Monday, October 29, 2007

My interview for the Everything Acting Podcast has been posted. It was done by phone so the quality isn't the greatest, but it can still be heard with no problem. The podcast has 60+ interviews and is quite informative; I was honored to be asked to be a part of it. Rosalyn Coleman-Williams and Darbi Worley do a great job with passing information to actors all over.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Audition: Best Buy" @ Ross Lacy Casting. Yes! This went really well so maybe I’ll get a callback.

Audition: "FedEx" @ Kathy Knowles Casting. Another good one today. Funny spot. I’ve booked through both of these offices in the past and have a pretty good callback ratio for them too.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Audition: "" @ Jacob Casting. Ehh…this goes okay…I guess. For some reason I was acting all anxious and stuff; like I had had a cup of coffee. Obviously, I’ve never had a coffee in my life so that wasn’t it. There was definitely some good points to the audition so we’ll see what happens.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I've been officially consulting for just over a year now and it's been pretty cool. I've met a lot of talented, motivated, charismatic performers that are looking for alternative ways to move forward in their careers. I've even run into a few of them at auditions...for the same role I was reading for....BACK OFF!!! j/k.

What I really enjoy about consulting on "The Business of the Acting Business" is that I truly feel I have something to offer actors who are looking for a better understanding of how things operate in Hollywood. The coolest thing has been truly having a fresh approach that is always evolving. Some may say it’s “thinking outside the box". I say, "What box? I ain't got no stinkin’ box”. When most are looking left; I'm looking right. For some reason my natural way of thinking is to start from the opposite end of the masses and work backward. I don’t know where that started but I’ve been wired that way for as long as I can remember – for better or for worse.

The hard part about consulting is that I want all of the great things that have happened for me to happen for my clients...right away. I know that isn't realistic, but I also know that some of them will rise to heights I can only dream of.

I had a great consultation session with a young lady early in the year. She had already been in Los Angeles for several years with typical, not-so-effective representation. This happens a lot; actors arrive from other markets and float around for 2-4 years before realizing that they are not really in the game. Then, even at that point, it’s not easy to get in the game and off the sidelines.

Funny enough, her mom, who is out of state, had found my website and suggested that she book a session with me. So we sat down and I got her story of what had been happening in career, how she got to where she was, what she had done, who she knew, what she wanted to do, etc. I relayed what steps I thought she should take and she seemed to be willing to give my thoughts a try.

I have to say that even though I had never seen her work I had a great feeling about her – her confidence was beyond her young years. Not in an arrogant way, just in an “I’m really ready to do this” way. If she followed one particular suggestion I felt that we might cross paths again; if not I wished her the best. She seemed very pleased after our one hour pow-wow and I said to her “today is the first day of the rest of your career”.

Over the next several weeks she stayed in contact and had questions about some of the suggestions we talked about. I made it clear to her that it was “imperative” that her representation situation be fixed and that she had to let people know that she existed in the TV/Film world of casting. She had a few credits; so she wasn’t at all totally green, she just needed to fully get on the playing field. I know; easier said than done. She is also looking forward to performing in commercials and I particularly liked her attitude about them.

She is a young woman who can play even younger and youth will almost always be an edge in this town. At the same time, women in general, have a shorter window of opportunity so this time is of “vital importance” in a career sense.

So weeks turned into months and every time we spoke she was “trying to make something happen”. She used my name at my commercial agency and they requested her tape, but it didn’t go any further after it was determined that she’d be a direct conflict with an existing client.

I was suggesting other agency names that I thought might be worth a try commercially and theatrically with no success. I’m not totally up the “who is who” in the agent sector because I’ve been with the same agents since arriving in Los Angeles and have never been in the hunt. Then about a month a half ago my theatrical agency was looking for interns and I suggested she apply. It wasn’t a meeting, but it could at least get her in the door and I felt that if they met her they would see the potential I saw. I’ve met so many with potential, but her “ace in the hole” was her youth and being able to play younger. That coupled with maturity, some credits, being a SAG member and an interesting look and energy. If any one of those ingredients weren’t in place it would have greatly changed things from my perspective. At the very least interning would give her a birds-eye view into how a theatrical agency like SCAW operates.

