Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Second Class.

I knew from day one of my second-level improv class that it was partially-designed to weed out the casual students. And five weeks in, some have bailed. Yes, it’s crazy difficult, but if it had beaten me, I would have been crushed, like my genitals after the forklift accident. I pee in a bag now.

What makes improv such a challenge is that it contradicts all of my training. For example, actors are never supposed to mime during auditions; meanwhile, improv is mime only. (If a scene calls for you to remove your shoes, you only pretend to do it – a huge no-no in an acting auction.) Screenwriters are never supposed to use expository language; improv absolutely requires you to use it. (i.e., “I’m Superman, why should I have to pay you, a hooker, when I’m saving the world…”) Etc., etc., etc.

My goal is to become a five-tool player – the Robinson Cano of showbiz – adept at comedy, drama, auditioning, writing and improv. Until then, as I near my next graduation show, and the classes become more intricate, I’ll deal with the stress. Perhaps I'll handle it Kevin Bacon/Footloose style: lots of aggressive tumbling at an abandoned grain mill. Yeah.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Pilot Shoot: Day Two.

What was my motivation? Fighting off the urge to curl up and nap while shooting on this, the comfiest set ever. I drank six Red Bulls and wore shoes two sizes too tight, just in case.

Touching one last time on my apparent fascination with bathrooms, this one had an automatic freshener built into the toilet. I think there should be a constitutional amendment requiring this contraption be installed in every men’s room across the country.

New friend/fellow actor Seth, draining an 18-footer.

I know it’s a tired cliché when actors talk about the love-fest that went on with their cast mates (please punch me in the dick if I ever describe one of mine as “generous”), but I truly enjoyed working with this bunch more than any before. We had an instant chemistry the first time we rehearsed, and there may actually be a logical reason for this: good casting. We were all comedic actors with improv skills and similar makeups, so we spent each day just zinging it. I could barely keep up with them.

Very sad that it’s over. Keeping the fingers crossed that it’s not permanent.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Pilot Shoot: Day One.

I’m glad someone took this shot of me, because after inhaling that dry-erase marker all day, I thought I may have hallucinated that I booked the role.

The location was a top management/production company in Beverly Hills, whose floor between offices was an incredible 9-hole putting green. Do I like getting paid to act, and in-between scenes do some putting? Yes, please.

As much as I wanted to walk away with the sink from the Wii commercial, this, located in one of the production offices, would have been a slightly more prized souvenir: an original Montreal Forum seat. I would never disrespect you with frisbees, girl.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

We Open On A Mushmouth.

We had a great rehearsal for the pilot last night, and it’s time to knock this one out of the park. I spent so much time this week learning my lines that I feel beat up, like Charlie Sheen's wife.

With my brain completely occupied and an early call time approaching, I’m giving myself one simple piece of direction: try not to sound like Dikembe Mutombo with a mouthful of crackers.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Stay Gold, Willie.

I shot a scene for a webisode at my friend Suzan’s house last night. We played a married couple that bickers and no longer has sex. (Doubly redundant, yes.)

Suzan is married in real life to former Chicago Bear wide receiver Willie Gault. Willie was the brains behind the Super Bowl Shuffle. (That’s him, #83.) And hanging in their hallway is the gold album the song earned.

So to recap: Willie is the only man in history with both a Super Bowl ring and a gold record, and as a result, the ability to make me feel completely emasculated whenever I'm in his presence. Well played, Gault.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I’ve Got Good News That’s Bad News.

I’m not a fan of formal attire. Though I did learn a useful tidbit as I was getting ready for my business-guy audition on Monday: never iron naked.

The commercial with the slim shot of me booking? I booked it.

But, it unfortunately does shoot on the last day of my pilot shoot, so I respectfully told them no thanks.

I’ll try to end this entry on a positive note: heck yeah for me – I booked my eighth commercial, and third in a month. I won’t get to shoot it, or get paid for it, but I suppose an actor could have a worse dilemma. And… and…

Eh, I tried. The whole thing still stinks like an egg salad’s butthole.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I Asked. I Received.

So there I was yesterday, sitting at a light on Santa Monica Boulevard, wondering what I might blog about today, when along came this – the blogger’s equivalent of a triple-double: dude out for a stroll in his boy-short undies with a security device still attached to the back.

What good fortune, I thought. Until I realized later that had I known that the universe would be listening to me at that particular moment, I could have asked for something even more substantial, like peace in the Middle East. Or a new jet ski. Valuable lesson learned.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Big-Boy Clothes.

There may be one positive result of the current economy, besides finally putting an end to the travesty known as women's professional sports: persistent actors move one notch up.

