Monday, July 31, 2006

Successful Showcase ...

this is an audio post - click to play

Day of the Showcase

OK, tonight is the Casting Works LA talent showcase, and we've been rehearsing for days on end.

I've done my homework, my lines are bullet proof, and now it's time to throw that all away and have a conversation with my incredible scene partner tonight.

It will be what it will be, so I'm excited to see how the adrenaline juice changes and enhances this cute, sentimental, funny-awkward scene we're doing.

Curtain call at 6:30 p.m.

Friday, July 28, 2006 heartburn

Apologies for the blogging weirdness the last few days -- Something's wonky with Only 2 of my of my 5 "July 26" acting blog posts were actually supposed to be July 26th -- the rest were published July 24th or 25th, and took a day or two to show up on the Website.

And my July 24th post to my video game blog -- which has my biggest readership -- showed up today. Nice. Glad I look current to the gaming public.

Glad they're free, or I'd be more pissed. Might be time to roll over to the Movable Type blog I've been playing with.

UPDATED: Yikes, take a look at the Blogger "system stability" for the last few weeks:
  • Tuesday, July 18, 2006: "... photo uploading and serving will be down ..."
  • Monday, July 24, 2006: "We've been having some database issues this morning, causing to be inaccessible for some users...."
  • Tuesday, July 25, 2006: "Some users are noticing problems with photo uploading timing out or taking a very long time to respond..."
  • Thursday, July 27, 2006: "Some folks are finding that some of their emailed posts get dropped and don't reach their blogs..."
  • Tuesday, August 01, 2006: "Due to a configuration change made earlier this evening, around 10% of requests made to Blog*Spot will not be successfully returned..."
  • Friday, August 04, 2006: "We are having problems with one of the Blogger databases. Posts and commments to blogs that are stored on that database are failing..."

I appreciate that they're up front with what they're seeing (it's not like they can hide it from their users, though).

So, did just become a victim of its success, or did Google screw something up when it bought them?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Links to a buddy's headshots

I've got an acting buddy, Richard Ricks, who is really talented, and a really good guy to boot.

He's kind of my John C. Reilly.

Anyway. I was just checking out his recent headshot and creative photos, and they're cool enough to share (and I have his permission).

Check them out!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The responsibility of an actor ...

I just got back from The Network Austin Mixer, and it was really good.

Steve Prince (my Meisner coach) and Van Brooks (my film coach), were tonight's featured speakers.

That was a little surreal. It could only have been more so if Lainie Frasier (my voice coach), was up there, too.

Anyway, for various legitimate and important reasons, it was a bit of an abbreviated night, but I got a lot out of both of these guys with whom I study (and for Van, with whom I have studied for a looong time).

The big thing that got me in general was how much alike these two guys' philosophy is. Which makes sense in hindsight, because I gravitate to both of them.

The specific thing that got me was the responsibility of the actor.

Steve made a good point about the increasing accessability of filmmaking, which often gets touted as a good thing (and it is), but he opened my eyes to the fact that whereas it used to be actors and writers who evolved to become directors, now it is often technical folks who take that role, and may not have the same history and buy in and love for and respect of my craft.

I've lived that a bunch, but it took having it spelled out that let me get my arms around some of my (mercilously few) frustrating projects.

The flip side is this creates a need for more ownership, more responsibility for the actor.

As an example, a technical director, Steve said, will tell you what to do ("OK, at this point, you cry"); a seasoned director who loves and understands the craft will tell you what's happening, and let you create the emotion and the moment organically from that info.

But, if you're working with a technical director ("You. Cry now."), it's up to me as an actor to build up my backstory and home work in a way that makes that "do this" request real and believable and authentic.

Such responsibility. Such an important deal. And for me, so motivating.

Also, hanging out with my Meisner classmates, it felt cool -- closer, more intimate, more comfortable. That was unexpected. And nice.

