Audition: “Chevy/SUV” @ Craig Colvin Casting. This was a surprising, same-day call. I wasn’t expecting any appointment during this week, but hey, I’m town and I’ll take it. I had a great time! No sides or anything; just a personality interview with two other actors. Hopefully, I’ll get to callbacks and finally book something at this office.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Sunday, December 26, 2010
We lost a legend today. R&B singer, songwriter, arranger, producer, etc. Teena Marie passed away today at the age of 54. As some of my close friends know she was one of my most favorite performers. 54? That’s just way too young.
Back on June 29th 2002 one of my dearest friends, Genine, surprised me for my birthday while I was in New York. I didn’t know what the surprise was, but she needed to stop and get tickets for it at the venue. The venue was BB Kings on 42nd St. so I waited in the car, double parked, on the busy street while Genine went inside. I had traveled up to the NYC from my Summer vacation in Virginia Beach and very vaguely knew that Teena was on the road. I thought to myself, “Maybe this is where she’s performing”.
Right as Genine was getting out of the car a limousine pulled in front of me. I knew there was no way that it was Lady Tee herself, but I reached for my camera just in case. I couldn’t believe my eyes; it was Teena coming in for a sound check. I eagerly leaped out of the car and Genine snapped this shot of the two of us. Thanks Genine for one of the best birthdays ever for me. Teena, thanks for the 10.6 hours, 1.11GB adding up to 123 songs on my hard drive. R.I.P.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Happy Holidays! I hope everybody had or is having a great holiday season. I worked last night; of course it was pretty slow in the restaurant. I think I get more tired when it’s slow than when it’s busy because I was completely exhausted today. I just didn’t feel like getting out of bed…so I didn’t; until my younger brother called and we discussed things we plan to do in the near and distant future.
That conversation gave me a serious boost of energy and I decided to get out of bed and go skiing at Mountain High, the closet ski resort. They have night skiing so I figured I’d go get a few hours in on the slopes. I think I underestimated how cold it was going to be; I was freezing! But it was a blast at the same time. Until I finished and was packing up! It had started snowing pretty heavily; at least for me. I must admit that I was a nervous wreck driving down the mountain in my little Honda. I refused to be a statistic and get into a fender bender…or worse. THAT was NOT how my quiet and potential depressing Christmas was going to end up. I saw cars on the way down the hill that didn’t have such great luck in getting out of there without running into something, but fortunately, I made it unscathed.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Callback: “Capital One” @ ASG Casting. This went fine; I think the director might have had a long day by the time I got there or maybe it was the rain. It wasn’t bad though. I have to say that I think it’s a long shot for me to be placed on avail or book. Why? Well, because in this particular spot I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s going to be a Caucasian actor to book the role. If they cast me, a black actor, they would probably cast a black wife and kid to go along with that. Of course that can happen, but I would think that they would already know if it’s going to be a black family…of course there is option that it could be a mixed family. Again, what I think doesn’t matter, but it was great to have a callback. It gives my agents & casting the continued signal that I have the goods for the big stage.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Yes, it’s official! I’m booked in the role on RAISING HOPE. It’s a smaller co-star credit…the kind I’d really like to move on from, but at the same time it’s great to be on set and get a current show credit on the resume. Plus, I expect to have a great time. The part that I’m truly conflicted about is that is an AFTRA show. I’m not sure if I’ll have to join that union before working, but I sure wish it was a SAG show. Oh well, if I have to join, and I will eventually, I’ll try to make the best of it.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
After a very restful night of sleep I was awoken with a call from one of my theatrical agents. The news was that Greg Garcia, Creator/Executive Producer of RAISING HOPE, MY NAME IS EARL & YES, DEAR viewed my tape from yesterday and wants me to read for another, larger role, today @ 2:15; this time at Paramount Studios. That is great news!
After downloading the 6 pages of material, doing more research in trying to see who this character is interacting with in the script and just before getting my video camera set up...I got ANOTHER call from my agent saying that Greg had already made a choice with a different actor and that my appointment had been cancelled. Ouch!
It’s not at all a lost because I’m very happy that after viewing my tape he saw the potential to use my talent in a more substantial way. My agent also informed me that I am still on avail for the role that I read for yesterday and I should be officially booked by the end of the week.
Audition: “Best Buy” @ Kathy Knowles Casting. This was great, especially because, Marvin, the session director makes me so nervous. Not bad nervous, just nervous nervous because he’s so good at his job and I don’t want to look unprofessional when I read, especially for him. So it was a good time for myself and my partner and hopefully Marvin too.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Busy day on tap, but I think I can handle it.
I am scheduled today, noon – 4pm, for some training for my night job, but it doesn’t look like I’m going to make it. Just more proof of why working days or evenings for a supplemental income gig probably wouldn’t work out for me.
Audition: “Capital One” @ ASG Casting. I’m getting better with knowing my dialogue, which is a good thing because it enables me to be much more free in the performance. This went really well.
