Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Daniel Dae Kim

If you've seen ABC's show "Lost," you're probably familiar with the Korean-speaking guy on the show. That's Daniel and I've known him for years. I'm not exactly close friends with him, but we're on a first-name basis with each other. Plus, his wife and my sister-in-law were schoolmates (in Boston, I think).

Anyway, I used to work for a Korean magazine and Daniel's wife also worked as a graphic designer there before Daniel became a constantly working actor. And, from time to time, I'd see him at a commercial or print audition, the last one being a national UPS commercial.

If you look back in the archives, I may have mentioned this UPS casting before. Daniel and I were among the top 4 called in for a callback. He was looking sharp, and I mean, as a tack. His demeanor, charm and professionalism were 100% on. I remember just thinking I was proud to be considered with this group. The other two guys, by the way, included Chris Tashima, whom I've mentioned on this blog before, and the guy (name unknown) who actually booked the job.

Before seeing the commercial air during a major broadcast of a football game, I had pretty much decided in my mind that it was Daniel who booked the job. The dude was that confident, ya know? And I most certainly shrank in his presence.

Okay, I must clarify something here. I'm no shrinking violet. I don't have a tiny presence. I can be pretty substantial when I want to be. But I just have to say that at this particular casting, I shrank like a penis in cold water as soon as I saw who I was up against. This probably explains why I haven't booked a whole lot of union commercials. To get in the major leagues, you've got to play like a major leaguer. Or at least hit one out of the ballpark when the scouts are looking.

Problem is, I haven't a clue what that feeling is like. I've never hit one when it mattered. The only major league action I've performed was when the scouts weren't looking.

But here's one little bit of action I am good at: At the afterparty for last year's Asian Excellence Awards (AXA), I was hanging out with my actor friend, Jason Scott Lee. Before leaving the function to get some food at Al's Diner on Sunset Blvd., he wanted to say hello to Daniel Dae Kim. Right then, I sensed some uncomfortable feelings on Jason's part. I mean, he's not used to being the one who has to introduce himself to someone. Even though they've met before, they just weren't too familiar with each other.

So here's where I stepped in, without missing a beat. "Hey, Daniel, you remember Jason, right?" I said to Daniel.

"Oh, sure, hey Jason. How you doing?" he said. And then I stepped away and let them talk.

Well, at least I have good social skills.

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