned brethren – White folks.
I grew up riding BMX and bodyboarding/surfing. I spent a lot of days at the track, a lot of days at the beach; with a lot of White folks. None of those White folks EVER asked me if I had any sunscreen!!!! On the outside, I answered like it was a routine question and said, “No, sorry, I don’t”. Like I usually had some of me or I had used it all or something. Inside I was laughing my a** off. I thought it was great that he asked me. I mean why not? Maybe I’m a closet racist or something. I mean really, why am I so surprised by that question? Anyway, I got such a kick out of that and a tan too!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Audition: Statefarm @ Kathy Knowles Casting. I knew I’d start going out commercially soon.

Gotta love those Saturday auditions! It's been quiet commercially for the last couple of weeks and then I get two calls in 10 minutes. Cool, I'm back in the game! I feel a booking soon, I am sooo overdue.

I received my new SAG Insurance information the other day in the mail. I didn’t think I was going to qualify for Plan I this time; I thought I would only qualify for the lower Plan II. I made it somehow; that “IBM” commercial was golden for me. This is good news because the coverage is better and the premiums are lower. I first qualified for Plan I coverage in 1998 I have never lost it; although I have come close. One year in New York I qualified by the difference of one day of SAG Commercial background work. Every dollar counts.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Audition: "The Game" @ Suzanne Goddard-Smythe Casting. I'm glad to get back in this office! Why? Well, last time I was there, several weeks ago, things went "just okay". Not at all bad, just "neither here nor there". So it’s a small victory to get back in so soon.

I used to be great at nailing the smaller co-star roles, but in recent years it has become much more challenging. I'm not sure why, but it has. So here I am pre-reading for a very small co-star role...without any complaints - oh yeah, it's possibly recurring.

After signing in I couldn't help but notice the actors that were there for the roles of "Girls #1 & 2". Five of "LA’s Finest"; these women were soooo.......nice and polite.

Anyway, after a while it was my turn. I read for associate Danielle Diller again, but I saw Suzanne on the way in and she remembered me. I didn’t feel I was all that right for the character because they said he was “really Hip-Hop”, but the read went great. LOL!! I’m as nerdy as they come – not too hip-hop. I listen to hip-hop music, but those guys are real trend-setters and I am not. Plus, I forgot my cool hat that I was gonna wear to show that I was on the cutting edge of…something.

I chose to use props this time. I had my cell phone and a brace for my wrist. I added some activity at the beginning and the end of the scene and it worked…I think. I have to be careful of that because sometimes you can squeeze in too much and it can come off as trying too hard when it’s such a short scene. I can’t forget that it was a pre-read so I guess I’ll find out if it “really” worked. I read it the first time and they liked the business I added. We did it again and I got carried away. Danielle instructed me to tone it down and we did it a third time and they seemed to be happy. I believe it shoots the week of the 18th. So maybe I’ll get a callback.

My commercial and print agents are right next door to CBS Radford Studios where the audition was so I stopped by to say “hello”. It’s been two weeks since I’ve had an audition through them, which is rare, but that isn’t the main reason I stopped by. I “like” them; they are really great people and I enjoy talking to them – even if it is 5-10 minutes at a time.

I thought this was great. Immediately after greeting each other my agent Brooke commented that I hadn’t been out lately. I just love that; it’s not like it’s been months. I can’t believe that she specifically knows how active I am right off the top of her head. Funny, back in the day when I was preparing to move from New York to Los Angeles some other actor’s where saying that I shouldn’t sign with KSA because they are too big and I’ll get “lost in the shuffle”. Yes, they are a very large agency, but they have a lot of people running the operation. I have never felt, even for a day, that they didn’t know who I was. They have an open-door policy for their clients and I have always taken full advantage of it.

Anyway, Brooke brought up the topic of headshots and that it might be time for me to update or just look at my old session and get another shot that hasn’t been circulated. I had been thinking of shooting new shots anyway so it didn’t come as a surprise. She recommended a photographer they use a lot, but he is SUPER expensive. I don’t have a problem with the cost really, but he is the most expensive headshot photographer I’ve heard of in LA. I got better than the best deal you can get on my comp card so if I average that and a really expensive shoot I’ll have a good average, but it’s just not in the budget right now. I’ll get it together soon.

Audition/Producers: “The George Lopez Show” @ Stacey Levy Casting. I arrived at this audition and almost everyone there it seemed was from Actorsite. I saw Tanika McKelvy Brown, Julia Flint, Ingrid Sanai Buron, Joan Blair and Angel Oquendo. The audition went well I thought. I asked a question about the scene before I started which helped to clear things up a bit; it wasn’t all on the page. That bit of information changed the way I read it, I’m glad I asked.

