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1:40 am - Thurs 1/13/05
A Long Entry, Mostly About Commercials

A Long Entry, Mostly About Commercials

Tues 1/11/05 (10:58 a.m.)

Jason called me at the bookstore last night to let me know he'd just seen the Jack-In-The-Box commercial (While watching Comedy Central).

I thought that was very cool of him.

Even though it's just a commercial, and I'm not even the "hero" (That's what they call the lead in a commercial), I'm still getting a big charge out of something I did being on tv, particularly where people I know–Namely, folks at the bookstore--will see it (Unfortunately, Jack-In-The-Box isn't in Michigan, so I'm still waiting to book a spot the "hometown crowd" will see). And of course, this being so exciting leads me to imagine how much more exciting it'll be when I start getting to actually act, and can tell people to check out this tv show or movie I'm really proud of.

Now all that remains, with the commercial, is to hope it runs long enough to make me a big pot of money.

But I'm also trying to play down any hopes of "a big pot of money"; I have no idea what to expect, really, in terms of a total payday, so that being the case, I don't want to set myself up for disappointment by expecting to make, say, ten thousand dollars, then "only" making five. I don't want to "snatch defeat from the jaws of victory" here.

I also feel the need to play down expectations about today's Jack-In-The-Box audition: At work yesterday, I felt myself start to fantasize about booking it (How cool it would be if it actually started running while the "Salad Dodger" spot were still playing, if it paid my bills for the year, if it were a springboard to other things, etc). But I don't think it helps my cause to go in as if this were "do-or-die", because it really isn't–I'm not starving (Not yet, anyway), and if I don't book this spot, I'll book the one after that.

Or the one after that.

Or the one after that.

The point is to go in, have fun, let my personality--such as it is--shine through, then just let it go.

Another reason I'm glad the "Salad Dodger" spot has started running, beyond residuals and having my friends at the bookstore see it and all that, is that last week I saw three commercials on tv I auditioned for, but didn't get (Disney, Aflac, and Advantix).

It's not a "knife in the guts" or anything like that, but I always feel a little twinge
when I eventually see the commercials I didn't book on the air (It's something I didn't really think about when I first started doing commercial auditions).

In terms of money, the biggest commercial of the three would have been Aflac, with Gilbert Gottfried (That was the only union spot), while looking at them as "acting opportunities", the one that would have been the most fun to do would have been the Advantix spot (Where I would have been a sleazy home loan agent).

Speaking of the Advantix spot, I thought this was funny...

When I auditioned for it, I did a little impromptu "happy dance" at the end, which wasn't in the script, and which got a very good response from the two guys in the room.

So when I saw the finished commercial, I was a bit nonplussed when the actor got to the end of the spot...and did a little "happy dance".

Now it's certainly possible the actor thought that up on his own, but somehow, I doubt it; I think that was my "happy dance" (When I told Cary about it, he said that in a way, it was pretty flattering. And I agree–but I'd still rather have booked the gig!).

Weds 1/12/04 (2:52 a.m.)

The Jack-In-The-Box audition yesterday went pretty well, I thought (And thank you all for your good wishes).

Initially, I was flattered, thinking that my being called in for this audition had something to do with the other spot (The spot that's just started running, which I still haven't seen). But we were actually at some point into the audition before they recognized me from having brought me in for the other spot (The last time they saw me was at the beginning of November) . Then I went from thinking I'd gotten called in because of the other spot, to worrying that I'd be out-of-the-running because of the other spot.

But I calmed myself down, thinking 1) There's no reason I couldn't be the same "character" in both spots, and 2) If being in the other spot was a problem, there wasn't anything I could do about it anyway.

The audition itself went well, I thought. As I walked into the room, they were talking about how the other actors weren't getting it right, and I was encouraged by what I heard, because I had the same idea they did as to how the spot was supposed to go, and had no intention of making the mistake the other actors had been making (Basically, they were all "rushing the lines").

So anyway, we'll see. I left with the feeling, based on how the audition went, that it certainly could go my way (Callbacks are next Wednesday, and the shoot date will be sometime between the end of this month and the beginning of next). It probably won't "go my way", of course, but if it does, that would be great.

(9:59 p.m.)

Interesting day...

I got a letter from SAG in today's mail, saying that my employment "as a Principal performer" in the G.E. spot qualifies me for membership.

The two most important words in that last sentence were "Principal performer". If they weren't a typo or some other kind of mistake, that upgrade (From "Extra" to "Principal") is the difference between my having received all the money I'm gonna get from that gig...and getting a whole lot more. A difference of thousands of dollars.

For whatever reason, I'm feeling wary about all this–It seems so unlikely that fortune would smile on me in this way, that my desire to make more money this year would happen so quickly and easily–so I'm going to call the extra agency that booked me for the job, and see what they have to say (I emailed JS initially, but since the agency sent the "session fee" to me and not to him–probably my mistake, I'm guessing--he said I'd have to follow up on it on my own. But he wished me luck–Because, after all, my good fortune is his good fortune–and told me to make sure, if residuals are going to be coming my way, to instruct them to send the checks to his office, so he can take his percentage, then pass the money on to me. Which of course, is fine with me).

I planned to see The Life Aquatic this afternoon, but things didn't work out that way.

I got about five blocks from my apartment, when I saw a guy passed out on the sidewalk.

Now seeing a guy passed out on the sidewalk is not exactly unusual here in L.A., and since there wasn't any red stuff leaking out of him and he was breathing, I would normally have moved on. But the local middle school had just let out–When I got there, a big group of kids were gathered around him, as he lay face-down on the sidewalk-- and while I didn't think they would really hurt him, it didn't seem right to just let them scream in his ear and kick at him, trying to "wake him up", so I called 911 (And was pretty discouraged at how long I was on hold).

Anyway, by the time I got someone on the line, then waited around for the paramedics–chatting for awhile with a school crossing guard in the interim--it was too late for the movie, so I walked back home, stopping off at a video place, where I rented Monster and Sexy Beast (Neither of which I've watched yet).

When I got back home, I checked my voicemail, and there was a message from JS: I have a callback tomorrow for the spot (The one where I was a mortician).

The audition was me playing poker with a dead guy (You just see his arm coming out of a coffin). I looked at my cards, then looked at his, then took what I needed from his hand, replacing them with my discards. Then I sat back down, looking very pleased with myself.

When I left, I remember thinking I'd probably screwed up–I thought I should have played it more deadpan (Pardon the pun)–but who knows? Maybe they liked what I did. Maybe they liked my "look". Maybe they liked the cheap suit, or my medium-priced tie. It's really hard to say.

But in any case, I'm going back tomorrow afternoon (It's a non-union gig, so it wouldn't be a giant payday if I got it, but it would certainly be "giant-er" than Borders. And in a year where I want to both get braces and get out of Borders, every little bit helps).

Going back to union stuff for a second...

I just recently found out that SAG, in negotiation with producers over residual rates for dvds, could possibly go on strike this year.


(I wasn't really following this stuff before now, though I guess I should have been.)

I don't want to push the panic button here, but let me just say this would not be a good thing for Yours Truly.

But maybe they won't go on strike. Or maybe they will, but before I have to join, which means I can keep doing non-union stuff. Or maybe I'll move to Vancouver, and work as "Jack Hofmeister" till it all blows over.

The really bad scenario here would be me booking something, like another extra gig, then having to join, only to have to go on strike for God-knows-how-long.

But that's not gonna happen. Cause this is my year, the year where it really starts to come together. And I don't want to strike anyone.

Well, I have this feeling I've gone on for days here, so I think I shall "cease and desist", and maybe watch one of my movies...


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