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12:02 am - Fri 4/18/03
You know what? Sometimes It's REALLY fun to be me!

You know what? Sometimes it's really fun to be me!

(Well, I managed to get a grip on my frustration long enough to take another crack at the new computer, and I'm happy to report that it's now completely set up. I'm online, I have email, sound, my printer is hooked up, I did it all by myself, and life is good...or at least, it would be good, if only I could stay online; earlier today, I was getting disconnected a lot, and then this evening "a lot" became "continuously". I'm not sure what the deal is, but it seems to have something to do with my MSN Messenger. Anyway, for now I've quit trying to open it, and my "online-ness" has stabilized.)

So anyway, I'm happy I worked this out myself, without having to go crying to Cary (He's a great guy, as I've said before, but I don't want to abuse his great guy-itude. And to be honest, I also didn't want to have to wait for him to come back from Hawaii!).

But managing to set up my new computer without injuring myself is not the only reason I'm feeling comparatively chipper right now...

I have to be honest: I'm not always thrilled to get a call about a commercial casting. Sometimes when I'm feeling particularly low and hopeless, like I have been lately, it just seems like more of an imposition than anything else (Basically, I get into my "What's the point?" mode).

But this month I've gotten eight castings so far, and while the ones earlier in the month didn't do much for me one way or the other, the ones I've gotten this week have gone a great way towards lifting me out of a profound funk.

On Tuesday, I had one at Ross Lacey for Bacardi.

When JS called me about it on Monday, I was told they wanted me in shorts and a t-shirt (Or a tank top, which wasn't going to happen); JS's assistant told me I was supposed to be "cool". And when I expressed some skepticism--"they want someone 'cool' and they're asking for me?"--she amended what she'd said, saying I was supposed to think I was "cool" (She referred to the character as "Captain Caucasian"), and that made much more sense to me (Though "shorts and a tank-top" are the last thing I'd wear in order to feel "cool"!).

When I went to the casting agency on Tuesday morning--in black gym shorts, running shoes with black socks, my "Dinosaur Dash" T-shirt, an electric blue-and-red short-sleeved shirt from the "Kevin Knights Collection", and a fanny pack--I found out I was supposed to be piloting a yacht owned by "Bacardi" and "Cola" (I remember being a little disappointed when I read the copy, both because the spot was kind of dumb--more on that in a moment--and because my thinking I was "cool" didn't really seem to have anything to do with anything. I had even kind of hoped there might be a little dancing involved, and I could show off what a "fly white guy" I really am).

In the spot, I had one line--"Bacardi! Cola! The boat's overloaded. People got to get off" (After that, "Bacardi" and "Cola" look around, see a bunch of fabulous babes on board, along with some loser guys, and...well, you can guess who gets dumped overboard. High-larious, doncha think?).

At one point, the group of us who were there auditioning were called in, and the guy told us how the spot was supposed to go, told us we could do an accent of some sort if we wanted, and then demonstrated what he meant by doing something I thought was pretty bad, some vaguely European/Mediterranean thing (All I knew was that it didn't sound "cool" at all!)

So when I got called in, about 20 minutes after my scheduled time, I was asked to go over it once for a sound level, then we taped it (I opted to do something somewhere between "Tony Soprano" and the kid in the "Philly Cheesesteak" Jack-In-The-Box commercial. I didn't know if it made any sense to do it that way, but it amused me, so there you are).

After that, they asked me to do a take like a really bad actor (I was happy with the implication that the first reading hadn't been me being "a really bad actor"!).

Now, the first person I think of when I think "bad acting" is William Shatner, but I don't really "do" Shatner, and besides, that still would have been in the "tough guy" spectrum, so I went the opposite way, and did my best Don Knotts impression.

(Let me take a moment to say this: Don Knotts might be an easy guy to make fun of, but as an actor, you could do worse than to have a career like his.)

