Friday, January 28, 2011

Callback: “The Southern Company” @ broad-cast. This callback and the connection with my partner was great! And the room/creative team received me very well. At least I thought so.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Audition: “Ant Farm” @ Brice/Gergely Casting. Not great. I had absolutely no connection to this character. I almost felt that I should have passed on it, but I went in anyway and tried to make it mine as best I could. I don’t think I was terrible, but I didn’t really believe I could have booked the role. I also know that it doesn’t matter what I think. We’ll see, or we won’t.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Audition: “AT&T” @ Dan Bell Casting. This audition was an interesting look into the casting process. All of the actors in for this were Black. But the casting director explained to us that, originally, this particular spot was slated to be cast with Caucasian actors. So that means there are probably an entire group of White guys/gals wondering why they didn’t get a callback because “it went great!” This is a classic example of “Ya never know”. Anyway, I think it went really well and I hope I get to the next round of the casting process.

Several years ago I had an “incident” with a crazy-a** actress in a workshop. I hadn’t seen her for years and made sure I steered clear of her unstable personality. Here is a revisit of what took place: Part I - Crazy lady. Part II - Crazier lady!

Audition: “Liberty Mutual” @ Laray Mayfield Casting. This one also went very well. Callbacks, bookings – bring it on!

I have a feeling that things are going to get much busier before they slow down. I have a lot on my plate these days and hopefully I can figure things out.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Guess what? After a week of no auditions I finally have one today for a commercial. I really thought I was going to get a callback for that BANK OF AMERICA spot last week, but I guess they thought otherwise.

I’m not sure what it is, but I feel some really exciting things coming my way. I sure hope so, lol! Because I certainly don’t know how long I’ll be able to continue my workload at the night gig. It’s taxing to say the least and being “super-reliable” makes it easier for additional duties to fall in your lap. Anyway, I try to remain optimistic…and I am.

Audition: “The Southern Company” @ broad-cast. I’m perfect for this and it went well, so hopefully I’ll get to the next round.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

How cool is this? So I’m at my night job; yeah, the one I work at night until the wee hours of the morning, and I see a recognizable face. I say “hello” and he returns in kind. It was the director of the Healthy Choice/Marie Callendar’s commercial I did in March ’10. Unfortunately, the spot didn’t/hasn’t run hardly at all as of yet, but I did recently get another holding fee so maybe there is still a chance.

It seems like that has been the story of my life of late in the commercial world – It goes like this: I book a commercial but it doesn’t run or it runs a tiny, tiny bit. What gives? And I always have confidence that “the next one” is the one that’s going to do great for me. I mean; there isn’t much I can do about it, but keep trying to book, stay grateful for every opportunity from my wonderful agents, be thankful that the best and busiest casting directors in this town still believe in me and my talent and hope for the best, but still…

I think what it is is that I’ve done roughly 35 commercials and most of the first 20-25 all ran and I made decent/good money on them and now I’m just in the natural “ebb of the ebb & flow of abundance”. That great thing about it is that since I’ve radically changed my relationship with money I’m not waiting for the checks and THAT is a great feeling.

Anyway, back to being at the night job. The director remembered me and we made a little small talk and he said he was working on a series of spots for a client with the same creative team and he’d love to work with me again. He then asked my last name, put it in his phone and along with my commercial agency. What better way to book an acting job than to have the director in your corner? Of course, I’m not banking on anything happening, but you never know. I feel that, in some cases, “who you know” is less important than “who knows you”. I sent a message to all of my commercial agents…mostly to let them know I’m still out here trying to make it happen for the team. I’m not waiting by the phone, but I really hope something comes of it.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Audition/Tape: “Community” @ Dava Waite Casting. This is the same casting office the recently booked me on RAISING HOPE. That is what I consider a success because much of this business is about repeat business. Of course I want to book whatever job I’m currently auditioning for, but if I’m looking for a career in this crazy business I need to book the office. If I book the office I put myself in the position to book without even, in some cases, auditioning at all. They’ll call my agent, check my availability and make an offer. Anyway, this particular read went okay; not expecting to hear too much about it.

