Dropped by…in Variety!!!

Less than 10 days ago my theatrical agents decided to drop me — 2 days later — out of basically nowhere — I was offered a role in a new series.

This morning we started filming… This afternoon my name was mentioned in Variety! Surprise!

How’s them apples?

Link: http://variety.com/2018/tv/news/brat-orders-new-series-a-girl-named-jo-annie-leblanc-1202818065/

– Quiche Out

Upcoming Summer Project

I was recently cast (as William Hanger) in a USC MFA film called Hanger’s Limb, a short historical drama about James Hanger, the man who changed prosthetics forever.

The crew & cast members I’ve already met are all super friendly and wonderfully talented, but the production needs a little help with reaching the finish line raising their budget. They only have a few days left to raise the remaining funds through Kickstarter… and some of you always want to know how you can see things I’m involved in… So, I figured I’d share this information, as, for a $25 donation, you’ll receive digital access to the finished project when it’s completed, a shout out, and special thanks.

Read about the project on Kickstarter (here), watch the introductory video, and meet some of the creative team… and see what donations are going toward.Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 1.34.46 PM

You can also like the project’s Facebook page and discover more about the project too.

KICKSTARTER LINK: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/743255123/hangers-limb-a-usc-mfa-sloan-foundation-short-film

FACEBOOK LINK: https://www.facebook.com/uschangerslimb/

– Quiche Out

 

 

 

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/743255123/hangers-limb-a-usc-mfa-sloan-foundation-short-film/widget/card.html?v=2

Todays $80 Story

Today I found a twenty on the floor of a supermarket, then, several feet later, another three of them in a stack. I scooped them up, and while I quickly considered pocketing the first one, because there was no way to know who had dropped it, when I collected a total of $80.00 I walked straight to the manager office and dropped them off.

Stupid, saintly, or somewhere in the middle… I don’t know.

I don’t know if it was because the store was busy that I made that choice, or it was the fact that I had just came from volunteering with animals (feeling good), or that my parents raised me right…or I’m in a relatively fine financial position where eighty bucks either way isn’t going to make break me, or the fact that I have had a few lean years in my past where $80.00 would have made an enormous difference in my life.

Whatever the reason, it doesn’t matter.

After dropping off the cash with the managers, I went to stand in the furthest line, ready to purchase my groceries, alternating between patting myself on the back and kicking myself, having all sorts of self-generated internal conversations with myself.

As luck, God, the universe, or coincidence would have it, suddenly I overheard a woman at the next register over who was about to pay for her groceries, but who had apparently lost $80.00. By the time I realized what I was hearing, and just after she said something like, “It’s gone. I’m sure someone picked it up…”

I said something to her and her cashier like… “I did. It’s in the manager’s office.”

She looked at me and smiled, perhaps thinking I was joking…and continued to fumble for the cash in her pockets. Then, in a way sometimes I wish I could soften, I actually said something like, “I’m not kidding. Go. Now, get your money.” It probably came out as warm as like a line from an action or zombie movie, “Go. Now. Reinforce the front gate.”

She hesitated, but then went… and claimed what was hers. When she returned to her cashier she was beaming, and said thank you.

I have found money before, and kept it (when there hasn’t been anyone around), I’ve pointed out to individuals who have dropped money (when I’ve witnessed it), and I’ve turned money in… I’ve also lost money from my pocket too. I wouldn’t tell you what the right thing to do, or what others should do, but I’m very happy I made the particular choice I made today of turning the cash in, and I’m INCREDIBLY GRATEFUL that AMAZINGLY I overheard a woman in line, and was able to witness her money returned…

For me, at least today, that was far more valuable than $80.00, and who knows, maybe reading about the story makes you smile too, which would be another bonus!

– Quiche Out

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Me… @ Herb & Lani Alpert Recital Hall (you’re invited)

“Congratulations! You have been selected to perform at the 2018 Spring Herb Alpert Music Center Showcase Concert on Thursday, May 10 at 7:00pm in the Herb and Lani Alpert Recital Hall.”

