7:25 p.m.: I arrive at the showcase company with five minutes to spare. If you've never been to one of these things, let me lay out how it works. They pay a small group of agents $100 each to show up after work and watch actors perform rehearsed scenes. If anyone catches your interest, you're supposed to bring that actor in for a meeting. If no one does, then you toss the pictures and call it a night.
7:42: We just started the Q&A session that usually takes place before the work. The questions are always the same. I try to smile and share information the actors might find helpful. The agent on my left is from a decent company, and he's doing a good job too. The idiot on my right is from an agency I've never heard of and she seems clueless. Wait a minute. Did she just say AFTRA rates for television work are lower than SAG's? That's not true. They're actually slightly higher. How does she not know that? Do I correct her in front of all these people?
7:54: The first scene just started. Two guys are talking about women. Boy, you don't see that very often. And the amazing part is they have no sense of staging. One of them is completely upstaging the other. I lean hard to the right but I still can't see his face.
8:02: The female agent on my right just farted.
8:14: I'm watching a man and a woman do a scene that seems very familiar. Hold on. Are they actually doing "Pulp Fiction"? Yes, they are! It's the scene where John Travolta and Uma Thurman go out to dinner. What are these actors thinking? Don't they realize that no matter how good they are, they're going to suffer by comparison? All I can do is think about the movie. I'm not even focused on them.
8:18: I make a mental note to add "Pulp Fiction" to my Netflix queue.
8:25: An attractive girl in her 20s just handed me her résumé and it's got her home address on it. What a great way to become an assault victim. I wonder if she can act.
8:42: We're into the second hour and I'm finally watching some decent work. An actor with a striking look is making interesting, strong choices. His work has an arc to it, and he's very focused on his scene partner. I notch his headshot. He might be worth meeting.
8:44: Let me explain what I meant when I said the last actor's work had an arc to it. A character has to demonstrate change during a scene. He can't be in the same place at the end that he was in at the beginning. If he is, the actor hasn't really understood the scene he's chosen to perform.
8:58: This is the second time an actor has handed me an excuse with his headshot. "These are my old headshots. My new ones aren't ready yet." How unprofessional. If you're not 100 percent ready to meet an agent, then you shouldn't be doing a showcase.
9:10: My stomach is rumbling. I make a mental note to tell my assistant to make a mental note to remind me to eat before I do the next showcase.
9:18: Yay! It's the last scene of the night, and one of the women on stage is exactly what I need: young, pretty, talented, and Asian. When I do a showcase, I'm open to all types, but I usually have a shopping list in my back pocket, and this girl's type is right at the top. She's so getting a call in the morning.