Saturday, January 31, 2009

An Early Candidate For Beating Of The Year.

Yesterday, I had an audition for a Swedish company that was looking for real musicians (I’m a drummer, btw) to play to a track in a commercial.

While signing in for the audition, an actor asked me if he could borrow my drumsticks when his turn came up. I told him he absolutely could, and he mentioned that another actor had denied his request, claiming his “agent told him not to lend out his sticks.”

I’ve talked about the misleading notion that actors are selfish and cutthroat a few times here, and then this winner had to go ahead and piss on my claim.

I don’t believe in karma, or “what goes around” nonsense. But I do believe that if I ever bump into this selfish J.O. at another audition, first I will do everything in my power to beat him out for the role, then I’ll meet him outside the casting office for a chat.

Happy rest of the weekend.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Three Bills.

300 entries. And my mom, guidance counselor, dry cleaner and parole officer said I’d never amount to anything.

My five favorites since number 200:

It’s Not Always Sunny In Los Angeles. I'd personally prefer to die via assassination. Relive the festivities here.

All My Rowdy Friends Are Here On Monday Night. Four days after my neighbor’s performance, I ran into my own fun in a more urban setting. Put the hammer down here.

Just Proving My Point. Which came first: the chicken or my rant? It’s a tie. Allow Spanky to demonstrate here.

Let Me Get This Straight. Mental note: get your facts together, then salute. Retract that flip-off here.

An Open Letter To My Dog’s Vet. Come to think of it, this could have been an all-visual entry. Go bombs-away here.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

It Ain’t Equus, But I’m In.

Regarding yesterday’s entry, it’s true: disgust can be kind of gratifying. And as much as I hate to disturb a bad mood, I have some good news regarding Broadway (you may return to your comfort drinking presently.)

Will Ferrell has opened a one-man show called You're Welcome America. A Final Night with George W Bush. It’s an intermissionless show featuring Will as George Bush, reminiscing about the last eight years. HBO will air a live performance in March.

Urge to kill: lessening. You’re off the hook for a couple of months, Broadway.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

People Who Could Use A Good Shoe Thrown At Them: An Ongoing Series.

They mess up, and I send ‘em a message with a Cole Haan to the noggin. Feel free to play along.

Today’s target: the folks who are single-handedly destroying Broadway by creating Shrek The Musical. Broadway used to be the bastion of original ideas. Now it caters to mouth-breathing tourists with nonsensical children’s movies converted into “art.”

Shrek the Musical? I got the left shoe reserved for David Lindsay-Abaire, who wrote the lyrics, and the right aimed at Jeanne Tesori, who wrote the music.

The folks who bring us Legally Blonde and Mama Mia on Broadway should consider themselves on orange alert, because they’re next.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Have Fun, Fatty.

“What do you guys think? I could wear a t-shirt,” I said, to my co-star and the director of my new film as we talked wardrobe on Thursday. “You should go shirtless,” they both replied.

Nice try, Shevin.

At that very moment, the Weekend From Hell was officially underway. I'd written a bedroom scene, and now I was going to pay for it with four days of beating myself into shooting shape.

I immediately went into DEFCON 4: no carbs, no fat, no sodium. When I wasn’t starving myself, I ate 84 scrambled egg whites. I hit the elyptical until my butt was in spasm. By Sunday morning, I had lost nine lbs., and my mind. I had hallucinations – and not the good kind. If I could just… make it… through… Sunday…

Then the director called Sunday night, and told me his camera was malfunctioning. Shoot postponed. The saga continues.

One thing’s for certain: my next film’s gonna be about a guy who wears a moo moo.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Act Now.

There is no fast-track to acting success. No microwave. No E-Z Pass. No 12-items-or-less lane. No more references I can google for this.

But there are people who can make you believe in yourself, find your voice and move you that much closer to your dream. One of my favorites is Jim Gleason. Stellar actor, rocker, way stellar acting teacher.

Before Jim became my friend, he was my acting teacher. He taught at a very prestigious acting studio here in LA, and now he’s on his own. Details here.

Jim’s methods are bonafide, because he’s also a very successful working actor, with roles on shows like “ER”, “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Cold Case”. He acted opposite Robert Duvall in The Apostle.

Here’s Jim in a nutshell: one day I was struggling with a scene in his cold-reading class. Jim was behind the camera, reading opposite me, when he stopped and sat me down. He said, “I know what’s wrong here – you’re nervous. Stop worrying what the rest of the class will think later when we watch this scene. All you need to do is have fun with this, and at the end of the day, when you get into bed and recap your day, you’ll think, ‘I was good today. And that’s all that matters.’ That’s how you should view acting. In fact, I think that’s how you should view all of your life.”

