Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Sick and Tired, But Still Working

So apparently I've acquired some germs. Not your run of the mill "I want to die" type of germs, but germs none the less. If this were an illness, I'd be content to sleep it off for the next few days. However, this seems to be one of those "We're just going to tire you out and stuff up just one side of your head at a time until the fantasies of taking a turkey baster to each nostril fill your every waking moment" sorts of inconveniences. Not to mention one ear won't pop.

Like I said, I'd be much more content to just be sick. I figure I'm due anyway. Since I've graduated high school well over a decade ago, I've been sick maybe 3-4 times. When, if ever, I'm feeling under the weather, it's just enough so I can live my everyday life the same as always, but with a constant reminder that it could be worse. I have a strong constitution, but this is just a pain in the ass. I'm not nauseous, I'm not feverish, and I'm happy to report my poo is in top notch condition. Never the less, all I want to do is sleep, and only one ear is clogged.

Damn it to hell...

But I'm not cranky. Just exhausted, and an unfulfilled exhaustion at that. I didn't exert myself at all today for fear of really becoming sick. My body just wants to rest and regain its natural fluid balance.

Which brings me to my next thought, "When did cough drops become more valuable than gold?" What the hell? You'd figure when it's not cold and flu season, the price of cough drops would drop in order to clear overhead. Well, you'd be wrong. The cough drop despots of the country have you by the short hairs, and they know it.

But, on the bright side, I have digital cable which means I have a million channels including a thousand HBO's and whatnot, and that's just plain nifty. On Demand rocks the house, not to mention The Science Channel.

I swear to god, this is what television was made for. You can go to the theatre to see drama, or the movies to see heroes blowing shit up. You can turn on the radio for music, and you can go to the local shop and plunk down 35 cents for today's news, but The Science Channel is where it's at. Any time, day or night, there's something awesome on. You wanna learn about what kind of corn they found in ancient Egyptian turds? Well, turn on The Science Channel, my friend! What's going on 7 galaxies away? Hey, switch on The Science Channel, man! Autistics who can calculate infinity, savants who can hear numbers, discussions on all of Einstein's theories, assorted documentaries about the cosmos narrated by Patrick Stewart or William Shatner, and shows with Bill Nye the Science Guy explaining the practical applications of elemetary sciences... You name it.

And.... AND.... AND!! Carl fucking Sagan. Thank you!

And, I watch the other educational channels, like The Biography channel, History International, and the other Discovery channels, but none of them hold my interest like the Science Channel. And don't get me started on the National Geographic Channel. They have some interesting stuff but most of it is shows about Chupacabra, or Bigfoot, or Roswell.... Well, that is if they're not showing a 147 hour Dog Whisperer marathon. I swear to god I wanna smack that guy. I've yet to watch more than 2 full minutes of that show without grinding my teeth. Yeah, your dog isn't the breathing stuffed animal of your dreams. Wonderful. Can you treat your dog like a fucking dog and not like the child you're missing in your life, please? Thank you. I'd like to see something of substance if you don't mind. You'd think a channel named after National Geographic would be something more along the lines of what Animal Planet should be, but you'd be wrong again.

How about running some reruns of Jacques Cousteau?

Or you could make a series explaining the evolution of different dog breeds. How did the Germans breed one dog that's sleek and cunning like the Doberman, and one that's a mountain of muscle like the Rottweiler, and why? Why did the Queen of England decide that the Pembroke Welsh Corgi was her breed of choice? Hell, there are hundreds! There is a breed of dog that's used to hunt jaguar. Who wouldn't want to see that?!!

And what about some more of those documentaries about how the African tribes live their every day lives? A village of hunters running bare ass through the jungle wearing nothing but a Kool-Aid t-shirt from 1977. I love that shit!

But no. Every time I flip to The National Geographic Channel, I'm subjected to two 300 lb nimrods whose lives are turned upside down by a 2 and a half pound Pomeranian. Jesus... But what do I know?

HA! Well I don't know where that all came from, but I do believe it has the making of a 2-3 minute comedic monologue. The life of an artist. I'm always thinking... always thinking. Now it's time to sleep for a good 10 hours.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Back to Basics

My last entry mentioned that I went on two auditions last Friday, and despite the incredible amount of rain, it was a marvelous day. I've been meaning to write about it ever since...

