Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Craziest. Director. Ever.

So last fall I started auditioning for this independent movie, "After the Life." Yes, there are at least 10 other things called that, but this is a new one.

I'll go into more detail later regarding the whole process, but this past Sunday we had our final and fifth round of auditioning. It was almost worth going through the whole thing for his final email. His lack of touch with reality is astonishing.

Suffice it to say, I wasn't cast. I was auditioning for "Voice 2" and was apparently a "negative" influence on the process.

Don't feel obliged to read this whole thing. The sheer length of it is enough to illustrate this fellow's insanity. (UPDATE: His name is Avi Klein, by the way. Thanks Google!)

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Subject: "After The Life" Finals Post Game Wrap-Up...Read Everything Carefully. STATEMENT
Date: 3/26/2006 5:30:06 P.M. Eastern Standard Time
This email has specific information as it pertains to the aftermath of Our Finals. I write this once and only ONCE........I did NOT cancel the "Eternal Improv" by design, pleasure, or satisfaction. The reason(s) exist in this very email. At the end of this email is a SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT. In order to understand it you must read everything here thoroughly first and foremost. At times it may seem like I'm wavering off but I'm not. One thing I never shy away from is prviding in-depth info. Read ALL of this carefully in order to understand FULLY my announcement at the end of this email.
I consider myself an average man who so happens to have a passion that(Much like all of you) is fully immune the word surrender. In my humble opinion, surrender is a word that is attached to those whom invest less than all of their being towards a greater goal. As professionals I respect and ENCOURAGE all of you to go forth and leave your mark on an industry that challenges the communion of honesty that WE ourselves all have within us. If you are STILL reading this then you should know something...I do not write emails to any of you for the sake of hearing myself speak(Write). I do so because I care. I do so because I know what it is like to be a working actor. I do so because I had a dream of allowing you all to see that just because I am multi-tasking and wearing countless array of different hats in this project I would still make time for all of you. This is because I CHOOSE to be as involved and fortunately enough for me such creative access has been assured to me.....
(Stick with this metaphor).......I see a blur in the distance and echo the truth to come forth. My(Avi) physical image IS that blur but I have heard all of your(The Actors)"voices" in the distance during this Casting Call. I have never left the Casting Office in 5 rounds of Casting...never. The reason for this is because I truly believe that every actor is entitled to their own "space" without feeling restricted or confined. I have, in turn, promoted the notion of unity and tried to give all of you the chance to build chemistry and SAY what is on your mind because quite frankly, there is nothing to hide. This system also allowed all of you to GAIN ACCESS to the one element everyone has craved...full understanding of this film. For the last 2 rounds I have encouraged interaction and RATHER than sound like some KNOW-IT-ALL I have given YOU the actor all the respect in the world and have viewed you all as intellects. If I got off on the fact that I can do no wrong I would have grabbed the limelight and flooded everyone with TO MUCH data. I despise the limelight and in turn, have given all of you trust to excel creatively in this Final Round. MOST of you used your time in the waiting room wisely trying to piece things together(Creatively speaking). Heck, even if some of you didn't and either kept to yourself or had friendly conversations getting to know one another then I find that to be SUPER! With this being mentioned I must indicate that my attempt at allowing every actor involved in Casting to see how much respect and appreciation I have was challenged this weekend. It was brought to my attention that several of you feel as if you are on a "Reality Show". This is where the bubble must be burst...RIGHT NOW. You're NOT. Sorry to break it to you but this film, this concept that I have ETCHED IN MY SOUL, that I have fought for endlessly without any retreat without ANY surrender, that is thankfully being given an opportunity to be on full display for all(If we the cast/crew all succeed during production that is)is the only reality I know. Me and my staff have looked, analyzed, critiqued, and payed attention to the SMALLEST amount of detail during Casting. Why? Because of respect. Yes we could have rushed the process and bring anyone on board but my vision was to CAREFULLY and CREATIVELY select the cast. I have fought for the right to use my method of casting and thankfully got a headstart back in November rather than try to rush it in March. I believe in detail. I believe in journeys. I believe in the arts. Just because I am attempting to make everyone feel more and more comfortable every round does NOT mean that this is a Reality show constructed by a "young" face. My youth has been tested before and I have fought through it and will continue to do so because I have no quit in me. I hate reality shows. For those of you who feel the opposite than I am sorry to inform you for the first and final time that this Casting Call is NOT a show. MY reality is MY belief in this system which provides creative growth, innovation, mutual respect, time, detail, sacrifice, togetherness, and shattering false perceptions that SOME have pertaining the youth in this industry who make this haven their 24/7 endless pursuit of perfection. No sense in holding back. I have heard rumblings(During our Final Round Of Casting) and I wish to address those few handful who have attempted to spoil the air with illusions of ignorant and false proclamations during our previous round. I will abandon the notion of disrespect.
