Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It’s over. 2008 is over. What a year…to say the least. A good year. A great year. Not the year I envisioned in many ways, but definitely, without a shadow of a doubt it was the year that I needed. Yes, that is very true.

The smartest thing I did in 2008 was to re-join the workforce. Well, “re-join” isn’t accurate because obviously I’ve always worked, but I mean as in a day job. The biggest and most important thing it has done, outside of earning extra income, has been to give me a distraction away from “the biz” as much as usual.

Don’t get me wrong I really enjoy the entertainment business, but there are so many other things I like to talk about as well. Being at “the job” occupies my mind with other things and fills my schedule. Don’t get me wrong I’d rather be doing more commercials and TV/film gigs, but it wouldn’t change my hunger to have conversations about other things

YES!!! I’m so excited to be going to North Carolina to ride my dirt bike today. Unfortunately, my brother Todd was unable to go, but I took my niece, my nephew and his friend with me. I didn’t ride all that great, but we had a ton of fun and that is what’s it’s all about.

I hadn’t ridden since the last time I was home in July ’07. That was when I blew the crank in the motor and I told myself that I wasn’t coming back home until I could afford to get it repaired. One of these days I’ll be able to ride at least a couple of times a month – that’s going to be great!

Monday, December 29, 2008

You have no idea how happy I am to be going home to Virginia Beach. I am taking a highly anticipated break from Los Angeles for the rest of the holidays.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

YAY!!  The woman who I helped yesterday with her SUV and such called and left a message of thanks for going through the effort of returning her keys.  I was really glad to hear from her and that it all worked out.

Six more days until I go home to Virginia – yes, I am counting.

Audition: “TurboTax” @ Jeff Gerrard Casting.  This is a last minute thingy that needs to be cast in the next day or so.  I went just okay so I kinda doubt I’ll be hearing anything more from them.  I’m not too happy about that because I haven’t auditioned for Jeff in quite sometime; he hired me many years ago for a “Pizza Hut” commercial  that I didn’t even have an appointment for – I didn’t actually crash the audition; I just didn’t have an appointment.  My photo used to be on his wall in the office.  Hopefully, I’ll start getting back in a regular basis in ’09 for his projects.    

I think mentally I’m spent and ready for a vacation; so basically I’m just working everyday until I go to LAX and leave on a jet plane…

Monday, December 22, 2008

This afternoon I treated myself to one of my favorite places for lunch – Panera Bread in Studio City. No, it’s not a fancy restaurant, but I feel like it’s a good value for my hard earned dollars and I leave there feeling that I got a good meal that isn’t going make me regret it later.

While waiting to back out of my parking space there was an unusual amount of traffic in the parking lot. I waited patiently until finally I was able to get in line to exit the lot. After a few moments I could see what the issue was; it was an SUV that, for some reason, wasn’t moving forward. There was only one lane leaving the lot and one lane entering and so when cars were going around the immobilized SUV to exit it would turn into complete gridlock with horns blaring and drivers swearing.

As I eased my vehicle around the SUV I could see that there was an exasperated woman who looked like she could really use some assistance. I wasn’t in a big hurry and I decided I was going to see what I could do to help. I illegally parked around the corner and jogged back to her vehicle.

I asked the cute Latina woman what the deal was and she said, through her accent, that she’d run out of gas. So I looked around and offered to try my best to push the SUV out of traffic so that she could at least get out from under the pressure from the other motorists, none of which offered help – at least not that I saw.

This begs the question from me – How do you not help someone in distress? Sure, there are plenty of legitimate reasons. Maybe you’re running late for an appointment. Maybe it’s a dangerous situation. Maybe you’re bleeding from the head and dealing with your own stressful situation. I don’t know, but barring things like that I feel that we HAVE to help one another – we have to. Why not? No, I don’t stop for every stranded motorist I see, but I try to help when I think I can and even when I’m not sure if I can. Sometimes just the act of letting someone know that you are concerned is enough to make a situation better than if you hadn’t showed any concern at all.

Anyway, if you don’t already know ; I’m a pretty small dude – 5’8” and I weigh less now then when I graduated high school - 145 pounds on a good day wearing only my smile. The Black Ford Edge SUV has a curb weight of 4073lbs. plus it was on a slight incline – advantage Ford Edge.

After helping the woman get the vehicle into neutral I attempted to push. I think I actually heard the vehicle say “wassup punk”; my answer to that was to really give it my all and push super, duper hard – the Black stallion chuckled. Shortly after that another man pitched in to help and we were able to move it together, but since there was no power steering; the woman couldn’t turn the wheel enough to back it into the parking space. So I say, “aight, let’s go forward!” She turns the wheel better this time but still not enough and we hit the curb going forward. We were beginning to look like the 3 stooges, but hey, at least we were tying to solve the problem.

At this point another man showed up to help and asked the woman to let him steer the vehicle. We try to go backwards again but hit the curb - AGAIN! Mind you we are completely blocking traffic in both directions, but one more attempt going forward and we finally got it into the spot. She was very, very thankful that several complete strangers came to her aid.

I asked her if she called AAA or some kind of service and she said that she had left a message with a friend who had not called back yet. I offered to drive her to the gas station down the street to get some gas so she could be on her way and she accepted my offer.

We arrived at the gas station and the attendant pointed her to where she could buy a gas can. The woman thanks me and says that she can walk back to the vehicle since it wasn’t too far down the street. I said okay and good luck and was on my way.

It wasn’t how I wanted to handle it; I would have preferred to “finish the job” and make sure the “damsel in distress” had gas in the vehicle, the vehicle started and I could witness her drive off into the sunset. But I went against my instinct and let her have her way because I didn’t want to be creepy and insist to offer help that she didn’t feel she needed.

So I drive back over to my side of the hill and run a few more errands before going to picking up some friends at LAX. Before going to the airport I wanted to check the flight status of their already delayed flight. Right before going into my apartment I glanced down on the floor of the passenger seat in my car and I see something that wasn’t familiar to me. I leaned over to get a closer look and to my horror it was the Latina woman’s full set of keys that she left in my car. Oh $#!!!

Without even thinking I started my car and headed back to Studio City – in the complete opposite direction of LAX. I didn’t know the woman’s name and she didn’t know mine. The only thing I knew was that she was going to be late for work and that she worked on the Hollywood side of the hill.

LA traffic agreed with me as I breezed over the hill back to where I left her about 90 minutes earlier, but both she and the vehicle were gone. What to do, what to do. The only identifying thing attached to the vast array of keys was a Los Angeles City Library Card bar-code thingy.

So I drive back from Studio City to Hollywood to LAX, but I decided to stop at the library branch on Sunset. I didn’t want to just leave the keys with them, but I wasn’t sure how to get any information from them without seeming to be weird and stalker-like. When I walked in the library there were two uniformed police officers on patrol. I told them the story. The agreed that maybe we could swipe the card and get the woman’s contact information to get her keys back to her.

The library attendant swiped the card and a warm feeling came over me when the woman’s’ contact information came up on the screen complete with a phone number that we hoped was current. The attendant proceeded to dial the (818) number and guess what? It was missing a digit!!!

So I left the keys with the police along with my phone number asking the woman to call me so that I would know if she got her keys back.

Moral of this long a** story? Label your shit. I do just that and people over the years have made fun of me. Whateva. I remember flying home to Virginia Beach one year and on the last leg from Newark to Virginia I was using my $400 PDA and fell asleep and unbeknownst to me it slid off of my lap when we landed. An older woman several rows ahead of me found it and gave it to her son. He called me and FedExed it back to me. Label it!

