Friday, May 28, 2010

I'm really getting into the Gobbo monologue (maybe too much)

So the more I read over this monologue and the more I study the word play and work it on its feet the more I friggen love this monologue.  Its so layered with different thoughts.  There is a fine line however.  Gobbo, more than most other Shakespeare clowns, is the most scatter brained (although Dogberry fans would be in the right to call foul). With scatter brained lines, like great power, comes great responsibility.  As an actor, you really have to earn every "aside", every bit of "game play - role play" or the piece falls flat.  Shit.  It falls even more than flat, it would be terrible.  I'm going to put it up again next week and have someone record it with my blackberry.  I want to upload it on my computer and watch it.  I want to kick my training into high gear.  I remember when I was having trouble with my shooting form for basketball, I recorded my shot so I could see what was going wrong.  It fixed my freethrow, it should also fix my monologue.....in theory.

Who knows, I may even upload it on the site and give yall modafuckaz a look-see. 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I have a different shirt on now.

But why?  Why would I ever take off such a nice shirt midday?  Who would do such a thing, and what could cause them to do so?  Great question.  I will answer with a soliloquy from these two jackasses cleaning a building on 39th and Lex and 215pm EST.

 See the yellow raincoat wearing douches on the scaffold?


 No?  Ok, here is a closer look. 


Douches: "I don't care about anyone who walks across from the south side of 39th Street to the north side on Lexington Ave.  Why?  Because I'm a douche.  Furthermore, my douchey boss will only pay for cleaning of this putrid pigeon shit covered building once every 3 decades.  I'm gonna spray.  Spray the guano away.  Rainnnnnnnn, shitty rain shitty rainnnnnnn."

PhillyRay: "Ahhhhh shit my new shirt!  Oh well it looks like it's just water.  Oh wait, it dried up, and now its all brown in the 50 spots on my shirt.  Oh for fuck sake."

Seriously, building washers.  Go fuck yourselves.  Seriously, fellow Lex walkers who could not possibly understand why someone had their dress shirt off, in their hand with a v-neck undershirt on.  Go fuck yourselves.  Go fuck yourselves with a maglight brand flashlight.  Enjoy.  

Fame vs. Success

Some actors strive for fame. Me? No effing way. I want a life where I am an "actors actor", where my work is respected enough to work constantly, but not so acclaimed that I get stopped on the street. Who wants that? Seriously. Who wants to have their meal interrupted by someone, asking for an autograph? Ugh. Say that the situation was reversed and oh....I don't know, bankers (!) are revered on talk shows. Could you imagine that a banker were to walk down the street and someone were to sheepishly approach them and say: "Excuse me, Mr. Levy....your.....um, your work in mergers and acquisitions in the late 80's really inspired me to go to business school and pursue a career in I-banking."

Does Mr. Levy want to talk to the Jr. Analyst? Methinks not. He just wants to get home to his kids and emotionally distant wife.

Let that ridiculous scenario set in. I'll give it three more seconds. 3. 2. 1. Ok. I see acting as one of the few things that I can do well. It' s a skill that I have, yes, but it's also a craft. Ya gotta work on it day in day out.

My acting Ph is now an even 7

Yesterday in acting class I had a bit of a breakthrough. My teacher, Steve, has been trying to make me realize that acting doesn't necessarily equate to a change in my being. For those of you who have never taken an acting class it basically translates into: "Just be yourself....and don't get caught 'acting'". Now, I LOVE to chew scenery, I LOVE to ham it up, I LOVE to "give" a performance and I LOVE to show of my largess up there.

But sometimes that is just not needed, and some other times, its just plain detrimental to the performance. I overcame my affectations by speaking to my wife in that manner. In a high falutin' way I would talk to hear about my day and ask her about hers, prancing around like a Shakespearean clown. (Totally true). And you know what? It was really really really weird. No one talks like that. I used that disconnect from reality as a baseline to know what I DON'T want to achieve.

If I can have that energy, that veracity simmering just below the surface but be loosey goosey (for lack of a more descriptive term) I can find some serious success. Nothing would make me feel better than if I found success as an actor.

Seriously.

So anyway, Steve told me that I have now "found my neutral". I can get to that place rather quickly and, if nothing else, people will never "catch me acting." Which is half of the struggle. He told me, and I have to agree (no, really, resistance is futile with this guy) that my natural self is expressive enough....it's engaging enough and I don't have to ham it up, I don't have to "comment on my lines" after I say them.

I feel really great about last night.

I have a spring in my step today.

