I Know I Am, But What Are You?
Howard Fine, Acting Coach and Asshole
Welcome once again to “Confessions of a Teen Idol”. This week we’re treated to a major beat down of one Idol, a big change in another Idol and the specter of one of our Idols in a Speedo swimsuit. Let’s pour those drinks, light up your smoking materials or break out the candy, it’s time to delve into the sweet and salty, smooth and crunchy perfect combination of ingredients we call “Confessions of a Teen Idol”. I think I’m starting to love these guys.
We start off this week in the bathroom. Jeremy seems to spend a lot of time here and he is never alone. He is working out on a bench while Chris is there to shave or something. Jeremy is doing crunches. Chris tells Jeremy that he hopes he doesn’t feel like all the guys were “beating up ” on him. They are trying to help him and that the advice comes from love. Jeremy seemed to understand and was not angry. Jeremy continues to exercise as a way of getting rid of aggression.
I love meeting in the bathroom. I could spend my whole day in here.
Outside Jamie and Billy are talking. Billy says he and Jamie have a special relationship because they are singer/songwriters. Jamie is playing the guitar and Billy is singing a song about their experience on this show. Billy sings “try to be a better man” as Jamie plays. It sounds good. Jamie really likes it and tells Billy he should record it.
Billy is multi-talented. Just wait until you see what he does when shown a picture of his own dog.
Back inside, the big Pee Eric hears a fax arriving. He is in good health and doesn’t ever run from the fax even though each call sheet causes someone frustration, embarrassment or anger.
Eric doesn’t fear the fax machine. The other Idols call him “The Pee Warrior”. They would bow down, but he might pee on them.
Eric takes it from the machine and tells the guys they have a call to the theater to work on their auditioning skills. There is a monologue attached or they can bring their own monologue.
Billy says he is going to write his own. I think he is doing this because of his dyslexia. Adrian is gone on a cruise ship and the last time they auditioned, Adrian ran lines for Billy because he has trouble reading. So Billy goes it alone and writes his own material. It would have been nice if one of the other guys offered to help him, but I’m not sure they all know about his problem.
Billy can write, sing, act, dance and run a multi-national bank all at the same time. I think Billy may be the missing link regarding the current economic crisis.
Eric says that they should try really hard because this will go out to a lot of people. Normally you audition in front of a couple of guys , but this will go out to all of the casting directors that tune into the show. Jeremy says you better do everything right or you’re screwed.
Study hard guys, every agent in Hollywood that watches your show will see your audition. All five of them.
Chris got a call from his agent and he has a meeting with one of the Hollywood gatekeepers. So he is not going to participate in this exercise. The whole purpose of this show is to get back to work, so he is not going to miss out on this opportunity. I don’t blame him. The guys wish him good luck as he leaves to go to his meeting. So now we are down to five Idols for this exercise.
Chris goes to meeting rather than practice his auditioning skills. Later on he will wish that he missed this entire episode.
David begins working on the monologue. He says that he believes in preparation and is not happy about having only two hours to prepare his audition.
David prepares for the practice audition. At least you’re out by a pool, I’m inside during a blizzard as I write this recap.
Jeremy starts reading the monologue and stops to tell us about his life. He says all his life he didn’t have a Dad. He was an artist like Jeremy. He was a writer, singer and a drug addict. He couldn’t get off heroin. He had to keep stealing to support his habit and he kept getting caught and sent back to prison.
Jeremy talks about his Dad. The monologue is very personal to Jeremy.
Jeremy was a drug addict too so he can relate to that issue. Jeremy says his Dad died in prison from a heroin overdose and that subject of this monologue feels real to him.
So five of the Idols go to the theater that is attached to their prison/flop house/camp to improve their auditioning skills.
Two casting directors come in to hear the guys read the monologues. First is Valerie Massalas. She has been a casting director for 25 years and has worked on some major movies. The guy with her is Ron Digman. He has 12 years of experience and was the former head of 20th Century Fox TV casting. Sounds like they are some pretty powerful people, so the Idols need to do a good job.
Valerie is an experienced casting director. She will work with the Idols to improve their auditioning skills.
Ron is the other casting director working with our Idols.
Valerie and Ron tell the Idols that they will be hearing their “cold reading” of the monologues. David is first and he tells them he is not a big fan of the cold reading and has never been in a position where he had to do a reading without enough preparation.
David wants more time to prepare.
