Spending My Summer With Ryan Murphy et al

Hello gang! I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer.

On June 15th, I met with a mentor of mine for coffee in the Hollywood Hills. As countless luxury cars pulled in and out of the parking lot, I told him that I needed some help and direction in the TV literary world. He’s a literary manager and also a fellow Vassar graduate. I’ve known him (and his wife) for several years now. I’ve been to a few events they’ve hosted from Christmas gift-wrapping parties for needy families to casserole parties to a writers retreat at the Sturtevant Camp in Sierra Madre, CA.

I told him that I needed to navigate the TV literary world with more focus and clarity because I was a little bit all over the place. I also asked him about how to obtain a literary manager. We spoke for a while and he gave me a lot of homework to execute that would help me get more focused in this area, more focused on which literary managers would be best for my writing voice and to discover opportunities for minority writers such as myself.

After taking pages of notes, I was excited to tackle the homework he gave me. One of the homework assignments was to identify 25 TV shows/movies that I would have killed to work on as a writer. He told me to create a spreadsheet and to include different columns of information for this homework assignment.

Side note: At the time of our meeting, I could only identify two TV shows that I would have killed to work on as a writer LOL.

After our meeting, I immediately got to work. I started watching lots of TV shows and movies to find my voice in them. Does this TV show or movie sound like my voice? Does this TV show or movie sound like what I’m interested in writing? I would watch at least two episodes of each TV show to see if I would add it to the list or not. I typed in specific genres that I was interested in. I looked at recommendations from Netflix, Hulu and IMDB (i.e. if you liked “Black Mirror”, then check out….) Next thing I knew, my list of shows started to grow.

When my list grew to 15 shows, I hit a wall. I was like, “There is no way I’m going to find 25 TV shows/movies.” I emailed my mentor and asked, “Is 25 a hard number? Or can I have less than that?” I asked him this question knowing fully well what his answer would be. I knew that 25 was a hard number. And that he gave me 25 TV shows/movies to push myself, to explore and to think outside of the box. He emailed me back and he confirmed everything I already knew. So, I recommitted to hitting the magic number of 25. And I’m glad I did because I didn’t want to take any shortcuts. I wanted to fully comply.

On July 27th, I hit the magic number! When I found my 25th show, I cheered! I was so happy and ecstatic. It took me almost a month and a half, but I got to spend my summer with Ryan Murphy, Ava DuVernay, Steven Canals, Tanya Saracho, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Ryan O’Connell and so many other amazing creators!

I discovered/reconfirmed a few things in this assignment:

*I am interested in the following areas for TV: urban dramedies; stand alone sci-fi episodes; comedies where the lead character is truly an outcast.

*My writing heart resonates with half hour TV shows.

*When it came to identifying movies, urban dramas made the list. Although, I also love comedic apocalyptic films like Shaun of the Dead and The World’s End (both written by Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg)

*ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE! When I saw the amount of creativity in each show, the storylines, the kind of different/dynamic leading characters, etc., I realized that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE! There is an audience out there for any show and storyline. There is no way that my own TV series can’t be picked up. All of the shows I watched (whether they made the list or not) reconfirmed that my series has a place on TV. No one can ever tell me that there isn’t an audience for my work after seeing all of the TV shows and movies I’ve seen.

So, ladies and gentleman, here are the 25 TV shows and movies that I would have killed to work on as a writer because they resonate with my writing voice. In no particular order:

  1. Pose
  2. Black Mirror
  3. Pen15
  4. Room 104
  5. Electric Dreams
  6. Weird City
  7. The Twilight Zone (the reboot)
  8. Special
  9. Bonding
  10. Shrill
  11. Difficult People
  12. Schitt’s Creek
  13. Ramy
  14. Barry
  15. Atlanta
  16. Fleabag
  17. Vida
  18. When They See Us
  19. Tales of the City (the reboot)
  20. Looking
  21. Moonlight
  22. Gun Hill Road
  23. Quinceanera
  24. Roxanne, Roxanne
  25. Culture Shock (part of the Into The Dark series on Hulu)
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Happy Anniversary!

On July 10th, 2015, I launched my weekly blog, Chasing The George! Happy 4th Anniversary! Wow, what a journey it has been! And I feel like my intention and mission has always remained the same:

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.

Thank you to everyone worldwide who has read my blog and who continues to read my blog. I love and appreciate your support!

There are so many more exciting things coming up! I am a working artist who is living the life of a working artist. My wins continue to expand and grow every year. My journey continues to expand and grow every year. My knowledge continues to expand and grow every year. I love being an artist and I will continue being an artist.

Below the picture, I wanted to re-share some of the blog posts from 2019.

