Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Friday, December 07, 2007

On being uncomfortable

It's been too long between posts.

The fact is I've been wicked busy with the new job and relocation. That's not meant as an excuse -- just an explanation.

It's going well.

It's not Austin, but Raleigh/Durham is my new home, so I'm fully buying into it. I know too many people who bemoan that where they are isn't where they were, so they end up not enjoying either. Besides, Thomas Wolfe was right

On being uncomfortable

It's been too long between posts.

The fact is I've been wicked busy with the new job and relocation. That's not meant as an excuse -- just an explanation.

It's going well.

It's not Austin, but Raleigh/Durham is my new home, so I'm fully buying into it. I know too many people who bemoan that where they are isn't where they were, so they end up not enjoying either. Besides, Thomas Wolfe was right

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

WGA strike

I'm bummed by the Writer's Guild of America (WGA) strike.

You can catch some good pithy insights and links to supportive and antagonistic thoughts on the strike on the DealFatigue blog (and Peter's an insightful, good guy).

But let me talk about why I'm bummed.

I'm bummed because, as a consumer, shows are being put on hold, indefinitely. First casualties were things like Leno, Letterman, Colbert, and Stewart. Shows like Rules of Engagement and Two and a Half Men followed suit. Heroes may go into early re-runs, which it will likely survive, with its rabid fan base. But my being bummed as a consumer is a wee bit selfish.

I'm more bummed because striking writers may be responsible for killing shows like "Friday Night Lights". Almost cancelled after its first season, it's seen new life in a second season on Friday nights. While many folks have cried foul on a time slot where "shows go to die", it was actually probably a strategic network decision -- with little ratings expectations for a Friday night time slot, "FNL" arguably only needs to marginally well to get moved to a better slot in the short term, or renewed for a third season in the medium term.

There are good folks on "FNL", and they're twiddling their thumbs and losing work and may need to go on to other things which will kill that show (if waning interest from early reruns doesn't do it first). And it's the one network show filmed in Austin, so if you pull that, you impact that acting and commercial community.

I'm bummed because this strike probably takes WGA out of the video game opportunity they've obviously been pursuing.

And, yes, I'm bummed that, as a working professional actor, I'm impacted by this strike. Projects I was up for are on hold -- TV, movies, advertising, voice over, and the like. Anything touched by WGA talent.

And I'm bummed, because -- not to be alarmist -- with a stoppage in writing work and slow down in ancillary work, shorting of advertising spend, an indeterminate strike period before being ended by a likely mutually unfulfilling compromise, followed by a return of writers to network slots populated in their absence by reality and game show TV not needing as many of their services, this strike could cause or exacerbate a nationwide recession.

I saw an interesting comment from one of Letterman's writers saying he though many of the strikers didn't realize how emotional the strike would be, because there are other people who are there friends, who are hurt, and "it isn't their fight."

I don't want to be disrespectful, but ... duh.

Peter's more measured about it:
"... a strike would seriously harm the overall health of the industry. Everybody
involved knows that."
And:
"... a strike is a lose-lose outcome for everyone in the business; the writers
in particular, regardless of any gains for the Guild at the negotiating table."
There are pros and cons to unions and strikes. I'm not the guy to debate that.

But should a group have this kind of potential impact on people outside of the group's affiliation?

Or am I overstating the impact?

Friday, November 02, 2007

Off to NC!

I'm off to North Carolina today for my new acting and toy job gigs.

I'm driving cross-country, and starting a new job, so regular blog updates
will be sporadic at best.

For more regular micro updates, you can follow me on Twitter:

http://twitter.com/adamcrei

see you on the flipside!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

California fires status

If you're like me, and have friends and business associates affected by the California wildfires, you might be looking for a way to keep track of the blazes, so you know whether or not to call.

And if you're actually impacted by the blazes, you may be trying to find out what roads are closed, where to temporarily relocate yourselves, pets, large animals, and so on.

Enter a couple of Google Maps, one each for the main San Diego County and Los Angeles area fires:

The KPBS is the better done, more frequently updated map, and has more (and more useful) additional Web 2.0 resources for tracking fire impacts to impacted folks.

But both maps are useful resources for people in need.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Catch Adam in Austin before he leaves

Before I leave Austin, I've got rolling shindigs between now and next week.

Below are the more public ones, and don't feel like you have to fit into any particular "bucket" -- come to the one that works for you, because I'd love to see you.
  • October 24 (Wednesday)
    What: Soyanara Texas! Hola, North Carolina! (The "Working Stiff" Edition)
    Where: Opal Divine's Marina (north)
    When: 4 p.m. to whenever
  • October 25 (Thursday)
    What: Soyanara Texas! Hola, North Carolina! (The "Biz/Acting/Gaming" Edition)
    Where: Opal Divine's Freehouse (downtown)
    When: 4 p.m. to whenever
  • October 26 (Friday)
    What: Agency party (not for me, per se, but another place to say, "Bye!")

Voice acting video game interviews

Since I'm a voice actor and a gamer, I look for interviews with actors on their techniques and processes for video game worlds.

A couple have popped up for one of my more anticipated games -- Mass Effect from Electronic Arts BioWare.

First up is an MTV Multiplayer interview with Seth Green, the wunderkind creative and voice actor behind things like Robot Chicken (but to me, he'll always be Oz from Buffy, with his leaving signifying a brief downturn in the watchability of the show).

Then there's this video interview with veteran actors Keith David, Lance Henriksen, and Marina Sirtis.


David has some good stuff to say (including the fact that "acting is acting -- it's either good acting or it's bad acting"), as does Henriksen (with nuggets highlighting some of the differences between voice acting and on-camera acting).


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Soyanara Texas! Hola, North Carolina!

Wow, things can change quickly.

I've just accepted a new job in North Carolina, and I start the first of November (yes, less than two weeks from now).

Which means I'll shortly be making a break from my more than ten-year home of Austin, on to the next phase this adventure.

This is wicked exciting, and wicked hard for me. I've been blessed on so many fronts in the decade I've been in Central Texas -- with relationships, professional ties, and acting.

Now, I'm choosing to say goodbye to the day-to-day blessings of those things.

Why?

In my current acting training, there's a rule that says I don't make a change in what I'm doing in a scene unless and until I'm compelled by something more profound.

I was compelled by something more profound.

Besides being an actor, I'm a lifetime gamer. And I'm a wicked good business development guy.

I've been taking concerted steps for almost three years to position myself to move into the video game vertical market (it's unfortunately very closed). Almost out of the blue, an opportunity opened that lets me apply my technical background, my mad Biz Dev skillz, my enjoyment of PC and video (and table top, come to think of it) games, my people passion, and my creativity in one place. I'm pretty sure I've never had a such a mutually excited interview process; it just so felt like that "perfect storm" of opportunities for my skills and passions.

So I said, "Yes."

Not tepidly. Not half-heartedly. Full-on, let's-make-something-happen, "Yes!"

(Oh, I negotiated; would you want to hire a person who doesn't know how to negotiate?)

So, what's the new gig?

Can't say yet, but watch this space. Or maybe this space. But probably at least this space.

And while I said it's wicked exciting, I also said it's also wicked hard.

