Wednesday, September 28, 2005

My funny bit

I came up with a comedy bit for my stand-up yesterday that I really like a lot. Usually when I come up with an idea for a bit I will fit it into a blog somewhere and see what kind of a response I get but I like this one so much, I don't want to reveal it yet for fear of someone stealing it from me.

That's right. I don't trust any of you people.

Quit following me!!


Another audition today. This time it was for a Neil Simon play that's going to Broadway in the Spring, Barefoot in the Park. Most of the roles have already been filled but they were looking for understudies and I thought understudying on Broadway ain't too shabby. It was an Equity call (and for those of who who may not know, that basically means people in the actor's union get to go in before the rest of us schmucks. And as they run out of Equity people, then they send in the non-union gang) but I decided I would go anyhow if for no other reason than to get out there and be seen by casting people. The casting person was a name Dee was familiar with, so she thought it was a good move on my part to show up. The place was packed and even though I shouwed up shortly after 10 I wasn't able to actually audition until around 2 or so.

All we needed to have prepared for the audition was a comedic monologue. As we were waiting in line, the proctor was telling us to keep it short. Apparently a lot of people today were doing monologues that just went on and on and on. Mine is only about a minute long and I shaved off a few sentences here and there while I was waiting in the hall. I was ready to go (and eager to perform my Steve Martin monlogue again!).

I went in and the girl was really friendly. She asked what I was going to be performing and I told her it was "A Public Apology" by Steve Martin. She perked up a little bit and was like, "Oh, I haven't heard that one!" so I was eager to take her on a comedic journey.

I started the monologue and she stopped me a few lines in and asked me not to address it to her, but to look above her. I said "No problem" and began again. As I was doing it, out of the corner of my eye I could see her covering her mouth and trying not to laugh out loud, which of course, was just adding fuel to the fire for me, and by the end she totally lost it and was laughing out loud.

After I was finished (and she finished laughing) she said she teaches acting classes in the city and usually focuses on scenes rather than monologues but she wanted to know where she could find that monologue because she really liked it and wanted to check it out.

We chit-chatted for a short bit and that was pretty much that. I must say, it was one of the best responses I've gotten on the monlogue so I left feeling really nice. Since it was an Equity audition and there were a ton of union people there auditioning I'm not getting my hopes up too much, but man I had a good time and I think she did, too.

Another successful ride on the E-Train.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

No wonder it's free

Today I made my way uptown a bit to stop by the Performing Arts branch of the New York Public Library. Basically, this is where they keep all of their plays, musicals, music CDs, et cetera. It's in the middle of Lincoln Center, so it was my first time walking past The Met (the outside of the building is a lot more modern than I pictured) and I also walked past Julliard.

After visiting the li-bary I made my way downtown to work and was a little early so I decided to swing by the National Museum of the Native American. Since there is no admission price, I figured it was about time I went and got cultured. It's this huge, old building that looks like it should be a library. There were armed guards outside and I had to put my backpack through an x-ray machine.

The guards inside said the exhibits were on the 2nd floor only (it's like a 5-story building). About a third of the 2nd floor was blocked off, so the exhibit was very limited. And not extremely diverse. Hey look, a pot. And there's another pot. And this pot looks just like the last two I saw. Here's a moccasin. And another pot. And more moccasins. And now we come to a pot.

I don't know what I was expecting, but I wasn't expecting The Great Pot/Moccasin-alooza Festival. Darn. And I really wanted to like it, too. I just wonder what goes on in the other 4 floors of the building. But I didn't want to get shot trying to find out.

Next time.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Not the Lead

Funny story.

The short film I mentioned in my last blog? Well, I didn't get it. Sure, it's not the first time I haven't gotten a part, but it IS the first time I got a callback and before I could even show up for the follow-up audition find out that I didn't get it. Ha!