I hope this woman calls me so I know she got her keys back. I guess that’s what I get for not “finishing the job”.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Audition/Producers: “Better Off Ted” @ Thomas/Adler Casting. This was a real producers session in the sense that it seemed like the entire creative team was there. I’ve gotten used to just going on tape with casting or just a few from the creative in the room. It’s all good though; it went well.
The only thing is that I believe it’s an AFTRA show - and you know how I feel about AFTRA. I don’t believe that AFTRA is truly looking out for the interest of actors. I think AFTRA is looking out for AFTRA. I have felt that way for a while, but I’m always open to be convinced otherwise...I’m fair like that. I’m not looking forward to the day I have to join that organization to work a job.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Audition “McDonald’s” @ TLC/Loree Booth Casting. I’ve booked at this office in the past, but I don’t know if I’m right enough to go further in the process on this one.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Oh no! I was just released from my “Raytheon Ethics” avail. What are they thinking? They need me! Right? Evidently not so much…oh well; on to the next one.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I know I say this all the time, but this went great and I think I’m perfect for it! Actually, let me back up a bit. It went pretty good and I think I’m perfect for it. It just seem like a really fun spot to be a part of; so maybe I’ll be one of the fortunate ones to get called back.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Wow, this came as a surprise; I’m on avail for the “Raytheon Ethics” industrial I auditioned for last week. I guess they did like what they saw. I hope I book it!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Audition/Producers: "Raytheon Ethics" @ Michael Donovan Casting. I've known Michael for years after having met him in CD workshops and seeing him speak on different panels for actors, but I think this is the first time I've actually auditioned for him. I don't mean "know him, know him", like personally; just professionally as in an actor to CD type of way. Nice guy and a big fan of actors.

Anyway, the audition was an industrial and I thought it went pretty well. Maybe I wasn't what they were looking for because I don't think I connected with the "powers that be" in the room all that much. Funny enough the two other actors I read with felt the same way. I just said' "you never know what they are thinking, maybe they loved us right away and didn't need to see anything more - who knows". At any rate I was very happy with my performance.

Callback "Verizon" @ Ross Lacy Casting. Yes, I knew I would make it to callbacks! One day I’m going to book one of these commercials; I promise I am! The callback goes well and hopefully it'll turn into an avail. I get a fair amount of callbacks and avails at this office and it's time for a booking...and the opportunity to actually shoot it.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Audition: “Verizon” @ Ross Lacy Casting. Simply, easy, I’m perfect for it and I will be at callbacks – yup, I know it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Of course I sometimes wonder why I seem to be the crash test dummy of what can happen when it comes to booking an acting job. Ironically, I was supposed to be a crash test dummy in the Cheeto’s commercial that I booked and then was unbooked from. Guinea pig? Maybe that’s just the way it goes in life – things come and go.

I mention this because I wonder who showed up on set at FOX studios today to shoot the role I was “the choice” on “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”. It sure wasn’t me, but that’s okay. Actually I take it as a compliment. My commercial agent said this about the situation; “Welcome to the big leagues where you are in conflict with your own performance...” I love that!! Especially coming from an agent/owner of such a well respected agency.

I had a situation back in 2000 where I was on the other side of the coin. An actor had booked a job in a movie-of–the-week and then fell ill; ultimately I ended up with the job. Eventually, years later, I met the actor I replaced in that MOW and always have great conversations with him to this day. Interesting enough I hadn’t ever brought it up to him because I thought he knew what had happened. To my surprise he told me that he was so sick that he had no recollection of what had happened. I filled him on the story that he was hearing for the first time; it was pretty neat because I assumed that he knew all these years – we got a good laugh out of it.

Anyway, I say congratulations to whomever got to work on the show today; it wasn’t me, but something else will come through for me in the near future. I believe it, I know it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Well it’s tomorrow. Today is when my agent should call with, hopefully the official booking for “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”. Of course I was asleep when she called; I was totally beat from working last night.

So I checked the voicemail and it was my agent Caleigh saying to call her. This didn’t feel quite right. I mean of course she wanted me to call her, but I could tell by the sound of her voice that something interesting had taken place. “What now?” I wondered.

So I dial up and she answers that she has some interesting news. A large part of me knew what was coming because I thought about it last night. There was no question that the producers, director, writers and casting wanted to hire me for this job, but there was one little fly in my soup.

It’s funny because in all my years doing CD workshops I would naturally ask questions that most didn’t ask and some didn’t understand why I would ask in the first place. Occasionally actors would ask me afterwards exactly what I meant by the question and, of course, I would explain…in great detail.

I have written at length in the past about how booking the job is not always enough. I’ve experience this several times first-hand. Being the “first choice” of the writers, producer, director isn’t always enough either. If anyone knows this it’s me. These situations have cost me dearly in cold, hard cash and funding for SAG P&H and of course credits on my resume.

On the other hand these experiences are a big part of what makes me an excellent consultant on the business of the acting business. I can speak on these sorta rare situations from a direct point-of-view. Even though things don’t always go my way I take the experience in stride – even a smile.

Back to the fly in my soup - that fly was a fox as in FOX: the Network. Yup, FOX: the Network wouldn’t/couldn’t approve me to work on “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”. First “Cheetos” and now FOX. Hey, at least people in this town know I exist.

The exact reason was that the episode of “Dollhouse” I shot in August is scheduled to air in the same week of January that “Sarah Connor” is scheduled to air. Can you believe that? I didn’t book this because I’d had booked another job. What luck I have.

2008 has been a doozy for me. It’s hasn’t been bad; extremely challenging at times, but quite productive. I had hoped things would be very different, but the reality has been good to great in a few ways.

This evening I dropped by the casting office to thank them for thinking of me and again giving me the opportunity to work in this business. They had very kind words for me and assured me that the creative team really wanted to hire me and that there will be many more opportunities in the future.

I keep all my agents abreast of what is happening in my career so I emailed one of my commercial agents; the one that handled the “Cheetos” booking/unbooking and she responded in part with this “Welcome to the big leagues where you are in conflict with your own perfomance...”. Wow, I just loved the sound of that; especially coming from a partner of a very important agency on both coast.

So there you have it; a great day in a very interesting way. It’s not over though. There are still several weeks left to make things happen in 2008. Traditionally this time of the year is pretty busy for me; so I will keep fighting the good fight until the end.

Lastly, another funny thing that’s been happening at work. Lately, several guests have recognized me from some of my past work. That just blows my mind; one person specifically remembered me from my first episode of “Frasier” – I could hardly believe that, but he described the scenes I was in. I guess I’m making at least a little progress in the biz…even though I won’t be working on “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” on Tuesday.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I got the news this afternoon that I am the choice for the role on “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”. Cool. It’s not an official booking yet; I have to be approved by the network first. I hope that guy from “Cheetos” isn’t one of the ones needs to give the thumbs up. 

My agent cautioned me that they are running a really tight financial ship over there and she wasn’t sure if I would agree to do the job. The figure they original offered was really low and she got them to give me more if they book me, but still not my quote. I agreed to do the job with a “no quote” in place. I should get the yay or nay tomorrow.

Happy Birthday Louise Fuller – I miss you; I love you.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Audition: “Chef Boyardee” @ Jessica J. Casting. This was great, first of all, because I ran into an old friend from New York, a wonderful actor Susanna Santiago. We met in our early days in Manhattan and it’s great to see that we are both still in the game and what we’ve accomplished over the years. We’ve come a long way baby!

The audition also went very well. I think I could be a little young for the role, but if not they should holla back for a callback… 

I’ve been getting a lot of same day calls lately. I’m not complaining I just have to remember to keep my phone on when I try to rest during the day. 

Audition/Tape: “Ghost Whisperer” @ Donna Rosenstein Casting. This went okay although I saw other guys there that looked more the part than I think I did, but what I think doesn’t matter all that much…holla!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Audition: “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” @ Zane/Pillsbury Casting. I used to go to this office quite often, but it’s been a while since I’ve been there. It’s funny how that works with casting offices that you go to a lot and then it just seems to stop. At any rate I’m glad to get back in there again. 

It’s also easy to feel like you’ve been forgotten by the casting community, but time and time again I’m reminded that plenty of casting professionals do remember who I am. I know, Angela, the associate in this office from when she worked at Debra Zane Casting.

The role was that of a “night tech”. I think I’m perfect for every night tech role in the history of night techs. The problem is that many, but not all, of the night tech roles are very small. There is always the series regular tech guy on 1 hour dramas like “Bones”, “Numbers”, “CSI”, etc. That series regular tech guy is the role I think I’ll eventually book – hopefully sooner than later. In the meantime I keep moving forward with what’s in front of me.