Happy 4th Anniversary with fireworks and star

Is This Thing On?????? https://wp.me/p8uI5M-Fk

Are You A Pain In The Ass? https://wp.me/p8uI5M-Fq

Part 2: Are You A Pain In The Ass? https://wp.me/p8uI5M-Fs

Another Day, Another Pilot Written: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-FD

How To Break Up With Your Agent: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-FI

Table Read Adventures: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-FP

How I Booked A National Commercial By Crying: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-FT

How I Did 30 Auditions In 30 Days: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-FW

Where You At?! https://wp.me/p8uI5M-G1

Celebrate! Then Keep It Moving! https://wp.me/p8uI5M-G6

Celebrate! Then Keep It Moving!

Celebration is a vital part of the journey. Celebration marks the journey. Celebration acknowledges the work you’ve done to achieve a win, a moment, a milestone.

I had a wonderful, blessed past week of artistic wins. I was able to share them with everyone in my universe and beyond. I was able to enjoy the inflow that resulted from my outflow. And I was grateful to understand that my wins are a collective. My wins are connected to my friends, peers, colleagues, teachers, classmates, etc. who have helped me get to where I am today.

I want to recap my wins for the past seven days below and how I celebrated. And now that I have celebrated, it is time to move forward with the next step of career administration. I have celebrated, and now it is time to get back in and administrate the next steps for my career.

Here are my wins from the past week and also my celebration of those wins:

**The Doppelganger, a film I wrote, executive produced and co-starred in will play at the AMC Theater this July in Manhattan as part of the Dominican International Film Festival. More film festivals to come!

**A feature film that I am in, Zombie TV, has finally received DISTRIBUTION! It’s a spoof on zombies and reality television. 8 contestants are locked in a house with zombies. The sole survivor at the end of the night wins one million dollars. Does my character win????? Stay tuned!

**I submitted a self-tape monologue to Twinkie Byrd’s Flip The Script monologue competition. The competition was in conjunction with NBC. Out of the 1,200 submissions received, she sent 64 auditions over to NBC. I was one of the 64!

**I was on the set of the SAG web series, The Rejects, playing the role of Kenny. So much fun!

**I had two commercial auditions!

**I had a wonderful meeting with a fellow Vassar graduate about the literary agent world and they gave me so much homework to do!

**I am finishing up my tweaks on the three episodes, the series bible and the season one chart for me new TV series.

I am an artistic warrior!

And here is how I celebrated:

I bought Madonna’s new album, Madame X, on vinyl. (By the way, fun fact: Madonna earned a #1 album with Madame X on the Billboard 200 albums chart and a #1 song, Medellin, on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs chart today. She extends her record as the artist with the most #1’s at every Billboard chart combined, with 163 number ones!!!!!!!!!!)

Here’s a video montage of my wins from the past week:

 

And here is how I celebrated:

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Part 2: Are You A Pain In The Ass?

Hello my fabulous artists! My last blog entry, “Are You A Pain In The Ass?”, was quick and to the point. Here is the link to that entry: https://wp.me/p8uI5M-Fq

And a few people reached out to me to expand on what I meant by being a pain in the ass. So, here is a short list that reflects sentiments collected from casting directors, producers, teachers, stage managers and assistant directors. This list is not exhaustive. I’m sure there are more.

Below are things that will make people not want to work with you:

**You have a bad attitude (So you’re not directable or teachable and then some)

**You know everything already (So you’re not directable or teachable and then some)

**You are non-compliant with assignments or with direction that is given to you (So you’re not directable or teachable and then some)

**You have a bad attitude (So you’re not directable or teachable and then some)

**You arrive late to a meeting, to an audition, to class, etc. and don’t communicate about it

**You talk down to people because of their gender, their ethnicity, their “lack” of credits, their “lack” of experience

**You complain and complain and complain, yet come up with no solution to be at cause

**You have a bad attitude (So you’re not directable or teachable and then some)

**You make other people’s job exponentially harder

**You are entitled and feel that everything should be handed to you

Get the picture?

I share this because I want artists to WIN. Artists are powerful. We have the ability to create change faster than any other profession. We have a responsibility to our calling as artists. Don’t treat this responsibility lightly.

So please: DON’T BE A PAIN IN THE ASS! It will cost you in the industry!

Is This Thing On??????

And we’re back!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here’s to a great 2019!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Let’s get right to it, shall we?

I was at a commercial audition recently and we were all put together into groups of four. And as you may or may not know, first impressions are everything when you walk into an audition room. Hell, first impressions are everything when you walk into ANY room (the bank, the grocery store, etc.) How you walk into a room is everything.

