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5:04 am - Thursday, Jan. 23, 2003
Snatching Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory

Snatching Defeat From The Jaws of Victory

TUE 1/21/03 2:10 pm

No real time here, but just wanted to get a few things down quickly...

Had an exchange of emails with Bill H. about "the work entry".

In the exchange, something was touched on that I actually addressed in my next D-land entry, the one I deleted for being "long-winded"; I want to feel good about myself and what I'm doing out here, and think it's valid that I take pride in it (It's critical, actually, if I'm to have any hope of succeeding). But by the same token, I don't want to build myself up by tearing other people down. I don't want my effort to be more positive about myself--One of my epic struggles in life--to involve negative judgements, implied or otherwise, about others.

At issue? The idea that I'm somehow better than other people, because I'm out here "living my dream" and they're...not.

I'm the last one in the world who gets to take the moral high ground, about this issue or anything else. Basically, I'm out here because this is what I want to do. That's pretty much it. And kudos to me on a personal level, for getting past my fear and lethargy, but it doesn't mean I'm a better person than someone who opted for a career and family and so on (In fact, I think you could make a pretty good argument the other way around. But the point here is that there's no need for an "argument" on the subject, period). It's a big, beautiful world, and I think there's room in it for people who work at real jobs, and people who want to put on little skits for a living, and everyone in between.

WED 1/22/03 5:45 pm

Recently, I f****d-up.

Twice. In rapid succession.

$87 gone bye-bye. $87 I could ill-afford to lose.

The first thing I did was overdraw on my checking account, for the first time since I've been here in LA. Two uses of my ATM card, totalling less than $5, that cost me $42 in penalties.


The next thing I did, because my days off recently changed and threw off my little routine, was to leave my car in the wrong spot at the wrong time, which earned me a $45 "street sweeper" ticket.

Double Ouch!

At this point, I was kinda hoping I was done shooting myself in the foot (You see, there's nothing in the budget for acts of stupidity and carelessness).

But it turned out I wasn't done quite yet. Actually, I was saving the best for last...

On Tuesday morning, I had an audition at Sheila Manning Casting, not far from the bookstore, for Metro TV (I was auditioning for the part of a snooty wedding caterer).

It went okay--not great, I didn't think--but I remember being happy that we'd had the chance to go over it a couple times, and do two takes for the camera. Beyond that, I didn't think much more about it. I certainly didn't think anything more was going to come of it (I haven't had the feeling of "hitting it out of the park" yet on one of these commercial auditions).

On Thursday, I talked to Ed Begley Jr. about his play.

It was a pleasant, fairly brief conversation. Where we left things was that we would meet on Wednesday (He was on the cell phone in his car, so he said he'd call me back the next day, and we'd figure out a specific time).

So the next day, I made a point of staying offline, to leave the phone free for Mr B's call, only going online for a few minutes at a time, to check my email, read the news, and copy the entry I'd done offline into Diaryland.

And I didn't check my voicemail.

I think that bears repeating----I didn't check my voicemail.

It wasn't that I thought of it and dismissed the idea. It just never occurred to me; I might have checked it around mid-morning, but after that, I guess I figured I was home, and I wasn't online, so I didn't need to.

Turned out I needed to.

Apparently, I'd been online just long enough; In one of those little "windows" when my phone line was busy, JS had called, through one of his little office helpers, to tell me I had a callback for the Metro TV spot, at 10:10 the next day.

I got the message at 12:45...the next day (There was the original message. Then there was another, extra-crispy message from JS himself, basically saying "Why the hell haven't you confirmed for this callback?").

I was horrified. Here was a chance to have some fun, to have some success, and most importantly right now, to have a nice payday...and I'd flushed it down the drain (SAG minimum for a one-day commercial shoot is something like $500).

Even worse, I'd probably just killed my relationship with JS Represents in its infancy (JS is not one to brook a lot of foolishness from unprofessional actors, and missing a callback is pretty damned unprofessional).

