Monday, July 30, 2007

Comic-Con sum-up ...

Picture of San Diego Convention Center chair

I am freaking exhausted. But it's that great "I - just - worked - my - tail - off - had - a - blast - met - brilliant - inspiring - people - maybe - have - new - relationships - and - opportunities - on - the - horizon" kind of exhausted.

So I feel great.

In a previous post, I said I was hitting Comic-Con as a comic book & cartoon fan, toy collector, video game aficionado, voice & film actor, for professional (technical and management) opportunities, and for camaraderie.

Other than the last item, these were the roles under which I was going to play at Comic-Con, but as an abstraction, I was going to Comic-Con for camaraderie, passion, and potential.


Like I said, "I'm looking forward to sharing this experience with someone who gets all of this as much as I do." I've been meeting with a mentor pretty much every week, for at least six years. Not only is he a life / religious / business mentor, but he's an incredible friend and comic book and cartoon nut (like me). We mutually encouraged each other (led astray?) to go to Comic-Con this year, and we each probably would not have done it without the other. We were a great pair. There were things I was interested in and he wasn't (largely gaming), and we'd go to our respective panels, then re-sync and share. Or, there would be two panels we both wanted to go to, so we'd "divide and conquer" and fill each other in. Or we'd attend each other's event of interest, and broaden our horizons. Or there were panels or experiences we both wanted to do, and we'd experience them together. That last was the best, because we both "get it", and had common, amazing shared experiences. And we were there with like 100-150 thousand other folks who get it -- to some degree or another -- like us. And we realized we are far less geeky than some other human beings.


Make no mistake, I am a huge fan of all of this stuff. I wasn't there to placate a friend or to exploit people for work. I am a lifetime comic book, toy, cartoon, video game, and film fan. Comic books and toys informed my creativity and story telling as a kid, and continue to inspire me with their artistry. Cartoons and video games got me into voice acting. Film got me into my current on-camera work as I bust my tail on the training front, and come alive under the lights.

I want to act in cartoon, comic book, video game, and film properties because I'm a voracious consumer of all of this stuff. I get it, and I want to give it. I'm like Phil Morris (I so admire and am happy for that guy).

Comic-Con was the place to be to get an inspirational re-charge, get closer to the creative and logistical process that gives me these things I enjoy, meet the folks responsible and say "thanks", and see what stuff is coming down the pipe, before anyone else knows. Sure, stuff makes it out on news wires and such shortly afterward, but it's nothing like being there and watching it for the first time it's ever been shown, with the creators (often seeing it themselves for the very first time), and talking to them afterwards.


I am a working professional. I work ridiculously hard at creating opportunities for acting, for technical development, and for management. I do this for me, I do this mutually for other people, and I do this for people independent of whether there's anything for me. I almost never stopped moving at Comic-Con as I tracked down the right people to whom to give a voice demo, head shot, or resume. I hit up the companies I'm passionate about from a creative or business perspective, and there were so many of those, that I didn't hit many "new business opportunities" while I was in San Diego. That means I was hitting up the folks whose stuff I love, and asking to work for or with them.

There were more than 50 companies and people I wanted to meet in the four days. I knew this was shooting for the stars, but not only di I connect with roughly 30 of those, but some additional, unlooked-for, awesome, what could become "I was discovered" kind of moments. Great stuff.

I also sought out the PR or events folks for booths that I was particularly impressed by, just to say, "Good job." It is important to give the workers their due.

And my new demo has (so far) been very well received.

What sucked:

Nothing bad happened that can take away from the overall amazingness. Plus, I'm going to send a thoughtful note each to Comic-Con and the San Diego Convention Center calling out some of the challenges and offering some suggestions.

But yeah, it wasn't all roses. The "Red Shirts" -- folks who were supposed to help attendees out, were very disconnected and caused some serious pain to my buddy and me. More on that later.

And I had one of those "This is Hollywood, be-otch!" experiences with a biggie that was a good reminder for that I wasn't in Kansas anymore. I reset and changed my tack with a couple of opportunity folks that seem to be not so relationship-oriented. Seriously, I manage multi-million dollar, international programs and services, so if people want to go toe-to-toe on that hard-ass front, I can play.

Oh, and too many people. Lines kept us out of things we'd liked to have seen and done, because the prospect of hours in line with no guarantee of getting in didn't appeal to us. And we had a bad Thursday night experience. More on that later.

