A Note

Volunteering at the dog shelter has been occupying way too much time as of late. I’ve been scratched and nipped, I have felt uncomfortable, sad, angered, frustrated… but I also have felt love, hope, joy, excitement, and happiness. Cleaning up dog excrement may be far from glamorous… but it is completely honest. Opening gates and leashing dogs you don’t know or trust can be nerve wracking the first times you do it, but if no one walks the dogs, what chance to they have of not going mad, or finding homes? Heck, even most of America’s most hardened, incarcerated, criminals get an hour of yard time a day, and most of the dogs at the shelter did nothing wrong, they just happened to get lost, misunderstood, old, under-trained, or circumstances changed in their owner’s lives that forced them to give them up…

When I volunteered yesterday, I was delighted to have received a thank you note and picture of two elderly dogs that found a new home a few weeks back… I was also elated to have a terrified dog want to spend time with me (in her kennel) wagging her tail the whole time… I was overjoyed to see video of a dog that was too scared to come out of her kennel walking around and moving freely in the yard after one of the key volunteers carried her there. 

It really is a tragedy that so many shitty people are in the public spotlight, humans who are the furthest thing from positive role models in my opinion. Most of the time doing “good” work is thankless. At the shelter, 95% of the time we never hear from the people that we help or see pictures of the happy dogs in their new homes. [Though maybe I’ll start implementing a new idea I just came up with… creating fantasies of receiving letters and pictures directly from dogs who I feel like I may have helped improve their lives while at the shelter or by finding them a new home.]

We all matter. Everyone. All creatures are part of the greater WE. I grew up being told that WE are all God’s creatures, and that we should treat others the way WE would like to be treated. WE should treat others the way WE would want others to treat OUR mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, friends, or pets. Have I failed at this at times? Unquestionably yes, but we/I are/am flawed, and today and tomorrow are new opportunities for all of us to become better.

Regardless of whether or not WE receive thank you notes, WE can all choose to make a positive difference, to matter, WE can choose to help, to improve the lives of people in and out of our communities, or animals, whether it is when WE are being paid to do jobs, when WE are volunteering, or even when WE are just walking down the street.

It really does cost nothing to be kind and decent, but it really is worth so much. Thank YOU for every selfless, positive, and amazing thing you have done in the past, that you do today, and that you choose to do tomorrow.

– Quiche Out

Episode Two – 2 Million

Yesterday, Tuesday at 3 PM, episode two was launched on Brat’s YouTube platform, and I am happy to announce that Russell Fitzroy has made his 1st appearance.

I do not exactly know which episodes he will be in from now on other than the finale, but he will be throughout. A new episode released each Tuesday at 3PM, for next few weeks.

  • 16 hours after being posted, Episode Two already has 700,000+ views…
  • Episode One, released last week, has over 2 million…
  • And the Brat channel now has 2 million+ subscribers! — Congratulations Brat!

Link to the A GIRL NAMED JO playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLVewHiZp3_LN8GHyhsDprhPwu9dJX9CgN

And if you’re only initially interested in seeing my character/work, in episode two, you can see that here on an unlisted YouTube video… https://youtu.be/gLoo4Jedu4Q

– Quiche Out

https://youtu.be/gLoo4Jedu4Q

Episode 1 was released. 1 million views in 1st 24 hours!

https://youtu.be/C8PQp7VUtN4

Well, my character did not make an appearance in #1… so I assume everyone will meet Russell Fitzroy in episode two. What is awesome however — is that within the first 24 hours of being released on YouTube — there were over 1 million views.

Over 1 million viewers in the first 24 hours!

I believe Episode Two will be released next week at the same time, but don’t hold me to it. Tuesday? 3 PM? And then over the next few weeks they will roll out the entire series? I really don’t know.

Watch Episode One now or wait and to watch them all later. Episode One is 21 minutes. Most of the comments on YouTube seem to be very positive.

https://youtu.be/C8PQp7VUtN4

-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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Jeffrey Tambor Experience

No one is perfect, I imagine most of us are individuals who are constantly making mistakes and adjusting. “Mistakes, I’ve made a few…” And, I can not honestly comment on Jeffrey Tambor and the recent sexual harassment allegations against him.