Valerie tells him that there is a lot of emotion in this piece and that she bets he can connect with it on some level. David tells her that if his agent called him at night to do a reading the next day, he would turn it down. Well now we know why David doesn’t work very much.
David prepares to deliver on stage. Am I the only one who thinks it looks like he is taking a sh*t?
News flash David, even here in the real world, we non-actors have to do “cold readings” every day of our working lives. Everyday we have to think on our feet, do problem solving, try and fail sometimes over and over again. If someone refuses to do something that requires a type of “cold reading”, he/she would not go very far in life and would probably lose his/her job.
So David does the monologue and he speaks pretty well. They all clap and Valerie and Ron tell him that it was good and that he did a great job. They say that it seemed like he really let go during the second half and that it was better.
David delivers a good monologue, although it wasn’t fantastic.
Second news flash David, in the real world, no one claps when you do a good job and they don’t thank you. We are all expected to do a good job every day whether or not we ever receive praise from our bosses or our customers.
Next up is Jeremy in a suit and tie. I’m thinking that he dressed this way because he is supposed to be talking about a dead guy so he dressed like he would for a funeral.
Jeremy’s performance is too controlled. He is either too over the top or too controlled.
I think Jeremy is really very insecure and childlike. He looked at that monologue and chose these clothes because he is playing a grown up in the monologue. He has never played a grown up before so I guess this is his attempt to act like an adult. That’s kind of sad and pathetic all at the same time.
Jeremy looks like a little kid on the stage.
Jeremy reads and keeps very controlled. He stumbles with his words and I felt like he was reading the piece and not really feeling it. Valerie and Ron tell him that it was like he didn’t really want to connect and that he was really controlled. This is confusing for Jeremy, he’s trying to be more controlled and less like a kid with ADD. He didn’t even spike his hair, what more can he do???
Jamie reads next and he was much more casual than Jeremy. When he finishes Valerie says wow and tells him the timing was perfect. Watching Jamie, you could almost believe what he was saying and it was very good. But I thought he wanted a music career? Jamie may not be done with acting after all.
Jamie does a good job. Maybe he’s not through with acting afterall.
Next up is Billy. The man who wrote his own monologue. I try to cut him some slack because he needs help to learn lines so I tried not to focus on the content of his piece but instead I focused on the emotion and feeling he portrayed. But this was really weird.
Billy makes an impression.
Billy sounds like a psycho. He swears, kicks the stool on the stage, acts really mad and then out of the blue he starts crying and singing some song about “you were the calm in the eye of every storm”.
Billy’s blown a gasket. He’s like a wildman on stage.
Jeremy is watching this and he starts laughing. He’s trying not to, but it’s hard. I don’t blame him although I wasn’t laughing, I was a little scared.
This is funny, right?
Billy keeps singing and barely saying words while he is crying and having a nervous breakdown. Then David starts to laugh too.
Billy is winding down and coming back to Earth.
When Billy is done Valerie says “did you write that Billy” No shit Sherlock!! Who else? William Shakespeare!
Valerie is wondering where Billy got his hands on his material. This is some homemade drama Val. You can’t buy this in a store, thankfully.
Valerie says it seemed very personal. She is a very nice lady, I don’t think I could have pulled off commenting without looking scared.
Billy says he loves the emotion and that the casting directors seemed to appreciate it. Frankly, I think Billy scared the crap out of them and they were afraid to say anything that might cause him to throw things in their direction.
Valerie and Ron are very brave and neither of them even flinched during Billy’s monologue.
For some reason the VH1 folks, do not show us Eric’s monologue. I guess it was either boring or it was a five minute spiel on pee. But then I started thinking, maybe they are giving Eric a break because of the whole bachelor auction thing.
The casting directors tell the Idols that next they will be working with Howard Fine. He is a famous acting coach. The guys seem sort of excited about this. Howard Fine will help them improve their acting skills and that will help them land more acting roles. Sounds like a good plan. So the guys go back to their part of the studio and carry on with whatever it is that they do when they are not being tortured and humiliated.
Billy invites Eric and Jamie to Billy’s recording studio where he is recording a song. Eric says maybe he can sing back-up. Billy’s says “maybe not” and they all laugh. This was a cute moment.
Then in an aside, Eric says we are all singing our own song and we can’t hear it, but we are all vibrating. Yes we are Eric and some are vibrating more than others. I have a feeling that Eric vibrates like a can of paint on one of those shaking things at the hardware store.
