Thursday, April 29, 2010

Camera Class

It's exhilarating acting in front of a camera.  What gets me "pumping" is knowing that the camera is on an extreme close-up and there will be nowhere to hide.  All extraneous gestures will be seen, every time I "send the line up" instead of really and truly asking the question and every time I say the words instead of speaking them, I get called out on it.

Most likely for all of the reasons above, I find that acting-wise, I am on my best behavior during camera class.  Why don't I always pretend that the camera is there?  I should hold myself and my acting to the highest of standards all of the time, not just when I can see my mistakes after the fact.

I equate acting to cooking.  Both are crafts in the sense that if you have a bit of natural skill that always helps, but it's really about who puts in the most work.  As a line cook I took an immense amount of pride in ALL food that came out of the kitchen.  This included the "family meal", which is a term for a meal that all members of the restaurant would eat before/after a shift.  I worked in a place where the chef would make the biggest pile of slop for the help.  Overcooked penne with oil, grilled beyond recognition chicken drumsticks and an iceberg lettuce salad.  It was atrocious and it was the same thing every effing day.  And guess what?  The servers did a bad job, and, I think it's because they were fed bad food.  So I made it a point to make family a great one.  It was still done on the cheap (sheet tray pizzas, meatloaf, lasagna etc) but it was always done well.

As an actor I need to take that much pride in my work.  I need to make sure that every single word that comes out of my mouth when I act is the best I can do.

Over and out.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Things that make me happy and things that make me not so much.

The mets have won 8 of their last 10, and have a healthy chance to sweep the dodgers today
My best friend's bachelor party is this Saturday, we're renting a ginourmous party bus
Going to see the Mets at Phillies for said bachelor party
Tonight's acting class is on camera.  I'm excited to learn more.
Wife's hair always smells really nice

Not so much
When my 30 day metrocard is on its 31st day
People who sit three seats away from the next person on the 7 train, thus taking away my seat chances 
Roger Goodell

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What a bonkers audition......

Man.  It's been 6 days since that audition and it still strikes me as the most bizarre and fun things I've done in an audition.  Mark and I had a 2pm slot.  We arrived around the corner at like 135.  Mark asked "Hey man, do you wanna slam a beer or two before?" "Yeah, let's tie one on."  So we had 2 coors light drafts and a water a piece.  We head around the block to go to the audition (which is basically in this batshit woman's apartment).  They tell us that we have to wait 40 minutes.

Mark and I exchange a glance that reads "What the fuck..."

The mouthy CD runs out of the bedroom with her raspy voice.  "Don't roll your eyes like you want to kill me, this is the opportunity of a lifetime."  This whole "opportunity of a lifetime" thing is wearing really effing thin at the moment.  We say ok.  I'm already half in the bag (all I had was a bowl of cornflakes, and an espresso before drilling 32 oz of Colorado's finest.  I tell her "You're forcing us to drink we're gonna go back in the bar."

We head back to the bar and have a few more beers.  4? 5? I'm not sure. 

At this point, we're actually pretty pissed.  Between the whole obnoxious pre-audition process of two days earlier and the being told to come back 40 minutes after your audition time, we really got pissed.  For real.  So this is angry drinking.  We return after 40 minutes, she tells us its now going to be another 20 minutes.  Meanwhile we see who else they are auditioning.  They are gross and lack charisma.  I am steaming.  Ok back to the bar I guess, we return 30 minutes later - cuz fuck them.  We rip a shot of wild turkey and come back to the "casting office" (read: obnoxious woman's apartment) loaded for bare.  I see an asian designed armoire in the corner and I declare to the woman that "I will piss in that armoire you stole off the set of the 'Golden Child' if you don't put us on camera right now."  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  Thank goodness, because she started laughing and brought us inside. 

The next 30 minutes were a blur.  Mostly because we were borderline blacked out, but also because she was just so obnoxious.  Here are some snippets:

Her phone kept ringing, so I took the battery out and put it in my front pocket.

I walked off camera and towards her and started berating her for being so obnoxious.

I ate 10 white castles during the process.

I referred to Japanese people as "crazy kamikaze flying sons of bitches".

We flipped the bird into the camera and called Rupert Murdoch a pussy. 

We informed Mr. Murdoch that we were having sex with his border collie.

And you must believe me when I say that the CD ate us up.  She effing loved it.  When it was over she gave us big hugs and told us that we "are pissers" and is FedExing the tape to the network that night.  The assistant, told us it was the most fun he ever had during an audition. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

Huge audition on wednesday

I'm glad it's with my great friend Mark.  The audition is for a food travel show.  Sort of like man vs food meets no reservations meets bromance.  It's for a duo.  I'm really psyched that it's with Mark.  He is hilarious and has a great palate as well. 

