Thursday, October 18, 2007

Trauma, Turmoil and Challenges

Dear Hollywood,

Wow, couldn't have been a rougher last several days. Actually, I am fully aware that it could have been worse, so I must continually thank my lucky stars (Mother Mary) for my blessings. I'm not much of a religious man, (having been raised as a lapsed Catholic) but prayer seems to be the only way to find relief from the pressures of everyday life.

As many of you may know, I used to be an actor. I say "used to be" because it has been at least two years since I worked on a set, and I also let my AFTRA membership go bye bye. Still have my SAG membership, however I am not currently represented by a talent agent either.

Here is what I'm looking for:

-A new agent (one who "gets" me, understands my past work, and where I'd like to be in the future)
-Someone to help me put a reel together. I have all of these movies under my belt, but I never really had a clip tape. I'm lazy, and I thought my credits would be enough to get into the casting room, apparently they aren't, so I need a clip dvd.
-Two studio pictures a year, with no less than sixth billing. I don't need big parts to get big laughs, just steady enough exposure so I don't keep hearing the phrase, "So, do you still act?"
-I hate television, but would do guest roles on single camera, scripted shows. No "live" shows or half hour comedies, and no improvisation. I respect the written word, and am looking to work on fully fleshed out ideas, rather than winging it with a bunch of improv artists. Movies are not improv, although 40 Year Old Virgin was great, I'm sure there was a script. I know this is limiting, and the first thing that every potential agent says to me is, "How about tv, sitcoms, pilots, commercials or stand-up?" Most of the time I would like to say, "How about I punch you in the face with my bitter fist?" But usually I insist that this is the canvas that I like to paint on, and the arena that I had most of my success, why not continue towards that goal?
-Around 20 million dollars, so that I can retire and build a movie studio where I can write, direct, shoot and edit low budget, grindhouse pictures for the rest of my life. Maybe pumping out an art picture that "means something" every once in a while.

Is that too much to ask for?

I have tried to not be bitter like most other former child actors are, but it's getting harder and harder each and every day. I have never complained or whined much in the past, but I am ready to let success back into my life, am starting to lose my infinite patience, and am now angry at lost opportunities and past choices. What the heck does a former child actor have to do to get work in this town?

To Harry Gold, I'm sorry for letting you go at the peak of my career. I certainly shot myself in the foot with that move. When I approached you years later, you were no help. I understand you felt burned when I let you go, and I think that if I hadn't listened to Linda Brown and moved over to Innovative Artists, then you and I would still be working together, and things would be quite different than they are now. I'm sorry Harry, but I was just a kid, and I didn't know any better.

I'm looking for my next "Harry Gold". If you are out there, and if you liked my work in the past, I have grown up quite a bit, and am seeking representation.

Looking for help,

Keith Coogan

9 comments:

Biddie said...

Well, I certainly wish you good luck. I would go to see a Keith Coogan movie. Why the heck not?
You might not be working much (or as much as you would like) but at least you aren't a drug addict/porn star/criminal like most other former child actors :)

HeywoodTudor said...

Always admired how you reinvented yourself in '86 with a guest shot on "Starman". Out of the blue this gifted child actor had a new name and a fresh teen look that made viewers sit up and take notice. Sure enough, success was right around the corner for you.

Sounds like it's time for overhauling your image again. Why not put together an audition-style tape showcasing who you are now and what you can deliver in the next decade. Your Buford clips are hysterical, for starters. Add a few more interesting characters and you might spark some interest.

While it's vital to find an agent who listens and "gets" you, it's equally vital to listen to your agent. Unimaginative though they often are, agents can wield the hand of fate. This very moment an unknown writer may be concocting a character who's tailor-made for you on a show destined to run for years. Years which could turn out to be some of the best of your life. But if you pass on the pilot, or don't do the commercial that brings you to the attention of the casting department...well, none of it will happen and we'll never know. After all, your grandfather couldn't have anticipated his wierdly perfect role on a half hour comedy called "The Addam's Family."

I'll be keeping you in my daily prayers, Keith, and wishing you happiness in measure to all the happiness you've brought others. One thing is certain--your star is a long way from setting!

