Sunday, February 28, 2010

Will I survive? That’s the question right now. Survive what? I’m talking about my night job. The one on The Strip…The Sunset Strip. Yeah, the one where I work the graveyard shift. Yeah, that one. The one that I am so fortunate to have. The one that I really appreciate…yup, that’s the one.

Truth be told; it’s really testing me. That, in itself, is nothing new. I’ve just used many different tactics to get through it. It usually works quite well, but about once a month I go on what I call “My Cycle”. Yeah, a guy with a cycle…it happens about every 30 days. During that time I’m a little unlike the me I like so much. I’m a little darker; a little less patient and I have to work harder at being my normal self…sometimes a lot harder.

I have to say that I’m proud of how I’ve handled this ride thus far. It’s a real headtrip working where I used to work so long ago…even with some of the same people. That said; I know I can do better. I can do more; I have so much more to offer than what I’m doing there and the duality of living it while trying not to get depressed about it is a constant thing I have to manage. I am doing quite well.

I really appreciate my employment there…I really do. There are so many people these days that wished they had any kind of steady income and I have two streams. Things are great for me.

More great stuff…February 2010 is on its way out I believe it goes down as the busiest audition month I’ve had in my almost 12 years in Los Angeles. Well, that may not count when I was working on “Good Morning, Miami”…plus, then I was getting paid…I don’t get paid for most of my auditions.

There was 19 business days in the month of February…I had 20 auditions. Mostly commercials, several callbacks and avails and at least one booking. There is still a chance I could be callback, placed on avail or book from auditions I had this past week. It was a dizzyingly busy week because I was of my …other job. I say bring more of it on because I am ready to work! 2010 will continue to be a year of change for me.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Audition: “Charter Communications” @ Ross Lacy Casting. This went really well. I auditioned with a group of five actors, including myself. I think I was the youngest by about 30 years! Wow! Some old folks came out today and I was thrilled to see them. They kinda reminded me of my late mom Louise. I even saw one woman’s resume and her name was “Lou- Lou”. That’s what some people used to call my mom.

During the audition we were all asked a question which started with “Where are you from?” Of course I answered “Virginia Beach, VA”. Then I was asked what my first experience with loss was. For me, my first real experience with loss was losing my mom on November 15th 2002. He asked how old I was and I answered “….old”. I said a few more things and then I blanked out and don’t remember too much afterwards. I almost started crying right there in the room…just caught me by surprise is all.

At any rate, before we started he told us that the director of the commercial is a photographer and is simply looking for snapshots of emotion. I think I nailed that with my mom, “Louise, Lou-Lou, Weezy” Fuller on my shoulder. I love you mom. I miss you.

Next up…nope, I’m not a headshot photographer, but I shot some headshots for an old friend of mine, William Gregory Lee. Greg and I met on September 22nd 1993 in our first acting class in Virginia Beach, VA. I have to say that a lot has happened in both of our careers since then. Between the two of us we’ve worked in South Africa, Spain, New Zealand, Japan, London, Miami, Hawaii and of course New York & Los Angeles. There is a lot more to come from the both of us.

Lastly I received notice that I’d been released from my avail for the SEARS commercial. AH! Too bad; I had a really good feeling about that one. I‘ll get something else in the near future; actually I’ve already f got something else – the “Marie Callender’s/Healthy Choice” commercial. I shoot on Thursday of next week.

Completing my huge list of drop-offs is taking me a lot longer than I expected, but that’s okay; I’ve been busy. I thought I would have had it all done last week, but I think I underestimated just how much I was trying to get accomplished. It’s no big deal; I’ll get it done when I get it done. Even after I “get it done” I’m not really done because there will always be more to do. I’m just trying to get a foundation to work from; I’m about half way there. It’s hard with the schedule that I keep, but I’m not sure what else to do. I mean, from my POV, it’s seems that the best way to escape from babysitting adults on The Sunset Strip is to keep doing what I have to do while I have to do it. I am one determined mofo. I believe I should be working in this business and that is exactly what I am going after to be a working actor…again. I’ll get there…trust that.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Audition/Tape: “Meet The Browns” @ Alpha Tyler Casting. For this one I had to put myself on tape and get it uploaded so that the producers could see it in Atlanta where the show is taped. This is the first time in almost 12 years in Los Angeles that I’ve ever put myself on tape. The first person I thought of to help me in the process was Julia Flint @ THE ACTOR CONNECTION. They provide numerous services for actors. She was a pleasure to work with and a great help for me especially since I had never done it before on my own. I’m guessing my performance will be viewed in Atlanta tomorrow and, who knows, maybe I’ll be on a plane to Atlanta next week.