At least that’s the thought I used yesterday to motivate my ass from my nap on the living room floor (don’t judge ‘til you try it) to stuff myself into a suit and head up to an audition.

Motivation was necessary, because the odds are against me on this one. I rustled up this audition on my own, without my agent, and all that was required from me when I got there were some still shots. I would have preferred to act and have more control over my chances, but that wasn’t an option. Plus, I knew going in that the commercial shoots either Sunday or Monday, and I’m already shooting the tail end of the pilot on Sunday. So even if I book it, it’s 50/50 I’ll even be available.

It’s a sliver of an opening for me to run through, but I knew that other actors in the same situation would have flaked on the whole thing. Or for that matter, they’ve just dropped out of the business altogether because times have gotten tough. So thank you, economy. You are like a roach bomb for actors, and I love it.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Table Read. No, Really.

Reality show producers. Nobody has ever been worse at their job, in any vocation – not even the people who work at Home Depot selling Christmas trees.

These jamokers slap together “television” so patently offensive that it’s my pleasure to portray one of these skunks in the pilot presentation I booked.

I attended the table read for the show, and it made me even more excited to be a part of this project. My cast mates are hilarious, and we instantly bonded. The producers and director really knew their stuff, and fed us lots of candy (for which I man-hugged each and every one of them.)

In my excitement and haste, however, I forgot to snap a photo of the actual read, so the above innocuous shot I took of the production company’s exit will have to do for visual aid (my friend Beth has a theory that without photographic proof, an event never occurred.) I must say, we are talking about some fine Beverly Hills craftsmanship right there. Nothing but top-shelf glass doors for my sitcom. Let’s see a show like “Studs” beat that.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Is Three Too Many?

From a casting call this past week:

Project Type: Film
Role: Actor missing a finger or two
Gender/Age/EthnicitiesDescription/Note: Male or Female / 18 to 70 / All Ethnicities.

Friday, June 18, 2010


What does it feel like to take charge of an audition? Flat-out incredible. Like I-will-crush-you-like-bugs incredible. Like I have the power to affect the tides with my mind, and cause women to spontaneously disrobe.

Last week, a great casting director called me in for an audition, and after I read for the part, the director handed me a larger role and gave me a few minutes to step out of the room and learn it. When I came back in, I just crushed it. I hit the jokes. I nailed the direction. He then had me improv, in character, and I made him and the casting director laugh. The result: I got a lead role in a pilot presentation that’s going to be shot next week.

Just typing that gave me a semi.

It’s a sitcom about the inner-workings of a reality-show production staff, shot in the scripted, mockumentary style of “Modern Family.” The show has a first-look deal with a great production company in Hollywood as well, and I couldn’t be happier.

Now, to celebrate. Do I go with a nice meal and a beverage, or burn cop cars Laker-championship style? Let’s go one from column A, one from column B: medium-rare sirloin and a Molatov cocktail. To go.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Warming Up The Cage Match Audience: A Blackberry® Video.

Cage Match, the improv show I attend every Wednesday night at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, is entertaining as hell. But the real insanity starts before the teams even hit the stage, when the very caffeinated host, Harrison Brown, warms up the crowd to Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher.”

Click and take a look (Facebook users click here). This is one dude who’s made the decision to steer into the crazy skid.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Weekend At Matty’s 3.

I realized yesterday I hadn’t posted about one more event from last month’s jam-packed weekend. So this entry isn’t 100% fresh, but hopefully worth the read. The blog equivalent of the day-old bread rack.

I hang with a very tight bunch here in L.A. We spend all the big events together, including a bris or two. Nothing bonds faster than watching your friend’s son get his peep sliced.

There are about 30 of us total, and for some odd reason more than half of us were born in May. So we celebrate the birthdays all at once with the May Baby Party.

My friends Jeff and Beth hosted this year’s get-together. Jeff, who has some kickass cooking skills, manned the grill and served up extra yummy food, while everyone else went pot luck crazy. It was the best.

Is it always easy here, pursuing my dream? Ah, no. But it’s a hell of lot better having a support system that’s honest and considerate and more fun than a pants-full of ferrets. Thanks, guys.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

More Out-Of-Context Thank-You Notes I’ve Recently Written To Casting Directors.

  • I tried using a medium once, but he looked suspiciously like the guy who had just installed my muffler.
  • This ain’t the Seroquel talking when I say you are my favorite casting director.
  • I just drank two 5-Hour Energy bottles. My new bedtime is next Thursday.
  • Definitely one of the top-10 getting-strangled-by-a gas-pump shoots I’ve ever been a part of.
  • For years, I’ve been speaking to the people in my head. It just never occurred to me I could use them to fight crime.
  • You know those hangover pills? I just threw up a bunch of them and feel much better.