And I ran in to a ton of folks (one or two of whom I'm afraid I'll forget to mention, but it was nice to see Lydia, Nikki, Errich, Mark, Richard, Angela, Lyn, Deana, Lauren, Rob (dude is going to be on SNL, which will make me start watching again), my incredible agent Heather Collier, Donise, of course Steve and Van (both need hugs if you see them; don't ask, do), and a great long conversation with Steve Muccini, who gave me one of my first jobs with Suicide: A Love Story.

Good night, and now I'm motivated to create.

The Network Austin Mixer tonight at Mother Egan's

I'm heading down to The Network Austin Mixer at Mother Egans Pub.

You can catch my Meisner coach, Steve Prince, and my film coach, Van Brooks, both on the same night this Wednesday (July 26), 7 p.m. (but show up early). Come see them share about coaching and independent film.

Van's got a class afterwards and Steve's got some important stuff to get to, so please make it easy for those two to bail after they speak.

Hope to see you there!

Napoleon Dynamite

Yesterday, I gave Napoleon Dynamite magnets to each of my team members (I was inspired by a great gift of them from a good friend).

I am the best manager in the world!

Adam's a guest speaker!

Weird -- I made this post last night, but it showed up today.

Oh well ...

this is an audio post - click to play

I'm doing better today

But last night, I was mad. We're talking rip-roaring pissed.

OK, maybe I'm still a little hot.


Because after having a good evening as a guest speaker for my film coach, Van Brooks, and his audition class (I blogged about it, but it seems to have gotten lost in the ether), I went back to my old house to confront the people there.

(For those needing closure, I did, indeed, sell my old house. Which I take to be proof that God loves me, does not want me in unreasonable debt, and will even deign to work with real estate agents on my behalf.)

Anyway, I'd ordered a number of things that never showed up. After tracking them for a couple of weeks, I found out that they'd been misdelivered to my old place. Misdelivered and never returned.

The first few times I called the new owners, they'd hang up when I said who I was. Finally, they answered, and said I could come by pick up the things.

So last night I show up to pick up my stuff, and I see the home owners look at me through the shades, then close them. I knocked several times before they had their daughter answer the door with my packages.

The packages had been opened.

They had used or tried to use my stuff. I had a set of anniversary pens BigHugeCorp sent to me, and they had fingerprints all over them. I had some stuff specific to the new house that they couldn't use, but they'd opened the box and unpackaged everything and tried to use it.

I am so disappointed.

They sent their daughter, because they didn't have the character to face me themselves.

Worse? They're an American minority about which there are some negative stereotypes, a minority which is a big part of my own ethnic heritage.

If you don't like stereotypes about your ethnicity, don't be a freaking stereotype!

I can't get my head around trying to steal other people's stuff.

I'm still kind of hot about this.

Monday, July 24, 2006

I auditioned to be Prince Namor

Sort of.

I'm a comic book and video fan boy, so when Activision ran a voice contest for this fall's Marvel Ultimate Alliance, a comic book Role-Playing Game (RPG), I thought, "Why not?"

Originally, auditions were for Incredible Hulk alter-ego Bruce Banner, but they closed those auditions early due to too many entries.

Then they opened up a new character -- Prince Namor the Atlantean -- who has a beef with all surface dwellers.

This is kind of like my Marvel Ultimates Captain America audition for the direct-to-DVD animated film -- which means I almost chose not to do it. That last experience kind of ticked me off, because it looks like Marvel Comics had no intention of casting voice talent from the competition, and were just trying to get ridicule fodder for the DVD extra features.

But, like I said, "Why not?" -- I'd love to be a part of this game.

I am going to be playing it this fall, after all ...

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Good Meisner week ...

This was a good week on the Meisner class front.

Class Wednesday was tight. I think I was doubting my coach that we were going to be making huge strides each week. He showed me.

I felt change in the Wednesday class sessions, and Thursday's get together exercises with Marcus/Mark/Lidya/Erin had some absolutely amazing moments -- the connection kind of things that make acting so important to me.

I'm so thankful to be an actor, and to be practicing my craft.

The only downside was he called me out as a "Perfectionist" in class -- which is true -- but I doubt I've given him enough to make that determination, so I hope folks aren't talking out of school.

