My first gig.

After leaving the nut job manager, I found a guy who hustled for me.  Believed in me.  Pushed me.  Never said to no to me.  That manager was me.  Seven of us from acting class pooled our tip money from waiting tables or bartending and got the ‘breakdowns’ every morning.  ‘Breakdowns’ are a daily list of projects and the roles being cast.  Two of us would look through the breakdown and see what was right for everyone on the team.  We made letterheads and envelopes with some phony Management name. Each day we would take turns delivering the submissions around town.  The submissions looked official.  This is highly risky, highly a hustle.   The phone number was a pager with a nice sounding outgoing message with voicemail.  I don’t think anyone noticed no one ever picked up phone.  Once casting left a message we would call back to confirm the appointment. It was shady stuff.  But it was hustle or wait around for the phone never to ring.  Two years passed,  then one glorious day I booked my first paid job.  Cal State Fullerton Univ. made educational videos about racism and cultural crap for PBS.  I played a racist immigrant at a bus stop; my costar was Romany Malco from 40-year-old virgin and Weeds.

It was both of our first paid acting jobs.  Ramony played a racist black guy at the bus stop.  We basically yelled at each other calling each other racist names. At the end of the story we realize it’s wrong to be racist and go on our merry way.   It was pretty lame, but we had a good time.  We got paid  $300 for two days of work.  I would have done it for free.  It was nice to just get the job, just getting to act.  I felt like a professional. I felt validated.  Pretty cool memory.

Adios party people.

10 thoughts on “My first gig.

  1. good story, hustling pays off, so ima do what i do.

    kurlykolly, ur official stalker. everyone important needs one,ya know.

  2. It will be awesome if there was a video you can post for this right about now. I got the feeling it will remind me of this sexual harassment video I seen at my very first job after graduating from college. I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or hang my head in shame for even thinking about laughing. That was an awesome story though.

  3. Very smart to subscribe to the breakdown service; I didn’t even know actors could do that!

  4. Wow, not suprised how brilliant asian minds go to work especially when they’re up against racist ppl who’ll seldom give them a chance. They’d rather give parts to some Euro-white newcomer than us. Sometimes I wonder why us Asian Americans pay to go see movies without us. I don’t think as an individual I have the power to implement certain days/weeks movies are released in which Asians collectively will attend so as to figure out what our numbers are watching their movies. I just someone with clout would do it!

  5. @PAM: The first time I heard Justin Lin speak was at the Visual Communications film festival in 2007, after Finishing the Game was released. An African American lady in the audience mentioned that blacks have something called the First Weekenders Club, in which mass emails go out to remind people to see movies which feature positive portrayals of black people. It was a great idea, and I’m glad she shared it with the rest of us. Coordinating something like that isn’t as hard as you think!

  6. @Pam and MacLu–great idea. I teach school in a historically blakc community, and had not heard about this yet.

    @Sung–ballsy and wonderful, what you all did. I am inspired. And I have not seen this PBS video, but as I read the description, I recall seeing a blurb about it on Amazon (I’m pretty sure) long ago, when I was searching for movies/videos that you were in.

    You rock, Sung. You know I’m still a true believer in you.

  7. You hustled! ha! Did what you had to do. That’s hot. I admire the ambitious spirit, and look, you made it! The risk was worth it in this case.

  8. want some? know that you run to risk that. the important thing is to remember how we got to where we are.. ;)

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