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Archive for the ‘Susie’ Category

My son starts kindergarten in the fall and I am a nervous wreck. Yesterday we got a letter from the school saying that our child should know his full name, address and phone number before his first day of school. Josh doesn’t know his phone number or address! I spent the entire day trying to make learning our address a fun game. It isn’t fun. He knew it and so did I.

What worries me most is that Josh tends to clam up in front of new people. At home he runs around like a Boston Terrier on Red Bull. But in a room full of new faces he is quiet and withdrawn. What if he doesn’t make any friends? What if the other kids make fun of him? I do bullying prevention assemblies in schools and it would break my heart if Josh got bullied.

So today I am at a school doing a bullying prevention seminar when this very talkative Grade 3 girl starts telling me all about her soccer team and the correct spelling of her name and then she gets quiet for a bit and says, “You know… I got bullied too.” I asked her what happened. She told me about a very mean boy who used to pick on her and call her names and even hit her. “That’s terrible.” I said, “Is this still going on?” She shook her head. “No,” she said, “That was in kindergarten.”

I am a black man. But when she said the word ‘kindergarten’ my face became that of a white man. I am convinced this little girl was a messenger of Satan sent to torment me. “Little girl” I said, “Get thee behind me!”

OK, so the King James rebuke didn’t happen but I swear to you, when this little girl said the word ‘Kindergarten’, I almost fainted!

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Last night we had the best Family Movie Night ever! Until recently, our kids have been too rambunctious to sit down and watch a full movie. Our 2-year-old daughter Ariella asks us to put on Wally about 7 times a day. When we oblige, she will sit on the couch completely fascinated by Eva and the Captain for all of 4 minutes. Then she wanders into the kitchen and asks, “Whats that Daddy?” about a variety of objects that she knows the name of already. So Family Movie Night has never really worked.

But Susie came up with a brilliant plan. She set up my LCD projector on the wall and turned out all the lights. She had snacks ready and sippy cups on hand. And when it was dark and our kids were fascinated by the huge screen on the wall, we watched UP.

Well our kids were silent and focused on the screen for almost the whole time! And as they got antsy we broke out the snacks- it was great! Ella sat with Susie for most of the movie but halfway through she crawled over to me, plopped herself down on my lap and rested her head against my chest. What a beautiful moment. She must have felt quite peaceful because just as the final standoff was about to happen, Ariella peed on me.

If you haven’t seen UP, might I recommend you do so. If you have a family, make it a family night! Just ask your daughter to sit on the couch.

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I am not really in a place to give advice to other actors. Its not like I’m this hotshot or anything. But if you are an actor or if you are thinking about becoming an actor, might I give you just one word of advice?

NEVER TELL ANYONE WHEN YOU HAVE AN AUDITION.

Why? Because if you don’t get the part it is very annoying explaining yourself to people. Trust me. I never tell anyone when I have an audition. Except, of course, for my wife. And sometimes my very closest friends and family. And if I am bursting with excitement I’ll tell a random stranger. And there is a lady at the bank that sort of keeps up with my career so I always tell her. And I may have mentioned an audition or two here on this blog… but other than that I never tell a soul.

That being said, I had an audition this past Friday that I’m really excited about. It was for a recurring role on a pretty big TV show. If I told you the name you’d probably know it. But I’m not going to tell you the name because then you’d keep asking me about it and if I don’t get the part it will really annoy me. Now stop interrupting me and let me tell you about the audition.

There is nothing worse than auditioning with a bad reader. You don’t want a reader to overpower you. And you don’t want a reader that is totally flat. Somewhere in the middle there is a perfect combination and the guy I read with had it. We took one pass at it and I was playing the role quite aggressively. The casting director asked me to do another take, this time with more compassion. I dropped my initial approach, did the scene with more compassion and it felt great. And part of the script was a monologue! I had so much fun. I can’t remember the last time I got to do a monologue in a Film and TV audition.

But then the strangest thing happened. I finished the scene and the casting director said nothing. She just asked me about a mutual friend we have. “How is so and so?” she said. What!? “How is so and so?” We chatted for a moment and then she thanked me and I left. I was kind of shaken up. I got my things and left the room and got into my car. Then I fell into a serious bout of PAD (Post-Audition Depression) on the drive home. I was still coming out of the character, so I already had more aggression than I usually do, and I just got really down. I couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t have said anything about the audition.

I got home and brought my rain cloud with me. Susie tried to cheer me up. Nothing worked. It took about two days for me to shake it.

So, today my agent calls me. “I have feedback for you from your audition.” I froze in place. “The casting director said you did a wonderful job. She was very impressed. The producer has decided to go with someone else for this role but they will bring you back throughout the season to audition for other roles. Good job Anthony.” If you are not an actor you probably don’t know this: casting directors never call your agent after an audition unless you got the part. So this phone call was a very good thing. I wanted to laugh out loud. She liked it. I wasted two days sulking when she liked it. I am such a moron.

