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Secret Agent Man

Oh, the Pain!

Oh, the Pain!
It's a good thing my company has a decent health insurance plan, because I just found out my superior rectus is strained. When my doctor told me the bad news, I didn't even know what he was talking about. I thought it had something to do with the way I ride my bike. But no, the superior rectus is one of six extraocular muscles that control the way our eyes move. This is the one that moves the eye upward. In other words, I have this problem because I've been rolling my eyes too much.

Now whose fault is that? Let me give you a hint: I work with actors for a living. So that's right. I'm looking at you. It's all you crazy actors out there who are responsible for my superior rectus being strained. All that dumb, weird stuff you do triggers an eye-rolling motion in my head that I just can't control. So thanks. Thanks a lot.

To help me get better, my doctor suggested I write down some examples of what I'm talking about. He feels doing this will help me manage my physical response. I'm not sure I agree, but I've got nothing better to write about this week, so here goes.

The other day I was going through a pile of submissions and came across a cover letter that started like this: "You met me two years ago at a TVI showcase, and I'm writing because I still need an agent." Excuse me? First of all, how could he expect me to remember him? I meet hundreds of actors every year. And second, why would he open with a negative? This is a typical example of how actors sabotage themselves. And be honest: Didn't you roll your eyes while you were reading his opening sentence?

Speaking of submissions, last month I received three Valentine's Day cards from male actors looking for representation. What is that about? Even my gay male friends don't send me Valentine's Day cards. I'm not even sure how those guys expected me to react. But you know what's worse? Christmas cards from actors I've never met. Nothing ruins the holiday spirit like finding a folded-up headshot inside a beautiful Christmas card. Even the son of God would roll his eyes at that one.

Name-dropping can set me off too. During a recent meeting, a young actor informed me that her friend McG, the director, had gotten her into this really cool party where she met Matthew Perry and Tommy Schlamme, who are like her new best friends now, and they said there's definitely a great role in their pilot for her. That's three eye rolls in one sentence! Is it any wonder I ended up in a doctor's office?

It occurs to me I probably shouldn't blame my medical problem solely on actors who want me to sign them. There are plenty of clients on my list who have contributed to my condition. And some of them are working actors who should know better.

For example, I just had an inane argument with one of my best actors about a role on a pilot. The character he was auditioning for was a cop who grew up in Detroit. My client explained he was born and raised in Detroit, as if that would make any difference. He insisted I should inform the casting director about his background. I tried to tell him they were looking for the best possible actor, not someone who's actually from Detroit. He insisted it was the perfect selling point. It wasn't. The role went to a guy from New York.

I have a lot more examples, but I've got to get going. My doctor wants to see me later for a follow-up, and I think I'm screwed because the act of writing this column has made me roll my eyes, like, another hundred times.

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