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2:47 PM - 06.21.19

The Show That Must Not Be Named

Well, fun as it was, the Michigan trip is in the rear-view mirror; I've been back in LA now for almost a week.

While still in Michigan, I started worrying about the letdown I was gonna feel when I got back to LA (In Michigan I was kind of a star, while in LA...I'm just me).

But while the return to "real life" has had its...challenges, the letdown has been buffered a great deal by the revving-up of Season 10 of Shameless.

Was invited to a pre-season cast party at Macy's place, which I guess is the first time he's thrown one (There's been premiere/finale "watch parties" that only the regulars have been invited to, but apparently not a starting-off-the-season party like this. But it makes sense: With Emmy Rossum no longer with us, Shameless is a show "with something to prove" - namely, that it can continue as a viable show without her - so I get the idea of a gathering to "set the tone" moving forward).

Jane R. was my plus-one, and she seemed to really enjoy herself - Neither of us knew quite what to expect (Or how to dress - As a result, we were somewhat overdressed, but not absurdly so), but I think it was a smaller, lower-key affair than she'd anticipated, and that seemed to really "work" for her (That and the lovely spread...and the wine).

(She also got a kick out of meeting Noel Fisher - Who's back on the show this season - because he starred in what was, for her, a standout Law And Order: SVU episode, which is a show she likes.)

But beyond all that, she was pretty effective in the "low-key schmoozing" department - I know she made a very good impression on Bill (Which will help me if/when I need to ask him about participating in our project) and made a connection with Kate M., about a possible musical contribution..

On my end, it was...okay.

In a way, I think Jane may have been better off as a visitor to this world than I was being kinda "half-in-and-half-out" - I felt an awkward sense of sort-of-belonging-but-not-really; when people made speeches about being family and how much they all mean to each other, I felt pretty certain they weren't talking about me (Or my buddy, fellow recurring character Mike M., who I was happy was in attendance).

It made me once again crave being on a show where I am "part of the family" and one of the "drivers" of the show's success (While I enjoy being on Shameless, I am neither of those things, and it's safe to say at this juncture that I never will be).

But I don't want to create the wrong impression - I felt some mild discomfort (And I almost always do at parties), but it was a lovely affair, with lovely food and drink, among very nice people.

In addition, I got some "face time" with Macy that I enjoyed quite a bit. And most importantly, the project is now a "thing" we've put out there...which was pretty much the only "agenda" I really had for the evening, other than to not embarrass myself somehow (Which I did not).

And happily, I'm in the first episode of the show, which will start shooting on Wednesday.


Mon 6/24/19 (3:45 pm)

Well, I am currently living in "interesting times"...

Had an audition for a great TV show - whose name I cannot mention because I signed an NDA - on Thursday.

I thought it went well.

The next day, I found out it had indeed "went well" - I was "in the mix" for the role, and they asked that we confirm my availability for the shoot dates.

And here's the problem - When they asked for my availability, we didn't know what day I was shooting my first Shameless, and we don't know what date they want me for their show, but the "shoot windows" overlap, so, basically, "potential scheduling conflict" - time.

So today they emailed to say their "shoot window" had changed a bit (Now they're taking off the 4th and the 5th in the middle of the shoot), and was I available for those dates?

So my agent checked when I'm shooting Shameless (A week from Wednesday), but then found out I'm also in the next episode, which will shoot sometime from the 8th - 16th (The "window" for other show is basically this Wednesday through the 12th).

Which all means, to my pessimistic way of thinking, that it's very unlikely I'm going to be able to work out my Shameless episodes and this other show (Oh, did I mention - I'm pretty sure the other show shoots in another state? So it's a three-day conflict instead of just one...and that's assuming my 2nd Shameless is just a one-day shoot and not a two-or-three-day one).

(At this juncture, I don't even know if they officially want me for the role on the other show - It seems like it, but for all I know, this could still be "I'm in the mix" time, and my gnarly availability might be the deal-breaker.)

Trying to tell myself, "Maybe it will work out somehow...", but let's be honest - I'm me. And that being the case, I'm feeling pretty gloomy about my chances (All things being equal? If I had to pick, I'd pick the show I haven't done over the one I've done a lot. Particularly since the show I haven't done would involve travel and a nice hotel and me playing a character who isn't "Kermit" and fun stuff like that. But Shameless is the steady gig and, that being the case, I don't think I can afford to piss anyone off...or even mildly annoy them).

(God I really fucking hope this works out...!)

