My latest film adventures

Today I shot a film with the team that won the 48 hour film challenge for Austin and therefore went on to the next round. We were filming a short film for the national round today. Friday night we received our instructions on what genre our film had to be and some other details we had to follow. The writers wrote until about 1 a.m. and we filmed it today. It was a lot of fun and I got to do some more fun improving that seemed to please everyone.
I think I forgot to mention that on the last short film I did I got to do some great improving also and especially the scene Larry and I had together had everyone in stitches. Many takes were ruined by crew members laughing and the Director of Photography said we could have sold tickets.
and now some crappy phone camera pics from the set:

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So I do have some semblance of a career!

After all the doom and gloom here I figured I owed it to everyone to share the meager good that comes along with my giant heapin’ o’ bad.
First off I just finished starring in a really fun short film where I feel I did some really great comedic work. It felt good. I think it’s really going to be good and I met a ton of really cool people that I hope I remain friends with. As far as I know I will also be doing a feature film with many of these people in the beginning of next year. Great people, great experience.
Secondly, I just got the checks for my first paying gigs through my agency and they were even more money than I thought I was getting! Almost as much as I used to make in two weeks.
Though it’s hard for me to see anything but the gray haze of doom currently blinding me, I do try and take time to recognize and be thankful for all the wonderful things bestowed upon my life.

Can you call it a career if you’re not making any money?

It recently dawned on me that despite the fact that I’m still in the “not making any money at it” phase, I definitely have at least the illusion of what seems like a burgeoning career.
I’ve done numerous smaller student films this year (4 that I can think of off the top of my head) and of course had a starring role in the independent feature film, “Deadly Obsession”. Larry and I have completed two of our own shorts, “The Ruse” and “Sal Monella” (we still have one re-shoot and the editing to complete), plus we still have a stack of short films written and ready to go that we will continue producing. We are also working with a producer friend on a feature idea as well as pitching some ideas for some internationally syndicated TV shows that could be a real opportunity at some real money (which would be purely commercial fluff with no substance, which is what his contacts are looking for). We also have an idea for another possible TV show that I’d like to write up into a treatment and pitch to someone somewhere.
Aside from that I have 4 features lined up, 2 starring and 2 smaller roles as well as another short. Now if I can just get paid for more of my work, I might have something. At least I’m staying busy, getting my name and face out there and meeting tons of people.

My latest musical composition

Last week I was discussing with a friend certain chord changes and melodies that I particularly like in songs. We also got to discussing Bon Jovi power ballads because I had borrowed a tape deck to go through all my old cassettes and see if there was anything I wanted to save and I ended up rediscovering all kinds of songs I’d forgotten about. The next day I was in the shower (which is also where I came up with the idea for “The Ruse”…apparently the shower is my creative haven) when all of these factors came together with a title that I’d come up with back when I was writing some demo jingles for a studio here. Once all these combined, suddenly a song started forming in my head. When I got out of the shower, I immediately started writing the song. Over the next few days, it was all I could think about. Wherever I was, whatever I was doing, I just wanted to get back to working on the song. I would write verses while I was out and hope that I could remember them later.

2 days after starting the song, I finished writing it. I then decided that I wanted to record just a quick demo of the song so I wouldn’t forget it. I thought it would just be acoustic guitar and vocals. I laid down 2 acoustic guitars. Then I started playing with the drums and found that it really added a lot so I went ahead and laid those down. After that, it just sounded incomplete without bass. Next thing I knew, I had pretty much fully produced the song. At first, I was kind of frustrated because since I had only set out to make a rough demo, I hadn’t really spent the time to really do things right so I thought I’d probably have to just go back and re-do everything later when I wanted to record it properly. The more the song progressed though, the more I thought that it might actually pass as a finished work.

This has now become what I think is my best song to date. I am incredibly proud and satisfied with it. I can actually listen to it and enjoy it as if it were not my own. I have, in fact, been addicted to it.

For your (hopefully) listening pleasure, I present “Fall for Me

Cupcake Monkey Productions presents “The Ruse”

Our latest short film, The Ruse, has been completed and may I say, we are damn proud of it. This was our first production with something resembling real production values. We had a lot of real equipment at our disposal and a small but immensely talented crew working with us. It was all very exciting. We learned a lot, and though it is far from perfect, we are very satisfied with it.
Read on for the full story including in depth technical film making crap.

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Deadly Obsession Update #2

Sorry for the lack of updates but I’ve been filming every day, usually for long hours. The days all blend into one another and I’ve lost all concept of day of the week or time of day. I am, however, still having the time of my life.
I feel incredibly sad that it will all draw to a close this week. The entire cast and crew are like family to me now and the thought of not seeing them every day hurts. though it’s all kind of a big blur, I’ll try to remember a few highlights:
After helping Zoë with a taped audition that will hopefully get her a role in a short film back in the UK, we ended up having an impromptu party at the guest house on the ranch where we’re staying. It started out with a lot of Guitar Hero, which we’ve now got several people addicted to, but ended up in a huge sing along jam session where Iskra and I were playing guitar and everyone else was playing whatever was handy including bongos, cardboard boxes, trash cans, empty water bottles, harmonica, and plastic bags among other things. We got most of it on tape. Maybe it will make it into the “behind the scenes” features on the DVD.
I had my climactic fight scene which took all day but was a blast. Me and Delno both ended up bruised and battered but it was well worth it. At one point I swung a real ax at his head and planted it in a huge chopping block as he moved out of the way.
I’ve also had to handle pig guts, get blood spat in my face and had another great scene where I kill my wife in an airport bathroom. Ace, the actress playing my wife, really threw herself into it and we ended up with an awesome physical struggle.
I also got to drown an actress under a rain gutter in the simulated pouring rain. She was also such a tremendous sport, laying on the ground in the mud under a pouring rain gutter while I sat on her holding her under as we were getting drenched by rain hoses.
Zoë also continues to amaze me with her performance and talent. My scenes with her are so much fun as I get to play an entirely different side of the character that’s much more sincere and human. Of course I also get to do all kinds of interesting and disturbing things to her character, too.
I’m sure there’s much more but as I said I’ve been working day and night, many times on very little sleep and very little food (and that mostly being junk food snacks on set). This movie has been a microcosm of the dream I’ve been chasing for as long as I can remember. Let’s hope it’s only the beginning.
Then there’s this morning when I stumbled in at 6:45 a.m. after a party…

