Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Los Angeles is something of a ghost town this week.  I think that's at least partially since so many people who live here are originally from somewhere else and they go back home.  Also, most of the industry is shut down for the week between the holidays. 

I wasn't able to head home to Wisconsin (though I plan to get back in January), so I've been enjoying the lack of traffic here in L.A.  Also, it's in the 70s all week, so there's that.  Still, I missed getting to see my family and friends and hope that each of you had a wonderful Christmas.

The cats are keeping me company; and my friends, Chris and Megan, had me over on Christmas Day to watch the Packer game and play a lot of Rock Band.  And I'm continuing my own Christmas tradition of eating way more than necessary.   Yes indeed, my holidays have been good so far.

Enjoy the last few days of 2011!

Monday, December 19, 2011

I Quit!

Here is a project I worked on a little while ago.  It is a promo/teaser for a reality show called "Quitters" in which I play the host.  Just for reference: when an individual or production company has an idea for a show, instead of just pitching the idea on paper, they sometimes produce a teaser or short to better show what the program will actually be.  And that's what this piece is.

It was a lot of fun to shoot, with some great actors to work with.  My friend, Alex, plays a tormented employee.

WARNING: SOME LANGUAGE NOT SAFE FOR WORK (or for those with delicate ears)

video

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Holy Cats

As many of you know, Gina and I recently moved in together.  The biggest adjustment?  Our two cats, Moofy and Art, getting to know each other.  Here are a few short videos to show how they are "getting along."  The first is from when we just moved in November 1, the second was a standoff from a couple weeks later, and the last is from this week.  Progress?

Poor Art just wants to be friends and Moofy isn't having it:


A standoff:


Thankfully the bellowing business has mostly stopped, though this tender moment is still the exception:



Friday, December 16, 2011

Action!


Jonah, from JAMS, the producers of the PSA I wrote about last week, sent along this still frame from the shoot.  I'm doing my best John McLane impression as I burst from the house to go save my son despite the protestations of my wife (Lindsay Evans).  Will I succeed?  Can I navigate the nuclear fallout?  Will the world survive?  You'll have to wait and see!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

14 Cents


Unbeknownst to me, I was apparently part of a class action lawsuit filed against EBay for inappropriate fees or something.  I got a letter informing me that there had been a settlement and our side won - yeehaw! 

I was also sent my settlement check; I won't be getting rich.  In bold, I am told to CASH PROMPTLY as it is void after December 21.  I better get this thing down to the bank ASAP!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Winter Wonderland

Heavy rain has hit Southern California, and for the first time I'm experiencing the horrible drainage of the Valley.  Streets are covered in giant puddles (lakes?) and cars are splashing water up some eight feet or so when rolling by.  Almost time to get out the canoe...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Sky is Falling!

Well, not really.  The Cold War may be over, but there still exists the (remote) possibility we could someday face nuclear fallout.  With that in mind, a local municipality is funding some Public Service Announcements to educate people about what to do in the event that a nuclear weapon or dirty bomb is detonated.  A friend of mine runs the company contracted to produce the spots, and he brought me aboard to work on one last weekend in beautiful Ojai, CA.

I got to shoot with my friend Lindsay who played my wife in the action-movie style commercial.  It was a lot of fun to shoot, and I'm anxious to see how it turns out!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Batter Up!

I had a Honda audition this week with Skirts Casting.  The only thing the spec said was to look and dress like a "man's man baseball player."  Hmm... So I didn't shave and threw on an old baseball uniform.  After getting there I was told that I would be filmed getting ready to swing while being heckled by a guy in the stands (actually the guy behind the camera.) 

The action: be a little distracted by the heckler and then finally tell the guy off.  I did that a couple times and was out of there.  No idea how many people they were seeing for it, but it was a fun audition -- for a national commercial -- so it sure would be nice to get.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Agent Dance

While my search for a theatrical (tv/film) agent continues... there has been movement on the commercial agent front: I was recently notified that my agency is closing that department, so I am now also on a hunt for a commercial agent. 

