Archive for year 2003

Life does not like me much at the moment.

So in a turn for the worse, I took Jess to work tonight, only to find that when I got back in the truck to go home, it wouldn’t start. I turns over, and occasionally will sputter for 5-10 seconds and then die. Seems to be fuel related, like the fuel pump or fuel filter or something. So Now I’ll have to call the Mobile Mechanic to go to my truck and check it out, which we can’t even come close to affording at the moment since I’m currently wondering how we’re going to pay rent. Must…find…job…NOW!
Le sigh. Does anyone besides my wife and mother even read this any more?

God Strikes Back! A Mel Gibson Production.

Or so the Church would probably have you believe. So Mel Gibson is filming this highly controversial movie about the life of Jesus called “The Passion of Christ”. There has been all kinds of furor over this film accusing it of anti-semitism, and due to the fact that Gibson plans to release it with all dialogue in ancient Aramaic with no subtitles. When I read this article on People.com there was just no way to not find it hilarious.

STRUCK: Actor Jim Caviezel, 35, who plays Jesus in Mel Gibson’s controversial film “The Passion of Christ,” was struck by lightning during shooting, reports Variety, which quotes a producer as describing how he saw lightning come out of the actor’s ear. An assistant director on the film, Jan Michelini, also reportedly was struck — twice. The first time, a lightning fork struck his umbrella during filming in Italy, causing light burns to the tips of his fingers. A few months later, Michelini was carrying an umbrella and standing next to Caviezel. Both were hit, with the main bolt striking Caviezel while one of its forks hit Michelini’s umbrella. Neither were hurt.

In related news (not really, but conspiracy theorists could link them), check out this article on CNN.

Anxiousness

So I’ve found myself to be very distracted and on some underlying level frustrated lately. I would say “unhappy” but I don’t feel comfortable with that word as it seems to convey to grave a nature to my state of being. I’m not depressed or anything like that, but there is a bit of grumpiness at life in general. I just can’t seem to shake it. I was thinking about it today trying to figure out how I could remedy this situation, and was quite displeased to realize that I can’t. The frustration will only be alleviated by actually having some degree of success in my chosen vocational areas. Now some would say that I do have some degree of success, and this is true, but my stress and frustration will only be alleviated when I am making something resembling a living doing the things I love. This worries me because it is not directly under my control, and everything I’m trying to do is just this side of fool’s folly. I mentioned today that to stay sane as an actor (and it applies to music, and crew work too) you almost have to be daftly, and blindly egocentric to a point. You have to believe that there is something so special about you that you will succeed where scores of others fail. This is a hard facade to keep up, but it is absolutely vital. I believe that if you think “Ahhh, I’m not any better than the teeming masses of other people trying for the same dream” then you’ve already failed from the start. It’s like actually convincing yourself each week that you’re going to win the lottery.
The problem with having gigantic, vivid, and vibrant dreams is that it can make reality very painful. I’ve found that making a career out of film crew work is only the tiniest bit more likely than making a living as an actor. Here’s hoping I can sell my screenplay for loads of money and make a deal to direct and star in it. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been closer to being really happy and on my path, but I’ve also never been more frustrated and felt so close and yet so far. Part of me has wondered if Austin is really any better a place than anywhere else, or if you really have to be in L.A. to even stand a chance of any kind of entertainment career, be it in front of or behind the camera.
The other day I was an extra on “The Ringer”. There I was, sitting on the set all day long next to Johnny Knoxville, Bobby Farrelly, and Luis Avalos, who among many movie roles was also “Luis” in the long running children’s show, “The Electric Company”. I sat there, ecstatic to be on set (and one of only three extras), and yet feeling a bit down at watching this world I want so desperately to be a part of in much more involved capacity. I feel so many walls keeping me from where I want to go, and I don’t know how to bypass them. They never even ended up using us extras either, but at least I got paid to hang out on the set all day. We even had a trailer. Argh! I want it all, and I want it now!

Most excellent!

So one of my best and oldest friends (oldest as in how long we’ve been friends, not his age), Andy Hunter, will be moving to Austin, and even cooler, moving into an apartment one building away from mine. Very cool.

