The Legacy of a Creative Soul

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I recently lost a great friend of mine.  His name was Charles E. Drew Jr. and he was one of… NO.  He was THE MOST creative and prolific artist and writer I have ever known.  Charles wrote plays and musicals the totals of which are still being tallied.  Not only did he write because that’s just who he was and what he did but he also produced and directed his plays, constantly sharing his work with other artists and audiences all over America.  His writing was a manifestation of his huge, multi cultural, magnanimous soul.

He told stories about people from all walks of life and from many differing cultures. The subjects  of his plays varied from football players and cheerleaders “Somewhere in Texas” to getting “86’d” from an 8th Avenue, Port Authority NYC Hustler Bar to  the story of”Jacob and Sara”‘ a newly married Orthodox Jewish couple living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn then “Back to the Barrio” and the bodega and cuchifrito culture of Spanish Harlem all the way overseas to an Italian family  of circus clowns in “November 10th, 1989”.  His plays captured the universal humor and pathos of humanity but he also celebrated the subtle nuances of each culture also.   His characters were young, old, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Italian, American heterosexual, homosexual, transgender, black, brown, white, off white but always colorful.

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Charles’s writing was bold and unapologetic yet sensitive and subtle, full of heart and soul and never ever without humor.  As a writer he was the best gift any young actor looking to do meaningful work in the NYC theater scene could ask for. I do not know where I would be as an artist if I hadn’t linked up with Charles and  became an honorary “munster” of his Absolute Theater Co.  Charles challenged me to expand and grow as an artist by giving me creative opportunities and roles that point blank scared the shit out of me.

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In his epic play “Jacob and Sarah”,  I play a  man who develops feelings for his co-worker Jacob Feldman, a young Orthodox Jewish man who is paying my character to pee on him.  Yup, you heard that correctly.  That  role and play in particular was witnessed by Al Pacino who  was so inspired by Charles’s writing and the play that he made a financial contribution to the Co. which allowed us to take that play and others to Los Angeles, which I personally was able to parlay into finding  a manager and subsequently  transitioning into the film and television industry.

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Charles provided 100’s of people like myself the opportunity to create and thrive as artists.  His  Absolute Theater Company’s annual Urban Fairy Tale  Theater Festival provided so many actors the opportunity to sink their teeth into juicy meaty material . He was always encouraging those around him to draw from their own soul’s experiences  and to write down their own stories. He appreciated and celebrated people for who they were with all of their unique “munster” idiosyncrasies and foibles and not who he wanted them to be. He was an enigmatic spirit with a huge loving heart in a big lumbering  body.  He was a lot. He was loved a lot and by a lot of different people. I have never been this personally close to someone who has had such a profound emotional and meaning full effect on so many  people in so many different ways . And it has made me so much more aware of the importance of legacy.

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What are we going to leave for others to reflect upon after our time in this body is through. Whether you are an artist like Charles  or an inventor whose creations  actually change the plight of the world like Steve Jobs or you might just be a simple, kind, generous,  loving,  loyal family member like my dear (little grandmother) Abuelita who had such a profound effect on family, friends, and total strangers in her life alike.  What we do,  how we choose to live,  the actions we take to create our lives moment to moment from birth to death will continue to be felt and produce a resounding wave of meaning and significance in the wake after the wake.

I’m so grateful and thankful for all of the inspiration of Charles E. Drew Jr., Muhammed Ali, PRINCE and all of those who passionately lived and created and who were unapologetic about celebrating their unique god given gifts , creative powers, and soulful re-evolutionary perspectives.

Blessed with this magical breath of life, I pledge to live my life with passion and compassion and to continue to create new realms of positive creative possibilities.

WE MUST CELEBRATE WHO WE ARE IN ORDER TO CREATE WHO WE WANT TO BE!

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT TO WEAR FOR A COMMERCIAL HEAD SHOT PHOTO SHOOT

tips on what to wear to a commercial audition
tips on what to wear for commercial head shots

Are you about to shoot some new commercial head shots and have no idea what to wear?  There are 6 different wardrobe categories that commercial ad agencies and casting directors usually ask for.  I use their categories as a guideline for the looks that I am going to recreate for my head shots.

