Thursday, December 07, 2006

More Print Auds

Yesterday, I went to an audition for a health insurer. Today, it was for Verizon, again.

Yup, this must be my 3rd one this year for Verizon. One of them I booked and got my fitting at the W hotel, which they also paid for me to attend.

Today's audition was weird. I went in to the room with 4 other guys and we all got the typical "hold your name slate for the camera under your chin" treatment. Then the guy put us all on video.

As you may remember, I've been saying that all these print auds have been shooting video as well as stills. I'm sure there are reasons behind it, but at today's thing, they asked for our SAG status. Not sure why, but when we went on camera, they asked us to say a line two different ways. And then, with the other 4 guys, they all did the line two different ways.

Very unusual audition for a print job. Next we'll be asked to improv a scene.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Manifestation

So, it really WAS a shit dream! Like I said, I don't have these too often. But when I do, whammo!

This time, it wasn't a job, but it is job related. I was anticipating it would be a residual check or some sort of reuse fee for an old commercial or print ad. Nope. Nada.

Apparently, the accounting department at my office has been paying me on a 20-day basis, versus the actual 22-day work calendar. Accountants know this, or should know it. So, I think the guy was actually trying to cheat me out of 2 days' pay each month.

I've been there about 9 months now, so I got 18 days of pay coming to me next month as a bonus. Well, not really, since I earned it. But it sort of feels like one. And then my monthly salary should go up 2 days' pay as well, so I've given myself a raise, sort of.

I know, I know. It's nothing to brag about. I'm actually getting what I should've been getting already, but counts for something, right?

Anyway, I'm taking it. Anything to make my sorry ass feel better is worth the while.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Another S**t Dream

Did I mention I love shit dreams? I mentioned I had one to my girlfriend last week and she said some people have dreams of stepping in shit. Me? I have dreams of actually shitting, usually on a toilet.

It's a weird dream, because when you wake up, you sort of check yourself to see if you actually did it while you were sleeping. Generally, it's not the case, so then you wake up, remember you had the shit dream, and then you're all smiles. Why? Because shit dreams equal a serious windfall in cash. No question about it. Every time I've had one, I've been delivered a suitcase of it.

Last Friday, I had an audition for a commercial. It was for HSBC Bank, and it turns out I was there for the 2nd round of interviews, even though it was my first. Truthfully, I didn't think anything of it. I was playing a dad who plays a violent video game while his son goes outside and does the real thing on the street. Then he comes back home and I'm still playing the game.

Turns out, I got a callback for it on Tuesday. It was during the afternoon, so I used the excuse of "going out to vote" to get out from work early. Worked like a charm, that one.

There were 3 other fathers there, and 3 boys to play their sons. My son hadn't showed up yet. In fact, he was already an hour late, and I had to plug in some extra quarters in my meter.

To make this short, I know I had a pretty good callback audition, but I don't know how they thought of the kid. Personally, I didn't think he was into it. Just sort of half-assing the action. And I'm sure the folks in the casting room thought so too.

Then again, I'm also trying to give myself some excuse for not getting the commercial. (It's supposed to shoot tomorrow, fyi.)

But what about that shit dream?

Yeah... what about it?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

School Teacher Slash Actor

I went to a print aud the other day at Cole Studios. This was a Danny Goldman casting and if you know anything about casting, you've probably visited this office a few times in your life. I booked only one job here and it was for a national commercial for Kyocera. It aired and aired and aired. Unfortunately, it was before I joined SAG, so yeah, it was non-union.

Anyway, I ran into a few people I knew at the print aud. One guy was someone I'm sure I mentioned before here. I used to sublet a house from him about 12 years ago. Man, that was a long time ago. He told me he has a 37-year-old daughter. That's just a few years younger than me. I guess that means he's old enough to be my dad!

Well, this guy then went on to say he's a school teacher and that his principal has called him 3 times. Apparently, he was supposed to be teaching a class at that hour and, not only that, he was due to administer a test that day.

So I'm thinking, "Man, that's f'd up! If he was my teacher, I wouldn't appreciate him going out on auditions when he supposed to be an example for us students." Well, something like that.

But then I started thinking about the character, or lack thereof, of actors in general, and you know what? They're selfish, flaky assholes who only care a rat's ass about their own well being.

There, I said it. Cat's out of the bag. I feel much better, getting that off my chest.

Now, if only I can be less of a selfish, flaky asshole....

Couldn't Resist Posting This

Apparently, this is from an audition. Pretty sad. But I'm not laughing too loud. I auditioned a couple times as a martial artist. Boy, did I suck!!

Here's Aaron Again

I talked to Aaron and he said these spots were supposed to be for Internet and non-TV use only. I don't know what SAG rates are for Internet usage, but I know they suck. I think the hosting website charges at least 25 cents per actual click for a regular banner ad and it's gotta be more for a video ad.

Aaron said that since a private user posted these on, he probably won't see a dime more than what the contract paid him. Still, the exposure has got to be unbeatable.

Aaron has a myspace page and he said he doesn't think this spot is as funny. I agree. I think what would've made more sense is if he stopped holding his dick and looked under the stalls to see if anyone else heard him rap.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Supporting Another Friend

A friend, Annie Lee, spent a couple years of her life on this movie, from the movie poster to the editing to promoting and starring in it. Well, now it's on DVD.

No, I'm not in this. But I did try to give as much advice on the one-sheet (movie poster) that I could, given my experience with this stuff. (She ended up not taking any of my advice, fyi. Oh well.) I got to see the movie at the premiere here in L.A.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

My Improv Teacher

Aaron Takahashi, my improv instructor, is blowin' up, at least with national TV commercials. Just saw this spot (hope it embeds right) on the video site, The spot is sponsored by Amp'd, so I hope Aaron gets paid per view.

Funny stuff, Aaron T!!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Print Auds

I met a South Asian dude at a print audition the other day. He seemed pretty naive about the industry and had a million questions. Mostly, though, he was hopeful to book a commercial with a big payoff. Who knows what got him in the business, but he seemed pretty intent on booking something big.

Sort of reminds me of myself, when I was just getting my feet wet. Ah, those were the days. I didn't know any better, and so I just kept dreaming about the big payoffs. Now, that I'm a seasoned pro (yeah, right), I don't have those kind of dreams. It must've showed in my words, I suppose.

He asked how often I audition. I said a couple times a week for print, and much less often for commercials. I told him it was probably my agent, but who knows? It could be me, right?

I do know one thing. I go out a lot for print, and not so much for commercials. Go figure. Surely, must be my agent.

Today, I went out for a print aud for one of the cell phone manufacturers. This one is a worldwide buyout for 2 years. And because of that, it pays a whopping $8,500! Yeah, I liked that prospect, a lot! It sort of makes those auds at 3:00 for a measley $500 payoff seem not so bad.

So I went in, did my thing, and then went to work. Before dashing off, I picked up some freelance work across the street for one of the Hollywood unions. That kind of work is a sure thing, but it's those dreamy payoffs that make me get up a half hour earlier and primp like a teenager.

On second thought, I'm hardly any different from that South Asian guy. Just a few more years under my belt, so to speak.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Doggy Medicine

So I had another photo shoot. This one for a dog medication, in which I play -- what else? -- a vet. (I'd spell that out, but I'm too lazy to look the word up.)

It was a quick shoot on a Saturday afternoon. My second one with this casting/production company. The first one was for Union Bank of California, which is apparently live now. So, if you should see this Asian guy on a billboard somewhere -- oh, wait, there's a few of them. I'm the one with the glasses.

This last shoot was my first one with my new short haircut. Of course, it's been about 6 weeks now since I had a haircut. But still, I look different than I usually do. Which worried me that, maybe, I wouldn't be able to book a job.

So, this latest booking confirms one of two things: either I'm still capable of booking jobs, or I've officially become very plain. Actually, I'm hoping it's both of those.

In many of the advertising or marketing companies I've worked for, many of the pictures they use are of very plain folk, but with nice smiles, a sparkle in their eye, or a certain attractive air about them. But none of them looked like models.

No, I've never quite been model material, but I have lost jobs because I was "too good-looking" for the job. One of these was for a U.S. postman. Today, I'm pretty sure I'd book that job.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Now Where Was I?

Man, it's been over a month since my last entry. Either time has really been flying by or I'm just not giving a shit about my observations lately.

But last Sunday morning, I went on this Orienteering hike/competition for a friend's birthday party. There were a few actor friends there, including the birthday guy's wife, Jodi Fung, who looks amazingly great considering she had a kid last year.

Another actor friend, Jeanne Chinn, was out for the task as well, and I might as well explain the whole thing here.

Orienteering is sort of a sport that uses a topographical map, which is one of those maps that shows how the landscape is laid out on a piece of paper. Things are drawn to scale, and it includes such details as heavy brush, cliffs, roads, fences, almost down to the horse shit on the path.

There are several course challenges, usually involving time to complete the course, and also accumulating the most points for finding things called "controls." The controls are worth different point values, depending on their distance from the start or their difficulty to find.

By the way, everyone stresses the need for a compass, but I didn't use one and I don't think you need one as long as you have an idea of where north or south is. I mean, it's not exactly like being dropped from a plane in the middle of the forest and finding your way to the nearest drop zone planted with munitions. (Sorry, I loved "Band of Brothers.")

