Archive for year 2003

Da na na na na naaa…

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I say it’s my birthday! [/beatles]
Well it was, on December 28, and a good one it was. A small groups of my good friends and I gathered at the Hard Rock caf� and had good fun just talking, eating and laughing. I got some cool booty too! Jess got me this thing that I’d had endless fun with in Sharper Image. You hum in it like a kazoo but your voice comes out sounding like either a Sax, Tuba, or Clarinet depending on the setting. It also has backbeats you can turn on to jam with. This goes well with the little toy accordion I got for Christmas. We spent X-mas with me figuring out various songs, and Jess and Casey, my cousin, trying to name the tune I was fumbling to figure out. I eventually got the Spongebob Squarepants theme, One of the Lord of the Rings songs, and a few Weird Al Yankovic tunes down.
Back to my birthday, Jess also gave me the coolest page-a-day calendar ever. Each day has a new origami project, and you use the previous days page to fold it! Very cool. My friend Nathan gave one of those cool glass static electricity discs. It’s currently among the stuff decorating my space at work.
Thanks to everyone for all the birthday wishes!

My latest geeky find; spam filtering for Outlook

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I have been using Popfile with Outlook Express for a long time now. Basically, Popfile allows you to set up “buckets” and then filter mail into them. For example you could have the buckets “mail”, “spam”, “work related”, and “family” to filter emails that fall into those categories. It’s totally customizable, and you can configure buckets for anything you want. It uses “Baysean filtering” to intelligently learn what mail goes into what bucket. If it gets something incorrect, you reclassify it, and it learns. I found it to keep a roughly 98% accuracy after it’s initial learning curve. Very cool.
Well in my recent email client experimenting I decided to give Outlook a closer look instead of Outlook express. One reason was that I could use Pocket Mirror to sync my Palm Vx PDA up with Outlook, thus keeping my addresses and calendar easily synced up between the two. I was thrilled to find Outclass. Which adds this functionality into Outlook. You still have to install Popfile, but that’s it. You don’t run or configure Popfile at all, just merely have it installed. Outclass then takes over and does everything natively within Outlook, including adding buttons to the tool bar to easily reclassify mail and access settings and such. I’ll still be keeping an eye on Mozilla Thunderbird, but for the moment, Outlook, along with Pocket Mirror, Popfile, and Outclass, has definitely taken over as my mail client.

No time for blogging!

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So tired. I’m not used to this working crap. So I spent the week training for my new job doing phone support for lottery ticket machines. All in all it doesn’t seem like too bad of a job, but I’m not jumping for joy either, except for the fact that we once again have money. I’m just so frustrated at the whole job thing. It sucks so bad that so many of us have to do something we’d really rather not do, only because we have to survive. More than anything I just want a job even somewhat related to something I love. I can’t think of any job in the entertainment industry that I don’t think I would love. It’s amazing how you can do the exact same job in two different industries, and you may hate it in one instance, but love it in the other merely because it’s related to something you feel passionate about. I feel like I have so many varied talents that could be put to use, but all the things I do aren’t things you can just apply for. I have friends who are movie and sitcom writers, Creative Executives, game level designers, TV/Film crew positions, and so many others. I would kill to be able to pay the bills doing something vaguely creative, or interesting, or just in the general field. So once again, I find myself gainfully employed, yet tired all the time with seemingly no time for anything else but a job that I do only because I have bills to pay. I try to remain an optimistic and happy cheery person, but as of late I find it so hard. I feel so much urgency in getting to where I want to go. I feel like I’ve wasted too much time already and now I’m trapped. Sometimes I feel a bit cheated by life and wonder why fortune has not smiled upon me as it may have on others who may not even really appreciate it or feel the passion for what they’ve been given. Sometimes I feel I deserve more. I always realize afterwords how silly and selfish that sounds, but never the less, I feel like this undiscovered treasure packed so densely with potential that may never be discovered. I just wish that everyone, not just me, could make a living doing something remotely related to their inner passions or interests. Grrrr! Frustration!
I would happily move just about anywhere if an opportunity presented itself. I think I may resume what I call my “Lottery Ticket” technique. This is where I write letters to celebrities I admire hoping that my words will be infused with enough magic to perhaps sway them into taking a chance on me and giving me a job of some sort. Production Assistant, Personal Assistant, Secretary, Creative Consultant, whatever. I’m not picky. Anything. I know Mike Judge is a local here in Austin. I love his work. If anyone has his address, let me know. Robert Rodriguez is a local too, as well as Sandra Bullock sometimes. If you see them, give them my information. I think I’m going slightly mad. er…madder. Well, mad in the not cool and fun way. Damn you life! Where are my just rewards! Cough ’em up!

Whoa. Employment.