Not that we were going to see everything anyway. Between my split personality roles and passions, a top-notch packed programming and events roster, and my working so hard to make sure my opportunities didn't impact my buddy, I knew we were going to miss stuff. Which is fine. As in the rest of life, what should have happened did; what shouldn't have, didn't.

So what happened?

I'm a big tease, so I'm not going to tell you.

Actually, I will, but this post is already too long, so I'll do separate, day-by-day posts of Wednesday through Sunday. I'll try to hit them from the perspective of the roles and abstractions that were my "filters" for attending, and I'll also try to break stuff up by summary, cool stuff, genres, panels, twitterings, and pictures.

As far as pictures, there will be some, but not many, and they won't be overly high quality. The reason is I honored the "no-flash" rule during panels and reveals (I think I may have been the only one). Between that and popping my hand up and down quickly to snap a pict (so as not to block people behind me), the picts are a bit blurry.

And there are some things I snapped picts of that have not been released to the general public, so I won't be posting those picts. Creative and business folks work hard for their IP, and I'm not going to do them a disservice by leaking stuff they're working to release in a controlled, exciting way.

More later ...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Just landed in San Diego

Just landed in San Diego for Comic-Con!

At the Austin airport, Security confiscated my hair gel. Evidently, they
were afraid I would make deadly hair spikes and gore people on the plane.

Time for a quick stop at the hotel, then off to the San Diego Convention
Center for Preview Night (and convention exclusives).

Monday, July 23, 2007

New voice demo! Studio "wring-out" session!

The voice demo:

Big things are afoot on the acting front!

Besides last week's headshots (the number-one calling card for on-camera talent), I recently cut and mastered my new character / animation voice demo (the number-one calling card for voice talent)!

I'm very happy with this demo, and it showcases how my range and technique have grown since my original voice demos.

I've did a decent amount of pre-production on this, because there were specific things I wanted to accomplish.

Besides obviously showcasing my range and diversity, I wanted a demo that translated my recent film training intensity. The "Luke Cage" piece (from New Avengers #22, yo!) does this nicely (and that's the amazing Howard Shore / Lord of the Rings "Journey in the Dark" swell underneath my vocals).

I also wanted to do a bit of a tribute to inspirational voice actor Peter Cullen, who is the voice of the original (and Michael Bay movie) Optimus Prime.

Finally, as I've grown in my craft, I'm well past the point of creating voices -- I create characters. This adds a depth and authenticity to my performances that isn't commonly found in untrained voice talent. I think that's apparent in the demo, and I hope you think so, too.

So, head over to my Demos page to meet Luke, Eeyore, Optimus, True Brit, GhollimEsque, Panic Boy, and's Hedojo and Fae. Plus a nice little industry button (all in fun).

The Studio "wring-out" session:

I've mentioned Jason Young before, who handled the audio for the Pray with Thanksgiving film.

I'm not sure how to articulate that there's probably not a better example of a modern-day Renaissance man than Jason. Musician, sound designer, sound engineer, composer, conductor, singer, wood worker, and technical geek. And not just dabbling in each -- accomplished in each.

We were "wringing out" his new sound booth -- which he designed and built. It's an amazing, solid, sound-dampened (but not sound "dead" or "sterile"), incredibly well-engineered piece of work.

The wring out session itself revolved around the technical and the physical aspects.

On the former, this involved chasing down sound leaks, buzzes, and the like; adjusting levels, and making sure the studio is ready for professional work, without interruption.

The physical side of the wring out involved figuring out the range of the booth, angles for delivery (clean, muddy, echo-ey), allowable space for physicality (it's a cozy booth, but with plenty of room for work -- and even guitar performance, if it comes to that), sit / stand mechanics, and producer / engineer interaction (both for VO and ADR direction).

I really like Jason's new booth and studio (and not just because I get along so well with Jason). It's on par with studio booths in which I've recorded, and is one of the nicest home studios in which I've every had the pleasure to record. It's certainly got some of the best sound.

The pict below is snapshot after a pretty intense "Luke Cage" read (hence, "the shiny"). For this take, we were also checking the sound on my own MXL-990 mic (pictured) -- which turns out to be a pretty hot mic, compared to Jason's studio setup.

Adam Creighton during a studio wring-out session with Jason Young.

After the wring-out session, I went away, focused on headshots, pulled music and sound effects together, then Jason and I spent yesterday afternoon mixing / mastering / finalizing the demo.