I shaved my face this morning.  I woke up early(ish).  Made a hearty breakfast of three scrambled eggs with hot sauce, three turkey sausages and had some espresso.  I even showered, combed my hair, brushed my teeth and put on my new dress shirt.  I realize that these are things that most of you - and by "you" I mean my <10 loyal readers - do every single day.....but for me its all about the baby steps.  (shout out to bill murray in "what about bob").  What's missing today?  Gee, I'm not sure......let's go to the videotape. 

video

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Get out of my head! Seriously.

Now I'm just plain mad.  You have entered my brain for the last time Casting Directors. 

video

NYC Casting Directors, I reneg my surrender and issue you a statement:

Here it is.  Watch it, and also watch your backs. The finger is coming for you......

video

You have to be in it to win it.

PhillyRay and his brodini, (the aforementioned Mark) are still up for the culinary duo traveling TV show on Fox.  Man oh man, we would unleash hell (and humor) if cast in the roles of ourselves.  Just check out the camaraderie.

What camaraderie!  SUCH camaraderie.  Wowzah. Just goes to show you, ya never know what the brass is thinking. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I got rocked yesterday

There was a small amount of gentlemen in  boxing class yesterday.  We sparred.  I suppose I felt over confident going in, or maybe it was the 4 gallons of dessert wine I consumed this past weekend in Pittsburgh.  Oh yeah, there was a family wedding this weekend.  It was lovely.  The bar had sweet wine.  I like sweet wine don't get me wrong, but the sugar just compounds the hangover.

I lost my nose virginity yesterday.  There, I said it.

This guy Chris caught me with a right hook to my nose.  It bled.  Not too much, but enough to get shook like Ivan Drago against Rocky. I started to get frustrated and lost my composure.  I didn't do anything unsportsmanlike, I just started lunging forward on punches and wasn't as balanced as I could have been.  This was the first round and we had 5 more rounds to go.

Luckily, it wasn't against Chris.  Did I mention that Chris weighs probably 150 pounds?  There, I said it.  I weigh about 255.  Up next was Bosko, who I have mentioned in prior posts.  Always an admirable opponent.  I landed a jab here and there, but nothing too sharp.  He landed a few left and right hooks to my domepiece.  But it's all good.  Next up was sparring with my trainer, Lambros.  He mopped the floor with me, obviously.  Then Lambros made me do bag work.  I had to throw 400 rights into a bag.

At this point I was a bit tired.

Then I had to spar against a newer guy, but I could only land body shots and he could throw whatever.  I landed many double left hook to body combos and many double right hook to body combos.  It was fun.

I then went home, showered, took 4 aspirin and went to bed.

Monday, May 24, 2010

New Headshots

My friend Alden Ford takes a great head shot. 

My faves after the jump.  Can we have a vote?  Does anyone read this?  Ha.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

OK, NYC casting directors.....I surrender.

You've won (golf clap)  Great job NYC casting directors.  You should be proud of yourselves.  Leave a comment if you want to redeem your prize (a coupon for one at a Sizzler's restaurant - location of your choice).

Congratu-friggen-lations.

I  hope you are happy.  I am hoping that you are happy, because I know you will never be sad.  Because you can't feel pain.  Because you aren't humans.  You can't be.  There's no way you have 99% the same DNA as a monkey, or 97% the DNA of a fish (I forget the exact percentage for fish, but you get the gist).  If you don't get the gist here is the gist.....in video form.  (one more time...gist) I love that word)).

video
 

Victory!

We sparred yesterday in my boxing class.  My Monday instructor is a professional middleweight based out of Astoria, NY.  Whenever the class is small we all spar each other and rotate after a 3 minute round.  Yesterday we all sparred the other 5 people in the class, this included our instructor.  When our instructor boxes us, he keeps his hands down at this pockets to give us a fair shot (also there is no way that he is going 100%, but still, he is a professional fighter, I doubt he intentionally takes it too easy on us).

Needless to say he laid a lot more on me than I did on him......BUT........I did lay a really solid power jab on his nose.  Wow.  It felt really really good.  He kept on faking with his right low then popping up and in one fell swoop (thanks billy shakes) he would hit me with a jab.  After the second time this happened I recognized the pattern and timed it up so I countered his jab really well and THWAP!

/Shit eating grin.