The audition went pretty well considering I had a completely different set-up in my head than what they needed for audition purposes. It was no problem though; I adjusted, did two takes and was on my way.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Okay, today will be the day I rest. Right? Well, it’s not always up to me. My faithful ones at KSR gave me the news that my rest today will again be short.

Callback: “H&R Block” @ Kathy Knowles Casting. It went well. I did my job and hopefully they will do theirs and “bookabrotha!”

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wow, I am SO tired today and I have plans to fix it that by sleeping ALL DAY and up until I go to work tonight. My plan was going really well until KSR called a with a same day appointment. Of course I welcomed the audition, but boy did I need some more rest. The appointment was for later so I didn’t have to gt out of bed right away.

Cut to: 30 minutes later -

KSR calls again with another same-day appointment for about the same time as the other one which is in the Valley; this one is clear on the other end of town in Santa Monica at the beach. No complaints from me; this is why I moved 3,000 miles from home and I always recognize how fortunate I am to have agents that consistently do their best to get me acting jobs.
Audition: “H&R Block” @ Kathy Knowles Casting. It’s funny because I haven’t auditioned at this very busy office for a good while and now this is my 4th time in 2 weeks. The audition went well and I think I’m pretty right for it so hopefully I’ll get a callback.

Before I went in to read Andre Royo walked in. Andre played “Bubbles” on HBO’s “The Wire” for 5 seasons. You might be aware that I think “The Wire” is, without question, one the best production I have ever seen. Amazing acting, directing, writing, production design, prop, etc. and Andre’s portrayal of “Bubbles” was incredibly rich. We spoke briefly and he really appreciated my kinds words. He is about the 5th person from the cast that I’ve spoken to in recent months. Too bad The Emmy’s missed the boat in fully recognizing the series.

Audition: “H&R Block” @ Kathy Knowles Casting. Somebody over there must think I’m doing a great job because they keep bringing me in for different things. I was on-point and hopefully they’ll see me again at callbacks…and again on-set.

Audition: “Priceline” @ ASG Casting. This was fun; it was another spot featuring William Shatner. I had to mimic his voice and style of speaking – I did pretty well I think.

Needless to say that after driving from Miracle Mile to Santa Monica to Universal City my rest time was short.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Audition “FedEx” @ Kathy Knowles Casting. Yes! This went great and I am completely overdue to book again at this casting office and for this particular product. I expect to get a callback on this.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Audition “Casting Networks Promo” @ Beau Bonneau Casting. This was a promo for the online “Fast Cast” product that Casting Networks offers to Casting Directors. I believe Mr. Bonneau is the person who started LA Casting/Casting Networks up in San Francisco years ago. Anyway, the “Fast Cast” system is pretty amazing; I know first hand since I trained to run camera for commercial auditions last year. Although it doesn’t pay; the promo went really well. I guess it could be good exposure to the casting community that use the service. Plus, it would be nice to work on something.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Check this out…I was at work last night and someone, a beautiful young Black woman came up to me and asked if I was on the cover of a magazine last month. I went blank for a second because that was the last thing I expected her to ask. After a moment I answered that I had in fact been on the cover of BackStage. She congratulated me and said she enjoyed what I wrote – funny huh…

Audition: “AT&T” @ [skirts] casting. It went okay and I think I’m right for it.

Audition/Callback: “Tide” @ Lisa Pantone Casting. OMG! I don’t think I’ve auditioned for Ms. Pantone since the 90’s. This straight-to-callbacks appointment was for 3 15-second spots and it went really well and was a ton of fun. It’ll be a quick turnaround for this since I think it starts shooting on Tuesday.

Audition: “TurboTax” @ Ross Lacy Casting. This was my 3rd audition today and it was great!

Afterwards I had a conversation with Christopher Duncan about things other than the entertainment business. I run into Chris from time to time at auditions and we always have a great, spirited conversation about this or that. We don’t know each other well, but we connect and have great talks.

Funny enough, although he’s worked a tremendous amount over the years, he’s gained a huge recent following, with his dead-on impersonations of our new President-Elect Barack Obama on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He’s a great guy and a great actor – check out his website here.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Audition: “Life” @ Mia Levinson Casting. Ugh! I wished I would’ve asked a few questions about this character before reading. It didn’t go bad at all, but I think I could have made a different choice that might have put me more in the running for the prize. Oh well on to the next…

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Wow! Some amazing sh*t happened yesterday. We have a new President-Elect and for the first time in the history of America it’s not a Caucasian man. I have a very general disdain for politicians of all colors, genders and party affiliations. I don’t hate them; I just have very little confidence in their integrity and that’s always tough when it comes time to cast my vote. Basically, in my eyes, politicians are guilty until proven innocent. Sure, I’m exaggerating a little, but you probably see where I’m coming from.

I’m an independent thinker and have always been that way. My way of running my acting career says that loud and clear. But I have to say that I like this Barack Obama guy. When I say “like him”; I mean him personally or what I know of him from a significant distance. I think he’s cut from a good cloth. I think he has a lot of integrity. I think family means a lot to him. I think he’s smart, really smart. I even think he’s cool - Denzel cool. That’s pretty cool coming from me. None of these things means that he’ll be a successful President, but I think it’s a great start.

I’m rooting for him, his daughters, his wife and puppy in a big way; not only because I like him, but because the short term success of many in this country are relying on it. I sure hope he can get things turned around onto a better track.

Audition/Tape: “Surviving Suburbia” @ GO Casting. I was right! Well, sorta. Remember yesterday when I was talking about being in the elevator with the casting associate? When I entered the room to audition today, the associate Stacy Taylor, acknowledged that she had seen me just a day prior in the building. Also, one of the partners, Leslie Gelles (the “G” in GO Casting) was acting as the reader in the audition and said that she also saw me get out of the elevator and that reminded her to bring me in.

It’s funny because often times I get the impression that many actors think that drop-offs are a waste of time. I am living proof that they are not a waste of time. Or it could be that my perspective is very different than most. It’s the intangible things about drop-offs that have benefited me the most over the years. Well, there have been tangible things too – like going to Tokyo and booking “The Terminal” from a drop.

At any rate it was a very cool thing to hear from Stacy and Leslie; I hadn’t seen Leslie since she was an associate years ago and it was great to get reacquainted with her. The audition went well and hopefully they’ll bring me in for something else in the near future if I don’t book this one.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Check this out - this afternoon I was out dropping off photos and when I was waiting for the elevator in the last building I saw a young woman that I thought I recognized.  I couldn’t remember her name, but I was pretty certain that she was a casting associate. 


After a moment the elevator came and me, her and one other guy got in.  I was searching my head trying to remember her name, but I didn’t say anything to her; after all I could have been mistaken.  Plus, my preferred style is in the low-key realm – most of the time.


I thought I knew where she worked in the building and I sometimes drop a photo there when making the rounds, but this time I forgot and only had one photo on me – the rest were in the car. 


So the other guy got off the elevator, which left just her and I; I still didn’t say anything to her verbally, but here’s what I did do.  I had my photo in my hand and I wanted her to see it and my name – especially my name.  I figured, if I couldn’t remember her name, maybe she couldn’t remember mine.  So I kinda played with my photo, with the headshot and the name facing her.  I was sorta bouncing it on my leg while waiting for my floor to exit.   I didn’t want her to possibly have something on her desk that I was right for but not be able to remember my name. 


Who knows, maybe my photo would jog her memory.  Maybe she already knew who I was.  Maybe she had no idea who I was and didn’t care and didn’t look at the photo.  Maybe she works at a law firm and has no idea how TV and Film is cast.  I don’t know.


I do know this though; less than 20 minutes later my agent called with an appointment from her casting office – at least the one I think she works at.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Audition: “H&R Block” @ Kathy Knowles Casting.  Yes!  Great, great audition - and fun too.  It was more theatrical than many of the commercial appointments I go to.  They HAVE to bring me in for callbacks - well they don't "have to", but they have to.....right???  Yeah, it would just be smart.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What is going on? At times I’m not really sure, but all-in-all I feel pretty good these days. It’s been an interesting year thus far; not really what I had envisioned back in December ’07, but interesting nonetheless. It’s all good.

