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9:38 AM - Thurs 5.22.14
Nice Things Make Me Anxious

Nice Things Make Me Anxious

(I'd been working on an entry before now, but came back to it, and found it somewhat...lacking. As I often do. But anyway...)

This is old news now, but I still wanted to address it in here; some time back, Shameless called my agent, and asked if I was generally available throughout the shooting season (Which starts July 7th, I believe, and concludes in mid-November).

This was something new - typically, my agent gets a call that I'm going to be in a particular episode, I'm asked to make myself generally available during a given week, then they confirm a specific day (My stuff's pretty much always done in a day) - So I read that, in a "cautiously optimistic" way, as them perhaps planning to make more use of me during the coming season.

I posted that as a Facebook status, and got over 150 "likes", with people congratulating me as if I were being promoted to "series regular" or had won an Emmy or something.

It made me tremendously anxious - I was very tempted to go back on and say "Hey, no one's promised anything yet, so let's not get ahead of ourselves...!" - but then I thought, "Well, you put it out there Jim...and anyway, shouldn't it be nice that people are so excited about your (potential) good fortune?".

But that was weeks ago, and it's been on my mind ever since; it's made me think about whether I "over-share" on Facebook (I probably do), about how I don't really have control of what I "put out there" once it's "out there" (It's a little unreasonable to post something that sounds like good news, then expect everyone to be as "cautiously optimistic" about it as I am, no more and no less), and just how hard it is for me to be un-cautiously optimistic.

About anything.

And writing about this has put the whole thing "back in my head"; the casting director seemed to suggest "more information would be forthcoming" (I think they used the phrase, "I'll tell you more when I know more"). But so far, no more information has been forthcoming (And honestly, I don't really know what "more information" would entail; it's hard to imagine they're going to tell me about some upcoming story-line I'm in or anything like that. I don't even know if Bill Macy or Emmy Rossum get that kind of a head's-up about what they're doing in a given season).


Fri 5/23/14 (9:54 pm)

Had a callback for a commercial on Thursday.

It was in Santa Monica, just down the street from the WW store I work at on Wednesday mornings.

I was happy it got me out of working at the West LA store that morning (I was supposed to fill in for a coworker, for two meetings. But as I've said many times before, while I know I should always take "fills" when they come up, I never, ever, want to).

And even though I'm the guy who hasn't booked an acting gig so far this year (And is watching WW corporate start getting draconian about cutting "under-performing" meetings, which at this point, constitutes a lot of meetings) - and thus, am very concerned about money - I still got someone to cover me for both meetings I was supposed to work, even though I really could have worked the first one (Yeah, there's a certain logic in wanting to "clear the decks" to focus on an audition...but there's also just me devoutly wishing I did't have to do anything else in life but just be an actor, and taking any chance I get to do just that).

Anyway, I had a commercial callback, for a national commercial I was particularly enthused about (Because I thought it would be funny - and give me some "good visibility" - while running often enough to make it, financially, very nice to be me for awhile).

And while I was waiting (In a complex that's home to a number of commercial casting directors), a casting director I've gone in for a number of times approached and asked me to audition for an Esurance commercial they were casting, when I finished with the callback I'd come in for.

So that was pretty cool.

And this was interesting: when I signed in for the Esurance audition, the camera guy described the spot to me, then ended by saying, "You know, just 'do your thing'".

Now, I didn't know if, by "do your thing", he was making a general comment ("You're an actor - You know what to do"), or was saying "Do that special thing you do".

And I didn't ask, because I was embarrassed; I thought I'd either be the dumb guy who "didn't get it", or else the egotistical guy who was trying to turn some generic comment into a compliment.

Anyway, it turned out he did mean, "Do that special thing you do" (a.k.a. "Be 'Deadpan Guy'").