Monday, June 14, 2010

What The Crap?

There's nothing wrong with stretching the truth. We stretch taffy, and that just makes it more delicious.

But then there’s just a flat-out cover-up. My agent’s assistant called me Friday about a Saturday audition. She didn’t know who the client was, only that it was for “Purple Casting,” and I needed to dress nice casual.

The next day I arrived at a plain, white-walled space off of La Brea. And when I asked the three people sitting behind the sign-in table what this audition was for, they wouldn’t tell me. All I eventually found out was that this was for a print ad.

So I have nothing to worry about, right? Besides the fact that the audition took place on a Saturday, when normally this entire town shuts down for the weekend. And that it was held in a nondescript location. Or that the casting company chose a color to conceal their identity, like Michael Madsen’s character in Reservoir Dogs before he cut that cop’s ear off.

What the hell kind of nefarious operation have I gotten myself involved with? The Catholic Church? BP? The New England Patriots?

I’ll take any and all suggestions.

*Side note: babysitting over the weekend went off with few hitches. I did have to change a diaper, but I also learned an important lesson about getting my nephew to stop crying: just smack his sister on the butt and he’ll laugh like hell. It's fool-proof, and kills two birds.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Dammit – My Unicyle Is In The Shop.

High-brow casting call sent out this past week:

We will be searching the country for those excellent, entertaining & undiscovered acts which are the trademark of this television event. Dance groups, street performers, Latin groups, drill teams, singers, comics, big bands, choirs, animal acts, magicians, illusionists, impersonators, Doo Wop performers, cyclists, circus performers, jugglers, tumblers, drum lines & any act that will make the phone ring. This telethon is the last television event of its kind. We are always looking to present the utmost in family entertainment...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Speaking Of Art.

The beach used to be a many splendored thing. That was before BP and that Van Der Sloot jerkoff hit the coasts like Wile E. Coyote on an Acme missile.

Luckily, L.A. is letting us to take that badness and rinse and spit. Walking Petey along the strand yesterday, I caught my first glimpse of Summer of Color, a gigantic art project designed to transform 30 miles of lifeguard towers into works of art for the next four months.

Panels have been affixed to the towers to turn them into Partridge-Family-bus-style funky works of art, and the best part is, the artists who created all of it are physically-challenged children and adults. Even the visually-impaired got involved, using specially-textured paints. I think it’s astounding. I wish it were permanent.

L.A. is by far my favorite city on the planet. There’s no convincing me otherwise.

Weekend’s here. Movie tonight with the boys. I want A-Team. They want Karate Kid. But the real chance of disaster occurs tomorrow night, when I babysit my niece and nephew. I ask that you all think happy thoughts and help me avoid having to change a diaper. Bless you.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Third Good Movie Of The Year.

I fully accept my intellectual limitations. I didn’t attend an Ivy League school (sorry, Mom) but I didn’t exactly attend clown college either (sorry, Wake Forest alumni.)

So I'm at least qualified enough to recommend a super intelligent flick. And the new documentary, Exit Through the Gift Shop, is just that.

The doc is shot mostly by Thierry Guerra, a dude from France who owned a vintage clothing store in Hollywood in the 90s. After Thierry’s mother died when he was ten, he was quickly scuttled off to live with his grandmother, and left with few memories of his mom. This resulted in an addiction to capture on video every moment of his own children’s lives, which then grew to an obsession with recording everything in his own life.

Back in France for a visit, Thierry stumbled one night upon his cousin preparing some art to be stuck on buildings in their hometown. Thierry tagged along, and that was it – he was hooked. In return for permission to shoot some of the most infamous street artists of the last decade, Thierry became their accomplice, looking out for cops and holding ladders if need be. And that’s just where the film begins to get really interesting.

See it. You’ll love it. By the way, the first and second good movies this year are Hot Tub Time Machine and Iron Man 2. And if you think I’m showing my state-school degree with those picks, whatev. I guess I can solidify by suggesting you kiss my white butt.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

So Jesus Walks Into A Diner In Hollywood…

And doesn’t live up to the hype of the whole second-coming thing when he gets a Monte Cristo to go, and splits.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Free Up Some RAM Space In Your Brain.

All of the trivial nonsense I’ve spent years retaining could be worth multi millions of dollars.

Just typing that gave me a semi.

More about that (the nonsense, not the semi) after you answer this: what change did UPS make in 2004 involving their delivery trucks in New York City that helped them decrease their carbon emissions by 30%?

Don’t read past this paragraph if you want to try to answer it on your own. In the meantime, I’ll scroll back: my friend Greg heard about a new game show debuting on ABC this summer called “Six Minds,” in which six friends work as a team to answer very intricate questions for a chance at big money. I was part of Greg’s team, and the UPS question was one of many we were asked as we auditioned for the show over the weekend.

