Saturday, July 30, 2011

Culinary Question:

Why is the bar menu the same as the kids’ menu?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Get Your Butt To LA, Part 13: A Great, Big Cyber Hug.

I’m not sure why I remain unwaveringly optimistic about my chosen profession. Maybe it’s the contrast to the endless shit summer jobs I had growing up. One year I worked for the city rec department for minimum wage, painting bleachers and lining fields for guido softball players who wore their pants too high and were lucky I didn’t take a fungo bat to their greaseball heads when they got mouthy.

I digress.

So I’m one of the truly happy actors. But I hang out with many who are frustrated, and it’s kind of understandable. No other career requires you to experience the full gamut of emotions and then let them go in an instant. And few require job interviews on a daily basis.

The long stretches of utter disappointment or utter nothing make my friends constantly appear as if they’ve just visited the prison dentist.

By the way, the above pic is of the University of Alabama’s visiting locker room. Blatant, Tide.

Actors: you choose this profession knowing full well you’ll have thousands of competitors, limited opportunities and lots of factors out of your control. You choose this over the safe professional bet, so you really have no grounds to bitch.

And if you’re getting auditions but not booking roles, don’t take it personally. Chances are the decision makers don’t even know you, so they can’t possibly be rejecting you on a personal level. Your performances are judged subjectively by people who have unique preferences, not by the supreme judges of your worth. So don’t base your value on the number of roles you don’t book.

Just keep showing up and eventually you’ll work. Every actor who wants it bad enough makes it. Let’s have fun. It’s showbiz – there ain’t a lot of heavy lifting involved.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

My Appointment With A Hand Specialist: An iPhone™ Photo Gallery.

The diagnosis is torn ligaments in my middle finger. The doctor said I would've been better off breaking it, because this is a tougher healing process in which I have to wear this contraption for eight weeks. If my finger bends back the slightest bit at any time, the clock resets on the eight weeks. Welcome to my world.

In the “Who referred you?” section of the paperwork, I wrote, “I never settle for anything less than the specialist who treats the quarterback of my beloved Jets.”

Adding insult to injury: my streak of never watching this shitbag “Father Albert” show is now over – it was on in the radiology waiting room.

It isn’t often a radiologist gets to laugh at a patient while taking x-rays. You’re welcome, Doc.

Nothing preserves the dignity of a homeless guy whose body was donated to science like Mardi Gras beads.

Diane the Physical Therapist wanted to capture my reaction after she and the doctor told me I wouldn’t be able to work out or play ball for two months. I want her dead.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Is There A Doctor In The House?

I was simply trying to put on my shorts last night when I slipped, put my hand out on a chair for balance and heard something snap in my middle finger. I tried not to panic, but all I could think was “Oh no – my ‘me time’ hand!”

The tip of the finger was bent and not moving back on its own. Not good. So, is there a doctor in the house? Actually yes. My neighbors are a married couple who both happen to be ER docs, but I promised myself I’d never bother them up with a medical problem, unlike my landlady, who’s a total shnorrer about it. (Consult your Yiddish-to-English dictionary.)

Figuring it might help me avoid a long night in the ER, I sucked it up and went to my neighbors’ place. The wife was home, and after a preemptive apology, I asked if she could look at my hand, and she was happy to. She didn’t think it was broken, but I’ve either moved or snapped a tendon and may have to see a hand specialist. She didn’t have any splints, but kindly made me this crazy makeshift one.

Later, she brought a big bowl of minestrone over to my place. Again, how sweet is she? I’d like to assume minestrone is the chicken soup of middle-finger injuries.

I’ll see how the day progresses with this thing, but it’s already been a bitch just typing this entry. Finger 3/4 extended, I persevere.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Once Again, Real Casting Notices I’ve Seen This Week.

  • Actor male or female that will hold a goldfish in their mouth, pretending to smuggle it this way.
  • We're currently looking for the BEST VALET PARKERS in the country! ***MUST BE AN AMERICAN CITIZEN***
  • Woman (or man) who has distorted body image while attempting to have sex because of partner's nasty comments about looks / body type and it's destroying their marriage / relationship.
  • Seeking girls with funny and corky personalities

Monday, July 25, 2011

I Return To The Ringling Brothers Circus: An iPhone™ Photo Gallery.

My mom’s in town, and we all took my niece and nephew to the circus. I blogged about it last year, and here’s the 2012 version:

Being a damn-good father and giving his daughter a boost is Neal McDonough from “Desperate Housewives.” Or, for us heterosexual men, “Band of Brothers.”

