Chapter 4: LA part 7 – Busy Busy

Monday the 5th of May 2003

Being an extra on set the day before was a real inspiration booster!

I went through LA weekly magazine/newspaper and found a few ads I wanted to follow up on. Two were on cheap week go week rental, and one was about “model open call”. I was also planing on calling David from Sunset – Gower Studios and set up a meeting. I called and we made an appointment for the next day at 3pm. He told me to tell the security guard on duty that I needed a visitor pass for IMT, and to go to the second floor on stage 70.

Tuesday the 6th of May 2003

I got up around 9.30 and left the room a little while later. I drove up the street and saw Melvin in the middle of the street working his way across. It is interesting how he suddenly pops up like that when I am going to do something. I stopped for a quick moment and picked him up before heading to Kinkos. Since I was planning on going to Bill Dance Casting today and register I needed a 3×5 picture, so I scanned in my headshot and another picture and made them into 3×5 pictures and printed them out. I did a few other things as well while I was there, and Melvin wrote out some envelopes for me for various soap tv shows. We went on our way and dropped by a photo store so Melvin could pick up some headshots that he had forgotten about that had been at the store for a few months. Then we went to the gass station to check out Melvin´s car, as he was having some trouble with it…..

We went to Extras Extras Casting today and I registered with them. As I was filling out a form one of the women working for the company came over and asked if I was attached to my hair. I replied no, and see asked if I would be willing to cut my hair in a kinda short bowl shape I think as they did in the 1930´s. I told her that I was not sure I would be able to do that as I was also doing modeling. She walked of and told me she would be back after I had filled out my forms, but she did not come back. I gave the filled out forms and headshots to someone else working at the company and the guy I spoke with also took a picture of me for their records.

We drove down to Melrose Ave afterward and checked out two clothing stores, and also decided to have some lunch.

Sunset Gower Studios

I was beginning to feel restless as I knew the appointment with David from Sunset Gower Studios was fast approaching. After having dropped Melvin off on Hollywood boulevard I continued to my appointment, and arrived a little before 3pm.

I had been given instructions by David to tell the security guard that I was a visitor to IMT, and to go to the second floor on stage 70. Sunset and Gower Studios takes up about a block. In the same building that IMT (Image Models & Talent) are located the “six feet under” HBO series morgue scenes are also recorded.

I met David and we talked for a little while and then he took some polaroid pictures of me to see how photogenic I was. Here are some of the pictures he took:

Paal-Joachim-Romdahl-IMT-2
Paal-Joachim-Romdahl-IMT-3
Paal-Joachim-Romdahl-IMT-5
Paal-Joachim-Romdahl-IMT-6

David talked about submitting my headshots and resumes to various companies, and he showed me some of the breakdowns (actor job listings) he had. It is illegal to take copies of them, as companies buy the breakdowns from a service. He instead wrote down a job he thought I should audition for. It is a host position for a new MTV series that at the moment is untitled. 30 episodes is to be recorded and the pay is $350 a day. He also showed me a few others, as for instance the Sopranos and The Practice. I showed him my model portfolio and gave him a bunch of my headshots. He also took my portfolio and showed it to his boss and a few of the girls working there. When he came back he told me that the girls really liked the picture of me with tipping the cowboy hat in a greeting.

Cowboy-Paal-Joachim-Romdahl-closeup

We walked upstairs and I talked with the guy who was going to put my pictures on their website for Casting Directors to see.

The jobs I get they will take 10%, and I did not pay anything for signing up. So I believe they will actually work for me in finding me work, which is very different from what I believe ISM will do for me. ISM seems to care more for getting new talent that needs a model portfolio, so that they can sign up with their own photographer, and order prints from them as well. I have heard very little from ISM in the last two weeks, so I do not know how much they are submitting my ZED cards.

As I finished up my talk with David I walked back to the car and on the way I checked the time and noticed that almost one and a half our had passed since I have left the car. I knew that I had only put one hour on the parking meter, and yup this is either the second or third time I have now received a $35 parking ticket here in LA.

