5:29 pm - Weds 2/8/17
Apparently, she was murdered (The police are treating her death as a homicide).
To be honest, I didn't know her all that well - I worked with her briefly when I worked at the ArcLight in Hollywood - but I remember worrying about her, because she was pretty and seemed very smart, but clearly had mental health/drug issues.
When I left ArcLight, I didn't think much about her, until I heard "through the grapevine" (i.e. friends on Facebook), that she was a "Missing Person" case.
She was missing for awhile (months, I believe), till she turned up in an emergency room in rough shape (Perhaps dropped off by her pimp/abuser).
There were rumors she'd been "working the streets" and had apparently cut off/been cut off from ties with her family and friends - but over time, she recovered, got sober, started going to school, and the worst seemed to be behind her.
Beyond reading her posts on Facebook, sometimes "liking" them (She was appealing nerdy in her interests, super-smart - way smarter than Yours Truly - and we had similar politics), I didn't really know her.
We weren't friends.
But I was shocked and tremendously saddened by her death - Because I knew her, because she was so young, because she seemed to have such promise, and as I said before, because "the worst seemed to be behind her".
So I turned her life into a short-story with an uplifting happy ending, because even though I didn't really know her, and we weren't friends, that's how I wanted the story to go.
But the "short story" turned out to be even shorter than I would have imagined, with an ending that was anything but "happy".
Thurs 2/9/17 (7:45 am)
In acting news...
So far this year, I've been doing well with commercial auditions - As of this writing, getting one per week - but as it got toward the end of January, I started worrying, because while I was getting the auditions, I wasn't getting any callbacks or avails (Let alone bookings).
Then last Thursday I had a callback for Twix. And I was quite happy about it - It "broke the streak", it would be a big win (A likely network national), and was a cute spot I thought could "boost my profile" as an actor.
In short, it was pretty much everything I could want in a commercial.
(It was also just nice having my view of reality "sync-up" with theirs, since I thought the initial audition had gone quite well - To my periodic chagrin, that doesn't always happen.)
So anyway, did that callback, and it also seemed to go well (The spot involved another actor, and while I wasn't impressed with the guy I initially auditioned with, the actor at the callback was a lot better).
And again, my view of reality was validated when I got put on avail for the spot.
But that's where things started to go wrong...
Unlike getting the callback, which made me happy, the avail...didn't. It just seemed to make me anxious - Avails are good things (you made enough of an impression to put yourself in serious contention), but being the veteran of a lot of avails that haven't gone my way, my first thought was "Goddammit, why don't they ever just fucking cast me outright?".
I spent the next day basically "waiting by the phone", losing hope by the hour, until I got word late in the day - I didn't get it.
And things have been going badly in my head ever since (But more on that in a moment).
My other career worry - beyond getting commercial auditions but no callbacks or avails (let alone bookings) - had been that nothing at all was happening on the theatrical side of things.
But day-before-yesterday, I had two theatrical auditions - One for a short film, the other for a new show on Starz (The film audition, which I got word of first, was at 5:00; the Starz audition was at 3:00).
They went terribly.
I had three lines for the Starz audition, that were done as two separate bits (They taped the first line, cut, then had me do the next two lines).
The first line was fine, and I could tell the casting person liked what I'd done...but I couldn't get through the next two to save my life (It's making me angry all over again just thinking about it).
Eventually something came out that was at least coherent (After maybe five or six takes), but I was absolutely humiliated over how badly I'd done.
(Sometime I'll have to write about my audition prep - how it's clearly inadequate, and how I need to re-think how I do things - but I've got more I want to write about, and don't want to get bogged down, and have this take all day, so...next time.)
I'd worried about getting to the second audition in a timely manner (I really don't like having two auditions in the same day, by and large), but it wasn't very far away from the first one, and I actually had the opposite problem - Getting in-and-out of the first audition early, I ended up where I needed to be a good hour-and-a-half before I needed to be there.
Unlike the first audition, where I'd worked on memorizing the lines, with the short film, I read the script over a number of times, but didn't put the expectation on myself of memorizing it.
With this audition, the problems were, 1) I couldn't let go of my anger & disappointment at how shitty I'd been at the first audition, and 2) (And I didn't realize this till after-the-fact) I just didn't have any handle on the character - I didn't think the script was particularly good, and walked in with no clear idea on what to do with it.
Here's how much my head wasn't in the game - They had me reading the short opening scene (With the Casting Director, who I hadn't met before), and on the first take, I actually caught myself glance at the female producer (I don't know if it was because she was attractive - she was - or because I was upset and nervous, and reverting to an ancient, anxious tic, where I used to sneak glances at the Director during play rehearsals as if asking "Is this okay?". But whatever the reason, it's horrifyingly amateur-hour to be doing it at a professional audition).
