Why Failing Forward Is Good For Your Career

 

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How Drag Race Helped Me Land A Callback

Hello fellow artists! Hope this new blog entry finds you all in great health and spirits.

I wanted to share a funny audition story with you all. I recently had an audition for a national commercial. The casting director and the client were looking to cast physically imposing and threatening guys in this commercial spot. I didn’t turn down the audition when I read the character breakdown. Instead, I took on the challenge (Hey, I’m from Brooklyn. I AM tough.)

When I got to the audition, the room was filled with exactly what I envisioned in my head (guys who were physically imposing and threatening. They were either very muscular or burly) I must have been the skinniest guy in the room and their wild-card casting choice.

The casting director put everyone in groups of five and we received an explanation of the scenario. I totally got it. It made perfect sense. I just now had to channel this inner anger and rage to match the level of the other guys in my group.

I thought about things that could make me channel my inner anger and rage, but nothing seemed to do the trick. These things weren’t hot enough to inspire great acting choices. All I knew was that I had to come up with something fast because my group was up next.

Finally, something popped into my head and I knew that I struck gold because I could feel my blood boiling and my face turning with anger.

What was it??????

It was when Shangela didn’t win “RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars 3” earlier this year. She was robbed! She was clearly the frontrunner after Bendelacreme left the competition. The fact that she didn’t win, LET ALONE NOT EVEN MAKE TOP 2, is the biggest tragedy and farce I’ve seen on “Drag Race”. The biggest mistake this franchise has ever made. How can someone who is so polished, professional, magnificent, who is light years ahead from where they first started, who is a star, lose?!?! It’s criminal and it’s something I still haven’t gotten over.

That’s all I needed to think of when we went inside the audition room and the session runner said, “Action.” I came alive and delivered my product.

Three days later, I got a callback! I ultimately didn’t get the job, but I got a callback. And I was happy with that!

Until next time!

Happy Anniversary Times Two!

Happy AnniversaryHello fellow artists! I’m celebrating two special anniversaries! Actually, I’m a little later on both anniversaries, but I’m acknowledging them now!!

One is that I have been living in LA for 16 years! I landed in LA on August 26th, 2002 and it has been a wonderful journey of discovery, of failing forward, of finding my personal voice, of finding my artistic voice, of building quality friendships, of changing my life, to changing other lives, to inspiring myself, to inspiring others, to leading myself, to leading others.

And the second anniversary that I’m celebrating is that Chasing The George is three years old! Wow! Wow! Wow! I launched my first blog entry on July 10th, 2015 and now my blog is being read all over the world: the United States, Canada, Spain, Ireland, France, Germany, the U.K., the Philippines, etc. It’s truly been a blessing to share Hollywood industry advice and the personal journey I am on to create and carve out the career I want for myself on a weekly basis.

And here is how my blog started (Taken from the “About” section of my blog)

Hey everyone! I created this weekly blog on July 10th, 2015 upon the recommendation of one of my mentors, Richard Lawson. I am a working professional actor and writer who works hard and understands the concept of what it means to have a career. So he advised me to create a blog where I would share my advice, my journey, my stories and interests with other artists. A “Hollywood 101” if you will that reveals and shares the sustained effort, work and fun it takes to have a career in this industry.

“Chasing The George” is a play on the phrase “Chasing The Ambulance”. When an ambulance is in emergency mode, they cut through traffic with intention. Nothing gets in their way. Some people will illegally chase after that ambulance because they too can get to their destination faster. While I don’t condone illegal activity, I do love the concept of chasing a career with that same intention and focus. I am the ambulance. Chasing The George is a reflection of my intention and focus to carve out the career I want in Hollywood.

I hope that my advice, my personal stories, my enthusiasm and my sometimes funny and direct approach will inspire you to carve out your own fabulous and exciting career in Hollywood.

So pull up a seat and welcome to Chasing The George.

ONWARD AND FORWARD!!!!!!!

 

 

Some Of My Favorite Blog Entries

Hello everyone! I wanted to quickly share some of my favorite blog entries of 2018. Here they are! All in one place!

Honor Your Genius: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-Co

I Can’t Act! https://wp.me/p8uI5M-CJ

Table Read Fun! https://wp.me/p8uI5M-CM

My Oscar Speech: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-CU

How I Got An Agent Offer In One Week: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-D0

James Franco Said No To Me: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-D4

How To Make Yourself Valuable: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-Dd

Finding An Agent Is Like Dating: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-Dp

An Ode To Actors: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-Dr

You ARE An Artist! https://wp.me/p8uI5M-E1

How I Wrote A Script In One Hour: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-E6

You ARE An Artist!

Hello everyone! Hope you’re all well!

I was teaching a class recently called the Professional Development Program 1.0. This class is designed to look at the whole of your career. In addition to helping students create a business plan for themselves and teaching them how to audition on camera and having them read industry books, we also require the students to film 10 short films (3 minutes or less) that are each designed to make them stronger artists and individuals.

Recently, my students shot, edited and turned in their first short film. We screened them in class and their first films blew me away. At the end of the screening, I told them: “Give yourselves a round of applause. You are now filmmakers! Congratulations!”

The class applauded, and immediately, I caught one student in the front row do air quotes with his fingers, “Filmmakers”. He said “Filmmakers” and did air quotes with his fingers. And I got all his subtext behind that: “Yeah right”; “sure”; “sure we are”; “if that’s what you say”; etc.) And I was like, “No, you ARE a filmmaker. Claim that. You just turned in a short film. You didn’t have a film to your name last week. And here you are, a week later, with a film that you originated, conceived, wrote, acted in, shot and edited.”

