Thursday, April 26, 2007


I'm officially freelancing now. Had a couple of weeks of auditions, mostly print but a few commercial ones, and sat in an office for two days looking at movie one-sheets and print ads.

Then I had an introduction at an ad agency in Long Beach and they ended up giving me a project to do. It's not an easy job. I can see why they were so willing to give it to a complete stranger. Hopefully, I'll do a good enough job for them to hire me more often.

I just submitted myself to a movie directed by David Mamet via a site called Actors Access. It's the actor site for Breakdown Services and it's a place where you can self-submit for a role.

Generally, thousands of people have gotten what's called "the breakdowns" through various sources and then self-submitted themselves to a casting director for all kinds of stuff. What sometimes happens is you get a call for an audition. What often happens, however, is you get put in the slush pile among all the other self-submitted actors who got their breakdowns through various sources.

Honestly, these casting directors don't like self-submissions. It circumvents the process that was put into place decades ago and it circumvents the power of the agent or manager.

But now that there's several actor websites devoted to self-submissions, the whole thing has gotten some credibility. But don't expect it to work overnight. I get calls on maybe 1 out of 10 submissions. At $2 a submission, that's expensive!

I'm not going to bitch and moan about the inequities of the struggling actor here. Truthfully, I'm not eating dog food for dinner every night. But it isn't easy to pay for the bills here in Hollywood, especially when they're discovering new ways every day to take money out of your pockets.

Right now, I'm having some mild indigestion from some pasta I just ate. Hmm, what was in that meat, I wonder...

Friday, April 20, 2007

Sometimes You Just Need a Good Laugh

Sometimes, on a rainy day in Hollywood, you just need a good laugh. Richard Dawson was a funny-ass dude. And he got to kiss all the ladies!

Funniest Family Feud episode EVER - Click Here for more great videos and pictures!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Photo Shoot

Just finished a photo shoot for a major bank. I probably mentioned it here before. Anyway, it went well. You'll probably see me on some ATMs holding a sign about mortgages or something. Who knows? Could change by the time it comes out.

I was paired up with a "crazy Korean" woman today as my wife. I told her it wasn't such a good thing to advertise these days. Truthfully, she was nuts. Very attractive, to say the least. Nice body. But as the day wore on, she became just a face with an obnoxious personality. Some people look better with time. Others? Not.

The day was cold, despite the clear skies and warm overall temperature. I think it was the gusts of chilly wind. Some of the light boxes on the shoot were getting blown over.

Before the shoot began, another "couple" had finished and I knew them. One was Gordon Lee, who used to be in my Cold Tofu class. Good guy. Playing his wife was Arlene Tai, one of the Tai twins I went on a mountaineering trek with last year. She said, "I didn't know you did this stuff!" You know, I swear I must've told her every time I saw her. Then again, I often just say I work in advertising. Modeling kinda includes that.

If you've never been on one of these shoots, it's a full-on production with makeup and wardrobe trailers, dozens of crew members doing very specific jobs, lots of lights and equipment, a panel of "clients" all offering their opinions, a few folks from the ad agency including the creative director and a couple of art directors, and the photographer.

Oh, and then there's the talent. Everyone treats the talent very well throughout the shoot. That's just how it's done. Then, when the shoot's over and the papers are signed, you're just another unemployed model.

Don't mean to sound cynical. That's just the cycle of things.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Spreading Too Thin

Had a same-day commercial audition for Wendy's on Friday in Santa Monica. My agent called at 1:30 for a 4:30 appt. Unfortunately, I had made plans to help a friend at 2 pm, so I ended up squeezing both things in. Got to the audition a half hour late and was running up the block to the casting office when a guy stopped me and said, "Wendy's?" I nodded. He said, "You might as well walk. Everyone has an hour wait." I thanked him and slowly made my way to the office.

Of course, at such auditions with long waits, you end up seeing a few friends and acquaintances there. Asian actors are a pretty tight-knit group, and the degrees of separation are about 1 or 2, meaning you're 1 or 2 introductions away from anyone. I caught up with my friend, Bruce Locke, who is a veteran actor as well as athlete. He's most recognizable from the RoboCop series where he played the Japanese villain. Musashi, I believe, was the character's name.

Speaking of Musashi, I have my samurai class this afternoon. We've been learning a new kata called the earth kata. We're also doing some light choreographing, pairing off in an attack sequence. Our goal is to do this sequence at the speed two samurai warriors would do it.

Regarding the Wendy's audition, we had to appear to be holograms. The idea is that our real selves are at the game while our holograms are filling in for us with the girlfriend at Wendy's. The gist of the spot is that while we may be spreading ourselves too thin, the Frosty at Wendy's remains nice and thick.

