Thursday, March 31, 2011


A few nights ago, I went out with a friend of mine who is also leaving the business of acting. And he laid out a series of three exceptions to his retirement. His three points were so well-presented and well-articulated that I knew immediately that I had to steal them. And so, here they are, in no particular order.

The three things that will lure me out of retirement are:

1) A project that interests me and that I really believe in.
2) A project where I can make a lot of money very quickly.
3) A project where I can work with close friends, or when a friend needs a favor.

Any project I do from now on will have to be one of these. Preferably, two of these. Ideally, three of these. It's been a while since I've found joy in my performing, and these three bullet points will help me find the joy again.

Monday, March 28, 2011

For Immediate Release

So, there have been a lot of rumors and stories floating around the Internet lately that I have retired from acting. I'm here to tell you today that most of them are, in fact, true. In addition, I have started most of them. But now, with the retirement policy firmly in effect as of last Friday, I am here to address some of what it means to me and what exactly I am hoping to do with my life now.

First of all, let me address the biggest question that I am asked. Yes, I will still continue to act. Acting was and remains one of the biggest passions in my life, and I receive more pure joy from it than I do from many other things. My retirement from the profession does not mean that I will never again be seen onstage or in a movie, so please don't call me a hypocrite when I next appear in a short film or the latest installment of "Super Heroes Who Are Super." Acting is fun, and I plan to continue to work on projects that interest me.

That brings us to what the retirement involves, exactly. For the last year as I have moved from performing into producing, the work I have done onstage has become less and less "fun." It's started to feel like work. And I don't mean the "boy, aren't I lucky because I get to do this every day!" sort of work. I'm talking about the "well, damn, here it is Monday morning again and I have to go to that stupid office and do the thing that I don't enjoy just so I have money coming in but I'd much rather be somewhere else" sort of work. Simply put, I lost my joy. Acting is not something that one does for the money, so to continue in a profession that I don't enjoy doesn't seem like a smart idea to me.

And, of course, let's not forget about the money. Acting can sometimes pay enough to "get by," if you are going to take into account all the side jobs, teaching jobs, freelance jobs, temp jobs, and crap jobs that you have to do in order to supplement a Philadelphia-approved rate of $75/week for your performance. For many people, this works out just fine. And I'm not trying to knock the people for whom that life works well. It worked fine for me for many years, but not any more. I had a lot of fun bouncing from one job to another, but I now recognize that I want a stable job, a reliable source of income, and an enjoyable workplace. And that's not always to be found in acting.

Essentially, I'll boil it down to this: I used to work 9-5 at a job I didn't enjoy in order to be able to find my happiness by performing on the side. But now, I want to find a 9-5 job that I enjoy and that makes me happy, and I will fill the time on the side with other hobbies and interest that make me just as happy as my profession. Some of them will, no doubt, include acting. They will also include writing, producing, reading, playing mini golf, bowling, making plastic model kits, owning a cat, collecting comic books, etc. I'm ready for my permanent, full-time career to be my primary one, my stable one, and my financially supportive one. And I know that I am not going to find any of those things as a professional actor.

However, I do enjoy the creative process and the creative arts, but now I want to be a part of the production side of them. I am seeking employment in publishing, either in the publicity, production, or editorial departments of book-publishing companies. It's a hard field to break into, and the challenges fill me with dread some nights when I can't sleep, but it's the sort of thing that I think will make me happy. I've been a freelancer for a long time, and I'm looking for a full-time, salaried position where I have to wear a tie to work.

If you have any questions, I would be more than happy to answer them. You can post them here or you can email me directly, and I will be forthright and honest about my current decision, my reasons, and my intentions.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

New Headshots?

As I have been making very clear and very public in the last few weeks, I am no longer interested in being a professional actor. My reasons are constantly in a state of flux, and I am hoping to craft an intelligent and insightful blog post that can explain them to you, the readers, and you, my friends. But until then, I'm still running out the clock on a few more projects, and am still pursuing theatre jobs that interest and excite me. But to do that, I think I might need to use new headshots. Here are some that I'm considering:This is for all those time when I'd be considered to play characters who are smug, full-of-themselves, or entirely convinced of their own good forture, future, and well-being. The complete opposite for me. (Except for the smug part. I've got that part nailed.)

