Saturday, December 30, 2006

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

Sunday, December 24, 2006

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

Friday, December 22, 2006

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

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

The top...

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

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

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

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

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

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

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

Monday, December 18, 2006

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

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

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

Friday, December 15, 2006

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 14, 2006

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

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

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

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

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

Monday, December 11, 2006

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

Sunday, December 10, 2006

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

Saturday, December 09, 2006

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

Friday, December 08, 2006

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

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

Sunday, December 03, 2006

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

Saturday, December 02, 2006

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 01, 2006

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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