Monday, October 31, 2005

Gonna try to get me an Ewok. Or Jar Jar.

Gonna try to get me an Ewok. Or Jar Jar.

Tonight, I'm sure there are going to be crazy midnight release parties for tomorrow's November 1 release of the Star Wars Episode III DVD, and the Star Wars Battlefront II PC and console video game.

Now, I'm a fanboy of the franchise. But that's not going to stop me from driving by some of the these dress up parties and seeing if I can run over an Ewok ...

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Saturday, October 29, 2005

I try to do the right thing.

Sometimes, trying to do the right thing for someone who doesn't know I'm doing it for them leaves them with a half solution, so for them it looks like they're getting shafted, because I haven't told them I stood in the gap so things wouldn't suck more than they do.

Sometimes, even while trying to do the right thing, life keeps happening. The house foundation cracks. Pipes back up sewage into the bathtubs. The dog gets sick. I get sick. I can't get to life stuff because I'm tied up in this rightness.

Sometimes, when I'm trying to do the right thing, I can bust my ass, "do whatever it takes", "run the gauntlet", brutalize myself so people downstream don't get as brutalized as much as they could, work 70-90 hour weeks for months on end, try to get something good done because that's who I am; not because I expect anything out of it.

And in the midst of that, I can be black balled, slandered, disrespected, taken advantage of, and removed from my position. I might even be asked to go hide, even though that's not how I'm built.

Sometimes, when I try to the do the right thing ... all I end up with is having tried to do the right thing.

And that's enough.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

And now, more disturbing race-related ramblings ...

Earlier this week, my real-world anecdote around race relations and language was more interesting/funny (though, arguably, "not funny 'ha ha'").

Today, it is -- unfortunately -- no less real-world, but it is far more disturbing.

I heard about "Prussian Blue" -- the 13-year-old twins Lamb and Lynx Gaede who are a pop duo with a different message -- White Supremacy.

<rant>These two girls have been nicknamed "The Olsen Twins of the White Nationalist Movement" (leave it to our responsible media to besmirch a squeaky clean (arguably insipid), unrelated duo in the name of a catchy journalistic handle.</rant>

The whole unsettling deal can be found on ABC News.

But what bothers be in addition is how I found out about this "News of the Weird" item.

For various reasons, I'm still on a graduate mailing list for the University of Texas, following some initial post-graduate work I did at UT.

And we've all made mistakes in doing a "Reply to All" to a listserve (at least I have), but I was disturbed by this nugget, broadcast to the world:
"It's so perfect that KKK David Duke has them as his warm-up act before one of his tirades. I think that the mother's statement of wanting to move her family to the Northwest is perfect. Aside from Seattle (and maybe Portland) that's where these fucked-up idiots are congregating for cultural warmth and companionship. They will interbreed themselves out of existence. I can't imagine anything more horrifying and boring and culturally deadening than living in an all-white trash trailer park. I hope the media absolutely ignore these little racist tarts."
Though I'm no supporter of David Duke, or the KKK, or their beliefs, I can't begin to talk through how "off" this blast is -- classist, elitist, ageist, (I'd say) racist, and hypocritical (and would be laughably so, if it weren't so disappointing).

And this from one of the supposed bright, post-graduate, open-minded, and tolerant new Eductional Elite.

God help us.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Race-related interactions are interesting and important. And life is funny. Sometimes, the two collide.

I was at one of the biggest electronic superstore chains Sunday (returning a TV; if I'm going to pay that much for a box, I want it to be "awesome!"; not "pretty good").

Here's the scene:

A white women ("White Employee") is helping me in Customer Service. A black man ("Black Employee #1") is also helping, testing the TV I'm returning. Stay with me, because I wouldn't mention skin color if it wasn't germane to the story.

While I'm waiting (a looong time), another store employee -- also black ("Black Employee #2") -- walks over from the video section and yells, "Hey! Black Guy! I need to talk to you! Yo! Black Guy!".

Think about this. In today's hypersensitive social world, I found it interesting that this guy was acting this way -- face it, we live in a stupid pseudo-tolerant world, so the whole thing was surprising.

