Heath

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Homepage: http://www.heathallyn.com/


Posts by Heath

Epiphanies in Acting

I tweeted earlier “the secret to acting (and one of the hardest things) is to BE interesting and not to TRY to be interesting”. This was as I was sitting on set preparing to shoot a small role as a bartender and trying to find a way to make this small part “interesting” to watch. I needed to quit trying to be interesting.

This brought to mind another example from my own life when I was auditioning for a 3 line role as an FBI agent. I went in and just read my 3 lines as naturally as I could, in character. I didn’t really think I had done anything all that original or spectacular but when I finished my 3 lines, the room erupted in laughter and praise about how great I was. I smiled and thanked them and left, a bit baffled. To me, I just delivered my lines as real and naturally as I could, as the character I had created in my head. I wasn’t trying to be funny or interesting but apparently I just was.

I got the part and the director actually expanded my role and wrote me into several more scenes and into the sequel.

Another story I’ve heard was something about Marlon Brando in a stage production where he was not the focus of the scene. He was just supposed to walk across the stage eating an apple while some other characters were having a conversation. However, there was so much going on inside his head, behind his eyes, that he was utterly captivating and stole everyone’s attention, and the scene, from the main characters.

This is obviously a tough balance to strike (in fact, much of acting is a balancing act…to be prepared, but not too prepared, rehearsed but not too rehearsed). As actors, we all have our own methods and tools and in the end we are acting, pretending but sometimes if you can just inhabit that character as a real person, you will be far more interesting than trying to find some artificial way to make that character interesting.

In the immortal words of a master (Jedi master, that is), “Do or do not, there is no try.”

Restraints

The shackles we wear
Sometimes put there by others
Sometimes self-imposed

It’s a Shame That We’re the Weird Ones

As most of you know, my ex-wife (Jess) and I are still really good friends. In fact I’m also friends with her boyfriend John who is pure awesome and absolutely perfect for Jess. I am, in fact, friends or at least friendly acquaintances with a large portion of my exes. The few that I’m not aren’t because of any bad blood, I just don’t know where they are or they lead insanely busy lives and even their families don’t hear from them much, or other such circumstances.

I find it sad that so many people seem taken aback that I such good friends with my ex(es). I can understand why in a way but that’s a whole other subject. Most relationships end up being somewhat dysfunctional, end badly, or at least end unevenly with one person hurt by the other. Last October when I would tell people “I’m going to visit my ex and her boyfriend” many times I’d get that look, that kind of polite vacant smile that says “Oh, okay…interesting…whatever works for you”.

At least the three people involved (Me, Jess and John) are all cool with it. I not only feel lucky to have such a great friendship with someone who obviously meant (and means) a lot to me, but feel very lucky that she’s with someone who I love and who has no discomfort (at least as far as I know) with me or my friendship with Jess.

One of the things that has been hardest about my divorce is when I realize things like the fact that I’ll probably never see many of Jess’s family members ever again (her family is all in England). Or many of the mutual friends in England that I met through her. It’s not that couldn’t if I wanted to, it’s just that it probably won’t ever happen. I love all those people. It’s sad. The mummos and daddos, the grandmas and grandpas, the Flons and Helens, the mUrts and Delles, the Scotts and Caths, the fun friends and co-workers of these people who we met, cavorted around Liverpool with, went to bachelor/bachlorette parties with, the Clares, Richards, Maxs, Nells, of the world and so many more.

I was talking to my friend Staci about this last night. About how, sure I could and hopefully will go back to England someday but even then, I just don’t think I could go back to Leek by myself just for a visit. London is one thing. I mean it’s London and there’s so much more there to be had than just my old memories. But Leek or Stoke are so small that it would just be weird to be there on my own, visiting Jess’s family without Jess and John there.

This led me to a simultaneously awesome and kind of sad thought. I thought “Oh my god! Visiting England with Jess and John would be AWESOME!” It reminded me of when my cousin Casey came to England with me and Jess. Only this time, it would be me visiting with Jess and John. It would be more cool people and fun than the universe could probably tolerate and very well might cause some kind of tear in the space/time continuum. For me, it would be just like going on a cool trip with Casey, or Greg or any of my amazing friends. However then reality hit me that this would far too weird for the rest of the world. Not that I really care about what the rest of the world thinks but I would be really self-conscious about being a “third wheel” or some lingering ghost from the past that won’t go away. I’m sure John would like his own future with Jess and vice versa. And again, it came back around to the same initial point. It’s sad to me that there’s these extenuating circumstances all because of a shared history. Circumstances that would not apply to any other friend. They didn’t apply to Casey when he came with us. They wouldn’t apply to any other friends but in our world, there has to be some “weirdness” about it because I’m an ex. It’s a shame that Jess and I are the “weird” ones because we remain close. Because people find it too hard to believe that’s possible without some hidden drama or something not being at face value.

More than anything, it’s a shame that I at least in part, put these shackles on myself. Not just with Jess and John. Several times, my friend Greg has invited me along on trips with him and Becky and I think “I can’t go on a trip with you and your girlfriend!” Total third wheel syndrome! Huh. It also only just occurred to me that none of this would be an issue if it was me and a girlfriend in the equation instead of just me. Interesting.

