August 31, 2006
Or... "How I Know I'm Old."
We live across the street from a school.
And 99% of the time, that's cool. But there's this week or two right after the new school year begins during which I get that I'm way old now.
It's before the kids are beaten into submission by the teachers and their rules. It's while they still believe that they own the planet (and, c'mon... they do). And it's when the last bell of the day sounds... and they (the newly-licensed children with their newly-gifted cars) hop in and REV everything there is to rev.
And it's loud here for about a half-hour.
Where is my cane?
August 30, 2006
Why why why would this be an important edit to the original photo?
(From LA Observed: Maybe it's just me, but she looks more credible already.)
Man, this world is so effed up sometimes.
And then there was one.
I was waiting to post about this, because I was sure that at any moment there would be NONE, but it seems we've reached the status at which we'll be holding for a while.
When we had to vacate for the tenting thingy a couple of months ago, our cats, plants, and the shrimps went over to Aunt Dawn's for three days. A few days after we brought everything home, we noticed one of the little shrimps had died. It was the clear one that Keith had named "Shallow Hal" (when it lost its red outsideness--not sure what to call it since it wasn't a shell or anything). We figured that shedding had weakened its immunity and the shift in location twice in one week was too much for it to take. No biggie. We had read that these guys live to be 100 or so and we never know how old they are when they get put into the ecosystem anyway.
Okay. So that was late June. Now it's late August and we're down to one, lonely shrimps. We started out with five in March. As each one has died, the remaining guys have feasted on the corpse (*shudder*) and I've tried not to think much about it. When it got down to the final two, I was thinking, "Either you guys are both going to die because we have a toxic little ecosystem that's killing you all, here, or one of you is about to have the place to yourself... because you've been offing your competition in a very bizarre game of Survivor."
Since this one guy is kicking around just fine, it seems, I now dub thee: KILLER.
August 28, 2006
Great Date Night
What fun! Keith finished up at his casting internship early today so we went for a walk to Houston's (where our waiter was very good at the gluten-free caretaking and the sushi was DELISH), browsed around the bookstore (and bought two books on podcasting), and then hit a movie we've been wanting to see.
And, I swear to you, if you like AMAZINGLY well-written and beautifully-acted indie films with nary a continuity error, goof*, or glitch (not that that's WHY anyone should love a movie, but DAMN does it make a good movie suddenly GREAT), Little Miss Sunshine is the one for you.
Fantastic work by the entire cast and crew! Really phenomenal stuff from the writer and directors, for sure! Michael Arndt is a scribe to watch (How the HECK is this his first feature film credit?!?) and Dayton and Faris... if you ever need me, holy crap give me a call. Kudos** to Kim Davis and Justine Baddeley for a fine job casting a quirky, heartwarming ensemble film.
BEST actor of the bunch (although this was a really tough call for me) has to be Paul Dano, whose character has taken a vow of silence. What a challenge for an actor to convey so much emotion and character depth nonverbally! Remind me to use his brilliant example when trying to explain the value in doing a non-speaking principal role to a reluctant actor. Simply beautiful work going on here!
And I think that's what is so fantastic about this film (a film sooooo much longer*** than the typical film I'll sit through... ever). It is simple. The characters and their circumstances are so very well-written that the talented actors couldn't help but bring them to life in such a way that we care very much what happens to each of them in every scene. But for me to credit the script (and then the acting) with this film's worth is to discount the fact that these directors clearly knew what they were looking for, in choosing this project and these actors. The stars aligned on this film... and that it only screened at Sundance (and wasn't even put in any award-yielding screenings there) is shocking.
At $8M, I figure the largest expense of this project was cast salaries. Even if everyone worked for scale (which I doubt), that's a pretty large chunk of an $8M budget at the full SAG basic codified agreement rates. I have not cast a film at this level (yet) and hope that, when I do, it'll be something that looks this good on the big screen (and that endures, upon reflection days later, which is the true test of a fantastic movie sometimes).
Got news today that one of the films I cast last year has officially hit the crapper. The director and writer (who were co-producers) have parted ways and dissolved their corporation, thus ending all hopes of getting this fully-cast and formerly-funded feature film back in gear before year-end. This is the third feature film of my casting career to get pulled off life support. And while that's not a majority by any stretch (especially when many of the films I've cast that DO shoot end up screening at festivals and winning awards), it's still one of those reminders that I am at the beginning of my casting career, still misjudging some projects from time to time.****
Anyway, a nice walk home after the film, a stop by the 7-11 for some Yellow Tail pinot grigio, and a little kissy-pooh from my honey and my date is just lovely.
