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1:17 pm - Tue 5/20/03
This is Jim's brain. THIS is Jim's brain on DRUGS

"This is Jim's Brain. This is Jim's brain on drugs..."

Tue 5/20/03 8:30 am

Checking my voice messages last night around 7:00, there was a message from JS, saying he'd been trying to page me throughout the day (It's the second time I've had a problem with my pager not working, and to my way of thinking, that's two times too many. But anyway...); Much to my surprise, I have a callback for the anti-drug PSA I auditioned for last Monday!

It's today at 3:45, back at Westside. And here's the fun part; I went in for "Dad", but I guess they want me to come back for "Dealer" (There was no copy when I went in initially–they just asked me some innocuous questions on camera–so I have no idea what they want to do. For that matter, I didn't even know a "dealer" was in the picture).

When I found out about the callback (I was at work at the time), I approached Brad E.–the first time I've had to do that since he became HR manager–to let him know, and have my start time today pushed back a bit.

When Brad got the position, I worried that he'd make this sort of thing a big hassle, and unfortunately, he lived up to my expectations; He started up about the schedule, the store, blah blah blah, implying that he didn't know if this would be possible (The store's managed to accomodate me without a whole lot of stress so far, and every other manager is on board with the fact that I need this sort of concession from time to time, but in Brad's eyes, I guess I'm indispensable).

I felt my temper flaring a bit, but tried to keep myself in check, while making the point that I had to do this, and that I wasn't really so much asking permission as just trying to give him some notice.

(To give you a sense of what we're talking about here, so far this month, I had to call in one morning, saying I had an afternoon audition and might be half-an-hour late. In the previous month, my schedule had to be pushed back one day from 3:30 to 6:00. And in March, I don't think I had any conflicts. And I've always made a point of giving work as much notice as I can. It usually means the day before, but in my defense, I know some of my coworkers just call in "sick" when they have an audition/work conflict. And I actually turned down one same-day audition when I felt like it would be putting the people at Borders in a jam.)

Anyway, I expressed a little anger to Tim G. afterwards (Who'd witnessed the initial incident), which was probably not a good move on my part; Tim G. and I are friends, so that wasn't the issue, but it was out on the sales floor, and I didn't see that Brad was potentially within earshot of my...extreme unhappiness.

I called JS and left a message on his machine, saying that if I could get an earlier audition time, that would be really good. Then I went back to Brad, saying I had done that, and that if I couldn't officially get an earlier spot, I'd make a point of going in early to see if I could "sneak in".

He softened a bit after that. We decided it would be best to schedule me for 6:00, because if I was on the schedule any earlier and was late, that would be an "occurrence" (I won't bore you by explaining the entire "occurrence" policy, but basically, get so many occurrences over a set period of time, and you can be fired).

All-in-all, it played out exactly the way a coworker had suggested it would, when there was a lot of unhappy conversation about Brad getting the position (Nobody was happy about John O. stepping down); I don't remember the exact wording, but when I described my concerns, they responded by saying , "He'll probably give you a lot of grief, then let you do it".

The thing is, I don't want a lot of "grief" over this shit. But I think he'll mellow out in time (John was always cool about it, and Kyle, after some initial misgivings, ended up being in my corner as well. Even Marie, the GM, has become a supporter; She recently asked for my headshot to put on her bulletin board, and when I told her about a recent audition, expressed a lot of enthusiasm about all the "creative people" she has on staff).


11:55 am

Well, two calls from JS this morning have "altered the terrain" of this entry...

The first call was to let me know that he'd gotten my message, and that he would try get me an earlier time for the callback today. He said he didn't want me to get into a big thing at work over this, since it was a "freebie".

I didn't say it--I think I said something like "Oh...I didn't know that..."-- but my emotional response was along the lines of "Why the #@$!! are you sending me out on ‘ FREEBIES'?"

When I got off the phone, I thought about it, and I imagined I knew what his answer to my unasked question would be; These spots are very "high-visibility", a high-visibility which could lead to paying work. It's good experience, a good credit, and if you get the spot and it goes well, you've got a whole new group of people who know you and feel good about you, which can't hurt.

Which is basically what he said when he called to tell me callbacks had been moved to tomorrow (My day off–YAY!), and I asked why he'd sent me out on a "freebie" (I left out the "#@$!!" part. I also softened it by saying "I think I know the answer, but I have to ask...").

He also made the point that the casting director–Mary Clare Sweeters–is pretty good about remembering this sort of thing

This was something I did not know–While most PSAs pay a relatively small fee ($400), with no residuals or anything like that, PSAs having to do with young people don't typically pay anything (I so do not understand that; If I do a PSA saying "Be nice to old people, and don't kick them down a flight of stairs", I get $400, but if I do one saying "Don't do drugs, kids, or else you'll end up like me?", I get squat? That doesn't make a lot of sense ).

So anyway, it turned out all the drama over this was pretty pointless; I don't stand to make any money, and Borders won't end up having to shut down due to my absence.

But anyway...

Speaking of JS, the agency meeting/picnic/talent show was Sunday afternoon.

I'm really not big on meetings. In my experience, they're typically either completely pointless or actively depressing, a time where you're going to get news you don't want to hear, and the underlings get raked over the coals for their various shortcomings.

But this meeting was fairly short and painless. Yes, he did reiterate a bunch of things I already knew, but I've come to realize that he has to do that (He had a lot of people who look at this more like a hobby than an actual job). And after my intial fumblings towards honest-to-goodness professionalism, I can now tell myself "He's not talking about me...", and not take it personally when he chastizes actors who don't go to castings at the appointed time, who don't get back to him when he leaves messages, etc and so on.

After the meeting, I approached JS, to say thanks for taking me on, and putting up with those early "glitches" of mine. He seemed to appreciate hearing me say that I now have some understanding of what he goes through(He's actually a pretty cool guy, but if he seems to be constantly annoyed in his emails and whatnot, it's because he has to constantly browbeat actors to do what they should be doing as a matter of course).

After the meeting, there was food–I very quickly ate myself sick–and a fairly lame talent show (I didn't participate, because I couldn't think of anything I could get up and do by myself). It was, all in all, pretty fun.

And there was a woman there–Kelly, I think her name was–that I enjoyed talking to (She mentioned a commercial casting workshop she'd attended recently that I think I'm going to sign up for).

I regret not asking her out, but to go from meeting someone to asking them out in the span of four hours is a pretty tall order for Jim, so I'm trying not to beat myself up about it too much (That said, I think the next time I take my headshots in to JS, I'm going to get her full name, and see if I can find her in the phone book. "Nothing ventured, nothing gained" and all that...).

Well, I still don't feel like I'm "caught up" in here, but I feel like this entry has gone on for days, and it's getting near time for my "Middle Aged Man" nap before work, so I think I'll save the rest of my pearls of wisdom for next time...


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