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12:58 pm - Sunday, Jun. 22, 2003
Okay, I promise--This is the last time I'll talk about the HBO commercial...for now

Okay, I promise--this is the last time I'll talk about the HBO commercial...for awhile

Well, if you've read Diaryland, you know the HBO shoot went fabulously. I got along great with everyone I came into contact with, and the shoot went very smoothly, I guess in large part because of Yours Truly.

So "Hooray for me"!

I would rate it as my first big, meaningful success out here, and it's very encouraging; I've gone from hoping that something would happen, from a belief that something could happen, to having something actually happen. And now that something has happened, I know it's just a matter of time till other things happen. It's no longer just a question of my hoping that'll be the case.

At this time, I still don't know exactly when it'll air, or even if it'll just be on HBO, or on other cable outlets, or what (Because of some of the content of the spot, I don't think it'll be on the networks). But I'm presuming that within a month or so, I'll be a presence on television, and that will be very cool (I'm hoping to be able to find out beforehand about air dates, so I can alert my friends who have cable; If I can't get a copy of the spot beforehand, I'm going to need someone to tape it for me!).

As I said before, it was a non-union spot, so I didn't get a lot of money for it--I got hundreds, where if it had been a union commercial, I might have gotten thousands--but again, it leaves me certain that more (and more lucrative) jobs are in my future (And it's all relative; In commercial terms, I didn't have a big payoff on this one, but compare my five-hour day on the set to five hours at the bookstore, and I made out like a bandit!).

Mentally/emotionally, I'm in a very interesting "place" right now. This is a very big deal for me, a huge deal, and naturally, I'm very excited. I've found myself fantasizing about being able to leave the bookstore, about material success, and most of all, about being able to spend the bulk of my time doing things I actually want to do. And the fact that we've moved beyond pure fantasy--because something I wanted to happen in this realm actually did happen--means those thoughts have a lot more juice than they had just a couple weeks ago. I'm not just daydreaming anymore; I'm imagining a future that is actually going to happen (In some way, shape, or form).

I have loved having this news to tell people. I feel better about myself than I have in the two years I've been out here, because I feel like I've established I'm serious, that I was willing to hang on until things started to happen, and that I really do have the stuff it takes to succeed.

On the other hand, in the here-and-now, I didn't make a life-changing amount of money from this commercial, and I've wrestled with a little disappointment over that (Though in a way, it gives me another milestone to look forward to; The day when I'll be able to write "Got my first residual check..." in Diaryland). And while it's not an issue now--commercial money is "extra money" at this point, and nothing I have to depend on to pay the bills--the whole "union vs. nonunion" thing may become...problematic in the future, because the dream, of course, is to have acting "pay the bills" (Here's the issue, in a nutshell: The majority of actors who make a living acting make that living through commercials. Unfortunately, more and more big companies are doing their commercials overseas, or in "right to work" states, or just going non-union here in L.A. What that means is that if you're a non-union actor, you're going to get small payouts it would be impossible to live on, unless you booked 100 commercials a year--which is impossible--not to mention having no benefits, no protections, etc. On the other the hand, when you get into the union, you're competing with a large group of actors for an ever-shrinking piece of the pie, and can no longer be sent out on those non-union commercials that, while not a goldmine, might pay your bills next month)

And while I'm hoping for a building momentum now--And I believe there will be (I think--and other people have suggested this as well--that work leads to more work)--there's no guarantee that'll be the case. It could be another two years before I land my next commercial. And I'm hoping that commercial success will be my avenue to landing a theatrical agent, segueing to other film and tv work, etc and so forth, but again, there's really no guarantee that'll be the case. So there's kind of an "I'm on my way..." feeling, which is thrilling, but there's also still the uncertainty of not having any real idea how or when the next break will happen.

And having a day where I was paid decently for doing something I wanted to do, where I went "through the looking glass" (where I was "in the promised land", if you will), has made me wrestle that much more with being at the bookstore. I'm tired of feeling like I'm in a cage; I want to run (Or at least canter, in respect to my age and sore knees).

(Interestingly enough, though, when I started thinking about being able to leave the bookstore, it wasn't all joy unspeakable; I found myself feeling some anxiety at the thought, both over giving up a regular source of income, however small and pathetic, and over losing my steady source of friendship/people contact. As a result, when the time comes, whenever the time comes, I'm thinking I might "wean myself" from the bookstore by going first to part-time, then to "contingent" status.)

So things feel different, and on the other hand, things feel not-so-different.

But it will be interesting to see what happens next...

A "post script"; I made it sound like there were no SAG actors at this audition, but in actuality, there were. I'm not sure exactly how it worked--whether there are exceptions to the "Sag actors can't work non-union gigs" rule, whether these were "financial core" people (Who have kind of a "limited" SAG status), or if they were just auditioning, hoping SAG wouldn't notice if they got the gig--but I overheard conversations at the callback that suggested a number of the actors were SAG members. I felt I had to add that in here, so you didn't get the impression I wasn't competing against the "cream of the crop". :)


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