Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

Camping Checklist --
Star Wars pillow: Check!
Spider-Man t-shirt: Check!
Matching tube socks: Check!

Happy Father's Day, Dad.  Hope to see you soon!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Conversion Factor

I have converted before.  American Psycho, Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car," guacamole, karaoke: all things I feared, disdained or downright hated upon first encountering.  Now they are some of my favorite things.  So I know I can change my mind.  That said, I don't know if I will be able to convert to the running is fun mentality.

I have never liked to run -- except as a means to an end: run up and down the court, run to first base, run to tackle your friend (or foe).  However, since I no longer play basketball three times a week like I did for several years, and my only running "exercise" is loping around the softball field a few times a week, I finally decided that I need to try to convert.

So many of my friends are amazing runners -- marathoners, joggers, social runners.  I still can't figure out if/how they can really possibly enjoy it (which it sure seems like they do!) or if they just have a stronger will and/or higher threshold for boredom and screaming muscles (which they likely do).  I am trying to find out.  I have now run for 7 of the last 8 days (biking at the gym on the non-running day.)  NOT long distances for real runners, but a couple miles is plenty long for me at this point.  I listen to my music and go around the neighborhood, looking at beautiful homes, nodding at the occasional dog walker...

So far, if I'm being honest, I have not enjoyed a second of the actual running.  Though I do feel good working up a sweat, the post-run feeling of accomplishment, and the internal mini-celebration when I get to walk at the end. 

Will I ever fully convert to a, "Let's go for a 10-mile trail run this weekend!" kind of guy?  Doubtful,  but maybe "A five-mile run won't kill me!" kind of guy?  There is always hope.  I guess.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

LA Talk Radio: Take 2

Back in January, I first had the chance to go on Sheena Metal's internet radio show.  It was a blast, and she invited me back recently.  This time I went on with Paul Kampf and some other actors from the film I worked on this winter, Amnesia, including the wonderful Vic Polizos who plays my dad in the movie.

If you're interested, here's the link: we're on in the first hour chatting about the film and the recent cast and crew screening we had.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Shane's Inspiration

One of Gina's fellow NCIS writers is a co-founder of the Shane's Inspiration organization which builds accessible, inclusive playgrounds for kids.  They have several events a year including their annual walk around Griffith Park and a big charity/awards dinner.  The dinner was held last week at the world-famous Beverly Hills Hotel and we were able to attend.

It was a lot of fun -- there was a martini bar, a silent auction of amazing items, a little comedy and magic -- and a performance from Ben Vereen.  Also, in a very surreal moment, a dinner guest who happened to be the lead singer of the rock band, The Calling, offered to donate $200,000 if he could sing a song!  He did.  And then the presenting sponsor offered to donate another $150,000 if the guy would sing another song!  A lot of money raised.  All for a good cause.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Survey Says!

As I discovered back in Chicago, there are indeed ways of making your opinion count.  In stuff, that is.  I belong to a couple of survey sites -- one that rewards in airline miles, one that rewards in gift cards, and one that you actually get paid (albeit, not much). 

One of the companies I belong to sends out occasional screener surveys for focus groups.  You answer a few questions, and if you fit what they are looking for, they might call you in for a focus group.  I had one such group yesterday.  It was an hour-and-a-half discussion with 7 or 8 other folks and a moderator about international cell phone plans.  Upon leaving, we each got a $125 Visa card (Until January 1, they paid in checks, now it's the gift cards...)  Not bad for an afternoon of sharing my opinion.

Anyway, filling out surveys and attending focus groups is just another way a haven't-made-it-quite-yet actor can supplement the income.  Yay for obscure ways of making money!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Hello, Baby!

Zaina Jo -- less than 6 lbs, less than an hour old, already smiling...
A big congrats to my little sister and her husband who welcomed this little bundle of joy into the cold Wisconsin winter this morning!  Times like this I do miss being closer to home, but I know there are plenty of helpful (and loving) hands around there now.  Hopefully I will get home to see her this summer -- or better yes, you guys can bring her out to L.A. to visit Uncle Jeff!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

LA Talk Radio Podcast/Interview

Yesterday, I had the chance to join my acting coach/director/friend, Paul Kampf, on Sheena Metal's LA Talk Radio show for an interview.  If you want to listen to me talk about my semi-convoluted journey to LA, sports, and "Amnesia," the indie film I am working on, please check it out!

To hear the interview, click THIS LINK and scroll down to Wednesday, January 30th.  You can either play directly from the site or download to listen later.  The show is 2 hours long, but I am only there for the first hour.

It was a lot of fun, and I tried not to ramble on too often...

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dallas Non-Stop

 The humor (or maybe the Dallas accent?!) is too much for my friend, Geoffrey, in the front row...
Last night I did a reading of a new play by our friend, Boni.  "Dallas Non-Stop" is a sometimes realistic, sometimes whimsical look at life in a Filipino call center.  The script was wonderful, and I got the chance to work with so many talented folks!

A reading is usually a step in the process toward getting a play produced.  It is a chance for the playwright to hear his/her words aloud in a simulated performance.  All of the actors had a script, but we had a few rehearsals prior to the read so that there could be a performance aspect to it.

Friday, January 18, 2013


A good friend invited Gina and I to join him at The Magic Castle this week for dinner and a Houdini Seance.  The food was excellent and it was a lot of fun -- and maybe, just maybe, we made contact with The Great Houdini and his wife, Bessie.  The spirit of Appleton, WI was strong with us!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Abbott Labs Print Audition

Audition today for a Abbott Labs print job.  They took the usual several pictures (front, profiles, 45 degrees to camera, smiling with teeth, smiling without teeth, close up, full body) and that was that.  Not sure when it shoots, but the gig would be a great way to start 2013!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Giant Baby Steps

For a week in December I worked as a stand-in on the TV Land comedy pilot, Giant Baby.  It was a great experience as I got to meet and work with an amazing and eclectic group of actors: Kirstie Alley, Rhea Perlman, Christopher McDonald, Gilles Marini, and Michael Richards.

The process of shooting a multi-cam comedy is much different than say, a one-hour drama. Through the week, the writer, director and actors rehearse and tinker with the script and blocking and the crew gets the cameras set in anticipation of finally taping before a live audience at the end of the week.  As a stand-in, you help to work out the timing and marks for the cameras and fill in for the actors when they can't be on set.

I'm not sure when Giant Baby will air, but I hope it gets picked up to series, as that could mean more work with this cast and crew!

Here’s a series description, courtesy of TV Land.
Giant Baby revolves around Madison “Maddie” Banks, a Broadway star who finds her life turned upside down when Arlo, her long-lost son, turns up looking to connect after his adopted mother has died. However, Maddie doesn’t exactly see nerdy and schlubby Arlo fitting in with her luxurious lifestyle. When her attempt to change Arlo backfires, Maddie finds that perhaps they both could use a little change in their lives.