Saturday, February 25, 2012


Don't sign a proposed bill for legislation which might change incentives given to movie companies which could cause them to boycott our state.

The Oklahoma state legislature is attempting to pass legislation that will gut the state’s nascent film industry before it really gets going. I was concerned when it passed out of senate committee with a clear majority. Can you just imagine where this will leave me, if films start exiting or not even coming to the state? Goodbye Red Carpet. This is one of those things that should probably be enlarged instead of being reduced or eliminated. Mary, just sit back and while watching the television some night in a future February, think of me thanking the good folks of Oklahoma and you personally for my Academy Award.

In the short time I’ve been around this industry (two and a half years), I have found that it brings quite a bit of money into Oklahoma. A number of movies have been filmed in our state during that period of time. However, since the news of the State possibly reducing the incentive, you can just imagine that inquiries have dried up. Once New Mexico put the word they were thinking of reducing the incentives (even though nothing has been done yet) they lost IRONMAN 111, starring Robert Downey, Jr, OBLIVION with Tom Cruise, a Quentin Tarantino movie and a television series, A LYING GAME, all because they announced the incentives were going to change. They all went to Texas. They made a special provision for THE LONE RANGER with Johnny Depp. So that one stayed.

Kansas and Missouri have both stopped their incentives and Colorado has announced an increase. So two of our neighboring states are dropping out of the business and one is stepping it up. Louisiana and Texas have strong incentives and are getting many films. I would hate to leave Oklahoma and give thanks to Louisiana or, heaven forbid, Texas for my award.

Oklahoma now gives a 35% rebate to films with an industry cap of $5,000,000. New Mexico gives 25% up to $50,000,000 cap and that may be reduced. Louisiana gives a 30% tax incentive and a 5% labor incentives for those who live in the state. I do not believe they have a cap. Thanks to tax incentives that lead the country, Louisiana has probably become the premier location for film and television production in the United States. I have had several friends who have gone to Louisiana to be in films. Even the Warner’s Brothers movie THUNDERSTRUCK with Kevin Durant is being filmed there. With just a few shots filmed here. It is kind of embarrassing.

While I imagine state politicians would love to give millions to every industry, the primary objection to film incentives is “we can’t afford to.” I would like them to consider this: We can’t afford not to. Not only are neighboring states stealing jobs, they’ve actually turning a profit. So while millions in incentives may seem costly, it is actually a very prudent investment with very immediate results.

For this fiscal year, which will end June 30, 2012, the Oklahoma rebates are responsible for more than 500 jobs (499 if you don’t count me) and $38 million in economic stimulus. Thank you film industry. And, we still have several months to go until the fiscal year end. This analysis was conducted by Oklahoma City University’s Meinders School of Business for the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department. Since the first of the year, the Oklahoma Film Commission has had to turn away 13 feature films. Five years ago the state was begging to get a project in here. Tell me that doesn’t cost the state money? You know me as a strong conservative who wants to reduce government spending. But, this is one incentive that gives back.

Film production people talk about these other states and how nice the people are to work with and amazed at the talent they have found. HELLLLLOOOO - People here are every bit as friendly, if not more so, and we are loaded with talent - both actors and crew. But, to find out how super talented the people of Oklahoma are, we need to get the movie makers here first. So, bring on the incentives.


Okay – Now to get back to what this blog is all about: ME. I recently filmed a fun television commercial for Steve’s Wholesale Tools of Oklahoma City. The part filmed me going to a sales counter and asking the clerk behind the counter if he had a certain tool. I don’t know the name of the tool I want, so I make “BUZZZZZZ, OR RAT-A-TAT, OR URRRRRR” sounds to replicate the desired tool’s sound. I had to make sounds for a chainsaw, an impact wrench, and so forth. At the bottom of THIS blog, are the links to the commercials. Acting friends Cindy Hanska and Cary Hawkins were in the commercials and they too had to make sounds. A zany, talented, and without-limits advertising man, Bob Hammack, produced these spots. What a hilarious shoot, and I loved being a star.

In acting classes, my practice scenes had sometimes been delightfully ridiculous. Quite often the scenes we are given to practice (known in the industry as sides) are actually scenes from television shows that are on the air or are eventually going to be. Fun lines like this one from the upcoming remake of THE MUNSTERS. I am Grandpa, and I say to my granddaughter, Marilyn “I adore you Marilyn. I’m the one who talked your mother out of eating you.” It’s a comedy. Oh, I see, you already got that. The other scene is a new Reba McIntyre television show MALIBU COUNTRY. She says at a news conference given by her country music star husband (one of those kind where wives stand in silence behind their cheating husband), “ -----and what they are going to say about me is I left his lying cheating butt.” Joy really got into my being my reader on this one to an extent that worried me. Can you tell that acing is a big whoop to me?