The economic squeeze is being felt by many. I’m doing okay and moving in the right direction, but I’m completely busting my ass doing it. I think I’m way overdue to go back to Virginia. Maybe I’ll go right after Christmas.

I’ve had some really good things happen this year and some more challenging ones too. I‘ll just keep moving forward like I always have. I’m hoping to be debt-free by the end of the year. It’s amazing to me that I’ve been in LA for a decade and I still think about being home, closer to my family. I talk to my two younger brothers everyday, usually numerous times a day. I absolutely love being in their company; they make me laugh like nobody else.

I’m really enjoying my new MacBook. Between graveyard shifts at work, going to workshops at the Apple store, building my new website and “trying” to get to the gym I haven’t been doing much else, but that needs to change…I’m trying to get out more. I went to an incredible performance at bang. Comedy Theatre a few days ago featuring two-time HBO Def Poet, Joe Hernández-Kolski, and internationally-known beatboxer, Joshua Silverstein. Them dudes got mad skills…here’s a review.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Audition: “HBO Promo” @ Ross Lacy Casting. This went really, REALLY well. It was much more like a theatrical audition; I had a bit of a monologue to read while my partner took notes. Hopefully, I’ll get a callback.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Audition: “Time-Warner Cable” @ Kathy Knowles Casting. This was another really good one – bring a brotha back!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Audition: “M&M’s” @ Ross Lacy Casting. This went well – again.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Print Go-see: “Uniqlo” @ Heather Lynn Casting. I was in and out with the quickness. I’m gonna book a print job at least once before I retire.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Audition: “Snapple” @ Ross Lacy Casting. Blah, blah, blah…pretty well too…

Monday, October 13, 2008

Audition: “Subway” @ Spot Casting. This went pretty well.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

My agent called this morning with a Top-of-Show Guest star audition for a comedy called “Rita Rocks” @ Greenstein/Daniel Casting. I was really excited after printing and reading the 12 pages of sides. Soon after my agent calls back to say that new, revised sides will be released in about an hour and not to get too attached to the ones I just printed. Okay, cool.

The call comes in later that my appointment has been cancelled entirely. They decided that they were no longer going to see “more petite” guys, as my agent put it, for the role. “More petite??” WTF is that? I asked my agent about her smart-ass comment and we both laughed and knew I was going to say something about the comment. Hey, I’ve been told that I have a phat ass. Slightly phat…a little phat…I’m just sayin…it’s true.

Anyway, it was great that this very busy casting office was willing to call me in for a series regular role after recently booking me on a two-line role. So that the plus I’ll take away from the experience.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Arrgh!!!! Today was not a great day. First I get released from my “T-mobile” avail @ Ross Lacy Casting, then my car breaks down and I have to ride my bike to the employee meeting at work. THEN I notice that my tire is flat when I was preparing to ride home from the meeting to deal with my car. Geez, can I get a break? Plus, I’m starting to feel just a little sick. I mean it’s not terrible compared to how things could be, but lets hope there are better days ahead.

On a different note; my commercial/print agency of 10 years Kazarian-Spencer & Associates(KSA) has changed its name to Kazarian-Spencer-Ruskin & Associates (KSR).

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Audition: “Toyota” @ Ross Lacy Casting. This goes pretty well; I’m not sure how right I am for it though.

Friday, September 26, 2008

So I was at The Grove this evening and after attending a workshop at the Apple store I went into Barnes & Noble and who did I see? Me, yeah, on the cover of the Backstage West. Obviously, I knew I was on the cover of the issue, but I hadn’t actually seen it.

Myself & Kito Robinson on the cover of BSW.

I must say it was a pretty neat feeling. I hadn’t thought too much about it before, but I’ve heard from a lot of people that have seen it and that made me feel that it was a bigger deal than I previously thought. I even had a woman that lives in my apartment building leave a dozen copies at my door – I think she works for the publishing company.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I’m on the cover of the current issue of Backstage Magazine – go figure. I was interviewed about a month ago, but had no idea I was going to be on the cover. I’ve written an article or two and been interviewed by the magazine in the past, but I always just emailed a headshot to them. This time, while I was shooting recently cancelled FOX Drama “Do Not Disturb” I got a call to schedule a photo shoot. At that point I had no idea it was for the cover. Even at the photo shoot it was just a rumor that we’d be on cover. I’d kinda forgotten about it until I started getting text messages informing me about it this morning. Pretty cool I guess.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Audition: “Ford” @ Joe Blake Casting. This went really well and I hope and expect to be called back for round 2.

Audition: “T-mobile” @ Ross Lacy Casting. Another one that went
extremely well; they should bring me to callbacks too.

I’ve been burning the candle at both ends lately (what else is new?). Not sure how long I can keep the pace or that I want to. At times the day/night job has my mind in a frenzy; but other times it’s okay. I’m super focused at times and super confused other times with incredible headaches. What to do, what to do…do guys have a biological clock? I think I might…

I have to say that something that’s GREAT is that I have a new laptop and I can take free workshops at the Apple store. It feeds my thirst to learn new and exciting things. I look forward to getting deeper into photography as well and part of me wants to be home working in the family business with my brothers. So much on my mind these days…

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I attended another SAG Town Hall Membership Meeting tonight and, once again, there were embarrassingly few SAG members in attendance. Not to judge, but I don’t understand it, there are 50,000+ plus SAG members in Hollywood and I would think that at least 1,000 would attend some of the meetings. It’s only our futures as professionals at stake. Let me tell you, the AMPTP is trying their best to eliminate residuals, weaken SAG and work closer with AFTRA who seems to be willing to make things as easy as possible for them to give actors the short end of the stick. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s the way it looks to me.

Some of the newly elected SAG board members were in attendance, but none of them spoke. Hopefully, they can help to get things back on track – whatever that means these days.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sleep is a wonderful thing. Good sleep is even more mo’ betta. Once again, I woke up to a missed call from KSA - my commercial agency. In my drowsy state I checked the voicemail while my mind wandered about what the call might be concerning this time – an audition for this afternoon or something else entirely.

I knew that if the voice of the person on the message was that of assistants Leah or Stefanie it was most likely an audition or a callback. I also knew that if the voice was that of my agent, Alicia, there was a good chance it was “something else”.

Sounds familiar huh? Stay with me.

Last night was supposed to be my night off after working 5 graveyard shifts in a row – yup, until 7am. BUT I received a call from management asking if I would be so kind to come in to work for a 6th night . Me, the sucka who always wants to help, agreed to help out.

More accurately, me the sucka who needs to replace his 6 year-old Sony VAIO desktop computer before it completely freezes up and dies; looked at it as an opportunity to make a little extra cash. Extra shifts (and acting jobs) fit in with my plan to get a new laptop in the coming weeks or months. With all of the times I’ve helped them out at the job with picking up shifts it’ll be interesting to see what happens when/if I find myself in a jam and need someone to help me out.

Okay, back to the voicemail. Who would it be? What would they say? What is the difference between making a “brotha wanna holla” and making a “brotha wanna scream”? Again, I have chosen to keep it short.

It was 7pm on Wednesday September 22nd 1993 when I started my first acting class in Virginia Beach, VA. Wow, 15 years ago!!! So much has happened since then! All the way up to and including this morning. It was definitely a life altering decision. I admittedly wonder what things would have been like if I’d gotten along better with my father and never left home and continued to work in the successful family business with my brothers. It’s amazing how often I think about that. Don’t get me wrong; I’m happy enough here in LA and had a great time living in New York, but I have the best time when I’m with my family at home in the suburbs. It’s been a great 15 years and I anticipate that it will get much better.

Okay, I won’t keep what happened in that voicemail THAT short. This is what happened. I woke up this morning at 11am to get ready for my 12pm wardrobe fitting for “Cheetos”. On my BlackBerry was a voicemail message; turns out it was from my agent Alicia which was immediately concerning. I’ve booked 25+ commercials though her and there was no reason I could think of that she, in particular, should be calling me at 9:49am. The call should have come from production or the assistants at the agency, unless it was extreme news – good or bad, but any normal correspondence shouldn’t have been from Alicia.