Very unexpectedly, I am announcing that I will be performing one song, as a solo vocalist, It All Fades Away – by Jason Robert Brown, from the Broadway show, The Bridges Of Madison County, Thursday, May 10th, after 7:00PM.

Mister David Stahl will be accompanying me on stage, playing a beautiful Steinway, concert grand piano.

*I do not know if the performance will be recorded, posted, or available for viewing.

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Questions: Herb Alpert Music Center  (323) 953-4000 ext. 2880
Monday – Thursday: 9:00am-9:00pm
Friday: 9:00am-4:00pm

If you’ve been curious about checking out the new Herb Alpert Music Center, LACC, or just want to hear some music in a really beautiful recital hall, I’ll be joining a collection of others who also auditioned (and were invited to perform), from a variety of music classes at LACC.

I’ve been told the Showcase Concert is supposed to highlight some of the talent currently enrolled in classes at LACC, so while I’ve no idea who else will be singing or playing, or what instrument or song you’ll hear… it’s a good bet the night will be a potpourri of a variety of performances.

Last semester I attended as a viewer and saw about a 60+ minute program with classical guitarists, piano soloists, jazz ensembles, as well as operatic, and pop singers. The above video I found may have been from the semester before, and seems to only be musicians, scroll through if you’re interested.

I suppose there is ALWAYS the outside chance SOMETHING else comes in that makes me have to change my schedule again, but such is the life of a performer, if there is, I will post again on this blog.

“Want to make God laugh, make a plan.”

Honestly, I actually only auditioned for the audition experience, as I’m currently teaching a class on audition techniques, and accepting all sorts of auditions to put myself through the ringer as often as possible.

I will share the audition experience below, but when I found out that a few of my very talented friends at LACC were not invited to perform, for whatever reason, and that if I did not perform no one would be asked to fill the slot I’d be vacating, as the slot would just disappear…I felt I owed it to the people who didn’t get in, the professors who invited me to perform, LACC, my class I teach, my friends who continually support me, and even myself to say yes, even though saying “yes” required me to make changes to my schedule I really didn’t want to make.

This is a series of text I sent a friend after auditioning, and after emailing my professor thanking her for encouraging me to audition.

“I just had an audition at LACC for a concert I can’t do. But my teacher allowed and encouraged me to audition anyway.

This is the email I sent her afterward, thanking her.

‘What a gorgeous experience that was… Stepping on that stage felt like putting on a suit and shoes that fit perfectly, that made total sense, that I could walk for miles or even run in. I don’t know how the performance came across or sounded, but it felt like the theatre could handle anything I could throw at it.

It was inspiring to walk out there, to stand up there, to sing. No questions of why am I doing this. No questions of what is this about. No question about where do I fit.

The lights weren’t blinding in my face, or making me sweat because they were right on top of me. The speaker monitors weren’t behind my head. The piano felt rich and like an easy river. I wasn’t on top of audience members and wondering if I was going to be sued for ear damage. Or watching waiters walk by.  There wasn’t feedback issues.

I could have remained on that stage and sung a dozen more songs, and I’d still feel hungry to go back on that stage tomorrow, only the next time I’d bring a bunch of talented friends with me, and sing and sing.

Truly, thank you for encouraging me to go to the audition.  It was a glorious, gorgeous, delightful, and an inspiring experience (for me).'”

Oddly, even though I was 100% certain I wouldn’t be offered, and knew I couldn’t do the performance, here I am, telling a bunch of friends about it, and in a few days I’ll stand on that stage again and sing.

WHERE AND WHEN

2018 Spring Herb Alpert Music Center Showcase Concert on Thursday, May 10 at 7:00pm in the Herb and Lani Alpert Recital Hall. On the second floor, inside the Herb Alpert Music Center at Los Angeles City College.

COST TO PUBLIC

I believe it’s FREE. Sponsored by the music department. There was no charge when I attended the performance last semester.

