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I had gotten two commercials at age 13. Then my first long term experience with professional job as an actor was in 1978 at age 14 for The Sound of Music with Florence Henderson at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. I got that through a "Cattle Call/ Open Audition" where literally thousands of people would show up to audition for the cast of the show. My mother had seen the ad for it in Variety for "children who can act, sing and dance." I was concerned about the dancing and singing in particular. My parents were both supportive. My mother had been familiar with the singing and dancing sort of "Cattle call" from work in New York and made me feel like it was not that big of a deal. So I went through the experience and it is something I will not forget. As the day went on more and more people getting cut and I kept getting called back in till there were very few at the end of the day. As I recall we were then called back for one more day of auditions and then the decision was made that day. Actually that kind of experience was really very confidence building because I was there physically with all the other people progressively getting cut.

I had already started to do good work as an actor in class by age 16 at the point that I went to yet another "Cattle call" audition for Best of Times that was advertised in Variety. It was similar sort of cutting out experience as for The Sound of Music except the audition was more based on a scene that you were supposed bring in. I had brought in an improvisational scene with someone trying to get their parent to listen to a certain song. The scene was later rewritten by the show writers and changed in to me getting a shop owner played by Jackie Mason to listen to the song. Being cast in that from yet another cattle call at age 16 was of course a good thing and yet by no mean did I think I had "Made it." Nicolas Cage was also cast in it from the same "Cattle call" and he and I were the only two actors that were of the age that were still in school. So we had a tutor that we would have to be in a special room or trailer and do a certain amount of hours of school work each day. He and I shared a certain sense of humor of the absurd and became friends while making that show.

I was not technically proficient enough of an actor at the age of 16 to take weak writing and make the intentions work in a strong or differentiated way. I saw the clip you refer to on you tube and I still see one moment that I was directed to do that I did not feel good about then or now. I saw it a few months ago and I was concerned about watching it because I had not watched it since it was on the air when I was 16. I did not like my performance in it. I learned a lot and was very careful after that experience to make certain to be very careful about the decisions as an actor to intensify or even change the intentions of the character as written so that it plays. I feel like in that show the lines for the most part are played as written and it makes me uncomfortable still to this day to have public record of a time where I am still learning the craft. In any case I am glad I did the show and learned a lot from doing it.

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  Topics: Features , Crispin Glover, Brattle Theatre, Big Slide Show
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