I haven’t been nervous once in an audition since then.

If you join Jim’s class, give him a big “helllooooo” for me. It’s our thing.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Nicknames People Have Called Me This Week.

Matty McShevin
Easy Money

Friday, January 23, 2009

Breaking Off Some Knowledge.

98% of the reason I created this blog was to give inspiration to anyone who happened to log on, especially young actors. 2% of the reason was to craft entries capable of causing young models to spontaneously disrobe. Whatever works.

My impetus to inspire came from my favorite magazine, Esquire, and its monthly feature entitled “What I’ve Learned,” in which an A-list celebrity recaps the dozens of life lessons he’s acquired. But even better, every December issue features “What You’ve Learned,” sent in by Esquire readers. I can’t get enough of them, and from time to time I’m going to list some of my favorites.

Oh, and before you think I’m just phoning in today’s entry with others’ wisdom, don’t. I’ve got T-Mobile, and I can’t get good service from my apartment.

Never slap a man who is chewing tobacco. -- Bill McCrea, 58, Austin

If you are going to break someone's heart, do it quickly and painfully. This will pretty much ensure that they never bother you again. -- Tom Chiesa, 29, Dublin, California

Never buy illegal drugs from someone who seems extremely happy --Dennis McCarthy, 54, Auburn, New York

The American paperboy has been killed by corporate greed and shady men in Honda Civics with loud mufflers. -- Christopher Marino, 36, North Caldwell, New Jersey

If you look like Paul Giamatti but carry yourself like you're Brad Pitt, most people will see you as Brad Pitt. -- Robert Jackson Jr., 46, Davenport, Iowa

When you're feeling your worst, your most insecure, write it down. I assure you that no matter how depressed you feel at the time, you won't believe how stupid you'll sound later when you read it back. -- Hugh Vandivier, 38, Indianapolis

There is an inverse relationship between the attractiveness of a couple and the amount of affection they show each other in public. -- John Schlaefli, 35, Clackamas, Oregon

The closer you get to thirty, the more you wish you were twenty and the more you act like you are forty. -- Mike Spezialetti, 29, Pittsburgh

A real midlife crisis isn't as amusing as the ones you see in the movies. -- Terry Welch, 35, Pensacola, Florida

When a kid says, "Smell my hand," it almost never smells like cinnamon. -- Brian P. Cleary, 47, Cleveland

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Festivus, Part VI.

As a Terp alum, acknowledging the state that’s home to the evil Dukies gives me the dry heaves. Unless that state lauds me with an honor. Then I cancel that chunder.

The Beneficiary has been accepted into the Carolina Film and Video Festival.

Since wrapping post in October my film has been accepted into six festivals. Let's stop for a moment to savor the notion of that, shall we?

Okay, moment’s over. This is Hollywood, and really, what I have done lately?

Ask me this Monday, when I shoot film number two. Yahtzee.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Special Guest Blogger: Richard Lewis.

“I was an up-and-coming professional comedian working in a tough nightclub in Florida. The place was jammed to see the Temptations; certainly not this unknown, opening act comedian with his subtle, Hebraic stylings.

Moments before the show, Jackie Gleason stumbled in with two blondes, and was escorted to a table right in front, just a few feet from where I was about to go on. I didn’t know whether to burst out of my skin in excitement or quit right then and there. For what seemed an eternity, I thought back and recalled vividly just how much impact this colossal talent now wending his way through the crowd to cheers and applause had actually had on my psyche as a small boy. How would I ever be able to suck it up, and actually be able to entertain him, this comedy god? Impossible.

No one in the sold-out room seemed to matter. It was just me and Jackie, and I didn’t stand a chance. How I felt about me depended now completely on how he felt about me, just as it had depended on how other authority figures felt about me. I hadn’t yet developed enough confidence to really command the stage, and I was a jellyfish inside when the manager shoved me back to life and barked, ‘You’re on!’

I bombed so fast and decisively I probably made a whole host of legendary dead comics turn over and heckle me from their graves. Almost as if my performance dramatized how little I thought I deserved his recognition. My funny bone just vanished.

Then, to make matters worse, for whatever reasons swirling inside Mr. Gleason’s head that night, he thought it appropriate to come up on stage. Rod Serling couldn’t have scripted a more surreal, torturous moment for a relatively new comedian in the business. The place went wild, but of course not one shred of the excitement was for me.

