Saturday, January 31, 2009

On the road again

Back before technology, I would take these vacations and road trips, often on my own, and that was it. Just me and the road and the experiences. No one there to bounce thoughts and reactions and ideas off of -- it all just percolated inside my head, in an endless loop. 

Those were times of amazing creativity and inspiration. There's something about the isolation that triggers all this mental and emotional energy. I'd write songs, poems, stories, sketches -- all kinds of things in my head. And at night put them to paper. Actual paper, with an actual pen.

Then came cell phones and laptops and e-mail. I remember the first big trip I did in the cell phone era. It wasn't the same. There I was, checking in, reporting my thoughts as they came to me, concluding each day with an oral report. And later on, checking e-mail at the Internet cafes, and keeping up with the news online. It just didn't feel like I was away. Really away.

It was like trying to carry water with a bucket that has a hole in it. Nothing is saved, nothing is contained -- it all just goes pouring out -- out into the ether. Into nothingness.

Nevertheless, I'm taking the laptop to Mexico, where I can check the e-mail and the message boards and the Facebook, and do status updates and download photos and create slideshows and keep up with the news, etc. It's ridiculous -- I'll have my laptop and its power cord, and the digital camera and its USB cable and its spare battery and battery charger and the iPod and its charging cord and the cell phone and its charger and ... ridiculous indeed.

I'm going to try, really try to keep away from the computer, to use it in moderation, and actually read some books, like 1491 and Born Standing Up and The Road (yeah, I know, nice beach reading there) and maybe some Sedaris. And maybe, just maybe, feel again like I really, really am truly AWAY. Away like you felt in the Olden Times. 

Friday, January 30, 2009

Sign-o-the-times

I keep studying my audition activity like it's a barometer for the economy. The new year started out with a bang -- four auditions in the first full week. Nothing spectacular -- no union jobs or huge paydays -- but good, semi-decent work. None of which I got.

Then ... zilch for two weeks. Zero. All for a grand total of six for the month. Today I thought I was at a callback because it was the same retailer I auditioned for on Monday. Turns out it wasn't a callback but a whole other audition for a whole other set of commercials. So that's a good sign, right? Who says retail is in the toilet? Sure, the commercials pay next to nothing, but at least it's something, right?

So they're running behind and I open up the paper and there on the front page of the business section is an article about this very company I'm auditioning for. They're laying off a thousand-plus employees. Ouch. Which is why, I suppose, they can barely afford to pay their actors.

It's really scary out there.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Shake and bake

So this week I did something I never thought I'd do. Something that goes against everything I believe in when it comes to health and basic common sense. And that something is ... indoor tanning.

Really. I'm going to Mexico next week and I didn't want to be a total slave to the SPF 45 and the beach umbrella and the heavy robe and helmet and space goggles. So I found this tanning place that, at least according to yelp, is clean, professionally staffed and as conscientiously run as such a thing can be. And the experience has borne out my choice. 

The choice of places, that is. Not necessarily the choice to tan. But I've gone on three visits, with two to go. We've got some really moderate goals. The first day I was on the bed for just 5 minutes. And today was 7. I'm not burning, which is good. And I have no intention of keeping it up after next week, due to the obvious health consequences.

At the same time, though, I have to say it's making me feel pretty good. In a couple of ways. One is probably just psychological, or just the good feeling of being truly warm for a few minutes. Or just maybe, as the tanning guy says, it has something to do with the Vitamin D. But I don't know if you can get that from the artificial rays.

No, what's really making me feel better is, the sun is actually good for my skin -- or my kind of skin. That's an actual medical fact and I do always feel better in the summer. And this is working the same magic. Again, it's the old trade-off -- short-term relief from near-intolerable discomfort in exchange for long-term, possibly debilitating health consequences. 

Such a deal!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Me TV

One of my resolutions for the new year has been to hunt down video of myself, collect it all in once place, physically and digitally, and maybe put together a reel.

So here is the bank spot that ran here throughout the fall.



It hasn't been on much, if at all, lately. In fact last time I was at my agent's I learned something important about residual checks. Over the course of the fall the checks got bigger and bigger, meaning they were running it more and more. Then in December it seemed to be total saturation coverage. So I was expecting a big fat check come January. Turns out they pay in advance. They have the buys scheduled and calculate the residual that way. So January's check was just a little one.