Two weeks done, 14 to go.

Oh, and you can catch my Meisner coach, Steve Prince, and my film coach, Van Brooks, both on the same night this Wednesday (July 26), 6 p.m. at The Network Austin Mixer at Mother Egans Pub.

Friday, July 21, 2006

We don't take care of each other ...

We were informed today as an FYI at BigHugeCorp that a company somewhere near us is doing mass layoffs, so we can expect large amounts of Austin City Police to be around, "just in case".

What a broken culture it is in which we live.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Adam has magic eyes ...

Recently, fellow actors have been trapped by my magic eyes.

Since what I offer as an actor is unique, I've been thinking about this unique part of me.

To be honest, my eyes are actually "Hazel/green" -- hazel with flecks of green.

Depending on what I'm wearing, my eye color changes, based on light reflecting off my clothes into my face, and if the room's poorly lit, my pupil dilates, lessening the hazel, leaving more room just for the green flecks (since they're more on the edge of the iris).

Green shirts make my eyes look more green. Brown shirts make them look brown. Yellow makes them look hazel. Blue is the most fun, because depending on the shade, blue makes my eyes green, light blue, or slate gray.

And, like anyone else, my eye color changes from certain foods, stress, or health. Depends how the stroma is affected. But it seems to be more pronounced in my eyes that some other folks'.

I once did an awesome taped cold read where I'd been wearing a green T-shirt just before getting on camera, and stripped down to a white T, and as my character got darker, my eyes went from green to dark brown. Unplanned, but wicked awesome to watch.

And if eyes are the door to the soul, then my soul is ... technicolor. Or something.

Now, I wonder if this is worthy of a resume "Special Skill":
"Eyes change color to hazel, green, blue, brown, or slate, depending on clothing (no contacts required)"

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Legal Training for Managers

Today, as a manager at BigHugeCorp, I endured a couple of hours of "Legal Review for Managers" training.

There were 55 slides, but here's the summary:
  1. Can you be sued?
  2. Can they win?
  3. Does it matter if I'm right?
  4. Who's fault is it?

I spent the time being sarcastic with a few of my fellow managers, making various paper airplanes out of the handouts, and punking one unfortunate individual who chose to be a good corporate citizen by locking his laptop while he went to the bathroom. Since he locked it to a rolling chair, I rolled it right out to just outside the bathroom.

All kidding aside, the two hours of training frustrated and disappointed me, because it was all around avoidance management -- not management by partnership, or management by doing the right thing.

Are there companies out there that encourage genuine leadership, and put accountability where it belongs?

What a broken culture we're building ...

Friday, July 14, 2006

Thoughts on Meisner so far

This week was the first Meisner class, and it's a bit of a change for me. Not an acting class, per se, it's about authenticity in emotion and communication, and matching emotional and acting levels for every performance.

Some of the things said or done that are sticking with me (not necessarily saying I agree):
  • "Drink the KOOL-ADE."
  • "My goal is to get your emotion and acting at the same level, and raise that level. The minute your acting at a level above your emotion, you're a liar. The minute your emotion is exceeding your level of acting, you're a liar."
  • "Questions aren't allowed."
  • We're supposed to figure out this Meisner thing on our own, interpret and articulate it based on the experience, and not by having us told what it is. Interesting. Hard, but interesting.
  • For me, "yes" means "yes", "no" means "no", and "maybe" means "maybe". I sometimes use "OK" to mean "Yes". "OK" is not acceptable answer for "yes" for my coach. He told me in no uncertain terms.
  • I will likely cry in this class. By "cry" I mean "blubber uncontrollably."

Huh ...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Some things I can't blog about ...

this is an audio post - click to play

I survived ....

OK, so class wasn't as bad tonight as I worked it up to be in my head. Which would be my problem.

Lots to think about. I might do a bit of a blow-by-blow during the next 4 months, without giving away the coach's stuff for free on the Web (it's not mine to give, and that'd be a disservice).

More later.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Aaron Hallaway just booked a SAG National commercial!