However, I can tell you he was undoubtedly one of the biggest jerks I’ve ever met in my 25 years of showbiz, and one of the main reasons I told my agents (at the time) I didn’t one to go back to the show, Arrested Development, years ago.

I’m not an A, B, or even C list celebrity. I wish I was working more, working in bigger projects, with bigger roles… I act in commercials and TV shows to pay the bills. I sing and write books to explore my creativity. I write screenplays with the hopes of one day selling a few of them, so I’d be able to possibly afford a house. Yet, years ago, I worked three days, (a few episodes) on Arrested Development and watched Jeffrey Tambor punch down, over and over, and suck up to anyone equal or in a higher position.

Maybe you’re a friend of his, or a fan of his, or a fan of the show, or even have seen the show…I played an umpire (which I don’t know if it ever aired, as I’ve never seen an episode), and the guard that screamed, “No touching” (which, I definitely know aired).

Anyway, I’ve no idea what Tambor has done in his life, what possible good things, but I watched as he made the set miserable for several crew members and day-player actors.

If you’ve read some of my stuff in the past, or have known me for a long time, you may already know that I was severely bullied for a period of time. It may be hard for some to imagine how that could have happened, seeing I look more like the guy that picked on others, and played linebacker for a Top Ten School, but no… I was a quiet, awkward kid for a good many years. Which doesn’t much matter, what does matter is that find it absolutely disgusting to witness people with power punching down…

When Tambor attempted to do it to me, I didn’t take it. First, I had made a life decision years ago NOT TO ACCEPT that behavior toward me. And second, I didn’t need that particular job that badly.

So, I verbally sparred right back, and I watched him stammer and backdown each time, unsure what to do. However, others took it, and took it, and I watched, unsure of what to do as one or two crumbled in front of my eyes. I regret that, but I still don’t know what I could have done.

If you want specifics… He would say the meanest thing to a day player, or a new crew member, and then follow it up with, “I’m kidding, I’m kidding.” I could see if this happened once in those three days I worked that he was indeed kidding, and didn’t intend for the person to feel it cut so deeply, but it happened over and over.

One scene, between him and me, the camera was rolling, and Tambor completely went up on his lines, so, being a supportive actor, I waited, and when I saw he was no where, I improvised a line to help him remember his line. It helped, but he was no where closer to remembering the next thing he was supposed to say. The take fell apart, and at the cut, he turned to me, and snarked in the meanest tone, “What you’re so good you can improvise lines now?”

“I guess, when someone forgets their lines, and has no clue of what to say…Yeah, I guess I am,” was my response.

He didn’t like that.

Another time in that, “no touching” scene, Tambor was trying to figure out a way to do the scene without touching the other character. I don’t know, maybe he was trying to figure out a way to write my one line that day out. Anyway, as he was discussing, and dismissing me as being in the scene, and the director was considering the suggestion, I stepped over toward the director and spoke up, “So, if he doesn’t touch him, I’m assuming I drop my line?”

To which Tambor, snapped, “Can’t you see, we’re talking here?”

To which I replied calmly, “Can’t you see I’m interrupting here?”

Others thought it was pretty funny, but again, he didn’t like that.

There are more examples, and as I write these things down they really don’t seem that important, neither does the fact that when he told a large, heavy, day-player, who was playing an inmate with one line, “I hope you enjoy lunch, cause you won’t be coming back.” He waited till tears seeped out of the corners of the large man’s eyes, and then tagged it with, “I’m kidding, I’m kidding.”

And no, I’m not kidding. And again, there were many more examples.

It’s a hard life being a day-player on TV shows and movies. It’s like you’re the new kid in a new school. You don’t know where you’re going. You don’t know who anyone is. You know your lines, but you don’t know the rhythm of the set. Again, it’s like you’re the new kid at a new school, who has been at dozens of other new schools for years. You know what books are, but just about everyone treats you like you’re a moron. No one trusts you to know your stuff. Everyone thinks it’s your first day in your first school ever.