Yes, I'm finally in the video game industry in a big, makes-sense, impactful kind of way. But I'm also leaving Austin.

I have had some of the same friends for the entire ten years I've been here. I'm solidly networked in the business and technology markets here. I've been growing as an actor here for almost six years. Austin rocks in and of itself.

Which is part of why this job -- and this move -- appeals to me.

Huh?

I'm one of those guys who genuinely likes change. I look for opportunities in change (for myself and other people). The problem with me liking change so much is I'm comfortable with it. But, for me, comfortable is bad. It fosters personal laziness and lack of risk-taking.

What better way to get uncomfortable than to move into a new vertical market, and a new part of the world where I don't have a support base?

That'd do it.

And there's more too it, but I don't think it makes sense to get into it too much here. Suffice it to say acting is hugely important to me, but knowing myself, I have to be careful not to make things like acting too important. It doesn't make sense for me to allow acting to become a god that takes away from more important relationships and responsibilities. I guess it's shorter to say that I'm an adult, and sometimes that sucks on the hard-decision front.

Am I ending relationships in Austin? Of course not -- just the day-to-day phase of those relatiobships. I suspect I'll be back to Austin regularly, but I'm going to be investing heavily in my North Carolina life. It's the InterWeb age, though, so there are six ways to Sunday to hit me up.

Am I giving up acting?

Don't be ridiculous!

My incredible agent will continue to represent me aggressively. I'll be adding East Coast representation, and working in a state that has a good interactive and film incentive program. I'm still available to those long-standing Texas clients who have been willing to fly me out for auditions and gigs. I'll be a short hop from New York. I already have to get on a plane for West Coast gigs, so no big whoop there. My voice travels everywhere.

And weird as it sounds, I'm excited about hopefully getting out - of - my - skin uncomfortable on the acting front. I have some ideas for some fun, gutsy stuff, and I'm hoping I can onboard some to-be-local-to-me NC actors.

Good times are coming.

Like I said, things are happening fast, but I hope to have three quick fairwell get-togethers (social, professional, and acting) in the next couple of weeks. Watch this space.

I'm grateful to the folks who have challenged me, supported me, trained me, and otherwise contributed to my success in my more than decade of there - is - not - enough - time - in - the - day frantic doings. I wish I could sit with every person and say why you rock. I realize that isn't likely to happen.

Let's face it, it's easy to keep in touch with me.

I've got this this Website, which is obviously my main avenue for communicating to the wonderful men, women, and others keeping tabs on my acting and ramblings.

In case you haven't been paying attention, I also use Twitter quite a bit to track folks and keep peeps informed of my day-to-shenanigans and ruminations (think of it as micro-blogging). It's not all deep stuff, but I do consciously use the service strategically to keep you abreast of my professional doings (and I try to avoid the insipid "I'm eating macaroni" type posts).

If you're into Windows Live Messenger (including Yahoo! Messenger, since they inter-operate), send me a request to stay in touch. If I feel close enough to you, I'll add you as a contact. ;-)

If you're a gamer with an Xbox 360, send me a friend request via Xbox Live (Hitachi Wasabe). You can school me online.

And if you're a professional acquaintance of mine, track my career path via LinkedIn.com.

Thank you, and here's to the adventure!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Austin's Best Veterinarian

I've mentioned my mentor in this column in passing several times. This is a guy with whom I've met and by whom I've been inspired for more than six years.

He's a mentor in a bunch of areas -- relationship, small business, and spirituality. He's also a comic book and toy fan like me. We have barbecue every Friday. We watch films in the theater all the time.

He's also a veterinarian. And, in the Austin Chronicle's annual "Best of Austin" for this year, he takes the Best Veterinarian crown.

From the Austin Chronicle write-up:
Why would you trust your beloved but banged-up four-legged buddy to someone if you weren't sure they loved animals? With vet Mark Cotnam and his staff, every day is bring-your-pet-to-work day. Their love of animals as well as their quality of personal service and medical experience make these dog-and-cat experts the clinic of choice for our readers' furry extended family. And the best part? They only take walkies … errr, walk-ins.
Dr. Cotnam and the whole staff are top-notch, personable, and professional. They've been the clinic for my dogs since we've been in Austin, were there through the whole "Loki ordeal" (I so miss that dog), even when they weren't directly involved in the specialist stuff.

You find that less and less often in the services industry.

Well deserved!

Friday, October 12, 2007

My brand ...

OK, I've been meaning to write about this for a while, and a question over on LinkedIn.com inspired me to jump the gun a bit (shut up; I was going to write about it).

The initiating question was simple (ha!):

Is there one word, a pinnacle, that describes you? What is it? Why?

-if you have a package, show us that too!
First, yes, I laughed at the wording of the second part of the question. But that's because I'm horribly immature. And I just realized I want that on my headstone ("Adam Creighton: He was Horribly Immature").


So how do I respond to a question like this? Because, honestly, it's a hugely important question, and I take an active role in packaging "Adam Creighton" as a brand.


Just one word? How do you even do that? One of my pet peeves is the reductionism of the individual -- none of us can be reduced to one word.


One word? Maybe "Integrity" -- I'm willing to lose a job for my integrity, suffer the slings and arrows of critics, yadda yadda yadda.


Two words (and another facet)? "Professional Creative" -- It's a differentiator for me from many of the folks that are the former or the latter. Not that it's a competition (I've written on that many times before; read the whole post for the "competition nugget").

A "branding package"?


Yeesh / [snicker]. Uh, here are a few:

"Technology Manager. Independent Creative. Llama Wrangler."

"A Voice & Film Actor, living a Mortal life."

"Living a passionate, ecstatic, and urgent life."
I don't like the idea of answering this question, because I don't know how I keep it keep it from coming off as being self-aggrandizing or braggadocio.

But here goes. ;-)


Honestly, I professionally see myself (Adam Creighton) as a brand, and all of the things I do are products and services that are logical extensions of that brand. And I actively and constantly work on my brand.


Notice my site? Are you a regular reader of some or all of my 7 active blogs? Notice my logo? Notice the packaged consistency? Notice all of the things I do (and just wait, there are some bigger, more WTF ventures on the way)?

Do you know me personally? Do you find any common thread there?

Integrity? Professionalism? Creativity? Immaturity?


Erm (again). Very little good comes from late night blogging.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to do a still photo shoot of some new toys, and then play some video games. Because I just finished reading a 115-page script I'll be table reading for the Austin Film Festival Sunday.

(How's that for self-aggrandizement?)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Comic book artists take on literary characters

I really dig media intersections.

And I'm a comic book guy. And I'm also fairly well-read on the literary side.

So when I stumbled across this site, which is a collection of comic book artists' takes on literary figures (both from the literature, and the folks creating the literature), I easily blew through a blissful hour.

Adam Hughes's rendition of Raymond Chandler? Bruce Timm's H.P. Lovecraft? Dave Cockrum's War of the Worlds? Neil Gaiman's Sunday (from G.K.Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday)? Tom Grummett's Winnie the Pooh (a favorite of mine for some reason)? Mike Mignola's Dracula?

Why are you still here?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Showcase!

