Thursday, November 30, 2006

Fall in Texas ...

It's finally fall in Central Texas.

I woke up to weather hovering around freezing, wet, breezy and brisk -- a fantastic morning.

There are probably a lot of small-lunged, thin-blooded natives that will call today a "winter day", but this Idaho Boy is finally comfortable. That statement will probably get me nastygrams.

Wearing jeans and a waffle henley, I hung out for a while in the parking lot at BigHugeCorp this morning, enjoying the crisp air, sipping coffee, being calm and at peace.

Great way for me to start the day.

Good night ...

Tonight was the first of the last two Meisner classes (this session), and it was an important night.

Part of it was class. When I was up first with an activity, my partner was amazing. I did not let her get away with safe stuff, which was probably academic because she stood up for herself in a way I haven't seen her do before, and she was inspiring.

I volunteered to work twice, because I'm in a place where I feel desperate to be working all the time. The second time left a lot of room for improvement, which is totally fine with me. I know what to do next time, totally get my notes, and got to work twice.

The other reason tonight was so good is the people. I'm loving these folks, and I'm surprised how I miss them when they're even late to class, or tell me they're moving on.

That's the important stuff.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Free class with Van Brooks this Saturday

Van Brooks is my film coach.

Under him, I've done The Mastery, Leadership & Creativity (with Dan Fauci), a couple of "Audition Intensive" weekends, a ton of advanced film acting classes, and, now, Samurai.

Want to see what he's all about? For free?

Van is doing one of his free classes this Saturday (Dec. 2) in Austin, from 12-3 p.m.

Check him out -- it's free. And he's good.

Need his contact information? Let me know.

Yesterday was a good acting day

I am so blessed as an actor.

Take yesterday, for example.

I filmed scene 32 for episode 13 of "Friday Night Lights" (first network television gig). I had a "good" Meisner workout (she kicked me out of her life, and, yeah, I wanted to leave for good). And on the way home, I checked my Biz PO box and picked up a check for a previous gig.

How blessed am I?

Now, I've got to head off to head off to Samurai, then Meisner class tonight until late. Both of which I hate until I get there.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Friday Night Lights (just wrapped)

We just wrapped my part of Friday Night Lights.

Deliver dialog? Check.

Get to improv? Check.

Car scene? Check.

Get balled out and chased across field by phenomenal actress acting truly scary while her scene partner laughs at me off camera? Check.

What a wonderful, chaotic, fun thing of which to be a part.

And the crew that I worked with was nice, and very professional.

And I like Jeff's directing style.

Man, what a good day.

Friday Night Lights (on location)

I made my first goal for today -- make my call time (seriously; uber important).

I've got a room in a trailer -- "Menschy driver - Adam". The 2nd AD is nice, professional, and on the ball. Costuming picked my shirt, props got me some geeky sunglasses, I did my paperwork, then a quick spin through makeup, then hair ("looks perfect", so no work), and now I'm hanging out until called.

Yay!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Friday Night Lights script

I just picked up the script for episode 13 of "Friday Night Lights" for tomorrow's shoot.

I am so unexpectedly jazzed by every step of this process. Watch me squeal like a girl when wardrobe calls.

And, no, you can't see the script. These folks work hard on this stuff -- I'm not going to ruin it for them.

Giddy!

I'm being watched ...

I'm on a list at BigHugeCorp. Or, rather, my blogs are on a list at BigHugeCorp.

Not that this was surprising -- the world we live in and past irresponsible bloggers have forced companies to watch out for themselves -- but it was interesting to get semi-confirmation that my blogs are regularly monitored in an at least somewhat official manner.

Not that it changes anything I do or how I post. I spend a lot of time staying abreast of policy and legal issues around blogs and related content and postings, and know full well where I am within my legal rights.

Besides, I'm a very responsible blogger, and I'm very careful to gripe or propose solutions to integrity or other BigHugeCorp issues, but I'm careful to protect the company and (more importantly) the people.

Honesty, but not transparency. My General Manager gets that.