You're usually grouped with three others, and my group included the Chinese twins from "Big Fish," Ada and Arlene Tai, as well as Ada's boyfriend, Tian. Oh, and by the way, while they are actually identical twins, they aren't Siamese twins, as depicted in the movie. I found out, also, that one of them hasn't yet seen the movie. Not sure why because I thought it was a great movie and one of the worst-promoted by Miramax. I mean, Miramax has promoted lesser movies during awards season. Why not this one?

Anyway, now where was I? Oh yeah, on Griffith Park, hiking around with three people, looking for markers using a topographical map. We stuck to a strategy that, in hindsight, wasn't so strategic. We went for the big point markers first, then went after the smaller ones on the way back to the finish (which is also the starting point). But we were so tuckered out at the end, we were just taking a light stroll back down the hill to the finish.

Yup, two hours is a long figure out how out of shape you are.

But I will mention this bit of insight if you plan to such an activity: Look for the marker before climbing down a hill. I did the mistake of climbing down two embankments looking for a marker. The first wasn't so bad but the second one almost got me in trouble. Seriously, if I was any more out of shape than I am, I'd be still there right now on that hill.

All markers are pretty much visible from the path you walk on. Only a couple take a little effort to find, but because they consider safety a priority, you'd never have to climb down a steep embankment first in order to see it. Wish I knew that on Sunday.

Oh, also take plenty of sunscreen (and water) with you. Otherwise you're gonna get fried out there.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Naked Torso

Yesterday, I was in Little Tokyo having some food and then, later, some drinks with my girlfriend at the Far Bar in the back of the Far East Cafe. During our third round of chilled Patron shots, I got a call on my cell. It was an actor friend who is producing her colleague’s short film, and she thought I might fit one of the parts, mostly because of one reason: my torso.

Apparently, my not-too-young or -skinny torso fit what she was looking for. I even tried to “push” her onto a mutual friend/actor who is in better shape than I, but she was convinced she needed me and my torso for the part, and refused to take “no” for an answer.

That’s when the Patron shots turned sour. Or, maybe it was just the lime wedge. But regardless, my girlfriend didn’t like the idea of someone—anyone—looking at or filming my naked torso.

Now, this wasn’t really a problem. I’m fairly sensitive to the matter at hand. And before even telling her about the phone call, I prefaced it by saying, “Your opinion means most to me, so I’ll do what you decide.”

She immediately said no, which I expected. Sure, I could’ve saved a step by just refusing the part, but the woman on the phone wasn’t taking a no very easily, like I mentioned, so I had to at least go through the process.

Before calling my friend back, we got into a discussion about it, then an argument, then a full-on fight over it. Sure, tequila can raise the heat in any argument, but this was no longer just an argument. It was getting ugly, involving a couple of friends at the bar who had the misfortune of walking into the middle of it.

So why am I writing about this? To shame my girlfriend? No. Not at all. She had every right to defend the naked torso of her boyfriend from anyone else’s eyes.

But here’s the thing: If you’re an Asian in Hollywood, good luck on having a relationship. It will never be easy, even when you’re no longer young or skinny.

Because no matter how big the favor, or how close the friend you’re doing it for, asking your significant other for their advice or permission to do a scene involving anything intimate is like, well, let me put it this way: It’d be easier trying to get your girlfriend to do anal.

Friday, August 11, 2006

New York Stories, Part 4: And More Shopping

I once went to a branding meeting for one of my former clients. The branding specialist asked our group what brand of toothpaste we used. Turns out, it's a sure indication of the kind of "consumer character" you are.

For instance, if you buy Crest or Colgate, you're probably a brand loyalist, and you've probably used the same brand since you were a child. But if you use Tom's, Aquafresh, or something like that, you're more likely to try new things. And if you use Mentadent, like I do, you're in this category of "no brand loyalty whatsoever." Which is good, if you're a new brand, but bad if you're an old brand. For the record, I also use Rembrandt.

I guess this means I like to try new things. And, I don't base my decision to use something on just brand loyalty alone. It has to have any number of things, including quality, effectiveness, sometimes price is a factor, and generally I like something that is both really new and really good, making it also really unique.

I also don't get caught up in advertising, critical acclaim, promos, or endorsements. I just prefer to figure out whether I like something on my own. Which brings me to Parasuco, a brand I know absolutely nothing about. But the store in Soho was cool, and the product...well, I'll just post my response to someone at the company who was looking for my feedback on the store.

Hi Mary J.,

I'm amazed you found my blog! Yes, I just visited your new store while shopping in SoHo. We were not familiar with New York at all, so everything was new to us. We took a side road to check out some of the street vendors selling handmade jewelry when I spotted the Grand Opening sign of your store and wanted to take a peek.

I'll try to describe the experience the way it took place. A security guard welcomed us in, and then a nice Filipino guy asked if he could hold our shopping bags and took them behind the counter. The store was fairly empty, except for all the salespeople in the store. We did notice, however, that most of the salespeople were young, good-looking Asians and African Americans.

My girlfriend wasn't too interested in looking around, since she's somewhat brand loyal and trusts what she knows. I've always been into what's new, so I began looking around at the sale racks. We were scared it was going to be way too expensive, since the store was in such a beautiful location, with its high ceilings and wide open spaces. But then I started to notice the workmanship in the jeans and T-shirts. They all seemed to have such fine detail and I knew these things could not be done cheaply in some sweatshop. And so I decided to try on a pair of jeans, when I noticed the back pockets were different from any others I had seen.

I've worked in high-end men's retail for 3 years, so I'm familiar with the environment. An Asian girl came to help me find my size. She was very nice and after trying one on, she helped me with other sizes. My girlfriend liked how the jeans looked on me, so after I went back into the dressing room, she went to the racks to look around. She soon found two pairs to try on. She asked my opinion and I loved them. So then she wanted to try on other jeans and shirts. Pretty soon, she had tried on about 10 pairs of jeans and about 8 shirts. In fact, her thumb still hurts from pulling the jeans on and off. Anyway, more people came in to the store and after a while, nearly all the dressing rooms were taken by customers. It was amazing how fast the store filled up. They turned up the music (sort of a Tiesto mix, which I like) and I could see what a nice space that store was with great ambience and acoustics.

Anyway, three pairs of jeans and an hour later, we left the store. We both love the jeans we bought and people in our office (mostly Korean and Chinese, first generation) comment about our jeans and how they love them and where did we get them and when can they check out a store. But I told them what the cashier told me, that one will be open in San Francisco next.

I also asked about the store and the designer and got a little information about that from the cashier.

Anyway, that's my experience there, and I really like the new store.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

New York Stories, Part 3: Shopping

You cannot go to New York and NOT visit a discount shopping store. They're ubiquitous, which means they're all over the frickin' place! Daffy's was highly recommended to us by my friend Valerie. The first one we went to, however, was full of Daffy's leftovers. The second and third Daffy's were much better, and I bought about 3 shirts for under $20 each.

Valerie also mentioned Century 21, which is not the insurance company but a building housing one of the biggest discount stores you will ever see. Actually, I only went in and took a peek. It was just too daunting, and we only had 90 minutes before we were set to see Spamalot on Broadway.

I think it was also Valerie who mentioned Macy's, the largest department store on earth apparently. Four blocks and several floors worth of merchandise. I'd hate to do inventory in THAT store!

We also went to H&M, which is coming to Pasadena in a couple months. That place is wild...and cheap! Oh, I should mention it here that every purchase we made under a hundred bucks was tax free. Go figure. I wish they'd do that here in California.

I have this vacation rule I follow just about everywhere I go: I like to buy underwear from the country I visit. This way, I have a nice souvenir that I am reminded of at least once every two weeks. But this vacation, even though it wasn't to a foreign country, had H&M, which is based in Europe, and they had these cool sport boxers that reminded me of the WE store's in Amsterdam. So, I think I bought about 9 pairs.

We also visited Zara, which as you know is one of my favorite stores in Santa Monica. I bought a sweater there.

On Saturday, we finally got to visiting SoHo, but for the life of me, I don't know why we didn't go there on the first day. Man, they have some cool shit there. And tons of sales going on. I went to Kenneth Cole and bought a leather-covered notebook journal with replacement notes for $11.

At some point, we were getting exhausted. But then we saw some street vendors selling handmade jewelry, and ended up spending about a hundred bucks there. It was worth it, though. Some folks sold junk, others sold real cool shit that was at a major discount to what a retail store would charge for the same thing.

It was here that I spotted a store called Parasuco just down the street. There was a big "Grand Opening" sign, and so I suggested we check it out. Someone from that store just emailed me for my input, after she probably did a search and found my blog. So I'll post my response on my next entry. But the shortened version? We ended up spending over an hour there and bought three pairs of kick-ass jeans. Cool location, too.

Monday, August 07, 2006

New York Stories, Part 2: Nobu vs. Pink's

On La Brea & Santa Monica, right in the heart of Hollywood, is a famous, famous place called Pink's. It's a hot dog stand, and you can get one made just about any way you like. Long for a Long Island dog? You got it. Want it kosher? For sure! Willing to wait 90 minutes in line? You go hurry and wait then.

