Saturday, October 30, 2010

Not A Treat.

Of all the weekends to lose a cat named Pumpkin, this one really sucks balls.

Let’s all keep an eye out for him the next couple of days. I’ll start by checking out all the neighborhood Mongolian barbecue restaurants.

Friday, October 29, 2010

There Will Be Hugs.

Thank God the Yankees won the World Series in ’96, ’98, ’99 and ’00, or else I’d never get to cherish the four embraces my dad gave me during his life.

And that cuddliness must have rubbed off, based on the slew of messages I received yesterday from friends who saw my video game commercial running during “Ellen.” Now that it’s on nationwide, I figure it’s time to share, so click above, and by all means – get emotional.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

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

  • It’s the role I’ve been preparing for (well, eating pizza like a pig for) my entire life.
  • Excellent casting, by the way – drinking was my major in college (and clubbing was my minor.)
  • For the record, the two-year warranty on my cigarette boat has already paid for itself.
  • I think angling for a breakup in Home Depot is way tacky. It’s more of a Ross Dress for Less situation.
  • I oughta put “bungling jobs” and “making women cry” under the special skills section of my résumé.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Great Escape.

What’s that movie where the terrorists want Bruce Willis to die but he’s making it very hard? Now I’ll never get to sleep.

Moving on. The only thing better than seeing a classic action flick is emulating one. This came to mind lately because an actress friend of mine, who's on the verge of taking on a 9 to 5 day-job, is worried about missing out on auditions.

She’s in luck, because just yesterday, while working on a writing assignment (I can’t divulge quite yet) I had to escape from an office in Santa Monica to get to a callback.

I now present “Sneaking Out in Six Easy Steps”:

Keep the car running. Or at least at a meter within steps of your office. And watch the clock. The LA mayor’s got an expensive coke-whore habit and relies on your $55 parking ticket to fund it.

Keep your pants on. Ever wonder where the long t-shirt, swim trunk and Teva look went? The place where I’m working. But I needed to be in a suit for the callback, so I went fancy slacks with a casual shirt inside the office, and kept the dress shirt, coat and tie in my car.

Give ‘em an eyeful. I went with the foolproof “I tore a contact lens today but my eye doctor can quickly fit me in this morning, and he’s close by” bit. I went method on it too, wearing only one lens and risking hurling my Cheerios until I could even things out in the bathroom on my way out of there.

Don’t be bashful. Be prepared to flash the unmentionables while changing shirts on Wilshire Blvd.

Hello, Clark Kent. Nattily clad and ready to just crush it.

Home free. I changed, drove, auditioned, drove back and changed again. Time elapsed: 45 minutes.

Bing, bang, boom in six easy steps. I won’t recommend step 7: blogging about it, seeing as you could get royally screwed if certain people stumble upon it.

And yet I wrote about it anyway. I regret nothing.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Once Again, Random Shots I’m Deleting: A Blackberry® Purge.

The muzak version of “Careless Whisper” I heard in Von’s supermarket on Sunday morning turned a bad song into a hate crime.

In my defense, I’m a drummer, which gives me a certain inclination toward music with a little more muscle. And that's also why, when I came across Scott Weiland’s dressing room, someone almost had to call maintenance to scrape pieces of my brain off the ceiling.

I love the Stone Temple Pilots, who were shooting a video next door to my Alteril infomercial. Looking at Scott’s dressing room made me realize that a huge rock star still puts his pants on one leg at a time. Only his pants are leather and two sizes too small, and his dressing room is tastefully decorated while mine is a men’s bathroom.

Monday, October 25, 2010

I’ve Always Said This Blog Is Only 99% Poop Jokes.

Sometimes I have this urge to push someone in front of a train, but then I realize that's something I should obviously never share on a blog.

But I am proud I shared my feelings about my friend Chas, after he died in 2008. I’ve had more responses to that entry than anything I’ve ever written. Old friends of Chas, unaware he’d passed away, will Google him, read my blog, then send me very sweet messages, thanking me for writing it. Truth be told, it kind of wrote itself.

Chas’ brother Wayne, a part-time musician, was so inspired by the entry that he wrote a song about Chas called “Courage Street,” and has been performing it live in clubs where he lives in upstate New York.

Last week, execs at a record company here in Los Angeles heard the song, contacted Wayne, and want him to write more for them. We were both overwhelmed.

It’s without a bit of irony that Chas, who lived the experiences of ten men in his life (shit that still makes me shake my head in disbelief) is now, in his death, paving the way for his brother’s life-changing big break.

Congratulations, Wayne. Let’s both keep writing.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Top That, Teamsters.

I worry about the end of the world, which I can tell from the bed bug resurgence and Jackass 3D is coming soon.

