26 June 2012

Reality TV has officially bottomed out

Quite literally.


Date: 2012-06-26, 10:05AM PDT
Reply to: dsvcasting@gmail.com 

2nd Season Hit TV Series is looking for people who can pass gas on cue. Professional or not, master in the art of flatulence.

If you can fart on command, please send a photo with your name, contact number, and email. We will be auditioning people THIS week in Burbank, CA. Please submit ASAP.

If you are able to make a video of yourself passing gas on YouTube, (please NO NUDITY) please include it.

Than you and Good luck!
  • Location: BURBANK, CA
  • Compensation: $94.40/8hrs

13 July 2011

"Check out my web series!" is the new "Read my screenplay!"

If you have a killer screenplay, you better be brilliant in the first page or two. One of the screenwriting books I read a while back said that you have to nail it in the first 10 pages or just go home. I think the latest edition of that book today might say it's down to the first 1-2 pages. Nobody has time for anything or anybody. I wouldn't be shocked if casting directors suddenly went back to black and white headshots because it takes too long to process all that color information.

This blog will soon take on a new focus as I have blown all my savings on production equipment with the intention of creating nothing less than the greatest web series ever produced. There are a handful of tactics that will get you some attention in this crazy town. But it's really very simple: kick ass. Be excellent. Whatever it is you do, just do it well and the glory follows. That's the plan.

For the past few months, my roommate and I have hosted a handful of actor friends every Sunday for on-camera workshops. All you need is a decent video camera and tripod, and a decent TV on which to watch your work. We've all benefited from the practice, and in a few cases, gone farther on specific auditions because of the benefits of self-evaluation. Now, we're moving into a phase of putting the rest of the pieces together: the writing, the performance, and the editing.

This weekend, despite one cast member having another shoot the same day, we were able to finish off about 95% of a 7-page web series pilot. It was a bit more than I expected to be able to accomplish, and that has me excited about the future episodes. I recently re-watched Bowfinger and we took many notes about production techniques on a low budget.

So, for those of you who happened upon this page because you're searching for info on producing webisodes, I really hope it will become a well of knowledge for you, because knowing is half the battle.

I had hoped to be operational a little earlier in the year, but tweaking the script and waiting on technology brought us to July, when Apple released the abomination known as Final Cut Pro X. Now, I have not actually used FCPX, but I have read enough reviews and complaints about what it does not include that I am looking elsewhere for editing help. Final Cut Express is useless with modern HD video files, and I'm using a camera that saves .mxf clips of each shot. Which I LOVE.

I've tried my hand at web page design going back to the days when I actually had to type out html code for everything. (Remember tripod.com?) I even remember trying to upload video files before YouTube existed. To me, it was finally a step up from local cable access! Today, I'm looking at mypod.com which will give your domain the look, feel, and revenue of a channel.

Well, I ain't shooting Wayne's World any more. Blue-collar web series seem to be all the rage these days, but I think we shall overcome that. And after shooting the first episode, I'm psyched. I'm even more optimistic than I was when the vision was only in my head. Everyone...was excellent. Now, to the editing booth. And...whatever software awaits.

28 April 2011

Online Poker with Obama & Donald Trump

Little-known fact that yesterday's birth certificate announcement was spurred by Obama & Trump playing online poker. Transcript from yesterday's table games:

WatchTheApprentice2012 sits at the table.

WatchTheApprentice2012 purchases 10,000 chips.

POTUS44: Hello!

WatchTheApprentice2012: Eat my hairspray, you Kenyan socialist. I'm gonna rape you.

Dealer: Please refrain from offensive language.

WatchTheApprentice2012 warned.

Dealer: Place your bets, everyone.

Mittens checks.

Huckabuck checks.

POTUS44 raises.

WatchTheApprentice2012 bets ALL-IN 10,000 chips.

POTUS44: srsly?

LouSarah folds.

TeabagMeinMN6 folds.

Mittens folds.

Huckabuck folds.

WatchTheApprentice2012: What's the mattah, potus?

WatchTheApprentice2012: u nevr show. Let's see what ur holdin

WatchTheApprentice2012: does my chip stack intimidate you?

WatchTheApprentice2012: any day now, if you think you got the goods

POTUS44 calls.

[FLOP: A, K, J]

POTUS44 wins 20,000 with Full House, Aces over Jacks.

WatchTheApprentice2012: some1 check to see if that ace is a forgery

WatchTheApprentice2012: thot u had a K, would be just like ur majesty

WatchTheApprentice2012 purchases 10,000 chips.

