I need to reflect on my successes of this past year, instead of dwelling on the rejections and missed opportunities. I think it is a positive way to keep things in perspective.
I began 2011 with The Barber of Seville at the Seattle Opera. I played a the servant, Ambrogio, who is typically played by an opera singer in the twilight of his career, but the director (the inimitable Peter Kazaras) had me in mind, and it was an absolute thrill transforming into an old man and puttering about and playing to the largest audience of my career.
After Barber, I had a bit of a break. I was relatively new with my agency, TCM Models and Talent, so I was not booking a lot of stuff. I remember early in 2011 I did get booked on a job without having to audition (thank you, TCM). It was for a Quil Ceda Creek Casino Commercial. It was a long day, and the “acting” was tedious, but I was in good company and was thrilled to earn my first agency paycheck.
In April, or thereabouts, North X Northwest Productions was casting a pilot called Thunderballs for the Spike TV Network. Most Seattle actors, including myself, were either being called in for one of the three male leads (which were, not surprisingly, cast out of LA), or for the central antagonist, Ronnie – a college football stud. If you have seen me, you know I do not fit that description. But, I am a firm believer, like Michael Shurtleff, that “one should audition for everything,” so I went in to read. I did, however, notice that this pilot, Thunderballs, was also casting a character called “Mullet.” And if you have read my previous post on character, you will know why I suddenly got very excited. On the day of my read for Ronnie (oh, btw, the Ronnie part went to THIS GUY!), I went in to audition for the outstanding casting director and acting coach, Nike Imoru, with my Mullet gear in tow, planning to read for Ronnie then for Mullet. My buddy Brandon Petty was there auditioning for Ronnie, too, and he knew of my plan to read for Mullet (and I had asked my agency ahead of time). When it was my turn to go in, I read for Ronnie, got an adjustment, felt certain this was NEVER going to be my part, and then left the room. My buddy was still in the lobby and asked how it went. I told him it was fine. “Did you read Mullet,” he asked? “No,” I answered. “What?????” I was defeated. But, thank his maker, Mr. Petty, my pal, told me to get my ass back in there. So, after a few more people went in, I meekly moved over to the casting assistant and asked her to ask Nike if I could read for Mullet. Nike came out, and basically asked me, “why read for a much smaller part?” Nike and I had a fledgling relationship at this point, having met only once before in a group class setting where she was instructing. I told her I thought I had something here, and she let me read, costume and all. Remember the look?
I read and read again. For Mullet. I even did a “Mullet Rap.” She seemed quite happy with the read, and I left the room relieved and so thanksful that my friend was there to encourage me to stick to my guns. A few weeks later, I got the call from my agent telling me I had a call back…In Spokane! I drove out, stayed the night, and read the next morning for the CEO of North x Northwest, Rich Cowan, and writer/producer of Thundeballs, Steve Armogida. It was a good call back. I went into the room “in character” (with that outfit, is there much of a choice?), and “walked into the part.” When Melissa Baldauf at TCM phoned me to tell me I got the part I was in the middle of a dog walk with my dog friend, Cooper, and I was thrilled beyond imagine at the news! Once on set, Steve told me that casting me was easy, a “no brainer,” I think he said. The three day shoot was one of the best artistic experiences of 2011, and I made some great friends along the way – Sean Cook, Dan Anderson, and Lance Paullin, to name a few. AND, I got to shake hands with David Koechner, Isiah Mustafa (yes, the Old Spice Guy), and Ethan Embry. For some inexplecible reason (hello, universe!!!), the pilot was not picked up by Spike. It is my serious belief that it will be picked up in 2012.
2011 also found me shooting my first FEATURE FILM…Ever! No, like EVER! Well, okay, I shot a “feature” film in LA in 2003, but it was probably shot on miniDV and (as far as I rememberl) never saw the light of day. The feature I shot in Seattle this year was called SHADOWED, and the experience was tremendous! We just met our post production fundraising goal on Kickstarter, and the film should be touring festivals next year. Shooting a feature requires a lot more effort than a single sitcom episode, as far as “actor homework,” and I LOVED rehearsing (yes, we rehearsed) and shooting, and bonding, and MAKING A FLIPPING MOVIE! Wow. It. Was. Amazing. And. I. Am. Hooked.
Another success of 2011 was The Comedy of Errors with Seattle Shakespeare Company’s Wooden O Theatre! We set it in the era of Vaudeville, and I had a tremendous time trying to keep up with the comedy stylings of one of Seattle’s finest, Chris Ensweiler.
I also have to give a shout out to TCM for helping me get booked on two Microsoft industrials.
Before I hit my final highlight, I will say that I have traveled down to Cast Iron Studios 5 times this year to read for Leverage and Grimm. I am happy to say that I have been called back 4 of 5 times. This is not the part of the blog where I go on to tell you about WORKING on either of those shows…
To wrap up 2011, I was cast in Corwood Production’s short film, All My Presidents. And, let me tell you, this is going to be one heck of a short which will (fingers crossed), be made into a feature in 2012. Not only is Corwood one of Seattle’s premier production companies, but the story and script are strong and ready for development!
Thank you for reading and have a wonderful 2012!