As mentioned, last week I spent about 5 days in New York with the new girlfriend. We stayed at this hotel called Dream. You can look it up at No, I didn't dream much, but it wasn't bad either, and the location was great. The photos, however, look better than in reality.

Which is sort of how my experience with the expensive, exclusive restaurant Nobu went. Okay, I must clarify here. There's Nobu, and then there's Nobu Next Door. Nobu Next Door is for schmucks like me who can't get a reservation at Nobu, or don't want to plan in advance, and then take probably the worst table in the room. Nobu Next Door is slightly cheaper, and it's doubtful you will ever see a famous face in the room, other than your own. Plus, if you ARE a schmuck like me, you'll even wait 90 minutes to get a table there!

I have two L.A. friends who highly recommended Nobu/Next Door. The first is my AD friend. Apparently, he was working on K-19 with Harrison Ford a few years ago in Nova Scotia. He had a weekend off and decided to see New York. So, he asked Mr. Ford's people to make some phone calls, and they did, securing a table for two at the lovely Nobu Restaurant. That's how you do it, folks. You get the royal treatment, or you go next door, like me.

My other friend may or may not have actually visited NND, but he talked like he had, as he usually talks. But he pointed out that Nobu and NND both share the same kitchen. Both are rated highly and they are always in the Top-10 lists. Everyone talks about them like they're frickin' in the Garden of Earthly Delights. And so I insisted to the GF we go there, despite her heavy pleas to go to Gotham Bar & Grill.

But for the record, I've been to at least 5 restaurants here in Los Angeles that are way more interesting, and frankly, way better in quality than NND. Not to mention way cheaper.

I'll name two: Fat Fish and Arado. Both have Korean owners, by the way. Arado is in Koreatown and serves the best chirashi I've ever eaten. Fat Fish is in West Hollywood, and EVERYTHING on Nobu Next Door's menu is available there, but at slightly HIGHER prices.

At Fat Fish, I recommend the shrimp tempura appetizer, seaweed salad, albacore carpaccio, and everything on their sushi menu. Even the dessert is fantastic. I can't remember what we ordered, but there were two of them, and they were incredible. We couldn't resist sharing a bottle of Sapporo with the tempura. And throughout dessert, we each had three rounds of chilled Patron shots. (Yup, they have a full liquor license!)

R23, which is also in my top 5 here in L.A., does a kick-ass chirashi for lunch, but that's not what you go there for. You go there to impress a date, not only for your taste in food and decor, but for the fact that you know how to get to a place that is nearly impossible for a visiting tourist to find.

I also like Zen Grill, the one on 3rd near the Beverly Center and across from that overpriced yuppie place, Sushi Roku. And then there's the ever-dependable Mishima, which has gone downhill, but is always great for what they do best: noodles. I can also name the Japanese restaurant at the New Otani Hotel, Thousand Cranes, and Daikokuya ramen, both in Little Tokyo. Thousand Cranes has unbeatable ambience with a beautiful Japanese garden outside, as well as a Kobe beef sukiyaki or shabu shabu. Daikokuya is simply the best for ramen in L.A., hands down.

Now where were we? Oh yeah. Dissing Nobu Next Door. I can't say how Nobu is, nor can I say I've ever eaten at Matsuhisa. But someone who names those places as their favorites either has money to burn, or knows too little to really name a good place without risking the shame of naming something that hasn't been critically (and celebrity) acclaimed.

Me and my lovely partner ordered the Chilean sea bass, sashimi salad with Matsuhisa sauce, four shrimp tempuras, two string bean and two asparagus tempuras, several nigirizushis (uni, Japanese mackerel, albacore with asparagus, eel) as well as dessert. They also lay claim to some exclusive sakes, which doesn't make sense, because the one we ordered (Onigoroshi) is the same that we order at Mishima, Fat Fish and the place I go to on Tuesday nights, Miro Sake House.

But the real topper here is when the waiter asked if we wanted to order flat water. Now, I love my waters, and, I love most bottled FLAT waters, but particularly Evian's and Pellegrino's. But my absolute favorite is Vittel, which is hard to get here in the States. Also, I'm from Seattle, which has excellent tap water, and I think the water from those public fountains all around Italy are delicious. So, when the waiter brought back an ordinary bottle of Fiji, me and the GF just about lost it!

The waiter placed the Fiji water in a nice square metal holder, but that still didn't make it any fancier. (Someone please tell me they serve better water at Nobu!!! And, by the way, do they even make a Fiji with bubbles?)

As for the food, I'd say the Chilean sea bass was very good, but it's hard to screw up Chilean sea bass. The sashimi salad had way too much Matsuhisa sauce, which I swear tastes similar to Trader Joe's teriyaki sauce. The shrimp tempura was frickin' bad, bad, bad, especially compared to the ones at Fat Fish. The uni was alright, but most of the sushi was just subpar. I'm surprised they even serve it. It seems like merely an afterthought there. The dessert was so bad we left most of it on the plate.

Now despite the food, here's my greatest critique. You know those little chopstick placeholders? NND uses some type of black rock, which you can find at any landscaper's shop. However, my chopsticks, no matter how carefully and delicately I placed them, kept sliding off the rock. It was so stupid I finally just put the rock aside and rested my chopsticks on my plate, which my GF thought was just rude and insulting.

And she was right. After all, the devil is in the details, and NND needs to be a bigger devil than this Hollywood Asian. That's for sure.

Now going back to Pink's. Same long wait. Same notoriety. Different menus. Big difference in price. But at least I can understand Pink's. Plus, they treat you just like any other schmuck with $10 to spare.

Nobu Next Door? No thanks. Next time, we're going to Gotham Bar & Grill. Same price as Nobu, but without the hassle. And I probably won't get bitchslapped by my girlfriend afterward.

Update on Those Commercials

A few posts ago, I talked about the two TV spots my office did. Well, it turns out the client didn't like the one I didn't like, and neither did the CEO here at the office. Okay, that doesn't make sense. Basically, the CEO at my office and I see eye-to-eye on how crappy the commercial was acted and executed. And the client for which it was made also nixed it, so, the spot won't air. $250,000 down the crapper.

Actually, I don't know how much they spent on the production. I know for a fact that with my producing, writing and acting experience, combined with my friend's directing and assistant directing experience, we could come up with a better spot for less than $50k. Anyway, I sure hope they didn't spend $250k.

Monday, July 31, 2006

New York Stories, Part I

I just got back from a 5-day trip to New York. It was my first time there, and I must say that I enjoyed nearly every New York minute. But first of all, what the heck is a "New York minute"? I've heard that phrase all my life, and for the life of me, I can't seem to define it by having been there.

I took my venture with my lovely new girlfriend. Now, before you start to say, "Uh, isn't this a little soon to be going on vacations?" you should know that I've already asked myself that. This is, what, going on 8 weeks now, and, sure, we were planning the trip on week number 3, but we are two very intense people, and frankly, a New York minute is nothing to what we can accomplish in the span of 5 days.

Since this was my first time there, I had no idea about the subway system and the best way to get around. I am, after all, a Hollywood Asian and I'm all about driving my car to wherever I need to go. Planning your day around a subway route or a taxi ride just isn't how I think. But by day 2, I'd say we had a pretty good grasp of getting around. Unfortunately, we walked way too much the first two days. But I must say, walking is the best way to absorb all the sights that a great city like New York has to offer. Because you will see things you would never see while riding in a car.

There are several things I'm going to highlight as I get my mind back in L.A. time. I'll talk about Broadway and the show we saw; about the shopping we did, and the shopping we did, and then the shopping we did; the food we loved, and the food we dissed, and the food we just ate to fill our stomachs, but ended up loving because we were so dang famished; there's the neighborhoods and landmarks we saw -- Midtown Manhattan, Chelsea, SoHo, Lower Manhattan, Wall Street, Ground Zero, Empire State Bldg., Statue of Liberty, Staten Island Ferry ride, H&M, Daffy's, Century 21, Macy's, MTV, Algonquin Hotel, Parasuco, Le Colonial, Nobu Next Door; and of course, the one place I wish to heaven we had gone to, for many reasons I doubt I will ever mention, but none that will ever mean anything to you as much to me and the GF.

Where do I start? I'm not sure, but wow, it was an expensive trip. That's all I can say. It's a good thing I've had a busy 7 months, with more freelance work on the way.

But I must say one thing: Spending money never felt this good.

Friday, July 21, 2006

That Guy from Matrix II

Hey, that guy from Matrix II came into our office for the print job casting. Which guy, you ask? Not Keanu, of course. It was that Asian guy who protects the Oracle. Yeah, him! He was cool. Glasses, the traditional outfit, the cool demeanor.

He came in with his wife, who is a model, and their two kids. Collin is his name, I think. He doesn't wear glasses, by the way. And his wife is beautiful and very tall. Apparently, she's very famous in Hong Kong, too.

Other than that, I saw a lot of people who I usually see at auditions. But there was one guy who came in who never acknowledges me when I see him: Chris Tashima. I used to think he was just a loner or shy. But I'm starting to think he's a stuck-up dick. Saw the movie he was just in: "Americanese," which is an adaptation of "American Knees," by Shawn Wong.

The movie was kind of dull. To some, this is typical Eric Byler style. Someone who knows his work intimately, by the way, called his style: "miniaturist." Eric calls it "realist." I'd say it's humanistic, but not necessarily realistic.

