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.