Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New Year's Revolutions

Yes, reVolutions, not resolutions.  I have never been known as a half-attacker.  I'm talking all cylinders, my friends.  I got to thinking last night when I was trying to fall asleep.  Perhaps it was the chilequiles I consumed that was keeping me up, or perhaps it was a nagging feeling that I wasn't attacking life as much as I could.

I remember when I was a junior in high school and my English teacher asked us to write a one page paper on what we thought the meaning of life was.  Yes, my high school education was a bit of a joke.  Most of the time, this teacher would read the local sports section and we'd all tell jokes and wrestle each other, throw spitballs etc.  Oh, we also read Siddhartha.  But that was about it.

Anyway, I went home and I put the pen to the paper and I drew a blank.  Of course, this was extremely frustrating at the time, but looking back on it, it's pretty funny.  What does a 16 year old kid know about life, let alone its meaning?  What a crap assignment!  I finally asked my Dad what he thought the meaning of life was.  Without a split second of hesitation he looked up from his desk and blurted, "To attack each day and task with vigor and enthusiasm."  He almost gave me a look as to say "What the heck did you think it was?" Then he turned back to his desk and continued to plug away.  Wow.  All this time, I thought I would put down some bull about "peacefully coexisting with others" or "love", or something that would be sure to get me a B+ or A-. 

I ended up mailing it in and saying "peacefully coexisting with others" and extrapolating from that point*.  But I didn't believe it.  I knew I didn't, but I also didn't feel like pushing myself.  2011 will be the year of me pushing myself. 

I will continue to exercise with vigor and lose more weight.  I've already lost 50 pounds or so, so the next 30 pounds could be tough. 

I will enthusiastically work on my acting technique, specifically cold reading, and rate/inflection/pitch dynamic. 

I will pick 4 other guideposts to work on and master them.  This way, I can attain a specific acting "style" if you will, with the hopes of being more marketable etc. 

I will stop swearing.  I swear way too much.  It's uncouth and makes me look dumb.

I will land a national commercial, and 4 principle roles this coming year. 

I will qualify for the high end SAG based health insurance.

* as much as you can in 250 words.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

"You have good punch speed."

I heard that on Monday after a sparring session and swelled with pride.  I was also swelling because of body shots I took from the guy as well.  I've come a long long way with boxing since I started last February.  That body shot sparring session was one of the best workouts I've had in a while.

Usually, when people hear "body shot" they think of Panama City Beach or the E! Channel.  I suppose there was a time in my life where I would think the same way too.  Nowadays, when I hear "body shot" I just wince. 

Anyway, back to the body shot only sparring session.  Most of the people in my boxing class are "headhunters".  The term is self explanatory, so when we were faced with the challenge to only land body shots I was at first concerned that I would be terrible, but also relieved to not get hit in the nose.  (Note: being hit in the nose never becomes palatable) First, one guy would be on defense...cover up, move around etc and basically just take it.  The other guy was on the offensive and would work combos.  We did this for two different three minute rounds.  One minute rest in between.  Even when you are on defense it's a great work out, because you see a punch coming, tighten up your abs and shift your body to protect the blow.  Obviously, throwing punches is a tough workout on your back, elbows, wrists, legs......your whole body. 

I prefer to go second.  Sometimes people want to go full speed if they have a fight approaching, and sometimes they want to go 1/2 speed or 3/4 speed because they are coming off of a fight.  Don't think for a second that 1/2 speed is slow to these's not.  It's still pretty terrible.  Anyway, I prefer to go second so I can match the guys power/speed etc.  I have no desire to be a "practice hero" and I also have no desire to enrage a professional boxer or high ranking amateur boxer. 

Any boxer will tell you, body shots hurt more than head shots.  It's true that you can "shake off" a head shot, but a punch the rattles your intestines is impossible to get past.  You feel things move that you didn't know existed much less existed and were movable.  Then you feel like you have to use the bathroom, and you know that is just not the case, so it's weird as heck.  Sometimes, you get a tin can taste in your mouth after you belch.  Not good things.  Whereas with a head shot, you can shake your head and make a "wuhwuhwuhwuh" sound at that usually does the trick.  I'm just concerned about head shots, because raccoon eyes are bad for the acting business. 