I was getting ready to do the dreaded "mailing" -- where you send your materials to a bunch of agents, hoping one or more will call you in.  BUT, got some good news the other day: my manager got me a meeting at an agency next week.  Hopefully that will go well and I can avoid the mailing bit this time.  Maybe in 2012, I can start to get out for some commercial gigs?  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Some New Pics

My (now former) neighbor Greg is a professional photographer.  A couple weeks back, he asked if I wanted to do a couple shots while he still had a set-up from a prior shoot.  I said, heck yeah!  It was a fun little session, and it gives me some pictures with my beard which will be good to have.  Anyway, here are a few snaps:






Friday, November 4, 2011

Never Too Early...


I got to meet my nephew, Jude, a couple weeks ago.  He is incredibly sweet and in a just a couple days, I was smitten with him.  Here he's wearing the Darth Vader shirt I brought him from L.A.  Never too early to indoctrinate a new Star Wars fan...



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ship Ahoy!


For any of you watching the baseball playoffs -- in between the J-Lo Fiat commercials -- you may have seen the new Citibank commercial about the girl who is working on a movie location longer than expected.  That's the one I mentioned last month that I got to work on.  You can spot me and my giant hat best in profile on the far left when the director is having a fit.  Ah, I miss that hat...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

What Happiness Looks Like


This is the scene after the Brewers beat the Diamondbacks in Game 5 of the division series on Friday in 10 innings to seal their first playoff series victory in 29 years.  Unreal.  And now one of my all-time favorite pictures.  Wish I had been there!  The National League Championship Series begins today in Milwaukee against the rival St. Louis Cardinals.  Best-of-seven games to decide who goes to the World Series. Go Crew!  I'll be loudly cheering from 2,000 miles away.

Friday, October 7, 2011

It's a Small World, After All


Over the weekend, we had the privilege of going to a dinner benefiting the Nancy Painter Home for Mothers With Children, a charity that helps single mothers get their lives back on track by providing them housing, food, workplace training, etc. (An NCIS writer is on the board of the organization.)  The dinner was held in the backyard of a beautiful home in Sherman Oaks and came complete with an evening of entertainment: Hollywood legend and multiple Oscar-winning composer and lyricist Richard M. Sherman.

He and his brother were Walt Disney's go-to duo when he needed songs for his films, tv shows and theme parks.  From the Winnie-the-Pooh theme to the famous ditties in Mary Poppins to virtually every song you hear on the rides and attractions at Disneyland & Walt Disney World, the Shermans wrote them all.  We were treated to some stories and all the hits.


I didn't record his performance, so here's a link to the brothers singing with Mr. Disney himself.

A boy from Wisconsin getting to meet and hear someone who was close friends with the man behind Mickey Mouse?  It is indeed a small world after all...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Let there be weather!


Yesterday brought monsoon-style rains to much of L.A.  It was a nice change of pace to have clouds and precipitation, although the many accidents on the highway suggest that not everyone enjoyed the weather.  Even better than the rainy day however, is the beautiful, cool sunny day it left in its wake.  It feels like fall back home outside today!  Well, except for the complete lack of autumn-colored leaves...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Chasing Work

Audition for Chase Bank at TypeCasting yesterday.  This one was fun: no sides were given but a short scene was improvised and taped.  I got to run through the scenario twice, with the guy taping tweaking me in-between to give a slightly different take the second time.  Among the dozen or so guys in the waiting room when I happened to go in were several faces I recognized from other commercials -- evidently they called in the big guns!  And me.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

WINsconsin

Wow!  A big weekend for Wisconsin sports teams!  I wrote a few weeks ago about how this might be Wisconsin sports' golden age.  And it sure seems like it that age is continuing.  The 7th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers football team crushed #8 Nebraska moving themselves into the AP Top 5.  Aaron Rodgers and the Packers continued to look dominant against the Denver Broncos while keeping their record unblemished.  And the Brewers won the first two games of their first-round playoff matchup with Arizona.

It must be really exciting times around Milwaukee and the rest of the state these days.  My dad said the crowd at Miller Park was amazing on Sunday; and it sure sounded like it on TV!  I wish I could be there in person, but I am following -- and loudly cheering -- from way out here!  On Wisconsin!