I also noticed my improvement with another boxer in the class, Bosko.  Bosko is not a professional boxer, but I think he could do Gold Gloves if he wanted to.  He is in great shape and is very very fast and tough.  Side note: most Serbians are pretty tough.  Since I am half Hungarian, I told him that this was "The Battle for the Danube".  We laughed.  The first time I boxed him he wiped the floor with me.  This time he would have still beaten me on points but I laid in a few really good shots.  Such as: a great power jab to the face,  a jab body blow to right combo and a few counters with my right hook.  We hugged at the end.

Medical Industrial Audition Yesterday

Yesterday, I had an audition for a medical industrial.  An industrial for those of you who do not know, is like a commercial, but it's only for in-house viewing.  Like an employee training video.  They pay a great "session" fee but there aren't any residuals involved, as it never goes to broadcast.  This audition was for an anti-inflammatory medicine.  The video was directed towards the "Sales Reps" who talk this product up to MDs and medical offices.  The industrials script and theme followed the timeless combo of John Madden and Bob Eucker. 

Needless to say, I went out for the John Madden type.  That's cool.  Only thing is, I was the youngest Madden in the room by about 25 years.  Seriously.  They had some heavy hitters there too.  I saw a guy who has been in ab out 15 Broadway plays and was on 3 seasons of "Rescue Me".  I also saw a few other gents that I recognize from big name projects such as "Devils Advocate."  There was also a great actor and announcer type.  He was awesome and great to audition with.  Really cool and down to earth too.  Here he is.

I was fortunate enough to read twice (the second time with Joe).  Fortunate because when I went back in, the CD gave me some direction.  He asked for more enthusiasm.  Ok I can do that no problem.  My original idea was since they asked for a "John Madden type" that they wanted someone as laid back as Madden in the booth.  For those of you who watched Monday Night Football, you would never see an amped up Madden.  He was always pretty even steven.  So I'm glad that I got that bit of direction, because I obviously had no chance with they styling of my initial take. 

Then in walked a gentleman from my acting class.  This guy Nick is a seasoned veteran.  An old-school actor.  If I get as much as a callback for this I will consider it to be a major victory. 

Gutpunch weekend

Gutpunch filmed its fourth episode this past weekend in Glen Rock NJ and the surrounding townships.  Bang it here to check out other episodes and extras. I love this project so effing much.  It's a great group of guys to work with and the production value is really high.  It's always good to keep sharp and continue to work on your craft.

This episode has the guys go to a corporate retreat.  Shit hits the fan and hilarity ensues.  Here is a picture of my character,  the leader of the corporate retreat, "Moonbeam".  After the photo, after the jump, is some behind the scenes footage for loyal fans.  Warning: possibly NSFW.  No nudity, but possibly nsfw. 




Friday, May 14, 2010

Ok, seriously....NYC casting directors - you should watch this.

I have a new haircut to increase my marketability.  Additionally, I have a new facial trick to show you. Put on your helmet, because I am about to blow your mind (proverbially).

video

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Acting class - Shakespearean clown monologue (revisited)

So I brought back the clown monologue from "Merchant of Venice" last night. It went well. Really well. This was a different take than last weeks. As per Steve's request I was a lot more specific about the placement of the "fiend" and the "conscience". (side note: Shakespeare is obviously pre-Freud, and this monologues fascinates me because of this....it is all about a battle between the id, ego and superego.)

Steve had to stop me during my initial attempt because I was "acting with my mouth". I had to agree. I was consciously choosing to protrude my lower lip to add some depth a-la Bill Murray's character in "Caddy Shack." I need to consider how acting choices will look to the viewer. Obviously, that will look like mouth acting and not a character choice.

In the second take everything came together in a beautiful way. The "game play" aspects of the piece were strong and my specific placements of the fiend and conscience were.....well, specific. There is however, room for improvement in the "game play role play" aspects of the piece. I need to come up with specific voices for the fiend and the conscience. There could also be a lot of room for planned mistakes. Like.....I start to say a line that is meant for the conscience but in the fiends voice, or vice versa. Smell me?

Yeah, Shakespeare is tough stuff. Here is the monologue again:

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.

These items are now for sale.

In lieu of making acting money, I have decided to make some extra cash by selling my own possessions.  Check the deals out guys.  It's pretty good quality stuff.  Priced to move. 
video

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I'm also available for birthday parties.

And Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. If your dog is now 13 years old, we can have a bark mitzvah. (shows self the door)

video

Attention Astoria Males and NYC actors as well

Astoria Males:
 Deals and Discounts...a bargain store on Broadway and I wanna say.....36? Has some good deals.  Yesterday I bought some Fruit of the Loom V-Neck t-shirts for $1.99/each.  They came in a bunch of colors.