Audition/Producers/Tape: “Raising Hope” @ Dava Waite Casting. Not sure how right I feel I am for this one, but I’m going to give these few lines all I have to give. I went in a few months ago for this show and am glad they have invited me back to make the 50-mile round trip drive to audition for another part. Actually, I like making the drive. I’ve done it numerous times; usually just to drop a photo, with the hope of getting an appointment. So to actually get an appointment is a victory for me.
The audition goes well…I think. It’s hard to tell, but I guess…time will tell. Next!
Audition: “Starburst” @ Joe Blake Casting. This was a complete blast! I had a great time with my partner, Mike, and the session director. Funny guys, funny spot.
While I was walking back to my car I got the call from my agent that I am, “On Hold” for “RAISING HOPE”! Of course I’m not actually “On Hold” because that would mean that compensation is involved and there isn’t, which means, more accurately, that I’m “On Avail/Watch & Advise”. Yeah! The dates to clear are January 3rd – 7th. I’m assuming it’s just one of those days. Cool. I’m not even that upset that accepting the job would force me to join AFTRA…don’t get me started on that.
Audition: “Shake It Up” @ Howard Meltzer Casting. I felt good about how this pre-read went. It’s a multi-camera show and I love to be on it. I guess a callback is the next step since there wasn’t a camera present.
Again, when I was walking back to my car, I received another call from my theatrical agency. This time it was a Producer/Director session for THE MENTALIST. This is especially great news because I had to cancel the appointment I had with them last month because it conflicted with the shooting of the DEGREE commercial.
This was a busy, busy day and one of the main reasons why I moved to Hollywood. I’m following my dream; yes, I am.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Friday, December 03, 2010
I got off work this morning and just before jumping in the bed to get some rest I got the news that a friend, actress Chane’t Johnson, had died of a heart attack at the young age of 34. Needless to say I was speechless.
I remember, years ago, when she first arrived in Los Angeles to take on this world of Hollywood. We attended casting director workshops together at Actorsite. Not only was it immediately evident that she was incredibly talented and dedicated, but she was also a sweetheart with a warmth about her that was the size of her home state of Texas.
Thursday, December 02, 2010
Callback: “TidyCat” @ Ross Lacy Casting. Hmm…not so much. I didn’t feel too much of a connection on this one. They even had a real cat to see how the actor would interact with the feline. That interaction ith the cat went better than the actual audition. Don’t get me wrong; it wasn’t a terrible showing. I just felt kind of “neither here nor there”. BUT I’m smart enough to know that what I think doesn’t really matter. So who knows, maybe I’ll get some good news.
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Audition: “TidyCat” @ Ross Lacy Casting. I think I did well in this audition involving a little gymnastics with two vacuum cleaners.
Audition/Tape: “Untitled Teen Action Comedy” aka “Spiderman 4”@ Francine Maisler Casting. This was the kind of role that I’m perfect for AND it went well. Big film, big casting office and I hope I book it.
Audition: “Staples” @ Shane Casting. This same-day call went really well also. Hope to see them at callbacks!
Audition: “The Killing” @ Junie Lowry-Johnson Casting. Another really big, important office and a hot project. I had to do an accent for this one, but it was very little dialogue. I think I did pretty well.
That was a great busy day in the field and it all worked out perfect!
Monday, November 29, 2010
Callback: “AT&T” @ broad-cast. Looks like my hunch was right in that I would get a callback. The callbacks were held at a different studio than the first audition and, of course, I forgot and went to the original place. I made it to the correct address in time and I think it went okay. Not great, not bad. The director was on a monitor in New York or Chicago I think. Anyway, it was great to get to the next round again, but I’d LOVE to book something before the year is out.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Audition: “AT&T” @ broad-cast casting. Hmm…this one was a little confusing because I often over think things that are very simple for most people. I’ve tried to get a handle on that, but I don’t think it’s working. Anyway, the session director gave me direction, I promptly made it confusing, but I still think, for some odd reason, I have a good chance at getting to callbacks.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
WAKE UP! I worked last night from 9:30pm until 5:45 this morning, got in bed at 6:15am and awoke 15 minutes later @ 6:30 to get showered and drive to downtown LA to be on-set for my 8am call time. If nothing else, I’m dedicated…
Shooting: National Network commercial for DEGREE with Bear Grylls. I arrived downtown at the location, checked in, got reacquainted with my fellows actors from the fitting a few days ago, jumped into my wardrobe and checked in with the producers and the directing team – The Perlorian Brothers. About 30 minutes after arrived, I have to say, that a strange feeling came over me. Why? Well, I’m a true fan of his show(s), Bear Grylls’ show, and I think he does thingsthat take incredible resolve, faith, skills, etc. Plus, even though, at this point, I hadn’t spoken to him directly he seemed like a super-nice guy…I’m a complete sucker for nice people.
I walked to set to watch them shoot a scene I wasn’t in and to get final approval for my wardrobe. Shortly after that the whole cast and crew drove a short distance to another location where I was to be working. While we were assembling for a rehearsal Bear came over to introduce himself to us. And yes, it’s confirmed, Bear Grylls is one of the nicest, most sincere, people I’ve ever met.
