Monday, December 24, 2007

Have a Yellow Christmas

I was compelled this morning to write about the writers strike going on in Hollywood. A report came out today saying some $350 million have been lost from the local payroll. All due to those poor, starving writers who aren't making enough for their creativity.

I hope this whole thing has been worth it to those striking writers. I should mention, if I haven't done so before, that many other Hollywood unions have not endorsed this strike. The editors guild (for film, not writing) maintains their position against this strike and advises its members to not honor the picket lines.

Striking writers, meanwhile, have voluntarily walked off the job, forcing thousands of working individuals —— many with families to feed, vacations to pay for, weddings and honeymoons to fund, car payments to make, mortgages to keep up —— to go without a paycheck.

Did these unfortunate bystanders —— from production folks to dry cleaners to janitors to craft services to technicians to actors —— have time to prepare for this strike? Probably not. I mean, how do you prepare for unemployment?

I'm still on the fence how I professionally feel about this strike. Personally, I'm appalled. Professionally, I know how the studios will take advantage of any and all loopholes to not pay people for using their content or talent. They've done this throughout history, and will do it forever more. Give them a way to make free money, ala DVDs and home video, and they will take full advantage of it, all the while saying that these media are experimental.

On the other side, I don't think most screenwriters own their material. If you work for a TV show, you obviously are just a minor player in the process. If you're the creator of the show, you already have your stipulations written in the contract. If you adapt a novel into a film, you don't own it, nor does the director. You're just a partner in something that an author originated.

I don't care how big the actors, director, producer, screenwriter are for the movie, Atonement, the author of the novel is the owner of this story. Ownership stops, however, if the novel inspires a movie, a song, another novel. That sucks, but that's also how it goes.

I'm still not sure how actors will benefit from supporting this strike. Actors are merely pawns, in my opinion. Unfortunately, actors are also lousy at writing and most have owned up to this fact. Many more, however, will continue to tap away at their computers in denial. Many of my close actor friends have tried to write scripts —— and they all suck.

I went to a party at my assistant director friend's house last weekend. He had some noticeably unfestive individuals in attendance there: PAs, makeup artists, actors (well, they acted festive), producers. The consensus? They don't seem to like having their fates decided for them by a small group of people. And they miss their work, because working in entertainment was something they wanted to pursue.

Basically, they're all having a piss-colored Christmas this year. And that just stinks.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


I always cringe when I see the words "worldwide unlimited rights" in a commercial or print contract. I mean, how much is something like that worth? And, why aren't they paying me that much?

So I get this call yesterday from someone at the production company that made my last commercial. This is the one for a company called Orange, which I think is based in France. I'm still not sure what this company does. At first, I thought it was a bank. But then I looked it up and I think they're some sort of AT&T-like company.

The company, through their ad agency, Publicis, wants to add on some territories such as Europe, Africa, and also the ambiguous designation, "worldwide." They try to give you numbers for how much each of these territories are worth. I'm glad that they're willing to pay me for these extra territories, but there's some other verbiage I'm not liking in the contract.

These words make me cringe even more, in fact: non-commercial use. Now, what could that possibly mean in the age of YouTube, I wonder? Before, it may have meant that the production company wanted to use the commercial in their directors' reel at a trade show or on their company website. Now, non-commercial means anything the ad agency hasn't directly paid to air.

That's where I think SAG has failed us actors. When a union-made spot suddenly starts to air on YouTube or some other video site, the actors make nothing, and the company gets a lot of free publicity. If SAG knew better, they would've made a stipulation that if a commercial becomes viral, and beyond the company's control over its distribution, then the company is liable for paying its actors a lump sum, based on number of overall downloads or views.

Let me put it this way. Let's say a company used your image, paid you money, edited in some video of a naked Paris Hilton, and then let that spot be uploaded and downloaded millions of times, worldwide, without any additional compensation to you. Would you enjoy all the free public use of your image?

Well, maybe you would. I wouldn't. I'm in this for the money, not the fame.

Now, I know that some say money comes with fame. If that's the case, I'd rather walk away from this industry altogether.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Blogging/Partying in the Bay Area

I'm in San Francisco right now, staying at the Triton Hotel, just across from the entrance to Chinatown. Had a pretty good night's sleep after partying it up with the SF office of our ad agency last night. Our two offices took over a place called Bruno's, which is funky and eclectic with several small lounges on the premises.

All I can say is I'm surprised I don't have a hangover right now. I drank about 10 Grey Gooses with various mixers: tonic, cranberry, grapefruit juice, or Rockstar. For my last drink, however, I forced down a 16-ounce bottle of mineral water.

At about 11 pm, I hopped onto our designated shuttle back to the hotel. Then I called the fiancé and she directed me, ala The Matrix, to the nearest ramen shop. I don't know this city very well as it's been about 8 years since my last visit here. Well, that's not counting my recent training session at the company's interactive agency here in SF last month.

On that visit, I spent over my per diem amount of $75-$100 and got in a little bit of heat over it. How much did I spend? Well, the bill came to $111. That got the accounting folks in a bit of a tizzy. The IT guy, who regularly travels between LA and SF and stays at the W Hotel in LA, says he can stay at the nicest hotels as long as he doesn't overspend his per diem. Go figure, huh? But in his case, he often goes to Quiznos, which tends to make the accounting folks very pleased.

So, next time I do some sort of business travel for the company, I'm opting for the W Hotel, but either eating fast food or expensing only a small portion of my bill. The IT guy, by the way, sits right next to the accounting department in the office. I ended up brown-nosing the accounting folks last night and I think everything's all smoothed over now.

Anyway, this isn't the most interesting entry I've ever written. I ended up at Katana-ya for ramen last night. I highly do not recommend this place. It's packed, but tiny, and I have my suspicion that Japanese folks go there regularly to cure their homesickness. But they probably don't go there for the ramen. It hit the spot, though, and probably cured any potential hangover.

Today, I'm going to walk through Chinatown and grab some tea before stopping into the interactive agency and possibly doing some work. Then it's back to LA before sunset.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It's Getting Rough in My Neighborhood

It's bad enough that transvestites can be seen selling their wares just a block away from my home. Now, just down the street on Hollywood Boulevard, the superheroes are starting to get violent.

I see these guys all the time, dressed as Superman, Batman, Johnny Depp's character in Pirates of the Caribbean, even Freddie Kruger. I don't know if they're actors or just people trying to make a buck. I don't know if they're employed by the Hollywood & Highland complex or the City of Hollywood. All I know is that, while they may be fun to tourists, they're annoying as heck to the locals.

Super Heroes Get In Street Fight - Watch more free videos

This, apparently, is a street fight involving Spiderman and Batman. Where Superman was, I have no idea.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Another 'Speechless' Video

I viewed a few more of the "Speechless" videos and this one works for me, too. It's creative, makes a point, and here I am sharing it with you.

And now they allow me to embed them.

Monday, November 26, 2007


I've been viewing the short-video series that combine Hollywood's A-list celebrities with some out-of-work WGA writers in support of the writers' strike and I have to say that these guys know nothing about the short form.

Case in point: click here

Famous faces trying to get their point across in less than a minute? Well, it's like famous faces trying to get their point across in less than a minute.

Yeah, I work in the advertising industry, so I am a tad bit biased, but also a tad bit knowledgeable about short-form storytelling. All stories have a beginning, middle, and an end. Every part of the story is crucial, but in short, short storytelling, the ending is especially crucial. When you have a visual medium such as video, the beginning can utilize many shortcuts, or what some call visual shorthand. What you see in these videos is a known celeb and some dead air, which is the gist of the ongoing "Speechless" series.

My point? These are hardly entertaining. And if that's the point of them, then they're hardly worth wasting the time. But if you must, you can watch all of them on Nikki Finke's site here.

Oh, but I did like this one. Not sure why, but it works: Sean Penn.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

WGA Strike

I haven't been in the loop on this one but I have gotten over a dozen emails from various Asian organizations regarding supporting the picket lines and various demonstrations.

My assistant director friend's TV job got put on indefinite hiatus due to the strike, and his show was doing extremely well for being completely new this season. Other than him, however, I don't know anyone who is being immediately impacted by this strike.

Am I being insensitive? No, just truthful. I don't know any union writers. I'm not close friends with any actors who are regulars on a TV show. I know plenty of movie actors, however, and I'm not sure to what extent they are being affected. I don't know if the teamsters have shut down the productions. I don't know if the actors had a work stoppage order. (Probably not.) I do know that if I were to book a commercial, I could still do it without violating anything.

For perspective, the last Writers Guild strike coincided with the last recession in California. That strike began in 1988 while the recession was officially under way by 1991. The U.S. dollar was in a funk and gold was at all-time highs. Interest rates on mortgages were at least 17% and so, if the value of your home was less than your mortgage and you couldn't pay the monthly payments, you'd walk out on the mortgage. I saw a lot of those in 1992, the year I first moved down here. That was also the year California saw the L.A. riots. Unemployment rates here were at least 8%, and 8% of 35 million California residents is a lot of fricking people out of work.

I'd say this state is in for a change very, very soon.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Another, uh, Asian Guy in Hollywood

So there apparently is this other Asian guy in Hollywood these days. My girl's cousin spotted him at the Grove just yesterday and asked him to take a picture. He told her he was surprised she recognized him, as it seems he had been going around without much notice.

Oh, his name is Daniel Henney, by the way, and he's a good-lucking chap. He'll probably do just fine in this town here, especially after a whirlwind of stints in Asia. And while not speaking any of the Asian languages may have been a disadvantage there, it's clearly an advantage here that he speaks perfect English.

