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Posts Tagged ‘optimism’

For Part 1, click here: http://wp.me/pFrOn-ao

It’s Wednesday. 5:00pm. I am sitting in a waiting room with a handful of actors. This is the second callback for the commercial we are all vying for. There are eight of us in the room. They will choose two for the commercial. Four dogs, one bone. Let the games begin.

I am paired with a guy who looks about 10 years older than me.  I ask him if he wants to run lines together while we wait. He says no. We are teammates. But we are also competing against each other. Its awkward.

Our names are called. The client is in another room watching us on a TV feed. We run the scene once. Its stiff. We run it again, its loosening up. We run it again, its good. We switch roles and run it 3 more times and it feels great. The director is laughing. I am smiling as we step out of the casting room.

They have asked us all to stay in the waiting room so they can see some alternate pairings. What started as an audition for 80+ actors was cut down to a callback for twenty. Now there are only eight.

And then, the moment. A door opens and one of the women from casting comes out holding a piece of paper. “Anthony, are you here?” My heart races.

“Yes.” I reply.

“OK, you can go home. Sorry about that. You were great. It has nothing to do with you honey.” She smiles and I know her words are sincere. And then there were seven…

I’m not going to say it doesn’t hurt. It does. But there is a scripture that says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Who knows? Maybe the casting director will remember me and bring me in for something even better. Here’s to being an optimist ;o)

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God spoke to me today. For real. Depending on your own personal beliefs, you may think this makes me crazy. But before you close this window and dismiss me as delusional, let me explain…

I was driving on the 401 in Toronto. This is a highway where God is spoken of often- usually betwixt much profanity and raising of fingers. I was sitting there  feeling quite bogged down with my career. You see, there are four things I love to do: Writing, Acting, Rapping and Speaking. I have been doing a lot of speaking lately and I have put all of my other passions on the back burner. And because speaking is what pays my bills, it is easy to justify that.

But… in the last couple of weeks I have been haunted by this terrible restlessness. I can’t focus. I’m indecisive. It’s awful. And today on the 401, I heard the voice of God. He simply said:

“There is very little that you actually love to do… so do it all.”

Pretty simple huh?

Now, you may be thinking: “If there is a God, and this God were to speak to you, why wouldn’t he tell you the name of the plant that can be used to cure AIDS? Or give you a strategy to create world peace? Or give you the winning numbers for next week’s lottery?” Good questions. And I don’t have the answers. But I do believe that God wants to speak to every person on the planet. There is a scripture in the Book of Job that says:

“For God does speak–now one way, now another–though we may not perceive it.”
– Job 33:14

Imagine that… God speaks. There’s no thunder. No lightning. No James Earl Jones voice. It is so subtle that we don’t even recognize it. God speaks and we don’t even notice.

I once heard a guy talk about this whole thing. He said, “God’s voice sounds like spontaneous thoughts that light upon the mind.” I thought that was neat.

Of course, I don’t think he only speaks in spontaneous thoughts. I think He speaks through emotions and dreams. Scriptures and convictions. Sunsets and images of Jesus that supernaturally appear on breakfast toast.

OK, maybe not the toast. But I do believe we can miss His voice. And I don’t want to miss it. So all day I have been turning this spontaneous thought over and over in my mind. And the more I think about it, the more I feel a peace about my career, the more I feel emboldened to fan all of my passions into flame. This little spontaneous thought accomplished quite a lot.

OK, I admit it. Maybe this was just me. After all, there’s no proof. No evidence. And I don’t have the name for some miracle plant growing in the Amazon. But I also don’t have that deep restlessness anymore. And for that, I am thankful. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go butter my Jesus toast.

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I quit my job!!!

I quit my job!!! Does this mean I landed a recurring role on a TV show? No. It means that my speaking gig (www.iengage.ca) is now paying my bills! Oh happy day!!! My last night at the restaurant was a few days before New Years Eve. So I will start 2010 on a new path. I am so excited!!! Go ask someone else for that coffee refill!!!

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Most actors, including myself, LOVE acting but HATE auditions. The audition circuit is like going to job interview after job interview- it’s just not fun. But I learned something from the star of the movie “The Notebook” and “The Time Traveler’s Wife”. Rachel McAdams is said to give some of the best auditions in the industry. I heard her say in an interview recently that she LOVES auditions. She what?! She loves them because they give her a chance to do what she loves most: act.

Then a friend of mine who is a brilliant pianist told me a cool story… He told me that when he was growing up he would play piano in these big competitions. He always looked forward to them because it meant a chance to play on some of the nicest pianos in the world. At the competition all the other performers were intimidated and shaky and would often make clumsy mistakes out of sheer nerves. He always played his best in these environments and he usually came in first or second place. “Some of those other competitors practiced more than me… they might have been better then me… but they were so uptight that their gift couldn’t shine.”

So that got me re-thinking the audition circuit. I promised myself that the next audition I had I would ENJOY. I would see as a chance to have fun doing what I love!

So yesterday I had a voiceover audition downtown… The audition was for a General Motors Car Commercial and it was about the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. They wanted me to sound “young, fresh, urban and hip” and I read with another actress who was using a Parisian accent. Interesting huh? Hip Hop meets french toast. Anyway, I really had fun with it. I enjoyed myself.

So here comes the really cool part… as I was writing this blog (no joke) my agent called and told me I got the part!!! How cool is that!? And it may even become a campaign with a number of spots! I don’t want to count my chickens before the eggs are hatched though… I’m just happy to have this one! Whoo-Hoo! Thank you Rachel McAdams! And thank you to my pianist friend, Michael.

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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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stork-bird

So tonight I audited a friends acting class. To some of you, the term ‘audit’ is the accounting equivalent of a rectal probe. Auditing an acting class isn’t as intrusive- although it can be as painful if you are watching really bad acting. Anyway, I am sitting there watching the class and I get an e-mail from my agent. He has an audition for me tomorrow at 11:40am. It is a television commercial for a big box store and I am one half of a “trendy couple.” There’s one problem- I’m working a lunch shift tomorrow that starts at 11:30am.

They say “a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush” and I think there is wisdom in that. Although I’m not sure why the bird always has to end up dead in these sayings. Like “killing 2 birds with one stone”- that’s just mean. I heard Chuck Norris can kill two stones with one bird- now that is impressive. Anyway, I get the concept: better to have a little that is guaranteed than to go for more and end up with nothing. My question is this: is a bird in the hand better than twenty in a bush? You see, I’ll make 50 or 60 bucks at tomorrow’s lunch shift. Do I give that up to go for the 20-30 times more that the commercial could pay?

I got this e-mail at 6:15pm. That is really short notice to get a shift covered. And who wants to cover a lunch shift? My manger already gives me a hard time because I make so many requests for time off and I know I have a bunch more requests coming… So what do I do?

I left the class early and took a walk around the block. I kept asking myself “What do I do?” Finally I went with my gut. I e-mailed my agent and told him it was too last minute and I had another obligation I could not get out of. He e-mailed me back and said “You’re fired. Just kidding.” (My agent always writes very short e-mails. He probably writes 200 a day so it’s understandable.) Anyway, I feel like I’m not missing much. Think of me tomorrow as I serve Ribs to hungry businessmen. And if you go out to eat in the near future, be good to your waiter.

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