QUESTIONS

Herb Alpert Music Center  (323) 953-4000 ext. 2880
Monday – Thursday: 9:00am-9:00pm
Friday: 9:00am-4:00pm

LOCATION

The Herb Alpert Music Center (HAMC) building is located at the southeast corner of the campus, on Vermont Avenue, across from Jack In The Box and Normal Ave, catacorner from Monroe Street. Just north of the Braille Institute. The HAMC was formerly known as “Clausen Hall.”

The performance itself is in the Herb and Lani Alpert Recital Hall, located on the second floor.

Official Campus Map: https://www.lacitycollege.edu/About-LACC/Campus-Maps-Parking/Campus-Map

PARKING

I recommend paying $2 to use Lot 1 located between Monroe Street & Marathon Street on Vermont Ave. The entrance is on Marathon, and parking permits are available from two machines, in the lot, just inside the entrance, to your right (outside the parking structure). Easy to buy with a credit card. See website information below for more options. Street parking may be available, but READ ALL POSTED SIGNS.

Official Parking Info: https://www.lacitycollege.edu/About-LACC/Campus-Maps-Parking/Parking-Information

– Quiche Out

 

Terrified Challenge

Four plus weeks ago I started teaching a class, at a well-known and reputable theatre school. Happily, I can report that the class feels to be not only going well, but has already exceeded my expectations.

I accepted the position for a few reasons… The second most influential reason was to hopefully learn more about my craft as an actor, through teaching others, recollecting my experiences, preparing for classes, and through other people’s eyes and their questions.  However, by far, the greatest reason I decided to take the plunge into education and offer up my nearly thirty years of practical and studied knowledge to others was that the whole idea terrified me.

I won’t list all the illogical fears that sprang up in my mind…because the only important point for this particular posting is that by saying YES to the opportunity, I was making a personal point to challenge demons of doubt.

Some of you may also know that I’m also currently enrolled back in college, part time… challenging other longly held beliefs.

Eight or so weeks ago I started taking Piano 101, and while I may never accompany myself in public, or play anything greater than simple children songs… the belief that learning piano would be a waste of time, and other resources… has already be disproven. Learning piano at such a remedial level has honestly, reminded me of the importance of taking baby steps (and repetition) in order to reach goals.

If it does require 10,000 hours to be an expert in anything, I’ve only got about 9,943 left… But seriously, it’s not about mastering the piano, or even playing the keys well, the process is really about learning something new, challenging myself, and increasing my knowledge base about music fundamentals to help me in other areas.

Lastly, for fun, I took a second class this semester, a large group, singing class…and while there are all sorts of levels that get up to the microphone to sing…I don’t think there is anyone who can’t improve something, or discover something to challenge themselves with.  So, after the first two songs in class went by… I made a point to ask the professor what she would challenge me with, knowing what she limitedly knew about my voice and repertoire.

She challenged me with doing a “soft” song…and doing a quick moving,  “patter” song, with some wordplay. That second suggestion, seriously, stopped me cold, and had my demons screaming again, seeded deep inside, again I found myself terrified…  Again terrified of something that couldn’t harm me…

  • “You can’t do a quick moving patter song…”
  • “That stuff’s for other people…”
  • “You get tongue tied…”
  • “You’d never be cast singing something like that…”
  • “In fourth grade the teacher thought that giving you one damn line was a stretch…”
  • “You can’t do it…”
  • “You don’t have that kind of voice…”
  • “You’ll fail…”
  • “You’ll make a fool of yourself…”

So, I took the challenge.

I took a few days, and listed twenty songs that I could learn, fighting the demons with each one. I considered each and then chose the one that I have had the sheet music for for over ten or more years, the same one that I thought might be the hardest on the list for me.

I even researched and presented my professor with a short paper on Danny Kaye, a performer who had a reputation of being able to do patter songs quickly and arguably as good as anyone had done them previously…hoping to discover a secret to the process.

