Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bits and Pieces...

More pictures today for my commercial agent.  From our last session (the 'goatee sessions,' I like to call them) we got about forty or so good shots.  We need about thirty five more from today's session.  I've grown a short and neatly trimmed beard and after a few outfit changes we'll shave the beard (more precisely, I'll shave the beard) and then take some more clean shaven.  It's very strange.  Not the copious amount of pictures, that's fairly standard, but the fact that we've only found one spot to actually take the pictures so that the lighting and the background is absolutely perfect.  That is to say, in our hot and dirty tack room.  Yesterday I journeyed over to Studio City to my photographers place (he couldn't leave to get over here) and we searched for an hour or so in vain for the perfect spot to take shots...somewhere where the lighting and background was exactly right.  We couldn't find one.  So it's back over here today and into the hotbox for more photos.

I was talking to a couple of buddies yesterday and the day before about this whole commercial enterprise.  I wanted some insight as to whether it's all worth it or not.  I'll keep names out of it.  One friend of mine, a young guy here in LA, said he didn't really pursue the commercial stuff too keenly, but he did it when he could.  Mostly he pursues film work, he says.  Having said that, he made approximately $22,000 last year doing commercial work.  Another buddy, a guy with a really good commercial agent out here, said he worked a total of four days on SAG commercials last year, nationally run commercials, and made $47,000.  So although perhaps not million dollar sideline jobs, it's very lucrative nonetheless.

Got my first check yesterday from some TV work I did a couple weeks back.  Not a huge check, but my first one.  Angie and I have decided to frame it.  We were delighted.

The engagement party plans are in full swing.  It should be a fun and auspicious weekend in Missouri this August.  Angie and her mother are having a lot of fun planning it.

Had my buddy, John Bader, over Friday night for some pizza (off my diet, but what the hell) and we watched Oliver Stone's old picture, Born on the Fourth of July.  I hadn't seen it since it came out years ago.  Back then I remember being quite moved by the film, a very powerful film, I thought.  Upon reviewing it, not so much.  It seems so heavy handed now.  A dead-on script without any real surprises.  I've been noticing that a lot lately with films I go back and watch again.  For a long time in Chicago I sort of stopped watching movies.  Lots of reasons for that, one being a complete lack of interest.  I was teaching all the time and when I finished the last thing I wanted to do was watch more histrionic acting.  So I stopped watching a lot of movies.  Consequently, now when I go back and watch a film I have a different perspective.  Very few hold up.  The exception is one I watched from start to finish a couple of weeks ago...Jaws.  I'm convinced that may be the perfect movie, scene by scene.  It holds up incredibly well.

Today we've got tickets (courtesy of our friend, Glenna Norris, a fine actress out here in LA) to see Larry Fishburn in Thurgood at The Geffen Theatre.  The Geffen is where my buddy, Jim Barbour, recently did Nightmare Alley.  It may be the most beautiful regional theatre I've ever seen.  When Glenna came over the other night to give us the tickets she mentioned in conversation that she had started her professional career at The Old Creamery Theatre in Iowa.  That's where I started, too.  She was about three or four years behind me.  In fact, she lived in the same company house that I did.  Small and incestuous business, this theatre world is.

The late Mick Denniston, from Springfield, MO, used to send his favorite up-and-coming actors to The Old Creamery (a professional theatre he helped found) and I think I was actually the first one he sent there.  After me, he sent another dozen or so over the years.  Glenna was one.  It was while there (1984-85) that I met Bader and my buddy, Jim Petersmith, also out here in LA now, and cultivated two life-long friendships.

I've decided to write a short play for a new project here in LA called "Dinner Theatre for the Homeless."  It's a program being started by my dear friend and talented actress and playwright, Melanie Eubank.  She asked me if I'd like to get involved a few weeks ago and I've been thinking about it since then.  I think it's an incredibly good idea.  She attends an uber-liberal Lutheran Church here in The Valley and the pastor there is very committed to bringing professional quality theatre to the indigent.  As is my habit, I've been letting the idea sit on the back-burner of my mind for a few weeks, percolate, as it were, and now I'm ready to write it.  Probably about a twenty to twenty-five minute piece.  Three characters.  I'll start as soon as I'm finished blogging, in fact.

Life is good.  It's a daily struggle sometimes.  But we're both incredibly happy together with a world of possibilities before us.  Our puppies, Franny and Zooey, are a constant source of amusement for us.  We don't go out much these days for a number of reasons but that's good.  We've both had more than our share of "going out" so an evening at home, a nice dinner, a good film, some pleasant and smart conversation, a cold glass of iced tea, an early night in bed with a good book...hard to believe, but I can't really think of a better way to spend my evenings.  Time, indeed, waits for no one.  Life is what we do while we're making other plans.  And lately, life and the making of plans, has been indescribably sweet.

See you tomorrow.

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