Okay, so go see Little Miss Sunshine (or at least view the trailer and/or teaser here and go see the film tomorrow) and root for the best little pageant kid ever.
* Despite the fact that people behind us***** in the theater mocked the "10 East" sign in one of the shots, that particular item does not a goof make! Anyone who paid actual attention would've seen the ARROW beneath the sign, proving that the family's VW bus was on a road that had entrance ramps back to the 10 (presumably in both directions) after having experienced car trouble (and a meal) at some random exit on the way to the coast. Since no one TURNED in the direction of the arrow, the appearance of a sign marked "10 East" isn't a goof!******
** How, in three hours of Emmy awards*********, was not ONE single casting director thanked? Keith and I discussed this on our walk to dinner and he said, "Well, at the level these actors have reached by the time they're winning Emmy Awards, they're not really interacting with casting directors anymore." I said, "Fine! Thank the FIRST casting director who gave you a shot! Thank the CD who got you your SAG-eligibility! Thank a CD who cast you in a role that led to where you are today!"
*** I'm all about 82 minutes including credits. But on this film, I knew it was long. It felt long. But every time I thought, "Hmm. This film is long," I countered that with, "Okay, what would you have cut so far?" And the answer to that question was always, "Not a damn thing!" Usually, I can come up with many things that could've been cut, by the time I'm having that conversation with myself while watching a movie. Thing is, I couldn't even get that far into the "self-conversation" place because this film was just that good (and so well-balanced too... never got heavy-handed or too sad or too wacky, although it walked the line on all of that).
**** Hell, at least I got paid for casting the film that just crapped out. A producer on a feature film I cast nearly THREE YEARS AGO still owes me $300. I guess I should be glad I got *mostly* paid, but DAMN, producer! Write me a frickin' check, wouldja?!?
***** When Mary Lynn Rajskub showed up in her second or third scene (of four or five small ones), the lady behind us started squealing, "OMIGOD! It's Chloe from 24! OMIGOD!!!" And she couldn't stop saying it. Every time the actor came on screen for the next four minutes, this woman said, "See! See that! It's Chloe! OMIGOD!!!" and then some. I wanted to turn around to her and say, "Yes! And did you see that? Steve Carell is on The Office! And Bryan Cranston? He was on Malcolm in the Middle (and before that, on Seinfeld. Do you remember the "anti-dentite" episodes?!?)! And that Toni Collette, did you know that she's not really American, even though she sounds it?!? OMIGOD!! These are ACTORS and they're doing their JOB! Would you SHUT UP now?!?" But I did not.**********
****** Yes, at this point, I'm really OVER the people who were behind us at the theater.*******
******* And the people who were across the restaurant from us last night when we dined at Pacific Dining Car after Steve's Emmy party.************ Holy crap, there are some people in this world who believe that everyone else exists to please them, serve them, and thank them for the privilege of having been demanded to do so. I am so over seeing these people in my life lately. ********
******** Yes, I know that what we see is what we live (and it's all about what we choose to see), but I'm just venting about this stuff because truly 90% of what I see in my life is freakin' brilliant, amazing, wonderful bliss that makes me happy to be alive and living my dreams.
********* I have a review of that to come too... just not today.
********** Seriously. I need a drink. I'm really not in a bad mood even a little bit. I promise.
*********** Which was lovely. More on that later too.
I think it's time I set the record straight.
I grew up believing that Peter Frampton and The Bee Gees were the original recording artists of songs like "With A Little Help From My Friends," "Getting Better," "Good Morning, Good Morning," "Polythene Pam/She Came In Through The Bathroom Window," and "Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight." It is all the doing of the 1978 feature film CLASSIC Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. (Notice I did not say "fault".)
(Further, I grew up believing that The Beatles covered songs like George Burns' "Fixing A Hole," Steve Martin's "Maxwell's Silver Hammer," Alice Cooper's "Because," Earth Wind and Fire's "Got To Get You Into My Life," Billy Preston's "Get Back," and the brilliant Aerosmith's "Come Together.")