Jason was adept at maximizing the sound (without losing the fidelity), and appropriately prioritized the vocals over the music and sound effects (without making the latter two sound like they were just "slapped underneath" the former).

Like I said, I feel great about this demo. Not just for the finished product, but because I ostensibly self-produced this project (with Jason's spot-on collaboration) -- I feel great about the product and the result -- and it's the demo I'm talking to Comic-Con this week.

Jason's available to do this for you. You should contact him. Or me, if you prefer an introduction.

And there's more to come, because we also recorded clips for my new commercial voice demo. But that'll have to wait until after I shake things up in San Diego.

Resume updates

I've updated my resume with Friday's voice gig.

I'll wait and post audio snippets on the site after the spot has aired.


Saturday, July 21, 2007

Booked a voice commercial ...

Yesterday afternoon I got one of my favorite calls from my agent:
"Can you be downtown in two hours to a voice commercial?"
I seriously love that. Gets my adrenaline and excitement about the work up, no time (and no point) in getting nervous, and makes me feel honored to be picked based on past work.

The gig is for an upcoming radio commercial, and the session was at The Production Block, the studio where I cut my voice acting teeth (and my first demo, incidentally). Going to The Block for a gig is like going home -- nice and comfortable, and lets me just focus on the work.

Top-to-bottom I was there for under a half an hour, and got to work with Bill Harwell (VP and Studio Engineer) for the first time. Bill was great, gave clear direction, is very pleasant and professional, and is a great engineer.

Honestly, all of the folks at the The Block are fantastic, and it's fantastic to walk out of a good studio session and have a production copy of the final mixed spot in my mailbox the same evening.

Good way to start a weekend....

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The "Wire in the Blood" Brits ...

Last night I went to a event, where the speakers were two of the blokes from the Wire In The Blood BBC television series -- director Declan O'Dwyer and producer Bill Boyes.

Bill and Declan are in Austin, because they're filming an episode of Wire in Austin, with Texas actors and crew. this is a big deal, as a BBC television episode is feature-length, so this is a movie, shot with Texas talent.

The two of them were phenomenally forthcoming with insight into their history in the Biz, British differences (surprising number of parallels to us across the pond), and advice for actors and other Biz folks.

And they were absolutely hilarious. We're talking an updated British Amos 'n Andy vibe, with meaty content for an actor hungry to get better and meet new people.

The two were also pleasantly self-deprecating, which is ironic considering they're really big guns in the industry (Boyes is a lifetime journalist / producer who was a one-time exec for the BBC, and O'Dwyer is one of the most sought-after directors in the UK, working non-stop across multiple projects (including the British Robin Hood series, which I love) for the last five years straight.

One of the things that struck me about the evening was the almost spot-on parallels (in particular) between Declan's advice for actors, and my current coach's (Steve Prince) philosophy (which, while Meisner-based, is supplemented with things he's learned over the years in the Biz).

What stuff in particular?

Declan said acting is weird, because "You're telling lies. But you still have to be truthful about it." This is a akin to Steve's definition of acting as "Living truthfully under imaginary circumstances."

There was also a lot of talk about making a break into the industry via authentic relationship building (longtime followers know how this strikes a chord with me).

And there was a breakdown of the difference between knowing the mechanics of acting, and the danger of making those a bigger priority than being in the scene. It's about being connected to the people in the room, in the scene, or in your head (depending on the situation) in a real, "organic" (overused industry buzzword) way. And you'll see that in folks' eyes. When it's off, it's what my coach calls, "Dead shark eyes." And you need both the connection at the mechanics.

Afterwards, I hung out and chatted ("bunnied", "rabbited") with Bill and Declan to say thanks for the gift of sharing their insight with around a hundred Austin actors and industry folks, and to wish them well on the shoot. They're both very pleasant, very approachable, and very funny. Good folks.

I also really like the premise underneath Coastal Productions, the company behind Wire In The Blood, and co-founded by series star Robson Green. It's a successful company, with at least one of its goals being "supporting local young people who want to get into the industry."

And I ran into a ton of acting friends and acquaintances last night, which I love. I so enjoy getting my hug on with these amazingly talented folks with which my life has been blessed.

Good times ...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Countdown to Comic-Con 2007!

A week from today, I will be in San Diego for Comic-Con -- the grand-daddy mecca of all things comic- and toy-related.