When I left for work tonight I got an email from the director confirming my 4pm callback tomorrow and when I got home I had an email waiting for me stating that the part went to someone else ("but let me know if you do any improv in the area!" Sure. I'll get right on it).

I'm very much an "everything happens for a reason" kinda guy, so I am eager to find out what I'll be doing instead. Good times.

The lead

Sunday night after performing with Accomplice NY I had an audition for a short film. I usually make it a rule to not audition for non-paying roles (I gots ta pay the bills!) but this film sounded interesting, very dialogue heavy with some good interaction between the lead actor and actress and it was the lead role (cool!). It's a movie basically about two people trying to navigate through the ups and downs of a relationship. I could use the experience on camera and my Spidey sense was telling me it was something I should do. So we'll see how well my intuition is peforming.

At the audition the director Jason was really cool, and I had fun. The reading felt natural and I was pretty confident with how it went. It sounds like Jason has gathered a really good crew and he is in school getting his doctorate in media. He spends a few months out of the year in Europe working with film directors like Atom Egoyan. His girlfriend will play the female lead and she is currently on Broadway performing in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It sounds like it will be a nice production to work on. When I was in Chicago the only non-paying gig I took was working with Keith on the 48 Hour Film Project and it turned out to be one of my best Chicago experiences mostly because of the people I met working on the set. I am hoping if I am cast in this project it will be a similar experience.

Jason told me he really liked my performance and I would hear back from him this week. He said he and his producers would watch the audition tapes on Monday and Tuesday and I would hear something by Wednesday.

Last night while at work I got an email from him informing me that they would indeed like to bring me in for a callback. He wants me to re-read the scenes I read on Sunday night and possibly read a new one as well. I would be reading opposite people who have already been cast or are very high in the running. Right now we are trying to coordinate schedules but it looks as if it might be happening tomorrow afternoon before I head in to work.

I'm stoked about the opportunity and will definitely keep you posted on the progress and further developments. Right now I am excited and am hoping for the best. We'll see.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Diva Extras

I have returned to the world of doing extra work. If you're familiar with my adventures, then you know that I was able to get some background work on movies when I was in Chicago. I am glad to say that today I continued my legacy as an extra in New York City.

I found a post on Craig's List about a small-budget film looking for extras. They couldn't pay a whole lot but hey, it's something for my resume, and I love being on the set and watching how things run. The main requirement for doing extra work is having patience because you spend 99% of the day waiting and 1% actually doing something with the cameras rolling. So, if you don't mind waiting around talking to people and getting paid for it, then you may want to look into it.

The film I was working on today is called Devil You Know and we were shooting in this really cool club in New York called Fizz. The only info we got was we were supposed to dress formal/semi-formal as they were going to be shooting a scene that takes place in a posh restaurant. We were also asked to steer away from bright colors. So, I wore black pants, a black shirt, a black tie, and my black blazer. I was stylin.

Shortly after arriving, the director pulled me aside and asked if I would like to play the maitre d'. Hey sure! So there you go. All of a sudden I'm the freakin' maitre d'. Step right up! They brought me into make-up and touched me up a bit and then they sent me to the hair department so they could tweak me. That was cool. My first time on a film getting the whole hair & make-up treatment so that was cool. All of the crew members were really nice and friendly.

They had me stand in the entryway of the club, behind the desk. No lines, I just had to stare at the lady who walked in and kind of exchange looks with her. And they brought the lady onto the set and it was Lena Olin! I know, I know, you may be asking yourself, "Who's Lena Olin?" She's one of those actresses you see all the time but can't name anything she's been in. She's a very beautiful actress from Sweden and you'd never guess she was 50 years old. If you've seen Hollywood Homicide (Harrison Ford), Alias, Chocolat, Mystery Men or Romeo is Bleeding then you've seen Lena Olin. Anyhow, I was told I was supposed to be a snotty maitre d' and when she enters, just look at her and then look back away like I don't care about her. I was told she was going to look at me in similar distaste and when the cameras rolled and she came in -- Man -- she gave me a look like I just ran over her dog. We did it again and this time I looked at her like she just ran over my dog and then threw up on him. The director was really happy with it, so we moved on to the next shot and Lena just looked at me and laughed and it was cool. She was really nice. And that was our only exchange.