Links to Steve’s Tools commercials.

It has been a good year so far. I survived an 855’ jump off the 108 story Stratosphere Hotel in Las Vegas. And yes, this was planned and yes, I did have a harness, and yes, I did pay for this privilege. While I was doing this, Joy went to an upscale mall to spend her inheritance. When I landed safely, I called to tell her I was fine. She said, “Darn!!! Do I have to take everything back"?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

STUDENT FILMS – The good, the bad, and the ugly

Do you often wonder how film makers get started? Where do the creators get the ideas, equipment, actors, and costumes? Most likely they start out as film students.

Student films are created by students who have enrolled in film studies curriculum at major universities. Oklahoma City and Norman have three schools that teach this. The University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Community College and Oklahoma City University all have this specialty. I have worked with students from each of these universities. As a beginning actor, you take these roles to help you gain experience in seeing how a film comes together. If a scene is good enough, then a beginning actor can add it to a reel that can be shown to agents.

I just finished one a few weeks ago that was filmed at OU, "Bananafish" by Ezra Gentle, a student in film studies. He wrote and directed this film. An age-old theme of boy meets girl, but told in an eight/ten minute-time span. Each page of script traditionally is a minute of finished film time. The script for this movie is 10 pages long and normally that means that movie will last about 10 minutes. So, if you’re a mathematical wizard as I am, you can figure that a major film that lasts two hours had approximately 120 pages of script.

Some of the people on this latest project were acquaintances from acting classes. Rett Terrell, a tall good looking guy whom I have the pleasure of working with in acting class was the young man. Lauren Analla, a very pretty freshman at OCU, was the young lady. My meaty role was that of an interviewer who was considering hiring the young man.

Further on in the movie, I first encounter “David” as I am leaving a stall in a men’s room at the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication located on the University of Oklahoma campus. Careless while washing his hands, David has splashed water on the front of his pants. As a developing plot, this happens just before the interview. His awkward position while trying to dry the crotch area of his pants, with an on-the-wall hand dryer, had him looking like something out of the game “Twister”. The wet pants guy looks startled as I leave the stall and I am amused and befuddled at his dilemma. Wanting to leave quickly, I start to wash my hands, but instead just rush out the door. Imagine my discomfort when I discover he is one of the guys I’m to interview.

Leaving the interview table in the conference room, I enter the lobby and address the applicants. I call out a name, “Mr. Salingur”. Restroom guy comes forward. Oops! I initiate a handshake – and he’s conflicted and reluctant to shake my hand which he knows hasn’t met soap and water since the bathroom incident. He follows me into the conference room where he is to be interviewed. On either side of me are Mike Waugh and Kurt Harris who do the interview. Also at the table is “Claire”, the girl he (David) had just met that morning (remember the boy meets girl theme). He pays more attention to her than he does to the interview process. He asks a question that causes us to pause. I form a huddle with my co-interviewers. I detail what happened and graphically point to my pants to let them know of the water on the front of his trousers. We tell him he is not right for the job. The plot and the way it plays out should be really cute.

Very professionally, we received a call sheet. This is the first student film that I have ever seen a call sheet. I understand the need for a call sheet as it makes a lot of sense. It chronicles what scene we will be filming at what time and where. It also shows what actors and crew are expected. The crew’s time is normally earlier than the actors. But, it is a very efficient way to run a movie shoot and I am surprised that I had not seen one before. I was favorably impressed with the attention and expertise of Ezra and associate producer Britni Harris. To my glee, I finally was in a film with older actors. Not near as old as me though. Mike Waugh I had worked with in a St. Anthony Hospital spot and Kurt Harris was Britni Harris’ father. She corralled him into doing the movie since he was bringing some items from their home in Tulsa to her after the Christmas break. Others involved were Ragan Butler, another producer and Jeremy Clardy was the 1st AD (assistant director). I had met Jeremy on an earlier student film in December filmed at an art gallery in Norman. Michelle DeLong, an OKC casting agent, helped with the casting and pre-production. Not having asked others for permission, I’m reluctant to put their names in this blog. They were all very proficient during our three-day shoot in Norman – can’t wait to see it.