Hopefully they will put it back in rotation sometime this year. I believe they've got the rights to it for one or two years.

Anyway, it's nice to finally have a copy of my own. It's a shame what YouTube does to the quality -- it was actually very nicely shot. My original shows that, anyway.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Sound of Silence

This happens often, so I shouldn't let it concern me. But it still does, even after all these years.

You work with a client, often in an intense process of back and forth, getting to know them, to understand them as an organization -- their goals, their culture -- and you develop something that you believe accurately captures their true "voice" and deliver it, on time (or even early), and your instinct is that it's probably very close to the mark, closer than they had any reason to expect and ... silencio!

In which case, they're either completely bowled over ... or stunned at how badly you missed and awed at the prospect of how much more work it will take to get it right. Nine times out of ten it's the former -- hell, more like 99 times out of 100. Yet still, the non-response puts thoughts in your head. Thoughts that don't belong there. Even though their comments aren't even due for another day.

Oh, well. We shall see, I suppose. Only thing I can do (other than a gentle pestering e-mail) is turn my attention to the next thing -- an ad campaign about bankruptcy. Good times!

Monday, January 26, 2009

My Worst Skinemy

That's going to be the name of one of the scenes of in my heartbreaking One Man Show. Or perhaps a chapter in my long-awaited memoir. It's more of an audio pun, I suppose -- the "skin-o-me" is my enemy. Skinemy. Yeah, needs more work.

Anyway, I don't mind the snow in Chicago. I freakin' love snow. I never get tired of it. (Secret: really good, waterproof boots.) We've had one of the snowiest winters on record (so far) and I still want more, and I still get excited every time the flakes come down.

I don't even mind the cold so much, now that I've learned the secret there. Tights. Or thermals. I guess that's more manly. But I keep those on anytime the temps fall below freezing. And fleece. Lots and lots of layers of fleece. You wear thermals on top and bottom, maybe some flannel-lined pants, t-shirt, wool sweater, fleece vest or fleece hoodie, wool coat, gloves, gator, scarf, ear thing, and there you go.

So all of that is fine. What kills me, though, is the desert-like dryness. I grew up in the mid-Atlantic, so I am used to humidity, even in the winter. When people say it's muggy here in the summer, they've clearly never been to DC or Florida or New Orleans. Even in the winter, with the ocean, it's pretty moist there.

Here it's like a kiln. And it dries and cooks and hardens my skin, severely aggravating my already-intense allergies and sensitivities. It's been even worse this winter because last year we started further tapering the deadly medications I take to control these issues, which was tremendous progress. But now I think I'm going to have to backtrack. My face and eyes have absolutely been on fire the past few weeks and yesterday I felt like a damned invalid. 

But I guess the good thing about getting older is, choosing short-term comfort over long-term health becomes less and less of an issue -- you know, since the long-term gets shorter every day.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Everyone's out playing but me

I was asked a while back to be in a show -- actually offered the role without auditioning, which is the way it should go.

After a lot of consideration I had to turn it down. The role was right up my alley and the script was fun and the people I've worked with now a couple of times. So it would have been a blast for sure.

But these being perilous times, I felt I should concentrate this winter on the paid side of my work. Marketing my business and networking and all of that and also doing the commercial stuff without fear of scheduling conflicts from rehearsals and performances, which have occasionally prevented me from taking (or pursuing) paid gigs.

So that's where I am. It was the right decision, and I'm getting stuff done -- getting out there, getting on peoples' radar, etc. Commercial auditions, strangely, have dried up since that first great week, but I'm expecting Obama to turn all that around within days. It might also be that I'm not being sent on things that shoot during the week I'm gone.

Anyway, I think they started rehearsals the other day, and I do miss the people, and having somewhere to be several nights a week, the physical doing of stuff and all the laughs. From a physical standpoint I'm upping my gym routine to 8 workouts a week from 7. From an entertainment standpoint ... well, I'm glad to be able to see The Office and 30 Rock and take in the occasional evening movie.

From a boozing standpoint, though, I will definitely have to find an outlet.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Mr. President


I've had three months and I still can't used to it. President Obama. Lots of broadcasters were having trouble with it today, too.

I came late to the Obama train, but I remember it fairly well. When eleventy-hundred Dems were all vying for the nomination, I was a bit indifferent. Not to them but to the process. Being in a late primary state meant -- as a voter at least -- I'd have little chance to weigh in on the outcome.