WatchTheApprentice2012: I'm so proud to have done that

WatchTheApprentice2012: i did what no 1 else could do, hahaha

Dealer: Place your bets, everyone.

WatchTheApprentice2012: i read that you were a cruddy student in college.

WatchTheApprentice2012 bets ALL-IN 10,000 chips.

WatchTheApprentice2012: srsly, how does a guy like you get to the hi-roller table anyway?

POTUS44 calls.

Mittens folds.

Huckabuck folds.

LouSarah folds.

TeabagMeinMN6 folds.

WatchTheApprentice2012: haha...right into my trap

WatchTheApprentice2012: i bet u got 2-9 unsuited

LouSarah: geez, ya know, some of us would like 2 play 2

WatchTheApprentice2012: cry me a river, snow crab. ur hiding plenty of chips in your wahoo cause u kno u cant handle the Don

POTUS44 wins 20,000 with Straight, 10 high.

WatchTheApprentice2012: this is why I am the master. You shoulda stayed on the basketball court.

POTUS44: So can we get back to a real game here?

Huckabuck: the socialist is right

WatchTheApprentice2012: Go back 2 ur double-wide, hillbilly. I’m not done sucking the air from you plebes

WatchTheApprentice2012: i have done something really really important here, and i am so proud

WatchTheApprentice2012 purchases 10,000 chips.

15 January 2011

How to Make Your Own Luck

In light of the Mercurial Ted Williams story, Ken Levine has an excellent example of an "overnight sensation" which was really more of
the story of the schmoe who worked his ass off and made it because of his passion and sacrifice.

31 December 2010

A Year in Auditions

Having seen the “Year in Status Update” app on the facebooks, I got to thinking. And what that thinking thunked was this sampling of the best character breakdowns I auditioned for in 2010. I’m sure something can be learnt from this. This is either an advertisement or self-flagellation. Either way, it’s a great living.

· Should be great with subtle comedy. OPen to looks from normal to Charactery/gangly/quirky/nerdy.

· Caucasian Male, 25-35 years old, real with character to very character..everyman,sensitive,lovable,intelligent but a slightly clueless ADHD archetype. From Luke Wilson to John Krasinski.

· Average everyday engineer types.

· Interesting faces, expressive, a quiet nature. Strong actors. Must be comfortable with handling animals (an elk).

· Slightly more studious type with a quirky vibe. May wear glasses. Hair could be thinning.

· is a bit of a neat freak, not to mention a perfectionist. He is super eager and enthusiastic about his job at ---- (maybe sometimes too much so...)
Sometimes he takes himself a little too seriously and tries a little too hard.

· Awkward, unique, weird, bizarre, distinct, memorable face and physical characteristics. No lines. It's all about the look.
(he's the guy we've caught stealing leftovers from the office fridge).

· ICONIC ROLE. (Think: Geico Caveman, Sprint Spokesman, etc.) Talent must be supremely confident and likable at the same time. He must have a BIG personality, and he has to be FEARLESS. He should have STAR QUALITY and of course, he should be very FUNNY. COMIC actor with the dexterity and the versatility of a "character actor". He should have the magnetism of a star, brimming with self-confidence, but never off-putting. This could be a star-making turn for the right actor. THINK: Will Ferrell, but it's essential that this not become the "the guy trying to impersonate Will Ferrell". Classic iconic television SPOKESPERSON. Wardrobe: Business attire and EXTREME weather gear with Furry Hat, as one would wear while WOOD CHOPPING

· We’re looking for a character who can suffer all sorts of indignities and humiliation with calm and poise. He’s a bit of a dreamer, but also completely pragmatic in how he goes about attaining his dreams.

· He's FUNNY!! Someone that is distinctive and full of character, definitely in personality but also in look. NOT good looking American guys but more British. Stand out appeal, memorable characters. Definitely quirky and off beat. He's NOT bland! NO Squared jaws. NO models

· They are orderlies in a mental institution who look like they have lived outside of mainstream society for a while. They're kind of outcasts, like petri dish researchers. They have outdated fashion senses, bad haircuts, and complexions that show they possibly have a vitamin D deficiency. We're looking for a complimentary pair, so interesting character and body types are welcome.

· Needs to be able to sell a moment/quirkiness with a minor expression, that is NOT I REPEAT NOT over the top. [BOOKED THIS ONE]

· a sort of inquisitive yet affable Paul Rudd-type, must be the definition of restraint,tempering his obvious frustration so as to not make a scene (because nobody wants to be the crazy guy yelling at the counter about value meals). He's still your everyman that we can identify with who all of a sudden finds himself in a very awkward 'Larry David-type' situation.

