Thursday, April 28, 2005

I had a commercial audition today for Cici's Pizza at CastingWorks LA.

The spot is a SAG regional, and let me leverage stuff I learned from my commercial audition workshop a few days before.

I was a dad "straddling the white and blue collar, and trying to do right by my family (wife, one boy, one girl), by taking them to Cici's." I was paired up with 3 new actors with whom I hadn't worked before.

Lotta fun, and I really enjoy these opportunities.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Man, I stunk it up last night in class.

Not sure what happened. I was doing a scene from Tony Kushner's play, Angels in America. I was Joseph (Joe) Porter Pitt, a Mormon who's a closet homosexual, and the scene was a new job offer conflict with my valium-addicted, paranoid Mormon wife.

Everything should have worked. My four years at Utah State University more than prepared by for the culture. We brought great set dressing (Brigham Young University diploma wtih Joe's name on it, a picture of the Salt Lake City Mormon temple), a Book of Mormon (their religious book in addition to the Bible), scrapbooking stuff). My job sucks, and I'd be stoked to get a new job offer, so I connected with Joe's excitement about the possible move, and frustration with his wife not wanting to move. My scene partner was even named Karrie (I once dated a Mormon named Carrie).

So what happened?

Karrie and I couldn't get connected.

Maybe I was too confident in my background, workshopping, and set dressing. Maybe it was doing the blocking and shooting the night of, and getting one take to naturally move and talk around the camera. Maybe it was the first line not landing for me, and everything downhill from there.

Maybe it had something to do with the whole vibe being off for me Monday night. It's wonky, but the evening felt "wrong" from start to finish. Vibe's important.

Dunno. Anyway, for whatever reason, I was off last night. And though I'm dreading seeing the film next week, I am curious to see if plays better on screen than in person ...

Saturday, April 23, 2005

I had a fantastic Commercial Audition today at CastingWorks LA!

Donise Hardy (C.S.A.) is an absolute commercial powerhouse in this town, knows her stuff, and knows how to get critical information to people taking the workshop.

The workshop was all-day, a mix of both first-time and returning Donise pupils, and we had the chance to run through 4 commercial auditions (including the whole "business" side of the auditioning, including slates, profiles, etc.).

Personally, I really enjoy auditioning for Donise, because I know exactly what's expected of me: I'm there to do a job, having fun is expected, and I never break professionalism to goof off.

The biggest thing I got out of the workshop is just how much Donise wants actors to shine during the audition and callback. Yes, she's doing a job. Yeppers, she's getting paid to bring in top talent, and she wouldn't be doing herself (or the talent) any favors if she brought in people to audition because they've taken her workshop, or are nice, or whatever. When Donise invites me to do an audition, it's because she believes I can do the job. It's because she trusts my agent to pick the talent that can do the job. It's mine to lose.

Plus, spending all-day in the casting office really gave me a whole new level of comfort with the space. That, I can leverage ...

The all-day workshop was made up exclusively of talent from Collier Talent Agency, and our top-notch agent was there for us for the long haul, to watch us grow (or not).

I met new co-actors Aaron Weisinger (a ton of fun to watch), Marc Hustvedt, Roger Edwards, Erin Fallon, and Drew Whelpley (who's a nice guy with incredible comedic talent and timing), Shari Brown (fantastic listener) and Carolyn F. West (fellow voice actor).

I also got to hook up with previous acting class alumns Richard Ricks (picks up a scene, memorizes it, and workshops it in an instant), Nicole Graf (a ton o' spunk, fun to watch, and the she makes "Valley Girl" fun again), Elizabeth Mason (talk about commitment and comedic timing! And pairing her up with Drew Whelpley? It's like peanut butter and chocolate), Tom Procida (Another really good actor, and after 10 weeks of acting class where we never got paired up, class ends and one audition and one workshop since have seen us paired up with each other), Laurie Coker (another fellow voice talent, and currently sharing ongoing class time with me), and Jessica Robertson.

