Friday, March 18, 2011


I ended up booking the small budget film I read for the other day. Daytime shooting commences on March 26. Should be fun. It's one of the two lead roles in the film and the script leaves a lot of room to play.

The final callback for a very big project is later today, too. More on that if or when it pans out. To say more about it now would be a bit premature. Either way, for good or bad, I'll know tomorrow.

And, of course, the final weekend for Adding Machine - The Musical. A long five months have been committed to this one. It's been quite a ride.

Because of my recent diagnosis of Diabetes ('the silent killer') Angie and I have been ultra sensitive about our diet and exercise. Last night neither of us felt like going out to do any serious shopping so my wife scoured the kitchen and came up with a few odds and ends to cook for dinner. At first glance the things she pulled out of the fridge looked a bit pedestrian, but she ended up with a feast for a king. Honestly, I don't know how she does it. She told me what she had in mind and I listened without excitement. An hour later, I stared in awe at what she had put together. And it was all perfectly healthy and nutritious. Two words that hardly ever entered my mind a few short months ago. Now, whenever we shop, I find myself looking at ingredients on cans and whatnot to see the health benefits or drawbacks. Huh. Who'd'a thought?

I'm up inordinantly early to work on this callback. Memorizing some of it, familiarizing myself with other parts of it, making pre-read choices, generally trying to make myself as comfortable as possible with all of it.

If it happens, next week (and the week after, for that matter) is going to be very, very busy for me. Doing the one thing I hate the most about this business - memorizing frickin' lines.

This auditioning business is a funny thing. Any actor can tell you that after awhile it becomes rote. Once it's over, you put the script aside and move on. What's next. And then, once in a blue moon, something comes along you really want. Sometimes it's because there's lots of money involved. Sometimes (like Adding Machine) it's because the material itself is just so damned compelling. And sometimes it's because there's someone involved with the project you really want to work with.

In the case of this thing today, it's all three. I rarely get too emotionally involved with a project before I've been offered the role. Again, as any actor can tell you, it's simply too tough to pull yourself back from it if you don't book it.

It's a lesson I learned a hundred years ago in college. One of the graduate students was directing a play called 'The Shadow Box,' a Pulitzer-prize winning play from the late seventies. I was up for the role of Mark. I remember all this so clearly because I still recall how very much I wanted the role. I threw everything I had into the audition, got the callback, came back in for the final read and eventually lost the role to one of my best friends. I was devestated. I think I topped off a fifth of scotch that night. I later saw the play, which turned out to be quite good, and my friend was excellent, really fine work. And I had to admit to myself, better suited for the role than I was. But it was, ultimately, a lesson I never forgot - do your best and then move on. Sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you.

Another friend of mine, quite a fine actor, actually physically tears up the script after each and every audition. It's a concrete way to remind himself to move on, this one's over, forget it, concentrate on the next one. Rejection is part of the journey. It's not fun, but one has to accept it or go quietly crazy.

Angie, who has been in this business some twenty-odd years here in LA as a casting associate, has a philisophical bent on the whole thing. She often says, "Not meant to be, something better is waiting." I like that. And I agree. Sometimes it's just a bit difficult to be so zen-like immediately after losing a role you wanted so badly. Nonetheless, the only other option is letting it get to you and going slightly loopy.

And I'm always a bit shocked to find this happens at every level...I read an interview with Dustin Hoffman awhile back. He was talking about a role, a huge role, in a film in the eighties that he wanted very much. Ended up going to Ben Kingsley. He said he still thinks about it. So this is not exclusive to workhorse actors like myself. It's across the board.

In any event, as I sit here at my laptop, the script sitting threateningly beside me as I glance warily at it from time to time, I remind myself, it's just another read. The truth is some of the time it has nothing to do with 'how good' you are. It's all about, 'are you what they're looking for?' And that, of course, cannot be remedied. It just is.

See you tomorrow.