It certainly has been quite a while since I've been on this cyber property. The cool thing about owning this cyber real estate is that it could use some attention but won't fall apart in case I don't give it any. These past two years that I haven't given any love to my site have been filled with life changing events.
My friend and Talent manager of 7 years here in Hollywood died. He was only 42. I was distressed by his death and had a hard time coming to terms with it. He and I were the same age. I didn't travel in his circle of people but did consider him a friend as well as a business partner. He could get Hollywood's Casting Directors to give his clients auditions. He didn't back off these Casting Directors. He was a pushy man but with great fun to him as well. He helped me feel connected to some kind of career in this tv/movie business. I will miss him.
What was I going to do? Here I am a middle aged man with a great resume and no representation. I've just finished working on a Barry Levinson film with Ben Stiller and Jack Black called ENVY and there wasn't an agent around that wanted to meet me.
I finally found a woman agent tell me she'd work with me but sh had over two hundred clients. I got one audition in three months. I had been used to going out at least once a week with my previous manager, now with this new agent I still couldn't even get seen. We had a falling out because I was under pressure to keep my health insurance and pension and she was under pressure to keep two hundred clients happy.
I left her with no hesitation. It's better to have no representation than to have poor representation. I floundered for a few months. I spent my days looking for agents in those Hollywood Agency books. It was a big waste of time. How do you know to whom you should submit your picture and resume? Sometimes those agents are no longer there and your picture winds up in the trash. Who's name do you use as a referral? How do you follow up and get these agents to meet with you? I wasn't having any luck.
Then a friend of mine who was also represented by our now deceased manager found a couple of Agents who were now working as managers. This man and woman team seemed to be the perfect combination. Boy was I wrong. They were very lazy reps. They never really took assertive or even aggressive action. They preferred to submit a picture and wait for the casting director to call with an audition appointment. They believed they had the clout to get a call from the casting directors without having to make a pitch on behalf of the actor. They hated going into the office and often times both of them worked from home. The guy was flighty and served up some real good talk but never really got anything going. The female was a hackneyed agent that took comments personally and would pout if she didn't get her way. She thought she was tough when all she was was jaded. Our short relationship ended the day she got an audition date wrong and got offended when I called her upset and wanting answers. She said I didn't have a right to raise my voice to her. I fired them that day!
Within a month of that experience I booked a theatrical job. It was a one act play about Ellis Island and the immigrants that passed through its halls. There were four actors on a set that resembled a boat. There was no backstage for resting. Everything was right out in front of the audience. We all had to play different characters with different stories told through songs or through monologues. I had to play 8 different characters and used many of my accents to tell the stories of the Europeans that came to American by boat in the early 20th century. I got to play with my Russian, German, Italian, French, English, Polish, Irish and Scottish accents. It was a lot of work to make them clear characters from those countries but I pulled it off to great compliments and reviews.
Since then, I've taken a short sabbatical from Hollywood. I think it's important to regroup and rethink how to keep my sanity in this business while remembering this business is about insanity!! I've volunteered with political organizations and joined up with new ones. I've assisted in the development of major fundraising events as well.
It's a different working world out there from the Hollywood work life to which I'm accustomed. I'm not used to the work hours and the bringing the bagged lunch to work and the rest of what comes when you work long hours and don't get a trailer!
In my world of work I was used to going to the craft service table and snacking when I was hungry or having my lunch served from a catering truck. Sitting in an office and working the phones and handling deadlines almost made me loose the sanity I fought so hard to preserve in Hollywood! I have a deeper respect for the work so many people do on a daily basis.
In between all the major life shifts and Hollywood Psycho drama, I've had some great fun experiences. One in particular was going to see the King Tut exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum. It was the most interesting and revelatory experiences of my 'art appreciation' life. This exhibit awakened in me an unknown fascination with the 14th century BCE Egypt and the reign of Pharoah Akhenaton. The artifacts were exquisite in detail and design. There was a palpable energy to them and a strong presence of history and royalty to the entire exhibit. I've finished reading two books on the subject and found countless websites devoted to this controversial thinker and leader.
I've had the pleasure of completing my second online interview with another fan of the Sci-Fi show Stargate SG1. The Webmaster/Host of the site, Gilles is the kind of guy that makes this business fun. He was so enthusiastic and completely grateful for any insight into what it's like to work on one of his and many others favorite show. He asked me some great questions too. You can read it at www.thescifiworld.net. Merci a vous, Gilles.
I've also been doing a great deal of writing. I've been thinking about putting together a book about my experiences here in Hollywood and what advice I'd give to those actors starting out in the business. So the stories around jobs I've booked are being recounted and I'm enjoying the stroll down this 20 year memory lane.