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So I start a new job on Monday working for G-Tech. Basically I will be doing tech support for lottery machines in many states (the machines that they run your bubbled in lottery card through after you fill it out). Supposedly this is a really great company to work for, so we shall see. While I am a bit scared of re-joining the workforce, I am also excited to perhaps not have to live a life of poverty and financial emergency any more. The only real downside is that, being a support center, I could work a shift anywhere between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. 7 days a week, 365 days a year including holidays.
Also on the job front, I had a second interview this week with a video game company! If I got that job I would be doing support for several video games! Even better, there’s no phone support, only email, chat, and in game support so part of my job would be to play games and be available for support within that game. Very good opportunity, and a cool job, BUT they’re open 24/7/365, so shifts generally rotate every three months so no one gets permanently stuck with a crappy shift. Never the less, it could be a very cool job if it comes through.
We’ll just have to see how my artistic pursuits can co-habitate with either one of these jobs, unfortunately. So, again, I have quite the mix of trepidation and elation. I’m trying to concentrate on the good. MONEY! Besides, once I sell my screenplay for millions, and direct and star in it, I’m home free. [blind optimism]

New “Google” Iterations

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We all love Google, the search engine supreme. I recently found out that they have now branched out with Froogle, which only displays sites which sell products. So if you want find, oh let’s say an iPod for your dear friend Heath, you could type it in at Froogle and get nothing but websites that sell iPods. It also comes up with prices, but I’ve found that part can be sketchy sometimes.
This led me to wonder what other iterations Google could branch out with. They could start Zoogle, for example, which only returns pages about animals, or perhaps get even more specialized with Moogle. For us children of the 80’s, there would be MotleyCroogal. Fans of Kevin Smith movies would really dig Snoogle, while people searching for information about ghosts would hit Boogle. If you are looking for scatological information, then the very niche, Poogle, would be your thing. Need some new footwear? Shoogle! Common illness remedies? Floogle (unless the Flugle Horn Players Association wins the lawsuit).
The possibilities are endless. Google, if you’re reading you can just contact me via email to find out where to mail the check.

So who wants to read my screenplay?

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The first draft is finished! I started it in 2000, wrote the first half in about a month and then sat on my lazy ass for 3 years procrastinating. Now it’s done. Well, the first draft is anyway. Now for the painful editing, re-writing, etc.
Movie Disclaimer:
To anyone who wants to read my screenplay, contact me at contact@heathallyn.com and I will send you the link and the password to get to it (I have it saved in multiple formats for you to choose from). You can then save it or just read it online. I am looking for honest opinions and feedback, and not just blind praise. I will listen to all feedback, and take no offense at all to any criticism. Artistic works are totally subjective, and therefore I’m sure some people may think it’s pure crap, and that’s ok. On the flip side of that coin, I listen to all feedback with an open mind, however do not be offended if I don’t take your advice or if I disagree with it. Ultimately I am the one who has to be happy with it. I already have a laundry list of things that may need to be tweaked or changed, but I don’t want to color anyone’s opinions so I’ll keep my own concerns to myself for the moment. Keep in mind that as I’ve said this is the first draft and not a final product, so I by no means think I have a finished perfect screenplay.
Let the reading begin! Contact me if you’re interested.

My big screen debut!

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Well not technically. Technically, my big screen debut was in “House of the Generals” which debuted at a theatre in Dallas, and I couldn’t make it. However, my first big screen debut that I’ve seen was tonight a the Alamo Drafthouse in Downtown Austin. It was the first screening of half of the entries in the 48 hour film contest. As you may have previously read, the way it works is that Friday night at 7:00 all the teams drew a genre, and then had 48 hours to write, film, edit, score, etc. their film. We drew film noir. Every film also had to have the following:
Character: Jordan Moonie, professional skateboarder
Prop: brick
Line: “Excuse me, I think I love you”
In case anyone cares, beware spoilers for our short film “Dead Stock” below.
Friday night, the writers wrote the script. Saturday morning filming began. I wasn’t needed until about noon supposedly. I was later told that they wouldn’t be at the second location until about 2:00. So around 2:00 I went to the location (a dry cleaners) and they started to film scenes there. We got to my scene about midnight, and I wrapped up filming around 2:30 a.m. I played the small, but fun and pivotal role of Drake Manford, uber successful pro skater nearing the end of his career who is fabulously rich and successful, but whose wife convinces my former prot�g�, Jordan Moonie, that I’m the one who attacked him and shattered his knee with a brick, because I was jealous that he started to do better than me. She also convinces him that she’s in love with him, and that I beat her, so he agrees to kill me. In the end she kills me, frames him, and then trips on a brick and falls unconscious on a train track as a train approaches.
The contest itself was also full of drama. At one point the editor called and told us the tape we had run to him was blank. Nothing on it. Turned out we had sent the wrong tape, so whew! Later however the actual tape we finally got him had glitches (it had jammed in the camera) and was unusable. This was about 2:00 a.m. and that meant they would have to re-shoot 2 scenes, one of which included an actor who had long since gone home. They shot everything except for that one scene, hoping to get it first thing Sunday, and wrapped around 5:00 a.m. The next morning, they still hadn’t heard from the actor, so the director stepped into the role, and did great. At some point the editor had told them another tape was totally blank. eventually the problem was figured out, and they got the tape working, and I believe, in fact, also figured out that they could have used the other “bad” tape too, but at this point they had already re-shot. The deadline was 7:30 p.m. at Mother Egan’s Irish Pub, and at 7:20 they were in the car still editing with a lap top while speeding to the finish. We were literally the last film submitted right at the 7:30.
Tonight, we went to watch the showing of the “group A” films which included ours. It was amazing. In everyone’s opinion who I talked to, our film was in a complete other league from the vast majority. Every film played looked very much like an amateur film shot on somebody’s home video camera, and all but the first one were generally bad all around. Acting, writing, etc. When ours came on, it really looked like a real movie. Moody lighting, good acting, nice script, good score, editing, etc. It was just tremendous.
There was only one film after ours. Unfortunately it was the absolute hands down best of them all. It looked, and sounded 100% professional. All the elements were just jaw dropping good quality from the look and sound of it, to all the things I mentioned about our film, and even the credits. There was just no denying the big dog. I have to think the order of the films was no coincidence. Just as seeing our film after all the rest made me smile hugely, seeing the one after ours took some wind out of the sails a bit.
All in all though, I am ecstatic with it. The team was amazing, the writers took a very brave choice of doing a straight dramatic film noir instead of going to more audience friendly comedy route, and we delivered and incredible piece of good looking cinema that was just miles beyond everything except the last film. Hopefully someone will put it online at some point. Now I just hope there wasn’t anything to incredibly good in the “B” group of films which we didn’t stay for since we would have had to buy separate tickets to it. Tomorrow I’ll be talking to some of the guys who stayed for the second group to find out.

