Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hammy and Daisy

My friend Zach and his wife went out of town this weekend, so I watched their four-legged babies, Hammy and Daisy for a couple days.  They are sweet dogs with very distinct personalities!  As you can see from the picture, Zach and Yvonne have a beautiful back yard to hang out it.  Unfortunately, it was too cold to use the pool this time, but maybe next time!

Friday, March 26, 2010

High Above Hollywood

I was blessed enough to get yet another day of commercial background work this week.  It was a fun spot for Chase - (Sapphire Credit Cards), part of the current campaign with that same couple from the ski lift (where they bet a massage) and the woman buying a new dress with points, etc.  The shoot was at the fifth-floor outdoor pool at the Renaissance Hotel in Hollywood, right behind the Kodak Theatre.

It was a nice long day (great for commercials!) and I met some really cool people hanging out in the sunshine.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Criminal Minded-Ness

Based on a recent workshop I took with Casting Director, Scott David (which I thought went great at the time!), I got a call last week to come in the next day to pre-read for an episode of Criminal Minds!  I was very excited and promptly printed out the script, which was a very cool scene between the series leads and the character I was playing.  I worked on it and then showed up at 4:00 on Friday at Quixote Studios where they cast and shoot the show.  I went in and read the scene, Scott gave me a little redirection, and I did it again.  After waiting outside for a bit, they asked if I could come back in 45 minutes to read for the producers.

This was great!  So, I waited around a bit, and as 5:00 got closer, more and more actors showed up.  They were casting 4 roles and I'd say there were about 30 actors there, including 7-8 for the same role I was up for.  Once I got in the room -- there were about 5-6 people in there -- it was all very fast.  A quick greeting and then we went right into the scene.  They said thanks and I left.  I felt like the read went well, but I haven't heard, so I'm sure they went another way for the part.  Still, it was a great experience, and I feel like I learned a lot that I'll be able to use next time.  And hopefully there will be a next time!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"The Check's in the Mail"

I got my first taste of residuals this week with a check in the mail from DVD/Pay TV sales for Angels & Demons.  Yay!  It won't make me rich, but will allow me to pay my rent and bills this month!  Coincidentally, friend/teacher/actor/blogger extraordinaire, David Dean Bottrell just wrote about residuals this week on his blog.  He has much more experience with them and explains the whole reason they exist (as well as the desire by some to get rid of them! grrr...) much more eloquently than I can, so check out his post Magic Envelopes.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Madness, I Say!

Well March Madness truly lived up to its name this year, with upsets abound in the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tourney.  I was lucky enough to have my dad visit for a few days, and we watched A LOT of basketball.  Our brackets are pretty much shot, but it was a lot of fun!  Come back soon, Dad!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Shine Up Those Dancin' Shoes!

One more working day until the biggest unofficial holiday on the calendar in America -- the first two days of the NCAA Tournament!  Productivity will plummet around the country as folks watch 16 games each day while trying to hide from their bosses and keep tally on their (often many, many) brackets.
I am proud that the small state of Wisconsin is sending two teams to the Big Dance, including my alma mater, Marquette.  Go Warriors/Golden Eagles!  And good luck to office pool ballers everywhere!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What's Shakin'?

Right now? Nothing.  But at 4:04 a.m. this morning, my whole place was shakin' thanks to a 4.4 magnitude quake in Southern California whose epicenter was a mere 16 or so miles away.  I woke up with my heart pounding and the feeling that my whole place was shivering.  Very strange.  I had brief, sleepy thoughts of grabbing Art and running outside in my underwear, but thankfully, and luckily for anyone who may have had to witness that, the shaking stopped very quickly. 

Funnily enough over the weekend on the news there was talk of a 4.2 earthquake somewhere in California and my friend said, "Can you even feel a 4.2?"  I'm not sure about that, but I can definitely tell you that you can feel a 4.4.  Rock on, Earth.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Workin' on the Weekend

I got to work on Sunday!  And yes, I mean it that way -- I GOT to work on Sunday.  Why would I be excited about such a prospect?  Simple.  Commercials (already the highest paying background work) pay double on the weekend.  A beautiful sunny day, mostly sitting outside, getting fed well and making some bucks.  There are worse ways to spend a Sunday... 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Joining Hands at the Table

Good news for actors!  Hopefully this unified front will mean better things for all of us.

According to The Wrap.com:

The national board of the Screen Actors Guild on Saturday approved an agreement to hold joint negotiations on a new prime-time TV contract with the American Federation of TV and Radio Artists.
According to a SAG spokesperson, the measure was overwhelmingly approved with a 78-22 vote.
SAG and AFTRA are now set to begin negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on Oct. 1.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sizes Matter

Yesterday I posted about 'the look' being important for commercials -- and really the only important thing for my AT&T audition.  Many times, size is just as important.  I can't begin to tell you how many jobs I've gotten because of my exact sizing (Ht. Wt. shirt/pants/suit sizes, etc.) starting of course with the best job I ever had: fitting clothes for Bachrach in Chicago.