It was great to see some fellow acting friends out in the mix, reading for roles on major shows. I think at least one of us will book.

Afterwards Angel and I walked around on the Warner Bros lot and I showed him where the “Ocean’s Thirteen” set was. He also booked a role in it and worked a couple of weeks ago at another location. The first thing we saw when we found the soundstage was George Clooney playing basketball with a few members of the crew. I must admit, it was a little surreal seeing him right there. Seems like a really cool guy.

I did a couple of general drop-offs on the lot and ran into Lanre Idewu; we did a play together in downtown LA a couple of years ago. I also ran into Brandon Molale; I met Brandon at Actorsite several years ago. He was working on “Dodgeball” the same time I was working on “The Terminal” both in Palmdale. Brandon is a really nice guy who works CONSTANTLY in big films. Actually, I saw him on “The Jay Leno Show” tonight; that guy is everywhere.

I rarely/never ask my agents to get feedback from an audition. Part of the reason is that I have a serious fear of rejection. It’s kinda funny actually. Another reason is that I don’t want to be just bothering my agents…just…because. So I try to be patient and just move on to the next thing. Well, this “patiently impatient” guy wasn’t so patient today. Yeah, I called my agent to see if I could get any word on, “Who’s Your Caddy”, the film I read for the other day. One of the great assistants, Steve, called the casting office and got the low-down. He didn’t get to speak with the casting director, but he did talk to the associate. The associate checked the notes on my resume and “good actor” was written with a star by it. The associate said that, most likely, means that I will get a callback. Cool. I’m really excited by that possibility. At minimum, I had a great audition for a busy casting director and film director.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Cool, the maintenance man came this morning and was very confident about were the bats are getting in. I was right, it was above the stove. He stuffed a bunch of screen in there to plug it up. I feel much better.

License and registration please....

Audition/Director: “Who’s Your Caddy” @ Jeff Gerrard Casting.
Yeah, this went really well. I sorta complicated it for myself because I think I knew what was going on - at least I thought I did. The role I read for is one the leads in the film, but for the audition there was just one small scene – a monologue really. I thought that was odd. Also, there were about 3-4 other, similar characters reading the same sides. Odd again; I mean these were leads and supporting leads.

In my mind it meant they were just trying to find out who was funny at all. Then they would dig deeper and really try to put a cast of characters together. So, drawing on my experience as a reader I figured I needed to really think outside of the box and bring something fresh. I mean you always want to do that, but I felt this needed to be a couple of degrees off of the normal freshness you wanna bring in the room. After all they’re going to be hearing these same sides from about four different characters. I didn’t want to put them asleep.

I didn’t want it to be so off the mark that they would wonder if I even read it, but enough that there was an unlikely twist for this character. I read it over and over and found my take on it. My take had absolutely nothing to do with what the character arch was in the script – nothing at all, but interesting nonetheless.

I went to my buddy Jon’s place to read it over and discuss my plan. He wasn’t feeling it at first – not even a little bit. I asked him to be really patient and hear me out. I also begged him to tell me if he thought I was completely out of my mind. I felt really strong about what I was thinking, but I needed someone to potentially save me from myself and my “great” idea.

Slowly, I was able to convince him that I was making sense and he got on board and gave me some great ideas to incorporate into the piece. It’s amazing what you can come up with in 20-25 minutes. I left his place feeling like I was on top of the world. I feel like I’m really right for this and I enjoyed the script.

So I arrive at the casting office, sign-in and have a seat. After 30 minutes or so it’s my turn. First I meet the director Don Michael Paul and I’m re-introduced to Casting Director Jeff Gerrard. I know Jeff from auditioning for commercials. Actually, the first time I auditioned for him back in ’99; I didn’t even have an appointment. A buddy gave me a tip on it because he had an appointment and thought I was right for it too. I went to check it out and was able to get seen. It was for “Pizza Hut”, I got a callback and booked the job. That led to two more “Pizza Hut”. I also remember one day doing a commercial drop when his office was in the Valley on Lankershim; commercial drops – THAT was a long time ago. I rarely, if ever do those anymore. Anyway, I ended up seeing him and he said I didn’t need to drop a photo because he had one on the wall in his office. Needless to say I was very surprised to hear that.

Before starting the read Don really checked out my credits. I gotta tell you it felt great to hear him associate me with people like Mekhi Phifer, Steven Spielberg, Al Pacino and Steven Soderbergh. Finally, it was time to read. They started laughing from the opening beat; which was a little thing that my friend Jon suggested. It went great!! The first thing Don said after I finished was “WHY DID YOU CUT YOUR DREADS!!!?!?! There is a guy in the movie with dreadlocks and his name is ‘Dread’.” He said he’s seen “The Terminal” and I mentioned that I had dreads back then.
ire mon!
We talked about that for a bit then he gave me some direction. I did it again, totally different and was happy with the outcome. He complimented me and I was on my way.

