Keepin’ busy

I really need to update this thing more than once a week. That being said, time for my weekly update!

Let’s see… I’m finally starting to get into a good workout routine. That’s nice because I’m also starting to gain a couple pounds. Nothing serious, but it’s obvious I’ve been lazy lately and it’s time to get to the gym regularly.

I’m still playin’ poker online. The past couple days have been good for me and I’m still way up overall. I had a couple weeks there where I wasn’t running so hot, but I’m back on track now. I hope to be able to finance my trip to Vegas next month with my winnings.

Turns out I’m getting a nice tax return this year. I wasn’t expecting anything, so I’m having to figure out what to do with the extra cash. I think I’ll probably just sock it away or throw it at my loans or something awesomely super duper fun like that.

I went into the leasing office to drop off my rent and I asked the guy in there if he could recommend some good places around Plano to eat. His response: “You got a date or somethin’?” Of course I had to tell him that I’m just tired of “the chains” and I want some local variety. As he was suggesting a few places, a girl that works in the office came in and heard what he was saying. She said, “You got a date or something?” My first reaction was to be the funny guy and say, “That depends on if you’re free tonight.”, but I held my tongue and just said, “No, just looking for some good food.” The guy that was already telling me places was kind enough to bail me out by saying, “He’s just getting tired of eating at the chains.” It took me a good ten minutes to recover from feeling like a total loser, but I’m doing alright now.

I sent out some more mailers to local agents this week. That puts me right around twenty… I haven’t heard anything back except for the few I’ve had returned undeliverable. I’m going to do one follow-up call (from my first set) tomorrow and then six or seven follow-ups next week. All I need is one stinkin’ agent to pick me up, but I guess that’s easier said than done.

Meanwhile, I’m looking for all the angles I can find, so I’ve been writing. Saturday night, I finished my first screenplay. It’s only a short (about 20 pages), but it’s a start. It’s better than I thought it would be and I think it’ll be “decent” after the first re-write. I’m thinking through it and revising it now and hopefully will finish the second draft in a couple weeks. Then, I’ll start another screenplay of a different ilk. The first one was a ‘drama’ (I guess) and the second will probably be more straight comedy. …or at least it’ll be comedy to me. It might just be “stupid” or “terrible” to everyone else. At least I’m keeping myself entertained!

A good friend is in town and we’re having dinner tomorrow night. I’m looking forward to seeing someone from back home and having some good food and conversation. I don’t get much of either since I spend most of my time on the couch, watching something on TiVo and playing poker.

I’m not breaking up this post with little headings because I don’t feel like it. I’m really writing all this gibberish for myself anyway, so the headings really wouldn’t serve a point. Peace out!


I am lazy

…and also, I haven’t updated my blog in a while. I don’t really like calling it a ‘blog’ because that seems too pop-culture-ey, so I’m gonna’ go ahead and stick with weblog from here on out.

Anyway, I haven’t done too much lately, but I’ll give the update regardless. This weekend, I had a great run at the online poker tables. I am still playing a lot of Sit ‘N Gos (SNGs), but I upped the stakes and it paid off pretty well. I played all 1-table SNGs and I finished in the money 75% of the time. That ain’t bad at all, but I’m also not expecting it to happen again any time soon. I feel good about my strategies and abilities, but that kind of performance is most likely an anomaly.

Today, I sent out mailers (headshot, resume, cover letter) to a dozen local talent agents. I’m hoping to get a call from one or two of them and I’m obviously hoping to be represented when it’s all said and done. I also e-mailed my headshot and resume to a local independent film producer who put out a call for submissions through an e-mail I get from an actors’ support group here in Dallas. I’m hoping to win the run-on sentence award by the end of this post.

Finally, I’m still co-writing a short film with a friend back home. We’ve made some good progress and should have our first draft pretty soon (although I can’t say if that will be days or weeks). Once this short is finished, we’re going to write another. When both are finished, we’ll start production. I really don’t want to think about how much work that’s going to be, so I’m going to wrap this up now.

Goodnight, me.


Eighth Meisner class: The Finale

Tonight was different than any other night so far. I wasn’t nervous and my scene felt stronger than any other. Of course, I’m not too sure how well it actually played, but I’m pretty sure it was my best yet from beginning to end. Specifically, the beginning was good. My ‘preparation’ was solid and a classmate said he ‘believed me’ when I entered the scene. That’s what it’s all really about: being believable.

Anyway, it ended on a great note and, while I was glad it was over, I thought it ended really well.

Next up?