By the time the field started narrowing I thought I'd be fine with either Hillary or Obama. But I was majorly concerned that neither was electable. Then, a little over a year ago, I made up my mind. Some of the Hillary campaign's tactics were really bugging me, so my support for her was gradually eroding. I still thought she was the more electable one. And I also knew she was tough. She and Bill -- anybody who counts a Clinton out is a fool. (And the political landscape is littered with them. I can't for the life of me remember the name of that little dork she stomped in her Senate race.)

But then it finally came to me. Screw electability. Obama's my guy. I would rather go down in flames, lose by 20 points, even risk letting the Republicans have the White House for another four years -- I would rather all that happen than support another Democrat through gritted teeth. 

I thought Obama was the best candidate, the best person, and the very best, yes, I'll say it, HOPE this country had for real change. A candidate I could support wholeheartedly. For me, it was "roll the dice" time.

Turns out it was a pretty smart bet, even if a little late. And now, with our long national nightmare over, it's time to get to work!

(For posterity's sake, I wish they would have just done a re-take with the swearing-in. Damned Alito -- get off-book, man, or use the script!)

Monday, January 19, 2009

How to not get cast in theater

First step: don't audition! Applying a ruthless efficiency to last Thursday's Performink postings, here was my process:
  • Casting for spring production ... looking for men, women and children -- whoa. Who said to never act with children or animals? Besides, it's Children's Theater. Not that there's anything wrong with that it's a completely legitimate and respectable form. It's just not for me. Or more, the stories and characters I find are not for me. And it's not because of the restraining order, I swear.
  • Seeking college-aged characters -- they would probably look at me and say I'm too old to pull this off. I can't deal that kind of close-mindedness.
  • Four unpaid roles ... Three males 20s-30s, one female 20s-30s -- another easy one. UNPAID? How dare they?
  • Montana Shakespeare in the Parks auditions for summer -- I've heard very, very good things about this program. But I can't go to Montana for the summer. Wish I could. On the other hand, I don't usually audition for classical stuff -- I think I look too contempo.
  • Seeking non-union performers (actors, dancers, puppeteers, etc.) to create and perform an abstract play of dynamics in space and time for our upcoming festival of object-based theater. The fact that I don't know what half of this means probably means I'm unsuited for it. Actually, I've done some movement stuff before and rather enjoyed it once I loosened my ass up. So if nothing else it was a great experience from a personal growth/therapeutic standpoint. But there are SO many people so much better at this than I. And more into it. Plus puppets kinda scare me.
  • Auditions for THE FANTASTICKS ... dinner-theatre -- oh wow. My singing is exceeded in mediocrity only by my dancing. And no one wants to watch me act while they eat.
  • Open auditions in Edison Park -- oh, sorry. I don't have car. Yes, I know some suburbs are closer than some far north side locations, and I can always get a ride from castmates, but ... I've never been one to rely on the kindness of strangers. Or friends for that matter.
  • Auditions in North Riverside -- nix!
  • This one has everything. Location: Janesville, WI.  Show: GUYS AND DOLLS. Requirements: Be prepared to dance. Unless I'm dancing to "Hey Ya" or "Jenny 867-5309," it ain't gonna happen.
  • Another trifecta: dinner theatre ... Milwaukee ... role is for a male who can play 50 (will consider younger actors if you feel you can be aged with makeup) -- Me? 50? I'm afraid there's not enough makeup to pull that off. *cough*
  • Music Theatre (nope) ... seeking ethnically diverse singer/actors (I could pull off singer/dancer sooner than I could pass for ethnically diverse) ... prepare two songs and bring sheet music in the proper key -- no fake books (what in hell is a 'fake book?') Doesn't matter -- I don't even have a real book. And unless they're ready to hear "Ring of Fire" and the Rolling Stones' "Dead Flowers," both in the key of "low," I don't think I'm the one for them.
  • Auditions in Palatine -- nuh-uh.
  • Actress, age forty-five and up, needed to play supporting role -- supporting role? Sorry, no. The rest is fine.
  • Open Call Auditions, Golf Road, Des Plaines -- what is with all the suburban offerings? My minimal carbon footprint won't permit it.
That was easy!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

WinterTime


Lakeside, Near Diversey

With the sun out and the temperature finally up in the double digits, I thought it was high time to take the new camera for a spin along the lake.