Anyway, the script was dull, and Chris Tashima made it all the more duller. I don't know what Byler expected with Chris, but if it was a boring performance, he certainly got it.

The book version, by the way, is way better than the movie version. Go buy the book. I highly recommend it.

Asian Acting

The ad agency I work for just completed filming of two commercials in Vancouver. Today, they showed us the rough edits of them and I found one of them appalling.

For one thing, they casted these actors from Korea, where acting ability is not necessarily a requirement. I'm not dissing Korean actors. It's a well-known fact that Koreans don't have to be good actors in order to become famous.

Sure, there's some of that here in the States, but it's on a different level. You just don't risk $80 million on an actor who isn't guaranteed to be bankable. No movie from Korea has ever grossed that much worldwide, including Chingu, Old Boy and that new one, Typhoon. Shiri didn't even come close.

A production person at my agency said out loud to the group watching the commercials that Americans won't like one of the commercials. I agreed. I thought it was way overacted. Just over-the-top bad overacting that inspires me to puke all over the actor's headshot.

What's interesting is, I was in the minority. In fact, they called me a twinkie. I couldn't believe it! Especially since I've called other people who were more whiter than me that. But compared to the FOBs in my office, I'm both a twinkie and a banana.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I am finding a sense of frustration, though, for the Asian American actors here in America. The creative directors working at Asian American ad agencies are FOBs, and they're used to Asian acting. So, if you are trying to be like Ed Norton or Sean Penn, you're just not emoting enough for the Asians. And if you overact like an Asian in Asia, you're probably not going to get anywhere in Hollywood.

I remember watching an interview with James Coburn, an oldtime actor who hung out with Bruce Lee and learned JKD from him. He said Bruce just didn't know how to act, which to the millions of Asians around the world, this would be blasphemy. How dare you say that about our icon? But it's probably true. Bruce was Bruce, and fans loved it. James Coburn, on the other hand, was a very good actor. But you probably don't remember much about him, do you?

On the way back from the production room, I was informed I wouldn't be cast for one of the agency's print jobs. The problem? I don't look old enough. But I can accept that. What I won't accept is them telling me I can't act or don't look expressive enough. Because that's just bullshit.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Today's Shoot

I got a call this morning from the producer of the photo shoot to come in a little earlier than scheduled. "No problem," I said, "I'll be right there."

It was at a very well-known studio called Smashbox Studios. I've seen countless magazines where they've been credited as the location, but I've never actually been there. I have, however, sampled one of their matte base makeups while shopping with a friend at Sephora. She said it was the best for photo shoots as a matte powder is mixed right in. I didn't buy any, but I thought it was interesting information.

Like I mentioned, I was to play some sort of yakuza character. In fact, I was just a Japanese businessman. And I was to be photographed next to a harajuku girl and a DJ. The DJ was a cool guy and it was his first photo shoot. It was also the harajuku girl's first shoot, so I was the most trained of them all. Still, the whole thing felt a little silly.

Anyway, they asked me to get ready to shoot, so I waited around while they were setting up, and then took a look outside where a photo shoot was already taking place. A guy was standing just inside of a doorway, with a bluescreen for a backdrop. I watched for a little while and wondered if it was for the same photo shoot. Then the guy being photographed saw me and said, "Hey, how's it going?!" I said, "Hey, pretty good!" And then I walked back into the studio where they were setting up.

I walked up to one of the assistants and asked if the photo shoot outside was for the same production and he said no, it was for someone else. I said he looked kind of familiar. He was tall, with semi-mussed-up brownish blonde hair. He wore jeans and a long-sleeved shirt.

The assistant said the guy was some "famous, famous guy. You know the one. Ashton what's-his-name..."

"Oh, Ashton Kutcher. Yeah, I thought he looked familiar. Hmm..." And then I went back outside to take another look. Immediately, I pulled out my cell phone and dialed up my girlfriend and told her I was just standing about 10 feet from Ashton Kutcher in a photo shoot. Truthfully, I was about 20 feet away, but who's measuring?

Oh, about the girlfriend... I just started seeing someone who I also happen to work with at the aforementioned office job. It's been a couple of weeks now and it seems a bit premature to call someone your girlfriend, but maybe I'm just being optimistic or hopeful. Then again, we're a pretty good fit and I won't question that part of it. I suppose I'll update my status as we go along. And yes, she knows about this site.

So there I am, on the phone, watching this photo shoot take place. And then I realize, as weird as this seems, it's actually pretty normal in Los Angeles.

And so I'm called in for my shoot, posing as the Japanese businessman, and somehow, I just don't feel so silly doing this anymore. After all, some famous guy next door is doing it, too.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

This Job Is Starting to Suck!

I once had a girlfriend who had this dog. The dog would often just stand in the middle of the living room, on the carpet, not knowing if it should sit, walk or run. I watched this dog with some curiosity. But what was more interesting was my girlfriend, who seemed to be waiting for that dog to do whatever it was she didn't want it to do, so that she could scold it.

Well, that's what I'm feeling like right now. That dog. Here, in my office of 5 months, I'm feeling like a dog that doesn't know if it should sit, walk or run. Why? Mostly because I was given a job description before I got here, and then was given jobs completely out of that description.

Not only that, but I wasn't even briefed on simple procedures such as taking days off, so I've been slowly trying to figure out the system. But as soon as I do something wrong, I'm scolded. That's just frigging fucked up, ya know???

There's other stuff that bugs me. Such as the fact that I have a huge communication problem with my supervisor. And, I should say, a huge logic gap with him too. I think one way, he thinks another. And somehow, my way just doesn't make sense to him. Meanwhile, I don't really understand his way either. Am I just in the wrong office? I've never had problems like this before. No matter how fucked up the office politics were, I usually understood the basic processes of the office. This time, the processes seem to keep changing, and I try to change with them, until of course I am scolded.

I hate being scolded. I don't mind being told I fucked up. But I don't like being scolded. It just feels like being treated like a kid, only I'm an adult who is being scolded. That's really fucked up!!

So the other day, I got this job notice from my temp agent. It's a good job. Pays 20% more than what I'm getting now, plus serious executive-quality benefits. Meanwhile, I feel like I'm stuck here in this twilight zone where communication always gets funky and I'm unhappy because, well, I'm always being treated like a screw-up.

You know, I used to have a certain amount of pride in my abilities. I used to think I was a pretty good worker. I used to think I was a darn good proofreader. I used to think I cared about my work. Now, I'm not so sure. Lack of confidence? Well, more like an abundance of scolding!!

I'm working a print job tomorrow. (I can't wait to get my mind off my office job.) I'm playing some sort of yakuza who has a couple of harajuku girls with him. Yeah, I don't understand it either. Japanese company, apparently.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Oh, Woe Is Me...

I realize I haven't written anything truly dreadful or depressing, which is really not being honest. It takes a lot to keep perspective while living in Hollywood. You get caught up in the whirlwind of consumerism and materialism--and that's just the dating scene.

Well, last weekend I had a period of several hours just reflecting on life...and it wasn't pretty. Enjoy! ;)


I used to think that the world is not fair. But over the years, I’ve come to believe that the world is, in fact, fair. It’s just not fair to me.

Why can’t the world revolve around me just once?

Someone told me that books are the key to knowledge. But the more I read, I realize how much more knowledge everyone else has.

If I cry long enough, will the pain go away or will it just take a break until I start crying about something new?

I believe in the power of prayer to take away my sorrows. And right now, I just pray that I won’t have to pray too much longer.

The darkness in my heart is sometimes overtaken by the darkness in my soul. No wonder I live in sunny California.

I make most of my living trying to convince people they need to pay me for whatever it is that I do.

I know that the candle that burns the brightest burns the shortest. But why does my wick seem to never light for very long?

If the world has ever been my oyster, someone must have shucked it.

My fear of abandonment was left on some stranger’s porch a long time ago.

My whole point of being has been left unsharpened.

I wish I were the tissue you blow your nose in. Or the dirt you spit on. Or the water you piss and poop in. At least, then, I’d have purpose.

By the time I get to the light at the end of the tunnel, it’ll be nighttime.

I tried to look at the window to my soul, but a bird flew into it and broke its little neck.

When I can’t sleep, I often pretend I am dreaming of being awake.

I used to think the world revolved around me, but then I realized that standing still while the world continued to spin was not quite the same thing.

© 2006 L.T. Goto. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Rest for the Weary

I finally had a couple of days of rest, which to me means that I just worked my regular 8-hour work day and went home and watched TV.

It's pretty telling when you point the remote at the TV and find out it hasn't been plugged in since you moved the furniture, oh, about two months ago.

I think I watched some sports. But I can't remember if it was baseball or basketball.

By habit, I turned on my laptop and saw that I had to write up 3 invoices for the work I've done. This is something I've improved vastly in the last 5 years, but can still improve upon VASTLY. It's not like I don't want to get paid. I just don't want to figure out how many hours I worked. Because that takes work!

I had an audition this morning at 10:20 for a print job. It was by my place, so I went to work a little late. Tomorrow, I have a meeting for another freelance gig writing content for a website. Then after that, I have an audition at 2:25 in Venice for another print job. I swear, I am the print job king right now.

