With Increasingly Irregular Frequency...

Hey there, loyal reader(s), friends, and well-wishers - I know what you're thinking. "But Andrew, you said that you were excited to write in your blog and that you'd write more frequently, but we haven't heard from you in two months! Are you still alive?! Do you even care about us?!"

Fret not, amigos, for I do still care, but I've been on the go, out and about, living life in the fast lane. Allow me to present some updates to you in a digestible format, with titles and bullet points and everything!

  • acting.

It's been a peachy couple of months for me. Things have been picking up pretty swiftly - shortly after the gig at Warner Bros., I signed with my agents, The Brogan Agency, who have been working wonders (in my eyes). In the Bay Area, getting sent out for auditions 1-2 times a week was considered a pretty packed schedule; down in LA, I'm getting sent out by my agents at least 3 times a week. It's great to have so much opportunity and to get in front of casting directors who start recognizing me after being in to their office 2-3 times. I'm super grateful to have representation, especially before pilot season, which starts in January and gives lots of actors work. Excited to be a part of that team.

I've also shot a couple more commercial spots, both social media - one is for L'Ange Hair, which was a blast to shoot; and one is for... well, I'm under an NDA and can't say. Guess you'll just have to wait until it comes out, but I'm pretty stoked for it :) While I'm at it, I have forgotten about one commercial shoot that I did. Rather topical with The Last Jedi coming out last week...

 He was pissed that I couldn't memorize my lines.

He was pissed that I couldn't memorize my lines.

I got the chance to go on the Disney lot in Burbank to play with Star Wars toys!! I know I may look like I'm 31, but my soul will always be imbued with the glow of Star Wars fandom. A bunch of us were at a "red carpet event" for BB-8, and got to control a bunch of BB-8 robots with our phones. It didn't pay much, but that didn't matter - being on the Disney lot for a night and controlling a droid was big-time rad. Hope I never get over that kind of excitement. Also, my droid was in the front for one of the shots. I like to think they picked him because he moved with such elegance, such grace, that only Andrew Laing could command.

Or he just had the most battery life left. Whatever.

Lastly, I got a couple of direct bookings to close out the year. I was on check avail (casting parlance for "you made the short list, clear the shoot dates") for three jobs! It was hectic trying to deal with scheduling, but thanks to some understanding friends, everything worked out in the end. It was a nice little ego boost to even be on hold for big jobs and big clients, and I'm hoping a good omen for 2018.

  • life.

Wow. Two months of my life? How do I catch you up on that succinctly? Answer: I don't. And hopefully I keep your attention through all of it.

My good friend Tyson Adlao and I have started a company together! Not only do we act, we're also entrepreneurs! Tyson does like 3 other things too; I need to get a couple more jobs before I feel that true LA hustle. At a 50,000 foot level, what we do is find products on Amazon where we feel we can improve on a design or market the product better, then work with Chinese manufacturers to get them made and sent to us, then to Amazon where customers can buy it using their platform. It's been a big learning experience and Tyson has been a huge help - our working styles complement each other, and we already have our first product up on Amazon with 3 more in the pipeline! The whole goal of this is to give us income that allows for some flexibility, so that we can act, direct, audition, do all the things that a Los Angeleno do. It's been a blast working with someone that I really respect, and hope this pans out.

I feel like I've been all up and down California in the past couple of months. I was up in the Bay Area again for Thanksgiving, then back down to LA, then back up for Christmas, and heading back down to LA for New Years. The Bay Area trips have spanned from Santa Cruz to San Francisco, which means I'm really making Audible work for their $15/month. It's nice to know that I'm only a short trip away from my friends and family back in the Bay. 

Other than that, things are pretty smooth sailing. Things are going great with the boo (Emyboo, my girlfriend, barnabunnyrhana if you're not into the whole brevity thing), and even though distance sucks, we've fallen into a groove with it. We try to see each other fairly often (which isn't terribly hard, given that we literally switched places and exist in each other's old lives), and hopefully won't be in different cities for that long. I've taken up Dungeons & Dragons with some of my acting friends, and I must admit that it's great being on the other side of the screen. My friend Matt Robinson has cooked up a homebrew campaign that has surprising depth and intricacy in it, and he's doing a great job DM'ing it. I wasn't half as good, and I was using the crap pre-built starter campaign. I'm dying to get back into Magic, but just haven't had the time to see if a game store around me has a Commander night. I'm frightened to play any other game types because I have so much invested in Commander, and it's typically so fun to play. I'm rusty, but I believe in the Heart of the Cards.

You did it. You're caught up on my life. So now let's talk about...

  • the future.

