September 19, 2012
My Single Peeps: Jeff O.
I mentioned to a friend that I interviewed a nice guy today and said, “You might know him. He’s in casting.” When I told her his name, she said, “You’re joking. He dated my mom. I love him.” It turns out that after breaking up, they stayed friends. I can’t think of a better endorsement for the guy.
Jeff’s from the Midwest. “Raised in a town called Munster, Ind., which is right outside of Chicago. I have a pretty decent sized family — two older brothers and a younger sister. My 82-year-old mom still does great. She travels from coast to coast to coast to see us.”
After his sophomore year of college, Jeff dropped out to become an actor. He had been studying improv at Second City and wanted to be in Los Angeles. While in his 20s, he read about a contest to see who could live on a billboard for the longest. The winner got a screen test and a car. He actually lived — and slept — on a billboard for six months. Eventually he made a pact with the other three actors to step down together. “They said the female was the winner. Had her go back up.” Some lawyers got involved with the incident but nothing happened. And Jeff’s not bitter. “I went up to get publicity,” and because of the stunt he got an agent and a publicist. “I got a lot of exposure. And that was good enough for me. I got a radio show [on KRTH-FM 101.1] from being up there. I would get information from various casting directors around town.
“I gave myself a 10-year goal in acting and, quite honestly, if I didn’t hit that I’d start looking for different outlets and staying in the entertainment business.” He met a casting director who hired him as a casting coordinator. After he felt he’d learned everything he could about casting, he went into business for himself. “I do ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ ‘Private Practice,’ ‘Medium’ … just a lot of TV shows and movies.” It’s mainly background casting. “I’m doing a feature film right now where I’m doing principal casting. I’ve been doing background for so long that now I’ve ventured out and do anything and everything.”
Jeff, who’s 51, plays tennis and a bad game of golf. “I’m not good at it, but I enjoy being out there.” He loves to drive — especially while listening to music with the top down on his car. “If I can break away to go up to Solvang, Newport Beach or an art festival somewhere, I jump in a car. I don’t hold back.”
When it comes to a woman, he’s looking for a best friend. “I’m looking for someone who understands me, will be supportive of what I do and lend her thoughts and visions to my future as much as I’d do for her. A true partnership, which is traditional, like when our parents got into a relationship and you felt it. You got into it, you went on a date and you wanted it to continue not because you had to, but because you wanted it to. Nowadays dating is such a revolving door. People are going on dates and not giving it the full commitment of the date. They’re making up their mind in a minute because they know they can get back online and get another date. She doesn’t have to like everything I like, but we’d certainly have a lot of commonalities, and first and foremost we’re just two good people who want to come together and be a happy couple. Everything else doesn’t matter. What really matters is you have a really true connection.”
Seth Menachem is an actor and writer living in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter. You can see more of his work on his Web site, sethmenachem.com, and meet even more single peeps at mysinglepeeps.com.