The kitchen at Wong's Grocery

LET IT BE                                                         1/21/01

I feel like I'm back in college again. My rooming house here in San Antonio seems to be populated by a variety of young guys, all of whom keep odd hours, most of whom smoke pot, and some of whom play loud music at unpredictable hours of the day and night.

Two nights ago, on the eve of my first casting session as director ever, I was awakened at 1:40 AM by Paul McCartney singing "Let it Be." At top volume. I was stunned, but too cold to contemplate action, so I waited. When the song ended, there was a brief moment of silence, then it started again. I toughed it out, only to have the same song play a third time. I was sure that at least one of the regular tenants would take action at this point, so I braced myself for the inevitable cranky holler. After the fourth time the song was cued up, I was ready to throw caution to the winds and confront the psycho myself, but that proved to be the last. Silence prevailed again and I returned to sleep. Was this some kind of Thursday night religious ritual or just another misguided stoner episode? I guess I'll never know.

Casting has been exhausting, but rewarding. Without prematurely naming any specific actors, I have found a potential Morning, a Jessica, a Coach Thompson, a Winston and a Victor. Because Texas has no equivalent to L.A. or New York City (cities with a multitude of regular and predictable film, television and theater projects), most actors here will travel to near and far cities for auditions and offer their services as local hires wherever they find work. This presents a greater talent pool than I could expect if we were limited to San Antonio actors.

One of the oddest revelations I have had is how little so many actors resemble their head shots. And it's not just a question of them being out of date. At one point yesterday, Susan, our Casting Director, took a head shot out to the waiting room to see if the actor in question had arrived. She returned saying that she must be late since no one there bore even the slightest resemblance. She eventually discovered that the actor had been there all along, looking eerily different from her photograph.

The lesson? Flattery will get you nowhere.

- Joseph Pierson



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