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10:20 AM - Mon 1.19.15
The Narrator Narrates

The Narrator Narrates

(Just finished the second episode of Shameless - And for the record, I thought it was an improvement on the season debut. Clearly, they're working up to the 4th episode, which is - coincidentally - "my episode", and will undoubtedly be the "high-water mark" of the first half of the season. But anyway...)

Since I last wrote, acting, to my chagrin, continues to be a thing that isn't happening.

I said on Facebook that I'm picking up new headshots today, hoping that, somehow, the gesture itself will magically make auditions start to appear.

But right now, it's very hard to feel optimistic (I can definitely be "optimistic" when auditions are happening, even if I'm not booking - "Where there's life, there's hope" and all that - but when I'm not being invited to join in any reindeer games, the fear & doubt that kept me from doing this for so long starts a-knockin', mocking me for finally daring to take action - "You thought you were going to hit town at 40, not knowing what you were doing, with no backup plan, and it was all going to somehow just 'work out'? HAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA....!").

(And this is the part of the entry where I'm torn about how-to-proceed - the writer in me wants to "get into this", because "It's where I am right now", and that's good stuff to write about. But the guy who just wants to be happy says, "Move on Jim - you're just going to make yourself feel depressed and defeated if you wallow in this shit". And the actor is conflicted, wanting to "rise above all the bullshit" and be successful, but also, on some level, enjoying the "drama" of depression and upset, which makes his life seem like some epic struggle, when, "in the grand scheme of things", it's small potatoes. But anyway...)

If we want to get into "things that have actually happened" since I last wrote, I've had two WW telephone "coaching sessions".

As I've said before, part of my "resistance" to the personal coaching was just flat-out fear - I didn't think I'd be up-to-the-task, basically.

And the first call, even though it seemed like we got on well enough, was scary, went on for longer than it should have, and was more than a little "messy", and the fact that he didn't sign up for a follow-up session made me feel like it hadn't gone even as well as I'd imagined (And I'd given myself a grade somewhere between a B and a B-).

But I felt better about the members I talked to on Weds night and Sun afternoon, and "the proof is in the pudding" - I'll be having a follow-up session with "Tom" on Weds, and with "Sam" (My first female member) on Sun.

(10:44 pm)

It was a genuinely nice surprise that I enjoyed all three calls, but it probably shouldn't have been surprising - I enjoy my work at WW well enough most days, and the same dynamic basically applies with these calls; people come to WW for help, and I'm there, in large part, because I want to be helpful, so why would we not find ourselves in an agreeable situation?

(The dynamic can be a little more complicated than that, but I really think that's basically it.)

Before this began, I think one of my big fears was that there would be demands placed on me by the member that I wouldn't be equipped to deal with, and wouldn't want to deal with (Dealing with endless questions about the minutae of the program - which are really just in the member's mind, and which makes my eyes glaze over with boredom in a hurry, and which I think seriously "misses the point" - or having a member be "helpless", and expect me to "do the program for them").

But, so far anyway, that hasn't really been the case. I don't honestly think I was in a position to help the first member I spoke to, even if I had handled the session flawlessly (He's doing something right now that really isn't WW, and actually runs pretty counter to WW, so I don't have much to offer him), but the other two members are just looking for support and accountability, and I can definitely provide that.

I've still got to work on what I'm doing on the phone, but I'm motivated to get better at it, and I like engaging with the people I've worked with so far, so I do think I'll end up being fairly good at this.

So I'm happy I'm - thus far, anyway - enjoying the work.

But, to be blunt, I need more than just "enjoying the work". Cause "enjoying the work" doesn't keep a roof over my head or pay for groceries.

I needs to get paid.

And it's really hard to see how the money from this "adds up" to anything meaningful (And by "meaningful", I mean "being able to pay all my bills with it"). Though I'm holding out hope that at least, if I develop a "clientele", and it's a thing WW sticks with, it might help me get back to "full time" status, and that by itself would be a good thing (Paid holidays, health coverage if I don't work enough to get it through SAG, etc).

But again, I need money.

And, bizarre as it sounds, at this point acting is my best shot at it; I'm not succeeding the way I want to, and last year was pretty dismal (Shameless notwithstanding), but most years (In the past five or six, anyway), I've made more acting - between however many days I work (I think the record's been about two weeks) and residuals (For work that's already been done) - than in a full year at WW.

What else could I do at this point where I'd be able to say that?

But speaking of WW, it's gotten late, and I've gotta work tomorrow.

Time to go to bed, and dream of acting auditions that will lead to artistically and financial rewarding bookings...


Tues 1/20/15 (10:50 pm)

I was thinking earlier today about things I say or think about a lot, and what they suggest about "where my head's at" these days.

For example, I've noticed I talk about "threading the needle" a lot, whether it's regarding how "realistic" a "realistic" piece of entertainment should be (Not so much it's boring, not so little it's unbelievable), about being informed about what's going on in the world without being overwhelmed by it, or about the challenge of being honest with someone without being hurtful.

Sometimes I'm expressing admiration about how well someone's "thread the needle", or describing the dilemma someone's in when they have to attempt it, and sometimes I'm recounting my own efforts in "needle threading", but in any case, it's clearly "something that means something" to me.

Another thing I think about a lot is...well, I'm not completely sure what to call it.

"Cognitive dissonance"?

Many years ago, I remember reading a definition of "genius" as "being able to hold two conflicting ideas in one's head simultaneously".

So...the "cognitive dissonance" involved in "conflicting desires", perhaps?

I think about things, like, how I'd really enjoy having a nice bike...but if I had a nice bike, I'd never know a moment's peace, being terrified every time I parked it somewhere that it wouldn't be there when I got back...but I still think I'd like to have a nice bike (Or a nice car, or a nice whatever).

Or how I enjoy my job at WW most times...but would quit in a heartbeat if I could (If I "came into money" somehow, for example), even though I think life without WW would be kind of a problem, particularly if it were just like my life now, minus someplace to go to for regular "people contact" (Me going from WW to a tv series? An adjustment, but probably not a problem. Me somehow being in a position where I didn't have to work, and I had to "figure out what to do with myself"? Problem).

And something I seem to be thinking about a lot lately are "narratives", the stories people tell, and the stories I've told myself, about "the way things should work", or "the way life is supposed to go", that are so much a part of us that they interfere with our ability to grow and change and adjust to reality.

Like, I've thought about how, for a good chunk of my early life, I told myself I was going to be a famous actor because that seemed "fair", that I'd suffered and felt lost and alone and unloved as a child, and because of that, I was due some huge reward (And I decided, "Become a famous actor and have everyone love me" would be just the ticket).

It seems to me that finding "balance" figures in to all this - balancing conflicting needs, conflicting desires, balancing the distance between who you are and what life is and who you wanted to be and how you thought life was going to work out.

But right now, I've got to balance my desire to write with my desire to get some sleep...


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