Archive for November, 2008
Yesterday I started my gig with Compass Learning doing videos and voiceovers for the educational software. It’s aim is to be fun, funny and educational. They’ve brought together a small group of us to do multiple characters/voices as needed. Yesterday I played an exceedingly cool guy who LOVES to graph things mathematically. To quote my character, “I once made a graph out of leftover graphs to graph how much I like graphs.” It was a lot of fun, but MAN was I glad there was a teleprompter! I am not a math person. I don’t think there was any way I could have memorized all the gobbledegook about functions, compositions, formulas and “F of X”, “G of X”, etc.
This project has made me discover some new talents though. Apparently I can just spontaneously read things off a teleprompter but sound like I actually know what I’m talking about and do it in character. They seemed pleased at my performance and I felt good being appreciated for my creativity and skills.
I got a call last night to see if I could come in today for another piece. I, of course, said yes and today was even more fun. Me and one of the other cast members named Danu were to perform as infomercial hosts…as sock puppets. When the director told me that I told her that strangely enough, I have sock puppet experience.
Just like in my previous sock puppet experience, I once again found that I seemed to be a pretty natural puppeteer. I enjoyed expressing things through a puppet. It’s a whole different experience and skillset. My favorite moment was when they had me voicing my puppet (with an appropriately cheesy infomercial host voice) and simultaneously voicing a robot who would be put on screen later by the graphics team. The dialogue was very quick in some parts where I would rapidly be switching between the characters and having to remember to only make the puppet talk for one of the rapidly alternating voices. It was a blast. Danu and I had a great rapport and brought a lot of our own improvisation to the performance that the crew loved. At several points the crew were having to hold their mouths to contain their laughter so as not to ruin the take. I felt so in my element and like I really brought it. Everyone, including me, seemed really happy at the result and at how quickly we got it done. There was a lot of long tongue tripping dialogue (this was a science piece about conversions, and scientific accuracy and process) but we breezed right through it.
I went to lunch with Jess and Staci and then headed home for a nap before my second gig of the day. The guy who runs the murder mystery dinner theatre troupe had hired me to go to a private party event. Interestingly, it was a one man show. I was given all the details of the plot and I showed up at a house where 30-40 Dell employees were having a dinner party. I pretended to be with the catering crew as I mingled with the guests, putting on an Italian accent and generally being an over top, slightly obnoxious character. Only the party planners, the “killer” and the catering crew were in on it. I pretended to be kind of pushy with one of the employees (who would turn out to be the killer) and generally just made a scene with my silly behavior. I then pretended to take ill (I had been eating the food and drinking on the job, as well as complaining that the water tasted strange), and ran outside. The owners of the house pretended to call for help. I then came back to the party in a trench coat and wig as “Lt. Calabro” of the Austin Police, doing my best Columbo rip off. I made a scene, told people that my previous character had died and that someone at the party was the killer. After some investigation I “found” a stack of copies of a riddle the killer had left, obviously toying with us. The riddle gave clues to the killer identity, who turned out to be one of the Dell employees (who was in on the plot, obviously). It was all quite unusual and a lot of fun and everyone seemed to enjoy it.
Coming up, I’m doing scenes from “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang” and “The Princess Bride” for some UT directing classes, as well as ongoing sessions with Compass Learning for the next six months, more short films, murder mystery dinner theatre shows, probably a bunch more things I’m forgetting and anything else I get my creative claws into! I’m a working actor! It’s still kind of hard to believe.
There was something about this election. It seemed to me to be the most intensely passionate, most cared about election of my life. It was the first time I actually voted. It was the first time I really cared. It was the first time I actually had the election results on the TV all day. I feel good. I feel like finally “my people”, as in those that I feel the most kinship and connection with, my kindred spirits, have taken action and taken control. It feels like a new era, a revolution. I’ve never been a political person at all but this time I knew it really mattered. When I look at the totals of the popular vote and I know that I am one among that number, I smile. I’ve already seen much graciousness and much grumbling, sour grapes and sour comments. I hope that we can all truly come together as one nation united, and put aside that which divides us and makes us choose sides. For the first time in my 37 years, I care. No matter who you voted for, I hope your future is as bright as I know mine is.
Often there are casting calls for students at the university casting for scenes from well known movies to be performed in their directing class and then filmed later. I’ve done several of these and tend to audition for the ones that interest me. Yesterday I received an email from someone I’d worked with on a few occasions saying he wanted me to be in a scene from “The Producers”. It was all very last minute as the performance was today. It was nice to be sought out, out of the blue and just offered a part. He asked if I knew anyone else to be in the scene so I suggested Larry.
We went over the scene a few times then went to meet him for a rehearsal. A few hours later we performed in class and it was a resounding success. Going into rehearsal, Larry and I both thought that there wasn’t really much room for interpretation. The scene was pretty much on the page we thought but through rehearsal with the director we ended up finding some interesting angles. I play Max Bialystock much more sinister, creepy and slightly insane. It was fun.
From there I went directly to another audition for a scene from “Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang” which also felt like it went well. Wednesday I finish up filming a fun short film and Thursday I am auditioning for scenes from “the Princess Bride” and “Once”. I also have my first session with the six month voiceover/video gig for an educational software company. Then on Saturday it’s off to the Ren Fest where Jess and I got married 6 years ago on November 9. Good times!
On a sad note, our Xbox 360 died today and it looks like it will cost Larry $100 to fix it. Not to mention we’ll be without it for weeks! And in the middle of our Fallout 3 addiction!
I read this quote from Ricardo Montalban and thought it was awesome. Here are Ricardo Montalban’s 5 stages of an Actor’s career:
1. Who is Ricardo Montalbán?
2. Get me Ricardo Montalbán.
3. Get me a Ricardo Montalbán type.
4. Get me a young Ricardo Montalbán.
5. Who is Ricardo Montalbán?
I was Khan for Halloween. It was awesome. I’ll try to see if I can get my hands on someone’s pictures.
I think I just got a 6 month long voiceover/on screen gig for an educational software company. They wanted an SNL style group of people who could do multiple characters/accents/impressions. I’m quite excited about it! Also worked a pretty fun four day Production Assistant job. Filming a short film two days this week, performing with Capital City Mystery Players doing murder mystery dinner theatre and private shows, scenes from movies for student’s directing classes, and much more!
Larry and I pitched a page of ideas to a company that may have us film a bunch of “viral” youtube type spots for them. Could be our first outside client possibly paying us to write, direct and produce videos. I don’t think they like our budget though even though it’s RIDICULOUSLY low. We’ll see when we present it to them.
Life is a roller coaster but generally beautiful.
Hopefully going to England for 3 weeks around Christmas!