It was 20 years ago today…

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…that Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play. Ahh, but who cares about that old git and his silly band. More importantly, it was one year ago today, that a wunnerful woman lost her mind and actually married me. How she’s managed to put up with me for one full year is a mystery for the ages. One year, is our paper anniversary, which is good since I can afford that. I made her an origami giraffe a few weeks back in anticipation. It’s nice to always have your best friend around.
Yay for us!

Lord of the Cash

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Jess and I will not be attending the Lord of the Rings marathon trilogy…
because our 2 tickets just sold on ebay for $400. Now we will be pleasing the Lord of the Rent next month.

Money and Happiness

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Why is it so rare that these two things go together. It seems like I only ever have an abundance of one. Right now, I don’t know that I’ve ever felt as happy in some ways and creatively fulfilled. Since we’ve been in Austin my creative passions have run free. This weekend alone, I went on something like 6 auditions, and I must say kicked ass, but more on that later in the entry. The point is that our money situation is beyond an emergency state, and I must find a job, any job, and quick. This will balance out the money factor at the expense of my happiness factor. Anyway, enough about that, onto the fun stuff.
I had 3 different auditions today (all for non-paying projects). Before the first one, I stumbled upon a monologue that just resonated with me and fit like a glove. I have 2 other monologues, one light, and one darker that I’ve been using when needed up until this point. I knew immediately that I just had to learn this new one. With both the others, I really had to struggle and work on delivery and timing and such. The new one just flowed with me perfectly from the moment I read it. I quickly memorized it, and 30 minutes later did it at my first audition. They then asked if I had another one from a different angle, so I did my light hearted one from my repertoire. By the end they knew they wanted to use me in their short film. One small hitch was that this film was for the 48 hour film contest where film makers receive a genre and some miscellaneous detail Friday night at 7:00 and have 48 hours to make and submit a film. What’s the hitch? The fact that I had already auditioned for 2 other teams, one of which wants to use me for something, albeit they told me it would be for like 30 minutes on Friday night which wouldn’t interfere with the other 2 which would be shooting on Saturday. So now the problem was which of the other two to participate in.
I went to my second audition for a short student film, and absolutely killed with my portrayal of a tailor named Vito which I did with a strong New York accent.
My third audition was callbacks for the other 48 hour team which I had auditioned for yesterday. I told them that the other team definitely wanted me, so I wasn’t sure I should even audition again with them. They said they also wanted me, and that they’d love for me to at least stay and read, and I could decide later. I stayed and read, and felt like I kicked some ass. I then waited around before a second round of reading, and got to know some really cool actors as we chatted away for hours. After the second reading, they wanted me to stay for a third reading since they were really short on guys to read opposite the girls so I did. In the end, I felt I’d really done well, and now I have to decide which of these two teams to go with, and hope that the third doesn’t end up changing from the initial Friday night shooting estimate.
It’s nice to be wanted and feel confident in my work. I’m trying to just bask in my current happiness and not think about the getting a job thing right now. At least until tomorrow. I actually put in an 8 hour day of auditioning today. Crazy, eh? I have begun my world take over.

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BLAH!