Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tonight at work one of my guests/customers was a director and his wife that I met 8-10 months ago at the restaurant. Of course I didn’t know he was a director when I first encountered him; it came out in the small talk we were having. Turns out he was in town from London meeting with agents. He told me about his film and I checked it out on their website. I contacted him to tell that I really enjoyed it and he responded in kind.

CUT TO: 8-10 months later…

He and his wife came back in the restaurant and I recognized him right away, but it took me a moment to remember exactly how and in what context I’d had met them. Then it came to me; I remembered the table they sat at, the reason he was in Los Angeles, they agency he signed with…and his name. He was completely shocked.

Since the time I’d first seen him he had left the agency he originally signed with, moved to one of the Big Four agencies, got a project in pre-production…and moved to Los Angeles from London just 4 days prior. He said they didn’t know anyone so they came back to the restaurant; a somewhat familiar place for them. He told me that in a few days he was set to visit 3 different places out of town for location scouting for his project. He also asked for my contact info to stay in touch. Cool. I sensed that he and his wife are nice, genuine people so I gladly gave them my information. I wish them both the best.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Today I participated in the WGA program that reads the scripts of at-risk students in the some of the high schools in the area. Today it was Crenshaw High and, as usual, always great fun.

Audition/tape: “Hung” @ CFB Casting. …not so much.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Nine years ago today I left my job waiting tables…at the same place that I am currently waiting tables. How’s THAT for full circle? Trust me, I’m still not sure how that is for full circle. It’s been an interesting mental trip, waiting tables again, but I think I handle it pretty well…usually. I have good days and not so good days. I don’t usually have bad days, but at times it’s a major challenge to say the least…major challenge.

I’m not sure how long this trip will last at the restaurant, but I am determined to keep things moving in the right direction…and I think it’s working slowly, but surely. Of course it’s working…I’m just looking for more results.

The flip side is that, thus far, I’ve made this trip down “day-job road” work for me way better than I ever would have believe. I just have to stay focused and keep expecting…correction, demanding more from myself.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Audition: “” @ Ross Lacy Casting. This was fun! It was one those law commercials written in the style of the commercials that you see during The Jerry Springer Show or Judge Judy. I love those commercials! They are hilarious to me. I had a great time and hopefully I’ll get a callback.

I contacted my theatrical agent to see if there’s any hint that I’ll be going to callbacks for the pilot in auditioned for last week. No news as of yet, I hope that changes and I get another crack at it. I think I’m really right for the character…fingers-crossed.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Audition: “Bing” @ Kathy Knowles Casting. This was another same-day call, which I am really getting used to. Sometimes I feel like a doctor who is always on-call. It’s all good though, trust me, I’m not complaining. It’s great to have as many opportunities for work as I do…even if they arrive with very little warning.

The audition went quite well I think. I went in with a child actress and her mother. They both were quite the joy to work with.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Audition: “Vlasic” @ Bad Girls Casting. This same-day call went well. It was pretty simple; we just kinda reacted to an unusual situation. The trick was to not over-act, but still react in a real way. I think I got it right.

Audition: “AARP/Hartford” @ Michael Sanford Casting. Hmm…not so much. Didn’t feel so good about this one. Oh well, that happens…gotta pick up the pieces, learn from it and move on.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Audition: “The Untitled Dana Gould Project” @ Barylski/Wright Casting. I arrived at the Warner Bros. Ranch Studio Lot early and had a great warm-up session outside by myself. Casting Director Deborah Barylski entered the building as I was outside and greeted me warmly. Deborah hired me years ago for the ABC pilot “Life With Bonnie”. It’s rare that casting directors actually hire actors directly, but that’s exactly what Deborah did for me in the pilot season of 2002. I auditioned, left the room, she called me back in and gave me direction, I read it again and she told me that she was going to recommend that Bonnie hire me. “Bonnie”, as in Bonnie Hunt. She also explained to me that since it was a pilot she would have to get approval from the network. Three weeks later I got the news that the network signed off on me.