Anyway, happily after weeks of memorization, and repetition, and working one word and one phrase at a time, finally this past week I performed it in front of my college classmates. It wasn’t flawless. It wasn’t “Professor Harold Hill” worthy (the character in the Music Man who sings the song in the 1950s Broadway musical) as it still needs work, ease, and smoothing out. Basically this was like a rehearsal run thru, without a director on board.

Regardless…as I don’t have to become a full-time facility member, or win a teacher of the year award, and…as I don’t have to become a professional pianist or play in public…the goal was not to be perfect, but to challenge the demons that terrified me for dozens of ridiculous reasons.

I’ll post a few clips of my college classroom performances below and two others. All have been previously posted on either YouTube or Instagram, I don’t know if you have to have accounts to watch them, but…

I guess we should always consider ourselves students and constantly seek to learn more… challenging ourselves especially when we have deep fears to something that can’t actually hurt us.

  1. What terrifies you that you can take steps to tackle?
  2. What do you do when someone suggests something that challenges you?
  3. When is the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone?

– Quiche Out

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Facing It, Again & Again

Things are very slow at the moment, and I’m finding that I’m having too many internal conversations once again that I truly wished that I was done having. But, I suppose there are several reasons for these hazardous, dangerous, depressing, self-flagellating time-consuming, but some times inspiring and motivating, thoughts…

Many commercials, theatrical, and television projects are being done outside of the Los Angeles market these days. Those jobs are increasingly hiring “local” talent, and the erosion of union work to non-union has also increased. Being union, I’m not to audition or work non-union jobs, and quite honestly, working non-union gigs acting jobs is not at all a viable, sustainable, career path, as there are no contract minimums, no residuals, no pension nor health benefits… Trust me, as I age, health insurance becomes more important, as does having a possible pension waiting to assist to make rent payments and purchase groceries in later years.

The second reason for these thoughts cycling around in my head, again, year after year, decade after decade, is very possibly the career choice in the performing or media arts… Very possibly a pursuit of acting, art, writing, music… are some of the most turbulent, unpredictable journeys that anyone could every think to attempt. A path so uncertain, the majority of those that start on it end up never make any substantial income, even after a constant and continual outpouring of expenses, such as classes, pictures, dues, fees, and required Internet services.

For those “lucky us,” who are or have been able to carve out any piece of the pie, no matter how large or small, or for how long, we are persistently subject to subjective opinions of industry insiders who don’t necessarily want to welcome in new blood, a public who is eagerly looking to criticize, build heroes, and tear down icons, and a new flood of people all with the same beliefs we may have once had, that they are something special, and someone the world has been waiting for…

These are also the days many of us scroll our social media feeds and witness all the blissful postings of others, while we in turn question our lives, our careers, our paths, our very selves, and our happiness.

Many peers have folded, and moved on, from lives so full of rejection.

We constantly face our fears, and the canvas, with our noses pressed up against it, after stumbling over lines at auditions, or getting “passes” from production company readers, questioning whether or not we want to stand back up as we hear an internal ref counting out numbers… “5, 6, 7, 8…”

Time and time again hoping we can right our ship, and get our feet under us, shake out the cobwebs, and once more get back into the fight before the entire bout is waved off, and in the case of many of my friends who have moved on to other careers, many of them seem grateful that they did finally step out of the ring. Moving on to a life they consider to be more predictable and in which they feel more appreciated, get health insurance and paid vacation days.

But nearly nothing in life is guaranteed, except that at some point it will end after a lifetime of decisions and non-decisions, actions and inactions.

Perhaps, for some of us it’s more than one bout. It’s a marathon of being knocked down, and knocking down…striking out and hitting home runs…whatever sports analogy we personally equivocate it to. Winning games. Losing bouts. Standing eight counts. And come from behind victories. We’re all looking for the brass ring, each time we circle, going up and down on whatever plastic painted ponies we’re riding at the time, missing more times than we’d ever publicly admit… And when in those times we’re able to grab the ring, each time we grab it, we rediscover that the feeling of winning the prize is temporary…as one of my friends and I were discussing this year, while doing my taxes.

