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8:53 am - Thurs 7.04.2013
After The Dream

After The Dream

Earlier this morning, I read a short online article about how Matt Weiner - Mad Men's creator and show-runner - attends every casting session for the show, no matter how small the part.

That should have pretty noteworthy when I auditioned for the show - going into the room and having Matt Weiner actually be there - but somehow, I didn't note it (Not sure why - Maybe I didn't know what he looked like at that juncture, and didn't know who was who? Anyway...).

He talked about working with the actors, and giving them a chance to do their best...and that I do recall; Even though I flubbed a line and had to start over, and was concerned because I'd biked there and had sweat-stains on my shirt (That I was desperately trying to dry before being called into the room), I left feeling excited and hopeful about how much time they'd given me and how much I'd been "worked with".

(And if you're just joining me here, I booked the role, as a commercial editor working with "Sal" on a Lucky Strike commercial.)

Anyway, in the article, he mentions that he started out wanting to be an actor, but didn't like the characters he was "right for" (He described them as "sleazy know-it-alls"), because he wanted to play characters that "got the girl" (i.e. "The Lead").

Substitute "unhappy losers-in-life" for "sleazy know-it-alls", and I'm right there - I don't want to play the parts I'm apparently "right for" because I want to "get the girl".

And I think that underpins why it took me twenty years to get out to LA - Because I knew, in my heart-of-hearts, that whatever happened in Hollywood, I was never going to "get the girl".

All the rationalizations for why character parts are better/more interesting than leads have always felt like just that to me - rationalizations.

Yeah...cause why play the lead and have the story be all about my character's journey, when I can play the goofy neighbor next door?

(Though really, I should be so lucky as to play the "goofy neighbor next door" at this point - that would be a huge step up for me.)

It's something I've been thinking about a lot lately - Very few people get to do exactly what they want in life, or have their "dream come true", no matter how much they want it, no matter how much they believe, no matter how hard they work at it.

So what do you do when you realize your dream isn't going to come true?

The answer for me, I guess, is "Get what I can, make the best of things, and learn to be happy with that".

Because while it's not the dream to be the supporting character in the piece (And certainly not the dream to have to struggle to get even that), it can still be fun. I mean, it's not like I don't get any pleasure out of being a character actor.

And within that "framework", there's clearly still a lot of room for my "career" to grow (It might not - let's be honest - but it could). The "dream" may be unattainable, but I can still achieve something.

And let's get down to it: I still need to do something for a living.

Some time ago, it struck me - As tough as this acting thing is, it's the closest thing I have to a genuine "job skill" (This was during one of those fallow times where I was fretting over my lack of a "Plan B"). There's nothing else I can do, right now, where I can go somewhere, do it, and earn hundreds - sometimes thousands - of dollars for a day's work.

As a result, for the past number of years I've earned more from the week or two (on average) I spend on sets than from the rest of the year working at my "day job".

(It helps, in this case, to have a "day job" that pays a shitty wage.)

So, the dream, that was never going to happen in the first place, is dead.

So what's left?

Some fun, some free food (sometimes free haircuts), really nice pay when you can get it, the fun of having people see you on tv (Even if only in bit parts), and a moment or two here and there of actual "acting" - It may not be "The Dream", but you could do worse.


Thurs 7/4/13 (9:13 pm)

I've said in here before that most holidays mean little to nothing to me.

But I've enjoyed today.

I had the day off, which meant I didn't have to work my evening WW meeting (And because I am - for now at least - full time, I get paid holidays).

And it's summer, so it's already slow for acting, which means I'm not just resenting a day - a couple days, really - where I know I won't be getting any auditions.

And "Independence Day" is one of the handful of holidays that still has meaning for me.

During the last election, and more recently, with the decisions of the Supreme Court (And the Republicans running roughshod over the people anywhere they're in power), I've found myself thinking a lot about America, and how I feel about it.

It struck me earlier today, and not for the first time, that as a child, I actually bought into the nationalistic idea that the USA was #1, that I lived in "The Greatest Country In The World".

I didn't know it, but turns out I was taking that shit seriously.

So it actually wounds me when we do things that aren't so great.

And it makes me think I should maybe do a little more than just post progressive stuff on my Facebook page...

Anyway, haven't done much of anything today - Only left the apartment once (To go to Ralphs for beverages and ice cream)- just going back and forth from the tv to the I do.

Was hoping, when I made a point last week of making time to actually read, instead of just "going back and forth from the tv to the Internet" - finishing the copy of Gulp Jane bought me for my birthday - that I'd feel better/less guilty somehow (About "wasting time").

I didn't.

Doesn't mean I didn't like it, or that I shouldn't bother, or anything like that...just that it apparently won't help me feel any less like I'm wasting my life somehow.


When writing in here, I struggle sometimes - It's not like a lot of people are reading this shit...but some people are, and I know it's not much fun listening to someone piss-and-moan all the time.

No one likes whiners.

So I try not to piss-and-moan all the time.

I try not to be a whiner.

But now I've cut myself off from my own feelings. The fact is, I struggle - a lot - and since I'm no longer in therapy, since I don't have anyone I talk to on even a semi-regular basis (Save Howard, who's as depressed as I am, if not more, much of the time), and since I don't want to "complain too much" in here, I now just "stew in my juices" with no way to vent.

Honestly, today I was really good with staying in the apartment all day, not having to talk to anyone or do anything - This did not feel like "a bad day" (Where, in the past, a day where I don't have anything to do and don't interact with anyone has sometimes been upsetting to me).

And that's kind of been my feeling for awhile now - Between ever-waning physical energy and attendant discomfort, and whatever's-going-on-in-my-head (Ongoing, crushing anxiety about money, feelings of pointlessness, and fear of the future, for starters), I'm just wishing I had the means to hole up in my apartment for the duration.

A lot of it is physical. I'm just so fucking tired - It's the thing I feel like people really don't understand about being me.

When people try to address the fact that I'm feeling depressed and anxious, that I'm bored with my life or what-have-you, by telling me I should go to church or do volunteer work, or even do theater (Which makes the most sense to me, really), sometimes I want to scream, "GODDAMMIT, I'M TOO FUCKING TIRED TO DO THE SHIT I ALREADY HAVE TO DO - I DON'T EVEN WANT TO DO THE SHIT I ACTUALLY LIKE DOING - AND YOU WANT ME TO GO FUCKING DO MORE SHIT?".

But really, that is, I think, what I have to do - I have to somehow motivate myself to "do more shit".

In yesterday's mail, I got something from SAG-AFTRA that I hoped was notice that I was once again eligible for health insurance through the union (I'm currently insured through WW); I would like to go back to my regular Doctor (Dr Waxler at Bob Hope medical), who isn't on my current insurance providers list, and take another crack at why I feel like shit all the time - Cause I don't sleep right, I don't poop right, my back starts aching when I'm on my feet for any period of time, I'm feeling weaker and foggier as the days go by, and I clearly have no effective response to the anxious, upsetting thoughts that dog me nearly 24/7 (So let's say, since I know why I feel like shit, that I want to figure out what to do about it).

But even the idea of getting "checked out" makes me anxious - Mostly about the money (Copays and deductibles are stressful when you don't know when, or if, the money that's flowing out is going to flow back in), but also out of fear that this isn't just about me not getting enough sleep anymore.

Part of this is just "the season" - I'm stressed and depressed because acting isn't happening, and WW isn't really happening either (I'm down two meetings and an open-hours shift - Which would be great if I could afford it. But I can't, so it isn't).

But it isn't all about "The Season".

I wish it were.


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