(The irony here? Just days before, I'd been bitching to Nick; The last time JS had left a message on my machine, he'd complained about never being able to get me directly. "What's it to him?", I said to Nick, "I always call him back, I've made every audition, and I've gotten to each audition on time or early". All that said, I knew I had to get a pager or get my cell phone reactivated or something, but was procrastinating because "I just don't have the money".)

Anyway, I called the casting agency, but I was way too late (The plus side, at least according to who I talked to on the phone, was that it was kind of a "no harm/no foul" as long as they were concerned. There hadn't been any confirmation I was going to show, so it was no nevermind to them. This, btw, was in direct contradiction to what JS told me later).

And I called JS. The office is not actually open on Saturday, so I ended up leaving a pathetic, pleading message (Something to the effect of "Please, oh God, please please please, give me another chance...". Something like that).

But I couldn't let that just sit all weekend long, not knowing if I was going to have a commercial agent or not come Monday morning.

So I called JS on his cell phone, essentially repeating the same plea I'd left on his machine.

JS was not exactly thrilled with me (" Royally pissed" would probably be a more accurate description of his mental state).

I begged like I haven't begged for anything in my adult life. And I found it surprisingly easy, since I was totally, 100% in the wrong (There wasn't really any way to make myself the poor victim on this one, either. If anything, I found myself feeling sorry for JS; He's trying to run a f*****g business, and he obviously has to deal with this kind of s**t all too often. And I was downright humiliated that he was dealing with this kind of s**t from me. I don't want to think of myself as a screwup out here, but much more importantly, I don't want to actually be a screwup out here).

Long story short, if that's possible at this point, is that I promised to get a pager, and he grudgingly agreed to give me another chance (I couldn't get a pager activated till Monday, but as soon as I could, I went and got one. $100 I can't really afford, added to the growing list of things I can't afford that I've had to charge lately. But if I've learned anything from this debacle, it's that I can't give in to "impoverished thinking". I can't plead poverty to the point where I can't do what I need to do out here. If I need something to help me accomplish my goals here, I have to just go out and get it, and have faith that the money will work out somehow)

Even after the crisis seemed to have passed, I had a hard time getting past it.

The phrase "snatching defeat from the jaws of victory" springs to mind. Getting a second callback in less than a dozen auditions should have been cause for doing a little "happy dance". It's more success in this arena, in a faster frame of time, than I really imagined I'd have (Obviously, I'm a much more viable "commercial type" than I realized), and it should have made me, if not a hero in JS's eyes, at least noteworthy.

Well, I imagine I'm pretty "noteworthy" now...

But now I have a pager. And I still have an agent. And life goes on.

I actually thought I might be "in the doghouse" for awhile, but that was just paranoia on my part---JS is going to keep me on, only to punish me by not sending me out? How stupid would that be?---and sure enough, I got a page yesterday afternoon, for a commercial for Washington Mutual, at Cathi Carleton Casting on South Bundy.

The really exciting thing? JS's assistant told me I was the only one they had asked for from the agency. And it's apparently for a series of commercials.

(So again, it seems obvious that things are going in the right direction here...if I can somehow just keep myself from f*****g up.)

(Interestingly enough, this most recent audition might not have happened if I hadn't "f****d up" again; I emailed JS early Tuesday afternoon to "book out" for Wednesday--"booking out" means letting JS know you won't be available to do auditions on a given day--but email is obviously not an immediate-enough communication for this purpose. He wasn't in the office to get the message, so a couple hours later that day, while I was at work, I got a page regarding the audition from one of his assistants/volunteers; In addition to an assistant or two, JS has actors from the agency who occasionally put in time at the office, and apparently, they don't read his e-mail. Anyway, I decided at that point both that I didn't want to piss JS off again, by having their be another problem, and that Ed Begley would probably be very understanding if I wanted to push our audition time back a little bit so I could get in this commercial audition. And he was--We were scheduled for noon, and the audition was at 10:40, so I asked him if we could go a little later, and he was fine with that).

Well, this is what happens when I don't write for days at a time...I'm so "backed up" here I could go on for another twenty pages or so.

And that's what I'm going to do. But in an effort not to tax your time and patience, I'm going to stop here, and continue this epic in the next entry.


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