I mentioned Jessica a month or so ago, and how impressed I was by her professionalism. Well, I got to do a scene with her, and that kind of focus and professionalism is really welcome in a tandem audition. We could run our lines together, and if one or the other needed to break out for solo prep (tongue twisters, memorization, etc.), the other would do the same, and we'd come back together without saying much of anything for the transitions. Cool. Plus we had fun with the piece.

All of these folks were incredibly strong, and I really enjoy spending a time with folks this talented and focused on bettering themselves.

So, uh, yeah, I really recommend the workshop ...

Friday, April 22, 2005

Run, don't walk, to check out Kung Fu Hustle.

This Asian import has been playing in NY and LA since April 8th, and opened everywhere today (I caught the first matinee).

I really encourage you to see the film without reading any of the rest of my stuff -- it's one of those flicks that's best to see without expectations.

The film's tagged as "A new comedy unlike anything you have seen before", which to me kind of minimizes how diverse and amazing it is. Comedy? Yes. Dancing? Uh-huh. Brutal, explicit kung fu carnage? Yeppers. Heart-wrenching moments (assuming you're not emotionally constipated)? [Sniffle.] Yeah.

Directed, co-written, and co-produced by and starring interational sensation Stephen Chow, the flick is peppered with pop-culture one-liner and scene send-ups. The Matrix, Spider-Man, The Shinining, Untouchables, Thriller, and more.

Hopefully, this film won't be dismissed as YAAEwCE ("Yet Another Asian Export with CGI Effects"). This is something special.

By the way, it's in Cantonese and Mandarin with English subtitles. Not that you should care. Not that you should be reading this, as you're running to your nearest theater, or clicking away on Fandango to get tickets.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

OK, so it's pretty much unforgivable that a comic book geek like me took this long to see Sin City, but I finally did, and is an amazing experience.

This is one of the better direct translations of a comic book to film I've seen, and Frank Miller's twisted and violent film noir comes through amazing on celluloid.

With direction by Robert Rodriguez, Miller, and guest direction from Quentin Tarantino, the film takes the almost storyboarded world of the Sin City and Yellow Bastard vignette-noir storytelling and makes one compelling film.

Some words of warning, though. Miller's original work is some adult fare, and they chose to translate even some of the most extreme violence and sexuality that I didn't think would make the cut to the movie. Think Pulp Fiction/Kill Bill taken to even more of an extreme, with a whole lotta gratuitous T&A thrown in. As opposed to non-gratuitous T&A. Or something.

Consider yourself warned...

Friday, April 15, 2005

I had a commercial audition for 24 Hour Fitness Centers at CastingWorks LA.

The spot is a SAG regional with international hero and Austin local Lance Armstrong -- very cool!

What made this one fun (besides the Lance potential) is that I was auditioning as one of two businessmen (suit and all), who is infected with the "Lance Fitness Bug", and starts playing a spontaneous game of soccer with a can lying on the street.

I was lucky to get paired up with Tom Procida, with whom I just finished class. Tom is great actor, he and I are comfortable with each other, and we went whole hog on our game o' "soccer" (while staying totally in frame).

Lotta fun.
Happy Tax Day!

Or, as I like to call it, "Yet Another Annual Reminder of My Commitment to the Biz" (YAARMCB for short).

Some of last year's numbers:

  • Consecutive year of loss: 2
  • Miles driven: 3,050
  • Partial 2004 spending breakdown:

    • Equipment/Supplies/Postage: 41%
    • Communications: 23%
    • Coaching Lessons: 22%
    • Advertising: 6%
    • Supplies for Research: 3%

  • Spend:Earn Ratio: 166:1
  • Hours spent in fetal position contemplating my choices: .001 (I'd be lying if I didn't say I hadn't thought about it)

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Now I'm down in it.

I restarted my professional film acting class with Van Brooks Monday night.

This class lets me continue with fellow actors, reunite with sometime class/project buddies, and meet some new folks.

Van's goal for the class is to challenge all of us to a whole new level -- even above what we were able to accomplish in the last class.

