Author: Heath

30
May
2004
12:28

So many games, not enough time.

I’ve previously discussed how my wife and I are currently addicted to City of Heroes. This has been taking up all our free time lately. Our Netflix movies sit unwatched (the $20 a month fee isn’t so economical when you let 3 movies sit for months), yet I refuse to cancel, because Netflix rocks, and I am determined that we will again get our use out of it.
Our Gamecube sits unused. Metroid Prime, Rogue Squadron 2, Super Smash Brothers Melee, Mariokart, and others sit unplayed and unfinished. Of course, my consoles always end up neglected in favor of my computer, so I don’t know why I keep venturing there. Once I bought a stand alone DVD player, I sold my PS2 and games as a bundle on Ebay. I haven’t had a case of “Nintendo thumb” in a long while (though I have developed some bad City of Heroes hand).
On the computer front alone, there are many games out that I want to play (I’ve still never finished Jedi Academy, which is installed on my computer”. There are many more coming out in the future that I am eagerly anticipating. Tabula Rasa, and World of Warcraft may give City of Heroes some competition. Middle-Earth Online appeals in concept, but somehow it just hasn’t grabbed me.
One game, I am determined to make time for, however, is Evil Genius. I will play this game.

19
May
2004
13:44

I think I made Mike Judge laugh!

I recently spent a day as an extra on Mike Judge’s new untitled movie starring Luke Wilson. Luke portrays a man who takes part in some government experiment and wakes up in the future where he finds he is the smartest person on Earth because we’ve all been dumbed down so much while he was asleep.
I showed up bright and early at 5:45 a.m. (otherwise known as stupid o’clock) with several changes of clothes for wardrobe to choose from (I was told to bring 4 different outfits). I went and checked in, then began the time-honored movie making tradition of…waiting. As always some good snacks were provided, and I wished I had brought something to read. While we were waiting they picked about 15 people to stay on for a later scene as prisoners in the future. I wasn’t picked, despite my stunning aura of charisma. After a good while we went and met with wardrobe who looked over our clothing choices. From my clothes, they had me wear one of my favorite funky patterned shirts, my converse with flames on them, and some cargo pants with the legs zipped off to convert them into “shorts” mode. They seemed particularly enamored of my bitchin’ flaming Chucks. We went back to “holding” as they call it (thus reiterating how extras are much like cattle, only we’re not butchered and made into meat products…well most of us anyway), and one of the hair/makeup ladies came to check us out. She decided to gel up my hair a bit. Mike Judge, the director and writer, came in to scope us all out and make sure he liked what he saw. This was way cool, as it was Mike Judge! Beavis and Butthead! King of the Hill! Office Space (a true classic)!
For this first scene, we were supposed to be white trash people waiting in line at a traveling carnival in front a fun house type exhibit called “Future Town”. The props department came by and loaded us all up with huge fanny packs, balloons, popcorn buckets, admission tickets, stuffed animals, and various other white trash carnival accoutrements. I was then put with a group of people who walk by in the shot instead of being in line. During this scene they recruited some more people for the later prisoner scene, and this time they obviously recognized my potential, as I was picked! Fame was just a step away! A very large, size 157663 EEEEEEEEE step away. We shot the scene a few times, and that was that. Whether or not I’m visible, we shall see.
They released the extras who weren’t sticking around for the later scene, and the rest of us then went to wardrobe again. We were issued shiny orange futuristic prison clothes and shoes. Everyone knows clothes will be shiny and synthetic in the future. They’ve known this since sci-fi movies in the 50’s. I’m still waiting for the days when we all get to wear comfy silver jump suits.
We then stood in line to get make up to stamp our wrists with bar codes, and then it was off to the hair people. They put many extras in wigs if they had short hair, and they left most long hairs alone. My hair they gelled up into a pseudo Mohawk style. I found it peculiar that they didn’t allow any facial hair in the future, but tended towards longer messed up hair.
After more waiting, then lunch, and some more waiting, we went to the futuristic prison set. Way cool. We stood in line to have the props department put big shackles on us, and then proceeded onto the set. I started out towards the front of the line, and as Mike Judge and some crew members planned the shot, it looked like I would be right next to Luke Wislon! Then they rearranged us all and hand picked some other prisoners to come up front. Me and several others were relegated to the back. No further back. Keep going. Don’t worry that you’re completely off the set, the line of prisoners will be moving. Then they needed shackles for some of the guys up front. I was de-shackled. I never thought I would be sad to be “set free”. So now, shackleless and off the set, my prospects for being seen were pretty much nil. Those of us not being used in the line were then put into the prison cells, which looked through a plexiglass wall into where the line of prisoners was. I’m right up against the glass, in the very last cell, furthest away from the camera. Chance of being seen? Next to nil. However, between takes, Mike and another guy are looking into the cells and talking about something. As they scan over into my cell, I’m standing with a completely crazed, maniacal expression on my face, which causes them both to laugh. Score. I made Mike Judge laugh. At least I think it was me. However this does not prompt them to “discover” me and put me in the movie. Oh well, maybe next time. Later, after a few takes, they changed angles and some of the closer cells might be seen, but we weren’t even needed because we were totally out of shot. We wait around for about another 2 or 3 hours without being used before they wrap and we are released for the day.
As usual, it was both an exciting, and somewhat depressing experience all at once. It was great to be on a 20th Century Fox movie with Mike Judge and Luke Wilson, but it’s also a bit taunting to get this tiniest taste of the world you want to live in, but can only visit as an alien. I’m going back for a second day of shooting as a prisoner. We shall see if this day bears more fruit!
*update*
No fruit. The night before I was supposed to go back, I called to get my call time. There was a recording saying to call back after 9:00 p.m to make sure no times had changed. I called back at 10:30, and it still said to show up at 9 a.m. When I showed up I was told that at 9 p.m. the night before, they were informed that they only needed about 30 of the 100+ people booked. I of course silently wondered why the hell they didn’t change the recording then, but maintained my cooperative nonchalant facade. So they sent me home, but still paid me 2/3 of what I would have made had I actually worked. Ahh, my glamorous Hollywood lifestyle!

