#8 IN A SERIES . . . . . NEW BIG MOVE
EVERY MONTH! Happy New Year. I hope that Santa and/or
Hanukah Harry brought you everything you wanted.
I recently read that more people are murdered on
New Yearís Day than any other day of the year.
And I thought no one really followed through
with their resolutions.
Whatís your resolution? Are you going to
lose some weight so you look better on camera?
Are you going to write a spec script, a screenplay,
a one man show, or 30 new minutes for your act?
2003 is here and itís time to make some improvements.
So what are you going to do? If nothing else,
maybe you too should kill somebody-- like a hack
or a joke thief.
Two things Iíd like to do this year are obtain
my Screen Actorís Guild (SAG) Card and get on
Premium Blend as well as a network TV spot
on a show like Letterman, Conan or Kilborn. Iíve got
my manager, Chris DiPetta, working on getting me on TV
and Iíve been trying to get into the Screen Actorís Guild
(SAG) and obtain my SAG card. I also want to start
paying my bills online and get more organized
but thatís not really comedy related.
There are three ways you can earn a SAG card.
The first way is to simply blow a director.
This method can prove to be both the easiest
and the most difficult, depending on your self-esteem.
Before following through with this, make sure
that you are in fact blowing the director and not
some gopher or grip. Check and then check again.
It would be awful learn that just gave a hummer
to the guy who fetches coffee for the crew.
But perform felatio on the right people and youíd
be surprised at the doors that will open for you--
or so Iíve heard.
The second way to earn a SAG card, which many
feel is almost impossible, is to have a speaking
role in a film, television show or commercial.
After filming the role, you can Taft-Hartley
yourself in. The dilemma here is that unless
you have incredible representation, powerful friends,
or a whole lot of luck, nobody is going to cast you
in a speaking role without your already having a
SAG card. You could be the best actor going,
but you probably wonít even get an audition
without being in SAG. Trust me, youíll have more
success robbing a bank with a ping pong ball gun
than you will landing a speaking role without
already having a SAG card.
The third and final way to get your SAG card
is to work as an extra and hopefully someone
in the Guild wonít show up. You see, as part
of the unionís most recent labor negotiations,
all projects must use a certain number of SAG extras.
If a union extra doesnít show up,
then a non-union person can acquire the higher
paying SAG voucher of the absent extra. This
happens more often than you might think and after
attaining three SAG vouchers, you too can apply
for membership-- so long as you can fork over
the $1100+ membership fee. Just remember,
everyone there is looking for the same vouchers
and donít get too down on yourself if they donít
come quickly. Iíve met some people who got all
three of their vouchers within a month and others
who are still looking for their first after doing
extra work for eight months.
So you say working as an extra is the way
you want to go huh? Well, for those of you who
donít know, working as an extra is like pledging
a fraternity-- without the girls, the beer,
and the camaraderie. It has all the hazing
of hell week crammed into one incredibly tedious day.
Iím certain that the Taliban down at camp X-ray
in Cuba are treated better than I was on several
sets last month. I wonít get into specifics,
but I would sooner cut the tendons behind my knees
with a bread knife and then sit on hot coals
to watch a Murder She Wrote marathon
before Iíd I ever accept extra work on
The Gilmore Girls again. And my new TiVo,
a Christmas gift from my parents, will never ever,
be programmed to record it, so help me God.
I also had a horrendous experience as an extra
on a new Dominoís Pizza commercial. First of all,
the call time was 3:30 AM. Hey, I got into comedy
so I wouldnít have to wake up before ten, what gives?
Arriving at 3:30 AM wouldnít have been so bad
had I known about it more that eight hours ahead
of time, but thatís the other shitty part about
being an extra. You almost never know when you
are going to get called with a job. So I get
the call and have almost no time to sleep.
Since I had no gin in the house, I decided to
down about six Bug Lights in the hopes of
falling asleep earlier than usual. It was either
that or run to Blockbuster and rent a
Yahoo Serious movie.
Not only did I have to arrive at some mall
parking lot in Sherman Oaks at 3:30 AM, but then
I had to put red and blue clown makeup on my face,
dress as a Dominoís driver and then get in a bus
for a two hour ride with 100 strangers up to
the mountains North of Los Angeles-- or so we thought.
It was mountainous yes, but the part of the job
description that was never told to us was that we
were going to be spending thirteen ours on
our feet in a cow pasture. There is nothing worse
than the smell of rotting dung, well except for
a bad guitar act and the rednecks who love them.
It was horrible. Thereís only so long you can
attempt to avoid stepping on cow chips before
you simply give up. At the end of the 13-hour day,
when I earned all of $120, my Nikes looked
and smelled repulsive. They were in such bad shape
that Iím pretty sure the 8 year-olds in Nikeís
Thai sweatshop wouldnít have been able to
recognize their handy work.
Not all of my experience as an extra has been
terrible. A few weeks back I had to shake
Martin Sheenís hand 75 times for a scene on
The West Wing. Martin was surprisingly
friendly and his hair is impeccable. At one point
he asked me if he could get me anything. I was
a little intimidated and simply said no, but
in retrospect, I wish I had told him to make
me a sandwich. "Yeah Marty, get me a turkey
on wheat with mustard. Iíll take a Diet Coke too.
And make it snappy." I probably would have
been fired, but it would have made for a good story.
Iíve also enjoyed my experiences on shows like
Hidden Hills and 7th Heaven
as well as the upcoming Jim Carey feature
Bruce Almighty and Charlieís Angels 2.
Some of you may be wondering how to get
extra work. The first thing you must do is go down
to Central Casting and register. It costs $20
and the registration process, which is only on
Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings can be hectic.
If you plan on going, GET THERE EARLY.
The doors are open for registration from 10:30 AM
until 11:30 AM and by 11:00 AM there are hundreds
of people there. It would be quite beneficial
to get there an hour early-- trust me. There are
so many starving artists there by ten, youíd think
you were on a free cheese line in the former
After registering, you can then call
the Central Hotline in an attempt to book work,
but it is nearly impossible to get through as
thousands of other props with pulses like yourself
are calling in. The number is always busy.
It's like trying to win a radio contest where
the 99th caller gets to be treated like an schmuck
for $54. So the best way to get work is to
hire yourself and extra calling service.
For a fee (usually $55-$70 a month) an extra calling
service will do all the leg work and call you when
there is an opening for a breathing prop
matching your size, sex, and color attributes.
I tried to book myself as an extra and literally
couldnít do it. The moment I signed on with
a firm called Extraís Management for $65 a month,
they had me working every day I was available.
But make sure you tell your firm when you are
unavailable. Because if they book you for a job,
and you donít show up theyíll never book you again
and youíll lose the monthly fee you paid.
Well thatís it from me this month. I hope
you had a Happy Holiday Season and would like to
thank all of you who e-mailed me after my last column.
I have to get going now because I have to get up
early and I donít have any beer or access to
Yahoo Serious films. Iíll just watch
The Anna Nicole Smith Show on E!.
Did that last sentence need a period or is the
exclamation point after the "E" enough?
Microsoft Word seems to think no period is necessary,
but it doesnít realize that the "!"
is part of the logo. Then again, Microsoft
also suggested that "felatio" was
spelled wrong both here and in the fourth paragraph.
Needless to say, computer geeks never get any action,
and wouldnít know felatio if they spent three months
in Vegas. No matter, itís time for bed. Happy New Year,
once again. See you soon.