Thursday, August 9, 2012

That other Antonio

There's an old joke in the movie business. It goes something like this:

Did you hear about the Polish actress trying to make it in Hollywood?
She banged the writer.

I know it's not very politically correct but I bring it up for a reason.

Last week my wife, my brother and I went out to dinner. We were headed to a new fancy Brazilian place on Main Street in Culver City. For $50 (an outrageous price) you sample more than 16 grades of various grass-fed Brazilian beef. Not surprisingly, the restaurant was populated by many muscle-heads from the local gym, all loading up on high priced protein.

We were told there would be a 30 minute wait for the table so we retired next door to a sports bar that had microbrews. While sipping on our Finferfizelheiferviezens, I noticed a commercial playing on one of the TV sets.

It was a dealer spot I had written for Acura.

Dealer spots for those of you who don't know, are done to accommodate dealer associations, who believe car commercials should pound sheet metal. In other words they're not interested in useless, expensive "stories" or anything resembling brand building. They're entitled to their opinion. They're all frikking millionaires, maybe they're even right.

What I'm saying is that this particular commercial was nothing special. But the waiter heard me say it was my commercial. He immediately stopped blathering on about the wheat beer and started blathering on about his acting prowess. That's right, like 10,000 other food and drink servers in the City of Angeles, he was a thespian.

Then, blissfully unaware of the unwritten code of conduct between writers, producers, directors and actors, he handed me a business card and promised to do an excellent job in my next commercial.

The story could have ended with me tossing his card in the nearest trash can, mostly because that's just not the way it works in this business. But I kept his card and found his IMDB page. And it turns out Antonio has a very interesting story.

Turns out he's a political dissident from Iraq. He spent years in an Iraqi jail followed by several years at a Saudi Arabian refugee camp. He also has some legitimate credits and was in a movie with Dakota Fanning.

So now I'm thinking what if I can actually help this guy?

This blog gets read by many people in the advertising business who also know people in the entertainment business. What if one phone call led to another led to an audition that led to a part?

Not only would it be a turning point for Antonio. It could be the death knell for that terrible joke that is highly offensive to Polish actresses. And even more so, to writers.

No comments: