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7:17 pm - Tues 11.22.2011
Pinned To Winning

Pinned To Winning

(Noticing when I let so much time elapse between entries, I have a tough time getting going when I finally do sit down to write. Seems like a good argument for not letting so much time elapse between entries. But anyway...)

Well, to say we're living in "interesting times" seems like something of an understatement.

I've been following the "Occupy" movement with great interest, as it started in New York and has spread throughout the country (And the world).

On one level, it's been a very happy surprise, because for years, as things seemed to get worse and worse in this country, I was discouraged that nothing seemed able to "rouse the masses" enough to "take to the streets" in protest.

And now here we are.

Or here they are - As much as I'm "interested" in the movement, as much as their "issues" feel like my "issues" (In terms of where the country seems to have gone terribly wrong), it's proven much easier to make supportive posts on Facebook than to really do anything (Like join the movement, for example, and risk a beating, a face full of pepper spray, or an arrest. Or all three).

So, I feel guilty I'm not out there on-the-front-lines...but I'm glad braver people are, cause I really do think they're "on the side of the angels" here.

The country's gone really, really wrong, so I'm glad a movement is finally afoot to try and turn things around.

It's a start.

____________________

If you haven't seen it yet, my Progressive commercial has started running.

(And if you haven't seen it yet, it's on YouTube; I'm not sure I remember how to do a link, but you can search for it under "Progressive commercials" - It's the one titled "The Messenger Visits A Toll Booth", or something to that effect.)

I first started hearing about it this past week, though someone said they had seen it the week before.

I've only seen it once myself - while watching TMZ mid-week - and it seems to be running mostly on cable, which is a little disappointing (Though someone said they saw it while watching the Today show).

But it's running, and that's a good thing.

My friend Jane R. asked me recently if it was "fun" to see myself on tv.

I didn't have a straight "yes" or "no" answer, but in thinking it over, I ended up "in an interesting place".

My first response to seeing something I've done is to be startled - still - at how ugly I am.

And I think I look particularly horrific in this commercial; when I saw it, my first thought was "It's no wonder I haven't had sex in 20 years...!".

Then when I get past the freak show, I look at "the work".

I don't think there's much to the spot itself (Trying to analyze why someone figured this particular spot would sell insurance could be an entry of its own), but if they were looking for an ordinary schlub to look confused and a little bewildered at being on the receiving end of a commercial pitch, I think I pulled that off well enough.

Anyway...

I always think the best time to book a commercial is when you've already got one running - with two going, better the chances that at least one of them will have a really good run and make you some serious cash - so I was very happy this past week to have a Chevy commercial audition on Friday.

I was even happier when I saw the script - I was auditioning for "the hero" (I haven't been "the hero" in a commercial - in other words, the "Lead" - in years), and it was a really fun spot.

So I would be delighted to tell you how well I thought it went, and how I have a great shot at booking it; it's the kind of thing that wouldn't just be about money, but about getting to do a fun spot, and getting to do a fun spot that might actually help my career.

But I was pretty disappointed in myself, disappointment that threatened to turn into upset and anger afterward.

What was the problem?

I keep meaning to write an entry all about the particular "challenges" presented by commercial auditions, cause we're ten years down the road and I'm still "challenged" by them a great deal of the time.

I don't want to get too into this, because I'll feel pretty silly if I'm "being too hard on myself", as people sometimes suggest, and I end up booking the gig.

But I was disappointed in myself. I felt like I did not "rise to the challenge". I did less than my best, and it's very frustrating to have an audition that feels like it should be right in "the sweet spot" of what I think I do best..but somehow come up short.

I also had a tv audition last week, for a new sitcom starring Rob Schneider.

Typically, I go straight to the "producer session" - where the decision to cast or not to cast gets made - because most casting directors know me by now.

But I hadn't been to this casting office before - though I'd met one of the two casting directors before, (Through ACG, then at her former office) - so I had to see them first.

The CD I hadn't already met seemed to be running things, and liked me quite a bit - she commented on my "great face", then when I was done, told me I was "a very funny man".

That made me feel confident about making it to the next stage, and sure enough, the producer session was Monday morning, at CBS Radford.

Things got off to a good start when one of the producers recognized me from the Progressive commercial.

At the casting office, I'd done my "Sad Sack" bit - which I'm very ambivalent about, but what can I say? It's gotten results - and so I did that again, and the producers were clearly amused.

They took a moment, while contemplating sending me on my way, then asked me to try a more "animated" take, which I was very happy to do.

They responded as well to that as they had to "Sad Sack", which was gratifying (when you get the bulk of your work based on a hangdog look and lack of expression, it's easy to start wondering if you have anything else to offer as an actor).

____________________

Weds 11/23/11 (7:36 pm)

Was hoping I'd hear about the Rob Schneider thing by now.

I haven't.

(Sharon called me Monday afternoon - the callback was at 11:00 am - to let me know casting had called, and it was down to me and "another guy".)

This is not the first time I've played "the waiting game" of course, but said game is particularly interesting this time out.

Because...

1) I'm not a particular fan of Rob Schneider (last time I saw his work was back in his SNL days), so there'd be nothing especially glamorous about booking this gig (Unlike, say, working with William H. Macy, or being on Mad Men).

2) The show - at least the couple pages I read - is not funny; there aren't enough jokes, and the ones there are are pretty tepid.

3) I have a commercial running - mostly on cable, but still... - so there's no "I've gotta book this or I'm staring homelessness in the face" anxiety.

4) I have another episode of Austin & Ally coming up, so once again, not feeling my usual heavy dose of financial worry right now (And no feeling that, "If I don't book this, that might be it for the year").

In short, I'm rarely in such a great position to weather the uncertainty of being "pinned" for a show.

And none of it matters - I still want to book it, and "the waiting game" is still making me crazy.

(If I do book it, it'll shoot sometime next week; my latest Austin and Ally episodes shoots the following week.)

There's wanting to book jobs because I need the money.

There's wanting to book jobs because they seem like cool jobs in some way.

And there's wanting to book jobs because I like the excitement of winning, and collecting prizes, and having people know I'm a successful actor.

Earning money is always good, and even if I'm not a "fan" of Schneider, I still think it would be fun to meet him.

But clearly, I mostly just want to win here.

and I'm okay with that.


 

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