Eric is vibrating all the time. I guess that’s why he wears a bandana. It keeps his hair from flying all over the place while he shakes.
They get to the recording studio and go into the booth and Billy gets in front of the mic.
Billy starts to sing the song he sang with Jamie. The song is about Billy’s experience in this show “I’ll try and be a better man” As he sings Jamie is in the studio watching . Jamie says it makes him anxious to get back in the studio himself. He is really enjoying the song. Eric is sitting on the floor in the booth with his hand over his mouth and his eyes shut.
Billy sings from the heart. Hey, it’s a good song and he doesn’t look like he is having a nervous breakdown.
When Billy finishes he comes back in the booth and Eric is wiping his tears away. Eric says that Billy is singing right to his emotions and singing to my heart. Billy says the tears in Eric’s eyes are the best compliment. My mouth was hanging open.
“Hey, I’m crying!! Cool, I thought the pee from my head was running down my cheeks.”
Before we know it we are in a group therapy session in front of Dr. Cooper who wants to know how the audition went.
Dr. Cooper is back to give the Idols more advice.
Jeremy says that he went through his normal process to learn the piece but that he played it safe. The casting directors told him that he was controlled.
Billy says it was cool to see Jeremy step up and be more mature. I thought Jeremy was just bad, but Billy’s looking for the good in everything. What can I say, these guys are supportive, nice and regularly compliment each other.
Billy tells everyone he is proud of Jeremy for toning down his performance.
Cooper tells the Idols that the casting directors don’t know you and that holding back was a choice you made. She goes on to say it is hard for the men because their future is in somebody else’s hands. She asks the Idols if they ever had a role they didn’t get but you felt like you should have gotten the part and it went to someone else?
Jamie says he got very close to getting a part in a Dustin Hoffman movie. He was invited to Dustin’s house to work on lines and he really thought he would get it. He did the screen test and was told they were testing someone else. he didn’t get the part. The movie was “Billy Bathgate”.
But Eric’s story is the best one this week. Eric says when he first moved out to Hollywood his agent got a call from Joel Schumacher. He met him and he said they were interested in me for a movie and that they would like to work with me. The movie was “Batman” with Val Kilmer.
Eric could have been Batman. But in the end, he didn’t even get Robin.
Eric says he was told “it’s unfortunate that they already signed Val Kilmer. We wanted you as Robin. The reason we can’t hire you as Robin is because you could also do Batman and you would upstage Val Kilmer as Batman”.
Jeremy is eating up Eric’s story like a kid with an ice cream cone. He is hanging on every word.
Cooper says to Eric “and yet you keep going”. Yes, Eric keeps going he’s like that energizer bunny he just keeps going and going. If only he had the part of Robin or Batman, Eric would be living in a big mansion, or at least the nicest thatched hut on some deserted tropical island of his.
Cooper asks Jeremy if he beat out anyone he knew when he got the part on Baywatch. Jeremy said there were hundreds, maybe a thousand kids that tried out. He beat out Leonardo DiCaprio for the part on Baywatch. Jeremy says it’s always been a big joke “ya, I bet he’s kicking himself about that one.” Jamie adds “If only he had gotten Baywatch, he might have had a big career.”
Jamie has a great sense of humor. I have a feeling that he has a lot of good lines that we just didn’t hear each week.
Cooper says she want them to role play like they are in an audition that really angered them. She wants them to talk to her like she is the person that made them angry. This is the part of the show that they kept showing in the commercials for this show. It looks like David is saying this to Dr. Cooper but he is really just doing role playing. VH1, we know your tricks, we knew David would never say anything like that directly to Dr. Cooper.
So David goes first and says ” You are a disrespectful f***ing bitch”. He said he had a casting director who was answering e-mails while he was reading for a part. She never even made eye contact with him. David says that if he does the work of learning the part and practicing the lines, the least they can do is put down their keyboard and look him in the eyes while he is reading the material.
Back at home, the Idols welcome Adrian back from his cruise. Adrian says he was going through the Panama Canal and was spending the whole time thinking about the guys and what was going on at home. Then he says “does that make me gay?” No Adrian it does not. But your comment about the house being a mess, makes you gay.
Adrian’s back from his cruise job.
Chris is in the bathroom doing some kind of skin treatment to reduce his wrinkles. He does have sun damage but I think it’s cute. He’s chanting “go wrinkles go”.