The cousin had been gushing over the phone about the meeting, going on about this and that. She's Korean so she's very aware of a popular soap opera he had apparently starred in while in Korea. That's when my girl had to say it: She's heard rumors he plays for the "other side."

Now, there's something to be said about these kinds of rumors. Sure, some have said them about me, but here's the difference. Guys said that about me. Straight guys, I should clarify. How a straight guy would know about someone's, uh, alternative lifestyle beats the heck out of me.

The difference with Mr. Henney is that women are saying that about him. So, that's a different angle. Guys say those things out of jealousy. Girls probably say those things in order to remind themselves that he's completely unattainable — and, also, it's not their fault if he's not attracted to them. Well, who knows the reasons for why women would say that?

But enough of that. Kudos to the (half) Asian guy. Go make a name for yourself.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The New Job

I'm in the "real world" these days working full time at this big, big ad agency. I have my own little private window office with a gorgeous view of the universe. No, I won't be saying which agency this is, per my usual policy. But it is a dream job, I must say.

As such, I've booked out with the commercial and print agents, and as such, they continue to call me for auditions. I even got a direct call from a casting agent wanting to use me for a job for JC Penney, but I turned it down because it was shooting during the week.

How hot am I? Well, not very, just harder to exploit, I suppose. The head print agent called me directly the other day to ask if I'd consider a job that pays $16,000. I shook my head vigorously, meanwhile saying yes over the phone. How can I possibly turn down $16K for one job?

Yesterday was Halloween and it's the first year I didn't want to do anything for it. Halloween is getting exploited big time in L.A. and I imagine they'll soon declare it a citywide holiday as the streets are impossible to navigate throughout the day. Yes, they'll have to call it "Hell A." And no, that's not my creation.

I, of course, live in Hollywood not far from the Hollywood strip. Apparently, they've been closing the street down these last couple years to costume wearers and revelers wanting to have a little dress-up fun.

I used to head down to "Boys' Town" in West Hollywood for the annual Halloween walk, which was a lot of fun, but also very literally gay. I'm sure the event still goes on, even bigger than ever, and now with local radio stations holding fort at each corner with sound stages and live music acts. But any time anything starts to get a bit exploited, I tend to not enjoy it anymore. Halloween in L.A. is getting a bit exploited.

I suppose that if everyone could get an agent and audition for stuff, I'd be highly turned off by that as well. Exclusivity and undergroundedness make things fun. Everyoneness is a big-time turnoff.

Either that or I'm just becoming a prude, getting old, and my jadedness is really starting to work on me. Yeah, I'm just no fun anymore. Sigh...

Don't worry, I'll get over it after a few months. I'm just a bit worried about the new job. That's all.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Last Week at LAX

I'm finally in the right state of mind to talk about what happened last week. As you know, I had a lot going on: a commercial shoot, a major interview at an ad agency, freelance work, a dickhead agent, etc.

The commercial shoot ended up being scheduled for 3 AM on Wednesday morning and it turns out they needed to vacate the premises, at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport), by noon. My interview at the ad agency was scheduled for 1 PM. Fortunately, I wasn't scheduled for work that week until Thursday.

On Wednesday, the shoot ended right at 11:30 AM and I had time to change, sign some papers, and drive up the 405 freeway to my interview near UCLA. I arrived about 20 minutes early and so used their bathroom to clean up and collect my thoughts. After all, I had been wearing a pilot's uniform and was awake all night long doing take after take. The picture above is of the pilot and one of the flight attendants, Tom and Angie, who were in the shoot with me. They really do look like they work for an airline, don't they? Tom and I have similar backgrounds as he was in the TV news industry and now works for E! as a producer.

I also worked with two other very cool actors, Lorenzo and Amaya. Amaya has a radio show on and I'm listening to one of her shows right now called "Stargazing," which is all about Hollywood gossip.

There were also a ton of extras involved in the shoot, and I made the mistake of trying to check in at the extras table when I arrived for the shoot. I was immediately redirected to the principals' trailer so that I may be treated as the star that I am (or think I may be).

Well, I had a grand ol' time on the shoot. It was for a French company called Orange and I must say that the French folks on the shoot were very, very cool. The director was a very nice gentleman who kept correcting my actions. Lorenzo and Amaya later asked someone if I was the only actor whose name the director remembered, because he was always saying my name or giving me direction. Lorenzo then teased me the entire morning by saying my name and telling me not to look in the camera, or to walk faster, or to walk slower, etc. Was I screwing up the entire shoot? It sure seemed like it. But later, when we asked one of the assistant directors about it, he just smiled and said the director just enjoyed picking on me the most.

Later, when we were doing a closeup, I asked the makeup girl, who is also French, why she wasn't putting more makeup on me and she said that I looked "beautiful enough already." Now, I'm not one to look for compliments — okay, I am — but when she heard me protest and then relent and say, "Thank you," she said, "Seriously, you do. I mean that."

Will somebody please let me in on the joke? Tell me I'm on Candid Camera or something. Oh, by the way, I got the job at the ad agency. I start next week. I swear, this all feels like a dream. I just hope in my dreamworld they don't give me an office cubicle next to someone too terribly obnoxious.

Actress Search

An actress friend in Seattle sent this about a search going on from Santa Monica, Calif. Go figure, huh? Anyway, sounds like a great opportunity for a young woman looking for a break.


Director Terry Sanders is casting dramatic feature "Tokyo Rose." The story follows the life of Iva Toguri, a young Japanese American woman, falsely accused and convicted of treason, following World War II.

Seeking — Iva: in her 20s, slim and diminutive; intelligent, funny, strong, yet vulnerable. Must be Japanese American. Wonderful opportunity for the right woman.

Please send demo and pictures to Terry Sanders, American Film Foundation, 530 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 201, Santa Monica, CA 90401. For questions, email

Monday, October 15, 2007

At a Crossroad

OK, I'm shootin' from the hip, but I seriously think I may drop my commercial agent. What a dick. I know agents are supposed to be that way, but seriously, why the attitude? I was being a total professional with him. And even when he got all dickish on me, I didn't even snap at the prick. I think I may do the commercial and drop the fucker.

I still have a schedule conflict on Wednesday. No one is committing, so I have two open appointments that day. Personally, I don't give a damn about the commercial. The other appointment is that important to me.

Just finished my taxes tonight. Yes, I know it's late in the year. Today is the last day to file them, fyi. So, if you're just getting started, good luck on that!

Don't know if it's obvious but I'm getting sloshed on vodka mixed with frozen fruit. I think I have pineapple and papaya in my glass. It's pretty damn delicious, actually. Well, with Grey Goose, how can you go wrong?

Tomorrow, I'm working from home. It seems that there was a major accident on I-5 near Santa Clarita. Yes, I know it's cleared up now, but I already emailed on Sunday and said I wouldn't be in 'til Thursday, so nyah! I'm working from home the next few days! I have a ton of shit to do, too.

But mostly, I'm just glad not to be driving up north. Obnoxious cubicle neighbor was not quite responding to my latest tests. I'll have to start the evasive shock treatments. Seemed to work on the rats in my clinical psych labs pretty well.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Booked Another Gig

I booked the commercial I got put on avail for. It's not a big one, since it's only airing in France, the French territories such as St. Lucia, and possibly the Internet. This one's for Orange, which is, uh, some type of corporation.

Anyway, it shoots next Wednesday, which worries me greatly. It seems I have a very important appointment scheduled that same day and I won't be able to change it. What to do? What to do?!

Well, looks like I'll just have to make it work. And hopefully, I'll be able to find out more about the shoot day at my wardrobe session tomorrow. I'll be playing the role of a co-pilot, by the way.

Crap. Tomorrow's a busy day. I pick up a magazine to proofread from one of my clients early tomorrow morning before driving to work in Valencia. Then at noon, I head back into town to Beverly Hills for my wardrobe fitting. After that, I drive back to Valencia and finish up my work. Looks like I'll be having energy bars for lunch.

At some point, depending on how my workload is, I might get in a little work on the magazine. Then around 6 or 7, I'll head on down to Koreatown to meet my girl, who will make it all feel better. She has that kind of effect on me, ya know?

Two Left Feet

Yesterday afternoon, I took off from work early and went to a commercial audition for Ford. It was my third audition scheduled this week, but the second one I actually attended. On Monday, I just couldn't get out from the office on time to make a print aud.

One of them was a callback for a commercial, which I'm now on avail for. I don't know why I'm on avail for it since I think I did a really shitty audition — both times! Oh, and last Thursday, I had a call for a McDonald's commercial where I did a REALLY shitty audition. Before they even saw me, they put me on "first avail," which means they think I might be their first choice. Guess I blew that one.

It's not that I'm trying to do bad on these. I am just really out of practice, and unless the action I'm supposed to do is something easy and familiar, I'm not going to be able to access the imagination very quickly. On the McDonald's call, I had to speak in Japanese while improvising an action.

Yesterday, at the Ford call, I was playing a ballroom dancer. Does that mean I can ballroom dance? Nope. I was actually playing someone taking dance lessons ala Shall We Dance?

A guy with two left feet attempting to dance? I think I can manage that one pretty well.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

End of Summer

This summer has been one of my craziest yet. An avalanche of work started in June and is finally subsiding now, at the end of September. And even though I'm still "booked out" with my agency, they keep sending me out. I have an audition for a commercial on Monday and had one last Friday for an IBM print job.

I ran into Bruce Locke at the print audition and we had coffee and walked around the neighborhood. He wanted to know what was new and good in my life and I told him I think I may be getting married next year. Bruce has known me since I moved to L.A. 15 years ago, and he says he's envious of the way I've matured.