· he needs to stick out, whether he's super tall, or small, or weird, or just super funny... something different about this guy.

· old worlde faces - pissed off sick of the war

· Not Overweight. SKINNY..We are looking for very very thin white legs....He may work at Kinko's..night shift..HE MUST HOP ON ONE LEG

· Likeable and real. [BOOKED THIS ONE]


· real with character to very character....He looks conservative and turns into Mr. & Mrs Smith.

· He looks tired worn out and sick A regular guy who looks, unremarkable aside from possessing a sort of "Victim in waiting" quality while going about his daily business!! Early 30's, Any Ethnicity; slightly nerdy, IT guy.


· A bit off, quirky. Dwight from The Office. Mr. Know It All. Never worked anywhere else. Creed is another Office reference that would work well. He's a character.

· All Ethnicity Male, 28-44 years old, Real with character to very very character...Quirky, oddball,Great Comedy person..All shapes and sizes

· A likeable lanky, loveable slightly goofy mid 30's guy in a business suit. Think a younger Greg Kinnear type or maybe Ross from Friends, unlucky in love and hoping to find "the one".

· Guy in his mid 20's who is a super lanky, skinny, stringbeany. Should be a good comedic actor. He is looking in the mirror, flexing his muscles, trying to look beefy, but he is so skinny it's just not working. He will have to eat a burger.

· think 50's b movie scientist

· This guy should have great comedy chops, interesting facial expressions, expressive eyes. He can be a bit wimpy looking. Not too good looking or odd looking either.

· Interesting, Weird Magician type guys.

· Unique, intelligent face. BOBBY FISCHER, (ACTUAL CHESS CHAMPION), is the correct reference here. EASTERN EUROPEAN / SLAVIC / RUSSIAN looking. Angular, classic features, with some element that is almost 'romanesque', (as in how Fischer had a very distinctive nose, with full, cherub-like lips.) Intense gaze. & PRESENCE.


· Outdoor fisherman-type of guy. Masculine.

· Interesting faces. Friendly, but seems serious. Average looking, guy next door type. Must be great with cats and not have cat allergies.

· A little timid, doesn’t always speak up for himself and often nervous in social setting. Is typically the butt of his friend’s jokes, but is well liked. He is generally the guy that if something bad or unlucky is going to happen, it happens to him. Think Michael Cera.

· There's a sparkle in his eye and something unusual in his pocket.

· 20s, a creepy weirdo preoccupied with death, in particular, the Boston Strangler slayings. He has made his apartment a shrine to the Boston Strangler, and becomes a chief suspect in the recent murders. Brought in for questioning, -----, creepily, offers to confess if the cops just let him loose in the morgue...1 speech & 1 line, 2 scenes

· A quirky/charactery looking guy in his late 20s to late 30s, he's listed as number one on -------'s "20 Most Bangable Bachelors" list, so ------ stakes him out and has sex with him to find out what makes him so fantastic in bed...Nice costar

30 March 2009

Slumdog Millionaire Child Star Made More on a Pepsi Commercial Than the Movie

Click the title to go to the link.

The nine-year-old was plucked from Mumbai’s slums to act in Danny Boyle’s film but, despite its runaway box office success, she went back to the same life as before.

The film’s executives then set up a trust fund for her and the other child stars.

But Rubina’s father, Rafiq Ali, claims the cashflow had stopped.

He said: 'The Slumdog Millionaire people haven’t kept all their promises despite the media attention.

'We have no information about the supposed trust fund - and the £21 a month that they were giving for her studies has stopped coming.

Worldwide gross of nearly THREE HUNDRED MILLION dollars, and this little girl--all of these kids if this is true--were USED for the profit of other, more powerful figures. (Estimated budget was $15 million.)

Gee, does anyone see a parallel with the movie itself? What is the difference between the production company and the character who kidnapped the children to exploit on the street for spare change? At least the kids have an opportunity to capitalize on their fame now. But if a rising tide raises all ships, they should all be given the opportunity to reap the benefits of what they earned, and undoubtedly, use that money to help their families and neighborhoods.

The media coverage of this issue has come and gone, because traditional media have the attention span of an ADHD teenager and are too lazy to revisit a story once it has passed through the radar. It is pathetic but not surprising that they won't even continue 21-pound-per-month payments for her education. Thankfully, the issue can be revived with every job she takes from here on out.

But if this is allowed to become the norm, expect a LOT more "outsourcing" of the film industry.

10 February 2009

New Major League Baseball logo

There will inevitably be a second record book. This can be their logo.