Anyway, Black Employee #1 says something like, "Hold on, I'm busy" (which makes me think he knows this guy).

Then White Employee, semi-joking (I'm thinking because she wants to play in the banter, but is a little uncomfortable with a customer involved) says, "I want you both to know that I'm offended by that."

To which Black Employee #2 says, "Why? You're not black."

And then -- I kid you not (and this is the "life is funny" part) -- the long trailer for Crash starts playing on the bank of TVs behind them.

You can't script an interstitial better than that. It's had me thinking all evening.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Dinner for late Sunday night:
  1. Macaroni and Cheese
  2. Ruffles® Potato Chips (Original)
  3. Firebowl Cafe veggie egg rolls (left overs)
  4. Gatorade® (I'd just run 3 miles)
  5. 3 glasses of water
  6. Tums® (no issues; I'm being proactive)
I may need to improve my dietary habits slightly ...

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Updates on video game voice over announcements:

(aka Video game VO gigs Adam's not getting.)

The current continuing trend in video game voice over is big-name Hollywood talent for video games.

While this has seen some good effect (Patrick Stewart in X-Men Legends and its sequel), it's also seen some bad, or at least critically under-rated (Michael Madsen in Driv3r; David Duchovny in XIII and Area 51, etc.).

And the expense! Retail prices for video games are supposed to go up ($60, up from $50), because development prices for games are supposed to go up in the next generation ($20M plus, up from $5-12M). But from at least one next-gen development insider, development budgets are "only" jumping to $12-15M.

As a gamer, I'm looking for immersion. I don't want to be yanked out of my willing suspension of disbelief by sucky VO work (it happens a lot in games). But I'm not buying a game for big-name talent.

Which makes me wonder: Are we as gamers paying for big-name talent that may not be solid voice talent?

As an Example, Activision just announced Thomas Jane will be doing the lead for their upcoming Gun free-roaming actioner for current- and next-gen platforms.

In this month's Game Informer Magazine, Jane talks about how hard the voice acting was, because he didn't have physical actors to react off of, and for the most part, didn't even have rendered sequences for context (ADR-esque style). He said for one sequence, he scheduled Lance Henrikson (who's also doing Gun), so they could do their scenes together.

I'm a professional voice actor. What I do is create a believable performance, in a booth, with nothing. I nail an audition or gig by being believable in a vacuum; I lose gigs if I'm not. Good for Jane being able to schedule co-stars for sessions, but he's big enough to be able to do that. I'm not. So I need to keep honing my traditional craft.

I'm passionate about gaming, and video games (and cartoons) are why I got in to acting. I consider myself lucky to particpate in games and cartoons (and to get compensated fairly, of course). And I save video game companies a ton of money, because I'm not Hollywood.

Anyway, given this, some video game voice over updates of note below -- I've been interacting with a number of these companies, so I'm a bit bummed that there announcements are my semi-formal "we thank you for considering us ..." ;-)

Of course, I'm persistent.

Gun -- Activision and Neversoft Entertainment's wild west got some top talent, with The Punisher's Thomas Jane (Colton White), Kris Kristofferson (Colton’s father Ned); Tom Skerritt (Clay Allison), Brad Dourif (Josiah Reed), Ron Perlman Mayor Hoodoo Brown), Lance Henrikson (Thomas MacGruder). I sent NeverSoft a voice demo and press packet for this title when it was announced, and didn't get any feedback. Might be OK, because though I'm still excited about the game, the recently released Xbox 360 trailer looks a little too current-gen to me. But if the gameplay rocks, I don't care.

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion -- Bethesda Game Studios has landed an all-star cast, adding more voice to the already impressive presence of Patrick Stewart (the Emperor). Sean Bean (Boromir in The Lord of the Rings, Flightplan, National Treasure) will be the Emperor’s lost son; Terence Stamp will be the game's voice of evil, and Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman) will be lending her talents as well. I never sent Bethesday a press packet or voice demo.

X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse -- Besides Patrick Stewart, this game (and its precursor) has some decent voice acting (and a lot of it). After playing the first X-Men Legends, I tracked down the director of audio over at Raven Software and sent a voice demo and cover letter explaining my voice acting, passion for comic books, video games, and their games. I'm guessing the game shipping last month means they didn't need me this round.

Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood -- Ubisoft's/Gearbox Software's recently shipped sequel to their incredible refresh of the WWII shooter genre raises the bar again, this time with somewhere between a 6-9 month development window. These folks are outside of Dallas, and I hit them up for the original title, this one, and will be doing the same for their upcoming Unreal Engine 3 games.

Gears of War -- This is one of games I'm most excited about on the next generation of hardware. No announcements have been made, but, yeah, I sent a a href="http://www.adamcreighton.com/demos.html">voice demo and press packet letting them know I seriously want to be a part of it. I thought the main character, Marcus, was voiced by Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series). But after watching some footage from Microsoft's recent X05 event, I'm thinking it may be Steven Jay Blum (or a sound alike), one of the hardest working animation and video game voice over talents out there. Getting him mixed up with Conroy is understandable, since his Roger Smith voice Japanese anime The Big O was "Batman-plus-Spike-from-Cowboy-Bebop". I'm going to have to ping Cliff "CliffyB" Bleszinski and see if he would tell me that...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I'm reminiscing about the 80s & 90s cartoons, toys, and comic books ...

I'm reminiscing about the 80s & 90s cartoons, toys, and comic books ...

While I was out running in the rain yesterday (of course), I was waxing reminiscent about my weekend toy hunt.

Running and rain seem to stimulate creativity, and/or sentimentality, and (at the very least) dampness, and I was thinking about the fact that though everything retro seems to be chic, it's hard to find the retro I want.

I've talked before about my predilection for unique toys (again, not the embarrassing-to-find-during-an-airport search kind; let that go). I like unique, inspiring, and sentimental toys.

So this weekend, I went on a quest to find stuff, and ended up for the first time in a long time at chain Toys "R" Us, and was ... disappointed.

Over time, I've watched the changes in the Transformers, G.I.Joe, and other franchises. But to see them all in one place was a bit of a setback.

For example, I cut my cartoon teeth on G.I.Joe, Transformers, Battle of the Planets, and so on. These things have seen recent (positive) insurgence in the comic book industry. But the toy/collectibles handling of the licenses has been kind of spotty.

I really like what Devil's Due Publishing has done with G.I.Joe -- updating it, making it more adult, and spinning it six ways to Sunday as a true franchise. I'm less thrilled with what Hasbro has done for Joe on the toy front; evidently, kids aren't creative enough to play with these toys, so electronic sound effects and phrases are built in. I know I'm sounding semi-crotchety, but play with these things -- they feel ... hollow. And I've got mixed feelings as to this fall's all-ages, anime-esque TV series slated for this fall ...

Robots that are other things are just cool, and Transformers saw a resurgence in the comic book world from recently defunct Dreamwave Entertainment/Publishing. Despite Dreamwave's checkered history, Pat Lee and company did a phenomenal job with the Generation 1 series, scratching an itch that Transformers: Energon's kiddy-fare can't quite reach; which is fine, because that series makes the big guys more accessible to a new generation (pun intended). With Dreamwave's recent resurrection Christian Dery, the studio may have its time in the sun, but Hasbro saw the demise of the previous version of the publisher as an opportunity to reclaim the license (as it did, thankfully, from Atari, who butchered it in their recent PlayStation 2 game).

An interesting footnote: Gobots used to be the poor man's Transformers (though I think they came out first in Japan), but Hasbro bought that license, and now the line is the toy company's kids line of transforming robots. Nothing like healthy competition.

And if Transformers are back, why the hell can't I get a decent Dinobot?

As far as Battle of the Planets, Image Comics did a bang-up job on the series, not least of which because they tagged artistic master Alex Ross to do covers, posters, and promos for the series.

And Power Rangers have nothing on Voltron.

But back to the weekend toy hunt.

Luckily, the overpriced (but well stocked) folks over at DSC Toys & Collectibles had a Marvel Modern Age Captain Britain (with Lockheed) to cleanse my aesthetic pallet.