Sadly, all the pack ice that just a day or so ago filled the water from the shore to the horizon was mostly blown out by a west wind. But it was still beautiful out there. And I got to practice the camera's various functions -- optical zoom, digital zoom, "snow" mode, macro. I even made some videos of the waves and some zoo animals. 

And outside the zoo, too. This guy is going, "Acorn shortage? What acorn shortage. This one's right where I left it!"


On closer inspection, that may just be a piece of mulch. Sorry, squirrel.

Now if I could just get the water running to the kitchen again! At least for a day or two, so I can run the dishwasher before the next big freeze ...

Friday, January 16, 2009

PS

Quick followup to yesterday. I remember when I got signed by that agent, the reaction of a couple of actor friends was kind of funny. They'd say congratulations, then pause and you could see the wheels turning as they look at you, then ask, "Who'd you talk to there?" or "How do you submit -- by mail?"

It was like they were thinking, "Well, they signed this putz, they should sign me for chrissakes -- I've been doing this since I was a kid." Or perhaps more likely it was something along the lines of, in typical actorish self-flagellation mode, "Crap. I suck. Why don't I have an agent? I should have an agent. But I never submitted because I never got around to it, and it's so much work and I'm so busy, but maybe it's not that big a deal after all. Maybe I just need to get off my ass and do it. After all, this putz did -- how hard could it be?"

One of them did go in and get signed. Another one did not, but I think his headshot was a xerox of a polaroid of a cocktail-napkin sketch. So that probably had something to do with it. 

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ticket to ride

Every once in a while, on a certain local message board for actor types, you come across a post along these lines: "Hey, I'm low on cash and have been thinking I should get into commercial work. Anyone have a list of agents?"

They probably don't quite mean it that way. I mean, they probably don't have any idea. I guess few of us do.

I remember when I first started dipping the proverbial toe in the on-camera world. I was in just my first theater production, after taking classes and doing improv and sketch for about a year-and-a-half. I asked a couple of my castmates about it and they totally encouraged me to check it out. They said I'd have no problem getting an agent.

So this good acting friend, Shawna, takes me under her wing, shares her advice and her agent list, I send out 17 headshots and, surprise, surprise, get invited in and eventually signed by 7 of them. One of them, especially, was known as a particularly good agent to be with. I went in, expecting little, wore my basic black pants/french blue shirt audition outfit, read some copy, and -- boom -- they signed me!

I remember walking out of there -- hell, floating out of there. I called one of my best friends, got her voicemail, spoke a mile-a-minute. I forget what all I said, but I do remember my closing words: "I'm on my way!"

So yeah. You think, "All I need is an agent -- that's the hard part. Once I've got that, the ticket to fame and success is quick and inevitable." But, of course, it's not like that. You go through dozens, scores of auditions where (only later) you realize you had no idea what you were doing. A couple of years of flailing, up and down, riding the mysterious cycles, developing relationships, winnowing down to a couple of key agents. Until you finally get to a place where ... you're in position to make a little extra money. Not nearly enough to live on, of course, but something.

And then you divide it out by all the hours spent in hundreds of auditions, plus travel and you realize -- you could have done better making coffee at Starbucks. Not quite as much excitement sure. But that's what I'd probably tell one of these people who asks about getting an agent. Unless you're very, very good, or very, very lucky (or very, very good looking), becoming a barista might be a better ticket.

Still, I wouldn't change anything. It's been a great ride.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

0 for 4?

Man, it doesn't seem I got any of the four jobs I auditioned for last week. And none scheduled for this week, though I suppose there's always Friday.

At one of the auditions I ran into a bunch of people I know, and one guy was saying what a slow December it was, but how things picked up suddenly last week. He said he normally books 1 out of 10, but then if he doesn't get a shot at those 10 he doesn't get the 1. Makes sense.

My percentages are around that, though it's hard to always see it that way. I might go 6 or 8 weeks without booking anything, then book several in a row. And sometimes gigs come from out of the blue, with no audition at all. 

It's best just to always be auditioning, with no gaps, so you're too busy to even notice what you're getting and what you're not getting.
 