I have to say up that until immediately before the first rehearsal myself and the other actors had no idea what we were doing – nothing. Right before “ACTION!” the producer gave us the instructions of what he wanted. Of course, we did numerous takes and variations of what they were looking for. Something that was, I think, a great sign was that we were rotating 3 different versions of the same product for different territories around the world. Hopefully, that means that there are big plans for this campaign. Shortly afterwards we broke for lunch.
Bear, who definitely could have gone back to his large motor home, opted to, instead, dine with myself and the other actors. I have to say that it was weird to see him eat normal food…on a plate. You have to remember that, prior to this, I’d only seen him eat on his show, MAN vs WILD. On there he eats things like raw, live fish, snakes, caterpillars, etc! I kept thinking that it was probably boring to him to eat like the rest of us. I actually told him that I didn’t think that he ever got cold or uncomfortable in any type of conditions, but there he was; looking for a jacket like the rest of us, “I need a fleece mate!” He said. Great guy and I’m in complete awe of his knowledge and talent as an adventureman.
After lunch we changed into our underwear to brave the chilly temperatures, fake snow…and the freakin’ fog machine…the fog machine! The fog machine about put me down for the count. We finished up and heard, “It’s a wrap on our test subjects!” and got a big applause from the crew. One of the directors, the Perlorian brothers’, approached me to get my email address to make sure I got a copy of the finished product. I don’t think that’s ever happened to me before. With that, I headed back to my tiny room in the trailer to change, return my wardrobe and I was on my way….On my way where? Home. To, hopefully take a nap before going back to my other job. BUT as soon I got almost all of the way home from downtown I realized that I had forgotten to get my wristwatch back fromthe wardrobe assistant. Ahh! So I called to make sure they were still there and drove all the way back downtown to retrieve it. That silly move cost me at least an hour of precious time in my lovely, ultra plush, queen-sized bed with 600 thread-count sheets. Believe it or not, 2-hours later I was due back at my night job. Hey, you gotta do watcha gotta do.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Audition: “Turbo Tax” @ Ross Lacy Casting. I had to get rescheduled for this because the original it was during the fitting for DEGREE; fortunately it worked out. The audition went really well and my fingers are crossed for a callback! The fitting was cool too and I’m looking forward to a great shoot.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Good news! It seems that the DEGREE people haven’t changed their mind about me. The talent coordinator and the people from wardrobe have called to set me up for a fitting tomorrow.
I say that because booking the job is only a step to actually getting to shoot the job. I have had that very thing happen on 3 different occasions for 3 different reasons. One was a commercial and two were studios films. Even though it was painful at the time it happened; I look at it as a success in my career. I believe that the more jobs one books, the more likely those things are to occur. It’s earning my strips in the business. So on to the Santa Monica fitting I will go.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Today I participated in another student script reading project at West Adams High School. These kids wrote some really great stuff and, myself and the other performing had a great time reading it.
In other, great, fitting news on a Monday morning was a call from Alicia, one of my commercial agents. I don’t usually talk directly to my agents unless I stop by the office or its something real important. Most correspondence is through email with the wonderful assistants – Megan & Ariel.
So, the fact that it was a Alicia’s voice get me the feeling that great news was on the horizon. Sure enough, the news was that I booked the DEGREE commercial! I was so happy to get the news. The project run is National network, cable, internet & syndication.
In the “ebb & flow, comes & goes” column I was scheduled to go to producers for THE MENTALIST tomorrow, but it shoots the same day as the commercial. Oh well, I can’t think of a better reason for that to happen. Hopefully, they’ll bring me in on something else and another fitting, deserving actor will get my audition time. The timing of this might be perfect for earning my SAG Pension credit and qualifying for SAG medical insurance for next year. Plus, this commercial looks to be a lot of fun!
Friday, November 12, 2010
Callback: “Degree” @ Spot Casting. Yes! Callback for DEGREE! I think it went well. On to the next step.
Audition/Tape: “Mad Love” @ CFB Casting. This was a same day call for a few lines on this new CBS multi-camera comedy. My agent wasn’t sure if I would agree to go in on it and told me that she would support whatever I wanted to do. Even though I would much rather go in on something more substantial I’m more than happy to go in on this. So in I went.
When I arrived at the casting office I was told that the sides had changed so I spent 10 minutes or so working on the changes. I think it went pretty good after asking for a rehearsal, but I could tell that I hadn’t read for a multi-camera sitcom in a while. It’s definitely different than single-camera and it’s good that I recognized that.
Good news! My agency called to inform me that I’m on avail for the DEGREE commercial. It seems like forever since I’ve been on avail for anything.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Today I went to a photography workshop that was conducted at UCLA and it was great…and at a great price. It was valued at $450, but I found it on Groupon for $59 AND I actually learned some things about my camera. It was a great, productive and long day. I even booked out with my agents for it.
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Saturday, November 06, 2010
This afternoon I took a surfing lesson in Santa Monica that I found on Groupon. Although I had issue with the business practices of the company with changes the terms of the deal I had a good time. It was a great couple of hours of vigorous activity…I might do it again.
My agency called with an appointment for THE MENTALIST for next week…almost a week in advance. Cool.