Anyway, I wasn't exactly dancing a jig afterwards, but I felt okay about how things had gone, and I felt like I'd been given a pretty fair chance to show what I could do. All-in-all, I was in good spirits.

In the afternoon, I got a page from JS; a voiceover audition the next day for a place called 84 Lumber.

I was pretty excited about this one, because I thought I'd probably be the commercial, if you know what I mean, and I've wanted to have a shot at voiceover work for awhile now (One of my frustrations out here has been not having the money to put together a voiceover demo tape. A number of people have told me I should take advantage of my good speaking voice, and I tend to agree. But anyway...).

When I went to Ellen Craig Voiceovers the next day, I found out I was actually reading for two 30-second spots.

When it was my turn to go in, it was fun; The copy was on a music stand in front of me, and it was just a matter of the casting person adjusting the mike, and having me do a couple takes of each spot, as she gave me some "adjustments" each time (Which I thought I responded to pretty well).

Afterwards, I felt really good. I felt like I'd done well, I thought I'd done a good job following her direction, and there was just this nice feeling that, for once out here, I'd had the chance to lead with something that feels like a strength of mine. There was no guarantee I'd get the gig, but I wasn't leaving feeling ashamed or angry with myself. I knew I'd done all right.

(This was a weird thing...Afterwards, I stopped at Amoeba Music, this huge store that sells cds, tapes, records, dvds, videos, laserdiscs, lps, etc and so on, and while looking through some bargain dvds, I saw one for a movie I'd almost auditioned for early on in my time here. It was a horror movie called Deathbed, double-featured with some other horror movie I can't remember right now, for something like $7.95, and I remember feeling kind of torn; I felt both happy that I'd "dodged a bullet", and sad that Deathbed wasn't "this god-awful movie I did early on in my career". But anyway...)

In the afternoon, I got first one call from JS, about an audition today for Yahoo, then another call, saying I'd gotten a callback for the Bacardi commercial.

The Bacardi callback was at 10:15.

They changed things for the callback; Now the only line was "Great job, Guys...", and as if to make it up to me for the disappointment on Tuesday, this time there actually was dancing involved (The casting guy said "they might want you to dance a little bit" before they started calling us in. And I was very happy about that; for a while now, I've felt like my ability to dance might come in handy at some point).

When it was my turn to go in, there were a half dozen people in the room, in addition to the camera operator.

I did the line first--Kind of sticking with the "tough guy" reading--and then they had me dance.

Now, before I went in, I wasn't sure if they were going to even have music, so I didn't know if I'd really be dancing, or just flapping around a bit to show them I was game for making a fool out of myself.

But they had a boombox, so when the guy hit "play" and the music started, I gave them everything I had; I slithered around, I "pop-locked", I even did "the robot". All in about 20 or 30 seconds.

You know what I realized afterwards? I love to surprise people.

And I knew I had them, which was great fun.

They were laughing, but it was the kind of laughter I was very comfortable with, where they had been caught by surprise; I don't think they thought this 40-something, 6'2", 230 lb white guy was actually going to be able to move.

Afterwards they complimented me on my dancing, and I laughed and said "Yeah. Circa 1980", and one of them said "That's perfect".

None of this means I'm getting the gig, but it sure felt positive. Once again, I'd gotten the chance to show something of what I can actually do.

Anyway, it was nice to have a couple of auditions where I left thinking "I could get one of these...". It's been awhile (Probably not since the Washington Mutual callback).

After the Bacardi callback, I had an audition for Yahoo.

There wasn't much to this one. Basically, I was one of five people on a subway car, who had to act all impressed when this one guy gets on, his entry timed to the split second, because he got the schedule from Yahoo's search engine (Or something like that. To be honest, I didn't really understand the spot that well).

But even that audition felt okay, because I was back in a good frame of mind where any of these little outings could be the one. The one that nets me a big payday, the one that I get to tell people about, the one that takes the pressure off for awhile.

I'm ready to put one in the "win" column, folks...


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