By the time she called about the internship the positions were already filled, but they said they would put her on the list. Then a couple of weeks later the agency called and asked if she was still available to intern. She kept me posted every step of the way, which was key, on what was going on and once while we were talking on the phone my agent called to give me an appointment. I let it go to voicemail, but when I called back to confirmed the appointment I did the unthinkable.

I pitched her to my agent.

I only say “unthinkable” because I have so much respect for what my agents do and they have the same respect for my professionalism as a client. This young lady would be representing me and my taste and I don’t take that lightly. Sure, many actors have used my name in mailings to my agents over the years, but this was different.

It was totally unrehearsed and not easy, because I had to explain a name change and a hair color change that very much conflicted with the photo on the imdb. My agent asked for her name; I gave her both names and she wrote it down. The last thing you want is a dirty, murky pitch, but I spoke fast and clear to keep her interested. The funny thing is that Caleigh immediately responded to her name; she liked the ring of it. But I figured that she wrote it on a post-it or something and I didn’t want it to get buried or lost and lose the energy of the pitch.

So right away when I confirmed that I received the sides for my audition I included the young actors’ imdb listing so Caleigh could simply click on it. Caleigh responded within minutes that she may be a conflict, but she’d think about it. She was saying that she’d be a conflict because she was a blonde in the imdb photo, but now she’s red-head.

I knew that would happen and I was ready.

I responded right back that she doesn’t look like the photo on the imdb listing anymore and actually has an entirely different look and feel as a red-head. Caleigh responded back and asked if I had a photo of her with the current hair color. I said the photo will be dropped by the office tomorrow morning.

Cool, she might be interested.

Back in the huddle with the young actress we discussed how to move forward. Sure, I could have just forwarded her Actor Access profile to my agent, but I wanted the young actress to go to the office in 3-D. Plus, I wanted her resume to look different. Because I knew that if Caleigh happened to be in the lobby and saw her energy and look she’d be interested in knowing more about her – at least I thought so. At this point, I’m in neck deep trying to hook this up and feeling quite anxious about it. I’ve never done this before.

So the next morning the young actress drops her package by the office – including her demo reel. She doesn’t see Caleigh. After my audition I called Caleigh to tell her how it went and after discussing that she says, “Oh my God, you’re friend is adorable. I love her hair, she does look totally different. I’m gonna watch her reel during lunch”.


I call the young actress and we both are ecstatic. I caution her that this may not go much further, but already she likes your name, hair color and vibe/feel, plus I think she respects my opinion.

Boom! The next day the young actress got an email for an appointment. The day and time were set, but then a few days later it was changed because 1 of the 3 agents wouldn’t have been able to make it. I thought that was good news because it showed me that Caleigh wanted everyone to meet her.

So I and the young actress discussed a bit about what she might expect when she arrives, which agent was which and what they looked like. The meeting was at 4pm and by 4:12pm it was over and she was already on the phone with me. “Wow, that was quick”, I thought. I could hear in her voice that she didn’t feel so great about the meeting because it went so quick and they didn’t really leave her with much to get a feel of where she stood. No “Call us Monday afternoon” or “We’ll be in touch”. She just basically said “Thanks and have a good weekend”.


I painted some scenarios of what it could mean from “you’re a direct conflict” to “we like her and wanna sign her; there’s no reason to talk for 30 minutes if we already know what we’re gonna do”. So this was Friday evening and we were both prepared for the waiting game – over the weekend. Admittedly, we both were a little deflated.

I didn’t really know what to make of it because it was kind of foreign territory for me, but I feel that this young lady is a “perfect storm” waiting to happen. I went back in my head, point-by-point, and asked myself why I went out on a limb for her. Again, it all made sense to me – it all added up. If any one of those elements were missing the pitch probably wouldn’t have happened – at least not from me.

