When I started this blog, my intent was to share my journey as an entertainment professional. As you have learned, it has become an all-encompassing diary, including aviation and technology topics, and now…fatherhood. I have contemplated separating my thoughts into separate entries (possibly even separate blogs, altogether), for that segment of my audience that prefers a narrow focus. It’s one of those “to do” items whose priority is dwarfed by other tasks right now. So, mind my ramblings, and enjoy!
Although we never want to see our industry “wind down,” there are expected slow periods, and the December timeframe allows for us to focus on family and holiday celebrations. I did have a run of auditions early in the month, for commercials and television series. I hit the driving range several days, as three of those auditions wanted to see my golf swing. Have you ever been to a place where dozens of men are swinging golf clubs, inside, all at the same time? I had to chuckle!
I have gotten fairly adept at taping my own auditions. A couple casting directors at distant locations accept emailed videos. For a while, I thought candidates who chose to self-tape were considered only after those who made the trip (or were local to begin with), until I learned that these CD’s are adamant about reviewing all submissions, and knowing a couple actors who booked using this method. I have since obtained a more professional lighting kit, and moved the setup upstairs to the former master bedroom, which is now a 250 square foot studio / child’s play area. (We moved downstairs, to be close to the nursery.) The quality of the footage I send continues to improve, and the time spent capturing, editing and rendering has become much more manageable.
I picked up a couple commercials this month, including a sporting goods store that insisted we shoot outside regular business hours. Previously, they would cordon off an area of the store, and send employee “runners” to obtain products for customers while shooting in that area. After a couple of poor sales reports, they stopped shooting during the day. So, breakfast at 8:00 PM, Shoot at 9:00 PM, lunch around 1:00 AM and wrap around 3:30 AM…just enough time for a couple hours sleep before that next audition!
I also had the opportunity to audition for “The Merchant of Venice.” As you have likely read before, there is a special place in my heart for all things Shakespeare. I was unavailable for “Romeo and Juliet” earlier in the year, and the director of “Merchant” and I have worked together before. Actually, he was instrumental in readying some actors very new to performing classic literature for a production of I directed a couple years ago. In the end, I opted not to audition, since it was likely I would be dealing with a conflict during the run of his show.
The rest of the month was all about family. We started the holidays early, introducing our five-month-old to Santa…again, and again, and again. Yes, it was more for us than it was for him, but he actually enjoyed each experience. I think it will be a different story THIS year! (Maybe, maybe not.) The one event we really looked forward to was “Breakfast with Santa,” hosted by a local theatre group.
The food was hot and delicious; however, Santa was less than “the jolly old elf” we expected. He arrived late, ate breakfast in the room with the children, half out of costume, with his beard slung over the seat next to him…then constantly complained how hot the costume was, and how long the event was taking. We met some new friends there, so diverted our attention away from Santa Grinch. Later in the morning, a very jovial man took the throne, well-bedecked, Ho Ho Ho-ing, and singing songs with the kids. The photographer (whom we recognized from a jazz festival where we bumped into him years ago) approached us and asked, “Do you want pictures with a better Santa?” We weren’t going to say anything, since we were there to support the theatre, but we had to laugh when he said that!
At one of our Christmas parties, Kiefer was presented with a wrapped toy. He was mesmerized by the paper…and thrilled just to look at it, all in one piece! Once we showed him that there was something special inside, he meticulously peeled the paper away, strip by strip. We’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of that toy, something he still plays with to this day, and he was more than prepared to strip wrapping paper from gifts come Christmas morning!
Scott J. Smith