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10:35 am - Friday, Nov. 26, 2004
Another Letter To Margaret Z.

Another Letter To Margaret Z.

Fri 11/26/04

Dear Margaret--

I hope, as you read this, that life is continuing to treat you well.

How was your Thanksgiving? Did you travel this year, or did folks come to you?

I had a quiet holiday–Just took myself out to eat, and saw a movie (Finding Neverland, which I think you would enjoy. It was all about J.M. Barrie, and how a family he befriended inspired him to write Peter Pan, and it was very well done).

After the movie, I went back to the restaurant and had desert (pumpkin pie and ice cream), since I hadn't had time before, then walked home, and spent the night watching tv.

I've been in a little bit of a "mood" recently, but really, things are going pretty well here.

In one regard, things are going very well here: Two weeks ago, I booked my first union gig, a commercial for the Jack-In-The-Box fast food chain. It was fun to do, and I'm looking forward to seeing it, probably within the next month or so (It should pay pretty well too–this will be the first time I'll be getting residuals for a commercial–and that's very exciting, because I've never made a lot of money doing anything before. Not to mention that I came out here to make money acting, and it's actually starting to happen).

I'm hoping to book at least one more gig before the year ends--My agent says it may be busy for another two weeks, before things slow down for the holidays–but even if I don't, I'm happy that I reached a couple goals I set for myself at the start of the year, which were 1) To book a union spot, and 2) To make over $5000 acting in commercials (I'll pass that total by the time I get finished being paid for this latest spot. This commercial might even end up paying that much all by itself).

The goal for the coming year is to get a theatrical agent (I only have a commercial agent right now), and to start getting sent out on auditions for tv shows and movies. That's pretty hard to do, as you can imagine, but I'm hoping, if I start doing well enough with commercials, that I can make enough money to quit my job at the bookstore, and pursue legitimate acting opportunities full time.

In the couple of weeks since the commercial, I've been feeling a big let-down, letting myself get bored and depressed, when I really should be feeling pretty good about things (A friend recently accused me of seeing things through "crap colored glasses", and even though it made me really mad when she said it, now I'm thinking she's not totally off the mark on that).

Things have been pretty tough at the bookstore where I work lately.

We recently got a new general manager, the fourth one in less than four years. And he hasn't gotten off to a very good start, in terms of "inspiring the troops", so morale at the store is pretty bad.

And there's a Barnes and Noble less than a mile away from us, in a nice shopping area called The Grove, that's taking away a lot of business (Not to mention that we're actually in the position of competing with one of our own stores, a new Borders in the Hollywood area). So our sales have been very bad for a long time now, and it's hard to see how things are going to change anytime soon (It'll be interesting to see how we do this Xmas season).

One of my concerns, every time we get a new General Manager, is whether they'll give me a hard time about sometimes needing to call in to say I'll be late (Because of an audition), or needing a day off (Because I've booked a commercial). There's always a lot of tough talk about the schedule when a new manager starts–How no one can count on a regular schedule, how if you don't make yourself available for any shift, you'll get less hours, etc–and it always makes me nervous, but so far, I haven't really had any trouble. I do my best to treat the job with respect–I always give them as much notice as I can about auditions and such, and am never late otherwise, and never call out sick–and I think they can see that I'm an asset to the store (I probably have more "bookstore experience" than anyone else there right now).

I think they also, since I've had some success in getting commercial work out here, take what I'm trying to do seriously (In the movies, there's always someone trying to stop "the good guy" from getting what he wants, but in real life, at least in my experience thus far, if people see that you're serious about something and are working to make it happen, they don't want to get in your way. And sometimes, they even become eager to help you).

My big "problem" with the store, basically, is that I'm just really tired of being there. In March, I'll have worked in bookstores for 15 years now, and I'm very anxious to put this era behind me now, and move on to making acting my "full-time gig".

One thing I'm going to do to "help that along" is to become a "Mobile Notary". I plan on taking the test, probably early next year, and am hoping both that it'll free up more time for auditions, and be a good "stopgap" measure between the bookstore and the time I'm making my living entirely from acting. I guess it pays pretty well, and is an easy enough job (The worst "downside" I can think of is that it'll involve more time on the dreaded LA freeways).

So that's basically the story from here.

Again, I hope things are well on your end, that you're feeling healthy and happy, and continue to be able to travel and have a good time "gadding about".

I was thinking about you yesterday, and how one of the things I have to be "thankful" for this holiday season is that you took me in during my last year of high school, and have made the effort to keep in touch all these years.

I'll look forward to hearing of your continuing adventures, when you can find a spare moment or two. And take care of yourself, okay?

Much love,
Jim

 

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