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
Callback: “Xerox” @ Kathy Knowles Casting. This was another callback with director David Shane who I booked the KY BRAND commercial through. He wasn’t in the room with us, but on the video monitor in New York. I think it went okay; he is so SO specific in what he wants from actors and very nice at the same time. Glad he continues to bring me to callbacks as I hope to work with him again in the near future.
Audition: “Degree” @ Spot Casting. Great audition; fun spot. I would LOVE to book this one. For some reason I think it might be for the Super Bowl, but I don’t know…and it doesn’t matter. I’d just like to get called back at this point.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Audition/Tape “Mr. Sunshine” @ Lauren Gray Casting. This was my first time meeting Lauren and she really seems like a nice lady. She was surprised to read on my resume that I had never had alcohol or coffee in my life. The read was fun and I hope it leads to a booking or more opportunities during this TV season and beyond.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Audition: “Xerox” @ Kathy Knowles Casting. This was fun and I always feel great when I do well for this particular session director. He really knows what he needs to get from an actor. I’m not always able to deliver, but today I did and that is a victory for me.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Callback: “cars.com” @ Spot Casting. I was very happy with my performance on this one. The creative team seemed much more interested in the other actor for the other role, but I couldn’t do anything about that. I was very happy with what I did in the room.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Audition: “SoCal Honda” @ Alyson Horn Casting. I think I did okay on this one, but I felt kinda stiff…which happens more often that I’d like.
This afternoon I went to Dorsey High School to participate with a group of actors to read the scripts of at-risk students. As usual, it was a great experience and I always thrilled to be able to give back to the community.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
Do you ever wonder what the heck you’re doing? Professionally, personally or just generally in life? I do; always have. Not so much in the sense of not being sure, but I constantly wonder about other things. Most everything.
Recently, at my night job, I shared with a fellow employee that I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t depressed about my circumstances. At least I don’t think I’m depressed. I’m talking personally, financially, socially, my family situation, etc. Nothing really outrageous, just things that many of us deal with in our lives. It’s confusing because I use different coping methods to make a given situation work for me. Yes, a bit of it is denial; actually a lot of it is denial. I’ve never been anyone else in this life so I don’t have anything to compare it to.
Part of the headtrip is that I have so much to look forward to while I live with the challenges. The night job is a beast…to say the least. Not sure how long my body can’t take it…or my mind for that matter. So I go to my safe place. Which is to make a challenging situation work for me. I’ve tried to get the most out of it so that I can make the good parts out weigh the tougher aspects of doing it. It’s been 2 ½ years and I think I’m winning the battle and in a big way. I just can’t let the areas of success cloud the pursuing of my career.
Sure, sometimes things are tough at the night job, but as many of us know, dealing with the public can be difficult. At the same time it can be wonderful and the amount of talent that I’m surrounded by is incredible. Also, I’ve developed some really cool relationships with many of my co-workers. Some of it is just light and fun, but other times it’s more life stuff. One of the greatest parts for me is that I get to encourage younger people to develop a healthy relationship with their finances. Now, I’m not trained in that field or anything like that, but I’m an expert on how I, myself, have become a super-saver. It’s a great feeling when one of them asks a question about it or tell me how they have decided to pay off a credit card or join the company 401(k) plan. I explain to them that the greatest thing I will ever be able to do for them is to encourage them to be responsible with their finances and, of course, treat them with respect.
I think the main reason why I’m able to get through to them is that I can talk to them in a way that I know they can understand. I sure wish I had someone in my life to do that for me at that age. My father tried to do that the best way he knew how, but he had no idea how to really get through to a teenager…no idea at all. Or maybe he just couldn’t through to me. It wasn’t like I was a difficult kid or anything like; we just never had any kind of meaningful father/son connection. I haven’t seen or spoken to him for years and I think about how much of a difference he could have made for me…and I for him. I think, subconsciously, I’m trying to do for them what didn’t happen for me. That might be a little weird, but my heart is in the right place and they seem to be receiving it well.
So no, I don’t think I’m depressed or being less than real with myself; I’m just really optimistic about my future. I have visions of working with my brothers in business. Now THAT will be cool. Actually, just last month, one of my younger brothers and I started saving money together to invest in the future. Those investments could be commercial property, residential property, stocks, etc. I am really excited about it and it’s given me something outside of acting that I’m totally into. I’m doing a lot right, but there is still much work to do.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
I attended a free workshop with a script consultant today. I’m trying to re-ignite the energy and focus to finish my romantic comedy script. It was a great thing to have done and she and the other two women who attended were very helpful and encouraging. They recommended a few books that I’m going to look into hopeful get on track and writing again. Yes! That would be great.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Audition: “Wendy’s” @ ASG Casting. I had a complete blast in this audition with a great partner to work off of. In the details for the audition they asked that we be “clean-shaven”. At first I didn’t pay too much attention to that note, but later said to myself “why not?” I’m not on avail for anything else at the moment and if this will give me an edge it only makes sense to do it. I booked a “Wendy’s” spot years ago when I was based in New York and got to travel first-class to Miami, stay in a 5-star hotel and earned a nice payday along the way. Actually, it saved my butt from living in my car when I first arrived in LA…not really, but it helped me out a lot. Maybe lightning can strike again!