We talked about leaving the single life behind and getting beyond our "adolescent" phase, which in L.A. can last until well into your 60s. Or at least until the Botox no longer looks natural. (Does it ever look natural?)

We talked about wanting to marry this or that girl, but somehow it just didn't work out, and why didn't I go out with so-and-so while I had the chance. Regrets, and learning not to have any. I think that's the key.

End of Summer is a common literary title and one that I used for a short story I wrote a few years ago. I'm adding it below, for your enjoyment. Depending on where you are in life, you may feel differently about it. This story, by the way, was rejected by The New Yorker, but I'm happy to say I at least tried. Here it is:

The End of Summer
(©2007 L.T. Goto. All Rights Reserved.)

Albert, a young kid with dreams big enough to fill a baseball field, went up to bat and hit the first one — a low and outside pitch hardly meant to be more than a warm-up to feel out the batter — into a deep gap between center and left field. He ran the bases better than anyone he knew, or who knew him, and by the time the ball was retrieved and thrown to the catcher at home plate, the boy had already ran the bases, hit a round of high-fives, taken off his baseball cap, drank a mouthful of rusty water, spit it out and proceeded to sit down on the old bench with the various marks etched in and rubbed over from all the years.

After the game, he talked to the old timers who came around to catch a look at the young’ns coming in — the next generation of major league dreamers. It was a wonder to watch the cycle of baseball players go through the seasons year after year. The old ones retiring, getting their Hall of Fame placards, the new ones entering little league and the All-Staters who led their high school team to first in the double or triple A league of their local school district. Autumn, winter, spring, summer. For some, it was a mesmerizing act of nature to witness. For Joe “The Leaf” Withers, it was fast becoming an act to lament, for he was at the only part of the season where man and nature don’t agree with: the end of summer.

“It’s the saddest time of the year,” said Albert, contemplating having to go back to school and end his summer of three little league practice sessions a week, two games on the weekend and one on Wednesday nights. “Now I gotta be locked up in some classroom with a buncha geeks breathing Cheetos breath from the desk behind me.”

“School ain’t so bad, kid,” said Joe. “It’s when the brain stops wanting to learn when you got to start worrying.”

Joe was trying to be careful with the kid, but depending on his mood and how his body was aching that day, that line of care was drawn with a gray marker from day to day. Joe had been volunteering for the local little league since he was a major league second baseman. He was never an All-Star, never even made the ballot, but he had a decent head on his shoulders and thought volunteering was the right thing to do. It also got his mind off things once the divorce finally settled in, his ex taking the house, the cars, the kids and the dog that he named Scruffy after finding him dirty and alone and abandoned on the streets one afternoon.

Now that Joe was being trained at both third and first in the farm league, he was starting to think that “School ain’t so bad, kid. It’s when the brain stops wanting to learn when you got to start worrying.” Truth is, he had stopped wanting to learn — a long time ago.

Albert, at five-three, looked up to the six-two Joe in more ways than one. In baseball, just getting to the major leagues is the big time. Being a star, well, that’s up to the god of all baseball gods. Albert knew this, even at 13 years of age. He was a solid young man with solid young dreams — no lofty ideas that went to the point of having to experience a miracle.

“Joe, what’s it like to be in the majors? You think I got a chance?” asked the kid.

Joe looked at him with his weary, tired eyes. He knew there were scouts on that baseball field, scouts from high schools, scouts from farm leagues, even on occasion a scout from another country, taking notes on anyone with potential.

He knew the struggle of having to maintain a certain level of academics when all you could think of was playing baseball and getting into the right school with the right coach with the right team and right teammates, none that outshone you, but ones that fit right in with your game.

He knew about kissing up and also not kissing up, when the timing was right. Sometimes playing the guy “who don’t want no help” can be a disguise for getting attention by a coach looking to break down a wild horse and build him back up.

He knew how many cities you eventually forgot how to appreciate — after playing a hundred and fifty or so games a year all across the country. If you liked to travel, it was because you had a girlfriend waiting for you in every city, and they didn’t care a thing about who was waiting for you in the next city.

He knew about the workouts and skipping the workouts, because in baseball, as long as you can hit the ball and run after one in the field, as long as your eyesight wasn’t going away, as long as your mind wasn’t taking your vision off the ball, you were okay, and working out wasn’t the most important thing in the world. From time to time, some player would talk about this new herbal remedy you can’t get in stores — “at least outside a Chinatown” — that would give you extra energy and speed and power, just after one dose. He knew that sometimes it wasn’t the remedy that did it but the idea that the remedy could do it. Anything could help. But thinking anything could help was even better.

He looked at the kid, saw that his hands were kind of small, his feet a bit narrow, his eyes not quite fierce enough like a hawk’s, his shoulders narrow and his overall disposition just too sweet and innocent. And then he said, “You know, kid, this game’s just a game. It’s fun to go out and hit a home run, but when you come right down to it, it’s just a stupid…” At that point, Joe started to catch himself. “…game.”

But it was already too late, for Joe anyway. His attitude had gone sour, his game had become less than average, even his posture had begun to look like a bunch of yesterdays all rolled into one.

Trying to get back what was once good wasn’t such a bad thing. It’s when you know the best is all behind you and the worst is yet to come — that’s when the posture starts to bend, and Joe “The Leaf” Withers was starting to bend.

“It’s alright, Joe,” said the kid. “You’ll get another shot. It’s just a stupid game, anyway, right?”

Joe had been given another chance, at least to make things right with the kid. Joe thought about something he never quite realized before: a kid’s optimism can go a long way. It was probably why he kept volunteering with the little leagues all through the years.

“You know what?” said Joe.

“What, Joe?”

“I got a feeling you gonna be one helluva second baseman.”

“You think so, Joe?”

“Absolutely,” he smiled. “You got a great swing, good eyes, the speed, the lateral motion, I mean, who wouldn’t think you could fill at least a few positions in a team. You’re at least three or four of them right there.”

“You really think so?”

“Of course I do, Albert. And the best thing you got is right there in your head. A good attitude.”

Albert beamed brightly and it lit up the shadows from the late afternoon sun. The weather was still warm but the days were getting shorter already. It was something you didn’t need a watch or a calendar for. You could just feel it, happening right before you, right before your eyes, in the still air of a baseball stadium, on the worn wooden benches where the kids sat waiting for their turn, in the dirt covering home plate.

The saddest time of year.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Shooting Today

My friend, Emily Liu, will be on the season premiere of "Boston Legal" tonight as the character Alexa Chin. It starts at 9:30 pm on ABC, just after "Dancing With the Stars."

I usually get more of these PR emails from actor friends but this year seems a little slow. I recently had dinner with Bruce Locke of Robocop and the TV show version of "Mortal Kombat" and he said this has been one of his slowest years. He usually plays in a lot of celebrity golf tournaments across the country. Although he's still invited to play, he has been declining lately since he doesn't have anything new to promote. "I'm getting tired of saying I haven't done anything in a while," he said.

I asked Bruce if he had read for the new movie version of Mortal Kombat that's been in the casting phase. (Yes, folks, another Mortal Kombat movie.) He said he hadn't. It turns out that Chin Han had read for the same role Bruce had in the TV version many years ago. Chin Han said he was bummed about not getting the role back then. But when he got an appointment to audition for the new movie from his manager, he was reluctant to go. I actually had to convince him he was in a privileged position and should be more appreciative of the opportunities he's being given right now. He changed his mind and ended up having a great meeting with the casting folks.

Recently, he had an appointment for a TV pilot and the meeting didn't go so well. But this time, I pointed out to him that a TV pilot casting is about as privileged as a cattle call, except for a slightly better grade of cattle. Again, this gave him much-appreciated perspective.

Oh, I'd better jump in the shower now. My call time is in a couple hours for the Safeway commercial. Better get primping.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Wardrobe Fitting Tomorrow

I have a wardrobe fitting tomorrow for that commercial I'm to do next week. Already cleared it with the supervisor, too. Since I'll be in the Venice Beach area with the whole afternoon free afterward, I could probably head to the beach and soak up some end-of-summer rays and watch the waves come in. But nah, I kind of have something better to do.

I sort of mentioned something about Lady Luck in another post and, well, at the time, I was being more hopeful than anything. There was, in fact, a lady, but she wasn't yet mine, so maybe I was jumping the gun. This lady has been, since the day I met her, my lucky charm, and so I wasn't exactly reaching for things. But yeah, she wasn't quite mine yet.

For an entire month, I'd been courting her — nay, begging her — to be with me. She almost held out for another week, but she really felt sorry for me or something because she finally gave in. As much as I'm looking forward to the wardrobe fitting tomorrow, I'm really more excited to see her than anything.

Yeah, I haven't been very forthcoming about matters of the heart in this blog, but I think my heart hasn't been very willing either. Sometime during the summer, I felt my heart just completely open up. And I have to say that it made a difference in everything, from the callbacks I got to the decisions I've made to the woman who's come back into my life.

And yeah, she'd been there before, but I was just too stupid and closed-hearted to appreciate it back then.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Only the Brave

Last night, I went to a DVD launch screening for a movie I did 3 years ago called Only the Brave. Set during World War II, it's about an all-Japanese regiment that fought for America and became the most decorated battalion in U.S. military history, mostly because about 900 of them got wiped out trying to save 200 Texans who were trapped on a mountain.