None of this makes me a bad person.
And I still think Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is one of the best movies ever.
Edit: Oh, and I should probably mention that I didn't hear "Hey Jude" until around 1987 and, until around that time as well, I thought Siouxsie and the Banshees originated "Dear Prudence."
August 27, 2006
Hall of Shame
Okay, so this is something I could never actually put in my column (nor is it something I could ever really do*), but I must rant.
Several actors in the past few weeks have done the unthinkable. No... not no-show an audition or turn down a role after having made me nuts with all of the "I MUST have this opportunity... PLEEEEEEEASE" crap. I'm talking (look at all of these steps): submit on a project, audition for a role, get a callback for the role, attend the callback, book the gig, sign the contract, rehears the part, AND THEN FUCKING BACK OUT, DROP OUT, FLAKE OUT (i.e., leave the project--and us--hanging).
That's always going to happen. You can't MAKE people stay true to their word or honor a commitment to a low-budget project when a better opportunity comes along. It's the nature of this business and--while it's not in tune with MY value structure--it's just something I'm going to have to get used to.
Okay, so what I want to do is this.
Y'know how I have a project gallery up at my casting website? And I put up all of these headshots of actors who are cast in these projects? I think I want to create a "secret" page that is basically a bunch of headshots of "actors who have screwed me over by punking out on a commitment after I have gone to the mat to get them cast in the first place, even though we had many other options--which now, of course, we don't have because they put us in a bind instead of turning down the project in the first place (or not auditioning to begin with)."
I cannot tell you how much WORK a low-budget indie film CD has to do in terms of RECASTING roles, when actors who can't honor their word get "better" offers.
And y'know what? Good for them. I'm glad they get better offers, b/c they sure as hell aren't going to be invited back to work on anything I'm casting. (Big talk... but of course, if the producer who hires me tells me he or she wants so-and-so and that actor is on my shit list, I'll have to suck it up and do my job, b/c that's what I'm paid to do, dammit.)
Okay. Rant over. Back to work.
*Or COULD I?
August 25, 2006
I recently learned that my column gets 35,000 hits a week. How is that possible?
And why aren't I rich?
Or at least a blogebrity?
August 24, 2006
I have been trying to post this entry for like 12 hours. (But it's been a way busy day, strangely.)
So, I woke Keith up at 6:30am (after having paced the floors for like an hour, jonesin' to get out of the house and exercise) and made him walk a mile with me to Denny's (for a reward made of eggs) and then, of course, a mile back. Uphill. Awesome. (Love this energy I have lately. Whatever.)
When we get home, Keith checks his email and has an audition for Medium*. New CD. New experience. Detective. One line.** Go get 'em!
So, I go to bed eventually. I lie in bed, doing Sudoku puzzles ("saving the world" as I call it, when I'm trying to turn my brain off and get tired enough to seal up***), and I hear Keith flipping through channels, sure he's clearing his mind of crud while reviewing the sides for his role.
At some point I begin recognizing dialogue coming through the TV and floating into the bedroom. "People put you down enough, you start to believe it." "I think you are a very bright, very special woman." "The bad stuff is easier to believe."
OMG. My beloved Marine Republican Badass**** is relaxing/prepping for his audition by watching a ROMANTIC COMEDY! Oh, I love him so much more just now.
*I promised myself I wasn't going to make fun of her teeth. But, OMG, can I at least make fun of her wardrobe? WTF?????
**At Industry RSVP earlier this week, an actor asked about the purpose in saying yes to one-line roles (and, of course, how to move up to bigger roles). I said, "What's the purpose to saying YES to an offer of a one-line role on a series? Um... it's a co-star credit on your resumé, a blip on your demo reel, and a couple grand once residuals are paid out. Duh!" Man! Actors can be sooo shortsighted sometimes!
***Back in my WUOG grad advisor days, I hung out with a good many cool kids (undergrads) who had lots of fun sayings, one of which (at last call) was, "I'm sealin' up." It was accompanied by hand gestures mimicking the closing of the inner eyelids cats have, displaying a severe need to go home and get to bed.
****If you'd like to see Keith's latest rockstar headshots, clink here. HAWT. Yeah, baby!
Busy Weekend for Films I've Cast
While three films I've cast are SHOOTING this week, I noticed there's a whole lot of activity surround four shorts I've previously cast.
