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2:16 pm - Thurs 2/23/06
Predicting and Controlling
Thurs 2/23/06 (12:05 a.m.)

Predicting And Controlling

Well, I guess this is good news, though it’s starting to curdle into pre-emptive disappointment–On Tuesday, I got an email from JS, letting me know I’m “on avail” for a Dreyers ice cream commercial (Playing part of a tour group at the Dreyers factory).

The initial audition was Thursday, and callbacks were supposed to be today, so this is a bit of a new “wrinkle” for me, and I don’t know quite what to make of it–Typically, I’ve gotten “avails” after a callback, so I don’t know if this means they decided they didn’t need to have callbacks, or if they still had callbacks, but for whatever reason, didn’t feel like they needed to see me again.

Anyway, the “avail” dates are next Wednesday through Friday. And even though my mind wants to turn this into another “near-miss” to get my disappointment “out of the way”, the fact is, I don’t really know yet whether it is or it isn’t, so I’m going to try to keep a hopeful thought in my head for at least another day or two.


I haven’t mentioned her in here, but I’ve been thinking a lot about Jill Carroll, the reporter being held hostage by Islamic extremists.

One thing I’ve been thinking about is why I’ve been thinking about her so much, when she’s really just one of a long line of individuals, reporters in particular, who’ve been kidnapped by these religious maniacs (And yes, when the kidnappings–and subsequent beheadings--first started happening, I was appalled and horrified. But I quickly became numb to it, as I have, to some degree, to the war in general).

It’s fairly clear to me that Jill Carroll has captured my attention and sympathy because she’s an attractive young woman. And I’m vaguely embarrassed by that–It seems pretty shallow--but there is is.

Basically, now that I am thinking about her plight, it just seems so insane–This woman is, by all accounts, a friend to the Iraqi people, a woman who respects the religion and culture, who made the effort to learn Arabic, and seems by all reports to want only to tell the world what’s happening there.

So how in the world is she “the enemy”?

(I know–she’s not “the enemy”. She’s just “cannon fodder”. “Collateral damage”. A “bargaining chip”. To them, she’s not a person, but just a way to make a point.)

Anyway, I hope they don’t end up killing her.


I was going to write a journal entry entirely on “Stuff I’ve Been Watching”, because it seems like “watching” has been my basic “modus operandi” of late.

So I sat down and tried to write about the movies I’ve seen of late (A second viewing of Capote, and a regrettable first viewing of Date Movie), the tape Jane sent me of All In The Timing 2 (The Riverwalk “black box theater” production she was in), dozens of hours of Buffy The Vampire Slayer (Thanks to the person who left two bags full of tapes in the “giveaway area” of the lobby of my apartment building), and the dvd Rob A., an ArcLight coworker, loaned me of Secret Santa Deluxe (The short film he did a couple years ago).

And wow–I really couldn’t do it. Not so you’d find it the slightest bit interesting, anyway.

The “sticking point” seems to be writing concise, entertaining summaries of the movies/tv shows/plays in question–I try to write that sort of thing, and can barely stay awake long enough to finish it, so I can’t imagine putting you through trying to read it.

But I can say this much–I’m starting to judge the quality of a piece of work by whether or not it “stirs me up”, personally and professionally, and makes me wish I’d been part of it.

And judged particularly by that last bit of self-centered criteria, Capote, Buffy, and All In The Timing were “really good”, while Date Move and Secret Santa Deluxe were “really...not


Today I saw Neil Young: Heart of Gold at the theater.

My guess is that if you are totally unfamiliar with Neil Young, or already know you don’t care for him, this concert movie won’t do much for you. But if you’re a die-hard fan, or even an extremely casual fan (like me–I went into the movie unfamiliar with anything but his biggest hits), you’ll enjoy yourself a great deal.

(I actually left the theater wondering “Why haven’t I ever listened to more Neil Young...?”, which I’d say is a pretty positive review.)

And it made me miss performing musically (I don’t mean being in musicals, though I miss that sometimes too; I’m talking about the Riverwalk variety-show fund-raisers Tom H. would do, where I’d sing with him and Mary, or he and I and the late Bruce G. would sing “For What It’s Worth”, or I’d sing and play harmonica while Tom would accompany me on guitar. I never had anything less than a great time at those things).

It reminded me of watching Walk the Line; I know Johnny Cash had some rough times, with his drug addiction and failed first marriage and what-have-you, but when I saw the movie, I found myself mentally glossing over all that, and really fixating on how great it must have been, getting to sing in front of thousands of people with the woman you love.


Lately, seems I’ve been getting a lesson from my job at the ArcLight in the futility of trying to “predict and control” things...

I remember recently thinking I was going to have a great night because I had maybe the easiest job at the theater, which is ticket taking, then having my evening be ruined because of a rash of latecomers (Our policy is that we don’t seat after the actual movie has started–and we only have about five or six minutes of previews–but we’re also supposed to exercise our “business competence” in terms of how flexible to be with the policy. It can make for some very awkward, uncomfortable encounters with “guests”–If you’re a hard-ass about the rule, you end up with some very unhappy people who expected to see a movie and are now pissed because you’re turning them away. But if you’re too lax about enforcing the rule, you have people coming out of the theater complaining about all the latecomers that are being let in).

Another time, I thought I was going to have a terrible night, because it was my first night doing box office, and I felt very ill-prepared. But I situated myself next to someone who knew what they were doing–in case I needed help–and there weren’t any major problems at all.

Most recently, I was happy because I had an usher shift in the Dome, which I assumed meant I was going to have a pretty relaxed evening. But soon as I walked in, I got “flexed” to box office, and was so disappointed about it that I was in a pissy mood for the next couple hours (It’s something that’s bothered me for years now–Seems like one of the big “rewards” for showing up all the time is to constantly be picking up the slack for all the people who can’t be bothered.)

But as many times as I’ve gotten this particular lesson about trying to “predict and control”–As a fortune-teller, I pretty much suck--it’s very difficult to just “take things as they come”.

Or in the case of auditions, very difficult to “let things go”.

Every book I’ve read, every casting director I’ve seen, says it’s very important for an actor to be able to go to an audition, do their best, then walk out...and forget about it.

I’m moving towards my five-year anniversary here in L.A., and I still can’t do it all the time. And it’s tough–it sometimes seems like everything’s riding on a given audition (Even if it really isn’t)–but if you don’t figure out how to put it behind you...well, that way madness lies. Or if not “madness”, at least a whole lot of bitterness (And however I may sound in here, I don’t perceive myself as a “bitter” person, and I don’t wish to become one).


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