Anonymous said...

Have seen the spark you create when you are on screen...and Never caught you acting! You come across as Natural and make it look easy.
I would like to see you in another movie. TV can be good, too, as well as commercials. Work is work. Stay in the public eye! Let us know you are still around.
When you have creative juices you have to use them or they dry up. Acting must be very frustrating when the parts don't come your way. Many actors look back and have regrets. You're certainly not the only one.
Please hang in there and let us see you again! We miss you.
From:just a fan.

Anonymous said...

The comments on your former agent Harry Gold reminded me of an interview with dp Bob Primes where he talked about the importance of loyalty:


I quit thirtysomething after the first year for a ridiculously idealistic, politically disastrous reason. I felt I had done everything I knew how to do on those sets. What was the point of doing it for another year? Shouldn’t I move on to new challenges and have someone else come in to thirtysomething with fresh ideas? How was I to know you were supposed to stick around to show your loyalty? I regretted leaving many times because I would have loved to work with that idealistic, creative team on their subsequent projects.


The truth is that we've all fouled it up. But it takes guts to apologize and learn from it.

Godspeed with finding your next Harry Gold.

Anonymous said...

I have always been a fan of your work. It would be wonderful to see you on the screen again.., however this blog of yours has made me a bit angry. You have had so many opportunities that most average people don't have, met/worked with amazing people. I know it must be frustrating to not have an outlet for the artist in you. Perhaps you should try a career in another field, you may have other talents you didn't know about. There have been many actors that have gone on to success in non related fields. You have something the rest of us don't,leverage, people will know who you are. There is always that chance that you will get something over others because of that. You don't have to fight to be noticed to get ahead. You have your health isn't that enough? If you're going to spend so much time reflecting and, as we say in australia, having a whinge and feel sorry for yourself you might as well take up a drug habit and move in with Corey Haim!. Again I can't stress enough that I love what you do as an actor and there is the potential to have it all!! but stop looking back and take those steps forward.

Anonymous said...

try the east coast. there's a lot of work to be found in the carolinas.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with heywoodtutor. You are a talented guy that I think would do well in either a movie OR TV show where you got to be the person that the audience trusts. Let's face it: that is how your fan base came to like you in the first place, with likeable characters that they felt they knew or could know. Go back to that, and consider even live TV with the right theme. Fans your own age will like you, and will trust you with their kids as well. But you have to be open to the medium, just as your grandfather was. My two cents.

lwaddict said...

It's not just tough for you to get back into the swing...it's just plain tough getting in at all these days.
I seem to remember seeing Danielle trying to get back into films again too.
So the question of the day is... Don't suppose you'd consider working on a low budget independant film?

TheTicketGuy said...

I realize your post is about 4 months old but here is my 2 cents on the subject.
If you really want to continue a career as an actor and if it is really about the work I would attempt to go the John Travolta route in a career resurrection. Yes, he was still John Travolta but in relative terms his career was dead and he was viewed as a joke to many before he did Pulp Fiction. Look at him now. To many he is still a joke thanks to scientology but he is a rich MFing joke.
There are probably thousands of young and not so young filmmakers who have seen and love your work. Your work in AiB and Cousins has always been two of my favorite performances ever and anytime those movies pop up on cable I always wonder what happened to that guy. I randomly stumbled in to your MySpace page today and after about an hour of reading I know at least a little bit of what happened to that guy.
But back to my point, those young and not so young and aspiring filmmakers that love your past performances. Of course, an agent is important especially if your career gets back on track but in this age of the "Internets" LOL Bush, you have the ability to make things happen for yourself easily and cheaply. If I was you I would take an hour or so a day, you can send 500 friend requests a day, and send a friend request to every filmmaker on MySpace. Who is not on MySpace? You can now add a message to each request so add a small note that says something like "if you loved me in Adventures in Babysitting or Cousins then you might want to work with me on your next project".
Who knows, maybe you make a connection with the next Tarantino or Sayles or Linklater and maybe you find that role that lifts you back in to the big time. Maybe you don't but I cannot imagine it does not lead to work and isn't that really what it is all about, the chance to work.
Regardless, good luck with the career and your life.