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Changes

So this informal business partner of mine, who I've been working with for a few years now on some really great projects -- actually, some of the best, most creative stuff I've done -- has taken a so-called "real" job. It was kind of stunning news. And maybe just one more indication of how frightening this economic meltdown is, if someone who's been independent for as long as he has is going back to the corporate world.

On the bright side, the job he took was with our biggest client. So I would expect there would be some opportunity for me there. A lot of opportunity, I would imagine. Still, it's kind of unsettling.

And it's interesting that this news should come in the midst of my own sort of testing the corporate waters. I've been thinking about it for a long time. A couple of years ago I was investigating it, actually, but then I got very, very busy. And I didn't have my heart quite in it.

But lately I've been reaching out to people, getting my stuff together, assessing the market and what kinds of opportunities are out there. It took a long time for me to get to this place, but I think that's actually the biggest hurdle to get over. Not finding something, which I'm not really desperate to do, but actually acknowledging to myself that I could be comfortable with, and even embrace, what would be a radical change to my life and lifestyle.

Including, ominously, the daily wearing of pants.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

C'est Arrive!

New camera, as viewed from camera phone

Finalement!

I love it. Though I fear it's almost too small. Like my nano, which is so light I can barely feel it in my hand or find the controls.

I don't have too many gadgets and gizmos. My TV is circa 1995 and weighs 150 lbs. I don't have Tivo. My VCR barely works since the cable box was installed. My phone is just a tired old gray razr. My clock radio is just a clock and a radio -- it doesn't play CDs or iTunes or give the weather report. It does have snooze. That's about it.

So it's nice to have just one thing -- okay, a couple of things -- that are shiny and new. Especially something I know I will get tons and tons of use out of.

The trickle-in theory

It turns out I got my Christmas wish, after all! A digital camera to call my own!

Well, once I actually get it it will be my own. It's arriving in four shipments. A few days ago I got the spare battery. A couple of days later I got the case. And I suppose the 4 GB memory card will arrive well before the actual camera does.

When it finally does come, what a treat it will be, luxuriating in EIGHT whole megapixels of resolution -- the deep end of the pool! Which is a full 6.2 times the megapixels that my camera phone has. And to load photos directly to my computer or even printer instead of texting them to my e-mail -- that'll be a whole new level of convenience.

It's not the most advanced camera on earth, but I found I can do a lot with a little. Before the camera phone, I was using a little compact FILM camera, which I came to prefer over dragging around the big old clunky and expensive SLR. Anyway, I always managed to get good pictures.

So it's small, it's pretty, and most of all, it's blue. I believe I will name it ... Bluey.

Friday, January 09, 2009

A good start

After a slow December, I had four commercial auditions this week, which is a nice way to start the new year. And they all went pretty well. No farmers, lumberjacks, firefighters or longshoremen. Just a daytrader, an insurance agent, a wedding guest and a spokesman.

This morning's was particularly interesting. The clients were attending and one of them came out and said hi and called me by name. He said I was in their campaign last year, which I have no recollection of doing! I went back and looked through my records and can't figure out when I did it, though there are a couple of possibilities. Sometimes it's not at all clear who you're doing a job for. And companies and their products can go by various names -- not to mention all the other parties involved (ad agencies, production companies, studios, etc).

So then I thought, duh, google it. And there I am right on the home page of their website! And yes, my glasses are pulled down on my nose kinda funnily -- I think they wanted them to look like "readers." That does ring a slight bell with me. But that is a good sign, I suppose -- if I was so busy last year that I can't keep all this straight.

Crazy. So I'm guessing even though the guy was really glad to see me and liked my look, they probably wouldn't want to use me again so soon. On the other hand, they're doing both print and video, so who knows?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Homely for the holidays

I finally got a copy of one of my recent commercials. I'm more interested in getting hold of the bank spot, but this is a start. (Strange that blogger cuts off the right-hand side. Oh well.)



Over on the Facebook, a couple of people have commented on my maniacal knife sharpening. I swear I sharpened that thing for two hours just for that one shot. Which probably helped the turkey carving go so smoothly.

Another eagle-eyed observer noted that the wedding ring is on my right hand. Turns out it was near impossible, without looking like a total spaz, to position my left hand during the carving so that the ring would face the camera. And the angle was already established from previous shots. So we went Euro style. 

Amazing that it took 10 hours to get these 30 seconds.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Gigs I didn't get

Last night I saw three commercials I auditioned for but didn't get.