Actually, I was looking for two figures from ToyBiz's Marvel Legends series 10: Angel and X-Factor Cyclops. What makes these things cool is each one in the series comes with a piece of a Sentinel. Get all of them in the series, and you can build a 16.5" robot. I was kind of mheh on the gimmick, until I got one of the pieces; some serious craftsmanship. This is a bummer, since besides Cyclops and Angel, I think only Black Panther is cool, so I'm going to end up with a leg and a couple of arms. Mr. Sinister isn't bad, so maybe I'll end up with 2 legs.

I'd picked up Archangel before, and am actually looking for the variant version of X-Factor Cyclops to put next to it, because though I may be a child of the 80s, I hit my stride in the 90s.

I did find a non-variant Angel from the series, which I wanted to juxtapose with Archangel. The attached pict isn't top quality, but I've position the figure on a stand, so that it looks like it's either swooping down to beat the tar out of his turned self, or his "pure self" is ascending out of Archangle.



They're metaphors.

I may need an intervention ...
I received some incredibly kind words from a DP/Director by way of my agent yesterday.

Unsolicited, this guy felt compelled to let my agent know he was impressed with me as a talent and as a person, and that he fully intends to use me on future projects.

I don't mention this to showcase myself (I'm humbled by his comments), but to flag what a cool, stand-up thing it was for him to do. Knowing some details of how wicked busy he is on his current project, I'm impressed he had the time to do something that could be considered a secondary priority.

I don't think we recognize folks (unsolicited) often enough, and especially in this stereotypically superficial biz, I was really encouraged yesterday by his comments -- and I really needed encouragement yesterday ...

Monday, October 10, 2005

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Tech Geek Actor updates ...

You may have noticed some subtle updates to my website recently.

1) Y'know that "I'm seeing/"I'm hearing"/"I'm playing"/"I'm reading" section below my headshot on my "About" page? I've created blogs for each of them, so those are now clickable links to get to (sometimes) deeper thoughts about what media I'm consuming and why.

2) I've created syndication feeds for my Acting and Gaming published blogs, so you can subscribe to them, if that's preferable to you over getting Email updates. There are too many flavors of XML-ish syndication "standards" out there (a couple atom feeds, 3 versions of RSS, etc.), and I don't think you folks should have to suffer for it. To get around this, I use the fine services over at FeedBurner.com to create a "super feed", so you can pick the subscription that works for you.3) I've repackaged all of my FeedBurner-generated feeds for my blogs (including the 4 new "I'm [whatever]ing" blogs) into HTML (via FeedBurner's nifty BuzzBoost service), so they show up on my main blogs page. Think of it as one-stop shopping for your "Adam blog" needs.

4) I've redirected the auto forward of www.adamcreighton.com to my main blogs page, rather than my Actor's Ramblings blog. This makes it easier for folks to get to my acting blog, gaming blog, and media blogs, all in one place.

Caveat: Now, I'm using the stellar free services for blogging over at blogger.com, and the syndication services of FeedBurner.com, because they're both free, pretty easy, and customizable to fit into the rest of my Website without making it look ugly. If either of those services were to make all of this harder, I'd drop them like a Chuck Austen Avengers run. I'd do everything I'm doing via Movable Type, server-side includes, or equivalents.

The Future: Oh, and this is only the beginning. I've got something cool related to fishing for whales coming up soon ...

Sunday, October 02, 2005

I think an injustice has been done to a good man.

A great, talented, genuine leader left work before his time. I don't know the whole story, so I don't know what the "reasons" are from a corporate perspective, but I do know other things.

There are different kinds of leaders.

There are people like this guy, who are technically competent, business savvy, and care about relationships with people. These are the leaders people choose to follow.

There are other leaders. Leaders who bold-face lie, intimidate, belittle, disrespect, and damage the people and business around them. Theses are leaders whose leadership people choose to suffer.

That kind of person -- the bad leader -- is still there. And the good leader is not.

Which is what makes me think an injustice has been done to a good man.

To be honest, the recipient of the short change isn't really all that upset or concerned (that's one of his gifts: "It is what it is"). So maybe this is a "minor injustice", as opposed to a "grave injustice".

But really, if we're talking about injustice, how far have we slipped as a society if we started assigning grades to justice?

Injustice is injustice.