Saturday, October 6, 2007

B-Boys gettin' it done

This Wednesday (October 4), I spotted my buddy Frank Brantley doing a cameo spot on ABC TV’s “Ugly Betty”.

Frank played a sidewalk cafe patron who is accosted by America Ferrera (Betty).

Well done, Frank. Keep on representing that Texas talent!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Prime Time, baby!

Tonight’s the night that I debut on national TV!

Our good friends Robert and Sherri Dugan are hosting a viewing party at their house, which is cool, because Robert’s got a 397-inch television (or something like that; all I know is that it’s bigger than my house).

I’m buying the beer and pizza, so if you can’t make it over, crack open one for me on your own couch, and enjoy ‘Prison Break, Season 3: The Rise of Cheo”!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Break from Prison Break

Today was my last day on what’s been an incredible first television experience for me. Half a season as a recurring character on Season 3 of ‘Prison Break’ has been a crash course in the biz, the craft, and in life.

I made a bunch of new friends, reunited with some old ones, and worked with some of the best in the business.

Robert Knepper, in particular, was a joy to watch. In lesser hands, the T-Bag character he crafted would have been flat, or a comic parody, who never would have escaped the first season. But Knepper makes choices that keep you glued everytime he’s on screen. And the writers rewarded his character with one of the most fascinating arcs of the whole series (Wade Wilson, who plays Captain Bellick, has the other one, IMHO).

Thanks to all the wonderful cast and crew who made my time on set such a blast, including LouAnn, who upgraded my trailer every chance she got (sweeet!); Liz, who made sure my coif was always, uh, coiffed; Jocko and Bryon, for keeping great dispositions under great pressure; James and the PA Posse for being masterful people wranglers; Kevin and Candice for excellent crafty; and the terrific directors: Milan, Karen, Bobby, and especially Kevin Hooks, for giving me my first TV break. Thanks also to Toni Cobb-Brock and Shannon Pinkston for even getting me in front of Kevin, and my agent Liz for landing me the audition opportunity.

My fellow actors- Davi Jay, Laurence Mason, Bob Wisdom, Manny Rubin, Wade Wilson, Wentworth Miller, and Robert Knepper- were welcoming and unselfish, and I thank them deeply.

Did I mention a special thanks to my wife Mary, who talked me into going? Yes, it’s true: I was about to blow off the audition before Mary convinced me to go. Yikes!!

See you guys on Monday, September 17, 2007, when PB 301 premiers on Fox!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Free at last

Today I quit.

For better or worse, I am now a professional actor. Woo-hoo!

I took the opportunity to celebrate by buying an iPhone. In days, I’ll be free of Verizon, too, but that’s another rant.

Of course, in a week or so, I could be an unemployed professional actor. That's the risk, when you're working on a week-to-week contract, as I am with Prison Break. But you know what? It still beats working in a 6x6' cube.

Actually, as cube farms go, my former employer was a pretty good one. The people were great, the job was challenging, benefits were excellent, and the salary was decent. Also, my bosses were very understanding of my desire to make a life in the arts, and worked with me until it just became unfeasible, which is why I offered my resignation.

But the bottom line is, I don't care about insurance. Does anybody, really? I mean, it's a living, and a comfortable one, but seeing my Dad fighting for his life at age 59 opened my eyes. This is not my "rehearsal life"; this is my LIFE. I've always taken chances, but after seven years of making good, comfortable, corporate money, I had gotten a little complacent. This show was a kick in the pants, and the opportunity for me to make a leap of faith. So I jumped.

Strangely enough, making a multi-million dollar film or television series is a lot like running projects in a corporation. There's definitely a hierarchy, various agendas, and "office politics" at work. And the director's job is largely project management, along with a "system architect" role, perhaps. But even though what we're working on is mere entertainment, it feels more honest. We don't delude ourselves that we're doing something of deep philosophical importance, but we're all very committed to it.

And, as it turns out, a lot more people seem to care about this silly television show than they do insurance companies. Prison Break is the number one rated show in this country and several others, apparently, and has a huge international following (I had no idea). People aren't nearly as impressed with my corporate resume, alas. :-)

Here’s something funny: Two years ago, we wrapped the film ‘Living & Dying, and co-star Jordana Spiro turned to me and said, “So, what’s next for you?”

“Back to my managing a software project at an insurance company,” I replied.

“Oh, you’ve got a real job? Wow.” She thought I was an L.A. actor. “What’s next for you?” I asked. “Back to waiting tables and auditions, I guess,” she said, sounding a little dejected.

Well. A year later, the girl had her own TV series. So there ya go. It can happen.

So, this is a scary time for Mary and I (Danielle doesn't seem to care, either way). It’s a new chapter in my life. I look forward to turning the page...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Go to Prison, do not pass "Go"

My wife sent me to prison.

Sort of. Actually, my agent Liz Atherton sent me. But my wife kicked my ass to go, when I was about to wuss out. You know, these auditions are long shots, and it’s hard to get motivated, especially when your life is hectic, work is slamming, and you’re driving 4 hours each way just for the opportunity to be rejected.

Or, in this case, sent to the Big House.

I landed on the set of Fox TV’s hugely popular hit show ‘Prison Break’, and spent two 16-hour days baking in rock-hard clay in the center of a steaming prison set in a former, uh, prison in downtown Dallas, Texas, with 150 of my newest friends and fellow inmates. By night, when the temperature dropped a bit, we were soaked under industrial-strength rain sticks perched about 4 stories above us. It was, I have to say, pretty fucking miserable.

But oh, what a great look for that scene.

As the pic shows, even the sun glaring in my eyes kicks my butt, not to mention the two toughs on either side of me! (Nice guys, though- really.)