Oh, I did the Disney thing last week, and it turns out it was actually at Disneyland. I must've rode the Splash Mountain ride 14 frickin' times! Well, I DID ride it 14 frickin' times. In fact, I have a bruised tailbone to show for it. It's hurting right now, if you must know.

Last night, I went to my regular Tuesday night outing on La Brea and the twin Chinese girls from the movie Big Fish were there. I finally got to chat with them, although I've met them several times before. As often as I've seen them, they still look exotic as ever to me. (Must be that male fantasy thing about being with twins or something.)

Tonight, I'm expecting my first Netflix movie to arrive. Just started a subscription the other day. For my first film, I decided it should be intellectually stimulating yet relaxing and enjoyable. I can't wait. It's "The History of Violence."

Friday, May 12, 2006

So, It WAS One of Those Dreams

I think it was last week when I began writing a little post about having another shit dream. But the problem was, I wasn't sure if it was a shit dream. And usually, my shit dreams get realized right away, within days. This one took a while. And no, I'll hold off on the bad puns.

So the other day, I went on a print audition for Disney. Pays pretty damn good for a print job. AND, the audition was at the same place I've had those Nokia print auditions that I never booked but always got close to booking. So, I guess I broke my losing streak there.

The funny thing was, during the audition, a woman (who I think was the casting director) came up beside me and put her arm around me. Without explanation, we started to do some couples shots. You know, LOVING couples shots. Well, not THAT loving, but loving enough. It was meant to be spontaneous love, I suppose, because I had no idea we were about to do that.

After it was over, I turned to the photographer and said, "Uh, I don't mind doing that again." To which the woman turned to me and smiled. Guess I still got a little bit of charm left in me.

Anyway, I didn't post that little shit dream post...until today. Because now, I'm sure I had one--after the fact.

They gave me a week notice, so it looks like I'll have to take the day off from work. But I doubt that will be a big problem.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


A female friend of mine asked me recently what it would take for me to meet the "right girl." I said "moving out of L.A.," to which she laughed, heartily at first, then somewhat nervously. Her first reaction was taken over by the message which she slowly absorbed, thereby creating the second reaction. You see, she's been pondering meeting the "right guy" herself.

Nevermind the fact that she's a pretty powerful woman in the entertainment industry right now. And when I mean powerful, I mean she has a very enviable position in a well-known, legitimate studio.

What about me? you wonder. Would I be interested in such a person? Well, no, she's part of the reason why I said what I said. I like her, but she's far more sexy to me as a friend than anything else. I think that even kissing her once would ruin the fantasy of ever being with her.

Anyway, right now, just this very moment, I'm thinking about relationships and what they mean to me. Oh, by the way, my follow-up comment to this woman was that I hope to be with someone who would make me believe in relationships again, because they're starting to seem pretty pointless in my life.

And that's sort of my next point. Or rather, the thought that I was just having before I rudely interrupted myself. It goes something like this. Relationships are a selfish way for humans to enjoy themselves. Being single, on the other hand, is a much different form of selfishness.

Truthfully, I'd love to be in a relationship. But I know I'm married to my goals right now, first and foremost. I was growing to think that I'd eventually grow out of having goals and dreams--and I actually got close to giving into this--but then I found I just can't seem to shake them. Having a relationship would just mask my desire to be single and free and striving for my own personal selfish cause, which of course is myself.

But just because I have some very close friends who are married with children doesn't mean they are any less selfish. They want to spread their genepool, infect the world with their winning ways, flourish their own philosophies among their own family tree.

Me? I'm just trying to get some stuff done. Stuff that probably doesn't mean anything to anybody...except me. And that's just fine...with me. I don't need to convince the world that I have more important things to accomplish than anyone else does. Really, it's all relative. One person's home movie is another person's short film.

I have a quote from Michael Jordan that I think works for him and just about everyone I've ever met who got anywhere:

"To be successful you have to be selfish, or else you never achieve. And once you get to your highest level, then you have to be unselfish. Stay reachable. Stay in touch. Don't isolate."

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Tuesday Nights

Every Tuesday night, I hang out at this one restaurant in L.A. on La Brea, just south of Wilshire. We've been doing this for the last 10 months or so, apparently. Drink a lot of beer, eat sushi and sashimi, and order the karaage.

Yesterday, one of the regulars sent out an email to everybody about getting together before this big Asian film festival that opens tomorrow. And sure enough, there was a shitload of folks, most of them in the industry.

One girl, visiting from New Zealand via Hong Kong (meaning she's from NZ but now lives in HK), asked if all these folks were in the entertainment industry. The answer was both yes and no, since some of the ones that do work for movie studios actually do marketing or accounting or work in the legal dept. That's working FOR the entertainment industry, technically. But why haggle, right? I was a dang proofreader and copywriter at one, which I might as well reveal now, since it's a foregone conclusion anyway. It was at Lions Gate Films, which used to be Artisan Entertainment.

I'm not revealing any proprietary secrets or anything so there's no real worry. Plus, they can't fire me since I don't work there anymore. But I digress...

An actor is there to talk with me about copy editing, as he's interested in making some money on the side. So, I promised to chat with him, give him some pointers, maybe even forward his resume to someone in need.

After that was done, I got into chatting with another actor who was all dressed up. I had to ask him why and he said he had an audition for a Michael Bay film. What was the title? Uh..... Transformers! Yes, Transformers, the movie. Pretty wild, eh?

My friend in marketing, oh shoot, I shouldn't really mention it here. But he's doing some focus groups on a big huge movie coming out. Boy, that's lame that I can't mention some things here. It's sensitive material because the results of these focus groups can make or break a release. Anyway, per my policy, I won't jeopardize someone else's career.

We had a few other folks there, but I'll just name them in case you know them: Teddy Zee, Peter Shiao, Stephen Liu, Karin Anna Cheung, Sam Chi, Di Quon, some VJ girl from MTV Asia, a guy who was on "New York Undercover," and many, many others.

I had an audition today for a commercial. Was a little slow, getting around today, but I woke up came time my audition. I ended up missing a print audition because the time and area conflicted. But it's no big deal.

Funny thing was, I auditioned for the same exact commercial -- concept, execution, casting agent -- last year around this time. I even wrote about it, and how I got there late and upset my favorite casting agent. Well, I got there early today and ended up waiting an hour. I'm starting to think that the commercial last year was never shot. Or, maybe it just never aired. Maybe the casting didn't work. So, they're seeing some of the ones that weren't cast. Who knows? But I know one thing. I'm not pissing off that casting agent again.

Not Sure

Not sure, but I think I had another shit dream last night.

More details to follow....

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Clean Shaven

Oftentimes, I get a casting description for "clean-shaven." Such as tomorrow, I have a print audition at Castaways and they want me in business attire and clean-shaven. If you've met me, you know that even when I shave, I look like I haven't shaved.

This is one of those things that has really screwed with me for a long time. I go to auditions all the time and people wonder if I've shaved. Even when I book jobs, they wonder if I've shaved. I mean, didn't you see me in the audition? I don't look clean-shaven!! I have a permanent 5 o'clock shadow!! And, it gets even worse at 5 o'clock!

Over the years (and we're talking since high school here), I've tried various methods of covering it up. Generally, I'll use some sort of beard cover or cover-up makeup. Then I'll blend it in with some kind of powder. Truthfully, it's embarrassing that I have to wear makeup, just to look normal. That's right. I'm just trying to look like I've shaved!

So tomorrow, I'm going to get up a little early, shave, and apply some makeup to my permanent 5 o'clock shadow. Then I'm going to work, hang out for a few hours, then run to my auditions. Oh, I have a commercial audition as well. This one's in Santa Monica.

Anyway, some day, I hope that there gets to be this huge demand for guys like me. A guy who has to wear makeup, just to look normal!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Freelance Season Begins

This is my busy time of the year. And because one of my clients is seasonal, this becomes my REALLY busy time of the year. I had a project on Monday morning that was due by the next day at noon. That took me over 12 hours to finish, in addition to my regular job! So, doing the math, I'm not getting much sleep.

This morning, arriving by FedEx, I just got another 80 pages to look at. Friggin' A!

But as much as I whine and complain about it, I really don't mind the extra work. It's always been my thing to get my own raises.

This afternoon, I got a call from a Japanese company that distributes household products. They want me to pick up some of their products and rewrite their instruction manuals. Oh boy...

Oh, and I think I forgot to mention that a plastic surgeon I sometimes hang out with wants to do a trade for some copywriting. That's right. I'm thinking of pimping out my services for some Meso body sculpting and laser blemish removal.

What's Meso body sculpting? Well, apparently they stick you with needles and suck out the fat from your cells. It's like liposuction, only they leave the fat cells in your body, but remove the fat. Unfortunately, you have to go through about 6 treatments before you finally see some good results. Yeah, I know. I should just go to a friggin' gym, but damnit, if you got it (copywriting skills), you might as well flaunt it.

Actually, doing stuff for barter isn't a bad idea. I mean, I could probably get massages, facials, manicures, haircuts, dental work, and car repairs for the stuff I do. I know that Craigslist has a site for bartering services, but I bet there's a better way of making some deals.

Anyway, I'm way too overworked as it is right now. I should just work on getting some sleep.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Murder Mystery Dinner Over

The whole thing was a mystery. The storyline, my character, the crowd, my accent, the singing performances (it was built around an Asian American Super Idol show), and whether or not I could pull it off with only one meeting (I missed two scheduled meetings).

