don niam at front desk of beverly hills health club

Working At Beverly Hills Health Club

More Crazy Stories From Las Vegas Based Actor

My first job in Los Angeles was in a posh Health Club in Beverly Hills at the Beverly Hills Health Club on Robertson Blvd below New Line cinema. The club had several members in the entertainment business such as actor Sunny Landom from the movie 48 hours and predator to name a few. One of my favorites and great guy Barry Newman from the TV series Petrocelli. Barry was an actor from the old days and had a magnificent career. Another famous person that was a member of the gym was Sasha Stallone, Sylvester Stallone’s ex wife. The head of development from Carolco Pictures was a member of the gym and my client. I also trained the VP of New Line Cinema who was a gym member. I found it very easy to attain clients in the Beverly Hills setting and could see the huge difference from Beverly Hills and Akron, Ohio. People handed you their money with no sales pitch and just based on what they saw in your skill. The income level in the gym was very high. I also trained the director and writer for the Street Justice series starring Carl Weathers from Rocky and many other films. Street Justice was shot in Canada and my client explained to me that he would have placed me in an episode, but Canada had rules about only lead actors could be from the US and others needed to be from Canada. The grind to make it in that business had several pitfalls.

Teaching Martial Arts In Los Angeles Gyms

I taught a class called defensive fitness and the club promoted me with a large banner at the front desk as the top trainer. Everything was good at that club except the owner was conducting shady business and I was catching on to the unethical practices. He was double billing clients and at one time hit a trust funders American Express card for $25,000.00 thinking he was so rich that he would not notice. The members business agent pointed the charge out to the member and at that point I knew the club was in trouble. I left the club and shortly after the FBI raided the club and shut it down. I ended up taking my clients to a few different gyms.

The Call To Audition For Stingray In Undefeatable

Later my Kung Fu Sifu Tai Yim called me and said Godfrey Ho wanted to meet me for an audition to play Stingray in “Undefeatable.” I flew to Maryland and basically reformed Kung Fu for Godfrey and my Sifu said he liked me and liked my intense blue eyes. At that point I went back to Akron, Ohio and trained and prepared for the film working out and reading the script.

When they were ready to start shooting I flew to Maryland and a house was rented for myself, Robin Shue and the cameraman from Hong Kong. Oddly enough Robin and I never shot a scene together for the “Bloody Mary Killer” Hong Kong version. Robin and I worked out regularly and days he was shooting, I was off. 

I thoroughly enjoyed all of the stuntmen from Hong Kong and developed a true appreciation of the work they performed. They were always in a good mood and a great group to hang with.

The first day of shooting was in a ring for the kickboxing match and it took 13 hours to shoot. That was fun and tiring, but my adrenaline was pumping enough to keep me hyped.

The next day was a complete different scenario as we shot the rape scene with my wife. This was my first film as a lead and I was uncomfortable. The stunt crew was having a good time preparing to watch and I had everyone leave that did not need to be there. Emily the girl that played my wife was a very good actress and based out of New York.

Towards the end of the film Robin stated to me that he could easily get me work in Hong Kong and I would be able to build my name their but without much pay. I was looking forward to doing that, but it never happened. Robin ended up landing the Mortal Combat gig and I tried to reach him via the production company that shot it and never heard from him. This type of promise to do something and end up to do nothing was regular occurrence in the LA movie business. Although I expected more from Robin who I lived with for 3 month. As Sonny Landom stated to me “The Movie Business Is About Cutting Up Money Among Your Friends.” Unfortunately one needed the right friends.

Posh Beverly Hills Party Networking

One night the owner of the Beverly Hills Health Club took me to a posh Beverly Hills party to network. All night I was waiting for the food to come out as I am from Ohio and a party means food. Several hours after being there the food finally came out and it was an extravagant display of desserts. To top off the lack of real food the in thing at that time was using your fingers to eat it as there was NO Silverware. Welcome to weirdness in Beverly Hills. During my networking session at the party I met a gorgeous girl who said that the friend of hers was the VP of Vidmark Entertainment and he may be able to help me as Vidmark was going to do Martial Arts films. I spoke with him and he seemed like a very down to earth and sincere person. He stated that he was interested in talking to me and gave me his number. The next day I received a phone call at the Health Club and it was the girl from the party that was with the VP from Vidmark. She asked me if I would go to a play with her and since she was from Idaho and I was from Ohio we have much in common. Of course I was ready to jump on that offer and thought for a second about her friend or boyfriend. Most people only make minimal claims as to their relationship status based on wether a bigger better deal arises or whatever works for the moment. I told her I was training someone and needed to call her back.

I spoke with the gym owner who took me to the party and said this extremely how chick from the party wanted to go out with me, but I wasn’t sure if I should based on her friend and the possibility of doing business with Vidmark. He said I don’t think it would be a good idea if you are trying to establish yourself here in the acting business and going out with a potential film deal. It was good advice, I think? I didn’t end up taking her up on her offer and I spoke with him, but as usual talk is cheap in LA and everyone loves to make you feel good at the moment with potential deals. He was cordial on the phone and said he would get back to me when they decided to do something. I never heard back from him and lost the deal with the girl also. That was a lose-lose situation. Honor and dignity does not pay off in the film business. Pursuing an acting career can be an emotional rollercoaster of nonsense and one of the reasons I said enough of this BS.

Many would probably not be so outspoken about their personal issues, but I who really cares, one can never go wrong with the truth!

I will end this now and continue later with more happenings and even more interesting. I have so many from LA, I think a movie could be made about my life in LA.

I think the next article will be about my client that was the personal assistant to Andy Vajna who was the partner with Mario Kassar from Carolco pictures and running his new company Cinergi Pictures.

Date 2017-07-07

Time 11:54:18

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