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9:25 AM - 10.09.17
Something I'm Good At

Something I'm Good At

(Laptop was running slow as hell, so I did the only thing my non-techie ass knew to do, and turned it - and my modem - off, then back on again. Seems to have helped.)

So much has happened recently I had to read my last couple entries just to see "where I left off" (I felt more "up to date" than I really am, because I'd written something since the last entry that ended up getting deleted).

I finished on Shameless this past week - When there were just two episodes left to shoot, I hoped I would be in at least one of them (Preferably #812 the last one), but ended up in both, so that was quite nice.

Shot that on Thursday. "Kermit" didn't have that much to do, but it was an enjoyable Shameless ensemble scene - with me, Mike, Shanola, Howey, Bill M., and a guest actor - so it was fun, and felt like a nice way to close out Season 8 (I think they're still shooting this week, then going to Chicago after that, but I'm all done for the season).

But speaking of Season 8 Shameless...

After hanging out with my friend Cary yesterday - more on that in a bit - I'm worried I've created the impression that this season has been somehow unpleasant or disappointing overall.

I get how that could seem the case - At the beginning of the season, I was disappointed because the series regulars were getting more money and the recurring characters, like me and Mike, were not (We stopped getting raises a couple years ago, though Casting keeps asking every season). And I know I've sometimes chafed at the limitations of the role, and groused about some afternoon calls where it took a long time before I actually did anything.

But all that aside, this was, in just about every respect, a better season for me than Season 7 - I shot more episodes, generally liked what I got to do more, got to participate in a promo "webisode" that was fun, and was approached by the PR department to be interviewed for - I think? - the Season 7 DVD box set, as part of a feature on "The Barflies Of Shameless".

(The interview is currently "on hold" - and maybe cancelled - because we couldn't seem to coordinate schedules...partly because they kept changing the schedule, and partly because they weren't going to pay us, because they consider it "publicity", which is clearly some bullshit - DVD extras aren't "publicity", they're fucking "content". But anyway, since no money was on the table, me and Mike felt no great need to move heaven and Earth to make it happen - We were both game to do it, mind you, but weren't prepared to "take a loss" on it by having to miss work, in my case, or hire a sitter, in his. So instead of just being available "whenever" - and like I said, they changed the schedule a couple times on their end when we would have been available otherwise - we had presented them with our "availability" as well, which seemed imminently reasonable under the circumstances. So it's maybe/probably not gonna happen, which is not that big a deal- Did I mention they weren't gonna pay us? - but that said, I was still pleased that someone thought we were an important enough part of the show to warrant the attention.)

Now, closing out the Shameless season would have made the past week a big deal all by itself, but add shooting Bosch on Friday, and you've got something of a milestone here - I have shot a number of things that took a couple days, and I have on a few occasions shot different gigs within a couple days or a week of each other, but far as I recall, I've never shot two different gigs back-to-back.

That felt pretty cool, all by itself.

I'd assumed I'd be shooting the episode (#406) at the studio in Hollywood, but it was actually on location at a real forensics lab affiliated with Cal State, I believe.

I was thrilled to have gotten the gig, and very excited - Did I mention how cool it was that I was working my second acting job in a week? - but it's literally been years since I worked a non-Shameless TV job, and I had kinda forgotten about the attendant nerves involved.

One surprise development that was both disappointing and exciting was that, when it was time to start shooting, I discovered I've worked with the Director on Shameless (She's directed a couple episodes I've been in).

The "disappointing" element there was that I'd been very excited that the audition I'd recorded on my cellphone had gotten me the job (I don't enjoy "putting myself on tape", in part because I've never booked a job from it and it feels "pointless", so I was very happy to have "broken that streak").

So there was no "streak-breaking" going on - the video I thought had gotten me the job hadn't really gotten me the job at all.

But actually, something better had happened - the Director saw it and said, "I've worked with him on Shameless - He'd be really good for this" (Or something to that effect), and made the case for me.

And that's exactly what you want to have happen, exactly what's supposed to happen - Someone you've worked with knows what you can do, or knows you're easy to work with, or both, and is up for doing it again.

The role (a co-star I think should have been a one-day guest-star) was kind of "the part that keeps on giving" - At first I thought it was just the two scenes (A scene with someone, then a scene on the phone), but when they emailed my agent with the deal, they said there would also be recording a voice-over in the next episode, which would be a separate contract...which meant a day's work that was going to pay less than I make on Shameless was now going to earn me about 25% more.