Sigh. A shame that this long journey must end for some not because of creative decisions but rather because of practical ones based on unacceptable negativity. While I have a very good sense of humor I do NOT take my passion, my work, and my one and only true love in life(The Arts) as a joke. Not everyone would address this as such but this is simply my way. Let me address these beings of negativity FIRST so that I may move on to the rest of you who I thank, appreciate, and adore fully from the bottom of my heart...
When a certain individual(A person reading for a Martial arts instructor) takes pictures on his cellphone and mocks OUR process he disrespects me(For orchestrating a unique style) all of you(For taking this as seriously as you do) and himself(For claiming to be a respected, hard-working actor). These actions make this person fall under the category of those I wish OUTSIDE of my circle...disrespectful, judgmental, beings who have defaced my attempt at treating every individual as a special being during a CASTING CALL(Something most Casting people find unconventional). I guess that this individual felt it necessary to go overboard with his behavior and in turn proving that he takes his own self as a negative force. Maybe if he had better prepared himself with the same sides he has had for a month rather than creating a negative force in the air of OUR Casting then we would not have choked upon entering the Casting Room.......
Yet two other's(One reading for the brother of No Name, Alex, and another reading for Voice 2) walked in the Casting Room with a fake, phony, pertinacious smile as their hands were being shook. They shook something else as well...my pride. When I shake a person's hand it is out of full blown respect. I have alot of pride in what I do and these young men's attitude was insulting. This is why these particular people will hopefully succeed but not in OUR project. Negativity and a mocking-like,know- it-all approach, assuming that I wouldn't notice as such, is demeaning and proves how unserious they view both my dedication and theirs. Sorry guys, I noticed. I wish them luck. Awareness. I just wish for everyone to understand that while I would give the WORLD to those I respect I am quite aware of those who ATTEMPT to interpret/abuse my kindness for lack of experience. Just becuase I am multi-tasking to no end does not mean that I do not notice the "little things". I observe every scene as if they are last image my eyes will ever witness. Adam(No Name) is the same. He is a very experienced actor who has already been featured in highly credible material. His commitment/preparation in making sure every participant is ready to perform is like no other. This isn't the part where I pretend like I am GUARANTEED to succeed but know that if/when do I will do so by keeping my pride, honesty, and respectful like approach towards every human I meet in life without passing judgment. My GOAL WAS to envision everyone having a positive, fun, creative time during casting and laugh, joke, get to know one another if they chose to but NOT at the expense of my legitimacy. I am more a low-key individual who hates the spotlight and attention but I enjoy seeing everyone around me have a GREAT time and soak in creative, uplifting, energy into their very core. I have faced countless obstacles in the past while trying to find my film a home. After several years I have. I could have forgotten my OWN struggle but never have. I'm not saying I'm perfect all I'm trying to get across here is that I haven't forgotten where I came from NOR do I parade around like some high-class know it all. Now you know why it pains me to have heard what I did on Sunday. These particular individuals were NOT the sole reason we did not have time for the "Eternal Improv" however. More on that SHORTLY. BELIEVE me that I would not spoil it for the rest of you who had looked forward to it. Another young lady(Reading for Karen) had refused to work with her scene partner (The ONLY one reading for Freddy) all the while poking fun at this process carrying herself like an unproven young diva. Great to find out that she refused to be a team player. She cared much like everyone else however because the bottom line is she showed up. No one is forced to show. She wasn't but obviously paraded around like a starlet thinking that her behavior would go unnoticed. Choices. Yet another female(Whom is not reading this) had thought she could quiz me on my SAG knowledge. This is a theatrical based film and believe me, second guessing my knowledge because of my age is both disrespectful and unconventional. I have put plenty of my time and efforts in making sure that protocol be maintained even in my independent style of construction. This is a Casting Call. I explained the format a while back. Twe things she questioned was me never answering a question(s) of hers as well as not receiving certain info/sides. This was/is inaccurate. EVERYONE has had their questions answered as well receiving all sides/info prudent for this and every round. As "unconventional" as it might be for a Casting Person/Director I PERSONALLY have answered everything asked of me because I ENJOY writing and reading all of your emails/viewpoints. Sigh. It pains me to think that despite me constantly marching forward there will always be nay-sayers out to BRING FORTH negative energy because they see a young man who doesn't fit the demographic "mold" of those who are obviously "highly