This one will be my new commerical headshot, used for things like toothpaste adverts, billboards, and potential starring roles on daytime television. Just look at my hands. Don't they scream "I could play a doctor who is also someone's long-lost twin and sleeps with every woman around looking for my own sister who was brutually murdered before I was born but who has been reincarnated and is hunting for me as well?" Don't they!

This headshot seems to suggest that I'm a little quirky but still serious. The face says I can run your Fortune 500 company, but the body language says I wouldn't enjoy cashing those five-figure paychecks. (The body language is a lie; I'd love to cash the five figure paycheck.)

Quite frankly, I just liked this picture. And I'm still stuck on the plot I suggested two captions back. This is when I learned that my long-thought-dead-and-then-reincarnated-but-now-lives-a-double-life-as-a-nanny-and-an-exotic-dancer sister is also my next-door-neighbor. Spooky.

For a potential headshot, this photo is inappropriate on several different levels. First, there is entirely too much brown of the wood. Second, I have some dirt under my fingernails. And third, it cuts off some of my hair at the top. Complete inappropriate.

By this point in the post, everyone should realize that I'm not being serious. About considering these as new headshots, I mean. But out of this comedy comes a photo that I am going to use as my new headshot. This one:

It's not professionally done by any stretch of the imagination, but it's a good photo that looks like me. My old photos were a little out of date, so I did need a little update. But I also didn't want to spend upwards of 400 bucks on new headshots, since I want to switch careers completely anyway. So this will do for now. Hopefully the next promotional photo I have taken of myself will feature me in a suit and tie, and I'll be listed in the "staff" section of a publishing company's website.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hamlet in the schools

My touring production of Hamlet has been making the rounds through Philly and the surrounding counties for about two weeks now. We have two more weeks on the tour, and most of those days are booked with performances. We even have a day next week where we get to do the show twice. Which suits me fine, since we'll only have to set up and get ready once. The show itself is pretty easy for me.

I've been on enough educational tours to know that the tempers and moods of the audience will change drastically from school to school. It's part of the deal when you sign up for a tour like this, and I've never really let it bother me. When I was in a touring company with Romeo and Juliet, our Juliet was always annoyed when the students would laugh during her dramatic scenes at the end of the play. But for me, I knew it was par for the course - after all, we were performing for kids aged 14-18.

So far on this tour, we've been lucky with some good groups of students. The first audience was really into it, even cheering for Hamlet during the swordfight. The second crowd was a little more subdued at first, but we won them over eventually. The third crowd was with us right from the first moment of the play, and we were getting cheers of encouragement throughout the play. The show has enough flash to attract even the most hostile of audiences, and we have a show that really connects with the young crowds we are playing to.

We are coming up to the end of our third week, with only one more week to go. This week has been booked pretty solid, and next week we do 6 shows over 5 days. I'll post some more updates as we go along through the next week and I try to squeeze auditions and other projects around the touring schedule.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

"Courage Too Late" now online!

And now... the short film I've been writing about for the last few days, "Courage Too Late," is now available online. The video is embedded below, and I'd encourage you to visit the filmmaker's website at to find out more information about them, and to see some of their other projects. Backtrack through the last few posts on this blog and you can read some of the backstage stories and see a photo gallery.

But now.... the film itself... "Courage Too Late"

I'm pretty happy with the way it all turned out. The first time I watched the film, I was pretty impressed with the work I did in the very first scene where I'm eating bread. Tom and Eugene had written a very simple scene with a lot of subtext churning away underneath, and I'm actually pretty pleased with the work that Amanda and I did to bring that subtext out. I talked in the previous post about how pleased the filmmakers were about our work, and I'm glad to see the finished product.

When I watched the film, I kept remembering how much fun it was to work on the film. I remembered freezing my toes almost off in the leather boots, trying to struggle through the deep snow wearing all of that extra equipment, chipping away at the ice covering the set, trying to make Ted laugh every time he had to be serious on camera, having the director of photography march us all over our little corner of the woods... In short, I was remembering the joy that I found while making the film. It's been so long since an acting job offered me that real sense of joy, it's great to watch this film and remember how much fun I had making it.