While I was driving away it suddenly dawned on me that I could have performed the re-direct even better. I could have added a slight accent for the dread guy. It was at that moment that I needed someone to “save me from myself”. Yup. I was going to go back and ask to do it again. Fortunately, I needed to go to my agency to pick up material for another appointment. My mind was racing. I was actually driving away from audition, but I was strongly thinking about going back. I really wanted go back, but I knew I needed time to think. I stopped at one of my favorite places, Panera Bread, check my e-mail on my PDA using their free Wi-Fi connection and assessed the situation.

Fifteen minutes later I got back in the car and headed in the direction of the audition. I didn’t think I would actually park, get out of the car, get in the elevator and go back to the office to ask to do it again, but I knew there was a chance that I would. I used a “lifeline” I called Jon and explained what was on my mind. He said, “no, don’t go back, let it ride”. That was what I needed to hear, so I “let it ride’ and heading to my agents’ office instead.

I spoke to David, the agent handling the office for the audition, and gave him the run-down. He was very excited to hear that it went well for me. He’s got a good feeling about it; who knows maybe they find something for me in the project. With that being said, I don’t expect to hear another thing about it. I’m not gonna wait by the phone, but I will pick up the phone in 10 days or so if I don’t hear anything. I really would like to work on this project.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Ooops, I ain’t feeling so good right now. Actually, I’m feeling pretty bad. Why? Well, I think it’s a combination of things. The major one is that I miss my mother so much. I can’t believe she’s been gone almost four years. I’m usually pretty good, but I’m pissed that I can’t even share my bat stories with her. She would, without a doubt, have something hilarious to say about. I know I’ve written about it and laughed, but I haven’t really told the whole story. For instance, I was out with friends Friday night and we laughed a lot about it, but I didn’t share with them that I had had another encounter right before I left home to meet them.

Yeah, I was getting ready to get in the shower to go catch up with them. I reached to pull back the shower curtain to turn on the water and to my surprised there was a bat moving in the drain. WHAT!? You’d think I’d be used to it by now, but I don’t think you’re ever really ready for it – it’s a freakin’ bat!! It took me a second to gather my bearings. Needless to say that bat is missing like Jimmy Hoffa. I drowned his/her a** - with hot water. I think that’s the first one I’ve straight up murdered – it was self defense – I thought it had a gun. I don’t make it a habit to hurt animals by any means, but it’s kinda like survival of the fittest. Don’t get me wrong it’s funny – sorta. It’s also potentially really, really dangerous.

I reported it to the rental office and with the holiday weekend it’s gonna be a minute before someone gets to check things out, probably Tuesday. Let me tell you, it’s spooky trying to sleep in my spot right about now.

I asked several people who live in the building about it and most weren’t of the issue. There were a few that had had incidents or heard about them. One guy had one in his apartment and said it took him 30 minutes to get it out. 30 MINUTES?!?! What the heck was he doing for 30 minutes? When I see one it’s over and done in 2-3 minutes max.

I stuffed rags in the non-working exhaust vent over the stove where I think they might be getting in. But really got me down was the notion of possibly having to move over this before I am ready to buy a condo. That would suck.

Another thing is the basis of how much I am paying in rent. I have found that many people in the building are paying less rent than me for the same space and I have been here longer. Maybe it’s on the up an up, but I am going to speak with the LA renter’s board or something like that to ease my mind – or take action.

So that got me kinda down and out today, but it’s nothing that a good bike ride couldn’t cure. I LOVE riding my bike. It brings me a lot of joy; I wish I had someone to ride with on a regular basis. Someone that would go out in the mountains and stuff.

Friday, September 01, 2006

If you ever see a bat flying in your home DO NOT call
me. Put a pair of pants around your neck for protection
and go to war. Good luck! - Stephon Fuller

Since I didn’t hear anything yesterday about the film audition I missed, I’m on the phone bright and early to see what I can do to make it happen. The thing is that the agent who handles this particular office is gone for the weekend, so one of the other agents is handling it. So I leave a message with one of the very capable assistants in the office.

BINGO! 25 minutes later the assistant, Steve, calls back with an appointment, sides and script and says they are considering me for several roles. That is great news. Ok, now to read the script and prepare. Sometimes you can put so much energy into getting the opportunity that you blow the opportunity. I can’t let that happen.

The great thing was that I had no idea this project even existed; I included my photo as a general submission while dropping a photo for my friend, Denice. It’s fun to think it was all me, me, me who got the audition, but I’m sure my agent submitted me too. That is the team at work! Now I have to go in deliver.