Monthly Archives: July 2013

“Won’t Someone Please Think of the Children?!”

Friendos.

How goes it?  It goes well with me, thanks for asking.  I haven’t posted in a while but that’s a good thing because the acting is going well and that tends to keep you busy.  Getting some good roles which I will elaborate on at a later time.  Right now I simply want to comment on the latest topical shitstorm pervading the Facebooks: Toronto Police unloaded on some kid with a knife who didn’t pose an immediate threat to them.  That use/abuse (depending on your POV) of lethal force can be viewed here.  Predictably, people have flocked to the police’s side or the side of the victim/perp,

Sammy Yatim_2
Sam Yatim.

Now obviously Sam Yatim wasn’t dressed like this nor was he a small child at the time police shot him.  Why then am I posting this picture?  Well, because as I scrolled through my newsfeed this picture caught my eye as it was the cover photo of a story relating to the shooting.  I felt this was kind of low; we witnessed this same sort of chicanery with Trayon recently, with his advocates posting pics of him as a child

Trayvon-Martin

to demonize his killer and now we see it happening again.  I don’t mean to take up the cause of the police and George Zimmerman here but posting these pics is no better than posting pics of Trayvon throwing up gangs signs as if the fact that he took some goofy pictures justifies his death.

Needless to say, both sets of pics miss the point.

Ultimately these pics only have relevance if one mires themselves in the limited debate of shooter vs. shot, reasonable vs excessive force, etc.  This is a pointless debate and my only evidence for this statement is that this is the debate on the mainstream news.

However, if one digs deeper these events can be mined for insight into the human condition.  I will endeavour to dig deeper:  Why does a childhood picture of an adult victim make us feel worse about their death?  I’m sure there are some genetic characteristics which make us more compassionate toward kid, but -wait, no, I’m being dishonest now.  That’s not really the line of inquiry I think is interesting.  What I find interesting is this:

normal_Pauly_Poo_as_a_kid

In case you’re curious, that’s a young Paul Bernardo, Canada’s most notorious murderer and rapist.  I doubt many feel any compassion for this guy and anyone posting his baby pics in an attempt to garner sympathy for him might actually face real physical harm (ironically, from well-adjusted people).  But I think it illustrates an interesting hypocrisy about which kids we are willing to forgive.  Advocates of Yatim play down the fact that he was carrying a knife (again, not choosing sides here) while the fact that Bernardo grew up in a physically and sexually abusive household was unknown to me and I had to look it up on Wikipedia.  But knowing that now, should we perhaps reconsider our round condemnation of Bernardo as evil?  Or perhaps abandon concepts like good and evil altogether?

“Probably not” many will say and that’s fine.  I suspect that the notion that human beings are highly susceptible to environmental stimuli is outrageous to some people, who ironically don’t realize their outrage at hearing such ideas is a textbook case of human beings responding to environmental stimuli.  Ah well, it’s a slow process this thing I’m trying to do, and writing tired doesn’t help.  But I will say this, please don’t play the childhood innocence card in your arguments of persuasion unless you want to accept that “humanity’s worst” were all children once and are deserving of the same compassion.

Best,

-Andre Guantanamo

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Show-Pas (That’s a Portmanteau of ‘Showbiz’ and ‘Faux Pas’)

Friends,
I stepped stomped on my dick yesterday for the first time since pursuing acting as a profession.  While chilling out with my woman yesterday morning I received a call from an unknown Toronto number.  I answered and it was an impatient female voice asking if I was free for an audition the next day (Today) at 3:30.  (It bears mentioning that said audition would have been my biggest audition thus far).  I said I wasn’t and this voice proceeded to berate me and point out how stupid I was for not looking at the scheduled audition dates dates when applying for the audition.  As I began to explain that I was spending the day with my girlfriend because it was her birthday, the voice hung up on me.

I found this rather vexing.

I explained the situation to my girlfriend who could tell something was amiss, and she said she didn’t mind spending her b-day in Toronto (we live in Hamilton) so that I could attend the audition.  With this new development, I called said casting agent back and explained that my schedule had opened back up and I would come in if she would have me.  She said I had already been replaced and made a point of emphasizing how replaceable I in fact was, citing the hundreds of other applicants for that role.

I think she hung up on me again.

Now I’m not sure if she hung up on me because I was kind of stunned about how malicious she was being about the whole thing, but it seems fitting given the trajectory of our discourse up to that point.  I was troubled because naturally the first thing in my mind was, “Oh my God, I’m never gonna work in this town again.”  I tried to keep my composure though because Chelsea already felt bad enough that me taking a day off from pursuing my dreams to hang out with her had indirectly led to the complete destruction of said dreams.  As soon as she left though I called up my sister, Tanya (still sleeping, naturally) and complained to her about my horrible mistake of always making time for my loved ones.

So what could I do better next time?

I’ve mulled this one over for a while, and while I didn’t really do anything overtly wrong I could definitely stand to tighten up a few aspects of my game.  Here are some recommendations to myself.

1. Always check the posted audition date against your own schedule.  This is kind of a no-brainer but when most of the auditions you are doing are for indie films, the schedules tend to be more flexible and they will spend some time to work things out with you so they can get a goodly number of people in auditioning.  A television show, not so much.  In this case, if I had checked the posted audition date a little more closely I would have seen it was Chelsea”s birthday and either not applied or made other arrangements with her.  But I didn’t.  Shame on me.

2. Always say ‘Yes.’  I should have known this one from my improv training.  I should have said, “Absolutely I can come in tomorrow and audition for your show,” then called her back and canceled if there had been any conflict.  “No” closes doors; “Yes” gets your foot in.

3. An agent might have some uses.  Call me naive but I don’t see a huge need for a principal agent right now; I’m checking postings every day (sometimes several times a day), following numerous casting directors via Twitter et al., and networking with fellow actors/directors/etc.  Notwithstanding leveraging any connections they have that I don’t, I don’t see the big need for an agent at my current level.
On the contrary, I think I’m ripe to be exploited by someone who might want to bolster their ranks without actually going to bat for me and finding me jobs.  I’ve heard of agents who insist that their clients don’t do any background work or look for work on their own and simply wait for a call.  I want to avoid this whole mess and basically just make good product, which will hopefully speak for itself and give me a bigger seat at the bargaining table when it comes time to enter a contract.  Again, if that sounds naive, its because I’m just figuring this shit out for myself as I go along
That said, yesterday’s SNAFU with the casting director illuminated one important function of agents: acting as a buffer between the talent and the casting director.  Until the day I find my very own Ari Gold

ari-gold-1024
My dream agent, bedroom eyes and all.

I’m going to have to be prepared to deal with people who have little patience for flighty novelties like family time.

So as it is I will keep trudging forward undeterred by this recent setback.  Aside from the lesson, the episode wasn’t a total loss: I got this casting director’s personal cell phone saved into my phone.  Maybe if she’s calmed down some I can shoot her a text to see if she’s got any auditions I can squeeze into >:-)

Best,
-Andre Guantanamo

 

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