2010 State of the Eaf Address

I figure my birthday was a good day for a general update and some random odds and ends. I have bullet pointed the subjects so you can skip whatever you’re not interested in.

  • 2010 passed amazingly fast to me. Overall it was a year covered in kind of a grey haze of funk. There was some good and not really anything too terrible but for some reason I just spent the year in a kind of perpetual state of “meh.” A lot of emotional stuff really weighing on me and just trying to figure my life and myself out. Many times of numbness or a kind of general down feeling. I find that as I get older and accrue more experiences, more memories and just more life in general, that I feel the weight of it all. Memories and experiences have weight. And the more you accrue the heavier it gets. Generally I’m a pretty happy-go-lucky optimist so this was strange year.
    *combs my hair over my eyes and looks all emo*
    I don’t feel like really did much this year. I sort of feel like I just coasted through it. I can’t believe it’s over but I’m glad to see it go! Onward!
  • I seem to have completely lost my yoga mojo. I started yoga a little over a year ago and loved it. I felt a steady improvement although not as much improvement as I thought I would achieve. That’s alright, every body is an individual. Then a few months ago I felt like my practice went backward. Suddenly I couldn’t seem to do things I used to be able to do. One theory I have is that I started pushing myself too hard, thinking “I should be further along than this at this point,” so maybe it just seemed more difficult because I was making it too difficult for my level of ability. I was still going 5 times a week though.Then I went to Florida for 9 days. I came back, went to 1 or 2 classes then got sick and busy with theatre shows, band gigs, holidays, etc. and basically only went 4-5 times over 3-4 weeks. My last class yesterday was my worst ever. Even worse than my very first yoga class. I really felt my heart pounding and I felt faint several times and had to just lay down and rest. This didn’t even happen on my very first time in the room (I do hot yoga so it’s 98 degrees at 60% humidity). I attribute it to a combination of several factors: though I don’t think I’m sick any more, maybe I’m still recovering (I have been sleeping insane amounts), I hadn’t had much sleep the night before, I’ve been eating like crap, and I haven’t been to class much in the last several weeks. All I know is I really want to find my yoga mojo again.
  • I had a wonderful birthday, however. Woke up to a veritable plethora of messages bursting from the internet. Had a great party with wonderful friends, food and fun. Many friends from out of town and in, super supreme Rock Band setup, Leslie’s cake balls, and so much more. I never even got to all the cake ball varieties or the actual cake Greg and Becky got! To all of you who made it, I’m sorry I didn’t get to spend more time with each of you but please know that your presence meant a lot to me!
  • I love my new sheets so much, I never want to get out of bed. Perhaps this is part of my sleeping insane amounts lately.
  • I have very *suspicious* looking scratches on my back and shoulders. Sadly, they are only from me scratching myself silly after having a weird itchy attack at the end of the night tonight. This has happened to me a few times randomly. Usually after I have been at least a little sweaty. I’ve wondered if I’m allergic to my detergent or something but I would think it would happen a lot more if I was. One reason I link it to detergent is that I think it only itches where clothes touch. Like my bare arms were fine. It also seems worse in places like my waist where pants/underwear have the most contact. Bizarre. Of course if anyone were to somehow see these scratches and pointedly ask “Sooo, where’d you get those?” I could just smile coyly. But I won’t. I can never keep up a front. For better or worse, I’m mister honest, open-book, gotta-lay-it-all-on-the-table-guy.

Well I think that’s about it for this middle of the night brain dump. I’m sure as soon as I publish this, I’ll think of tons more. That’s the way it always works. Thank you all for being a part of my life.

hits you with a loaf of bread
Love you! Byeeeeeeeeeeeee!

2010

Year of hazy funk
The weight of memories builds
Look to the future

Bitter-sweet

Why poke the soreness?
Perhaps because bitter-sweet
Was once only sweet

Why Do We Poke The Sore Places?

We do it physically. When we have that bruise or injury, we press it or move it and then think “Ow, yeah that hurts”. We do it emotionally. Think back to that time or place that makes your chest a little tighter as a little pang of…something travels through you. Sometimes I’ll be walking along, perfectly happy and then realize I’m not wistfully longing or reminiscing or being nostalgic and immediately my mind will travel back somewhere until I feel that little burst of pain. Most everyone I’ve had conversations about this with does it too. Why? What’s the point?

I have no idea. Maybe we just like to feel. Feel something. Something powerful to remind us we’re alive. Maybe it’s because those painful memories, those bitter-sweet things…were once just sweet.

Unsportsmanlike

I need a jersey
However, I don’t like sports
So pick an option

Vote for you favorite design

So once again, I need a jersey for an upcoming gig. Vote for your favorite design:
1. Design 1

  1. Design 2
  2. Design 3

  3. Design 4

EDIT by popular demand I’ve added 5. http://www.logosoftwear.com/personalize/myDesign.php?c=23013bf0d7a6d75d4fa72febbdbe5518

  1. Submit your own suggestion. I had MANY more ideas but those were my top 4.

Ego

Unreasonable
Concede to my demands now
For I am a god