Audition: “cars.com” @ Spot Casting. This went well too. I’m still being paid for the “cars.com” commercial I did for this years Superbowl. Funny enough, even though it hasn’t really aired all that much I’ve made much more money than I thought I would. They should hire me again. I can do it!
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Friday, October 08, 2010
Audition/Tape: “Svetlana” @ Lauren & Jordan Bass Casting. Wow, I have no freaking idea how this one went. It wasn’t scripted. We just did an improv; I had fun and wanted it to go longer, LOL! It seemed before I knew it I was in the car! Again, I don’t know what happened in the room, but I had fun and would have loved to see where the improv would have gone.
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
After a busy, draining day of driving yesterday I slept soundly last night and woke up late this morning to the sound of…rain. Lots of rain. In fact, it was raining cats & dogs, East Coast-style! A feeling immediately came over me that I had to get out in the street and do my photo drops…especially today, especially in the rain.
I look at a rainy day of doing drops in LA as like a bonus; a day where the average person is going to stay home…because it’s raining. The thing about that way of thinking is that it usually garners average results, and average results, particularly in this business, is NOT where I want to be. So I have to do more than most…and on a consistent basis. I admit that it’s an energy-draining proposition, but what else can I do but stay engaged in the game if I’m going to play the game.
Amazingly, I had one of my most successful days in the field. I completed my entire list for the day. That does not always happen. It felt great to feel like I was helping myself and my team to move forward; now I need to book some of these jobs that I get appointments for!
Monday, October 04, 2010
Geez, TGIM! Yeah, Thank God it’s Monday. Why do I say that? Because my “Monday” is like a normal person’s Saturday. I’m tired. After working 5 overnight/graveyard shifts in a row, for who knows how many weeks back-to-back, I’m in need of some downtime. So I get home around 5:30 am, talk to my little brother back in Virginia and get in the bed around 6am in an attempt to catch up on the weeks’ sleep…which rarely works.
See, the thing is that I don’t really have a “weekend”. My “night job/server/Sunset Blvd babysitter” weekend is Monday/Tuesday and my acting weekend is Saturday/Sunday. Often times I feel like as though I’m on-call 24 hours a day. Plus, sometimes I have employee meetings on my day off and weekend auditions.
I’m often asked, “How I do it”. At times, I ask myself the same thing.
Honestly, I’m not sure how I do it and/or have done it for such a long time. My body isn’t sure either. The physical toll it takes on me is evident…mentally and socially too. Part of me has to live in a state of denial and associate certain things with certain things. Another part of me feels that it’s highly unlikely that I can work as hard and as smart as I have for as long as I have and not get to where I’m trying to get to.
What keeps me going? For one thing I still have a burning desire to act professionally…I love being on-set. Another thing is that I feel like I am “right there” at the point where real career building jobs will fill my resume. Still, another reason is that I’ve come a long way from Virginia Beach and it just makes sense to continue on the journey. I'm not at all complaining or even venting; I'm just talking about my situation. I'm quite fortunate to have two jobs that I earn money at.
I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was offered a promotion at the night gig, but after seriously considering it for a week or so I respectfully declined the offer. It would have included a bump in pay, but I’m just not prepared to take on the extra responsibility. I also didn’t want to accept the position and have it put me over the “tipping point” of my sanity…it’s such a tough job. Not tough like digging ditches, but tough nonetheless. The greatest part of the whole thing is that I put myself in a position to being able to decline the offer. I’ve used the job to place myself in the driver’s seat vs. the passenger position and THAT feels great. Three years ago I might have HAD to accept the position.
CUT TO: 10:33 this morning, I’m in a deep sleep – Phone ringing.
It’s my commercial agency. I let the call go to voicemail, but right away it’s ringing again. It must be a same-day call so I answer it. Sure enough, it’s a callback for 12 noon, in 87 minutes in Santa Monica. I was so tempted to roll over and grab just 5 more minutes of rest, but I thought better of it and got up, in the shower and on my way.
When I got in the room I immediately recognized the director, David Shane. He directed the “KY Brand” commercial I did in New York last year…unfortunately it never ran, but it was still not a bad financial experience, plus I got a trip to New York out of the deal. The audition went well so we’ll see what happens.
After the audition, and since I was way out in Santa Monica, I figured I might as well drop-off some photos…even though I really wanted to go back to sleep. Gotta keep on…keeping on.
This is where something really inspiring happened. I stopped by one place on my list and there was an empty drop-off box. I didn’t want to put my headshot in there because it was raining a little and the box didn’t look active to me. So, I paused, and then opened the door to the office not knowing what I would find. I knew whom I might see because I knew who the casting associate was, but you never know what might happen. My style of drops is to stick and move, but I’m extremely calculating at the same time.
When I opened the door, I saw, at the very back of the office the associate in question. I waved and just said I wanted to drop a photo for their files and she politely motioned that she was on the phone. With that, I was on my way…I’m always careful to not be a burden while being a pleasure to deal with.