Just so you know, I probably won’t tell you if I get another audition for the show. I never tell anyone about my auditions.

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Someone once asked me, “which would you rather watch: a decent 90-minute movie OR 90-minutes of previews for upcoming films?”

My answer was the previews. I get so inspired and excited watching previews… at least I used to. Now I actually put my hands over my ears and insert my head into my lap when a trailer for a good movie comes on.

It all started a couple months ago when I was on a date night with my wife Susie. Date nights are very important to us. When you have kids, your relationship with your spouse can dwindle into that of “child-rearing partners” if you aren’t careful. Sure that’s a major component of any marriage with children but what happens when the children leave the nest? Your raison d’être has left the building. Yikes. So even if we are broke and have to go to a coffee shop, order hot water, and bring our own tea bag- we will go on our date night.

On this particular date night we went to the movies and I can’t remember what we saw. What I do remember is seeing the trailer for the movie Brothers with Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman.

Susie and I were so taken by the trailer we made a pact to see the movie as soon as it came out. It looked incredible. Later I saw the poster and thought it was brilliant. (I love how British people say “Brilliant”. I have to consciously remind myself not to put on a British accent when I use the word. Try saying brilliant with a Canadian accent. It’s just not the same.) Anyway, although I was really taken by the preview I was also a little bothered by it. I mean, they basically reveal the entire plot of the film. If you haven’t seen the trailer, watch it here. I pretty much know the major twists and turns of the story before I have seen the film! It drives me crazy!

So we went to see Brothers a couple weeks ago. I thought the acting was amazing and the writing was brilliant. (There’s that lovely little word again… why am I not British!?) I really enjoyed the film. But I would have enjoyed it SO MUCH MORE if they hadn’t have revealed the kiss!!! Why!? WHY!? WHY!!!???

I think a really good preview should leave you intrigued, enticed and in the dark. Like this trailer for the Canadian film Passchendale. Even the trailer for the poorly received Lady in the Water was terrific. Intrigued, enticed and in the dark. My recipe for a good movie trailer.

So next time you are at the movies and notice a chap with his hands over his ears and his head in his lap, you know why. Cheerio.

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When our daughter Ariella was a newborn she gave us some rough days. And some long nights! For hours on end she would cry and fuss and be inconsolable. One day Susie was at her wits end trying to get Ariella down for her nap. Baby is crying because baby is tired but baby doesn’t want to sleep… the irony. What is wrong with babies? If your boss insisted you have a nap in the middle of the afternoon… was willing to clean up whatever mess you made and even give you some warm milk before you lay down… would you fight against that?!

Susie finally got Ella to sleep in her crib and quietly tiptoed out of her room. If you don’t have kids you may not know the joy that comes upon a parent whose children are sleeping. It is a joy called FREEDOM! Susie cleaned the kitchen and took care of some odds and ends before she plopped down on the couch and basked in the tranquility of a quiet home. A rare moment indeed.

The funny thing about having kids is how much you miss them the moment you are away. How many times have Susie and I been on a date night and found ourselves talking about the kids as soon as we drive away from the babysitter?

Sitting in the peace and quiet Susie found herself daydreaming about Ella. Her fluffy little cheeks… her curly brown hair… those big beautiful eyes… She knew by this time Ariella would be in a deep enough sleep that she could tiptoe into her room and watch her sleep for a while. There is something so magical about watching a child sleep. So she quietly opened Ariella’s door and peaked in the room. Bad move. I’ll give you the play-by-play of what happened next:

– Ariella hears the door open and pops her head up.
– Susie panics and closes the door. Please don’t let her-
– Ariella takes a deep, deep breath and lets out a blood curdling scream.
– Susie stands outside Ella’s door wondering why on earth she had to disturb the sleeping child.
– Ariella takes another deep breath and screams louder than a fire truck on duty. She maintains this ear-piercing wail for quite an impressive amount of time.
– Susie, with head down and shoulders slumped, goes back in the room and picks up Ella.
– Ella is inconsolable for the rest of the afternoon…

Pure bliss meets sheer frustration. I think that just about sums up parenthood.

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I never planned on having children. Up until our third year of marriage Susie wasn’t crazy about the idea either. We even bought a white sofa thinking there wouldn’t be any kids around to mess it up. But when we found out that Susie had a condition that might prevent us from being able to have children, we both felt that we were being robbed of a decision that should have been ours. We didn’t like that. We started talking about the possibility of getting pregnant… Not raising kids mind you. Just getting pregnant. Maybe we should give it a shot? Two months later Susie was in New Orleans doing Hurricane Katrina Relief Work and she started feeling funny. When she came home we took a pregnancy test and saw a “+” sign in the indicator window. I got one past the goalie!