The extreme news was that one person on the creative team for the “Cheetos’ commercial wouldn’t give his approval for me and that I had been “unbooked”. That’s all I really know. I don’t know if he had given approval and then revoked it or what happened, but I do know that I am no longer a part of the production of the national “Cheetos” commercial.


I wasn’t quite sure what to say. I could tell that it was a very hard call for Alicia to make. She assured me that I should take full victory and ownership of the fact that I booked the spot. She also feels that with all of the callbacks and avails that I’ve gotten we, as a team, are turning the corner to many more bookings.

So that’s it. Just like that, after all that anxiety of getting to the callback from FOX studios and whatnot – poof, up in smoke. This is ANOTHER prime example of when booking the spot isn’t the whole story. Just because you book a commercial doesn’t mean you will get to shoot the commercial…I know from experience.

What to do; what to do…I could feel really bad about this happening to me on my anniversary or I can find the gem in the experience. I’ll find the gem. I look at it as badge that I wear and it’s a testament to the successful career I’m building. Simply, if I book enough jobs this is bound to happen; so in that sense I’m proud to be able to share the story. Now I need a drink! Isn’t that what the cool people do? I’m not and have never been that cool.

I could buy a new pair of shoes. No, that doesn’t fit either. I know what I’m going to do to take my mind off of this and at the same time celebrate my 15th year anniversary in the business – I’m going to get a new laptop – a MacBook this time. Today. Right now!!! Happy Anniversary Stephon!!

Audition: “Honey Baked Ham” @ Ross Lacy Casting. Ironically, this was at the very same casting office of the “Cheetos” spot. I stopped by Ross’ office and thanked him for believing in me and giving me a chance to make a living for all of these years. He said not to worry and that they’ll get me on something else soon.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sleep is a wonderful thing. Good sleep is even more wonderfuller…is that a word? Probably not, but let me tell you; I slept like Rip Van Winkle well into the afternoon.

I woke up to a missed call from KSA - my commercial agency. In my drowsy state I checked my voicemail while my mind wandered about what the call might be concerning – an audition for this afternoon, an audition for Monday, another callback for “Cheetos”, the not so great news that I’d been released from my “Cheetos” avail or “something else”.

I knew that if the voice of the person on the message was that of Leah or Stefanie it was most likely an audition, a callback or “that thing” I’m trying to become less familiar with - an avail release. I also knew that if the voice was that of Alicia there was a good chance it was “something else”.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m grateful every time I speak to Stefanie and Leah, but at this particular time, on this particular day Alicia’s voice would be the voice that would “make a brotha wanna holla!” As I lied in my bed pushing the keys of my phone the voice mail menus seemed to take forever. Finally, I was less than one second away from hearing whomever it was that was going to utter the first syllable of this message to me….

The conversation was a blur and I don’t want to bore you with details so I posted the rest of it here…I choose to keep it short…

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Audition: “SuperValu Cub Foods” @ Craig Colvin Casting. This was so fun! I got to play the dad of 3 young children; a girl and twins boys. I knew it was about chemistry so I immediately tried to connect with them so we would come off as a family on camera. While the session director was setting up I asked the kids how old they were. They were all 6 years of age. Then, right away, I said, “let me guess your ages”. The first boy I guessed 7; he laughed and said, “wrong”. For the little girl I said 4 and she said, “no!” and the other little boy - I paused, squinted at him like I was really going to guess correctly this time and then said 15! They all laughed and were charged up and ready to go. By that time the session director was ready to put us on tape. It went wonderfully; I hope we all get callbacks! Do I look like I have 3 kids? Who cares…

So I've been at my day/night job for 4 months now and it's working out okay I guess. As I've said in the past it's been a great diversion from being so involved in "the biz" and talking about it what seemed like all the time. I also like having a tighter schedule, but don't get it twisted...I'd rather be on a series than slinging burgers and delivering raspberry mojitos...and I firmly believe that being on a series and more is in my future.

Part of the reason why the job is a positive thing is because I'm an "idea man". I'm always coming up with ideas about things in general – I can’t help it; they just flow. I'm not saying they are always great ideas, but they are always worthy of a listen. Sometimes it gets in the way because I can easily get buried in “hmmm…how can I make this…” rather than just “keeping things simple”. The job gives me that outlet…even if only in my head.
Yeah, I’m currently working at the restaurant fulltime, but that doesn’t make me a “company man” per se. I care much more about my personal future than I do the job; after all, “the job” doesn’t care about me either. The job cares about making money and so do I. So maybe it’s a good fit for the time being.
Sometimes my mental state while I’m there swings wildly. It’s never too negative, but usually quite interesting – at least to me. One minute I’m taking a drink order from an A-list celebrity and the next I’m being asked from someone from the Midwest how I can possibly work the graveyard shift on The Sunset Strip. That usually leads to:

“well, I’m an actor and I need my days free for auditions”;
which leads to “Oh yeah, what have you done?”;
which leads to “ah, a little of this and a little of that”;
which leads to “anything I might have seen?”;
which leads to “…yeah maybe…I’ve been fortunate to work on some pretty cool projects over the years, but it’s been kinda quiet lately;
which leads to “Like what projects?”
which leads to “well the last commercial was….”.

Yeah, that’s how it usually goes. Last week, after an exchange like that with a table of out-of-towners at 4 in the morning I had this AMAZING feeling that I was “living vicariously through ‘my own past’” while talking about the jobs I had done. It completely blew my mind!! For an entire day I wasn’t sure what to make of my thoughts about it. I was confused. I was proud. I was tired. I was ready to get my a** back on the horse and book some freakin’ jobs!
I guess its all part of the gig as an actor. I feel like I’m doing what I need to be doing. I don’t know how long I’ll last at the job because; physically it’s just so hard to keep the hours and burn the candle brightly at both ends.

I’m never hope to not have auditions scheduled for the next day, but I have to say that I’m really looking forward to sleeping most of the day tomorrow. It’s been a long week and I really need the rest.

No word on the “Cheetos” avail. After so many calls to release me from commercials avails in recent years; I’ll take “no news” as “good news”.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Shooting: “Do Not Disturb” @ Fox Studios. Day 2. This morning started with the hustle of trying to get rescheduled for the “Cheetos” callback at Ross Lacy Casting. My call time for “Do Not Disturb” had been pushed from 11am to 12pm so I asked my agent if it was possible to be seen by the creative people earlier instead of my scheduled time of 4:30pm. She put me on hold and called the casting office, but the answer was “no” because at that time they were doing an entirely different spot with an entirely different creative team. Okay… Plan B…whatever that is.
I’ve worked enough multi-camera sitcom days to have a great feel of how “show day” is structured and I believe there is a good window for me to be able to make my appointment. I knew when my scene was scheduled for rehearsal and I knew what time the network run-through was. Sometimes the 1st or 2nd AD can be a little difficult about releasing an actor, but I think it’ll work out. I informed David, the 2nd AD, last night of my “situation’.

Great! We finished the network run-through at 3:15 which gives me plenty of time to drive from Fox Studios to the Casting Studios on LaBrea. I think my category for the callback starts at 4pm so hopefully I can be one of the first groups and get in and out before my 4:30 appointment time.

When I arrived around 3:45 there were already some actors there for what I think was a different spot or a different part in the same spot.

It took FOREVER for them to start my category; I’m sure it just seemed that way because I needed to get back to the Fox lot….in afternoon traffic. Actually, it was looking like I was going to have to just leave without getting seen at all because I really had to get back to Fox…after all they were paying me and the “Cheetos” callback wasn’t.

Finally, they started my category and I was in the 2nd group. It was over in a flash and I did the same exact thing I did in the first audition. With that I ran all the way back to my car and was on my way. I made it back to Fox right as lunch was over. Other than being hungry it worked out perfectly.

I went to my much nicer dressing room, put on my sharp, tweed suit and went straight to make-up. Of course make up takes me all of 3 minutes and I was ready for the cast pre-show speed read of the script. We read the script and the show was ready to start. Working on a sitcom is a lot of fun and I hope to get on more in the future. There aren’t that many multi-camera shows left, but I’m going to try to get on them before it’s too late….especially the ones that work under SAG contracts and not AFTRA.