My Meisner coach says she has a little play (or some ‘vignettes’) that she wants to get some people together to work on. She said she needs eight and the four in our Meisner class are all in. It’s neat because we’ll work on it in a workshop environment–3 meetings a week, 3 hours a meeting for 2 weeks–and perform it during our last session. She’s sending the script out pretty soon so we can memorize it during the holidays. I think we’re getting together for a cold-read in a couple weeks (assuming I’m still in town).

Anyway, it sounds pretty exciting and should be fun to work on. I’m looking forward to doing some acting.

What about an agent and such?

Well, I’m going to contact my coach tomorrow to see what he thinks I should do before Christmas. Basically, I have a bunch of ‘mailers’ ready to go and I just need somewhere to send them. I hope to get representation soon and maybe start working (in commercials or small films) early next year. I think I just need to keep the ball rolling.


Reading Sanford Meisner On Acting

Another student in my Meisner class told me he’s been reading this book and it’s helped him out a lot. I started reading it yesterday and it’s already been very helpful. The first thing I’ve noticed is that our class went much faster than Meisner did with his classes. After two weeks, we were where he was in over a month.

Moreover, it seems he was a little less strict with his repetition exercise than our instructor has been. This is true for a few aspects of the exercise. First, our instructor seems to want us to keep repeating each line for quite a while. I know there’s a fine line between flowing in repetition and doing a scene, but I always felt like we were closer to repetition than doing a scene while our instructor seemed to feel the opposite. I’m not saying I think she was wrong, just that we were more right than we thought. Also, one thing Meisner seems to emphasize is that we not say anything until we feel we need to say it, until our partner does something that makes us want to speak. This has been something I’ve felt is necessary and yet I’ve felt our instructor pushing us to answer quickly and passionately… problem is I often don’t feel like answering right away and the passion isn’t there.

Overall, I think the book is giving me more of a perspective on what Meisner intended with his technique. I have been gleaning little bits from my class, but I’ve also felt sort of helpless and lost for a good portion of it. This book is filling in the gaps and answering lots of questions. Before our final session, I intend to read and re-read the first few chapters of the book since they cover what we’ve done in class. Hopefully, I’ll understand it better and perform better for our last session.

One thing I’m seeing more and more is that I have to get out of my head with this exercise. It’s frustrating because we moved so quickly into adding levels of complexity to the exercise that I almost have to stay in my head in order to just keep afloat. What I mean is that we have several levels to each exercise: my activity, my expectation of who’s coming to the door, my interpretation of the knock at the door and finally the need of the person on the other side of the door. We take all this into account and then do the repetition exercise. Problem is I never became totally comfortable with the raw exercise itself: two people repeating a line.

Anyway, I think I’m learning a lot, especially now that I’m supplementing the class with the book. Hopefully I’ll be better prepared by the time we meet again and I’ll do better work.


Seventh Meisner class: Revisited

So, everyone was there this time, including a sincerely apologetic instructor. Everything was cool until the class actually began. I was so flat… I was so flat I can’t even think of a cheesy analogy to describe it. I was awful and everyone knew it, especially me. I had no energy, probably because I’d worked nine hours the day after I worked 12 hours two days after I worked 8 hours and spent 3 hours driving downtown and back for no reason. That run-on sentence is symbolic of how run-down I was.

No matter how much I wanted to, I couldn’t give any energy to what I was doing. I was in a grumpy mood and my instructor’s fairly abrasive teaching style didn’t ameliorate that in the least. Long story short, I spent two hours watching the clock and counting seconds. Finally, it was over and I went home, knowing how bad that just was.

There’s good news and bad news. The bad news is I have another class and I’m not looking forward to struggling through it. The good news is I’m starting to feel a little spark. That spark is telling me that I’ll have the day off work when we meet again and that I should have tons of energy. That spark is telling me I can perform well, even if I don’t particularly enjoy the exercises. That spark is telling me it’s time to do or die, in the basketball parlance that I grew up with.

Now what?

My confidence has been shattered lately: I didn’t book Noon Preview though I was essentially told I had; I’ve been seriously struggling just to make it two hours each session in this Meisner class; I couldn’t even find the stupid Noon Preview when I tried to go today. I’m beginning to question my ridiculous decision to forsake engineering for a career in acting.

But then I think how far I’ve come, even in the last month. I’ve gotten headshots, gone out on my first audition (and felt really comfortable doing it), taken a super difficult class and gotten myself in a position to start sending out mailers to agents and film schools. It’s very possible I’ll be represented early next year and I could be working. I know I have to give this thing time and muster all the patience I can.

