let the bragging begin

Last night I did something I've never done before. Well, I've done it. I've done it a lot, I've just never paid for it. That's it. I've never paid for it before. Yes, I'm ashamed, but I figured that everyone does it. And I really needed it. There's really nothing to feel bad about. And I did it with my girlfriend so I felt a little more comfortable about the whole situation. She's cool like that.

I went to a casting director workshop.

For those who don't know, there are companies here in LA, and other places as well I imagine, that pay working casting directors and other such industry folks to come in, watch actors do scenes or monologues, give notes, answer a few questions, and call it a easy night's work. And the actors of course pay for this. Many do this often. Many actually do get called in when the industry folk goes back to work the next day and remembers so and so and how good they were and oh look, I need to find a middle aged black woman and I just saw one last night... you get the picture. I always thought these things just reeked of a scam and I was never going to pay for a casting director to see me, it's called an audition and it costs nothing except a little gas and time. But this one I'd heard about was a series of 4 nights where each night an Independent Film-Type would come in, show their movie to the group (20 people about) and then watch each person do a brief monologue.

185 dollars and a good chunk of my dignity later, I sat down last night with M. and 18 others and watched one of the worst films I've ever seen. Literally. Not only was the writing and acting bad, but it was shot poorly, was over-exposed and ugly, and you could barely hear. The entire group hated it and was ready for blood 2 hours later when the producer of this 8 year-old "indie film" walked in. He was this big goofy guido type who announced proudly the slate of films he's working on, the best of which sounded like it could maybe go straight to video or someday play on Cinemax at 4am.

However, he proceeded to charm the pants off of us. He was crass and incredibly businesslike in his take on Hollywood, but that was exactly what some of us needed to hear. Probably all of us.

See, actors are a pretty haughty group who don't like to see the realities of the biz as commerce, and don't like to hear that their headshots suck, or that they need to take a class, or that they must think of themselves as a product and go out and market the fuck out of it just as Billy Blanks markets the fuck out of Tae-Bo. M. and I, New York trained actors who love Chekhov and Ibsen and actually understand it and know how to do it and do it well, hate to hear that shit. Hate to. But you know what, he was right and we knew it. Maybe his film sucked ass (he even asked if we'd made it through the whole thing without falling asleep) and he does lame shit, but he was right.

And after listening to him critique, fairly harshly on occasion, the actors who did their pieces before us, both M. and I went up and nailed it. We adjusted to his comments and deduced what he likes to see, and kicked ass. He just sat after M. finished and whispered "great, perfect". And after I tore the place up, he said to the group "see, now there's a good actor".

And then we snuck out early and went home and ate burritos and drank wine. Yes, a bit smug, and bit self-satisfied, but it's such a rare feeling, we savored every last minute of it.

I can't wait until next Monday. The movie just better not suck or I'm demanding my money back... after I do my piece.

This is where I let Larry King take over my body for a few minutes.

OK, a Cuban baseball coach is defecting after their game in Baltimore. How did they not see that coming...I am a straight male, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I like Tori Amos...the Big Indie Producer wants to help Frank's film anyway she can, but she doesn't have the time to come on board fully right now...digital answering machines sound horrible but they make life so much easier...