The only not so exciting part about it is that I think it would be an AFTRA job. If I had a choice I’d much rather work on SAG contracts. I’m really glad that I finally had this experience so that next time it will be familiar to me.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It seems that these days, more often than not, after working my graveyard shift I am woken up by a call from my agent for a same-day audition or a callback. It’s especially great when the call is for an actual booking. Yes! I booked the Healthy Choice/Marie Callender’s commercial…now the next step is hoping I get to actually shoot it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wow, my commercial agents just keep calling me! I am so fortunate to be getting all of these opportunities to work. I’m also really in need of a better, healthier schedule, but what am I supposed to do. Right now I have to be thankful that I’m tired from working two full-time jobs. Some people are exhausted from just looking one job. Things are really good for me…but I gotta keep working on my social life. I am almost always working; but I’m seeing results too.

Audition: “IHOP” @ Keri Peyton Casting. This was a quick-fast, simple spot and I was in and out in a jiffy. Not sure if I’m spot-on for it, but I’ll let them make that decision.

Audition: “Dunkin Donuts” @ Dan Cowan Casting. Another quick one that went really well AND I think I’m really right for it. Call a brotha back!

My theatrical agent called with an appointment for Tyler Perry’s MEET THE BROWNS. It shoots in Atlanta and I have to put myself on tape for it. Not thrilled about the putting myself on tape for it, but it’s something I need to figure out. Plus, I think I’m really right for the role…and I’d love to go to Atlanta.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Callback: “Marie Callender’s/Healthy Choice” @ Vicki Goggin Casting. I think this one went good. I guess. I mean how can you tell? I did what I did and felt good about it…not much more I can do besides that. On to the next…fortunately there has been a lot of “next” these days. It has been incredibly busy for commercials. Why aren’t I actually booking anything though? Not sure; I think I’m doing good work. It’s about the right fit and hopefully I’ll be the right piece for the right puzzle soon. In the meantime I’m going to keep it moving in the right direction.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Okay, I don’t know what the heck I was thinking when I agreed to do this play reading. Actually, that’s not true. I know exactly what I was thinking when I said “yes”. I was thinking that it was a chance to be around a different group of artists that I hadn’t met before. To read material I hadn’t read before. Plus, I was recommended. It’s great to have someone vouch for me and put her name on the line.

We read 2 different versions of the same play. Yes, it made for a long session and I was completely exhausted, but it was cool to see the two different takes on the same material. It was a great group of actors and an honor to be included. Thanks Alice!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Callback: “Sears” @ Kathy Knowles Casting. Yes! On a Saturday too. This went great and I’ve worked with the director before…I don’t know that that matters, but it’s always nice to see a familiar face in the room…I doubt he remembered me, but ya never know. I hope I book this…they should hire me; I bought my new refrigerator @ Sears, lol!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Yep, another same-day appointment. It’s a great place to be…having appointments arrive on a moments notice. It’s also a testament that my agents feel that I’m one of their super reliable clients. That means a lot to me; especially coming an agency like KSR.

Audition: “Best Buy” @ Cathi Carlton Casting. This was fun! Actually, the funniest part of the whole experience was when we all slated. I won’t try to repeat what happened because I don’t think I could do justice to exactly what one of the other actors did in the room, but I laughed my a** off. After I stopped laughing the audition went really well too.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Audition/Callback: “Maxwell House” @ Ross Lacy Casting. Another same-day, straight to callbacks appointment. It seems like every week I am awakened by a same-day audition. I’m not complaining; it’s just something I’ve noticed.

