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9:56 am - Mon 1.15.2013
Do Zombies Feel The Cold?

Do Zombies Feel The Cold?

It's 10:00 am, I've been up since quarter-to-eight, and already I feel in danger of wasting the entire day (Should have made up a "To Do" list last night)...

(Wow...I'm really good at finding reasons to feel anxious about anything that's happening - Even when it comes to "Enjoying a day off"! But anyway...)

Even if I'm feeling tired and physically out-of-sorts and kind of depressed as I write this, I have to acknowledge that the year has gotten off to a good start; a callback-that-led-to-a-booking, two auditions, and doing a bit in a friend's film is a lot of action to have seen in the first two weeks of January.

And I'm going to chose to believe what a fellow actor said on the set of the 5th 3rd Bank commercial - "How you start the year is how you're gonna end the year" (For that matter, I wouldn't mind if it were also how I was going to spend the middle of my year).

The commercial shoot was Thursday, a 7:00 am call on the Universal lot in Universal City (An easy drive from my place, which as you know if you've been following along, is something I really like - I don't like worrying about finding my way to the gig).

At the fitting the day before, I was pleased to see Matt, the young actor I'd read with at the callback; that's the second time in a row I've booked a role along with the actor I read with at the callback/producer session, and I'd like if that were a trend.

(Like Dave, who I worked with on Southland, Matt immediately struck me as a good guy; I'm guessing that instant rapport is part of why we both ended up being on the set Thursday.)

The set was pretty cool - and big - and will be augmented, in the final commercial, by green-screen (Making an already big set look massive). And there were extras and stunt guys (And I think they're digitally doubling and tripling up on them as well for the completed spot), so it really struck me as a pretty major deal, for a regional commercial.

(For film/horror movies buffs: We were working right next to what remains of the opera-house set from the 1929 Phantom Of The Opera.)

And Matt and I are the two principles in this "pretty major deal", which is as close as I ever get to being "The star of the show".

(For the record, I like that sort of thing.)

It wasn't a super-long day - 7 am call, and we were wrapped by 5:30 - but that said, I still found it "physically challenging"; that's longer than I'm typically on my feet in a given day, and my back started "acting up" pretty early on.

And - this may be TMI - a flare-up of what are now chronic "bowel issues" had me wrestling with constipation and gas all day long, scooting off to the bathroom every time there was a break in the action, hoping for relief that, sadly, never came.

It's like I said to Cary when I saw him yesterday - Just because you're on set, "living the dream", doesn't mean reality won't intrude-on-the-proceedings a little bit.

When we were on set, starting to "do the thing", just like at the callback, I had to be directed to take a lot of "interest" in Matt's character out of my delivery - My default, since I'm basically a warm, friendly guy, is to err on the side of warmth and friendliness in how my character relates to another character in a script (Unless the script clearly indicates otherwise).

(In the spot, I'm the "Manager" of the "Money Holding Company" showing Matt's "New Guy" the ropes.)

But the Director didn't want me to be be interested in Matt or what I was saying to him (Cause it's a spiel I deliver all the time)...till it was time for me to be that guy (Once the "New Guy" says a supposedly funny thing and kind of "breaks the ice").

On the other side, Matt's "acting challenge" was that he was supposed to be a little tentative about saying the thing he says, cause he's new and all, but still basically speed through it, "in character".

(Breaking news - I have an audition for Go On, on NBC, tomorrow morning!)

I think Matt was also challenged in a way I was not - He had to get the essential information in the spot out (The "ad" part of the "advertisement") - so there was pressure on him I don't think was on me to really "land" his line.

But I enjoyed spending the day with Matt - and also with Jerry and Sy, two actors I think both went in for the role I got (I know at least Jerry did) and were cast as "Employees" in the company - and I ended the day feeling like we'd done good work, and that the spot would probably end up being pretty cool.


(1:37 pm)

The Two Broke Girls audition on Wednesday - right before my fitting for the commercial - was pretty much a "face lottery", and I have a hard time not getting depressed when I feel like that (Like there's really nothing I can do, that's it all going to come down to my "look" versus someone else's "look").

Let's just say, I wasn't shocked that it didn't happen.

When I go in for something like "Gross Guy" (Or "Homeless Person", or something of that nature), I'm always amazed at how "gross" or "homeless" some of my fellow actors look, and don't know how they do it - I have a job, I have auditions, and, beyond that, I just don't want to look like crap all the time (Nature's already done enough damage in that department), so I always feel like I'm at a disadvantage (I've only asked one actor about this after a "Homeless Man" audition. His answer? "I work at home").