Last night's showcase went phenomenally well.


Hectic and down to the wire, we of the Bohemian Theater Troupe got into the space (Beerland in Austin) for the first time at 5 p.m. -- for a 7 p.m. showcase.


Given seven scenes and three monologues, each of us only had time to run through the most problematic parts of our blocking quickly, as lights were being struck, microphones placed, and furniture and props positioned.

We also had the incomparable CK McFarland guest sitting in as we went through our craziness, and giving us last-minute blocking and set suggestions before she ducked out to teach her own class.

For my scene partner (Risa Schroder) and me, this was particularly tough, as we had added the Tango to our Angels in America scene (the shared dream sequence between Prior and Harper), and our space kept shrinking as furniture obstacles were added. Even after we'd "figured out" our blocking (and never having the chance to work through our full scene), we were told the couch for two scenes was going to stay onstage, and be moved to extreme upstage between those scenes. That meant we had to change our dancing from downstage to upstage (front to back) to stage left to stage right (side to side). And we were told we had to avoid going too far to stage right, as a permanently mounted ceiling speaker was creating a blind spot for the lights.

And we didn't get to try any of this blocking with the new directions.

Further cutting into our available time was me -- as the one guy with the truck -- picking up curtain stanchions, computer carts, couches, and so on.

Oh, and I had like 45 minutes of makeup to get into drag. And I had to get into costume, and we were second up (after a fantastic monologue from Levan Owens).

Our coach / The Bohemian Producer Steve Prince framed it pretty well for the audience at the outset, though.

He basically said the showcase was us putting scenes on under "extreme duress". Our doing the scenes for the audience was the first time we were doing the scenes. There was no tech rehearsal, there was no full-on walkthrough. If we can do this, in theory we can blow up auditions.

The goal is for us to just go up there and make things happen.

I feel really good about how our scene went.

First, I looked and felt fabulous. Lynn Burnor did an amazing job on my makeup, and I'm so grateful she shared her mad makeup skilz to drag queen me up -- which cut into her prep time (which didn't show at all in her and John O'Connel's scene -- funniest thing of the night).

I looked fabulous, with industry friend Tonya lending me a cute blue kimono, and me spending yesterday shopping for matching sexy women's underwear and frumpy house slippers.

And because the lead-up to actual performance was so crazy, we were incredibly free to do whatever. There was no "getting it right" in this context; we were there to make something happen.

No, it wasn't perfect. There a few "acty moments" as we tried to balance moving the scene forward with unexpected projection needed when the sound system came up a little short. But Risa (she is amazing) and I did a great job.

While Risa and I had memorized our lines (flat) separately, since we both knew what was happening in the scene, we agreed not to get tripped up if we missed or jumped lines.

That said, I don't think we missed a single line or exchange. And I wasn't thinking about acting; I was just amused by this conservative Mormon invading my gay dream, and then finding out I actually liked her and wanted her there.

And Jeff Carley generously stepped in at the nth hour to by our "angel", and fully bought into his role. Good guy, that.

The payoff?

People were incredibly generous and complimentary (and several gentlemen offered to buy me drinks).

But my favorite was a particular casting director shocked and amazed that I would do what I did, and pull it off. She wants me to be daring, and now there's a whole bunch of room between what I "normally" do and what I did last night. Bring on da work!

Man, I'm jazzed.

Then it was off to Fadó to hang out and enjoy time with fellow cast members and friends who came to watch the show. Great times.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

See Adam in drag tonight!

Tonight, you can see me and several other members of the Bohemian Theater in our second live public showcase.

The event kicks off at 7 p.m. at Beerland (show up early, seating is limited), and I'll be playing Prior from the play / film Angels in America. This is obviously challenging for a bunch of reasons, and I'm looking forward to really putting myself out there. Dunno if it'll "work", but we're going to make something happen!

If the thought of cross-dressing ol' me isn't enough of a draw, there will be nine other scenes and monologues from some of the top acting talent in Austin. Come see what these folks have to offer, and enjoy a night of great acting.

I hope to see you there!

(Oh, and in case there was any confusion, this is not a family-type event.)

Monday, October 01, 2007

Nice headshot

You've probably noticed one of my new headshots gracing my Website. It's from the theatrical shots, which I like (the uncropped version is below), and my photographer, Rhea Willis, does a great job.
Adam Creighton Theatrical Acting Headshot
Another new headshot of which I'm particularly fond isn't mine -- it's a new one for Marc Hustvedt -- who was a fellow Austin actor who's now become a successfully working LA actor. This pict is by photog Dennis Apergis, and is a great dual-purpose (at least) commercial and comedic headshot (it almost screams, "Put me on 'The Office'!").


Marc Hustvedt Commercial headshot
Networking is awesome, but good headshots open doors when you're not there in person. (And it's necessary for you to have the professional and acting skills to follow through.)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Who says that?

One of the things I've been working on the last few months is -- at the core -- who I am as any given character. What I'm trying to do and how I do it may change throughout the project (or the scene, or the moment), but that should be layered on top of who I am as the character.

One of the things I don't like is watching a film and being struck with some version of, "She wouldn't do that."

So I started evaluating, trying to figure out what gets that reaction from me. Part of it is unrealistic circumstances created by the writing, direction, or editing, which arguably are outside the control of the actor. Other times, though, I'm realizing the disconnect occurs when the actor slips between why the character would do something, and why the actor would do something. In a couple of instances, it's because their was a switch between what the character in the current project would do, and what the actor had done as another character (or another character type) in a previous project that I suspect they were more connected to or comfortable with than the current moment's character.


So how do I avoid that? How do I find out that character core, that framework on which to hang my performance?

It's called a lot of things, but for me, it's come down to figuring out my character's "spine". Spine works so well for me as a metaphor, because it's the component of the body without which there isn't dynamic physical movement, it describes the moral character and attributes of a person, and it's the binding that holds a book -- the whole story -- together.

Early in my acting, I received a wealth of good coaching advice from my film coach Van Brooks. One of the pieces that stuck with me particularly was, "Don't judge your character". (The particular scene was me as a guy who may or may not have killed his ex-girlfriend.)

This came back to mind a few weeks ago when I was struggling with one line of dialog when getting ready for a cold read. My character said, "Darn" -- all by itself, in a cast-off way -- and it felt weird. The self-talk sequence that came to mind was bit like this:
  • "Darn"? He says "Darn"? Who says "darn"?
  • "Don't judge your character."
  • Who says, "Darn"? I do.

When I did the cold read, I nailed "darn". It wasn't punched, it was cast-off, I didn't think about it, and I sold it. My coach and peers called it out after the cold read as an example as to why selling the most insignificant word in a believable, organic way, creates good, unexpected moments.

Later in the evening (interestingly), my coach (Steve) had a discussion with all of us about weird dialog (someone else had some funky phrasing like "you're toast" that was causing similar trip-ups).

He actually even said, "Who says that kind of stuff? Your character does."

(Which was validating and freaky at the same time; he's in my head!)

So, one of my recent tools is I've stopped "judging" my character's dialog. That doesn't mean I don't try to figure out why he or she is saying what she's saying, and why it's being said at that time. But I shelf any useless judgements (like, "That sounds stupid", and so on). I can't replicate the "darn" by thinking about it, or trying to sell it. It works or it doesn't.

