Sunday, May 1, 2011

Another Play, Another Film.

It has been my experience that there is absolutely no reason whatsoever why some auditions simply fly and others fall like a dead rock. It seems to have nothing to do with preparation or lack of preparation or anything else for that matter. This happened to me this week, in fact, and I was just as confused as to why as the people sitting behind the table.

The first audition shall remain anonymous. My agent called and asked if this was a project I'd be interested in doing. I said no. I really wasn't. Nonetheless, there were going to be some relatively important people in the room and he wanted them to see me for future gigs. We both agreed if they offered me something I'd turn it down. But, as he said (and rightly so) being somewhat of a newbie out here in LA it would good to at least get on their radar. So I go in and do my thing and it was just tragic. A terrible audition; phony, presentational, and pretty much all-around bad. I don't know why. I honestly was doing the best I could. But even in the midst of the audition I knew I was failing miserably and I couldn't do anything about it. The harder I tried to get back on the rails, the worse it got. I finally finished and left the room in a bit of a daze. Completely clueless as to why I couldn't find the zone.

The very next day I had an audition, about which I'll go into more detail later, for a project I found interesting (I've reached a point in my career and life where, unless there's a ton of money involved, I won't consider doing something that doesn't engage me). The audition soared. I hit all the right notes. What's more, during the audition I KNEW I was hitting all the right notes. And by 'notes' I don't mean musically. I mean, I instinctively knew I was nailing it AS I was nailing it. And sure enough, before the day was over I had been offered the gig. Which I accepted.

I had made a half-hearted decision to concentrate on film and television for the next year or so rather than live performance. Lots of reasons for that and not all of them money, believe it or not. So when my agent sent me the script and breakdown for this project I only glanced at it at first. Which was a mistake. Because as I started looking at the whole script (at this point I didn't know who was involved in the piece) it became clear this was an extraordinarily good piece of writing. And that's a rare thing in LA, the city that brought us The A-Team and Saved By the Bell.

The play is called 'The Interlopers' and it's been written by a regular writer for the television series 'The Shield' named Gary Lennon. Gary has written lots of other stuff but 'The Shield' is probably the most recognizable. It's a fascinating piece, sort of a Romeo and Juliet for transgenders and it's smart stuff. It's being directed by Jim Fall, a guy who's made his name doing some really edgy film work, highly lauded in the press. And of course, like Romeo and Juliet, I'm obviously not doing either of the lead roles but rather a strong, fun supporting role. Which is just fine with me. My last two outings on the stage have been projects that required me to carry the show and frankly I wanted to avoid that again. For one thing it's utterly exhausting. And for another I just didn't want to step up to the plate again and be expected to hit a home run. I kinda like the idea of hitting a double and contributing to the game as a whole, if that makes any sense.

Rehearsals start this week and the play opens in June and runs through July at a wonderful space called The Bootleg Theatre. The Bootleg is sort of the Tom Waits of theatre venues here in town. It is a space that has gained a very loyal following by doing exceptionally edgy stuff. It has a reputation for grungy excellence.

But back to my original thesis. I have no idea why one reading was so much better than the other. It certainly wasn't through lack of effort on my part to do one better than the other. And I don't think it had anything to do with my interest for the project. No, it was simply that one 'felt' right and the other didn't. And frankly that's about as close as I can come to the meat of that subject. As they say in Shakespeare in Love, "It's a mystery."

In other news, this weekend I'm shooting a short film with my buddy, John Bader, and the wonderful director Adrian Fulle (feature film director for LOVE 101 and Shiloh Falls). We've worked out all the details finally in pre-production and start shooting on Saturday morning. Should be fun if nothing else and of course, it's always a pleasure to work with top of the line talent like John and Adrian.

And finally, Angie and I watched (neither of us had seen it before, strangely enough) Barton Fink last night. And I can't decide if it's brilliant or pretentious. I'm leaning toward brilliant, but I can't decide why. It's one of those films I have to think on for awhile.

Another beautiful day in Southern California. We're off this morning to meet another friend of mine about yet another possible film project (I've come to the conclusion that in Southern Cal instead of the phrase 'Life is what you do while you're busy making other plans' it should be 'Meetings are what you do while busy making other plans').

Oh, and for my Los Angeles readers, if you haven't tried or experienced Handy Market's tri-tip BBQ (only available on Saturdays in Burbank on Magnolia)you should. It is truly a small slice of heaven.

See you tomorrow.