Friday, November 30, 2012

Audition: "Russian Type"

I'm not Russian.  And if I were left with nothing but my own opinion, I also would never have considered myself as a "Russian Type".  But thanks to my Facebook friends (who've commented on my look since I've grown a beard)...
I now consider myself to look like a Russian.

Why am I thanking my Facebook friends for that?

Because I recently submitted myself for a role in a commercial where they were looking for a "Russian Type"...

And I got called in for an audition.

It's the first time I've gone up to Hollywood for an audition in a year.  Exactly a year, as a matter of fact.  I just found that out when I checked my calendar today to answer the question, "How long has it been since I went up for an audition in Hollywood".  The answer was one year...

To the day.

That bit of numerical freakiness aside...

Did I mention that I got called in for a role where they were looking for a "Russian Type"?

I've submitted myself to a number of roles in the past year where they were looking for guys in my age range...

And I didn't get called in.

But then I got called in for a "Russian Type"?

The reason I'm making such a big deal out of this is because I think I've done a pretty decent job over the years of knowing my "type" -- based on the results of the stuff I've submitted myself for.  That is, I've submitted myself to a number of roles over the years, and have been called-in for a decent percentage of those submissions.  That would indicate that I've got a handle on my "type", right?

I suppose not knowing that I looked Russian doesn't mean I'm totally clueless about my "type".  It just means...

I wasn't seeing _every_ type.

So, maybe it's a good thing to listen to other people sometimes.  Not all the time, mind you.  That would be enough to drive you crazy.  But there are some good observations coming from outside of your own skull that may lead you places you wouldn't have thought to go on your own.

At this point, you may be thinking...

Looking like a Russian is one thing.  Sounding like one is another thing altogether.


Point taken.  Just because I now look Russian, that doesn't mean I automatically sound like one.  The beard doesn't come with magical powers.  Not that I'm aware of, anyway.

Which brings me back to your point...

Can I do a Russian accent?

Well, I may not be at the level of Meryl Streep...

Or of an actual Russian...

But I can do something in the vicinity of a Russian accent.

And for commercials, I figure "in the vicinity" is good enough to be in the room.

Speaking of actual Russians...

When I was waiting to audition yesterday, I overheard a few of the other actors talking to each other...

And they were actually from Russia (or some other Eastern European countries).

Either that, or they were method actors not wanting to break character.

At first, that did throw me off a little bit.

Not much... but definitely a bit.

It shouldn't have surprised me -- I just hadn't thought about who else would be waiting in the hallway.  So when I was sitting there, doing my best to relax and wait my turn, it was just a bit off-putting to know that the director would be observing me immediately after a number of actors who weren't "doing" an accent.

Then I reminded myself that there are many times when people are hired to "do" accents.  And in each case, I'm pretty sure there were actors from the actual country with the actual accent that auditioned for the part.

"It's not all about whether or not your accent is real", said the little voice in my head.  "It's about whether or not you're the best one for the role."


That's always the case, isn't it?  Unless, of course, your mom's the Producer.


Believe it or not, whether or not I get the job is beside the point.

The main point (see "the thing I enjoyed the most") about yesterday was the risk-taking involved.

I took my not-quite-Meryl-Streep-quality Russian accent into a casting office in Hollywood, and let 'er rip.  Win or lose, I took the risk.  I put myself out there.

And it felt good.

In the end, I think that's mostly what this is all about...

Taking risks.

(And feeling good doesn't hurt, either.)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Smoothest Audition Ever

This morning, I had an audition.  That's news in itself.  I don't get out much.  That's partly because of the nature of the biz, and partly because I've been a lot more selective in the past couple of years.

But the rarity of having an audition is not the main reason I'm writing.

I'm writing because this morning was the smoothest audition ever.

It should always be this easy.

This is not a humble brag.

No, seriously.

It isn't.

The main ingredients for this morning's "smoothest audition ever" had nothing to do with me.

The number one ingredient that pushed this one over the top was the fact that I was the only actor there.  I'm talking about nobody in the parking lot, hallways, or waiting room.


Tumbleweed City.

It's normal to be the only one in the audition room.  But it's also normal to have actors stacked-up waiting to go into the room.