04 February 2009


Bonnie Gillespie recently posted her end-of-2008 column, inviting readers to tell her what they learned about their craft in the past year. What I learned was that booking ten commercials in 12 months no longer means squat. A full 87% of my acting income last year came from one commercial, and I nearly called in sick for that one. I absolutely needed every single one of those other bookings just to get by until Capital One started running in the summer. I would be toast, right now, unhappy in another day job or busting ass from sun to sun creating whatever business I could to get by had I not booked that job. (It certainly seems that collecting Unemployment Insurance from the State of California is not a guaranteed proposition any more!)

We have commercial contracts to be renegotiated in a few months. Since the 2000 contracts, I believe, we have been royally buggered on the cable deal, and the internet buyout yields just enough cash to pay a month's rent and groceries, provided you have a STELLAR deal on rent/mortgage.

It was a conversation with Hans Howes that inspired me to shoot for double digit bookings. He told me his record was 11 commercials in a year. of course, that was a much different time and a few of those may have been from the Marlboro Man campaign. But giving yourself a ridiculous goal like that, as long as it's grounded in reality and you believe in it, is the first step in accomplishing a ridiculous goal.

How does one wind up still living one month or one car accident away from being flat broke after booking ten commercials? Here's how it breaks down.

Capital One: my meal ticket in '08. Thank you, squid.
Hormel/Lloyd's BBQ: My cold meal off the floor. Internet only, right here.
Advil: Excellent spot, stunt work, bruises, and special effects on the cheap. It showed apparently, so they kept it on the shelf and killed the campaign.
VW: Awesome experience, worked with Bobby Knight. Fartknocker improvs a scene without me and they use that take. See blog post below. Booked Advil and VW on the same day.
Sprint: Cutting room floor. Booked same week as Advil & VW, so imagine how rich I thought I'd be right now.
VisitLasVegas.com: Actually aired for a few weeks, but only good enough for cable money.
Bud Light: Removed from set and replaced with female moments before the master shot.
Epson: Hey, I survived one! This one is currently online, playing during internet series including The Office. Lots of people have told me they saw it, but at least I got a flat rate. Actors in The Office episode didn't get squat. Plus, I wound up buying two of the printers I was hawking, they are that good.
Apple: Specs were changed, no money for potential conflict was offered, so for the first time ever, I actually refused a job. Really hope that was the right decision.
KGB: Finished off the year with this late booking and this one is airing, of course, on cable only. Felt like I kinda snuck in on that one, a lot of established actors grace that campaign, and I'm pretty certain I was one of the only ones on that set working at scale. Still, I'll out-earn what I got for all but one of the other bookings.

And one more that I've forgotten. (Because like most of the others, it went nowhere.)

I have to be proud of myself for not counting on anything. There have been several times over the past few months when I coulda pulled the trigger...coulda walked out of CostCo with that 52-inch plasma and gotten myself hooked up to a lot of fun toys. Had I done that, I wouldn't be writing this. I'd be babysitting the yoots of LA under the guise of "substitute teaching." Or back to the back-breaking messenger biz, or carjacking. Had I done that, I would have had a much harder time replacing my car, which finally reached its breaking point at the end of the year. So what has I learnt? For one thing, I'd rather have quality than quantity. Two network ads trumps ten internet ads every time. And don't buy a lot of stupid shit because you need to pay rent six months from now.

So while I'd love to renew that goal of a dozen commercials, I'll be happier with two meal tickets. Oh, and I've also learned that if you are in the market for a new printer, do not hesitate to snap up the Epson Artisan 800. Highly highly recommend! Use your Capital One card if you have to.

10 October 2008

My Giant Squid Encounter (Capital One)

This is the story of how I landed one of the coolest jobs I ever had: being violated repeatedly by a giant squid on national television. Long gone are the days when a commercial actor could count on 2 or 3 jobs being able to pay for a year of life as an actor. This spring, it took me seven jobs just to survive until July. So I am long overdue in telling the tale of the job that brought me out of debt for the first time in almost fifteen years.

Let's start at the beginning, with the audition. It was a holiday, Presidents' Day or something, and for the first time in a few years I was sick. Nothing horrible, I've handled much worse. But it was bad enough for my roommate to insist on driving me to Santa Monica and back. I did the Emergen-C, the multivitamin, Jamba Juice with an energy boost, a little bit of crack...whatever it took to stand up. Delivering the lines would require some Divine assistance.

