Uncle Richard once called Mom a “Stage Mamma” – he wasn’t far off. I don’t think he meant it as an insult, exactly, but I’m not sure he meant it as a compliment either. She regularly clashed with the various agents I worked – calling and getting all pissed off when I didn’t get a certain audition, or when I didn’t book something (the latter was out of their hands, really). She left a sour taste in the mouth of some, which didn’t really benefit my case. Others dealt with her – maybe felt they had to – because I was in demand.

Anyway, this came to a head when I booked a huge commercial for Lego. It would have been National Network and run very well (which meant big money). It also would have conflicted with another project I booked at the same time – the theatrical version of To Kill A Mockingbird at the Papermill Playhouse. The Theater division of the agency insisted I do the theater project, of course, and the commercial division insisted I do the commercial. Supposedly, these were mutually exclusive – even though the commercial would only take a day or two to shoot, it was to take place in Los Angeles and would eat up time from play rehearsals. I was conflicted myself – I loved the role of Dill, and I loved the play, but I understood that the commercial would set us up really well financially.

Mom asked Uncle Richard what to do, and he listened thoughtfully as always. He had a deep and abiding love of theater – he had written several plays, after all – and thought it was important for me to do the play if at all possible.

Uncle Richard: Let me work it out. Give me the number of the director.

Mom did, and Uncle Richard called him. He was charming, as always, and diplomatic as usual. He introduced himself as my representative – a half truth, but one told with a good heart. He wasn’t my agent by any stretch of the imagination and couldn’t make deals on my behalf, but he was indeed representing my interests for that phone call. He explained that I really wanted the role and would be heartbroken if I couldn’t do it, but I needed to think about financial aspects as well. He asked if they would give me two days off of rehearsal so I could film the commercial. The director said “Of course!” and it was settled.

Mom called the Commercial Department, and they were thrilled. The Theatrical Department was annoyed she went around them to make a deal, but they really couldn’t do anything about it. I would get to do both and I was ecstatic.

We flew out first class, and stayed in an awesome hotel. My favorite part was that there was an arcade nearby (I played Golden Axe a lot) and a really cool fountain the lobby with Koi fish. We didn’t stay long enough to sight see, of course, but that’s kind of the way it goes. In all the long year I’ve traveled to NYC, I don’t think I’ve visited any landmarks. I did walk by the Empire State Building on the way to auditions sometimes, though.

We thanked Uncle Richard profusely, but he told us he was happy to help – “I’m always in your corner,” he said. I never doubted it.


Here’s a link to the video: I’m the kid that says “It Can Fly!”

  1. Reed says:

    Very cool commercial. I wish it wasn’t so dark, though.

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