Saturday, August 30, 2008

Goin' Back to Cali...

Actually I am back in Cali after a short, but welcome vacation back to the Midwest. I spent most of the time catching up with family, though I did have the opportunity to see some friends which was great. There were a few people that I really wanted to meet up with but wasn't able to and I look forward to doing so at Christmas. Time at home always seems to go so fast...

But, now that I'm back, I need to pick up where I left off in my search to find members for my "team" - specifically a film/tv agent and a manager. I had the serendipitous fortune to sit next to a manager and her daughter on my flight back to LA and we connected pretty well. Hopefully, I can follow up on that as a possibility. I've also sent out another headshot/resume mailing to 10 or so casting directors in town that are currently casting some shows/films that I think I'd be a good fit with. I still haven't had much success with such 'cold' mailings (most actors get on these CDs' radar through their agent or manager) but I have heard of people getting called in on mailings, so it doesn't hurt to try. I'm going to try to keep up on this weekly to different CDs. Again, if anyone has a friend or family member in the casting business, please let me know and put in a good word for me ;)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Home Sweet Home

After having to postpone my flight a day because we were still filming a scene, I made it back home last night. It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks, and I'm a bit down that my time on that project is done. But it is a nice time to get a break to visit family and friends back home.

I met some really wonderful people on set, and hopefully I will stay in touch with some of them. And now when I get back to L.A., I really have to get refocused on my agent/manager search. Getting to work for the last couple weeks has been a real blessing, but it made me realize more than ever that you need advocates on your team -- with connections and the ability to open doors -- in order to keep moving forward in this industry.

So, now it's on to the next thing. I just don't know what that 'thing' is yet, but I'm excited to find out...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Other Benefits

Made it through a long, but good, week with filming wrapping at about 8:30 last night. They spent virtually all day getting coverage (close-ups) of single scene -- it took that long because there were many characters and they needed to get shots from each's point of view. I wasn't in that scene, but had to spend the day on set close by just in case they needed a shot through the door or something where a flash of my bright blue uniform would be seen. But, I don't mind that at all - getting paid to relax and/or watch these guys work is just fine by me.

In additional to the benefits I mentioned the other day, being on this set had a couple others. One, the food was tremendous. I could go on and on about it, but suffice it to say that just about anything you could want was available almost all the time. That plus the long hours means I don't really have to pay for food or groceries. Not bad.

Also, yesterday I got some weapons training. I am nearly positive that I won't be firing a weapon in this film, but I still got to learn some rudimentary combat skills, and fire off some rounds (blanks). Good stuff!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sent to the Principals' Office...In a Good Way!

Yes, that is a plural "principals" since I am referring to what they call the actors on a set, as opposed to the extras/background. The last few days, I have been working as an extra on that same film I spent time on earlier this summer. That's why I haven't made an update yet this week; some loong days...

But, like winning the background lottery, the director picked me to do a close-up in a pivotal scene yesterday, and wonder of wonders, production upgraded me to a principal. This has many significant repercussions for me, not the least of which is an increase in pay for every day I'm on the set. It also allows me more time/experience on set with the directors and actors, greater access to the shooting plans from day to day, my own little trailer, and maybe most significantly, the chance to put the film on my resume and hopefully get a credit in the final film (according to my contract, that is at "producer's discretion.") Getting jobs like this should help make it easier (still not easy, certainly) to attract agents.

I can't really say much about the movie yet due to the plethora of confidentiality agreements I signed, but it comes out next summer. I also don't know how much, if any, of my stuff will be in the final picture, but I hope you'll see my face (and my crazy costume/uniform!) at least a little bit ;)

I've got to catch up on some sleep tonight as I'm up at 3:30 or 4:00 again tomorrow. But, I wouldn't have it any other way...

Saturday, August 9, 2008

CBS Promo

I got called to work as a stand-in on Friday for a CBS fall TV promo. It was actually pretty cool to see how they build these promos - almost all on green screen. They asked the stand-ins to join a few extras to get some group shots. They took a lot of shots of about 10 or so of us walking in various groupings and wardrobes, and they will composite them to be the background/foreground of the promo for the new fall show, The Mentalist. Then Julia Louis-Dreyfuss came in to do all kinds of one-liners to air on CBS throughout the year ("Happy Holidays from CBS," "Watch The New Adventures of Old Christine on Wednesday nights,"Catch March Madness, only on CBS," etc.)

They didn't need me to do much standing in Friday, but they asked me to come back today (Saturday) to stand-in, because all day they are doing the same thing they did with Julia with their other stars. They just needed a generic 'guy' and generic 'girl' to cover all of them, so it doesn't really matter that I don't look like any of them. But, I got to meet Jay Mohr (very, very funny!), and Neil Patrick Harris (really good with random, crazy lines), and as I type this (yes, I brought my computer and they have wireless web access!) Jennifer Love Hewitt is doing her stuff...

So, working Saturday isn't the best, but it is about the easiest and most fun day I could ask for.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Managers Not Named Ned Yost

As I try to navigate the L.A. waters, the topic of managers has come up again and again. I've talked at length about agents and the role they play in submitting you for jobs and negotiating contracts -- two things a talent manager CANNOT do. A manager's role is a bit more amorphous; they technically can't submit you, but they do use their contacts to get you known around town.

Seems that there are two schools of thought about managers.
1) You don't need a manager until you have a career to manage. That is, until you reach a level of success where you need to decide which projects to take and turn down, why give away another 15% of your income (on top of the 10% you give to your agent) ? Before I got here, I was more in this camp...

2) You should try to get a manager as soon as possible. Most good managers are former agents, or have some other significant industry experience, so they have many connections around town - directors, producers, casting directors, and agents. Yes, often times a manager can get you meetings with agents who might not otherwise consider you. The downside? Well, again, you pay a 15% commission on everything you get -- whether or not the manager was directly involved. And you are signed for 3 years (longer contracts than with agents because often times a manager has to 'invest' some time in you before you really get consistent work). But, I'm inclined to think that paying 15% of something is better for me than keeping 100% of nothing. Another down side is that it's difficult to get a good manager. And finally, it's hard to know if a manager is indeed good or not. Unlike agents, talent managers are not regulated -- anyone can hang up a shingle and call themselves a manager. So, when searching for one, you need to be careful.

All this being said, I think I'm going to at least try to get meetings with a few managers that I've been researching. Easier said than done, but if I can spark some interest with the package I send them, who knows...

Went to a preview screening of the new Luke Wilson film, "Henry Poole is Here" with my friend David last night in Hollywood. Eh, it was okay - very spiritual, Faith vs. Doubt, etc. A good family film if that's what you're looking for...

Friday, August 1, 2008

Friday at the Ballpark

Got to spend the day at Blair Field in Long Beach, CA "working" in the loosest sense of the term. It was for an episode of the new TV series, The Starter Wife. The scenes we worked on included an argument between the pitcher and the catcher, and then that pitcher's wife getting jealous that another woman wanted his autograph. Judging from the camera angles and set-ups, I strongly doubt I'll even make the show. But, there are worse ways to spend a Friday than getting paid to put on a uniform, throw the ball around a minor league field, and stand on the dugout steps...