10:51 AM - Mon 2.08.21
I recently dreamed I was riding a bike and got robbed by a pair of stereotypical lesbians - One rode up next to me on a bike, reached into my back pocket, pulled out my wallet and phone, tossed them to her partner on the sidewalk, then rode off.
I remember, even within the dream, being very impressed by the deftness of the robbery.
Last week sometime, I was ready to record a voiceover audition, but couldn't get my interface to work - It just wouldn't power up (So I ended up fishing out an old condenser mic I had, from the last time I'd tried to give voiceover work a go, and plugged it directly into my laptop. Somewhat to my chagrin - Since I'd spent something like $400 on the setup I was using - it seemed to work just fine).
I'm bad about hanging onto receipts and warranties, and I've had the thing for a while now, so I assumed I was SOL on the interface. But I called Sweetwater, where I'd bought it, and happily, it was still under warranty.
They sent me an email on how to return it - saying that if I hadn't voided the warranty in some way, the repair and the cost of shipping it back to me would be free - so I took it to UPS and sent it out.
And this morning I got an email that they'd received it, and it was "in the repair queue".
Which makes me happy.
Now, if the old condenser mic seemed to work fine, why do I care about fixing the interface?
Well, for one thing, the operative word in "old condenser mic" is "old". And I don't want to mess with having to buy another one, probably sooner than later (Or buy a new connection cable for the mic that came with the setup I bought, so I can plug it directly into the computer).
But more importantly, between the setup (And replacement mic cord I had to get at one point), paid membership to a VO audition website, and coaching, I've sunk, for me, a lot of money into this venture. And as of this writing, a couple years down the road now, I haven't made a goddamned dime from any of it.
So I would really like to book something to, if not "justify my investment", at least not have taken a loss.
But all that said, one thing that's appealing about this situation is its really low stakes - If it gets fixed, yay, but if it doesn't (Say, If they decide I voided the warranty somehow), it doesn't really slow me down - I just tell them, "Okay, throw it in the garbage", use the old mic, and get another connection for the interface mic as a backup.
I like that.
Another nice email this morning...
I recently signed up on YouTube for a free "28 Day Harmonica Challenge" - Where the YouTuber (English harmonica player/instructor Tomlin Leckie) gives you a couple versions - "easy", "medium" ,or "hard" - of a riff to practice, for five minutes a day, for 28 days.
Of course, this is a come-on to sign up for his paid instruction, which I have no problem with at all. Why would I? It's about as fair a deal as you can make someone - "I want to sell my wares to you. Here's a sample so you get an idea of what I'm offering."
Anyway, he's sending out regular follow-up emails ("Hey, you're three days into the challenge! Congrats! How's it going?", that sort of thing), and even though I assumed the emails were automatic and he probably wasn't seeing them, I answered back to one of them that I was having a problem with breathing (Playing blues harmonica, you are drawing in a lot of air, and it can be hard sometimes to work out when to exhale).
And today he answered back. And not with "You can get the answer to that and any other question you might have if you sign up for my $1000 course..." or "There are a million videos out there on the subject - look it up!", but instead thanking me for my inquiry and linking to two relevant videos he has on the subject.
I thought that was pretty cool - And because it was pretty cool, it makes it way more likely that I'll at least look into his paid instruction (I kind of feel like I'm not in the market for spending more money these days, as Shameless winds down. But on the other hand, if playing better/decent harmonica could open a door or two for me as an actor/performer, it might be worth it. Besides that, I'd just like to explore "the possibilities" of what I can do a litte more).
Weds 2/10/21 (2:15 pm)
Shot the penultimate Shameless episode yesterday.
Interesting to watch the end-game come into view (Though that said, I still don't know how things are going to actually end yet - Haven't gotten the last script, and till sometime after we started shooting yesterday, didn't know for sure that I was in the final episode...but happily, "Tommy" and "Kermit" will play at least some small part in wrapping things up).
There's a lot I wish I could write about regarding the show that I can't - due to my lofty position of being a recurring character on the show - but it'll keep (So if you're looking for spoilers here, I'm gonna try very hard not to do that).
But it was interesting being on set for this one - People were having fun, and we were all getting the work done, but at the same time, there was a general air of uncertainty, from wondering whether we were in the final episode, to whether there would be any "closure" when we wrap on the finale (There won't be an official "wrap-party", at least for now, due to COVID. And John Wells is not directing the last episode - which he has typically done for most of the run - because he's got obligations on another of his shows in Vancouver), to wondering, in general, about life-after-Shameless.
One of our concerns yesterday - about whether we were in the last episode or not - was relevant because, without knowing if we were in 12, it seemed possible we were shooting our last episode together ("We" being me and Mike and Steve and Shanola).
In the morning, at one point Steve noted we were shooting scene 11, of episode 11, of season 11, at 11:11.
At first, I just thought that was a fun little oddity. But after we wrapped and I was back home, it struck me that it really was, in all likelyhood, a "one-time-only" situation - The odds are pretty long that I'm going to get on another show, period, let alone one that lasts eleven seasons.
When Shameless is done, that's going to be a big loss, and not just in terms of the loss of money (Though there's definitely that) - For over a decade, I've had a thing to do and a place to go as an actor, something that defined me, in many people's eyes, as someone who had "succeeded" as an actor in LA.
That's going to be a tough thing to lose.
I've thought how, in a way, I feel I'm going to be "knocked back" to square one, when I first came out here nearly 20 years ago, with no job and no acting prospects.
But the situation is very much not the same.
Then I had a couple thousand dollars in start-up money, no representation, no credits, nada.
Now I have enough money to last for...well, I don't know exactly how long, but I imagine, barring unforeseen circumstances, at least a year, maybe two.
I have representation.
I have credits - Not as impressive a set of credits as I might have hoped twenty years down the road, but credits nevertheless (Particularly Shameless - Bill Macy opined recently that, "If your agent can't get you something off this, he's not doing his job". So clearly he thinks my Shameless credit is significant, which is good enough for me).
And hopefully, I have a good reputation. Because I think a big part of the game out here is, as Shameless CD John Levey recently said, "Wondering if the actor auditioning is the kind of person I'm gonna wanna be in business with for possibly the next five or ten years".
And I think I have become that guy, an actor you "want to be in business with" - I'm a good actor (I don't know how good, because I've never really been tested, but it's clear that I can act), but also because, almost more to the point, I'm a pretty agreeable guy on-set.
(I think that "agreeableness" is both because being on a set is basically where I want to be, so I'm naturally pretty happy - though Shameless being a pretty chill set hasn't hurt. But also because I've been low-enough on the totem pole for long enough that I know I can't afford to display a lot of "attitude" on-set, even if that were my predilection.)
So hopefully, even though opportunities don't seem to be flying at me fast and furious these days, there will be opportunities, and I'll end up on another good set somewhere, making more money for playing a bigger role, and I'll get a chance to be "agreeable" with another gang of nice actors and crew people).
But beyond nervousness about the future - finances, what will or what happen for me as an actor, etc - yesterday just made me realize how much I'm going to miss Shameless in my life.
And whatever else happens, there's not gonna be any way around that.
Till next time...