The young actress called me 90 minutes later with the message from the agency that said, “Xxxxx we all think you’re adorable and would love to represent you….”


The message had been sent shortly after she left the office. So, yeah they made their decision right away and didn't need too much convincing. I felt they were already 75-85% of the way before they even met her in 3-D. She had been pitched by a respected client, Caleigh liked her name, her hair choice, her demo reel, her energy all before meeting her in the flesh. It all made sense.

That was great to hear we are both really excited about her future. I am so proud of her for hanging in there and participating in her success. I have to say that if she didn’t pursue the internship I don’t think I would have pitched her. That may sound weird, but I know how my mind works. In hindsight she was being tested by me, but even I didn’t know it. I can only see the tests by looking back; I never saw it looking forward.

So needless to say, we’ve been in contact everyday since the great news through the transition from the old agent to the new one and exciting things are already happening. Again, my name and taste is on the line and, thus far, she’s making me proud. Mostly, it’s that there are things she doesn’t know and/or hasn’t experienced yet and she won’t hesitate to ask for help. I really have a great feeling about this.

It almost makes me feel that I have a little influence in this town, but I’m not that silly…

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Audition: “Summer’s Eve” @ Lien/Cowan Casting. OMG! This went really, really well. My “wife” in the spot was stunning to say the least. Before we auditioned we made some small talk in the lobby. Then the session runner brought me, her and the others in for a group explanation.

So when it was our turn to audition, we were digitally photographed, slated our names and ACTION! I was sitting in a chair and “Ms. Thang” turned it ON! I felt her hands on my shoulders and damn-near went numb, LOL! In the spot she’s trying to convince me to get changed and ready to leave so she kneels down and whispers “sweet nothings” in my ear. I turned my head to look in her eyes and felt that I could look at her for the rest-of-my-life. What’s my line? I DON’T KNOW! I didn’t have any scripted lines I just responded to the …feeling. That happened to me once before on a shoot. Yeah….and that was just the first part.

The second part was a different set-up, but the same type of action. How many times have I fallen in love at an audition? I don’t know. Not too many times, but “Ms. Thang” worked it this morning and was really sweet, polite and funny to boot.

ADR "Bones". Great! I guess this means I’ll be in the final edit of the show, plus I’ll get another payment for my time. I arrived at the scoring stage at FOX studios right on time to watch the previous actor match his dialogue. While I was waiting one of the series regulars, Michaela Conlin, arrived for her ADR session as well. Since she was still shooting I let her go first so she could get back to set – we each only had one line to do. Plus I was chatting with the ADR Engineer about Post Production. He was explaining a ton of stuff about the process.

So, in flash, Michaela was finished and I stepped on the stage. They gave me the line of dialogue and then played it. It was great to see my close-up on the big screen – yeah! They played it a couple of times so I could match the intensity of the dialogue.

So now we were ready to record. Something that works for me when I do looping is to NOT look at the screen; just listen to the 3 beeps. The beeps came in and BAM!!! I hit it...there was silence from the engineer next to me. He looked back to the engineer in the control room and said “That was perfect!” They both looked at me like I was a genius. In reality, I was just lucky. I just happened to nail that one. It was so perfect that we almost didn’t even do a second one. We did decide to do a second and it was almost as good. He asked me if I was in a loop group. I said “no” and that are like a best kept secret. But I asked him if he knew of any connections to them. I gave him my card just in case. So I signed out and headed straight back to the Head engineer to continue our conversation about “The Process”.

He showed me a bunch of other stuff about how the computers work and I, being the curious one that I am, knew enough relevant questions to show him that I was really interested. I gotta tell ya, I was freakin giddy about hearing what he was telling me. I think I’d LOVE post-production work. So he gave me his card and invited me to come back to the studio if I wanted to learn more. I gave him my card as well. He’s extremely accomplished and has worked on well over 100 TV and Film projects. I think I’m gonna check him out and learn some more about it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Audition: "Orville Redenbacher" @ Deborah Kurtz Casting. This was quick-fast; in and out as an "emotional talk-show audience member".