The first one was all the way out on Sheepshead Bay Rd. in Brooklyn. It was for that vodka distribution commercial. It took me forever to get there, too. Forty minutes on NJ Transit, and then another hour on the B train out to Brooklyn. The next to last stop on that line. So to make the 1pm appointment, I had to catch the 10:39am train. So, I get off the B train and start wandering around Brooklyn looking for Avenue Z. I find it easily enough, and was actually a half hour early. I trudge upstairs and into a room with a rather beautiful girl (a little too skinny for my taste though) handing me a clip board to fill out with my name, email address, and all that jazz. I quickly fill it out. All the audition was, was me sitting in front of the camera doing separate emotions... dull surprise, enjoyment, disgust, etc. I've heard of auditions like this, but I'm almost always doing cold readings, so to actually have an audition like this was a real kick. Even if it only lasted 30 seconds.

So back on the Manhattan bound B train I go. As I'm walking back to the station, and while I'm sitting there waiting for the train, a sense of contentment came over me. Something I've needed in my life for as long as I can remember. I'm really pursuing my dreams. I smiled as the train came in. I sat down and began to daydream. Trains do that to me. I can't tell you how many short stories I've ran through in my head on those forty minute commutes from Metro Park to Penn Station. It's a good thing I'm finally beginning to learn how to express myself in this manner. But my problem now, is what to do between now and my 4:30 audition for The Frankenstein Virus. It's only 1:15 and I'm already on my way back. I get off near where I'm supposed to be at 4:30 (Broadway and Lafayette) and figure I'll just wander around, get some lunch, and just enjoy the city. Then it dawns on me. I'm right in the neighborhood where I'd taken acting lessons earlier in my life, and I KNOW there's a kick ass pizza parlor right around the corner... Two Boots!!

I walk in it's just as hopping as ever. I order two with mushroom, a soda, and I grab a seat at the big community table. I'm sitting with a woman who's at the end her meal and about to go back to work. She smiles and leaves, and then two NYU students sit down. We make idle chit-chat, exchange our daily agendas, a fourth person (a woman) sits down, and then we all just quietly sit there and enjoy our lunches.

Inspiration strikes me. I've inadvertently come back to where it all began. Back to being "in the moment", and "the reality of doing", and all those other terms that only actors truly understand. People think acting is easy because it's fun. Yes, it's fun, but that's because of the benefits of your hard work. Just as not everyone can be a teacher, or a doctor, or a lawyer, not everyone can be an actor. Don't think so? Take a flip around network TV on any given night during prime time... I rest my case.

I sit there feeling centered and at peace. I'm inspired so I dig out my writing tablet and pen from my bag and begin to write:

Two Boots
sitting here in a cafe somewhere and quietly jotting down my thoughts

At peace. This is where I started, and I find it fitting that I find myself here again. After abandoning my dreams for the hope of security, I'm back here again.

Sitting at the table with strangers. Four of us quietly enjoying lunch involved in our own lives. I wonder if they appreciate this simple pleasure.

They say 30 is the new 20. Lord, I hope so because I've made some decisions I shouldn't have. If I had to do it all over again, I'd have made the decisions I'm making now, a hell of a lot sooner. But I guess it doesn't matter. I'm here now. And while sitting there in that pizza shop, I felt whole again. There's been a part of me that's been missing, and I didn't realize how important that piece was until I found it again. This is what I'm doing for the rest of my life... Now, if only I can make some money. LOL

There's only so much time you can sit there with dirty plate and napkins, and an empty bottle of soda, so I look down and see I still have like over an hour and a half to go. I remember this quaint little book store a few blocks north on Broadway called Shakespeare's Basement. I was sent to that book store oh so many years ago to get a book for acting class. The name escapes me at the moment, but it doesn't matter. A nice quiet place to get out of the rain with smart, beautiful women who wear glasses?!! Oh yes, a bookstore is just what the doctor ordered. Off to Shakespeare's Basement we go!

