Last year, I was pleased, and somewhat surprised to be the top grossing actor at First Coast Talent Agency, knowing how much my peers in this market were working, and also being familiar with the accomplishments of other local talent who have held this distinction.  This year, I didn't think I'd be "in the running," though, looking back, I suppose I kept myself just busy enough to not realize just how busy I was!

We all have them...precious memories.  Whether from childhood, a first job, a first love, an adventure, time with family, an accomplishment, or a special moment how you celebrated a Christmas.

Christmas has always been a special time for me.  Maybe because, as a child, that's when all the family came together.  To celebrate.  To catch up.  To enjoy each other's company.  Maybe it was because there was no school for a couple weeks, and I could enjoy the Pennsylvania snow (if it had fallen by then).  I don't know, but whenever I think of Christmas, I think of "home"; not home as a place, but as a feeling or a state-of-mind.  Home is comfortable and warm, like a thick blanket you can wrap yourself in.  It just feels perfect.

I'm not really one to take "selfies."  Any more, at least.  While digging through some old film photographs, I came across a few self-portraits, but since the arrival of the digital era, I haven't engaged in that practice very much.  So rather than taking a spontaneous picture in any one of the cliché poses, I decided to share the frame with several characters I have come to know over the past year or so.

I feel so blessed to be recognized as the Top Grossing Actor of 2014 by First Coast Talent Agency.  It took a lot of hustle and "stick-to-it"-iveness, but I can't rest on my laurels.  2015 is filled with new characters to explore and stories to tell.  I look forward to sharing these discoveries with you.

Ditch the Pitch: The Art of Improvised Persuasion

by Steve Yastrow

I was mailed a copy of the "Costco Connection," a lifestyle-type magazine that focuses on brands and products in their inventory. Some of the articles are syndicated, while others are staff writers. This month's issue had a brief article called "Ditch the Pitch," based on business consultant Steve Yastrow's latest book of the same name.  In this book, he uses fundamentals of improvisation and applies them to a business setting.  The article, and the associated book support the notion that improvisation has its place in many areas, not just performance.  In fact, your local improvisational theatre troupe likely offers workshops for businesses that cover these very things. 

Here is the article in its entirety: 

Letter sent to Costco: I read with interest your article in the February “Connection” regarding Smart Houses. Like most articles on the subject, it never states exactly HOW smart homes save money…well except for the anecdotal, “forgetting to turn off the old thermostat” when going on vacation. To me, the above example is an exception that shouldn’t BE the rule. Not many people take vacations longer than an extended weekend, any more, and for those who travel for weeks on end, I am sure have developed sound strategies for dealing with absent-minded owners and their climate controls before now. We recently passed through a temperate season, where our heat pump did not run at all during the entire billing period. Our power bill was only twenty dollars less than average. Even a $10 two-week “waste” couldn’t nearly justify the expense in retro-fitting an older home. Also, how much power is used for every single electrical outlet, light switch, faucet, toilet, doorbell and aquarium light to be connected to the Internet? Do we really face an epidemic of people who leave the house with the water running? Let me give you a couple examples: When I turn a standard light switch to the “OFF” position, I have thus terminated the circuit, no electricity flows, and thus I am using zero kilowatts. How many kilowatts are wasted with the light switch constantly pinging my wireless router? Multiply that times the number of light switches…our house has 32 light switches (and thirty standard two-port electrical outlets). …and about that darned thermostat… When I turn a classic thermostat to the “OFF” position (you know, the old mercury switch type, with a metal coil thermometer), I have thus terminated the circuit, no electricity flows, and thus I am using zero kilowatts. The modern thermostats, even when the system is shut down, still require a little bit of energy to power the LCD display. How much additional power is required for it to perpetually seek whether I’m trying to modify its programming while driving on the freeway? Scott J. Smith

This has been a wonderful adventure, my acting career so far, and many times I feel like I am just getting started. With each new success, I see a new, unrealized goal just beyond my grasp. I feel like a new carrot is constantly being dangled before me, as I strive to pursue greater things.

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