Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

About Waiting

August 23, 2012

There once was a man.  He once was a writer.  Now he was not.  He once was an athlete.  Now he was not.  He once was a great performer.  But, now, he was not.  Now, he was a waiter.  Not to say he served food but, simply, that he waited.  He waited for someone to tell him what to do.  He waited for someone to ask him for help.  He waited to see if there was anything out there that needed to be done.  He waited to hear a voice from the sky telling him the path he must walk.  He waited because he feared that a step in any direction might be the wrong direction.  And, so, he waited for something to change–good or even bad–hoping THAT would shake him from his static nature.  He waited.

But, one day, Opportunity came and sat on his chest, waiting for him when he awoke.  It ushered him up and out of bed.  It kept a clock while he showered and held the towel when he got out.  It set out his clothes and tied his shoes and reminded him to lock up when he left.  It reminded him to smile until no reminder was needed.  It reminded him to watch for basic needs of other people.  It prayed with him on the train and kept his eyes out of trouble.  It made him hopeful but humble and grateful for the day.  

Then, one day, the man picked up Opportunity and ran, leaping, down the road.  He was paid for this act, enough to feel respected.  Then, later, enough to hold his own.  Then, later, enough to hold for two.  Then, one day, he became a father.  He raised his children with love and awe for The Father.  He spoke words of wisdom and shared all that he had.  He had no fear and this made people nervous, but the people that knew him knew he was good.  Then, one day,  he could support everyone he knew.  He gave them guidance and love and opportunities of their own.  

Then, one day, he was thanked for all of this.  He could barely accept the gratitude of the others, because all that he did was all that he wanted.  One day, there was a lead role in a fairy tale and he was cast and all of that waiting was a thing of the past…

One day.

Agent Update Followup

September 12, 2011

I had the meeting with the agent this past Friday.  It started out awkwardly enough with her asking me if I brought some basic things for her.  I didn’t and told her so.  She seemed confused how I would do that and I told her that I didn’t know what this meeting was and, therefore, didn’t know what to do or expect.  Then she said the magic words, “Oh.  Well, Eric, I want to represent you.  I’m your agent now.”

There was then about 20 minutes more of conversation.  The exciting part of that conversation was that she knew I was a “character-actor” which was a massive relief.  So many casting directors and other agents I’ve talked to or met with (at seminars, auditions, etc.) have seen me and assumed I was a leading/straight man and that’s it.  My guess is that it’s because they are very simple-minded and think any guy that is at all handsome must be a regular guy leading man actor.  Meg (my agent) saw me do one scene and knew that I was more of a character actor and that is how she plans on marketing me.

The other side of that is that I still have some work to do before we really get started.  I have two very good but very basic headshots.  Apparently, it’s a thing now where websites people can set up for you will feature many headshots all intended to show off a different character you can easily portray.  So, her assignment to me was to get caught up on all tv shows that cast in NYC enough to get a strong idea of their tone and look.  Then come up with about 12 different looks and characters, get a decent photographer, and have 10-15 good headshots to be able to put up.  Then she can use all those looks to market my “power to transform” when she submits me for things.  I need to get this done in 2-3 weeks and, of course, the sooner the better.  Because a lot of shows are starting to cast right now.

Meg’s strength definitely seems to be dramatic television.  She certainly has her foot in that door.  Film is something that is growing for her, though she doesn’t have as much to show for in that realm yet.  She doesn’t seem to mess with commercial work too much but she’s got a lot of connections in theater.  Anyway, that’s the update for now.

God is moving in a lot of ways and I feel a shift taking place in a few areas.   I don’t know exactly what that will translate into but I’m excited to get a chance to praise His name for things that even non-believers or hesitant believers have to take notice of.  No matter what happens, my faith in Him will not be shaken because He has given me that and strengthened me in that way.  But this is a blessing that I don’t want to overlook or ignore because I know it came directly from Him in His time.  Praise the Creator and Savior of all for using His own hand in my small little life.  He is huge and loving and powerful and somehow caring enough to be right in the middle of all the details.  He amazes me more everyday.