Sidenote: this is what happens when PhillyRay doesn't audition....he turns his acting blog into a shopping blog.  What a turd I have become.  

NYC Actors:  Are you looking for new heashsots?  If you are, I recommend Alden Ford.  He did my last two head shots and also photographed my wedding.  He has good prices and you keep the data CD with all the photos.  None of that "I keep the negatives" stuff that other head shot artists do.  here is his website

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My Israeli coworkers are furious about this....

...it's a matter of national pride. 

From "Eater" - Israel loses hummus and falafel title to Lebanon

When times are slow you gotta make stuff yourself

Things have been pretty slow for PhillyRay as of late.  No auditions in like 4 weeks.  So I've been focusing on a few other things. 

(In my best John McLaughlin voice)

Issue Number....err....excuse me "Issue NUMBAHH One!" - losing some weight.  Boxing has been good to me, I've dropped perhaps 35-40 lbs since my I started exercising back in November, but I want to kick it into high gear and drop another 40.  That would bring my weight to 225, which would still make a me a large guy, but healthy for life.

Issue NUMBAHH two:  Keep active in acting however I can.  This means tackling new monologues in class, getting new headshots, and writing for gutpunchnyc.com  I'm very lucky to be involved with these guys.  They are very smart and great to work with. Also, I call and check in with my agencies once a week.

Issue NUMBAHH three : make money in real estate so I can afford more things and put some money away.  This summer is like......THE summer of weddings.  I have like 5....hundred.  No, just about five.  But that's a  lot of suit buying, hotel reserving, well wishing and check cutting. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Spoke with my agents...

About any wardrobe requests for my new head shots this month.  They all basically said the same thing, "most with a goatee, some without."  "Some in a suit and tie, some in a t-shirt, some in a collared shirt, unbuttoned." "Some friendly, some menacing."

I had another conversation with my agent/manager based in Lancaster. She usually sends me out for Philadelphia auditions.  Personally, I really don't mind hopping on the boltbus to go to Philly.  The tix are usually $20 and it only eats up half of my day.  It's just a 2 hour ride from NYC after all.  So anyway.  My agent told me that a lot of film action is happening in Pittsburgh.  I love Pittsburgh, my Dad's family is from there, it's a really great town.  And recent Roethlisberger rape allegations aside, I love the Steelers.

Pittsburgh is a 6 1/2 hour drive away from NYC.

It turns out that the places are OK with an actor recording an audition and sending it in via e-mail.  But for callbacks......ya gotta be there.  My question is to my fellow actors (assuming any actually read this): would you rent a car and drive to Pittsburgh for a callback?  Let's assume its for a BIG project.  Like a recurring role in a network TV show in prime time.  Would you do it?  I know I would.  Let's also assume it could be for a day player role for  a pilot?  Would you do it?  I probably would......I suppose.

What's everyone's thoughts?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cool view

Admittedly, this doesn't have much to do with acting.  But I suppose it has a little sumpin sumpin to do with the 11102, as I took this picture out of my bathroom window.  I've only seen rain from far away a few times in my life (always lived in a crowded area with a lack of open spaces). 

Ok ok ok ok ok.  Without any further ado...






Not bad for a blackberry photo.  Ja?

Last few days have been slow

...professionally wise, at least.  But personally, it's been a lot of fun.  There was a bachelor party for my aforementioned "brotha from anotha motha."  It was gangbusters.  We went down to see the Mets play (read: get daddied) by the Phillies.  General debauchery and hilarity ensued.  The next day was a birthday party.  I was horrifically hungover, and a day that was originally planned to include "just one or two rounds" turned into 7 hours of drinking.  I felt as  if I was fooling death on Sunday, escaping my hangover with more drinking.  Apparently, hangovers are compounding, because Monday was atrocious.

Mondays and Fridays are my boxing days too.  I decided that I would "sack up" and go to boxing.  I needed that hooch out of my system with the quickness.  Man oh man, my sweat smelled like straight up vodkas.  Of course, this was the day that the instructor had us spar.

Eesh. 

I landed a few powerful jabs on that doods face, and a few high left fake to body blow right combo.  But I'll be damned if this dood didnt hit me in the liver!  As if my liver hadn't had enough.   This enraged  me.  I also noticed that  if I threw a double jab, he would block my second jab way far away from his head, almost like he was pushing my gloves away.  Ok buddy, Ok.  So I landed a jab jab left hook combo right before the bell.  Then I vomited. 

No joke.