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10:36 PM - Fri 7.24.15
Hope You've Enjoyed My Work

Hope You've Enjoyed My Work

Today I shot a bit for my friend Michelle's web-series, Patti & Marina.

I don't do this kind of thing very often, for various and sundry reasons (that basically boil down to "It's not worth it").

But it was a fun role (as a demon/voice-in-"Patti's"- head), I like Michelle, and I've been thinking I need to say "yes" to things like this more often (As I've said many times before, while never doing much about it, I'm not becoming a better actor just sitting around my apartment, waiting for the phone to ring).

The call was at 7am, and the location - base camp was just off Sunset - was not far away (Maybe a ten-minute drive), which was nice.

I'm not sure when we started shooting, but relative to other things I've done, I felt like it went pretty smoothly, all things considered; we were shooting on Sunset (with no permits or permission), so it seemed like the biggest issue was dealing with sound, and to a lesser extent, with just having to hold for passerby (And for a time, for a big truck that parked right where we were trying to shoot).

(The scene involved my character approaching Michelle's on the sidewalk, with a little "walk and talk" involved, which I haven't done very often, for some reason, so that was fun.)

At one point, an old guy in a short-sleeved white shirt and black tie took an interest in what we were doing.

I thought he might ask us if we'd "heard the good news about Jesus Christ", but turned out, he was the owner of the restaurant Michelle was supposed to be walking out of at the start of the scene; I was a little concerned he was going to ask for a permit or some money or something, but he just wanted to know how long we'd be, concerned about us impeding his business (But not much was going on there when we were shooting, and if it's a happening place, we were done before before anything started happening).

After we were done there, it was back to base camp, where I was made up as a scary clown, and we did a short scene in the drive-way, with Michelle in a car.

The big challenge there was that I was eating these little powdered-sugar donuts, so I had to do my action, figure out the best timing for eating, and get the words out through chewed-up donut (Which I had kind of a hard time getting down - and I don't mean that they didn't taste good, I mean I was literally having a hard time swallowing them).

I'd been offered a "spit-bucket", which I declined initially (I don't know why - I guess because it felt "rude" to make someone deal with my chewed-up food?), But after six or eight donuts, I decided to stop being a hero.

After that, I was done.

They asked if I wanted to stay and have lunch, but since I'd just had seven or eight donuts, I wasn't hungry, and said no thanks (Which I'm still feeling stupid about - No, I wasn't hungry, but why didn't I stay just to socialize? The whole point of doing stuff like this is to meet new people and hopefully create/enhance relationships, so I really feel like I dropped the ball there. But anyway...).

All-in-all, it was a good experience. The crew and production in general were more "together" than I would have expected going in (And very young - I was the oldest person involved by decades). And everyone was very nice (I particularly liked Michelle's writing/acting partner Sma, who's playing "Martina").

As for my own work, it mostly felt good in the moment (I enjoyed working with Michelle), but I've been second-guessing myself a lot in the time since.

Cause that's what I do.

I listened to an interview with Paul Giamatti recently, and the pull-quote from the interview struck me, because it's something fairly obvious that, nevertheless, only occurred to me a few years ago - I don't have it verbatim, but the gist was "I want to enjoy what I'm doing, but the actual job is to have you enjoy what I'm doing".

I think that might be the source of the let-down I often feel after doing a thing - a piece of it might be that I'm with people, and it's fun, but then I'm alone again (or that I'm getting a rare chance to "do my thing" and it's over pretty quickly), but I wonder if the big thing is frustration/dissatisfaction because "the circuit isn't complete".

All I really did before moving here was theater, and you immediately know how things are going when you're onstage as an actor (Whether you're getting laughs in a comedy, or silence in a drama, or big applause after a musical number).

What I do now is much more vague. I may get a positive word from the Director or a fellow cast member or what-have-you, but mostly, I just assume people running things are happy with what they're getting from me when they aren't saying anything.

(That took time - for quite awhile, silence felt negative to me. Now, it can be sort of reassuring - It doesn't mean I did anything great, but it also means I didn't slow things down or cause any problems.)