Pro Artist Group

I drove to my next appointment with Pro Artists Group by the cross section of La Cenega and Beverly Blvd. I noticed that I was going to be a few minutes late so I called them to let them know that I was in the neighborhood and on my way. Their office is on the 4th floor and it was easy to find. It is small, but I felt I needed to be there, but something in me was holding back. They seem very professional. I sat there for a while filling out another form similar to what I did over at Sunset Gower Studios. I had a meeting with Grace and we spoke for a little while and she said that they wanted to work with me.

So I have on this day signed up with one extra casting agency, and two other agencies who look for work for their talent.

Thursday the 8th of May 2003

Melvin and PJ finding a way to work together.

With Melvin’s help I am moving along at a very quick pace (sometimes wayyy too quick for me) into the world of acting. He comes with suggestions on things I need, and I usually answer in a stubborn way,” well I do not need it yet.” His reply, “by the time you need it you will not have the time to get it, because you will be too busy working.” I know he is right, but I am not used to taking “orders” from others. I even bought a big ironing board, stark, and an iron today to keep my cloths wrinkle free to look really sharp on set. But it took a few steps to get there before I realized that what he told me was actually true. The same thing went with the beeper he told me days ago that I needed, but at that time I was not ready to get it.

After we registered at www.extrascastingguild.com in their office in Beverly Hills yesterday I noticed from all the forms we filled out with personal information that it listed home phone number, work, cell, beeper, and call in service. I was able to fill in two cell phone numbers, because Melvin “pushed” me last week into realizing that I needed a locale cell phone, so we got new ones. I now have my Minnesota cell phone with locale Minneapolis number, and I have my Los Angeles cell phone with my locale Burbank 818-207-4018 number. After going through all the forms at the Casting office I realized that I also needed a beeper, so today I got one.

I joined Melvin as he went to an audtion for a music video today. I could not audition as it listed specifically at the www.extrascastingguild.com, NO CACAUSIANS, meaning no white people like me. It was interesting to go, as I know that most of the extra work is for cacausians, so this time it was different. After the audition Melvin persuaded me again, as he had done before that I needed more formal cloths. Yeah, well I knew I needed that, but it could wait until I needed it, but this time I agreed with him after just a tiny discussion, and he took me to a store that has cheap and good suits.

He is very much on the go go, very very talkative and a smart person, and can at times be very hard to get along with. It is if we are in a boat together one is rowing and the other is bailing water out of the boat. We both know that the shore is just a little further away, so that we have to keep on doing this for a little while longer. If he gives up I will have a harder time getting places, if I give up the boat will sink. As he has reminded me of a few times, “God placed us here together and we are stuck together.” I know he is right in a certain way. One morning over a week ago I was almost out the door of my hotel room to go out and do different things, when he suddenly knocked on my door. Another time I drove down the street in the morning to do a few different things, when I see Melvin in the middle of the road working his way across. He did not at first notice it was me slowing down my car to let him (he thought) across, but I pulled up on the side of the road and let him in. I do understand that God is telling me that I do need him, and he is actually helping me get into this. Before I meet him I had a lack of drive to go out and do what I needed to do. In ways I was lost not knowing how to proceed with this acting stuff. He the restless, backseat driver, easy to anger, pushing me along. As we have agreed on if I can handle him I can handle anyone. Now I keep on bailing the boat the best I can, but there is a certain heaviness and guilt on me knowing that it is not easy bailing the water out of the boat. I will send dad checks from my acting jobs when I can, and Melvin will repay me when he can (I know he will), in the meantime I hope that everything will be alright.

As I sat in the silver Stratus rental car today and drove to various places, I wore some very nice black pants, a nice black coat that Melvin gave me, and a nice grey v-shirt. I had two cell phones in my pocket, and a new beeper. I felt like a businessman going from audition to audition to get myself hired for some modeling or acting jobs. I felt great, and it seemed like everything was moving along as just the right pace. Melvin and I are working together as a team to get the jobs we need.

