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8:27 am - Tues 3/23/04
My Favorite Quandry

My Favorite Quandry

(Fri 3/19/04 (8:40 a.m.)

Two comments on yesterday's entry...

Comment #1: I forgot to mention something about wanting an audition over my "weekend"–Yesterday, both the 10 and the 101 had major traffic tie-ups due to accidents (The tanker trunk accident on the 101 wasn't totally cleared away until 2:00 in the afternoon). So when I got the page for today's audition, I should have seen it, not as something of an inconvenience, but as things continuing to flow in the right direction for me; if I'd had an audition yesterday morning, it would have been hugely stressful trying to get anywhere.

(I didn't really "forget" to mention that in the entry; it didn't occur to me that I might have actually "lucked out" till some time later.)

Comment #2: One of the appealing things about my job and the "like-minded people" who work there is that a number of those people are aspiring artists; Daniel is a film music composer (Who's written a number of things for movie commercials and trailers), Brad is a screenwriter, John C. is a screenwriter and artist, John O. is a writer, and Erin's a dancer (And of course, we all know what I want to be when I grow up). It's nice to work around other people who are trying to realize their dreams, and who understand something of what you're going through as you try to realize yours (So far as I know, I'm currently the only actor "on staff", but there have been at least five others during my tenure at Borders)

Submitted for a film and a play yesterday, and am sending out an agent submission today.

I've become very lax about submitting for things (That film and play were only the 7th and 8th things I've submitted for so far this year). And that laxity is a definite problem.

It's no mystery why I'm having trouble motivating myself in this department.

1. Most of the time, I send things out, and can't even get an audition for whatever-it-is. It's easy to start thinking "Why bother?".

2. It's hard to motivate myself to submit for things I don't know anything about. Before coming out here, I'd spent most of my life as an actor doing community theatre, where I only auditioned for things I wanted to do–Parts I wanted to play, in shows I liked, with directors I respected–So it's hard to go from that (A 20 year old habit) to just submitting for things willy-nilly.

3. Especially when the results have, in a word, sucked. Three years of submitting for things out here, and I haven't had one thing I can point to with pride (The closest I've come has been Crossing The Line, the badly written one- act where I was basically mis-cast as an elderly black man. That's the only play where I successfully got from rehearsal to performance without quitting or getting fired).

4. One of the big reasons to do student films and spec commercials is to get "tape". And with things that offer low pay (Or no pay), like student films and spec commercials, getting a copy of your work is always part of the deal. But getting a copy of the things I've done so far has been like getting the proverbial "blood from a stone"; I never received a copy of the student film I did over a year ago now, and it's looking like I'll never get a copy of the "Godzilla" spec commercial either. It's frustrating–I've done enough now to have at least an adequate reel, but instead, all I have is the HBO commercial (And that cost me something like $18)–and it's another thing that makes me want to say "What's the point?".

5. I want to get paid. I want to get paid because it's one of the main reasons I came out here, because it's a tremendous boost to my self-esteem when it happens, and because I get paid shit at Borders and I need the money! But when you don't have a theatrical agent, "getting paid" is a pretty tall order (Forget "getting paid"; getting an audition is a tall order!).

6. The work/commercial/parking conflicts (I could list these as separate items, but I'm becoming bored with this, and besides, they are "interconnected").

Borders has been cool about accomodating my commercial auditions and occasional shoots, but I think that's in large part because it's a pretty minimal imposition (Often, it's no imposition at all; thanks to my schedule of working nights and weekends). Yes, I have been a pretty big asset at Borders (Whatever I perceive my limitations to be), but I still have a strong fear of getting on their bad side, with no fallback position, if I started needing to have my schedule constantly adjusted and readjusted, either for long runs of play rehearsals and performances, or movie shoots lasting for weeks (And the opportunities I'm talking about–the kind of things I'd get off Backstage.com-- usually don't even pay). I'm wary of squandering my good will at Borders on bad theatre and shitty movies, gigs that would make me angry and frustrated, that wouldn't pay, that wouldn't advance my career, and that I'm afraid would end up leaving me out of a job.

There's also "the commercial thing".

I have become totally addicted to commercial auditions. It's not what I came out here to do, but it's me going on auditions, having some success, making some money, and possibly opening the door to bigger and better things.

It makes me feel good, more often than not, because it's the only thing that makes me feel like an honest-to-God professional actor out here (Before I got a commercial agent, I often thought that my sending out headshot after headshot, for projects I didn't know anything about and that I probably wouldn't want to do if I got them, amounted to "The World's Most Unsatisfying Hobby").

This is a terrible ongoing conflict: In spite of everything I've said, I know I need to be acting--It's what I do, and I don't feel like myself when I'm not doing it (And professionally, I'm not amassing credits or making contacts sitting on my ass at home)–but I don't know how I amp up the "real" acting stuff without having to jettison the commercials (Of course, I'd like to "jettison" work, but for now, that's not realistic). If I started doing plays, I'd have to work during the day, and then when would I be auditioning for commercials? And if I had a conflict with work every single time I got a commercial call...well, that wouldn't be good.

Commercials aren't really "artistically satisfying", but neither is being in a bad student movie or play.

Sun 3/21/04 (1:23 p.m.)

From the "book journal":

Sat 3/20/04 (2:00 p.m.)

(On the Subway in North Hollywood, heading back home. And seriously pushing it, in terms of getting to work on time at 3:00.)

Just had lunch with Cary--No Kay today. She was too busy--at Gordon Biersch (sp?). A reuben for me, crab-cake sandwich for him (I think), and diet cokes for both of us (And the french fries rocked).

I talked his ear off for some time about my various and sundry "issues", which was cathartic for me, and probably a little boring for him (What do you say when someone babbles on and on about their seemingly intractable problems?), but I appreciated him letting me "vent" (In my own defense, and in the interest of creating a more accurate picture of myself in here, it's not always "all about me" when I talk with people; the last time we talked, we talked at length about some problems he's having at work. Which I'll not share in here, because Cary's a more "private person" than I am and he might not appreciate it).

Then we moved on to talking mostly about tv and movies.

I always enjoy talking about that stuff with Cary. We like some of the same tv shows (Buffy, Angel, Alias, and now, the first two episodes of the new show Wonderfalls), and between the fact that I tend to see more movies, and they tend to rent more dvds, we can cover a lot of ground in that department as well.

They just got HBO, and Cary was enthused about catching Deadwood–Is that the name of it?–the new western series by NYPD Blue creator David Milch. He said he'd "Tivo it" for me, which I'm excited about (Speaking of Tivo, Cary caught the Incubus video, and will soon have the technology to put it on a dvd for me. I don't think it's anything "for the reel", but a pretty cool momento nevertheless!).

He expressed some concern about Alias; While he didn't think cancellation was imminent, it continues to get not-terribly-impressive ratings, suggesting that eventually ABC could get tired of having a critical darling that not enough people are actually watching.

That would suck, but it sort of ties in to something I've been thinking about lately–I think I need to become less attached to things like my favorite tv shows, journals on diaryland, etc. Things change, and I have to learn to deal.

So here I am.

Dealing.

 

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