In the beginning you celebrate auditions, then you get enough of those and you start to celebrate call backs, then you celebrate your first small jobs that you book for like a month, then you celebrate those jobs for a week, it can digresses all the way to the point where the moment you book a jobs, you celebrate for about three seconds, and then wonder, “what’s next?” even before you shoot the job.

So many of us are constantly looking to always move forward, to do more, to be more, to be substantial in the scheme of things, more creative in the creation of projects, while all the while looking in the rear view mirror and seeing life, health, age, rent, and utility bills.

The third reason could be that the fact that I have recently taken on a new challenge, in the role of an acting teacher, which has somehow put a microscope or magnifying glass on my past, present and potential future. As I’ve designed exercises, and implement lesson plans, I’ve had to face fears of being found as a fraud. I’ve had to challenge my apprehensions of offering myself and career as example, examining where thus I’ve traveled, and the successes and stumbles along the way.

Lastly, for yet again, some unknown reason, perhaps it’s once again fear, laziness, or some odd belief that I know the outcome of an adventure before I ever begin, I’ve become semi-complacent, leaning far too heavily on others, investing too much in the hopes of either collaboration or belief of help. People who themselves are going through their own questions, and facing down their own demons.

So, I’m back at the drawing board, looking at what irons I have in the fire, what has worked for me in the past, and wondering what’s holding me as I hold myself back. I have to figure out a way, not to “know” an outcome before I start down a path… to somehow become blissfully ignorant again, to believe in possibility, to be willing to be wrong, to not “know” how things will go.

It was amazing, that feeling that all I had to do was book a role on TV or in a film and my career would take off, or land a national commercial…or that being in a play or web-series would lead to something greater. I’ve written four books…and sales to date have not generated enough income to make writing a fifth one financially worth doing…but either I have to keep writing and publishing, or get out of the ring. I have submitted countless screenplays to countless screenplay competition, at $50 or more bucks a pop, and have sent a plethora of PDFs to professional acquaintances, but either I hang up the keyboard, or I keep writing and keep submitting. I’ve done 100s of self-produced shorts and songs, and got to the point where, I felt I knew how many hits each video would get before I even started working on a song, either I have to continue doing them, or figure something else out. The same goes with singing… With being in other people’s films… the same goes with… the same goes… I have to remember to constantly seek work as an actor for myself and not rely on others, to audition, to audition, and to keep working in and on other people’s projects until something takes off, or I land the next thing, or… I bet on myself fully and produce more of my own scripts, create more of my own web series, record more of my own CDs, produce more of my own concerts, publish more of my own books, cast myself in more projects, continue making my products, learning from the past, and packaging them more and more professionally.

Whatever I’ve done to this point, with whatever help I have gotten or haven’t gotten, it’s really up to me to continue to move forward. To write. To sing. To act. To submit. To try. To send. To sell. To get up off the mat. To get up to the plate. To get in the game. To stand in front of the camera or those auditioning. To slate my name and my height over and over and over again, to memorize lines that may never be heard by anyone other than those who are casting…

I could not have achieved all I’ve achieved without help from many generous other people, the list would be incredibly long… However, I certainly couldn’t have achieved anything if I didn’t take many of those steps, the first steps, blindly trusting that something could possibly go right.

Okay, I started writing this with the quote, “I am thankful to all those who said NO to me. It’s because of them I did it myself,” ringing in my ears, and with my frustration with perceived stagnation boiling over. But now, at the end of writing this, whatever it is, another quote is screaming inside my head, the same quote which I’ve had as my background on my iPad for the longest time now…

“Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and focus on what could go right.”

“Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and focus on what could go right.”

“Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and focus on what could go right.”

“Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and focus on what could go right.”

– Quiche Out

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