Agent Update

August 21, 2011

Jonathan (my scene partner/friend from improv class) and I had our meeting on Thursday with the agent.  There were quite a few people there and I think she was seeing 10-15 different pairs that day.  From what I can gather, most people were told to call her on Friday.  At that point, she would tell them, at worst, that she simply was not going to represent them or, at best, that she was not going to represent them but would love to see them in a show if they were in anything in the near future so she could (possibly) reevaluate her decision.

She told me that she wanted me to call her on Monday so we could talk about another meeting.  However, before I even got home that evening, she had emailed me to set up our next appointment.  After getting through a few scheduling issues, we set up our next meeting for September 9th in the late afternoon.  She’s going on vacation for two weeks starting this Tuesday.  The delay is going to be tough to wait through but my feeling is that this will simply be a formality of talking through expectations, hopes, and making sure we get along okay.  So, I’m hoping that I’m just a few weeks away from officially having an agent.

I don’t know a lot but I believe she has her hand in a lot of top-line tv shows…like Boardwalk Empire, Mad Men, the Law and Orders…and is working hard to get more involved in movies.  Either way, if it’s true that she’s about to become my agent, auditions will open up to me that I can’t even touch without her.  I’m not meaning to count my chickens before they hatch but I do want to praise Jesus for this.  A lot of prayer went into this audition and it went about as well as it possibly could have.  A lot of prayer will go into this next meeting and I would appreciate any that all of you could cry out.

I know I serve a God that has limitless power.  If it is His will, things are about to change simply by His hand.  Not by anything that I can claim as my own, but by the power of He who holds the heavens in His hands.  I know I’m more ready for whatever happens than I’ve ever been and that, too, is by His hand.  How humbling it is that the Almighty Creator would care enough to do amazing work inside me.  I don’t deserve His attention or affection and, yet, He gives me more than I even have the capacity to accept.  Praise God.

No news yet on the audition for the movie–just in case you were wondering.

First Reel

August 15, 2011

One thing that has been asked of me a lot is “can I see your reel?”  However, even though I have now done about 10 different film/tv projects, I only have copy from two.  Both short.  So, I finally gave up on waiting and asked a veteran film-master from church if he would be willing to film me doing a monologue just so I would have enough footage for a decent reel.  It’s not ideal because the monologue takes up about 6 minutes of it and, typically, you want a lot of different projects taking up about 1 minute apiece.  But at least it’s something that I can show to those that need to see a little of me acting.  I’ve sent it out to a few production companies that had asked for it, already this morning.  For what it is, I think it came out well.

Here is the link if anyone is interested.    P.S.  There’s a lot of bad words.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edXKJKjoQwQ

August ’11

August 4, 2011

Wow.  It has been a long time since I have updated anything on here.  That’s mostly because there hasn’t been much to report acting-wise.  God has been doing a lot of work in me and, I think, in my family.  Jenn has settled in to her job at Steinway.  I’ve hopped from short-term job to short-term job.

So, the updates.  First, I recently started and finished an improv class at Upright Citizens Brigade.  I was really annoyed that I had to start at level 101 but I thought it would be a networking opportunity if nothing else.  The class had some benefit as far as teaching me something.  I got worse about halfway-through but then internalized enough of the new rules that I was able to relax and just do what I do well:  which is come up with very specific, strange characters–one completely different than the last.  We just had the show and people seemed to enjoy what I did…so I guess that’s a success.

The part (regarding the class) that seems to matter a little more at this point was that the class really was great for networking, filled with really solid actors.  Since I hadn’t had much access to other actors before the class, I had basically forgotten about that agent that wanted to see me do a scene with another actor.  But seeing the talent and similar circumstances of some of the actors, my memory was jogged and I took the chance to give her a call again.  I explained that we had met many months before when she called me in and how she had asked to see a scene but how there had been one delay after another.  She asked me to send my headshot and resume again before she could make a decision.  I called her a few days later and she said that, yes, she would be interested in seeing me and another actor perform a 5-minute scene for her.   We set a date for the morning two weeks from today.

