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5:08 pm - Fri 4/28/06
Kvetch-Fest 2006

Kvetch-Fest 2006

Fri 4/28/06 (10:43 p.m.)

(Watching Commander In Chief, a show that probably won’t be around next season unless ratings improve. But anyway...)

In the weeks since the audition with Ivy Isenberg, I’ve been struggling. I’ve felt a big emotional letdown, and have been casting about–mostly unsuccessfully-- for something to lift my spirits.

I haven’t had a commercial audition in the past two weeks, and so far this year, commercial auditions have been more a source of frustration and upset than anything else (I’m not getting enough of them, for one thing. And for the other, I’m frustrated and downright baffled by the fact that I’ve stopped getting callbacks. And “no callbacks” mean “no bookings”).

The casting “breakdowns”–which I’m paying $20 a month for–haven’t been “the keys to the kingdom” I might have hoped for, at least not so far. Turns out a lot of casting directors don’t even release breakdowns–relying on their established relationships with agents, and a stable of actors they already know–while still others specify “electronic submissions only”.

(And the combination I’m looking for on the breakdowns--a casting director I’ve done a workshop with who’s casting a co-star role I’m right for–is a combo I’m not seeing nearly as much as I’d hoped to.)

And with no extra funds on the horizon, no fiscal cavalry coming to rescue me from impending doom, I’m stressing about money again (I thought I’d be getting three paychecks in May, but looking at the calendar again, I see that’s actually not till June. I don’t know what I was thinking before).

To give you some perspective on my situation, I pretty much never crack $900 a month take-home from the theater (That situation may improve as we approach summer, with movies like Mission Impossible 3 and DaVinci Code. But on the other hand, rumour has it we are not getting Superman Returns or X-Men 3, and if that’s true, that’s gonna hurt us).

My rent alone is over $600. Then there’s the cell phone, the land line, car insurance, and a half-dozen credit card bills.

And of course, there’s the little matter of eating.

And casting workshops (On average, five or six a month, at $25 a pop).

And this month my SAG dues came due (SAG dues are a flat rate, plus a percentage of your acting income, which in my case last year was $4700). So that was $93–for the record, I haven’t made a dime from acting so far this year–which is another thing that makes me feel like all I am as an “actor” out here is a way for someone else to make money.

And over my “weekend”, I finally took my bike in for repairs, since it hadn’t been riding right for at least the past month (Happily, there’s a Schwinn dealership on the way to work, and within walking distance from my apartment); to fix a broken brace that had made the derailleur (sp?) loose, get a general “tune-up”, and have them install a bike rack was $100 and change (In hindsite, the bike rack could have waited. But like I said before, I thought I had a little more financial “breathing room” this month than I actually do. And it’s something I was going to need to do at some point anyway).

(And this might sound weird, but the thing that bothers me about all this is that I sort of like taking my bike in to get repaired; I’d rather have a magical bike that never needs fixing, don’t get me wrong, but since I don’t, I like that I can go to the “bike doctor” when my bike’s ailing, and when I get it out of the shop it’s like having a new bike all over again. And I wish I could just enjoy that, without having to stress over another $100 I can ill-afford on a charge card.)

And the incidentals go on and on and on...

Renewing Triple-A.

Renewing my NNA membership, and liability insurance (I’m not ready to admit that the whole Notary business is yet another thing I started, then fizzled out on. And my commission is good for another three years).

The L.A. Freenet (Which as other people have pointed out, is something of a misnomer since it’s not really “free”. But that said, it’s still the cheapest Internet option I know of).

Diaryland (Which I mostly only pay for out of a sense of “fairness”–I use it a lot, really appreciate it, and feel I should do my part to help it stay aloft–but when the time comes, I’ll have to either go back down to the free membership, or else hold out my tin cup, and hope one or two of you good folks can “help a brother out”).

Anyway anyway...long story short, there’s a lot of “outflow”, and not much coming in.

And it’s grinding me down.

And in the middle of that stress–and inter-connected with that stress--I’m wrestling with some issues that are maybe even tougher, in their way...

I was watching Boston Legal this past Tuesday, and at one point in the episode, one character said of another, “You don’t have any friends”.

The character being spoken to challenged that assertion, but when he was asked to “name three ”, he couldn’t.

And it occurred to me that, after five years in L.A., I can’t name three friends.

Yes, Mark and Jane are friends. But they’re back in Michigan (Ditto with Kevin, though he seems to have pretty much lost interest in me anyway).

Yes, Cary and Kay are friends. But they’re married, with a kid, and live far enough away to preclude more than periodic visits.

I’d like to consider John O. a “friend”–I certainly think a great deal of him–and while this is fairly out-of-character for me, I’ve made any number of overtures to that effect. But sadly, for whatever reason, it’s become apparent that the hanging-out-on-a-regular-basis level of friendship I’m looking for is not going to happen with me and John (I might be wrong, but I don’t think we’ve “hung out together” so far this year).

I never heard back from Joe, after our (very) tentative plans to get together for a “movie date”with Tim G.

Likewise with Garrett P.

There are frequent opportunities to go out with some of the ArcLight people after work, a number of whom I like very much (Even though they're almost all old enough to be my kids). But once again, money precludes making that a regular thing (Though as “going out” goes, it’s about the cheapest thing you can do, if done right; You go to Big Wangs–the ArcLight “hangout”--buy a pitcher of beer, share it with others, then you can drink the rest of the evening for free).

And Jane’s always suggesting cleaning my place and inviting people over. But that just feels weird to me (The cleaning, yes. But I’m actually talking about calling another guy up and saying, “Want to come over to my place and watch a dvd?”; forgive the political incorrectness, but it seems a little “gay” to me).

As for women...

Well, that could/should be an entry in itself. But needless to say, money looms as a huge–downright monumental–impediment; I have neither the money to go “where the women are”, nor the money to take them out, were I to actually get that far along in the process.

Like at the bookstore, an issue for me at the ArcLight is “attractive, age-appropriate women” (In short, there aren’t any). Apparently, attractive women my age are all either 1) successful in their own right, or 2) married or involved with men who are.

And from here, we go into issues of self-esteem/confidence/whatever you want to call it–As the years pass, and I get fatter and balder and more tired, and continue to be stuck at the bottom rung on the ladder to success, it’s harder and harder to see exactly why any attractive, age-appropriate women would be interested in me.

But as I said, this “women thing” could be an entry in itself, and since I’ve bored you long enough, and have to head off to work very shortly anyway, I think I’ll wrap up this kvetch-fest.

But to end on at least a sort-of happy note...I’m usher-greeting at the theater tonite, and that’s my favorite job to do.

(Hey, it’s something, ok?)


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