After shooting my scenes with her, I returned downstairs to a room where they had the extras holding. Everyone else there had all done extra work before, most of them more than me, but they had started to complain that things were taking so long for them to get on camera. The ringleader, some guy I worked with on the Court TV shoot, is one of those guys always name-dropping and talking about his connections and generally annoying everyone else. And he started having a fit when, after they finally used him on camera, he wasn't getting more time. He wanted more food, refused to be quiet when they called "Action," and in general was just being a big whiny baby because it was taking so long (despite the fact that we were told the shoot would last all day). He gave the girl from the crew who was our contact a really hard time and finally she told him that he was done and he could go home.

I didn't get it. He got screen time, he got free food, and he's done extra work before so he knows that when he goes to an extra call he'll spend most of the time waiting around to be called to the set. He would have brought me down if I wasn't having fun snickering at him behind his back.

All in all, though, a good day. We got done late and I spent some time on a fun set working with some really cool people. Who can complain about that?

You know....besides that one guy.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Subway Etiquette

I'm still pretty new here in the city and the thrill of the subway hasn't yet worn off, although I do have a question about rules of behavior while riding the train.

Let's say I'm on the subway and it's crowded. I am sitting next to strangers on either side and on my merry way. Soon, though, we are bound to come to a main stop like Penn Station or Union Square and it always happens. Everyone gets off the train except for the person sitting on my immediate left. So all of a sudden it's like I have myself a new buddy. We're just sitting there, complete strangers right on top of each other, our shirts touching, and there are like 20 open seats all around us.

Am I supposed to scoot down or sit on the other side of the train? The times this has happened it's not like I was sitting next to a smelly bum or a Scientologist. They seemed like regular people. I don't want to appear rude. I would sit next to you, but I'd really rather not. I loathe your body. That's not nice to send that message, is it?

But on the other hand, am I seen as a creep if I don't move? Who the hell is this guy and why is he still sitting right next to me?

But what if I was sitting down first and they were the one to sit next to me? Isn't the burden now on them to move if they so desire? That wouldn't offend me but I don't want them to feel like they are obligated to continue to sit next to me.

So far it hasn't been too bad, though, because I usually travel with a book and I can pretend that I am so engrossed with what I am reading that I don't even notice them. But one of these days I'm going to get up, sit on the opposite side of the train, and just glare at the person. And when they look up at me I'll just say,

"Nice fart."

Who'm I kidding, I won't do that. But man, I wish I was the sort of person who would.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Inquiring Minds Wanna Know

Yesterday as I was walking down 45th street on my way to the library I passed a very interesting scene. In front of a theater (I forget which one) there were two men clearly arguing over something with a cop. The men were both very nicely dressed, one in a black designer suit. I couldn't tell what they were arguring about, and as I passed I heard the man in the suit say (and I quote):

"...with the same teflon deference that they handle everything..."

I don't know what they were talking about or who Suit Man was angry at, but I just thought that was the coolest quote in the world. I'm gonna have to use that in something.

Monday, September 05, 2005

"Labor" Day

I love that it is called Labor Day, yet on this day everyone takes off work.

Things here have been going well. I have been working at the mutual fund company I mentioned earlier and that is cool. Working nights keeps me open to hit auditions during the day and they have a pretty flexible schedule. I am also still doing improv on the weekends for Accomplice NY. No shows next Sunday, though, as it is 9/11.

I'm getting a really nice tan line on my feet from my sandals. I'll take a picture of it to show you. I left my cord for my digital camera in PA so I won't be able to upload the picture for a bit yet, but as soon as I do, you'll know. You have been duly warned.