Order Up!

As noted in a recent vlog, a few days ago I shot a national TV commercial! It was an exciting and educational experience. Upon arrival at the location, we were herded like sheep into a too-small, windowless holding area that felt like 90 degrees in Central Florida in July where we waited for two hours. We were specifically instructed by the director that this particular commercial was secret and that upon leaving the room, in no way should anyone know we were anything other than the roles we had been assigned, nor should we mention anything about a TV commercial or recording or the product. In all cases, we were to act, interact and react naturally and normally. A result of all this secretiveness? I can't tell you the name of the company for which we shot.

Once we got going, the shoot was at times boring, boisterous and entertaining. I made a few good connections, too. After a break for a walk-away lunch (read: no craft services), we spent more quality time in holding before our release for the day. There were no additional shots required.

I think some of us may very well have received some nice face time in these spots. Due to the nature of the spots and the method of shooting, I'll be interested to see the final output(s). When I do, I'll be sure to let you know!


I'm a bum.

Last night, still concerned about finding a necessary prop for the evening's scene for class and in a lovely moment of serendipity, while boarding the bus I bummed a cigarette off another passenger.  Really, it wasn't so hard.  The passenger before me was already dispensing one to the driver.  Before I could even complete the phrase, "Could I have one of those for my class?", he readily said, "Sure!", sticking the box in my face.  Then, revealing my ignorance, I inquired, "This is the end I use, right?"  After all, I was fairly certain the banded end was the filtered end, but more information can never hurt.  The passenger chuckled in disbelief as I explained the purpose of my cigarette need and the driver cackled in surprise.

I'd never held or touched a cigarette before yesterday, but my powers of daily observation and kinesthetic memory stepped up, making it look as though I'd been smoking all my life.  Despite my recent Marlboro experience, I was actually grateful to have this potentially-cancer-causing prop on my person.  Thank you bus passenger!


Do what you can.

The other day I noted how, unusually, I was called for another bilingual audition. This one would also be in English and Spanish and I was hoping to buff up my skills since I had disappointingly botched a recent audition of the same vein. I responded straight away, thanking the casting director for the opportunity and indicating that the audition window did not work well with my schedule due to a previously scheduled rehearsal and class. Instead, I offered to come the following day, for I could be available at any time, or record the audition at home and provide the video content directly. I've received no response. Nothing. At all.

Oh well. What's meant to be will be and all I can do is do all I can do (which is what I've done).


O Sonnet-thon! How I pine!

For about five years, the cute, local Shakespeare Now! Theatre Company sponsored this fabulous, free annual event called the Sonnet-thon, at which all of Shakespeare's sonnets would be read in succession, each by a different individual, with the talents ranging in age from 5 to at least 90. I found myself reminiscing about this event recently and missing it.  It was cancelled a few years ago because, apparently, coordinating the talent took quite a bit of time and gathering an audience proved to be challenging, despite convenient performance locations like the Rabb Lecture Hall at the Boston Public Library. Listening to and reciting the sonnets was great fun for me because I love Shakespeare, not to mention good practice and education.  Here is one of my favorites, Sonnet 128, and not just because it has the semblance of musical reference:

How oft when thou, my music, music play'st,
Upon that blessed wood whose motion sounds
With thy sweet fingers when thou gently sway'st
The wiry concord that mine ear confounds,
Do I envy those jacks that nimble leap,
To kiss the tender inward of thy hand,
Whilst my poor lips which should that harvest reap,
At the wood's boldness by thee blushing stand!
To be so tickled, they would change their state
And situation with those dancing chips,
O'er whom thy fingers walk with gentle gait,
Making dead wood more bless'd than living lips.
Since saucy jacks so happy are in this,
Give them thy fingers, me thy lips to kiss.


Oh So Close

Yesterday, I learned I could have been nominated for an Emmy® Award.  Seriously.  Do you remember the series of auditions I had for a major credit card company?  Well, this particular American Express Platinum Card spot, "Airport Lounge"--for which I had callbacks as that featured, "I'm sorry but I can't..." airline attendant--has been nominated for an Emmy® in the category of Outstanding Commercial.  Man!  I just wish I knew why I hadn't been selected...