After seeing these tigers were in no mood for the yappy tamer and his stupid whip, I wasn't the only person happy to see one of them take a swing at him.

Talk about your one-of-a-kind circus freaks: a black man on stilts.

When two unfunny clowns kill time as the next animal act is being wrangled backstage, a live Yankee game on an iPhone is like manna from Heaven.

I really dig this pony’s Blogojevich hair.

These guys manage to balance a chick on their shoulders while they ride bikes on a tightrope. And I can barely hit the bowl with my pee in the middle of the night.

I think it’s important my nephew learn to deal with shame at an early age.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Thar cockamamie Toyota billboard ran for over a month, until at long last it’s finally been replaced.

I’m not sure if the guy who’d hung that thing was shitcanned or not, but if he was, then he should keep in mind the mantra I often repeat to myself whenever I’m responsible for a disaster: “All that’s left of the past is what you choose to beat yourself up with in the present.”

Friday, July 22, 2011


I saw this set of headshots of JosĂ© Canseco on the wall of a theater last night in Hollywood. I think what I love most is his serious – and by that I mean hilarious – Fu Manchu.

After cashing in with with a book that ratted out his teammates’ steroid use, and a short career in boxing (in which he got caught having his twin brother fight for him), there is no damn way this guy is going to pay his bills by taking away jobs from real actors.

Go lay down a blanket in front of your garage and sell off your old board games, dude.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Get Your Butt To LA, Part 12: One And Done.

I received this question this week: “What’s your take on monologues?”

Not a huge fan, but they’re a necessary evil – at least since the days when Charlie Chaplin carried his own golf clubs.

In the early stages of your career, the best way to build your reel, besides shooting your own scenes, is to book roles in student films. Film students often cast before their scripts are finished, so they’ll ask that you perform a monologue of your choice to show them your essence. Some actors like to have two versions memorized – one comedic, one dramatic – and you can find books loaded with them on

I used to use one pieced-together from the film High Fidelity, in which John Cusack’s character analyzes his top five breakups.

So yes, they’re good in the early stages of your career, but here’s where I loathe them: agent workshops. The casting workshops I attend, in which casting directors provide scenes for actors, occasionally have agent nights, in which actors choose their own scenes – performing either with partners, or doing their own monologues.

I’ve seen hundreds of them, and only one worked, and that’s a really shitty batting average. The problem is that no one in real life rants incessantly that way. Here’s my impression of every monologue ever performed (it works better in person, so ask me to do it for you if ever meet me):

“So in walks this guy, and I sez to the guy I sez I sez ‘What do you mean I’m not that guy?’ So he sez to me he sez he sez ‘You’re that guy alright. And I’m the guy that sez you’re that guy.’ Sez.”

Every one I’ve see goes on like this for about 15 minutes, and for the entire time I’m glancing around to make sure I’m not dead and in Hell.

So to answer your question: yes, find a good one, memorize it and use it. Then move on to auditions with scripted scenes, so I can drop the restraining order against you as soon as possible.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Stand-Up Guy.

These days, commandment-breaking college football coaches are about as common as houseflies. But there’s one guy who elicits feelings of lifetime loyalty that the Hell’s Angels would envy.

Randy Edsall spent the last few years turning the nothing program at UConn into a perennial winner, essentially building it from sand. And recently, when my alma mater, the University of Maryland, named him their new head football coach, I was beside myself.

Randy was a quarterback for Syracuse during his playing days, alongside my friend Chas. Chas unfortunately passed away a few years ago, and I still think about him constantly. My blog entry about him is one of my favorite ones I’ve ever written.

I emailed it to Randy Edsall yesterday, and he instantly replied with this:


I didn't know that Chas had passed, and he was a great guy and better person. The piece you did on Chas was very nice and heart-warming.

I'm glad to be here at Maryland and look forward to getting started on the field really soon. Get your friends to come to the games, as we will get after people.


That’s first class, Coach. Thank you.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

This Week In @mattshevin Tweets.

  • Blue Monkey – he needed the money. Ohhhhhh!
  • The eight people in my SUV right now will all be much safer right after I send this twee
  • In a Korean bbq joint. Should I be concerned “Bulkoki” is on the menu? #Seriously #OnlyWhiteDudeHere
  • Woman who refers to her husband as her “hubby.” #PeopleNotHavingSex
  • There’s a surf camp for kids called Malibu Makos. Not to worry parents – sharks love a good slap in the face.
  • I just realized I still had a Blockbuster card in my wallet. You're next, Chess King.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Weekend Recap.