Audition: “Bank of America” @ Ross Lacy Casting. YES! This was one of the auditions I missed earlier in the week while I was shooting THE MENTALIST. I’m so glad I got another chance at this one. The session director was one of the guys that is great at his job of getting actors on the right track to doing well in the audition. I also make sure I play great attention to his explanation because he could be instrumental in whether I get a callback or not. The audition went great! Callbacks are next week…I think.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Audition: “THE MIDDLE” @ G. Charles Wright Casting. This audition went really well. Evidently, my choice in the scene was something that the casting director ,G., hadn’t seen before. He laughed, had me do it again and then said, “That was funny, leave it just like that. I’m going to bring you to callbacks in an hour”. Cool!

Obviously, I was planning to do exactly as I was told in the callback, but I knew it was a big risk. It was a big risk because as I was in the room the scene started to make a little bit more sense than it did before…but not really. I couldn’t tell exactly what the character was doing. So, when I did the exact same thing for producers it didn’t play well…at all. The casting director, G., didn’t leave me hanging; he told the producers that he thought my take on it was funny and different. After that little slightly uncomfortable moment I was given a different direction that was completely different than what was on the page. I took the direction with no problem, but I have to say that I felt like the sides could have been MUCH clearer.

So, in the end, I felt like I didn’t show well to the producers. But I felt good about my standing with the office itself; I’m confidant that they will bring me back in the future. I just hate to have it go that way; especially for a SAG show. That’s cool; on to the next one.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Shooting: “THE MENTALIST” @ Polsa Rosa Movie Ranch in Acton, CA – 46 miles from West Hollywood. It’s 6:45am Monday morning. I got off of work at the restaurant a little over an hour ago. I feel pretty good considering my workload of late. I’m taking a deep breath to focus on the day ahead…and the night too, because I’m scheduled at the restaurant tonight as well.

Oh yeah, I have two commercial auditions scheduled too.

Last night one of my fellow employees was telling me that I need to take time off when I book an acting job. I partially agree with him, but I largely believe that a tremendous part of my success comes from the fact that I’m willing to show up earlier than most, stay later than most and stand longer than most. It’s not the first time I’ve worked all night and travelled straight to the set for an acting job. It’s not easy and I don’t recommend it, but the entertainment business in general isn’t easy and I don’t really recommend it.

The drive to the location was beautiful with light traffic; it was also quite a bit colder than it was when I left WeHo (West Hollywood). I was prepared with layers of clothing to wear under my wardrobe to prevent frombeing a freezing mess. As soon as I arrived at crew parking a van drove me to base camp. I was shown to my small trailer that, thankfully, was warm & toasty and then headed right to make-up/hair. That, of course, only took a moment. I then headed back to my trailer to fill out my contract and was called to set for rehearsal.

Production equipment was everywhere! This was a really big scene that I had a very small part in and right after the first rehearsal things got…interesting. At least in my head they did. The star, $30 million dollar man, Simon Baker had a few opinions about a certain part of the scene. That part of the scene happened to be the part of the scene that my dialogue was in. I listened intently to his POV and understood where he was coming from and knew that if he got his way there would be no reason for me to say and/or do what I drove 46 miles after working all night to say and/or do…in the freezing cold. Yeah.

I wasn’t freaked out or anything because I really didn’t think they would change it. I felt, at minimum, they would shoot it as scripted and deal with it later. At any rate, it was cool to see how he felt about the work. After a while all that seemed to blow over and everything was back to normal.

The set was pretty cool; I was playing the part of a gold prospector. That felt a little weird at first, especially when I saw my fellow prospectors who were all background players. But I’m glad they chose me! Anyway, some of the background talent were real people that really prospect for gold! I learned a few things and they said that there was gold in the stream we were shooting at. For some reason that really got me excited.

Usually when I work I hang out with the background actors. I’m not sure why, but I’ve always done that. It was weird and a little embarrassing when I was told that I didn’t have to stand in between camera set ups…I had a stand-in that could/would do that for me. I just kind of laughed it off and introduced my self to him. I’m sure that will change when I start getting larger parts on a regular basis.

