Actor/Musician

A cover of Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer”

A couple of times over the past week or two, “Boys of Summer” has come up on my iPod or on the radio. I’ve always like the song but these recent listenings really struck me with the idea that I thought it would make a really cool, slow, haunting acoustic version.
And so, here ya go.

My day on Mike Judge’s new film, “Extract”

I got a call form my agent saying that Mike Judge’s new film “Extract” was doing a few pickup shots and they were interested in me possibly being a double to stand in for Jason Bateman. I met with a couple of people on the production and they took some photos and asked if I would be willing to go get my hair cut to match Jason’s in the film.

Cut to the next week, when I went to the salon and let them use some screen shots from the movie to match my hair to Jason Bateman’s. After a long day of post-production on our own scenes that we’d shot the week before (wow, I really need to blog more…that’s a whole other story) I got home at 3 a.m. and I set my alarm for 8:00 a.m. to give me plenty of time to be at my 9:15 a.m. call time.

I awoke at 9 a.m. to realize that a soft relaxing static had apparently been going off since 8. At some point I had accidentally pushed a radio button that was not assigned to a station so when the alarm went off, instead of the radio waking me up, a soft static made sure I stayed asleep. I jumped out of bed, called them to tell them I’d be about 15 minutes late. I did a quick shave and headed out.
More >

Let Your Indulgence Set Me Free

Tonight we performed the last show of our run of “The Tempest”. As with every play/film/project I do, the ending is bittersweet. Part of me is happy to be done and to move on to new exciting things and part of me is sad that it’s over. This profession is so strange in that you tend to form relationships very quickly and sometimes intensely. You become a family during the course of the project and then you all go your separate ways when it’s all over. If you’re lucky, you stay in contact with at least a few of them and even more rarely you end up with some actual friends.

More >

Geeks with guitars

I have finished my latest musical composition. My last song, Triage, was a pour-your-heart-out-raw-emotion type thing so I felt the need to compose a companion piece that was just a rocking, fun, catchy, upbeat, punny kind of song. The result: Tech Support. This is hopefully the final mix but as I listen to it on more systems and get feedback I may fine tune it a bit. As I do I’ll always upload the most current mp3.

Well I know you don’t need anyone’s help, your own ability more than suffices.
But it’s so much better to let somebody else check out your motherboard or plug in devices.
So let me take care of all your modern frustrations.
I’ll be your boffin probing all of your workstations.
No viruses detected I’ll keep everything running smooth.
Optimizing me and you!
I wanna be your tech support, 24/7 I’m there on site.
And though I mean it quite literally, if it sounds like innuendo then that’s alright.
I wanna turn you on, tune you up, tweak your settings til your satisfied.
Just let me be your tech support and I’ll fix everything right.
I’d love to fill your iPod, I’ll make sure that it’s never out of sync.
I’ll calibrate your entertainment center, keep your cables coiled without a kink (unless you’re into that).
I’ll defrag you at your every whim, keep you spinning at 10,000 RPM.
Increase the bandwidth of our connection til it’s off the chart.
Just like the throughput of my heart!
Chorus
Hardware, software, anywhere you need me there.
Hi-Fi, Wi-Fi, you and I, a twisted pair.
Just grant me access to query your source,
Until my fingers are tired from textual intercourse!
I wanna test you out, open your ports, double check your wiring and get rid of your shorts.
I wanna scan your disks, make sure you don’t overheat, configure your peripherals, re-plug and re-seat.
I wanna turn you on, tune you up, tweak your settings til your satisfied.
Just let me be your tech support and I’ll fix everything right.

New song completed!

My latest recording can be found here.
Aside from that, I know it’s been all quiet on the blogging front but I don’t have much I want to say here at the moment. More video blogs coming. I have also been Twittering quite frequently though!

And now the Director’s cut!

Here is the original uncut “version of “Out of Many, One
Much to my surprise, I actually think I like the shorter cut better. While there are some cool things in the longer cut that I missed in the shorter version, I think the shorter version just flows better.

Out of Many, One

Over the weekend I was in a film for the International 48 Film competition. This was basically the next round for the guy who won the last round of the (not international) 48 Hour film competition. The deal is basically this; Friday night you get assigned a genre, and are give some details you have to incorporate. For example, Friday night, Rimas, the director, found out that he had to make a comedy that involved finding a briefcase full of money in a public place. There had to be a character named “Earl Frickle, Chair, Board of Directors”, and he had to have the line “Will you meet me later?”
Friday night, Rimas and his cohorts came up with the concept for the film. I met them Saturday morning in a park on a gray and freezing day to act in it. The cut they submitted for the festival is now online, but Rimas is going to put up a “Director’s Cut” later with a bunch of stuff he had to cut out due to time. I’m quite happy with it! Can’t wait to see the longer cut though. We filmed a lot of stuff that’s not in there!

A good day’s work!

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.

Fun with movie scenes

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!

Ricardo Montalban and a life update.

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!