In case you're going to be headed to the Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films or if you're in Atlanta or Dubrovnik (!!!) you can catch these great little films as follows:
Friday, August 25th, 2pm, 2 Dogs Inside at the 12th Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films
Saturday, August 26th, 10:30am, Queen of Cactus Cove at the 12th Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films
Saturday, August 26th, 5pm, The Moor at the 12th Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films
Phew! That's a big weekend! Y'all have fun!
August 23, 2006
Two for Two
We've bought lottery tickets the past two rounds. We've won both times. Granted, it was $3 on the last one, $2 on this one, but that's still a pretty good little winning streak, as far as I'm concerned. I like the win... even the little win.
August 22, 2006
All Your Snakes Are Belong To Us
So, after visiting Chip's entry (with a clip of THE LINE from Snakes on a Plane), I went to YouTube to see if I could find a clip with the type of audience reaction WE experienced, here in Hollywood. Y'know, with people jumping to their feet, screaming with delight... and I mean a hundred or so folks doing that at once.
What I found instead was this clip... which I adore. Seriously awesome.
My Cat Is Insane
I was just enjoying leftovers from Tana's and Thwok came up while I wasn't looking and stole a piece of freakin' broccoli. Not lobster. Broccoli.
Oh, and Deb, I got your emails. I have had NO time to reply to about 90% of my email lately. It sucks, being so swamped, but I hope to catch up on everything one of these days. No, really. I do. *sigh* Oh, and Susan, you can email the script and I may have time to skim it this weekend. Not sure yet.
Doin' the best that I can.
August 20, 2006
I just ate five rice cakes.
Do I have an eating disorder?
Compare and Contrast
Deep thoughts while I'm doing the "brain work" behind this week's column...
Separated at birth, no? (That's Sally Struthers, BTW.)
(Seriously. Listen to them with your eyes closed.)
But far more disturbing, in my search for these images was this:
August 19, 2006
Beauty in Everything
Have y'all seen this?
that homes should come with as many dishwashers as there are residents. That way, we could all just get along in our chosen methods of loading up the damn things.
That is all.
This is bitchin'.
I like this post much better than that bitchy, geeky last one.
I Give Up
I've blogged about this before. I have nearly 10,000 contacts in my Entourage and I can now (somewhat) sync those up to my Palm Pilot, but I lose all sorts of labels and can only have ONE street address, birthdays don't get merged into my calendar anymore, etc. So, it's not perfect. It's more like a backup than a dual-platform tool anymore.
After reading a post on Lifehacker about syncing data, I revisited my address book issues and imported all of my contacts into a new Gmail account. Which I now cannot use. Yup. There are so many contacts that the Gmail server times out when I try to open any one of them... oh, and all of the information was imported into the NOTES field, with the exception of the primary email address, on each of these nearly 10,000 contacts I imported. Way to go, Google.
I've read the comments at that Lifehacker post and I've looked at the links readers have provided there. Nothing is clicking for me.
HOW CAN I BE THE ONLY PERSON ON THE PLANET WITH AN ENORMOUS ADDRESS BOOK WHO CANNOT SEEM TO FIND A SIMPLE WAY TO SYNC MY DATA?
I am so pissed off at Palm Desktop for losing its way. It really was the PERFECT solution for me for so so so so long. Damn Handspring corporate buyout and priority shift to "smart phone" BS rather than what I use my Treo to do: ORGANIZE MY LIFE. I DON'T CARE ABOUT RINGTONES!! I DON'T USE IT AS A PHONE!
One of the major flaws I've found in Entourage, since using it as my primary source for contact information (as much as I hate having to look someone up on my computer instead of on my handheld if I want to see ALL of their contact info... grumble grumble) is that it will LOSE email addresses. The email addresses will show up in the preview pane that lists ALL contacts, but when the selected address is in the individual preview pane, the email address is MISSING. And, therefore, when I sync Entourage to my Palm (with Entourage overwriting Palm's CONTACTS file), I lose email addresses in my Palm... which I use for EMAIL ALL THE TIME!
Only when I open the individual contact file in Entourage in a new window does the email address magically reappear on the contact's page... and I have to resave the contact in order for that "change" (a change that occurs by OPENING a contact???) to "hold"... but then some other contact loses ITS address in the preview pane... and I'm guessing that's because I've reached the technical limit to the number of email addresses the damn program can hold in its brain at once.