Auditions, gigs and funerals

The three are not related, in case you were confused. Saturday morning on our way out of town I went to 2 auditions. The first was for a little non-paying role in a film called “Love-holstry”. The script was demented, shocking and pretty damn funny. Basically, the lead gets dumped by his girlfriend, gets drunk, and then his comfy chair starts talking and coming on to him trying to get him to have sex with it. For my audition, I did a monologue from “The Jerk” by Steve Martin, and then read some of the script. I think it went well.
Next up was the extras casting call for the new Johnny Knoxville (of “Jackass” fame) movie, “The Ringer”. Since I initially didn’t think I could make the casting call due to having a gig that night, I had sent them my headshot in the mail previously, but figured I’d go ahead and pop on by anyway. Good call on my part. I filled out the info sheet, stood in line, and watched as everyone haned in their stuff and left. When she got to me, she turned to another girl who was in the back at a table and said “what about him?” She then told me to go see the girl at the table. Much to my surprise the girl actually recognized me from my picture that I’d sent in the mail, and I was hired on the spot to be an extra this Tuesday. It sounds pretty promising too, because there will only be 3 extras on the set that day.
We headed off to College Station for my gig which was uneventful. It was ok, but nothing special. Much to my surprise, it was pretty cold that night and I wished I had brought a jacket.
Sunday was Mimi’s memorial service. All in all it was a very cheery affiar, just the way she would have wanted it. She was a fan of wakes, and such as opposed to grim depressing funerals. It took place at a 100 year old house which also would have made her extremely giddy with joy. It was really nice seeing everyone and talking and catching up. To paraphrase something Jess said at one point “This is the cheeriest funeral I’ve ever seen”. It was true. All in all a fitting send off that she would have approved of heartily. It’s kind of strange to know that she’s gone and never coming back. It’s a concept that my mind can’t really wrap itself around. I wondered last night what an alien culture would think if they saw our little death rituals. I’m sure it would depend on the culture, but I wondered if they might be puzzled at how these strange people have a solemn ritual every single time one of their flesh bags ceases functioning. Billions of them around the world, and yet with each passing, life halts for just a moment to pay their respects. Those wacky humans!

Betty Cooper 1925-2003

We lost my grandmother today. For those who might not know, it was totally expected. She had been in declining health for a long time, and living with my mother who had been taking care of her for many years now. She was constantly in and out of the hospital, and my mother had somehow managed to take care of her for a long time even though Mimi (as we knew her) was really far beyond the capabilities that should have been expected from my mom. Somehow my Supermom managed to make it work all this time though, even though Mimi really should have gone into some place where she would have been professionally cared for 24/7. The thought of any kind if “home” or anything was anathema to her though, so my mom bravely soldiered forward, living her life basically as a 24/7 home care nurse.
With this last trip to the hospital, it was pretty much determined that things were looking worse, and that these might be her final days. She had a “Living Will” and did not want to be kept alive by any machines or life support or any of that. In her final week she was moved to a Houston facility, and my mom, my 2 uncles, and their wives were pretty constantly down there with her. In her final days, the doctors had proposed various feeding tubes and procedures which really served no purpose but to delay the inevitable, so in the end all those procedures were declined, and instead, she was just put on oxygen and morphine to make her comfortable. That was yesterday. She died some time after noon today. I’m sure she was ecstatic to finally be out of her misery and to again be with my uncle Jim, who I’m sure was there to greet her with his guitar in hand at the boat dock, bus stop, train station, futuristic air tube, or whatever other transit there is to the after life.
My mother and I spent a large majority of my life living in the same house with Mimi, so she was a large part of my growing up too. A few random memories:
She introduced me to the delicacies of butter and sugar sandwiches, raw cookie dough (which I liked to eat as much as finished cookies), and can probably be blamed for my enduring sweet tooth.
She was responsible for exposing me to old horror films, Monty Python, and Benny Hill, which I’m sure played a large part in shaping me.
She obviously raised a damn good family too, since my mom and my uncles are all exemplary human beings.
Good bye, Mimi. Here’s some change for Charon, the bus driver, the train conductor, air tube coin slots, or whatever it may be. Say hello to Jim for me.

This NaNoWriMo thing

For anyone who is not familiar, check it out here. It sounds intriguing, but there’s no way I will be participating unless I finish my screenplay before then. If I finish my screenplay before November, then I may undertake it just for fun by taking an idea loosely based on P@’s dream about time travel but done in a silly Douglas Adams-y way. Initially his dream gave me this great idea for an action thriller screenplay with a sort of “Minority Report” atmosphere, but upon thinking about the NaNoWriMo thing, it lent itself well to my Douglas Adams-y thing too.
If I don’t finish my screenplay before November then I shall endeavor to use that time to make sure it gets finished by December. Whenever I do finish it, it is only the first draft which will need some serious re-writing and tweaking, so that may end up taking precedence anyway. We shall see what happens.

Can Lord of the Rings make your head explode?

I hope not, because Jess and I now have tickets to the LOTR trilogy Tuesday on December 16. Starting a 2:00 p.m. they will show the first 2 extended edition movies, and then an advance premiere of “Return of the King”. Factor in showing up way early for good seats, and we’re looking at 13-15 hours of LOTR overload. Intense. It will be an experience. Perhaps we need a training regimen to prepare us. We have seen 3 movies in a single day before, and twice we’ve watched 8 consecutive hours of 24 DVDs, so I think we should be in fighting shape.
Forth Eorlingas!

Multi-talented or dabbling hack?