I should say that the only thing that wasn't a mystery for me was that I knew I'd be asking some perverted questions. It was the most inappropriate thread I could pull off, and I'm pretty well practiced in it, both in my writing and in my improv. Yes, it's a crutch, but it sure plays well with audiences that traditionally aren't too open about those things.

So, from the get-go, I had people EXPECTING me to say inappropriate stuff. Anything from "Are you wearing underwear?" to "What's your bra size?" to "How big is your penis?" Asian folks see that kind of comedy as cutting edge, not a crutch. And, boy, did the older ones in the audience love it. There was one woman (who actually might be reading this right now since I advertised this site in my bio) who was great and actually interacted with my dialogue. She was one of those gifts for improv actors that you can't plan ahead of time for. But she showed people it was okay to respond to sexual, uh, intercourse. (Sorry.)

Judging from the spontaneous laughter and the nice comments at the end, I think we all pulled it off nicely. I even went to a karaoke room with a small group of them afterward and I think the whole night opened them up. One of the girls said all sorts of guys were asking her what her bra and penis size was, which I think is kind of cute.

As for my Bruce Lee characterization, I think I'm over it. Done deal. It's all out of my system now. Plus, I don't think many people got it. They just thought I had some weird accent.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Went to a Party

Last week, a close friend was thinking of having a small birthday party. For the past couple of months, he was the First AD on "Alias," the canceled TV show starring Jennifer Gardner.

About a year before he worked on the show, we were watching a few episodes and noticed how fast the action moves from scene to scene. For instance, if she needs to go from the U.S. to Russia, they will do it in a matter of 2 scenes, with an action sequence taking place on the plane. No need to waste time on boarding and getting off the plane. Just put her on, have some action, then she's in Russia.

Anyway, he said the show was one of his most difficult, but it certainly paid the bills. He went to a wrap party and, of course, Ben Affleck was there to meet and greet the crew.

So last week, we went to this restaurant in Pasadena called Bar Celona. It's actually a combination of 3 restaurants, but it's new and the decor and ambience are pretty well done. We know one of the bartenders and met the manager. So, with a little encouragement, I got my friend to agree to spending his birthday at Bar Celona.

On Wednesday or Thursday, we started sending emails out, and by Friday, got a small group of about 20 for dinner. But of course, once dinner started happening, about 20 more showed up and we had ourselves a little party going on.

One of the guests was an old acquaintance of mine named Eric Byler. He directed Charlotte Sometimes, which I used to be a producer of when it was still called Better Than Sex. We got into talking and he said he had quoted me in a couple of interviews. It was something about writing characteristics, not based on what you desire in yourself, but ones which you wish were not true. This would always have to pass the litmus test of self-honesty, thus making for a more interesting story. He said I told him to write 10 of the worst things about himself that he wished were not true, then base a character on these things.

Anyway, he told the small group we were chatting with that my little bit of writing advice changed his whole career as a storyteller and filmmaker. That's a pretty major statement. When I mentioned that I had read his interview on the Internet, he apologized. I guess he wanted this ackowledgment to be more special to me. It was still special. Anytime someone quotes you and says you changed their whole career is pretty damn special.

This weekend, I may be going to a Lodestone play called The Golden Hour, written by Philip Chung. Eric said he thinks Philip's writing changed also, after they got into discussing my little advice.

I've written a couple of novellas and showed them around to people. They all would say things like: "You got played!", "You know, this is a lot like you!", "You don't know how much you are this character." And so on and so forth.

The stupid thing is, I know that I'm writing from my own experience, but exaggerating it to the point where it hurts to be this character. But people don't understand how a writer would want to paint themselves to look so bad. Truthfully, I don't like doing that, but it's the only way I know how to write. And as the saying goes, when it bleeds, it succeeds.

Fortunately, I have a lot of things to be embarrassed and shameful about, so there's a lot of material left in my repertoire.

Friday Already?

Can't believe it's Friday already. I spent 3 days in Austin, but I spent about 15 hours in planes and airports. Usually, I stay at this quaint old hotel called the Driskill. But it's been hit or miss. This last stay was a real miss. I swear, they must've put me in the room they reserve for employees. They told me the place was fully booked, so I couldn't book an extra day, which it turns out I needed to.

The next morning, I started to take a shower and realized they didn't give me any shampoo. I ordered a breakfast of coffee and oatmeal, which was fine, but that's because I paid for it, along with the mandatory 18% gratuity. But dangit, they didn't deliver my newspaper. It was my 3rd stay there in 3 months. They even ask you, "Do you want your newspaper?" So much for Southern hospitality.

Because they couldn't book my extra day, I had to book a room at the Radisson. It was a last-minute booking, but the room was just what you expect in a hotel. It didn't come with free Internet like Driskill, but I found a wi-fi signal in the area.

Yesterday, I took calls for more freelance work again. I told someone about my freelance career. First couple years are tough. You have one really difficult year. Then things pick up and you get the hang of freelancing and start to make a decent living. Then one of your clients hires you full-time permanent.

Haven't heard anything from the commercial auditions I had last week. All of them were for national network TV. Nothing on the print auditions either.

Tomorrow night, I'm performing in one of those murder mystery dinner things. I'm playing a detective. I was supposed to do a CSI-like character but I don't think they make good comedy. So, I'm doing one of my characters. Actually, I'm combining two of my characters. All I can say is, imagine Bruce Lee as a horndog. The dialogue is mostly improvved, so I plan to ask all the suspects some personal information. You know, like bra and penis size.

That oughta make for good dinner conversation.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

One of Those Weeks Again

I'm going out of town again to Austin, Texas. Wish I could spend more time there and look at the real estate. Not that I could afford anything just yet. But it wouldn't hurt to look.

Today, I had two auditions, both of them same-day appointments, meaning they call you that day and want you to go audition, wearing whatever clothes you happen to be wearing.

Fortunately, I was wearing something that fit both auditions: a pair of beige slacks and a short-sleeve polo.

The first one was for T-Mobile. If you recall, I've had a few auditions for them before. Apparently, they requested me for this one. Not sure why. But I guess I'll take whatever compliment I can squeeze out of that one.

For some reason, I was the only Asian guy there, among a bunch of white and black guys all going for the same role. It happens like this for me a lot. But I've never booked any of them. Yeah, sometimes I wonder why I bother with it.

Regardless, I think I had a good audition. I was pretty loose. And this reminds me that I had another audition just the other day for a Verizon commercial. Yes, they are competitors. But that ain't the half of it. I shouldn't mention it here, per my rule about not talking about my current job, but one of my company's clients just happens to be another competitor in the telecom market. Oh well. They're not hiring me.

On Monday, I'm flying out to Austin from the John Wayne Airport. I usually fly from Burbank or LAX, but I have a meeting in the OC on Tuesday night when I fly back in. So, out of convenience, I booked it down there.

Just before I drive down there, though, I have another commercial audition in the morning. I don't know who it's for, but it's a national network spot. Sometimes, I get auditions for companies that don't want to disclose their information over the Breakdowns.

Well, sorry if this is a little dry. I'm just having one of those crazy weeks again.

Monday, March 20, 2006

I Have This Friend

I have this friend who keeps "threatening" to take headshots and give commercial acting a shot. She says she has the type of schedule where she can go off and do auditions, or take off a day or so to do the job. To me, that's the ideal situation. There are folks in this town who would KILL for that kind of situation.

And each time she threatens to do it, I encourage her, giving her suggestions on photographers (which to use, which not to use), how much to spend, etc. She knows I'm no expert, but all she really needs is a kick in the pants.

I thought I've been kicking her, every time she brings it up, but it's obvious I'm not kicking HARD enough. She keeps bringing it up and I keep saying something to encourage her. It's gotten to the point where I might even start DIScouraging her so that maybe she'll get pissed off and just do it to spite me.

I've actually inspired many a person to do things because I've said they couldn't or shouldn't do it. I guess Mom blessed me with that "skill." For instance, I apparently told a woman she'd never get married with her type of personality. She got married and had a kid, just to spite me. I'm proud of her.

Then there was the Internet startup guy who told me his idea and I told him it wouldn't work. He proceeded to get some incredible venture capital, perhaps, uh, just to spite me! I know it sounds vain of me to say all this, taking credit for stuff that I didn't actually try to inspire someone to do. But the end result does seem to justify the means.

So, I guess that makes me the anti-spark. By my suggesting they kill their dreams, they end up building them bigger than originally planned.

My mom once told my brother that since he only had a 2.0 high school GPA, he should go to a community college and study to be a mechanic, possibly at Boeing. Instead, my brother got into the University of Washington through what was then the Equal Opportunity Program, and graduated in physics. Who in the heck does something that crazy? In fact, he was working at Boeing in the same department he does now since he was a freshman at UW.

Let me see now. What did my mom tell me not to do? Well, she didn't want me to be an actor. That's an easy one. She didn't want me to marry my first girlfriend. Okay, I listened to that one. She wanted me to marry my second girlfriend. Didn't follow that advice. Um, not sure how this theory is working for me. Seems pretty hit or miss.