Oh, and a side-effect of not judging my character is I make more dangerous, interesting choices, which come through on the audition or cold read. ("Did I kill my ex-girlfriend? Yes, yes I did.")

Mheh. The process was more interesting as I worked through it than it probably reads here.

Industrial gig

I had a great industrial shoot this week.

This was repeat work for a previous client, and while it's always nice to be asked back, this group of folks, in particular, is a pleasure with whom to work. The director / writer (Jim) is fun/ny, very clear in his direction, and patient to get the "interesting" reads he wants -- even though we were shooting an industrial (typically dry affairs). The DP (Norm) and audio guy (Robert) really know their stuff, have been doing this for years, and have a pleasant, easy going way of working. We also had a new camera guy (Dieter "ja-now-is-da-time-ven-ve-dahnce"), who was pleasant, professional, and had a good eye for framing the shot.

(I'm hoping I can get some outtakes from the shoot.)

And sure, they're industrials, but since I wasn't completely happy with my previous performance when I watched it on the DVD (I was servicing the dialogue in places, not the scene or my partner), so I worked harder this time to listen better to my fellow actors, and not worry about "getting it right" -- because that prep part was taken care of, and worrying wasn't additive or productive.

I think it went well. It was a relatively easy (if lengthy) shoot, because this time it was 3 scenes (not six), and (for me), all in the same room, in the same wardrobe, shot from various angles.

On the technical side, we had two cameras this time (not just one), which made set ups, coverage, and master shots a lot quicker. I also enjoy acting in a multi-camera set-up; it's more challenging, gives me more to do, and gives more options.

Audio options for three actors (four, if you count the TV, which was a core component of the setup) were more open with two cameras , since we could have three lavaliere mics and one shotgun mic on a boom. (Our sound guy, Robert, is a great guy with whom to work.)

And my scene partner, Mikel McCurdy, is professional, talented, and a bunch of fun with whom to do a shoot. And she's one of my "favorite other wives".

All in all, a great industrial experience. Amazing that I get paid to work with folks this good.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Living a care-free life ...

I haven't written about class recently. I need to talk about last week's epiphany about my character spine. Later I need to talk about that.

I want to talk about last night's class, because I had another of those "life equals acting" epiphanies.

The discussion was around being care free in our acting. Studying under Steve has given me a bunch of tools and applications geared toward getting me to be care free when I perform. (And I've touched on some of them before, but you're not going to get them here; get in class with someone of Steve's caliber.)

Anyway, the hard part about practicing to be care free is it puts it on the fore-front of my mind -- "mind" being that cerebral/intellectual killer of acting/being.

Steve doesn't want his students hung up on these tools and techniques (and, to be fair, a lot of these acting process steps are things he's figured out, so he's got a leg up on applying them more organically to his own process), so we've been doing things in class to help us become more care free.

Last night was one of those nights. And it was fun and inspiring, both when I was on stage and when other people were.

And what made my time (and the drive home, and thinking through the night, and this morning before things got all life wonky) especially good was my epiphany just before we finished prepping to go on stage:
I already work to live a care-free life. Acting is part of my life. That means I'm already working to be a care-free actor.
I don't mean I'm care free in a dysfunctional, character-disordered, disconnected kind of way. I've very much a planner and an executor, which on the professional side makes me great at doing both strategic and tactical work.

But I don't -- at home or at work -- worry about stuff.

There are a bunch of reasons. From a religious perspective, worry is a sin, it doesn't add any time to my life, today has enough worries of its own, yadda yadda yadda.

From a pragmatic perspective, what's worry going to get me? Honestly, best I can figure is an ulcer. Maybe even a bleeding ulcer. Yippee.

Taken to professional application, what makes me a great manager is I don't worry about managing. I'm ridiculously proactive about management -- personnel, risk, project, customer relationship, business recovery, whatever.

I build out a number of contingencies. I understand the impacts. I know what's allowable, and what's not. I communicate that to everyone. And I don't worry.

I still have tough, aggressive conversations with folks. Stakes are still high. I know I could lose customers, projects, or my job through no fault of my own; I don't worry about that. I worry about what could be my fault. And then when stuff does happen that is my fault (because it will), I take ownership, I fall back on one of my contingencies (fixes) for the situation, and I move one.

I once worked a project where someone walked into my office and said, "If anyone thinks this project is getting done, they're insane."

I sat down with him, we worked through the project, found out the project manager had been miss-representing things, and yep, anyone still wanting the project on the original cost, scope, and schedule was probably certifiable. So I articulated options, scenarios, and new cost, feature, and timeline considerations. And ended up getting negatively tagged and penalized. And I didn't worry (doing the work and and doing the right thing are incredibly freeing activities).

Understand, I work wicked hard at my job and in life. People who know me know I will fill any available time with doing stuff. Productive challenging fun stuff. It's my strength and my weakness.

And while I'm working with high stakes (corporate international mega-million dollars or personal relationship issues), I have fun; I laugh.

I bring a game console in to work for my development team and we blow off steam for a couple of hours (because if you can't spare the couple of hours, your project's already beyond in trouble).

I go catch a move for lunch to get creatively fed and reset and clear my head and be more productive when I hit the office.

But I don't worry.

It pours rain off and on for months on end and I can't get my lawn mowed and my neighborhood association might fine me and I don't worry. I mow my lawn when the chance opens up because I care about my neighbor, and if that chance doesn't open up until after I get a fine, so what? So I couldn't mow my lawn and someone was doing their job or was bored or was on a power trip? Not my issue. Not my worry.

Don't read this wrong -- I haven't "arrived". And there's a balancing acting between not worrying and being character disordered. And there are times when I worry, and have to have self talk (or a close accountability friend) reset me.

Kind of like when I have to get out of my head as an actor.

The main reason I wanted to study as an actor with Steve is I know I'm too careful as a person. I tend to do things right. But until last night, I didn't connect that I don't worry about getting things right.

So, the epiphany for last night was all the "right" stuff in life? Taken care of.

The acting opportunities? Networking with the right folks to get me the gigs I'm passionate about? Already happening. If the opportunities don't happen, it's not my shortcoming.

Auditions? I already know I carry myself professionally, know my lines, have my headshots, know the etiquette. So the audition, the callback, the freaking on-set scene is play time.

Work is done. Nothing to worry about.

And when I say "play time", I don't mean bounce a beach ball inanely for hours at a time. I mean no inhibitions other than what's ingrained and subconscious and I can break loose and do something important.

Last night, I had seven minutes to read a monologue I'd never seen, make some whacked out choices, and go. There was no way for me to memorize perfectly, so that wasn't a worry (though I surprised myself by still getting 80% of it, by not thinking about it).

The monologue was from a drug dealer. I did it with a debilitating stutter on Ts, Ks, and Gs, and a constant nervous bicep-rubbing-the-ear physical tick that nearly gave me rug burn.

Would you buy X from that guy? Maybe not (though I was pretty desperate in my stuttering, spastic plea).

Will you remember that guy who tried to sell you X?

Oh yeah.