The beach, Sunday night. Trust me when I say you don’t get views like this in prison… Carmageddon is getting so commercial. It used to be about the freeway-widening, man… Actually, the whole thing went off swimmingly, with no one on the road. As a certain blogger predicted on Friday, we didn't abandon our cars in a 30-mile parking lot, wandering the freeway looking for sustenance. In fact, Caltrans knocked it out so fast they reopened the 405 twenty hours ahead of schedule. Here’s the bottom line: they warned us to stay off the roads, and this being an entertainment town, we take direction well… To the guys whooping it up at my gym during the U.S. Women's World Cup game yesterday, if you were so into the game, why were you watching it at the gym? And winning a soccer tournament is about as big an accomplishment as being the best dancer at a wedding... My new defensive strategy whenever I walk into my brother’s house and get instantly tag-teamed: I pick up my nephew and hit my niece with him. Kills two birds.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

In Which I Get Sentimental About An Overpass.

The main objective of Carmageddon is to remove the Mulholland Bridge. I took this pic of it yesterday, hours before it was detonated. For the past 50 years, 300,000 cars passed under this thing every day. That’s 5.5 billion cars, and I thought about all the actors on their way to auditions, the vacationers on their way to San Francisco, Eddie Murphy on his way to picking up a tranny.

Thought we’d forgotten about that, huh Ed?

We haven’t. And I won’t forget about you, Mulholland Bridge – you were a big part of this town that made things move. Fire in the hole.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Gentlemen, Stop Your Engines.

Carmageddon finally hits LA. Better tighten your flak jacket.

Actually, I’m pretty thrilled about it. Like I’ve often mentioned, LA traffic is rather exaggerated. I’ve lived in four cities that have much worse, so haters, take your seats.

I only wish every city were this proactive, and shut down a highway and worked on it in one fell swoop. And were wise enough to do it on a sleepy, midsummer weekend after plenty of advance notice. The next two days will prove to be utterly benign – we’re all staying local. Carmageddon? That's the peyote talking.

When I was a little kid, I pictured LA as a place filled with sunshine and surfers and pretty girls and celebrities, and it’s exactly what I imagined. I have no reason to lie. This town may not quite be 100% perfect, but throw in a freeway that’s soon to be twelve lanes wide, and it sure is getting there.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Get Your Butt To LA, Part 11: Roll, Speed, Action.

If you’re not being proactive in this town, things can drag a bit. I know people who’ve been at this since the invention of the steam engine, and their careers still haven’t quite clicked. I mean, sand dunes move faster.

Which brings me to this gem of a question I received:

“Thank you for always posting entries about L.A. It’s very helpful. I want to move there soon to pursue my career. Whenever I read blogs they always say actors should be busy making their own projects. Do you agree and how do learn to make a good script?”

Yes, yes, yes, my friend.

Instead of waiting for auditions, then beating out your competition, then waiting months for footage of what you shot (and praying it’s substantial), create your own. If for no other reason than the control variables – you tailor the role to your strengths, and no studio or editor will cut your screen time.

And often, there are unexpected bonuses. I wrote my film strictly to build my acting reel, and wound up blowing up on the festival circuit. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon did the same, and they won an Oscar.

But you don’t have to do something on such a large scale. All you need are some simple scenes, shot in simple locations, like your kitchen or living room. It’s all about the moments and dialogue. I wrote a film, and trust me – I’m neither superior nor intellectual. I'm not a great connoisseur of wine, for example, so you could serve me two-buck chuck or kitten pee and I wouldn't notice anything amiss.

Plus, these days, technology is both cheaper and of higher quality, thanks to digital cameras. For 600 bucks you can get a Canon Rebel T2i that’ll shoot like film. Wait a minute – you say the T2i doesn’t cost $10,000 but looks like it shoots on 35mm? Wrap it up. I'll take it.

Then you can either edit yourself on your Mac, or find an editor on Craigslist who’ll do it for cheap. Presto. Instant acting reel.

Every day you encounter hundreds of moments that can inspire interesting scene ideas and ignite your career. And the hardest part of all is simply getting yourself started. So let’s say we do that, okay? Okay.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Guest Lecturer.