It went okay. I think my “son” in the audition was a little confused as to what was going on and, as a result, the cues were a bit off. That’s okay I think some of the other guys looked more the part than me anyway…but ya never know.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Audition: “Sears” Kathy Knowles Casting. Yes! This went really, really well; it was a lot of fun and I have a great callback ratio and a few bookings at this office…hopefully it will continue. I feel a callback brewing!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Callback/Avail “AT&T” @ Ross Lacy Casting. This goes pretty well; I’m already on avail for it so we’ll see. Avail releases are getting old…it’s time to book something!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Let’s do it! Yup, I’m out in the street today for the first day of a heavy week of drop-offs. Gotta make something happen. The Presidents Day holiday made traffic relatively light and quite a few places were open; although a few weren’t. It was a successful day.

Friday, February 12, 2010

This weekend is dedicated to getting my ducks in a row to do a big round of drop-offs. That means I will be camped out on the website figuring out my strategy. Pilot season is in full swing and I need to be a part of it. I believe this pilot season will be stronger than in recent years and I have to do my best to get in the mix.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Audition: “Miracle Whip” @ Ross Lacy Casting. This was a simple Q&A type of deal. It went well and I learned something about how to handle similar auditions in the future.

After a long night of dealing with “Hollywood’s Finest” on the Sunset Strip I woke up to an email with the news that I had been released from my commercial avail for “Comcast”. Ouch! Oh well.

More…”news”. I won’t say “bad news” because I’m not taking it that way. I’m taking it as something that would have been nice to have gone another way, but didn’t…or hasn’t…at least not yet. What am I referring to? The commercial. While it was nice that it aired during the Super Bowl, in all honesty I was more excited about the notion of it running Class A during regular primetime long into the future. I also knew that in order for that to happen I would have to be included in the 30 second version because chances are slim that they would continue run the 60 second edit.

It goes back to the “Anatomy of a booking” Part One and Part Two; which I’ve written about before. There are so many steps in the process where things can get interesting…for better or for worse. I’ve experienced some of them. On the one end I’ve auditioned, been called back, placed on avail, booked, gone to wardrobe, shot and made almost $30,000 on a commercial before.

I’ve also auditioned, been called back, booked and have been cancelled/replaced/not approved 1 hour before my wardrobe fitting. Yes, I received the $500 and change session fee for my troubles…and the payment for the wardrobe fitting fee.

I don’t write this to complain. No, not at all. Actually, in a twisted kind of way it’s a positive thing…a very positive thing in fact. Why? Well, before I can get released from an avail I have to have been placed on avail. Before I can get cancelled/replaced/not approved I have to be booked in the first place. I look at it as the more I work in this business the more likely these things are to happen. From that standpoint I’m moving in the right direction…after all I booked a Super Bowl commercial!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Callback/Avail: “Comcast” @ Ross Lacy Casting. Yes! I had a great time with a great partner on this one. I really took advantage of the chance to perform…I’m not always free enough to go there. I have to give my partner much of the credit for that; during our little rehearsal before going in the room he was throwing a lot stuff that was off the page into the mix. The director did the exact same thing in the room so we were primed and ready to go.

I’m already on avail for the spot; so hopefully they will actually seal the deal. No matter what happens I feel that I showed what I can do in the room and that I am a viable choice for the job…beyond that it’s kinda out of my hands.

Audition: “Healthy Choice” @ Vicki Goggins Casting. Hmm…I’m not sure how this one went. During the actual audition the wonderfully, patient session director was trying to get me to repeat a particular line of dialogue and I was hearing it wrong…so I kept repeating it wrong. I didn’t want to look at the copy on the board for some reason thinking I was repeating it “close enough” after about the 4th time she said it I snuck a glance over at the board and got it perfect…finally.

Funny enough, I wouldn’t be surprised if I get a callback because I think the director was really looking for real stuff and what was going on in my head was certainly real. So we’ll see.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

So Sunday was the big game and, yes, the commercial I was in for aired as I had hoped…with me in it. It’s the first Super Bowl commercial I’ve ever been in and I don’t think it’ll be the last. Something that made me smile was that I auditioned for several of the other commercials that ran during the game as well. The Super Bowl is the absolute tops for commercial advertising and the fact that many of the commercial casting directors in Los Angeles and my agents think I’m worthy of being considered is a real sign of progress.

