10:39 AM - Thurs 9/16/21
I'm in a strange place right now (Metaphorically, that is - In reality, I'm just in my grubby little studio apartment in K-town)...
After a very long time in the wilderness, I recently - finally! - booked a gig (A holiday commercial shooting - I'm guessing - Monday or Tuesday).
It's my first gig of the Pandemic/Self-Tape Era, my first gig post-Shameless, and the best news that's happened to me in quite some time.
Months after my benefits lapsed, I've finally gotten myself back on Unemployment (...I think - I'm not going to totally believe it till the money starts coming in again).
(Since I qualified for an automatic extension, they've been letting me continue to certify for benefits. But since I procrastinated on re-filing - How is it an "automatic extension" if I have to re-file? - and when I finally did it I screwed it up and had to redo it, I haven't actually gotten any money since May).
It's a big relief since, for the past couple months I've been living on my savings, dribs and drabs of residuals, the occasional Cameo/even more occasional Memmo, and an ever-dwindling reserve of Unemployment money (Granted, I'm not in any imminent danger of being hungry and/or homeless...but it's still nerve-wracking to have no regular income).
So the two biggest questions plaguing me for a while now - "Am I ever going to book a job again?" and "Am I ever going to get myself back on Unemployment?" - have been answered with "Yes Jim. Yes you are".
And it made me very happy.
For about ten minutes.
This leads me to the sad conclusion that "It's very hard for me to be happy".
A couple of people died recently - the actor Michael K. Williams and, more recently, Norm McDonald (McDonald was just a year older than me, while Williams was a couple years younger) - which made me feel sad (because I liked them) and anxious (Because they were around my age, which really pushed my "fear of mortality" button - Something easier and easier to do these days).
And the fitting for my commercial had me cooling my heels for four hours (To try on exactly two changes of clothing) - Not really a big deal (And because it's a union thing, they have to pay me for my time), but just boring, and a reminder that even when you "win", the job can be a tedious affair, where you - as an actor - and your comfort and convenience are way, way down the list of considerations.
And the next day, a piece of one of my veneers broke off, requiring an emergency trip to the Dentist's office, more hours of waiting in a lobby (which was understandable, since I was the one imposing on them and other people had actual appointments) and a thousand dollar bill (Not for the work, actually - that was mostly covered - but for previous work that my insurance decided they weren't going to pay for).
And the day after that, I spent the morning battling with the Caljobs website (When I first applied for Unemployment last year, I didn't have to deal with Caljobs since, with the Pandemic, the requirement to be looking for work while on Unemployment had been temporarily waived). And then I struggled to even do my latest certification for benefits on the regular Unemployment website, something I've been doing for over a year.
(FTR, I did figure everything out by early afternoon. And a short time ago, I got eight rapid-fire emails from Unemployment about notices in my Inbox - which I can't access right now because the site is down for maintenance - that I hope will tell me I'm getting "back pay" for the time, since May, that I've been certifying for benefits but not getting any money.)
So, long story short, since my good bits of news, I've had some days that have basically sucked.
And at my age, it shouldn't be a surprise - I often feel a letdown after getting good news.
And part of that "letdown" happens because having a couple things go my way doesn't mean everything is now going to go my way.
And along with the excitement and happiness of booking a gig comes a fair amount of anxiety as well - from fearing something will happen in the interim that won't allow me to do the gig (Which is why the veneer business put me in such a panic), to worrying, if the shoot runs long, if I'll have the necessary energy to keep giving them what they want, to trying not to think about how much of a payday this will turn out to be (Commercials can be very lucrative, but they can also be very disappointing - For example, two of the three Superbowl commercial I've been in ran on the day, and that day only).
But right now, I think I'm going to hit an ATM, to check the balance on my Unemployment card, and see if my hope will be born out - Wish me luck!
Till next time...