Audition/Producers: "My Name is Earl" @ Dava Waite Casting. This went really well. CD Dava, associate Kari Kurto and Jayme Singer always greet me warmly so we’ll see what happens. I really feel my foundation firming up around town. Sure, I’ve got a long way to go, but I’ve come a long way too.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Audition/Producers: "Journeyman" UDK Casting. It went okay I guess. I got caught up in some of the "mime/don't mime" stuff and I never truly committed to either. I should have known better. I wasn't too bad, but still. Who knows I could still be in the running for the role.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Well, well, well….. What a difference a day makes. I got the call this evening for the show that Caleigh and I had been trying to get in on. She said they were just waiting to bring me straight to producers rather than pre-reading. That’s cool; but I don’t have a problem with pre-reading in general. This is great though because it starts me in a much smaller pool of actors being considered for the role.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Audition: "Budweiser" @ TLC/Loree Booth Casting. went okay. I wasn’t really connected to the dialogue…I don’t know why. For some reason I don't think it'll have much to do with whether I'll be placed on avail or not. I think I’m right for it and it's a Joe Pytka-directed spot. He doesn't usually have callbacks. But what do I know; the last commercial I did was a year ago. A whole freakin year without a booking? Geez, that needs to be fixed....and soon.

On to other things; I called my agent this evening about a role she was trying get me seen for in a major TV casting office. We'd spoken about it a couple of days ago and I was following up. This is what they told her; "We know Stephon and if he's right for anything we'll absolutely bring him in".

What? I wasn't sure how to take that news at first because, although I read for this casting director just a month ago, before that it had been 3 years. Yes, 36 months. The confusing thing was that they made it seen like it was a "no-brainer" that they'll bring me in. I guess that makes sense if they are starting from me getting a callback last month, but from my viewpoint I'm thinking “1,100 days!"

Anyway, I quickly came to my senses and realized that this is a great position to be in - especially in this office.

So back to the specific role; it wasn't looking like we were going to get the appointment. That's okay; I got great news for the long-term health of my career in that particular, very important TV casting office.

Actually, there's another show in that same office that's Caleigh is trying to get me an appointment for. It's not the same casting director, but I know the associate from meeting her in a CD workshop. The report is that they haven't started seeing people yet. Caleigh says that she'll just keep calling.

So, what's the score? Two roles, zero appointments and a freakin rock-star of an effective agent that I have great, transparent communication with = priceless. Go Caleigh!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Audition/Tape/Producers: “TiMER” @ CFB Casting. Cool. I’ve booked a couple of times through this office in the past and would love to do it again. The audition with went great! I'm not usually overly talkative in an audition situation, but this was a little different.

I entered the room with casting director, Michael Nicolo, and there sat two, really cute, young ladies. I had done a little research and I’m guessing that they were the writers/producers/director. I had a quick question which set a few jokes in motion which warmed me up and got rid of any nervous energy. The humor went over well partially because, I think, they are very new to the business in a professional sense and therefore "more normal" – maybe recent film school grads.

Anyway, the read went great; regardless of the outcome and that’s a good thing. It's less about getting the job and more about doing good work; although it would be great to actually get a job once in a while.

Afterwards I went to the premiere of "The Darjeeling Limited" at AMPAS on Wilshire Blvd. Oh my God! I cannot freakin imagine what it must be like to be a full-fledged celebrity or "hot" or "flavor of the month" or even remotely hot. It has to be one of the weirdest, unnatural things in the world to experience first hand. I mean I've worked with plenty of names over the years, but being in the fishbowl has to be a whole different world. Just the sight of the red carpet made me seriously...and I didn't even walk on it. There were so many photographers taking photos...bizarre.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Audition: "Audi" @ ASG Casting. Alright, this was pretty funny. I had a feeling this was going to go well because I pulled up to a parking meter that already had 1:02 on it. That's good right? Besides, I'm loving the Valley these days; well, as much you can love living in crazy-ass LA. It seems like I drive "over the hill" everyday for one reason or another.