After the three minute one way rounds were over, it was time to spar for another two sets of three minute rounds.  My focus was to protect myself and try to land a few one handed combos here and there and explore the uppercut.  I found some success with the jab/left hook combo and right/right upper combos.  I even landed a left hook/right hook/left hook combo.  The guy I went against is really quick and has been boxing for quite some time.  He has a boxers body.  Long, lean muscular arms with emphasis on forearms and shoulders and a short torso.  This means not a lot of target space and a lot of reach.  He is maybe 4 inches shorter than me, but I wouldn't be surprised if his reach is close to mine.  So he got me pretty good a few times as well.  I learned that I need to keep my forearms more parallel and closer when I am defending myself, I have a tendency to splay my elbows out.  This could also be a product of me needing to lose more weight, we'll see. 

"You have good punch speed."
"Thanks man (spitting out tin can taste)"
"For real, though."
"Like, for a big man?"
"No, just in general, you have good punch speed"

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Audition recap

I feel very positive about yesterday's audition. 

The script was about two friends buying electronics throughout their lives.  The role of "guy" is always the first to buy a certain item and the role of "friend" always buys a similar but better item second and busts his friends chops about his missive.  Desktop vs laptop, HD TV vs 3D TV get the gist.  We see the friends in the 80's, 90's, present day and distant future continuing the joke.  It's a funny script and I enjoyed swinging the bat on this one. 

People were going in pairs.  This can either be really great or really bad, as you are paired at random.  I would feel extremely comfortable going in with say, my friend Mark.  We did a lot of improv comedy together over the years and are great friends to this day.  I would not feel comfortable going in there with just anyone.

Yesterday, I lucked out.  The guy I went in with was really funny actually.  His name was Dominic and we worked well together I think.  The discrepancy in size was hilarious and he saw it as soon as I did and went for it.  The guy came up somewhere between my elbow and shoulder.  I have lightish hair and a goatee, he has dark hair and a scruffy beard.  I am a bigger guy and he is trim.  Our appearances were quite different obviously and it worked to our advantage. 

We ran through the script twice and were allowed to improvise a bit with the text.....always a pleasure doing that.  We each had a crack at "guy" and a crack at "friend".  We would work well in either role too.  I would either be the larger bully guy who always rags on his friends purchases, or the big dumb oaf who makes poor purchases.  He would either be the weaselly insulter type or he would play the nebbish kind of role. 

Callbacks are scheduled for the 28th.  Please Santa, all I want for Christmas is a national commercial.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Commercial Audition tomorrow! [UPDATE]

Yippy kay-yay....

I have an audition tomorrow for a national commercial.  I am quite enthused.  It's for a national electronics store.  I am also set to audition for a brand new CD - it's going to be fun to meet some new people in the business.  This shoots in LA the first week or so of January.  I've never been to Lala land and I would love to check it out. 

And I gotta tell ya, the description sounds a lot like me...actually it sounds like they wrote it about me.  Here it is:

Friend -  Loud and outspoken, but very likable.  He always likes to be the center of attention and usually is.  He's a jokester and likes busting peoples balls.  He's the type of person that always seems to have things go his way most of the time, but he doesn't realize how lucky he is. 

So yeah, that's me in a nutshell.  There's no script to work on, so I assume it's either an improvisation (yay) or a cold read/quick study (double yay). 

I feel really great about this audition.  I just have to be me.  They will love me, because that's what they want!

UPDATE:  turns's not a new CD, I just momentarily forgot that this is the same CD I auditioned for for the Chobani Yogurt spot.  I remember the CD laughing hysterically at my takes, when I didn't get the call back I figured they went for someone older looking.  Glad they like me over there!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

H&R Block Audition

There I was, at my real estate desk....feeling sorry for myself.  My nose hurt from sparring the evening before and I took 1/2 of my daily dose of Lovazza (a prescription strength fish oil* (I know, I know)).  Suddenly my cell told me (via a blinking red light) that I had a new e-mail.