I continued that just because it’s a short film for class, just because it’s a three minute film, doesn’t mean that you’re not a filmmaker. You ARE a filmmaker. You MADE a film. The first step to believing that you are a filmmaker is to believe that you are. Point. Blank. Period. Fuck it, the first step to believing that you are anything is to believe that you are.

I continued by saying that people like Steven Spielberg and James Cameron believed from jump street that they were filmmakers. I added that if you looked at their first films, it probably wasn’t the greatest in terms of production value and what they are able to create now, but I bet you anything that they stood by their films with pride and confidence. You couldn’t tell them anything that they weren’t filmmakers.

When I look back at the films I did when I took the PDP 1.0 class, I claimed that I was a filmmaker. You couldn’t tell me shit. I stood by each film project I did with confidence and pride. Each film came out exactly how I envisioned it in my head. Now, when I look back at these films, I chuckle and cringe sometimes because the sound was off or the lighting was off or some production value was off. However, that being said, I could also see each film getting better and better.

I look at the films I am able to produce today and it is night and day. But the only reason why I am able to produce better films today was because I fucking claimed that I was a filmmaker from the moment I shot my first film project in PDP 1.0 and because I kept getting better and better. I failed forward.

I’m sure Steven Spielberg and James Cameron got better and better with each film they did. I’m sure many artists have gotten better and better with their craft (actors, writers, dancers, painters, authors, photographers, musicians, etc.)

So, claim that you ARE a filmmaker. Or an actor. Or a writer. There’s this fucked up notion in the entertainment business that you aren’t anything unless you get paid for it. Or unless you’ve “made it”. “I’m not an actor unless I’m on a series.” Fuck that. You ARE an actor because you’ve decided that you are one and you’re building a career around that passion and love you have for it. Don’t wait until you’ve “made it” to declare or believe that you are an actor.

The belief starts now. The enjoyment starts now. Because if you don’t believe it now, claim it now, own it now, then you’ll never be happy. You’ll never be satisfied–even when you book the fucking series. You’ll qualify your series booking with some unfounded nonsense.

The student got my point of view and his attitude towards being a filmmaker changed from air quotes “Filmmaker” to “Yes, I am a filmmaker.”

Cause truth be told, if I had let that moment slide by, then 1) His ability to create future projects would suffer and plateau/crash immediately. He would not be able to soar to his greatest potential. 2) His attitude would have infected others to go into agreement with him. Other students–who just one minute ago had a tremendous win and a tremendous sense of pride with their own film projects–would have started questioning themselves and gone into agreement with him: “Yeah, he’s right. We’re ‘filmmakers'”. They would have been air quoting as well.

And the tragedy is that we then lose the future Steven Spielbergs, James Camerons, Ava DuVernays, Patty Jenkins, Ryan Cooglers, Guillermo del Toros, Alejandro G. Iñárritus, Kathryn Bigelows, etc.

And I won’t let that happen.

An Ode To Actors!

According to dictionary.com, the definition of “ode” is:

  1. a lyric poem typically of elaborate or irregular metrical form and expressive of exalted or enthusiastic emotion.

That being said, I hope this provides inspiration!

Dear actors,

For all the times:

*We’ve faced rejection

*We’ve compared ourselves to others in the casting waiting room

*Others have sized us up and compared themselves to us in the casting waiting room

*We’ve dealt with horrendous traffic to get to auditions

*We’ve gotten a flat tire heading to an audition

*We’ve had trouble finding parking

*We’ve gone to the wrong casting office

*We’ve gotten a parking ticket after an audition

*We’ve had 3-4 auditions in one day and have had to do the actor wardrobe change in the car (we are fucking masters at that)

For all the times:

*We’ve gotten so close to getting that part and they went with the other person

*We’ve forgotten our lines

*We’ve been nervous in an audition

*We’ve been nervous on stage

*We’ve been nervous on camera

For all the times:

*We’ve been told to give up our dreams

*We’ve been told to get a real job

*We’ve been told that acting is not a real profession

*We’ve been told that we are not good enough

*We’ve been told that we are not important

*We’ve been invalidated and made to feel less than

*We’ve been shamed to celebrate our journey and wins

For all the times:

*We’ve taken crazy jobs to make ends meet

*We’ve worked more than one day job to make ends meet

*We’ve had pasta for dinner instead of steak

*We’ve endured long periods of time of not auditioning

*We’ve endured long periods of time of not booking jobs

*We’ve received eye rolls or chuckles or silences whenever we tell people we’re actors

*We’ve told people with shame that we are actors

For all the times…know that it’s all worth it. We are so blessed to be actors…to be artists. We are some of the most important, influential, impinging people in the universe. And what we do is so much fun, fun, fun! Hang in there. Keep pushing through. Keep showing up and getting the work done. Keep taking risks and walking through the fire. Don’t give up. The universe needs you.

**I also realized I can do a “For all the times” entry for writers and producers as well!

**Is there anything up there that I’ve left off? Let me know in the comments below!

Finding An Agent Is Like Dating

Hey gang! A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog entry about how I started looking for new representation and that I received an offer in one week. I ended up not signing with that particular talent agency and I have since continued the search for theatrical representation (I received an offer for commercial representation on May 4th and I accepted that offer)

A few days ago in my PDP 3.0 class, I was chosen to do cold stand up comedy. I talked about how searching for an agent is like dating. Listen to my stand up comedy below and find out why! I would also love to read your agent dating stories in the comments section below.