Twenty minutes later I received an email on my phone from her and it read:
hi nice to see you for a moment today
sorry i couldn’t come say hi
we cast the role in XXXXX but i will hang on to your pic for future stuff
Actually, I didn’t even know there was a role I was right for in the project. I was just doing a general drop-off to remind them that I’m still here, available and ready to work on whatever they are casting
It was such a boost to validate all of the effort it takes to drive around this city for as many years as I have. That includes countless miles, hours, photos and a few parking tickets along the way beginning in August ‘98. This same associate, years ago, as an assistant at a different office, received my postcard, called me in and booked me on a popular dramedy a few years after arriving from New York!
There has been a lot of question of whether or not it’s worth to do drop-offs; especially the way the casting process has changed. I think it’s worth it.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Audition/Producer/Tape: “Raising Hope” @ Dava Waite Casting. I was really happy with how this one went. I felt like I had a hold on the character and I did what I set out to do. Can’t ask for much more than that…well, yes I can but; this is a great start. Actually, I have a little history with Dava’s office. She called me in for CBS sitcom, “Yes, Dear”, years ago; I didn’t book the role, but a few episodes later they called and offered me a role. I really appreciated that. Can lightning strike again? I think so.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Audition: “McDonald’s” @ Cathi Carlton Casting. Good stuff; pretty simple. It was one of the type of auditions I don’t normally excel in.
Callback: “Alka-Seltzer Plus” @ Francene Selkirk Casting. I had a great feeling that I was going to get a callback for this one. The callback itself? I think it went okay, but there was a little blocking change that I wasn’t told about before the first take and it might have made me look like I didn’t know what I was doing, but I did it the same way as the first audition…oh well. You never know.
Audition: “Comcast” @ Alyson Horn Casting. This went well. I am so thankful that I get brought to this very important office on such a regular basis. It’s been a long time since I’ve booked here, but she must believe in me because there are many other actors she could call in my place.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Happy Anniversary to me! 17 years ago, on Wednesday September 22nd 1993 @ 7:30pm in Virginia Beach, VA I took my first acting class and embarked on a very, VERY interesting and difficult journey. Sometimes, oftentimes, I think a lot has happened in those 6209 days, other times, occasionally, I'm not so sure.
Hold up! Of course I’m sure! I just don’t think about it in those terms on a regular, basis. So I’m going to take a moment, and revisit some of the experiences I’ve had as a professional performer. I hope it doesn’t come off as me being full of myself…here it goes:
Member of the Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG).
Had the same, effective theatrical & commercial representation for 12+ years.
Had my first audition in Los Angeles just 12 hours after arriving from New York.
Had 3 commercial auditions and 3 callbacks my first week in Los Angeles.
Had a period of 7 years that I solely made a living & filed taxes as an actor…took vacations too!
Have traveled to Washington, DC, Miami, New York, Japan & Spain as a performer.
Booked a national commercial and was “unbooked” just before the fitting.
Have performed onstage at the Kennedy Center.
Was cast in Ocean’s Twelve by director Steven Soderbergh & CD Debra Zane, but the scene was cut before filming.
Was also cast in Ocean’s Thirteen by director Steven Soderbergh & CD Debra Zane, but this time had to pull out the film, and a scene with Al Pacino, because of a commercial booking…I was later edited out of the commercial.
Have qualified for Health benefits every year since becoming a member of SAG.
Have become a vested member of SAG which awards me with a pension at retirement.
Have been featured on the cover of Backstage magazine.
Have been featured on National Public Radio (NPR) in a piece on the casting process with Casting Director Debra Zane.
Have been featured in “Self-Management for Actors: Getting Down to (Show) Business” By Bonnie Gillespie & “Acting Q’s: Conversations with Working Actors” also by Bonnie Gillespie & Actor/Author Blake Robbins.
Have learned a lot about how the casting process work…maybe too much.
I moved to New York with $200 in my pocket, no job…shared a bed in the Hell’s Kitchen area of Manhattan…with a guy…for 4 months.
Have been featured on the Wrigley’s Jumbotron in New York’s Times Square.
Have been interviewed on the New York-based EverythingActingPodcast.
…umm. I just got “wide-open” with the “me” stuff. On the one hand I feel like I should apologize for laying it on so thick, but on the other hand “it is what it is”…it’s all true and verifiable. Plus, I’m really proud of what I’ve accomplished in a notoriously difficult business. No, I’m not exactly where I want to be in my acting career, especially the working in a restaurant part, but I’ve usually been able to make the best of most situations I’ve found myself in.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Lately, I’ve been dropping off my headshots around town like a mad man. Why? I gotta get “this thing” in motion. What “Thing?” My career. That’s what “Thing”. I HAVE to make it happen and move to the next level in my acting journey. For me, the major way of doing that is to hustle…get out of the house and participate in my success. Back to the drop-offs. I’ve always heard actors talk about the “many reasons” why dropping off photos is a waste of time or that it’s no longer effective. Usually, there doesn’t seem to be any concrete reason why they say what they do, but I definitely have concrete reason as to why I say otherwise.