Around 11am I was released for lunch. That set up was at a slightly higher elevation where I hoped I could get cell phone reception. I was able to get a little bit of service and get the message that my commercial agency had successfully rescheduled my appointments for later in the day. At that point I felt there was a still a chance I’d be able to get there in time.

Back from lunch and my part of the big scenewas up. Up to this point I hadn’t spoken to the director, he had a zillion things going on, but he came over said “hello” and thanked me for being a part of it. Early on, when I first started doing this professionally, I always felt that they director should “say something” to me as an actor. I’ve learned that if they aren’t saying anything to me than it probably means I’m on the right track.

One tricky part was when I was dealing with a stuntwoman in the scene. I guess I expected a safety meeting or something because I had to push her into, what I thought, was a potentially dangerous situation. But, I guess they trusted me because I got nothing so I just used my best judgment and gave her a big hug after pushing her in the water both times.

After that I was finished for the day and, yes, I missed both of my commercial appointments. No, I wasn’t happy about it, but I can’t think of a better reason to miss them. After all I missed an audition for this very show just several weeks ago and got another crack at it.

Before leaving set I got to witness one of the real prospectors panning for gold AND he found some. I saw it with my own two eyes. It was very small; like very course black pepper, but gold in color of course. Simon was watching too and the gentleman said he was going to put in a vial and give it to him as a gift…just what the $30 million dollar man needs right!

Back to the trailer, out of wardrobe, sign out, inthe van, down the hill to my car and back to WeHo I go. For the life of me I can’t figure out where the energy comes from to keep me going sometimes, but I have to say that I made it through like a champ. I rushed home to try to get 2-2½ hours of sleep before going to work at the restaurant. Whew!

Friday, January 07, 2011

I guess I’m still employed. I say that because production contacted me with my call time for Monday. It’s way out in Acton, about 50 miles away, where I shot the commercial in December ’09 for last years Super Bowl. I have to say that I made pretty good money on that for a commercial that very few people saw…and I didn’t even make the 30-second version. I was only in the 60-second one.

I’ve got a lot on my plate for the next several days, but I think I can handle it as long as I keep my head in the game. My schedule is this: I worked overnight last night (Thursday) and I’ll be doing the same Friday, Saturday & Sunday nights as well.

Here is where it gets interesting. I’ll get off work around 4:30-5:00am on Monday morning and I have a call time of 7:30am for THE MENTALIST 50 miles away in Acton, CA. I’ll need to be on the road around 6:15am to be on time. Some would take the evening off, but I’m planning to soldier through. I love that beautiful drive out there and I’m really looking forward to it. They say that there might be snow at that elevation.

So I’ll get to the location, shoot for as long as it takes and somehow, someway try to make it back in time to get seen for these commercial auditions I have scheduled for Monday afternoon as well. Looks doubtful, at best, but you better believe I’m going to try and fit it all in. All that, of course, before I go back to the night job that evening. I’m tired just thinking about it! But I have no doubt that I can do it…no doubt at all.

I have to be willing to do more than the average person if I want better than average results. And I can tell you that average results, in this business, is NOT where I can afford to be. Not with the lofty goals I have for 2011…and beyond.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Fitting: “THE MENTALIST” @ Warner Bros. studio. This was quick-fast; I was in and out. Can’t say I’m looking forward to seeing the person that fitted me on-set. He was “all-business”; not very warm…at least not to me. At least he didn’t stick any pins in me.
I gotta tell ya; I’m thrilled about the way this booking has come about. UDK Casting isn’t an office I get into very often so I feel quite fortunate when it does happen. But the really cool thing is that I had an appointment for THE MENTALIST back in November, but I had to cancel because I was already booked on the DEGREE commercial and the days would have conflicted if I booked. So here I am, just a matter of weeks later and I get another bite at the apple…and this time I booked the role! Gotta keep moving in this direction…and, at the same time, step up into more substantial roles.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

*Yeah! This morning I woke up to an email from my agent that officially booked me on THE MENTALIST. Nope, not as big a role as I would have liked, but a role nonetheless…and on a very successful show – one of, what I call, the “Blue-Chip” shows. Plus, I got a slight raise of my daily quote AND it’s SAG show. My fitting is tomorrow at Warner Bros. Studio.