So now what?
I am soooooo over this! Ugh!
PS--I should mention that the reason it's a problem that addresses "drop out" of the preview pane version of Entourage is that when an email comes in from a contact whose address has "dropped out," the message gets marked as junk and goes to my spam filter. And when I go to "add sender to contacts," Entourage can't seem to notice the person already has a contact file and CREATES A NEW ONE. Duplicates are oh so much fun when one is dealing with a kazillion contacts. Also, the contact file LOSES the link to message history (which I really do love using, when I'm trying to find where on Earth I've filed my last exchange with an agent with whom I'm working on three different projects).
August 18, 2006
Let's Go Again!
Do you know that feeling? When you've heard about a new rollercoaster opening up at your favorite adventure park and you stand in line for days so that you can be the first one to ride the new rollercoaster?
And then you get into the rollercoaster's front car, strap in, and nearly piss yourself over how very very very excited you are that this moment has finally arrived?
And then the rollercoaster ride begins and you scream, laugh, and hop up and down in your seat the whole time, simply giddy over the experience?
And then the ride comes to an end and you want to go again... right away?
Do you know that feeling?
That perfectly describes Snakes on a Plane. I am totally not kidding. Fucking greatness.
Big thanks to Rockstar Susan Lee for the photos that aren't the one of the poster, which was captured by Keith's phonecam.
August 16, 2006
My Ego (or "How Babes McPhee Made Me Realize I'm a Lot Like Samuel L. Jackson")
I have a healthy ego. (I also have a very fragile ego. I'm a lot like everyone else in that respect. Catch me at the right moment and I am my biggest fan. Catch me at the wrong moment and I hate myself more than anyone would ever freely admit they hate anything. Ever. I'm no different than anyone else, in that respect.)
But most of the time, I think I'm a freakin' rockstar. I know I don't save lives, inspire people to be their best selves, or provide shelter for the homeless, but sometimes I give good advice to actors, cast great movies, and bring a little laughter to those around me. That's gotta be worth something. And I choose to decide it means I'm a pretty damn cool chick. I could be worse. I have been worse.
So, on Saturday, Babes McPhee mentioned something about my healthy ego. I was like, "Huh?" And she said (referring to my MySpace profile), "Hell! You list yourself as one of your HEROES!" And I stopped and said, "Well, yeah! I mean, if I don't think I rock, how can I expect anyone else to do so?"
And then I thought about how, when listing my favorite authors, I always list myself. Why? Well, if I don't LOVE my writing, how can I expect anyone else to do so? (And seriously, I love reading my writing. I read EVERYTHING I write. Yes, I get lots of email from actors who say they've read everything I've ever written and I always think, "Nah... you haven't. Only I have." But only I know how much I've truly written--and I've read it all. That makes me my biggest fan.)
So, what's wrong with that? (Except that it's totally not socially acceptable to SAY you love yourself.) Not a damn thing.
Of the various lies that actors tell--there are no small parts, it's a privilege just to be nominated, working with Woody is a dream come true--there's one that Samuel L. Jackson simply cannot abide. "Everybody thinks it's cool to say 'I hate watching myself onscreen,'" says Jackson. "Well, that's b_______. We're in a narcissistic business. Everybody likes watching themselves." Jackson, 57, proudly sees every one of his movies in a theater with paying customers. If he's channel surfing and spots an old performance, he puts down the remote. "Even during my theater years, I wished I could watch the plays I was in--while I was in them! I dig watching myself work."
True, that. But here's the great part.
If watching oneself is, as Jackson claims, all actors' secret pleasure, Jackson distinguishes himself from his peers in two ways: he cops to vanity, and his vanity has a track record for dovetailing with popular taste.
So, here I am... "copping to vanity." And there's not a gawtdamn thing you can do about it. Sssssssss! (7pm, Beanery. Yo.)
August 15, 2006
T-Minus 67 Hours
It's almost time.
*Serious epiphany post to come about how much like SLJ I am and how Babes McPhee made me realize that on Saturday.
August 12, 2006
12 of 12 for August 2006
Click any photo for a larger version. Enjoy!
8:33pm: I'm up and editing the 12 of 12 to post. Woo! Another day in the life of me. Hope you enjoyed it!