I asked one of the male actors I trusted from class if he would be interested and he agreed.  We went through a few scenes (thank you, youtube) and decided on one quickly.  We just had our first rehearsal and have a few more scheduled before the big day.  It should be good.  We’ll see.

The other big (and more anticipated) news is about the movie I wrote about in my last post 7 months ago.  The director sent everyone a message last weekend.  He explained how the script had changed a lot and now the movie had a different title and a different distributor (Warner Bros.).  He gave the good news that everything was now set and ready to go.  The money was in the place, the script was finalized, and we were greenlighted to start shooting in October.  Then, at the end of the message, he slipped in the little nugget that the cast had been completely reset, all roles were wide open and that we would be informed of auditions when dates and locations were set.  That was a bit of blow.

I called him a few days later to ask him about what had happened.  The short version is that there were a lot of problems with the script, an investor dropped off the map and the distributor backed out.  So, they completely re-worked the story (to the point that my original role doesn’t even exist anymore) and re-thought the concept.  It was a subtle thriller in the tone of SEVEN but it now is an action crime drama in the tone of a mix between TAKEN and RUNNING SCARED.  The number of roles increased but, because the new distributor wanted a say in casting, everyone that had already signed a contract was fired and they would not agree to the movie unless the cast was completely reset.  Even the executive producer (who was also the lead role) was removed and placed in a much smaller side part.

So, he said there were three big parts available that he thought I would be great for and for which he wants me to read.  They are all very different and we’ll see if I actually get to read for all three of them.  The big difference now is that, while the director still gets to pick who he wants for each part, he has to submit his choices to the distributor and the other producers for their approval.  So, it’s not as simple as just convincing one guy that already really likes me.  I have to convince about ten very different, very opinionated people that I’m the right guy.  The upside is that, last time, I was going up against about 100 different guys originally and, this time, it will only be about 10 guys per role.

God answered bold prayers last time.  He has the power to do it again this time.  I don’t know what He has planned but I’ll be asking boldly again and I would love it if any of you would do the same.

The auditions, by the way, have not been finalized yet but they are supposed to be in August…so this is a really big month.  I haven’t felt this kind of or amount of pressure in a long while and I having to readjust quite a bit.  But I’ve given it over to God.  I know that, no matter what happens this month or the next few months, my devotion to Him will not change for anything but the better.  So, I will pray for these amazing blessings to come through in a way that only He can provide, but His will will be done and I will be His no matter what He gives or doesn’t give me.  This life of mine is His and He will guide it how He sees fit.  His power has no limit…nor does His wisdom…so I will do my best but trust His will is always better than my dreams.  Phew.

January ’11

January 10, 2011

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.

Finish Lines, Monopoly, and Perpetual Hope

December 18, 2010

You know what the great thing about school is? There is a finish line. No matter how many sleepless nights you experience studying for your finals, or writing obligatory papers on topics about which you do not care, or cramming so many facts into your brain that you are convinced you might develop a new way of defending your thesis (puking that is); regardless of all of this, the founding fathers and mothers of higher education determined that there should be a definable end to the madness. Heck, they even throw in a cool piece of paper with your name in fancy lettering, as a tangible way of saying, “You did it. You’re done. Way to go”.

What I am wrestling with right now is…where are the finish lines? Where are the clear demarcations that give me an indication whether or not I am making the most out of my  life? Where is the watermarked aged paper with my name in fancy lettering saying “You have successfully completed phase one of being an adult…and yes,  you can put this on your resume for that amazing future job which you have yet to discover”?

When we moved out here, Eric and I felt like we were starting a new game of Monopoly.  The Peoria version, full of Emo’s, Avantis, and Grandview Drive was being temporarily shelved. By packing up our life (and storing the rest in our parents’ basement …(shout out to Paul, Sue, and Linda), we were creating a finish line for ourselves. It was 945 miles wide, but we drove across it, metaphorically taking out the New York version of the game , and rolled the dice.

We are now on month 19 of our endeavor.

We have yet to pass GO and collect $200.

Our neglect of this blog is indicative that both Eric and I have felt a little embarrassed and depressed at our current lack of progress. Life has recently attached to itself a more mundane quality.  It is hard. It is really hard some days. But who wants to talk about hard work when you have nothing to show for it. 