Chris works on his skin. Please Chris, no botox.
Before we know it, another call sheet. This time they are going to Howard Fines Acting Studio. They are supposed to bring an object that has sentimental value to them. This makes me uneasy. Bring an object of sentimental value? could be ugly.
Howard Fine’s Acting Class
So we are in the Howard Fine Acting Studio. Howard tells us he has coached a lot of Emmy winners, Oscar winners and Tony winners. Howard is a very important coach which makes what happens even more bizarre. We are supposed to believe this man is very good at what he does.
“I’m Howard Fine and I am very important.”
First let me say that Howard’s forehead is so botoxed it is as smooth as a baby’s butt. He also has some weird kind of toupee/hair hat.
Howard’s face is as soft and smooth as a baby’s butt, with a personality to match.
Howard tells the Idols that we all have thoughts and feelings and we look for words to express them. In acting though, we have the words first, and we need to work toward the why.
David is first and he is going to do the same monologue that he did for Valerie and Ron. Before he even starts, Howard interrupts him and says you were hugging yourself, hands in the pockets. That’s a sign of physical self consciousness. David says is that wrong? and Howard says yes.
David and Howard, Round 1.
In an aside, David says that Howard likes it his way or the highway and that he is not into that. David also says he is over 40 and he doesn’t need someone to tell him to take his hands out of his pockets.
I hate that Howard.
Howard interrupts David again after he says a couple of words and says when you start thinking how am I doing? you lose your connection. You are formulating your question while I”m talking which exhibits nervous anxiety which keeps you (David) from being present.
David’s acting is great. He looks like he likes Howard in this picture and we all know that isn’t true.
Geez, David can’t get a break.
David is not getting anything out of this besides angry. Howard tells him to remember, he has years of experience dealing with this. David says Howard’s approach didn’t help his performance, and that inside he was boiling mad. This guy is a classic asshole that takes years to develop.
Next up is Jeremy. Howard makes a smart ass remark “Come on up Jeremy. At least a nice person is here.” after working with awful David. Howard’s really a big jerk and for some reason he decided that David was going to be the bad guy no matter what. I couldn’t come up with a reason for his hostility. Maybe he is just jealous.
Howard asks Jeremy about what he brought as a sentimental object. He brought a pair of his Mom’s prescription sunglasses. They are broken and she would still wear them because they didn’t have enough money to get them fixed.
Jeremy has a prop, this keeps Howard from picking on him. Too bad David didn’t bring a prop.
Howard is practically in love with this and is complimentary to Jeremy. David is still stewing in the back.
Howard and Jeremy on stage.”
Jeremy does pretty well and this was a cake walk compared to what this guy did to David.
Next up is Billy. Billy says he believes in working with acting coaches and that they can help you be the best you can be. Billy brought a picture of his dog Zoe. Howard tells him that Zoe is gone so how do you feel. Billy says he is empty and who is he going to call when he is sad. It’s really understated and believable. Howard tells him to stop and take a breath and Billy starts to cry.
Billy’s dog Zoe.
Howard says that’s beautiful. He tells the others that it takes trust to do that and to let go. He says that when you act from real life, that’s when it’s special and that’s when it’s magic. We care about you based on how much you care. Boy, way to go Billy.
Billy is a star pupil at Howard’s Little Shop of Horrors
What the hell did David do wrong? Maybe he is too good looking and Howard is jealous of David’s skin and hair. I know I’m jealous.
Jamie works well with our madman Howard.
Jamie is up next and Howard has him read the monologue, but to have his voice go up and down from high pitch to low while reading. This gets almost everybody including Jamie laughing. Except, David who is sitting there trying to control the urge to choke that little botoxed freak.
I hate that guy.
Howard said he let go so his whole body resonated. Howard says that play is key in this business.
David raises his hand to ask a question. Howard says “yes, good boy now”. I think Howard is going to get punched in his botox if he doesn’t lighten up.
Howard smiles but behind that smile is a dark and creepy little man.
David says “I’ve been on three TV shows and they will not let you have the time to discover what you are talking about.
David bravely asks a question and is met with the usual asshole response that Howard gave him all day long.
Howard says “You know how many Emmy, Oscar and Tony winning actors I work with?
David said “no, but that’s not my question”. Howard says “No but I’m answering. You gave me a little bit of your credits, so I’m giving some of mine.”
