Archive for April, 2007
Larry and I went to the bi-monthly networking mixers to mingle with our fellow industry folk. We saw many acquaintances we’d met on other projects which led us to talking to several of them and getting a potential Cinematographer, Producer, Art Designer and actor to work with on future projects. Early on I had talked to one of the people from the agency I’ve been auditioning for, and as I was leaving we ended chatting with the owner of the agency (who had run the second audition that I attended last Monday). We had a great conversation wherein he told me he thought I was good and could do quite well as a quirky character actor. In the course of conversation, he told me that he was going to sign me to both the Austin and Louisiana* offices. Naturally, I’m not counting my chickens until they’re all signed but it looks like I will soon have be signed with an agency.
After leaving there, Larry and I went to Nuno’s on sixth street to further talk about booking our Improv/Sketch comedy troupe there. They had basically already told us that they’d be happy to book us and so we went to see the space and further chat with the owners to solidify plans. It looks like we’ll start performing our show sometime in May on Thursday nights (they offered to let us do it weekly but we’re trying to decide whether that might be too often and if we should instead do it bi-monthly). They also thought we could come in Wednesday nights to do a few sketches between band sets to keep the audience interested and promote our Thursday shows.
That, my friends, is a productive night of schmoozing!
*Louisiana currently offers huge incentives to film makers so a TON of films are going there to film, including a lot of films that wanted to shoot in Texas but couldn’t turn down the monetary incentives Louisiana offers. Texas is currently trying to get some similar incentives passed, but it hasn’t happened yet. Therefore, this agency opened an office in Louisiana where they have been placing actors in many of the films. While I don’t relish a 5 hour drive for an audition, I keep telling myself that you have to do what it takes if you really want to make a career out of this and that it would be worth it for the right opportunities. For example, 12 local actors got called back to have second auditions in a movie where they would be playing scenes with Robert De Niro for example.
I thought I was done with MMOs. I had first started with Everquest after hearing my friends rave about this great new game. Over the years Jess and I played many Massively Multiplayer Online games and worked (or in Jess’s case, still work) for an MMO company! We enjoyed them all but eventually just decided that we didn’t have time enough to play to justify the monthly subscription costs of such games. There was also the annoyance of having to pick which server you played on and inevitably finding out you had friends on a different server after you had already built up a character on your own server and having your friends splintered across different games, much less servers.
We loved World of Warcraft. The only reason we quit playing was purely the money thing. We couldn’t play enough to justify paying $15 a month for each of us when we only ended up playing maybe once a week. We reluctantly decided that we were probably pretty much done with MMO games. Then Jess brings home two free issues of PC Gamer from work. They included free beta CDs for the new Lord of the Rings Online game. We figured, what the hell, play a couple of weeks of free beta in Middle Earth! Then I noticed that if you pre-ordered the game you got some special benefits. There were some cool items in game that you would get but there was also the special “Founder’s” pricing. Instead of the normal $15 a month per account you could either get $10 a month or the “Lifetime Subscription” for $199 per account. “Cool idea” I though, as I had bought a lifetime subscription on my TiVo Series 1 when I bought it (sadly they no longer offer lifetime subscriptions on new TiVos) and it had long ago paid for itself. I thought this was probably the smartest idea I’d seen in an MMO.
At first I didn’t even consider it. I mean, come on, $199 a piece plus the price of the game?That means it would cost damn near $500 for Jess and I to get 2 games and lifetime subscriptions. Absurd. Then the more we played and thought about it, the less absurd it seemed. We had played all those other MMOs where we had paid for the game and the monthly fees probably totaling much more than $500 over time. If we played this game for 20 months we’d break even and after that it was all profit! I know plenty of people who have been playing various MMOs for years and are still playing and paying. We would definitely get our use from this game and since we weren’t paying monthly we wouldn’t feel that pressure and guilt about not playing enough to justify a monthly cost. We could explore Middle Earth as often or as little as we liked for as long as the game exists. This could truly be the One Game to rule them all and judging from the fact that even some of the worst MMOs we’ve played are still going many years later, we have no doubt that LOTRO will have a long life.
So once again, we have been pulled into the world of online gaming. We’re playing on the Landroval server. Look us up if you visit Middle Earth. We’re both really impressed with the game too. It seems to have really learned from the evolution of MMOs and incorporated a lot of the best features and improvements over the years. It’s beautiful too. If you’re a fan of Middle Earth you will certainly geek out over being able to be a part of it, explore it, meet characters from the books and visit familiar locations. It has reawakened my enthusiasm for playing MMOs, which I thought was dead and buried. It still hasn’t overcome the problem of multiple game/server splintering (for example, I still have lots of friends playing WoW who don’t want to switch to a new game and after playing for 2 days we found out some friends of ours were playing too but on a different server so we started brand new characters from scratch so we could be on their server and join their “Kinship”) but overall we are excited about playing.
Just think of it like this: how much do you spend on going out to the movies or out to eat each week (or whatever)? Now if you could pay for two years up front and in return do that as much as you like for free for the rest of your life, wouldn’t that be a pretty good deal? What? Stop looking at us like that! We’re sensible dammit! If you really analyze this, we’re not crazy! It’s genius!
Ever since my layoff last June there have been many things I’ve been meaning to do to more fully pursue my life goals. One of the top items was to put together a promo package to try and get a talent agent here in Austin and get some paid acting gigs. I puttered around far longer than I should have, but I eventually sent packets to my top 3 agents a couple of months ago. As time wore, I really started to think I wasn’t going to hear anything back. I was surprised. I have a full resume, and what I think is a great promo package, although I think my Demo reel is a bit lacking.
On Friday I had a message form what I consider probably the top agency in town. They wanted me to come in to their audition “class” on Monday. They sent me 3 scenes and a commercial that I would be filmed performing. I spent all day Monday memorizing them and working on my performance. Now generally, you don’t have to have things memorized for an audition, but I wanted to be as prepared as possible and look as professional as possible. Also, having the lines memorized means I can concentrate more on my performance and less on trying to remember the lines.
We’ll see what happens, but I feel like it went really well. I don’t really know how to explain this without seeming totally conceited and egotistical, but I’ll try anyway. This was the second experience I’ve had recently (another being a film audition I recently went on) that really made me feel confident in my acting abilities. I felt that I gave a great performance and that I seemed to be in a whole other league from most of the people there (here’s where I sound conceited). It’s not that everyone else was bad or anything but I just really felt much more natural and honed. I was born to a mother who was into community theatre so I was brought into theatre literally from the moment I was born. Acting is literally a part of my essence, something that has been with me my entire life and it’s only within the last few years that I’ve really settled into a real confidence in my talents. These recent experiences have been wonderful in solidifying and bolstering my acting pursuits. I just really felt in my element and like I had some thing special going for me that a lot of other people didn’t. I think most people came off looking like they were acting. Let’s hope the agency feels as strongly about me as I felt about myself. Next step, figuring out how to get some of the big work in L.A and then how to juggle that with living in Austin. If that means sending out tapes auditions, or gambling a plane ticket every now and ten to make an audition, I’m willing to do that. No more delays. It’s time to get my life on the track it was meant to be on but has been derailed from for so many years.
Today’s random non sequitur: Eric Bana is one “na” away from banana.
Previously on Cerebral Flotsam and Jetsam:
I am now locked up in a medical research facility until April 1.
I’m thinking I may not shave while I’m in here so I can emerge looking a little like Jack Bauer after his stint in a Chinese prison.
The following takes place between 3 P.M. and 4 P.M.