And, hey, I've increased my readership in new and exciting ways ...

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Arkansas is a dry state ...

I left Tennessee early this morning, and I'm glad I had coffee at the house beforehand. There isn't a Starbucks (or even a local coffee shop) in any of the small towns at which I stopped.

So I've turned it into a mini game, asking locals at each stop where their coffee shop is.

The most common answers to "Do you have a coffee shop?" (other than, "No") have been "McDonalds" and "Hardees".

Looking on the Starbucks Website, there's basically no representation in the eastern half of the state on IH-40, prior to the 9 that are in Little Rock.

Looks like an opportunity for the addiction franchise ...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Toy Job resume lies ...

Wow. This hasn't happened to me before.

At BigHugeCorp, I just got a resume from a guy who wants me to consider him for work.

The problem is the latest entry on his resume is for a project that I own, and the entry is ... ah ... less than accurate.

Understand, a expect a certain amount of upselling on resumes I'm considering. As a matter of fact, I prefer it, because when I tear into it during an interview, I'm able to plumb the experience depths of the candidate pretty quickly, and see how confident in (or arrogant of) their abilities s/he is.

This was ... different. We're talking so overblown and inaccurate and taking credit for stuff he couldn't have done ...

It was sad.

I can't be specific without risking outing the guy, but it's seriously something analogous to this:
"Created and influenced detergent particles to work synergistically against refuse particles non-conducive to automotive cleanliness."
Translation: "I cleaned cars."

Except he's taking credit for creating soap, too.

Not good.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Kind words and great insight from another voice actor

I got a note about a post referencing my recent post about how to stay busy as an actor from fellow voice talent Karen Commins.

Karen (unsolicited) says some incredibly generous things, and I'm astounded at how good she is at reading between the lines. Plus, her blog is well written, insightful, and has the same cooperative vein I try to live in my acting.

Check out her blog -- I'm going to be spending some time there, too.

Friday, November 17, 2006

"Friday Night Lights" audition

I just finished an audition for "Friday Night Lights".

This is my first audition for a network television show, which is exciting enough by itself. But the series is also important to the Central Texas creative community and economy, and I want to do whatever I can to help it be successful. The icing in the cake is I watch and genuinely enjoy this
show, anyway.

I auditioned for director/producer Jeffery Reiner, casting director Beth Sepko, and her partner in crime Sheila Steele.

Beth and Sheila, as always, are so pleasant and professional and made for an efficient, non-stressful experience.

Jeffery Reiner was laid back, and his direction was subtle and very effective at the same time. He and I traded lines he fed me, then he said, "Go. Do the scene. Just like that."

Easy.

Though I may have messed up the mechanics of the read slightly. The audition was basically "Line; Reader; Reaction." I think there was subtle direction from Beth for me to deliver to the camera, but when I reacted it was to her as the reader (not the camera). I think this is due to a couple of problems: Beth was a good reader, and because of my recent Steve Prince
/ Dan Fauci / Van Brooks acting triage, I took what Beth said really personally.

Those are two good problems to have. I'm encouraged, and I know what to adjust next time.

Did I mention this was my first audition for network TV?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Today was a good day for my craft ...

Despite waking up freakishly ill this morning, I made it to week 3 of Samurai (which, oddly, is still too early in the morning).

Today was validating for me.

Our homework was to share how much time we spent doing what things for our craft. And even though last week was an "off" week for me, I still tagged about 40 hours to my craft (not including related travel or inspiration stuff).

Even more importantly, I opened myself up to the group for some specific help, and asked people who know me well to call me on what I do well, and tell me where I need to grow. Feeling a bit vulnerable.

Then, I got to help a talented artist work through some computer heartburn. Technology is enabling and infuriating at the same time.

And a blog posting I did yesterday about staying "Biz busy" has filled my inbox with comments from fellow actors, and there's been a lot of back and forth. And I like talking to people about important stuff.