So we were having a baby. We had no idea what that meant. The only thing we knew was at some point we needed to paint the spare room a baby friendly colour. We went about life as usual… just added a prenatal vitamin to our daily routine. We both felt unprepared and inadequate so we decided to sign up for labour and delivery classes a couple of months before the due date. The night we were to go to our first class, Susie went into premature labour. We were shocked. Susie had to be taken by ambulance to a special hospital as this was a “high-risk delivery”. We learned that our baby may not survive through labour, or may survive with brain damage… I had to drive home to pick up Susie’s things. I’ll never forget that drive… the road blurred by my tears… praying for Susie and our child… struck with the strange realization, “all these drivers around me have no idea what has just happened…”

aakAnthony Holding Soother

Joshua David McLean was born on September 11th, 2006, weighing 3lbs, 7oz. He had 10 fingers and 10 toes and could breathe on his own. We were relieved. He spent the next 5 weeks in hospital at the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit with an amazing group of Nurses and Doctors. We brought Joshua home in October and he was as healthy as can be. Our life at home, of course, was forever changed. Midnight feedings, dirty diapers, long snuggles, breastfeeding blunders, trips to the emergency room “just to be safe”… We were the classic first time parents.

When we got pregnant again 9 months later, we found out the reason for Joshua’s early arrival: Susie had an “incompetent cervix.” That’s not a nice thing to say to a cervix, is it? Susie was put on bedrest for 11 weeks to prevent any chance of a premature labour. She was a champion on bedrest- so incredibly patient and peaceful. She didn’t complain at all… and she found some interesting ways to keep herself entertained… one day I came home to find her lying on the kitchen floor baking cookies. Susie is one of a kind. Ariella was born on March 28th, 2008. At 7lbs, 6oz she looked like a giant compared to little Joshua. Josh started calling her “Ella” and the name stuck. Ariella’s middle name is ‘Simone’ after my sister who passed away from Leukemia when she was 11-years old. Ella Simone… Sounds like some great Jazz singer or something doesn’t it?

I can honestly say that having 2 kids is like managing a small zoo. And living at the zoo with the animals. It’s crazy. I have heard rumours of people out there that have 3 kids- some even 4… but I don’t think it’s true. I think your head would explode upon bringing the 3rd child home from hospital.IMG_1219

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So my agent calls the house today… now whenever my agent calls the house there is a bit of a to-do around here. You see, before my agent was my agent, my agent was my wife’s agent. Yes, my wife Susie is in the biz too… She got signed with this agency 2 years ago and then referred them to me last Christmshockedas. All that to say, whenever our agent calls the house we both scramble for the phone. Admittedly, anytime I answer the phone and my agent asks for Susie, I sink a little. That may seem selfish… but when you’ve just had an audition that went really well and you see your agent’s number on your phone it is hard not to get excited.

So today something happened that has never happened before. Susie got to the phone first. I wanted to hear “Yeah, hold on, he’s right here.” But I didn’t hear that. I heard Susie say “Ok that’s great. Tomorrow. Perfect.” She sounded really excited. She comes running up the stairs with a huge grin on her face. “Anthony! You’re never going to believe it. We have an audition… together! As a couple! For a film!!!”

I am not a teenage girl yet I feel the only expression that fits here is… OMG!!! Auditioning for a film together?! That is amazing! I can’t believe it! Our agent sends us over the sides (that’s the excerpt of the script they want you to read) and we read it over together. We practiced tonight and it was so much fun!!! It’s a short scene but it’s really cute and it would be such a joy to act with Sue in a film. I know you aren’t supposed to get your hopes up but I REALLY HOPE WE GET IT!!!

I can’t believe it! (Part 2)

An update- Susie and I had our audition together today…

We arrived 5 minutes early. We wanted to be earlier but then: have-you-seen-my-black-shoes, do-we-have-water, does-this-colour-bring-out-my-eyes, what about my hair, where did the kids put my black shoes!?, oh-vitamins!, did you make oatmeal for the kids?, a phone call, OK-I-found-one-shoe, where’s the tweezers?, let’s-go-over-our-lines-again, just-wear-your-brown-shoes, how’s my hair…

And not all of that was Susie…

We arrive at the location and enter an empty waiting room. We sat down and went over our lines again. We had practiced the scene together dozens of times with measured pauses and choreographed glances… it was fun. We were excited. So you can imagine our surprise when the assistant casting director came out and said “Anthony, we’ll see you now.”

I am not a teenage boy but I feel the only expression that fits here is: Huh?

What?! Alone!? I staggered into the audition room. The assistant casting director read Susie’s part. I tried my best to emulate what we had practiced. She said “Thanks.” I said, “We practiced together… do you think we could-”
“Oh no.” she said, cutting me off, “You’ll shoot yourself in the foot.” I still don’t know what she meant by that. I walked out of the room and Susie walked in. She came out looking a little shaky. We walked outside recounting our individual experience and expressing our disappointment that they wouldn’t see us together.

In the car driving home (actually it was lunch at Lettieri first… an unexpected lunch out together- bonus!) we both said we would be thrilled if either one of us got it. And we both meant it. But nothing would thrill me more than to share the screen with the love of my life…

Here’s to being an optimist…

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