So I'm sitting, waiting my turn to audition and I noticed a woman with her son. The little guy was about 3 years-old and he was wearing a black "Black Sabbath" tee-shirt. Actually, the shirt looked like it was a woman’s shirt; maybe his mom’s. You know how girls/ladies will cut a regular tee shirt into a "super-sexy rocker-chick tee-shirt"? Well that's what this shirt looked like. I wasn't alarmed, I just thought it was...interesting that a 3-year old kid was wearing a black "Black Sabbath" tee-shirt that had been modified to be a "super-sexy rocker-chick tee shirt". I know, I know weird...hey it was just something I noticed.

Anyway, after a few moments two names were called to audition next - mine and the mother of the 3 year-old boy who was wearing the "super-sexy rocker-chick tee shirt".

So I immediately looked over to see if she was going to bring ‘lil man into the room with her.....

Let me explain; I had looked over the boards and the copy of the commercial and we were to portray husband and wife and there was a part where there would naturally be some intimacy - ya know, “American” commercial intimacy - not “European” commercial intimacy. Trust me; there's a difference. I experienced a little bit of it Spain…in a commercial….yeah, in a commercial….

Oh no, 'lil man is coming in the room.

See, the reason I was a concerned was because I didn’t know how ‘lil man would handle seeing his mom being treated like “my boo”. I, admittedly, haven’t been so great at treating anyone like “my boo” in recent times, but “BACK IN THE DAY!” I was pretty charming. Actually, I’m working on regaining that spark.

He’s just a kid; is he going to really understand that his mom is “working” and not “cheating on daddy” with some random Black man in a room with a camera? At first, I was like “I can’t trip this kid out by putting my hands on his mom”, but then I started thinking that I wanna get a callback for this commercial and I can’t really let ‘lil man get in the way. Maybe she shoulda left his tail in the car with a Capri-Sun and the window cracked two inches…just kidding.

I made the decision to “just go for mine”. So we slate our names and the session runner calls “action!” I do my thing as instructed then she does her thing, then the moment comes where I need to be a little “touchy feely”. I go for it; I kept it rated G for the most part, but I had to represent and keep it somewhat real, which meant putting my hands on his mom. A few seconds later I hear ‘lil man saying, in the slowest, faintest voice possible, “mommy, mommy” and right after that I hear the session runner going, also in the slowest, faintest voice possible, “ssshhhhhhhhhhh” to ‘lil man. It was completely hilarious!

So we reversed roles and did the same thing again and ‘lil man was a little better, but still quite confused. I don’t know how I didn’t just burst out laughing. It was so funny. I wonder if he went home and told his dad that he met his Black dad today and he was hugging mommy.

Geez, what if we both get a callback? I say bring the kid.

Audition: "Ford" @ Ross Lacy Casting. Fun time and it goes well…they should call me back.

Audition/Producers: "Chuck" @ Patrick Rush Casting. More good stuff with this one; my agent told me I was being called in on this based on my tape from auditioning for the pilot of the show back in March. I like that because it means my name is being mentioned unbeknownst to me and that is a good thing. It’s always been really important to me to make my name more powerful than my photo. I love creating new ways to go about the pursuit of this business. I don’t know if they are right or wrong, but they work for me.

Anyway, it was smaller role, but I and my agent felt it was a good move to get back in this office; especially at this time. The read went okay, not bad. I just think I might have been a little too big, but that could work for this particular show. When I was called in the room I wasn’t quite ready because they didn’t go in the order of the sign in sheet and it threw me a little, but it’s all good.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

This will be probably sound weird, but it’s always exciting to NOT have any auditions for an extended period of time. I look at it as the calm before the storm – maybe it’s a coping method! It’s been almost 3 weeks since my last commercial audition which is an eternity for me, but I always know that my agents @ KSA are doing their best. Honestly, I wish I “brought home the bacon“ more often for them because they definitely get me in the room plenty.