Here was the icon who had provided so much strength as I floundered in the midst of a family that provided more questions than answers. Here was the guy who gave us our weekly dose of togetherness. Now he was taking away my stage, and in effect making it impossible to get the crowd on my side.

And I never did. In fact, it felt like an eternity for me. Gleason finally left the stage and took his seat to booming adulation, and left me out to dry.

God knows Gleason’s legendary drinking might have led to his behavior. Curiously, at one point I considered giving him a huge benefit of the doubt, that he was actually trying to help me. You know, famous comedian giving young comedian some credibility by joining him on stage. But I soon had no doubt that he wasn’t too concerned with how I went over. The first words he cockily spoke into the mic during this ‘Twilight Zone’ comedic nightmare, in his ever-familiar, grandiose fashion were ‘Here’s how you do it, my boy.’

Somehow I had to think that somewhere down deep he knew that what he’d done to that young comic was pretty rotten. What he did sucked.”

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

And Another Thing, Haters.

Been a while since I bragged about my girlfriend, Los Angeles. Which, in this analogy, would make New York the ex-wife that wouldn’t shut the hell up, spent all my cash and never put out.

We Angelenos are spending this January week ensconced in 80-degree temps. Perfection. Yet, if we yearn to hit the slopes after toweling off at the beach, Mountain High resort is but 90 minutes away. Good snow, sexy young boarder chicks, no Bayonne accents (you heard me, Hunter Mountain).

L.A.: great city? Or the greatest city? I could go on. You know I will.

Monday, January 19, 2009

2008 Deaths That Really Sucked.

Sydney Pollack. Though he was mostly known as a top director – Out of Africa won seven Oscars – he was also an accomplished actor with great performances in Michael Clayton, Tootsie and Husbands and Wives.

Bernie Mac. He not only had an amazingly upbeat attitude, he was a responsible leader. When FOX was giving him an unbearably hard time about the content of his sitcom, he contemplated walking away, but stayed on to protect the jobs of the hundreds of crew that worked on the show.

George Carlin. He wasn’t only a comedic genius; his dramatic role as the neighbor in The Prince of Tides was a very complicated performance that stood out in the film.

Harvey Korman. He lived to make his “Carol Burnett Show” cast mates lose it. He died with a damn funny headstone.

Heath Ledger. An actor’s actor. He didn’t just deliver lines; he created personas.

Brad Renfro. He died within days of Heath Ledger, and was unfortunately overshadowed by him. But Brad was also a great, young actor who starred in what Tom Hanks lists as his favorite movie: Elephant.

Roy Scheider. Huge breadth of a career, including the lead in Jaws, an all-time classic.

Charlton Heston. Has the incredible legacy of being the guy people picture when they visualize God. But we shouldn't overlook his outspoken fight against racism in the 60s.

Anthony Minghella. Winning one big award (an Oscar) is quite a life achievement. But three of the films he directed (The English Patient, Cold Mountain, The Talented Mr. Ripley) accounted for 37 award nominations and 25 wins.

Paul Newman. Much respect for any actor who uses his celebrity to make the world a better place – his Newman’s Own food line has raised over $250 million for charity.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Nurse, My Euthanization Needle STAT.

Pit Bulls have now been banned in many cities across America, including Denver, Kansas City and Miami. They ban by breed, not deed.

And for good reason, right? I mean check out the bloodbath that occurs whenever my one-year-old nephew Spanky likes to plop himself down on top of Pete. Vicious, I tell you.

Friday, January 16, 2009

This Entry May Be Used As A Floatation Device.

Whenever flight attendants drone on about safety features, we tune out. Jutifiably. I mean, when you’re flying anywhere in the continental U.S., you’re a heckuva less likely to land in water than you are to become a charcoal briquette.

That said, the next thing you know, your plane is taking a bath in the Hudson River.

My neighbor mentioned to me yesterday that she flies all the time, but never actually listens to flight attendants’ monologues. Then I told her that I actually did listen recently. Even better, I watched it, during a flight on the Greatest Airline – Virgin America – because Virgin took the time to create (or I assume asked their ad agency to create) a video that would be fun and unique and get passengers to pay attention. They run it on the personal TVs at the beginning of every flight.

Crafting, Jerry. Crafting. And now we’ll all be prepared in the event a flock of Canadian geese go kamikazi on our engines after takeoff. Click above, and enjoy.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Festivus, Part V.

