Actor/Musician

It’s time once again to play…

“PICK MY HEADSHOT!”
Go here, and vote for your favorites! (I’m not sure what the thumbs up/thumbs down actually does but you can leave comments).
Of course, while I value all your opinions, the opinions of my talent agency take precedence. 🙂

Now THAT’S progress!

Larry and I went to the bi-monthly networking mixers to mingle with our fellow industry folk. We saw many acquaintances we’d met on other projects which led us to talking to several of them and getting a potential Cinematographer, Producer, Art Designer and actor to work with on future projects. Early on I had talked to one of the people from the agency I’ve been auditioning for, and as I was leaving we ended chatting with the owner of the agency (who had run the second audition that I attended last Monday). We had a great conversation wherein he told me he thought I was good and could do quite well as a quirky character actor. In the course of conversation, he told me that he was going to sign me to both the Austin and Louisiana* offices. Naturally, I’m not counting my chickens until they’re all signed but it looks like I will soon have be signed with an agency.
After leaving there, Larry and I went to Nuno’s on sixth street to further talk about booking our Improv/Sketch comedy troupe there. They had basically already told us that they’d be happy to book us and so we went to see the space and further chat with the owners to solidify plans. It looks like we’ll start performing our show sometime in May on Thursday nights (they offered to let us do it weekly but we’re trying to decide whether that might be too often and if we should instead do it bi-monthly). They also thought we could come in Wednesday nights to do a few sketches between band sets to keep the audience interested and promote our Thursday shows.
That, my friends, is a productive night of schmoozing!
*Louisiana currently offers huge incentives to film makers so a TON of films are going there to film, including a lot of films that wanted to shoot in Texas but couldn’t turn down the monetary incentives Louisiana offers. Texas is currently trying to get some similar incentives passed, but it hasn’t happened yet. Therefore, this agency opened an office in Louisiana where they have been placing actors in many of the films. While I don’t relish a 5 hour drive for an audition, I keep telling myself that you have to do what it takes if you really want to make a career out of this and that it would be worth it for the right opportunities. For example, 12 local actors got called back to have second auditions in a movie where they would be playing scenes with Robert De Niro for example.

Finally, some progress!

Ever since my layoff last June there have been many things I’ve been meaning to do to more fully pursue my life goals. One of the top items was to put together a promo package to try and get a talent agent here in Austin and get some paid acting gigs. I puttered around far longer than I should have, but I eventually sent packets to my top 3 agents a couple of months ago. As time wore, I really started to think I wasn’t going to hear anything back. I was surprised. I have a full resume, and what I think is a great promo package, although I think my Demo reel is a bit lacking.
On Friday I had a message form what I consider probably the top agency in town. They wanted me to come in to their audition “class” on Monday. They sent me 3 scenes and a commercial that I would be filmed performing. I spent all day Monday memorizing them and working on my performance. Now generally, you don’t have to have things memorized for an audition, but I wanted to be as prepared as possible and look as professional as possible. Also, having the lines memorized means I can concentrate more on my performance and less on trying to remember the lines.
We’ll see what happens, but I feel like it went really well. I don’t really know how to explain this without seeming totally conceited and egotistical, but I’ll try anyway. This was the second experience I’ve had recently (another being a film audition I recently went on) that really made me feel confident in my acting abilities. I felt that I gave a great performance and that I seemed to be in a whole other league from most of the people there (here’s where I sound conceited). It’s not that everyone else was bad or anything but I just really felt much more natural and honed. I was born to a mother who was into community theatre so I was brought into theatre literally from the moment I was born. Acting is literally a part of my essence, something that has been with me my entire life and it’s only within the last few years that I’ve really settled into a real confidence in my talents. These recent experiences have been wonderful in solidifying and bolstering my acting pursuits. I just really felt in my element and like I had some thing special going for me that a lot of other people didn’t. I think most people came off looking like they were acting. Let’s hope the agency feels as strongly about me as I felt about myself. Next step, figuring out how to get some of the big work in L.A and then how to juggle that with living in Austin. If that means sending out tapes auditions, or gambling a plane ticket every now and ten to make an audition, I’m willing to do that. No more delays. It’s time to get my life on the track it was meant to be on but has been derailed from for so many years.
Today’s random non sequitur: Eric Bana is one “na” away from banana.