I am also thinking about redesigning the look of my website and am open to suggestions from any of you who read this blog. I do intend to keep up with my blog better too! That's a New Year Resolution. We'll see, right?
I'm eager to chat with any fans and will send out pictures if you'd like. However, you have to be willing to send a self addressed stamped envelope of about .75 cents or more...depending on how many pictures you request.
I just can't afford the postage for all the requests made for pictures, especially those from fans around the world. Working actor here...hello!!! lol
Happy Chanukah to my Jewish brothers and sisters and a Happy New Year to all!
Thank you for reading my blog and staying interested in what goes on with me as I live my Vida Loca in La La land!
Thursday, April 29, 2004
Greetings and Salutations! To all of you who have been so patiently waiting the release of the film event of the season...at last...the moment has come! This Friday April 30th,
the motion picture ENVY is released nation wide. That's right, baby! This movie is directed by Barry Levinson and stars Ben Stiller and Jack Black with Christopher Walken and...me!
You know, I've been fortunate enough to work on projects that have shot around the world, but this movie experience was the most profound. Not only was I working with some of the most talented people in the business, but I was being treated to living a life dream...going to Rome, Italy. Imagine a business where you as talent are taken to an ancient city, housed in a stylish hotel and asked to amuse the G-ds of filmmaking.
How cool is that?
My scenes in the movie are when the guys (Ben & Jack) are invited by the Roman government to sell their product " Va-poo-rize" to the people of Italy. I'm in some montage sequences we shot on a farm in the outskirts of Rome and in the Centro di Populo of the city of Rome! I spent four days with the production company on the shoot and then after the company finished, I spent four more days on my own in that great eternal city!
But, the most important scene for me was the hot tub! (Rubadubdub- FOUR men in a tub?) Get this, we shot that scene on a soundstage in LA. The set was two stories tall, and had all that set design that made it feel like we were on the roof of a fancy hotel. The scenery of the city of Rome was a blue screen for us on the set. I spent the day in a suit with my feet dangling in jacuzzi water with Ben & Jack and a Minister of Italy (actor Daniel Lugos). It was also the very last day of principal photography. It was cool to be there when everyone said their good byes and paid their respects to each other.
We shot on Friday, then flew to Rome that following Tuesday! I visited so many sites in that city and rekindled what I'm sure are past memories of ancient lives. Go ahead a laugh or even roll them eyes. I don't care, for me I knew I had been to that city before!
I have some wonderful present life memories with this movie. For me, the success has already happened. I got to work with some great people and visit a great land. Again, I played with a big Hollywood director and even bigger Hollywood stars! I wasn't edited out of the movie and that in itself was a major victory. Yeah, I'm happy about this film regardless of how it does. Would it be nice to be in a hit for once...HELL yeah!
But even still, it's better to be invited to be a part of any of it. I love this business and the opportunities it provides to brush against greatness.
I hope you enjoy the film and don't be too brutal if it does miss the mark. Remember, if filmmaking were easy, more of us would get laid!! =)
Enjoy and thanks for reading,
Let me know what you think or thought of the film,
Thursday, January 15, 2004
Well, now that I know there are people who read this stuff, I've decided to give an update.
I'll start with the bad news, I lost my webmaster. He packed his bags and moved out of state.
So, I'm looking to tend to this site myself and be the best possible web master of my own site.
I do need some training but since it's just my site, I think I can make a go of it.
In the meantime, those episodes of Stargate SG-1 that I last blogged about finally aired! What a pump! I can tell you that the responses I've received from some fans have been overwhelming! I've heard from people in the UK and in Canada and all around the USA.
I mean these fans of the show are serious about their dedication to watching Stargate SG-1 and discussing it. The official web site is an amazing site. There is also this one site called www.stargatedanielfriendly.com and I had a blast e-chatting with Karen and Suzanna. They opened my eyes to what makes a great fan: a committed attitude and a great sense of humor. Not to mention a little wackiness. Thanks, Karen for the great compliments and to all the fans that reached out! I've included the address of an interview I did for these outrageous women. Check it out. It was like answering questions for Rolling Stone. I felt like a real working actor!
I'll be keeping you more informed if you can handle not having pictures. I personally think a picture can add so much to a blog. Thanks again for taking time to read this and I'd like to take a another few minutes to wish you all a Happy New Year. May 2004 bring us personal happiness, communal unity and national security.
Shalom and happiness,
All the best and look forward to hearing from you.
If you would like to
participate in the Rant,