But now I want to go back in time, way back to "a week ago Saturday"...

With the documentary (Acting LIke Nothing Is Wrong) we've shot a lot of scenes of me dancing around in various places - Usually solo, with me wearing earbuds, always playing the same song, for the sake of editing ("Machine Gun" by the Commodores).

Jane often posts clips of these dances online, but without the music (due to copywright law) and I sort of feel like they look weird/stupid without any music.

So, that being the case, when I thought there might be an opportunity to dance to a live band, a band that would actually want their music to be heard, I was very interested in having that happen.

And on that Saturday night, it did - I went with the camera crew (Petra and her sister) Jane Z., and Tom and Mary H., to a Pridefest concert, to see Tell Yo Mama (Tom and Mary's son Marty is their sax player).

I was very surprised at what happened when we got there - Seems Shameless is huge in the LGBTQ community, because I was a genuine celebrity.

I was recognized more at one time than I've ever been; it was actually difficult getting from the entrance to where the band was because of all the people wanting to interact with me and get selfies.

While I could imagine such a thing getting old after a while, in the moment it was pretty cool - Even had my own "groupie", an attractive young woman who bought me a couple drinks and really wanted me to go to the bar with her afterward (I thought about doing it for a hot minute, but joked to Mark Z. later how that course of action would probably have ended with me calling him at 3:00 am - "I'm drunk, I don't know where I am and I can't find my pants...can you pick me up?")

I danced a lot (At one point, getting up on stage to dance with/in front of the band, which we had arranged in advance), and, clearly drunk on my new-found stardom, even hit on a very sexy photographer (Who turned out to be the guitar player's girlfriend, because of course she was).

After that, the crew went their way, and I went back to Mark and Jane's place with Tom and Mary, where Jane served up pie and Southern Comfort (Which is a combo I'd never considered before, but it really worked for me), and we talked and laughed for another hour or two. It was great fun, and I ended the night glad I'd taken that course-of-action, rather than the bar with the cute 23-year-old (That just seems it would have ended up somewhere between disappointing and disastrous).

I got recognized a lot in Michigan. I really had no idea, 1) That the show was the hit that it is, and, 2) That I'm enough of a character on the show to register with the public (I get recognized in LA periodically...but nothing like what happened at Pridefest, or in Michigan in general).

(And now back to the present day...)

In terms of shooting the documentary, have had a lot of conversations with Jane lately about being closer to the end of shooting than the beginning.

It's a bittersweet thing - While we, of course, want to actually finish the project, we've had a great deal of fun shooting and getting to know each other, and I think we'll both miss that (Though she'll be moving on to the editing portion of the program, while I'll just be twiddling my thumbs, waiting for the rough cut, which is the first time I'll see anything we've shot, short of the aforementioned dance clips).

But we're not quite done yet; Jane is planning a couple more trips to LA, we're hoping to do something with Shameless (Though I'm pretty unclear on how that's gonna happen), and we're starting to discuss a trip to West Virginia.

Regarding that last bit: I've been torn on the idea of going to West Virginia - It clearly is an important part of the story (It's where I was born, and where I lived the first nine or ten years of my life), but I just wasn't sure of how much we'd be able to "get" from it.

But today I talked to Gregg, then chatted with Lori and Tony (Individually, though basically at the same time), and I think everyone is actually on board.

It seems very clear that having them be part of the thing would be way better than me wandering around Martinsburg saying "This is my hometown...but I don't really remember much about it...".

But I was afraid people might say no, for whatever reason (Particularly Tony), and I didn't want to deal with that.

I'm so glad I jumped in today - The conversation with Gregg was great fun (And he's totally game), I always end a conversation with Lori thinking about what a sweetheart she is, and the chat with Tony was downright momentous, since we haven't communicated directly since Trump.(As long as we stay away from that "third rail", we're good - He's a very funny guy, maybe even funnier than me if you can imagine such a thing).

It made me feel good afterward on a number of levels - I was happy I'd "gotten over myself" to make the overture, I was happy to have done something that really served the project, I was happy to have them be very agreeable to the idea, and I was just happy to have had three quite enjoyable interactions with "family" I hadn't really communicated with in a while (I could write an entire entry - an entire series of entries - on the whole, "family" thing).

...and I think that's it.

Here's hoping I get to be on that Show-That-Must-Not-Be-Named (Want to tell myself that, if this doesn't work out, maybe they'll bring me back in for something else...but right now, I just want this).

Till next time....


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