Photos of Conan in Movies

Wowowwillie And Another WOW Movie Project

Wednesday, 07 August 2013

How I appeared on The Philippines #1 TV show WITHOUT preparation, was invited to a big name movie premier AND recieved another WOW! work related email all within 12 hours.

Life can be an interesting game to play at times.....

...and NO you don't play to "win". What is winning in life? According to modern consumerist theories general populations are led to believe that winning involves making as much money as possible, often absent morals, and buying as much stuff as possible. Now to paraphrase a mentor of mine, Brad Sugars, "if you spend your life collecting lots of stuff what do you end up with?.... Stuff all."

So back to the story, playing to win - but on terms that will make you happy at the end of the day.

So I had waited for a friend to set up a contact he knew... and waited... and waited.....

... until I took matters into my own hands. At the suggestion of a very good friend we went along as audience members with no prior arrangement to the number #1 rated show in The Philippines but a few obstacles presented themselves.

First of all my friend and I dressed appropriately. For me it was a fitted black t-shirt, jeans and some nice hand made Italian ankle boots (after having a choice of flip flops or army boots for a fair chunk of my late teens/early adulthood getting shoes that fit is great, having well made shoes is awesome), add a nice watch to the mix and it's easy to dress well as a man (even easier if you can find off the rack shoes and clothes that fit). My friend dressed sensibly but well, jeans, heels good shirt.

First of all we were a bit late for audience registration, though still over an hour and a half early for the start of the show. We got around this by first off all being friendly and positive, my friend was a bundle of energy as it was to be her first time on national TV. Secondly my friend introduced me properly as an International movie star, mentioning the names of the shows that I had worked in that were known in the Phillippines. Upon greeting me the security manager asked and I pulled out a couple of trading cards then my phone with some photos to show that we were telling the truth. This got him on the radio to the show co-ordinator - we were OK'd to enter.

But we, or rather I, had to get a blood pressure reading before being allowed in. I suppose they don't want people getting over excited and dying on live TV. The fact I was being checked told me straight away that they had something in store for me.

How I almost failed my Game of Thrones Physical

Now blood pressure checks are a problem - in fact I almost had an ambulance called to take me straight to hospital in Ireland for my Game of Thrones physical checkup. The doctor took my reading, went quite in the middle of a conversation and said here let me try the other arm - I knew something was up. He left me alone for a few minutes (to calm down) and came back to test my blood pressure again, again as he pumped the air in the velcro started to pop open and it had to be held closed to get a reading. He again stopped talking midsentence. I asked what was wrong, he looked at me and said according to this I legally have to hold you here until an ambulance arrives to take you to hospital, but that doesn't seem right. He thought about it for a minute and said let me try something - he went and got a different arm band to test my blood pressure (I think it was actually for wrapping around legs not arms) and tested my blood pressure again - this time it came back in a far more normal range and I was allowed out by myself and was allowed to work in GoT.

So I knew there was going to be a problem when the blood pressure arm band popped off my arm when it had barely started inflating and an assistant had to forcibly hold it on my arm. I failed their blood pressure test. Fortunately I had already told the security supervisor that this would happen due to the size of my arms, and I pointed out that appearing in front of a camera was my job so it was routine for me. After a little consultation with the co-ordinator I was allowed to proceed if I signed a waiver, no problem.

Upon entering we were escorted to central second row seats, the equivalent of the best seats in the house if it was a theatrical production - I knew then that the plan had a good chance of working IF I was able to remain entertaining to an audience that had English as a second language.

The show co-ordinator came over and shook my hand when he had a 3 second break from running everything. This was when I told my friend to be prepared as we were going to be on live TV - no retakes.

The show got out of hand quickly with audience members pouring down to dance with the stars of the show, the co-ordinator seeing the hopelessness, yet sensing an opportunity waved to me and pointed to the impromptu dance floor, seeing a wide open opportunity I jumped the fence and got to the floor and danced with the co-ordiantor until I spotted the shortest woman on stage (about 4'10") and started to dance with her instead (thinking the size difference would make interesting TV).

That did it, I got on national TV and the staff saw that I was willing to join in the show.

When that all calmed down I was to find myself, and shortly afterwards my friend, under the spotlight as Willie Revillame and Randy Santiago the hosts of the show quizzed us unexpectedly.


Randy Santiago and Conan Stevens

Willie asked if I was a wrestler, I replied not anymore but if he wanted too I could come down to the stage now.....

this got a few laughs and the rest of the 'interview' went well as innuendos and jokes were liberally applied to myself and my much shorter female friend with me.

Again and again throughout the show I found myself involved, even to the point of having one of the other co-hosts call me up for the final dance sequence to take the show out, she was again a rather short lady, whom I walked up several steps to raise her height before we danced - that all went down well.

After the show audience members who recognised me from Spartacus (it was a very well received show in The Philippines) asked for a photo with me, and there were quite a lot to be honest. During this Randy Santiago and the co-ordinator came over and we had a bit of a discussion with Randy offering to introduce me to key industry people and topping it off with an invite to the premier showing of the latest comedy movie the he wrote and directed that was showing that night!

Rushing home we showered, fed again and got changed to rush back to the premier, where I met some other actors and comedians, had my photo taken on the red carpet and gave an interview afterwards on my thoughts on the show.

Honestly I speak very, very little tagalog (the Filipino language) but watching the show I could understand a lot of the jokes that were central to the theme and I could watch the technical aspects of the show - the quality of sound and video, the post processing, the rythm of the script, character development, things like that.

After the show we grabbed one of the ubiquitous Filipino BBQ chickens for a late dinner and headed home. Checked my email, showered and headed to bed. In bed not really tired so grabbed my phone to read a few online news sites and checked email once more as I was ready to sleep.

WOW! WAKE UP! Like a hit of triple expresso sleep fled my mind and body.

I just received an email asking if I was available for another, what can only be described for an actor, as another WOW project, let me explain:

me:"I was just contacted by xxxxx to see if I am available"
Any other actor: "Wow!"

Jumped out of bed, turned the lights on grabbed the laptop and started wordsmithing an appropriate reply.

Again at this level that is all I can say about the project until there is an official announcement so I can reveal that I was casting for the part, even if I do not end up working on the movie.

So that makes two WOW! projects in recent times and several pretty good projects in between. I think that means I'm playing in the majors now, I may be warming the bench but it's a heck of an improvement over playing in little league.

Hopefully other actors will be able to look at this and see other possibilities besides sitting in a coffee shop waiting for your agent to do all your work, after all it is your career and therefore your responsibility. unless of course you are happy with the occassional small part in a TVC then that is great but if you want to progress look for opportunities outside the box.

As a side note it is with greatly personally satisfying when a plan like this works for me, it helps keep courage when the previous 10 ideas or plans failed, some miserably, along the way.  Though over the years the failures aren't as bad as they once were and I seem to get a few 'it almost worked' i'll tweak it and try again later, as well as a few more outright 'wins' (as defined by me) so it would seem that I am getting better at all this - which is why you don't chop and change careers every 3 years as you'll never learn, just chose the career that is your deepest darkest desire that you hide way down inside and go for it.

I know not everybody has the movie credits to open the doors like I am starting to get, but everyone has something special they can use (IF they let it out)  that can be just as useful. I heard that a Thai lady who did not speak Tagalog first appeared on the same TV show and entertained the audience so well as an audience member that she has since gone on, learned to speak Tagalog, and now hosts her own TV show in The Philippines.

You know there just might be something to the current tourism slogan:

"It's more fun in The Philippines!"

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