Back to the read…I felt really good about it and I think I’m right for the character…or at least in the ballpark of what is right. I really hope I get to the next round.

Audition: “Time-Warner Cable” @ Ross Lacy Casting. This went really well…on the 4th take! Yeah, my partner and myself, mostly me, got off to a bit of a rough start. Actually, I think it made it even better because at that point we were certainly having fun and that is usually a good thing. Hopefully, I’ll get a callback.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Happy birthday to my car. I purchased it, used, 6 years ago today. When I bought the car I had no idea how I was going to make the monthly loan payments. I had been doing my best, with mixed results, to live a cash-only life; I was surprised that I was even able to get a loan in the first place. I literally didn’t know where I’d get the money for the very first payment due just 30 days later.

CUT TO: Several years later.

Somehow, I was able to pay the car off one month early and now enjoy having reliable transportation without a payment. Yeah, like most people, I’d LOVE to have a newer car, but now isn’t the right time for that…it doesn’t fit into staying as close to being debt-free as possible. Now THAT is a great feeling and I plan to keep it that way. I’ll get a nice ride one of these days, but I’ll do it in a way that, hopefully, makes sense.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Audition/Producers/Tape: “Love Bites” @ Debra Zane Casting. This was at one of my very favorite places to audition. Debra, Tannis and Shayna are just wonderful people…I wish I would have been more wonderful in my performance, but we’ll see. It’s an NBC series so maybe I’ll get back in for another role…if I don’t go further with this one.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Audition: “Big-O Tires” @ Ross Lacy Casting. This was fun and I auditioned with a guy that helped to train me as a commercial camera operator. That was back in the Fall of 2007. I actually ran a few sessions for pay, but I was never able to get in the rotation of regular work. Ultimately, and obviously, I opted to return to waiting tables where I worked years ago…the single most, smartest decision I made the entire year of 2008. Anyway, it was a good audition and I expect to be called back to the second round.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Audition: “Applebee’s” @ Hayley Marcus Casting. YES!!! This was, without a doubt, one the best, most fun auditions I’ve ever had. It was all improv and I had a great partner that was right there with me. We were supposed to be brothers in the spot I think we were totally believable. To top it off it was a casting director I don’t think I’ve been in for before.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Audition/Tape/Producers “Ghost Whisperer” @ Donna Rosenstein Casting. I don’t know how many times I’ve auditioned for this show. Will I ever get on it? I sure hope so! This is the last episode of the season; I’m not sure if it’s returning next season or not…I hope so.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Shooting: “Marie Callendar’s/Healthy Choice”. Call time: 7:30am. Location: Miracle Mile District of Los Angeles – 29th Fl. I parked my car, as directed, at The Peterson Automotive Museum and jumped in the waiting van to shuttle me to craft services for breakfast. I met a few other actors that I’d be working with and then walked over to our trailers for wardrobe, contracts and other stuff. The two lead ladies were flown in from out of town; Mary Crosbie based in New York and Susan Messing based in Chicago. Gotta love those out of town gigs. Exactly one year ago on March 4th 2009 I was flying back from New York after shooting a commercial there.

When everyone was ready we made our way to the set on the 29th floor of the adjacent building. I don’t think I’d ever been that high up in LA before; the panoramic view was mesmerizing. It felt GREAT to be working!

A moment later we were rehearsing and then shooting. The really funny part for me was that in the original audition I completely butchered part of the dialogue and out of all the actors in Los Angeles and wherever else they held auditions I was the one chosen to say those very words. How cool is that!?!

I made it through the day relatively well considering I was at work until 5am and had to wake up at 6:30am for my 7:30am call time. Yeah, there was a period during the day that I was really tired so while on break I went to the craft services table and got some Gummy Bears and Jelly Belly’s and started having some fun…and it gave me a boost of energy.

bellies, bears and a berry...a source of energy.

