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Informercials  over pay its celebrities for success and underpay for failure. Those long-format 23 minute commercials had several meteoric stars: Juice Man Jay Kordish Juicers, and Susan Powter "Stop the Insanity!" before and after you bought their products were all about  the call to action --your credit card and calling  1800 number. I had an action plan of my own. It wasn't about resources, but resourcefulness.

Jay would  extol the virtues of raw live juices and their Christ like healing powers, while handing out the Eucharist (carrot juice) to audience members. Militant Susan, the self proclaimed Lenny Bruce of Wellness, with her platinum buzz haircut, turned water into wine with her fat to fit solution of eating less.

 Yes I have a juicer, but the IN to my SANE  is  Tony Robbins, the guru of transformations and late night TV (Prime time is the worst time for these commercials) —that’s the guy “Tony” is not full of Baloney, he's full of red meat  and bad to the bone--Awaken the Giant Within and Unlimited Power were reminders of  these basic things- 

"The quality of my life IS the quality of my communication"-YES. More importantly, "Success leaves clues. If I am committed, there is always a way. The past doesn't equal the future." 

And in his TED speech of 2006, (click link or view below), Tony discusses the invisible forces that motivate us to action

“Decision is the ultimate power. Decisions shape destiny.”

Success Leaves Clues

Tony is his own best life coach, going from living in his car, to flying a helicopter. I can relate  to his...

“In life you need either inspiration or desperation.”
Preparing  to change--- that takes time. Change itself occurs in an instant.

This is not some  life-changing transformation, but change  as a number of tiny actions that brings me  immediate results. Sure it takes training for a marathon, and you spell love t.i.m.e. but in Hollywood things happen at the speed of trust. And only when you trust yourself can you begin to live at full power.

Knowledge isn’t power, applied knowledge is. At  this point in my life, it was all about enthusiasm--Success is not continued enthusiasm despite failure after failure but outcome after outcome or results. There is no  failure, only Outcomes. Or as Tony says, Results.

I had a 90 day plan, after moving to Hollywood in 1997,  in the land of fruits and nuts Southern California, to get a SAG card.

What is a guild card, it is a Union card to work in the film and TV industry. It’s a classic catch-22. How do you get a role in a feature film? You need a SAG card. How do you get a SAG card? You need to get a role in a feature film. Just Ask Brad Pitt, OR Watch:

Aloha- If I am committed, there is always a way

As John Lennon sang “Beautiful Boy” on the radio, He was right--- life is what happens as you are making other plans. I was hearing "Let It Be"- the magic of letting go....

As it turned out, I was approaching getting a SAG card by collecting Union vouchers as a Background Artist, but when things went south, and work dried up, I was two days work shy of achieving the goal, but only 3 weeks to go on my 90 Day Plan, I was frustrated- As Tony would say:

 "Frustration is an action signal, it means you know that you could do better"

What could be better than a Brain Dump,going to Hawaii again, the place of recharge and inspiration. It was gonna be a break down or a break through. I took a chance on both-because as Tony says Focus Equals Feelings...and as the song goes ...feelings, nothing more than feelings..... 

“All personal breakthroughs begin with a change in beliefs.”

 I needed a vacation! from my vacation! and my job of "looking for a job", and "efforting". It was time for the law of least effort and the strength of loose ties to come into play. ENTER Hawaii

Environment Creates Mood And Motion Creates Emotion

I went to the well to draw water - Magical Kauai and The Best ,Maui for two weeks respectively. It was fun. I knew they were always shooting one movie in Hawaii somehwere. I found it ---the Harrison Ford Film, Six Days Seven Nights, in Kauai, but all I could do is hang out on the set a lot, eat some free food, and talk about L.A. stuff. I met a lot of per diem Transpo Local 399 Union guys making a fortune on this project, and the locals who worked the original Hawaii 5 O series, That was historically cool to see the pedigree -

These were the types who didn't go to film school to learn how to make a film. They went to film schools to rent the equipment. 

Real go getters. That's what production people are like. They can make it rain, tear down a set and make it snow.

Los Angry Cars

I flew back  to LAX, Los Angry Cars (Los Angeles) thinking I needed to drive a truck to earn real consistent money and break the 40K barrier. But  I was just grateful for a wonderful vacation, and when you are grateful, abundance has more than a chance to appear.

