Saturday, January 22, 2011

Showdown in LaPorte

Yesterday morning I gave the book a quick final look-through, sent it off to the editors and, with this huge weight lifted off my shoulders, got into my zipcar and headed to Indiana for the industrial shoot.

Normally I hate the thought of a long trip to a booking -- I can't stand being stuck in traffic. It just feels like an enormous waste of time. For some reason, though, I'm not minding having to go to Indiana. It just doesn't seem as perilous going in that direction.

When you're going up to Milwaukee or Guernee or places like that, you have to get on the damned Edens, which is almost always jammed and there's just about no way around it that's much better.

So I cruise down the Skyway and even the lake effect snow isn't giving me that much trouble. It just feels more wide open that way. More choices, more scenery. I went almost all the way around the bottom of the lake to a place just south of Michigan City.

Anyway, I'm wondering, as I usually do, how this gig will turn out. And I'm thinking, Indiana, what kind of quality am I gonna get here? What kind of tripe am I doing to have to perform?

But the company and its work is interesting and the agency people are smart and the script is actually pretty damned good. They're trying to do something different, something that will stand out. It's exactly the kind of thing I'd recommend in my book.

Of course, at the same time they're looking at me and wondering if this jackass can pull this off. Like so many of my jobs lately, I'm booked straight off my headshot. Maybe they went online and got a look at my reel, but they're pretty much taking a flyer on me.

So they spend a lot of time explaining the script, and the meaning behind the words, and showcasing the company's products -- all of which is great. But they even tell me to, you know, picture the things I'm talking about in my mind as I'm saying them. Okay, that's like the first thing they teach you in acting school.

There's real concern or maybe anxiety in their eyes because they know that all of their hopes for this project's success now live or die on the ability of these six actors to express their words the way they imagine it in their heads. And hell, they're probably imagining Michael Douglas and Johnny Depp and Julianne Moore.

So finally, finally, I get to actually do the lines and, boom, you can see the relief wash over them. Oh yeah, this guy can act like a real human being.

That's what makes this fun every time. Being able to deliver -- to truly meet and even exceed expectations. To please the client.

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