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10:35 AM - FRI 9.28.18

A Banner Year For Kermit

It's been a while since I've last written...

At the moment my thoughts are dominated by the news - Brett Kavanaugh is up for a Supreme Court nomination as a number of allegations of sexual assault have been leveled against him (FTR, I believe Dr. Blasey-Ford, the woman who testified before Congress yesterday, and think Kavanaugh's follow up testimony was appalling...but I also think he'll ultimately be appointed, because the Republicans just want to win, no matter the cost, and don't particularly like women).

But I'm going to follow the advice someone gave me years back when I expressed embarrassment about fixating on my own shit in here, rather than what's going on in the world (They basically said, "Jim, there's all kinds of places to get the news, but only one place to get news about you").


These days my life has felt dominated by Shameless, which has been a good thing, by-and-large.

I was thinking yesterday how, before season 9 began shooting, my team enacted what I've come to see as a pointless ritual - asking for more money from Production.

The word back was basically, "Sure, we could give Jim a raise, but then we wouldn't use him as much", and that was that.

I found that a little tough to hear - No one wants to think a big part of their value as an actor is they can be had for (relatively) cheap - and I assumed I'd be used this season about as much as I have been in recent years (It wasn't till season 6 that I was in more than half the season's episodes - last year, I was in 9 of 12).

But I have to say, this has been a banner year for Kermit - I'm shooting my bit for the 13th episode a week from Friday, and with that, will have been in 12 of 13 episodes (Don't know about the 14th as of yet...but I'm hopeful).

And beyond just the number of episodes shot, at least three or four of those episodes have involved multiple days work (For one of those episodes, I shot for two days and they paid me for 3. And for episode 12, I shot for three days, and they paid the top-of-show guest-star rate, only the second time I've been paid that much for an episode).

It's hard for me to say whether this is just how the season went or whether it signals an "upgrade" in my status on the show...but as you might imagine, I would prefer if it were the later.

I don't know exactly what Shameless is going to look like post-Fiona/Emmy Rossum - Are they going to slot Lip into the Fiona position as the "heart" of the show, beef up the other kid's storylines, and just leave Frank and Kev & Vee (And by extension, Yours Truly) as is? Or are they going to "lean into" the "shameless" part of Shameless and make Frank more the center of the show, and amp up the shenanigans?

Or will it be "A little from Column A, a little from Column B"?

(Or something I'm not considering at all, because I'm an actor and not a writer?)

While it seems unrealistic at this juncture to hope for a substantially more meaningful role on the show - if that were going to happen, it would have happened by now - it seems reasonable to hope for an iteration of Shameless (ex. Frank is the lead, and Kev and Vee get more pumped-up roles) where the Alibi becomes a more frequent location than it is at present, meaning more shoot days for Kermit.

While I'm on the subject of Shameless and my role on the show...

I go to the AV Club website for the bulk of my entertainment news and reviews, and one of the shows they review is Shameless.

The reviews almost never mention the barflies, and if so, only in a glancing way - I wouldn't say we've ever really gotten "reviewed" on the site.

So while the review of Sunday's episode wasn't particularly good - I think they gave it a C+ - I was delighted when the review referred to the barflies as "a fine comic presence" (Granted, that was for a scene where he basically said "They're funny, but why do they have their own scene here? Who cares about them?",. But considering I haven't gotten a positive mention for my work since I came out here, I'll take "a fine comic presence" and be happy I got it).

(My buddy Mike did not share my enthusiasm for our good mention - He fixated, understandably, on the overall negative tone of the review - and Emmy Rossum was somewhere between "amused" and "impressed" with my "glass half-full" attitude since I'd tweeted happily about the compliment within the not-great review...and if you've known me for longer than five minutes, you know "glass half-full" is not my natural state-of-mind.)

(9:40 pm)

Beyond Shameless, not too much else is going on.

I did an interview yesterday morning for Tyler Boronski's YouTube channel (He's previously interviewed Mike for the show).

It was fun, and there wasn't a load of pressure (We did it on Skype)...but that said, as I told Mike afterward, it made me realize that my interview game is not exactly on-point (And why would it be really? It's only the second or third one I've ever done).

I don't remember if I've written about my voiceover stuff, but the equipment has come in, I've set it up - It ain't pretty (I just have cords going from one end of my apartment to the other), but it works - and now...I've kind of bogged down.

I've been getting coached by my friend Tracy P., a voiceover actor and coach for years, but we're having a hard time sticking with our weekly session (Sometimes my conflicts, sometimes hers), and are often challenged to find workable alternatives

And I'm letting that fuck with my VO momentum. Which is bullshit, really - Whether I have a coaching session or not, I can still work on dialects and the like, or listen to Audacity tutorials on YouTube, or screw around and just practice recording things (Or work on the copy Tracy gave me a couple weeks ago till I've got it perfect, instead of looking it over once or twice, then just letting it sit for a week).