And when I read the entire script, I saw my character would be filmed doing a test on a gun (For a montage), which was very exciting, because I haven't fired a gun since I was a kid (I don't know if I've ever fired an actual handgun - just a rifle, and a bb gun or two), and I've never fired a gun on-camera.

Things were moving pretty briskly - From previous experience, I know this Director works so quickly it actually makes me nervous - so I was pretty horrified when I had some line issues in my scene with the other actor (which we shot after my "phone call" scene, which had gone fine).

I know the stumbling and fumbling didn't didn't go on that long but it felt like an eternity).

Then I recorded the "wild lines" for the next episode's phone conversation, which was fine (The only slightly "weird" thing about it? Since the Director wasn't directing that episode, I could tell she felt a little awkward about "encroaching" on the next Director's territory. But she was the Director on hand, so she okayed it after a few takes, and we moved on).

While they set up for the "testing" scene, I worked with the show's Firearms guy and an actual ballistics guy on how the test was supposed to go.

I was very nervous - there were about a dozen steps to the process, I really wanted to nail it, and there just wasn't going to be enough time for me to "get it down" to the point where I'd be completely comfortable and confident in my execution.

But I did my best.

(In the episode, it's going to end up being me in any shots where you're seeing my face, but probably the real guy for "inserts", where you're seeing close-ups of the gun being fired. I was very disappointed that I couldn't execute the bit well enough for that not to be necessary...but in my own defense, it's hard to look like an expert when you didn't know what you were doing 15 or 20 minutes before the camera started rolling.)

In any case, I did get to do it - I did the whole sequence a couple times - which was cool. And if it comes up again, I can hopefully be a little more confident the next time around (And in the interim, I think it might behoove me to get to a gun range).

So all-in-all, it was...challenging. Fun at times, and everyone was friendly, but also somewhat nerve-wracking (It took awhile for me and my fellow actor to talk to each other, but she turned out to be quite nice).

To be honest, I had more straight-ahead fun at the commercial callback I had afterward.

Initially, the fact that I had a commercial callback was "nerve-wracking" - My call for Bosch was 6:30 am, and the callback was 12:15, so I was all-but-certain it wasn't gonna happen - but happily, JS (My agent) told me I could go as late as 2:30, so I actually ended up going home for about 45 minutes, before driving to the audition in Hollywood.

Once there, I waited for a bit, then they called me into the room.

At a callback like this, there's maybe six or eight people in the room - The clients, the ad agency, the director, and casting - and I kind of like that. While it can feel a little "dehumanizing", because when you walk in it often seems like they aren't terribly interested in you as a person, it's a chance to perform...and if you start doing your thing, and you feel everyone started to take an interest, and respond, that's pretty gratifying.

And that happened in this callback.

They started out having me do the line I did at the original audition, in various ways, wanting to see what I could do.

Then they gave me another line, and had me play around with that.

Then they had me do something from another spot they have planned, doing the same thing - Kind of "taking me out for a test drive".

It was fun, and if I do say so myself, I was executing what was being asked of me very well.

And in terms of the work? Well, let's just say this - they don't keep you in the room that long and give you that much direction if they aren't seriously considering you.

In any case, it struck me as interesting that I got my rocks off more as an actor/performer/whatever-the-fuck-I-am while I was screwing around in an audition room than I did when working an actual job.

But it kinda/sorta makes sense - I was glad to be working, and it had its fun moments, but the Bosch thing was also a job, with the pressure that entails (Yes, I had already gotten the job, so the pressure was sort of "off", but I was very invested in not fucking up the job), while the commercial callback was just me doing a line, and I knew I knew how to do that.

If anything, I think Bosch posing something of a challenge actually helped me with the callback in this instance - Compared to trying to look like a pro executing a firearms test after 15 or 20 minutes of practice, going to a commercial callback and saying a line a couple different ways was a cakewalk.

After the callback, I did something I rarely do, because I know my agents are busy people who don't really have time for this shit - I emailed JS just to tell him the callback had gone really well, and I was glad I'd gotten the chance to go, because it was really fun.

I did that for a very specific reason (And not really for JS, clearly) - Auditions often go well, sometimes really well, but I still don't book the gig.

And when that happens, it's easy for the experience to go sour in my mind - I second guess myself about how well I did, and the disappointment over not booking overwhelms the memory of having a good time in the room, and knowing, for that couple minutes at least, that this is something I'm really good at.

So I wanted to say it to someone. So I'd hopefully remember, even if this is another one that "doesn't go my way", that I had fun.

And this is something I'm good at.

...and on that note, I have loads more to write about, but I think that's enough for now (Besides, I want to lie down a bit before Zumba class)...


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