Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
The NFL on FOX has decided to re-air a commercial I shot for them a couple years ago. It’s the one in which I played a bartender opposite comedian JB Smoove, and will be running until the Super Bowl.
Keep this between you and me, but I had such a good time, I would have shot the role for free. And yet, it would seem rude not to deposit the residual checks that’ll be arriving shortly. And I’m nothing if not polite.
Drinks on me. (Well, FOX, really.)
Monday, July 29, 2013
Saturday, July 27, 2013
Friday, July 26, 2013
Thursday, July 25, 2013
You may recall the woman who got her menstrual panties in a bunch when I called out a friend of hers who showed up to an audition in costume. She seems like a delight.
Well, the other day I had a workshop with a casting director from one of the big military-based TV shows, and she stressed what I’ve been saying all along: DON’T SHOW UP IN COSTUME, FOR F’S SAKE. Dress to merely suggest the role you’re auditioning for.
The casting director had a couple of great reasons why. First off, for her show she sometimes brings in real military vets for auditions, who can be pretty damn offended if we civilians wear fatigues in front of them. Secondly, if you come in dressed in camouflage, and you’re talented but not quite right for the role, the casting directors have trouble imagining you for other, non-military roles. You pigeon-hole yourself. And do you really want to add one more degree of difficulty in booking a role? Try setting that Thanksgiving table.
By the way, I noticed Can’t-Keep-Her-Comments-to-Herself lady neglected to mention if her friend in the lab coat booked the role. Babe, if my email ain’t blowing up today, I’ll assume it ain’t you.
Not to worry, though – based on the romantic comedy rulebook, this weekend we’ll get drunk and sing karaoke together.
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
And here’s a movie you should see all of, right away: Fruitvale Station. It won both the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, and is the true story of Oscar Grant, who was needlessly shot in the back by an Oakland transit cop on New Years Eve in 2009. The film follows Oscar, played by Michael B. Jordan, for 24 hours before it all happened.
Oscar wasn’t perfect, but at age 22, he was on the verge of really getting his life together. He had friends and a caring mother and grandmother, he was a playful dad and boyfriend, and had a big heart. If you’re like me, and think that cops are real shitbags, you’ll hate them all the more from the opening scene of the film, in which we’re shown cell phone video of the real shooting. From then on, as we start at beginning of his day, Oscar is a walking dead man.
You know how a great film will really stick with you the day after you see it? This one haunted me, and as I passed a billboard for it, it broke my heart.
It’ll break yours, too. You really oughta see it.
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
While you involved in that British nonsense you may have missed the fact that an great American actor died. Dennis Farina was one of my favorites – and one of the actors everyone seems to love – which I blogged about a few years back. (New list coming soon.) All the more impressive is the he was a Chicago cop for 18 years who caught the acting bug late and didn’t book his first film role until he was 37.
He went on to appear in hundreds of TV shows and movies, and no matter the role, he was always riveting.
As much as I love to engage any actor I can, I encountered Dennis once but didn’t engage, because it was in the unfriendly confines of a bathroom at LAX. I can only say he was much taller than I expected.
Screw it – he was a giant. And he’ll be missed.
Monday, July 22, 2013
Friday, July 19, 2013
Thursday, July 18, 2013
Duncan is an awkward teen leading an entirely regrettable life. And he has no adult to mentor him out of his sad-sack malaise. The Way, Way Back (which is where you sit in a station wagon when you’re the family runt) is an amazing comedy and moving story about Duncan spending a summer dealing with his parents’ divorce, his mom’s complete dick of a new boyfriend (played against type by Steve Carell) and being a social pariah around girls. (Though I’d argue a group of teenage girls giggling in your vicinity will destroy you at any age.)
But of all the all-star cast, the man who really steals the film is Sam Rockwell, who plays the manager of the beach town’s water park. He’s an overgrown frat boy, yet a sweet, protective big-brother type who immediately senses Duncan needs a friend. Blaspheme alert: I love Bill Murray very much, but Sam Rockwell takes Murray’s Meatballs camp-director character and just shreds it, launching hilarious rapid-fire putdowns at the water park kids, who eat it up, and a female coworker who hates how much she wants him. Sam is scary talented. There’s Oscar buzz for him for this role, and he deserves it.
It’s the funniest movie of the summer, and expanding into more theaters this weekend. See it.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Stick with scripted TV. Always. But if your TV fix must contain some Jersey, “The Sopranos” will scratch that itch. It changed television, mainly because James Gandolfini, was a major talent who inhabited his role. It made it all the more heartbreaking when he died last month. (That, and he was a fellow Jets fan.)
I wondered if he was a nice as write-ups portrayed him, so I asked my friend Billy St. John, who co-starred with James in a film called Club Soda, to share his experience:
“He was a bit reserved when I first met him. Paul Carafotes, the director, introduced me and I said, ‘You look familiar. Have you done anything I might know?’ He and the director stared at me and then broke up laughing. He was in his fourth season of “The Sopranos."
He was VERY professional on set and really open to helping the new kid on set (Steve McQueen’s grandson, Steven) to deliver a better performance.
Very nice and fun guy with me. We were in the back room of the bar–we shot at an Irish Pub on Highland all week–and we were all just hanging around, waiting for the next scene. James was sitting next to me in this big chair and suddenly started singing the “SpongeBob Squarepants” theme song. I looked at him and joined in, he looked at me and laughed and we sang the whole song at the top of our lungs. Everyone was staring at us.
