Friday, September 30, 2011

This Week In @mattshevin Tweets.

  • (ABOVE): Don’t turn this frozen food section into house of lies, Innovator II.
  • Red Sox fans, fans, after you spent all that money and still had the greatest collapse in history, it's okay to cry – tears are free.
  • One of the Winklevoss twins just ran past me on the strand. You've been warned, other shirtless douchebags. #lawsuit
  • Is it possible for any song to have lazier lyrics than Depeche Mode’s “People Are People?”
  • Why not treat Michael Vick the way he treated his dogs when they couldn't compete: shoot/electrocute/drown/hang/slam him against the ground.
  • Seeing a lot of guys sporting mustaches lately. Because sometimes you just gotta take a break from getting laid.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Get Your Butt To LA, Part 22: Membership Has Its Predicaments.

In terms of masculinity, a man who wears UGGs really spans the spectrum. I sort of admire a guy that has the guts to hold down both ends of the nancy bell-curve.

Speaking of Yin Yang, read on for my answer to the following question I received from Ryan: “Can you talk about the troubles of being a SAG member, both on and off camera?”

SAG is terrific. There’s nothing quite like making the leap to union work and its residual checks and health insurance, but it does have its share of flaws.

Annual dues are not too bad – $116 – but the initial membership fee can be a killer to the tune of 2400 bucks, and it’s supposedly going to skyrocket in the next couple of years to five grand. Which means when you finally become eligible to join SAG and get hit with that bill you’ll be as happy as a clam that wants to kill someone.

Before I was SAG, I shot a role in a non-union commercial, and the production company decided not to pay me in full afterward. Had I been union, they never would have gotten away with that shit, which would have been nice, but for the most part it seems like SAG does more policing than protecting. If they find out you did a non-union shoot you will get the wrath. Remember, SAG is a guild, not a union – they don’t exactly shoot out the tires of scab workers’ trucks like UPS did in ’97. By the way – well played, Teamsters.

So those are the trouble spots, Ryan. Overall, having a SAG card is a good thing, and when you walk around this town with it in your wallet, you’ll feel the swagger of knowing that you are now a fellow member with your favorite actors, like I do with George Clooney.

Come to think of it, the similarities for him and me don’t end there. I mean, George Clooney has an Oscar, and I have a Golden Globe – that I stole from George Clooney.

Hope that helped. –Matthew.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chuck Strikes Back.

Charlie Sheen is responsible for more nonsensical rants than a comment section on a YouTube video.

They’re probably fueled by substance abuse, and I can understand that. Every April 22nd, in honor of Richard Nixon’s death, I get drunk and make some really unpopular decisions.

Charlie once was a handsome man, but it seems the meth made his ears, nose and anti-Semitism grow (my mom still won’t forgive him), and when you start going down that road, you’ll get shitcanned fast. Chuck Lorre not only fired Charlie and killed off his character, but has been exacting revenge in the vanity cards he writes that flash up at the end of “Two and a Half Men.” Here’s the one from this week:

“Sometime last year I realized I had become the unwilling contestant in a reality show. I didn't understand the rules, wasn't sure if there even were any, and pretty much hated every second of it. For many months I kept hoping and praying that it would end. But it did not. Somewhere along the way, something inside me died. Anyway, now, suddenly, I'm being told that the reality show's been cancelled. Apparently, it was just one of those things that somehow got out of control. Sorry. Whoops. Live and learn. Moving on. Game over. And that's fine. I am so good with that. Yes, please, let's all move on. There's just one problem. That thing inside me that died? It walks at night. It's angry. It's hungry. And worst of's writing a tell-all book.”

The week before featured just a simple photo of tin cans, which I didn’t understand until I read this quote from Charlie about Chuck: “I've spent, I think, close to the last decade, I don't know, effortlessly and magically converting your tin cans into pure gold.”

All I can say is I hope Chuck Lorre doesn’t have the same venom for dudes who park in his spot. I feel shame.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Third Great Movie Of 2011.

Baseball is for some what religion is for me: I see the appeal, and I would never take it away from anyone, but I also would never stand in line for it.