But there is some good stuff to love, like a reminder that I’ve chosen the right career, in the form of an email I received this week from AFTRA, one of my acting unions:

"Wilshire Wellness will be here at the AFTRA offices today giving free 15-minute chair massages. If you are in the area come by and sign up for a time! We hope to see you there!"

Planet saved.

*Dirtbag friends of mine: try to resist the urge to leave a “happy ending” comment on this entry. You’re better than that. -MS

Friday, October 22, 2010

Real Los Angeles Heroes.

Here’s to you, I Must Have Your Car Guy.

When you see a fancy set of wheels, you don’t just want it – you get downright biblical, and covet it.

You are the Cadillac of impulse buyers.

So make us an offer, big spender, and someday chicks will fight their way to ride shotgun in this sweet ride:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Unarmed And Moderately Dangerous.

Watching the Jets game with my friends at our usual hangout on Sunday, I glanced over my shoulder and saw an old guy sidled up to the bar wearing a Mark Sanchez jersey. He was totally in Sanchez’s demographic – if only he were 50 years younger and a chick.

After the Jets won, the old codger ambled over to us in a drunken stupor and mumbled something victorious to my friend Jeff. The guy was a big Houston foreclosure of a human being, but harmless enough.

And then the next morning he robbed a bank.

Robbed it in his Jets jersey, mind you. Above is Dirty Old Sanchez himself, handing a holdup note to a teller, right before I assume he hopped on his Rascal scooter and hauled ass out of there.

Click on the pic below if you’d like to take a gander at Ichabod’s wanted poster. And if you happen to encounter this fugitive, be aware – he’s had a long day and needs a big nap.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cut The Laughter.

Besides the wretched diarrhea explosion that is reality TV, I truly think we’re in a golden age of television.

My DVR is packed full of terrific shows, and there’s never been a better batch of sitcoms than right now.

Speaking of which, I came across a clip of one of my favorite comedies, “Big Bang Theory.” The live audience has been removed, making for a fascinating look into how laughter affects not only the pacing of actors, but how much longer it takes to tell a story. Check it out here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I Need A “Thing.”

While scouting a location recently, I came across this bust of Bill Cosby in front of the Academy of Television Arts & Science. Coz’s horrendous sweater made me long for the time in America when we didn't care about how we looked.

But then I wondered: what aspect of me could be captured for eternity? I need a “thing.”

I spent days thinking about it, and finally came up with it. I think you’ll agree it’s the only option: a live boa constrictor around my neck.

I'll get the snake. You melt the bronze.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Breakup.

It’s the tragic inevitability of long-term car ownership: the breakdowns become more frequent, and replacement parts so expensive that you wind up chain-smoking Lucky Strikes like Don Draper.

Yet I’m really going to miss that damn SUV.

On Friday, it was pronounced legally dead, and I find myself in a true period of mourning. Of course that seems silly, but a car can become such an integral part of your life that when it’s taken away, you feel an emptiness. Not as much as a family member or a pet passing on (well, maybe more than a cat), but I spent nine years putting 152,000 miles on that Montero Sport, and have some have some very emotional memories.

My SUV predated 911. Clinton had just left office when I drove it off the lot and made my first call as a happy, new car owner on my Startac phone. Raiders owner Al Davis was still alive. (I firmly believe the team’s been trotting him out Weekend-At-Bernie’s style since ’04.)

I spent the past three days reflecting on everything that had taken place in that vehicle: driving to countless auditions and acting classes, and 60-mile round trips to casting workshops. My SUV even had a couple of movie credits, appearing in two independent films.

I thought about the first kisses that took place before dropping off dates. Petey as a puppy, always putting down the back window with his paw on our way to the dog park. Road-tripping in a rainstorm to San Diego to see the Jets stun the Chargers in OT. Picking up takeout and bringing it to my brother and his wife in the hospital, where I held my niece when she was 90 minutes old.

Someone once saw my car and said, “A Mitsubishi? Don’t they make VCRs?” Yep. And a decade I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

You’re In Capable Hands.

I’m so busy today that I let my second in command, Petey, take the controls of the blog and come up with his own topic.

I think his choice to eat weeds is a fascinating social commentary on the seismic shift in the thematic work of Truffaut in the late 50s.

Either that or he’s just an idiot.

Let’s say a little from column A, and a little from column B.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Guess Who I Got In The Divorce?

Kids have it so easy today; I went to school in an empty carton of Pall Malls.

At least that’s what ran through my mind when I became a dad for the second time on Monday. Sorta.

I had an audition for Little Caesar’s Pizza, and was paired up with none other than my daughter from a commercial we shot together, for Hallmark. That’s her above, wondering with me how the hell her and her brother could have sprung from such a blonde mom.