My goals? To have an absolute blast in class, and feel joy in my work. To be able to shove the massive amount of homework I do for me in a role in my back pocket and not get my head about it. And to remove any unneeded layers between my choices and my being the character.

Nobody but me handed out business cards, so if I misspell names, it's their fault ... ;-)

I'm continuing with fellow actors Laurie Coker, Anika Kunik, Kristi Wright, and Chris.

Class reunited me with previous class/project alumns Rocky, Todd Sauders (the Roadhouse Relics artisan), Kendra (all mentioned a few weeks ago), and Richard Ricks.

I also got to watch new folks work: Carrie Hamilton, Carley, and Errich P.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Hey, if you get the chance, be sure to check out Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous (in theaters).

I know this seems like an odd recommendation from me, but hear me out for sec.

This film contains 3 of my Biz "heroes": Diedrich Bader, Sandra Bullock, and (of course) William Shatner.

Diedrich Bader is one of those hilarious, hard-working actors who inspires me in my profession. With a career that spans at least 17 years, a few dozen (each) TV and film appearances, and forays into the Producer and other roles, Bader is most known for his stint as Oswald on The Drew Carey Show. He's a prolific and diverse OC and VO talent, and does a stellar job as Joel in MC2, playing with g a y stereotypes, without being irritatingly cartoonish -- not an easy thing to do.

Sandra Bullock, besides being an Austin resident, just amazes me. I'm humbled by folks that can do such big-gun acting in so many genres -- drama, comedy, and action -- and pull all of them off. I also like to see people who are so stunning in front of the camera choose to go behind the lens, and she's done an amazing job on the Producer front. I'm particularly grateful to her for her bringing George Lopez to network television. And she's tried her hand at writing, directing, and composing. Neato.

Ah, William Shatner; how I long to know him well enough to call him "Bill". More than a hundred film credits. Two-hundred-plus TV credits. Producer. Director. Writer. Spokesperson. And, yes (I'll say it), talented singer (Has Been is one of my current favorite albums). This guy is talented, diverse, driven, and has fun with himself. MC2 has a bunch of digs against his singing, which I suspect for which he himself pushed. (In response to a reason to kill his character, an actress says, "I mean, the man can't sing, but is that a crime?") I like a guy who's this good, and apparently this comfortable in his own skin. Be sure to check out my "Great things by which to be inspired" blog about him from last October, when I first bought Has Been.

So check out Miss Congeniality 2 if you get the chance. It's an entertaining flick, and a snapshot of cool people doing well. And, no, Warner Bros. didn't pay (or coerce) me into doing street advertising for them.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

I spent the afternoon filming a brief gig with writer/director Storme Wood. Storme helmed "The Emmisary" for the 2004 48 Hour Film Project, where "teams have just one weekend to make a short film. All creativity-writing, shooting, editing and adding a musical soundtrack-must occur in a 48 hour window beginning Friday evening at 7 and ending Sunday at 7."

Last year, Storme's team ("Eleven 72") took home a few awards, including the "Audience Award", "Best Use of Line of Dialogue", and "Best Directing".

The scene we shot today is a tie-in to local mega-church Gateway Community's "Sex in the City" series. The clip'll see 4 showings this Saturday and Sunday, in front of 2,000 to 3,000 attendees. Not bad.

My co-star is Elizabeth Wheat, who I ran into a few weeks ago (and is an absolutely stunning gal).

The scene is, uh, a "morning after" scene with two folks who realize they may have made a terrible mistake. That's what happens; what it's about is open ... ;-)

Storme was fun to work with, the shoot was casual, moved forward at a good pace, and was very comfortable.

Acting buddy Adam Langley even stopped by for a while to grip. Talented and versatile ...

Oh, and we shot at "Dan the Fireman's" house. Even though not in the Biz, he's a totally cool guy, with a fantastic house just off of downtown that he's gutted and remodeled himself over the last two years. I am seriously impressed at his craftsmanship.

Let me know if you catch the scene -- and I'll try to post it here for you soon.