respected". A young man who doesn't "network" with actors and keeps to himself. A young man who doesn't believe in the illusion of "dress codes". I fight these sterotypes every day and the reason why I AM INFORMING EVERYONE of this I because some of us are very close to actually working with one another. I am attempting to make this transition simple by helping everyone know what to expect from me. I do not think I'm special but I do believe that this style of casting is rare because it was geared towards respecting not the casting people/crew so much but the ultimately, you the actor. The end is near and all I wanted was everyone to enjoy one last round as you did many before. BELIEVE me that there is a huge reward both internally, spiritually, mentally, and physically once Pre-Production arrives. Not to mention the sense of accomplishment. We were so close to crossing the finishing line, we were. Sigh. After I have conveyed as much detail and emotion in every email I sent I would have hoped that my tireless effort to help you all strive to be the very best you can possibly be(And vice-versa) would have shown that. While I apologize for the wait this past weekend, it is easy to ASSUME and pass judgment as to why the delays occurred......
I guess the fact that ONE of the actors tore a part of the casting room wall the size(Not intentionally, as part of his scene...blocking/preparation gone wrong) of the equator in the Casting Room(Which resulted in me electing to take care of the damages) had nothing to do with it. I guess the fact that several actors STILL chose to ramble about protocol and me having to correct them personally (Because I truly RESPECT everybody's issues, as false as they might be) had nothing to do with it. I have rarely been to a Casting Call where the actor has been appreciated to the point where IN CASTING everyone was offered food/beverages/etc by the P.A.'s. This is something I felt necessary to fully provide fromme to you because of unlimited amount of RESPECT I have for all of you. When this same actress then complains that there are MORE sesame bagels then plain the numbness begins. I DO not want to come across as stern in this email as 99f you have nothing to do with this. Why mention it then? Simple. The reason is to allow you all to understand that I truly care and ALSO show you that there are other elements than meet the eye. If I didn't care I wouldn't have bothered explaining myself. I DO NOT have many demands but the most obvious of demands...negative energy has no place in an atmosphere I feel has become magical. I GUARANTEE you all that me and my staff do not sit down "killing time" while you wait. We are all hard at work to make sure that this process concludes as designed to please each and every one of YOU not only as an actor so much but as an INDIVIDUAL. It is rare but I offer it because I know what it is like to be on the "other side". My mind has always been in sync with the notion of raising the bar of comfort. In this Casting Call I have attempted to do just that. Believe me when I say that at least 6 people that are linked to this film "upstairs" HATE what I'm doing but I have REFUSED to give in to the notion of treating you all like cattle and quitting on my format. I didn't just wake up one day and say "why not just do things my way"? I have studied this artform like a book for years and decided to sprinkle my own ingredients. If I had a suit, tie, wrinkles on my face, a beerbelly, and a hollywood like persona about me would that make me a more credible source? I think not, just a typical source. I have explained my policies about certain procedures and NEVER admitted to registering this film through SAG yet. I have explained numerous times that the REASON I haven't yet was to keep Non-Union talent ALIVE in this process and not shutting them out simply because of a "pecking order". I explained this reason in my prior emails which everyone had received. Yet another (Voice 1/Young Lady) individual I was told hadn't even remembered this email apparently and forgot that I honestly admitted as such. Her "memory lapse" was the sole reason as to her making IGNORANT remarks of her own, from what I was told, without any justification. A real shame because she struck me as a real positive force. I usually DO NOT write these types of emails but this is necessary. I don't like to build up hype so I would have no shame admitting the truth because my number one rule in life is honesty. This is who I am. I am NOT a big shot. I am a normal guy who is trying his best to show the SKEPTICS that being routine defies the logic of this great Artform that we are in. Bottom line is I have a good deal going but it took me a while to convince many that my style was to be given a chance. Every day of my life I wake up and I must prove to those nay-sayers out there that just because I'm young, just because I have the ambition to construct an innovative form of casting, and just because I thoroughly care about each and every one the actors auditioning for me does NOT make me a naive minded fool. I sink my teeth into this disgusting, retched industry every single day and every waking hour. Why? Because my dream is to share MY dreams with those of us who remain ambitious enough to create art for what it is truly meant to be...creative bliss. I take myself VERY seriously and will NOT let behavior that people in OUR age group have to fight off every day, and disprove, bring MY energy down.
