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4:11 pm - Sat 1/14/06
Not Quite The Start I'd HOPED For

Not Quite The Start I'd Hoped For

Fri 1/13/06 (11:11 a.m)

As I told Cary earlier today, this year is not exactly getting off to a great start.

(I’m trying to decide which piece of bad news should come first...)

I got a call from someone at JS on Monday, for an audition for Dairy Queen the following morning. My first commercial audition of the year.

That seems positive enough, doesn’t it? After all, it’s been over a month since I’ve had an a commercial audition, and I’ve been dying to get back at it.

And yet, flying under the radar of that minor happy event was some major bad news–As has happened a few times before, I confirmed the audition, without thinking, and it wasn’t till some time later it hit me, "Hey, wouldn’t that conflict with Jack-In-The-Box?" (You can’t do commercials for competing products or services for the length of your contract). So I called JS, and since it was after hours, left a message to that effect on the voicemail.

The next morning, as I was getting ready to go to the audition, I checked my voicemail, and there was a message from JS. He said that since I was supposed to get a check from Jack-In-The-Box in November, and didn’t, my contract with them was void, and I could do the Dairy Queen audition.

(I thought I’d gotten my last “Jack” check in September, and had been expecting my next one some time late last month or early this month. But I just checked my records, such as they are, and JS is right–I got my last check in August, so I should have gotten my next check thirteen weeks later, which didn’t happen.)

This means over $1100 I was expecting to get this year is not gonna happen.

And that becomes particularly significant when you consider my hours at ArcLight have been reduced every week since Xmas (I’m working four days on this week’s schedule).

Flailing about for "the bright side" of this situation, at least now I’m "freed up" to get a more lucrative fast food commercial. So wish me luck on that, cause I surely do need it.

The other body blow I’ve received recently has to do with House M.D.

Got an email from JS yesterday, with the subject heading “BUMMER!”.

My first thought was that it was a group email, with some mildly disappointing news that wouldn’t really effect me. But no, it was an email to me personally, with news that was, indeed, an all-caps “BUMMER!”.

I got edited out of the House episode.

At first, my disappointment was all in how I thought this was going to be a milestone–my first appearance on tv–and how embarrassed I was to have told all of you, and anyone who would listen, all about it.

And that, all by itself, would have been depressing enough.

But then it occurred to me that this also has a “financial component”–Being edited out of the episode means no residuals.

Ouch.

About the only comfort I can take from this, such as it is, is to know that it wasn’t anything personal–In all likelihood, the episode simply ran long, so they had to cut the fat.

And I was the "fat".

Add these big disappointments to a number of minor ones (Dairy Queen audition sucked, an audition the next day got cancelled), mix in some ongoing unhappiness (poverty, loneliness, et al), and you could say I’m feeling a tad deflated right now.

_________________________

Okay, so what’s felt good lately...?

1. I had a casting workshop last night.

That was nice in and of itself. Like with the auditions, it’s been awhile, so I was glad to be "back in the groove" (And I’m particularly high on the workshops right now).

But what felt better than that was that I was very unhappy and nervous about the scene I was given to do–Something from Frasier (Where Frasier is doing therapy with a woman who’s afraid of clowns, using a jack-in-the-box)-but it ended up going very well.

My concern was that the scene was pretty one-note (The running joke is that Frasier is getting this woman to confront her fear by using the jack-in-the-box, but the "jack" keeps popping out of the box unexpectedly, making the situation worse. Then the woman mistakenly "realizes" that this is part of Frasier’s brilliant therapy, she leaves, and Frasier throws the jack-in-the-box in the trash).

I was also afraid the scene wouldn’t "play", that no one would "get" what we were doing (which wasn’t an issue–the casting director set it up for us), and was concerned me and my scene partner would have a hard time “synching up” our reactions, since we didn’t actually have the jack-in-the-box in front of us to respond to (At one point when the jack-in-the-box pops up, it startles both of us). But everything worked pretty well–My partner was really funny with her screams and reactions, and gave me good stuff to work with–and the scene got a great response, from both the cd and my fellow actors.

I was pleased with a "bit" I thought of after I’d finished rehearsing with my partner (Though I told her I was going to do it): During the scene, I soothingly sang one of my lines--"It’s just an inanimate piece of plastic, it can’t possibly hurt you"--to the tune of "Pop Goes The Weasel" (Singing along to my imaginary jack-in-the-box). And I was very happy when it got a big laugh.

It probably doesn’t sound like a big deal, and it really isn’t, but I’m always proud of myself when I think of a way to do a scene that "fits", that in some way makes the scene work better or be funnier or what-have-you, but that probably wouldn’t occur to most people (For the record, I’ve never seen the episode in question. It just felt like something "Frasier" might do).

(It reminded me of community theater auditions, where finding that "thing that wouldn’t occur to most people" was a big part of my audition process. But it was much easier then, when you could actually see what "wasn't occuring to most people".)

2. Got to hang out with John O. yesterday, which is kind of a rare treat (John’s a recovering alcoholic, and I think he’s an AA sponsor for a good chunk of the West Hollywood gay community. It’s hard to catch him when he’s not busy helping his fellow man).

Increasingly over the last couple years, I’ve felt like I don’t have much to say to a lot of people. Get me past our mutual work situation, in the case of coworkers, or talking about my career, and I sometimes feel lost and awkward in conversation.

But John and I hung out for three hours–first eating at Johnny Rockets, then having coffee at the B&N at The Grove–and didn’t seem short of conversation in all that time.

It was great fun.

(Today)

It's almost time for me to start getting ready for another workshop.

Since seeing that I got a better rate-of-return from the workshops (1 job from 13 workshops), than commercial auditions (3 jobs from 53 auditions) or self submissions (0 jobs from...what did I say before? 55 submissions?), makes me think I need to do these things no matter what.

And not just that--I need to, somehow, some way, find another avenue for being seen, and not just depend on the ACG.

____________________

Amongst the things I'm not happy with, in terms of how I've begun the new year, is how much time I've let lapse between entries here in D-land.

In particular, I'm feeling the desire to somehow "add more value", and one way I'd like to do that is to actually respond to your occasional comments.

So here goes...

Tiara: Thanks for you lovely comment. Sometimes it really is "the thought that counts". And I'm glad you don't define my life, or your own, as "miserable", even if we do struggle a lot.

Dick: Tim F. helped refresh my memory about how to do links, but I learned what little html I know from the internet (I'm not sure I've got the site name correct, but I think it's called Bignosebird.com. In any case, if you Google "learn html" or something like that, I imagine a number of websites will pop up (And can you send me your website address? I'd like to check it out).

Google this: Yeah, that James Hoffmaster, who runs Cognex Corp., is really annoying, since he kicks my as in terms of google hits (Or mentions, or whatever you call it). But he has a big advantage--I don't have a professional p.r. person...yet.

Still Reading: I've used that "women are like buses" comparison myself, on a number of occasions (It also works with auditions). But I'm afraid when you've been waiting at the bus stop as long as I have, and the busses keep on blowing by, you eventually have to say, "Gee...I guess the bus doesn't stop here anymore...".

Jane: That explanation--for why there's a metal bar running across the top of boy's bikes, but not girl's (In olden days, girls would have been wearing skirts)--makes pretty good sense to me. Thanks for clearing that up.

Mark N. and Alan L.: Thanks for your support, regarding those nutty right wingers.

Kookla: Thanks for the encouragement. I truly do appreciate it, since I can't always manufacture it for myself.

If I missed you, I apologize. I'm doing this "on the fly", as it were, and now I've gotta run...

 

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