I played one of these soldiers in the movie. Didn't have any lines, but it was a SAG role and I got to do a few stunts involving falls and squib shots. Yesterday, I saw that they used the fall where I actually landed pretty hard on a cobblestoned road and hit my head and bruised my arse. I felt the pain all over again when I saw the scene.

Chin Han came along and I introduced him to a few actor friends, including Garret Wang, Amy Hill, and some folks from my old improv workshop, Cold Tofu. It's funny because none of these actors know who Chin Han is right now, and I never mentioned what project he's on either, but they'll figure it out soon enough. Asian actors always make it their business to find out what other Asian actors are doing.

Hanging out with Chin Han, I didn't think to let anyone know about my recent bit of luck in booking the commercial. It just seemed like small potatoes in the grander scheme of things, even though to me it's rather significant.

But being in the movie, even with no lines, seemed to give me a bit of credibility last night. A few friendly women even asked me to sign their DVDs. One girl from my improv class was so impressed by my non-speaking part that she looked like she was about to melt.

Either that or she just had to pee really bad. I happened to run into her while she was waiting in the bathroom line.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

A Hundred Eleven

Last week, it got to 111 degrees in Valencia! That's an oven on "warm." That's hotter than an Easy Bake Oven. That's enough to melt s'mores. That's one reason why you can drink a quart of water and not have to urinate all day!

Well, the last one is something I experienced while hanging out in Yuma, Arizona, about 15 years ago. I was looking for a TV news reporter job and accepted an invitation to check out the job market out there. It got to about 112 that day. My host took me to 7-Eleven, bought a Super Big Gulp, and said he'll fill that up two more times that day and won't pee once. That's how hot and dry it gets in the desert.

I mentioned to my supervisor that they had booked me through August, so he went and talked to his supervisor and came back and said, "Can you work at least through September? You can be as flexible as you want. Just let me know if you can't come in."

That's right. They want to book me for another month, but if I have other obligations, it's okay. Alright, someone pinch me because I must be suffering from heat stroke. Or maybe the people in the office are suffering from heat stroke. I mean, this is weird.

I mentioned I had some obligations at the end of September and he said that'd be fine. That's when I'll be shooting my first union commercial in, like, 3 years! Three years! Now that's a dry spell.

I don't know how much a guy can earn on something like that if it airs — if I'm seen in the spot when it airs — but it's enough to make a guy pretty giddy. Just hope I don't psych myself out. That's a long time to wait.

I was going through some old papers yesterday while preparing to do my taxes. Ran across a phone number from an actor named Bob Lee. I saw him at a commercial audition and we chatted and he gave me his number. I believe I gave him mine as well. Anyway, he had a pretty good run with a national commercial and I was pretty proud of the guy. He had moved from Seattle about a year before at the age of, say, 48 and he was doing pretty well for himself.

About a month or two later, he went to Arizona, I believe, to visit his two sons, one of whom was performing in a play. (He'd been divorced and had visitation rights with his kids.) Apparently, he went to his hotel room one night and never woke up. It was something health-related like diabetes or asthma, but quite a shock to everyone who knew him. He seemed so happy and content just before that.

It's Labor Day weekend and it's supposed to reach 95 degrees today — too hot outside to do much. I think I'll just stay home and finish these here taxes.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Another Callback

I had a callback yesterday morning for that Safeway commercial. Had to play a baker, which is something I actually have experience doing. I worked in one of those big bread factories in Seattle during the summer break from college. There's more to this story, but I'd rather not go into it right now. Let's just say I suffered a concussion one day and wasted about $10,000 in bad bread on another day.

During the audition, they switched it up and asked if I could spin a pizza in the air. Fortunately (well, depending on how you look at it), I once worked for Dominos Pizza and seen this done before. The trick is that after you spin it in the air, you catch it on the back of your hands, so as not to cause holes in the dough.

This is my third callback in a row. I should be more stoked about this since I haven't really had much luck with commercials in the last two or three years. What am I doing differently lately? I don't know. Lady Luck perhaps? Probably.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Callback on Monday

I have a callback on Monday for a commercial I originally auditioned for about 3 weeks ago. I'd say that's a long time between a 1st and 2nd audition, but oh well, I'll take it.

A couple weekends ago, I hung out with some old friends who were in town for a Chinese concert. My friend's brother is David Wu of Asia TV and film fame, and is otherwise known as Wu Dawei. We made the rounds of restaurants and places to see while catching up on the news in each other's life. David came out, too, a couple times and a few people recognized him at the Beverly Center and wanted to take pictures with him.

I don't relate to Asia very well and don't know how to put David's fame into perspective. When I went to Taipei a few years ago, I met a lot of people while hanging out with my friend and her brother, including Coco Lee and Rick Tan. There were some others but I don't know their names, and like I said, I just don't know the significance of meeting these people. They all just seem like people to me.

And I guess it's sort of like how I met Chin Han, which was just over a year ago at a party. He seemed like an okay fellow, so I invited him to a house party and he showed up. I know that millions of strangers will know his face around this time next year after his movie comes out, but to me, he will always be the guy I met at a party.

Before he got cast in the movie, he once reflected that I seemed to know a lot of people who suddenly became famous, but met them before they were famous. I don't know if that's true, but generally I look at everyone equally and if we have a connection and I respect their talent or their intelligence, I tend to make friends with that person. Plus, I rarely look at people for their outward beauty alone. If they don't have that inner glow, I rarely waste my time on them.

Tomorrow, I'm leaving work early to go to the callback. Fortunately, I already told the supervisor and he's totally cool with it. This should be my last week in the land o' Magic Mountain, and not a week too soon.

I'll be taking a couple weeks off to do my taxes (before the October 15 deadline), finish the last draft of my novel, mail out some invoices, and make some calls to my clients and agents that I'm available for whatever now. Perhaps even a full-time gig, as long as it's not anywhere near Valencia.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bunch of Stuff

Had dinner tonight with Chin Han at the Palm restaurant in downtown L.A. along with my AD friend. Chin Han is back from Chicago where he shot a few scenes with Morgan Freeman and Christian Bale for Batman. He had quite a time and, according to the director, did pretty darn well, especially with the pressure of working with two big-time actors.

After the dinner, I drove home and was getting ready to turn in. Chin Han called and said he wanted to get some coffee somewhere. He picked me up and we went to Canter's, the famous Jewish deli that's open 24 hours. I had a decaf and an apple strudel. He had some sort of waffle dish with ice cream and chocolate fudge.

I can't really go into details about his life right now, but I will say that for most single men his age, life couldn't be more sweet. He really has his pick right now. But I told him that as great as it all sounds, I hardly want that type of life for myself. Sure, it sounds like I'm running for office or something. But let's just say that I've recently made a decision about my life, and if all goes well, I'll soon be very happy.

Tomorrow morning, I have a commercial audition for Safeway as a baker. Earlier today, I had to cut out from work to go to a callback for a Disney commercial. Guess I'm auditioning quite a bit for being "booked out." Wish me luck...

Saturday, August 11, 2007

For Technology Buffs...

It's been around a while, but I just saw it recently.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Pretty Nifty

For the last 8 or so years, I've struggled with my weight. Not that I'm especially heavy or anything. I'm just not anywhere near my "comfortable" weight, which ideally is about 150 to 155.

Last summer, about this time, I weighed a whopping 163! And I was working out 2 or 3 times a week! But, alas, I was eating pretty much anything in sight, trying a couple of new restaurants here and there, and going back to my old favorite ones — all in one week!

It was great fun, but it pained me to have to buy new clothes, especially pants, to fit my ever-growing waistline.

Yesterday, I went to Target and bought a few things. Along the way, I found a digital scale that was on sale. Why not? I was curious as to what I've been carrying these last few months since my last diet/fasting cleanse.

At the end of my last cleansing fast, I weighed about 152 and I was pretty happy since it only lasted about 5 days tops. A friend made a comment about her occasional eating program and so I tried out one of the things that was recommended for her.

So this morning, I do my morning deed. Presumably, it's my body's lightest time of day. I got on the scale wearing only my skivvies and what do you know? I weighed 147. What??? I was flabbergasted! I haven't weighed 147 since about 10 years ago. And I haven't been exactly watching my food intake.

In fact, I still eat very heartily and drink the occasional beer, not to mention glass of wine and, uh, Grey Goose tonic/Red Bull.

One-frickin-forty-seven, baby. Tonight, I wanted to check what I weighed after a day of being out in the business world. All I can say is I must've bought a scale that's busted or something, because it read 146.5.

I don't know. I don't think I look especially thin right now. I still have some pockets of flab I'd like to get rid of. But 146.5? Come on, this can't be right.

Well, to all those who know my diet regimen, all I can say is, it's working.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Couple of Stops Before Work

This morning, I'm going to a couple of print auditions before heading into work. I do have to weigh these things. If the pay wasn't good, I'd just say screw it. But the pay on one of the jobs would make my whole month!

Don't know how much longer I'll be able to slip in the occasional audition. But folks at the office understand I have other commitments. One is at All Print Media and the other is at Rodeo Casting. I go to the first casting studio at least once a month for different things.

Last night, I watched Stranger Than Fiction with Will Ferrell and Emma Thompson. Normally, I'd skip a Will Ferrell flick. But this one seemed like a writer's must-see. And it was, actually. I really enjoyed it, and also remembering two things: One, that you must pursue the passions that make life worth living, even if they may actually seem like a waste of time to most people. And two, endings to a story are just endings. You can change things, often for the better, but sometimes because it feels right, even though it lacks the perfect literary punch.

There's a third thing I'd include, but you'll have to see the movie. You'd get it in an instant.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Oh Well...