Ten weeks old, and my film has already made it Honolulu. Meanwhile, the closest I’ve ever come to the Big Island was a swig of Hawaiian Punch.

The Beneficiary has been accepted into its fifth festival – the Honolulu Film Festival – and it looks like the monkeys are going to have to make room, according to an email from the folks at the fest:

"Your film was one of only 35 films selected from among hundreds of films submitted from over 30 countries around the world. In recognition of your achievement, all official selections will be honored with the Gold Kuhuna Award for Excellence in Filmmaking. In addition, top prizes for the Best of Category Winners will be announced and presented at the closing night awards ceremony."

And a big mahalo to you too, my friends.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

B-Level Celebrities Who Have Pet My Dog: The Final Chapter.

No marginal celeb series would be complete without a two-handed scruff-rubbing by a one-hit wonder.

And that’s just what Edwin McCain did, before going onstage at a corporate event in Playa Del Rey. Petey was there with me, and was thrilled with the sweet show of affection from an extra-cool musician.

That said, in all fairness to Edwin, his one hit is still one more than I have. On the other hand, I suppose it’s still preferable to have zero hits than to have your one hit be “Puttin’ on the Ritz”. Actually, I’m sure of it – I’d rather be me than Taco. And while it’s probably a real hoot to boast about Taco petting your Rottweiler at a corporate event in Stuttgart, I’ll leave that to the creator of Inside the Actor’s Wohnschlafzimmer.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Time To Answer Our Reader Mail.

Rachel from Valley Stream, NY asks:
“I am LOVING your blogs................are you brilliant or something?”

Well, Rachel, I don’t like to throw around a word like “brilliant”.
You see, I’m just a guy who attended a state school, then moved 3000 miles so he could pursue a career with the worst odds imaginable and witness the poverty line first-hand, while choosing to increase his stress-level tenfold by documenting his struggle daily in a public forum.

So the answer to your question is yes, yes I am.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Rest In Peace, Sir.

My friend Jett Schaefer passed away the other day.

I blogged about Jett recently. He appeared on the cover of many magazines, the last one featuring a story about his battle with cancer. It hit the stands on Tuesday. He died Wednesday.

My biggest regret when my father passed away in 2007 was that I didn’t deliver the eulogy at his funeral. It was difficult to wrap my head around his sudden death, and I was a little overwhelmed. What I would have talked about was what we could all learn from his life – the appreciation he had difficulty showing people – and if we learned not to make the same error, then his legacy was strong.

Jett’s life taught me the importance of pursuing my passion. He pursued many, successfully.

The last two years have made me realize my least favorite aspect of the age of technology: deleting friends’ numbers from my cell phone. It took me a month to finally erase my friend Chas. Jett is proving just as tough.

I read a great quote the other day, and I’m not sure if it completely applies, but it meant a lot to me and made me feel better: “The life we plan is never as interesting as the life we end up living.”

Thanks for being my friend, Jett.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Yesterday, Oprah had on a sex expert named Susan Berman. Now, I’m no ninja when it comes to the the dos and don’ts of getting naked, but even a rank amateur knows rule #1 when it comes to this particular subject: don’t take sexual advice from a Jewish chick.

I’m really looking forward to future episodes featuring bald hair stylists and English orthodontists.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Real Los Angeles Hero.

As a fella with a serious aversion to slow people (physically slow, not mentally) I almost tinkled myself when my checkout guy at Trader Joe’s (far end of this pic) performed the coolest time-killer ever.

He took my 12 quarts of milk and two boxes of mixed berry granola cereal from my basket and put them directly into bags. No scanning and placing; scanning and directly into bags.

In all the years I’ve bought groceries, I’d never seen this done – a simple move that cut my time checkout in half.

Nominate this cat for the Nobel Prize prontissimo. And alert all your cashier friends on Facebook, Plaxo, LinkedIn, etc. to follow his lead. We’re gonna make 2009 the most glorious time to be alive.

Happy weekend.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

It’s All In The Details.

There’s something to be said for truly crafting your work. Like when Doritos tosses a couple of flavor packs in with each bag so that we can decide if we’re feeling Buffalo Wing or Chile Limón. Well played, fellas.

Chuck Lorre, creator of one of my favorite shows, “Big Bang Theory,” is a Jedi craftsman, posting a message after each episode that’s non-related to the show, but always hilarious. He only puts it on screen for two seconds, figuring if he’s going to burn calories creating it, you oughta take the trouble to pause and read it.