But you don’t have to love baseball like me to love Moneyball. It’s one of the best movies of the year (along with Limitless and Bridesmaids), and is based on the book about Billy Beane, the General Manager of the Oakland A’s, who was forced by budgetary constraints of his team's small market to find a way to field a competitive team for less money. (Nice side note on this movie, retweeted by my friend Rob: “At a reported $47 million, it cost Sony more to make Moneyball than it cost the A’s to field their entire 2002 roster.”)

But what’s great about the script, co-written by my favorite writer of all time, Aaron Sorkin, is that it doesn’t focus on the sport or even Beane’s revolutionary statistical analysis of players; it’s about revolutionizing a system. And it’s about relationships, between Billy and his daughter, Billy and his young protégé, Billy knowing as a former player the tact needed to cut or trade a player. And it’s all driven by the same unique voice Sorkin used to write The Social Network.

Brad Pitt plays Billy Beane not as a cocky guy so much as a guy feeling the enormous pressure he’s put upon himself to succeed and not let down everyone in his life. He’s a good dude. And in this day and age of horseshit like “The Jersey Shore,” it sure makes me wish awful people were a lot less confident.

See it.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Weekend Recap: An iPhone™ Photo Gallery.

Pot is not only legal out here, it’s SO legal that pot stores feel free to use cutesy children’s book-type names like My Green Garden.

What counts as “gourmet” and “fancy” in the 99¢ Store? Chips Ahoy cookies and something called Cheezy Tuna.

Best use of the word “douche” ever.

What's sadder than an older woman drinking to excess and vomiting on this bar? Her Red Sox, who she was watching circle the toilet.

Yes, a waitress noticed I don’t drink and brought me a grape soda. No, that’s not my purse in the background.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Tossing A No-No.

The moon was full last Monday. Why do you ask?

This weekend is all of one day old, and so far I’m throwing a no-hitter of very odd iPhone Photo Gallery ops, so in keeping with baseball tradition, I cannot speak any more about this for fear of giving up a base hit before the ninth. Stay tuned.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Get Your Butt To LA, Part 21: The Nerve.

One time I was feeling really weird. My face was hot, I was dizzy, I had slurred speech. So I typed my symptoms into WebMD, and it turns out I was only drunk.

That, or I was in the middle of an audition battling the demon: nervousness. You’re going to deal with it a lot in the beginning, but through sheer experience it will subside. It’s kind of like how NFL quarterbacks claim the game “slows down” for them in their second year. Eventually your head will stop spinning.

But in beginning, when auditions are infrequent, how do you deal with nerves? By listening to the advice of a few of my acting teachers, hereby paraphrased by me:

Jim Gleason:
“Stop thinking about it as an audition. Just have a conversation. Have fun. And later that night, as 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 life.”

Stuart Robinson:
“Try not to get caught up with how much an audition might change your life. Think about it this way: let’s say you were just walking down the street one day and someone popped out of a building and said ‘Hey, you wanna audition for this film?’ You’d shrug your shoulders and reply ‘Okay,’ and just relax and go inside. Remember – the role was never yours to begin with, so you really can’t/won’t get nervous about losing it.”

Jack Plotnick:
“There is no such thing as ‘nervous.’ The physical sensation of what some people call ‘nervous’ – i.e., your heart racing and butterflies in your stomach – is the exact same physical sensation as ‘excitement.’ And let me say this loud and clear: YOU MUST BE EXCITED IN ORDER TO ACT! Your heart MUST be racing! Your stomach MUST be full of butterflies! It’s why you became an actor to begin with – so you could feel that thrill of excitement. That feeling of excitement is there to help you. Without that adrenaline rush you wouldn’t be able to give the performance you want to give. It’s that extra flow of blood to the brain that sharpens your senses, improves your memory, and makes you emotionally available. It’s ‘excitement’ that allows a basketball player to shoot a ball through a hoop from mid-court. If I was feeling what some people call ‘nervous’ before an audition, and someone asked me how I was doing, I’d reply, ‘I’m excited, THANK GOD, and am currently in the process of releasing some negative thoughts.’ See, in this way, I’M the one in control. Not some monster called ‘nervousness’ that I have no control over. All actors feel excitement. It’s up to you whether you want to use it for or against yourself.”