The movie I filmed at the art gallery was written and directed by a film student at OCCC, but was more discombobulated. That’s a big word drawn from my vast vocabulary. We had to wait three hours for the “star”, an OCU student, to deign to appear (Guess he thought he was a big deal). Then because of his lateness we barely had time to shoot the scenes there before the gallery had to close at 11:00pm. Helpfully, the gallery personnel stayed open for another hour. That is, after I made a donation to the gallery. The next scheduled shooting day was put off several days which was a little annoying. The self-proclaimed star was just not being considerate of others. I asked their names for this blog and no one seemed eager to have the situation in print. I can understand. The student was required to have this film completed and delivered to his professor by December 12. I have not heard a word since then even though I messaged him through Facebook. So it goes without saying that I have not seen it. In fact, of the five student films in which I have been an actor I have only seen one. That’s on the down side of the law of averages. Editing a movie takes awhile to complete so understandably I have not seen two of the films.

Part of the film students education needs to be a realization that everyone is putting himself/herself out to support and help film students – no pay and not much glory unless you get a good reel item from it. We actors and crew love to help a student – but deserve respect of our time. Life will happen and lessons will be learned. Guess that is show biz!! I will be interested to see how they do in real life. I think film professors should create a critique sheet for those of us who volunteer to complete when our part is finished. They would probably learn a lot about their students.

I am are pleased to announce that the film "Sucker" won a Golden Drover award at the Traildance Film Festival for "Best Contest Film" in Duncan, OK this past weekend. Go SUCKER!! A film I am very proud to have been involved with was put together by Ben Hlavaty and a talented group of young people. Some of them from OCCC. A movie produced in just 48 hours. This was not a student film. Congtratulations to Ben and all the people involved. A marvelous group of congenial people.


Check out my wife, Joy's web page
my daughter Robin's blog

Friday, November 18, 2011


I just looked through my wife’s copy of the latest People Magazine. On the cover is a picture of Bradley Cooper, who has been named the” Sexiest Man Alive”. Okay – BUT by whom. Who voted? Where did someone find a ballot? What were the qualifications? And then on top of that, there were 123 others listed as “Super Hot Men We Love”. Who is the “We”? As a new actor, I am going to demand a recount if not a recall. Almost all of the men are movie or television stars, though there are a few others listed. One gentleman was an Iraqi War veteran. But, without making a detailed listing I would say that most are in the entertainment business with the majority being on a screen of some sort. I should be nominated as I am now considered in the entertainment business. Acting! Plus - - I am a Vietnam War veteran. So I have two credits to most of these only one.

In addition, on one page they had a listing of sexy men from 20-59. Heh – What happened to us older guys? I could be the lead off to the 70’s group. I know that I have three solid votes for the title. My wife and mother would certainly vote for me and I have my daughter (if she does not want to be disinherited). She would probably want her husband listed as he is a good looking guy, but he is not in the movies, so out of the running. My two daughters-in-law would want their husbands listed because my sons are very good looking. But again, they are not in the movies. So it is hands down unanimous that I should win. These pictures from my movies just absolutely make me a natural. Can you honestly say that these pictures are not worthy of the title?.

Oh, I almost forgot Milla Jovovich. I quote her comment to me, “You are much too sophisticated looking to be a car salesman”. I’m sure she meant sexy instead of sophisticated.

So now I am up to 6. Damn near there. My old girl friend, darling, cute and perky Jamie Jones Freeman, might vote for me. She’s probably the only one from my high school. I was a nerd there so I can’t count on those votes. As the song from “Sweet Charity” goes, ♫” if my friends could see me now”♫. Little do they know that I am up for “The Sexiest Man Alive”. Okay that brings it up to 7. Surely that is enough to get me noticed. I mean if there are no ballots how can one vote. Do you think it could be rigged? Nah – not in Hollywood.

Been working on some interesting parts lately. I learned two monologues. One from Dead Poet’s Society and the other from a new release coming soon. Both were roles as professors. I think I must have that look. The other part I learned was a role as a mob boss. So I guess that tells me where the casting directors think my talents fall.

I was in a class last weekend led by an unnamed casting director. I can’t reveal the name since I did not ask permission. But, it was quite good. As always, I was the oldest one in the class and while just watching some of these younger actors I was very impressed. A couple of the young guys and girls plan to go to Hollywood for pilot season. Yes, they actually have a season for pilots (no, has nothing to do with airplanes). This is when the new shows start filming and they start looking for actors to fill the roles. It goes on for several months at the first of each year. They want the new television shows to be ready when the new season comes around in the fall. I wish each and every one of them luck.