I thought I was all done with Santa Clarita. Yesterday, I went in to drop off a brochure -- my last connection with it all. Had on a pair of shorts and a T-shirt, too, as if thumbing my nose at it. But then I got a call while having lunch at the food court in the mall.

"What? You want me for another month or two?" I gasped.

Fortunately, I hadn't driven home yet, because they wanted me in right away. Even in my shorts and T-shirt.

Seriously, I thought I was done with the gig. I wanted to end it. But it wouldn't let me go. And so I made the emails to the appropriate parties saying I wouldn't be available. How long? I don't know, but for a while.

I realize it's going to be rough for the next month or so, driving to and from Magic Mountain land. I'll have to avoid going home right after work because of the Hollywood Bowl traffic. And I'll continue to spend about $9 a day in gas doing the commute in my damn SUV.

But I don't know what's going on with my life right now. On the one hand, I like it that someone needs me so bad. On the other, I'm sort of abandoning everything I've known. All my passions, all my enjoyments, and everything familiar.

Yesterday, someone said they'll try to get me to stay longer and longer until I've been there so long, I'll just stay out of habit. My resistance will be worn thin and then I'll just give in.

Sure, this gig provides plenty of my personal needs, but long term, is it really what I want? No, I know what I want long term and this isn't it.

But in all practicality, I should probably just drink the Kool-Aid. Give in. And slowly lose all sense of myself, my being, and how I thought life should be.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Can Never Have Enough

Today, I met an older guy at the office with short white hair and matching beard. Of course, I had to say it: "You look like Ernest Hemingway." It wasn't the first time he heard it, but I said it before he knew it was coming, which must speak for something.

Ernest had been on vacation for a week, so I hadn't seen him around. A few of us welcomed him back by joining him for his favorite lunch at the Soup Plantation. I had the requisite salad, some chili and a bowl of chicken noodle soup. I think the Asian salad would've sufficed had I known there was chicken in it. It wasn't bad tasting either.

After we were sitting there, digesting our food, I mentioned I avoided eating wheat products but still had a few beers every now and then. Ernest spoke up. "You can never have enough beer," he said.

It was deep enough to silence our little table of four.

I then began to reminisce about one afternoon in Ellensburg, Washington, where me, Curt and Rick went out on the Snake River in Rick's boat with three cases of light beer. The day was hot and we proceeded to drink two of the cases of beer.

That's the funny thing about beer. You can just drink and drink it and never feel that one more wouldn't be such a good idea. One more is always a good idea when you're on a boat with the fellas and the air is hot and the water cool enough to make it all right again.

Of course, while you're in that water, you might as well release the pressure on your bladder. Ahhh, just like that. That's better. And if you're wondering what else you might do in the water, well, as Rick said it, "Fish do it." In fact, he proved it could be done about an hour later.

You make this plunge into the water about once every 5 beers or so. Rick got tired of climbing back in the boat and just plunked it out and let 'er go over the side. Frankly, I think he just enjoyed seeing how far it would go before bending down into the water.

"Used to be I could shoot for 10 feet with this thing," said Rick.

"Used to be your momma changed your diaper till you met your wife a couple years ago and she took over," said Curt.

Actually, he didn't say that, but up to this point, Curt had been pretty quiet, so I gave him a line.

It was getting later in the day and we still had a case of beer left. "You want any more, Curt?" asked Rick.

"Nah, I'm cool." And actually, he did say that.

"How 'bout you?"

I waved him off, so he started packing things up and we headed back to the boat launch area. We all sat in the truck after the boat was hitched and headed back to Rick's house in South Seattle when we started to smell something fierce. Actually, I can't smell, so it was left to Curt to bring it up.

"What the hell is that? Did you crap in your shorts, Rick?"

"Ah, shit! I did! I didn't take off my shorts! I knew something was wrong." He turned off the road, jumped out the truck and flung his shorts into the back of the truck. "Hey guys, I could use some help," he said, holding up a few cans of beer.

So, for the next 15 minutes, we proceeded to douse his fat ass with warm beer until it was clean and clear. That wasn't such a great way to end a pretty good day out in the boat, I'll tell you that much.

We all laughed when we got back to Rick's house and he explained to one of his sons that he crapped in the water but forgot to take off his pants first.

"Fuckin' fish do it, right Rick?" I said.

"Yeah, shut your fuckin' trap, you asshole. My kid's right here."

"Oh, sorry."

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Got Schooled

At the ID party I went to, I introduced Garrett Wang to an acquaintance named Carl Bressler. I could look up the name on IMDB but I'm feeling lazy. He's a producer of some sort, one of the movies being Smoke Signals, which is why I introduced him to Garrett. Garrett kinda looks Native American these days and he knows it!

Mr. Bressler may be a producer, but to me, he's some sort of philosophy guru. The first time I met him, with very little introduction, I asked him a pretty deep question: What's more important to success — adaptability or persistence?

To some, the answer seems obvious, but to me, it's a toss up. I mean, Bruce Lee and the Chinese philosophers all talked about the oak tree being too rigid and breaking in a storm, while the bamboo bends and sways and continues to thrive.

Mr. B said persistence was the key to success. To which, I nodded my head enthusiastically and thanked him for his wisdom.

At the party, Mr. B was talking to Garrett about his acting career, which Mr. B knew nothing about until I informed him of the Star Trek gig. So Mr. B asked Garrett what he wanted to do. He said, "I want to be the first Asian contract player on Saturday Night Live."

Mr. B said, "Why don't you write Lorne Michaels and ask him then?"

"I don't know, I never thought of it before," said Garrett.

"Always give opportunity a chance to say 'yes,'" said Mr. Guru.

I, of course, fawned and danced in circles for all the people at the ID party to gawk at. I must've looked pretty silly, now that I think about it. But it was pretty good "the secret" kind of stuff to hear, at precisely the right moment. And so I said, "Whenever Carl and I have a conversation, he always gives me something pretty amazing to think about."

The previous time I met Mr. Guru, it was at a restaurant on Melrose. I was with my ex at the time, and I probably introduced Mr. Guru to her as some kind of guru. Plus, it seems others have become accustomed to asking him for worldly advice as well, and so I asked him if he had opinions about "The Secret." He said, one, it was a nice repackaging of what has already been written. And two, he said the woman who wrote the book and did the video actually interviewed him a few years ago. This shouldn't surprise me but it did.

Anyway, I explained to my ex that I asked Mr. Guru what was more important, persistence or flexibility. Mr. Guru forgot what he answered, so he asked me what his answer was.

I should've made him answer the question again, but I told him what he said.

"That makes sense," he said, "because it allows for both answers. With persistence, you get flexibility as well."

Monday, July 09, 2007

ID Party

This past weekend, I went to an annual ID party held in Hermosa Beach and ran into an old acquaintance, Garrett Wang, of "Star Trek: Voyager" fame. He seemed out of place there and confirmed it when he mentioned it was his first venture to the house.

I probably shouldn't talk about what we discussed but there's something I feel like addressing: If you had the opportunity to do a TV show for a minimum contract of 5 years, would you do it, knowing ahead of time that anything you do after, your name would forever be associated with that show? And, once that show ended, what if no one really considered you a so-called "star"?

When Garrett was going through the process of 4 producer/director meetings with the Star Trek corporation, I hung out with him occasionally, and even interviewed him for a magazine story. He said the whole process of getting the job was intense, and yet he expressed reservations about actually wanting the job. After all, he was a budding young actor with much promise as a dramatic film and TV actor. He "gave that all up" in order to be a contract player in the Star Trek enterprise. (Yeah, bad pun, but it's what I meant.)

What I'm saying, essentially, is that Garrett knew exactly what he was getting into and what to expect after it was all said and done. He knew he'd get financial security for life, but when it came to career security, he didn't know if he was committing career suicide or opening up future doors to superstardom.

If you look at Garrett's face, you can get a pretty good read on his conclusion. But I did give him one piece of advice, for all it's worth: Do a bunch of independent films and don't worry about making a living. I told him it's what I'd do; and well, I also said that if I didn't have to worry about money, I'd move to Palm Springs, work in a bar and write novels for the rest of my life.

It wasn't very enlightening advice that I had given him. But at this point in his life, "light" is kind of hard to come by. Anyway, it's what I'd do.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Effin' Hot Out Here

I'm in Santa Clarita right now for work and, yes, it's hotter than sheiss out here. Excuse the German.

I got an email from that G Living Channel. Didn't make the cut. In fact, didn't even make the callbacks. Oh well... not the end of the world. I did think I was wasting my time with the audition tape, however. Glad I didn't go out and purchase a camera for that. I do some rash and idtiotic things sometimes, fyi.

The office I'm in isn't allowing me web access on my laptop due to some IT restrictions. So here I am, on my lunch break, using the connection at the Coffee Bean. Fortunately, I have a subscription to their system.

Just checking my email and whatnot right now. Did I mention it's effing hot out here right now? OK, time to go back into the AC'd office now and cool down.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Busy Times

I have a commercial audition this afternoon for Charles Schwab. It has a whole paragraph of lines to remember, but they want it to look natural and real, so I'm trying to remember the lines and then sort of forget them.

I think I'm getting better at the process of remembering and rehearsing the lines, though. After auditioning for that G Living channel, I really took a good look at myself through the eye of the camera. And then I asked myself, "Would I want to look at this guy for 2 to 3 minutes?" It took many takes before I could say "maybe," and I'm seriously not being too hard on myself. That's the truth!

