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6:00 PM - Sun 10.14.18

The Man With The Wrap-Party Rep

(Well, thought I was going to see A Star Is Born today - got myself showered and dressed and ready to go - but then that didn't happen. I just couldn't get myself out the door. So I guess I might as well do this...)

The 9th season Shameless wrap party was last night.

I'd asked Mia to go (Something I'd kinda put in place immediately after she'd accompanied me to the "100 Episodes" party some months back), and after clearing it with her current fella (Rance), she said yes.

But she had a thing happening on Monday that was causing her a load of stress and anxiety, which meant she'd had a miserable night's sleep on Friday, and, long story short, when I connected with her in the afternoon to firm up plans, she opted out (I'm feeling like there's a lot of "story" here I can't share with you, because it's Mia's business and not mine, but that's the gist).

Even though I'd experienced some slight "invitation remorse" after asking her (Wondering why I was asking someone who was "unavailable" rather than trying to get an actual date or just going stag and hanging out with Mike and dancing with whomever), I was fairly bummed by this turn of events.(Though quite understanding) - "Available" or not, she's lovely and fun and likes to dance, so I'd been expecting to once again have a good time, at a thing that can sometimes be a source of social anxiety.

Typically in this sort of circumstance, I'd just be disappointed and go to the thing by myself, probably letting my disappointment color how the evening went.

But much to my surprise, I quickly messaged an actress friend, explaining my situation, and asked if she'd like to be my on-short-notice "plus-one".

I wasn't expecting her to say yes, particularly on said short notice (Even assuming that she'd want to do it, I thought she'd likely already have plans for the indeed she did). But she explained the situation to the friend she'd made plans with, who gave her her blessing - turned out the friend is a big Shameless fan - and told me she was in.

I was slightly nervous about how the evening would go - with basically all the same worries I had when I went to the other party with Mia - but ended up having a lovely time.

Katie was funny and fun - and looked like a million bucks - and we danced a lot (Which, for me, is the saving grace at these things, since there are mostly strangers there, I'm uncomfortable with hours of small talk, and the food and drink is a temptation that, as a man with a "food issue", I don't really need).

I introduced her to Bill, and to Iain - An Executive Producer who frequently directs episodes - along with John Wells (Who I'd said beforehand we might not get anything more than a "Hello" from...which was the case), and she clearly appreciated the effort to get her in front of the heavy-hitters.

(Most of the regulars were no-shows - them showing up is always a hit-or-miss proposition, but it's particularly disappointing in a year when two of the regulars are leaving the show - but I explained to Katie that, for them, the real "party" is the location shooting in Chicago. In any case, she seemed like she was quite happy with the party as it stood.)

I made a perfunctory stab at doing something with her after (We were both somewhat disappointed at the relative lack of desserts - instead of the "dessert buffet" I'd imagined, they just had waiters walking around with a couple trays of tiny treats, which we mostly missed because we were dancing - so I tried to alley-oop that into getting something sweet nearby), but we'd been hanging out for over 3 hours at that point, and she had an early exercise class in the morning, so she left right as the official party was over (Shameless had rented the club from 7-11).

We both had taken separate car services there, so I went back in, and danced with some women, who remembered me from previous wrap parties, for another 40 minutes or so (Katie had noted that a number of people mentioned me dancing at previous outings. And indeed, I do seem to have something of a wrap party "rep").

...and that was basically a "wrap" for my 9th season on Shameless.

The only thing that remains is to get my wrap gift from John Wells in the mail (He's gifting the recurring people with the Maui Jim sunglasses of their choice - In a rather tasteless move on my part, I looked them up, and depending on which kind you're talking about, they're between $150-250 a pair, which is more than I've ever spent and ever would spend for sunglasses - I'm more of a 99-cent Store man).

At the party, at one point Mike and I were talking to Bill, questioning if he knew what Season 10 was going to look like, post-Fiona and Ian (I asked if Lip would just be "slotted into" the heart-of-the-show position, if the show would "lean into" Frank's outrageousness even more, or what).

He didn't know, because it's apparently still in flux, but said that he hoped they'd give us more to do. Which was either just a nice thing to say because he likes us, or a genuine sentiment because he likes us.

But in either case, I'll take it (He's said, more than once, how much he likes the Alibi scenes - I've never questioned him as to why, exactly, but he's said it often enough that I believe him).

While disappointed I wasn't in the season finale - I'd come to view that as "tradition" over the past couple of years - there's no way to see Season 9 as anything but a big "win". I was in 12 of 14 episodes, working multiple days on a number of them (Getting only my 2nd "top of show" guest-star contract ever, for episode 12), and have had people comment on my increased presence on the show.

I don't know what things look like going forward - beyond the general knowledge that, like life in general, I'm closer to the end than the beginning - but this year, Shameless was particularly good to me and "Kermit".

Mon 10/15/18 (9:00 am)

So now that Shameless is over for the season, I'm all about wanting something else to happen for me before the year's out.