Good day ...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Acting is a lot of work

I was writing an encouragement / what-I-do-when-audition-opportunities-are-lagging note to some voice acting colleagues, and it struck me just how much work there is to do as an actor, and how little excuse there is to be "bored" or not honing my craft 24x7.

For background, here's the example list I gave them:

  1. Focus on the business part of the Biz - Send postcards to past actual and potential clients, call sound studios and ask to whom I can send my demo, etc. There's a truism that says "The Biz is 90% business and 10% art".
  2. Training -- Brief hour sessions with my voice coach in a studio setting, doing quick reads so I can be on mic, she can let me know what I'm doing right, and what still needs work. I re-read James Alburger's book, The Art of Voice Acting, and do all the book and CD exercises, etc.
  3. Create my own project -- Currently, I'm writing/editing/producing my own animated project, where I'll do the voices. One of my film coaches told me, "If you don't have work, make work." It doesn't have to be full-blown animation, if I don't have the time. Get a digital camera and take picts of comic or comic book frames, and do the VO for each character in each panel.
  4. Exercise other parts of my craft -- I've been memorizing new (tough) monologs, writing a stand-up comedy routine for an open mic night (no, I'm sooo not a stand-up comic), etc.
  5. Remind myself of why I do this -- I got into voice work for cartoons and video games, so I spend a lot of time watching and playing to see what works. Seriously, things like Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming block is a cash cow for Turner, and MTV Networks is looking for their answer to it.
And then I had a ton of other things I do rattle through my head:
Writing -- I try to write for a minum of an hour a day.
Research -- This is everything from watching episode after episode of Inside the Actors Studio (those folks got there, yo?) to watching shows filming in Texas (Prison Break, Friday Night Lights) or shows with roles I could so do (How I met your Mother, Two and a Half Men) to reading comic books with great dialog (stuff written by Brian Michael Bendis, Jeph Loeb, Greg Rucka, Geoff Johns, and on and on) to watching the special features on DVDs where directors talk about how they made things work, actors talk about their technique, whatever.
Inspiration -- This follows closely with research, but I'm constantly stopping when my attention is arrested -- TV, movies, comic books, toys, music, people (known and total strangers). I really try to evaluate and hold onto whatever gave me joy or pause or whatever.
Audtion for everything -- This is a harder one, because I've gotten to the point where people are calling me for small gigs, which is keeping me busy. Don't get me wrong, the cash flow isn't there, but I am in this good place of "relationship project making". When that slows, I audition for stuff from the Austin Film Casting user group, student films (which I'm choosy about, since I had like three severely unprofessional experiences in a row, and swore them off for a while).
Read scripts -- There are so many ways to get scripts (for films made and unmade), it's not even funny. I read scripts to figure out my breakdown techniques, practice cold reads, etc.
Memorization -- There are a lot of ways to memorize. I'm trying several to see what works for me. I've gotten into some situations lately where I needed to memorize stuff quickly, and there wasn't enough time to "brute force" memorize (which I want to get past anyway), so I've been trying other memorization techniques (3-5-7 chunking, etc.).
Voice workouts -- This is pretty much endless. Create and lock in new characters (which creates new voices; don't go the other way), breath strength and control exercises, work on my internal clock (so I know when a 58-second commercial has run out), etc.
Look for opportunities -- If I see an announcement of a new game studio being formed, I write to them and send my demo. I do a lot of stuff like this, but I don't limit it to stuff that benefits me. For example, I saw an announcement from a toy company, and an unrelated licensing announcement from one of the big comic book publishers, and I wrote to the licensing departments of both and said, "Hey you two should ..." They're interested, and this kind of thing is always interesting, because they're sure I've got some "angle". Nope. I saw an opportunity, and I couldn't do anything with it, so they might as well to make the world a better, more creative place. OK, actually seeing that in print does seem a little wonky.
Create "something else" -- I'm a voice and film actor. I'm creating an animated series, but I've also written a video game proposal, comic book script, built models, tiled a floor, roofed a back porch, remodeled a corporation's Austin offices, and other stuff that lets me create in new ways.
Getting uncomfortable -- I'm not sure humanity was meant for routine, so I'm trying to get out of mine, which has really freed me up to create. I drive different routes, which sometimes get me stuck in a dead-end street. I'm growing a beard. I spike the hell out of my hair. I wear stuff "I wouldn't normally wear". (I'm hoping the role for "Looks-like-hell-guy" comes up as an opportunity soon.) I listen to country music (I am so not a fan) or Austin Catholic talk radio (I'm neither Catholic nor like talk radio).
Connect -- It's already been a wild, full acting ride in a short time. I'm trying to get back with people who have been part of it, or people that I know see in my acting prehistory who got me here. I use Email, phone, and quick lunches to be inspired by the most inspiring thing around me -- you folks.
For me, I've chosen my craft (or it's chosen me), because it's a representation of who I am -- so I should be doing it all the time.

