Thursday, February 25, 2010


I hate second guessing. Since I left acting class last night I've been thinking about money problems and the delicate balance of passion and side job. Ugh. I go back and forth between going back to real estate as a money job (stress) and going into something new, like personal training. Of course, with personal training I'd have to take another financial hit while I study for the certification test and also pay for the studies.

If it wasn't for my wife, I'd be hanging on by a thread here.....emotionally, physically, mentally and financially.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Discovery Card VO audy

I went to my agency today to go out for a Discover Card VO. The script had an idea that a man was talking to a boy, named Bobby about his toy speed boat on the lake. When a woman comes to take her son away and calls him another name, it becomes clear that the man is referring to himself in the third person and is therefore funny. It just goes to show that with auditions I never know anything. I still haven't heard from the Saturday Night Fights audition or for AMP Energy, and for all I know I have been cast for Discovery Card. Such a weird business. My buddy Mark is in a NY Lotto commercial called "Fat Wallet". He said that his audition for that lasted all of 10 seconds, and while it wasn't an uncomfortable experience, it was a weird one. On his drive back to VT (he was visiting his parents and in-laws with his wife and kids) he got a call that he had been cast.

Hopefully I will get a call about being cast in the Saturday Night Fights thing and the AMP Energy! I'm just chilling on my couch right now, later on I might hit the heavy bag to let out some stress. Acting class tonight from 8-10.

Almost forgot!

I had another audition down in Philly a week ago. It's for a feature film called "Dark Fields." Here is the write-up.

The Dark Fields” is a feature film being produced by Relativity Media, directed by Neil Burger (“The Illusionist”) and starring Bradley Cooper (“The Hangover”)

A summary of the plot:
Imagine a drug that makes your brain function with perfect efficiency, tapping into your most fundamental resources of intelligence and drive, releasing all the passive knowledge you'd ever accumulated. A drug that made you focused, charming, fast, even attractive. Eddie Spinola is on such a drug. It's called MDT-48, and it's Viagra for the brain-a designer drug that's redesigning his life. But while MDT is helping Eddie achieve the kind of success he's only dreamed about, it's also chipping away at his sanity-splitting headaches, spontaneous blackouts, violent outbursts. And now that he's hooked and his supply is running low, Eddie must venture into the drug's dark past to feed his habit. What he discovers proves that MDT, once a dream come true, has become his worst nightmare.

I went out for the role of "Day-Trader". It was just a one liner, but I don't care. Plus let's face it, I'm not exactly in a position to pick and choose my roles. So I hopped down on the Bolt Bus to see Diane and the rest of Heery Casting. Got up at 6 and went to 34/8th to wait for the bus. Day Trader explains (gasp!) Day Trading to Eddie (Bradley Cooper). I think my lines went something like (this was a week ago...) "Over here are your quantitative analysis 'quants'. Algorithms to detect pricing discrepancies. You're looking at numbers only, price and volume patterns." Not too many words but a high ratio of syllables to words. Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like if my passion for acting was instead for finance. Do they really talk like that?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A whirlwind of activity and now the wait.....

I didn't get the "Louie" job. It's all good. I arrived 75 minutes before the audition time to work the script (they were really tight with the script and did not send one out prior). Can't say I didn't prepare. The day after the Louie audition I had another one for a Motorola commercial, that will be shown in China. Follow? OK. Now, I receive the NY Breakdowns every morning (what talent agents use) and I peruse them as soon as humanly possible. I'm always looking for roles that seem right for me. If I see a role that I am right for, I will either submit myself (if I know the CD well enough) or I will call up my agency and say "Hey! I think I'm right for this, can you submit me? Its the (blah blah) on page 12 of today's breakdowns. Thanks so much! Have a great day!"

That is what I did for the motorola commercial. The client was looking for people with fast hands at specific skills, rubix cube, coin flipping, speed chopping. Those that know me know that I used to earn money as a line cook and prep cook. Speed chopping is a skill of mine. So I called up my commercial agency and told them that I was right for the part and to please submit me. 15 minutes later I had an audition. This is the first on camera commercial audition I had been on since I started working with them (LAST AUGUST!) WTF.........cereal. WTF. The audition was over in 10 per usual. I had to speed chop a celery stalk. Normally not a problem, but the table was about 30" high and wobbly as all hell. So, I wasn't about to chop at full speed and slice off my finger tips with my crazy sharp 7" Japanese steel. The CD was very pleasant and we had a nice chat. I'm going to assume that I didn't get that one either. :-)

After the audition, I sent an email to the on camera assistant at my agency saying thanks for helping me get set up with the audition. In actuality I was pretty pissed that my only audition in 6+ months was SET UP BY ME. C'mon guys. C'moooonnnnnn. So I sent an email saying something like "It's been a long time since Ive seen all of you, and since we last saw each other Ive lost about 25 lbs, so maybe it's a good time for another 'meetup'". They agreed and met up with me the next day at 4pm.