Monday, October 3, 2011

IMDb


The Internet Movie Database, or IMDb as it's known, is the foremost repository of all things Hollywood on the internet.  It is not always correct or timely.  But, it is typically THE site that people go to to see what you've done -- whether it be casting, acting, directing, costume design, even stunt work.

So, it is important to build up your IMDb resume as much as possible, ideally with credits from shows/movies that are recognizable.  In the absence of those dozen prime-time television credits, you do not want to include any sort of extra work on there as it makes you look unprofessional.  Besides, if casting people or other industry folk see a resume filled with extra work, what are they going to look at you as being capable of doing?  The other thing you may notice: no commercial work goes on the database.

Of course, I am still trying to build up my IMDb resume, but in the interim I recently got some of my new headshots up there.  Stroll on by my page if you're interested.

Friday, September 30, 2011

My New Doorman


Came home from my 7 a.m. physical therapy and was greeted by this guy watching my door.  This a day after finding two odd-looking beetles walking around inside my apartment.  It's Wild Kingdom out here!


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"So, tell me about yourself..."

I had my first job interview in many moons yesterday; not an audition for an acting job, an actual interview for an actual real-person job.  Well, it's a part-time job, so not exactly a full-on real-person gig, but still...

It was for an ESL teaching position that would require a lot of hours for not a lot of pay -- a refrain that no doubt sounds familiar to many teachers out there.  I'm not exactly sure it would be a good fit for me, but that's a river I can cross if and when I get offered the position.  Still, it was nice to finally hear back from one of the dozens upon dozens of resumes I've sent out over the past several months.  And it was good to dust off those interview skills before they atrophy entirely.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Behind the Disney Magic

The glittering and shiny Walt Disney Concert Hall is one of the modern architectural landmarks of Los Angeles and is located right across the street from the courthouse.  I snapped the above shot when I was down there for jury duty a couple weeks back.  Driving by this weekend, I got to see just how they keep it so shiny...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

True Inspiration



This morning, Gina and I were at Griffith Park bright and early for a walkathon in support of Shane's Inspiration, whose mission it is "to create inclusive playgrounds and programs to unite children of all abilities."  The founder of the organization, Scott Williams, is actually a writer with Gina on NCIS.  He and his wife started the organization in 1997 in memory of their son, Shane, who suffered from Spinal Muscular Atrophy and passed away just a few weeks after his birth.


Hundreds of men, women and children came out to walk on a nice, cool LA morning, and hopefully a lot of money was raised.  Among other things, Shane's Inspiration has so far been responsible for opening over 40 universally accessible playgrounds (like the one above at Griffith Park) that can be enjoyed by all children, regardless of physical limitations.  If you're interested in hearing more about what they do, please check out their website.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Loyalty Reward?

Audition today for a Sprint print job today in Santa Monica -- three quick snapshots and thankfully no wait.  I've been a Sprint customer for 12 years and am hoping that will hold some karmic sway in getting me the job.  Once again long odds though as they've already seen some 60 guys with more coming throughout the day.  We shall see if my brand loyalty gets rewarded!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Free Pre-Paid Cremation! Details Inside

Got this in today's mail.  Now to be fair, it was addressed to a former resident (one who moved 3-4 years ago.)  BUT, two things struck me about it:

1)  Can something actually be "Free" and "Pre-Paid" at the same time?

and

2)  Is cremation marketing really something that lends itself to unsolicited bulk mail?  Does anyone see the envelope, Free Pre-Paid Cremation! and think to themselves, "ah, just the offer I've been waiting for!"?  And what gets people on the list to receive these in the mail anyway?  Old age?  Poor health?  AARP Membership?  Subscription to Fast Food Monthly?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ahoy, Matey!

Having a cast on my hand precluded me from getting as many jobs as I would have liked this summer, but my cast and I did manage to work on a very cool Citibank commercial.  I got to dress up as an 18th century sailor -- complete with funky hat and crazy wig -- and spend the day on a faux-sailing ship atop a cliff overlooking the Pacific north of Malibu.  We arrived on set before dawn, getting to see the sun rise over the mountains and worked well into the evening.  Despite getting pelted with water and smoke/dust from some high powered wind machines, it was a beautiful location and a great day.