But I'm not sure how that's gonna happen without auditions - It's been a pretty grim year in that regard (Haven't checked the calendar overall, but since the end of July, I've had a grand total of five auditions - two commercial, and three theatrical - which doesn't exactly feel like a flood of opportunities).

My last audition was last Monday, for the Disney Show Cooper And Cami Save The World.

I was nervous about it, because it was four pages (And I didn't have quite my usual wide swaths of free time over the weekend to work on it), and because, for the first time, I was competing with Mike M. for the same role.

(While I generally judge Mike and I to be comparably talented, skilled actors, the role was a quintessentially "Midwestern" character, and I think Mike reads as "Midwestern" way more than I do - He's from Appleton WI, for God's sake! - so I worried I'd come off 2nd best in that particular face-off.)

But as it turned out, neither of us got it - They gave it to a woman instead (Which only seems a little "iffy" to me because there were, like, a dozen guys there when me and Mike auditioned, and no women. But c'est la vie...).

While I'd been nervous about auditioning against him, it was actually fun having him there - our friend Rebecca (Who'd had a recurring role on Shameless for a couple years) is now a regular on Cooper and Cami and was on-set, so we had a chance to chat with her for a while (Probably means nothing, but I thought it was cool that the CD saw us hanging out afterward, enjoying each other's company and being all "Midwestern" together). Then the two of us went across the street to McDonalds and hung out, which was nice (We've done a few things together socially, but he's got a wife and two kids - and of course there's my jet-set lifestyle to deal with - so it's really hard to find the time).

So what else is going on...?

Have I mentioned my friend, artist/photographer/film-maker Jane R., wants to do a short documentary on me?

As is often the case, whether I'm drawing attention to myself or attention is being drawn to me in some way, the initial idea caused me to vacillate wildly between "Why would anyone give a fuck about me?" and "Why wouldn't people give a fuck about me?".

You could do a short documentary completely about someone growing up in foster care, or one on a guy who comes out to Hollywood in middle age to be an actor (And is still working at it 18 years later)...and I've got both things going on.

And one big point swinging me to say yes to the idea...was Jane R. herself.

Jane has known me for a long time now, likes me and finds me inherently interesting, and I trust her to not make me look too bad.

That's an interesting issue, the need/desire to "not look too bad" - I want to be open and honest about myself with this project (Because otherwise, what's the point?), and that certainly won't all be pretty. But at the same time, I'm an actor and have at least a theoretical career to consider, so I don't want to come off too weird or messed-up - I need this to sell me to potential employers, not warn them away.

But I think Jane can find that "sweet spot" between honesty and optimism. Between my flaws and my virtues. I think she probably likes me more than I do, to be honest, and that'll come across.

. And a lot of the issues I've brought up about myself have led Jane to basically say, "Even though your story is unusual, the issues it's brought up for you are issues a lot of people will relate to". Which, to my way of thinking, is the reason you "put yourself out there" as an artist in the first place - to move people.

It's all in the "exploratory" stage at the moment - She's figuring out the story she wants to tell (With some of my input) how she wants to tell it, and how to practically make it happen.

She's messaging me a lot, sometimes with questions, sometimes just to tell me what she's doing (Which, since I know nothing about financing and little about producing in general, mostly lead me to say, "Ummm...okay.", which doesn't seem super-helpful).

She's coming out for a couple days next month, to talk to me, to look over my foster-care case file, and so forth (And as of this writing, we're planning to have me to go NM next year, to do some of the shooting).

Long story short, it will be interesting to see what develops...

Another interesting development?

I have a blind date next Sunday.

Lourine, who recently started working at WW, inquired about my relationship status (She's married, so wasn't asking for herself), then asked whether I'd mind if she mentioned me to a friend of hers, Randi.

With some light trepidation I said yes...but was frankly somewhat relieved when a couple weeks went by with no other comment (I assumed her friend had basically said "Thanks, but no thanks").

But then she messaged me - Randi had okayed giving me her number, and now the ball was in my court.

So I procrastinated awhile, then messaged her, asking if she wanted to see A Star Is Born" on Sunday.

She messaged back, saying she was out of town Sunday, but she'd be up for getting coffee or something the following Sunday.

So that's what we're doing.

I'm a little nervous...but not that much. And maybe that'll change as Sunday approaches...but I don't think so - They'll either be a spark or there won't. At this point, there's not that much riding on it, beyond the normal not wanting to be rejected or in the position of rejecting someone else stuff.

And Mia, feeling bad about backing out on the wrap party, tried to set me up with a woman she knows - I think through her catering work (I'd already asked Katie at that point so I told Mia I was good, but would "pencil her friend in" for some future event).

The woman's name is Cynthia. I friend requested her on Facebook - Mia showed her my picture and she was okay with it - so we'll see if anything happens from there (Again, this seems like something that would have made me very anxious in a previous lifetime. But, at the moment at least, it doesn't seem like any big deal).

...and on that note, while I could write more, it's gotten (relatively) late, and I told Jane R. I'd record something for her over the weekend, which means I'm a day late.

Till next time...


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