So yesterday, I worked on the lines in front of a mirror, first from 8 feet away, then from 3 feet, and then close up. I wanted whoever was looking at the audition tape to want to watch me. And that means, looking right into the camera and appearing calm, appealing and inviting. The words I say are really secondary to my delivery and sense of composure, in my opinion.

I also picked up a new freelance client and that's been a little scary, since I will probably see the direct results of my work in a very short time. Well, that's what I live for.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I Was an Effing Samurai

Yesterday, I was put in the uncomfortable position of being the leader of our samurai class in front of about 70 guests at a birthday party. Why uncomfortable? It's not because I don't like being a leader. Normally, I'm pretty OK with that. But yesterday, I had to count in Japanese, while doing the various katas, and going "yah!" at every strike. And I realize something. I'm an idiot, especially when it comes to doing two or more things at once.

The past two weeks, while counting out loud for our class, I messed up between "go" and "roku," which is 5 and 6, respectively. I think it's because at 5, there's a strike, so I had to go "yah!" and then remember to count 6. Anyway, that's my excuse and I'm sticking with it.

Last night, Tohoru and I also did our "Vegas" routine. At some point, I blanked on the next move and Tohoru was present enough to catch it. He moved forward slowly and then I remembered to jump over his sword.

Tohoru just got booked in a movie being shot in Las Vegas, and he's leaving on Monday. Turns out, he didn't even audition for it. His agent called and said, "I think I just booked you on a movie that shoots on Monday." Tohoru expressed surprise, of course, and asked his agent, "Did you make it seem as if this sort of thing happens all the time?" "Yeah, I think I managed that OK," the agent replied.

Lately, Tohoru and I have been having these sorts of conversations. The same sorts I was having with Chin Han just before he left for London to shoot Batman. Apparently, they both have read — get this, — "The Secret," because things have been happening for the strangest and most mysterious of reasons.

I'm not trying to promote this book, but I will say that I've read many books similar to it, so I won't knock it at all. Come to think of it, I had a rather lengthy conversation about the book with an actress friend, Jeanne Chinn, during my photo shoot last weekend. She's been practicing the various things in the book and says it's been paying off as well, though not yet on a grand scale.

Jeanne and I were both booked out with our agents for that photo shoot, by the way. I'm not sure what that means, in terms of the secret, but it seems that sometimes when you DON'T want something, it gets energized as well.

So with all these people praising this book, will I get around to reading it too? Probably. Just not right now. I just have some more work to do.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Supporting a New Theatre Company

Click the image for a bigger view. It's located at:
The Luna Playhouse
3706 San Fernando Road
Glendale, California 91204

Synopsis: In this dramatic comedy set in 1968 San Francisco, a Chinese American man starts his own newspaper and discovers much more than he planned while reporting on a murder case.

Director: Peter Kuo
Co-Director: Cynthia Sho
Writer: Mark J. Jue

Cast: Adrian Zaw, Pamela Woo, Carlos Duarte, Joseph Falasca, Alden Ray, Carin Chea, Davis Wyn, Todd Silver, Harry Du Young, Elbert Traister, Ed Gunawan, June Mock

Tickets: $20 general
Students with ID and groups (5 or more with reservation) get $5 off per ticket
Reservations recommended - please call 310.838.8862 or email

Additional Performances: Saturdays - June 23, June 30 & July 7 at 8pm
Sundays - June 24 & July 8 at 2pm

Friday, June 22, 2007

I'm Performin' on Tuesday

For my instructor's birthday, I'm performing on stage for him in full samurai costume. Well, I'm not wearing armor, just the gi and hakama, which is like a skirt. Yes, I'll be wearing a skirt, okay?

Anyway, for anyone interested in this, the birthday is actually a night of entertainment my instructor is putting on. He's also a comedian/host, if that makes any sense.

Here's the info:
Rome Kanda presents

"Dragon Angel Nights" Volume 1
A night of entertainment

Live Music, Dance, Samurai Sword fighting
& more...

Date: Tuesday, June 26th
Show time: 8:00 PM
Doors open: 7:30 PM
Ticket price: $15 per person (@door / 2 drinks included / 21 & older)
Place: Phaze (Torrance Plaza Hotel, 1st Floor)
20801 S. Western Ave.
Torrance, CA 90501

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Samurai Extras Needed

Never thought to post some of these announcements before, but here's one:

Needed: 14 Asian Males, any age.
The shoot will be on June 26, 28, 29 next week.
The location is in Los Angeles from morning to late afternoon.
Must be able to do makeup on 26 Tue, and either 28 or 29.
It will be shot in Japanese and wearing samurai wig and outfit.
Paid $50 a day.

contact Yumiko 323-217-5137

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Tic Tac

There's this dude in the office with a major phlegm problem. Either that or he's just got a tic that he's not even aware of. My definition of a "tic" is a habitual physical activity, often caused by nervousness, that is repeatedly exhibited without much awareness he or she is doing it.

Some people scratch, others touch their nose, occasionally people twitch, get sweaty palms and underarms, wrinkle their brows, click their throats, stutter, pick their zits, laugh, hiccup, eat, etc.

There was a Henrik Ibsen play, I believe, that had a character who would touch an imaginary scar on his face whenever he was around people.

Like the dude in the office, my throat tends to get clogged when I get nervous, and I end up clearing my throat more often than usual. Occasionally, my palms get sweaty, too, but that's only when I'm extremely nervous.

But this dude — let's call him dude — is clearly unaware he's going "ahem" every 2 or 3 seconds. I'm not sure what he does here, but it looks like he's a photo retoucher since he uses one of those mouse pens on a graphics tablet. With that kind of work, it's easy to see how you can become so absorbed in the work, you'd lose conscious control over your tics.

I'm not trying to excuse dude's actions here, because they're annoying as hell. I'm just trying to understand them myself, and also recognize that most people (myself included) have tics as well, some of which are probably annoying as hell to other people.

The unfortunate part is that dude sits in a cubicle just across the walkway from me. I could easily go over to dude and explain that he needs to be aware of his tic. But can you imagine if everyone started doing that to whoever had a tic they deemed personally annoying? I'd be fired from every office if I started doing that. And you'd be a major dick, too!

So for now, I'm going to wear my earphones, the kind with the buds that go inside the ear, turn up the iPod and try not to blow out my eardrums drowning out this guy's, er, uh, dude's tic.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Could Really Use a Beer Right About Now

Today, I remembered why I enjoy beer. The last three months, I've been very good about avoiding it, due to the inches it was putting on my waistline. And I managed to stay at my post-cleansing weight pretty successfully.

I still can't have one today, however. I just got home from an office I'm freelancing with. Well, actually, contracting with for the next two weeks. But now that I'm home, I have to finish a brochure for another client that is due on Wednesday.

But that isn't even the reason why I'm reminded about my affinity for beer. Nay! It is because I was presented with a freakin' dilemma today that I alluded to last week.

I had a booking that was up in the air for a print job I didn't even remember auditioning for. Anyway, that booking has now come down to the ground, and they'd like me there on Friday and Saturday.

Saturday I can deal with, because then I'd only be conflicting with my road trip up to Palo Alto to congratulate my pre-med nephew on his graduation from Stanford. I'm still going to make that trip, but I won't quite make the celebratory dinner they had planned.

Friday, though, is my pain. I have two bad choices, actually. One is to cancel out on the booking, which I want to do. Seriously, read my fingertips, the money isn't important enough to me to disappoint a good client (and friend who hired me for the contract).

But here's the other thing. The money is important enough to the agency that wants me to do the job, and so they will certainly get pissed at me enough to maybe want to drop me from their agency. I mean, missing an audition is one thing. Canceling on a booking is quite another.

I'm going to lose somehow on this decision. I know it. It'll have lasting impact on my career decisions here on out. Because for me, everything has a trickle-down effect. What is small today becomes a larger issue tomorrow.

I'm wise enough to not get myself into these dilemmas anymore, yet there they are, kicking me in the groin.

I've studied enough philosophy and martial arts and have brushed off much of the flakiness in my character. But, alas, the flakes keep coming back! What to do, what to do?!!

Anyway, I'm going to try and get through this brochure so I won't have to finish it up tomorrow at the office. Plus, I do have one nice big bottle of Mared Sous 8 in the fridge. It's 16 or so ounces, but damn it's looking mighty tasty right about now.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


Last weekend, I went to my samurai class, left early around 3:30, and then went to a production studio in Santa Monica. I had an audition/interview scheduled at 4:15 and I don't know why I insisted on going to class and getting all sweaty before the audition, but that's what I did. I ended up washing my dirty feet with bottled water. What a fricking waste!

It turns out that 30 or 40 other people — mostly white women, but some black and Asian women, too — were there for the same time slot. We were instructed to take a photo with a name slate, take off our shoes and head into the "sanctuary" where we'd be introduced to the company and its mission.

The company is called G Living and it's on the Internet under the url A friend had forwarded me an audition notice about a month ago. They were looking for 12 hosts for various topics, from health to technology to gardening. Since I have a news background, I emailed a headshot using the website. They replied back with a questionnaire to fill out, and after completing it, they sent a call time for the audition.

The guy who did the presentation said he used to be a commercial actor, but after doing — get this — 69 national commercials, he didn't want to shoot another one in his life. Can you believe that? Sixty-nine NATIONAL commercials! My guess is that he made somewhere between 2 to 3 million bucks on those. Funny thing is, you'd probably never recognize this guy. He's pretty plain-looking and nondescript.

Anyway, I don't really want to go into the introductory session because it was damn boring, but at the end, they gave us an assignment: produce a 2-3 minute video package on any topic we choose, as long as it's related to the website and its theme.