One's been running for some time. It's a cell phone spot where dad signs everyone up for a family plan, but then has to deal with his daughter's wanting to use it to stay in touch with her creepy boyfriend. The guy they picked is good -- after explaining the "No Derek clause" in the contract, he ad-libs, "Sorry, dude." Which doesn't sound that original or funny here, but works really well in the spot.

Of course, he looks like he could be a Dad. As the manicurist/receptionist where I get my hair cut said, in reference to my holiday commercial, I don't look like someone who'd have a wife and kids. Which I took to mean I look too young and hip, not too gay. 

The second one runs on cable, mostly later at night. It's for a line of KY products. A couple is on the bed explaining how this one makes him feel great and this one does amazing things for her and then we see them afterwards all rumpled and satisfied. That would have been funny to get. And a little embarrassing. 

And the third one was one I really, really wanted. A nice national spot for a well-known insurance company that features a beloved lizard as its spokesmascot. The role was CEO, explaining to the little guy that he needed an image upgrade and presenting him with this tiny suit of clothes on a hanger. I ad-libbed stuff like, "Go ahead, touch it -- it's an Armani" and "You can be my mini-me."

So a reliable source who also saw it asked, "Were you going for CEO of a fashion line or an art studio instead of an insurance company?" Point taken. I've had some success in other auditions ad-libbing, but I have to keep in mind to make sure the things I ad-lib are compatible with the character.

On the other hand, the guy they chose is balding, in his '60s, etc. Much different than me. So that's probably what they were going for in the first place.  And I guess simply being myself, or close to myself, is likely still the better strategy.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Integrity: now on sale!

I did a gig last year where I worked directly with a production company, outside my agency relationships. All perfectly legal and ethical, of course, just not very smart always, since you've got no one looking out for you (or tangentially looking out for you by way of looking out for their interests). 

In any case, things were a little vague and I didn't do all my homework, so I blame myself. Basically, they got me very, very cheaply. So I vowed to never work with them again! *Throws guantlet*

That, of course, was before the economic meltdown, where things like principles and integrity may just be impractical luxuries I can't afford. Like the iPhone. Plus, this particular opportunity pays very well. Maybe a little too well. So if it turns into anything, I pledge to go in with eyes and ears wide open. And then take the money and run.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Vacation!


I've been to lots of places. 44 states. All over Western Europe, some of Central Europe, much of Canada. One place I haven't been, of all places, is Mexico. Even though I lived three years in south Texas.

But in exactly one month I'm going to remedy that. Never mind the drug violence, the beheadings and the kidnappings (they're apparently no longer just for the rich anymore -- or the natives!) The tourist area we're going to is relatively peaceful at this point. (Come se dice, "knock on wood?")

And never mind the economic apocalypse. For now I'm going to treat it like a bee at a picnic -- stay calm and pretend it's not there.

And it will undoubtedly coincide with an opportunity for a big national commercial.

Still, I'm going. This will be a real vacation -- one where I won't need to take another vacation to rest up from. One where I won't be staying in a different place every night. Or traveling 400-500 miles a day. This will be just four short days, filled with nothing but beach, pool and all the all-inclusive food and drink I can stuff down my gullet.

Arriba!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Best year ever?

It doesn't necessarily feel like it, but the numbers don't lie, I suppose.

In 2008, I had 103 commercial auditions, topping last year's 86 (which was a very good year and doubled the number of auditions I'd had in each of the past three years).

From those, I had 15 commercial bookings (4 commercials, 7 print, 4 industrials). That total had been stuck around 11 a year since I've been doing this.

And down to brass tax, I made more money this year from commercial work than I have in the five years I've been doing it. More money both in total, eclipsing my previous best by a full 20%, and as a percentage of total income. It's still not close enough to live on, but it's a respectable supplement.

Most importantly, I've gotten some good quality work -- SAG work, the rewards for which should extend into the new year.

I met 3 of my 5 goals for the year -- choosier with the theater opportunities (I only did 3 shows!), better quality commercial work and another great summer. The other two relate to writing, which I didn't keep up with. Another big accomplishment that has been nagging at me for a couple of years and promised to be such an ordeal that I didn't even bother to make it a goal was to revamp the website.

So I'm feeling pretty good about the year. I have no idea what the year ahead will hold, but I'm working on some major changes. We'll just see how that goes.