The different style categories that they usually ask for are as follows;  UPSCALE/SOPHISTICATED, UPSCALE CASUAL, BUSINESS, BUSINESS CASUAL, NICE CAUSAL and lastly there is the ATHLETIC or OUTDOORSY look. Every now and then there might be a request for a lab coat or pair of scrubs or a red or blue colored polo shirt to match the attire of a certain company’s uniform (i.e Best Buy) or maybe it’s a call for professional sports jerseys but for the most part commercial producers are usually looking for 6 specific styles and they are:

UPSCALE/SOPHISTICATED – Rich, elegant, suave, extremely stylish and successful. Think CEO of a multi million dollar company. Expensive high end car commercials, liquor ads and designer cologne campaigns are usually looking for the slick James Bond looking guy in sleek suits (without ties) with very sheik stylish women wearing sleek dresses and jewelry and accessories. The trick here is NOT to be gaudy or “blingy” but sharp, sleek and sophisticated. Well put together.

UPSCALE CASUAL – Similar to the sophisticated look but a little more relaxed and approachable. This is what you might wear out on a first date. Guys maybe wear a sports jacket with jeans and a v-neck or a sweater with the sleeves pushed up and slacks or dark denim jeans. And ladies are looking attractive and sexy but classy and you don’t want to look like your trying too hard.

BUSINESS – This look is completely corporate. Guys are in a basic black, blue, grey, brown business suite with ties. Ladies are in pantsuits maybe blazers with a pencil skirt. It’s very buttoned up and conservative. Think financial advisors.

BUSINESS CASUAL – This look is similar to the Upscale Casual except the Upscale Casual probably has a little more sex appeal to it where as the Business Casual look is still business yet a little more laid back and sophisticated than the strict Business look. Imagine what you might wear if you worked at a cool modern design firm. The styel is modern, simple, cool with a unique personal sense of style.

NICE CASUAL – Basically this is your relaxed weekend, hanging out around the house look. Think family outings and picnics. Avoid track pants or athletic wear. That’s a different category. Maybe it’s a light colored polo and t-shirts, relaxed fit jeans with a buttoned up shirt left untucked. Sneakers or boat shoes.

FITNESS/ OUTDOORSY – Athletic work out clothes. hoodies, compression pants, shorts, tank tops and t’s, sneakers. Outdoors looks can be cargo shorts and pants. Flannel shirts and t’s, hiking boots etc.

I will usually try and cover a high end look, i.e Upscale Sophisticated/Casual and then maybe drop it down a notch and do something Nice Casual and then maybe do some with an Out Doors feel.  For guys it could be good to do this look with a thicker beard and then with each look take the beard down, so that maybe in the Nice Casual you have a little scruff but then for the Upscale Sophisticated you are clean shaven.  There is no one formula.  Be aware of the different trends and looks that are being used in actual commercials and  use that as inspiration.

The most important thing to wear is a sparkle in your eye and a big bright genuine smile.  Hope this was helpful. Enjoy and have fun.

Taking the first step…

information on the cost of acting classes in Hollywood Ca

I am so thankful that everyday is a  new opportunity to embrace life and live the life you want.  I have been wanting to develop this acting lab and facilitate a space for actors to delve deep into their process and flesh out their need for self expression. But for whatever reasons. I just wouldn’t, couldn’t,  didn’t.  I have to admit,  I am a bit of a procrastinator. You might think, “Wow you, a procrastinator, You’ve been actively pursuing  your dreams  and achieving your goals in one of the most challenging professions there is”  And yes  that is true,  I do take pride in the fact that I have been extremely resilient and persistent in the pursuit of being an actor but there are still so many desires, creative ideas and dreams that  haunt me.

There are a lot of reasons why we procrastinate and keep  shrugging off our inspiration and desires. Some are even rooted in reality, i.e. financial challenges,  family responsibilities, lack of time etc.  Other excuses  are a result of our own fragile psyche. We allow the weeds of  doubt to choke out and kill even the slightest possibility of our inspiration blossoming into a magical garden.  But I am here to say that IT IS NEVER TOO LATE to pursuit a dream.  Every journey begins with one tiny step. That first, tiny step can be the hardest of all but once you take that first step the 2nd one will  come that much easier.