I asked a few friends if they had a video camera I could borrow, but by the time I could find one, the deadline was fast approaching. For practice, I used the video camera on my cell phone and just did several takes straight through on the topic of recycling your computer system.

After playing them back, I did a couple more and decided it was good enough quality for the audition tape and sent the thing in.

Now, I'm not gonna say it's professional or even very good, but I'm proud of what I turned in. It's been years since I've had any practice at this sort of thing. And now about a dozen people are checking it out, not to mention the 4 friends I sent a link to watch it on YouTube.

And no, I'm not posting it here. It's really not very good at all.

Monday, June 04, 2007

AXA, Redux, Part Deux

Was talking to a friend of mine about the AXA afterparties, both VIP and public, yesterday and discovered some new info. Welly Yang, one of the founders of the awards show, had been trying to get the guests at the VIP party to move to the public party, but because the distance meant having to get into a car or limo and drive there, most VIPs stayed until the very end.

My friend works for a major studio and he was accompanied by a coworker to the awards show. They were about to go to the VIP party but he found out his coworker couldn't get in. It's a good thing they aren't high-level execs, because both got peeved and went to another party held by a studio exec somewhere else.

At around 1:30 while at the public party, I heard that some of the VIP folks were heading our way. That's when I told Tamlyn I needed to make a quick exit. Otherwise, I might end up talking to some bloodsucking industry vampire. Well, I didn't say that to Tamlyn.

On the way out, I did see a couple of vampires decked out in their standard black attire. Quentin Tarrantino was holding court among a bevy of Asian actress babes. He and I caught eyes and I raised my eyebrows in acknowledgment. But it's not the likes of Mr. Tarrantino whom I avoid. It's the pseudo "players" who I can't listen to. You know the ones. They are the ones who are constantly around the action, but never quite do anything themselves.

Then again, I just hope that doesn't describe me as well...

Friday, June 01, 2007

Booking Out

When you have to be out of town, or you booked another gig, say, for a sitcom, you need to do what's called "booking out" with your agencies. That way, they won't schedule an audition or a booking for that same day.

Since SAG has some weird policy where you can't even work on two union jobs on the same day (or is it week?), it doesn't make sense to keep yourself available on those days anyway.

As a freelancer and an occasional independent contractor, I have clients who want me in their office during a set schedule. I automatically book out during that schedule, unless it's an extended gig.

I just booked out for 4 weeks — 2 weeks in June, 2 weeks in July – because I have 2 very important clients I don't want to screw up with.

So here's why I'm writing today...

Today, my print agent just told me I've been put on avail for something I auditioned for about a month ago. A month ago! This business forces you to keep your memory short term. That way, you don't get all depressed from the dozens of jobs you don't get.

Most of my clients will understand if I can't make one day of their set schedule, and I'm hoping it won't be a problem if I should book this print job. They usually don't understand, however, if you need some time off just to go audition, no matter how "important" the job is to you. And, no, there ain't no fine line about it. It's pretty cut and dry here.

Oh, in case you're interested, it's for TIAA-CREF, which is a retirement fund that, I believe, was originally for teachers. It'll probably be used for web ads also.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

AXA Awards, Revisited

My memory finally kicked in about that show a couple weeks ago. I must've blocked it out or something. There were a couple things I must point out about the show.

One, Russel Peters is a funny-ass guy. He's a riot, and he can tell an Asian joke better than anybody. His joke about the Chinese soccer team had me rolling, especially in a huddle. Plus, his Cantonese accent is dead on.

Two, Grace Park is damn lovely. Man, that girl can light up a stage. I've never even seen the new "Battlestar Galactica" TV show she's on, but I can see why so many geeks tune into it and have BSG night. (Yeah, they include the "S" in that for some reason.) Oh, and she's also quite tall in heels. Daniel Dae Kim stood next to her as co-host and she was a couple inches taller. Daniel and I are about the same height, so yeah, I basically have no chance. But anyway...

Three, Chow-Yun Fat is losing his star power. Sure, he did the latest Pirates movie, but so did Geoffrey Rush, who introduced him on stage. I think it's because it took him a long, long time to learn English. I saw him up close in 1995 at a pre-event for an awards show in San Francisco. He looked to be about 6'2", 300 lbs. Seriously, the dude is big! But past his prime, IMHO.

Four, I saw my old boss/colleague James Ryu and his lovely wife Tammy, who is a superior court judge, I believe. James is the editor/publisher of KoreAm Journal and Audrey. We chatted a little and he was miffed because his seats were way in the back (where I was seated). I introduced him to Annie Lee, a beauty of an actress I've mentioned on this site, who was sitting on the other side of the aisle from me.

Five, John Cho is what gay folks might call "borderline." I say this because, lately, he gives me that vibe every time I see him around town. On stage, he presented an award to his co-star, Kal Penn, from that comedy they were in a couple years back about White Castle burgers. And then Cho squeezed Penn's ass on stage (with both hands) for comedy effect. Most people didn't laugh, fyi. It had the essence of "I'm gonna take you" in it. I felt uncomfortable, as did most people around me. (I think I mentioned he looked me up and down once at a party and went out of his way to compliment me on the coat I was wearing.)

And six, why did they have Sharon Leal from Dreamgirls as a presenter as well as up for an award? Is there something I'm missing here? Is this girl from Trinidad or something? Wait, is Trinidad part of India? Romany Malco of 40-Year-Old Virgin is from Trinidad, as is the young girl, Tatyana Ali, in "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air."

But I think if you're going to award someone for their acting, let it be in something that highlights their "Asianness" not their "blackness," and that's what Dreamgirls does. If not, then damn, let's nominate Romany Malco, too, because he was great in Virgin.

Tell you the truth, I wasn't going to talk about the show at all. But I went to the Angry Asian Guy site and he hardly even mentioned it. And, well, that made me angry. Funny how the memory kicks in when you're angry.


I think there's something wrong with my template on this thing but I'm not savvy enough about html to figure out how to debug it. Learning html has been a very slow process for me and I tend to just pick up little bits and pieces as I need to use different effects.

Back in college, I took two courses in computer science: Basic and Pascal. Pascal was supposed to be good for anyone into computers because it was a good beginner language. Basic was just stupid and I don't even know why they taught it, but I'm wondering now if it's at all similar to html. Actually, I couldn't tell you because I've forgotten everything I learned in those two courses.

My ex was a programmer, knowing pretty much all the most difficult stuff. Two of my brothers work for Boeing Computer Services as program debuggers. Why I didn't pick this stuff up via osmosis beats the hell out of me.

I do know that the things I obsess about are the things which I tend to thrive in. Take martial arts, for instance. I'm about as athletic (or non-athletic) as any guy, but I just love doing that shit, so once I start, I just can't stop until I'm ready for a new sensei or sifu. Unfortunately, martial arts doesn't help pay any bills. In fact, it's a drain on finances. But I love it!

One of my newest obsessions isn't something I'm likely to participate in. It's Flickr, that photo server that Yahoo! bought so photographers – pros and beginners alike – can share their photos with the world. I have an RSS feed on my Yahoo! homepage and I usually click on something every day. (FYI, the parent company of MySpace just bought PhotoBucket, which does the same thing as Flickr.)

And I know I'm not alone, because a photo will get seen by half a million people all over the world in just one day. That's serious reach, or there are a lot of fellow Flickr obsessors slash latent perverts out there.

Yeah, it's a perversion. It really is. Looking at other people's photos (aka voyeurism) isn't totally kosher. But what's weirder is the amount of exhibitionism on the site. Many of the photographers do loads and loads of self-portraits, particularly the female photogs. I mean, that's vanity taken to a whole other level.

I probably have done about 50 photo shoots in my day for different companies and I don't think I've seen even a handful of them. I don't even want to see them. It's probably a good thing I'm not famous because they'd probably all show up on some fan page.

Seriously, I just do the modeling stuff for the money, not the vanity. But Flickr? That's a whole other thing. And I'm happier for it....

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Samurai Class

Three classmates in my samurai class were recently cast in a short film, which I think is pretty cool, not to mention amusing, especially since these three are some of the least experienced in the class. I should point out that it's a student film and won't pay anything, but it will give them something to show on their actor's reel.

Today, I trained mostly with one of the veterans in the class. She hadn't been there in a while, so she was a bit rusty. I worked on the "Vegas" routine with her and, damn, it's a different ballgame doing that routine with a girl. I used to train in JKD and my sifu often said Bruce Lee preferred training with his wife on certain exercises because she was quicker than most of his male students.

What that means is that men tend to initiate physical movements with their muscles, whereas women use their nerve reflexes when they do things like hitting or swinging a sword. So this girl and I perform a series of three quick swings where we both connect blades, just above our heads. That girl came so fast with her first swing, I hardly had time to even think before the next swing came, and then the last one. I nearly shit my pants on that last one.

I thought about it all through the rest of the class — that this girl was way faster than Tohoru, my male training partner. Anyway, it was way more thrilling, working out with her.

After the class, I headed to Nijiya Market on Sawtelle. I have a sushi party on Sunday night, just after an afternoon BBQ, so I wanted to pick up some seaweed salad, a head of cabbage, and a bottle of Otokoyama, my favorite sake. I haven't done one of these sushi parties in a while, mostly because I had a falling out with the fisherman who's also an old photographer friend of mine. It's complicated, but basically this dude cancelled out on a photo shoot with me so he could take care of another client.

I have my principles, so I boycotted the dude for the last 2 years. Looks like we're cool now. It's probably because I invited him to the Science of Sake event in April. That was a great event, fyi, and if you should hear about it next year, around this time, get your tickets early because it sells out fast. Anyway, he must've appreciated me getting the ticket, so it seems I'm the one who initiated all this.