Here’s the bottom line, guys: you will get nervous, you will trip up in auditions, but you will also get better. We’re not perfect. Giants stumble. The mightiest ships hit icebergs. For every Joe DiMaggio, there’s always a 57th game. You’re gonna be great.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Message Received.

Someone decided to give the produce department at Ralph’s Supermarket a tiny, tiny example of what they’re capable of.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I Kiss And Tell.

I was thinking the other day about how great marriage would be, because what I really want is a relationship with no sex yet where I still get to deal with a mother-in-law.

Until then I’ll settle for onscreen romance. And back when I was a young, prepubescent blogger, I wrote about making out with Diora Baird in a film before she went on to appear on the cover of Playboy.

Cut to this football season, and Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has a picture of Diora for inspiration alongside his game schemes, so now I can claim I made out with a woman who appeared on an NFL play chart. That is so going on my résumé.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

No, Not The Symbol For White Unity.

In a sketchy bar one night, a sweaty, weird, nervous guy made me shake hands with him to “show respect.” It was so gross – like shaking hands with a Sham Wow.

Maybe now you’ll understand better why in a previous entry I mentioned that shaking casting directors’ hands is absolutely forbidden. And backing me up is the above sign I saw in a casting office the other day. Learn it, live it, love it – and keep those clammy mitts to yourself.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Weekend Recap.

Saw Contagion, which was very good, but couldn’t stop saying the title like Adam Sandler’s Cagin’ Man character would have… The guys and I found a new official New York Jets bar for watching games called Rockefeller, but it slightly upset my friend Chris, who does marketing for Rockefeller's arch rival Chelsea Lounge. So I promised Chris I’d leave an upper-decker in the Rockefeller men’s room. Cue Elton John’s “That’s What Friends are For”… If you’ve got a case of the Mondays, this “If Celebrities Moved to Oklahoma” page should clear that right up.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Hasn’t the running death-tab sign thing been done by McDonald’s?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Get Your Butt To LA, Part 20: Doing Lines.

There are minor disasters, like wearing a mismatched outfit on a non-laundry day, and then there are major ones, like a long, awkward pause in the middle of an audition.

It’ll take $80,000 right out of pocket. So let’s avoid that, by getting comfortable reading cue cards.

We’ll start with the basics. I thought it might be interesting to share what a cue-card looked like. The one above is from a commercial audition I went on for Verizon’s NFL app, and the concept was a takeoff on Drew Brees’ pre-game military-tribute chant. In the audition, I was one of four businessmen on a train watching football on a phone who suddenly break into the chant just like Drew.

Cue cards are drawn in marker on large conference-room pads, with different colors differentiating each actors’ lines. There’s a skill to grabbing words off the page so that your eye contact is smooth and stays prominently on either the actor opposite you or directly into camera. Practice this. A lot. Take paragraphs from magazine ads, which tend to be about 30 seconds in length, and read them out loud over and over as keep your eyes focused on one spot on a wall, simulating the camera lens. Even better, record yourself with your cell phone and check your eye contact. You’ve got to do this religiously, and you’ve got to make sure you’re not just reading but selling the product, and finding the funny moments and coming off natural and watching your pace.

Got all that, Rain Man? Good. Now forget it, because once you walk into the audition, don’t over-think it. Take charge. This Verizon audition was not easy, what with the rapid-fire alternating words between my co-stars and me. So I took charge, snapping a quick pic of the cue card so that I could read it off my phone as I pretended to watch the game instead of looking up at the card.

And there you have it. Grab a magazine ad and get to work. Unless of course you’re not particularly fond of making 80k to have fun on a set all day. In that case, good luck, hippie.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Let The Weaning Begin.

Two days before I tore ligaments in my finger, I dove for a ball in the outfield and my knee wound up swelling up like a grapefruit. At the end of that week, I realized that accidents shouldn’t keep happening over and over again. This isn’t budget daycare.