It was my commercial agency, I had an audition for the next day.  H&R Block, national usage, broadcast, Internet, the whole kit and caboodle.  Big job.  COOL!  There were no sides sent as an attachment, just where to be, when and who to play.  I was to audition for the role of "Construction Worker".  The notes said "blue collar" and "casual" and "very real".  The shooting dates are pretty soon, December 13th to the 15th. 

So this morning, when I was getting dressed for a day of real estate work and this audition, I put on an outfit that could look blue collar, but also acceptable for RE work.  I put on a light blue collar dress shirt, rolled up the sleeves and went out the door.  I don't want to be one of those people with a roller bag filled with 10 changes of clothing.  CD's either like you or they don't.  And besides, one of my really great friends works in construction management, and every day he wears khakis, a collared shirt with a pair of boots.  So, there!

When I arrived there, everyone was in Carhart coats, thick flannels etc.  One guy even had on a hard hat.  Ha!  Oh well.  It didn't say "dress like a construction worker" it said "casual".  I believe I was casual. 

Anyway, I can't go too into the script, but it was an improv between 2 other construction worker types and I. We just joshed back and forth about our current project and how long it would take.  I felt good about my "very real" and "casual performance".  There wasn't so much to do, in the ad copy, we don't have any words.  There is a VO and a few characters talking about how bad we are at working construction.  Basically, I just said a lot of "yes boss" and "on it, boss man" and "sure thing".

So I suppose this commercial casting is all about "the look", even more so than the usual. 

We'll see, but I believe I am DUE for a little luck.  :-)

*Does the idea of "prescription strength fish oil" spook you a bit?  It spooks me for sure.  What makes it prescription strength?  Is it really pungent? The oil of many more fish than what you usually find?  Or is it a high potent fish, like a mackerel?  Or, is it a rare fish?  Like the black sea unicorn bass?  If you ever catch one of those, release it immediately, they are really really really (really) endangered. 

"You love me, you really love me!"

This feels good. Really good, actually. "Persakis Towers" was chosen in the "Top 10 of 2010" for  I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. 

Vimeo as I've mentioned before, is a video hosting and sharing website of the utmost quality.  Gut Punch's fearless director, Crandall Miller says that it "looks how directors want things to look."  I'd have to agree with the experts on that one.  They have a great business model as the quality of the productions tend to be higher than what you'd see on  This is due to the fact that it costs money to be on vimeo (above a certain data usage).  It separates the wheat from the chaff.

It feel great to be one of the wheatiest bits of wheat.

Friday, December 3, 2010

An Actors tool: Charming the pants off the viewer.

Dean Winters is absolutely killing it with these All-State "Mayhem" commercials.  He is charming and irresistable in them.  Winters employs many tools during these spots, but his charm is the strongest move I see him make.  He also employs mystery/secret/confidentiality, relationship, opposite, game-play and importance.  This one is my favorite:

 "My scent? Like making love to a lumberjack."  That kills me every time.  This guy must be raking it in right now, it's a series of national commercials.  A conservative estimate is $250k this year.

Here is one excellent example of Winters mixing it up with the rate, inflection, pitch and dynamic and the line...."Because that's what I do" is especially nailed.  Check it out:

Oh and one more thing, see how he works the frame starting at the :22 mark? Ha!  This guy is excellent.

Curly = PhillyRay's Hamlet

This is for real.  I have not been this excited since I booked The Onion Sports Network gig back in September.  Fresh off the interwebs, the "Three Stooges Movie" has received a greenlight after a long time of various castings, red tape etc.  For a while the rumored cast consisted of: Jim Carrey, Benicio Del Toro, Sean Penn and Paul Giamatti (in various blends) 

The Farrelly brothers are directing the piece and have said:

"The script is ready to go, and we are opening up these roles to the world right now," Peter Farrelly told me. "We'll make it with the best possible people. Our feeling is that no star is too big to audition and no matter who it is, we're going to have to see him in the role. This is not The Flinstones. You've got to be Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Curly Howard, and that could be a major movie star or an unknown."

Did you read that?  Are you picking up what I am putting down????? A major movie star I am not.  An unknown, I am!  Ha!  I should also note that filming is slated to start on March 14th, which is my birthday.  I believe this to be a sign.  I truly do.  Here is the article of which I speak.