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8:10 am - Thurs 1/3/2013
The Big Story Of 2012

The Big Story of 2012 (Hint: It had nothing to do with acting)

(Trying something a little different, and doing this at the beginning of the day, instead of the end...)

Well, my last audition of 2012 - a regional commercial for 5th 3rd Bank - has become my first callback of 2013 (At 1:00 pm).

I thought I'd get this callback, to be honest; in spite of wishing I'd had more time with the copy - which was more "dialogue heavy" than usual - I felt pretty good about the initial audition.

Anyway, it would be nice to immediately start off the year with a booking (Besides the sweet, sweet money, this is a fun spot, and not the type of character I typically play).

And while it's not a "national", you never know what can happen; I did a regional commercial for the Yellow Pages years back, and it ended up being my longest-running spot (I never saw it on tv myself, but got residuals on it for a couple years).


Still feeling "reflective" about 2012...

My last entry was all about how my career went in 2012, but as I indicated, things didn't really progress on that front the way I'd hoped; unlike most years since I've been out here in LA, acting wasn't really "The Big Story" in 2012.

"The Big Story" was big indeed - 2012 was the year I met my Mother and brother Tony (And was able to tell another brother, Gregg - a half-brother on my father's side - that we actually are related; Gregg had contacted me years before, after coming across one of my journal entries, wondering if we were related. But my Mother had previously misinformed me about who my father was, I guess to "spare my feelings" or something, so I'd told Gregg we were not, in fact, related).

I don't remember what the initial impetus was to give contact another try - It's an urge that's struck me every couple years or so, but I've typically confined said "urge" to a cursory Google search - but in any case, I sent out letters in April, I believe it was, to my older brother Chuck and younger brother Tony.

The letter to Chuck got returned - probably just as well, I learned later - but Tony made contact with me, and we spoke on the phone a number of times, and became Facebook friends.

Mom was not initially thrilled by this turn-of-events, which is pretty understandable - She'd spent most of her life trying to "put the past behind her", and now here it was, saying, "Hey Everybody, look at me!".

She was afraid "what people would think of her" - because it was pretty scandalous stuff "back in the day" - and probably afraid of what contact with me would be like (Particularly after re-connecting with Chuck, who, according to Tony, is "A drug-addicted ex-con who never comes around unless he wants a hand-out").

But happily, she came around, and has since told me, more than once, "I'm glad this happened", which I find tremendously gratifying.

Writing about this brings up complicated feelings that are fighting being neatly "summed up" (You can trust I'll be delving into those "complicated feelings" in the days and weeks to come).

But what I can say is that meeting my Mother - who I'm still "getting to know", but who seems like a very nice, decent person - is something I'd "given up on". I'd thought I would die without ever knowing her or having any kind of relationship with her, and now here we are - I've met her, we're corresponding, I'm calling her on holidays, just like I'm her adult son and she's my Mom.

And with Tony, I've laughed with him, and argued, and there were times we weren't talking to each other...just like brothers.

Those are experiences I never expected to have, and feelings I never expected to feel.

As "Spock" might say, it's "Fascinating...".

I'm still working out the whole "What Family Means To Me" thing, but the fact that what's happened has happened lends credence to the idea that "Anything's Possible".

And I like that idea "bouncing around" in my head.

And for someone who often struggles to act - Yeah, the professional actor is seeing the irony there - this is a testament to "the power of taking action". Cause even a small action can end up having big results - A couple mouse clicks on the computer, sending out two one-page letters, and Voila! Now I have family.

I'd say that's a pretty good "return on my investment".


The other thing that feels "noteworthy" about 2012 isn't an "event", so much as a "feeling"...I guess.

And it was really brought about by Facebook.

I'll explain.

In the past year, I found myself being very politically "vocal" on Facebook - Between the election, recent union-busting shenanigans in Michigan, the attempt to roll back women's reproductive rights across the country, and the shootings in Newtown, CT (Amongst other other issues), I've made it very clear where I stand on any number of political issues, to the occasional annoyance and upset of others (Particularly Tony, who is on the opposite side of the fence from me on pretty much any political issue you'd care to name).

It was a pretty pointless exercise; beyond the good feeling of having people who already agree with me agreeing with me, I angered people (especially Tony) for no good reason, upset myself, and didn't convince anyone of anything.

But, it did get me thinking about how I feel about things, and why, and about what's "pointless" expression (ex. political pontificating on Facebook) vs. what might make at least some difference in the world (ex Calling/writing my representatives in Congress on issues of particular concern).

Honestly, it's really hard to imagine I'm going to now become some tireless political activist (In part because I'm pretty tired already, and I haven't done anything!), but it's like I've already suggested in a previous entry or two - you might not be able to do everything to make your situation and/or the world around you better, but you can do something.

(And even a tired guy like Yours Truly can make a phone call or write a letter now and again).


(3:20 pm)

Back from my callback.

It's interesting how "manic/depressive" I can be over the course of a callback...

At one point, while a group of us were waiting, we were told a particular line of copy had been cut; not "the end of the world" or anything, but I was a little bummed on two fronts (On the one hand, it was my line and I thought it was "fun". And I was mildly frustrated over the time I'd now "wasted" working on it).

A few minutes before I was to go in, I was paired-up with "Matt", a younger actor (The premise of the spot is I'm the head of a crappy money-management company showing "the new guy" - my new friend Matt - the ropes).

We went over the lines a few times - Matt was temporarily concerned about getting the name of the bank right when he accidentally called it "3rd 4th Bank" the first time we went through it - then we just made small talk till we were called in.

We went in, slated, and the director gave us the basics on our blocking and what he wanted to see happen...and once again, I was kind of bummed; instead of the engaged, enthusiastic guy I'd played at the initial audition, the director wanted my head down (Looking at a prop clipboard), delivering my lines as if this was a rote speech I'd given to many "New Guys" many times before.

(I'm always disappointed when I go into a callback thinking they liked the "choices" I made, and then finding they don't want me to do them, that they really just liked the fact that I'm bald, or have dark circles under my eyes, or something.)

And the blocking, while pretty simple and essentially the same as before, was different enough that I remember thinking "I was more comfortable the way we did it before...".

But we did it, and afterward, the Director took a moment, thinking about what he'd just seen, wanting to give us some direction, then said, "I don't know what to tell you, that was really good".

But then he did think of some things he wanted to see, because he had us do it again, maybe another four or five times, dropping this thing or adding that thing.

Matt's only been here three years, but he's savvy enough about these things that we were both "on the same page" when we left, walking out to our cars together - They were clearly interested in us.

So we'll see.

I'd like to book it, of course, but even if I don't, I clearly "delivered the goods", and that's all you can do.

(And the "choice" I made about the way I laughed at a certain point really paid off, so that was gratifying to my "Inner Actor".)

So I'm going to say that, regardless of how this goes, the year is off to a good start.


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