 Chewbacca watches his friend Han Solo perish,  Star Wars: The Force Awakens, 2015

Chewbacca watches his friend Han Solo perish, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, 2015

That suit is pretty dope right. My friends Robert and Melinda got it for me for Christmas because they're amazing. My mom and my dad don't get it, but Will Smith had it right - parents just don't understand

The horizon is looking pretty bright, amigos. As I mentioned up top, pilot season is coming up, which should mean more auditions, especially now that I have an agent. I have new headshots that I'm going to review during the first week of January, which are more targeted toward specific looks which (I'm told) will make it easier for my agents to submit me for certain things. Tyson and I are refining our launch strategy for our Amazon products, and our first one has garnered a couple of reviews already. 

AND OH YEAH I'M GOING TO SEE STAR WARS TONIGHT. I've heard a lot of mixed reaction, with most of the negative comments coming from my Original-Trilogy loving friends. I'm trying to approach this one with an open mind, and not build any pre-conceived notions of what it should be. I even saw an interview with Mark Hamill where he stated that this Luke isn't his character anymore, that he disagreed with the actions that the new narrative has Luke taking. But I'm reserving judgment. I just can't wait to bask in the light of new Star Wars canon - I spent the first 13 years of my life fawning over the original trilogy before I got anything new, and then had to wait until The Force Awakens to get something that I actually liked (outside of some video games and novels... Timothy Zahn's Thrawn trilogy, anyone?). I'll take whatever I can get at this point.

That's it. I'm gonna head out and meet up with my boy Andrew (I realize how that could be confusing - there are two of us, it's not that I'm going alone and trying to make it sound better) and grab a few drinks before soaking up the next installment of my favorite movie series. I promise that I'll try to get better at updating this thing regularly... Even when I'm busy. No excuses, baby.

Much love,

andrew

Another monthly blog post!

Well, well… another month, another update for you all.

This one has been quite a whirlwind. I’ve finally gotten down to business on looking for an agent, and I’ve submitted to almost 20 already – and I had my first meeting with one today! A couple of my friends are with the agency that I met with, and I was coming off of a good audition (more on that later) and felt pretty confident. Despite not having prepared a monologue for the longest time, I think it came off decently well. I stumbled over a couple of lines, but I think that overall it came off ok. It’s a good lesson in taking more time to prepare before a meeting like this – with memorizing lines, I tend to think that giving myself a few days is sufficient… But then when I start adding character work on top of that and trying to memorize lines, it becomes clear that these meetings aren’t like a class, where I can get feedback on my performance and bring it back, new and improved. Even though I did ok this time, it’s a bad habit to form and I should prepare for things like this (casting director workshops, agent meetings, etc.) and take my time to properly prepare for the character and memorize the lines.

Ok, enough beating myself up over that one. Let’s talk about the audition that did go great – I auditioned for the role of the Crooked Man at Warner Brother’s Horror Made Here Halloween event! For those who haven’t watched The Conjuring 2, the Crooked Man is one of the forms that one of the antagonists takes. Since my friends aren’t having their haunted house in Campbell this year (which saddens me, saddens me so deeply), this is my shot at being able to scare people all throughout the Halloween season! They pulled us into the audition room four at a time, and we all watched each other pop out from behind a screen and stalk around, pretending to be a frightening phantasm or ghoulish… ghoul. Not to brag, but I do feel like I did pretty well – I didn’t hamfist the Crooked Man character, but hinted at it with my movements and guttural growls. Even if I don’t get this role, I left it all out there and feel pretty good about it.

One thing that helped prepare me for my Horror Made Here audition is my classes at Upright Citizens Brigade – for those who don’t know, this is the improv school founded by the likes of Amy Poehler, Matt Walsh, and Matt Besser, and who has churned out comedic stars like Chris Gethard, Rob Riggle, Aubrey Plaza, and Kate McKinnon. Ok, ok, I’m not nearly on their level yet – I’ve only finished the Improv 101 intensive. But I’m signing up for the 201 Intensive as soon as I can, and it’s safe to say that I’m hooked – I saw 4 shows while I was a student there and performed in my graduation show.

I was initially hesitant when selecting an improv school – I had grand designs on going to see shows at all the major improv schools and even a couple smaller ones, but it was hard to carve out time to go see all these shows and evaluate which ones would fit best with what improv techniques I’d like to hone. After speaking with my wonderful manager Christy, I decided to go with UCB because it’s a “name brand” that gets a lot of recognition, despite hearing that UCB was a place that a lot of people come to just to pad their resume, and that they aren’t really interested in the craft. I can’t speak for the entire curriculum, but I do know that my 101 class was nothing of the sort. I met a variety of fantastic, funny, amazing people who I hope to keep in touch with as we move through our careers. And I look forward to returning to 201 so I can continue to hone my skills.

