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.