The first audition is usually you and the session director, running the camera and walking you through the blocking and the denoument. (Did I just remember a word from college? And did I spell it right?) A stuffed snake was clipped to a C-stand (that's Industry-speak for 'metal thingy.') Obviously you can't rehearse that whole upside-down part of the ad, so the auditioners wrapped the snake around our faces for the famous "What's in your wallet?" line. As for the callback, I read for a different commercial in the same campaign. But I read that line the exact same way. That's the one bit of advice I could pass on to others after this process. Don't give them your own brilliant interpretation of their campaign. It's not "What's IN your wallet?" It's "What's in your wallet?" Not too hard, not too soft, just a bit of emphasis on your. The ad agency and writers spent a long time coming up with their slogan, and they've already pored over every possible way to deliver the line. You, as the actor, are the empty vessel who is there to deliver the goods exactly as they and the director envisioned. Coke is IT. I LOVE this game.

A couple more days pass, and I have a second callback. Usually, this happens when they are down to 2 actors whom they both like, but just can't decide on. This time, it was a stunt callback. I drove north into the Simi Valley to the stunt coordinator's home, and strapped myself into a flying harness in his studio-sized "garage." They wanted to make sure I could handle doing a few flips and hanging upside-down without wigging out. No prob.

A couple of weeks later, we started a 1-day, 1-night shoot at Paramount Studios. First night was for the interiors of the Nautilus-inspired sub. I was First Mate Roderick to the Captain, played by Rick Overton. I learned on set that the shoots had been marred by several snafus. I wanted to bring some good Mojo to the set and help change misfortunes. I accomplished this by puking twice after coming down from the harness.

I was strapped into a vest with wires running down my pant legs and attached with Velcro to my ankles, and then strung up from a pulley 20 feet above. A guy on set puled me up and down on the pulley as I flailed around trying to pull levers for the good captain. I wore two wool sweaters, sandwiching the vest, plus an undershirt that I sweated through in about a minute. I was then wrapped up in the giant foam tentacle, furnished by the Stan Winston folks. (I may always regret not grabbing that souvenir!) Luckily, I had to be drenched with water before every take, so I never got too hot.

I had to lay on the floor after pinning the tentacle to my person, and then they could lift me up feet-first on the harness. We soon learned several valuable lessons. First, I could not hang and be jerked around upside-down for more than about three minutes. Well, I could. It was just the going back down and standing right side up that caused the problems. So early on, I lost half my breakfast. Bravo to the crew for the convenient trash can.

I went back up to my "one position," that is, hanging out like Batman again. This is the part when we learned what a great idea it was to slime up the squid and drench me with water before hanging upside-down. Sliming the squid involved brushing the foam with a clear, thick goo that is the thickening agent used in fast food milkshakes. And I will never, ever have another fast-food milkshake. But brushing that stuff and then spraying it and me down with water caused this crud to go straigh up--uh--down my nose. And that's when I lost the rest of my breakfast. I took a few minutes off, popped a couple of Pepto and was ready to rock the waves again. At lunch, I played it safe with a salad and a couple slices of bread. Had no idea where my energy would come from, but I got through the rest of the day with no incidents and plenty of laughs.

Part two of the shoot came two nights later in the "tank" at Paramount. The tank is a section of parking lot which is about three feet lower than the rest of the lot. Pipes fill it with water, and a neighboring building is a solid wall that can be painted to suit the production. (I believe this is where the end of The Truman Show was filmed.) This night really brought it all home what a huge production it was. The Nautilus was in the middle of the tank and the director, cinematographer, and a few others camped out on an island in the middle of the water. Giant fans sprayed water onto the set as three men in jet skis went in circles in each corner of the tank to create the waves. The noise generated by all of these things going on at once was enough to make it very difficult to hear the director through a megaphone only 20 feet away. Upon seeing all of these things in action during a rehearsal, I realized the good old-fashioned movie-making I was a part of. Old school effects and techniques followed by weeks of post-production CGI effects that I'd see only when it aired.

It was one of the most physically demanding acting jobs I've ever had, and it was months later when I had the pleasure of pointing, clicking, and oh my Gaw paying off my Capital One card! Yes, I've got one. And I'm hoping when I go and use the Card Lab myself, I can use a picture of Roderick in all his slimy glory.

04 August 2008

Wal-Mart China: First Trade Union Formed. Wal-Mart USA: Employees Told How to Vote. Mao's Frozen Corpse Turns Red, White, and Blue with Envy


Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, has operations in 15 countries, many of which have at least some employees that are union members.

The United States, Keck said, is the "clear exception."

The change comes at a time when Wal-Mart is already battling the proposed Employee Free Choice Act -- which might allow unionization of Wal-Marts on this side of the ocean -- by attempting to sway its employees from voting Democratic.

This country is broken.