I'll be there for all four days (plus the preview night on Wednesday), and am totally stoked, inspired, and ready to maximize the experience.

I'll be hitting the week from a bunch of fronts:

Comic & Cartoon Book Fan:

I'm a reader and collector, so I'll be there to get what I can from artists, creators, the indie scene, and I'll see what I can do to patch some holes in my collection. And there'll be a bunch o' animated (and anime) stuff to soak in.

Toy Collector:

Do you read my toy blog? Why not? I'm a collector, and I play with (and make fun of) my toys. Comic-Con has "convention exclusives" -- toys that are only available at the convention. I've got my eyes on some Hasbro, Four Horseman (why don't they do Hip Flask toys?), STIKFAS, Shocker Toys LLP, Toynami, and Wizkids stuff (at least). And I'm still looking for Dragon Man ...

Video Games:

Oh, there will be video game announcements next week. Oh, yes ...

Voice & Film Actor:

This is a huge chance for me to meet other voice and moCap actors, studio and sound folks, and catch up with Biz folks and coaches I know around the nation, but don't get to see very often. There are current and potential clients, casting directors, and general creatives who I really like and respect, and with whom I'm excited to collaborate on future projects.

Toy job:

OK, this isn't about toys, per se, this is about my big-gun, non-acting persona, where I lead worldwide teams and initiatives. I'm always looking for the next step in my career, and that melding of my leadership, technical, and creative skills in one place (if such a place exists, I should find it at Comic-Con, no?).


I'm not going to Comic-Con solo. I'm heading there with my mentor and fellow comic / cartoon / movie geek buddy, and we're going to rock San Diego like it's 1999. Until we get kicked in the teeth by the time zone change, then we'll likely kick it like it's 2007 (and hit snooze). I'm looking forward to sharing this experience with someone who gets all of this as much as I do.

Call me!

Are you going to be at Comic-Con? Want to meet for Biz or fun? It's going to be wicked crazy, but get a hold of me, and let's see what we can shake out.

Monday, July 16, 2007

New headshots today ...

Today, I had a session for new headshots from the incomparable Rhea Willis.

Rhea was my original headshot photog, and we've both gotten even better since that first set, when I was starting out in the Biz.

She's now doing all-digital and color, and I'm a lot more authentic and good at taking notes while working, which made for a great, painless, and even fun (imagine!) afternoon.

We ran the gamut, from serious to goofy, blue to white collar, approachable to intense, and commercial to theatrical.

Rhea's great, because besides being such a pleasant person, she's super talented, and does everything from the shots, to makeup, to touch-up of the final selections. And she's a partner in the whole effort -- giving great feedback on everything from wardrobe to poses, which makes the whole effort more collaborative, and more productive.

I'm totally stoked for the CD and proofs this Wednesday, and should have new headshots in the next couple of weeks (I'm in San Diego next week for Comic-Con, so there's at least a week's delay).

Check out the picts on her Website -- she does great work.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Making a video game commercial ...

Folks who know me know I'm a big fan of the acting process -- mine and other folks'.

I'm also a big fan of video games, so when the two intersect, I'm going to let you know.

This brief clip below has a cute behind-the-scenes romp with Japanese actress Yuri Ebihara, as she hocks SEGA's 15th anniversary of Puyo Puyo!

I enjoy seeing the "non-acty" side of actors (on- and off-screen).

Monday, July 02, 2007

iPhone madness ...

iPhone attempts to usurp the smart phone regime (300 parody).
OK, I got sick of all of the 300 "This is madness!" parodies, too.

But I with the Friday iPhone launch craziness, the fact that I'm a thinking techie guy, and various headlines (ZDnet, etc.), I was inspired to create my own little 300-inspired riff.

Besides, I was feeling a little left out of the whole parody insanity.

Not that I'm wishing Apple any ill -- more power to innovation. It's just that they're not a handset manufacturer, this is their first foray, it has some initial hiccups ("Has variable call quality and lacks some basic features found in many cell phones"), and launching on Friday night, causing weekend activation hiccups to take longer and be more costly (stories range from 6-39 hours) wasn't the smartest thing I've seen done.

And I am miffed at their inarguably impressive ~75% market share for MP3 players -- and I'm miffed because their innovation has been overtaken by geek chic, and iRiver, Samsung, and others (arguably) have better, cheaper alternatives. And geek chic is pointless.

All that said, this is probably the sexiest U.S. phone out there, and once they get past the hiccups, watch out, world!