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11:30 AM - 01.02.15
2014: A Year That Will Live In Infamy (Pt I)

2014: A Year That Will Live In Infamy (Pt I)

I started thinking about this "Year In Review" entry probably back in early December.

At that point, I wanted to write it, because I wanted to just admit the year was a bust and "call it", and I wanted to hold off on writing it, holding out hope there'd be some tremendously encouraging development in the 11th hour that would "end things on a high note".

But that "tremendously encouraging 11th hour development"?

Did not happen.

More recently, I've felt myself not wanting to write it because, basically, I don't know what there is to say that I haven't said already.

But 2014 is over, a year end wrap-up is part of my "journalistic tradition", and who knows? Maybe in the wrapping-up, I'll have some kind of wonderful, heartwarming emotional "discovery" that wouldn't have otherwise occurred.

(Hey, it could happen.)

The thing I've obsessed over this year has been my "stats", which I knew weren't going to be good, but which, again, I kept holding off actually compiling, out of the vain hope that I'd get to this point and be able to say, "Well, acting-wise, it was a pretty shitty year...but then I booked that big national commercial and now I'm sitting pretty, at least in terms of money" (Or, alternately, "Things were going pretty badly, then I booked that great guest-star role that really made me feel hopeful about my career again").

Anyway, here are the numbers:

1. 35 auditions (24 commercial, 11 theatrical)
2. Of the 24 commercial auditions, I had 10 callbacks.
3. I was "pinned" for one commercial, and put "on avail" for one tv show (That basically means "close but no cigar" - at least in these two instances - in terms of booking the gig).
4. I booked no new jobs in 2014 - Zero.

I feel as if I've beaten that "no new jobs in 2014" factoid into the ground (hence the feeling of "why bother writing it again?"), but beyond the practical ramifications - I need to book jobs in order to get paid, and I need to get paid - there's another big reason I've been harping on it (If not in here, then in my head, where it's been playing on a continual loop at a deafening volume).

It's never happened before.

I've got a list of my jobs out here since 2003, and until this year, I never had a year where I didn't book anything (Even prior to 2003 - I moved out here in March of 2001 - when I had no representation and no idea of what to do, I was cast in a couple plays and a god-awful spec music video, where I was dressed as a clown and my character name was "Pimp Jagger" - If I ever get big enough to do the "talk-show circuit", that's the video I'm afraid they're going to find to embarrass me with. But anyway...).

The fact that "I always book something" in any given year was a source of comfort and strength - When I felt anxious, I could always console myself by saying "something will come up", because something always did.

That's gone now.

And it's a huge loss.

"But what about Shameless, Jim?"

I shot six episodes of the show this year (The three I shot at the beginning of the year should really be part of 2013's stats, because, I think for the first time, the 4th season's shoot schedule started later than usual and "slopped over" into this year; on the other hand, we started shooting the 5th Season - which debuts on the 11th - in July, and wrapped in November).

So, while I had six episodes in Season 4, I'm only in three for Season 5...which fits in with the "nothing went as well as I wanted" theme I'm working on here - I always want to be in a lot of episodes, pragmatically ($) and emotionally (wanting to feel like I'm important to the show, wanting to work as an actor, and wanting to do it just because it's fun).

But that said, the six episodes were fun. And were six episodes worth of shoot fees and future residuals (Though, again, "Shameless" residuals, because it's a cable show, aren't as much as a network show).

In short, Shameless saved my ass this year - Without it, if all I had coming in this past year was WW and whatever dribs-and-drabs of residuals, this entry would have a substantially grimmer "tone", cause I don't know where I'd be at this point.

And Shameless provided one of the year's few highlights, which was the trip to Chicago.

Getting paid to travel, having a production chauffeur me to and from my house, etc, is part of my fantasy of success as an actor, so it was fun to "live that out", however briefly (Not to mention it was easily the most I've made for an episode of the show, since it involved two shoot days in LA, in addition to the shoot day in Chicago).

And there's a part of me that really just "wants to be a part of things". The Chicago trip made me feel more "a part of the show", because it's something people talk about on-set as the time approaches ("Are you going to Chicago this year?"), and now it's something I've done.

(And the party at Joan Cusack's house was pretty cool.)

The only other noteworthy development I can think of, career-wise, in 2014, was that I got new theatrical agents (Scot and Brianna at Clear Talent Group).

This was a move from a "starter agent" (My 2nd "starter agent", in fact) - which I should be "beyond" at this stage - to a more-appropriate "mid-level agency".

And it seemed like we "got out of the gate" very quickly - I had two movie auditions I was very enthused about, and they got me a $250-an-episode raise on Shameless - but then things seriously fizzled out (The 11 theatrical auditions I had this year - "theatrical" means "tv and movie auditions" - were less than half what I had in 2013).

I don't know if the low number of auditions is on them, on me, or what, but it was profoundly disappointing.

And that's pretty much how things went with acting this year.

You know me - I worry.

And in 2014, it really feels like I had a lot to worry about - I had fewer auditions this past year than the year before (which, in turn, was fewer auditions than the year before that), and frankly, I'm still reeling emotionally from not booking a single new bit of business.

I won't lie to you - that's a real "confidence-buster".

I know being depressed about it won't help anything. I know panicking over it won't help anything. But, as things stand, it's very hard not to feel depressed and panicky.

That said, as corny as it might be, it's a new year. And while the uncertainty of "The Business" means a lot of stress and anxiety, it also means the next audition - and the next booking - could be "right around the corner".

I feel like it's appropriate to have "concerns", but it's also appropriate to have hope.

And on that "hopeful" note, I'm going to say "so long for now" (I'm not done with 2014 just yet, but I'm going to save the "non-acting" stuff for my next entry).


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