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12:57 pm - Tues 1/22/08
Black Like Me

Black Like Me

Sunday 1/20/08 (9:03 p.m.)

This is nice...

I’m not typically home at 9:03 on a Sunday evening.

But yesterday, Lamont M. asked if he could have my Guest Services shift tonite. And since I am by nature a kind and giving person - and was feeling flush because of that recent Comcast check - I said “Why not?”.

I felt somewhat guilty afterwards - I’d already taken Friday off - so I had to remind myself, “Jim, you moved to LA in the first place because you don’t want to work for a living. That's why you're here. So if some income from acting means a day you don’t have to work, that’s a good thing (And if Lamont’s going around asking people if he can have their shifts, he obviously needs the money more than you do)".

Anyway, it’s been a very enjoyable, relaxing day (Even got a rare chance to chat with my good friend Kevin K., which was great fun).

I’d taken Friday off because I had two workshops scheduled on Saturday, then an Usher Greeter shift in the evening. And I didn't think I'd be able to handle it if I had to work late on Friday (I could have just asked them not to schedule me to close on Friday, but I went whole-hog for the day off).

The workshops went well, though the first one seemed a waste of time and money - LaTanya Potts gave us sides from a movie she’s finishing up called Soul Men - starring Samuel L. Jackson and Bernie Mac - which meant most of us white folks were playing roles that were supposed to be black folks.

(Interesting how people handled that; Keith and Molly just ignored it, and made their characters white, while I basically went for it; since my first line was “Yo whiteboy, you really in the music business?”, it seemed clear I was either a black character, or - since I'm clearly white - a white character who thinks he's a black character. And if that’s what you’re giving me to play, then I’m going to play it.)

I played something I might actually be brought in for at the afternoon workshop with Dori Zuckerman - A parking cop, putting a “Denver Boot” on a woman’s car (who tells the woman, as he’s leaving, “If it means anything, I didn’t get off on this as much as I usually do...”).

Honestly, I was jealous of other people's scenes that I thought were just better scenes, but me and my partner got a good response to what we did (And Ms. Z said everyone did a good job of taking whatever re-direction she gave), so I'm putting that one in the "win" column.

Once again, my feelings aren't matching up with "reality"; I keep wanting to say (in here, and in emails to friends) that "not much is happening".

But we're three weeks into the new year, and I've had three auditions, a callback, done four workshops, gotten a check from JS, and my episode of Monk aired; clearly, quite a bit is "happening". But anyway...

Something funny struck me regarding the LaTanya Potts workshop (Where I was given a character to play that was clearly black); that was actually the third time that's happened to me out here.

Is that sort of weird?

In ArcLight news...I got a manager review on Saturday, which is (hopefully) the precursor to getting a raise next month.

The minimum wage has gone up here in California, so they've raised the starting pay at ArcLight to $8.75.

But they aren't raising wages "across the board" like they should; instead, they've begun "crew reviews" a month early, suggesting that some people will be getting raises over-and-above the typical 25-cents an hour, to "address" the minimum increase.

Since I'm now making only 50-cents an hour more than people just starting (after two years), it's very important to me that I be one of
"some people" who'll be getting more than an additional quarter an hour this time around.

The review felt quite positive, the only potential "sticking point" being that Jamison (The manager giving me the review) pushed me at the end to "open up" my availability.

I don't know how hard they're going to push that - I've heard they're giving other "long timers" crap about that as well (Some people have even suggested it's their way to move some long-term employees out the door) - but it's a problem for me; the issue of "open availability" is why I left Borders to come to ArcLight in the first place.

To my way of thinking, if you don't pay enough for me to live on, then you can't ethically demand my around-the-clock availability; you take a job like Borders or ArcLight specifically so you can do the other thing you do(like go to school, or in my case, to auditions and workshops).

And many of my co-workers "availability issues" have to do with their other jobs, jobs they have to have because no one can live in LA on just what ArcLight pays (For a long time, I didn't consider myself as having "another" job during my time at Borders or ArcLight, but clearly my "other job" is acting).

And beyond the "You can't demand my open availability when you pay what you pay" reasoning, "open availability" at ArcLight (Or at Borders, or any crappy subsistence job) pulls me in the opposite direction from where I want to be going; it makes life about my job, it makes it the centerpiece of my life, instead of merely the thing I do to fund (Or partially fund, anyway) the things I really do.

I can't have that.

But anyway, speaking of ArcLight, there's a little post-holiday soiree scheduled tonite, so I think I'm going to hit the sack, so I can sneak in a workout at 24 Hour Fitness before the party.



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