And I wasn't worried about getting it right at all. For that moment, I was a care free actor.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

And the Emmy goes to ...

Yesterday (September 8, 2007), The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences "awarded
the 2006-2007 Creative Arts Primetime Emmys for programs and individual achievements at the 59th Emmy Awards
".

Who got recognized?

Lots of hugely deserving folks.

And we got some deserved local love, too, as Beth Sepko was co-recognized for Outstanding Casting for a Drama Miniseries (location casting) for Friday Night Lights -- filmed here locally as well:
OUTSTANDING CASTING FOR A DRAMA SERIES
LINDA LOWY, Casting
JOHN BRACE, Casting
BETH SEPKO, Location Casting
Friday Night Lights
Nice. If you need Principal Casting and Extras casting, Beth and Sheila are top-notch.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

And the Award Goes to ... Mona Lee

OK, there should be more of this.

Below is a note actor, coach, and inspirational creative CK McFarland sent out to the Austin film community in recognition of fellow actor, coach, and inspirational creative Mona Lee, one of my film coaches.

I've asked CK's permission to post her note in its entirety here for broader awareness. I've added links for context. The commentary afterwards is all me. ;-)

For years I have wanted to see the Austin Film Community Host some Film Awards, similar to the ACOT Awards. Yeah I know they give them out at the airport to big name celebrities who have gone off and made us proud, and other celebrities who have passed through and made us look good.

But I'm talking about true Austin Awards acknowledging the truly great folks who have stayed, and not just actors, but other members of our community who have been dedicated, and worked so hard for us all. Oh yeah there are those few who continually get their name and picture in the paper , because they have helped put us on the map, and continue to do so. But there are also many other wonderful folks who have contributed in major gigantic ways to make a difference.

This is a tough profession, though not as hard as soldiering or coal mining. But there is perhaps no greater competition than being an actor, due in fact, to the sheer multitudes of those seeking dreams. Yet many (here) don't even have a clue what they are up against, the dedication to training it takes, or the number of actors they are competing against who have been thoroughly trained.

But within our multitudes, there are actual real live great actors living amongst us. Actors comparable to the best in our Movie Magazines. And some who even work a lot, particularly the men. Congrats guys. But I want to tell you about one actor I saw work on stage at
UT a while back. OK, it was 30 years ago let's say. She was playing the outrageous role of Claire in A Delicate Balance by Edward Albee. Now I was in a special private acting school in California and was home to visit the folks. I went to the theatre and saw my first ever real true brilliant actor on stage. I had never in my life seen anything like this woman and the role she played, and it was breathtaking and galvanized my memory to this day. I believe she went on to Julliard from UT and made quiet a name for herself. Well I remembered her name - Mona Lee.

Mona Lee put us Austin actors on the film map. Our roots can be traced back to her. She is the source, the spring from which much of this sprang. When I moved here in 1980 and began a professional theatre ( with the Tuna Boys and Marco Perella) I hired her to coach the company. But she wasn't just coaching theatre actors, she was showing all the Austin actors how to transition to film and what we needed to do to accomplish that. She turned our heads right around and showed us we could be film actors right here in little ole Austin. And she's still doing that. And there is no better helpmate than her BIZ book - which every one of you should have by the way.

Now I am just sitting here at the end of the Labor Day struggling to figure out how to get my classes full, and thought of where it all started and why. It always goes back to Mona, my friend and my competitor (both as a coach an an actor). And I just might shoot myself in the boot giving her all this publicity, but I don't care. Because acknowledging people is so important. And so I acknowledge Mona, not just for her coaching and her BIZ book, but her history with us - a director writer producer and vital and amazing actor who lives amongst us.

She is the reason I have wanted to start some sort of Austin Film Awards So we could give her a the first one and say 'thank you Mona". Good God people need to be acknowledged and I just wanted to start at the beginning. I guess I'll go get something engraved.

ck


I studied with Mona in her beginning and intermediate classes. She had a subtle style that got a lot out of me. And despite being an active coach and working actor, she's also very available.

All of the stuff CK says is pretty inspiring by itself, but carries even more weight and import coming from her.

CK has herself and inspired and pushed so many actors in their craft, and done so much for the Austin creative community.

My current coach, Steve Prince, says of her,
"There isn't a more creative, Dynamic teacher around than CK. I have had the pleasure of teaching with her and I learned as much as I taught. I filled my notebook with thoughts and techniques I learned while listening to CK critique our students. Her workshop is a safe place to push yourself beyond your perceived limitations while inspiring confidence in your craft."
Casting Director Donise Hardy (CSA) says of CK,
"CK McFarland is an invaluable leader in our entertainment community. Over the past 8 years, I have had the privilege of working with CK and on many occasions have watched her film students work at Alleywood. I am always impressed by the growth I see. "
And you can even catch some of CK's work on YouTube (clip embedded below, and recorded before the recent passing of Texas film and interactive incentives legislation).



Every actor should be on set or in class all of the time -- regardless of our level. Austin has a great coaching pool, and a sub-set of those folks are of some of the best, most passionate mentors with which I've been blessed to know. I mention many of them regularly in this column. And Mona and CK are two more of the greats.

Let me know if you need either of their contact information.

Efficient favorinepotism

I don't normally just post pointers to other blogs (I like to offer original content and maintain a select blogroll), but I like this post from LA Casting Director Bonnie Gillespie.

What initially grabbed me was this quotable nugget:
"That, in short, is why people who like to work together like to work together. Call it favoritism. Call it nepotism. Call it a closed network. What it is is an efficient, familiar, easier way of doing business when every second counts (and costs a bundle)."
In a nutshell, a great summary of personal and professional dynamics -- People like to work with people they like, and time is money.

A lot of the post resonated with me for several reasons. Bonnie touches on research, active listening, confidence, authenticity, and other topics that fall pretty close to where I live, and, frankly, are staples of good business networking, regardless of vertical market. (For more on my take on authentic networking, see this previous post of mine -- one of my most read and most republished.)

You've probably heard, "It's not what you know, it's who you know." I actually think it's "what you know and it's who you know".

It can be pretty frustrating to lose out on a gig or a job because they auditioned or hired someone they knew, rather than you. But it's a great thing when you're the person they know.

I'm sure we've all wanted to instant chemistry with someone at some point or another. Think of that personal or professional contact that you really wanted to get to know better, after a "non-sexual professional flirtation" (Bonnie's words) interaction.


It's not like you can force chemistry, or this "relational shorthand" thing Bonnie talks about -- no matter how much you want to. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

Here's a quick positive and negative example from me.

On the positive side, I've always felt like in order to be "full", I need a complete set of mentor relationships around me. These can be on the relationship, spiritual, professional, creative, personal, or hobby side of life (or best, all of them). That means I actively seek out mentoring more junior folks, hanging around peers that encourage me and hold me accountable on what I can do, and meeting with someone who mentors me.

I met a guy who talked about things he struggled with that I struggle with. He showed video clips from and talked about my same favorite movies. He was a comic book fanatic. He was a toy appreciator. He was a small business entrepreneur. He was in life where I wanted to be in 25 years (with the important stuff; not money or recognition or any of the transients).

