So here I am in my commercial agent’s office, holding a pen and the notebook I bought in India with elephants on it, while Hugh’s apologetic voice calmly, yet authoritatively informs me as he picks up the phone, “That’s CBS. Give me a second.”
I pretend to write something down.
“So…tell me a crazy actor story,” I professionally demand then smile.
“Where do I start?” He innocently asks as he glances around his office, acknowledging a holiday gift that a client sent him that never made it home. He reaches over and picks up pajamas.
“Now, what’s this? How are Jen and I supposed to share pajamas? People think we’re married; it’s ridiculous. If people would just take a second to read my newsletter…” Jen is Hugh’s very pretty and very pregnant assistant – not his wife…
He readjusts in his swirly chair, arms folded behind his head as he thinks, peering at the ceiling.
“I had an actor once (who was looking for an agent) send me a three page cover letter explaining in detail how he was an alien and how this attribute rises him above the other actors.”
We laugh. Hugh’s handsome face almost glistens.
“You look good, Hugh. Are you doing a cleanse?”
“I’m just happy. My new baby is beautiful and my wife started a new business called ‘EnnouncementCards.com.’” He starts to get really proud of his wife. His face glows and he continues:
“These cards are amazing. You can use them for anything: birthdays, save the dates, thank you’s, holidays — you can even send them to casting directors to keep them updated on a play or a new commercial you’re in.”
Cool. I jot it down — EnnouncementCards.com — and make a mental note to check it out.
Hugh leans back even more and mumbles, searching his memory for the perfect odd-actor story,
“I’ve had people break in the office, threat letters, actors pretending to be managers, actors having nervous breakdowns in casting offices; I’ve been recognized in Thailand while laying by the pool. This couple walks up to me and asks if I’m Hugh from Coast. I’ve seen it all…”
I turn to the next page in my notebook.
“Oh, I remember. I had this actor from New York once come in here and refuse to audition for me. He’s been in tons of films, but they’re all dramatic. As a commercial agent I need to make sure this guy can be funny and read commercial copy. He leans back in his chair and — I quote — reads it like this: ‘Yeah yeah, blah blah, How are you, yeah whatever, Dove soap, blah blah.’ You get the point.”
I laugh at Hugh’s not half bad “New York” impersonation and at the absurdity of this business as I gather my things to leave.
“One last question Hugh.”
“Do you like actors?”
“I love them. It takes a lot of courage to do what you guys do.” He winks at me and spins to his computer screen as the door slowly closes.
Alice can be reached at AliceActress@yahoo.com