If I love something, I stay with it; if not, why do it?
Freaking busy and exhausting and never done. It doesn't get much better, and it helps me see the bigger purpose above the mundane, and it helps me diligently work through the mundane.
Reality keeps happening. God willing I can make the most of it.

There is evil in the world ...

I know this. And it's not in a paranoid delusion kind of way, or a defeatist kind of way. Just in a matter-of-fact kind of way.

But there are times when evil exhibits itself in subtle, damaging, personal ways, and I'm reminded evil is in the world.

And if "a sin is a sin", then lack of integrity in the workplace is tantamount to lying or "more grievous" sins.

How's that for corporate accountability?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Updates on commitments

I mentioned in that part of my new Samurai acting "thing" is to make and complete more commitements in a 6-week period than I've made or kept in a six-week period.

So, I'm going to use this post as a running update. We'll see how amazing or how much of a slacker I am.

For the original list, go here.

What I'm going to get done in the next 5 weeks:

  1. Be less careful
    • OK, this'll never be done, but I'm so freaking sloppy lately, I'm going to say I'm making traction
  2. Wall in my home office / studio (DONE 12/03/2006)
  3. Set up my audio studio equipment
  4. Set up "Project X" Website (main)
  5. Set up "Project X" Website (process/fan)
  6. Complete the trailer and 3 episodes of "Project X" (write, storyboard, VO, shoot, post-production, and distribution)
    • 12/04/2006 -- Got the audio down and mastered for the trailer); I may have overcommitted a wee bit on this particular goal.
  7. Do something new and exciting in my toy job career
  8. Write formal treatments for all of my projects (12)
  9. Write treatment for an idea I’ve been avoiding
  10. Write and perform stand-up during an open mic night
  11. Finish another run of demo CD business cards (DONE 121/27/2006)
    • Small run of 10, but enough for now.
  12. Add "Tools" section for my Website
  13. Redo my Website
  14. Read the Game Producers Handbook
    • 12/22/2006 -- I'm actually reading Get in the Game first, because I know several of the contributors, and I'll read the Game Producers Handbook after I've got the Big Picture concept.
  15. Write more features analyzing the game industry
  16. Write letters of recommendation for everyone that’s worked for me, I’ve worked for, and worked with
    • 12/15/2006 -- I've done several of these via LinkedIn.com, which is a good way for to stay focused on this effort.
    • 12/27/2006 -- I did bunch more for some specific folks via LinkedIn, and have some fodder for letters of recommendation for a smaller subset of those folks.
  17. Write a video game proposal
  18. Write a business plan for a new endeavor about which I'm thinking
  19. Install and compile sample games with XNA game studio
    • 11/11/2006 -- Installed, and running, and did a bunch of research
  20. Spend more time with family
    • Holidays are good for this, and the last few weeks have been great for it
  21. Run three times a week
  22. Go fishing (fly fishing)
  23. Install ceiling fans throughout my house
  24. Do some rewiring in my house
    • 12/19/2006 -- Some of this was done as part of walling in the office, and some was fixed by finding the right (unintuitively placed) GFI reset switch. All that's left is to replace a thermostat, and I think I'll live with the other stuff.
  25. Clean out my garage and organize my office and utility room
    • 11/12/2006 -- Making traction (Craigslisted some crap, got rid of a bunch of empty boxes, built 3 sets of shelves)
  26. Get a new dishwasher, since the built in blows chunks (literally) (DONE 11/14/2006)
    • 11/11/2006 -- Dishwasher was delivered, now to install it; I've giving myself until Wednesday
  27. Clean out my truck (ADDED 11/10/2006)
    • 11/15/2007 -- Um, I moved stuff from the front of the truck to behind the driver's seat, so it looks cleaner ...
  28. Get a new microwave, since the old one died (COMPLETED 12/22/2006)
    • Ended up getting the old one repaired, which (though expensive), was cheaper than buying a new one.
  29. Contact a company about doing a video game with their property (ADDED 11/11/2006)
    • 11/13/2006 -- That was quick; initial interest is good, now I owe them a proposal
    • 11/23/2006 -- More specifics from them, and what they want, and I sent some clarifying questions
    • 12/22/2006 -- Completed a draft proposal, that's currently under internal review.
    • 12/28/2006 -- Microsoft got back with me today, and I'll probably be under NDA soon, so my updates to this one may go away, or become incredibly vague.
  30. Add tags to my blogs (ADDED 11/14/2006)
    • 12/20/2006 -- Now that blogger.com has migrated to it's new "not-beta" mode, tags are part of the functionality. So I've started this effort, but have like 500 posts to go through and update. Add to this when they say "not beta", they're ... uh ... lying, and this will take a little more time. I'm debating which is less painful -- using Blogger's tag implementation, or moving everything over to my Moveable Type implementation.
    • 12/28/2006 -- I've now got about 80 of my 480 past "Ramblings" posts tagged. There are some deficiencies with the new Blogger.com, so I'm working around those. It's like they're trying to move me to MoveableType.
  31. Re-read script writing book (ADDED 11/14/2006)