CREATIVITY and INSPIRATION are constantly calling. The master plan, our map to our true treasure is ever present waiting to be discovered and followed.

Now that I am on step #45 at and the pep in my step is coming from all of the positive energy , passion and courage that that I am witnessing in the folks that are  coming and dropping into the lab. And it feels amazing!!!

Here is what they are saying:

Tamara wrote: Thank you!!! It was so incredible and just what my soul was asking for. You are dynamic! What a wonderful gift it was to have today’s experience🙏🏽 I am a definite yes for next Saturday. And will be sharing my experience with others.Thank you for the magic!

Laura wrote:  Last Saturday’s class was such a positive experience and I wanted to thank you once again. Its good for me to step out of my comfort zone, push myself and learn something new. I thought you did a great job! Your passion and knowledge shined through the entire class. I think one of the best things is you create a non- judgmental atmosphere. I knew no matter how dumb, insecure or inexperienced I felt that you would in now way judge me. That is an AMAZING ability to make people feel that way, especially in what you are teaching.

And Devon wrote a whole blog post about it. Check out her super fabulous blog and what she wrote about her experience in the lab here.

I am so psyched and inspired to do it again

Saturday  9AM  The New Collective LA – Acting Studio

6440 Santa Monica Blvd. Hollywood CA. 90038 (between Wilcox and Cole, a few doors east of the The Complex)

email me @davebaez@davebaez.com to get more info and to reserve your space.

Better recognize!

525929942You must recognize THE SIGNIFICANCE of living every moment.You don’t have to amplify it – just recognize it. Recognize history. Recognize you are a continuation of history. Stella Adler – The Art of Acting

Momentous occasions have a way of putting our personal journeys into perspective. Whether it’s a birth or death, celebrating a hard sought professional milestone or coming to terms with a career change or a decaying relationship, all of these experiences have a way of putting the BIG PICTURE in focus. Our past and the choices we’ve made suddenly become illuminated under the proverbial microscope. It’s as if at that moment  we are stopped in our tracks half way up the mountainside to a catch a glimpse of the long winding road that we’ve travailed to get to this particular panoramic view. And whether that moment breeds a feeling of awe or confusion, the reaction is usually the same, “Wow, look how far I’ve come, how the heck did I manage to get here?”.

This past month for me has been filled with those types of deep, intense reckonings, the operative word being intense. I love that word. Break it down and you get in-tense, somewhere between the past-tense and the future-tense, beyond pretense is INTENSE. Last night’s movie premier for me was a wonderful celebration of my ongoing journey and evolution as it’s culminated to this point. I was also aware of every one else’s journey as well. From the veteran superstars who’s careers have spanned decades, to the fresh face up and comers who are just now stepping onto the scene, to us “journey men” who have managed to string together a succession of gigs enough to make a living, but who are still in hungry pursuit of that ultimate success. My whole day preparing for the premier was filled with so many thoughts and reflections, different memories fluttered back to me like homing pigeons carrying messages from the past.

Sharing the day with my 16 year old daughter June made me so sensitively aware that she is the only person who has physically been a part of my professional journey every step of the way. Her birth was the catalyst that caused me to ratchet up my focus on doing what I truly wanted to be doing. I remember thinking, ok now is the time to get serious and step it up, a common mental effect after having a child that continuously lingers on.

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I also recently lost a special friend who played a major role in my development as an actor. His passing has brought a tidal wave of profound deep reflections filled with gratitude and spiritual significance. He was a writer and a director and if it wasn’t for him I really don’t know how I would have made it to where I am today. Charles gave me and so many others the opportunity to soar and grow as actors and to live out our dreams of performing Off-Broadway theater in New York City. I actually came out to LA with Charles and the his theater Co. and we put on a theatrical showcase that I was able to use to court my first manager and get the ball rolling out here in LA. I will for sure revisit  the topic of Charles’s significant role in my life in future posts but for now I am going to continue sharing the subtle myriad of memories that colored the significance of my day.