Of all things, I got a call a short time ago to play the part of a mentor to a young painter. This is a capstone film for a student at OCCC. A capstone film is a yearly graduation requirement for the students in collegiate film studies in which each student is required to write, produce, direct, and edit a short film. It is up to each student how a piece of themselves is woven through their scripts and portrayed in their final product. This part of a mentor to an artist person I can play since my wife is a very successful painter in her own right. Check out her website at We have an agreement. She takes care of the front of the paintings and I take care of the back. You know -- putting on the wires. Heh - that takes skill!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Time for the casting couch and Harding ♫ we’ll always love you ♫

Acting is a very frustrating and interesting business full of angst and ego deflation. If this were my living, we’d be on food stamps. I am beginning to think it is time to throw my ethics out the window and allow my charms to be displayed on the casting couch. I have been to many auditions but only a few times have I had a call back to even have a chance for getting the part. And, those have been student films. True, I’ve been in paid commercials, but I want movies – regular movies. Therefore, my thinking is that the casting couch may be the way to go. I only know of two casting directors in Oklahoma City. They are Chris Friehofer of the Actor Factory and Michelle De Long of Actors Casting and Talent Service. Both are cute so I guess the first one to cast me in a movie can have my services. (CHRIS, IS THIS GOOD NEWS, OR WHAT?)

Actually, things have actually been a little busy lately. Nike is casting a commercial with Kevin Durant and they are looking for basketball playing actors to audition. When the notice came out about the spot, they sent word they needed actors who could play basketball. Having played both football and baseball, I was familiar with those games. Basketball wasn’t on my radar screen. No point in applying here! Then the producers changed their mind and said anyone could apply. I was in Kansas City to see my daughter and her family when I saw the notice and it noted that a member of the Nike staff was going to be on hand to give instruction, or at least that was the way I took the notice – and I am trainable. They were looking for several types of people for the spot.

One group, ages 30-45, was bankers playing a pickup game at lunch. A group of truckers 35-55 playing a pickup game at a truck stop. A farming family 6-60 in the country playing a pickup game, and the last was a group in a retirement center aged 70-85. I was custom made for several of the older groups, and I even have my own pair of Nike tennis shoes. Perfect. I asked my agent to submit my name. My son-in-law, a good athlete, offered to give me a few pointers on the game like dribbling and shooting. We took his basketball to his backyard hoop to practice. However, the ball was dead flat, as in pancake. It just would go splat when bounced. So we practiced the best we could with some shots and I got so I could hit the backboard once in about 10 shots. Hey, I’m a golfer not a basketballer.

Besides the ball being flat, I was summoned to audition in the 30-45 year old category. Great!! Anyway, I showed up for the audition at a gym in Norman. And, basketball ability WAS a criteria. I could look through the gym doors and see other auditioners out there actually playing basketball. When it was my turn to go inside the gym along with five others, the Nike folks explained the scenario to us. We were to play three-on-three basketball dressed in suit and ties. We were allowed to take off our coats. We lined up to have a short interview. They asked the usual question “what is your name?’ Then they wanted to know your height (5’9 in my case and at that I was three inches shorter that the next person in the group). They wanted to know our basketball experience. I said I had a 13 year old grandson who was very good and I saw most of his games (DID THAT COUNT?). Others were high school stars or had hoops in their driveways. I knew I was outclassed plus I was many years older than the others. Why wasn’t I placed in the 70-85 group? I might have had a chance there. Anyway, I did not get the part. Still can’t figure why they asked us non-basketball players to apply or why I was put into such a young group. GROUSE, GROUSE, GROUSE

The next one I thought I might have a shot at was a butler for a Riverwind Casino commercial. Butlering I do know. Is that even a word? Did you know that plates on a table should be placed two feet apart center to center? The knife should be turned so the sharp edge is pointed inward and placed on the right side of the plate? The history behind this is that knights of yore when they sat down at the table if they turned their swords inward they were on a peaceful mission. An outward turned knife meant they may have a hostile intent in them. And I know “BMW”. No – not the car, even though I am a car dealer. BMW refers to the way you place the Bread, Main course, and Water. Left to right. This way you always know which bread plate is yours. See you can learn something in this blog. However, I never even got called for this one. So I did not get to tell them what I knew. When I was in college, I earned spending money as a houseboy at the Gamma Phi Beta sorority house of OU, so I’m trained.

Now don’t I look like a butler?

I did film a movie at my old high school alma mater one Saturday a few weeks ago. The name is Mi Vida Mi Carga (My Life My Burden). This was an Oklahoma City Community College student film with a very talented director. Since I did not ask his permission to use his name in this blog I can not tell you that or what the movie is about. But, it is a very good film. Some talented acting friends of mine are in the movie. Paul Lister, Cait Brasel, and Leslie Hippensteel are cast and are quite good. I played the producer of a play inside the movie. It was filmed in the auditorium at Harding High School in Oklahoma City where I was graduated 52 years ago. I have actually been on that stage once in those years. On Veteran’s Day two years ago, they had a ceremony honoring veterans who had been in the service and had fought in a war. My claim to that title is that I am a former Navy officer and a Vietnam War veteran. They wanted us to tell the students about our experience. The only previous time I had come close to being on that stage (other than walking across it to receive my diploma) was when I tried out for the school play my senior year. I was cast as a German soldier in the play The Diary of Anne Frank. My audition was for Mr. Dussel, the dentist who shared the living quarters with the Frank family.