I'll be doing much of the cutting duties at the sushi party as I happen to be pretty handy with a sashimi knife.

I also got an invite for a BBQ early Sunday afternoon at a DJ's house in Van Nuys. I met this dude when me and some friends went to a small party at a home owned by one of Bob Marley's kids. It was a lovely home with a kick-ass DJ setup. One of the DJs was from the Groove Junkies, another was Scott K, who is nationally known, and this guy with the BBQ tomorrow is named David Bullock.

They spin mostly house music, which I'm not normally a big fan of. But on that night, Scott K whipped up something my ears could not believe. It was insane, and that's all I can describe about it. He's got a free event called "dig x therapy" next Wednesday, the 30th of May, at a place called Tokio. If you're interested, check out his myspace page.

Unfortunately, I'll probably skip the DJ BBQ and go to a quieter BBQ a little closer to home. It'll probably be another Asian-American celebrity event, but on a much smaller and less pretentious scale. I'm bringing potato salad and a case of Stellas. I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

This Past Week

I've been feeling anti-social lately. Maybe it's because I've been socializing so much. There was the VC Film Festival, which is an annual Asian-American indie film festival. I saw three films, which were fine. But it was talking to people—the same fricking people—over and over that made me feel sick.

I felt like they were sucking the living life out of me!

Then I went, reluctantly, to the Asian Excellence Awards. My friend had to work that night, and so he gave me his $60 ticket. It was an offer I should've refused. Why? Well, the show was OK. Russel Peters was a crack-up. Margaret Cho was great, too.

But after the show, there was an after-party in the Westwood area. My friend who gave me the ticket hung out at the venue, waiting for the show to end. We both knew there would be a separate VIP party and he had a ticket for it. I didn't, but it would've been fairly easy to get one.

But something inside me just didn't want to make the effort. I felt that it was wrong for there to be an "exclusive" party, aside from the public party. I think that's actually weird, coming from me, as I've benefitted a lot from my associations to be at these sort of things. But this one rubbed me the wrong way.

This awards show celebrated the accomplishments of Asians in entertainment. But then they hold a separate party away from the fans who support them and paid $60 a ticket to see them live. I'm ashamed of shit like that, and I didn't want any part of it.

Last year, they had one big party for everyone who attended the awards show. It was great fun and I think people expected the same thing this year.

After an hour, my friend left the public party to attend the VIP one. I knew he'd go. But that's his deal, not mine.

I was having a pretty fun time at the public party, hanging out with some friends I hadn't seen in a while. And then I saw Tamlyn Tomita, Emily Liu, David Ono and Esther Koh, so I sat with them a while. That was a blast. It was our own little exclusive table, but accessible enough so that anyone could come by and say hello.

Tamlyn has become my new favorite person to talk with. She even has a dirtier potty mouth than I do. I chatted with David Ono about my former career in TV news in Seattle. He was curious what it was like to work under Aaron Brown and I shared a couple stories. Emily has always been a good friend and I just like her as a person. She produced and co-starred in a movie called Trouble with Romance and now she's trying to sell it. She's very heavy in thought and spirit right now. Esther Koh was dressed very lovely and yet I know she's got a real side to her. I've also seen her act on stage and she's quite good.

Anyway, I think I'm starting to sour on this whole Asian in Hollywood thing. Maybe I just need to get away for a while. Move to Long Beach or something. Take a breather.

That's just what the doctor would order.

Stop Motion Video

I saw this new indie called Finishing the Game. It's a spoof on a bunch of white filmmakers trying to finish Game of Death, which would've been Bruce Lee's last film. It was really low budget... and lame. It's hard to figure out what the director, Justin Lin, had in mind when he made this thing.

Anyway, I like his film, Better Luck Tomorrow, but when you put out cheesy crap like Finishing the Game, it tends to put your past work in a different light. You start to notice all the cheesy crap he did in his last movie, and then it starts to snowball.

But I found a video that could possibly make Finishing the Game watchable. It uses stop motion video, which means they used a video camera, but stopped it at each movement of the actors. It's so low budget, it's cool. And that's my whole point. If you're going to make a low budget movie, make it cool for us to watch. Surprise us. Give us something to talk about so that our friends will want to see it also.

Stop Motion Dance Off - Watch more free videos

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Colbert Cracks Me Up

Stephen Colbert does a better mock Korean than I do. He even sings in it!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

BBC Shogun TV Series

Two friends, Yuji Okumoto and Henry Hayashi, are in Kyoto right now shooting that BBC Shogun series. Henry sent some pictures of them training with the masters. FYI, they both had to shave their heads. Oh, boy!

Friday, May 11, 2007


I met up with a classmate from my samurai class at Echo Lake Park, just off the 101 Freeway and Alvarado, to work on what our sensei calls the “Vegas” routine. It’s a fight scene that someone had choreographed for a show in Vegas and my sensei wanted a few of us in the class to learn it and, possibly, perform it locally.

We met around 5:30 on a warm, sunny afternoon. A film was being shot just to the north of the park, and so we found a little spot in the middle to do our routine. As usual, a few spectators watched us from afar. After all, it’s not often you get to see two Japanese guys attacking each other with wooden swords in a public park.

Earlier, while crossing the street, a police car stopped me and asked what I was doing. “I’m going to practice in the park,” I said. He asked me what I was carrying and I said it was a wooden sword. “Oh, I thought it was something else,” he said, laughing to his partner as he drove off.

Tohoru is the name of my classmate, and we spent about an hour practicing and another hour talking about the “business.” Tohoru was up for a couple parts recently, one of which was for a BBC TV series called “Warriors.” He and his agent thought he had booked it after being put on “hold” and told to get his passport in order. Last week, my friend Yuji Okumoto, an actor who made his initial fame on a Karate Kid movie, called me to ask about a samurai movie I had heard about. I also mentioned there was a BBC project that was being cast and he said he booked it and was flying off to Japan to shoot it the following Monday.

Tohoru was completely bummed out about not booking the BBC gig (apparently, I broke the news to him), but then he just found out he booked 3 weeks on a Sci-Fi Channel movie that was filming in Louisiana, so things were okay with him.

Tohoru has the philosophy that we are “all doing exactly what we are supposed to be doing,” which is a great attitude and perhaps a cop-out at the same time. But I respect the philosophy and also agree with most of the statement. The part I don’t agree with is the notion that it seems to mean that we are all doing what we should be doing. I just don’t understand what it is that we should be doing.

For instance, I recently mentioned a friend, Chin Han, whom I met at a coffee shop in Hollywood. He was dressed in a suit that day and was looking sharper than usual. I asked him what was up and he said he had had a very important meeting that day. I tried to ask further but he had only received a verbal offer and wasn’t comfortable divulging anything at that point. He just talked about what it must be like for a guy to go from obscurity to celebrity overnight.

A couple days ago, I invited Chin Han to a mixer in Beverly Hills and met up with a couple close friends, one of whom is Pat Morita’s daughter and the other a First AD who most recently finished working on the TV series, “What About Brian?” Chin Han then mentioned to me what project he had booked. It’s the next Batman movie with Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Heath Ledger. He’s leaving for London next week and will be traveling for the next 5 months.

After the mixer, we then went to The Standard on Sunset Blvd. and saw my old Yolk Magazine colleague Celene, who is known locally as DJ Syrena. She’s been spinning Wednesdays at The Standard for a few years now and she’s spinning at Circus (for those who know the electronic music scene) on Saturday. Recently, she was featured in a huge spread on female DJs in the Calendar section of the L.A. Times.

But back to Chin Han. Earlier, I mentioned he was a producer for the Asian Excellence Awards and he also produces and directs mainstage theatre in Singapore. Some of his productions included The Blue Room and Closer. He also was an actor in Singaporean soap operas, which apparently is a pretty common thing to do there, but hardly anyone knows him as an actor these days.

During our coffee meeting, he mentioned that he works very little as an actor, perhaps one movie every two years. “You, on the other hand, work all the time, compared to me.” Well, those are his words, not mine. And sure, 10 print jobs and a commercial or two per year does seem like a lot compared to one summer blockbuster movie. Not! Uh-uh, not even close. He wanted to know how much he should expect to make on a big summer movie and I said that if it’s a good part, he could make well into the hundreds of thousands, just through box office residuals alone.

In a couple of weeks, I’m working at the ad agency where I work on the one-sheets for such movies as Batman. That’s a 2-week gig. And then I have a couple weeks break, then another 2-week gig at another freelance client’s office. I’ll have to “book out” with my agencies for those weeks, but as I told Tohoru, it’s just like booking any other gig where you aren’t available to audition during the time you are working.

I’m thinking of heading to Singapore between gigs. Not to act, but to visit friends Jason Scott Lee and Jimmy T while they film a movie. Who knows? Maybe they’ll let me walk on as an extra.

While barhopping on Sunset Blvd., I asked Ms. Morita what it was like when her father hit the big time. She said it was when he was about 38 and their family of four was struggling to make ends meet. That show that changed it all was “Happy Days,” and, boy, was it. After the show ended, he didn’t work for a while, but then he got cast in Karate Kid, and then life changed for the Morita family completely.

She met pretty much everyone there was to meet, recalling what it was like to meet TV, music and movie idols at the age of 5.

These days, there’s very little that would make an impression on Ms. Morita. But she seemed pretty excited for Chin Han, who was happy to hear the story about her dad. Pat Morita passed away just over a year ago.