Our audition this week felt like the band had never broken up. We nailed it, and as we walked out of the casting office. I told her I’d see her at the callback. And we did just that – both of us were called back on Wednesday.

It astounding odds that of all the actors and child actors in this town, the two of us became father and daughter once again. Though not nearly as astounding as me ever becoming a father in real life.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Motleyest Crew.

The trouble with dealing with crazy people is that they're not crazy all the time.

Ladies and gentleman, meet the Degenerate Actor Friends.

I've blogged about the DAF in the past, but didn’t want to post a pic of them until they were half presentable. Finally, the occasion arose at our friend’s wedding over the weekend, and now I can offer up a quick bio on each of them.

That’s me, front and center, and flanking me, left to right:

Jeff Schine, actor. The youngest of us, I wouldn’t blame Jeff if he uses us to scare himself straight. We’re the ghosts of degenerate future.

Brian Jacobs, actor. Brian’s day-job is working kids’ birthdays as a magician, and as an actor he got to mess with Sasquatch in one of the Jack Link’s beef jerky commercials. He’ll have arguably the most interesting tax form occupation-column come April.

Mocean Melvin, voiceover artist. If you’ve been watching the baseball playoffs, you’ve heard Mocean voicing the YP/Yellow Pages commercials that run about a hundred times each game. I haven’t choked Mocean for that yet, so I must really like both the commercials and him.

Bru Muller, actor. Bru has the best résumé of the group. He also has the most TVs that should legally be allowed inside one apartment. I did the math, and it’s 17½ feet of plasma.

Aina, Bru’s girlfriend. She’s the newest addition to the bunch, and an instant homerun with us. She’s perfected impersonating my laugh, and given me a complex over it. Bru will never date anyone as cool as her.

Kirk Dauer. Actor and director. Lately, Kirk’s been traveling the world shooting a documentary about beer. He’s the only one of us who drinks or is married. Not saying there’s a correlation.

Emily, Kirk’s wife. Actually, Kirk is very happily married, and Emily, who sat next to me at the reception, was kind enough to let me riff to her all night. Sympathy laughter is still laughter.

Ted Gianopolis, director, editor, cinematographer, photographer, actor. It’s amazing he finds time to be the angriest Greek dude I’ve ever met.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Real Los Angeles Heroes.

Here’s to you, Casting Director’s Rescue Dog.

Talk about callbacks – you escaped being put down to now spend your days laying down, enjoying a group tummy rub.

We mean it when we say: have your personal assistant deliver our warmest regards.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Missed, By That Much.

Everything before the “but” is bullshit.

"Great audition, Matt. Glad you could come back for us and nail it again in front of the decision makers… but… we’re gonna go another way."

In the last two weeks, I’ve become the king of callbacks. After I just missed out on being chosen as the face of John Deere, I was called back to the producers of the TV show “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior,” and didn’t book it. Then I got a callback and was put on avail (on hold as a final choice) for a commercial for OU Medical Center. Didn’t get that, either.

One of my acting teachers used to say that getting a callback is as good as booking, because in the eyes of casting directors and producers, you’ve outshone almost all of your competition, and should certainly be brought back for future auditions.

That’s worth a lot to me, though it would be better if it were worth 1270 bucks – the price of an SUV catalytic converter that went on the fritz driving home from a certain wedding the other night.

Hold up. Rereading this entry, I notice I've come off as bitter (and even spoke about myself in the third person) but I’m honestly not. I’m proud to be making the final cut this consistently. My agent has a policy in which they drop actors that don't receive callbacks once in every ten auditions, and I get one almost every time. It's all good.

And how do you know I’m being honest about that? See everything after the “but” in the previous paragraph.

Monday, October 11, 2010

My Friend Gary’s Wedding: A Blackberry® Photo Gallery.

The whole thing took place at the Equestrian Center in Burbank, so right next door to this Jewish wedding was the complete antithesis of Judaism: WASPS on horses.

Hobbit in a yarmulke. That’s Sean Astin observing tradition. (By the way – my other options for this pic were “Jewish Rudy,” or simply “Jewdy.”)

Other celebrity attendee: Estelle Harris, who played George’s mom on “Seinfeld.” She’s Gary’s next-door neighbor, and one day our friend Bru raced after Gary’s runaway dog, ran into Estelle’s condo and saw her naked.

Here’s Bru, the most Aryan-looking fella on the planet, sporting a yarmulke for the first time. I thought it might burst into flames.

One last dig: Bru was in the wedding party, yet still managed to almost misspell the groom's name in the guestbook.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

It’s Short For Kitchen 24.

There are two types of people in the world, and one of them puts ketchup on eggs.

Something to keep in my mind if you happen to make it to my favorite diner in Hollywood: K24. My friend Bru took the above pic of me there, and it’s going to be featured in a video shown during our friend Gary’s wedding tonight.