The drama coach, Aleece Locke, told me I had the best audition but because I had never taken a drama class, she felt she had to give it to one of her students. As consolation, I was given the soldier part. I did sign for drama class my last semester at Harding and the fact that Miss Oklahoma and Miss America 2nd runner up in 1957, Nancy Denner, was the student teacher was a good enough reason for me. My line, the best I can remember, was (forgive my spelling) zum offnen der tur schnell schnell schnell or something similar. Sina, my very pretty and young acting buddy, who has now returned to Germany, will have to set me straight on the translation. The words are supposed to mean -- open the door – hurry hurry hurry. I think. However, alas, as my acting career goes – Miss Locke decided to play a recording of the original Broadway play with those particular lines. So I never got to say them. Does that bother me? NAH – but you see I’m writing about it some 52 years after the fact. What would a psychiatrist make of that?

My latest foray into acting was securing a part in an Integris Health Edmond commercial for their new hospital. Even though it was not a speaking part I did get good “face time” (show biz parlance) as a person walking with my stage wife into the hospital. Check out the site by using the following link.

Keep checking the blog. Sometime, someone besides my wife and mother will think I deserve a shot at a movie part. Meanwhile, I’m auditioning casting directors for whom I’ll sleep on the casting couch. My ad reads: Energetic, younger-looking older guy volunteering to sleep on couch in exchange for part in movie.” Do I need to add personal statistics to that? Of course, that ad does mean they can use my services to sleep over as a night watchman. What ELSE could it possibly mean?

Also, check out the 48 hour movie I was involved with and then check out my previous blog. Amazing what can be done in 48 hours.

Friday, September 9, 2011

THE 48 Hour movie

I need to create time to continue writing my blog. I know my two viewers have been in withdrawal for several months now. So many things have been going on that have kept me from writing the past few months. However, they have not kept me from pursuing my goal of “that line in a movie or a television show” - and casually sauntering down the red carpet while waving to my admirers. . The movie I am involved with “A Good Day’s Blame” has been on hiatus while Cait Braisel has been involved with the filming of Lance McDaniel’s movie “Just Crazy Enough”. The movie was filmed in Oklahoma City during June and July and stars Chris Kattan, a Saturday Night Live alum. Cait was special assistant to him.

I would have liked to audition for that movie, but my son, Brett, underwent a serious spinal cord operation in Washington DC and I went to stay with him and his family while he was in the early phases of recovery. After some time, I found the oven, even found recipes on the internet, and cooked several meals for them - much to my wife’s amazement. I don’t think I have actually cooked a full meal in the years we have been married. That is except for using the grill and even then I just flipped the steaks while she made the salad, potatoes, dessert, drinks (alcoholic types - I do take care of), and sets the table. BUT, I cooked the meat. To continue my point – I was not available to audition for Lance. In addition, Joy and I moved into a new home we built and that took up loads of time. Especially, when we moved in 110+ weather. I actually lost eight pounds during the move and have done a good job of keeping it off.

I did audition as a doctor for the movie “Cowboys and Angels” that was filmed in Stillwater. I’m strong and resolute, didn’t cry - But, I did not even get a call back. Another movie, “Yellow”, was also filmed this summer in Oklahoma City. The casting director, Michelle DeLong, submitted my headshot to Nick Cassavetes, the director, but she told me he said, “He’s too normal looking.” Not sure what that means. Just maybe it is a compliment – YES - it must be.

Anyway, that brings me up to the current time. There is an international film festival titled "The 48 Hour Film Project”. And, that is exactly what the name implies. A film group has to make a movie in 48 hours. That means they have to write, film, costume, and edit their work in that length of time. An actor friend of mine, Paul Lister, called me on a Friday and asked me if I would be interested in being involved. Sounded like fun and of course I said Yes!!!. Czeckered Past & Smith Pixels team— Kneeling - David Greyson, Caleb Wade; Middle Row - Mark Randall, Reginald J. Lloyd-Jones, Ben Hlavaty, Stacy Mize; Back Row - Dustin Tate, Jason smith, Robert Gardner, Adam Smith, Andrew Smith, Paul Lister, Jerry Richardson

This is Oklahoma City’s first time to be entered in the festival and 11 teams signed to make a film. The leaders of the 11 teams met at 7:00pm on a Friday evening to get their assignments. Each movie had to have the following things involved in the movie: Prop – a stool, Phrase – “Now, that’s a problem”, A name – either Gil or Gwen Sargent, and a landmark location in Oklahoma City (This latter requirement only happens the first year a city is entered). The movie could be no shorter than four minutes or longer than seven. A one minute extension could be added for the credits. I was very impressed with the caliber of movie makers that Oklahoma City has produced. Most were young (however, to me everyone is young) and I expect to see a lot of them in future years.