So I took my hand specialist’s advisement to heart and haven’t worked out or played ball since then. And yesterday I went to see him and he said I’m making enough progress that I can cut down the splint wearing to only during the day. Heck yeah.

The knee still feels like it’s on fire, so that’s next on the to-do list. But one thing I learned from my finger is you can’t force your fate – you just have to let it wash over you, like a spray tan that won’t take because your skin is too oily. Words to heal by.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hell Yeah, Hottie.

LA is one pedestrian-friendly town. The city is chock full of mid-street, stoplight-free crosswalks, and the law says you damn well better stop your car if someone starts crossing. I have no problem with that as long as the crossers shake a leg. Unfortunately, this town is also loaded with herds of walking mozzarella sticks who think that the right of way gives them the right to take as long they damn well please. And all I can do is grip my steering wheel a little tighter and think, “God, are you punishing me because my hair is better than yours?”

When I’m on foot, I don’t care if I’m wearing a suit and tie – if I’m crossing, I’m running. Every time. If drivers are cool enough to obey the law and stop, I’m not gonna hold them up. And neither was the woman above, who couldn’t have been a day younger than 92. When this goddess crossed the street yesterday, she said to hell with the osteoporosis and just motored. I love her.

Let’s all take a page out of this total babe’s book and do likewise. You’ll get where you’re going faster and I won’t have to hose you off my SUV’s grill.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Steeped In Crazy.

I hate to do a blind item here, but this is about a fellow actor, and I must protect the unstable.

My friend Kevin is now in possession of this teapot, which belongs to a formerly huge, now more of a has-been actor. Kevin’s friend is the actor’s personal assistant, and the actor is about as playful as a firing squad.

Last week, the guy needed to go to San Diego, and debated out loud to Kevin’s friend whether he should hire a town car or drive himself. He finally decided to drive himself, but the next day, when there was no town car, he went ape-shit, screaming at Kevin’s friend. And then he suddenly turned, pointed at the teapot and told him to get it the hell out of his house.

He found the pot evil, but Kevin now finds it a delightful receptacle for his keys, wallet and cell phone. I rubbed it for good luck, and the next thing I knew I found my favorite missing t-shirt and the Jets blocked a punt.

In the actors’ defense, it's a really blow to have gone from Academy Award-level to afterthought, and I know no matter how big I make it it could end badly some day. I just hope it isn’t with me hiding in the trunk of a rental car.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Weekend Recap.

Yesterday was my nephew’s birthday. I gave him a toy that electronically counts how may bubbles he can pop that come out of a hippo’s mouth, and picked up 100 McNuggets on the way to the party. And no, I did just write that last sentence using Mad Libs… A week of getting up early finally caught up with me at the gym, where I drifted off for 45 minutes out in the open on the stretching mats. I’m an exhibitionist napper… For the first time since April, it finally rained – for about 90 seconds. I think we’re good for the rest of 2011…. My friend Mark proposed to a really good woman on Saturday, which was nice. I’d always thought if Mark ever got married it’d be in a women’s prison... I got a little hoarse from screaming as my Jets came back to beat the Cowboys last night, so if you bump into me today, that’s why I sound like Lou Rawls.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

We ♥ NY.

My mom is a real estate agent in New York, and ten years ago she got the listing of a home for sale by a Japanese family. While the house was on the market, the father of this family was killed in the Trade Center on 9/11, and his wife immediately took their kids and fled back to Japan. They left behind for my mother this Sony Handycam, in great shape and worth 1500 bucks, and my mother gave it to me.

I’ve used it often for the past decade, and it just goes to show that not every remnant of what happened in New York that day turned to rubble. I think about this camera and how it must have been used by that dad on all kinds of happy occasions like his kids’ birthdays, and how today those kids’ memories of this country must be that it’s the place where they lost their dad for no reason.

The other day my mom asked me if there’s as much talk about 9/11 out here as there is in New York, and I told here there kind of wasn’t. I suppose everyone who was a safe distance from Manhattan that day will never feel quite the same way people there still do, but that doesn’t mean we don’t remember.

