January ’11

I got some news last night that I’ve been waiting on for awhile but before I get to that I want to revisit how this tiny portion of our story even got there.

Something like 5 or 6 months ago (I can’t remember) I was looking in to getting ‘extra’ roles and getting the attention of agents.  I found a website that promised to connect talent with opportunities (don’t they all?) and joined their site on a free trial which was right after sending out a ton of headshots and resumes to agents.  I got a call from an agent (this was the first one to call me) that wanted me to come in for a meeting.  Then, right after, I started looking through this website I mentioned and got a message from a casting director inviting anyone and everyone to come to some bar in Brooklyn for an open casting call for a TV pilot.  Now, I hate going to Brooklyn.  Hate it.  It takes forever to get there from where we live and, if you’re not in the rich parts, then it’s run-down and crummy-looking.  However, the meeting with the agent was in lower Manhattan and the timing worked out so I decided if I felt up to it after the meeting I would go to the audition.  I prayed hard about that day and felt God telling me this would be a blessing…that this day would be a step forward.

The meeting was awful.  I didn’t get to do any acting.  It was just talking and she tore me to pieces when I didn’t read her mind and say whatever it was she wanted me to say.  She told me to get a scene together though, with another actor and come back when I was ready…which still hasn’t happened, for various reasons.  I felt like garbage after that meeting but was itching to actually act for somebody afterwards so I went ahead to the audition.  The director cast me on the spot for a project that sounded ridiculous at the time.  I had no hope for this project at that point but it was nice to hear some kind words that day. 

A week later, I recorded a couple songs for the project and the director and I started talking more about it on the long drive back and forth from the studio.  He said he did a lot of volunteering and fundraising for a few certain organizations and, because of gratitude for his work, important people in those organizations gave him a grant to make this project he had told them about into a full 2-episode pilot.  They also introduced him to a professional crew that could shoot it for him.  That crew was headed by Latch (just a nickname) and the director told me that Latch was really headed somewhere and had already had a lot of success with music videos and was now working his way into other things and was starting to make a name for himself.

This made it obvious then that Latch was the guy I needed to look out for and try to impress.  A few days later I joined the shooting and Latch had zero interest in who I was or what I was doing there.  I went into a corner somewhere and prayed that God would help me to do the best job I could do but I felt God telling me to be more bold.  So, I prayed that Latch would notice my work and see something in me that made no sense for what I actually did or what he actually saw–that he would see beyond the silly role I was playing and that God would show him everything I could do in a way that was beyond my own abilities.  This was a prayer that I repeated many times before every day of shooting.

That first day of shooting I got to do something that got people’s attention because it was just physical comedy.  I’m good at throwing my body around and making faces and that was all it was so everyone on the crew at least wanted to know my name after that.  The next day was a scene with actual dialogue.  I know I brought a lot of energy and acted the part for what it was supposed to be but it wasn’t award-winning stuff.  Latch was really complementary and said he had a few things going on and asked me for my headshot and contact information.  Then he started comparing me to Johnny Depp (I’m not joking).  I laughed at him but he said my ability to just turn it on and be something completely different was rare and reminded him of some of the greats.  He said I was easily one of the most talented people he’s ever worked with (remember that prayer?).  There was then a few weeks where nothing was going on with that project and I was focused elsewhere.

The next shoot date I walked in the room and was greeted with Latch saying, “I’ve got some good news for you my friend.  You have an an audition in two weeks for a Universal Studios movie for the main serial killer.  How do you feel about that?”  I was a bit confused and stunned and didn’t know whether to believe him or not.  He explained he had a friend that wrote a freaky thriller screenplay, that Universal Studios had bought it and that, after first just being Director of Photography, he had been moved up to a Producer.  Since now he had some creative control, he had gotten rid of some of the cast and was calling for another round of auditions.  One of those roles was that of the main serial killer (yes, there’s more than one…I guess it’s a cult sort of thing) and he wanted me.  He told me I still had to convince others ( the director, other producers) and if it was up to him solely, the role would already be mine (this after seeing me play a clumsy secret agent that’s working undercover as a high school janitor– a part described to me during original auditions as a mix between Maxwell Smart and George Costanza….yeah, remember that prayer?).  We locked down the date and time and went on shooting for the day.  I just prayed that I wouldn’t do anything that would make him second-guess his belief in me.