It's something I think I addressed in my last entry - I need to seriously cut down on my pointless fucking-around time. Particularly now that I have something I'm actually trying to do.

It struck me not too long ago that, while a lot of my life has been dictated by fear, my present-day existence is definitely ruled by fatigue.

And the Internet.

And I think those things are connected - If I'm home, odds are, I'm on the Internet, basically because it's the easiest, laziest thing I can do to entertain myself (Or at least stave off the worst edge of my boredom). It's faux-socialness, faux-sex, faux-everything, really. It doesn't require anything of me, I don't have to fight through the fog of fatigue, I don't have to think too hard, I don't have to concentrate, I don't have to deal with the frustration of trying to accomplish a task, I don't have to do anything.

I can live on the Internet half-asleep, at half-mast, and it doesn't matter. Nothing online requires I be fully awake.

(Don't get me wrong - I think the Internet is amazing, and can be a great tool for creativity and social engagement and all sorts of things. But that's not what I'm doing with it the lion's-share of the time.)

I've struggled with my tiredness for a lifetime, and I'm continuing to - at least periodically - try new things to address it (The "shoulder support system" I recently bought that was supposed to make it more comfortable to sleep on my side - my sleep apnea manifests mostly when I'm on my back - has been a disaster. If anything, it's made my sleep substantially worse..but I keep trying to make it work, because I spent almost $200 on what's turning out to be just a weird, uncomfortable pillow).

So, if I can figure out how to get more rest, that would be optimal. But barring that, and in the meantime, I just need to "get over it" (Or to paraphrase a self-help book I read decades ago, just "Feel the fatigue and do it anyway")

Because i want my life to be something more than just watching other people do things on the Internet.


Sat 9/29/18 (8:20 pm)

Interesting thing that's happening/in the process of happening - My friend Jane R., who is an artist, photographer, film-maker, etc, approached me recently with the idea of being the subject of a short documentary.

It strikes me alternately as a strange idea ("Why is anyone watching a documentary about me?"), a not-that-strange idea (It's not like I haven't had some interesting things happen in my life, what with growing up in foster care, and now being a semi-successful working actor, and I'm a semi-interesting guy), and possibly a helpful career-move (Maybe it pops at film-festivals, and people want to work with me as a result).

Jane's won a boat-load of awards to date (Particularly for The Pie Lady of Pie Town), so I know she knows what she's doing. And she already knows and likes me, so there's a certain trust there.

And while I have concerns - because I always have concerns - I pretty quickly decided I should take the attitude, "Why the hell not?".

Jane is very different than me in one respect - While I might have a semi-creative idea now and then, that's where it begins and ends. I've rarely been much of a "doer". But Jane will have an idea, get passionate about it, then actually work to see it through.

(It's weird. She's, like, an actual artist or something.)

So her immediate energy and passion for the idea has been slightly alarming - Leaving me to wonder if I didn't think I could just say "yes", she'd realize it wasn't a great idea and move on, and I could feel good about saying "yes" without actually having to do anything (Have I mentioned lately that I'm tired all the time, so doing anything that forces me to extend myself in any way seems terribly daunting?)

But I'm in. Because why not? Someone who thinks I'm a good story wants to tell that story about me with me, so why not let that happen?

Doing it means something happens, and I think that needs to be my guiding principle - All things being equal, doing something trumps doing nothing.

if nothing else, I'll be able to say, "I was once the subject of a documentary,,,", and that's kinda cool.


Let's I have anything else to share with the class...?

Last Sunday, WW had its annual...well, it used to be called "Innovations", but I don't know what it's called now - The yearly get-together where they feed us, some awards are handed out, and they tell us about any upcoming changes.

I won't bore you with stuff you could get on the news - if you care to - but I will say that I received a 10-year anniversary "Certificate of Recognition".

So as I said when I posted a picture on Instagram, "Now when people ask how long I've worked at WW, I can say something more definitive than, "Uhhh...I dunno. Eight, nine years?'".

It was a decidedly bittersweet occasion - I have to admit, I did enjoy the attention and recognition...but there was also a little bit of "All this time in LA trying to make it as an actor, and I'm still working a day job...".

I would never in my life have imagined ending up at WW (As either a member or an employee). And if I could wave a magic wand and have my life be all about acting right now, I'd do it in a heartbeat (And I'm trying to actually make that happen, in part, with the voiceover stuff).

But all that said, I've made friends at WW, I think I've helped people, and, while I'm not happy with my weight right now, I'm still better off than when I first walked through the doors as a member, 11 years ago.

The job could pay more, and the equipment could work better, but all-in-all, it's been a good place to work - I could certainly have spent the past decade working a worse job.

And if that's not all there is to say, it's enough for now.

Till next time...


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