Setting up the audition might have been the weirdest thing I've ever done.  Usually, an actor submits for work by either sending an email or clicking on a link and if they want to audition you, some mousy sounding intern will call you and tell you where to go and when.  Not this time.  I was on the phone for 27 minutes, on a conference call with Mark and who might have been the most obnoxious sounding person in the world.  Here are a few nuggets that this woman said: "Jesus!  You two are comedians, you're boring the shit out of me!", "I may sound like I old midget Jewish woman, but you don't have to drink me pretty, not at all.", "Don't tell me how awesome you are, show me!  Show me right now or I'll hang up on you!", "Is this the same boring Phillip that called me before?"

And my personal favorite.....I pick up the phone for the first conversation with this woman, I don't know who she is....I'm at my real estate office so I assume she is a client.  "Hello, this is Phillip."  "Phillip, are you going to bore me?  That's what I want to know, are you going to bore me?"  ".....who is this?  Who am I talking to?" I ask.  "This is Lisa from the casting office for Culinary Du - now do I have your attention?"

What a weird conversation.  But man oh man, I am glad that I'm going to audition for that psycho with Mark. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

So slooooooooooow

Man oh man, is the audition world in NYC slow or what?  One of my friends works at a high powered advertising firm, and he says that broadcast work has literally come to a standstill. They are "buzzing" with printwork, but in terms of broadcast (on camera and VO) there's nothing.  This backs up what I've heard from veteran (30+ years) actors.  One guy in my acting class tells me "This is the slowest it has ever been, a lot of us don't know what to do."  He assured me that if I was his age when he was his age (follow me?) that I would be booking commercial work left and right.  This is a veteran actor who could retire on a nice pension if he wanted to.

I never thought I'd say this.  Ever.  But thank goodness for real estate work.  It at least keeps me busy and provides some sort of an income.  I like that I can come and go from this place.  I finally closed that deal for good, that I mentioned a post or two ago.  I wasn't expecting it to take so long but it did.  Oh well.

Class went well last night.  I revisited my Gobbo monologue from "The Merchant of Venice."  My teacher had me perform it while another set of classmates were setting up their set.  (I just fulfilled my life-long dream of using "set" in three different ways in one sentence.)  The monologue can be very captivating, however, that goes out the window when people are moving around furniture to the left of you.  Ha.  My teachers notes were that my version of the monologue was "for you" (meaning me) and that necxt week it has to be "for us" (meaning the audience).  This relates to his other piece of advice from last week: " want to 'give' a performance, rather than 'take one.'" And while I hear that totally, and agree - what is an actor to do when there is other stuff going on the stage at the same time?  Am I to simply speak louder or ham it up to the nth degree?

I think I am going to call him up for clarification.  It's tough to figure out how to word my question.  I don't want to say "Well  how do you expect an actor to command attention when other actors are on stage setting stuff up?"  I think I will ask: what is a remedy for a moment that is being upstaged?  Is there a way to command attention while not coming across as just simply speaking louder?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Slow week so far

No auditions, just finishing up working on an application I submitted.  The client needs to get a letter of employment together. She makes a ridiculous amount of money and has three offers lined up in NYC, but she needs a letter of employment.  I shouldn't be worrying this much about a deal - then again it is 1200 bucks on the line, which is a lot of money for me.  It's either going to happen, or it won't happen.  I wish I had the same dilemma with acting.  That would be a good decision to have to make. 

Tonight, after work I will meet up with someone from my acting class to work on a scene from "Knocked Up". Ha.  If great playwrights make great actors, I wonder what kitchy screenwriters make?

Monday, April 12, 2010

General Rage

Lately, my anger and rage has been getting the best of me. I can usually keep it inside and let it out at a proper time (gym, focusing on work, box of oreos etc) but yesterday I let it get the best of me. And I gotta admit, I dont feel bad about it. I was in Bed Bath and Beyond shopping for a new microwave with my wife (sidenote: all great stories start this way). We are in the kitchen gadget area. This silver haired woman ran up to us and sort of spoke to us sort of spoke aloud to herself and said: "I am looking for the knife that won't brown lettuce when you cut it." I think she meant this thing. I didn't have to offer this woman an answer, I didn't even have to respond. After all, I don't work for the store, she interrupted a conversation with my lovely wife and I don't know this woman. I started to think in reverse and answered, "Well they are made of neon colored material so..." (my thought was, hey you could look for something brightly colored, maybe that will help.) She interrupted me and said "Guhh, I care not what they are made of I just want to know WHERE they are!!!!" Then she walked off, more like walked away. About 10 feet. I followed her. My response? "I hope your cane breaks and you fall on your face."

And who says, "I care not.." anyway?!!? Are you a Queen in charge of a feudal kingdom? Blow me.  For reals. 

My wife was, justifiably so... embarrassed. I was not. Fuck her (the woman, not my wife). You don't ask a random person for help (and interrupt them in the process) and then when they offer you some help - albeit a convoluted answer - you don't get all bitchy on them. Besides, do knives really brown lettuce? I dont think so. Trust me on this one, I've chopped a lot of fucking lettuce in my life. I worked as a prep cook and I swear all I did was dice onions, chop lettuce and breakdown whole chickens and pigs.