I'm knocking on the door of a very successful career, I can feel it.  Someone just needs to open the door.


Discurso Defectuoso


Call Me Cattle (or, Hoping for a Phone Call)

Yesterday I attended a cattle call for a new Warner Bros. feature project called "The Town".  This will be an adaptation of the dark, heist-romance novel Prince of Thieves written by Chuck Hogan.  Apparently Ben Affleck is slated to rewrite, star in and direct the film. 

Pleasantly, the audition was well-run!  Sometimes these massive calls that screen everyone from all ends of the earth can result in manifest mayhem.  But, there were many assistants on hand, many more in attendance and an efficient queue system.  I filled out the requisite paperwork, picked up the sheet with dialogue and stepped over to the photo location for a quick pic.  Then, I took a moment to review the lines before stepping into another queue.  After waiting only a few minutes, I arrived at a table, handed over my headshot, resume and paperwork to the fellow seated across from me, and waited for instruction.  He asked me to read one of the lines of dialogue and I did just that.  Then, "Thank you."  That was it!  I was in and out in perhaps ten minutes, and I was impressed.  Moreover, I felt good about my read and hope it was strong enough to set me apart from the many hundreds in attendance and result in a call back. 


Know how to hold it.

Spending as much in Austin as I have and following closely the travails through the Texas Hill Country of now-defunct Team US Postal-cum-Team Discovery Channel as led by Lance Armstrong, I am without question a TDF junkie.  From time to time, when I don't jump up between segments to hastily fold laundry or unload the dishwasher, I do intently watch television commercials with the goal of learning more and improving my craft.  This past weekend as le Tour began, I immediately noticed an ad illustrating crippling ignorance of musicians and their craft.  In some feeble attempt to demonstrate the concept of "unfriendly", a front desk attendant at a hotel whips out a violin and begins to play.  Not only is the attendant not using his fingers upon the fingerboard, but he's holding the instrument on the wrong side, bow in the incorrect hand. 

Please, ad folks, as a professional musician I implore you to hire actors who know how to use the instrument you've written into your savvy spots.  Or at least take a few moments to provide genuine instruction to the person you've hired.  It's not so hard to learn to fake it.  I did so.


Disappointment: the Name of the Game

It's true. Disappointment is the name of the game when it comes to "the industry". It's acquiring the finesse to master disappointment that can be challenging. Most of the time, I am relatively unflappable. I understand my most elemental role as a talent is to go, audition and leave. I give my best performance each time and depart with no expectations that I will be called back or that I will get the role/part/character/gig/job. However, there are times when it is difficult to resist the infiltration of disappointment into life. These past two days have showcased excellent examples of this.

Unexpectedly, I met a very interesting individual who seemed to be friendly, professional and well-connected within entertainment, offering to introduce me to people who might be able to provide me guidance and insight. A happy circumstance? Serendipity? Too good to be true? It seems the latter may be the case. We arranged a business dinner at which details of the introductions were to be discussed. I went, prepared to discuss my experience and present the career goals I have as well as the current challenges I know I face. Unfortunately, the dinner turned out to be a very long-winded discussion about nothing of interest to me and a true waste of my time. I believe this contact was well-intentioned but not as serious or focused as I am, and perhaps not as forthright, either. Will I still get to meet these potentially career-changing contacts? I don't know and, frankly, I don't care. The situation was very disappointing and it reminded me how very few people in this world are as good as one's word.

Likewise, a potentially great opportunity to work on upcoming feature film Furry Vengeance fell into my lap. Or at least my email inbox. The project was seeking talent with very specific skills sets--skills sets which I have and with which I have years' worth of experience on a professional level. Of course, I contacted the casting director straight away with a polite email, my resume and headshot, indicating I thought I would be great for the role given my qualifications and that I would be willing to provide any additional information desired. Have I received a response? No. Did I expect to receive a response? It is rare that I ever expect a reply, but in this case I did, knowing I fill well the requirements of the role. Again, disappointment. I'm not ruling out receipt of a response, but I'll no longer be dispirited that I haven't yet got one.


All words illustrating the arbitrary nature of an entirely ersatz trade.