What’s nice about the show is that there are no douchey tasks to perform – just really tough questions, and you really have to work as a team to answer them. One of the guys with us just happened to have read an article recently that gave him the answer to the above question, which happens to be this: the right turn theory. UPS rearranged all of their drivers’ routes so that they only made right turns, thus eliminating a third of the time, gas and emissions taken up by waiting to make left turns. It was a pretty brilliant suggestion made by one of their employees.

By the way, I looked it up, and UPS is now implementing this plan in many more cities across the country, saving them over $600 million per year. And it's not a bad idea for us civilians to do the same at horrendous intersections wherever we live. (I'm talking about you, Sunset and Beverly Glen.)

If you answered the question correctly on your own, take a few seconds to high five the people around you. If no one is there, high-five yourself. Well played.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Let’s Play Seven.

You'd be amazed how much I want to see a Boston team to win a championship. Assuming you'd be amazed by "not one f'n bit."

Thank you, thank you. I'll be here all blog.

The Knicks are my team, so I really couldn’t care less about the Celtics, or for that matter the Lakers. But I am a huge fan of traffic-free freeways, and whenever a Laker playoff game is going on, people in this town stay home and watch it. Which means I can take pics like the one above, at 75 mph during game one of the NBA finals. That was Thursday rush hour, normally a shitstorm for commuters.

So, the Celtics tying up the series last night is damn good for me, and means I’ll be able to get out and get stuff done for at least three more games. Anybody need dry cleaning picked up? Dog dipped for fleas? Carton of smokes? Call me on the celly.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Worth TiVo-ing.

Whenever I watch the MTV Movie Awards, I feel three pounds lighter. Probably because it bores the shit out of me. And I’ve had a big lunch.

But I may have to give it one more shot tomorrow night after Aziz Ansari, this year’s Movie Awards host, showed up before the improv shows I attended Thursday night and tried out some material he wants to use.

One story he told: while out at a club, Aziz sat at a table next to 50 Cent, who ordered a grapefruit and soda, and when it arrived, 50 Cent said the greatest thing ever: “Why isn’t this purple?”

Aziz realized 50 Cent has been so rich for so long, that he doesn’t even know what a grapefruit is. He probably just thinks all fruits have fruit in their name: grape fruit, apple fruit, pear fruit, etc.

I say record the award show, and watch Aziz only. Unless you’re looking for a heavy cleanse.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Somebody Got An Owie.

To the mom of the out-of-control child actor that ran around the casting waiting room like a maniac yesterday until he impaled his chest on the corner of this bench, I offer up a heartfelt, belated, happy Mother’s Day.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Let's Go To The Video Tape.

How am I going to spend my summer – besides turning my doorway into a gym, like I learned from an infomercial last night? I’ll be trying to convince the guys in the New York improv group Britanick (rhymes with Titanic) to get their butts out here and work with me. The Facebook seduction has already begun.

Click above, and check out this piece called Academy Award-Winning Movie Trailer. It’s inspired. (Facebook readers click here.)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Once Again, I Get Schooled.

Many of the great achievements of the world were accomplished by tired and discouraged men who kept on working. Even if their line of work involved creating improv sketches based on the word “taint.”

Last night I went back to the grind, with my first class at the next level: improv 201. I’ll spend the summer at the Meta Theater, working on my skills. While it’s great to be move up to double-A ball, it’s some very heady stuff.

My new teacher, Will McLaughlin, came highly recommended, and last night he didn’t disappoint. He’s smart, wants us to really do well and cuts right to the chase. In trying to emphasize the most important element of improv – basing everything in serious reality instead of sheer craziness – he gave as an example not to set a scene in a unicorn BJ factory.

It was arguably the most favorite thing I’ve ever written in a notebook.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fiesta Hermosa In Hermosa Beach: A Blackberry® Photo Gallery.

“Everybody wins!” says the sign at this game, if your definition of a W is paying two bucks for leftover Christmas crap no doubt tainted with lead.

My attempt to scare Petey straight at the petting zoo backfired as he watched the animals get fed yummy food all afternoon.

Much respect to the lead singer of this Led Zep cover band for going the extra mile and shelling out $11.95 for the Robert Plant home perm.

My nephew being drawn to this particular tattoo was just a solid reminder that ¼ of him is not Jewish.

Someday, I want to have so much F-you money that I can buy all of this guy’s dolphin and turtle-themed pieces. Then, knowing that he’ll have become a complete sellout with no ambition to produce new stuff, I’ll smash them all with a claw hammer.