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Flowers... NDAs And Our Little Secret.

Been radio silent for a bit here but for good reason. Recently landed a large on-camera job and had to leave the country to do it.

In film, TV and ESPECIALLY videogames, we actors working in the projects are often bound by a Non- Disclosure Agreement (NDA) about the project and our role in it, plot, design, etc. And if you follow any actors or show creators on social media, you know that there’s NOTHING we love more than crowing about our victories and getting our flowers. This is for good reason.

Cheri says all the time, “Some things pay in other ways than money.” This is 100% the truth.

The money I made on Richie Rich on Netflix is long since taxed, spent and forgotten about. However the work and the recognition on that amazing little project pays back daily. Just today, one of my fellow cast mates realized I was the dad on Richie Rich and lost his marbles. It was awesome and made me so proud that he loved our crazy little show and I delighted in watching him go from disbelief, to star-struck, and back to our videogame conversation like it was our new normal.

I’m the one wearing socks and sandals.

We are paid from OK to very well for our work, but it’s because we book so little of it. On average, I probably book one out of every 150-175 auditions I try out for. So when you land something, it’s kinda like shouting when you hit paydirt at the casino. It’s rare to get a win.

And when you are a nerd and you get to work on something you love on top of it… well, you make some noise.

When I recorded my dialog alongside Grey Delisle and Marc Grau for Disneyland/Disneyworld’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride, we were all so excited to be able to talk about it together. The LEGENDARY once-in-a-lifetime gig was a shared secret between 3 folks who had never worked together, and then we put it back in the NDA bottle until Disney announced the new changes well over a year later.

Grey played Redd the Pirate, and I’m the Auctioneer in blue.

Holding secrets like this is hard, but the best part, is they are shared secrets. And we help each other keep them. Like being pregnant or an engagement, or a surprise party, or a great Christmas gift.

Today, there is so much emphasis put on “credits” and “fans” and “followers” that sometimes that secret can feel like a burden. I actively have to remind myself that I am just a tiny part of the whole, and that even though I am part of it, it is not my story to tell.

And the reveal is fleeting. It’s a 48 hour high. And once it’s out, it’s out.

But the SHARED element is the greatest. It brings you closer to each other, making those of you involved in the project grin like idiots at each other in common spaces, speak in hushed tones with giddy delight and anticipation at what you know that the WORLD does not.

Tonight, I am feeling the “shared” component very acutely. While we are making progress, many of my fellow actors on the show I am shooting overseas are returning to their homes with their secret intact, waiting patiently to be able to share our common story.

Our special ensemble of actors from all over the world is changing. People who were absolute strangers to me in September have become dear life-long friends. We all miss our families in a way most folks disbelieve. “How could you possibly leave your family for 4-5 months and miss the holidays? Isn’t that hard?”

Yes. It’s excruciating. And it never gets easier.

All of us who remain to continue shooting watch our friends leave wistfully, envious of the family traditions that our castmates will be enjoying in a couple weeks.

But those who are leaving feel the perfect opposite. Leaving this special group of people assembled here by casting directors and producers is very hard for them as well. And while the joy of being back home with loved ones is everything, there is a cost with having to say goodbye.

Someone said to me recently, if it hurts to say good bye, you’re doing things right. And tonight, and over the next couple days, we’re doing things right.

Cheri and I have always known the pain of working apart and the gift of the close friendships developed with cast members. This is the nature of working in and around theatre and film. Cheri is usually the one on a 3-6 month contract in venues outside of our city, but having to do it now, I have a much greater appreciation for the work performed keeping the home fires burning, as well as the emotional toll and the gift of support from your fellow suffering castmates. We prop each other up, hug each other as proxies for our partners and kids, support and dine and gamble and drink and drink and laugh and drink.

And keep our secret until the rope drops and the world can enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Tonight my heart is with my friends who have left and are leaving, filled with gratitude of your artistic excellence and tremendous talent, your warmth and camaraderie, and willingness to share your lives with us all. And it is also with your families as they eagerly await to retrieve you from the airport, to hold you and smell you and remember, and start the next new chapter with you home.

My heart is with my own family, and those of my castmates who remain, who must wait a little longer for their retrieval. It’s coming sooner than it feels like, just a little bit longer…

And as one of the remaining cast members, and crew here, I cling even tighter to you, my colleagues. I celebrate Christmas and New Years and the gift of your company and presence in my life. You’ve all made me a fuller, better, and more satisfied person. You are a gift I didn’t know I needed. I only hope I can be that for you.

Gotta put up a tree in my hotel room. Even though it’s hard, it’ll be worse without one.

“We few, we happy few,

we band of brothers;

For he to-day that sheds his blood with me

Shall be my brother.”

-Henry V, William Shakespeare

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