So I asked him to be my mentor. Thankfully, he said yes, and we've been meeting formally, seeing movies, and going to things like Comic-Con for almost 7 years.

On the negative example, there's a writer whose work I really like. Later I ran across his bio and some of his Web postings, and saw he had been reading, watching and listening to some of the exact same stuff at the exact same time I was (William Shatner, Johnny Cash, Death Cab for Cutie, Brian Vander Ark, Sandman, the Firefly boxed set, Batman the Animated Series, and so on).

I thought, "This guy's a lot like me -- a professional creative with great stuff of his own inspired by some of the same stuff I am; I want to know him."

I met him at a professional conference. He didn't know I was an actor, and he spent the entire time during a panel badmouthing actors. Not only was he vitriolic, the stuff he said wasn't opinionated -- it was false (and he was disrespectful of the panel members' time).

For a bunch of reasons, I still wanted to work with him, and with his company, so I hit him up for work (my clients know I generally introduce myself in creative ways). I then found he was making fun of my submission and deriding me within his company.

That's unfortunate by itself -- it dis-incents me from wanting to work with him -- but worse, because he's been unknowingly badmouthing me with people with whom I do have good rapport (which is how I know), which hurts him within his own company. I feel bad for him.

To be fair, I know I've probably been a version of an "unapproachable chemistry guy". I've received feedback in the past that I'm so focused and making so many things happen in the business world, or being so passionate and black and white with things like beating my "do the right thing" drum, it can be a bit intimidating to folks who don't get the chance to know me more personally. Because I care about improving as a person, that's feedback I take pretty seriously, and look for ways to to improve how I interact with folks in those contexts.

And there are some relationships (business and professional) where the chemistry just isn't there, for any number of reasons.

Anyway, those are some thoughts from me. But check out Bonnie's full post over at The Actors Voice.

Huh, I snuck some original content in there, anyway. ;-)

Friday, August 31, 2007

Labor Day pop-culture sale (Austin)

If, like me, your creativity is informed by, inspired by, or otherwise fed by pop culture, and you're in Central Texas, you should head down to Austin Books & Comics this weekend.

They're having a great Labor Day sale, with a gigantic temporary space down from the main store filled (filled, I tell you!) with boxes of comic book back issues -- all for (wait for it!) one dollar each.

A buck! I filled up on stuff like Hulk and Powers, and even picked up things I've long since missed, like St. George. I got some gift shopping done, too.

Not only are back issues a buck, but trades located in the temporary sale space are at least 50% off (more Powers for me, baby!), and action figures, toys, statues, and the like are 40-90% off.

Over in the main part of the store, everything's at least 10% off, and back issues of comics are 50%. I picked things like Captain America #248 (one of the three first comics I consciously picked up as a wee little lad) and a bunch of Austin-local independent titles from some guys I know (including one I ran into again at the sale).

So, if you're a comic book fanboy, pop culture junkie, obsessive shopper, or someone who just can't pass up wicked good sales, make sure to stop buy one of the cooler stores in our great nation (and a constantly robbed contender in the yearly Comic-Con "Best Retail Store" Eisner Awards category).

Plus, Brad and company are really good peoples. Even if you're just wanting to dip your toes in comics for the first time, they'll make some good recommends.

(I just realized I didn't restock my missing Devil Dinosaur collection. Crap.)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Free acting class in Austin

I've mentioned Van Brooks quite a few times. He's one of my film coaches, and he's doing a free one-night film and audition class for one night next week in Austin, TX.

So free up your Wednesday, September 5th 7:00 - 10pm if you want to "Work on-camera with a cold reading, get audition advice, and [attend a] Q&A about the business. It's also fine to just observe."

There's no obligation, and it's a good chance to check out the studio and Van's style and personality before his 12-week sessions start, and The Mastery workshop hits in October.

Shoot me a note if you need Van's contact info.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Recognizing Jack Kirby ...

The new York Times (free registration required) has a short article on comic book legend Jack Kirby (his 90th B-day would have been yesterday).

The guy is amazing, and I'm grateful for his influence on comics. I've actually been re-reading a lot of his original stuff lately, so this tribute to a hugely influencing creative comes at a good time for me.

Don't know who Jack Kirby is? First, shame on you. Second, here are a couple of snippets from the NY Times article for context:

"Mr. Kirby did a lot more than just draw. As the critic Gary Groth so ably put it in The Comics Journal Library, “He barreled like a freight train through the first 50 years of comic books like he owned the place.” He mastered and transformed all the genres, including romance, Westerns, science fiction and supernatural comics, before he landed at Marvel.

"He created a new grammar of storytelling and a cinematic style of motion. Once-wooden characters cascaded from one frame to another — or even from page to page — threatening to fall right out of the book into the reader’s lap. The force of punches thrown was visibly and explosively evident. Even at rest, a Kirby character pulsed with tension and energy in a way that makes movie versions of the same characters
seem static by comparison."

(Via Boing Boing.)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Another PS3 "Making of" commercial

Here's another Sony PlayStation 3 commercial, with another "making of" featurette.

Unlike the last one, this is a super-short "making of" segment, but that's balanced out with the commercial itself being a truly beautiful little spot.

And while I don't get a lot of Sony's PS3 adverts (particularly the European campaign), somebody's getting to do art house films under the auspices of corporate advertising, so more power to them.


Sp_anonatsu_making(1)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Additive, not reductive ...

Tonight in class was kind of a building night, as we prepare for the Bohemian Theatre Troupe's next public showcase on September 25.

So, there was a lot of picking through scenes, figuring out the number of monologues versus two-, three-, and (yay!) four-person scenes, playing with some scenes and monologues, and a little performing.

So not a big work-y kind of night, but there was something that struck me on the acting process side of things.

I'm always looking for ways to set myself apart as a person, and not get stuck on those things that are part of my acting preparation. I have four different worksheets I do for character and scene / audition / monologue / stand-up work. I do a lot of prep for auditions and callbacks and on-set or on-mic work.

But I'm always looking for ways to keep that process, and at the same time simplify it.

Leave it to my coach to boil it down. He basically said an actor's choice should be additive, not reductive. For example, you're not taking away intelligence; you're "adding stupid".

(And my coach may have said it well, but I summarized it way better. And more concisely.)

The epiphany for me as an actor is the personal prep on which I often get stuck -- that knocks me back into my head, and out of the moment -- is the laundry list of stuff I've prepared. And tonight I realized it's usually the stuff I've "taken away" from the character.

As an example, I might hiccup in a moment, because Mr. Intellectual is intruding on my moment with a barely muffled, "Your character wouldn't do that!"

I get stuck on the "nots" in my preparation. I hit each of these things, and they're like speed bumps in my performance.

So, I need to flip those "nots" into additional attributes.

The other epiphany is this "additive, not reductive" mentality is an extension of the rules of improvisation: "Love your partner, and believe everything they say" (sometimes reduced to "yes, and ..."). And my acting is a partnership with myself, so I need to love me and believe everything I say ("Love your neighbor as yourself" means loving yourself).

This has the extra benefit of removing judgements from my character (I as my character do not acknowledge myself as the bad guy, or being less intelligent, or whatever).

I'm hoping tonight's little realizations flip my acting speed bumps to water wings. Or something.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Which new headshots?

This could be a mistake. But I haven't seen any actor put themselves out there and do it -- which, by itself may be reason enough for me to try it out.

It's time for me to get with the times, and attack the acting world with new my color headshots.

Question is, which to go with? Getting good headshots is tough. Picking good headshots after they're taken is probably tougher.

So, in a move sure to raise eyebrows and get comments, I'm asking you to vote on my theatrical and commercial headshots.

Do you know me? Which headshot looks like some version of the actor you know?

Don't know me? What headshot grabs your attention, and is "cast-able"?

Are you in the Biz? What do you like or dislike about each headshot?

Not in the Biz? That's fine -- same question (thought if you're not in industry, hold off on comments or critiques that're likely already taken as a given; yes, these are low-res, and they're un-retouched, and they can all be cropped differently, etc.).

Take a look at the two groups of headshots below, and send me a note (here) letting me know which Theatrical and which Commercial headshot you like. You can also send me comments.

Theatrical:

Adam Creighton Theatrical Headshot 1
Adam Creighton Theatrical Headshot 2


Best Theatrical Headshot
Theatrical Headshot #1
Theatrical Headshot #2

Commercial:

Adam Creighton Commercial Headshot 1
Adam Creighton Commercial Headshot 2
Adam Creighton Commercial Headshot 3
Adam Creighton Commercial Headshot 4

Best Commercial Headshot
Commercial Headshot #1
Commercial Headshot #2
Commercial Headshot #3
Commercial Headshot #4

CAVEATS: Property of Adam Creighton. For casting purposes only. Not intended for sale or commercial use.

This isn't reality TV, so your votes won't necessarily determine which mug of mine casting directors are going to see -- I'm just looking for (and value) input. There are other headshots in the running, and other factors such as agency input, preferences of target clientele in the pipeline, and which way the Biz wind is blowing at any given moment. These are unretouched shots.


All headshots are by my photographer, Rhea Willis (http://www.rheawillis.com/).

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

AdamCreighton.com redesign?

Maybe.

It started as an infrastructure redesign to extend my properly formed (and utilized) XHTML and CSS across my Website, removed tables used for layout (a no-no), and improve the accessibility and usability of the site.

Then, inspired by Comic-Con (and my own inability to leave well enough alone), I started a comic book-themed redesign of my site.

Starting with the Photoshop mock up (below), I now have a working HTML version. And thanks to using CSS for shadowed containers, Web-safe colors on my graphics, and the like, the site is even smaller in download size than my current site.

Thing is, looking at the two side-bay-side, I think I like my "old" site. It's clean. It's informative. It's professional.

So, now I'm torn. The old site looks and works great. The new site feeds my inner fanboy (and took a couple of days to hash out), but I wonder if it's too cluttered.
What do you think?

A mock up for a proposed comic book redesign of adamcreighton dot com.
A screen capture of the current version of adamcreighton dot com.

Back in class

So, acting class started in July, then a session was cancelled, then I was in Cali, then I was sick flat on my back for two weeks, so tonight I was back in class. After a month out.

I enjoy class. Even when it's hard. I like to be on set, on mic, or in class all of the time. For me, acting's not like riding a bike. It goes away. And there are slumps. And my acting skills need constant use.

Tonight was kind of a "soft-in", which was good, because my voice is still shot.

Cold read stuff was what I was appropriately thrown into. Which I enjoy, and which I got kudos on, and I take encouragement from. But not for the obvious reason.

I'm a voice actor. Pretty much every voice over audition I do is a cold read. Plus mic technique. Plus creating the character with nothing but a voice.

I'm encouraged the skill showed up on camera tonight, and that I didn't stilt the physicality, the connection with the reader. Doesn't mean I won't have off cold reads later. But tonight, I didn't.

And it was so good to see my Meisner peeps again. I really care about those folks.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

On convictions and acting

I've been having some important discussions lately with actors. These discussions center around convictions -- what they "will" and "won't" do -- and how it impacts their acting and auditioning.

The discussion has been ongoing, but started anew when someone recounted to me an anecdotal instance, and it grew from there. In this particular instance, an actress in a mock audition scenario asked if she could substitute something else in a line of dialog that used "God" as a verbalized sigh. It was against her personal convictions to use "God" in what she considered a flippant manner.

Let the contention begin.

And while the scenario was recounted to me anecdotally, I'm sure every actor has experience with this. I know I've got direct experience, and the ensuing discussions were not anecdotal. ;-)

First, by way of background, let's go with at least two working principles:
  1. There's a separation between the actor as person (and their convictions), and the actor in a role (and what is true / authentic / organic for that character).

  2. I don't have this figured out, and struggle with it all of the time.

Let's start with the first issue, that of separation between the actor as person actor in a role as character.

There's one school of thought that says my movie role as a megalomaniac world conqueror is not likely to bridge into the "real" world.

There's another school of thought that says anything I do in a role is OK, because it's not "me" doing it -- it's the character.

One of my favorite tools for figuring things out reductio ad absurdum -- "reduction to the point of absurdity". As an apagogical argument, this is a great way for me to find the ludicrous in a debate, discard it, and find out what holds up. Put more simply, it's "finding the stupid". (An analogy in marketing or sales is "getting to a 'no', so we can start discussing the 'yes'.")

In practicality, I use reductio ad absurdum to assume something (for the purpose of discussion), get an an absurd or ridiculous outcome, and figure out the hole(s) in the original assumption (because the result is wonky).

That's your logic lesson for the day.

And I would say applying it this disussion, to posit "anything I do in a role is OK" is bullsh***.

(See I deftly mix high-brow intellectualism with low-brow boorishness?)

In all seriousness, I'm irritated with the arrogance of Biz folks who espouse this philosophy, because we know it's false. If I'm in the role of serial killer, I don't literally get to get away with murder. If I'm portraying a rapist, I can't actually violate my co-actor victim (just like hopefully no one argues it's OK for him / her to be violated by me, because "they're just playing a part").

These same folks might say this differently: "You need to get rid of your inhibitions."

Really? Because then I probably would kill (think road rage), violate (horniness without inhibitions is a frightening thought), and probably sleep with any person, animal, vegetable, or fruit (kumquats come to mind, for no obvious reason).

In short, I'd be an animal.

I watched an Inside the Actors Studio with James Gandolfini, where he said the same thing after recounting tearing apart a stage during a Meisner class, and the importance of being -- and controlling that being -- is what makes him an actor, and not an animal. So, we should learn from James.

(As an aside, it was this Gandolfini interview that motivated me to take my acting to the next level, and seek out a Meisner coach, and connect with my current coach and training).

How does this play out in practicality?

There was a monologue I gave where I'd been unjustly imprisoned, was out, and was going to attack a girl. I delivered my monologue directly to a girl, and I was so ramped up and angry and screaming I wanted to lunge across the tape line that was my mark and grab this girl. And I didn't cross the tape line. And in that moment, there was no intellectual ("non-being") interruptive acknowledgement that it even was a tape line.

