Don Hall explains auditions

This means if you don’t get called back, it isn’t because you suck. It means you either A) weren’t right for any of the roles, B) didn’t fit a certain “look” the director is going for or C) don’t have enough natural charisma to hold anyone’s attention for longer than fourteen seconds. The first two aren’t your fault; the third you can’t really do anything about.

Don Hall, the Angry White Guy in Chicago, wrote a great post yesterday on auditions. It’s worth a read if you’re auditioning at any level, but especially at the point where your headshot, resume and two-minute audition seem to really matter. Don’s an honest man (or as honest as the internet allows), and this post is no exception. I can’t disagree with any of it, I tend to react the same way when I’m conducting an audition.

Give it a read, actors.

Dan Lyons: Apple’s tablet will reinvent computing

Newsweek_logoNewsweek’s Daniel Lyons discusses the tablet PC that Apple is rumored to be preparing for a mid-2010 launch, and the effect it might have on journalists and other storytellers. He’s correct that such a device, always connected to the internet, would advance the convergence of different story telling media (print, video, audio), it’s his take on where the next “evolutionary leap” in media is coming from that I really agree with:

The Internet today is a lot like TV circa 1950. But we are about to take an evolution-ary leap. That’s why all this hand-wringing over the dying newspaper business is so misplaced. In 10 years the print newspapers we have today will seem as quaint and primitive as those old Uncle Miltie shows. Heck, the Internet we have today will seem quaint and primitive too. Chances are the cool stuff won’t come from people my age (I’m nearly 50) but from the kids who are growing up with these digital tools the way (Steven) Bochco, (David) Chase, and (Larry) David grew up with Uncle Miltie.

Worth a read at

AT&T Wireless makes small children cry

Photo credit: egg on stilts from flickr
Photo credit: egg on stilts from flickr

And me.

I love my iPhone. I knew when I got my iPhone 3G in February that I wasn’t going to have 3G service very often where I live. But the iPhone was a major upgrade from my old Samsung phone on Verizon, and gives me the PDA features I was used to for years with my Palm handhelds, and much more. I was also hoping not to have to carry two devices around anymore, and that’s worked out the way I expected.

But AT&T’s overall coverage is inferior to Verizon’s, especially along the St. Clair River where I spend a lot of my time, which is also the border with Canada. At least a quarter of the time my iPhone is attached to either a Rogers or Telus cellular tower across the river (which is generally a much stronger signal as well), but I get charged by the minute if I make or receive a call when “roaming” in Ontario. I could pay AT&T an extra monthly fee to “roam” in Canada, but I shouldn’t have to do that. And even when I have a strong signal on AT&T’s network, my calls fail far too often. The signal doesn’t fade; the call just drops. It’s like AT&T has decided my call isn’t important enough and disconnects me. This is a fairly common complaint, and up to 30 percent dropped calls is considered normal, at least according to this Engadget post. Often, even when I have a strong signal on AT&T’s 2G/EDGE network, the data transfer rate reminds me of an old 56K or slower dial-up modem. The sound quality is also inferior to my old Samsung/Verizon combo, though that could be the iPhone, which has had taken some criticism for the phone components.

Hopefully, the rumors that Verizon might get the rights to market an iPhone in 2010 will turn out to be true. Verizon has its critics, too, of course, but in the six years I was with Verizon, I hardly ever lost a call due to it being dropped. Signals faded, of course, but I honestly can’t remember a call just ending (I’m sure one or two did, so I won’t claim that Verizon never dropped a call, but I can’t remember one. I can remember dozens just in the last month with AT&T).

I love Verizon’s new ads mocking the iPhone “there’s an app for that” commercials:

Digging the old AFL uniforms

Cover of the program for today's Patriots-Broncos game

As goofy as the Broncos’ throwback uniforms look, I’m still enjoying watching the old AFL teams play in their original-styled uniforms this season in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the American Football League.

A Western Michigan hat. Horrible.
A Western Michigan hat. Horrible.

Of course, the Broncos old colors of brown and yellow are absolutely horrible. Good thing no other professional or college team ever decided to use those colors… I’m sure they would look awful. Oh wait.

“The Report” #23 is online

The latest edition of Tom Kephart with The Report is online at

Tom Kephart with THE REPORTThis week’s show includes features on last weekend’s Fort Sinclair Days and Whistles on the Water in St. Clair, coverage of a presentation in Marine City about a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) received by the city to improve downtown building facades, an update on the Michigan Legislature’s budget negotiations, and other local events. The show also includes “At the Market with Bryan Neiman,” our weekly cooking show from the St. Clair Farmers’ Market.

If you have news events from the Marine City/St. Clair area for an upcoming show, you can leave a comment here on my blog or contact me using the “Contact Tom” link in the page header.

Have another great week and thanks for watching!

The Tigers collapse is complete

It’s tempting to be satisfied with the unexpectedly good season the Detroit Tigers just finished. After all, they were picked to finish last in the AL Central after a disappointing 2008, so to hold onto first place since May (even in the weakest division in baseball) made for a surprisingly entertaining summer of baseball in Motown.

Comerica Park and the Detroit skyline by Kevin Ward

The development of several young players gives me reason to believe that the Tigers will improve again next season. Rick Porcello was fantastic at only age 20; he deserved much better last night after pitching possibly his best game of the season in a do-or-die situation for his team. Edwin Jackson turned out to be an outstanding off-season pickup, and Ryan Raburn, Clete Thomas and Alex Avila all impressed when they had the chance. (In fact, why didn’t Jim Leyland use Avila – or Marcus Thames – to pinch hit for Gerald Laird in the final inning? Ah, second guessing.)

But the fact is, the Tigers just finished one of the biggest folds under pressure in major league history. No team had ever lost a division title or a pennant when three games up with four to go. Despite tonight’s near-heroics in Minnesota, the Tigers again lost a division title to the Twins on the last day of the season. In 2006, they couldn’t beat lowly Kansas City and had to settle for the wild card playoff spot. This year, their record would barely have kept them in third place in the East Division, so no playoffs are forthcoming.

Even though Miguel Cabrera somewhat redeemed himself on Tuesday with a massive two-run homer, the Tigers will have to determine if his drunken arrest over the weekend is a recurring event or a one-time situation. If Cabrera has personal demons, the team will have to insist that he take responsibility for them and turn his life around, or seriously think about finding him a new home. And I’m still shaking my head over several odd managerial decisions Leyland made in the final week, from starting pitching to apparently resting players for an AL Divisional Series that isn’t going to happen now.

The 2009 Tigers were entertaining, and there’s some positive momentum for next season. Right now, though, it’s too close to the Collapse of ’09 to be satisfied with the old saying, “Wait ’til next year.”

Photo credit: Kevin Ward via Flickr