Here’s what the one pictured above says:

On a recent trip to Las Vegas I watched a grim, beer-bellied man row a gondola filled with tourists through the “canals of Venice.” This was his job. At some point he had to have filled out an application and undergone an interview process to determine if he had the necessary skills to be a pretend gondolier eight hours a day, five days a week. As he glided past me I found myself imagining him walking into his house at the end of a long day, tossing his keys into the cheap ceramic bowl by the front door and sadly calling out to his wife, “I’m home.” To which she would cheerfully respond, “How was work today, sweetie?” But instead of saying “fine,” which was how he answered that question every other day, he paused and considered the day’s events, and all the events that had led him to this point in his life. Then he crossed over to the hall closet, took down a shoe box from the hat shelf, removed a small caliber pistol that he’d bought for home protection, and immediately blew his brains out all over the badly-framed photograph of him rowing Barry Manilow. Walking home from my brief reverie I found myself filled with compassion and respect for this stranger of the inland sea. Compassion for his quiet desperation. And respect that he chose not to take his cheerful wife with him.

I don’t know about you, but Vegas always does this to me.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Festivus, Part IV

Perhaps you’ve heard of me. I’m really big in South Carolina.

Well, at least my film is. The Beneficiary victory lap takes a pit stop at the Beaufort International Film Festival. The film portion of Kaleidoscope Film, Food & Fine Art.

Film, food and fine art? So only the art is fine, Carolina? Watch your step.

Actually, it’s an honor. Thank you. Possibly see you March 5th through 8th.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

See Dave Die.

We’ve already seen him run, now see him tackle lung cancer.

Tonight, "Scrubs" makes it’s debut on ABC with two episodes, and my friend, Dave Goryl, plays a man laid-up in bed throughout the second episode. He only has one line, but it’s hilarious.

Tune in see the lighter side of emphysema. Tonight at 9:30.

LATE AFTERNOON NOTE: Dave found out today that his episode will not air tonight, but instead later this season. Patience builds character. Carry on.

Monday, January 5, 2009

My Ten Favorite Movies Of '08.

I didn’t see everything that came out, but I did see plenty. Here are the best, in order:

1) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Critic Rex Reed summed it up for me, calling it “not only one of the best films of the year, but one of the greatest films ever made.”

2) Slumdog Millionaire. Beautifully edited and directed. It’ll make you just want to be great.

3) Tell No One. French thriller that would be nominated for an Oscar had it been shot in English in America.

4) Milk. Sean Penn, who claims he doesn’t love acting, shows that doesn’t really matter; this character is ten million miles from his real persona, and he nails it.

5) Tropic Thunder. Went to this one not really wanting to see it, and was shocked. The best comedy of the year.

6) The Bank Job. Very underrated thriller, featuring the most underrated action star: Jason Statham.

7) Iron Man. Superhero movie of the year. Robert Downey, Jr. is the most charming actor around.

8) The Visitor. Terrific independent film that shows that no matter how old we are, we can change our lives for the better.

9) Boy A. Best drama no one saw. A British young man tries to assimilate back into society after being imprisoned for killing a fellow child ten years earlier.

10) The Fall. Tarsem, an amazing visual director, shows he can direct actors just as well. It’s a real guy’s film that also looks beautiful.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

One Chick Who Ain't Feeling The Economy.

Glanced over at Bucks McGee here, writing in a checkbook on Sepulveda yesterday.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Guilty. Of Working Another Holiday.

New column on Lycos. Someday, I hope an aspiring actor will subsidize his rent with a few wiseacre lines about me:

Thursday, January 1, 2009

My Resolution.

This year, I’m going to dedicate all of my free time to helping those less fortunate. Absolutely.

Though… I just heard Emily Blunt is newly single.

Okay, so I’ll dedicate part of my time to pursuing Emily. And the rest to those less fortunate.

However, Emily does live in England, so I’ll have to allow for travel time. But besides that, the less fortunate people have got my full attention.

And Emily is hot, so I’d better make sure to remain in tip-top physical condition by hitting the gym every day. And I’d better allow time to accompany her to movie premieres. And press junkets. And visiting her on location at her shoots. Plus birthdays and holidays. Meeting her folks. Vacation time at our spacious Italian villa by Lake Como, where you know George Clooney’s going to insist we come over to barbecue.

Well, whatever time’s left over after that, those less fortunate are getting 110% of it.

Happy New Year.