Now, make no mistake, the cost is high. Like Gandolfini, scenes with violence toward women (verbal violence included) messes me up. I hate it. Because it's still me physically acting out this scene.

Which brings us back (in a roundabout way) to the struggle between me as individual and me as actor -- it's still me doing the stuff. If, as a person, I believe there is an all-powerful being called "God", and I believe one of his "big rules" is "thou shalt not take my name in vain", and I have a conviction to obey that, then I have to wrestle with whether I say it in an audition or scene.

Of course, it's all more complicated than that, as there are other factors like "is there something redemptive that happens to my character?"; "Is there something that happens to this character that serves as a warning to the audience?"; "Does art have a 'higher' purpose?"; "Is there something cathartic for me in doing this role?"; and on and on.

So we've had a nice, brief little dialectical jaunt around this topic -- So what was the advice given for the originating scenario?

It ranged (obviously). One person I know and respect deeply basically said, "Do what you're going to do and don't ask about it ahead of time."

Another industry vet (who I don't know personally, but admire his work and career in around 150 memorable supporting roles, so I won't mention his name), in essence gave the following advice:

"If you're unwilling to say lines as written, you shouldn't even audition.... It should be okay to speak privately to the director afterward and discuss it, but the audition room is not the place to do that."

I actually practice the former advice. To be honest, I think if I totally sell an audition -- it's believable -- they're not going to care if I leave out a word.

I disagree with the second bit of advice (admitting I'm responding to it in a vacuum). The way I see it, if I don't audition, I already don't have the part, so why not audition, leave out the contentious words, see if I get the part, then have the discussion?

More importantly, I feel like if I'm violating my convictions to nail an audition, I'm in essence prostituting my beliefs to get a gig. But that's just me.

And I've had bigger gigs -- like one 15-page scene where I told the director I couldn't do it as written, and asked permission to re-write it to where I could. To his credit, he let do whatever I wanted "to make it mine". But I was ready to be done with the project if push came to shove.

Circling back to that second working principle with which I started the discussion ("I don't have this figured out"), don't misinterpret this as inconsistency or waffling on my part. I consider my struggle with this the nature of the importance of the conflict, the strength of my convictions, and my being a thinking person who challenges, tests, and reassesses personal conviction (which is to say I feel "blind faith" isn't faith; or something).

And there are lots of folks thinking about this, and most of them are more studied and articulate than me. People like Barbara Nicolosi, who I don't know, but know of. They probably have more informative discussions.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

On-spec gig

Check out this on-spec piece for which I did VO. My voice is a minor part, but the commercial (faux-fifties-style) is pretty funny.

And my acting buddy rocks. So does his director friend.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Sculpt Whore

(NOTE: This post may contain adult content. Mainly, the word "whore", used repeatedly.)

They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

So, here goes ...

(*Ahem ...*)

"Hi, my name's Adam, and ... I'm a Sculpt Whore."

(*Whew.*)

Let me explain.

I like toys. Just like film, animation, comic books, or other pop culture representations, I enjoy and am inspired by toys. I have a separate blog ("NotDolls", because I'm just that clever) where I take toys (even rare, exclusive, or custom items), take them out of their package, and make fun of pop culture tropes or current events. (I actually get nastygrams for the "take them out of their package" bit.)

But what kinds of toys do I collect, and which ones do I eschew?

There are things I just plain like. Iconic figures (Captain America). Weird figures (Deathlok; Beta Ray Bill). Unique, limited run figures (like the Marvel Manga Twist Ems).

And there toys made by particular sculptors that I like. I like stuff from Dave Cortes. I like stuff from the Four Horsemen Studios.

And there are figures on which I'm not real keen. Sorry, not a big DC fan overall. And while I love the Justice League animated look, I can't stand that the toys ... can't stand. And I dislike any toy based on a bad marketing decision leveraged against one of my heroes (if they every make Scarlet Spider or Rob Liefeld Captain America toys, I may buy them just to melt them).

Recently, I've seen this tested, and (forgive me) I've fallen.

It first almost happened with the Hasbro Spider-Man Origins "Iron Spider-Man" costume. A ridiculous modernizing gimmick that fell flat (two weeks ago a watched a 12-year-old rip the concept to Joe Quesada's face; I really respect Quesada, but that was funny to watch), but I so wanted that figure. It is a fantastic, slick sculpt and paint job. I don't know who did the prototype sculpt, and I hate the concept of the Iron Spider-Man. (What did that bullpen session look like? "Hey, we're going have Iron Man give Parker new armor -- kind of jazz him up for the kids today. What should we call it? Never mind, I got it -- Iron Spider-Man!" Yeesh.)

But every time I saw that figure, I almost bought it, being saved merely by outlasting it's run in the retail stores (and being too cheap to pay the premium for aftermarket).

And then at Comic-Con this year, I fell. Hard.

I mean, I went there, thinking about getting the Four Horseman figure the "Gauntlet of Vaskkh" (which my buddy ended up getting me), but before that, I got sucked into the WizKids Halo ActionClix madness, and bought a mongo Scarab. It's not like I was planning on getting into the new game (though with this awesome centerpiece, you better believe I will), but when I saw the sculpt, did a 360 walk around, and saw how well the thing was made? You had me at "Wort wort wort".

And then my buddy got me the "Gauntlet of Vaskkh" figure (a rhino warrior thingy), and I'd already been debating between that and the Ramathhor figure (a elephant warrior thingy), and since he got me the former, I ... bought the latter.

It's the "Seventh Kingdom", for crying out loud! It's a made-up line Four Horseman put together to sell sculpts. There's no history or mythos -- but I bought two of them. And the hippo and warthog warrior thingies are looking so bad-a$$ ...

That's when I realized I'm a Sculpt Whore. Give me a well-sculpted toy (that's decently articulated, so I'm probably safe from most of Todd McFarlane's offerings), and I'm likely to buy it. Even if I don't collect that line or am a fan of the license.

I feel so weak.


But I feel better, having shared this with you.

And I'm thinking nobody's every used "Sculpt Whore" prior to this. So, "Sculpt Whore" (and "sculpt whore", "sculptWhore", "Sculptwhore", and all meaningful derivatives) (c) and provisionally tm Adam Creighton.

(Oh, and Toddy, I really like you. Just don't have much use for your toys. Change my mind on the Halo 3 stuff.)

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Comic-Con: Sunday

Previously:

This was a short day, and we spent it basically just trying to make the most of the Exhibit floor. I talked to some more companies and individuals, looked for last minute schwag, and tried to help my buddy find some gift for his girls (I was useless).

Toys:

I took a few quick picts of the new DC toys from Mattel, sculpted by the Four Horseman , and looked longingly at the Hasbro Legends series 3 and 4 stuff one last time.

Other Cool Stuff:

Saw Frank "Thank you for Spider-Woman" Cho, and talked to Steve Lieber about Whiteout. Good for him. Greg Rucka's been super good for comics, and I'm glad to see a guy like Steve on the upside of it.

What Sucked:

Having to leave. Oh, and our Dallas connection getting canceled; but I spun on a dime and got us to Austin ... by way of San Jose. An hour later, but at least we got home.

Pictures:









Twitterings:

(Reverse chronology.)