    Patterns in which I'm stuck:

    1. My need to be right
    2. My need to get it right
    3. My need to be careful
    4. Doing things on my own, and not asking for help
    5. Being cut off from my heart
    6. Toy job commitments
      • This one could be taking care of itself
    7. Laziness/Procrastination
    8. Multi-tasking is costing my focus on things that may require focus
    9. Lack of sleep
    10. Am I doing too much?
    11. Am I giving up the right things?
    12. Caffeine?
      • 11/13/2006 -- For last several days I've gone from roughly 4 cups of coffee and 1-2 Diet Coke / iced teas to a couple of cups of coffee; I'm not being legalistic about it, but I think I was a wee bit excessive before
    13. Guilt about what I’m not getting done
      • 11/14/2006 -- Y'know what, screw it. It already wasn't getting done before I started not doing it.

    Friday, November 10, 2006

    I am the Pumpkin King

    Jack Skellington antenna ball
    I never fancied myself an antenna ball kind of guy. But I am a Tim Burton/Nightmare Before Christmas kind of guy, and I'd seen these things for like $5 at a Disney Store. I wasn't going to pay $5 for a bunch of foam.

    Then I was back there for something else, and they had one left for 99 cents.

    I figured I could do that.

    Now, I am the Pumpkin King. Or at least have his head on my truck. Which works, too...

    Thursday, November 09, 2006

    Voice over gig tonight

    Tonight I did a voice over gig for a SxSW contender for documentary short.

    It's a tough piece on the last moments of Joseph Goebbels and his family. Goebbels was Adolph Hitler's spin master (Prapoganda Minister), but the documentary is less about Goebbels himself, than a warning to letting versions of the same thing happen again.

    I'd worked on a Austin Film Festival trailer contender for Chris a while back, and he graciously remember my mad skillz on the VO front, and asked if I'd be interested in the project.

    Good, easy going multiple reads, with good, very clear direction from Chris. Good guy.

    And I do like being on-mic ...

