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12:42 am - Wed 11/13/02
Attack Of The Killer \"Theater Dog\"

Attack Of The Killer "Theatre Dog"

Well, quite a lot has happened over the past number of days...

Tuesday 11/12/02 9:20 am (Offline)

Hard to know where to start here...

Remember The Belonging (Formerly "Untitled Drama")? The show I had callbacks for on Saturday? The one I was cast in?

Well, last night I was "fired" (Is that the right word for losing a gig you weren't getting paid for in the first place?).

In retrospect, I see that this "relationship" was kind of rocky from the get-go, but at the time, when the boom was lowered, when the axe fell, and when bad things happened to good people, I was stunned. Caught completely off guard by what seemed a very abrupt bad turn of events. Typically, I feel like I know pretty quickly when I've screwed up--Actually, I often feel like I've screwed up when I really haven't--but this time, I really felt like this kick-in-the-nuts came out of nowhere.

Here, best I can recollect it, and acknowledging all potential biases, is my take on what happened...

Right off, when I first talked to him and he told me I'd gotten the part, things were...odd. He said he wanted me in the show, and my response, if I remember correctly, was to say "Great!". And I was genuinely happy to get the news; It was nice to have my talent, and my take on how the audition had gone, validated, and while I don't think the show is any great piece of theater, it was a pretty good part, and I felt like I'd be able to do well with it. It was going to be good to be acting again.

But whatever he felt like he'd gotten from me, it wasn't enough, and he immediately started saying shit like "Well, if you don't really want to do it...", like he could easily just call someone else, leaving me a little off-kilter, having to reassure this guy that I really did want to do his show (Like I said, I felt like my response was genuine. I really was happy to get the part. But on the other hand, it's not like I've never gotten cast in a show before, and getting the nod to do a free show at a storefront theater on Santa Monica is not like being told I booked a national commercial, or was being added to the cast of Six Feet Under. In other words, I was happy, but was not exactly experiencing waves of orgasmic rapture over the news).

So even though he didn't say it last night, I have a feeling he started out thinking I just wasn't as excited as he wanted me to be about doing his vanity project (He's playwright/producer/leading man. And I think if he could figure out how to do it, he'd just as soon play all the parts. But anyway...).


To continue...

He told me he'd be calling back by Tuesday, to let me know when the read-thru was happening, but he actually called the next day, getting my voicemail (One of his "issues" with me, I think, was that he kept getting my voicemail. But to be fair, the phone tag over the following days was going both ways; I wasn't getting him in person either).

He wanted to know my schedule, and said something about putting together a "contact sheet" (At that point, he already had both my home and work phone numbers). So I called him back--got his machine--and told him my normal work schedule; I work nights, with Thursdays and Fridays off (I don't remember if I told him at that point about needing notice of schedule stuff by Wednesday, when the schedule goes up at the bookstore. I think maybe I did, but I'm really not sure. But anyway...)

At that point, I'd assumed we were talking about scheduling the read-thru, but when he called back--getting my voicemail--He said the show would be running Thursdays through Sundays, starting--I think he said--January 2nd. He also said, regarding my schedule, "I'd really like to have at least one more day, but call me back and we'll figure it out", or words to that effect.

Now I thought this might have been where I went wrong; I'd expected he'd want to rehearse five days a week, but if he was okay with a couple-days-a-week rehearsal schedule, that was fine with me (Less rehearsal time, in my mind, often means more effective rehearsal time. And yes, also less of a hassle in terms of working things out with the bookstore, and less time spent doing free stuff when I want to be trying to get things that pay, like commercials and such).

(It seems obvious now that I was hearing what I wanted to hear, but actually, this wasn't Mr Acosta's big problem with me. But I'm jumping ahead here...)

I called him back--and yes, I got his machine again--and, trying to be funny and agreeable, said something like, "In a perfect world, that would be the schedule--Maybe along with a weekend morning?--but basically, as long as I have enough notice, I can do whatever. I leave it in your capable hands...". I also said something like, "Of course, I don't plan to have any conflicts on performance dates", in case he was wondering if I expected to only do shows on my days off (That might seem odd, but in the last show I was in, some of the cast members really did have conflicts on some show dates).

So anyway, the next time I check my messages, while I'm at work on Monday, there are two from Mr A., one just saying his name and number, and the second one saying something like, "Not having conflicts on performance days isn't enough. I don't think we're going to be able to work together. I'm going to let you go. Good luck to you in the future..." (Or something like that).

I immediately called him--and yes, got his machine--saying "I think there's been a major misunderstanding here. Really. Call me back...please".

He called me back, and when I started trying to explain all about just needing sufficient notice, and that I didn't mean to suggest I couldn't or wouldn't try to move my schedule around, he said something along the lines of "I think things were going wrong with us before all that...".

It turns out the "In a perfect world, the rehearsal schedule would perfectly suit my needs" message was just "icing on the cake" for Joe Acosta; What had gotten him pissed off before that was when, during this game of phone tag we'd been playing, he called at some point during the day and I didn't call him back until the next day.

He started in with "I don't know about you, but when a producer calls me about a show I'm in, I get back to him that day...".

I was really thrown at that point, with things having shifted from what I thought was a misunderstanding to this unpardonable sin I had committed, without realizing it, of not getting back to him as quickly as he wanted.

I kind of stammered, "I got back to you as soon as I could...I had a commercial audition today, then I had to work....", but he wasn't having it; He said, "Do you remember how I told you I was a hard ass?", and while I actually didn't remember him telling me that--I only remembered the "old theatre dog" crap--I'd heard on Saturday from one of the other actors that he'd told them that, so I tentatively said, "Yeah...?", and I don't remember what he said exactly, but the tone was basically, "You mess with the bull, you get the horns".

Then he started in, telling me he had done this and that, and had been on Broadway, etc and so forth, and he didn't know what I thought was professsional behavior, but it wasn't going to fly with him.

And I have to be honest; At that point, any vestige of professionalism on my part really did go out the window--I said, "Listen, I don't need a lecture on 'professionalism' from you, Asshole! I don't want to be in your fucking show anyway!", and slammed the phone down.

(And the time has seriously gotten away from me here. More on this, and an exciting rush of commercial auditions, in our next installment...)


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