In the case of audition rooms, the casting directors immediately get a sense of who you are as a PERSON when you walk in. Is this person’s attitude light and fun? Or is their attitude dark and hostile? Is this someone I want to hire and work with on set? Your life force coming into a room is vital because the people in the room either like you immediately or they don’t. I have been a reader for casting directors. I have cast my own projects. I know the power of life force. You know immediately if you like someone or not just by them walking into the room. It’s ENERGY.

So, I say all of this because whenever I walk into an audition room, I am coming in with life force and I maintain that life force throughout the entire audition. I walk in with certainty. I am interested in the people in the room. I am present. I am aware that there is a camera in the room and that it may already be on. That camera may already be live and streaming into the office next door or into the office in another city. They already may be watching you. Or, the camera may be off and then it comes on right before they ask you to slate.

So, my point is that we need to be aware of our life force in the room. We can’t turn it off or forget about it at any point in the audition room. If we let go of our life force and become dead in the room and that camera is already on and streaming, what impression are we giving to the people watching us? Similarly, if we let go of our life force and become dead in the room and the camera isn’t on, then do we ramp up our life force and get ready again when they ask us to slate? Come into the room with life force and maintain it. In this way, it’s always there. It’s always present. You don’t have to get ready to stay ready. You don’t have to keep ramping up your life force on and off. On and off. On and off. Am I making any freaking sense?

Maintaining your life force during the whole audition is an energy that is palpable and exciting.

So, my group goes into the audition room and my life force is on. I’m interested and engaged in a real way with the session runner in the room. My group stands in a line and I immediately noticed that the other three had no life force. They were not engaged or present. They were just standing there. And the camera is pointing right at us. Again, is it already on? Is this thing on???????????????????

The session runner asked us to slate one at a time to the camera. I went first and I delivered a great slate. I was already living in my life force and so my slate was a natural extension and continuation of it. I didn’t have to ramp up. I didn’t have to get ready to do my slate. I was already in my life force and my slate was the extension and continuation of it. Stay in it. Maintain your life force. I watched the other three actors slate and they all did the same thing: They came to life when they slated and then went lifeless after they slated. It was so interesting and fascinating to watch. They turned on like a lightbulb when they slated and then they turned off after they slated. Not one maintained their life force.

And now by this point, we all know the camera is DEFINITELY on and recording. Don’t assume that just because you’ve slated that you can now go back to your inactive state. Don’t assume that the camera has moved over completely to the next person. Don’t assume that the camera hasn’t pulled out into a wide shot after the slates to get a full shot of the group. Imagine that: The camera is in a wide shot recording all of us and you look out of it. Or you look lifeless. Or you look like you have an attitude. Or you look like you don’t want to be there. I’m looking over at them like: “This is supposed to be fun!!!!!!! This is not a funeral!!!!!!!”

Again, life force. And I don’t mean you do cartwheels in the room and run for mayor hoping to be liked. I’m not talking about phony presentation and over-the-top theatrics. Because that energy also reads negatively in the room. That is also off-putting. Life force is connected to your purpose. Your sense of self. Your certainty. When you walk in, does the room light up? Do you make the room better? When I teach the Professional Development Program class at the Richard Lawson Studios, I ask the students after they watch their auditions: “Would you hire you?”

Back to my audition. So after we all slated, the session runner asked us to share a story about who inspires us. Again, I went first and delivered my story. I was a person in a place sharing a story. When I was done, I maintained my life force and listened with interest to each actor who went after me. I was engaged and present. However, each actor did the same thing again: They came to life when they told their story and they went lifeless after their story. Not one actor listened to the other actors’ stories. They just stared off into space like, “Is this over yet?” Again, like they didn’t want to be there. Like this wasn’t fun and exciting. JESUS MOTHERFUCKER!

When you go to an audition, maintain your life force from start to finish because that camera may already be on, you don’t know who else is watching you from another room and you also don’t want to rev up, amp up, re-ignite, turn on and off your life force. It’s like turning a car on and off. On and off. On and off. Turn that sucka on and let that engine purr from start to finish.

Happy 2019!

Your Mother-Effing Wins!

As 2018 comes to a close, I hope all of you have a chance to reflect on the numerous wins you’ve had this year. A win is anything that is an accomplishment. Something that moved your life or career forward in some way, no matter how big or small.

This being my last blog entry of 2018, I want to continue the tradition of letting the last entry be a listing and celebration of some of the wins I’ve had this past year.

Arrogant (definition means “claiming for oneself” and “pride”) So have some arrogance as you generate your list of 2018 wins. You’ll be shocked at how many wins you DO have!

