A glimpse into one actor/writer's life in La-La Land. Part lampoon, part harpoon, all good.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


There are many phrases in the American lexicon that people just don't want to hear. Words that to even etymologists and bibliophiles are metaphorical nails on a chalkboard. Words that one cringes at even the slightest hint of hearing, kind of like how I feel about listening to Celine Deon. Among these unpleasant idioms, I would suspect, are: Dear John; Yes, you look fat in those jeans; and, Contratulations, Mr. & Mrs. So-N-So, it's a boy...I think. Top on my list, right behind, I'm sorry, Naveen Andrews won't take your call, would have to be, Mr. Spielberg won't see you now. This was until recently. On January fourth I heard two words, two little words, that's all they were - but they changed my life. Forever. (If only I had the movie trailer guy, Don LaFontaine, record the blogs-on-tape version of The Chill; that woulda been cool there.) Alas, of what terrible words do I speak? "You're Fired."

I was so stunned, I couldn't believe them at first. I think I actually said, to my boss no less, "What'choo talkin'bout, Willis?" Swear to God. I thought it might be a joke. Or a test. Or anything but really loosing my job. Slowly, though, reality set in, kind of the way food poisoning does: at first you think you're getting nauseous; next, you feel warm and begin to sweat; then you know you're gonna hurl and you run for the nearest bathroom. Luckily, I maintained not only my lunch, but my composure and I was able to discover the reason I was being disabused of having to wake up at five a.m. every day. Apparenlty, the hospital really needs me and really likes me; in fact, they both need and like me so much that administration said to me - me, who works contracturally with them - that I could either do another 13-week contract "or none at all." I had previously gotten permission to take time off for Pilot Season. Though they agreed to my terms before the Hellidays, they quickly changed their tiny brains afterwards. Make sense? Of course not; they're hospital administrators. Want to find a more idiotic group of people than, say, vegetables? Then look no further than the suits that run most hospitals in the country and, I suspect, the world. I've honestly never worked for a more fucked up system.

So, given that slightly strong opinion, I should be happy, right? But after that bombshell dropped, I kind of went into a panic. The way women kind of go into labor. I thought, "Oh, God; I used to help the homeless and now I"m going to be homeless!" I have this tendency to exaggerate things sometimes; you may have noticed. But I really did begin a freak-out worthy of "Desperate Housewives" or some Spanish telenovella. And then, just like when the Grinch's heart grew three sizes, the stress somehow caused my brain to grow. Okay, maybe not grow; but I had a new perspective, an epiphany, if you will. Why else was I in Los Angeles, if not to act and to write? So why should I panic about being given the opportunity to do so full-time for two months? Well, my first answer is, because I have this horrible habit of procrastinating which, by the way, I've nearly perfected. And my second answer is, of course, because it takes MONEY to buy things like shelter and food. But then, as the calm truly set in, I remembered that I saved a little bundle for just this type of situation. I did some quick calcuations and realized I had enough to live for two months without working. Oh, God. I could do it. But should I do it? Would it be responsible of me?

And then I thought about Donald Trump. What would Donald do, I wondered? Even though I still envision his orifice-like mouth on the face of my boss every time imagine the infamous words, "You're fired!" I had to think that Donald would take the risk. He would do it. Not for art or for a dream, of course; but he'd still do it. So my answer now was clear: there was absolutely no other reason for my being here in Hollywood except to write and to act. (Except, okay, maybe to meet Brad and Angelina. Or Kyra Sedgwick. Or Seal.) So, folks, I've joined the ranks of theunemployed (which I prefer to think of as "self-employed") for a while. I've already started taking classes, submitting my headshots, and have met with two casting directors (inlcuding one for the new uber-secret project of the uber-King of reality TV in which I was aksed to tell about one time when I took a big risk; ironic, huh? Well, I actually didn't tell them this story. Instead, I told them how in order to audition for "Law & Order" I had actually left patients waiting in the clinic, kissed the doctor for covering me, and ran to the studios at Chelsea Piers in New York. I arrived sweaty and paranoid I'd be fired. And I got the part. True story.)