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The first actor I see when I enter the premier is Giles Marini of the “Sex and the City” movie who I haven’t seen in 15 years. The last time we saw each other is when did an ad for Jose Cuervo. I had just moved to LA and booked my first film role in “The Crow, Wicked Prayer ” and Giles was so happy for behaving not yet experiences his big break which would soon to come. Both of our teenagers were toddlers then and now he tells me that he had to borrow his sons car and promise to put gas in it just to get to the premier.

Earlier that day I was on my way to a fitting with Warair Boswell, fashion designer extraordinary when I turned the corner onto S.Broadway and saw the marque for the Orpheus Theater. My mind immediately flashed back 17 years earlier to the very first time I traveled to LA for a modeling gig. I remembered the feeling I had walking around downtown LA anticipating that my journey was going to inevitably veer west. I was standing on another great precipice, about to turn the page on a new chapter in my life, stepping blindly into a new journey with no road map or idea how I would navigate this new terrain but somehow here I am 17 years later…so many gigs later, still managing to not only survive but to strive continue to step strongly toward my ultimate goals and success.

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The actors journey is definitely not for everyone and can be a very precarious path. It takes a certain type of person to be able to live their lives not knowing what the next day is going to bring. IT can be exciting and exhilarating or it can be straight up maddening. But for me the way that I’ve managed to preserver and maintain my passionate pursuit is I don’t take any of it for granted. Each moment, each audition, each gig,s each and every mentor, all of my life’s challenges and milestones all continue to contribute to the man and artist that I am perpetually becoming. I want to thank you if you’ve read this post. Thank you for caring, thank you for all of your well wishes and support, thanks for believing that my day is going to come….each and every day.

Today is another amazing day in LA and I’m off to another blessed gig, an AT& T commercial.  Maybe it is not as glamorous as the last one but  it’s just as important, each brick is another building block in the pillars and foundation of my career.

The “Mothers and Daughters” Premier

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Tonight is the big night. I’m so excited to reconnect with the cast and crew of “Mothers and Daughters” and share this wonderful celebration with my daughter June, who will be my chaperon tonight. Anybody in the business knows what a miraculous feat it is to get a movie made. It all starts with the dream of a screen writer banging away on their computer keys for months and sometimes years on end, molding imagination into characters and stories. Then that writer must shop their finished product and pray to find some passionate brave producer who sees and believes in their vision and decides that they would like to either invest and bring other producers on to invest in in order to get it made. Then a director has to be chosen to guide the whole process along, a crew assembled..and actors have to be cast.

For me, this experience was a dream come true. Mainly because of how it came to me. About 4 years ago I was performing in a powerful play written by Pedro Antonio Garcia called “Firehouse” and after one particular performance I was approached by a passionate producer named Amy Williams who was so enamored with the play and my performance, that she decided she wanted to keep in touch with the hopes that one day we might be able to work together. A few times throughout the years she reached out to refer me for other projects but none of them panned out for me. So when this one came along, I have to say, I decided I wasn’t going to allow myself to get my hopes up. I thought this was way too good to be true but Amy persisted to leave me messages, telling me how she wanted me to play this one particular role but then suddenly that role ended up getting cut down in the script, so she left me another message saying not to worry that there was an even better role that she had in mind for me. She proceeded to tell me all about the project and all who was going to be in the film and how hard she had fought not only to get it produced but to have me in it and although I was extremely flattered and hopeful, I still would not allow myself to believe that it was going to happen.

As actors we play so many mind games with ourselves, trying to focus and visualize exactly what we want and believing earnestly that it is going to happen and although I do believe in that sort creative visualization, on this occasion I just said, screw it, it’s going to happen or not. If it does, it would be an amazing blessing and if it doesn’t, so be it. Well it turns out it was an amazing blessing. I had such a great time working on this movie, the cast and crew were awesome and it was such a wonderful experience that no one can ever take away. So I am going to sit back with my baby girl with a bucket of pop corn and just bask in seeing another dream come true. Thank you God! And Thank You Amy Williams!!!