Damn Dirty Apes

I just realized something I haven’t written about yet. Larry and I have been writing and rehearsing an original improv/sketch comedy show with our friend, Jon Steele (his real name). It all started a couple of months ago when we decided we wanted to put something together and by the end of the first rehearsal we already had almost an entire show’s worth of ideas to flesh out. There’s a few strictly scripted pieces, but most are just loose skeletons that we improv around. They’re still kind of scripted but just not strictly. They’re more like specific plot points to create the basic story flow and resolution with room to play. We also have a few pieces that are just a very loose concept and are improv’d from audience submitted suggestions. We’ve done two test performances in our living room for friends and have received very positive feedback.
We’ve settled on the name “Damn Dirty Apes” for our troupe and the show is called “The Madhouse” as there is a running set of sketches involving me as Charlton Heston.
I wanted to present two of my favorites to here now. Naturally they are the fully scripted pieces since I can’t really present any of the improv pieces.
The first one is “Arnold Schwarzenegger’s General Store”.
The second is one I’m particularly proud of, as we’ve taken one of the most basic lowbrow comedy staples, the dick joke, and turned into one of the most densely pun and innuendo packed and dare I say, intelligent pieces we’ve written. It is known to us as “Dickin’ Around”.
We hope to start booking the show soon and perhaps participating in some of the improv Olympics that go on weekly around here.

Quick poll

Which picture will get me tons of acting work and rocket me to superstardom:
Number 1
Number 2

Pseudonym

I’ve got my new stage name: Whatshisface Allyn. That way when people are casting some good character role they’ll say “You know who we need? Whatshisface! That guy who was in that thing!”
Then they’ll call me because I’ll be the only actor named “Whatshisface.” The spelling doesn’t work too well though. Maybe I should be “Watzizface” or something. Perhaps “Whats-his-face.” I’ll never have top billing, but that’s O.K. I’d rather have a great character actor career like Gary Oldman anyway.

Who wants my autograph?

Some of you might remember when I was an extra on the upcoming film about Truman Capote titled “Infamous”. In the new trailer for the movie, there are two short clips of the scene I was in. In one of them I’m fairly positive that youc an actually see me in the background. Take a look:

I’m almost positive that’s me. Such a glamorous life I lead.

The many faces of Heath

I’ve been working on my self-marketing in preparation to try and get an agent and some real acting work. I decided to make up some kind of post cards or something to send as thank you notes or whatever and came up with this collage that I’m going to put on the left hand side. I thought it was pretty cool.

Next update: my grueling week of work as an extra. Oy. Quite possibly the some of the hardest days of work of my life. stay tuned.

Adventures in Showbiz: Mystery Edition

After my last tale of boredom and career frustration as an extra, I immediately got four days (so far anyway, possibly more) as an extra on the Robert Rodriguez portion of “Grind House”. Sadly, I had to sign a non-disclosure agreement so I can’t actually tell you anything about it other than this has reminded me in some ways why I do this. It has been, for the most part, a very fun experience, though still tinged with the ever present frustration of being only only peripherally near the things I want to be doing (acting and crew work). At least this experience has been slightly more satisfying to the hungry beast inside me that craves the fruition of my dreams.
I think the most frustrating thing as someone looking for work as a Production Assistant (with my professional sights set on rising up to Assistant Directing as the next step) is that it doesn’t seem to matter what you’ve done as much as it just seems you have to “know someone” to get onto the big sets. I already have some Directing and Assistant Directing experience, but not enough to get those jobs professionally.
I really hope to make a career in Austin, as I love it here, and really do not want to live in L.A. I thought I’d use the recent layoff from my day job to channel all my efforts into pursuing acting, crew work, and music. Unfortunately, since these aren’t things you can make a living at overnight, I just might have to sell my body as a medical research volunteer for a while too…
I love Austin. Hopefully Austin will show me some love back! It’s time for my big break, Austin! Ya, hear me?

Adventures as an Extra: “The Hitcher”

Last week I got the call to be an extra on “The Hitcher“. They wanted me to be a paramedic. Being the considerate guy I am I told them that I was pretty sure they had my out of date headshot where I was 60 pounds heavier and since I recently shaved my head for a role I wanted to send them a current snapshot to make sure they still wanted me. I emailed the snapshot and got the call back that they did still want to use me, but I would instead be a prisoner. Fitting, since I called this my “Prison Break” hair style, but kind of a bummer since I think the paramedic ended up getting used a lot more and got some good camera time. I’m not sure why they changed me since the paramedic didn’t look all that drastically different from me.
The location was down in San Marcos, about a 45 minute drive away, so I got up at 5:00 a.m. to be on set by 6:00 a.m. I was told that I’d be a “new prisoner” being brought in after having just been arrested so I should bring 3 changes of clothes for wardrobe to pick from. The location was the Hays County Law enforcement center. It was interesting filming there since they obviously couldn’t shut the place down, and periodically everything had to stop while an inmate was brought in or taken out. I parked my car and hauled all my stuff across to the catering tent they had set up outside where we’d be hanging out. I signed in and got some good food for breakfast from the table. After a few minutes I was taken to wardrobe. I told them I was a “New Prisoner”, but instead of keeping me in some of my clothes, they put me in the black and white striped prisoner clothes. Hair and make up looked me over and gave their approval, and I was off to the tent to wait. And wait. And wait.

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