2:20 PM - Mon 6.25.18
(As I begin, it doesn't seem like there's much to write about...but we'll see what happens.)
"Shameless-ed" this past Thursday (ep #904) - Had one nice scene, then was basically a well-paid extra for a couple scenes.
It was a long day (Call was 8:15 am and I got home around 12 hours later), but I was getting paid and didn't have anywhere I needed to run off to, so it wasn't that big a deal...though I've been sick the past couple days, and it was a little discouraging to think that working just a few long days over the past couple weeks was enough to take me down (Though Steve Howie mentioned being sick). It made me wonder, not for the first time, how I'd manage if lightning were to strike, and I booked a series regular role that required long days on a regular basis.
I'm on for the next episode - directed by Macy - but doesn't look like I'll be shooting till sometime next week (They're still working on #904 till Wednesday, I think, and if I were shooting Thursday or Friday, I probably would have heard by now).
There's been no invite to the #905 table read at this point, so I'm assuming there'll be less to do in #905 than in the past couple episodes. But hard to say - Haven't gotten a script yet, and there may be one good scene in the bar, I may get a really funny line or two, who knows? So I'm going to hold off on feeling disappointed, say, till I read the actual script. At this point, it will just "be nice to be invited".
But in terms of how much I've gotten to do, it has been "a good run" so far this season. There wasn't much to do in the first episode, but the next three gave me enough to be fairly satisfying - cracks about being a "well-paid extra" notwithstanding - and with more than half the season left to shoot, I feel hopeful there'll be more where that came from (I've heard we're shooting 14 episodes this year, so hoping that'll mean an extra episode or two for Yours Truly - Shot 9 episodes of 12 last year, so would be nice if I got, say, 11 or 12 of 14 this year. I've never been in every episode of a season, so wanting "14 our of 14" is a pipe dream).
Acting-wise, Shameless has pretty much been "the only game in town" - Theatrical auditions have been few and far between (I've had one this month, and one last month), and off the top of my head, I can't tell you when my last commercial audition was.
But it's "that time of year" - when relatively little is happening - so am telling myself to hold off crying about how dead things are until at least mid-August.
Fun thing happened last time I was shooting - during a break in the action, I was walking from the soundstage to my trailer (With Mike M. not too far behind) and some people on one of the nearly-constant studio tours recognized us and got very excited (They waved and shouted, and we waved and shouted back).
(For the record, that doesn't typically happen. For fun, I waved at a tour bus once, and the confused looks I got were pretty amusing - They figured I had to be somebody, but clearly had no idea who.)
Just back from Zumba - Thea, my instructor of choice, is gone this week, but Travis (The sub) was all right.
There really isn't much happening beyond Shameless...which is feeling like something of an "issue" for me.
It's not just it being "the only game in town" in terms of acting (though there is that). It's that it's the only anything.
And being "the only anything", it's not enough.
It doesn't pay enough, I don't do enough, I'm not making any friends from it (Beyond Mike), and it's not getting me "from point A to point B" (Me and Mike have talked about it more than once - Our mutual disappointment over thinking the show, in addition to being it's own very nice thing, would end up being a launching pad to bigger, better gigs to come).
I need acting to be a bigger part of my life, I need more creative fulfillment from acting...and, to be a full-fledged person, I need to have at least a couple things, other than acting, that mean something to me.
(Like, for example...)
The "Plan B" Zumba Group (Or "gang" as Salta likes to call it), which, sadly, is proving to be hard to get/keep rolling.
There's mainly the four of us - Beverly, Carlos, Salta, and myself - but even with that small a group, it's a challenge finding times all of us can work with (And when we do, we have to work around the class schedules at the Y - The last time we did something, we basically were off to the side of the Ping-Pong players, and I'm not sure they were all up for the distraction...though I did notice a couple Korean women kind-of bopping along).
I'm still hoping it's going to be a thing - In addition to the social element, which I need, I was hoping it would also be an opportunity to "up my game" in terms of the number of times a week I Zumba (Especially since I'm still considering getting certified as an instructor at some point) - but right now, I'm afraid it's going to just fizzle out.
And another opportunity to "do something" came my way earlier today...
My friend Liz emailed me, to ask if I wanted to participate in a workshop of her musical on PTSD on August 9th (I participated in a reading previously, I'm not sure how long ago now).
With the uncertainty of my schedule (Shameless will still be shooting at that point), and my strong preference toward staying in a rut (I actually thought for a second, "...but I'll miss some Zumba classes!"), I was wavering about committing to it.
....which is crazy, because this is exactly the kind of thing I should be doing in my spare time. It's me acting (And maybe singing, since it is a musical), potentially expanding my social circle, possibly making connections, and with any luck, having fun doing the thing I like to do and - theoretically at least - do better than anything else.
And it doesn't hurt that she's paying the actors a little something - It's tough these days to motivate myself to act for nothing, so the acknowledgment that my time and effort and participation are worth something.is meaningful to me (And definitely "sweetened the deal").
It also didn't hurt that she gave me a ready "out" if, say, I found out I was shooting a Shameless that day (No problem if I'm shooting one scene in the morning...but definitely a problem if I'm shooting multiple scenes like I have in the past couple episodes) - She apparently is working with a casting person who specializes in musical theater actors, so someone could be drafted relatively quickly (So why does she want/need me, you ask? And my answer is "I do not know" beyond "I guess she likes me?").