Each team draws a genre from a hat. In our case, my team drew cop/detective. By 2:00am Saturday morning, the script had been written and filming started around 6:00am. As you can tell, not many were going to get sleep that weekend. My call time was not until 6:00 Saturday evening so I was in good shape. However, Saturday morning, I was headed to a motel in Moore to film until I received a call from Stacy Mize telling me my time had been changed. Just what I wanted!! To spend all day long continuing working around our new house in 108⁰ weather, and yes, I considered just going to a movie and not telling my wife my filming time had been changed.

I was not involved in the filming or writing. I was an actor and played the part of “Police Chief Stanton”. I did not even see a script until I arrived on the set. I was much older than any on the team and after seeing all 11 movies; I think I was the oldest one altogether. Our director, Ben Hlavaty, put the group together along with Andrew Smith. Compilation of a cast and crew was the only thing they could do before 7:00pm start. Everything else, including music, had to be created after the start. The whole process was a lot of fun and I am sure that the crew was glad to finally get home and get some sleep on Sunday evening.

I am assuming that it will end up on You-Tube and I will post it on my next blog then. You need to see it. I’m a very believable police chief. At least, that is what I told the guy in the mirror. I was in charge of a SWAT team and these guys looked the part. During the filming at the hotel, many hotel customers huddled together thinking something was actually happening there. James Jobe, Kyle Pennington, David Greyson, Troy Ford

I had three auditions last week and if anything comes of those, both of you fans will be the first to know. One director asked me if he got me a dialogue coach would I learn to speak with a European accent. HELL YES!!! That sounds like fun and very encouraging.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My First Bedroom Scene

Since I started this process of becoming an actor, I am always scouring the sites on the internet that list auditions hoping to find some for which I can try. I saw an audition on a website for a movie, “A Good Day’s Blame” in which where they were looking for an older gentleman and thought that might be something I should try. I wrote the young lady, Cait Brasel, who was to be the director and submitted my name for her project. She graciously sent me the script and I had a fun time reading it. I showed it to my wife and she even laughed while reading and told me I would be perfect for the part. The older man has hearing problems, can’t remember, and doesn’t seem to pay much attention to his wife. Joy claims I don’t listen when she tells me something, can’t find anything, and forget to do what she asks. Well, I am not an iota as bad as she claims. Joy edits this blog so you can bet that she will change that last sentence. (I’ll let Joy put her editing in these parentheses I DO NOT JUST CLAIM ALL THAT – IT IS TRUE! ----).

I asked for an audition and met Cait (she has a really cute name and it is pronounced Cait) one Saturday afternoon at the Norman public library. I also ran onto Lorrie Chilcoat and Yasmine Barve who were both auditioning for the same movie as the wife of a friend to the man I was attempting to play. Cait had told me it would be a different kind of audition in that it would be more improv-based. The first scene in the movie showed the principle character, Al Peters, getting out of bed, turning off the alarm clock, and getting into his slippers, so just in case, I learned the script and took some props. (see the picture of me with bear – read that bear, not bare feet). As it turned out, I did not need these as she did indeed ask me to improvise a confrontational conversation about something that I always wanted to tell someone. So I turned it on and gave an imaginary sales manager a lecture on carrying too much inventory and railing at him that costs were too high. Then she told me to tell the same man that his mother had cancer. Wow. What a change of pace and sensitivity, but I did it. Nothing remotely comparable to the script.

Several days later she wrote and told me I had secured the part. That was pretty exciting and I could see Hollywood knocking at the door. I had just recently been turned down for a part because I was too young (see previous blog) and this time I was just right. (sounds like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, this time “it was just right”). Even though the man in the script had white hair, she said not to worry about it. She did say bring the bear slippers but lose the night shirt.