So, that about does it. That’s my last couple of weeks here in LA. There’s been a lot of emailing, submitting, rehearsing, recording, hanging, laughing, and a little bit of emotions. When I quit my normal 9-to-5 job in the Bay Area, I thought I’d have a ton of time to keep in touch with family, look for a new place to live down here, and generally relax; but it hasn’t much been like that at all. I’ve been on the go, trying to get out and network, trying to forge fulfilling relationships and maintain the ones I already cherish, trying to make money… Bottom line, it hasn’t been all relaxing and video games like I dreamt it would be 😉 Kidding. The fact of the matter is, all my energy is being spent toward what I really want to do. I’ve fallen on my face, stumbled, and had to get back up; but it’s worth it. All worth it. I’m making a life on my own terms, and every ounce of effort that goes toward that is a matter of pride for my own ambitions.

Anywho. Thanks everyone for your support, and I’ll keep you updated as the weeks go by!

Love,

Andrew

P.S. I just got a mechanical keyboard, and I have a feeling typing is going to become a new hobby for me now. Seriously. I really can’t stop. The quick brown fox jumped over the…

Overwhelmed by possibility.

Hey folks. Just a quick update here today on how things have been going after my first few weeks in LA. After a whirlwind start, the whirlwind part seems to still be there but there just seems to be less productivity coming out. I've spent my days trying to get established in LA (including looking for a new place, seeing friends I haven't seen in a while, and taking workshops with casting directors/other actors). There's both a positive and negative side to this - the positive side is that I'm getting out and making connections and establishing roots in LA; the negative side is that there isn't a whole lot to show for it yet.

I know that this was going to be a paradigm shift for me, but I come from a world where I go to work every day, get a paycheck every couple weeks, and no matter what I do, everything kinda chugs along smoothly (more or less). Not so these days. I've had a little money come in from jobs here and there, but it's weird to be doing so much and have so little to show for it. Part of this is me freaking out, the other part is normal. Of course this is the way it's going to be - I'm making life happen on my own terms now, and if I party too hard during a weekend and spend half of the following Monday playing Overwatch and wishing the sun would leave me alone, then that's time that this dream slips a little away from me. If I go to a casting director workshop that requires a number of hours of preparation, that's time that I wouldn't be able to spend recording in my home booth to try and get gigs to get some money coming in. This is all a fantastic lesson in opportunity cost, which I never really got to learn past a textbook; at least not in such an impactful way.

Ironically enough, I feel like I've done more in the past day or so that I've sent back up in San Francisco than I did when I was down in LA. I have a quiet space to work, I'm held accountable by someone I love (thanks, Emy - you've reserved your spot in my future Oscar/Emmy/Daytime Emmy/Razzie acceptance speech), and I feel like I'm slowing down to take the time to actually learn some things, rather than throwing myself at a wall and chipping away bit by bit. As I stood in the shower thinking to myself this morning, I thought of it like trying to move a massive object by tugging on just one rope - as hard as I pull, I'm only going to gain a little ground. But I'm taking time now to stake more ropes into this behemoth, and when I start pulling, this monstrosity I call my dream will start moving by inches, not centimeters.

Ok, I know that doesn't sound hugely optimistic. But I'm trying to be a realist here - this is a difficult profession and overnight successes take years to make. I've got determination, I've got talent (according to some people), and I've got a hard work ethic.

Now, where did I put that Playstation controller...

Much love as always,

Andrew

Reflections on Day One

I've done it, finally. It took nearly a decade after graduating from college, but I've finally made the first step towards making a real shot at building a dream life for myself. 

I moved to LA. 

This wasn't an easy move for me. I tend to make these things hard on myself - I worked at my job in the Bay Area until the night before I left; sceduled a dinner with friends; drove to San Diego to be with family for a long weekend before finally moving in to my place in Alhambra last night. Today has been my first full day as an Angelino. I'd love to tell you that I hit the pavement, ran to agencies all over, and booked an audition or two. 

I didn't do that stuff.  

I chilled. I chilled hard. And (after some introspection and discussion with my girlfriend) I don't feel guilty about it. It's been a hectic few days and I haven't had a chance to slow down - even vacation in San Diego was exhausting. Frolicking in the surf, being a jungle gym for my nephews, and consuming heroic quantities of wine can wear a man out. Add to that the emotional tax of leaving my family and my girlfriend for an uncertain future, and I can be forgiven for spending the day watching TV, unpacking, and tearing it up on Overwatch.  

The days won't be like this for much longer. I'm running errands tomorrow and working on emails, getting in touch with friends to get out and see LA a bit. I have places I want to go - Samuel French to read plays and prepare a couple of monologues, find a good spot to watch the sunset, get set up with improv classes. It's daunting thinking about everything, but after today I feel better rested and ready to take on this new venture. 