So anyway, that should be interesting.
But Shameless, the "Plan B Zumba Gang", and a possible brief return to musical theater aside, I'm struggling with a sense of - I don't know what - aimlessness?
A problem I'm having these days is nothing seems to mean much of anything. Nothing feels like it's "heading toward" anything, if you know what I mean.
But I'll have to "flesh this out" tomorrow, because it's gotten late, and it's past my bedtime...
Thurs 6/28/18 (2:30 pm)
Since I last wrote...
I can no longer say "I can't remember when I had my last commercial audition", because I had one on Tuesday.
I was asked to come in by the Director I once shot a commercial with back in 2009, who has never cast me since (But who's brought me in over and over through the years).
It's gotten so bad that my heart actually sinks when I hear I have a commercial audition where "the director requested you", because it's gonna be this guy, and the unhappy ritual of jumping through whatever hoops - I had a couple hour's notice on Tuesday, for example - is going to end up, as it always does, with me getting nothing out of it.
(For a time, I thought this was a hell only visited upon me - My explanation being that there was a tense moment on-set back in 2009, so he was now tormenting me for it by eternally dangling jobs in front of me that are never gonna happen - but apparently, this gentleman brings back anyone he's ever worked with, no matter how long ago. It's actually a running gag among actors: "So...how long since you did a commercial with him?".)
I thought the thing Tuesday was the "callback", because that's typically what he does - brings me in "straight-to-callback" - but turned out it was just a regular-old audition because I got notice yesterday for a callback today.
As I walked in, I passed an actor who told me they were waiting on women - It's a scene with a man and woman - but apparently, things had quickly shifted the other way, because I was told I'd be going in twice, with different women (They only do that if they don't have the right number of people/roles on hand).
The first time I got paired with a tall, regal-looking actress (Who, in my own estimation, had on too much makeup)..
There were some initial pleasantries (He was "remoting-in" from New York), we slated, did a take, got a re-direct, did it again, and that was it.
Since, as I've said, I've auditioned for this person a number of times, the rather perfunctory nature of the affair told me he wasn't interested - If you're "in the neighborhood" of what he's looking for, he "fiddles" with you a lot at a callback - so I was a little deflated.
The second woman I went in with was my friend Stephanie E., who I actually did a commercial with, way back in 2006.
She did a couple commercials with the director "back in the day", so he knew her.
We did the thing, got pretty much the same re-direct as the previous time I was in the room, did it again...then he asked us to read a 2nd spot (Which had been part of the 1st audition, which Stephanie hadn't done - Unlike me, she actually had been invited "straight to callback").
In the second spot, my character had the bulk of the scripted lines, but Stephanie was told to chime in with whatever little comments occurred to her, which she did very well (I think she's an improv person), and which I thought I handled pretty smoothly.
An interesting comment on my thought-processes in a situation like this - When I went in the first time and felt like he hadn't really bought it, I assumed he didn't like either of us, that we'd been rejected as a "couple". But when I went in with Stephanie and he had us read both spots, I immediately assumed I was just a warm body, and he was only interested in Stephanie - It wasn't till after the audition I even considered, "Maybe the two of us 'worked better' as a couple - After all, we've actually been cast that way before".
So, no call yet on the commercial.
(It's probably not happening.)
As I often say, I want to book everything (While the year is half-way over and I haven't booked anything)...but it would have been particularly nice to book this, because it shoots in Prague.
And I am dying to win a big "prize", like "a free trip overseas", because there haven't been any "big prizes" for a very long time now.
I want stories. I want things to brag about. I want forward momentum.
I want a lot of stuff.
I'm shooting Shameless #905 on Monday.
I'm in an unusual position with my friend Mike on the show - I'm shaping up as the more optimistic one in the relationship.
For the second time this season, Mike was thinking we'd gotten written out of the episode because it was taking so long for us to hear anything after the initial pin/avail (While I was the one saying, "I'm gonna hold out hope a bit longer...").
Which reminds me...It's just a coincidence, but I did want to take note of something - On Wednesday, when I heard Justice Kennedy was retiring from the SCOTUS (Giving the Turd-In-Chief a hard-right Justice, and basically overturning decades of progress), I selfishly thought, "I could really use some good personal news to focus on right now...".
And within the hour, I got news that I was indeed on for the next episode of the show, and that I had the commercial callback the next day.
(Since that doesn't usually happen, I try to take pains to remember - and mention - when it does. Just so I can tell myself, and you, that I'm not an "Eeyore" all the time.)
I feel alternately angry and depressed about the ongoing destruction of the country (As I told Mark and Jane when we spoke yesterday, the Game of Thrones-ish phrase "Evil is ascendant" keeps popping into my head).
The kidnapping of refugee children at the border has been particularly hard to bear - I'm not a parent, but I was a child separated from the only parent they'd ever known, so I have nothing but empathy here, and hatred for anyone who'd put kids through that, just so they could be used as hostages to a hateful agenda.
But beyond making a couple small donations - To the ACLU and to RAICES - I don't really know what to do about it. But while I ponder my role in things, I would like to find some way not to feel depressed and impotently angry all the time.
I'd like to figure out a way to enjoy my life.
But that's pretty much always been the struggle, hasn't it?
Till next time...
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