After lunch we shot the second part of the scene and some other stuff; waited around for a while and we were wrapped. It was a long 10 ½ hour day. I got home by 7:30pm to get 2 hours of sleep because I was scheduled to work at 10pm. It’s rare for me to be tired at work; before and after, yes, but not during. This night I was really dragging; I’ve been burning the candle at both ends for a while and it caught up to me.

One of my co-workers could tell that I wasn’t my normal, energetic self and I explained to him what my recent activities had been. I had been asked to work the previous night because someone called in sick. He suggested that I should have just said “no” to the extra shift since I was shooting the next morning. I understood where he was coming from, but I explained to him that if I do what most would have done in that situation I’d be crazy to expect different results. I have felt that I have no choice but to worker harder than most. I told him that “typical effort” usually results in “typical results” and “typical results” in my business, this business of entertainment, is not what I’m after. He thought about that for a moment and then understood where I was coming from.

My turning point at work was seeing a man, one of my customers that I was serving; he was suffering from some sort of nervous condition; I think it might be the same thing that Michael J. Fox suffers from. Right away, I felt blessed to only be tired. That gentlemen, I assume, has to deal with that condition 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Me? All I need is some rest.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Audition: “True Jackson VP” @ Harriet Greenspan Casting. This went okay, super rushed, but okay. I did it once, got some direction and did it again and I was on my way.

After the audition on the Paramount lot I was walking back to my car and saw that I had a message from my commercial agency, Kazarian-Spencer-Ruskin (KSR). Usually, I get my audition notices through e-mail and confirm through e-mail before the wonderful assistants, Leah or Jamie, have to call me with the same information. This was a missed call/message and no e-mail.

Of course, one of the thoughts that went through my head was that I had been replaced, fired, etc…no longer booked on the “Healthy Choice/Marie Callender’s” commercial. I don’t say that to sound pessimistic; I’m just a realist and know a lot about how the casting process works…sometimes I think it would be better if I knew less than I do. All in all knowledge is power.

Booking the job is just part of the journey that most actors would consider commercial success; I consider it about 91% of the way. Once you book the commercial you need to actually get the opportunity to shoot it. I can tell you from personal experience that just because an actor is booked on a commercial doesn’t mean that the actor will get to shoot that commercial and even if you shoot it doesn’t mean you’ll be in the final edit to air…if it airs at all. Lots of variables in play.

Anyway, I checked the voicemail and it was assistant Leah. This was a good sign because if I was being replaced/fired, etc. my agent Samantha would have been the one leaving the message. It’s funny how so many thoughts went through my head in a split second because after Leah said her name, but before she started the message she paused for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, I got the voicemail message which was that I would be receiving an audition notice through e-mail and to disregard it because I’m already scheduled to be shooting tomorrow. Sigh! A few minutes later I got my call time for tomorrow.

I’m glad I received the audition notice anyway because I will try to make that audition as well. Could be an early wrap on the commercial, late call time who knows, but I don’t like missing auditions.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Remember those photos I did for my friend Greg last week? Well, he was ready to get a few duplicated and he was informed that the resolution wasn’t high enough. Tough lesson; I never said I was a professional. Anyway, today we shot again and attempted to do better than the last session, but still capture some of the good stuff we had. I think we did pretty well for me being someone that doesn’t really know what I’m doing.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Fitting: “Marie Callender’s/Healthy Choice”. It’s always great to go to a wardrobe fitting; it means I’m getting ready to work! This fitting was actually at someone’s house; a really nice house. Not anything big or outrageous; just a nice piece of property and a house that felt like a home. Being there made me want to have a little space of my own.

When I was walking up the sidewalk to the front door I could see that a woman was leaving and that she looked familiar. A moment later I saw that it was, Minnie, one of my supervisors at my night job. It was great to see her; I don’t think we are going to be in the same commercial, but it’s the same campaign.

I got to briefly talk to the director, Gavin James, about his journey to where he currently is in his career and thank him for the opportunity to work. He is also the writer of the commercial.