David says “you have one take.” Howard says “you can organically if you learn how to work correctly”. David says “it’s midnight, the crew is about to go into golden time and you gotta hit this, that’s reality.”
Howard says in his best snippy voice “OK you win”. He adds “He who argues for his limitations gets to keep them. Do I continue to do exactly what I was doing and here’s where I’ve gotten. Or do I look at another possibility and see where I might go?”
This is the King of the Assholes.
This guy couldn’t be more condescending and rude if he tried. But he is supposed to be one of the best coaches, so David and the others just sit quietly. What a creep.
Howard tells them they have a second part today. Valerie and Ron are coming back to see them read again. Jeremy says he is totally thrown off by this. David is up first again. I don’t know what David did to piss off this Howard guy, but David is still mad and Howard is still an ass.
David is so relieved to see Valerie. He almost cries.
After David does the monologue again, Valerie says ” Are you feeling more emotional today? Did somebody push your buttons? ” David says yes, but does not say that Howard is an asshole. Since Valerie and Ron called Howard “darling” David knows he can’t really say what’s bothering him.
Howard is some big time coach and if David wants to work again, he is going to have to play nice and not say a word about Howard. David, we all feel your pain.
Valerie says ” I feel like you are raging inside. I don’t think the acting is what’s keeping you from getting acting jobs. I think it’s what you bring into the room”. Both Valerie and Ron say that David should be acting more.
David keeps his comments in check and doesn’t elude to the real problem. He knows not to badmouth that creepy little fart.
David says that being angry didn’t help his performance at all and that he will change so his approach to be more open minded. David, you are a bigger person than me. I would have performed a “Why I killed Howard Fine” monologue just as LA’s finest were handcuffing me and taking me away to jail.
Up next is Billy. Billy is an all or nothing guy. So he kicks the chair, I think he loves doing that and his face gets all red. He is not really talking much. Valerie asks him if he is ok, she was afraid he might faint. He says no, he’s fine She tells him he gets a little too emotional. No shit. Billy is a little over emotional like the former Illinois governor Blagojevich is a little bit of a crook.
Valerie worries about Billy’s well being. It’s not good acting, he just looks like he is having a fit.
Billy is over the top and likes to have these psychotic breaks on stage. I could see him in a remake of “The Snake Pit”.
Then we have Jeremy. He uses his feelings from when his own Dad died and then did the monologue. And you know what? He can act! Who knew?
Jeremy can act!!
When he finishes Valerie and Ron both praised him and said ” Wow. Great reading, not over the top”. He was believable and he didn’t even wear his big sparkle watch or his grill or spiky hair. Underneath all the crap and all the hair gel, he has talent.
So after the worst beat down in the history of this show, the guys need a break so they all go down to the beach together.
I keep wondering why they didn’t do this sooner, but it doesn’t really look like summer so maybe that’s why they didn’t do this before. I kept wondering why they weren’t hanging out at the beach but watching this it doesn’t look like anyone else is down here either. It must be cold.
Eric tells Billy that he knows Billy thought he was a freak. So does the whole world Eric.
There are no call sheets at the beach and they have time to sit and talk and enjoy the outdoors. But just as we relax, we see Eric. Why is Eric wearing a Speedo???? I know it looks good on him but please you guys, I don’t ever want any man to wear a Speedo unless he is trying to get a gold medal.
Please stop the insanity, don’t wear Speedos
All the guys sit together and talk about what this experience has meant to them. They all say they’ve learned from each other. Especially high praises for Jeremy because they all gave him advice almost daily. I think he was the little brother who was spoiled and needs to grow up. After all he is the youngest Idol and they all had a lot of advice for him. And believe it or not, he learned some things.
Doesn’t this look relaxing? We are in a blizzard here in Wisconsin.
The sun is going down, they are all sitting together in the sand, Eric put sand around him so we don’t have to look at his shortcomings. All in all, it’s a nice picture. They are really acting like brothers and they end the show pretty much the same way they ended the other episodes. They really like each other, care about each other and would do anything for each other. They also say they are all glad they participated in this show.
Good times for our Idols. Not a call sheet in sight.
At the end , we find out that next week is the season finale and that there will be a big surprise. It shows the guys on stage with arms around each other. I don’t know about you but after the severe beatdown that David received, he deserves something nice so I hope they are generous with these guys.
I can’t wait for next week so we find out what Chachi has in store for them. Hey that gives me an idea. How about a revival of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”?
Until next time Gasmii,
Love and Luck,