Hustle: Anything I’ve ever accomplished has been because of that…I can’t stop now. Have photos; will drop them.
Audition: “Better With You” @ GO Casting. This came directly from a drop-off yesterday. How can I be sure? They told me.
Audition: “VW” @ Kathy Knowles Casting. Yeah, good one in the can. I have a pretty good track record at this office.
Audition: “Alka-Seltzer Plus” @ Francene Selkirk Casting. Yes! This went really, really well. While in company of my scene partner I felt I was in the presence of a real talent. That woman was a pleasure to watch. I hope both of us will be at callback in a few days.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Work, work and more work it seems is the order of many of my days of late. I’m not complaining; I’m just sayin’. I think it’s better than not having enough work opportunities to make a living. Speaking of work, after the monthly employee meeting for my night job I received a text message, directly from casting director Dori Zuckerman, asking if I had a current wireless conflict. If not, she was offering me a time slot to audition for AT&T later in the afternoon. It was a great surprise, but not shocking.
I met Dori about 10 years ago in a casting director workshop and have worked for her as a reader countless times over the years. I’ve even booked a few jobs with her and learned a bunch about the casting process.
Audition: “AT&T” @ Dori Zuckerman Casting. The audition went great and I had a wonderful conversation with my scene partner afterwards.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Audition: “LVCVA” @ Kathy Knowles Casting. This was quite the lively situation…and fun. Big ole group thing.
Callback: “The Whole Truth” @ Shaner/Testa Casting. Yep, me as a judge. I think this went well. The writer/producer/director, not sure exactly who the beautiful woman was, but she was very nice to me and thanked me for coming back in to read for the role. She’s probably nice to everyone…not just me. She sure did have a great smile
Anyway, I didn’t have any questions about the character and went right into the first read. I got a little bit of direction and read it once more. All seemed very happy with the performance, including me, and I was on my way.
This caps a week of 8 auditions and several graveyard shifts…I’m exhausted, but not complaining. The only thing is that I didn’t get too many drop-offs done this week. I did quite a few the week before and I’d like to think that some of that ground-level hustle had to do with the busy week I just finished. Who knows; I’ll take it however it comes.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Audition/Producers/Tape: “The Whole Truth” @ Shaner/Testa Casting. I think I’m really right for this one and I was happy with how everything went in the room. I read it once, got some direction and did it again. I would LOVE to book this role. I’d even have to join AFTRA to do the role…don’t get me started on 2 unions for the same acting work.
Less than an hour later my agent calls with a callback! YES! But for another, smaller role. Huh? Yup, and get this? It’s for the role of a judge. Really? Yup, really. I kinda don’t see myself as a judge, but it really REALLY doesn’t matter what I think. It matters what the buyers think.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Audition: “xxx” @ Xxxxx Xxxxxxx Xxxxxxxxx. This didn’t happen, but the confidentiality agreement I signed did.
Audition: “Target” @ Ross Lacy Casting. This is a spot for the upcoming Christmas season. Lots of underplaying for the feature director that is directing this commercial.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Audition: “NCIS” @ Susan Bluestein Casting. Yes! I’ve been trying to get into this office for years. The audition consisted of two short scenes and although I wish I would’ve read the second scene again, just to clean up the dialogue a bit, I was very happy with the outcome. I hope I’ve opened the door to a long-term relationship with this office.
In a new development at my night job I've been offered a promotion, a small promotion, but a promotion nonetheless. I'm not sure if I'm going to accept or not...gonna take some time to weigh the pros and cons.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Audition: “The Defenders” @ Felicia Fasano Casting. I have been trying to get into this office for years with no success, but finally it happened today. Not sure if it had anything to do with the general drop off of my photo last week, but I’ll take it any way I can get it. It’s been incredibly quiet from me lately, especially theatrically.
The role I went in for was that of the Master, the Legend…Sammy Davis, Jr. Yeah right. I mean, I don’t how know much I look like him, but I’d guess we are/were of similar stature and build. Dancing skills? Me a close 2nd. Nah, not really. Singing skills? I’m right there…hmmm, not even close. Me drinking on stage with cigar in one hand and a gin martini in the other? Now you’re talking! Few can drink and smoke like me.
The cool part was that, in the description, it specifically said that the role did NOT have to be an impersonator, just an actor who resembled him. Cool. So I did some research on him over the weekend and Sammy was a bad dude for real. Massive talent. Going in I felt fine because it wasn’t like I had to dance or anything.
Of course, as soon as I got there the dialogue had completely changed. It wasn’t a whole lot to begin with so the change was no problem. I go in and the first thing I’m asked is if I’ve ever “done Sammy”, LOL! “Oh Sh*t!, I’m thinking, but I didn’t trip on it. I just gave her what I had…which wasn’t enough. She gave me some direction and I did it again. I think she wanted me to “be him” because my look was in the ball park, but she said “Nah, you’re not Sammy and I’ve got real impersonators coming in. But you’re a good actor; I’m pulling your photo and I’m going to get you back in here for something good.” Then she said, “Sorry.” I replied, “No, this is great, thank you.” And I walked out feeling really good about myself. I have to add that I smiled to myself when she turned my resume over. Why? Because I know exactly what’s on it.
