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10:14 PM - Tues 5.26.15
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Just finished re-reading my last entry, and noticed there were a couple typos I missed during my "editing process".

I left them where they were. Because that's just how lazy I am.

Anyway...had another commercial audition today, and it was disappointing in the way these things often are.

As an actor who doesn't really do a lot of "acting" anymore (And am I ever going to actually do anything about that?), it's exciting, in a commercial audition, when I get an honest-to-god little "scene" to play, where I see an actual "character", and I imagine I'm going to go in and impress them with my "take" on things.

And then I go in, and they instruct us, "Don't do anything". And they often couch that instruction in terms of "being real" or to "just be yourself". Which makes me want to say, "But in real life, in this set of circumstances, I would speak with energy and some expression..." (Of course, I never, ever, say that).

Years down the road, I still have a tough time with this instruction. But today, I realized one of the problems I have with it stems from the "breakdowns" (The notices casting directors send out about what roles they're currently casting) - The one today went into some detail about my character, and even gave me a famous actor's persona as a template.

So why would't I expect to "act" when I got there? They literally told me to "Act like this guy"!

They do that sort of thing a lot - For example, every other commercial breakdown says something about "improv experience", when there's no element of improv to the spot at all (I know - people will say "they're looking for the spontaneity of improv performers" - but still...!).

I think they should dispense with the elaborate character build-up and "requirements" of the role ("Must be great with dialogue" is a big one), and just say, nine-times-out-of-ten, "We know you want to capital-A "Act", but just say the words, 'Master Thespian'!"

(It's one reason I prefer theatrical auditions - most times, there really is a scene to play, albeit usually a quick one, and something of a character, and I don't think anyone's ever told me to "not do anything".)

So anyway, it wasn't really satisfying to "perform" (Not to mention we were told to look at two scripts, so of course, I spent the bulk of my time working on the somewhat more "involved" one they actually didn't have us do).

And I was paired with an actress who - while I understood a little bit of her confusion at one point (We had to play a moment that, in the actual spot, would be done by editing, and I didn't get it right initially either) - actually had questions about her "motivation".


Which left me wanting to scream, "Oh my GOD - It's a fucking four-line exchange! Are you nuts? You should have figured that shit out before we got in here!

Which is all my roundabout way of saying, "This one didn't feel that good". Maybe I'll get a callback - cause who knows? - but I wouldn't really understand how, or why.

So that being said, it was nice when I left, and was walking back to my car, to see I had a message from the production company for the "Energy Company" commercial (Re: Tomorrow's wardrobe fitting).

I was hoping I'd feel better about today's thing, but since I didn't, it felt good to have an immediate reminder that I do book jobs every-so-often.


Fri 5/29/15

My commercial agent recently asked us to answer these questions for a "potential project" he's considering (A "how-to" book, I'm presuming?):

When did you move to Los Angeles? From where? At what age?

I moved to LA in 2001, from Lansing, Michigan. I was 39.

What was your first impression of LA when you arrived?

Big. Scary. Big & Scary. Was afraid I'd be dodging gunfire on a daily basis.

Did you do any research prior to moving to LA?
Read any books, talk to anyone “in the know”, etc?

I read some books about the business. I visited a friend who lived out here (About a year before making the move myself).

How long have you been in LA?

14 years and counting.

Did you have actor friends in LA when you arrived?

I had the one, who'd moved to LA bout five years previous. But ultimately, a bigger source of support was another friend, not in the business, who'd been living in LA for a year or so before I arrived.

Did you do plays and theatrical productions in high school and university?

High school and community college, yes.

Did you get a theatre degree at college/university? If not, did you attend university and, if so, what was your major?

Had intended to - grades were bad in high school, so the idea was to go to community college and transfer (And pursue a theater degree) - but it didn't happen.

Had you been represented/worked as an actor in any other city prior to coming to LA?

Never represented outside of LA - my professional experience prior to moving here primarily consisted of some summer stock and dinner theater (I din't learn how to drive till I was in my late 20s, and even after that, often didn't have a car. And to actively pursue professional work in Michigan, you had to be willing and able to traverse the state).

For you, what is the most disappointing/frustrating thing about pursuing an acting career in LA?

Where do I start...?

Before I came out here, I had a black-and-white view of "success" and "failure" as an actor trying to "make it in the big time". I thought there would be some definitive point where either you'd know it wasn't happening/wasn't going to happen, or else, after plugging along for awhile, you'd "make it", be a "success", and never look back.

I didn't grasp that you could end up in a lifelong purgatory of struggle, where you succeed just enough to not want to quit (Because "What if...?"), but never really enough to "quit your day job", let alone be able to travel, or have nice things, or do great work.

Do you audition for plays here in LA?

I did early on, and I've been feeling like I need to find my way back to it (Since it might provide opportunities to actually "act" that I'm not getting otherwise), but it's been quite awhile now.

What do you think is the biggest misconception about Hollywood to people who don’t live here and/or work in the industry?

A big one to me is that, because of the lag time between my shooting something and the thing actually airing (And maybe an unrealistic view of what day players on tv make), people assume I'm doing better than I am, financially, because "I just saw you on tv!". Depending on who I'm talking to, I either let them think that, or I explain, "I shot that bit you saw months ago, got paid (Probably less than you think I did), and that money is long gone!".

I think people perceive the industry to be more glamorous than it really is, at leaat at the "day player" level.

How long did it take for you to become a SAG/AFTRA member? (This question is obviously for those of you who are SAG!)
How did you get your SAG card?

About four years? Could have gotten it sooner, but I made some tactical blunders along the way. And I got it through commercials.

Knowing what you know right now, what advice would you give to someone looking to you for advice/guidance about moving to LA to be an actor?

I had no real on-camera experience before I came out here, which made my first number of bookings very scary experiences . So I'd suggest doing whatever you need to do to act on camera, so you're comfortable, you know what you look like, and you understand how it works.

The other thing I'd say is more general - Not a warning to NOT do it, but a definite message (From the perspective of someone who started in mid-life) to do it NOW if you really want/need to do it. It will not get easier with time and age - Not for THIS guy


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