I trudge my way up Broadway in the pouring rain and walk in where you have to check your bag because people are stupid and like to steal things from book stores. I give the kid my stuff and take my number and go wandering around. Walking past the photography section, I go downstairs to where the interesting books are. Horror, Sci-Fi, New Age, and they have an acting section which has plays, monologue books, and all sorts of nifty things that we actors thrive upon. I'm looking at the new age section, and what do I see, but the dream book that I already own. My copy is ancient, the cover, both front and back are missing, as well as a few pages from the introduction. Quite the mess, I tell you. It's rather old and I can't find it anywhere around the stores here, so this is a magnificent find. In the mental rolodex this goes for a future when I'm not entertaining thoughts of mugging old ladies for two nickels to rub together.

Satisfied with this find, and the wealth of beautiful young women in ankle length skirts, sexy boots, and reading glasses, I head back upstairs to peruse the photography section. I like leaving that section for last. It's like reaching down into the bag of cookies and finding there's one more left than you thought there was.

I've been on the hunt for this specific set of bed sheets. They belonged to my grandmother before she died, and she's had them all my life. In fact my mother has told me that they got them when she was a wee little girl. When I was a kid, she'd use those particular sheets when I'd get sick and stay at her house while my mother worked one of her 3-4 jobs to keep a roof over our heads. Thanks Dad. So these hold a certain amount of sentimentality for me. They still exist, but my grandmother, being the clean freak she was, has washed these sheets so many times, you can literally see right through them. Not to mention they're 40 years old. So I've made this one of my super secret missions to replace these sheets.

I come across this book of ads from the 60's, which is a large collection of, as luck would have it, ads from the 60's. It must be every magazine ad they made in that decade. I'm thumbing through ads for slot cars, and radio flyers, and all sorts of neato stuff, and what do I find? Grandma's sheets!! Oh hell yeah!! I'm half way there. All I need is to get my cash situation somewhere respectable, and I can write the company and perhaps work something out. If you had told me last Thursday that I'd be closer to solving the "grandma's sheets" caper than I am finding a cell phone case that doesn't mock me, I'd have laughed in your face. But here we are... w00t!!

So after writing down the name of the company in my handy writing tablet, I still have like an hour to kill. I duck into McDonald's next door and buy a 4 piece McNuggets and a small soda so I can use the men's room and head on down to the New York Film academy where my 4:30 audition is.

I get there with more than a half hour to spare, so I get to sit on the window ledge of this clothing store, under plenty of shelter from the rain, and do what I love to do most... watch people. I can sit on a park bench and watch people for hours, and I did just that. It's quite a relaxing endeavors. In fact, I just may use this to my advantage on future auditions. A half hour early? Watch some New Yorkers go about their business to chill out to help you relax before an important audition? Yes please, that would be quite grand.

4:15 and I'm up the elevator on my way to the audition. I'm sitting in this giant white lobby in a bright red leather chair, which was comfy times 100, thank you very much. I'm sitting there a who walks by, but Damien, the cameraman on my first independent film. Awesome! It's always good to find a friend when you're doing business. And, as luck would have it, the director who I was to audition for, interrupted our conversation to see if I was who he was auditioning. I said yes, and he told me he'd have the room in about ten minutes.

I go in for the audition, and I nailed it. I read the part very angrily, and at the height of the scene I put the paper down, got right in the director's face, and gave him my dead stare while I delivered the final part. He offered me the part on the spot.

All in all it was a great day, and I owe it all to getting back to basics

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Getting Down to Business...

I'm supposed to be making a new entry every day. Well sometimes the mood strikes you, and sometimes it's just not doing it for you. This is one of those days...

I went on my auditions on Friday which went great. I'm not sure about the vodka industrial, but I did land a role on the NYFA student film The Frankenstein Virus. AWESOME!! I'll be playing Bruno, a hitman/thug type which will prove to be fun, I trust. I'm just waiting for the final draft of the script to be written. To be honest, I've been doubtful about landing future roles. Not that I'm ever going to stop pursuing my acting career, but I figure once is a fluke, so if you land another role, you're on to something. If you can convince two directors that you're the right actor for the role, you can convince three, and then four, and so on, and so on. So... I'm officially on to something.