This morning, it was just me and the friendly man running the auditions.

And that's the second ingredient to making this the smoothest audition ever.

The friendly man.

It's not that I've never dealt with a friendly person running an audition.  There have been plenty of "warm rooms" in the past several years.  But I don't take it for granted.

Thanks, Royce!

(That's the name of the friendly man, in case you hadn't guessed.)

The final ingredient is the fact that I've become more relaxed over the years.  Not 100% limp & lifeless, mind you.  Just... in a healthy state of relaxation -- with a slight edge (for good measure).

So, there you have it.  The list of ingredients for the smoothest audition ever.

With any luck, it won't take another six or seven years to repeat this experience.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

To Pursue, or Not To Pursue?

I don't tend to pursue any extracurricular activities on a daily basis. Not for long, anyway.

Is that wrong?

Rather than labeling it right or wrong, I'm just going to say that it is what it is.

It is who I am.

I do things in spurts. To deny this is to deny myself.

I'm not going to force myself to put forth daily effort on anything.

That's not to say I've never forced myself. I have. And the way I see it now, that was a mistake.

When I've forced myself, it hasn't made me happy.

Forcing myself to do things is... well... a chore. That's pretty much the definition of a chore. It's something you don't want to do. You're forced to do it. It doesn't matter if you're being forced by someone else, or by yourself. If you're doing what you don't want to do, it's a chore.

And who in their right mind would pursue a chore?

Isn't happiness the whole point of pursuing things? And if it isn't the point, then I don't see the point.

We pursue things because we're not satisfied. We want more. More stuff. More experiences. More... fill-in-the-blank.

We want more.

If we didn't want more fill-in-the-blank, we wouldn't be pursuing more fill-in-the-blank. We'd be content with the fill-in-the-blank that we have.

One of my problems, and likely the problem of many others, is that I do want more fill-in-the-blank, but I'm not compelled to take action. At least, not on a regular basis.

In itself, that's not a problem. I mean, not being compelled. So what if I'm not compelled?

The problem comes when I'm not compelled to do something, and I hear this little voice in my head telling me that I need to be working harder.

Who said that?

Who is that little voice?

Joe [shaking fist at sky]: Curse you, little voice!!

I have my moments. There are times when I'm compelled to take action every day. And guess what? During those times, I take action every day. And it feels great. It's not a chore.

But most of the time...


Which brings me back to my first point...

That's who I am.

I have to be happy with whatever my spurty action gets me. Well, I don't "have to" be. But I should be. Otherwise, it's a losing battle. If I'm not happy with the results of my spurty pursuits, then I'll never be happy.

How's that?

Let me explain.

Oh, please... let me explain!

I see two choices...

1. Force myself to work my ass off on a daily basis, whether I'm compelled or not.

2. Take action when I feel like taking action (see "Spurts").

Choice #1 is a chore. It's not who I am. It may give me better odds of getting to the mountaintop, but at what cost? And so what if I get to the mountaintop? What makes me think I'll be happy "up there" when the climb has been such a chore? And during the climb, I'm miserable because I've basically taken on another day job. I'm doing the current day job that I'd rather not be doing, and another day job that I'd rather not be doing in my "spare time" (which is no longer spare time).

Choice #2 is who I am. It may not get me to the mountaintop, but it will continue to get me a few things here and there. And along the way, I'm being myself. I have one day job, and the extra thing(s) that I'm compelled to do. And when I'm not compelled, I do nothing... except kick back and enjoy where I am... here and now. And if lightning strikes, and I do happen to wander my way up to the mountaintop, I'll arrive in a happy frame of mind, ready to enjoy the next climb. Or stop climbing. Whatever I'm compelled to do.

This isn't an exercise in figuring out what I want to do. It's an exercise in doing what I'm compelled to do... since I was compelled to write this morning.

It's also an exercise in communicating my choice... which is why I'm blogging instead of writing in my personal Journal.

This is not an exercise in telling you what to do. Your choice is up to you (see "duh").

My choice has already been made. I've made the mistake of choosing #1 at various points throughout my life. Now I chose #2.

Hopefully, I'll be wise enough to remember my choice, and not drift back into the trap of #1.