Friday, September 9, 2011

This Week In @mattshevin Tweets.

  • (ABOVE) Your secret identity is safe with me, ’86 Honda Civic owner.
  • Bangs are the female cop equivalent of a mustache. #butch
  • To all nutjobs outside Whole Foods: not sure if your tepees have high speed, but I will never sign anything for you, #Twitter=HandyTimeSaver
  • NPR’s production values are slightly below homemade porn.
  • When I’m on death row for killing a reality TV exec, my last meal will definitely include crab wontons from Chan Dara.
  • Goal this football season: keep my bookie from quitting his day job at Edible Arrangements.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Get Your Butt To LA, Part 19: Prep School.

After all the studying, marketing, cajoling and stressing, finally getting to act on camera is as much fun as the law will allow.

It’s a tricky hill to climb to get there, and two of the most important things that’ll make it happen are a good reel and a good résumé. Herein lies the ultimate rub: how do you build either one of them if casting directors prefer people who already have them?

Student films. You don’t need much experience to audition for and book roles in them, and when you do you’ll build credits, learn the technical aspects of acting in front of a camera and get footage for your reel. One of the best film schools in the country – USC – is here in L.A., along with three of the most underrated film schools: UCLA, LMU and Chapman University. Most of their scripts are really inspired, and with the increased technology and lower costs of HD and Red cameras come lots of student films with great roles for you. So what could possibly go wrong?

Well, for one thing, the scene used for your audition may seem brilliant, but after you get the role you may find out the entire script to be an unintentional bait and switch – a real cinematic disaster.

The key when stuck doing one of these debacles (be a professional and don’t back out) is to realize that these filmmakers are students; they’re learning as they go, so they make take a little longer to set up shots, or the set may seem pretty amateur. If it’s a real shitstorm, you gotta just literally sit yourself down on the ground, relax, breathe, count to ten and realize many actors would kill to beat you out for this role no matter how bad it might seem, and you’re here in Hollywood doing what you always wanted to do: make a movie. And by all means, be pleasant.

Years ago, my mentor/acting teacher Stuart K. Robinson was a young actor who booked a part in an awful student film. The shoot took place on the beach and was an utter mess, with two student co-directors who couldn’t even work their camera. Rather than pitch a fit, Stuart stayed calm and used his shooting experience to help them get the camera rolling. Two years later, Stuart walked into an audition, and seated on a couch were the two filmmakers, who were now directing commercials together. They lit up when they saw Stuart, and they cast him, as the guy in the Kool Aid suit. Anyone could have gotten that role, but because they remembered Stuart’s generosity and professionalism, they chose him. He shot a bunch of Kool Aid spots with them and made about $250,000.

Pretty sweet upside, right? Right. Embrace film students and their films. They’re a key stepping-stone. You may even catch on with the next “it” director, who casts you in everything he shoots as his career goes gangbusters. Go to, set up a profile, and start submitting yourself for these movies. Your reel is counting on it, your résumé is counting on it, your whole damn country is counting on it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Weekend Recap.

I would have thanked Cameron Chism, whose late interception/touchdown for my Maryland Terps won me a shitload of money last night, but I couldn’t possibly because gambling’s illegal, right?… Speaking of which, I’m laying 3 to 1 odds that Jess the real employee in the Domino’s commercial is a woman, not a man. Who wants action?… While waxing my car, every single middle-aged dude that drove past thought it would be a real hoot to ask me if I could do their car as well, proving once again that there’s no such thing as a cool dad… Three words for those who are bummed they won’t get another day off until Thanksgiving: convert to Judaism.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Life Gave Her Something.

I’d be willing to bet when she was a little girl, the poor chick trapped inside this horrifying workspace dreamed of becoming a ballerina or a nurse or a movie star. But somewhere along the way she was dealt a bad hand, so if she decides to spend her Labor Day crying or vomiting or mowing down a picnic with a semi-automatic, she’s earned a pass.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


SALON RECEPTIONIST: “Which cut did you have? The Alec Baldwin or the Stephen Baldwin?”