As soon as we finished the cast speed read my commercial agent called to tell me that I was on avail for the “Cheetos” commercial. Nice! Of course I’m available!

About 7:30 I got a call from a fellow employee at my night/day job to ask me to cover her overnight shift tonight. I have to tell you that I was really looking forward to getting a good night sleep tonight. I’ve been at Fox since 12 noon, drove across town full of anxiety and back for a callback, missed lunch and don’t expect to finish until 11pm tonight. I’m kinda beat. BUT in this particular situation, for this particular person I felt I had to do it. I would’ve have felt terrible if I’d said “no”; so I said “yes”. I told her that I probably wouldn’t be there for the 11pm start of the shift, but I could most likely get there by midnight. What was I thinking? I’m not Superman…I don’t even play one on TV.

A couple of hours later our scene was up; I was playing 1 of 3 reporters at a press conference. It went well. Yeah, I completely blew one take, but I had several good ones too. I’ve learn to not worry about that stuff so much; it’s all going to be pieced together from 4 cameras anyway and director knows when he/she has what they need.

Vanessa Mizzone, me and Allen C. Lui.

The casting directors, Brett, Colin and Tessie were all in attendance and I also got to talk to the co-executive producer Kirk J. Rudell. Kirk was also one of the writers/producers of “Good Morning, Miami” that I worked with in ’02 &’03. He said he saw me on the tape and thought “of course were going to hire him”. Cool! You never know if you’re being remembered or not. With that, I said good-bye to everyone, changed out of my cool-as** tweed suit, went by my apartment to pick up my uniform and was on my way to my day/night job. 12 noon to 11pm; then 12 midnight to 7am…what was I thinking when I said yes…at least I’m getting paid. Actually, it’s all good because I know I’m going to need someone to help to me in a pinch too one of these days.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Shooting: “Do Not Disturb” @ Fox Studios. The look on my friends face was priceless when she saw me at rehearsal this morning. I was going to call her over the weekend and tell her I got the part, but I figured I’d wait and surprise her on-set. I’m talking about the friend that I worked with on “Dollhouse” recently. Actually, she was sorta my stand-in even though she didn’t end up needed to actually “Stand-in” because we were pretty much finished as soon as we started. She’s a regular stand-in on “Do Not Disturb” and she put the energy out in the universe that I would be working on the show in the very near future. I think she is magic!

Even funnier is that on Friday, shortly after I auditioned for the role, but before I received a call that I was the choice; she was reading the role for the producer’s run-through. Weird, huh? Even more weird is how I have an attractive, blonde woman standing in for me in the first place AND she’s way curvier than I…way more.

I wish I could promote myself the way she promotes me. Every time I’m on set with her she sells me as this person that’s really, really on the move. I have to learn to just “go with it” and “be that guy”. It’s hard because I feel so silly being promoted like that as I’m naturally pretty low-key. Oh well, I’m trying to embrace that part of the business and be more willing to “get out there” and “work it”. I’ve always been terrible at the networking and schmoozing part of the biz, but I’m trying to get better in that department.

It’s been 3 years since I’ve worked on a multi-camera show; so I’m definitely looking forward to the live audience dealio. So after checking in I was shown to my dressing room; which was an interesting experience…I’ll leave it at that. The director, Bob Koherr, treated the cast & crew to a trip to a coffee catering canteen truck. Since I don’t drink and have never had a cup of coffee in my life I opted for a Strawberry/Banana Extreme smoothie and it was the best Strawberry/Banana smoothie ever! Thanks Bob!

After a while I was introduced to regulars Niecy Nash, Jerry O’Connell, Jessie Tyler Ferguson and Jolene Purdy – all very nice, funny people. We rehearsed/camera blocked and I went to wardrobe and that was it – I was wrapped for the day. I have to say that I felt like a grown-a** man in the suit they chose for me. Maybe the clothes DO make the man… Tomorrow is shoot day.

A couple of hours later I got word that I have a callback for that “Cheetos” commercial I auditioned for last week. I had a strong feeling this would happen and I really hope that it all works out and I can get released long enough to make it to the callback. I kept all of my agents abreast of my availability so we’ll see what happens.

Oh yeah, I was told that I would have a different dressing room tomorrow for the long shoot day. That is a good thing.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Another overnight shift last night. I gotta tell ya; this overnight stuff is BRUTAL and I DO NOT recommend it. It’s just so hard to get the amount of rest that I really need; not that I got the proper amount of rest before I started working there, but still.

Anyway, I had a commercial audition scheduled for 12:30pm. I figured I’d get in the bed by 8:30am, wake up @ 11:30am, shower and make my way to the Valley. Lo and behold, just as I was preparing to go to bed my phone rings at 9:14am. It was a number I didn’t recognize so I let it go to voicemail. The call was from a casting office asking if I would come in to audition by 11am. I called back and told them I would be there and then e-mailed my agent to give her the info as well.

This was the same office, same show and same episode of the audition that was cancelled 2 days ago. Multi-camera shows have way more rewrites than single-camera comedies and one-hour dramas.

When I arrived at the audition I saw several people I knew; some of which I’d work with in the past and some I hadn’t seen in some time. I’ve been keeping a low profile for most of the year which has been working out really well for me, but it was great to see some of actors that I’ve been in the game with for years. One person was Lydia Blanco who recently tested at the studio and network level for a pilot. Lydia and I worked together in “The Terminal”.

Audition/Producers/Tape: “Do Not Disturb” @ Greenstein/Daniel Casting. The role was that of a reporter and everyone I saw looked right for the job – including me. It went pretty good in the room; I’ve had better, but it was good. The woman, who I assume was the writer, offered some feedback; I did it again and was on my way. It is known that, especially, in half-hour comedy it’s really important to stick to the script. I had a little something I wanted to add, but not in a “oh I added this because I thought it would make it better” sense.

I added it in a down-low type of way – under my breath and to myself, but loud enough for writer and casting directors to hear me. I did it in the same way I added a line while working with Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks on “The Terminal”. It was just kinda a natural next thing that this character might say. It seemed to go over well enough. So that was that - we’ll see. I should hear something (or not) soon because today is Friday and I believe it starts Monday for a live audience shoot on Tuesday. With that I was on my way to my commercial audition.

Audition: “Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr.” @ Francene Selkirk Casting. I must admit I was really, really tired for this audition – I worked all night and hadn’t slept at all. That isn’t the reason why I sucked in it, but still, LOL! It was pretty simple, but I just couldn’t get it right. BUT!! I think I’m really right for it; so maybe I’ll get a callback despite dropping a bomb in the room – hey, it happens.

Two hours later at 2:49pm my agent called me to tell me that I’m “the choice” for one of the reporters for “Do Not Disturb”. They just needed to make sure it was going to stay in the script before making the official offer and that I was available and interested. Cool!

Then at 4:04pm my agent called with the offer of the 2 days of work. So I accepted the terms and that was that. I must admit that I was expecting more in the way of “’da Benjamins” and considered doing a “no quote”, but after talking to my agent about it figured that it was worth the trouble for this type of booking.

I am really looking forward to working on a multi-camera show in front of a live audience. It’s been 3 years since I done it and there are only a handful of those types of show currently on the air.

Later I was e-mailed the script and the co-writer of this episode is, Kirk Rudell, Kirk was a writer/supervising producer on “Good Morning, Miami”. Maybe the 12 episodes (really 14 episodes) that are listed on my resume worked in my favor – who knows.

The neat thing is in this business you really never where the day is going to take you. I had one appointment scheduled today and ended with 2 appointments and a booking. It also tells me why I’ve always included my direct contact info on my resumes. I was called directly for this job. Who knows, the casting assistant could have stopped trying to reach me after not getting my agency on the phone because they weren’t open yet. We wouldn’t even have known I was being considered if she chose to just go “NEXT” on the list.