Anyway, if that girl should threaten me one more time to get headshots, I'm just going to tell her she's fricking crazy and should keep her day job. That oughta get her started.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


I used to think my mom was superpragmatic. Or, rather, overly pragmatic, I should say. She always saw through the bullshit, especially mine! And some of this rubbed off on me, although I can't exactly say I'm completely pragmatic, because that would be total BS.

But like I said, "I used to think" my mom was that way. That was until I started hearing little stories about her superstitious ways. Such as the time when my sister got accepted into medical school. Before that, she used to tell my sister to not have such high expectations or to try something else in the health services field. She always had this way of inspiring us to do something by bringing down our self-esteem.

When my sister got her letter of acceptance, my mom whispered to herself that "this will be a good year." You know, I don't even say those things, because, well, I HAVE said those things and ended up screwing up the rest of my year!! Now days, I will only say those things in retrospect, such as, "that was a shitty year."

About 10 years ago, my mom and dad paid a visit to me in Los Angeles. This was when I was living in South Central L.A. back in 1994, a couple years after the '92 L.A. riots. In fact, I lived on 41st and Normandie, which is some 15 blocks north of the flashpoint of the riots. They stayed at the house I was subleasing from another actor, who was a 3rd understudy for the Engineer in Miss Saigon on Broadway. (Not sure why I mentioned that.)

It was an unusual visit. I had just moved down about two years earlier from Seattle. I was also recently unemployed, collecting a weekly check of about $150. My place cost $300 a month, so I was really living in poverty at that point. They saw this and offered me assistance, which I turned down. I told them I needed to see what I was worth. Or rather, what I was made of. I was determined to make it without a safety net.

So then we went to Las Vegas together. My parents loved Las Vegas, and we drove there in my car. On the way there, my mom sort of mentioned the reason for her visit. She had been diagnosed with cancer -- her second time in her life -- but this time it was serious. Her prognosis wasn't good: 6 to 12 months. That's why the unexpected, unusual visit.

While there in Vegas, I spent through a couple hundred dollars of my parents' money, since I was broke. But the mood was light, and we were there to enjoy ourselves. Unfortunately, we ran into some familiar-looking folks in one of the hotels in the downtown area. They were a social group from Seattle, so my folks knew some of them. But there was one person, in particular, that my family knew all too well. His name is Art Susumi, the greatest salesman of mortician services in all of Seattle. My mom took it to be an omen. You could just see the sinking feeling in her body.

But like my brothers and sisters, being inspired by lowered expectations, she ended up fighting her prognosis for three years. So you see, she was superstitious, and then showed what human will could accomplish at the same time.

I have a few superstitions myself. I always see the numbers 333, just about everywhere I look. But I don't know what it means. Because nothing necessarily good happens. I think it's just sort of a sign that I'm on the right path -- route 333, if you will. The other sign I have is actually a dream. It's called the shit dream, so named by my ex, who said that if you should have a shit dream, or rather dream of taking a shit, something extremely fortuitous would happen. Usually, it would be money or a new job.

Over the last 4 years since I met my ex, I've had a few occasional shit dreams, and each time, sure enough, I was presented with unexpected windfalls in cash. Not just little bonuses here and there, but bucketfulls of cash. Last night, I woke up after an unusual dream involving shit. It was gross, to say the least, and I usually wake up after a disturbing dream. And then I relax, knowing that I just had the golden, treasure-laden shit dream.

This morning, after my alarm went off, I went to the bathroom as usual and then remembered that I had a shit dream last night. I was much more conscious of it and it triggered some thoughts about what could happen. To be honest, there was only one thought I had, and about a half hour ago, I got a call from my agent. I booked the Microsoft job. It's also on a Saturday, so there's no problem with scheduling, etc.

I won't talk about the year ahead, but the last few months, I must say, have been pretty good. And that's the pragmatic side of me talking.

My Pornstar Name

Your Pornstar Name is:
Fernando Lipz

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Sunday, March 12, 2006


As in hotel, that is. And yeah, it's pretty wow. What a beautiful suite those Verizon folks had.

It was a very painless fitting session. Got paid for it, too. That's a nice little bonus. But did I get the job?

Today, I got a call that I was still on "strong avail." I thought it was kind of weird since they kept the suit I brought in, along with my shoes. I thought that was a pretty good sign it was a done deal.

So I mentioned that to my agent, and a few hours later, it was confirmed. I got the job.

Unfortunately, booking jobs now presents a bit of a problem for me at work. I'm on salary, not hourly. So I'm supposed to be in the office. Fortunately, however, this office doesn't need me there every minute of the day. As proofreading goes, the job isn't as demanding as many other jobs I've had, both with time and the work involved.

Still, though, I've only been there about a month and I'm already asking for a day off. They said I could take a day of "leave." Which is fine with me. I don't expect to get paid for a day I didn't work. But then I brought up the fact that I was in an airport on a Sunday morning on my way to Texas a couple weeks ago. Does that not qualify for a "comp day"?

When I asked that question, it was like I had said something taboo. I guess salaried workers aren't supposed to get comp days. But it was just a question and it seems I opened a can of worms for the HR dept. Not what I had planned.

This really isn't that interesting to talk about, nor read, I know. But it's just what happens when you try to work a day job and have a side career in acting or modeling. There will always be situations that have to be worked out.

About 15 years ago, I caused a problem at an old job at a TV station by taking a leave of absence. I ended up getting canned for it. That was a rookie mistake, in my opinion. I learned some big lessons. For one, there's a way to do things, and there's a way to get fired. I don't plan on getting fired from my job. Not yet, anyway.

Personally, I'm mentally done with the modeling anyway. I could give it up in a heartbeat. Maybe that's why I'm auditioning so much. When I'm hoping and praying for work, I never seem to get any. Now that I don't need it or want it, I get busy in it. What a stupid life I lead. I'm not saying I'm superstitious, but it's just how it always seems to happen for me.

On the other hand, I'm not that desperate for my office job, either. I like it, but I've never been one for office politics or having to make my office job the most important thing in my life. That, to me, isn't what life is about. But I do enjoy the day-to-day challenges this job and my side stuff present to me. It's all about how to handle the situation in front of me.

Next week, I go back to Texas for a couple of days. Then there's the possibility I may have to work that Microsoft gig. Even though it pays very well, I'm sort of hoping I don't get the job. One dilemma a month is about all I can handle right now.

Sometimes, I wish I could just go run home to Mom.

Club Hollywood

So I'm at this club tonight called Jimmy's, which used to be El Centro. Nice place. The patio area is really cool, especially if you're not into the hip-hop scene, which is what they play on the dance floor. Sometimes I wish I was still into it, because there's some hotties groovin' to it. But for some reason, probably because I'm more into electronic music now, I just can't swing it.

I'm there for a birthday party for, like, eleven people. It's a good crowd, I gotta admit. But I'd rather chill outside. Plus, I'm wearing a sort of "car coat" with a hood on the back. It's wool, and not the best thing to wear inside a club.

By then, I had already had three shots of Patron Silver, a few beers and some good BBQ at an earlier party. Anyway, I'm feeling it. I get inside and hang out with some Cold Tofu folks. There's a lot of them tonight, too.

At some point, I'm talking to one of my close friends and a guy comes up, taps me on the shoulder and says hello. He also compliments me on my coat.

This would be a non-story, but many of you have probably seen this guy in a few movies lately. In fact, he's been in all the American Pie movies and had his starring feature last year in a comedy.

The thing is, I've never really liked this guy. Many years ago, I had a party when I used to live in a loft in the downtown L.A. arts district. This same guy walked in, grabbed a beer from my fridge, opened the bottle, and proceeded to flick the cap -- now, I don't know how to describe the process unless you've done or seen this before -- across the crowded room.

I was pretty pissed, but because I wasn't into confrontation back then, I just fumed about it. Actually, I fumed about it for a number of years. But then I was done with it. I don't know when, but I met the guy a few times and really just let it go. But, still, the feeling lingers on in the back of my mind. I guess that's how I am.

So I say hello to him, thank him for the compliment, and that's that. Not much more to say. Except the fact that a lot of Asian folks think he's the shit right now, and that's just fine with me.

Apparently, however, a few people saw his little gesture to me, and then started to think that I might be more important than I actually am. That's pretty frickin' funny, if you ask me. But yeah, a few people started to pay more attention to me than usual. I guess that's how celebrity works, right?

It's 2:35 in the morning right now. I have to wake up in a few hours for that Verizon fitting. Oh well. Guess I'm just a Hollywood Asian sort of guy.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Kinda Freakin' Busy Again

A while back, I wrote about how I had very little time to think about anything. Well, I'm getting that feeling again.

As you know, I stopped the improv classes so that I would have more time to myself. But in actuality, I've only gained about 4 more hours per week. That's not much.

Tomorrow, I will have had my fourth print audition for the week. That's insane! I work full time! I can't be going out on auditions that much! But fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, my agent schedules all my auditions right around lunch time. So, all I gotta do is get ready in the morning for my lunch time appointments.

The other day, I had one for Verizon, and it looks like they want me. Well, almost. They've put me on a "strong avail," which is almost certain that I got the job. (Every "strong avail" I've had, I've booked the job.) And just to keep me interested, Verizon will pay me $300 to go in for a fitting this weekend at the W Hotel. It's in the Presidential Suite, baby. I don't think I've ever been in one of those before, especially at the W.

