Take A Bite

“Here, we just bought these tuna fish sandwiches, so feel free to eat them in the scene.”

Oh, great.

Every actor who is a vegetarian has this scenario in the back of their mind. At some point during their career, they will be asked to eat something on camera, something that is not vegetarian. Like a tuna fish sandwich.

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May I Have A Volunteer?

One of the first things I learned as a clown was how to choose a person from the crowd. The rule was: Only play where you are invited. If a person was smiling and seemed eager to engage, great. Pull out the feather duster, the Harpo Marx horn, the water squirting daisy. If they were sending out “Leave me alone!” signals, then leave them alone and find someone else to sprinkle with confetti.

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Another Chance To Get It Right

On two separate occasions, I was hired to work background on big budget films that were shot a year before. In both cases, the movies were not testing well in previews, and so the decision was made to go back into production and reshoot scenes that were problematic, or add scenes that were not part of the original script.

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Movie Stars Behaving Badly

In all the years that I’ve been working as an actor in Los Angeles, I can honestly say that I’ve never witnessed one of those unpleasant scenes that sometimes show up on youtube. Secretly recorded video footage of some movie star flipping out and screaming at the crew. Yes, I know there are plenty of stories of that sort of thing happening, and those stories might create the false impression that outbursts from movie stars are a common occurrence, but it just has not been my experience. Not until this past week.

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Lessons From Sunna

We were sitting in traffic on Eighth Avenue in Manhattan, heading uptown in the van belonging to the theatre company I was working for at the time. I was driving, with the producer in the passenger seat. We were at a standstill, between Penn Station and the main branch of the post office, which is a spectacular building, with great Roman columns and an impressive set of steps leading up to the entrances. It was a beautiful spring day. The sun was shining, and people were seated on those steps, enjoying the pleasant afternoon.

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Manhattan Towers

As a teenager, I went to an acting school in Manhattan. My ultimate plan was to move to Los Angeles to become a movie star, but first I felt it was important to have some respectable New York training and a few New York theatre credits on my resume. What happened was exactly what happens to most actors who go to acting school in Manhattan: I fell in love with the city and decided that Los Angeles could wait.

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When Funny Lines Get Cut

When I was just starting out as an actor, I worked props on a production of Blythe Spirit, with a dinner theatre company on Long Island. It was good experience, working backstage. One I think all young actors should have. Props, lights, sound, costumes, stage manager. Something behind the scenes. It creates an appreciation for the entire crew, an understanding of what is involved in their jobs, and how important it is to treat every aspect of production with respect.

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