September 18, 2009


“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” – William Penn

I spent several hours the last couple days researching and e-mailing casting directors in LA and NY.  The Hollywood Creative Directory is a great resource for gathering contact information for casting directors, managers, and agents.  I cross-referenced IMDb credits with other websites and educated myself on each of the agents to whom I sent a link to my current demo reel.

Is it worth the time?  Out of the 35 e-mails I sent, the optimist in me (he’s pretty small) hopes at least 5-7 will actually follow the link to the reel while only about half will be annoyed to be bothered with another e-mail from another actor trying to get his foot in the door.  The pessimist in me (the optimist’s bigger, stronger bully) thinks all 35 will be annoyed and none will click the link.

So why bother?  Because optimism and pessimism aside, the success rate if I don’t try is 0%.  I’d rather take my chances by trying than passively wallow in self-pity because Hollywood hasn’t come out to find me yet.

This blog entry from Bonnie Gillespie destroys a good chunk of my optimism, but it’s still a numbers game.  The more hooks I put out there, the better my chances of getting a bite.

September 9, 2009


"You can't wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club."
– Jack London

Mr. London, though not admirable for his political views, offers a brilliant quote especially appropriate for me.  Too often I find myself waiting for that proverbial stroke of genius.  When it eludes me – as it all too often does – I am disgusted with myself for wasting my limited writing time.

In lieu of inspiration, persistence is king of success.  No matter a writer’s perceived talent, it is his or her perseverance that will determine success.  I like Sophy Burnham’s message below because it keeps me optimistic that all this hard work will pay off.

"There are so many different kinds of writing and so many ways to work that the only rule is this: do what works. Almost everything has been tried and found to succeed for somebody. The methods, even the ideas of successful writers, contradict each other in a most heartening way, and the only element I find common to all successful writers is persistence – an overwhelming determination to succeed." – Sophy Burnham

Here’s to more late nights and early mornings!

September 7, 2009

Crack That Whip

Drew Barrymore has a movie coming out this fall called “Whip It".  Curse her.  Now every time I see the title, from newspaper ad to trailer, my subliminal Devo cover band will don their red hats and crack that… well, you know.

I hate when this happens.  My daughter recently found a book at the library called “If I were Your Mother”.  I’m sure few others even know the Bon Jovi song of the same title that entered my head each time the book was read.  It’s not as bad as Whip It, but it certainly wasn’t “Wanted Dead or Alive”.

Ob la di, ob la da, life goes on, right?

This interview with Drew Barrymore from Film Independent is a quick, interesting read.  In it, Ms. Barrymore alludes to the fact that she doesn’t watch the monitor while she’s directing, but rather watches the live action.  I can appreciate her desire to be ‘in the movie’ but how do you know what the movie is going to look like if you’re not aware of the framing?  I’m completely opposite from the actor-cum-director – when I’m directing a scene, I’m glued to the monitor.  I have to know exactly what the camera is picking up or I feel I’m not doing my job as a director.

Is my way better than Ms. Barrymore’s?  Of course not.  Just a personal preference.  I wonder where the majority of directors fall on this topic…

September 2, 2009


“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” --  Frederick Douglass


It means many things.  My birthday.  Football season.  The end of summer.

This year, more than any before, the end of summer is unequivocally uninvited.  I remember previous Septembers when I couldn’t wait for a crisp fall evening, the turning of the leaves, and hot apple cider by the fire.  I can’t remember a September when I’ve dreaded those very things like I do now.

Not that the crisp evenings, fall colors, and hot cider will go unappreciated this year, but the season they preclude looms more ominously as it draws ever nearer.  I abhor winter.  And that’s putting it mildly.  While a gentle dusk snowfall as I sit atop a deer stand is a wonderful, almost spiritual experience, the fact that dusk falls before 5:00 for three months out of the year is a depressing, soul-wrenching reality.  As someone who hopes one day to make drama the central part of his livelihood, I assure you, my disdain for the dark months hovering around the final solstice of the year is not at all exaggerated here.

But I’ve hated the darkness of winter as long as I can remember.  Why does it feel worse this year?  Is it because summer seemed shortchanged this year with nary a single 90-degree day in July?  We had several in August, but still…  Is it because my wife and I haven’t slept a night through since our new little bundle arrived at the end of June?  Technically, I’ve had more waking hours this summer than probably any before which should render it a longer summer…

Or is it because 2009, the year I vowed to make it in Hollywood, is now two-thirds of the way over?  With my promise in January to plant myself firmly in the entertainment industry in order for my wife to retire far from fulfilled, perhaps it’s the realization that I may, in fact, fail to meet that standard set before me.

Or maybe it’s just that winter really, really sucks.