Later, my friend Ken is having his 40th birthday at the brand-new Hokusai Restaurant in Beverly Hills. It has sort of a Sushi Roku- or Matsuhisa-inspired interior and the chefs are supposed to be top notch. The Continental, owned by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, used to be there.

Later still, I hope to be stopping by a club to check out a DJ named Matt Darey. But we'll see how that goes. I still have taxes and a proofreading job to finish on Sunday. Don't want to, you know, wear myself out too much.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


It's a sad thing that some of the most beautiful people in America are also some of the dumbest at doing their taxes. Most actors and models in Hollywood have to fiddle around with 1099s, those miscellaneous income forms we get around the beginning of the year. I got 7 this year, and there's a chance I may get more after April 17.

I remember getting my first 1099 and not knowing what to do with it. No taxes are taken out, so what does the IRS care about it? It turns out, they care a lot. They want you to pay self-employment tax on top of any federal or state taxes. I started doing my own taxes about 20 years ago, and that was before the advent of any tax programs. Used to take me 40 hours to do my taxes.

But for those who know better, or those who know a savvy CPA, 1099s are actually a pretty good deal for the actor/model. You can write off a lot of stuff—legitimate stuff. Stuff like makeup, grooming products and services, clothing, headshots, gym membership, classes, postage, parking, gas, car, car insurance, oil changes, your new tires, but not a car wash and certainly not pet food.

One of my old roommates wrote off video games and entertainment equipment like a TV or sound system. I wrote off this computer and the DSL costs.

The first time you get a 1099, it will be for a minimum of $600. If that's the only income you made the entire year, unfortunately, you still have to file your taxes. That's how 1099s work. But after the second or third year, you'll learn to like them... a lot.

Oh, by the way, I booked a print job for next week, probably the day after tax day. They'll most definitely pay me as an independent contractor. That's just how it goes.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Beacon Hill Dude

I'm in Seattle at the moment, leaving tonight to go back to California. It's partly cloudy, 48 degrees. Excuse me, the forecast is actually "mostly sunny," though I can't tell the difference.

My folks' home is on Beacon Hill and I just spent the day cleaning up part of the house. I have this thing about old cobwebs hanging around the ceiling and walls. I just can't pass them without getting the willies. Really freaks me out. So, I vacuumed them up. Every last one I could reach or see.

Earlier, I walked down the street to Taco Time for my requisite Mexi-Fries and Crisp Beef Burrito. I know, you don't understand it, but every time I'm home, I gotta have it. After that, I walked across the street to Borrachini's Bakery for some coffee and an apple strudel for my dad.

Yesterday, my family went out for my dad's birthday at a Japanese place called Hiroshi's in the Eastlake area. It's not too shabby. Not cheap, but you get a lot of food. Service is good, too.

After the dinner, we checked out my brother and his wife's new condo at the Pan Pacific complex on 2200 Lenora. Pretty incredible view from their 11th floor 2-bedroom luxury home, and that was at night. I can imagine the day view being spectacular. There's a new Whole Foods store on the bottom floor, too.

On Saturday night, my friend and I went into Belltown for a bite at Wasabi Bistro and then later to a bar called Amber. We then walked to meet another friend at Islanders, just south of the Pike Place Market, where we had drinks, listened to some local musicians, and met the band members of the Hawaii group, Kalapana.

From there, my friend and I drove down to Four Seas Restaurant in Chinatown and shared a bottle of soju with our friend, the manager. He also brought out some fine tequila and we sipped a couple down. No, soju and tequila don't mix too well.

Of course, we couldn't end the drunkfest without a stop at Sea Garden for a bowl of noodles. I slurped down a bowl of beef brisket sui kau noodles. Delicious.

I think it was about 4 a.m. when I finally got to bed. Had some crazy dreams that night, but only one worth mentioning. Bruce Lee was giving me lessons on how to do a better impersonation of him. This isn't the first time I've had a dream of him, but the last time was about 5 years ago when I was still studying JKD pretty regularly.

We're about the same size, apparently. But he's much thinner, almost to the point of being only muscle and bones, held together by skin. We didn't hang out for very long, just a few minutes for him to give me pointers on my Cantonese accent. Apparently, that's the part he doesn't like about my impersonation the most. I guess I do more of a caricature than an impersonation. He seemed to appreciate the nuances I brought out, however, and although he didn't exactly say it, I think he was impressed.

And if you were wondering, I thought his Bruce Lee was pretty good, too.