And I gotta tell ya, I don't know what all the fuss is about with auditioning. I mean, I get nervous just as much as the next person, but honestly, I find auditions fun. I've noticed some people look at auditioning as if the director is looking for a reason to eliminate you from the list. The reality of the situation is quite the opposite. He wants you to succeed. He wants you to reach down inside and pull out what his project needs. For example, I went on an audition for a Snickers spec commercial. Spec commercials are like television pilots for advertisers. If Snickers decides to pursue this "story line", then yay for me, or whoever is chosen. So, the premise of this commercial is that a few friends are hanging out and here comes "Sam", who proceeds to spittle bits and pieces of Snickers all over your face whenever he talks to you. So when I was auditioning, we tried many different takes on how the characters might interact. First I played the role of "Sam the spitter", and the director made every effort to get my performance just as he envisioned it. We tried different ideas on how the Sam character might act, and then I played the role of one of the guys who has to deal with the Sam character and his incessant spittling. It was just as it was supposed to be. And life was good... w00t!!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

So Now What?

I'm sitting here bored as all hell. I've been telling myself the last few days that I really have to start writing more. I'd like to write a blog a day. And now that I've conquered the great unknown with my inaugural blog, I'm left with all the confidence I'll ever need, yet I can't make up my mind about what to write about... hmmmmm

I think I think too much

I don't want this blog to be a diary, I don't think.

Could this blog be a series of happenstances that I find amusing? Perhaps.

My view on politics? Uhhh, no... I think we've all been brow-beaten enough during the rest of our daily lives without the uninteresting, unenthusiastic, and otherwise unwarranted opinions of a New Jersey actor. Here's my answer to any political question I find myself thinking about.... Give me more choices. My local ice cream shop has 40 flavors for me to choose from. FORTY!!! And you bastards can only come up with two parties? Bullshit... but I digress

My take on why certain things are the way they are? Yes, I think there's room for that. Take carrots for instance. They're nutritious, and some (myself included) say delicious. But is it necessary to have them in every freakin bag in the frozen food section of the supermarket? Absolutely not!!! I'm all for carrots. I'm the first one to grab the carrot bowl during Sunday dinner. Some shredded carrots in my salad? Yes please... mmmm scrumptious!! But can we PLEASE give me a break in the frozen veggies case already? Little 1/16th of an inch square pieces are an insult. There's no way in hell there's even one carrots worth in that bag, so don't give me that nonsense. They're not there for your health. They're there to add color to an otherwise bland bowl of greenery. They're there to look pretty on the front of the box so you'll buy it. What if I were allergic to carrots? Bastards...

Polite commentary on why certain things in life (my cellphone case for example) exist only to mock me? Oh, you better your Aunt Fanny!! I'm on the hunt!!! I will find the perfect cellphone case, and I promise you it shall be glorious

Amusing anecdotes of Stevie, the feathered grey menace? Most definitely. He's a lovable bird, a curious bird. He has the curiousity of a child, and I find that magnificant. But, he is a pet, and therefore (in his own adorable way) retarded. Any animal (humans included) that dunks popcorn in orange juice just isn't all there...

An account of all my auditions? I don't think so. It's not good to keep score. I don't care who you are. You'll never land more auditions than you get rejected from, and I find that to be counter productive. There will, however, be tales of the interesting things that happen, and most definately tales of the more "interesting" people I encounter.

Will this be a place for me to recall interesting dreams? Oh hell yes!! I recall a dream I had the other night. I was standing in the kitchen with the eggs and when I went to crack one against the bowl to scrambled me some, the egg was hollow, and the shell was more of a crab claw material than actual egg shell. Weird, but then again, if dreams weren't real, they wouldn't be worth remembering. I looked up the dream in my dreamer's dictionary book, and it went on and on about how different egg type events mean different things, but just like every other dream you'll look up, half of them are positive, and the other half are negative. It was just so interesting, I had to look it up. Perhaps in my half crook eyed state first thing in the morning I was hoping the book would say something worth while like "Go downstairs and smack your ghetto assed neighbor in the mouth"... wishfull thinking, but wishes are what dreams are made of, aren't they?

So now what?

Now that I've gotten some of the random ramblings rolling around my head out, I think it's time to go watch some tv before heading to bed. I have two auditions tomorrow, and besides, M*A*S*H is on, and that show just kicks too much ass.