Before we move forward and reach a conclusion I must address something once more. I will repeat this for those who wish to insult my intelligence away from me...This WILL be a SAG registered project(I have explained why numerous times in the past as well as above) in which producer/signatory for Non-Union talent will be applicable. If my respect level for everyone, unique style of Casting, and overall vibe is misinterpreted as "inexperience", "naive", "negative", "unpleasant", and/or "dishonest" then I must note that no one was/is forced to continue onward with this journey. If anyone second guesses my design please understand that this trail is only paved by those who check their negative forces at the door, so to speak. Again, I was informed that only numerous individuals ABUSED my respect towards everyone(Attempting to create a fan-friendly environment) and took it upon themselves to treat this(And in turn themselves) as a joke. I assure you that my detail oriented system is no joke. My dedication and commitment to my love(The Arts) is NO joke. If the P.A.s are being disrespectful(With me not knowing as such)or any other matters arise/have arisen PLEASE let me know. I had heard that some of you thought that there was "a joke" of sorts as to why "The Eternal Improv" had to be canceled. Release the skepticism. I am not the one who is cruel. Neither are any of you. The streets of this corrupted planet are as such and I would have thought that we have ESCAPED all of the dirt, lies, and negativity that this demon plagued society offers during these Casting Calls. Understand that TIME(Ironically enough the one element that remain non-existent in Purgatory) destroyed the chance of this final improv to occur because of a few bad apples including the young man whom I mentioned(Reading for Alex), in his primary, tore a hole in the studio wall that I decided to compensate for. He said he was getting "into the scene" but in turn none of you could get "into" the "Eternal Improv" because dealing with that situation killed 40 minutes of our time. Call it bad blocking/preperation on his part and bad luck on all of OURS. I'm fighting for everyone here and if anyone left STILL has doubts about anything I do not recommend spoiling the energy for the rest. I take my passion as seriously as anything in my life. The pursuit for creative excellence is etched in my veins. It will NEVER go away. My concepts will NEVER go away. My drive will NEVER go away. I am trying to do al of the above for all of us who live the life of artists. I felt it necessary to convey my thoughts with all of you because you have given me the greatest joy of all knowing that the majority of you are appreciating this process. In turn I appreciate you all the moreso than mere words can muster. I ASPIRE to inspire by living and embracing my passion to succeed. Much like everyone however, I too bleed when I get hurt and it saddens me to hear that SEVERAL of the 60 who remained in This Final Round Of Casting(Plagued by negative reasons such as skepticism, fear of this "non-traditional" casting call, bitterness, impatience, judgemental tendancies, and as a result BANDWAGON behavior) took it upon themselves to show their "true colors" and in turn, disgrace the face of art. If I have missed anyone please by all means tell me that you do not feel a positive vibe in all of this. No one is forcing you to continue. I am a man that lives based on personal vibes as a means of survival. I'd rather find out now if anyone feels even the SLIGHTEST bit of uncertainty projected in a skeptic like manner. Better I know now than on a set.