As I've said before, I'm pretty ambivalent about "Deadpan Guy", for various and sundry reasons; I don't want to be in a position where that's the only "thing" people think I can do, and I have to do it all the time in order to have a career - like all actors, I'd like to be more than just a one-trick pony - but on the other hand, there's always been a place in the business for a "Deadpan Guy", and if that should become my "claim to fame" (Particularly in commercials), career-wise, there are worse things that could happen.

Anyway, that ended up being a fun audition - and I think "my thing" did make for a pretty fun take on the spot - and so was the callback I was originally there for.

So I'm hopeful.

I was hoping I might hear about the callback on Friday (Let's be honest - I was hoping I'd hear something by Thursday night), but I don't think it's the "kiss of death" that I didn't, what with Monday being Memorial Day and all.

And the E-surance thing was the initial audition, and based on how things went, I'd be very surprised if I didn't get a callback.

I did my Jack Plotnick affirmations on the way to the audition ("I want this gig, but I don't need this gig", and "I release my need to be perfect").

I also did a Jim Hoffmaster original ("Have fun"), which I think actually supersedes the other two; if you're about "having fun" at an audition, you're already not focused on "booking the gig" or "being perfect".

All that said, it sure would be nice if I booked one of these bad boys...


Sun 5/25/14 (10:44 pm)

Here's another example of old news that I nevertheless feel the need to address: My birthday was a week ago Thursday.

I seriously doubt there's anything I could say about my struggles with birthdays that I haven't said many, many times before (loneliness, mortality issues, feelings of sadness & disappointment - "If you'd lived a better life, more people would care that it was your birthday..." - etc).

They follow a pretty regular arc - I struggle emotionally leading up to it, it happens, and I tell myself afterward, regarding the people-making-a-fuss-part-of-the-program "You got more out of it than you deserved".

This birthday was no exception; Cary took me to dinner the night before (And gave me a Target card), I got a couple birthday cards (The last one from my Mom, who sent me a card for the first time last year, two weeks late, because she didn't remember what day it was), and a friend from MI gifted me with a Starbucks card.

And of course, there's Jane.

This year, for my birthday, Jane took up a collection amongst the remaining people in Lansing who still remember me, and got over $600.

Now, I'm sure Mark and Jane kicked in a good chunk of that, but it's still impressive, that anyone would give her anything for the purpose of my coming back to Lansing to visit (Though with at least one person, it was more a testament to their relationship with Jane than any particular feeling they have for me, cause they've never actually met me - Only heard me talked about in reverent tones by their elders in community theater. And I think a couple of other folks just did it for Jane - "Okay Jane, I barely know the guy, but if you want him to come back to Lansing for some reason, that's good enough for me...").

Anyway, a lovely gesture, yes?

(The answer to that rhetorical question is "Yes, Jim. Yes it it".)

But somehow, this lovely gesture is stressing me out, which would seem to make it official - I can generate anxiety and stress from anything.

I don't want to hash it all out right now - in part, because I want to wrap this up and I'm running out of time (It's actually Monday morning now, and I have to get ready to meet Howard and some other friends in about ten minutes) - so I'll just hit one dysfunctional thought that's messing me up; I'm always paranoid, when I'm out-of-town, that I will miss auditions.

That's not a "dysfunctional thought" because it couldn't happen - it has happened (Nothing frustrates me more than telling my team I'm not available on a given day or during a given week or what-have-you, then having them forget and call me about an audition during that time) - it's a "dysfunctional thought" because you cannot live your life just waiting for auditions & callbacks and gigs (Auditions and callbacks and gigs that, more often than not, don't happen).

That's "tip of the iceberg" stuff, and trust me, I'll get to all of it in time, but I think the two things I need to focus on are, 1) It was a lovely thing for Jane - and the people who contributed to the cause - to do, and, 2) While it seems like an exhausting undertaking to this tired, tired guy (Cause everything does these days), it will be great to see Mark and Jane, and if I can get myself in the right "head space", to have a week or so where I don't have to worry about acting, or WW, or anything else.


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