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9:24 am - Thurs 5/27/04


Weds 5/26/04 (10:42 p.m.)

Well, in another example of "Shows How Much I Know", I ended up getting a callback for the "Nick At Nite" spot I auditioned for last week.

If you remember, I was pretty unhappy after that audition, because I felt I'd "left my best performance in the lobby". But apparently, the performance that actually made it into the room was good enough.

Actually, I did better than just get a callback; when someone from JS called yesterday, it was to tell me they wanted to see me back for the spot I read for, and for another spot in the same "campaign" (I don't think they'd book me for both, though that would be nice, because it's two different characters; I'm assuming it's an either/or proposition). So I had to go to the casting place on Labrea twice today–Once at 11:00, then again at 3:00–to do the two different things.

The first spot was the "new" one. In it, I was a husband, at the beach with his wife, who thinks the suntan lotion he's using has way more "sun protection" than it actually does (He ends up burnt to a crisp; interestingly enough, it wasn't the first time I've had to act like I had a severe sunburn–Jane directed me in The Star Spangled Girl a zillion years ago, and there was a "sunburn scene" in that as well).

The noteworthy thing was that it was the first time I've ever had to take my shirt off at an audition (I feared that would be the case when JS described the spot to me, and wasn't exactly thrilled with the idea).

That was a big leap for me to make. I've always been on the shy side, physically , and in any case, am very sensitive about my body these days; As I think I've mentioned in here, I am a very hairy individual (In my case, puberty hit early and hard), and am getting hairier by the minute. And when you add a substantial "spare tire", and an upper body that hasn't seen the sun in at least 25 years...well, let's just say it's not a pretty picture.

But I did it, because after all, it's not a "moral issue"–It's just me being uncomfortable with my appearance–and wasn't I just writing the other day about "feeling the fear and doing it anyway", not worrying about what people think, and all that other happy horseshit?

(As I know from long experience, it's pretty easy to say stuff like that, quite a bit harder to actually do it.)

Anyway, I did the scene with one actress, sitting in adjoining beach chairs, and it seemed to go pretty well. Then she left, and I was paired with another actress (By itself, this doesn't mean the director was especially excited about me--They were just short on guys at the time).

And I didn't die of shame from having my shirt off.

In all, I had the opportunity to do it six or seven times, so I certainly can't say I didn't have a good crack at it. But that said, given the choice–In terms of which spot I'd rather book-- I have a strong preference for the second one.

In that one–the one I'd done at the initial audition--I was manager of an ice cream store, and the "spokesman" in the spot: Two women are in the store, and when one buys a huge frozen yogurt, with sprinkles and whatnot, and is called on it by her friend ("Aren't you on a diet...?"), "Frozen Yogurt Woman" says "Oh, it's a ‘small', and it's only 40 calories..." as she starts blowing up like the mean girl from Willy Wonka.

There was also a sullen teen "clerk" in the spot, who I have to yell at in the middle of my spiel ("This woman's false sense of security has been brought to you by Nick at Nite...") cause he's squirting a can of whipped cream into his mouth.

The director–also named Jim–had me and the two women stay, while he called in another kid to play the clerk (The women also changed roles at one point). So once again, I had a number of chances to do my bit.

And unlike auditions where I'm reading by myself, I felt good when, after an initial "tweak" (He wanted me to "smooth out" my delivery), the director didn't give me much direction; from my community theatre experience, I'm used to often being left alone while the director works with people who needs more help (In that situation, it doesn't feel like anyone's "being taken out for a test drive". It's more about just trying to make the scene work better).

And I was glad they changed the copy, which didn't make a lot of sense initially.

The two spots (And a third spot I wasn't up for) have the common thread of people not getting what they think they're getting, and having "a false sense of security" about it (In the third spot, a high powered exec thinks he's getting "de-caf" when he's actually getting "caf"). And bizarrely, instead of going against that idea with the product--positioning it as the antidote to this "false sense of security"-- the "tag line" of the spots was "Nick at Nite. Providing a false sense of security since 1985".

I think that was a big reason I came out of the initial audition not feeling as good as I might have–I was uncomfortable with that line, and felt like the spot didn't make sense–so I was happy when they changed it to "Nick at Nite: Something you can count on".

So anyway, I guess we'll see what happens (The "Sunburn" spot shoots on the 1st of next month, while the "Frozen Yogurt" one shoots on the 8th. They'd both fall during my upcoming two week vacation; the first one's the day before Kevin gets here, and the second's a couple days before he leaves). I left feeling that "There's No Reason I Couldn't Get This" feeling, which is often the harbinger of good news.


My "rival" was there yesterday (At my second callback). I found out his name is Jay.

Rocco DiNoblia was there as well (Rocco--a dead ringer for Joe Pesci during his heyday--read with me at one point during the Hyundai audition, and I thought we would have made a good "Abbott and Costello"-type pairing).

Both Jay and Rocco had skipped the initial audition, going "straight-to-callback".

At first, I was a little "put out" by that--"Why didn't I get to skip the first audition?", I thought--but then I realized it meant I was "more familiar with the material", and had the advantage of going in knowing I had the right idea (And a number of guys at the Hyundai commercial had been "straight-to-callback"--I was on my third audition at that point--and who ended up walking out with the gig?)

Today, I have two auditions, for regional concerns (Northwest Natural, and Alabama Power).

Kind of interesting--They both involve me talking on the phone.

In the Alabama Power one, I'm "Old Man Winter".

I wasn't really told what to wear, beyond "creating my own concept" ("Maybe a scarf", the person from JS said), so I'm going to do something I think will be novel--I'm going to wear my nice winter scene sweater under a leather jacket and a black knit cap: Old Man Winter As Biker Guy.

It may not be what they were looking for, but at least they'll know I was thinking...

But I've gotta get my ass in gear. I need to grab something to eat, and head over to Danny Goldmans, for my first audition of the day.

See ya later...


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