There's no "audience" in the moment (Other than maybe some extras and crew members)..and in my case, there's no real audience, period.

I'm a day-player, who has a line or two, maybe a quick scene. I'm not having the kind of career where what I do is getting written about or commented upon - I have occasionally gotten recognized for Shameless, but mostly, I do my little thing without a lot of fanfare or acclaim.

And I sort of miss "acclaim". I miss the applause.

I miss being appreciated.

And writing that last sentence immediately made me think of Mad Men; when Peggy complains to Don "You don't appreciate me!", he yells back at her, "That's what the money is for!".

Cause I do get paid.

There is that.

I don't expect to "get anything more" out of the thing I just did with Michelle than I've already gotten - I got to do a little work, have a little fun, and eat a lot of donuts (And in terms of "appreciation", Michelle was very effusive in her gratitude for my participation in the project, which was very nice...though it made me a little nervous leading up to the shoot, fearful that I wouldn't live up to her expectations).

But I do hope that it turns out well, and that it helps Michelle and Sma, career-wise.

If I helped that effort, or at the very least, didn't slow it down or cause any problems, I'm good.


Sun 7/26/15 (8:22 pm)

Shooting on Shameless is coming up soon (In the next two or three weeks).

I'm starting to get excited - It'll just be fun to "be back at it".

I know I'm setting myself for disappointment here, but while I don't have any expectations about my role in the show really expanding or being more developed this season, I'm hoping I'll be in a lot of episodes (The record to date is six, in Season 4).

And I would love to get to go back to Chicago again.

But all that aside, it'll just be fun to be back on the set, hanging out, and drinking non-alcoholic beer at The Alibi...

Beyond Shameless, I basically want from the rest of "The Year In Acting" what I always want - more.

I'd love to book a really good national commercial (The stuff I booked in the first half of the year has been financially disappointing - I've earned maybe $2500 from the two of them, to date). It would be so nice to be able to say to myself what I haven't said in years - "I'm going to be okay".

Beyond that, it's about wanting things to happen that suggest there's more career to be had - While fantasizing about pilots and series-regular roles definitely seems like "setting myself up for disappointment", it still seems within the realm of possibility to book an honest-to-god guest-star role (A "Top Of Show" guest-star, versus the "one-day" guest-stars like Castle, NCIS, and my bookings on Shameless).

And as I fret about the eventual/inevitable end of Shameless - hopefully it'll get another season after this, but it's hard to imagine it going beyond that - I'd really like the next "recurring" to occur (I've expressed the desire for that to happen on network tv, where there'd be more people watching and more episodes to be in. But honestly, a great cable show with some critical cachet and a devoted fan-base would be just fine as well. But in any case, it would be nice if I played a more prominent role than I've had on Shameless, as much as I've enjoyed playing "Kermit").

And it would be nice to get my break in movies.

Oh, one final thing - The last time I talked to Brett, he said he was going to try and get us more money from Shameless (Contrary to my previous understanding, my agents did not get last year's raise for me - The Shameless folks just offered it, for some reason).

And now we're back to "setting myself up for disappointment"...

With nothing really happening with acting, it's been hard not to focus and fret about my day job at Weight Watchers.

This entry's already long, so I'll make this short and sweet - I've lost 40% of the meetings I had at one point (As I've often said, it took me five years to get to full-time status, which I had for about two weeks before the bottom fell out).

I still like the job, for the most part, but there's less and less job for me to like, and to be blunt, this "death of a thousand cuts", as the company struggles to remain relevant, has me eager to move on.

But to what?

I don't want to work at Weight Watchers anymore, because I don't want to be constantly pressured about a job that doesn't even pay the fucking bills...but by the same token, I'm a 54-year old man with no meaningful job skills, so what even halfway decent job is out there for me?

Hence the hope/dream/fantasy that - of all things - acting will come to my rescue, and relieve me from a lifetime of doing shit that's never felt quite right, and a future that currently looks pretty damned grim.

Cause if it doesn't, I don't know what else will.


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