I spend my days helping adults with severe to profound mental retardation  go to the bathroom and eat their food without choking, and (when days go as planned) learn how to better enjoy music. I leave the apartment at 7 am, walk 6 blocks, take two trains, one bus, and walk another 2 blocks before arriving at work at 8:30am.  I am home by 5pm and am usually out cold by 9pm. Eric spends his day temp-ing at the NBA store in Manhattan, fluff-ing over-priced jerseys  while a few painstakingly repetitive R& B selections blare on loop throughout the building. When he comes home I am either asleep or on my way out. He spends the rest of his time scouting for new auditions, mailing packets out to potential agents, and most annoyingly waiting to hear back from agents, producers, and directors who have shown interest, but have all temporarily fallen off the face of the earth.

It is just really easy to question why we are still out here, and gosh-darn it there isn’t a DEAN of LIFE STUDIES that we can annoy for hours on end as to which course load we should really be focusing on this semester.

As Kevin’s Mother in Home Alone so poignantly said  “This is Christmas, the season of perpetual HOPE!”, I too  am fiercely hopeful for what is to come.  I am one of those people who still at age 29, idealizes that things get clearer, God speaks louder, and maybe people listen better around this time of year.  What  hit me recently about the Christmas story is that God didn’t give anyone a long-term road map as to how things would go. He told Mary she was gonna have a baby. He would be the Messiah. He told Joseph to be okay with that. And that was it! He didn’t tell Mary if Jesus would be 3 or 33 when he would die  to save the world. No one knew except for God how this would play out. But they had this hope. This belief that God Almighty had a purpose and a plan for them.

I want progress, success, and finish lines. But I know I  already have what I need: love, provision, and hope.

“I long to accomplish a great noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble”.  Helen Keller said that once. God’s plan for us at the moment may be tedious, tiresome, and mundane. But it is not purposeless. It is full of opportunities to “accomplish small tasks” in a remarkable way.

To all the friends and family who have been praying us through this recent drought: Thank you. We have felt so loved, cheered on, and encouraged by you. To everyone reading this blog: May your Christmas be full of peace, celebration, and renewed hope in the Him who is our light in the darkness and our peace in the storm.

Merry Christmas

Tide Turning?

September 22, 2010

A couple weeks ago, I did “featured extra” parts in one short film and one feature-length film.  The short film was done by a production company that apparently has a movie in select theaters right now and is tearing up some of the festivals.  The feature length movie is done by a guy who has already put something out there on DVD that is well-liked enough that the Chinese ladies who walk around to every open door in the city saying, “DVDs?  DVDs? $5!  $5!”, have his movie…which means you’re moving up in this city.  The part I did in the short film was total crap:  10 hours of sitting around for about 30 seconds of work that didn’t include my face (on the upside I got to meet and have about an hour conversation with Cindy Cheung from Lady in the Water.  She’s the young Asian girl that interprets the old myths for Paul Giamatti’s character…which means I’m only one degree from M. Night and Giamatti in the Kevin Bacon game.)  The feature film ended up being great.  I got to do a pretty cool fight scene with the main character that went on for quite awhile and then we had a couple minutes of dialogue before he shot me.  The director was really excited about what I did and said I impressed him and that he’d remember that for the future.  I think being an assassin and stunt person would be a pretty cool subordinate to my big picture dreams…if I had to settle.  While I was waiting around at that gig I finally got a call from an agent, which is something I had been waiting on for awhile.  We set up a meeting and today was that day.