We dropped by the post box place today. I got myself a post box, so that I am able to receive mail and I am also able to list a locale address when filling out various forms at the casting agencies.

Almost becoming a Chinese Massage saloon receptionist

But right before we walked in to check our mailboxes as Melvin also has a box there he dropped by the corner store that has been renovated for a Chinese massage practice.

Melvin asked about the job listing they had in the window as he had been there before and I think knew the manager. The receptionist/manager said that they did not have any openings. Melvin mentioned that I have good computer skills, and I told him that I did energy healing and massage, so the guy asked me if I wanted a job as I think a receptionist. For he said that they only have girls working there, as no guys had applied. I said flat no, but as Melvin told me later don’t say no like that say yes, and then think about it. Yeah yeah I knew he was right again.

Now I am curious perhaps I am meant to work there….. Perhaps I would be able to be taught the massage type they use. Perhaps I would meet lots of interesting people.  But I replied out of thinking that I want nothing to come in the way from thinking about acting/modeling, and I do not know if I can legally work there. But working at a place like that in Studio City right by CBS and close to other studios would probably be good for me, and as my work permit lets me work within my field of study art and art history I can always find ways around that, as art is a very broad term. I was just not ready for what Melvin did. If he had told me beforehand about his plans we could have talked about it, but he did not give me the chance.

Focus

I need only talk about thinking about taking a trip home for Mother’s day when Melvin will give me a long spiel why I should not. One thing that was on my mind a long time ago which he happen out of many other things to mention earlier tonight. Go home when you have accomplished something, so your parents can see that you are actually making it out there. In the meantime focus on what needs to be done. Going home now will throw you off focus. Prove that you can do it. Yeah yeah, he has a good mind and heart, and I know when it comes from the heart there is much truth in what he is saying. But sometimes it comes from his background, and that seems all but pure.

Becoming a stronger person

I am a stronger person now than I was a week ago, I am slowly learning how to handle Melvin as he is slowly learning how to handle me. He becomes softer while I become tougher. We are both pigheaded stubborn and strong, and after the major tough first week working together we are finding ways to get ourselves jobs in the acting industry.

Tomorrow I will be an extra in “Curb your Enthusiasm.” I will be one of the audiance members, and I will only need casual cloths. But just in case I will bring along a bunch of extra formal cloths, and show it to the wardrobe person and perhaps I will get another role that is more visible.

I have signed up with a few different companies that get modeling/acting/extra work. I have a web site at www.paalromdahl.imagemodels.com and I also believe will have a place at www.proartists.com. I might have signed up at too many places, but I am eager and it just happened that way, and the price I paid is pretty good I think.

Image models has offices at Sunset-Gower Studios down the road from my hotel  I found out about Sunset-Gower Studies a week or so ago over the internet through Craigslist, and I had a feeling that I would work with them. A day or so after I noticed the name a Bristish guy working for Image models approached me outside the extra casting office and I gave him my headshot and ZED card. A few days later David from Image models called and we set up an appointmet to meet, and suddenly I am in their office signing a contract saying that every job they give me I give them 10%. I check online for what they have submitted me for, and look at the calendar to let them know which days I am available for work. I have a feeling signing up with them will do me very good.

Life is moving along at the tempo it should. I am happy that this is the slow season with less jobs than normal season as I can get used to this acting thing before the really busy season begins sometime in July and goes onward from then. By the time July comes around I should really have settled in with my own mini apartment somewhere and somekind of car.

Life is interesting that is for sure!

I briefly mentioned going home for Mother’s day because I could feel my parents talk about me with Jens the Pastor of the Norwegian church and his wife Trude during a birthday dinner for Jens the same evening. Happy Birthday Jens! I know inside that I can not go home even for a day or two (atleast not yet), and through this e-mail I want to tell my parents that I am doing fine.