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11:43 am - Sunday, Jul. 24, 2005
Workshops & Breakdowns

Workshops And Breakdowns

Thurs 7/21/05 (11:07 a.m.)

I have a callback tomorrow for Genworth Financial (The one where I was watching Andre Agassi and Steffi Graff play tennis).

I’d very much like to book this thing. And not because it’s some big acting opportunity–It really isn’t–but because:

1. I could use the money.
2. Two commercials I auditioned for and didn’t get have been running a lot lately, and it’s been kind of annoying.
3. I doubt I’ll actually get to meet Andre Agassi if I get the gig, but wouldn’t it be cool if I did?
4. I have to make at least $15,000 to qualify for health insurance through SAG (So far this year, I’m about 10% of the way there). And while it’s not an issue now, when my time at Borders comes to an end, health insurance is going to become a major concern.
5. I want to do better this year than I did last year, in terms of earnings from acting, and so far...not so much.
6. In light of recent developments at the bookstore, I’m doing a lot of thinking about how an “exit strategy” has to involve having some money to exit with (If I had some “F.U. money”, I would have said “F.U.” to David the day he fired Joe, and quit right then. And I guess two people–AJ and Tim M.–did give notice that day, in protest of David’s actions. And I say “Good for you guys!”).


Maybe two weeks ago, Brett (One of the Actors Co-op guys) sent an email out to the group, to say that after the last round of workshops, three or four people were called in by some of the casting directors.

Not me, of course (Or else I would’ve told you about it by now). And initially, I was a little bummed–“Why didn’t they call me in for something?”, I thought to myself–but I got over it fairly quickly, and realized it could just as easily be me the next time around.

I talk about making money a lot, which I think is pretty understandable, given my circumstances, but that’s only half the goal. I want to make money acting, doing material I enjoy performing and that people enjoy watching. I want to be doing good stuff, and I want to enjoy the rewards of a job well done.

That’s the dream.

And that’s what makes these “workshops” so exciting–any one of them could be the key to “getting my foot in the door”. And while I sometimes have a moment or two of doubt, most of the time, I feel pretty sure “getting my foot in the door” is all it’s going to take to get this ball rolling (Okay, maybe “getting my foot in the door” a couple times).

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately...I know my age and lack of credits work against me, but since I can’t do anything about it, I think it’s best to proceed as if I don’t know that. Just put it out of my mind as much as possible, because what good does it do to dwell on how steep the odds are?

Because when I’m at my most positive, I’m convinced that I have enough talent, and an interesting enough “look”, that if I stick it out here, I’ll be able to get work. And once I get things, and become an established entity, I’ll be able to find enough things to do to earn a living, even as the available roles become fewer and farther between (As they do when an actor dares to get old).

Sat 7/23/05 (3:16 p.m.)

Literally have no time to do this...

Had a really fun casting director workshop today. Andy Henry w/UDK, who is the casting director for, amongst other shows, CSI.

I was given a really good, showy scene to do–the funny/sleazy character who cleans up crime scenes after the CSI guys are finished–and without wasting a lot of time with false modesty, I knocked it out of the ballpark!

But I really do have to go...

Sun 7/24/05 (10:03 a.m.)

Now where was I...?

The workshop yesterday was a lot of fun. Mr Henry–The CD--was very upbeat and entertaining, I had a really fun scene to do, which I rocked on, and for my money, it was the strongest showing of Co-op actors yet (A number of people “rocked” on their scenes).

Afterwards, I asked about the “breakdowns” (Or more precisely, how I go about submitting to his office when I don’t have a theatrical agent, and thus, don’t have access to them).

(For the uninitiated–the “breakdowns” are the list of roles that need to be cast in a given week. Officially, only agents can get them, though as you might imagine, there’s a thriving “black market” for breakdowns, since most actors don’t have agents.)

The CD made a great comic show of hemming and hawing–“Officially, I can’t advise you on this...but if you somehow accidently get a look at them...well, let me tell you a little story...” (The story was about how an actor he knows got his first seven or eight tv roles without an agent)–and then he told us exactly how to submit to his office, saying that if something is submitted on time, with the show and the role marked on it, it will get looked at (He also said to write on the envelope where he met us, since CD’s aren’t likely to call in someone they’ve never seen before. The speed of tv casting just doesn’t allow for that).

He said (And I loved him for saying it), “If I want to call you in for something, I don’t care if I’m calling your agent or your cellphone”.

So all that said, I’m thinking I need to get me some access to illegal, black market “breakdowns” (I called Chris S. a short time ago, leaving a message on his voicemail, to see what he might know on the subject). And I’m going to start submitting myself for things, particularly if they’re cast by the people who have now seen me in workshops.

But as all things do, that’s gonna cost me. And that money’s gotta come from somewhere.

So I’ve made another decision: When I figure out where to get the breakdowns from, and how much it’s gonna cost, I’m dropping my online subscription to Backstage.

Now that I’m union, and the lion’s share of the casting notices in Backstage are non-union (And mostly non-paying), it’s not worth the monthly bill, just to read a couple advice columns, or an interview with some successful actor. I’d rather put that money towards showcases and breakdowns and what-have-you. Stuff that might actually lead to work.

I’m excited, Folks. I’m gonna hit enough of these workshops, and do well enough, that eventually people are going to start calling me in for jobs. And sooner or later, I’m going to book one of those jobs, then another, and another, and before you know it, I’m going to have a career.

I don’t know exactly when it’s gonna happen, or exactly how it’s going to come about, but I know if I just keep plugging away, it really is gonna happen.

Pretty cool, huh?


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