The writing assignment I’ve been working on is requiring more of my actual time (the nerve), so I’m turning over the reins to Paul Feig.

Paul’s directed many of the episodes of “Arrested Development” and “The Office,” and most recently, the film Bridesmaids. He’s pretty damn self-deprecating for a guy who only hits homers.

In this video, he speaks at the University of North Carolina about his previous life as a struggling actor, and what he learned. Give it a gander.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Jealousy isn’t really my thing, and I was thrilled for my friend Rob as we wandered into a Barnes & Noble on Saturday and saw a book he’s written on the shelf.

So why do I now want to kick Rob in the shin?

Because three feet away was another book in which Rob is quoted.

If any of you have been hired to kill me, I'll be at Bally Fitness on Sepulveda this morning.

Monday, July 11, 2011


I sure wish there was some kind of periodical that’d let me know if it’s possible to be fabulous at 40.

In the meantime, Derek Jeter will have to suffice. He’s pushing 40, and is getting written off by every New York Yankee hater who thinks he’s lost a step, and that is nonsense.

You see, I was born in the Bronx, just a couple miles from Yankee Stadium, and I grew up at that ballpark, going to games with my dad and my brothers. And nowadays I watch the TV broadcast of every Yankee game on either my computer or iPhone, and this past week, Derek Jeter, who busts his ass as much as he ever did, was approaching the 3000th hit of his career, a very rare milestone for a big leaguer. I was damn well not going to miss it.

On Saturday morning, Derek got the 3000th hit, and it was a doozey: a home run, against all odds for the guy people think is too old. It was dramatic and amazing and once in a lifetime. And I missed it.

While Derek rounded the bases, I was in the middle of a scene in a casting workshop. He did the unthinkable on the biggest stage – Yankee Stadium – and that’s where I wanted to be more than anywhere else. But a close second for me was to be on another stage, in a theater in Los Angeles, performing a scene for a big casting director. A sacrifice, early on a Saturday morning for my career, with my iPhone, and the game’s TV feed, in my back pocket. It sucked a tiny bit, but I’d like to think the old Yankee would approve.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Ozone Layers.

Captain, even if “Let’s Make a Deal” doesn’t offer you a fifty for dressing like a jerkoff on the most sweltering day of the year, in my book, you’re a winner.

Friday, July 8, 2011

And A Domesticated Fish Shall Lead Us.

We may not have another three-day weekend upon us, but I propose we make it just as fun as the last, before the 24-hour news networks destroy the part of our brains that makes happiness.

I snapped this pic the other day of a stingray at a little aquarium by me, and if we can be half as content as this little shit, mission accomplished.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Get Your Butt To LA, Part 10: Let’s Go Back To The Mailbag.

The uphill battle of achieving one’s dream can be discouraging. I won't lie to you – my life as a reggae artist hasn't turned out exactly as planned.

Here’s a recent question I received from an aspiring actor: “Hey I see you had a post about jobs. What if the only job you were able to get was 9 to 5, what’s your advice?”

It’s a question actors have been struggling with since the Earth cooled. Tending bar or waiting tables isn’t for everyone, so what to do?

While a part-time job frees up your schedule to attend auditions, full-time has its pluses as well, like a regular paycheck and benefits, with enough money to pay for several classes and headshots and marketing yourself. And it’s important in our very challenging pursuit to have fun in our free time, and working scattered hours for day-laborer wages will leave your social life as limited as Mongolian cuisine.

So if a full-time job is your only option, then absolutely go for it. If you’re lucky, you’ll have a boss that’s pulling for you and will allow you to leave for auditions, but mostly likely you won’t, so take a deep breath and sneak out. I’ve done it myself during my occasional writing assignments, and I’ve turned it into a real science.

Whatever way you wind up funding yourself is going to have its share of both pleasantries and dogshit. But remember: you choose to come here and sacrifice, so step up and do whatever it takes. And remember this as well: obstacles are there to help you decide whether you really want something, or just think you did.

See you soon.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

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

  • I always alert the woman I’m sleeping with that her husband’s going to lose out on a military project. But I’m a giver.
  • I’ve never had a fortnight stand, but I once had a one-night stand that wound up lasting eight nights. I call it a “Chanukah stand.”
  • You’re the foul-mouthed, ball-bustin’, merciless, Italian sister I never had.
  • My mom wants to thank you for helping her achieve her dream of me becoming a cardiologist, even if only for two minutes.
  • I couldn't have drawn more attention to myself if I had been wearing a “Weiner 2012” T-shirt.
  • A workshop on a Sunday morning always beats church. Then again, an insurance seminar on a Sunday morning always beats church.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July 4th Weekend: An iPhone™ Photo Gallery.

