This Episode Is Dedicated To Barbara Salant, who has been very encouraging about my writing, even though she wasn’t my English Teacher in High School and had a different last name than I remember but have since forgotten.
I was so excited.
I WAS SOOOOOO EXCITED!
The day had come!
The time had come!
I was going to see Scott Sedita, The Wizard of Hollywood!
Scott Sedita who had his own Acting School! Scott Sedita who had been a Hollywood Agent! Scott Sedita who had been a Casting Director! Scott Sedita who – well, he’s got a great bio on his website which you can read yourself HERE.
Anyway, I was excited.
The Wizard would know and be able to tell me how to get back to my home in my heart. How to drag this 60 year old Being back to where I belonged. Where I was meant to be. Where I should never have left.
All I had to do was get there. And not unlike Dorothy, who had a Yellow Brick Road to guide her, I had Google Maps.
From the 210 to the 2, from the 2 to the 101. 39 Minutes and my prayers would be answered. 39 minutes.
Let me stop and tell you something.
I hate to drive.
Hate it, Hate it, Hate it.
I have about a 30 minute radius when it comes to driving. If it’s longer than 30 minutes, I can pretty quickly talk myself out of going. Especially in Los Angeles, where nothing is 30 minutes to get there, even if Google Maps tells you it is.
You know how they say “It’s the Journey, not the Destination”?
For me, it’s always been about the destination, especially when it comes to driving, and more especially when it comes to driving in Los Angeles.
I would give anything, ANYTHING, to be able to be Jeannie, from “I Dream of Jeannie”, or even Samantha in “Bewitched“. I’d even be Samantha’s bitchy Mother, Endora, to be able to twitch my nose or blink and get from where I was to where I wanted to be instantly.
As a matter of fact, if I had that power, I would be in Paris this very moment. Or maybe even in Africa on some high-end luxurious safari, where you sleep in a tent, but the tent has indoor plumbing. And by that I mean no chemical toilets.
So you know that by driving even that extra 9 minutes Google Maps told me I had to drive to get to Scott’s (not counting parking, which is always a bitch in the Hollywood area and would undoubtably add an extra 10 minutes), I was not only determined to get there, but I was excited to do it.
I sang all the way there. Show Tunes, mostly. I wondered what he would tell me, which direction he would point me, what words of wisdom he would bestow upon me. I was terrified and excited all at the same time.
My life, my new life, was going to begin.
Scott’s Studio is on a nice street. I only bring this up because I have attended more than a number of acting classes and some of the neighborhoods I have found myself in were pretty iffy. And by iffy I mean I wasn’t brave enough or dedicated enough to continue my acting studies there. Or carry a gun. Scott’s building is a two story white building, with Scott’s name across the first floor, which lead me to believe he had the whole building, which he did not, but it still looked good.
With my heart thumping, I walked in and found the studio. I’m pretty sure I was early because I have a tendency to be early everywhere, which is a habit I picked up in Theater, where when you are 10 minutes early you are actually on time and when you are on time, you are late and when you are late you get yelled at for holding up the rest of the Company. So even though I drove for 39 minutes, (43 if you count parking and walking to the building) and Scott only had to walk about 43 feet to meet me, the assistant behind the sliding glass window in the lobby told me that Scott was running behind.
Well, when you’re a Hollywood Wizard, that’s to be expected.
So I sat in his very comfortable lobby and picked up another book he had written that was propped up on a clear lucite display, with some kind of warning that the book was to stay in the lobby of the studio and not get stuffed into my pocketbook for reading after I drove the 39 minutes home (43 if you count walking back across the street and pulling a u-turn to get back to the Freeway).
Which is what had crossed my mind.
But thanks to the primary school I had attended, I was a very fast reader, so I opened the book. It is called “Scott Sedita’s Guide To Making It In Hollywood.”
Had I known about this book and given my abhorrence of driving, I might have just ordered it from Amazon and stayed home.
I was on page 33 when Scott opened the door and came into the lobby.
And I forgot all about why I was there.
I was so happy to see him. It was so great to see his face. It was so great to see the face of an old friend, someone who knew me back in the day, before this journey of life had almost taken out of me everything I needed in me to continue. If there was Scott, there was hope and where there is hope, there was life.
I forgot about why I had driven 39 minutes, plus parking, why I had wanted to see him, why I wanted him to tell me what to do and where to go to do it.
I was just happy to see my friend, Scott Sedita. Two kids from Glen Cove, NY.
Truth is, I would have been happy to spend the 600 seconds he had allotted me to just reminisce about the years we had spent together in the auditorium that had doubled as a theater and the people we still knew and loved.
He led me into his studio, which is very, very nice – very professional and sat me down on a chair under some lights on a small stage.
If he only had done that, it would have been enough.
It was where I am most at home.
That’s part of the problem being born an actor. I just don’t fit in anywhere else. I’m pretty good at faking it, wherever it was. I have been a lot of things in my life and in all of them, I was just a great pretender. Award winning, actually.
Because I never cared about any of the things that I did in my life. I usually did them to make a living and that, I have discovered, and possibly discovered too late, is the worse reason on the planet to do anything.
But that’s another story for another time.
All I knew was at that moment in time, I was right were I was supposed to be.
On a chair, on a stage, under some lights.
And as an added bonus, there were cameras pointed at me.
Even if they weren’t turned on, I was.
Because there in front of me was The Wizard of Hollywood.
Scott told me he didn’t need to “Read Me”, which was a little disappointing, but then I thought that the man just knew talent when it walked in the door.
We talked and caught up a little. He mentioned I had been to see him once before and remembered I had sat in his chair behind his desk. I vaguely remembered it but it seems like something I probably would have done. I have a problem with boundaries. I’m usually not aware of them, and when I am, I don’t pay them any attention if I don’t want to. And I usually don’t.
Which is how I met Sydney Pollack and Robert Redford on the set of 3 Days of The Condor, when I was in college. And how I got into the film business. True Story.
A big part of that is because every place is, to me, a set or a location. Every Place. And every set or every location is like home to me. So I am comfortable everywhere, and when I am comfortable I make myself at home.
Which makes me comfortable but tends to annoy other people. Like that Carpool Karaoke guy James Cordon. Not that I’ve ever been to his house or the set of his talk show, or even in his carpool to karaoke (which I would in a heart beat), but he did mention it on some British show I saw on Netflix. Not about me personally, but about – oh heck, watch it for yourself HERE.
So maybe Scott remembered our last visit because sitting in his chair annoyed him. I don’t know, but it worried me a little. I thought perhaps his advice would be a little biased because of that.
Don’t laugh, Hollywood does strange things to people.
But he brushed that aside and sat forward in his chair, which was my cue to stop thinking of James Cordon or Robert Redford or Sydney Pollack (who I adored in Will & Grace), and start paying close attention.
The Wizard was about to tell me what to do to get back to the Home in My Heart.
And I was going to listen with all my heart.
DON’T GO AWAY!
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