    Samurai homework, last week and next

    Yesterday was week #2 of my new Samurai acting "thing" (at freaking 7 a.m. each Wednesday morning).

    Each week, we have "homework" (like any acting class, but different).

    Here was last week's homework:

    1. Pull together all my notes from the last several months for my "Project X", put those into episodes (ooh, another clue!) so that every one is outlined (if not written), and I know where the gaps are.
    2. Raise my standards for the next 5 weeks. I need to come up with what I will do to explicitly accomplish a list of things that are more and bigger accomplishments than I have ever done creatively in a 5 week period.
    3. Write down a list of patterns I have that stop me from getting stuff done.

    Here's how I did on stuff:

    "Project X":

    I so exceeded this, and I am re-energized about the project. I pulled stuff together, and found I had around 27 episodes, and they're all now outlined, and some are fully written. In addition, I wrote treatments for three new episodes, and created a framework for the entire project, and got a lot of that filled in (budget, resources, marketing/distribution needs, etc.). I am stoked to get booking on this again.

    What I'm going to get done in the next 5 weeks:

    Here's my list; clearly, I'm insane.

    1. Be less careful
    2. Wall in my home office / studio
    3. Set up my audio studio equipment
    4. Set up "Project X" Website (main)
    5. Set up "Project X" Website (process/fan)
    6. Complete the trailer and 3 episodes of "Project X" (write, storyboard, VO, shoot, post-production, and distribution)
    7. Do something new and exciting in my toy job career
    8. Write formal treatments for all of my projects (12)
    9. Write treatment for an idea I’ve been avoiding
    10. Write and perform stand-up during an open mic night
    11. Finish another run of demo CD business cards
    12. Add "Tools" section for my Website
    13. Redo my Website
    14. Read the Game Producers Handbook
    15. Write more features analyzing the game industry
    16. Write letters of recommendation for everyone that’s worked for me, I’ve worked for, and worked with
    17. Write my video game proposal
    18. Write a business plan for a new endeavor about which I'm thinking
    19. Install and compile sample games with XNA game studio
    20. Spend more time with family
    21. Run three times a week
    22. Go fishing (fly fishing)
    23. Install ceiling fans throughout my house
    24. Do some rewiring in my house
    25. Clean out my garage and organize my office and utility room
    26. Get a new dishwasher, since the built in blows chunks (literally)

    Patterns in which I'm stuck:

    1. My need to be right
    2. My need to get it right
    3. My need to be careful
    4. Doing things on my own, and not asking for help
    5. Being cut off from my heart
    6. Toy job commitments
    7. Laziness/Procrastination
    8. Multi-tasking is costing my focus on things that may require focus
    9. Lack of sleep
    10. Am I doing too much?
    11. Am I giving up the right things?
    12. Caffeine?
    13. Guilt about what I’m not getting done

    For this week's homework, I'm supposed to do a couple of things:

    1. Keep adding to our "Things to get done list"
    2. Spend more time on my craft than I spent last week, and document it to share next week.

    #2 is hard for me, because I try to spend 40 hours a week on acting and related stuff, in addition to my full-time toy job. This is already a struggle, and with other recent life happenings, I think my showing next week is really going to suck.

    But whatever -- it is what it is.

    Tuesday, November 07, 2006

    If I knew I was going to die in a few months ...

    I keep learning stuff about myself.

    I think I had this idea that if I were in some sad twist of fate be told I was going to die in 3-9 months, I'd want to live life to the fullest, which would mean doing things I hadn't done before, but always wanted to (maybe even some things I don't want to -- I mean, if I'm going to die ...).

    Recently, I think I've learned that I wouldn't live that few months flamboyantly and, well ... selfishly.

    I think I would spend that few months doing things I said I would do, taking care of people the way I'd been taking care of them -- but maybe with a little more urgency -- and possibly doing a handful of achievable things "I want to do before I die."