Nothing says “America” like going to an Italian salon and getting your hair washed by a Mexican woman, your hair cut by an Irish chick, your credit card run by a Spanish receptionist and parking slip taken by a Pakistani man.

At Ralph's Supermarket: food poisoning, the way our forefathers planned it. The tourney ended April 4th.

I spent the 4th at a barbecue, and now the 5th namedropping – the party was at former Yankee and Dodger manager Joe Torre’s Beverly Hills mansion. I’m friends with his nephew.

Joe is currently in a sling, recovering from rotator cuff surgery. I’m guessing the cause was his dog Maia, who forced me to throw her this tennis ball for an hour and a half.

Like I always say, feature a woman shitting in the street, and you’ll gross a cool $200 million. I finally saw Bridesmaids. It’s great.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Living Independently.

Couch + repackaged Christmas cookies + bourbon = the saddest 4th ever. And yet… perchance it’s the best 4th ever!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Once Again, Real Casting Notices I’ve Seen This Week.

  • We are looking for parents of any age who have engaged teens. We are primarily looking for teens 16-19 who are getting married this summer. Are you completely supportive? Do you hate it? Is your teenager's fiancĂ© a complete screw-up?
  • Now casting manly men who work in sanitation for a hit TV show! Are you a garbage man, sanitation worker, recyclable collector? Have you ever wanted to get in touch with your feminine side?
  • Underwear model of men's briefs and plastic pants. Fit and muscled but not major body builder look. No large tattoos. A small one is not a problem.
  • Seeing visually impaired and blind singles! (Nice unintentionally-funny typo in the first word of this one. –Matt)
  • We're looking for very personable people with lots of energy. We don't want a polished look. Someone who might look like they belong on “Deadliest Catch” but still has all their teeth etc.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Get Your Butt To LA, Part 9B: Learn To Speak Actor In Two Easy Blog Posts.

Hope this is helping. Though I know for my non-actor readers that in the midst of a blog banquet, this vocab lesson must seem like a sorbet of mouse scat.

Let’s finish this:

Read. A more commonly-used term for auditioning. Yes, it would be simpler to just say “audition,” but every business has its odd terminology, and acting’s is more unsorted than my sock drawer.
Used in a sentence: “I was called in to read for the role of a cop.”

Slate. Right before you audition, the casting person will ask you to say your name into the camera. The nice thing about a slate is that even if you botch your audition, you’ll still get the showbiz equivalent of 200 SAT points for simply getting your name right.
Used in a sentence: “Please slate your name and the role you’re reading for.”

Pre-read. Often, for simple one or two-line TV auditions, casting directors will have you quickly audition for them before they bring you back for a show’s producers. It’s an odd name for what is essentially an informal audition, and reminiscent of a George Carlin bit: “Airlines ask you to ‘pre-board.’ Well, what exactly is that, anyway? What does it mean to ‘pre-board?’ You get on before you get on? It’s all over the language now – ‘pre-’ this, ‘pre-’ that. ‘Place the turkey in a pre-heated oven.’ ‘Pre-existing,’ ‘pre-planning,’ ‘pre-screening.’ You know what I say? “Pre-suck my dick!”
Used in a sentence: “This casting office likes to pre-read its actors.”

Frame. This is the space in which you’ll appear on screen. Auditions are often recorded on video, and knowing your frame will keep you from too much or too little movement. Two anecdotes about this: 1) I was an acting classmate of David Moscow, who played the young version of Tom Hanks in Big. David is an excellent, technically-savvy actor who used the frame really well, like in a tight shot needing hand gestures, he kept hands up near his face, in frame. By the way, I always assumed that David grown up would look like Tom Hanks. He doesn’t. 2) The original “Melrose Place” had a casting rule which prohibited men above six feet tall, because the females in the cast were so teeny that tall guys would have their heads above frame. In general, you don’t see too many successful tall actors besides Clint Eastwood, Tim Robbins, Vince Vaughn and Brad Garrett.
Used in a sentence: “Your frame in this shot is from the top of your head to your shoulders.”

One last thing, before I send you off to drink and handle explosives for the next three days: the term is “casting director,” not “casting agent.” Use it three times and it’s yours. Now go enjoy your MGDs and M80s.