If I ever record a bunch of easy listenin’ hits, I think I have my album cover.

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Second-Best Movie Of The Year.

Ever buy a DVD of a film you haven’t seen but thought you’d like? Then you watch it and it’s terrible and you’re stuck with it? You heard me, The Final Destination (AKA, my new coaster.)

Learn from my blunder, and instead go see a surefire Oscar nominee: The Social Network. (The Town is still my favorite this year, but The Social Network is a close second.)

The dream team got together to create this gem: Aaron Sorkin, my favorite writer, and David Fincher, one of my favorite directors. The dialogue is so speedy and sharp that watching this film is like stepping on a moving train. The usual math for a screenplay is a page a minute – so a two-hour film’s script is about 120 pages. The Social Network is two hours long and 162 pages. At one point, I looked to my left, and three of my friends were leaning forward, focusing and trying not to miss a word.

If you see it this weekend, it’ll stay #1 at the box office. Then Hollywood will take note and make more films like it. Then you’ll see those kickass films, and Hollywood will make even more. The circle of life complete.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Real Los Angeles Heroes.

Here’s to you, Woman Who Crashed Through That Fence.

It’s a simple intersection by the beach. You either make a right, or go straight. Or, you call an audible and go with option C.

Woman, there is no option C.

I don’t know exactly why I have a weakness for women who crash into things, and I don’t care. I’m a lover, not a psychotherapist. And you are just plain psycho.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Formal Protest.

I’m no clothing expert, but I can impart one bit of fashion wisdom I learned the hard way: never stick a sweater defuzzer on your tongue.

One of my best benefits of being an actor is the lack of a dress code. And yet I’m finding myself wearing suits more and more each week, for auditions, and shoots, etc. Seems a little bait-and-switch.

Well luckily, the weekend’s coming up, and I can go casual. Oh, wait – my friend Gary is getting married. Dammit. I am so canceling his Sky Mall gift certificate.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Rainy-Day Fun.

It’s been said that it never rains in Southern California, but yesterday’s deluge would disprove that notion. So let’s just file the whole no-rain thing under “myths,” like waking up kidney-less in a bathtub full of ice. Or the WNBA.

Because of the storm, Petey, who was unable to get in his daily sunbathing, was stuck inside the house yesterday. And if that weren’t a nightmare enough for him, he had an actual nightmare. Click above, and enjoy.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Once Again, Random Shots I’m Deleting: A Blackberry® Purge.

As the days tick down to my Blackberry’s utter obsolescence, I keep stumbling across pics that never saw action on my blog. So I’ll recap the stories behind each one as they pop up. And come to think of it, my Blackberry isn’t all bad – it makes a nifty nightlight.

Today’s entry: Hugh Hefner’s pet bird, taken earlier this year while I was working on an assignment recording voiceovers for the Vancouver Olympics:

Actually, there are several cranes and peacocks in Hef’s yard, and flamingos, and I believe monkeys. But I didn’t get to meet the chimps, which may be for the best… This particular peacock seemed to have a friendly relationship with one of the mansion’s security guys and wandered over to eat out of his hand. That was far from the oddest thing I witnessed that day… When you pull up to the Playboy mansion, there are lots of horny creeps getting their pictures taken by the front gate… We recorded in Hef’s private study, which looks like a nuclear bomb dropped in 1975 and froze it in time… I also got a tour through the famous screening room, and afterwards half-expected to be hit with one of those Men in Black memory erasers.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Well, At Least You’ve Got Looks.

I’d like to propose a ban on the sentence construction “What part of (insert phrase here) do you not understand?” I’ve had it with that phrase. Actually, I never liked it; its inherent meanness is far outweighed by its alleged comic value.

On the other hand… I was in the waiting room for an audition yesterday for a commercial for Oklahoma University Medical Center, featuring a husband and wife driving home after she’s been treated for cancer.

An actress sitting next to me asked the casting director if the wife dies.

Yes hon, this is a commercial for OU Medical Center, the place patients choose first when they want to die. Next, please.

Friday, October 1, 2010

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

  • Thanks so much for telling me not to actually pee in the audition. Boy would my face have been red.
  • FYI – getting your brother who works for the government to change your identity is easy; it’s the DMV paperwork that’s a real bitch.
  • This wouldn’t be the first time a woman left me at the altar for a blackened chicken filet. But it’s definitely not the fifth.
  • I find my best marathoning skills are relegated to handing out water and encouraging.Thanks so much for bringing me in to audition for you, and talk Jew food – my two favorite pastimes.
  • If I were a politician, there would never be compromising photos of me. Unless watching TV all day in sweatpants and dress socks is considered "compromising." Then I'm in big trouble.