On Saturday morning, several weeks later, bag of props in hand, I ventured to Norman to Cait’s house to begin shooting the movie. Cait Brasel is a very vivacious, outgoing, and very pretty young lady who is a student at Oklahoma City Community College in the film studies department and is quite a young dynamo. She wrote and is directing this film as a project toward her degree. She had quite a crew on hand to help her. They were Shawn Barfield - Director of Photography/Camera Operator; Melanie Barfield - Production Design; Jonathan Shahan - Camera Operator; Tom Lingo - Loader/Clapper; Barry Timberlake - Script Supervisor; Jarred McCorkle - Boom Operator/Sound man; Paul Lister – Grip (I had known Paul from a class I took at the Actor Factory); Chris Dunny - Grip/Camera Assistant; Mason McDonald - Still Photographer/Grip (and my stand in – that sure is fun to say); Nick Standford – Grip; Stephen ? – Grip; and last but not least Renny Brasel - Location Host (Cait’s mom) and a real delight. Renny kept us supplied with food, drinks, and snacks.

Even though the order of scenes has me waking up and getting out of bed, the first scene we actually shot was me in my robe and slippers picking up the morning paper and noticing a fresh dent in my truck. I am finding out that movies are never or rarely filmed in the order that the scenes fall in the script. I am very upset with the damage and drive next door to confront my neighbor, Dexter, (Brent Noel – a drama professor at OCCC). Of course, he denies knowing anything. I then assume that a young man I see walking down the street, Jimmy (Jesse Brasel, Cait’s younger brother), is the culprit and take out after him.

I capture him and tie him hanging by his knees from the top bar of a swing set in my backyard. I run get my neighbor to help me extract a confession. I am vigorously shooting him in the face with a water pistol when my wife, Mabel (Peggy Hoshall), shows up with her friend Celia (Yasmine Barve). For some reason, they seem to be upset. I let the hooligan down and he runs away yelling for his mother. Cry baby.

Later as I try to explain what was going on to my wife, she and Celia leave in a huff and go next door. And, my friend, Dexter (good friend he is) follows them. So I am left by myself. Shortly thereafter, the hooligan’s mother, Clair (Cait), shows up accosts and slaps me. How rude of her. Doesn’t she realize what kind of child she is rearing? I then go next door to Dexter and Celia’s house where everyone is gathered and they explain to me what happened. It appears I vastly misunderstood some comment that Dexter said about my wife having moles on her feet and his wanting to borrow her. I get upset, head out the door, drive away, and wreck my truck on the mailbox. I had forgotten all of this. So we are having a laugh about it when someone knocks at the door. Dexter answers it and it turns out to be Jackson Daniels (Jake Barnes), Jimmy’s father, and he wants to see me. I go over to meet this good looking giant of a man and the next thing I know, after I come to, is that my face is bloodied and I am missing a tooth.

The slap scene and the “getting knocked out scene” were fun to film. Cait and I took many takes of her slapping me. It is hard to coordinate when she swung and when I moved my head to make it look like a hit, but we did it enough times that surely one of them would work and look natural. I asked her to go ahead and slap me, but she is so sweet and she tried but did not hit me hard enough. The “me getting slugged scene” was easier to film and looks authentic. When you have a big guy like Jake taking a swing at you, a person will naturally flinch and fall back. I appreciate the fact he pulled his punch each time or else I really would have had some teeth missing. Cait is a make-up artist as well as talented writer and director so she made me up to look like I had taken a whooping. I ended up with a bloodied face, nose, and a tooth missing. When we finished that evening, several pictures were taken of me so that Cait could repeat the same make-up when we shoot again. I kept the makeup on and when I walked in the door Joy about freaked out. She knew it was fake, but she still thought it looked frighteningly like when she hits me. I’ll need to see Cait before next Halloween.

We shot the scene where I wake up in bed to find my wife has gone shopping with Celia. My hair is all messed up just like I normally wake up. I never thought about having a scene shot in a bed. We used Cait’s mother bed for the scene. I guessed I thought if I was ever going to do a scene in a bed that it would be a love scene or a porno movie. But I could not possibly do a porno movie. People don't watch them for the acting and I am an actor. So it was just me waking up, scratching and yawning, turning off the alarm, putting my slippers on, and going to get the paper.

I would have paid them to have a chance at this, as it is much fun. Everyone really gets into it and “going over the top” is acceptable. The crew and cast are playful, imaginative, and a total delight and it is great to see these young people learning the ropes of the film industry. Those on the crew are also students at OCCC and they in turn will have to create their films (Heh guys - don't forget about me if you need an older actor). Everyone in the school pitches in to help the other students. I look forward to seeing the finished product in several months. Cait’s goal is to not only enter several film festivals and but to have her movie shown at them. Stay tuned to learn the outcome. And, this is just another notch in my acting career. Perhaps my genre will be comedy, or being knocked out, slugged, slapped, whatever – still have my eye on that red carpet. However, after this last film, my face is a lot closer to it.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

“We went with someone older.” WHAT???