August 11, 2006
2006 Book Tour
In 2004, I spoke at the Drama Book Shop in New York, University of Georgia in Athens, and yourAct Studios in Atlanta. And I was only "on the road" for a few days. I think I now want to do an even bigger road show this time around, speaking at more colleges and doing more book signings.
This is all Faith's idea, BTW. She's helping me cook up a way to come see her in New York (where she'll be living for the next year or so, doing her new radio show for PRI) and the more speaking I do, the longer I can stay. Hee!
Anyway, I'm thinking I need a rockstar New York "producer" type for this tour (looking like October-ish). Anyone out there with contacts (or willingness to make some) interested in helping me put this thing together? (Good news... I should be an even easier "sell" on the lecture circuit due to the success of my books and the festival heat for the films I've cast.)
All right... let's hear it! Who's into it?
August 10, 2006
Several times in the past week or so, I have been thanked for being so flexible. I thought I might have a column topic here, but the more I think about it, the more it's just a blog entry. So, here it is.
Being flexible is EASY. But, based on the number of times I'm thanked for being flexible, I'm guessing most people AREN'T flexible, and that's why it's so novel that I am. I look at it this way:
Our plans hold up and I see you tonight. Or. Our plans fall through and I see you some other night PLUS I now have free time I hadn't counted on.
Sure, I could get pissy about what I *could've* been doing, had I known our plans wouldn't come together a week earlier or so, but whatever! It's SO no big deal.
One producer was making me crazy a few projects ago, really WANTING to be right and really NEEDING to assign blame for things not having gone a certain way. "If you had just done THIS..." "Why didn't you do THAT..." and so on. I kept responding with, "Okay, cool. How can we move forward to get the results we want NOW?" And that really frustrated this producer.
When the "You should have..." stuff kept coming, I finally said, "Great. How do we go back and make that happen NOW? Oh wait, we CAN'T. Can we move forward?" It was beyond silly to even HAVE the conversation, but truly some people can't just MOVE ON... they need to point out flaws and make sure EVERYONE knows something went wrong somewhere.
That's a really dick move, BTW. Let me tell you about the EXACT OPPOSITE way of dealing with someone's mistake and how much COOLER it makes you.
Keith shows up for the wardrobe fitting on the set of CSI: Miami earlier this week. The team recognizes him from last season and one woman says, "Oh, hi, Kevin! It's so great to see you!" He hugs her and thanks her for the warm welcome, says it's wonderful to be back and let's get started, etc.
Later, she notices someone else calling him Keith.
"Wait! Your name *IS* Keith, isn't it?!?" she asked, ashamed. "Don't worry about it," Keith said. "You knew you meant me. I knew you meant me. Why do I need to make you feel bad just to be right? I mean, we both knew you were talking to me every time you said 'Kevin,' so why point out your error?"
I love that shit.
Why, when I can just be flexible, would I need to make sure the world knows I've been somehow inconvenienced?
There is NOTHING inconvenient about my life. I love every bit of it. And if someone says, "Oh, this is Bonnie, our casting agent," I don't feel the need to say, "It's casting director." And if someone calls to say, "I'm not going to make it to dinner tonight. I'm so sorry," I say, "Okay. Cool. I'll miss you," and head out for a meal with someone else... such a happy surprise!
I've got no time to go out of my way to try and make people feel bad. And I worry about people who DO. No... wait... I don't worry about them. I avoid them. I've got no room in my life for that kind of drama. Life's too damn short.
August 9, 2006
Here's What a Geek I Am
I waited up to see (like watching Daylight Savings Time hit) the MySpace rollover.
Exhibits A and B (screen captures 25 seconds apart) here:
Yes, really, I thought something magical would happen when the place hit 100,000,000 members.
Please, really, scroll down to the next blog entry to see something MUCH more interesting. And, really, if you want to think I have a brain of my own, come back another time, when I've blogged something of substance (HEY! It could happen).
It's OK, GO.
Brilliant use of exercise equipment. Best part is the last 45 seconds, if you're too busy to watch all three minutes.
Challenges: Watch and try not to smile. You can't. And. See if you can try to NOT focus on ONE of these guys more than the others (and when you realize you're focused on one of the guys, see if you can try NOT to focus on another specific one of them). Again, you cannot. Oh, and if you think you can stop watching after just one time, you will be wrong. I promise. Brilliant.
