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8:47 am - Sun 10/06/02
My Almost-Perfect Day

My Almost-Perfect Day
The only way Friday could have gone better is if sex had been involved at some point.

Here's a partial "book journal" report:

Had my meeting with JS Represents, a commercial agency, this morning. Gave myself way too much time to get there, so I ended up being a half hour early (I hung out in the car for awhile, playing with the cigarette lighter, then got out and walked around a bit, then about five minutes before my appointment, buzzed to be let into the building. Hit the wrong suite number, but they let me in anyway).

The office was very small. What stood out, in terms of decor, is that the wall on the left, behind a receptionists desk, was lined with mens headshots, while the opposite wall had the womens.

JS Represents is what's known as a "boutique agency". In other words, it's very small; There's JS (John-something), and Kelly Vasconselos, and two part-timers, representing about 250 actors (Commercial agents typically take on more actors than theatrical agents. Which is why it's easier to get a commercial agent).

Kelly and I talked for about 20 minutes, interrupted constantly by the phone, which only bothered me a little (I think I would have been more bothered if the phone hadn't been ringing!), and by the end, she said they were interested if I was, and that she'd be talking to JS, who had liked my headshot--The second professional "thumbs up" I've gotten on the headshot, so thanks again Kay--and getting back to me this afternoon or tomorrow.

The high point of the meeting, to me, was when I tried to feel her out on exactly what she meant by my being "a good type"; I'd gone in thinking I'd have a fairly narrow "range" in their eyes--assorted freaks and losers, basically--but Kelly was like, "Oh, I could send you out on lots of things...", and ticked off a list of possibilities, which made me want to do a little "happy dance" right there (Between what other people have said about my appearance over the years, and what I've made of those comments, I always assumed that not only was I never going to play the lead, but that people would have a hard time even seeing me as a regular guy. It felt good to have that assumption overturned, by someone who has no reason to bullshit me about it.

Another nice thing was realizing that my work schedule is not as much of a problem as I thought it might be.

Obviously, the optimum thing would be if I didn't have a straight job at all (Which I hope will be the case someday), or barring that, if I worked temp gigs or whatnot and had total flexibility. But as things stand, I have three weekday mornings-and-afternoons free, and two weekdays off. And I've still got John O. in my corner--Have I mentioned lately that I really like that guy?--and Tony B. told me again yesterday that he'd work for me whenever possible.

And I've got personal days and vacation time to play with as well, so it's feeling like schedule stuff will probably be pretty workable (Basically, the line I took at the meeting was that, while I don't want to screw with the Borders gig if I don't have to, it's also not what I came out here to do).

But I do have one concern in the middle of all this--There are no contracts involved. Just a verbal agreement to work together.

On the one hand, that seems to work to my benefit in one regard; If there's a personality clash, or they just don't send me out, or what-have-you, I can look elsewhere without a lot of fuss and bother.

On the other hand--and this is my major concern--it seems worthwhile to have certain things in writing (Like how much of a commission they take when I book something). But they're Sag-franchised, so I assume that means there are certain actor-protections and operating agreements in place (And if you're wondering why I didn't ask about this during my meeting, well...I'm wondering too!). Anyway, I can read up on the Sag-franchise thing, and ask Kelly about commissions when she calls me (She said she'd be calling back Friday afternoon or yesterday morning. I was a touch disappointed when that didn't happen, but I think she can be forgiven if I'm not Numero Uno on her "to do" list).

Anyway...While the deal doesn't feel sealed quite yet (Without that confirming call), I assume I am now commercially represented!

So at this point, as I understand it, my job will be to call them, maybe once a week or so, to see if they need headshots, and beyond that, to just go out and try to book jobs.

Pretty cool, huh?

After the meeting, I drove to work, to pick up my paycheck, sharing my happy news with John O. and on the way out, with Lauren (Not "online Lauren"; This Lauren works in the cafe, and was taking her lunch break outside as I was headed back out).

While signing over my paycheck, John told me he had just seen Igby Goes Down and had really liked it, so I asked him where'd he'd seen it, and it turned out it was playing right at the Grove, the comparatively new chi-chi shopping area on 3rd St.

So I went to the bank to cash my check, then found a place to park, and saw the first showing of the day of Igby Goes Down, which I'd wanted to see for weeks (A pricey matinee--$6.75, compared to $4.50 at the Los Feliz theater I regularly frequent--but I was feeling in a celebratory mood; To give you an idea of just how "celebratory" I was feeling, I even bought snacks at the concession stand).

I really enjoyed the movie. Basically, it's an updated Catcher In The Rye, with our boy "Igby" playing a modern-day "Holden Caulfied". Fun (In a black-humored kind of way), and very well-acted all around. The type of movie I'd like to do.

After the movie, I went home, and had a couple hours of down-time, then shortly before 6:00, I walked the couple of blocks to the Metro station, and took the subway to the North Hollywood station to meet up with Cary.

We had pizza--We met up with Kay at the restaurant--then went to see Jonathan L. in Six Degrees of Separation at The Company Rep (The same group that did the production of Picasso at the Lapin Agile that we'd all enjoyed).

It was another really good production. I hadn't seen the show before, and didn't know much about it beyond the basic premise (A young con artist cons some rich white people into believing he's the son of Sidney Portier).

One part of the show that shocked my little Midwestern sensibilities; At one point, the rich couple catch the young man having sex in their home with a gay hustler he's picked up; The lights come up on our con artist pumping away, bare-assed, with the hustlers legs up in the air. Then as "Paul" (The con artist), struggles to get back into his clothes, the hustler, completely naked, runs around the stage like a maniac, then kisses the rich guy on the mouth before running off.

(This was a particularly interesting scene to me, because when we were at the restaurant earlier, I'd told Cary and Kay about seeing the movie Secretary--a sweet romantic comedy about S&M--and how I marvelled at the actors ability to really "go out on a limb" with the material. And I used to think, during my community theater career, that given the chance, I'd be prepared to "go out on a limb" for a role myself, but now I realize what a real emotional challenge that will be for me, if and when the time comes.)

Jonathan had a small but funny role (Very "Ben Stiller-ish"; In particular, it reminded me very much of the Friends episode where Stiller plays the angry guy who's dating Rachel, but for most of the episode, Ross is the only one witnessing his angry outbursts).

Afterwards, the four of us had coffee. It was a lot of fun; Jonathan is a very funny guy, and it was interesting hearing what he's up to these days (Still hurting over Kirsten; Recently bought a house boat that he's living on).

He recently did his first commercial (For Toyota, I think it was), and of course, I was interested in hearing how that went.

He said he's still learning the business side of commercials, but that it's very confusing; You would have thought, for example, that his commercial was a "national"--those are the big money commercials, with residuals and all that-- because it's playing all around the country, but it's not (It's a "regional", and within the designation of "regional" there are still more sub-divisions. There are also commercials called "wild cards", which kind of suck, according to Jonathan, because they only pay a single session fee. Basically, there are various and sundry fee structures, and it can be pretty hard for the actor to figure out what's what).

He congratulated me on my meeting, and tried to sell me on the virtues of buying a boat, which I thought was pretty funny.

After that, Cary dropped me off at the Metro station, and it was back home.

And that was my very full, very fun Friday.

(And I want to write more, because there's definitely more to write, but I feel like I've gone on for days here, so I think I'll save it for later-maybe after work-and lay myself down to sleep...)


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