    Relax, I'm not dying. Just being introspective about the important stuff. Being inspired by "normal" people. Realizing everyone has a story. Seeing things suffered by other people that show me I have no right to complain. Seeing things I haven't seen before. Recognizing opportunities in change.

    Little stuff like that.

    Again, not dying -- just working on killing the dullish side of me.

    Thursday, November 02, 2006

    Take care of people ...

    People need to take care of people.

    I need to look out for each one of these human beings with whom I get to share my life. I need to treat them with decency and respect, stand up for myself, and hold me and them to an incredibly high standard. I need to fly in the face of people who don't do that.

    People need to do this for people. Culture can't. Processes can't. BigHugeCorps can't. Those are soul-less things that are symptoms of things people do in concert. Intentionally or unintentionally. Positive or Negative.

    But I can be 100% accountable -- for my own thoughts, emotions, and actions. I can treat people with real respect and decency. I can call bullshit on the superficial actions, because I'm adhering to a higher standard.

    Life is a bumpy ride.

    Life is a bumpy, exhausting, important ride....

    Wednesday, November 01, 2006

    I am a samurai ...

    I think I may be masochistic.

    I have been working so hard for so long to not be comfortable, that I really feel out of my head at times. Which makes me feel alternatively snappy and euphoric. Sometimes bitchy, sometimes loopy.

    The latest in this "make-myself-better-by-making-myself-uncomfortable" is Samurai -- a ... thing ... geared toward making me a more creative person.

    Started by Dan Fauci in New York, Samurai is a weekly, early morning, actor get together, that's not an acting workshop. It's geared toward (minimally) alumns of the The Mastery, and most of us are Leadership and Creativity grads as well. Explicitly, it's purpose is to
    "Find, clarify, and operate out of my purpose in life."
    Lofty yes. Ostensibly this means a weekly meeting and constant touchpoints with all participants to drive our creativity, support our goals, and hold each other accountable to get more things done as artists than we've done previously.

    Lofty? Yes. Scary? Yes. Uncomfortable? Yes. Exciting? Hell yes.

    We meet from 7 to 9 a.m. in downtown Austin. so getting up at 5:30 a.m. to fight IH-35 traffic from Round Rock is definitely out of my sleep and patience comfort zone. (There are so many people on the road at that hour -- and they all have a story, they all have a purpose. How cool is that?)

    This Samurai session is led by Van Brooks, my film coach and Dan Fauci protege, and he's called this the kind of "mini sissy version of Samurai" -- because the NY version is twice a week, and getting there in New York is likely more cumbersome than even Round Rock to 6th street (not to minimize my sacrifice at all).

    Each week, I'm going to have make creativity commitments to the group. And I will commit to specific people that I will ask their help to hold me accountable -- not passively wait for their holding me accountable.

    I'm going to learn to operate not out of my head (how I currently operate), and not operate out of how I feel (how most people operate), but operate out of what I see. Which implies I need to learn how to see better.

    Speaking of which, between Dan Fauci, Van Brooks, and Steve Prince, I am seeing so freaking much lately that it's kind of overwhelming. More on that some other time.

    I am supposed to break patterns, because "patterns are justification for the now" -- a way I keep myself in a loop not necessarily all that conducive to growing, creating, and being authentic.
    So my "homework" for this week from the session:
    1. Pull together all my notes from the last several months for my "Project X", put those into episodes (ooh, another clue!) so that every one is outlined (if not written), and I know where the gaps are.
    2. Raise my standards for the next 5 weeks. I need to come up with what I will do to explicitly accomplish a list of things that are more and bigger accomplishments than I have ever done creatively in a 5 week period.
    3. Write down a list of patterns I have that stop me from getting stuff done.
    Awesome stuff. Maybe I'll share that homework. Maybe I'll leave you in the dark.

    Though, I think I'm waaay more tired than I would expect a Samurai to be. And I'm jittery from sucking down waaay too much coffee.

    Between this and Meisner happening at the same time (and the same day), I'm either going to become a much better creative person, or a much bitchier creative person. Maybe both. I'm that diverse.