I'm going in for an audition tomorrow for Wells Fargo, as an arm/hand model. So you're probably wondering, what does an arm/hand model pull in for a print job? It pays $750. Probably will take 6 hours to shoot, tops. You don't even have to comb your hair for this one.

But the thing is, I'm still on avail for that Microsoft print job that's shooting between the 20th and 28th of this month. The Verizon job is between the 14th and the 21st. This hand job shoots on the 20th, I believe, and my agent knows there's a potential conflict there. But what she doesn't know is I have to be in Austin, Texas, on the 23rd and 24th. In fact, I just found out today. It's for work. Again. My second trip for work in less than one month. Now that's insane.

I finally finished one of my freelance projects. That's a done deal, thank you very much. And, I also finished editing most of the magazine that I work for on the side. This weekend, I have to go to a house party for some old friends, followed by a birthday party at a club for some new friends.

I don't have a lot more to say than just firing off all my crap for the week. But I will say this. I tried going to the gym after work three times this week, and every time, I ended up driving home. There was just no way. I'm physically and mentally exhausted as it is. I don't even bother making a schedule any more. My schedule is completely out of my control.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

New Job, Too

In addition to stopping the improv classes, I took on a new job at an ad agency. It's one that I've been freelancing with for the past 6 or 7 years, so I'm familiar with most of the folks I work with. Still, it's been tough these past 12 months. I've been going to new offices, learning new rules, remembering new names. And I HATE remembering new names. So, I have my work cut out for me once again. And I'm not even talking about my job responsibilities yet!

The other day, I helped cast a print job by inviting about 5 of my friends. They were looking for a specific type, not too model-like, but nice enough you could buy a product from. I guess that's my description, too. Except I'm a little too old for the job. (They told me so, in so many words.)

Not to worry, though. I've been going through some crazy castings myself lately. Almost all of it has been for print jobs for computer or tech stuff. Don't know if I'm being typecast as the IT guy. "It" guy wouldn't be so bad, but why IT guy? Probably means I'm not model-like, and borderline nerdy.

Once again, I'm on avail for a pretty big job. This one for Microsoft. By "big" I mean it pays decent bucks.

Tomorrow, I have another print audition. I think it's my 12th one this year, which is unusually busy for me.

My latest dilemma is that I think my hair is getting thinner. You wouldn't believe how much stress this brings me, which probably causes me to lose MORE hair.

Since I've taken on the new job, I thought I would have more free time. After all, these guys are no longer my freelance clients. But there's something to be said about "emptying your cup." It seems I'm busier than ever with the freelancing. I'm getting calls from people I've met only once, and that was years ago.

Don't know about the void being left from leaving Cold Tofu yet. I do want to take another class. But I feel I could really use the time to work on myself. Well, that and my hair. Hmm, I wonder if my health insurance covers Rogaine?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Forsaken, But Not Forgotten...What???

So, I haven't been keeping up with this in a while. Basically, I'm juggling way too much crap. In fact, I made an important decision last week. I stopped going to Cold Tofu lab.

A couple months ago, our lab class was told we would get to do this once-a-year lab members performance on a nice stage at the Japanese American National Museum. It's the same annual show that I went to last year and signed up, on the spot, for the beginning class.

Naturally, I thought this was a great story. Here I was, three levels and one lab class later, about to perform in the same show I had been an audience member of a year earlier. I felt a sense of accomplishment. Triumphant, if you will. And so I proceeded to advertise this show to everyone I knew. I even told family members about it, and they're way far away.

About a week before the show, I was told that I wouldn't be in the show. Why? Well, the official explanation is that there weren't enough women in the class, so they had to limit the number of men. The other reason is that I had already done a "show" in 2006, which was the stupid 10-minute warmup our lab class sometimes does before Cold Tofu's regular monthly show.

But those 10-minute shows are hardly worth inviting people to watch, so I never do. I have friends who want to see me perform, but I want to make it worth it for them to make a 40-minute drive to Little Tokyo.

My first reaction was shock, then anger, and then my usual Bruce Lee/JKD-induced reaction: KICK THEIR ASSES! Well, not really. But I wanted to just shoot from the hip and call them and give them a piece of my frickin' mind. I mean, I told frickin' 300 people I would be performing. THEY told me I would be performing. What the hell???!!!

But lately I've noticed that going with that first gut reaction isn't always the best practice. Call it maturity, okay? This time, I sat down, had a shot of vodka, had another shot of vodka, took a drag off a cig, and then politely emailed them that I would have some explaining to do to my friends and family. But I let them know I wasn't pleased with it.

I then put my iTunes on random and the first two songs that came on were from the musical SPAMALOT. The second song to play started out "Always look on the bright side of life..." and instantly a smile came to my face. I even whistled along for a while. This, along with the vodka and nicotine, helped me to deal with a major disappointment. And so I proceeded to email every friend and family member whom I thought would come to the show that I would no longer be in the show...but thank you for your support and love, etc., etc.

The cool thing was that I received some of the most supportive, understanding emails from every one of them. I couldn't believe it. It was truly touching, and I will forever remember that moment. One friend even said that it was like I didn't even have to perform to find out who my biggest supporters were. That's true! And besides, I really could've sucked that night. So maybe I dodged a bullet on this one.

Anyway, a few days later, I went to our regular Wednesday night class. We did our exercises, scenes, routines and whatnot, and the decision came to me strong and fast: I need to leave this group.

But I'm glad I waited to think about it first. It's like a samurai (yeah, I still fantasize about being one) who won't strike someone when he's angry. He'll wait 'til he's feeling sorta Zen, and then he'll kill the muthafuckin' asshole...

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year 2006

It's a new year, so I thought I'd revisit this site after a long and unintentioned hiatus. As I think I've mentioned before, Internet usage is monitored at my current office, so there's no way I'm going to be writing this thing during the day. And that's sort of the problem. Because I usually get inspired to write these things during the day, not at home after work.

Actually, there hasn't been a whole lot to report anyway. I haven't had a major audition in a couple of months. My agency moved to a new office, and let go two of my favorite booking agents. I believe they kept my commercial agent, whom I don't care for at all.

The last audition I went to was at UCLA, which means it was for a student film. This one was for a samurai/assassin, who also has a protege, muchlike the real samurais had. But I think this character's protege was actually his son.

I didn't have much time to study my lines, so I ended up recording the other character's lines on a tape recorder, then doing my lines with it on the way to the audition. Yes, I guess I winged it. Bad on me.

Since I was the only one there at the time, I asked for a few extra minutes to prepare. Yes, I was stalling.

When I finally went in to do my scene, the director explained that I would do the scene in English, but later would have to do it in Japanese. My Japanese pronunciation is pretty decent, so I wasn't worried about it.

As typical, I did the scene the way I had prepared. The second time, he gives me an adjustment. And if there's a third time, he gives me another adjustment for perhaps a different way.

I did the scene three times, and the first one wasn't too shabby. I didn't even flub a line. For the next, he said I should try to seduce the girl who was reading the lines with me, as her character was also a female. So, did my best Barry White samurai I could muster.

That didn't seem to fly with him, as this samurai character is supposed to be a bit, shall we say, flamboyant. Well, the director's words were: "sort of feminine." So, I immediately thought of Koji Sasaki of the famous Miyamoto Musashi-Sasaki Koji duel. Sasaki was described as flamboyant, often wearing a bright red kimono with a bird on it. (Yes, men's Japanese garbs are also called kimono, although I'm sure there are other terms for it.) As for "feminine," I don't know if that was one of his qualities. In a movie version starring Toshiro Mifune, the Sasaki character was far from feminine.

So, giving in, I decided upon a metrosexual samurai who was also a deadly assassin. They seemed impressed, and I went on my flamboyant way.

Outside, I ran into a core member of the Cold Tofu troupe, as you may remember that I am a current member of its lab class. He was a bit embarrassed to see me, as I was to see him. But his credits are bigger than mine, so I supposed his embarrassment was also bigger than mine. We traded small talk and then I went to the bathroom.

On the way out of the building, I ran into another person I hadn't expected to see. His name is Rob Narita and he once did a show I was a featured extra for: Northern Exposure. Anyway, I hadn't seen him in a long, long time. And so when I said, "Man, I didn't expect to see you here," I really meant what I said.

His response: "Oh yeah, well, it's been a while since I've been in the business and, well, I'm just trying to update my reel." Oh, forgot to mention he lived in Japan for the last 10 years. His Japanese probably sounds a little better than mine.

Last night, I had tickets to this big live/electronica music event called Giant. You may have heard of it. They usually attract some 15,000 people. Yesterday was no different in that there were 15,000 people looking forward to having a great night dancing/raving/boogeying or whatever under the downtown L.A. sky.

That was until they decided to cancel the event at around 4 p.m. Most people found out when they showed up for the event that it was canceled. I heard rumors it was canceled at around 5:30 p.m. Unfortunately, I had also bought tickets for about 9 other people. So, we were all shittin' in our raingear, wondering what the hell to do with the rest of our evening. We were also already at a nice restaurant 5 blocks away from the event.

I really don't have a nice ending to this, although I'd like to find something positive to say to start this year out right. But for now, all I can say is, I'm damn glad 2005 is over.