Sal Monella

Larry and I were talking to Zoe, our co-star in the movie about doing some project together before she moves to New York to become rich and famous and forget us little people. We didn’t really have anything written that we could fit her in to, so we started talking about another idea we’d had for a while but not done anything with. We immediately thought it would be a great project to do with her before she goes. This was at around 7:00 p.m. last night. In 24 hours, we’d written all three segments and recorded the jingles to go along with them. Zoe even contributed the female vocals to the jingle.

Strange Headspace

Doing this movie has been one of the coolest experiences of my life so far. It’s the closest I’ve ever come to living the life that’s been in my head for as long as I can remember. It feels right. Living at the Ranch Studios while filming has also added a strange summer-camp-like feel to it all. Being away from home, going through this experience, meeting all these incredible people, and playing a very intense and twisted person has somehow turned up my emotional sensitivity. I find that everything I feel at the moment, I feel very deeply.
I’ve been very introspective and pensive. Sometimes alone and yet somehow reveling in it. I’ve written before about how, often in my life, I’ve felt a general disconnect with the world at large, like I’m some kind of alien and just not quite the same as the rest of the world. There’s been some of that and yet also some very wonderful moments of connection. Sometimes this heightened sensitivity is invigorating and other times it brings a certain melancholy.
When I was much younger I always thought that if I got a “real job” besides acting or music that it would be either as a psychologist or a psychiatrist. I have a very analytical brain and I’m always analyzing motivations, actions and emotions trying to decipher the hidden code. I’m usually pretty damn good at it too. I think I have a pretty good understanding of of it all but sometimes there is still “magic” that I can’t quite reverse engineer. Part of me is endlessly frustrated by things I can’t figure out but I guess it’s always fun to have more mysteries to investigate too. I’m just bursting with a million things inside me right now. Interesting times.

“Deadly Obsession” update

I finally have a moment to breathe and update here. I’ve been working pretty solidly since Friday on the new feature film that Larry and I are in, “Deadly Obsession”. I rode out with Larry Friday night thinking that I would be going back home since I had to film on “Henchmen” on Saturday. Then I got a call from the “Henchmen” director telling me that he was doing some rescheduling so I was free Saturday. “Deadly Obsession” used this to their advantage to schedule some of my scenes on Saturday. So far it’s just been me and Larry staying in the guest house. Since I had planned to go home, I didn’t really come prepared but luckily the Grr came and visited me on set and brought me some essential supplies. She happened to be there at the right time to watch me have my kissing scene in bed with my on screen wife.

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This is going to be fun

Larry and I went to the “Studio Estates” last night for some last minute rehearsals between me and the leading lady and for a cast/crew meeting for the horror/psychological thriller that we are starring in. We pretty much spent the whole night in a euphoric state of disbelief at how much fun this seems like it’s going to be. There are 5 “main” characters and Larry and I are two of the leads who have most of our interaction with each other and the leading lady. There’s a lot of really intense stuff between the three of us and each individual coupling (me/Larry, Larry/Zoe, Me/Zoe).
It was the first time I’d met Zoe and we immediately went into rehearsing some intense scenes. I was immediately impressed with Zoe. In addition to being a great actress she was so incredibly warm and open and I felt immediately comfortable with her. There was no awkwardness about just meeting and jumping into these scenes. We just got straight down to acting the best we could and working the scenes. I thoroughly enjoyed rehearsal. Between me, Larry and Zoe it’s going to be a great experience.
Everyone else in the crew seemed equally cool and we were looking forward to working with them all and getting to know them better. We were treated like stars. They’ll soon see through that charade! There’s actually a “star house” where the 5 main stars can stay (the studio is about 30 minutes away from me). I get the master bedroom. 🙂 One of the producers asked me if I would mind if Larry threw a mattress down in the master bedroom since there were only 4 bedrooms. It was a king size bed so Larry and I said we had no problem sleeping in the same bed since we’re practically brothers. And if a couple of hetero guys want to spoon, so what. There are also multiple jacuzzis. We already have plans to bring the PS2 and our guitar hero games and my guitar for real guitar playing. I don’t know how much I’ll stay out there since I don’t want to abandon my Grr but with the price of gas and some early call times I’m sure I’ll end up staying at least part of the time. I’ll have to get her to come out and stay with me some times.
All in all this looks like it’s going to be a really fun experience with a ton of great people. Hopefully this is just the first step in a long and successful career! My first paid film gig, I’m co-starring with my creative partner and one of my best friends as well as an absolutely amazing leading lady and a phenomenal cast and crew, playing a lead role that’s fun, sick, twisted, and intense.
Our condo is now 100% full of movie stars but that’s another story for the Grr to tell…