Friday, September 08, 2006


This is my first blog, ever...

There are an infinite amount of thoughts and ideas, feelings and passions rolling around in my head, and I've never been able to get them down on paper. Why, you ask? I know it has a lot to do with my hatred of pen & paper. I tend to squeeze the pen between my finger and thumb as if my life depended on it, and that just makes my hands cramp. Plus, I could never write fast enough to keep up with my thoughts. I end up losing my train of thought. But thanks to the wonder of the internets, (read: backspace is your friend), I've become quite the typist. So, the time for me to start organizing my thoughts is long overdue. Besides, I've always found the best way to figure out the unknown is to just jump the hell out there in the heart of it, and figure it out.

I want to write... I NEED to write... These thoughts and ideas in my head just won't go away... They SCREAM for the gift of life, but I don't know how to write. There's so much creativity in my head, and without learning how to channel it, it feels like I'm trying to pick up mashed potatoes with a fishing net.

Or at least I didn't know how to write. This is going a lot more smoothly than I ever imagined.

I'm an actor. I've finished my first feature film back in June, '06, and I don't know where to go from here. I have no shortage of ideas for all sorts of projects be it for network TV, HBO, short films, etc. But I don't know where to begin. I don't have the money to go to school. I already owe a small fortune in student loans, so selling my ass into hock for a second time isn't really an option...

I hate the need for money.

It's like... I close my eyes, and I see what my life is supposed to be, and I'm nowhere near where I should be. There are consequences for the sacrifices you make in the name of family, but that's another blog entry all together.

My brother has a parrot named Stevie. He's an African Grey, and quite the character, I must say. I love him, but just like every other pet I've ever had, he's retarded (That's what makes animals interesting enough to keep as pets). Anyway, I look at him and how he flies to where ever he wants to go whenever he wants to go there, and then I realize that most birds have their wings clipped... I feel like that... like my wings are clipped because I don't see a proper path for me to follow. I mean, I know what I want, I just don't know how to get there. I woke up one morning, whenever it was, and I'd finally owned up to what I really want. I've spent my life ignoring my own dreams and aspirations, and I can tell you one thing. It's a fucking mistake. I'm 31, and have nothing to show for it, but resentment. I feel I'm in that cage with him sometimes, and I know if I could just learn how to channel this, I'd be on a bullet train to success. I just don't know what to do.

And what is my definition of success? Well it's not a mansion, villa in Italy (fuck the French), a warehouse full of cars, and a string of poloponies I can tell you. I'm not a materialistic person in any stretch of the imagination. Success, for me, is being able to come and go as I please without a care in the world. As long as I have enough to provide for myself and whomever I'm with, I'll be happy. But I digress...

At night I dream... most nights, anyway... and I could easily make short films from a large portion of them. There is such of shortage of originality in what passes for entertainment these days... People need to think for themselves.

During the day, I daydream of working on the sets of my own productions. Not fantasies, mind you, but real, attainable goals. I have no doubts about my talent or abilities. My quandry is one of opportunities. It reminds me of that old commercial from the 80's for a trade school (Devry, or Lincoln Tech, most likely) with the Indian man, Hindu, who preaches about finding a decent job. "To find a good job, you must have enough experience, but to attain experience, one must have a good job". It's good for a smirk and a chuckle, but then again, truth is stranger than fiction.

I've read in Backstage (a must have publication for any actor of any caliber) that fears of never working again are quite common among actors. As sinical as I am, this actually comforts me. I've been in seclusion for too long. Between problems in my past, and September 11th, I've become something that isn't me. I've compromised myself like a cliche'd author crumbles up so much bad ideas and tosses them into a wire basket. Truth be known, it disgusts me. Not in a "wallowing in self pity" sort of way... nay nay... quite the contrary. That's how I've felt for the past few years... that wallowing is the swamp from which I'm emerging. This disgust I feel is anchored in truth, but as subjective as truth is, it is, after all, MY truth. I find the truth to be liberating, and what's more, it makes people uncomfortable, which I find hysterical for reasons I don't think the average person will ever understand. They say the truth shall set you free. This is gospel.

But I ramble...

It's time for a change. This blog is proof of a better tomorrow.