The night of the audition, I prayed the same prayer as before and went in having been told to learn a Russian accent 6 hours earlier (Latch called to tell me he forgot about that part).  I really didn’t think I did a good job on the audition.  But we got to talking and I really got along with everyone there and then they asked me to do a monologue and I had one ready that really works for me.  Overall, it went well but I had no idea what to expect.

The next day Latch called to say it was down to me and one other guy and that I should be happy because overall they had seen close to 100 guys for the part.  He said that he and the executive producer preferred me but the director had the casting control and the director preferred the other guy.  There was supposed to be a final audition just a few days later.  I prayed that I would act beyond my talent and would leave no doubt in their minds.  The audition got pushed back a week.  I kept praying but God told me again to be more bold.  So, I prayed that no audition would be needed–that I would get the part without ever having to walk in and audition for that part again. 

Then came the waiting.  Shooting got pushed back because the script kept changing so scenes they thought they needed to shoot immediately didn’t exist anymore.  The audition would get scheduled and then the studio would call the producers in for a meeting so I would hear things like, “sorry about the delay but it’s set now that if you get the part you’re working on a $20 million movie.”  It was frustrating and impossible to move on emotionally to anything else.

Christmas came and it was amazing to see family and friends back home.  It was reviving and refreshing and everything we prayed it would be.  We got back the first of the year and it didn’t take long to feel like I was right back in this depressing, debilitating waiting game.  God gave me a push though and I remembered to keep on praying, and keep on praying.  Also, I emailed Latch and called him and didn’t hear back from him.  I wasn’t sure what to think but felt like God was reminding me of all the prayers he had answered to even get to that point.

Last night Latch called me back.  He said he knew I was probably mad at him and he was sorry that he hadn’t kept in touch but there had been a lot going on and it had been crazy.  Then he said, “There’s been a bunch of issues with the director.  We’ve had some creative issues with him and the studio has had some issues with him.  It got pretty bad with this guy and so now the director has been removed…and now I’m the director….and guess who I’m casting as my serial killer?….You baby!” 

No audition required (remember that other prayer?).  There is still much that could go wrong and I won’t be signing a contract for about 2 weeks.  I have no idea what the money will be or if the movie will be any good or how the shooting will go.  However, the very least I can expect is that studio executives will have to watch this to decide whether it gets in theatres or gets put out on a DVD sale rack…which means they’ll have to see me, doing what God gifted me to do.  That is a foot in the door…which is all I’ve been hoping for for so long.

All those uncertainties about this project just mean that there’s a lot to pray about.  I will be and I ask for any of you willing to pray as well.  A friend of mine that usually is the most unsentimental person I know recently commented on one of our blogs:

“Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before.”

I appreciated seeing someone remind us of that but I’m not sure if I always believe it in regards to general effort.  However, in regards to prayer…I know it’s true.  God is so good.  Not because He gave me a part in a movie…but because He is the creator of this entire universe, every cell on this earth is his handiwork, and He heard my prayers.  He cared about the yearnings of my heart and could see the lessons I needed to learn before giving yet another gift of love.  I pray to a God that answers prayers, a God that is able and willing and I will serve Him whether I’m collecting an Oscar in two years or never even get on another set and am home trying to pick up the pieces in a year.  He gives mercy, He gives grace and He hears my prayers.  The creator of all hears my prayers.


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2 Responses to “January ’11”

  1. Tara Says:

    Wow! Congratulations Eric. I can’t say that I am entirely surprised. The power of prayer and of our God is more powerful than anything any of us can say or do. I will be praying for you as you go through this process. Be sure to update us on all the things that we should be praying for as you go! Much love

  2. cori roberts Says:

    OH MY! I had no doubt in you Eric! You are so talented and Latch picked the best! I am so proud of you. Will you still love us and talk to us when you are an Oscar winner? Can I touch the Oscar? Maybe hold it once? 😉 I am so excited for you.
    I am scared of scary movies but I will watch this one because I am not scared of you. I just might watch it with my hands over my face though.
    Congratulations and I love how you seek God the entire time! We will be praying for you! Love you guys!!

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