Oh yeah, I forgot to say that I am thrilled again that this show is under a SAG contract and not AFTRA.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Audition: “Cheetos” @ Ross Lacy Casting. YES!!! This went great! I had the best time. It was so simple, but I think I was perfect – I think. At least it felt perfect – eff that, it WAS perfect! Where’s my callback??? I think I’m really right for it so we’ll see what the future brings.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

So I worked overnight last night, came home and got in the bed about 9:30am with an alarm to wake up @12:30pm to rehearse for my 2:30 audition for Fox comedy “Do Not Disturb”. That’s the show that, last week when I was working on “Dollhouse”; my friend said she always thinks I’m going to book a job on.

I woke up about 10 minutes before my alarm was to go off and lied in bed running lines before I was actually going to find the energy to get up. Right then my BlackBerry rang and it was a message from my agent saying that the audition had been cancelled because the role had been cut. Aw man! I was feeling good too! Oh well, what can you do? That’s they way multi-camera shows work – constant rewrites. Who knows; maybe the role will get written back in or another role will surface. Stranger things have happened. So, my narrow a** went back to sleep. Not for long though; I woke up a little while later and did some general drop-offs around town.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Audition: “Healthy Choice” @ Ross Lacy Casting. This one went okay I guess; I made an amateur mistake – I went in before I was ready. Simple as that; I should have taken another 5 minutes to get the dialogue where I needed it – but it was still fun ‘cause my partner was cool to work with.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Audition/Tape/Producers: OMG! When my agent called with this appointment I could tell that she REALLY didn’t want me to go in on it and I understand why. It was another really small co-star role. But the thing is that I’ve been dropping off photos around town; specifically to people I have worked with in the past. Well, that’s not totally true I’ve been dropping off to a lot of places, whether I’ve worked with them or not, but this particular place has an associate who hired me last year. I was trying to jog her memory.

Maybe it worked, I don’t know, but the thing is I didn’t want to drop-off within the week and then not come in when/if they call with an appointment. I mean, there are situations where I would do that, but I felt that I wanted to go in on this. I didn’t want the word to be “well, we keep getting his photo and postcards in the drop box so why is he refusing to come in?” I actually do drop-offs in different ways to different offices depending on which one of my agents cover that particular office. It can get a little dicey sometimes, but hey, “a brotha needs to work – knowwhatimsayin?”

Anyway, the audition went okay. The best part was that they talked about the other job I had booked through the associate. That was cool because they know I’m hirable. So, on to the next and, hopefully, more substantial one.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Shooting: "Dollhouse" @ Fox Studios. This was good time; a little nerve-racking 'cause I had to correctly pronounce a few medical terms and use a few instruments while working on a patient. It was hot, sweaty and fun.

My name was on every single page...

The only bad part was that I had to get my shift at my day/night job covered. That might sound a little silly, but I pride myself in being a hard, reliable employee/independent contractor - whether it's for Warner Bros., Paramount or a job in the "real world". I wanted to also work at my other job because I like having a tight schedule and it's a good mix for me right now to have things to do that aren't entertainment related.

It was a pretty short day shooting and I could have made it to my overnight shift in time, but I had already gotten it covered.

On the show I worked with a friend that I’ve worked with numerous times in the past. She works on another show on the Fox lot normally and said that every week she thinks she’s going to see me show up to work on it too. I like that way of thinking! Anyway, I haven’t yet auditioned for that other show, but I have read for that same casting office the does casts that show twice this season. So maybe I’ll get a chance to get on that show before too long. Fingers crossed. I won’t bombard them with more drops – that would be overkill, they know I’m out here.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Okay, it looks like me being "the choice" for Joss Whedon's "Dollhouse" has turned into me actually being booked for the project. It should be fun; sure I'd like to do more, but I'd rather be on set than not right now. Make no mistake; it's great to book another job, but the smaller co-star roles are not so much where I want to go with my career.

One of the many good things about it is that they agreed to pay me more than I expected thanks to my agent. Of course the money isn't the only good thing, but it's an important element in the bigger picture. Another good thing is that this is the 3rd time that this particular casting office has hired me. That is definitely a good thing. Oh yeah, ANOTHER great thing is that I now have something new and fresh to send postcards about. So there you go; it's usually better to be working than not - usually.

Oh yeah, and how can I forget this positive part of the equation? It’s a SAG show and not AFTRA. I know I’ll eventually work under an AFTRA contract, but right now I don’t even pursue AFTRA shows in my personal hustle. Hopefully, one day things will change, but right now in my mind AFTRA = a pay cut. For the life of me I can’t understand why AFTRA is SO okay with actors working for less than we have in the past. I keep thinking I’m missing something about AFTRA, but I can’t get anyone to explain to me how AFTRA is moving acting as a profession in a positive direction.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

…hmmm – no news on my “situation” today. “Situation” meaning me being “the choice” for the role on “Dollhouse”. I guess I could’ve simply called my agent to see what the dealio was. Sometimes I do exactly that, but for some strange reason I’ve just decided to let it work itself out. I mean if they want to book me I’ll eventually find out, me calling is not going to speed things up. All of the sudden I’m “Mr. Patient”??? Where did that come from? “Patiently, impatient” would describe me well – sometimes.

On the flipside I called one of my other agents to see if I was still in the running from my callback yesterday for “Kath & Kim”. No rhyme or reason; I guess I wasn’t feeling so patient. The answer came about an hour later it was “no” I am no longer in the running for “Kath & Kim”. Oh well, hopefully I’ll get another shot to work on the show again soon.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Callback: “Kath & Kim” @ Greenstein/Daniel Casting. This went really well. It was just a couple of lines, but I walked out thinking I booked the role and even if I didn’t book this one they will bring me back in soon for something else. I felt great about it.

Yesterday I got word that I was “the choice” for “Dollhouse”, but I didn’t hear anything by the end of the day yesterday or all day today. …hmmm…being “the choice” and being “officially booked” are two totally different things. “The choice”, “callbacks”, nor “avails” pay a fee – “official bookings” do. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get some news that includes me being “officially booked”.

Here's the postcard I sent out a couple of weeks ago. I didn't have anything specific to highlight, but I wanted to take a moment to recognize the assistants, associates and directors in casting and the directors on the projects I've worked on over the years - and obviously try to drum up some business. Thanks guys and gals!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Well, I “thought” I was off work last night. I was “on-call” and was called in to cover someone else’s shift. I’m tired, plus I have two overnight shifts to follow. I’m not complaining, I’m just sayin’.

Audition: “Kath & Kim” @ Greenstein/Daniel Casting. I read for a series regular role on the show a couple months ago and it’s nice to get back in there. It’s not a series regular role, but something is usually better than nothing – usually.

I worked overnight last night; got off at 7am this morning, slept from 8am until 9am, rehearsed some more from 9am to 9:30 in order to make it to my audition at 10:30am. Whew! At least I’m off tonight.

When I first read the sides I had this character in mind that I wanted to go in as, but in the end decided not to take the risk of taking it too over the top. I was hoping I wouldn’t regret it. The audition, which was a pre-read, went well. I read it once, got some direction and did it again and was on my way.

Soon as I got in the car to leave my agent called. My first thought was that I needed to return to the casting office to read again with more direction. I listened to the voice mail from my agent and it instructed me to call the office. That usually means that I booked something or am close to booking something. Could I have booked the “Kath & Kim” that quick? Stranger things have happened…not to me, but they’ve happened I’m sure.

When I called the office the agent that left the voicemail was on a conference call and I spoke to one of my other agents – the one that covered the “Kath & Kim” office. She asked how it went; I told her and she said that the other agent would return my call shortly.

A short while later my call was returned. The news was that I was “the choice” for the role from my audition for “Dollhouse” yesterday. My agent needed to confirm my quote information to make the deal. Cool!