Oh, and one commercial that was shot right before my surgery was a Chase Bank spot for which  I played a mini-golf course employee.  "How many balls do you need, sir?"

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Thumb Up!

I finally got to take care of my torn thumb ligament this summer (thank you SAG insurance and modern medicine!) and I'm on the mend.  It is amazing just how many things you need a strong and stable thumb to do; it's so easy to take it for granted until you are without the use of one - or both!

The surgeon had to reattach my ligament and sheath and put a pin in.  About six weeks after the surgery, the pin came out, and now I am completely free of casts, hardware (except for the small anchors which affix the ligament to the bone and will stay in) and stitches! 

I am in physical therapy twice a week for both hands -- since I hurt the other hand a few months ago as well and got cortisone shots in that one during my last surgery.  So, still no sports for awhile, but at least I 'm able to start building the strength back up.

The scars are healing, and it's getting back to normal, which means I can get out auditioning (hopefully!) for roles other than those that tolerate a cast or a grotesque Frankenthumb!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Full Court Press


***9/20 UPDATE: I just received my check from the city and it was for $34.08 for three days service plus one-way gas mileage.

I've had a drivers license and been a registered voter for many years, but until this week have never been summoned for jury duty.  Most of my first (and what I was hoping would be my only) day was spent in the giant "Juror Assembly Room" in downtown Los Angeles which looks like an airline terminal with about 200 seats facing the same direction.  I appreciated that it was quiet so I could get some reading and writing done (thank goodness they have wi-fi.)  The silence was only interrupted by a random snore or two until someone would gently slug the offender...  One case they said was expected to last 25 days (yowza!), but it seemed like they mainly took people who would still be paid by their employers during the course of the trial.  In that case, being on a jury would be pretty cool I'd imagine -- a nice diversion from being stuck in a cubicle all day every day.

Finally at 3:30 in the afternoon (so close to making it out of there!) my name was called to be one of 30 people brought upstairs for a case.  It was amazing how many people didn't mind sounding ridiculous, stubborn, ignorant and/or downright stupid in order to get released based on their biases.  Thanks in large part to some people telling long-winded stories about their friend's friend's friend and how what happened to them precludes the potential juror from being able to impartially listen to the evidence, picking the jury wasn't finished by the end of day 1.  So most of us had to return the following day at 9 A.M.  As I was potential juror #29 (of 30), and they get rid of people essentially in order, there is really no way I should have been part of the 13-person panel.  But, thanks to so many tools in there, and my simply telling the truth ('no, your honor, knowing someone who was once evicted from their apartment for not paying rent has not left me considering all landlords to be Satan's spawn), I did indeed get chosen.

I won't go into all the details of the trial, but it was a tenant/landlord case and involved a witness interpreter who had a flair for the dramatic, a lawyer who couldn't stop rolling his eyes -- and one who got chastised by the judge for pounding his hand on the table -- and a jar of German cockroaches presented as Defense Exhibit 57.

The case took two days and the deliberation took about two hours.  It was actually pretty interesting although I found myself wanting to jump up and ask some questions that were for some reason avoided and would have made our job much easier -- admittedly some of the omissions were no doubt due to some legalese prohibitions.

Along with the thanks of the court and the generous $36.48 check I will soon receive from the city for my three days of service (which includes one-way gas mileage to the courthouse), I got a nice case of food poisoning from some $10 pasta salad I bought for lunch on Tuesday.  Ah, civic responsibility...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New Headshots

Out here it is always a popular debate how often one should get new headshots.  Obviously if your "look" substantially changes -- i.e. a drastic haircut, you gain or lose a lot of weight, etc. -- you need new shots.  It is one of casting directors' oft-mentioned pet peeves when an actor comes in the room looking nothing like his or her picture, or even worse: looking like the picture plus 10 years.

I know some actors who get new headshots every year, or even every 6 months.  That seems a little much to me.  I mean, once you're out of high school, does your face change that drastically in half a year?  Still, it has been more than a couple years since I got new ones, so I agreed with my manager that it was time for new shots.