6,000+ views and counting on

Damnnnnnnn.  You can only treat the symptoms, cuz this shit is VIRAL!

Friday, April 9, 2010

What a day!

Vimeo came through in a huge way today and put us on their front page! I mean like....holy crap.  Gut Punch went from having 7 views a day to 2500. Wowzahs. 

I also closed a real estate deal. Off to boxing class and then to hang with my brotha-from-anotha-motha down in Chinatown today.  I heart dumplings.  What a day.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Acting class - Shakespearean clown monologue

Yesterday in class I worked on a Shakespearean clown monologue from "The Merchant of Venice."  I was in a performance of this back in 2005.  It was my first NY credit. Off-off broadway kinda of thing.  It was a fun experience.  The actors, for the most part were not douches, and the director/producer was a really nice guy who treated us well and gave us an honorarium at the end of the run.  For those who don't know, and honorarium is basically a severence package.  It's whatever the producer has left over, minus whatever cut he gives himself (and after helping produce a show or two, I will gladly let the producer take whatever the hell he wants to).

So anyway....The actor who played Lancelot Gobbo in my production  was really effing good at what he did, and still is!  So I tried to fashion what I did after what he did.

It's a really hard monologue, you have to portray the role of Lancelot first, but also the fiend and  Lancelot's conscience.  So that's three roles battling against each other in one piece.  The monologue begs for the actor to have fun and "gameplay/roleplay".  Which I love. There is also a lot of moments of: importance, discovery, confidentiality, places to find the fun parts etc.  Along with the gameplay/roleplay comes the opportunity to switch up speech patterns even more so than what is normally done.  The rate, the inflection, the pitch, the dynamic.   I need to work more on the following for this monologue: specific placement of the fiend and conscience.  Although the location of the fiend is supported within the text "The fiend is at mine elbow" Here is the monologue:

Certainly my conscience will serve me to run from this Jew my master. The fiend is at mine elbow and tempts me, saying to me, 'Gobbo, Launcelot Gobbo, good Launcelot,' or 'good Gobbo,' or 'good Launcelot Gobbo -- use your legs, take the start, run away.' My conscience says, 'No. Take heed, honest Launcelot; take heed, honest Gobbo,' or as aforesaid, 'honest Launcelot Gobbo -- do not run; scorn running with thy heels.' Well, the most courageous fiend bids me pack. 'Fia!' says the fiend; 'away!' says the fiend. 'For the heavens, rouse up a brave mind,' says the fiend, 'and run.' Well, my conscience hanging about the neck of my heart says very wisely to me, 'My honest friend Launcelot, being an honest man's son' -- or rather 'an honest woman's son,' for indeed my father did something smack, something grow to; he had a kind of taste -- Well, my conscience says, 'Launcelot, budge not.' 'Budge,' says the fiend. 'Budge not,' says my conscience. 'Conscience,' say I, 'you counsel well.' 'Fiend,' say I, 'you counsel well.' To be ruled by my conscience, I should stay with the Jew my master who, God bless the mark, is a kind of devil; and to run away from the Jew, I should be ruled by the fiend who, saving your reverence, is the devil himself. Certainly the Jew is the very devil incarnation; And in my conscience, my conscience is but a kind of hard conscience to offer to counsel me to stay with the Jew. The fiend gives the more friendly counsel. I will run, fiend; my heels are at your commandment; I will run.

Pitch meeting was a'ight

Business is funny. I never realized how much of a bizarre and alien world it was to me, until yesterdays meeting. This was my first experience sitting down at a huge table with other people. Everyone talked in business terms, its a tender game to watch. I was fascinated and confused at the same time.

The idea for the meeting was to see if vimeo would feature us for any amount of time on their website. I had hoped that since I sent the episodes along a few weeks ago that the head of user content would have already seen it. What happened at the meeting was essentially a meet and greet, mehtinks, which is fine I suppose. The director of content had not seen the content yet and left the meeting basically saying "When I get around to seeing it, I'll let you know." That's fine, but I thought I took care of sending the materials along beforehand? Did I? Maybe not. Business is strange.

We love vimeo. It's a great site. And I'm not saying that bc I think someone there might read this (sidenote: I doubt ANYONE reads this, ha, this is mostly just for me). I hope it works out. New episode is launching tomorrow, Friday.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Pitch meeting tomorrow

Vimeo is basically a high rent version of Youtube.  I love it.  The content is better and it is 100% HD enabled.  There is an internet series that I am involved in with some friends.  It's  - this initially started up as a passion project for these guys and they brought me in on 2 episodes. They are very smart guys with a pretty good business plan.  Hopefully vimeo will highlight us on their homepage so we can get some more exposure etc.  After we get exposure, who knows where that can lead.