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8:55 AM - 09.13.19

An Ambivalent Ode To Unfortunate Accidents And (Potential) Jail Time

(Doing laundry - A task long overdue - so it seems a good time to attack this long-overdue task as well...)

Have a table read this afternoon for episode #1008.

As I've said before, it's gratifying to be invited to the table reads - they are voluntary (at least on my part) so I don't get paid to do them, but I enjoy the camaraderie...and the free lunch.

It's also nice because it's an indicator I have more to do in the episode (And so far this season, I've been invited to more table reads than not). And while having more to do in an episode is just nice on its surface, it also suggests the possibility of multiple days, which means more of that sweet, sweet green I love so much (From my read of this episode, it seems like it would be a stretch for them to get it all done in a day, so I'm hoping for at least two. But anyway...)

In other news, had a nice audition yesterday, for a new show called Made For Love (Starring Cristin Milloti).

The audition was two very nice scenes (Five pages total), and while I wasn't 100 % happy with what I'd done when I was finished (I could have worked a little harder on the lines), I did think I effectively played the beats I saw in the scenes and made good use of the Reader as an "acting focal point".

That last bit embarrasses me, because I've been auditioning in Hollywood for 18 years now and just realized I often haven't really "acted" with the Reader, but just treated them as a warm body who just happened to be giving me my cues.

(I don't think you even have to be an actor to know that's not good.)

I could make the rest of the entry about this - It's kind of important to have realized you're not really "acting" with your ostensible "scene partner" in an audition - but I want to focus on just one thing; My eyes.

I have prominent eyes and a very "expressive" face in general. I don't know if I'd say it's my "secret weapon"...but it's definitely something I have in my arsenal as an actor. I don't have to do much to get a lot across with my eyes and face.

So while I can say my lines expressively and demonstrate some interesting take on the character, just "within" the lines,, if I'm not really looking at the Reader during an audition, the camera isn't getting me actually "responding" to what they've said, or really trying to "elicit a reaction".

And that's not "Acting" - It's "Reciting".

This might sound like obvious stuff - It does to me, anyway (hence my embarrassment to even address it in here) - but I can see how I, apparently subconsciously, sometimes stop trying to "act" with the Reader.

More often than not, the Reader is not as good an actor as I am (Sometimes they don't seem like they're even trying to act), so it's easy to, without thinking, subconsciously tell myself, "Well, I'm not going to get what I 'need' here, so I'll just do my own thing and not pay attention to them...".

If my subconscious does often do that, my subconscious is a bad actor, because that's the worst option of the options available in this situation.

Which are:

1. Act like the Reader is giving me the responses I want/need (Pretend, in effect, that they are great actors), and use them as focal point for my responses and intentions.

2. Act like the Reader is not giving me the responses I want/need in the scene, and use that as "fuel" for my responses and intentions (If you're trying to elicit a response in your scene partner and they aren't responding, you might try harder, "take a different tack", etc).

3. Act like the Reader isn't there, and just "do my thing".

To my chagrin, it's starting to feel like I'm really figuring out how to audition right at the time when no one gives a shit about me anymore

C'est la vie.



(3:10 pm)

Just back from the table-read (Which took place at the Biltmore, where Jane R. and I have spent a fair amount of quality time connected to our thing. It was fun to kinda/sorta have "worlds collide" that way).

(I'm less happy that I seemed to feel it was a moral imperative to eat every variety of cookie that was on offer for dessert - at least a half-dozen, all told - but it's just what happened.)

And if I heard correctly, as we finished and I was heading out, the A.D. said "Jim, I think your first day shooting will be Monday". Which was a lovely thing to hear - Cause if there's gonna be a first day, that suggests there will be a second day at least.

I have a renewed appreciation for this whole "making money from acting" thing, because I heard something on-set last time I worked that suggested (Suggested being the operative word) the next season might be it for the show.

Even the suggestion of such a thing sent a chill through me...but the reality is "If not next season, then the following". Because shows - particularly cable shows - don't go on forever.

So it's a catastrophe I know is coming. And coming sooner rather than later.

I just don't know exactly when.
Or what the fuck to do about it.

But before I spiral into high-anxiety over the eventual end of Shameless, let's move on to news about my other big project...

We have been planning the big West Virginia trip for next month - I don't know for a certainty that it's the end of filming (Jane might get some burst of inspiration and want to film more stuff. And David will probably need some pick-up stuff for editing) but it certainly seems like the last big "push".

But looks like we may have to put that off till after the holidays - tried to get a sense of what's happening with me and Shameless next month (Asking my agent to inquire with production) but I didn't get very far, at least thus far.

Getting that much advance notice about what episodes I'm in would have been a tall order in normal times (Learned at the table read that the last two episodes haven't even been written yet), but since one of the series regulars had an injury this past week, the schedule is now really up-in-the-air.

When discussing the trip with Jane, I'd assumed that if we couldn't go in October, we'd just go in November instead, but in our most recent discussion on the matter, she seemed to blanch at that idea a bit (She didn't say no, but was, like, "Well, if you WANT to go then I guess we COULD... I'll do what you WANT if that's REALLY what you'd like to do...", so, with my finely-tuned ear for nuance, I got that it wasn't her preference).

(And I get it - the rest of the year is chock-full of holidays, her birthday among them. And while holidays mean nothing to me, she's got friends and family and what-all, as real people do, so might want/need to travel, entertain company, party-plan, buy gifts, etc).

On my end, as I've said before, I've been largely enjoying the process of doing the documentary (and hanging out with Jane), but am also starting to want it to be done. Not because I'm tired of doing it or anything (And I'll actively miss the regular contact with Jane, since we've developed a close friendship), but out of my eagerness to have it be a completed "thing" and to see what, if anything, happens next (I think, at the very least, it'll get a lot of good attention at film festivals. But beyond that - whether Netflix or Amazon or somebody buys it and Jane recoups her investment, whether it does anything for me career-wise, etc - who knows?).

But far as I know there's no rush on finishing, beyond needing to have it done (or mostly done) before submitting to film festivals (And we both currently envision whatever we get from West Virginia as basically being the end of the film, so David can be editing the rest of the film all the while).

So I can roll with whatever. This really falls under "It'll happen when it happens". And I'm actually relieved there won't be a scenario where Jane buys plane tickets for us and the crew, only to have me tell her that I can't go because of Shameless.


FRI 9/13/19 (10:20 am)

Remember how I was hoping to get more than a day out of the next episode I'm shooting?

Then I was excited because I was "at least" going to get two days on the episode?

Well, I heard from my agent late yesterday afternoon that they want me for six days next week at the Top-Of-Show Guest-Star rate!

I was initially confused and disoriented by this news, nice as it is, because there didn't seem to be anything like six days of work for me in the script.

Then I realized - having to deal with some unforeseen circumstances, their schedule is in such disarray that they're basically paying for the right to call me in whenever they want to (And beyond unfortunate unforeseen circumstances, Felicity Huffman's sentencing in the college admissions case is today. So depending on how that goes, they probably aren't sure about Macy's availability either; hard to imagine if she goes to prison for a month or whatever that he's gonna just come in on Monday whistling a happy tune. He's a pro, don't get me wrong, but still...).

So it's a little weird to have my great good fortune come at the expense of other people's misfortunes, but it's not like I caused any of this, am I right?

Well, I could write more - I didn't address how I've apparently decided I need to eat all the food in the world, or why I think my not booking after Wednesday's audition didn't have much to do with my audition - but a couple other tasks are calling (In addition to a couple scheduled phone/video conferences this afternoon - One which I very much want to have, and one I could give a shit about but have to do because of my day-job).

So till next time...


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