I get a break this week as I head home to Florida for Thanksgiving. I’m going back to LA for a few days early in December. I get almost 3 weeks off for Christmas. I should be very refreshed in January and then I’ll be ready to roll. Right now, I just need confidence. I need the confidence necessary to ‘get out of my head’ and succeed in my final Meisner class. I need the confidence to find an agent and start working. I need the endurance to keep pursuing acting and working full time.

I needed a pep-talk and who better to give it than me?


Noon Preview or bust

Well, after all that hype, the whole thing fizzled. Why? Apparently, both MapQuest and Yahoo! Maps conspired against me today. I was all dressed up with somewhere to go, but that somewhere was off of Creative Way and I couldn’t find that little side street for the life of me. So, prepped up in my ‘I’m an actor’ outfit with headshots and resumes in tow, I drove around for about 40 minutes and decided I’d passed the point of no return. I decided it would be worse to show up 45 minutes late and hand out headshots then to not show up at all. No one was expecting me and I’d rather my first impression not be ‘the late guy who didn’t book this gig’.

So, that’s that. Good news is I have 10 packets ready to mail once I get the addresses of some local agents and film schools.


Seventh Meisner class

I’m not a happy camper tonight. I drove down to my class, which was inconveniently rescheduled to 4pm Downtown (I work over 35 miles north of Downtown) only to find that our instructor didn’t show up. Sooo, after sitting around for 40 minutes, I got back in my car and drove home… at 5pm in rush hour traffic. All told, I wasted 3 hours today, driving to nothing at rush hour.

Also, I will be given the option to make up the class some time in the near future. Problem is I took this particular class because it coincided exactly with the window when I would be in town (as opposed to traveling for Thanksgiving, work or Christmas). So, to reschedule will be very difficult and maybe impossible.

Of course the worst part is I’ve been anticipating the end of this class because I’m just not loving it. I’m not too happy about it taking longer than I thought it would.

End rant.


Sixth Meisner class

Last night’s class was a little better, but still very difficult. Two more classes left. I’m sure I’ll take a lot away from this class, but it’s been tough goin’. I’ve been getting a little more positive feedback, but it’s tough for me to tell how genuine it is. I guess I just have to assume it’s genuine and leave it at that.

Anyway, we’re still working with the repetition exercise. Basically, we typically set up a scene where one person has an ‘action’ that has to be done right now. Another person interrupts by knocking on the door. The main character answers, calls the person at the door based on their knock and then repetition begins. The knocker has a specific need that can be fulfilled by the main actor, but the main actor has an objective to complete quickly.

That’s about it. The scenes are usually set up to lead into some sort of fury, which is necessary so that we can get used to allowing ourselves to be affected. It also allows us to become familiar with the gamut of emotions and feelings.

I need sleep.


Fifth Meisner class

We changed things up a bit tonight by bringing in some students from another class. Instead of the usual four, we had about ten and the dynamic was totally different. Result? We all felt a little more at ease and it was a really fun class. I got good notes on the scene I did and I felt like I opened up a bit; but most of that was due to my own preparation to sort of thwart the unknown aspect of the exercises we’ve been doing.

After class, I talked with some of my classmates and realized that we’re all pretty much on the same page: what we’ve been doing is very difficult and we never feel like we’ve quite got it right. They both said that I would see the benefits of this class after the class. They said once I get into scene studies and other work, I’ll see what I’ve learned in this class.

First rejection: Noon Preview

Well, I got the e-mail with the list for Noon Preview and I didn’t book it. I guess the most confusing thing is that I felt the casting director essentially told me I booked it (and I don’t think I was being overly optimistic or mis-reading between the lines). I am just trying to realize that I’m learning about the process and that rejection is not only inevitable, but essential in this business.

I’ll still be attending Noon Preview with headshots in hand since the casting director said I could bring them to her there. Moving right along then…


First audition: Noon Preview

A few months ago, I joined a local actors’ support group called S.T.A.G.E. They occasionally have a showcase called Noon Preview. Basically, there’s an audition and then the show is two weeks later. Today was the audition and it went really well. I’m pretty confident I booked it, so I need to start preparing for the actual show.

The best part of the audition was I felt completely prepared. I felt totally calm and comfortable before, during and after the audition. Mostly, I think that’s because my coach spent about 4 months helping me learn the technical aspects of acting and auditioning. I have no idea how many times he emphasized that most of getting bookings in this market is having good audition etiquette and being comfortable with the technical aspects of auditions, but he was right on.

Anyway, my first audition went well and I couldn’t be happier with the result.