When we stopped laughing, I asked him how he knew the lyrics to the song, and he said that he had a three year old at home. He asked how I knew the song and I just said that I liked clever cartoons. Pretty cool memory for me.
Really sad, and it hit me weirder than I thought it would when I heard the news. Heck, he was only 51 and I thought about his child without a dad. Sad.”
Agree. Thanks, Billy.
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Monday, July 15, 2013
Yeah, I know – I’m the one cracking the whip. And I’m proud to hit another milestone, and as is customary, I like to chose my favorite five entries from the last 100:
Things I Said To Folks Over The Weekend. When I was little, my brother used to warn me that my wiseass attitude would get me beat up, and one day, an eighth-grader did just that. That day was last Tuesday. Get in line to kick my ass here.
Kim Kardashian Is Acting In A Movie Make It Stop. And to think, her dad helping OJ get off was once the family’s most shameful act. Celebrate an American treasure here.
Our Weekend Shoot: An iPhone™ Photo Gallery. Shooting a scene is even better than sex. (Note to self: shoot me having sex. Kill two birds.) Roll with me here.
Malpractice. Wanna create instant rage? Just add asshole. The doctor is out, here.
Get Your Butt To LA, Part 57: Oh, Behave. You know who could learn a lot about being on set? Kim Kardashian. Take copious notes here.
Saturday, July 13, 2013
Friday, July 12, 2013
Thursday, July 11, 2013
• Belated New Year’s resolution: draw a chalk outline around a dead clown.
• I could see her camouflage pants, so they weren’t working.
• Nothing is better than seeing an old friend who now looks terrible.
• These days, doing a sex tape is like doing a pilot.
• Is there a code I can text to help the people waiting outside Chipotle before it opens at 11?
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
The hilarious characters in Dead Between LA and Vegas are up to no damn good, and that’s what makes the script damn great. It was written by my friend Rainy, who held a table read the other night. It was a big cast, so we read outside. Instead of a table, we sat around a chalk outline of dead body for effect.
I read one of the leads and loved it. There’s nothing like bringing a script to life for the first time. I can’t wait until it gets produced, because great comedies are tough to come by these days.
You know, many people believe that laughter is the best medicine. I’m no doctor, but isn’t medicine the best medicine? That’s why they call it medicine.
Nice job, Rainy.
Monday, July 8, 2013
Saturday, July 6, 2013
Just as I was about to reply to him that of course we wear our own underwear, I realized the above pair was neither mine nor wardrobe’s. It was the director’s. Long story, not quite explained here.
Friday, July 5, 2013
Thursday, July 4, 2013
America. F yeah.
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Here are a few things by which you must absolutely abide:
Be on time. Scratch that – show up 15 minutes early. No excuses about traffic or parking. The shittiest feeling in the world is running late, stuck in traffic, and then your cell rings, and you just know they’re looking for you. Trust me – tying to race to a set in LA morning rush-hour traffic is the worst Grand Theft Auto game ever.
Papers, Jew. Make sure you have your license and/or passport with you. This is a job, and it requires a 1099 just like a civilian job. Having your IDs with you and filling out any paperwork immediately endears you to the assistant directors, who are some of the biggest gatekeepers on set. But disappoint them, and just go ahead and give yourself a purple nurple.
Shut your yapper. Chances are, cameras are rolling and you don’t want to be shushed while someone else is being filmed. And don’t wander off to craft services without letting someone know. You don’t want people looking for you. Instead, you’re going to be the agreeable, available Johnny-on-the-spot. The actor they absolutely must work with again. The DeNiro to their Scorcese. Until Scorcese leaves your ass for DiCaprio.
Respect the garments and whatnot. The wardrobe people bust their asses to make you look good, so hang your clothes back up when you’re wrapped, and walk them back to their department. I’ve watched actors just drop their clothing on set, or leave them strewn about their trailer. And give your props (watches, guns, etc.) back to the prop master. He’s responsible for that stuff, and his main responsibility after an actor doesn't return props is figuring out what to do with his corpse.
Be prepared, fool. Have your lines memorized. There’s always the chance your scenes will be shot out of order, and your brain has to be ready for that. It’ll be a big cast and crew standing around you – don’t hold them up doing multiple takes because you keep going up on lines. Instant flop-sweat.
Lucky for us, there are a couple of great ways to practice set etiquette from the moment you arrive in LA: booking roles in student films, which in every way are microcosms of big TV and movie shoots, and doing extra work. But only do background a couple of times to get a feel for sets and see how the talent go about their business. You’re no extra; you’re an actor, with a day-job that allows you time to audition for acting work. And then book that work. And then behave. Like a boss.
Monday, July 1, 2013
Keep it classic. Like the folks over at Trash Clothing, one of the sponsors of my blog, who kindly surprised me over the weekend by sending me a wife-beater. You guys are the best.
Trash features brand new, vintage, handmade and thrift clothing. All while being huge advocates for saving our planet. Click on their logo in the upper right corner and shop for some of the best eclectic stuff around.
Oh, and if “wife-beater” is no longer an acceptable term, remember: Sarah Palin is a wife.