The director gave me the direction "Really try to convince him" - the scene involved me not having enough money to buy the item I wanted at a convenience store - and it went better, but only when compared to the shitty first take.
When I got a "Thank you" after that, I knew I'd blown it (This was for the Lead in the film, so I'm pretty sure if they were interested, they would have had me read more than the short opening scene).
On my way out, the CD said he was a big fan of Shameless, and we chatted about that for a moment (I tried to be charming, but wasn't sure I made it. In any case, I can't imagine it made any difference to the production people, based on what they'd just seen).
So, my first two theatrical auditions of the year, and I fucked them both up.
As I write this, it strikes me that almost booking something bummed me out, and screwing the pooch has bummed me out some more - So, since I'm guessing that being consistently "okay" at auditions (Not sucking but never being great) wouldn't work for me either, it seems the only thing that's going to make me happy is booking gigs, which has become a pretty hit-or-miss proposition the past couple years.
(Even when my career's been "on fire", that's meant booking five or six gigs in a year - I'm talking about "new business", and not whatever happens in a given season on Shameless - and that doesn't seem like a lot of days where I "get to be happy" about acting.)
In Shameless news...well, there isn't any Shameless news, really.
The new season will start shooting in May, and while I assume I'll be a part of it (Since I've been on the show since the first season), Season 7 ended with the fate of the Alibi - where I do the bulk of my Shameless work - in doubt.
(Again, I assume that plot-line will be resolved, one way or another, with the Alibi re-established as one of the show's regular locations...but there's no reason it has to be. And while "Kermit" is clearly a part of the show, he's just as clearly a really small part of the show, so he doesn't have to be in Season 8 either - he could be killed-off/explained away in a line, or just never made mention of again.)
I've been thinking about asking "my team" to ask production if I'm gonna be part of the coming season - It's gonna come off as neurotic, and it's probably early in the game to be asking, but I've gotta look out for me, and I can't imagine waiting till someone else decides to fill me in (By my team checking eventually, or by production calling to book me for an episode).
Beyond worrying about whether I'll be in Season 8 Shameless, I continue to have a more general worry about playing a small recurring role on a show that's nearer to its end than its beginning, with nothing else happening for me in TV (2013 was the last time I booked any non-Shameless jobs).
The theatrical drought I've been in is why the idea of Shameless going away - As it inevitably will someday - is not just sad, because I've enjoyed the experience and will miss it when it's gone, but kind of terrifying (In 2014, and again this past year - with the exception of the one-day KFC shoot - Shameless was about all that stood between me and financial disaster. Since I don't make enough at Weight Watchers to pay my bills - not even close - life without Shameless would mean basically "crossing my fingers" each year, hoping things work out somehow, which doesn't seem like the best financial plan).
Well, I'm starting to lose interest in this project - And you're no-doubt thinking "Jim, that happened to me awhile back..." - so I'm going to skip the political news, which is basically "Donald Trump and his minions continue to be stupid and evil on a daily basis", and go right to the medical report...
After resisting it pretty much all my life, I got on an antidepressant some months back (Wellbutrin, for those who want to know).
Started on a low dosage (75 mgs), then it was upped to 150 mgs.
And while I was not clear on what it was supposed to do for me, what kind of relief I should expect over time, I perceived it kind of "taking the edge off" - It wasn't as if I never got sad or anxious, but I didn't have bouts of struggling not to burst into tears in public, or wishing I didn't have to go anywhere or do anything.
Then, I think it's been about two weeks or so now, I filled the last refill on my latest prescription...and promptly lost the bottle before taking a single pill (At that point, I think it had been maybe two days since I'd last taken it).
I've called the Dr numerous times, the pharmacy faxed a request for a prescription, and nothing has happened - I mostly get voicemail (Even when I'm calling during their theoretical "business hours", and when I do get someone, they tell me the Dr isn't in, and "they'll let him know" about my request.
Last time I needed help from this Dr, I ended up drawing my regular therapist into it, hoping that would "grease the skids" (And it seemed like it did).
Didn't want to do that again - Why should I need to? - but I just called him, because I've come to the realization over the past week or so that I was benefiting from the medication much more than I realized, and consider myself to be in fairly rough shape at the moment without it (I don't even like writing that...but here we are).
(Left a message on my therapist's voicemail...but the difference between him and my psychiatrist is actually that my therapist will respond to it, by calling me at some point, or doing what I've asked of him, or both).
So that's where I'm at - I'm struggling, I feel like shit, and I can't get myself out of it or get the help I need.
And Donald Trump continues to be President...
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