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11:55 pm - Sun 3.29.2009
The Right Actor

The Right Actor For The Job

(Note to Dave: Congrats on your Weight Watchers success! And I'm glad, for once, that I was "a good example" instead of "a cautionary tale"!)

Well, there's a couple bits of good news to report today...

The first bit of good news: Earlier today, I got a call from the prosecutor's office - the defendant in the hit-and-run case took a plea, so I'm done with court!

I'm very pleased about that.

The prosecutor thanked me, suggesting that seeing me in court (Along with another eyewitness, and a half dozen of his victims) was what finally persuaded the guy to take a deal - he finally realized a trial wouldn't be in his own best interests.

I'm tempted to say "that's the last time I'll wait around for the police after an accident...!", and joke about no good deed going unpunished, but really, I did what I was supposed to do. And if/when the situation comes up again, I'll likely do the same thing.

(Actually, today, on the way home from Weight Watchers, I happened across a pretty fresh accident on Highland, and breathed a sigh of relief that I hadn't gotten there a moment or two earlier...)

The other bit of good news is that there's been another flurry of checks in the mail!

In ascending order (by amount), there was a check from my SAG health plan (A refund for overpayment on a bill), another residual check for the AT&T spot, my state tax refund (Which had been delayed until California could come up with the dough), and a residual check for the Book Of Inside Information infomercial.

All together, they total $745 and change (Which is basically a month's rent, my land-line bill, and a cheap movie in Los Feliz. Though I do owe Brett a chunk of that Book Of Inside Information money, since he submitted me for it).

It's particularly nice getting that last check - I'd never booked an infomercial before, and it was only my second AFTRA job, so I wasn't clear on the particulars concerning residuals ("Not clear" as in "Do I get residuals for this...?"); it's just a long-form commercial, so it made sense that I should get residuals, but it's AFTRA, so who knew what they might have contractually given away to the producers?

So anyway, nice to find out there's going to be some additional income from that (Impossible to know how much, but "every little bit helps", as they say), and nice to think that my work is now "out there".

(Which reminds me - I have to call the production company again, and get a dvd of the spot; I want to get it on YouTube and on my reel, and anywhere else it might do me some good!)

I'm hungry for "fresh" success, but it's nice to be reminded, with a couple checks in the mail, that's there's already been success.

I've been the right actor for the job before.

And before too long, I'll be the right actor for the job again.

11:14 pm - Friday, Jan. 10, 2003
Right where I want to be

Right Where I Want To Be

(There's a grocery truck in my neighborhood that plays "The Entertainer" over its loudspeaker. And every time I hear it, I think two things; 1) "I wonder what Scott Joplin would think of that?", and 2) "Would they be playing that song if it hadn't been used in The Sting back in the 70's?". But anyway...)

On Wednesday, while at work, I checked my voicemail, and there was a message from JS; I had an audition the next morning, at 9:30, for Citibank.

I was supposed to be a magician, and they wanted me in a vintage 1930s tux (!).

I'm not kidding.

Now of course, I don't have a vintage 1930's tux. I don't have a tux, period, 1930's vintage or otherwise (I actually had a tux briefly, from my short stint as a wedding reception host--more on that at a later date--but I stupidly threw it out when I made my move to LA. I've regretted that decision a number of times since being out here).

And I think this is an interesting insight into my character--My very first reaction to this was to go into maximum stress-out mode. I really wanted to be able to give them what they were asking for, and walk in with a full-on top hat and tails. I was upset and disappointed that there was no way I could make that happen (I felt like "Oh Great! I'm screwed before I even get there!").

My first response was wanting to accomodate them, and to assume they really expected people to fulfill this demand. And I didn't want to go in and have them say "Hey, weren't you told you were supposed to be in a tux?".

I called JS on his cellphone, since the office was closed at that point, and said I didn't have a tux of any type, and had no way to get one between that time and the audition. And I apologized for calling him on his cell phone, but I didn't know if he wanted me to go to the audition under the circumstances.

He said, "Well, I don't want you to miss out on the audition". Then he asked if I had a black suit.

I said "Uh...I have a suit...", he said to wear it, and that was that.

But I still wasn't happy. And I found myself getting annoyed at the casting people--"Damn, don't these people have any @#!! imaginations"?--and I didn't even want to go to the thing ("What's the point?", I thought to myself).

It was the clearest demonstration in recent memory of how I don't want to do anything if I can't do it right.

And I thought about my suit, which is pretty dull--More "Willy Loman" than "The Amazing Jim"--and I thought about how it bore no resemblance to a tux at all. So I decided I'd wear something else instead; My black cardigan, black jeans, brown pattern vest, and white shirt, topped off with a red tie, would at least give them the right "color scheme" if nothing else.

And once I decided on that, once I had commited to doing the best I could, I felt a lot better.

And the next morning, when I went to the audition, I had a burst of good feeling like I haven't had in months. It just hit me as I was driving; I wasn't just fantasizing about being an actor anymore. And at that particular moment, I couldn't think of anywhere I would rather have been than on my way to a commercial audition, an audition where anything could happen. An audition that could have a huge effect on my life.

And the audition ended up being pretty fun, all-in-all. They kept me waiting almost half an hour after my appointment time (Which happened the last time I had an audition at this place), and I went over and over the script, only to basically be told to do the opposite of what was indicated when the time came (So much for trying to prepare...), but I felt like I was actually given a chance to do my best.

The commercial was for Citibank credit cards. I was supposed to be a very bad magician, who has just called a woman up from the audience; I get a $20 bill from her, make it disappear, then when I reach into my hat to make the $20 reappear, I'm attacked by an angry rabbit (While I'm struggling with the rabbit, the woman is looking in the hat, wondering if she's going to get her $20 back).

The script referred to the magician "flinging" his arm around, trying to dislodge the rabbit that's clamped on one of his fingers. Then when he finally succeeds, there's a moment's pause, but the rabbit leaps at him again, and they both fall to the floor in a battle to the death (Basically, it's the "Killer Rabbit" from Monty Python and the Holy Grail).

I thought it was pretty funny, and I was really prepared to go for it, but when I was called in, the casting guy said the director doesn't like "Jim Carrey physical schtick", and demonstrated what he had in mind, which wasn't funny at all.

Anyway, he had us do it once, then amazingly enough, had us do it again, after giving a few directions (He told the woman that she had started to do too much right at the end. Then he told me he really liked what I was doing, that it was just right, but then as we were about to do it the second time, he told me to try it being less "showy").

It was only the second time I've gotten a "do-over" (This guy also took a second polaroid of me when he didn't like how the first one had turned out). It made me feel like he actually wanted us to have a chance to do our best.

I still didn't think I'd done anything that was gonna blow people away, but I appreciated being given the chance (And the guy was nice, exchanging small talk with the two of us while he was setting up the camera and whatnot). It was nice to be treated like a person.

I missed a turn on the way home, and ended up going out of my way, but made it home eventually (And it didn't matter anyway, since I didn't have anywhere I had to be anyhow).

And I shouldn't have done it, but on the way back home, I decided I really wanted to have breakfast at Denny's (Partly because I didn't have any food in the house, but mostly because I just wanted to treat myself).

I knew I shouldn't be spending the money, because I didn't really have the money to spend, but I did it anyway.

And you know what? It was the best steak-and-eggs I've had in a long time.

It was a morning like the Geffen audition, where I found myself thinking "This is how I want things to be...". Take the bookstore out of the equation, add a relationship, and I'd be a pretty happy camper.


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