So I have to stay out in the street; keep dropping photos, keeping trying to get more rest, keep trying to not let my other gig get the best of me and keep believing that I can continue to move forward in this career...and build my other one.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
Audition: “Petco” @ Ross Lacy Casting. Nice! This went great!
Wow, what a surprise! I got a holding fee for the Healthy Choice/Marie Callendar’s commercial today. It wasn’t a huge check, but it completely paid for the computer I bought today. I ended up getting an eMachines desktop instead of a laptop and I spent less than I had planned. I’m also going to reinstall the OS on my Macbook so that it will run faster. All that will help me run a smoother operation and get out in the street to make things happen again.
Friday, September 03, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
Ugh! I had a feeling this was going to happen. Why do I say that? Because I think it’s official that the Marie Callendar’s/Healthy Choice commercial I booked and shot back in early March is not going to go beyond the test marketing phase. I knew there was a chance of that from the beginning, but you hope for the best…and I still am. The possible use of the campaign was as follows:
Rate: Scale. Option for foreign, theatrical, industrial, dealer, simulcast, internet and new media at SAG minimum***
Run/Usage: Test Market (probably 1 to 2 cycles as wildspot) prior to roll out Nationally***
I guess that means the campaign didn’t test as they had hoped? I don’t know, but I saw another spot for Healthy Choice/Marie Callendar’s that was very similar to the one I was in. I haven’t had the best of luck in recent years commercially; not sure why. That’s just the cycle of things and my cycle of things hasn’t been all that favorable, but I keep moving in a positive direction. It seems that if there is some way, any way, for a booking to not end up the way any actor would hope; that way finds its journey into my life. This is run down of what the most recent commercial bookings I’ve have booked have gone:
MICHELIN TIRES – October ’06 - I had to pull out of OCEAN’S THIRTEEN and a scene with Al Pacino to do this one. In the end my scene was edited out of the commercial.
WaMu – December ’07 – Multi-day shoot and a great, national airing for a couple of months.
CHEETOS – September ’08 – A few days after being booked and just before I was going to the fitting I received a call informing that my booking had been cancelled.
KY BRAND – March ’09 – I flew to New York to shoot this one. After receiving holding fees for a year the commercial never aired.
CARS.COM – December ’09 – While it was great that this was a commercial for Super Bowl; those spots don’t always continue to run after the big game. To my knowledge, they only aired it on TV once, but I’ve made a nice amount of money through other ways the client bought it.
MARIE CALLENDAR’S/HEALTHY CHOICE – March ’10 – My commercial was one of a 6-spot campaign, but it appears they cancelled the entire thing and filmed new ones.
Oh well. What can you do? Good question. What I do is realize that it’s a great “problem” to have. It’s much better than to not have booked them at all. This cycle, if that’s what it is, will change into something more favorable I’m sure. In due time; I just have to keep my head in the game.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Callback: “USPS” @ Francene Selkirk Casting. It’s been 2 full weeks since my last audition. I HAVE to get on the grind or my career will be in the past. That can’t happen. I’m a professional actor and I need to act professionally.
The callback went okay; not sure I gave to the director what he was asking for. It went really well in the first audition so we’ll see what happens.
Friday, August 20, 2010
hmm…another week with no appointments…at all. I would think that things would be picking up for me, but it doesn’t seem like it. I’m sure commercials will come back around, but theatrically, I have to stay on the ball. There is so much “trickle down” going with actors from a higher tier being willing to do work that they wouldn’t have taken in years past.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Audition: “USPS” @ Francene Selkirk Casting. This went great and I think I’m right for it. This is where I had my very first commercial audition in Los Angeles…12 years and 15 days ago. I’ve had many callbacks and avails, but haven’t yet booked. One day I will.
Audition: “Nationwide Insurance” @ Lisa Fields Casting. This came in as a same day call from my agent and also went well.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Callback: “Jack-in-the-Box” @ Alyson Horn Casting. Yes! Finally a callback for something. This was the appointment I had last week that I totally could not get it together. Fortunately, the session director was quite patient with me and got me to where I needed to be to shine on the tape. I guess it worked because I don’t think there was any way I would have gotten to round two.
It went well; who knows if I’ll book or even get placed on avail, but I do know that it felt good in the room. Alyson always calls me in for this client and I believe I’m right for these spots in particular; so eventually I should score some points with a booking.
Friday, August 06, 2010
Thursday, August 05, 2010
Audition: “Jack-in-the-Box” @ Alyson Horn Casting. Ooops! Not so much on this one. I was having trouble getting the dialogue out of my mouth…so was my partner. Thankfully, the session director was super patient with both of us and I think we put good stuff on the tape in the end.
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
I was paired with a 7 year-old and his 8 year-old friend along with another mentor. We got in the water with them, taught them how to fly a kite, participated in a 3-legged race, etc. It was wonderful experience and something I’m sure I’ll do again in the future.http://www.stephonfuller.com