Callback: “Lowe’s” @ Broad-Cast. This was fun and I felt really good about it. It doesn’t shoot for a couple of weeks so maybe I’ll hear something good soon. I know one thing is good, or rather great, is that this is an office that hadn’t been to in a really long time, but in the last few weeks I’ve gotten two callbacks there. That’s great.

Audition/Tape: “Torchwood” @ John Levey Casting. This went okay, I think; not great, not terrible.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. Yesterday, right after I finished my scene at RAISING HOPE a gentleman came up to me with a script in his hand. I wasn’t sure what he wanted. It turned out the he was the writer of the episode and wanted me to autograph his personal copy of the script. I felt all special!

One more thing; I spoke to the ad agency for the DEGREE commercial in New York and they told me the release for the commercial is Monday January 17th. The plan is for it to run on network and cable. Hopefully it will run in foreign territories as well.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Shooting: RAISING HOPE – I actually went to sleep last night like a normal person. It’s often difficult for me to sleep because my schedule is so erratic, but last night was a great success. I made the 25 mile trip and arrived at the studio right on time at 6:15am. I checked in, got a breakfast sandwich, signed contracts and into my wardrobe. My trailer was one of the nicer ones I’ve been in flat screen TV, stereo system, L-shaped couch, desk, shower & full bathroom.

At 7am I was taken to the stage for rehearsal with the series regular and the other co-star. I was playing a guard in a jail so they had to prop me up with the accessory belt, radio, etc. When the prop master put the first belt on me he had a feeling it wouldn’t fit because the guards are “usually a bunch of fat guys”. I smiled to myself because when I went in to the audition I was thinking the same thing; “that I was too small and slight to be a guard in a jail”. Of course, I let that thought go and went in the room to do 3 lines of the best small/slight guard I could be…I guess it worked because there I was getting ready to shoot the role.

A moment later we were rehearsing. A got a little direction from the 1st AD and we did it again a 2nd time; then were shooting. After the first take the director changed what the 1st AD told instructed me to do and we did it again. To be honest with you, I don’t see how I’m going to be seen…maybe my feet - unless that was a super, duper wide-angle lens they were using.

Anyway, after that take the director came out and gave me a thumbs up! Wow, maybe they could see me. I don’t know, it felt like a voiceover. At 7:25 I was wrapped and finished for the day; other than my dialogue I never even spoke to the other co-star or the series regular Garrett Dillahunt . Not bad for a full day of pay.

I emailed all my agents to let them know that I was available for the rest of the day for any appointments that might come up. I made the 25-mile drive back and took a nap. When I woke up I got news that I was on avail for THE MENTALIST audition I went in for yesterday, also that I have a callback tomorrow for a commercial and that I left my wallet in my wardrobe at RAISING HOPE. So yes, you’re right, I made the 50-mile roundtrip drive to pick it up. All-in-all a great, productive day.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Today was a great, first business day of 2011. I started out with hitting the gym before the sun came up. Then made the 50 mile round-trip to Chatsworth for my wardrobe fitting for RAISING HOPE. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made that same trip just to drop-off an unsolicited photo with the hope of getting an audition. I’ve also made the trip several times for an actual audition and, today, it felt great to make the trip again for a wardrobe fitting. Tomorrow will be even better because I will make the trip again to finally work on a job.

The fitting went very well; I was the only one there so it was 20 minutes over and out. It’s funny because on the way out I went a different way for a strategic reason, but then I thought if that reason materialized would I even recognize it. The reason is that I was hoping to see Dava Waite, the casting director. Funny enough, I don’t always get to see them in an audition or there is so much going on the room that it’s best to just focus on the work. Any way, as soon as I rounded the corner to exit through the lobby there stood Dava. It was perfect! She introduced herself to me, but I knew it was her. She’s such a nice lady and even apologized for me having to drive back out there tomorrow to shoot. I told her that I’d much rather be out there playing with them in the studio than much else tomorrow. I can’t wait!