Who needs a VH-1 show called The Surreal Life when you can show up to your month-later birthday dinner after-party and meet up with La Lohan in the same place where Ms. Dunst showed up on your birthday and somehow--in this room--be the belle of the ball? Surreal indeed.
Snakes on a Plane screening at 10pm on the 17th. Email Keith if you want to join in. Woo!
PS--I would be really, really GOOD at Big Brother. Keith, on the other hand, would be really, really good at The Amazing Race.
PPS--You're doing the 12 of 12 Saturday, yes?
August 7, 2006
A-One... and A-Two... and A-...
What does it mean when you are such a pro and are so well-liked on the set that, the VERYNEXTTIME a paparazzo shows up in a script for the new season, you get the call?
Not the notice of the breakdown. Not the audition. Not the straight-to-producer session. THE. CALL.
Yup. My baby shoots his SECOND CSI: Miami co-star role on Wednesday. This one never went out on the breakdowns, never auditioned. Just came to him. BECAUSE HE GETS IT. (Oh, and this will be the 100th episode, so that means another kick-ass wrap party... this one right away.)
And, considering this news follows quickly on the heels of word that Keith is currently on avail for a frickin' Superbowl commercial, it's all just confirmation that IT WORKS. Showing up and being a pro WORKS.
(Review Keith's journey as an actor here.)
Again, honey, I am proud of you. Kick ass again. And again. And again.
I just have to say THANK YOU (okay, *scream* THANK YOU) to Deborah Cresswell, Mitchell Fink, Keith Johnson, Kathryn Joosten, Shon Little (and OF COURSE Miss Jodi), Blake Robbins, Faith Salie, and Rachel Scheer for making my column rock this week.
I owe y'all.
August 6, 2006
I Love Gimlet Night.
In addition to teaching one another the meaning of cray cray and discussing hard-hitting issues like the marketing strategy behind Snakes on a Plane (and whether John Cusack needs to be traded in for Seth Green on our "must" lists, seeing as the over-40 thing is not as cool), we do things like...
...deconstruct the job of the publicist who reps someone like Mel Gibson or Star Jones, play live CLIFF and realize the EASIEST thing to do is decide who goes off the cliff (and that we actually will choose a live-in partner with whom we'd like to have sex--since maybe that could happen down the line--and, when one of the choices is someone who is dead, we'll choose that person as a roommate, since, y'know, he'll be gone in a minute and we'll have the place to ourselves), talk about serious effin' career moves that have made strong women out of us all, realize we're all a little bit Charlotte and a little bit Samantha, AND...
...most importantly, decide that being named an onomatopoeia is a really good idea (see: Thwok) because if all people were named by the sounds they made (use your imagination), we could always choose our exact right partners. *ahem*
Loves me some Gimlet Night.
August 5, 2006
I Have Amazing Friends
Seriously. I got this great email with a question to answer in my column, only my info would be, oh... about a decade or so old (sheesh! Has it been that long since I worked [other than in the casting department] on a TV show?), so I sent a quick email to a few of my closest friends who have been earning their livings as TV actors in the past few years (and some for much, much longer than that) to get their perspective for this article.
Holy crap, have they come back with some AMAZING information--very graciously sharing every little detail about what it's like to be in their shoes--which is going to be FANTASTIC for this column! Y'know, it's pretty damn cool when you can shoot a few lines through the Internet and be rewarded with more bountiful sharing than you had ever expected you'd receive in return.
It's a nice little reminder of the fact that WE CHOOSE TO SEE what our world looks like... especially after the rant I posted two entries below this one. I must've just been reading some "bad stuff" to get all out of whack. What a blissful reminder it is of what goodness is all around, to just ask for help... and get it!
Sometimes Stumble Upon sends me to some great places.
Watch this video of an obsessed cat. Best part might possibly be when the son (I'm guessing) tells the mom (who is figuring they'll have a huge water bill), "Hush! I'm gonna put this on the web." Heeeeee!
August 4, 2006
While Keith and I were on our walk tonight (and I was bitching my ass off about some things I'd read recently that were really pissing me off), I finally GOT it.
I will always feel like this every now and then, as long as I continue to dole out advice for actors just starting out.
