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1:30 pm - Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2002
Chatting with Jane

Chatting with Jane (Wed 11/13/02)

JSZussman: Hey...any late breaking developments?

JimH515: Two commercial auditions yesterday, one in the morning for Discover, something for The Food Channel in the afternoon. Both more fun than what I've done so far, which has been just to go in and get a picture taken.

JSZussman: So these were really "commercials" and not just print ads?

JimH515: Feel like I screwed up the Discover one, however, which is too bad, cause it would have been fun to do (Guy uses his new Discover card to get groceries, pay for dinner at the restaurant...and to fight off a band of ninjas. The tag line for the commercial is "The new Discover card...great for shopping. Great for restaurants. Not great for warding off ninja attacks".

JimH515: Yeah, both commercials. All I know about the second thing was that I was a guy feeding birds, while the camera will pan over to another guy feeding birds fried calamari. Again, an amusing idea

JSZussman: THAT sounds fun... (One of our "hobbies" of late is "casting" you in the various commercials we see...) Commercials are getting funnier these days.

JSZussman: I think there's a contest to make them seem NOT like "commercials"

JSZussman: If only they wouldn't run the same one three million times in the same evening...

JimH515: I didn't realize the Discover card was that new weird shaped one that comes in it's own holder. If I'd made the connection, that would have shaped what I'd done. But you get absolutely NO notice about these things. At least I haven't so far; I didn't know the premise of the Discover commercial till I GOT there. But anyway...Still kind of thinking about the play. Disappointed, and while I dont' really BLAME myself, seeing how I could have done things better

JimH515: In the future, I will act like I've won the lottery, no matter WHAT the circumstances

JSZussman: Well--anything "bad" is some kind of "lesson"-- and will prevent you from mistakes dealing with more worthy causes in the future. And not just the "excitement" thing--but some clearer way of describing your scheduling situation.

JimH515: Well, that was me being somewhat at cross purposes with myself, wanting to do a show, but wanting other things as well. In terms of work and doing a play, no one's ever indicated it would be any kind of "issue". Actually, in a way, it would be easier, in as much as I'd know my schedule, theoretically, way in advance

JSZussman: True--and some kind of message like, "This is my schedule, but YOU come first, and with X amount of notice, I'm yours, dahling..."

JSZussman: That's the best you can do... I think the embarrassment at having to "fudge" and "adjust" another schedule may get you into "cute and witty" mode, that might make the message less clear.

JimH515: Perhaps. And I'm ready to say "I could have done better with this...". But really, I feel like this was mostly HIS deal. Obviously, this "hard ass", this "theatre dog", has some "control issues", down to wanting to control my emotional responses. I was in trouble before the schedule thing, and that's the part I still don't really understand.

JSZussman: True--but just LOOKing at the communication issue, because of this, may help in the future. This guy's ego may be an exception--but ego IS another thing to be looking for, I imagine.

JimH515: But when he's giving me a hard time at the AUDITION--Okay, I picked the wrong monologue. So just ask me if I have another one. Don't LECTURE me--and telling me he's an old "theater dog" (in other words, there will be some tough EXPECTATIONS), it left me thinking, "OKAY...". I told him at that point, that I didn't think there would be any problem--by that, I meant with my attendance and attitude and what-have-you, during rehearsals--and I really didn't. I'm not just a good actor, I'm a guy you WANT in your show. I have a good attitude during rehearsals, and I work hard. But you make a good point...It's like driving defensively. You have to protect yourself against the fact that other drivers might be idiots.

JSZussman: So true...You may be lucky to have been "removed" before some WORSE control-freak stuff got going and you had to murder the guy...haha

JimH515: Work is a problem for me, in a way I wouldn't have expected...I like that people, particularly John, LIKE me. And even when he says, over and over, that he'll help me out in any way possible--he was a major help with these three commercials auditions recently--I'm afraid I'm going to "wear him out". Not just as a practical matter, but an issue of "This person was my friend, and now they're not". But I can't WORRY about that. John is on my side, I will try not to abuse that, and all I can do is the best I can at any given time. While keeping the idea in mind that the POINT here is not to be at Borders, but to be an actor.

JSZussman: True--and when you see how "fleeting" lots of bookstore employees are, you've already offered more "loyalty" that a lot of them. (You can send him comps to your stellar acting vehicles, after you're too successful to work there anymore.)

JimH515: But this little rush of commercials, how I dealt with it, and how John O. responded, has helped me figure things out a bit...speaking of John, he was finally officially made "interim GM". He's been doing the job for weeks now, while our GM is out on medical leave, but not getting the pay bump. I was very happy for him. And I kind of hope if Marie ends up unable to come back, or opts not to, that he'll get the job full time

JimH515: (She'll be out through January)

JSZussman: Sounds like he has a good long "audition"

JimH515: Exactly. I think he's ambivalent, but I think he also has enough of a feeling for the place, and the people there, that he'd rather do the job, than risk another Padric or whomever coming in and gumming up the works.

JimH515: Or a bookstore version of "Broadway" Joe, the "Theatre Dog"

JSZussman: Yeah--probably motivates him more to make the extra effort to KEEP good employees.

JSZussman: There you go

JSZussman: I wish you could figure some way to do Story Times. I think it could get you "noticed" in a place that would maybe LEAD to something...?

JSZussman: Kids' theatre.... commercials....? Charm the Children of Hollywood Producers...

JimH515: Oh, speaking of acting stuff and what have you, I should probably check with JS on the status of my headshots...Hey, can I USE this conversation in Diaryland? It spoke to a couple things I was going to write about anyway

JSZussman: Sure--why not? The only place I'M likely to get "published" haha--fix the spelling and punctuation....

JimH515: Well, I think it'll be clear that it's a message thing, but thanks. I've gotta go. I'll be emailing you soon. There's lots more I want to know about where YOU'RE at these days. "Talk" to you soon...Jim


(Well, I DID call Jon, my commercial agent, to ask about my headshot supply--I'm going in tomorrow with a fresh supply--to thank him for sending me out on three calls over the past two days, and to apologize for dithering over whether I'd be able to DO them or not. He seemed pleased to get the "thank you," and was very understanding about the "dithering", saying something like "I knew you were just trying to figure out your flight plan", or words to that effect.)

The chat with Jane, along with my own private thoughts on the matter, have led me to a couple of last thoughts on this matter:

1. It would be easy to be very discouraged about my experiences with LA theater so far--and this was, in a way, the worst one yet--but that won't help me. It also won't help to rail against "Broadway Joe" and his ilk. I can't control his behavior; I can only control mine (I'm disappointed by my loss-of-control in our final conversation. I feel like I gave him something he wanted, which was power over me).

2. I need to get my priorities straight. It's hard to put acting first sometimes, particularly when the acting isn't paying, but I have to keep that mantra in my head--"You didn't come out here to work at Borders...".

3. I really need not to "dither" over things. I think that, more than following up on phone messages or my behavior at rehearsals, is a big aspect of professionalism that I need to work on. No one out here wants to hear me be ambivalent, no one wants to hear my painful moral dilemmas, financial problems, or anything else. All they want is for me to be enthusiastic, and be able to do the job.

I just need to be more of a man, really. It's beyond "professionalism"; It's more about having the courage of your convictions, as soon as you figure out what they are.

This guy was an asshole. Don't get me wrong. But that doesn't mean I couldn't have played this situation a lot better than I did.

Well, time for work (Crap! I really want to write more about the commercial stuff. But it'll keep till after work...)


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