Five minutes later the “Kath & Kim” agent called back to say that I have a callback for “Kath & Kim” tomorrow at the studio. Yay!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Audition/Tape/Producers: “Dollhouse” @ CFB Casting. Cool! I did a drop-off at both locations of this office last week. I also recently sent out a round of postcards last week as well. Gotta let people know I’m here…and still here. This office previously cast me on “Monk” & “Weeks”. Let’s make it a third time!
I worked overnight last night; got off at 7am this morning, slept from 8am until 9am, rehearsed some more from 9am to 9:30 in order to make it to my audition at 10:30am. Whew! At least I’m off tonight. The audition went well and I was on my way…I didn’t even do it “better” in the car on the way home.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I took ANOTHER blood test this morning. Still trying to get to the bottom of the reasons why my iron is low. My anemia is very mild, but I feel completely drained of energy sometimes. Working the graveyard shift probably doesn’t help either...and I need to eat more…and drink more water…and sleep more. I know, I know. Anyway, I should get the results in a few weeks and the figure out what the next step is.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

After 2 weeks of quiet I finally got a call for an audition. YAY!!!! My night job is occupying quite a bit of my existence right now so I don’t notice it as much when I don’t get appointments. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. At any rate, it’s nice to have other things on my mind than the entertainment business.

Audition: “The Game” @ Susan Goddard-Smythe Casting. This just went okay. I won’t go into it too much, but I think I heard the actor before me through the wall and thought he was perfect for it. I knew going in I was going to have trouble – maybe he got in my head – just being honest.

Audition: “State Farm” @ Alyson Horn Casting. This went great! I think I’m perfect for it and I should get a callback.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Last minute, same-day call. It seems like it's been forever since I've had a theatrical appointment.

Audition: "Dirty, Sexy, Money" @ Junie Lowry Johnson Casting. I've been trying get back in this office for a long time. One of the associates used to call me in a few years ago. I never felt I was quite right for the roles, but it was great to get seen nonetheless.

The role was that of a reporter; a few lines. It would have been nice if there was more substance; actually my agent was a little weary about me going in at all, but right now I'd like to book just about anything.

It went okay. Actually, it went much better in the car afterwards. It was one of those situations where I think I should've committed more and not downsized it for the small casting office. I should've been "that actor" that you hear through the walls hooting and hollering because he's "in the zone"...yeah that's probably what I should've done. Oh well, I bet “that actor” got the job - and rightly so. Good for him!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Ten years ago today at approximately 4:30pm Eastern Standard Time (EST) I boarded a flight from JFK to Chicago. Why? Because I was relocating to Los Angeles. Yup, I was leaving the Big Apple for Tinseltown.

Was I nervous? Not too much. Not because I'm not a "nervous type"; (trust me, I get super nervous about plenty of things) it was more because everything was happening so fast. I felt like a passenger in it all; I was nothing more than a piece of the engine. I wasn't planning to move to LA so soon. I'd had a day/night job at the Harley-Davidson Café that I really enjoyed, a special "lady friend" that was very important to me, a theatrical agent (I stopped saying 'legit agent' about a year before leaving New York), I'd just signed with my top choice commercial agency (DBA) and I was only an hour flight or 6-hour bus ride home to Virginia Beach.

I wasn't really ready to leave New York...well, that's not totally true. Sure, I was tired of my 3rd floor walkup, my heavy-ass backpack, the stifling hot (and nasty) 42nd Street/Times Square Subway station, but I thought I'd be in New York for at least 18 more months - oooh, oooh, oooh, I almost forgot the mice in my apartment. Yes, I was tired of the mice (I had no idea at the time that I would move to LA and encounter the West Coast brethren of the New York mice- mice that fly – also known as BATS!!!!) BUT, all in all, things were working for me. I LOVED many things about New York, especially riding my mountain bike through the city dodging cabs along the way…and down the West Side Highway to Battery Park…and across the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges…

Of course I knew I was eventually moving here to Los Angeles, but I thought it would be a little more rehearsed and planned out. I was prepared, very prepared in fact, but it felt a little premature. Premature, but I knew I had to follow the signs of how things were unfolding for me.

It all started because an actor friend of mine that I met in Virginia Beach in my first acting class and moved to New York with (and shared a bed with for 4 months in Hell’s Kitchen) – long story. Anyway, he had relocated to Los Angeles from New York and booked a pilot for NBC. The pilot was picked up to series and he was coming to New York for the annual Upfront Presentation with his agent. He told his agent about me and she agreed to at least have a meeting with me whenever I decided to move to Los Angeles. That got my wheels turning.

Within a week or so I’d done a 42-piece targeted mass-mailing with cover letter to commercial and theatrical agencies in May of ‘98. The mailing resulted in 6 appointments including the one with my friends’ agent. I flew to LA in June to meet the interested agents, but had to cut my trip in half because of a commercial callback in New York. Fortunately, I was able to reschedule my meetings and get them all in before returning to New York. The meetings went very well.

The last day before leaving I looked at apartments and then hopped on the red-eye to New York that Sunday evening, my birthday June 28. I arrived in New York early the next morning, got cleaned up and went to the callback – it went great. Two days later I had another callback which also went great. Later that day I got the news that I booked the commercial. YES!!! It was for the first Ford Expedition SUV shooting in Brooklyn - Prospect Park to be exact, near where I used to live in Park Slope.

We shot July 20th & 21st and I left New York on Tuesday, July 28th on a flight to Los Angeles connecting in Chicago. I was flying stand-by and wasn’t sure if I’d arrive here in Los Angeles that night or the next morning. I called my new commercial agent from Chicago to tell her that I’d be ready to audition the next day after 12 noon and she already had an audition for me scheduled at 10:30am!!! (I’d sent my headshots to her a week prior from New York to help get the ball rolling.) So on July 29th 1998, 12 hours after moving to Los Angeles, I had my first audition. In fact, I had 3 auditions and 3 callbacks my first week in town. Wow, happy anniversary to me. Ten years!

I’ve experiences so many things along the way – great, no so great and many things in between. One of the things I’m experiencing right now is being at a job I worked at years ago – same shift, same place and even some of the same people. It would be easy to look at it as a step backwards, but I see it differently. I see it as a step, sure a challenging step, but a step nonetheless. Yes, I have to pull out my bag of mental tricks to get through it at times, but a brotha gotta do what a brotha gotta do. The job is a great diversion in my life right now and it occupies idle time.

Today I went to Magic Mountain with several co workers and rode some of the most insane rollercoasters in my life – Tatsu & X2 were two of the craziest.

me scared? c'mon.

I’m not much for theme parks in general, I’d rather ride motocross, ski, snowboard, fish, mountain bike, but I’m really glad I went. It was cool to hang out with my co-workers out of uniform and in a different environment. I had fun until I lost my cell phone at the very end. UGH! But I really like my new BlackBerry Curve that I bought the next day with a completely, COMPLETELY unexpected residual check from a foreign airing of “Bones” that covered the purchase and more - A new phone wasn't in the budget otherwise.

Where are my callbacks!?!?!

I didn’t get a callback on ANY of the last 3 commercial auditions I went on and, trust me, I was sooo good in them, LOL! Oh well – NEXT!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

YES! At 4:16pm the callback came in for last weeks “National Car Rental” commercial @ Ross Lacy Casting. NO!! At 4:45pm the call came in that they had to cancel my callback because the role was cut. Aww man! Anyway, at least they wanted to see me again for the spot. Then, at 6:04pm, another call came in for a different commercial also at Ross Lacy Casting.

Audition: “Marshall’s” @ Ross Lacy Casting. Another really great one. Callbacks are next week and I plan to be there.

On to other stuff…I’ve had two blood test in the last week to try and figure out this mild anemia that is sapping my energy and making me so tired. I have a sinking feeling of what the doctor will recommend for the next step of testing. I did it a couple of years ago and it’s not pleasant, but did include some good drugs…really good drugs.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Audition: “Jack-in-the-Box” @ Alyson Horn Casting. These are the spots I should be booking left and right - I’m perfect for it!! And it went great too. I better get a callback; I have to get a callback.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I attended the SAG Hollywood Membership Meeting this afternoon after working all night until 7am. I’m surprised I stayed awake for the 3-hour meeting, but I did. Every time I go to a meeting more and more SAG members are attending which is a sign that actors are paying more attention to the health of our industry. We still have a long way to go in my opinion. There are 50,000 plus SAG actors in Hollywood – there should be thousands at every meeting – it’s only our futures. Keep showing up, a more informed membership is going to be a stronger membership.