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1:43 pm - Tues 7/5/05
Unionized & Certified, For Your Protection
Mon 7/4/05 (10:22 a.m.)

Unionized and Certified, For Your Protection

I know for a lot of people, today is a holiday, a “long weekend”, a time to celebrate the birth of our nation while eating hamburgers, drinking beer, and watching fireworks.

For me however, it’s mostly the day that Mark and Jane get back from their trip. They’ve been on one of their “U.S. tours”, visiting old and infirm relatives who may not be around for the next “U.S. tour”, and are due back sometime today (Sadly, their dog Shana, old and infirm herself, died along the way, and is now buried near Mt. Rushmore).

I think it’s interesting to note that when they’re home, Mark and Jane are still thousands of miles away. But now, thanks to the miracle of the Internet, they’re only really “gone” to me when they don’t have Internet access.

While I’m on the subject of M & J, there’s something I’ve forgotten to mention in here that I think bears mentioning...

After the journal entry where I was stressing over my poverty (How the bookstore doesn’t pay the bills, how I owe people money, how I feel guilty when I see a movie or what-have-you), I got something in the mail from Jane–She had clipped a Lansing State Journal article about Batman Begins, with $20 and a note saying “This sounds like something right up your alley. Here’s some money, so you don’t have to wait to see it at the cheap theatre”.

It probably makes me sound like a “girly-man” to admit I got a bit misty over this gesture...but I did.

If John O. hadn’t crapped out on me two weeks running, I would have used the money to do a movie and food thing with him; instead, I saw Batman Begins one day, and Mr. And Mrs. Smith the next (Both were really fun, by the way. I’ll probably write a little more about them in another entry).

And while I’m on the subject of “Nice Things People Have Done For Me Lately”...

My friend Carolyn recently sent me two video tapes, finishing off this past season of The Shield (Earlier, she had sent me episodes 1-4).

Thanks for the “video care package”, Carolyn.

When people ask me about acting, they often ask if I have something in particular I want to do–Movies or TV, comedy or drama, etc and so on.

My short answer is usually along the lines of “I want to do whatever they’ll let me do”, or probably more honestly, “Anything that’s good”.

But I’ve been thinking about TV a lot lately. I certainly wouldn’t turn up my nose at being in a movie, mind you, but when I see things like The Sopranos or The Shield or Rescue Me on television...I just haven’t seen anything that juicy, in terms of acting opportunities, in recent movies (Maybe Crashsee that, if you haven’t already--but that was pretty much a cast of “names”).

I’ve said it in here before, but I basically want to do the same things as an actor that I enjoy as an audience member.

In addition to the “juicy” nature of things I enjoy watching on tv, and the “acting opportunities” involved, there’s a “financial component” to my interest in tv as well –I imagine my getting a role as a series regular on a hit show is about as likely as a high school basketball player making it to the NBA, but if it were to happen, and I didn’t go nuts–blowing my money on gold bicycles and diamond action figures--that could leave me financially set for years to come.

I hope it’s not asking too much to want a career that pays the bills (And maybe just a bit more), where at least every so often I get to be involved in things that I really enjoy and am proud to be part of. And really, if that’s some combination of tv, movies, and stage work, that would be fine by me.

Tues 7/5/05 (1:27 p.m.)

After procrastinating for the better part of a week, I finally took the Notary Signing Agent certification test this weekend.

It was online, open-book, and you could take it as many times as you needed in order to pass, so it was no big intellectual accomplishment, but I’m still happy I got it done.

The test was in three sections, 130 questions (true/false and multiple choice), and you had to get a passing grade of 80% on each section before you could go on to the next. So since I’m basically a very lazy guy, what I did was “wing it” on each section the first time, just to get a sense of what I knew and what I didn’t. Then I printed out the results, and focused on getting the answers to the questions I’d basically just guessed at till I hit “passing” (I nearly passed the first part of the test on the first try, with a 78%, which made me temporarily regret spending all that money on a “certification course”. But I actually had to crack the book on the second and third sections, about “Signing Agent Procedures” and California-specific notary stuff).

So anyway, now I’m “certified”.

The next order of business? I need to get a laser printer and a fax machine, then start applying to signing agencies (At the seminar I attended, they said the best way to go, as a novice Signing Agent, is to get with some signing agencies. Then, when you’ve got enough signings under your belt, to start hitting the lending places directly: They pay more, but just like acting, no one’s interested in you if you don’t have any “credits”.

I’m still feeling pretty nervous at this point–Over what’s now become an ongoing, substantial expense, over all the driving/parking annoyance I’ll be dealing with, over screwing up on the job, over having to be more organized than I’ve ever been, over conflicts with the bookstore (It wouldn’t be smart to quit there till the signing stuff really starts rolling), and conflicts with commercial auditions/acting jobs–but if it’s this or the bookstore (Or some equally pointless job), I’ll take this.

Anxious as I may be, this could really be something to bridge the gap between the crap jobs I’ve had in the past and the acting career I really want. And that would make it worth any sacrifice or anxiety I have to face.

____________________

Well, if being a certified Notary Signing Agent wasn’t enough, I am now also a member of the Screen Actors Guild.

I applied Thursday before last, and received my little “Welcome to the club” package in last Tuesday’s mail: Tomorrow, barring an audition conflict, I have an orientation meeting for new SAG members, at their office down on Wilshire (The “invitation” didn’t say whether there would be snacks or not, but I’m hoping for snacks).

In practical terms, all this means right now is that I’m in the hole with Mark and Jane for another $1500. But emotionally or spiritually or whatever, it’s a pretty big deal. It feels as if I’ve accomplished something–namely, booking three union jobs–and declared myself as being serious about this stuff.

And at these “workshops” I’ve been attending? The question of union membership has come up each time, and the casting directors and agents have all said the same thing–Unless you’ve got some amazing talent or skill they can’t get anywhere else, they’re really not interested in non-union actors.

So in that regard, my being in the union is, in practical terms, a good thing.

But the “downside” of my being in the union is not just that I can’t do non-union stuff anymore; what happens to a lot of people when they first get in SAG is that they fall into this “no man’s land”, where they can’t do non-union stuff but they don’t have any credits anyone’s interested in, and thus, they can’t work.

But what I’m hoping will happen in my case is that between whatever commercial things come my way, and these “workshops” I’m attending, I’ll be seen by the right person, and get my foot in the door.

You know, the best thing about getting in SAG is how this was actually part of my “plan”: In addition to making money and getting on-camera experience, part of what I wanted from commercials was for them to lead to getting my SAG card...and here we are (Well, I actually don’t have my SAG card yet...but it’s on the way).

____________________

Still thinking about Gremlin, my little canine friend from last Wednesday.

From what I’ve heard in the days since, I don’t think there ever was any “friend” who was supposed to take care of the dog; I think the owner just left her in the apartment to fend for herself (Yvette, one of the apartment managers, says that she thinks the girl is a bit “off”, and has never actually seen her walking the dog. I haven’t either, for that matter, and the apartment full of dog poop suggests the dog probably doesn’t get walked on a regular basis, if at all. I know she certainly didn’t seem like she knew what to do the couple of times I walked her last Wednesday)

I would have been up for “offering my services”, as some of you suggested, but apparently the woman now has a guy on that floor–She lives up on the 6th--who’s taking care of the dog when she’s at work. But I told Yvette to let me know if/when there’s another crisis–While I don’t really want a dog right now, I don’t think, I know I’d be better for her than her current owner, and certainly better than a trip to the pound.

Well, I could go on about this and that and the other thing, but naptime beckons.

Nitey-nite, friends and well-wishers...


 

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