So, when the day started, I knew I had that meeting and I thought I might go to an open casting call for some TV pilot.  The agent meeting was mostly crummy because she could tell right away that I have no idea how to play the game and she is just FULL of the game.  However, she must have seen something in me because she said she wanted me to get another actor (which will be Scott, decided I, because she said it could not be my wife) and do a 5-minute scene that I didn’t write and show her what I can do.  If she likes Scott, then she’ll rep him as well.  We’re just supposed to call her when we’re ready to rock it.  Then I went to the open call for the TV pilot and got cast on the spot.  The show involves undercover secret agents and singing and is being shopped to Nickolodeon and the Disney Channel.  I’ll let your imagination fill in the blanks and, yes, I know how ridiculous it sounds.  I will be recording a couple songs tomorrow for it in some studio.  I got home to learn the songs and, after getting a call for an interview tomorrow for the NBA Store, I got a call from another agent that wants to set up a meeting for the end of the month.  So, that’s cool.  Then I got a call from the director of an Alfred Hitchcock remake project and we set up an audition time for Thursday.  It was all in a very short amount of time which was strange and sort of felt like a prank.  God is good and I will continue to praise Him no matter what happens.  None of this means anything awesome yet but it seems as though things are starting to go my way a little.  We’ll see.

thoughts from a seminar

August 17, 2010

So there are these seminars for actors here in New York City.  They’re always listed as a “free seminar” but they’re really just teasers and advertisements for something that is not even close to being free.  Typically the free part lasts about an hour where they start off diving into some of the problems actors face and then they suddenly become very vague and discuss how they know how to get around these problems and the results that others have gotten by listening to this wonderful advice.  Then they tell you that for only $500-$800 you can learn all of these secrets in an intense 3-5 day seminar that will change your life.  It’s not at all unlike an infomercial.

I went to one of the free portions a little while ago.  Beforehand, I prayed that God would help me get something helpful out of what they would talk about before asking for money.  It was a married couple that apparently understands how the brain works better than anyone else in the world which is helped by their dabbling in “Eastern mysticism” and “quantum psychology”.  They began by urging all of us to rattle off obstacles standing between us and acting success.  Age, looks, and audition anxiety were among the couple-dozen issues brought up by the crowd.  Then the hosts said something I hadn’t thought of much.  They said that all of these perceived obstacles were just symptoms.  They were symptoms of a deeper, root problem or belief.  God then worked his magic in the form of a hyper-speedy self-analyses and I thought about what belief would be the cause of the things holding me back.  “I’m not in control” popped into my head.  I don’t think I’m in control.

This caused a bit of a conflict internally.  The reason I don’t think I’m in control is because I have faith that God is in control.  The strength of my faith is one of the biggest blessings God has given me.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if it was God’s plan to give me a career in acting, He could do it in the most unlikely, miraculous way possible.  Steven Spielberg could dial my number by mistake and like the sound of my voice for a big part in a movie he’s about to do…whatever ridiculous story you could come up with, God could do it.  I also know that if God did not have a career in acting planned for me then it wouldn’t matter if I gave the performance of a lifetime in a play tailor-made for me with 20 Hollywood directors and 65 agents in the crowd…it wouldn’t happen.  That faith in God’s power in my life and in this world is an absolute gift.  So, how could it be a bad thing?  It isn’t, but it was leading to bad things.  God showed me clearly that my belief that I am not in control was leading me to inaction. 

Jenn and I have gotten so discouraged out here and are, at times, wishing we just didn’t have any ambitions in this field.  We try to help each other fight that desire to quit but  I was being double-teamed by the thought that what I did didn’t matter anyway because God was in control…so I wasn’t doing anything.  This part had to change.  I still believe God is in control but He had made it obvious that sitting on the couch wasn’t going to cut it.  I still don’t know what He has planned but this revelation has spurred me on to activity that I now just wish I had been doing for the last 10 months.  There have been A LOT of mailed out headshots and resumes to agents matched with a lot of phone calls to those same agents.  There have been searches for jobs as an extra.  There have been films and other paying jobs submitted for.  There have been classes signed up for with big casting agents with extra money made from little side projects (another low-paying fight choreographer gig).  There has been real research and work done to finally do this stinking voice-over demo reel.  All of it is pretty darn ordinary but, unfortunately, all of it is a whole lot more than I’ve done in the last 6 months combined. 

Now, the Census job is finally finished (thank you Jesus that it lasted this long).  Jenn and I have discussed it and have decided that I will take the next two weeks off to work as hard as I can at this business side of acting without the interruption of a job.  After that, I will need to start looking for another survival job and hope that some (please…any) of this work pays off somehow.  I know I’m not in control of much of anything in the big picture of my life… but I guess I have to work like I am… and remember to give Him all the praise if any of it bears fruit.  Sounds simple enough.  Please pray that I can actually pull it off.