Since I don't have a computer right now, I'm writing this on my phone and lack the patience to type on this itty bitty screen anymore. But suffice to say that there are more updates coming with increasing frequency - this is my job now, after all. 

much love,

andrew

The Increasing Speed at which Reality Approaches.

I'm feeling a bit like Dustin Hoffman at the end of The Graduate. I've shrugged off my secure job (One word, Benjamin - plastics) and am moving to LA to pursue my dream career. But as I sit at the back of this bus with my hopes and dreams next to me, the logistics of the move and possibility of failure start to creep in along with The Sound of Silence. I've made the decision to start to move away from what I thought I could do - hold down an office job and spend nights and weekends on my creative pursuits - and get a job that allows me more freedom to do what I love. It's exciting and nerve-wracking. There's a certain romance that comes along with being a night security guard and working on my screenplay at my shift. But there's also looming car payments, car insurance, cell phones, rent, food... I'm going to have to do something that I didn't anticipate doing in my 30's.

Cut back on my lifestyle.

But there's opportunity here. I may have to bail out on some events that are expensive (I'll start a GoFundMe to crowdsource my more Bacchanalian outings) and cut back on the drinking (probably for the best), but I'll still have me. My personality. My sense of humor. The things that nothing can take from me. Insert comment here about how I'm truly rich.

So basically, come visit me in LA, but don't expect that we'll be going out to Urasawa. I'm happy to pantomime that experience for you in the comfort of my home, replete with fishsticks and finely-aged PBR (just kidding - beer snobbery is one thing that I just won't let go of).

Anyway. Thanks for reading about my hopes and fears, and if you see me out on the town, try to encourage me to not buy those extra 4 beers.

much love,

andrew

Fridays = Chaos...

...and I love it.

I work as a Client Services Manager for an insurance brokerage as my day job, and it's very hectic - it means meeting with clients, last minute issues, and spreading my focus across a lot of different buckets. But I wouldn't have it any other way - I prefer to be busy and to be handling a lot of different things at once. Today, I'm working on logistics for a trip to Tahoe this weekend, managing my client work, leading meetings that I got tossed into last-minute, and an audition this afternoon (plus scheduling a few more next week)!

All this adds up to a crazy day, but it's all things I'm passionate about. Coming through for my clients and taking initiative fills me with confidence, because it puts me out of my comfort zone. Planning a trip with my lovely girlfriend (hi Emy, I know you're reading this) and some of my best friends to snowboard this weekend fills me with excitement, and carries me through the inevitable rough patches that the day presents. And auditions... well, when you get the chance to get paid for something that you're passionate about, therein lies the rub, no?

What I'm getting at is that I'm full of beans today, and I'm stretching my energy out in all sorts of different directions and I couldn't be happier. Hope everyone's day is much the same - smile. It's Friday :)

An Actor Begins

Well, here it is. My first blog post.

I write this sitting in the break room of my day job, eating lunch and daydreaming of being outside in the sun. I intend for this blog to be a place to reflect on my acting career, a way to contemplate my successes and trials. So, without much further ado, here goes!

My last audition was last Friday, for a print ad for a major credit card company. I've done these before and they aren't normally a big deal, but this one was for a shoot that required swimming. I was let into the building by another model who had just come from the audition - tan, slender, and bright-eyed - who wished me luck before she hustled down the street. At the audition, I felt like a doughier version of everyone else there; most models were college-aged, with rippling muscles and maybe one or two sprouts of body hair. Here's to hoping that the client wanted to show off the average Joe!

The guy checking me in was very nice, and said he had seen my photos on breakdowns a lot (thanks Tim!). I also saw a couple of faces from previous gigs, which always makes auditions easier. When it was time to step in front of the camera, I took my shirt off and got to my mark in my boardshorts. The cameraman was outgoing and friendly, which made it easy to put my best foot forward. However, he soon uttered the words I was dreading: "okay, turn and face the back wall so I can get a shot of your back."

One of the many things a breakdown won't show you is body hair. While I'm not the furriest actor out there, I do have some (according to most of the women in my life) unsightly shoulder hair, which I'm self-conscious about as I'm sure clients aren't keen to have my angel wings show in their spots. But hey, this is my body, and I'll be damned if I'm going to constantly shave my shoulders for every shirtless audition that comes up. That stuff grows back real itchy!

The audition was an overall positive experience. I like getting out, meeting casting folks and forging relationships with them, and I especially love the camaraderie between actors and models at these things. It's fun to see people I know, or people who recognize each other not by name, but by previous work experience. It fosters a unique relationship development in the Bay Area where people genuinely enjoy working with one another, and aren't focused on "what can this person do for me" right off the bat. Those are the kinds of relationships I want in this business.

If you've made it this far, thanks for listening. Be excellent to each other.