This morning I did a drop-off and put it directly in the hand of the casting associate/assistant. It’s sometimes weird because I’ve met so many people in casting over the years, but I can’t possibly remember all of them. So I’ll usually check my records before going to do a drop so I have an idea who I might run into. I prefer not to see anybody because I’m “Stealthman! doing drop-offs with stealth-like precision”. Anyway, this particular casting professional had moved from another office I’m familiar with to this office so I wasn’t expecting to see her and I couldn’t remember where I knew her from. It was a little awkward but I think I covered myself pretty well. She was really nice………and really hot!

Audition: "NFL Network" Promo @ Type Casting. On my way to this audition I get a call for another commercial audition later today on the other side of town in Studio City – cool! The audition had sides with several characters in the scene just like a theatrical audition and it went great. It’s for like 8 promo spots and the actual casting director was in the room. So hopefully this will put me on his radar and I’ll start getting called in more often from this office. Callbacks are this afternoon and I’m confident that I’ll be getting one.

Audition: "Arby's" @ Beth Holmes Casting. I had to be here before 1pm and I made it right on time. Fun spot, I’m perfect for it. Me and the other 3 guys really hit it off so hopefully some of that magic made it on the tape. One of the guys had locked himself out of his apartment in Hollywood and had to take a cab there so I gave him a ride home.

It was interesting to hear his story. I love hearing other actors’ stories and perspectives on the business. On the one hand I love hearing them because I’m nosy, curious and fascinated by how people get to where there are – no matter where that is. On the other hand it shows how different my perspective is and how instrumental it has been in my journey. I’m kinda crazy…for better or worse.

As soon as I left the audition I got the message saying I have a callback for the “NFL Network” promo I went on this morning – YES!

Callback: "NFL Network" @ Type Casting. So we arrive and I get the news that everything is totally different from the original audition. Different script, different role, different attitude, but they kept calling my character by the same name from the first audition, which was a little confusing. I decided to just kinda wing it and not worry too much – ya know, keep it fresh, lol!

So it was taking a while before they got started and I had 48 minutes on my parking meter. …tick-tock-tick-tock… So right as I was going to leave to feed the meter another casting director came out and announced that “They tow after 4pm on the North side of the street!” Right then they called my name to go in the room. I couldn’t even think! I CANNOT have my car towed. Nope, it’s not an option.

I walk in the room having absolutely no idea what was going on – AT ALL. My mind is in a fog because I wanna do well, but I’m thinking my car is being ticketed and towed. I wasn’t familiar with this part of West LA so I didn’t know if I was really in danger or not.

I hadn’t gone in for this character before and they didn’t explain ANYTHING – so I just went with it. It was confusing because it seemed like one of the other actors was reading some of my lines. The set up was we were in a bar looking at hot, sexy, sweet-smelling NFL cheerleaders on a laptop and “Aker” was one of the cheerleaders favorite player. So when the “hot, tall, sweet-smelling waitress” who was also auditioning asked “how many field goals has Aker kicked this season?” I just said “like 300”. The entire room erupted in laughter because if you know anything about football you know that kicking 300 field goals in a season is ridiculous – unless you’re in a commercial callback and the only thing on your mind is whether or not your car is being towed.

So they brought me up to speed for the second take and we did it again and that was that. I left the room and sprinted to my car 50 minutes and 30 seconds after putting 48 minutes on the meter. On my way there another actor who had gone to check on his car was sad to find that it had already been towed. As I’m running down the street I get a sinking feeling that this isn’t going to end well because I’m not seeing my car – hearbeat-heartbeat……tick-tock-tick-tock – it was further down than I thought – but safe and without a parking citation.

What a day. I went from Miracle Mile up to Hollywood for a drop-off, back to West LA for an audition, over to Studio City for another audition, returned to West LA for the callback and now to North Hollywood for a workshop – a day in the life…