The process of finding the right photographer is quite the process, and is honestly one thing that keeps me from getting pictures more often.  But based on a tip from my manager, I ended up shooting with David LaPorte, who was really amazing to work with.  The photo shoot is typically not much fun (for me, anyway), but this was the least painful headshot session I've ever had -- possibly because we talked about baseball most of the time...


After sifting through a CD with a ton of pictures and choosing the best couple dozen, the final shots got the thumbs up from my manager.  He picked a few different looks to have me upload to Breakdown Services/Actors Access which is the site he uses to submit me for auditions.  After sending a bunch to my commercial agent, I also uploaded a couple looks to LA Casting per her request which is the site they use to submit for commercial projects -- in fact, one of the new shots below (in a white shirt and tie) was the one that got me picked for the American Family audition last week.

The final part of the whole deal was getting some hard copies printed to bring along to auditions.  I've got that done, so now I'm ready to get out there! 





Monday, September 12, 2011

Golden Age of Cheese?


As a Wisconsin sports fan, I feel pretty blessed over the last year.  Of course the Packers won the Super Bowl in February and are off to a great start so far in 2011.  But the Brewers are also playing at a clip unseen since the days of Fingers and Harvey's Wallbangers.  (Both the Packers and Brewers on covers of Sports Illustrated in the same year?!)  Add to that the Badgers football team that narrowly lost in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day and is looking like a national title contender this year, and two perennial NCAA teams in Marquette and Wisconsin and you have some pretty great things for a cheesehead to cheer about these days.

Being so far away, I can only wistfully look at the overflowing crowds at Miller Park and Lambeau Field and wish I was there to cheer in person.  But, I am glad to know that my friends back home are showing up in droves.  And while I know it might be too much to ask, I would love to see the Brew Crew in the fall classic.  So, Sports Gods, please see what you can do...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

American Family


My first post-cast audition had me throwing on a suit and heading to PopCasting for an American Family Insurance spot last Friday.  It was one of the ever-more-popular "tell me about yourself" auditions.  So, along with 100 or so other gents (and ladies) throughout the day, I stood in front of a guy and a camera answering questions, "Any travel plans?  Where are you from?"

From these personality interviews, the client will decide which one person they want to be the AGENT in the commercial.  The agent is seen shaking hands with CUSTOMERS while a voiceover guy extols the virtues of American Family Insurance.  So, there is no dialogue for the agent in the commercial and he/she is only seen for a brief moment.  I know, I know, hard to believe they (and WE) go to that much trouble for a role like this, but that's the way it is.   And for the one lucky soul who gets the gig, it's definitely worth it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Hey, Jude!

Right about now, my first nephew, Jude, was supposed to be born.  However, he just couldn't wait, and he joined the ranks of the Earthlings about a month early.  He is healthy and doing well -- as is my sister/his mom.  And while I'm biased, I do believe he is about the cutest thing ever.  Having only Skyped with him (he is very techno-savvy), I can't wait to meet him in person!

Here is a shot of the whole Diompy family (since he was so tiny, he got to wear those slick shades for a few days) and one of Jude with big sister, Leia...


Jeff 2.0

Okay, okay, so I have been very lax in my postings over the past few months.  Thank you to those of you who inquired about my well-being and those who sent notes asking if I had fallen into the Pacific.  I have not, I assure you.  I am still here.  The summer has been an eventful one - highlighted by a thumb surgery which had me in a tiny cast (two different ones actually) for more than a month and still has me left with a few stitches where they "took out the hardware."


The cast kept me (mostly) out of acting commission for the summer, though I managed to work a couple jobs on which they didn't mind my rather unique look...

I was also blessed to have visits from both my dad and sister.  Here are Jennifer and I getting a little crazy in front of the Hollywood sign.  My friend Chris noted his surprise that I didn't fall off the rock and hurt myself.  Touche.




Jeff 2.0finally -- after a long and arduous process I will detail in an upcoming post -- I landed tv/film representation in the form of a manager!  And I also got new headshots -- which I will post soon.  So, now that my cast is off, I am looking forward to seeing what the business can be like with someone else on my side trying to get me out there.

Thanks again for following this crazy journey of mine.  I promise to be more diligent in my updates.