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12:16 PM - Thurs 3.09.23

What Used To Be And What Is

(I start this entry quite proud of myself - Just had a voiceover audition come in and, instead of procrastinating on it, I immediately attended to it. Fingers crossed it's the voiceover audition that finally breaks my years-long losing streak in that department...)

The last couple days have mostly been "a tale of two (commercial) auditions"...

On Tuesday, I had an audition at 200 S LaBrea (Which is a place I like to go since it's an easy drive from my apartment).

But while it was nice to be out, and "have something to do", I wasn't super-enthused about the audition in question - It involved something I don't particularly enjoy doing ("implied nudity"), it was an "Internet Only" spot (Which means a relatively small payday), and if I were to book it, it would possibly conflict with my upcoming West Virginia plans with Jane (There's a chance it might shoot on our "travel day", which would mean costing me enough, to change my plans, to hardly be worth doing).

When my time came, I was brought in with an attractive actress who'd I'd guess was a good twenty years my junior.

(I mention her relative youth and attractiveness, not because it was exciting, but because I found it embarrassing.)

There wasn't much to it - We stripped down to bathing suit (In her case) and gym shorts (In mine), he took our pictures, we slated, did a couple lines from the script, then were each asked a question we had to answer "in character".

And when we were done, I left thinking, "I could get a callback for this...but do I want to?".

So I ended up emailing my agent, explaining the situation (Not my distaste for the "nudity" - He doesn't need to hear me whining about that - Just the possibility of a conflict with my travel plans). And he agreed that it didn't pay enough to justify changing my plans. So he said if I got a callback, he'd tell them I booked something else that conflicts with their thing.

I was a little conflicted about that - On the one hand, I wasn't super-geeked about doing it anyway and was relieved he wasn't annoyed with me (For not bringing this up beforehand).

On the other hand, there was still a two-out-of-three chance, if I booked it, that it wouldn't fall on "the bad day". And while it's not a big payday, it's a payday (More than I would've made in a month at my last day job).

But if I didn't want to risk it screwing me up, this is what had to happen (Waiting till I booked the gig, then passing on it when I find out it shoots on my "travel day" would be a good way to piss off Casting, which is high on the list of "What Not To Do" as a working actor in LA).

So between Tuesday being the day Jane left for Santa Fe, and my first commercial audition in a month-and-a-half being something that might as well not have happened, the day was basically a bummer (I did have a couple voiceover auditions to do, which were fun enough. But at this point, it feels like I do voiceover auditions just to "pass the time", not because there's a realistic chance of me ever booking one).

But yesterday afternoon, I had another commercial audition that was everything Tuesday's audition was not - It was something I would be very enthused about doing (And it was actually two spots), it would likely have a very nice payoff (Did I mention it was for two spots? Two National spots?), and were I to book it, it would shoot before I leave for West Virginia.

(Even the casting place was an improvement - Instead of an easy drive, yesterday's place on Wilshire is close enough that I could walk there. And pretty much everyone - Doctors, Therapists, Jane, etc - thinks I should be walking more.)

So that brightened my outlook considerably.

(Even today's voiceover audition left me - at least slightly - more hopeful than the ones on Tuesday. It might sound weird for me to say as an actor, but I've come to think that if/when I crack this voiceover nut, it's going to be with something that is relatively close to my actual character, as an offbeat "announcer", than being the new "Man Of A Thousand Voices" in cartoons or video games. But I guess time will tell.)


I don't feel like I normally report on "acting news" in general, but there was a recent article in Deadline that's stirred up a hornet's-nest about self-tapes.

(I'll try to boil it down to the basics here...)

Self-Tapes (Where actors record their own auditions, then send them in to casting) were a thing before COVID, but at the height of the Pandemic, they became the only thing.

But now that COVID is somewhat on the wane as an issue, self-tapes are still mostly the thing (Particularly on the theatrical side, particularly when you're talking about smaller costar/guest-star roles. In my own instance, it's feeling quite possible that I will never see the inside of a theatrical casting office again).

Some actors have really embraced "the new normal", while others have not (I struggled initially, and still feel a little "nostalgic" for "the good old days", but have learned how to do it, and have embraced the reality of the situation. I can even acknowledge that it's got its positives, like being able to audition for a thing when you're out-of-town).

But in this Deadline article, some big-name actors railed against the practice, taking particular issue with the fact that some casting offices are now renting out their spare spaces for actors to do their self-tapes (Apparently someone - I'm not sure if it was an actor or the writer of the article - said in the article, "It's time for Casting Directors to get out of their houses and go back to work").

So in the days since, my commercial agent sent us all a video of a Casting Director giving actors a "reality check" about the situation and attacking the "misguided" nature of the Deadline article (And on TikTok, there's a Casting Director who's done a series of TikToks to the same effect, basically saying to Actors that "Casting is not the enemy" and explaining why the situation is the situation, why it's not really on Casting, and why it's not likely to change anytime soon, if ever).

While I think there are nuances to the issue of "self-tapes" vs. "being in the room", the way it basically shakes down, in my view, is that this is the way it is now, and railing against it is pretty much a "no win situation" (That is, of course, unless there really are unreasonable demands that are being made of actors doing self-tapes - Like being required to prepare a half-dozen scenes in a couple hours, or requiring professional-level production values).

It's not always been my strongest suit, but in this instance, I'd say my job is to forget how things "used to be" and embrace how they are.

Because, ultimately, I'd rather be working than complaining about not working.

Till next time...



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