Just like the grad student who teaches Freshman English to a hundred
eager required-to-attend 18 year olds each fall, I will end the semester having really REACHED about twenty of 'em (and hope that they remember to thank me for having taught them about the wondrousness of the language and its power), having passed-on-through the majority of 'em (as they head on to whatever else it is they want to do with their college careers), and having flunked a couple who I know I'll be seeing again next year, as we do it all again.
And when the new school year starts up, I'll occasionally feel the need to say, "Don't y'all REMEMBER this from when I went over it last year?" But I can't, because almost none of these students were IN this class a year ago... and even if a few of them were, they sure as heck aren't BACK here because they GOT all of this the first time around.
I guess I get pissy about it from time to time because, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, sometimes I just answer questions by providing links back to where I've answered the same questions before. And before that. And before that too. And sometimes even if someone emails me and says, "I've read EVERYTHING you've ever written and I love your advice," that same someone will end the email with, "But I just need to ask you ONE QUICK QUESTION." And that question will be nothing more than that actor's inability to READ what I've written and APPLY it.
Just because I didn't say, "And you, Chris, this last part of this week's column is especially for YOU," doesn't mean that Chris can't assume that it might somehow apply... and not just in general terms.
Just needed to vent. I love what I do. I don't mind answering a zillion questions. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE that people feel they can reach out to me with questions. But what I REALLY love is when someone shows me they GOT what I meant when I said something, and asks something that BUILDS upon that concept, challenging ME to help them get better information.
But there will always be a freshman class. And I have to be okay with teaching the fundamentals over and over again sometimes. Or I have to not be a teacher. And that's not my style, now is it?
August 3, 2006
Ode to a Great Intern
I have a great intern. Seriously. She's amazing.
And she's been coming up to Los Angeles from San Difuckingego every week or so to organize my headshots, purge the duplicates, make sense of my postcard files, and generally just hang out in the floor of my home office and do the stuff that is NOT fun about having a casting business.
She occasionally gets to do stuff like run camera, read with actors in auditions, and sign in a zillion actors while reminding them to have their headshots ready to hand off as they enter the room... and I've given her access to the What Were You Thinking file, which she seems to enjoy.
But for nothing more than a thank you, some gluten-free snacks, and whatever it is an actor can learn by seeing thousands of headshots and hundreds of auditioning actors, Julie endures my bizarre taste in TV shows, provides love to the kitties, and tolerates Keith's Ninja obsession. AND she lets me sit around in my jammies doing my job like I always would (whether it's fielding pitch calls on a new breakdown or checking interest and availability on a name actor... or something much more boring like meticulously organizing my audition sides).
I am so thrilled with how much more organized my casting files are now, and a MAJOR part of that is Julie. So, thank you, Julie. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. You have been so very awesome to spend time with--and that's just a way cool bonus!
PS--Casting announcements on Three Poems within hours. Woo!
August 2, 2006
Musings after 3am.
There are friends you love.
There are friends who love you.
And there are friends with whom you engage in mutual worship.
And that last one is the best kind of friendship there is.
August 1, 2006
Cliff: Quick Bonus Round
Mel Gibson's publicist
Tom Cruise's publicist
Star Jones' publicist
PS--Speaking at IndustryRSVP tonight. Woo!
Wow. Is it really August already? Holy cow, this year has flown by. (I know, I know... people always say that sort of thing. Blah blah blah.)
Found this cute thing on Toothpaste for Dinner. Hee. Cute.
Casting is almost finished on Three Poems. Whew! Also almost finished with No Mercy casting. Name offers are all that's left on that one, really. And I think we're almost finished with The Masquerade too. Woo! It's been an exhausting few weeks, doing all of these projects at once. Definitely ready to get back to the "calm" life of only working like a small Jamaican family.
I sometimes forget to notice that my life is very different than it was this time last year. I used to have to spend quite a bit of time introducing myself to agents and managers, giving an oral resumé before they'd even look at a project I was working on. Now I have coverage at all of the agencies and I get pitch calls at a surprising volume. And I know more about the industry than I did a year ago. Sometimes I forget to notice that and be grateful for all that I've learned. AND I need to remember that there will be that much MORE stuff I know next year that I don't know right now.
That's all pretty dang cool.
Thanks everyone, for playing CLIFF! It's fun, no?