04
May
2004
15:54

Greetings heroes!

I’ve been quite lax with the updating lately. Partially because I’m a lazy bastard and partially because we’ve been firmly entrenched playing “City of Heroes” a new super hero online game. Very much fun.
There are so many hero ideas I’ve had that I want to try. Currently I’m playing this hero. It all started when I was trying to figure out how I could possibly use my online pseudonym, Nos402. It seemed like a strange “name” for a hero. Mostly because of the numbers. I joked that I’d be some kind of vampire robot, and Jess loved the idea. I then concocted a back-story, which actually made that feasible. I was quite happy with it and my character rocks. Much, much fun. If any of you join up, seek us out on the Virtue server! Jess is playing The Grr.
It’s consuming much of our time. Several other of our friends are playing and we joined a “supergroup” with some cool people.
Other than that, jobs suck, life is alright, and everone should eat more queso.

29
Apr
2004
14:46

City Of Heroes

If anyone is playing the new MMORPG, City Of Heroes, Jess and I (plus some friends) are on the Virtue server. Get in touch with me!

21
Apr
2004
10:14

StopFCC.com

If you hate seeing this country slowly turning into George Orwell’s “Big Brother”, I highly encourage you to go to www.StopFCC.com and register. At the bottom of the page they now have a link to an ACLU page where you can fill in a form to send a fax to your senators. It even has pre-filled in text if you can’t be bothered to work up your own. I added the following paragraph just to add my own personal input.

People have a choice. A choice to change the channel, or turn off the radio or TV. People should continue to have the choice of whether or not they watch or listen. Don’t take this choice away from those who want it, merely to please those who do not want it. Just as forcing people to watch something they find offensive is wrong, so is eliminating the choice so as to please those people. If I find chocolate ice cream offensive, I can choose not to eat it. I do not think that the correct course of action is to ban chocolate ice cream across the world.

It’s so easy, that there’s really no excuse. Believe me, I’m one of the laziest people around, and I found it effortless. Support free speech and all that. Don’t let the government make your choices for you. Grrr.

18
Apr
2004
10:53

Wake up and smell the Texan

So I’m quite distraught. Apparently, I sound like a Texan. Annika commented after watching our film that I sounded Texan. Someone in New York who I was speaking to at work made the same comment. I’m bummed. I don’t want to sound Texan.
I had always been quite happy that everyone in Texas always thinks that I’m from somewhere else, and are surprised to learn I am a native Texan. I always attributed this to the fact that I had always been into doing other accents, and I figured all those years of doing other accents had skewed my own into a more northern or more neutral accent. Many times I find myself slipping toward a more New York area type accent, although just ever so subtly. I guess my accent is so slight that Texans can’t hear it, but anyone else can. I’ll have to work on that…

11
Apr
2004
23:10

Happy Easter!

For today is the day that Jesus hid chocolate eggs from the Romans which really pissed them off ans thus they crucified him in a bunny suit for added humiliation.
Or something like that.

28
Mar
2004
7:58

Wanna see our movie?

“Keep Austin Weird”
It’s in Quicktime format. I tried to minimize the file size (it’s about 42MB) so obviously there are some compromises in quality, but hopefully it’s good enough to get the idea across. This also includes our gag reel and bonus footage, including an alternate ending scene in which we had one actor play two parts using split screen. We’re hoping to actually throw together a DVD just for posterity, which will actually have a commentary track (not that anyone but me would really care about that…lol).
For some smaller options (which also don’t have the bonus material on the end) you can view it in quicktime or mpeg formats.

25
Mar
2004
10:12

My Sharon Osbourne show is on today.

So my experience as a Production Assistant for the Sharon Osbourne show was a blast, but would be pretty boring to write about. Basically, 3 people who do a lot of the “field” segments for the show came to Austin to do a remote from the American Cancer Society call center. They hired me, another P.A., a sound guy and a satellite truck here locally. Describing P.A. work is difficult, as you do so many different things. Basically whatever is needed. A sampling of my duties that day: improvise some door stops, take care of the snacks and drinks brought by the crew (it was a tiny crew, so there was no catering, just snacks and then we ordered dinner), and my most important duty was pulling the cables behind the cameraman to keep them out from under his feet.
Everyone was very cool to hang out with, and for the most part it was all casual and laid back. We rehearsed how it was all going to go, and then later in the evening recorded the piece “live to tape”. In other words it wasn’t actually live, but it went live to tape so that it was basically just like a live spot (although they could edit it in post if they really needed to). Sharon was talking to the to women who were on camera for the ACS through their earpieces and then what we were filming was being piped back to the studio in L.A. We had a few hectic moments when they thought they’d lost the sound board back in L.A., but figured out the problem, and then 5 minutes before we were going live, one of the lights blew out, and the cameraman and sound tech raced like a ninja pit crew to replace the light.
Twas a blast and only made me yearn for more work like that. Work that I actually enjoy doing. Nice work if you can get it! The show airs today (or tonight, times vary according to your market).