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11:44 am - Mon 11.5.12
That "I'm In The Big-Time" Feeling

That "I'm In The Big-Time" Feeling

Hey, remember how excited I was to finally be invited to a Shameless wrap party?

I went - was it just a week ago Saturday? - and it was kind of a dud.

No Bill Macy. No Emmy Rossum. No John Wells.

My friend Mike McGill was there - he plays "Tommy" on the show (It was his first invite too) - and I might end up in a book on "The Business" two people told me they were working on...but if I was looking for an opportunity to schmooze with power-people, or to just "live out my fantasy" of being a successful actor (Cause what says "success" more than partying with Bill Macy)?

Well, those things didn't happen.

(Honestly, the Austin & Ally wrap party, which I was a little dismissive of at the time, was closer to what I imagined a "wrap party" would be in many respects - the stars of the show were there, the show-runners were there, they showed a video done by the production staff, there was a "blooper reel", I had some "face time" with the people you want to have "face time" with in this scenario, they thanked us for our work, etc.)

The Shameless party was like pretty much all the parties I've gone to in recent years - A lot of milling about (And trying not to over-eat) with a group of relative strangers.

I did spend a fair amount of time with one of the women who do hair on the show (She was one of the two women who were working on the book I might be in), but due to a mix of ineptitude and uncertainty, I left without getting her number.

Some perspective is in order, of course - I was invited to a party, kind of in my honor, where there was free food and drinks, and I got to hang out with some of the cast and crew of the tv show I work on, and that should not be sneezed-at - but it was still hard not to see it as a big disappointment (Especially since I'd been struggling with feeling "low", and was using it as my "big thing to look forward to").

I still haven't been invited to the thing that makes me feel like I'm "in the big time".

(But if a "wrap party" won't give me that "big time" feeling, I'll settle for a seat at the Emmys...)


Well, I've now booked - and shot - my second "new gig" of 2012 (For those keeping score, NCIS was the first).

This was the same show I couldn't talk about before, because each time I've auditioned, I've had to sign a "confidentiality agreement" (This is the show where I auditioned, waited two weeks, was told I booked the gig, then a week later was told the role had been cut. This time, they told me I booked the part the next day).

I've lost count of how many times I've visited this casting office, but I first booked a job with them (On Nip/Tuck) back in 2006.

(It was my second tv job.)

And with that six-year history, the thing "sticking in my craw" is that - in spite of the fact that I've amassed a decent amount of credits since then - they've never brought me in for anything resembling a real role, just tiny little one or two-line costar bits, barely better than being an extra.

And the thing I just did was no exception...which is partly why my happiness over booking the gig was so muted it would have been hard to see with the naked eye (And was quickly followed by a powerful bout of depression, over how far I haven't least with this particular casting office).

But that said, it is of course a good thing to have booked the gig - After all, I don't think there's ever a bad time to make money.

And there's a part of me that realizes I need to "grow up" a bit about this stuff - Yes, I desperately want to book better roles and feel like I have "forward momentum" in my career, but it's just not realistic that every booking is going to provide that, or be terribly interesting or exciting to me as an actor.

Sometimes it's going to be "just a job".

But even when this stuff is "just a job" it's "just a job" where I sometimes get free haircuts, free meals & snacks (A double-edged sword for a Weight Watcher, but still...), and where I basically get paid handsomely for being ugly.

(Did you see what I did there...?)

The shoot was on Thursday, and happily, it was "on location" maybe a mile from my apartment (Until people start paying to fly me to locations - Or I start getting a driver - "On location" can be the most stressful part of what I do; some of my most anxious, upsetting times here have been driving to a location shoot, terrified I was going to get lost or have a breakdown or accident along the way).

My call was at 4pm, but I didn't start shooting till shortly before 10pm; they actually broke for dinner at one point. Then when shooting resumed, the scene in front of me, with one of the series regulars and a well-known guest star, was very physically challenging and involved...and was a scene with one of the series regulars and a "name" guest star.

My "scene" wasn't opposite anyone - another thing that was disappointing (I like getting to work with name actors, or at least other actors) - but even though there wasn't really much to it, I still started getting nervous when it was finally time to start shooting.

(I told Howard the next day that I think it can be especially nerve-wracking when it's just you doing some seemingly simple bit; Nobody's going to have a lot of patience or understanding if, for whatever reason, you have a hard time "getting it done".)

But I had taken some time to play with the props I had to work with, and the Director had seen me do what I planned to do, so it wasn't like there were going to be any big surprises.

So when the time came, it was actually pretty cut-and-dried - One take, two takes, three takes...and I was done (The only direction I received was to take a little longer to do what I was doing, to give the director time to edit from me to what I'm supposed to be seeing).

When I thought about the experience afterward, it struck me that it was like a doughnut; I'd gotten those "benefits" I previously mentioned, and I got to hang out on a the set of another tv show (And the crew were all very nice to me), and I now will have that credit on my resume...but there was a "hole" in the middle of the whole thing where acting should have been.


So this year - so far - I've done two episodes of Shameless, NCIS, and now the thing I just did.

I have my "stats" going back to 2003 (I moved to LA in 2001), and the last time I only worked four times in a year was in 2008.

But looking at "new business" - Shameless doesn't "count", because I first booked that back in 2010 - I've only booked two gigs so far this year.

And going back to 2003, I have never booked just two gigs in a year; last year I booked three (And before that, I hadn't booked just three gigs in a year since 2006).

And thus far this year - and there's not a lot of "this year" left to work with - I have not booked a commercial.

And since 2003, I have never not booked a commercial (And in five of the past nine years, I've booked two or more).

Can't imagine there'd ever be a time stats like these would make me "happy", or feel like "things are going in the right direction".

(In financial terms, the lack of a commercial so far this year is especially worrisome, because booking a commercial is the only time I ever get to say, as an actor, "I'm going to be okay for awhile...".)

But what makes all this worse is that it's so not how I imagined this year going.

When I started recurring on two shows last year, I assumed - that evil "A" word! - I'd build on that success; while I knew neither role was likely to ever be more than it was, I hoped assumed I'd get at least the same number of episodes, maybe more.

And I'm not a "numbers" guy, but it seemed like that alone - along with WW - would be enough to at least make it through the year intact.

But from there, I hoped assumed I'd book four or five "new gigs" (A commercial or two amongst them).

But that's not how things are playing out.

And there was never any guarantee that's how things were "going to play out".

I just...assumed.

Clearly, I made an ass out of you and me. Well, out of "me" anyway...


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