Imagine my total delight upon receiving a message on Facebook asking me to audition for a part in a television pilot that the director hopes to turn into a series! I was pretty impressed that someone actually contacted me. Normally, in this business (at my level) you are actually seeking places where you can talk them into letting you audition. Someone had seen my headshot on a website and decided that I had a face that might fit into their film project. (and no, it is not a horror film or a Lassie remake). I don’t even remember signing up for this website.

The Facebook message came from Jeremy Branecky asking me to contact his wife, Sara. She is the casting director for the pilot, "The Hounds", which is to be filmed in Oklahoma City and Moore. "The Hounds" is a movie about a rock band that goes on the road. After several calls back and forth, I still had not actually talked with Sara, but Jeremy did answer the phone and told me about the plot. Sounded great to me and I asked him to send me the sides. The conversation covered in the sides were two long pages. At least, they seemed long to me. The sides were a dialogue consisting of an old man talking to the fellow he hoped would be his future son-in-law who was one of the band members.

Jeremy sent me the sides on Thursday evening and we scheduled an audition for Saturday morning. Stayed up late learning dialogue. The audition was to be the morning the same day of the showcase that I covered in my last blog. I am somewhat proud of myself through this acting road I have taken. My memorization skills seemed to be getting better for by 11:30 Saturday morning, I knew the lines. Wish I had these memorizing techniques in high school and college.

My character, “Judge”, was an older man who was dying and needed oxygen to help him breathe. I assumed that from the gravity of this man’s health that if I was picked for the part, I would not last long in the series – death was hovering on his shoulder. The props would be an oxygen tank and nasal cannula, and the old man (me) would be gasping for breath. Of course, for an audition I would not have that equipment. I practiced in front of Joy taking labored breaths and coughing some to simulate what I thought was the correct response when someone is using one of these. I talked slowly and deliberately when I delivered my lines, and I make one mighty fine sick old guy.

So I headed off on Saturday morning to my audition which was being held at Oklahoma City Community College. I met Oz Davidson who was to direct the movie and he also played one of the “Hounds” in the movie. He told me he has had experience in Hollywood and had come back here to shoot this television pilot. The plan was to present this show to a cable company. Oz acted the answering part of my dialogue.

I gave what I thought was a good audition, but you never know. He told me that they would make a decision by Thursday and shooting would start on March 25th. As I left, Sara mentioned something about my looking younger than she’d envisioned, and perhaps she’d sent the dialogue for the bartender. But, that was not sent. Thursday came and went with no notice, as did Friday. In this business, you know that when you do not hear from the casting director you’re toast on a project.

Because I thought I had auditioned well, I asked Michelle De Long about contacting the auditioners (how do you like that word? – not sure if is an "o" or an "e" but it sounds good) to see if the role had been booked. She said, “It is appropriate to do so, but not to ask for feedback.” So I did. Sunday afternoon I received an email from Oz and he apologized for not getting back to me, but they had cast someone else for the part of “Judge” just the day before. However, he sure knows how to make you feel better even though he turns you down. He gave feedback which I had not expected. He wrote, and I quote, “Your audition was phenomenal though. The determining factor was age. I needed someone older”. WHAT??? OLDER??? HELLO!!! - I turn 70 in May.

But, I must say that Oz certainly knows how to make friends. Wow!! - That word phenomenal sure takes the sting out. How to accept that? I did not get the part, but I did a phenomenal audition. You all did understand that word didn’t you? You ask WHAT word. Well, duhhh - Phenomenal - don’t want you all to miss it. I did write back and offered using Grecian Formula 44 on my hair. Joy told me that product darkens hair. Again, I wrote back and mentioned using baby powder to gray my hair. But, the part had been cast, so I accepted the inevitable and went in search of another role. Which came about pretty quickly and I will write about it later. Stay tuned to read about the evil me who strings up a 10 year old boy by his feet and shoots him with a water pistol.

You can see a trailer for Oz’s television pilot at These seem to be some very talented young people, so keep an eye out for the series. I wish to thank Oz for having someone find me and giving me the opportunity to audition. These are always learning experiences. Now don’t forget the word – phenomenal. I won’t, as it is now a new tattoo on my forearm.

Also, my first film, “Touching the Sun” directed by talented Bryan Cook, premieres on April 5 at Oklahoma City University in the Meinder’s School of Business auditorium. You need to be there early as folks will be fighting for seats to see my Oscar winning performance. See my blog for September 7, 2010.