Nahum thoughts

August 17, 2010

I was reading through Nahum not too long ago–one of the so-called “lesser prophets”–and one wonderful thing struck me.  Nahum gets it…and this particular “it” is the dual nature of God’s character. 

Two spots in the beginning of the book illustrate Nahum’s clarity, both in Chapter 1.  First in verses 2 and 3 it reads, “The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord takes vengeance and is filled with wrath.  The Lord takes vengeance on his foes and maintains his wrath against his enemies.  The Lord is slow to anger and great in power; the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished.”             Then, in verses 6-8:  “Who can withstand his indignation?  Who can endure his fierce anger?  His wrath is poured out like fire; the rocks are shattered before him.  The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble.  He cares for those who trust in him, but with an overwhelming flood he will make an end of Nineveh; he will pursue his foes into darkness.”                I love how, in both passages, there is no break between what you would think would be two different lines of thought.  He just flows directly from one into the other and back again.  Because these are not mutually exclusive ideas/characteristics.

 This is something that I think a lot of people struggle with (I have no idea why I do not but I feel blessed that that is the case) and I understand why–especially in today’s culture.  How can someone be capable of love and adoration and peace, patience, and generosity also be worthy of fear?  How can someone so forgiving be full of wrath?  How can someone slow to anger then also be one that pursues his foes into destruction?  These are the kinds of questions that people have floating around in their heads nowadays.  Unfortunately, I’ve seen a lot more people decide to just choose one side of that character breakdown instead of taking the time and emotional/mental/spiritual effort to understand how both can exist.  There are people (typically more “religous”/rules oriented) that are really comfortable with right and wrong and those doing wrong being punished.  In fact, that’s really all they want to see is God’s wrath being poured out over evil doers with no chance for forgiveness, salvation, and acceptance (Jonah is an obvious biblical example of this).  Then there are those (quite a bit more popular today) who are not at all comfortable with that side of God but really like the idea of forgiveness, acceptance, tolerance and just want all of us to dole that out to each other at all times.  They typically only speak to others about this side of Jesus and His willingness and ability to forgive anyone…which is awesome but can sometimes bleed into a “you’re fine, I’m fine, everybody’s fine” mentality that can be a big step away from Christ.  Both sides can be dangerous.  God wishes all would come to Him.  He is slow to anger.  He is more forgiving than any person could hope to be.  He is a refuge from the storm and a loving Father who adores His children.  He is beautiful and thinks YOU are beautiful.  I fear, though, for the hearts of those who limit their gaze to this side alone.  There will be a time (I believe soon), that will precede the more hyped rapture and tribulation, when God will take out exclusively those that have cursed Him and His Word and rise up against Israel.  In the prophecy of Ezekiel, we are told of the War of Gog and Magog where Israel is surrounded by armies and looks to have no chance and no allies.  On the eve of Israel’s expected destruction, a divine intervention will occur.  The Lord will brutally destroy those armies while leaving Israel untouched.  It will be in a way that there will be no rational way to explain it outside of God Himself taking action.  Now this will lead to a great many unbelievers turning to Him but I’m afraid for those who choose not to see God as one capable of such horrific bloodshed–and it will be horrific.  I fear they will turn their backs because they will not understand how their soft, cuddly God could do such a thing…an act that almost certainly will be seen as divine genocide. 

I don’t have a clue on how one goes about understanding this (which is why I’m so grateful that it is not one of my many struggles) other than a lot of prayer teamed with Bible-reading.  But I know it’s true.  Our Father in heaven is consumed with vengeance and holy justice and will have it…someday soon.  Our Father in heaven is in love with His creation and is obsessed with you climbing into His lap each and every day and bringing as many with you as possible.  There are no (solely) human examples of this impossible balance–if you can call it that.  So how can we believe it?  As far as I can see, just add it to the list of amazing things that you/we will not understand in this life.  I don’t know how it works…but I know it’s true.