While I haven't gotten any clothes-fitting gigs out here, a good amount of the work I've gotten -- especially on the big budget stuff -- has been in large part due to my sizing.  Often times, productions have uniforms/costumes already made that they need actors to fit, and sometimes they just want all the cops/guards/military to look similar in physique and stature.  These parameters have benefited me -- as I mentioned before, I got a few weeks of work on a tentpole movie earlier this year because I was the right fit.  And just last week, I got called to do some pre-production test fitting (to see what costumes they like and don't like...) on yet another big-budget movie (yep, had to sign another confidentiality agreement ;) that will start shooting later this spring/summer.

So, in a business that talks so much about 'appreciating talent,' sometimes it only matters how tall you are and what size pants you wear.  But work is work -- so please keep it coming!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Reach Out and Touch Someone

I had my first commercial audition in a looong time today: AT&T at Ross Lacy.  Most commercial auditions are about the right 'look' -- especially when there is no copy (dialogue).  This one was even more so.  The role was YOUNG PRESIDENT, and the only requirement was that you resemble the actor they already cast as the President, so you can be him in his younger days.  Thus, the audition consisted of standing next to a photo of that actor pasted on the wall, then turning right and left to give the camera facial profiles and then walking out of the frame.  Good times!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wal-Mart Print Audition

Had a print audition as a 'young, active dad who plays tag in the backyard with his son' for Wal Mart, which would be a great gig.  As I've mentioned, print 'auditions' aren't really auditions, and this one was no different.  I drove all the way to Santa Monica in the rain to get three snapshots taken.  But, you do it because you never know...

What Recession???

While much of America is floundering at best business-wise, the movie industry keeps on truckin'!  Guess when things are going well people want to spend their many dollars on entertainment, and when things are bad, people want to escape -- either way, movies win.  And just a reminder, much of Avatar's $2 billion haul came after the New Year.

Los Angeles – The Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) today released its annual Theatrical Market Statistics Report for 2009. The report shows that global box office receipts reached an all time high of $29.9 billion, an increase of 7.6% over 2008 and almost 30% from 2005. 

Yep, the same industry that's laying people off left and right is at an all-time revenue high.  Just waiting for some of that $30 billion to trickle down...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Honda Commercial

On set doing background for a Honda commercial in City of Industry.  Notice the snow covered mountains in the distance...

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Monday, March 8, 2010

And The Winner is...

...The Little Movie that Could!  Congrats to The Hurt Locker for slaying the Avatar dragon in an otherwise ho-hum Oscar show -- and to Kathryn Bigelow for becoming the first woman to win Best Director.  Glad they got rid of the corny "And the Oscar goes to..." and brought back "And the winner is..." after 22 years.  No big surprises -- maybe the biggest was Precious beating the likes of Up in the Air for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Mostly boring, laundry-list speeches though Christoph Waltz' was solid.  Best speech of the night was by Michael Giacchino who won Best Score for Up and thanked his parents for always allowing him to follow his creative dreams and concluded with: "If you want to be creative, get out there and do it. It’s not a waste of time. Do it. OK?" (Full transcript of his speech HERE.)

I wonder what James Cameron thought of the evening...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Big Sis in LA

My sister, Jennifer, escaped her job and the Wisconsin winter and came to town for a brief visit this week -- made one day briefer by the lameness of Midwest Airlines (by the way, what happened to them?! They used to be so reliable...)  The stay was short, but we made up for that by doing LOTS of stuff, and by eating a ton of good, unhealthy food.

The highlight was going to Disneyland courtesy of Gina's Silver pass.  The park wasn't crowded and we went on all the rides we wanted to.  Plus I kicked butt on the Toy Story 3D game/ride!  Good stuff.  And the weather was pretty good, too.  Jenny said the 60 degrees and sunny was preferable to 30s and cloudy.  I take her word for it.  Come back soon!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Oscar Watch: Best Picture

The Oscars are tomorrow, so time to catch up on that last-minute viewing!  Despite this year's expanded field of 10 nominees, it looks like a two-horse race (or three if you listen to Harvey Weinstein) with Avatar and The Hurt Locker the favorites to take home the statue.  You can see from my very unscientific poll that just like the rest of the world, more of you have seen Avatar than any other nominee -- hard to think that won't be a factor in the voting: a popular 'game-changer' of a movie... Here are all the nominees:

The Blind Side
District 9
An Education
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
A Serious Man
Up in the Air

*Full Disclosure: I have not seen The Blind Side.  But out of the other 9, I would like to see Up in the Air or The Hurt Locker win.  Both films were finely crafted, very timely, and featured excellent performances.  I also wouldn't mind seeing 'dark horse' Inglourious Basterds sneak in there, but that film might just be too violent (controversial?) for the Academy to choose.  At the end of the show, I'm afraid Avatar and all its bombastic 3-D, blue people glory is going to win.  Any bold upset picks?