My buddy Aaron Hallaway just booked a SAG National commercial!

The dude is seriously talented, and I'm so stoked one of my buddies is getting recognition in a real, multi-tangible way.

Kudos to one of the good ones!

I'm scared ...

Tonight, I start a new class.

It's a Meisner class.

The Meisner technique isn't so much about acting, as it is about stripping me down, breaking down walls that get in the way of authentic emotion, and being able to call on that emotion when needed.

So, why is it scary?

I'm fairly buttoned up. And by doing this class, I'm asking to be messed over. For four months.

I'm seriously grateful to Van Brooks and the Mastery for starting the change in my acting and my character (seriously, that weekend is a big reason why you'll even see me with my shirt untucked and occasionally a few days stubble). Meisner could make that weekend look like an emotional blip.

This class isn't an acting workout, and it's not a camera technique. It's emotional deconstruction.

So, why am I doing it?

I care about relationships. I care about authentic relationships. I need that authenticity with my self, so I can better know myself, and relate with and connect to the people I love, people with whom I interact, and my acting craft.

This is important. And it's scary.

What happens when the floodgates open?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Good couple of Biz gigs last night

After waking up near death yesterday morning (Public Service Announcement: Turns out taking expired Roitussin with Codeine can be very, very bad for you), I rallied myself for an important couple of acting gigs last night.

The first was the rescheduled Reel Women monthly "First Monday Mix", a networking get together where I catch up with old friends, settle at a table, and hopefully connect with new and interesting folks.

This turned out well, as acting buddy Aaron Hallaway introduced me to Tara, who seeme to be a really cool, confident, and competent producer and writer (and more). We had a pleasant conversation, and she pointed me to a possible video game voice acting gig (and let me know one of my previous Biz contacts had changed gigs). Tara introduced us to Randy, who is a fascinating writer (and more), who was asking a ton of cool questions about other writers' processes, multi-writer collaboration, and the like. And we had good nachos.

Then it was off (with Aaron, and other buddy Adam Langley) to a fairwell deal for excellent DP Dan Parsons, who's moving to LA. This was a cool shindig, with a lot of talented people, and I got to catch up with a few folks with whom I've done work over the years, met some new folks (a la Dan), and met in person a few more that I'd only chatted with via phone or Email.

I gave out some business cards, held on to others (there are some folks with whom I like to build relationships before pressing cards to palms), and generally enjoyed the evening. I am going to miss , Dan though.

I payed for it last night, though, since I was just so physically spent from the day's physical rackings, and pulling myself together for meeting new folks was bit taxing.

(Seriously. Expired Robitussin with Codeine is bad stuff.)

Friday, July 07, 2006

Adam's doing an acting showcase!

I've avoided it long enough. July 31st, it ends.

Casting Works LA does a once-a-month (or once-every-other-month) live acting showcase, where people perform two-person scenes of 2-3 minutes in front of a number of Casting Directors, Agents, and Coaches.

The scenes are also taped, and DVDs and headshots are mailed out to 27 regional Casting Directors and Talent Agents. The whole effort is geared toward showing the caliber of Central Texas talent, and raising awareness of the opportunities here.

Participants are selected by the Agents who represent them, or by Acting Coaches if the actor isn't currently represented.

I've begged off on doing the showcase in the past for various reasons (including wanting to time my participation with new headshots), but no more!

It's time to light it up in front of a live audience of industry pros and a camera that'll capture the performance for DVD distribution to other professionals around the region.

Plus, my scene partner is the amazing Elizabeth Mason, who is so talented and funny and committed, that I'm totally excited about this opportunity.

Look for more info as we approach July 31st.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

My friends are idiots

I love them, but they're idiots.

We were supposed to go to the 7:10 Alamo Drafthouse showing of Nacho Libre for a friend's birthday.

However, two of my friends showed up at 7:05, and realized they'd forgotten to pick up the birthday boy. Rather than get their tickets from me so I could save seats, they turned around to go get him, then called me and asked me to exchange my no refund tickets for the 7:35 show. Which is sold out.

Love them. Idiots.