O.K., I know I’m not a dabbling hack, but that’s not the point. “What is the point?”, you may ask.
Lately, I’ve really been examining my career goals, and how to best approach them. I’ve always had many diverse talents and interests. In one way this is good in that I am very versatile, and there’s a lot of paths I could take. On the other hand, it also leads to confusion, and trying to juggle things, and risking that you may split yourself in too many directions.
Today, I realized just how scattered I am when I thought about all the things I’ve thought about pursuing. Let’s look, shall we? We all know of my acting, and music aspirations. You an divide music into further sub-categories such as writing, producing, session playing etc., although lately I’ve been wondering if I’m really good enough to be a session player. I’m not so sure about that. I’ve also been pursuing crew work as a production assistant on films, TV, commercials, and just about anything, really. I think that as far as crew work goes, my eventual goal would be to work into an Assistant Director capacity. When I did an infomercial not long ago, I really took note of Og, the A.D., and realized that’s a position in which I really thought I would excel.
I’ve thought about trying to get into film scoring a la Danny Elfman. This isn’t really feasible at the moment since I would need, at the very least, a really nice workstation keyboard. Something along the lines of a $3000+ keyboard with tons of sounds like having an orchestra at my fingertips. Even then I wondered if I could really do it without also reading and writing sheet music. I would really like to know more about Danny Elfman, and his exact process. I could record a film score and someone else could notate it I suppose. This is one of the most unknown avenues to me, and one of the least likely as a starting point. It would more likely be something I would get into after somewhat establishing my career in some other way first.
I’m also a writer. I think I’m quite a good one (not that this blog is any evidence of that). I’ve got a screenplay which is about 2/3 finished which I think is brilliant, and one of my best possibilities for getting somewhere. Unfortunately, I’m also very lazy and slow. I wrote the first half in like a month, and have spent the next 3 years, slowly trying to finish it. This has led me to various other thoughts (which are really way too far down the line to worry about right now, but that doesn’t stop me) such as should I just outright sell it if someone made me an offer, or should I hold out until I can get a deal to star and direct it too, which is really my vision, and how I think it needs to be done. Part of me thinks “if you actually get an offer at all, you’ve hit the lottery, so take it!”, while the other part thinks “Don’t compromise what you want. It is good enough that someone will agree to my terms, and that’s really the only way my vision will ever be fulfilled”. The first option compromises my dream for the sake of money and career advancement.
I’ve also thought that I could write reviews, or magazine articles quite well, but yet I have no portfolio or anything to convince anyone of that.
Many people have told me I should do stand-up comedy, which I’ve also though about. In fact I have a notebook of ideas that I’ve kept since like eighth grade, albeit only sporadically, to the tune of several pages. I’ve probably forgotten more brilliant things than I’ve documented. If I did take this route, it would only be as a stepping stone to other things since I don’t really want to be a touring stand-up comedian.
There’s probably many more I’m forgetting at the moment, but you get the idea. I’m happy, and blessed to have so many areas which I feel at least fairly confident in my talents, and while that gives me many avenues to pursue, and hopefully gives me more chances to make some money, it also confuses things.
A bit of a random tangent: my aunt says she knows someone who is a “Book Index Editor” who works from home on his own hours. How the hell do people get these kinds of jobs? I’d love to have any kind of job where I can work my own hours from home, at least for now!
The world is my burrito, I just don’t know what I want on it.

I like you Arnie!

This is a rare occasion. Heath gets political. Very rare, and something I usually don’t really care to do and in fact probably avoid, but I vast tidal wave of anti-Arnoldness is drowning me.
I’m quite puzzled by all the Ah-nuld hating going around. I just don’t get it. Everywhere I look it’s someone dissing Arnold and expressing indignation or disgust at his election as governor. I just don’t get this. He seems quite intelligent, personable, and politically knowledgeable. More so he seems like something that I, personally, have found very rare; an open minded republican. Most republican’s I’ve met in my life have been very closed minded, biased individuals who wallow in self-righteousness and take great joy in dismissing liberals as some lower form of extremely stupid life. They seem to just blanketly agree with the republican side of all issues, which I find hard to believe. While I may be fairly liberal, I don’t just automatically agree with all democrat opinions, and disagree with all republican opinions. Well, this is a whole other rant I don’t really care to get into, but the point is that Arnold actually seems to have some liberal friendly views instead of just voting like an automaton who must be 100% absolutely on one party’s side or the other.
I do understand the surface entertainment value of the fact that The Terminator is now governor of California, but past that, I don’t really think he’s getting a fair shake. It reminds me of when an actor tries to put out a music album or a musician tries their hand at acting. Many times people automatically put this stigma on them and just assume that they’re going to be incompetent and laughable in their new role. I think this is exacerbated by the fact that Arnold is already stigmatized by many in his role as an actor. People jump on the “Arnold is just a stupid action buffoon who can’t act” band wagon, which is a whole other argument that I disagree with. You may not like “action” movies or whatever, but to boil that down to “he’s stupid and can’t act” is just unfair. Has he put out some crap? Sure, most actors have. However he’s also put out many movies that define the genre itself (which also suffers from unfair stigmatizing by intellectual movie snobs everywhere). As I said, it’s fine if you simply don’t like those kinds of movies, but just because you personally may not like them doesn’t mean that they’re crap, stupid, or just for dumb testosterone filled flesh bags either.
I don’t think there’s anything ridiculous or worthy of eye rolling about his being governor. Is it amusing? Yes. Are there many jokes to be made? Absolutely. Is it some kind of ridiculous travesty? I don’t think so at all. I just find it kinda sad, that he’s got some very promising characteristics, but most people have already put him on trial, found him guilty, and thrown a rope over the highest tree limb not based on anything other than “but he’s AH-nuld! The Terminator! Come on!”