Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Callback.

Had a callback for a feature yesterday that went reasonably well. One can never second guess these things as I've learned over the years. Sometimes the worst readings can turn into jobs and vice versa.

But this particular callback was at a place here in LA that I loathe. I won't mention any names, but there are a lot of places to audition in LA and this one is one of the more common ones. Every time I go there for a read it just sucks the energy out of me. There are a dozen or so rooms in this place with a large communal area out front. So actors for all the different projects, some wildly disparate, are all sitting together waiting to be called into their respective rooms. Well known actors from film and television are sitting beside five year old girls with their stage mothers. It's a little surreal.

So yesterday I walk in, find my project on the huge board on the wall as one enters, sign in and take a seat. A couple of chairs down, in loud and attention seeking voices, I hear the following conversation from two early twenty-something surfer/waiter/actor type guys:

First Guy: Dude, so, you got a process, you know, like, a process that you work?

Second Guy: Dude, I just do what works, you know? Just put it all out there, Dog.

First Guy: Yeah, cool. I'm doin' a lot of Strasberg stuff these days, you know, really getting deep inside the character. You know, Stanislavsky, that German dude or whatever.

Second Guy: Yeah, I did that once. Dude, that's gnarly stuff.

First Guy: It's so rad. I, like, don't even know who I am anymore I get so deep into character. I'm like, okay, I'm so somebody else right now.

Second Guy: Yeah, me, too. But see, dude, I do it without all the books, you know? I'm just naturally into it. I go there, man, and, whoa, 'Look Out!' People don't even know who I am when I go there.

First Guy: Oh, man, dude, me, too. Dude, I'm so far in character I'm like, 'Who Am I?'

Second Guy: Yeah, that's what it's all about. Gotta go deep, dude. Gotta go real deep.

At this point I embarrassed myself with a bucket of vomitous spew which I projectile wretched all over the walls and floor.


I'm getting too judgemental in my old age, I think. Live and let live, all that. I'm a little worried I might start yelling out our bedroom window soon, screaming at the neighborhood kids to 'get off my lawn!'

So the callback read went well. For this one, the actual director was there and he was very specific about what he wanted and asked me to do it three or four different ways. I like that. And I did the best I could. We'll see.

I have absolutely no name when it comes to film, really. Consequently I don't drag an ego in there with me. Hell, I'm lucky to be there in the first place.

Today is all about taking yet another swipe at a big writing project I've been hired to do. The needs for this project are very specific, indeed, and it's a new ballgame for me. My stuff over the past few decades has all been semi-autobiographical for the most part; personal writing, if you will. So this is altogether new for me. It requires a great deal of research and interviews and the like. Very exciting in an academic sort of way. And the project is starting to shape up into something fairly cool, I think. In any event, the producers, the money guys, are convinced I'm the one to write this, so I'm giving it my all.

I have so much respect for the playwrights of the portable typewriter era because of this new project. Today, because of the miracle of computer software, one can cut, paste, rewrite, slice out, add, delete, copy, quote and rearrange to one's heart's content. I was thinking yesterday about how, back in the day, one had to spend countless hours doing that. Hours, hell, months are saved because of it today.

So, coffee in hand, a little Miles Davis on the headphones, thinking cap (or in my case, 'thinking thimble') on, hands poised aggressively over the keyboard, discerning face we go.

See you tomorrow.

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