ME: (Glumly peering into my wallet) “The Stephen Baldwin.”

Friday, September 2, 2011

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

  • I’m not the type to fight off headhunters or cannibals. I have trouble asking for more bread in a restaurant.
  • My knowledge of Spanish consists only of condescending phrases to housekeepers and valet parkers.
  • If they give you a bib for lobster, they should definitely give you a diaper for Indian food.
  • Be more Italian – smash some barrels.
  • Hiring felons to work in your porn shop is not the answer. Trust me.
  • While you will learn to speak both Russian and Portuguese, Bad Guy School is just a party school.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Get Your Butt To LA, Part 18: Casting Director Pet Peeves.

Sleeping at my place for the first time, a woman I was dating got under the covers with me, smelled the fabric softener I use on my sheets and excitedly said, “It smells like my dad’s bed!” A redder flag has never been raised.

Auditions come with a bevy of their own red flags. Here are the don’ts:

Don’t bring props. They’re way too distracting. For a restaurant scene, casting directors don’t need to see you eating real food you brought along with you. Just do the scene. And especially don’t bring dangerous props. CDs have had actors suddenly whip out real knives and guns. Surprise! Crazy actor!

Don’t mime. If the scene calls for you to knock on a door or ring a doorbell, just skip it. Driving? Sit and hold your lines as if it’s a steering wheel. Make sure whatever you’re doing has physical resistance. Don’t extend your pinky and thumb to make a phone call – use your real cell phone. And only use objects you’d actually have on you. Everyone has a purse or a messenger bag, a cell phone and possibly a bottle of water. Use the bag as luggage or a baby. Use the phone not only as a phone, but as a TV remote, etc. The bottle of water subs for any beverage or food.

Don’t show up in costume. When unconfident actors try to cloak their insecurities with costumes, it actually makes those insecurities come out blazing. No cop uniforms, no hospital scrubs, no fruit on your head. (A casting director told me this really happened, and his fellow casting directors laughed like hell when they saw her in the waiting room.) This whole thing is actually my own biggest pet peeve. See Exhibit A, Exhibit B, Exhibit C.

Don’t be late. This is the easiest thing to get right. When CDs manage to corral producers to sit in on auditions, the time window is very narrow. And don’t show up late and get upset that the casting session is over. You effed up. Deal with it.

Don’t just market yourself to them for no reason. Send them post cards only when you book roles. Anything else is a 4”x6” reminder that you ain’t workin.

Never shake their hands. This is a big no-no. The last thing they want to do is contract your flu cooties. I once got burned by this in a crampt casting office as a CD opened the door to the audition room and seemed to extend his hand as he said hello. I thought I shouldn’t shake it, but he made the gesture and I worried if I didn’t I’d look like I was shining him off. I chose poorly, and put out my hand, to which he pulled back and said “Nope.” Try starting an audition sharing that special moment.

Don’t touch them during the audition. It doesn’t matter what the scene has you doing – don’t kiss them, don’t hug them, don’t even lean in near them. They are a no-fly zone.

Never ask them “Do you remember me?” Don’t do this whether you’re walking into the audition room or bumping into them out in public. There are way too many actors for CDs to always know who you are or where you’ve met. (Though they’ll certainly remember the douchey actor who embarrassed them with this needy question.)

Behave in the waiting room. Just the other day a CD told me that as she came out to check an audition sign-in sheet, an actress thought she was a fellow actress cutting ahead of her and snapped at her. Minutes later, when the angry actress entered the audition room and saw the CD sitting there, she tried to backpedal by telling the CD, “That dress is so cute on you!” Tell it walkin’, bitch.

My “Jerry Springer ‘Final Thought’”: Pet peeves can be the difference between booking a role and not. Know them and you’ll look like a pro, and alleviate any worry a CD may have that you won’t behave on the set, or will waste filming time trying to get your scene right. Auditions are nerve-wracking enough; the more seasoned and in control you look, the cooler you’ll look. And just like in the high school cafeteria, everyone wants to sit at the cool guy’s table, not the needy guy’s table. And you, my friends, are cool as shit.