12:34 pm - Mon 10.05.2009
It's a bit worrisome that, as I contemplate trying to go forward with stand-up (Which means spending a lot of time writing material), I can't even manage to keep up a daily writing regimen in here.
It was a big week last week, what with the stand-up showcase and shooting the Kayak.com commercial.
Add that to the "big week" I had back in August - shooting Mad Men and The Mentalist in the same week - and it definitely feels like the Universe has been kind these past couple months.
(And I have a commercial audition for Verizon tomorrow - As a boxing ring announcer - which I hope will be the booking that, combined with Kayak, assures me "things are going to be okay for awhile", and I can put financial worries on the back burner, and maybe even enjoy the feeling of a little "forward momentum".)
I'm happy to report the stand-up show this past Wednesday (At the Ha Ha Cafe in North Hollywood) went very well.
Frankly, it went better than I'd imagined; We had a friendly audience, who understood we were "newbies" to stand-up, and everyone stepped up their game considerably - Beginner status notwithstanding, it was a genuinely good, funny show.
I think one of the things I'd forgotten - which is odd, considering I'm not exactly a stranger to live performing - is just what a difference it makes when you finally have an audience.
I think the audience was particularly important in this case, because we'd been hearing each others stuff for weeks (And beyond the "We're not laughing cause we've heard the joke before" factor, our function was as much to listen with a critical ear as to be a surrogate audience); I think we all had moments where we doubted what we'd written, because it wasn't getting much from out classmates anymore.
(I felt like this was especially true for me, because I'd basically stopped writing new stuff weeks before the showcase, and had just been "refining" things.)
So when Amir (The first of my classmates to go on) did his thing, and the audience started laughing, and laughing hard, it actually hit me by surprise - Not that his stuff wasn't funny (It was), but I somehow hadn't factored in how this stuff was all new to the audience.
The response was so big for Amir, and for Eric (Who followed) that I actually started freaking out a little, worrying about being the one who was going to "drop the ball" (I was right in the middle of the lineup).
A couple more of my classmates went up, and did well, then it was my turn.
The MC (Who I knew from ACG) introduced me, and as I went up and shook his hand, I took advantage of the funky music that was playing and did a little dance on my way to the mic ("Bet you didn't see that coming...").
And I was off and running.
The thing I'm still thinking about at this point is how interesting it was, in terms of performing, to be doing stand-up; I've been funny on stage before, but usually in the context of playing a character, and I've gotten up as "me" before, but usually to get up and sing a song or play harmonica.
And I've "played bigger houses" before (As an "Usher Greeter" at ArcLight), but without much in the way of material (Just a couple stock things I liked to say to set myself apart from the other Usher Greeters).
So it was an interesting feeling while I was doing it - It was new...but not new.
But it was fun. And from the comments on my Facebook page (Where I posted a web video of the show), I came off as very "relaxed", which I think is very important (I've always been of a mind that the more a performer seems comfortable and in charge on stage, the happier the audience is).
And considering how nervous I was right before I hit the stage, it's amazing how people are saying I looked "relaxed" and "Like a natural".
Anyway, in the days since, I've been thinking "What next?".
I want to move on to the other big event of last week, but for now, the "What next?" is a show at the Belly Room on Nov 11th.
I had to cut short my celebrating after Wednesday's showcase, because I had an 8 am call the next day for the Kayak commercial shoot.
It was downtown - at the LA Times bldg - which meant I was able to ride my bike there (A decision that bit me in the ass at day's end. But more on that later).
I'd intended to do my usual "Report From The Set" entry...but things actually moved too fast; the call time was at 8:00, I started working shortly after 9:00, we broke for lunch at noon, were back at 1:00 and I wrapped a little after 4:00.
When a shoot goes that quickly and easily, I have to believe that everyone's pretty happy, but a nagging part of my brain thinks they expected me to be a little more of an "improv guy" than I turned out to be (Though the clients were all smiles and hand-shakes afterward); They gave me what they called "guide copy" right before we started shooting, but instead of being "guided" by it, I pretty much did it as written (In part, because there were cues in the lines for two of my fellow actors, I didn't want to screw around with them too much and "gum up the works").
Which seemed okay for the most part, but they did start asking me to, basically, "wing it" a little more later in the day (And I was the last one to wrap, because they wanted to do various "wild lines", some of which I made up, and some of which they gave me).
But all-in-all, it seemed like things went well.
They certainly went quickly, in any case.
So when I was done, and had signed out, I realized I'd forgotten that, at the wardrobe fitting the day before (Where I'd brought in a couple things for them to look at), they'd asked to hang onto a suit I'd brought.
So I had to get that home on my bike (Along with an extra pair of dress shoes; I wore the shoes during the shoot, but not the suit).
So I basically walked the bike home, carrying my suit on a hanger (Note to self - Invest in a decent suit-bag thingie). Which kind of took away from the big "Professional Actor" thing I'd been feeling earlier in the day.
And now, I think Mr "Big Professional Actor" is going to go see Zombieland.
Have a lovely day, lads and lasses...
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