I’ve always said that Los Angeles & New York is the Super Bowl of this profession and I feel like I got to play in the big game…literally. I’m thrilled.

The next step of possible success for me is that I assume that the commercial will be edited down to a :30 spot from the :60 version the ran during the Super Bowl. Hopefully I will be included in that version as well and it will be in heavy rotation for a long time to come.

And it gets even better. The game goes in the record books as the most-watched television program in US history. The 27 year-old record was previously held by M*A*S*H with 105.97 million viewers versus 106.5 million viewers. Wow, I feel like I’m a part of that. The spot.

Lastly, I saw a Long A** rainbow today! It was crazy! Without question, the biggest, brightest rainbow I’ve ever seen. It made me smile.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Audition: “Progressive Insurance” @ Alyson Horn Casting. This was for two different commercials with the possibility or more to follow. I felt great about the first one, but when we did the second one I got all flustered. I was so irritated with myself. The deal was that they told us that the actual script wasn’t that important, but I had worked on it and it was stick in my head…I had a problem letting go what I’d worked on. Silly me. I left kicking myself…

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Tomorrow I have a commercial scheduled to air during the big game, the Super Bowl. I shot it about 6 weeks ago, and yes, I’ve mentioned it, but I don’t think even I embraced the full magnitude of what it means. The Super Bowl, in most years, is the most watched American television broadcast of the year. Wow, that’s huge.

The last few days it’s caught up to me that this is pretty special. I think it’s taken a while to sink in because I was never absolutely sure it was slated as a Super Bowl commercial at all. I was more concerned with the long term run, because in actuality, I don’t get paid any extra because it’s running during the big game…that first airing is included in the initial pay when I first filmed the spot. The second airing is where the financial magic starts to happen.

Thinking even more about it makes me want to place it high on the mantle of experiences I will have had as a performer. I’ve worked with some of the greats in this business – in commercials, in film and in television. I plan to continue that.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Audition: “Comcast” @ Ross Lacy Casting. Good, subtle stuff here. I especially love doing well at this office. Well, I love doing well at all of the casting offices I go to, but Ross gives me more chances than anyone in this town to be a successful commercial actor. The least I can do is do my best to make him look good. I think I did that today and I believe that will earn me a callback.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Audition: “Progressive Insurance” @ Alyson Horn Casting. I think this was another good one for me…and these spots run ALL the time. One actor that was there has a Progressive commercial currently running. I thought it was a little odd that he was auditioning for this one too, but good for him I guess. He asked me if I was the limo driver from the first DIE HARD film…no, I’m still not him.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Audition: “Medco” @ Joe Blake Casting. This was in and out, quick-fast. All we had to do was “very little”; which isn’t always easy for me. This time I think I was successful…and I think I’m right for it, actually perfect for it. – I expect a callback.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

I’ve got a busy day on tap and, fortunately, all of the appointment times are spaced out enough for me to make them without getting all stressed out.

Audition: “AT&T” @ Alyson Horn Casting. Wow, this went really well. I had a beautiful “wife” that I auditioned with that made want be in a relationship. Seriously!!! I wasn’t expecting it, but she touched me on the back of my neck and on my back…I don’t know, but I think women are incredible! All day! All of them…well, maybe not “all” of them, but a lot of them. So, on the 2nd take, I got to touch her, LOL! Fun stuff! In the spot we were the parents of 2 kids; that made it even more fun. I should get a callback on this one…hopefully with her.

Callback: “Keystone Light Beer” @ Francene Selkirk Casting. This was definitely one of the simplest callbacks I’ve ever been on. Truly, just a look and I hope I fit the bill. One of these days I’m going to book a commercial for Francene Selkirk’s office and I hope this is the one. She’s a really cool, actor-friendly lady. I like her.

Audition: “Walgreen’s” @ Ross Lacy Casting. Love auditioning at Ross Lacy’s office; one of the reasons is that he has great session runners. Today was no exception; I had a great time with the 4 other actors I went in with. Callbacks are next week – I plan to be there.