Since I was gonna be literally down the hall from my VO agent, I scheduled a time to meet up with him too. This is a facet of the business that I didn't expect. I had always thought, albeit erroneously, that as soon as I had an agent it would be "audition city" and I'd be running around town like a mad man going from audy to audy. Word of advice for all you actors out there: don't wait for the pot to boil, fucking get after that biotch. What's the phrase? The squeaky wheel is the one that gets fixed? Or the axle? You know what I mean...bottom line is you can't just sit back and assume that some people have you in their hearts and minds, ya gotta get after them and literally spoon feed them shit.

Speaking of spoon feeding.....I saw an audition in the breakdowns that I'd be perfect for. It was this:

Two hardcore stand-up comedy fans get together every Saturday to do play-by-play for the
match-up on Comedy Central. The only thing they love more than comedy is arguing with each
other, which they do constantly. They speak to the audience, but mostly bicker between
themselves. And sometimes bring in their correspondent Stu, and friend Becky.
All need GREAT comic timing and a 'regular person' appeal. The writing is a bit of a rapid fire
back and forth, so a good rapport together as a group is key. Looking for performers with solid
improv/sketch chops. Please notate any people who perform together regularly.
[GREG] 25-30, any ethnicity. A slightly pretentious nerd who leans toward underground comedy
such as David Cross, Patton Oswalt, and Demetri Martin. He liked the first Dane Cook special
when it came out, but he'll never admit it.
[MITCH] 25-30, any ethnicity. A guy who's motto is 'If it's funny, it's funny.' He enjoys in-your-face
comedy of bigger club comics such as Dave Attell, Kat Williams, and Larry the Cable Guy. He
prefers funny faces over social commentary.

I submitted for Mitch by myself. While I am a comedy snob of sorts, I look like I'd love Larry the Cable guy and hate Patton Oswalt. I met Angela Mickey at a networking event and fortunately enough she liked me as a comedic actor and gave me her card and told me to keep in touch. So I did. Whenever I had a show I'd send an email and every now and then I'd sent a quick catch up email. She is very kind, and apparently is a great judge of talent. Everyone that I know who knows her says the same things, she's really nice, really great at her job and has a knack for discovering talent. So while I do have a legit agency that represents me, I'm just freelancing with them, so I have no problems with submitting for things myself. But in an effort to make things fair in a cosmic way, I had my agency's info on my 3 headshots that they had me bring.

I got the script last Friday afternoon and my audition was for Monday morning. I worked that script to death. I put in a solid 15 hours on it over the weekend (which is a looooong time for Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy references). The audition went really really well. I made the CD (not Angela, one of her coworkers, Angela was not at that particular audition) laugh on 3...count em 3 (!) separate occasions. With the crappyish script factored in and the fact that the CD had heard the same lame ass jokes about 30 times before I felt pretty good my accomplishments. I was also paired up with a random actor there too. Luckily, the guy was pretty good, pretty prepared and we made an OK team if I may say so myself. It's supposed to shoot this Friday, so if I get it, I will hear by tomorrow (Wednesday) for sure. We shall see. @ the very least, I came 100% prepared and off book and made some intelligent choices, can't go wrong with that. All I can control is how prepared and technically efficient I am at the craft of acting and auditioning. The rest, is up in the air. We shall see.

Then today, I had a voice over audition for AMP energy drinks. AMP is like redbull only in a larger can and dare I say......more eXtreme!!!!!!!!! Ha. That audition went well. It was at Pirate Studios and I really like the CD there, Erik. He gives really clear direction about what he wants and doesn't want for vocals, energy, clarity, character and tempo. You don't know how refreshing that is. It's like a dip in a lake when it's 99F and humid as hell. Ahhhh. The radio spot is supposed to be the "A.M. AMP Energy Wake Up Call". Michael Buffer, the boxing announcer calls up unsuspecting people and asks them if "They are ready to tackle their dayyyyyyyyyyyyyy???????" It's actually a really funny spot. Erik told me that what I laid down was "what he wanted the spot to sound like." (!) So that's cool. At the very least I am improving and at the very most I booked something. This also records on Friday. Sidenote: what a great problem that would be......having to schedule around 2 paying jobs in one day. Wow. Ha. I'm tickled pink just thinking about that.