Below is my list. Check it out. Let it inspire you to remember your own wins. Let it inspire you to see the different types of wins that exist.

See you in 2019!

A sample of my 2018 wins:

January 1st: Made it to another year

January 13th: Celebrated another birthday

January 20th: Drove down to Tijuana to do research on a scene I was doing from Weeds

January 21st: Attended the SAG Awards screening at the Alex Theater

February 1st: Put up a scene from Weeds

February 9th-12th: Went to San Diego for a mini-trip

February 15th: Put up a scene from Best In Show. Richard Lawson opened up my work to the class

February 17th: Acted in a table read for the feature film, Support

March 3rd: Met with the playwright, the director and the executive producer of the play, The Blade Of Jealousy, because they were interested in casting me in one of the leading roles

March 4th: Attended Oscars viewing party at the WACO Theater Center and delivered a kick-ass Best Actor Oscar speech to everyone in attendance. An once again, I predicted the Best Picture winner: The Shape of Water

March 5th: Auditioned for a leading role in the feature film, Moon Made

March 14th: Paid off my Wells Fargo credit card debt

March 23rd: Received a residual check from SAG-Aftra for a feature film I was in, Balls To The Wall

March 31st: Saw my favorite drag queen in the world, Bianca Del Rio, on her sold-out world tour, Blame It On Bianca Del Rio

April 3rd: Auditioned for the feature film, A Kiss On Candy Cane Lane

April 21st: The Haeggstrom Office submitted me for a series regular role (they don’t even represent me!) but I am friends with someone who is represented by them

April 22nd: Acted in the Homeward LA production at the WACO Theater Center

April 26th: Submitted myself for a series regular role in Tales Of The City

May 3rd: Did a scene from Black Mirror. Richard opened it up to the class

May 3rd: Received an offer for commercial representation from Green & Green Talent Group

May 8th: Officially signed commercially with Green & Green Talent Group

May 10th: Commercial audition for Fox Sports

May 11th & 12: Attended Drag Con!

May 14th: Commercial audition for Fed Ex

May 19th: Shot the scene from Black Mirror for my theatrical reel

May 22nd: Met with the LoveStone Agency for theatrical representation

May 23rd: Commercial audition for Honda Pilot

May 24th: Applied for the NHMC Television Writers Program

May 29th: Did a kick-ass prepared audition and a kick-ass cold reading for TV episodic director, Lily Mariye

May 31st: Acted in two scenes for scene study class: Girls Trip & Elaine Earnest

June 1st: Commercial audition for WALLY

June 4th: Got a callback for WALLY

June 6th Commercial audition for Universal Studios

June 7th Put up a repeat of Weeds in scene study class

June 8th Audition for Amex

June 11th Audition for Thermador

July 9th Audition for Google Chrome app

July 10th My weekly blog, Chasing The George, celebrated its 3rd anniversary

July 26th Finished paying off my Citicard credit card

July 31st Finished post production on The Doppelganger, a film I wrote, executive produced and starred in

August 3rd Submitted The Doppelganger to the Santa Barbara international film Festival and to Sundance

August 7th My blog qualified for the Word Ads program on WordPress

August 11th Submitted The Doppelganger to the Atlanta Film Festival

August 13th Audition for Toyota

August 15th Meeting with MZA for theatrical representation

August 16th Got a callback for Toyota

August 18th Submitted The Doppelganger to the Maryland Film Festival

August 26th Celebrated 16 years in LA!

August 27th My blog entry, How I Wrote A Script In One Hour, got published in Medium and Thrive Global

August 30th Signed with MZA for theatrical representation

September 7th Commercial audition for a national PSA for Teachers/PTA members

September 22nd Submitted The Doppelganger to the D.C. International Film Festival and the Florida Film Festival

October 3rd Got a series regular audition for a new TV series titled, People Just Do Nothing

October 8th Had successful eye surgery

October 21st Leased a new car

October 30th Voice over audition for a Slender Tone fitness product

November 3rd Did a kick-ass cold read audition in front of a packed room at the Actors Expo in Hollywood

November 14th Had a successful glaucoma surgery

November 15th Submitted The Doppelganger to the Phoenix Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival

December 1st Commercial audition for LA Tourism

December 4th Commercial audition for Diet Coke

December 5th Did an audition from All American in class

December 12th Re-introduced a new half hour pilot I wrote

December 12th Commercial audition for Facebook

Overall 2018 wins:

Taught many classes at the Richard Lawson Studios

Did numerous prepared auditions and cold read auditions in my PDP 3.0 class (Professional Development Program)

Increased my financial abundance

Quality time with my partner and friends

Made new friends

Supported many friends in their personal and professional endeavors