My piece for the "That Summer" series. Coming soon (but here it is now for free!)
There was a summer not so long ago, when I very first got a start into show business. Not so much as a “hey, my buddy's buddy's buddy is doing a film in his backyard”, but I signed my first agent deal. I had no idea what to do after that, the agents would throw these parties and I didn’t have a clue how to act at them, I would wear this plaid suit to go with my hair that was always sticking up, trying to be Paul Westerberg from “The Replacements” (that "Paul"suit, sort of close, pictured above, 2nd pic? That's me and the man himself, I didn't tell him about the suit). That entire hot summer, I’d be wearing that ugly suit at these functions, this plaid wool 8 dollar suit I found at a Goodwill. What was I thinking.
There was excitement every single day, excitement with the feeling of the “unknown”, excitement at getting sent to an audition, or getting to New York City to go audition for MTV, to go there, having not much of an idea where to go, I knew MTV was on Broadway but WHERE was Broadway? It didn’t matter, I practically skipped through New York in excited nervous anticipation, WOW NEAT they sell bootleg movies up here? Only five dollars? OH OK! Every second, was new, exciting, blissful. MTV studios, full into the “TRL” era, was booming, I went in to audition for the MTV show, I GOT THE PART! OH WAIT NEVERMIND THEY JUST CANCELLED THE SHOW. Didn’t matter, there I was in New York City, there I was at MTV, there I was in my Paul Westerberg looking plaid suit, I couldn’t be stopped, I WOULDN’T be stopped.
That very next month, in Philadelphia, I’d gone and booked a role in a small film called THE BIG STORE. It wasn’t a Groucho Brothers remake, but still...a film! With trailers! And a budget! And makeup people! A "motion picture"! WHOA! I get to set as a soldier, and I think my part was cut down. It didn’t matter, I was on set! I was living at home at the time(because cancelled MTV shows and cut down film roles in indie films don’t pay anything) but I instructed any calls that came my way “Sorry, Tim’s not here….HE’S ON LOCATION”. I think my part in The Big Store ended up being me saying “Yeah….yeahhhhhh….yeah” in a scene of a craps game on a bus coming back home from the war. Sadly, the Academy didn’t take notice of my “Yeahs” BUT IT DIDN’T MATTER, every day was fantastic, every day was a brand new fresh adventure. A casting place called me “Want to be in a carpet infomercial in North Jersey for no money?” I said “YES SIR! CAN I WORK EVERY SINGLE DAY ON IT!?” and they said “Are you joking? Um, okay man”.
That summer also brought me a film that I’ll never forget, “TELL ME EVERYTHING” which unfortunately, like “The Big Store” would never come out, but you couldn’t stop me, it was this great “Punk Rock Girl meets Frat Boy meathead and LOOOOOVE HAPPENS” film. I played Frat Pledge Oat Bran, and I’m pretty sure, with a major film, with a character with an actual name, actual make up people, actual trailers, that my head was about to explode with joy. I’m not sure if I actually did it, but I think I even offered to go get the director and cast and crew coffee between takes. I was THAT excited.
Fall came around, and after a summer filled with all these show biz “first times”, little by little, I started to navigate my way around New York, I started to learn the routines of the “show biz” functions, and I ended up donating my Paul Westerberg suit back to Goodwill. With this business, success comes, failure comes, little parts of excitement come and go, but nothing comes remotely close to that summer not so long ago. Here I am a bunch of years later, and I look back on that naïve summer so so fondly, the music I’d play in the car on the way to these auditions (“The Replacements” of course) or how excited I’d be when I'd talk to my local hot dog vendor when I’d order 2 chili cheese dogs "to go" and “HEY I’M ABOUT TO BE IN A CARPET INFOMERCIAL, LOOK FOR ME SOMETIME ON LOCAL ACCESS AT 4AM!”
These days, when someone is about to get started in “the business” the first thing I say is “Have fun, do the work, but have fun, really enjoy these new people and experiences” because along the way, those are things that are special, those are things that you'll really really miss.