Shawn Mullins was my Bob Marley singing Lullaby "Everything is Gonna Be Alright"

In retrospect,  on Day 87, turned out to be my tipping point---  I was headed back to my apartment off of Fairfax, when I noticed a guy holding a yellow sign, That meant directions for the local union guys to park their vehicles-  I knew  they were shooting a movie. I used to Spec, or just show up (speculate) and get gigs. I’d get the Shoot Sheet, from the EIDC, the film permit guys, and drive over  to the location shoot, and get some last minute Union or non union work. In the seven Union vouchers I would get, four of them were by jusy showing up, and as Woody Allan said , 99% of life is just showing up… In my case 40% of my economic life.

"You’re Ed Reif…I worked with you on set last month” 

 “Steve”, yea, the AD (Assistant Director), you have a movie now,”

“No Ed , this is a Kate Capshaw film, Steven Spielberg’s wife, I'm hustling just helping out the location scouts, but I’m shooting a film starting tomorrow   “It’s an early call time 5AM, Just Show up and I'll see if I can get you a day or two”

“I live near there. I can walk over. I’ll be there”.

 I returned for  work on what was to be a   Richard Elfman film , with a working title, The Revenant. Later it would be released as Modern Vampires.

Modern Vampires (1998) Horror/Thriller
Director:Richard Elfman  Starring :Casper Van Dien, Natasha Gregson 
Wagner, John Fleck, Ed Reif, Kim Cattrall, Stephen Porter, Craig Ferguson,
Jason Ross-Azikiwe, Udo Kier, Natalya Andreychenko, Rod Steiger,
 Boris Lee Krutonog, Marco Hofschneider, Robert Pastorelli, 

Taft–Hartley Act

On Day 88 I worked a Day as a  Union Background Performer, On Day 89, I was given an audition, by Rick,(the Director) who asked “Can you act?” which  I replied  affirmatively, “Yes” and got upgraded as a day player, with a contract.

I  switched my union background voucher with   Actor John Fleck’s day player contract. John  had another project in New York, and had to leave, as we were shooting over time.

 Overtime to me was golden time- In the 12, 14 hours you can double and triple your money as a Union Gig. I was loving it..My own trailer, good food, lots of beautiful girls-living the dream. I got  "Taft–Hartley-ed" 

(The term Taft-Hartley has a special meaning in the entertainment industry. Specifically, for film and television actors, an actor not in the union who becomes a “principal performer” (says a line) is immediately eligible to join the Screen Actors Guild and is covered under the SAG contract with the production company for 30 days, at which point he or she must either join SAG or cease working on any union productions)

Steve, the AD, I met the day before , who originally hooked me up with the gig, I remember to this day, with his  clip board, and head set on  just rolling his eyes,  saying  

"Lucky Dog. You Spec'ed a feature film, get a Union Voucer, and then upgraded to a Union Contract-I have never seen that".

The Shoot-The past doesn't equal the future (I never took an acting lesson)

These were the  few lines  in a feature film,

“I’m an attorney, you’ll never get away with this”   

Then Vampires  Kim Cattrall (before SITC) and Robert Pastorelli , chopped off my head and ate my brains. Yuck. As we shot my scenes, I was so excited and amped up on Craft's Services Espressos, that I got close ups and lines that I was smiling and screaming at the same time.  

With no classical training, not even one single acting lesson, I was about to get my first from The Sound Man, his ears ringing, said, 

"Ed this is a microphone. if you whisper it will project more feelings in your face"

 But it is a Director's medium, as my regional accent kicked in, Rick, smoking an unlit  cigar, said

 "Let's go again, less New York". 

Konstantin Stanislavsky rule was  Love the art in yourself, not yourself in the art. I broke it! I loved myself in the art.

Now I had 30 days to pay the Union Dues! A New "feeling" But As Tony Robbins says, Focus equals feelings!  I had a feeling I could sell my Super Bowl Ticket(s) (1997 Denver vs Green Bay in San Diego).

Read About American History X The Walla Group

Despite the undoubted camaraderie, the laughs, the jollies and the sense of tribalism that attends any acting project, the profession remains a notoriously lonely one. Friendships are intense but brief; when the gig ends or the curtain runs down, you can soon find yourself back home staring at your cell phone  and wondering if any of it really happened. Memories are short, time moves on, fame is transitory. 


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