Afterwards, I ran some errands and then got lost on the Warner Bros. lot on my way to the producer/director session for THE MENTALIST.

Audition/Producer/Director: “THE MENTALIST” @ UDK Casting. I took a little risk and used a few props and I think it worked for me. I felt really good about how it went and was on my way.

While I was trying to find the correct building I realized just how many times I’d been on the Warner Bros. studio lot during my time in Los Angeles and it made me feel great. But said a “OUCH!” to myself when I walked by the building where I had my wardrobe fitting for “Ocean’s Thirteen”…that I didn’t get to shoot…long story.

I’m exhausted, I’m going to sleep, I have ANOTHER 50-mile roundtrip to make for a 6:15am call. I’m thrilled! 2011 is off to a great start.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a better celebration than I did last night. Mine was spent at work. That, in itself; wasn’t the problem, I volunteered to work. Even the revelers weren’t too out of control, except for the girl who I had removed from one of my tables before her insides came outside of her body and the Australian guy who I told that he would be escorted out of the establishment if he kept throwing the menus. That stuff I can usually deal with.

There were other things, which I won’t go into, that really upset me. My attitude was completely in the toilet. It was probably a fitting wake up call on the first day of the New Year. BUT I usually have a way of making lemonade of the lemons that are in front of me. Amidst the extreme frustration that I felt I learned something. I learned that my general attitude and drive (practically every other day of the year) is one of my greatest assets. Of course, I am aware of that in general, but periodically I think it’s good to see the contrast of a good, positive attitude in action. It showed me how rare it is that my attitude is that bad and for such a sustaining period of time. That rarely happens to me. There is no way I could be a functioning individual if last nights’ feeling was a regular occurrence. No way. I’d self-destruct. It was eye-opening and things have to change…and they are.

I’m looking to make some serious strides this year and really use my talent and drive. Mentally, artistically, financially, personally, even philanthropically and any other way I can be a positive force in this world.

I had a customer the other night say a few things to me that I could have easily taken the wrong way. One of which was that I was “lazy and wasting my time toiling around Los Angeles”. Of course he’s completely off the mark about me being lazy, but I think I understood the wasting my time part. He made a few other comments too. I looked deeper at where I think he was coming from and believe he was complimenting me in a roundabout way and telling me that I should be doing much greater things than what he sees me doing. It’s easy to say that to someone, but I believe that he thinks I have what it takes to be at “that level”. I think he’s right, in fact, I know he’s right. Relatively few are going to make a living in the entertainment business; he believes I’m one of them. He doesn’t know that I paid my bills solely through performing for 7 consecutive years. I’ve been there and I’ll get back there.

I also got my yearly review at work that, on the surface, I didn’t really agree with, but again you make lemonades out of lemons. The seemingly not so positives were taken, by me, as compliments for very different reasons. Yes, I value my employment at the night gig, but I didn’t move here to sling burgers. My dreams and aspirations are so much bigger than that. My drive is bigger than that. My talent is bigger than that. Everything about me is bigger than that…and eventually the results will be bigger than that. Actually, the results are already bigger than that.

I’m very proud of how I’ve parlayed the situation thus far. I’ve been employed there for more than 2 ½ years and I’ve called in sick a grand total of…zero times. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked up the slack for other people for whatever reasons. I don’t have time to get sick and think that way of thinking keeps those ailments to a bare minimum. It’s cool; I’m used to it. It’s rare that I meet people that are willing to stand longer than myself. You’ve gotta put in the work; you’ve gotta show up.

The numbers are in and I must say that 2010 was a very successful year. No, I didn’t book as many jobs as I had hoped, but my life isn’t only about booking jobs. Overall, I definitely moved the ship forward. I think part of making things happen in the entertainment business is simply not giving up your place in line. I’m definitely holding my spot. I feel that, at any moment, things can really jump to another level for me in my acting career. I expect it.

I did well in 2010 and I got a few key things on my plate for 2011. I’ve gotta stay focused, dedicated and keep my eye on the bigger picture. I can’t get too rattled by things that don’t really matter in the scheme of where I’m going. Let’s do it!