Wednesday, February 15, 2017

"cjdahl60 (Bless Him Or Her) Asks Me About My Acting"

Two Quotes Relating To My Acting:

I once met the late Jack Rollins – Woody Allen’s longtime manager and producer – when I went to his office to submit material for a possible writing job on The Monkees.  When Rollins answered the door, he took one look at me and he said,

“You look like a writer to me.”

A professional evaluation of my “actor potential”:  I had a “Writer’s Face.”

Two:  (An experienced mentioned before, but harboring the memory for fifty years suggests it indelibly left its mark.)

When I suggested after attending UCLA’s “Bertolt Brecht Summer Theater Workshop” that I would like to stay on and get a Master’s Degree in Theater Arts, my discouraging teacher tersely observed,

“You have a ‘certain quality’.  But I would not call it acting.”

Another knowledgeable expert weighing in.  And not in a good way.

Still, here’s cjdahl60, having accidentally encountered the film Cannibal Girls in which I prominently participated playing “Victim Three”, asking me, with, I swear to the Jewish Torah as we used to say, no prodding or inducement on my part, and I quote:

“I’d be interested in reading a blog post(s) about your experiences as an actor.”

Man!  I mean, be me for a second.  You’re sitting at home, filling your time as best you know how and, as a wonderful older writer named Bob Schiller once described, “deteriorating on schedule”, and out of the blue, you learn that somebody is…   “interested” is the word cjdahl60 employed, not “curious”, not “You, an actor?” – interested – in what can very generously be described as an ancillary career.

“cj” – hear this with the appreciation that words on a screen can only marginally convey:

Thank you.

For being interested.  And for, at least momentarily, thinking of me as an actor.
Which is a stretch.  In a Rolling Stones profile, impresario Lorne Michaels once called himself a comedian.

Same stretch.

(I love to kid the monumentally successful.)

After blundering upon Cannibal Girls – although admitting they were unable to endure – and I don’t blame them – until my scenes came on, so even “cj” has no direct evidence that I am truly an actor – their subsequent visit to IMDB (the “International Movie Data Base” which includes television credits as well) revealed, and I quote once again, because it’s much sweeter when somebody else says it,

“Your IMDB bio lists seven credits as an actor.”

(Note:  I would have placed “as an actor” in accentuating italics but it was already in italics and there is no way to italicize italics; it just reverts back to normal.  Just know that if there were a way to italicize italics I would have.  Seven credits as an actor.  I am so proud.)

Still… (as you now watch me being ungrateful)…

Where on the ostensibly comprehensive IMDB list of accomplishments are my acting credits from Camp Ogama?  Where I always scored big, most spectacularly as “Smee” in the Senior Show production of Peter Pan? 

Where also is my Toronto Hebrew Day School credit as “A Guard” in the school’s annual Purim Play?  (Not that I stood out, but somebody stole my new Scotch Plaid flannel bathrobe that I wore as a “Guard” costume that day and I thought that a “mention” might tug at their conscience and they might surreptitiously – better late than never – deposit the purloined article of clothing onto my front doorstep.)

Where too is the inclusion of my performance in the “Bertolt Brecht Summer Theater Workshop” production of The Private Life of the Master Race, where, with only a handful of lines, I somehow – likely due to my inimitable “certain quality” – received “positive mention” in the Los Angeles Times?

And where, pray tell – since the “I” in IMDB stands for “International” – is the inclusion of the London “Actors Workshop” production of Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author, where I had one line – one line, mind you! – and still, to the chagrin of the lead actors in the play, a major British newspaper critique praisingly included my name. 

I had one line!

That’s silly, you say.  IMDB is for professional productions.  Only jobs where you get paid. 

Oh really?

Let me tell you that of the seven “Earl Pomerantz Acting Credits” annotated in IMDB, I made as much money on four of them and I did in the Toronto Hebrew Day School Purim play.

So why them and not the others?

All right.  As requested by cjdahl60, I shall touch lightly on each of those experiences next time.  (‘Cause I expended all today’s time on the build-up.)

Just know – and regular readers likely already do – that in my secret dreams and hidden aspirations I was never a writer and always an actor. 

Which, according to IMDB, I actually was seven times.

I also dreamed of being a ballplayer.

And there, I never got up to bat once.

Not even in Hebrew School.


Fred from Scarborough said...

For those who have been here since the beginning or, like me, came later and then went back to the beginning, we know that Cannibal Girls is the first thing mentioned in your inaugural post after saying you are a writer. I know that you say you are not proud of Cannibal Girls but it counts as a role in IMDB and keeps popping up in your posts. You were in a movie for God's sake! How many people can say that?
And, although a day late on the Valentine's post the most amazing part of that story is that you can still recall events from Grade 1. Even names of fellow students and your teacher. For someone with my limited powers of recall this is an amazing feat. You probably even know where to find your car keys.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Actually, the "I" in IMDB stands for "Internet". Ditto the "I" in IBDB - the Internet Broadway Database.

IMDB was created by a couple of students in Cardiff, then commercialized when the Internet was opened to commercial traffic in 1994. Amazon bought it some years later. But anyway, the point is the "international" was built in from the start. It was the Internet bit that was unusual.


Wendy M. Grossman said...

P.S. The "M" in IMDB stands for "movies", which is why the actors' workshop isn't in there.

JED said...

Between the "Bertolt Brecht Summer Theater Workshop", the "London Actors Workshop" and the productions at Camp Ogama and the Toronto Hebrew Day School, you have as much right to refer to yourself as a Writer/Actor as any of the models, singers and sports figures who fancy themselves as actors. "Looking like a writer" to Jack Rollins doesn't mean you couldn't play the part of a writer in a play or movie. Does it? I know nothing about this, of course. I'm just a guy who gets excited when he gets a chance to play in a band with professionals for a Valentine's Day dance for an after school program. Last night - I'm still flying high!