(I think it would have been funny if, when I'd asked, he'd said, "Cause I'm homeless, you insensitive douchebag!")


On Friday, I had an audition for a Tide commercial (For a single Superbowl airing, then an afterlife online and in movie theaters).

It felt the same as the Two Broke Girls audition in terms of it coming down to a "look".

And while JS submitted me for the role, and Kathy Knowles brought me in for it, it was hard to feel hopeful about my chances - It was a "Dad" role, and in a decade of auditions, I've booked a "Dad" role once, in a commercial...and was cut out in the final edit.

And there was no script, so we (Me, my too-young-by-a-good-fifteen-years "Wife", and our two "Kids") had to improvise a little scenario.

Since improv isn't my "strong suit", and our "family" looked liked more two boys with their older sister and creepy pedophile uncle than a husband and wife with their two kids...well, once again, I'm not going to be terribly surprised if that's the end of that (Though to acknowledge I don't know everything, I will say "...but ya never know". But in this case? I probably know).

My first day of filming for my friend Cary's movie (The Borderlands) was originally supposed to be on Saturday, during the day.

Then that fell through, and it looked like that day's filming was postponed...but then they worked the timing out with the actress - who had become unavailable on the day, for whatever reason - and they were going to shoot overnight, meaning the call time for my bit was 4:00 am in Long Beach.

But around 1:15 Saturday morning, about a half-hour or so before I'd planned to get up, Cary called - They'd gotten to the set and shot one scene, when the "focus ring" on their expensive, rented digital camera broke, and they'd had to wrap early (Which means the stuff they didn't get is having to be picked up a couple weeks from now, barring unforeseen circumstances, at the same time & place).

As I posted on Facebook on Saturday, "The day went in a totally unexpected direction, by going, for the most part, the way it usually does" (I ended up going to WW and working my normal three meetings).

So my original second day of filming, on Sunday, ended up actually being my first day.

As I've said before, it's really a bit part in the movie (Though a more important bit than I realized at first reading), so my anxiety - cause there's always "anxiety" - was focused less on performance than 1) Getting to Long Beach - which I'm very unfamiliar with - on time, without getting lost, and 2) having my first experience with prosthetic contacts.

Going in, I would say I was more "anxious" about the drive than the contacts, but in reality, the drive was fine, but the contacts were a more unpleasant experience than I'd imagined; I've never worn contacts, so didn't know what to expect, but turns out, it's even more unpleasant to set something on your eyeball than I'd realized.

(It was mostly the "going on" and "coming off" that were an issue. While it was never like I "forgot I had them on", wearing them was only minimally uncomfortable...and I'm always at least "minimally uncomfortable" in some way or another, so no big deal.)

They reduced my vision - the effect was of looking at everything through a white gauze curtain - which, I guess appropriately, had the effect of putting me "in my own little world". I wasn't in the scene they spent most of the morning filming, so I was on the sidelines for that, and my vision was reduced enough that I couldn't read/ check my email/Facebook.

I spent most of my time off to the side, feeling like a lot of stuff was going on around me that I wasn't really part of...which I then told myself was kind of the position of my character in the story (And it was very cold a good chunk of the morning; while I don't know that "zombies" feel one way or the other about cold weather, I did tell myself it probably doesn't feel good being a zombie on a basic physical level, so I kind of "folded that into" my character as well.

When it came time to do my bit - walking a couple steps, then stopping to look where some mourners have gathered after a funeral - We did it a number of times, and it seemed to be fine (Later, when I saw the playback, I was kind of disappointed with my "walk", but thought the "look" was pretty effective).

I've made it sound like it was some big trial, but on the flip side, Jonathan and Cary and the Director - whose name I can't recall at the moment - were very solicitous of me, expressed a lot of gratitude for my participation, and they fed me well (Almost too well - In addition to the breakfast burrito and coffee for breakfast, and the lasagne and salad for lunch, I spent hours with nothing to do, next to a craft service table of cookies and mini-muffins and miniature cinnamon rolls I could not seem to stop eating).

And, oh yes, they paid me.

(On a Saturday, doing this instead of working would probably be close to a wash, money-wise, but on Sunday, I'd say I likely made a little profit on the deal.)

And tomorrow I have a co-star audition for Go On, the Matthew Perry sitcom on NBC.

It's another very small role (As "Marty", Perry's "horse guy"), but I've joked that, since I've already done Mr Sunshine - Perry's failed sitcom on ABC - I want to be in all his tv work going forward.

And on that note, I think I will put some shoes on and go for a walk...


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