With all of this being mentioned, know this once more....I have no quit in me. I know that the rest of you are not quitters as well. The latter mentioned incidents all contributed to the negativity I was feeling. Here is my FINAL announcement in this email. There is optimistic news(For some as there are apparently those who pray for failure...sorry that is a word that I am fully immune to). I wish to OFFER everyone a chance to finally let their characters speak with their OWN language by confronting "The Voice(s)" in yes, "The Eternal Improv". This is NOT mandatory anymore but for those who would like to finish what they have started they, like myself, will welcome this final challenge. I do NOT go out in defeat. I hope it to be the majority who feel as such but if not then understand that it(Any of you electing not to partake in "The Eternal Improv") will NOT affect my decision on who is ultimately cast. That is the truth. ALL of those(With the exception of the individuals I mentioned earlier) whom participated in this past weekend's Finals are invited to participate in this Final Showdown. I have NOT cast yet and while this "Eternal Improv" will allow you to fully EMBODY your character with his/her own intentions it is only for those who do not want to leave things as is. The EASY thing for me to do is say "the heck with it", but I am NOT. I OWE it to me and YOU to end this journey as advertised. Confirm whether or not you wish to partake in the "Eternal Improv". By not responding/OR stating your disinterest I'll assume that you do not.
Hopefully you have all seen where I was coming from in this email as I spoke(Wrote) with an honest approach as always and let my inner being do the writing. There is no right or wrong as it pertains to what/how/why I wrote this email. I did so because I felt as if I must. Real emotions create real moments in writing(In my opinion) I feel like you are all a unit and I cherish you all. If you are reading this then, UNLESS you were one of the people I described/"called out" this rant needn't apply to you I just wanted everyone to absorb. I cherish you all as you have made MY words and MY actions come alive. As always feel free to not only leave your interest/disinterest as it pertains to your choice(Eternal Improv) but also any questions, comments, etc as I have ALWAYS been here to answer anything or ANY question DESPITE what a few of the latter mentioned individuals had expressed. I ENJOY reading your thoughts as well, I truly do WHATEVER they may be. I learn and absorb every minute of every waking hour in my current life. I take both YOU and MYSELF very seriously. I would have it no other way. I will not let ANYONE morph me into a horrid monster in this business just because of a few "bad apples". No more will I give 100 yards (Rather than 10 to those who I deem undeserving). Adam(No Name), Heather, Ragini, and J.R. have worked their tails off for EVERYONE involved not because of necessity because of the respect level they have for each and everyone of you. Trust me, I have heard as such.
Let me know if "The Eternal Improv" is something that you still wish to partake in. IF your name is NOT included in the bottom of this email then DO NOT bother to email me EITHER WAY and furthermore know that your creative negativity needs to be fully eliminated thus enabling your respect level to be fully restored in future Casting Calls other than mine. This isn't me passing judgment it is simply an opinion.
Thank you so much to the following, you have made this experience shine due to YOUR energy and approach. No exaggeration on my part when I say(write) that while I have NOT cast yet, NO one on earth do I respect moreso than the following as it stands right now:(Celebrities, athletes, poets, etc included) (No particular order):
Diana Brownstone, Charles Buckley, John Rodriguez, Jason Schaeffer, Crystal Nuchurch, Michael Kevin Darnall, Kristen Ruhlin, Jeff Besselman, Phil Donahue, Paul Thornton, Robert Haley, Jeanine Bartel, Mike Pelinkovic, Richard Hsu, Jennifer Ankenbrand, Frank Bonsangue, Ken Fury, Robert Haley, Jeanine Bartel, Paul Thornton, Victor Van Etten, Michael Lepre, Augie Healy, Abe Mendel, Jaime Zinger, Leon Joseph, Diego Aguirre, Melissa Graver, Omar Mora, Emrah Polataglu, Clare Ferraro, Natalie Newman, Carmella Stolyar, Rae Dylan, Sherri Hensley, Kelly Burns, Allyson Sereboff, Saturnino Gonzalez, Rick Levi, Leandra Carillo, Adrienne Gelo, Megan Leigh, Bianca Giancoli, Lindey, Hollie Klem, Rachel Tisera, Penelope Lagos, Ramfis Myrthell........
I hope to hear from all of you shortly.
Avi
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