Then on my way home tonight I got a call from my VO agent's assistant that I have another audy tomorrow in-house. Meaning, I go to my agency and record with the in-house guy there and my agency sends the submissions over to the client. That'll be fun. Then after that is my weekly acting class. Wow, that is a pretty long entry, but a lot has happened. More info to come on tomorrow's audy and (fingers crossed....casting!).

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"Louie" Audition

On Monday, I had an audition for a new show on F/X called "Louie". It's the same guy and idea who and that brought you "Lucky Louie" on HBO a few years back. Louie C.K. I went out for the role of "Curtis" - the breakdown goes as follows:

[CURTIS] late 20’s-early 30’s. He is a heavy set, tough, uncomfortable young man who says everything in a bitter, intimidating way, even when it’s positive. He and his sister are locals in a small southern town, out at the town diner, when Louie walks in. He insists on introducing Louie to his sister, implying that Louie could take her back to his hotel. When Louie declines and walks out of the diner, Curtis follows him and threatens him with a gun.

So the audition was a lot of fun. It's always interesting to see other large white gentlemen in the room with you. It's good to get an eye on your "competition" so to speak. For this particular audition, the script was very "tight". That means I was not sent the sides prior to the audition, but then again no one else was. My slot was at 4pm, so I arrived around 245 to work the script, score the script out and practice my choices. This industry is so insane and unpredictable, so I have to set myself apart from the other guys by being very prepared and making visible choices that the casting directors can see. Usually when you audition you make about 5 seconds of chit chat with the CD and "slate your name". Slating your name is very common. You look into the camera and say "Hello, I am Ralph Q. Farfignoogen" or "Ralph Farfignoogen". This CD didn't want me to slate my name, which I thought to be a relief - as I ALWAYS mess up the timing. "Slate your name please" "Phil..." "...oh, not yet!" "oops, sorry!" "It's OK, one more time...go." Ugh fucking criminey.

With that potentially embarrassing scenario out of the running, I was able to just work the script. The CD told me up front that "He" (who I assume is Louie CK) doesn't want an actor to work for the line or say that joke like they know it's a joke, just be very natural. (I can do that, in fact that's where I excel.) Additionally, the CD told me to act awkward, like I just have a few things to say and keep on repeating them due to sweaty glands or other social deficiencies. I can also handle that. So the side reading and acting went well, she is pretty good at reading. She gives a pretty straight read, not underplayed, not overly dramatic, she just says the words - it's apparent that she comes from an acting background ( like most CDs). Then she skipped a line.........ughhh. I waited for the rest of the line, but it never came. By this time I had already begun my rhythmic heavy breathing (showing that I could pay awkward) so perhaps it looked like panic, perhaps not, either way it's fine. I wasn't about to stop acting, break character and go "wait, what?" So I flipped in between the pages seeing if I missed something, but I did not, the I went to the last page and read the final bits of dialog. Why flip through all those pages you ask? I answer, if a big scene is broken up into little scenes or a character is silent for a long amount of time, the CD will still give you the sides, but just to read, just for reference. So there I was flipping back and forth between 3 useless pages of dialog trying to find where this lady dropped off.

When all was said and done, she said "ok". But I wasn't terribly sure if that would be the end of it or if there was more to do. A quick "Funny - thanks!" solved that dilemma. She then asked for me to leave the sides in the lobby so the other actors could use them. I said "Sure thing!" - but I had marked the shit out of the sides, and there was no way someone else wanted them - but most importantly, I didn't want someone using my ideas. I arrived 75 minutes early, no one is taking my hard work and piggy backing on it.

BTW, I look a lot like Louie CK, perhaps this will help, perhaps not.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

So it's been a while. yeah yeah yeah

Just trying to get more focused on acting and such. I know I said I was going to try to write almost every day, but Ive been mad busy y'all. I decided to start working out and I've been doing that almost every day since 11/1/2009. My weight hasn't dropped that much, but I look very different. I guess I am just adding muscle?

So anyway, back to acting.....I get the breakdowns everyday for the NYC casting (this is something I'm not really supposed to get), and sift through them and see what fits. It's funny.....some weeks there will be literally nothing good for me. But today there were a few good things. Who knew that all these SitCom, Film and Commercial writers are writing parts for a "Mid to Late 20 y/o husky male". When I see that, I know the role is down to me and maybe another 100 actors in NYC. Of those 100, maybe 3-5 are good actors. So as long as I get an audition, I should get a call back. The question is of course, getting in the door. Ha. Isn't that always the question?