Wednesday, January 04, 2017

ATLIH: Larry And The Entourage Table

This blog was originally going to be called ALL THE LOSERS IN HOLLYWOOD, but I was afraid that would scare away readers... and sex sells, right? But I have this huge list of stories about people and events that fit the ALL THE LOSERS theme, so I'm going to start writing them up and running them on Wednesdays, in rotation with some (painful) funny stories about my career. Because I'm working on a Blue Book now, we're going to start with some material from the past, like this entry...

I sit in coffee shops all day and write on my laptop. They are my office. I do two or three coffee shops a day. Living in Los Angeles, no matter what coffee shop I go into, there are people in the biz or the fringes of the biz all around me. The Barista is in a band. The guy sitting at the next table is also working on his script. The gal over there is wearing a NY Film Academy jacket - she just got out of class... and there’s what I call the Entourage Table.

The Entourage Table isn’t an actual table, it’s this group of a half dozen guys in their 20s who want to be actors. Most of them work as waiters, but when they aren’t trying to remember today’s specials, they are sitting at a table in Starbucks shooting the breeze. I’m sure they spend more time hanging out at Starbucks together than waiting tables. They’re *always* here. Some are here when I arrive (from another coffee shop) and here when I leave.

They watch Entourage and think if they only had a Vince (friend who was a star) they could be club hopping and doing Paris Hilton.

I overhear them saying things like that... and bitching about how Hollywood is rigged. How, if they had been cast in that role instead of Johnny Depp, they would have played the role much differently. How they can’t find a good agent or manager who will get them out there - you know, to the right people, who can make a difference. How they aren’t getting any auditions... or if they *did* get an audition, they didn’t get cast because they didn’t have the right look for the role. Or they need better headshots - all of these guys think they’re missing auditions because of bad headshots. They’re sure that some actors get work because they have an in with the casting agent. Sometimes, they get an audition and blow it off - it’s some low budget movie or -worse- a student film. These guys are holding out for leads in Oscar calibre material. I mean, why waste your time on crap? All of these guys are sure that they will eventually be discovered - so they have that Oscar speech memorized.

These same guys have been having these same conversations for years. I’ve watched them switch restaurants (different colored aprons rolled up on the table) and have temp-girlfriends... and even flirt with the NY Film Academy gal.

Every once in a while my friend Larry jogs into that same Starbucks to grab a coffee. We say hello, but he doesn’t stay to chat - he’s on his way somewhere. Larry is a working actor. You’ve seen him on TV a lot - and in a couple of movies. He’s not a star, he just plays small roles. There was a year or two where he was on about 3 sitcoms at the same time playing the ex-husband of the sitcom leads. That’s a Larry role: he just looks like an ex-husband. When Larry isn’t working on some movie or TV show, he’s on stage. He acts in comedies, dramas, Shakespeare, musicals. In fact, as I write this, he’s probably on stage somewhere. Acting is Larry’s natural state.

I’ll be reading the LA Times Calendar section (entertainment) and run across his name in some review of a play by accident. Once, I was reading a review of a play where Alicia Witt was playing a stripper at a bachelor party... just to see how seriously she played the role - did she get nekkid? When I ran across Larry’s name. He was one of the guys at the bachelor party - not the best man, not the guy who gets married... just one of the guys. And the review spent a paragraph or two on how good he was in the role. That’s the cool thing about bumping into Larry’s name by accident in a review - he does great work and the critics always notice. Now, Larry has done all kinds of plays - big ones, little ones... and I’m not sure he gets paid for all of these. He may not get paid for any of them - if the house has less than 100 seats, they aren’t covered by the unions. But Larry lives to act...

And he acts for a living. Someone sees him in some play and that might led to a role on a TV series or film. And if no one sees him? He’s still doing what he loves.

On his way out of the Starbucks, one of the guys at the Entourage Table notices Larry, "Hey, isn’t that the guy from SWAT?" "Yeah. I wonder who he blew to get that part?" "He’s probably got an in with some casting agent - if I had that kind of connection...."

How different we are than actors, right?

- Bill


MaryAn Batchellor said...


Leslie Bates said...


James said...

I like your writing. A lot.

Brett said...

For two years now I've had three little post-its stuck to the top edge of my monitor so that I notice them pretty much anytime I sit down at the Mac.


It's amazing how comforting it can be to sit on your ass and then blame the Universe for your inability to go anywhere, to do anything. Far more comforting than actually getting off your ass and working it off to actually, you know, ACHIEVE something.

David said...

If I could just get off my ass and stop reading great Bill Martell posts!

Unk said...

Ya think?


_ram-jaane' said...

Hmmm .. on this note, I'm off to Starbucks :)

Emily Blake said...

It gets so hard sometimes just waiting around for somebody to notice your writing.

Going out and making films is harder. But worth it. Thanks for the push.

Sandford said...

Only after sending out query letters and spec scripts did I finally get two optioned. No agent helped just persistence.

Writing seems to be about 25 percent of the work/effort. Marketing that screenplay takes 75 percent just to get it sold.

You tell it like it is Bill!
Well done...

Sandford Tuey

Adam Fulford said...

Sandford Tuey! Where have you been! I guess you know I have a son now. Here he is from last year at an amusement part: Hey, Bill, remember me?

Adam Fulford

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