Everything in the production of a TV show is to make the series regulars look smart, funny, handsome, dangerous, tough, romantic…even the day-players. We may dwarf a series regular, yet it’s written that they beat us up. You may be sharpshooter in real life, but your character fires 30 rounds and misses, and somehow the show’s star dives through a window and with one shot, hit your character square in the eyes. A day-player could be the funniest person on the set, yet if you get laughs in the read through, those lines that got laughs will probably go to the series regulars the very next day. Day-players are almost always just a piece to serve the over all story. At the end of your day, sometimes you’re lucky enough that they announce your name and clap, before moving on and forgetting you were even there. Besides a paycheck, which has greatly decreased in amounts over the past few decades… that’s it, and the next day you’re hoping for an audition to come in, where you’ll jump through hoops trying to get into your next “new school.” Where you get rejection after rejection, where you may be rejected for the oddest reasons. It’s not an easy way to eek out a living in a very difficult and expensive town, no matter if you’re in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles…

So, when a series regular says something to a day-player it’s like the star quarterback or head cheerleader just picked you, the new kid, out of a crowd. Whether they say something positive or negative it’s amplified. But when one of the stars of the show does something or says something, it’s like the principal of the school, who is also the star quarterback and head cheerleader, just said or did something to you…

Again, we all make mistakes. Everyone. Nearly everyone says something from time to time, or does something that hurts or offends someone else. We were all young. We all have moments where we are in bad moods, or have insecure moments.

However, with Tambor, by him stating, “I’m kidding, I’m kidding,” tells you right away that it was deliberate, as well as the mere fact it was repeated over and over. And the fact I never witnessed him punching toward another series regular, the director, or a producer, that tells me that he knew it was inappropriate and mean behavior.

Let me close this rant by saying that in my 25 years as a professional actor, with near dozens of commercials, dozens of TV shows, movies, and other projects, I have only come across a few people I never would want to see or work with again. Most people in the business I’ve come across are professional. Many are very nice and pleasant. And some have been incredibly friendly, warm and hospitable. I hope that if I, or anyone reading this, ever finds the kind of success Mister Tambor has found, in any career, that you and I absolutely don’t follow his example, but rather at least be gracious and relatively good-natured even on our worst days.

We should always strive to treat others the way we would like others to treat us, or how we would like others to treat the people we love and care for.

 

– Quiche Out

 

 

Paperback is AVAILABLE (how to get a signed copy?)

Well, Amazon keeps me on my toes…

The paperback was available BEFORE the Kindle file!

Amazon releases the Kindle, today, November 6th... but in a surprise turn of events, Amazon allowed the paperback to be available, yesterday, on the 5th!!!

Either way, Happy Dance!

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Available thru Amazon—in paperback & Kindle.

Paperback: http://a.co/eewrJSa

Kindle: http://a.co/5pRmm5T

Details are on www.WeakdayDrifter.com, and on the Amazon pages, but for those that want to know how to get a signed copy direct from me… I’ll also put how, below!

– Quiche Out

HOW DO I GET A SIGNED COPY of Weakday Drifter?

For those with US addresses, for a limited time I will be offering signed copies, sent directly by my office, for $18.00 (you will be invoiced by paypal).

  1. Contact me directly, through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Email.
  2. You will be invoiced through PayPal.
  3. Once we recieve your payment of $18.00.
  4. We will send a signed copy of Weakday Drifter & Other Writings via Media Mail, by the USPS. You will likely recieve a tracking number.
  5. For the first several books ordered, I will include one of my very first, acting postcards, from the 90s. (One from the original printing! Also from the 90s! Very limited amount available.) Photo on 10-29-17 at 8.49 AM.jpg
  6. Will include a Kindle file, which will be Emailed to the address you get invoiced through. (Kindle file is for you to take with you on your phone or tablet, and so you can leave a verified Amazon review.)

NOTE: For those outside the US, available signed books will only be on a person to person basis. Rates would undoubtedly change dramatically, paperwork may be involved on our end, and I’m unsure about my abiltity to order Kindle files from the US Amazon, and send to other countries.