Cerebral Flotsam And Jetsam - My Mental Maelstrom

28
Jan
2008
19:30

Thoughts on “The Twilight Zone”

I have always been a big fan of “The Twilight Zone”. I remember my uncle and grandmother watching reruns when I was growing up and I think that it probably stuck in my psyche somewhere pretty deep and played a part in forming who I am.
A while back I bought the entire series on DVD (box set with episodes in order of airing). We’ve started watching them from the beginning and I’ve noticed some peculiar things. Now let me first say that, yes, I do realize that TV was a completely different beast back then as well as movies and probably just general storytelling techniques. I still love this show but have noticed it’s tendency to assume that the viewer is so stupid as to be just shy of brain dead. This is kind of funny because on the other hand it can go to some pretty cerebral places too so it almost seems as if it’s catering to really smart folks and people who are dumber than a box of non-sentient rocks.
For example, in one episode, Burgess Meredith plays a man who loves to read. So much so that at lunch time he goes into the vault of the bank where he works to read. One day while in the vault, the world gets destroyed by H-bombs but he survives since he was in the vault. We see all this on screen. Well we don’t actually see the H-bombs and such but it’s all illustrated quite clearly.
Then, upon leaving the vault and seeing the state of the world, he monologues to himself (since everyone else is dead) something along the lines of:
“Oh my god! The world was destroyed by H-bombs! Everyone is dead except for me! *a look of realization* I survived because I was in the vault!”
Well. That was a bit of totally unnecessary exposition! And we just won’t mention the two dimensional character that was his harpy of a wife who refused to let him read at home.
Then there was another episode where these astronauts go missing off the radar as they launch. It turns out they’ve crash landed on “an asteroid” as they call it. An asteroid with an perfectly human compatible atmosphere and mountains and stuff. O.K. so they really should have just called it a planet. Then they have a conversation about how, from the looks of things, the sun appears to be the same distance and trajectory as from the Earth meaning that they must be on an asteroid in the same orbit as the Earth!
So basically, five minutes into the episode, they’ve just hit you over the head with their “twist” ending. OMG! It wasn’t an asteroid at all! It turns out they had just crashed in the Nevada desert! All that strife and killing wasn’t necessary after all!
As I said, I just find these things fun to nitpick. I still think The Twilight Zone is an awesome, brilliant, landmark show.

28
Jan
2008
19:22

Let this be the barometer for 2008

A while back my talent agency got me a gig working as an extra on a SAG national commercial. Most of the extra work I’ve done pays basically minimum wage. This one ended up paying about $300 a day for two days of work.
Today my agency called to tell me I had been upgraded to “Principal”. Basically this means that I ended up being seen too prominently to be considered an extra.
With this upgrade comes an additional check.
To the tune of around $3400.
In addition to this, I’ve been on three auditions in the past two weeks for actual real paying gigs including two commercials and one feature film lead. Let’s hope this trend continues to rise throughout the year!

13
Dec
2007
18:54

Darwinism at its finest

I saw a woman smoking a cigarette the other night…
At the gas station where I stopped to get gas…
And she was casually leaning on the metal cage full of propane tanks.
I fueled up and got the hell out of there as quick as I could.

04
Dec
2007
18:05

Literally

The misuse of the word “literally” has gotten out of hand. It’s everywhere. Even in the media and printed materials. Ever since I have had discussions about this with friends, we’ve all suddenly become attuned to it and have started noticing how rampant it is. It’s like when Roddy Piper got those sunglasses in “They Live!” and could suddenly see all the aliens or whatever they were. People say things like “It literally blew my mind!” Umm, no it didn’t. I know this from the fact that they were standing there telling me this.
Two recent observances that really stuck out to me were in video game related materials. In an ad for the Super Smash Brothers Brawl game it said “…literally anything can happen, and usually does!” Wow, that’s some serious technology they’ve developed there. So it’s totally possible and in fact likely that I could be playing the game and suddenly see Dennis De Young from Styx fly in on a half-dolphin, half-bagel creature with purple monkeys flying out his butt.
In a review of Assassin’s Creed on gamespot.com the reviewer mentioned how the game’s atmosphere was so great that it was “…literally a living, breathing world.” Again, I really had no idea this kind of technology existed! They should really let some top scientists study this stuff!
We have friends who use this word in what seems like every other sentence. It seems like they just use it for unnecessary emphasis or something like, “I was like, literally, just sitting there eating my dinner…” Really? I’m glad you specified because I thought you meant it figuratively. You know, that old colloquial saying, “eating my dinner” meaning that you were building a wooden effigy of the Bee Gees.

04
Dec
2007
12:35

Mixed Metaphors

I was just talking to Larry about some details of submitting “The Ruse” to South By Southwest and I actually said “Well, we’ll tackle that boat when we come to it.” We both paused for a moment before I then said “Where the hell did I come up with that?” and we laughed for many minutes.

30
Nov
2007
23:41

No dialogue short film

Periodically a producer friend likes to issue challenges as a sort of learning experience. Recent he challenged my friend Chris to make two short films, one with no dialogue, and one with only 30 seconds of picture and the rest just dialogue.
The first one has a rough cut finished. We shot this in one afternoon. Written and Directed by Chris Thompson.
I find it quite amusing. I’m the burglar, by the way.

30
Nov
2007
17:19

What was that?

As I was sitting here trying to think of something to say that didn’t have to do with Rock Band or my marriage, a commercial came on that I could have sworn said “Homos, want to refinance?”
I very quickly realized that he had said “Homeowners”.

29
Nov
2007
22:12

So tired…

Sleeping isn’t something that I really do well any more. One of the biggest side effects from this that I’ve noticed is that when I’m hanging out with Jess, that’s when I feel comfortable and happy and content (well, in some ways) and thus when sleepiness really sets in. Especially if I’m lounging around her bed talking or lying around on the couch. It doesn’t make me very good company. So I can’t sleep normally but then it all comes crashing down on me when I want to be awake and enjoying her company. How annoying!

28
Nov
2007
22:13

So close…

I went to a read through of this film I’m doing the other day and one of the other cast members was a guy I’d worked with once before. In the course of conversation he told me that he had just been hired as Ed Harris’s stand in on the new movie, “Appaloosa” which Ed Harris was directing and starring in along with Viggo Mortenson, Renee Zellweiger, Lance Henrikson and Jeremy Irons.
Last night I got a call from someone who I’ve done a lot of extras work for asking my height and weight. She told me that she needed a stand in for Ed Harris because the first guy’s mother had just just died. I told her I had just been talking to the first stand in the other day and was sorry to hear that.
I was excited about the prospect but also nervous. The original casting call had said they needed someone who was 5’9″, 155 and preferably balding. I am 5’10”, 165 and have a thick head of hair. My contact told me that she just didn’t have many guys of the right frame so I should be close enough. She told me to wear the flattest shoes I had and keep my hair as low as I could get it.
About 30 minutes later she called me and told me that the first guy wanted to go ahead and work but that she didn’t feel right about him going in despite his mother just dying and she couldn’t understand how he would want to go ahead and work under those circumstances. She asked how well I knew him and what I thought about the situation. She said she was just worried that maybe he thought he wanted to go in but then might have a freak out on set or something. As much as I wanted this job (and could use the money) I told her that I understood where he was coming from. If I was in his situation I would not want to just sit and dwell on it. I would rather go and be doing something I loved and something that I was excited about and would make me feel better and perhaps help me deal with it better. She understood and agreed with me that it wasn’t really her place to make that decision for him and she certainly didn’t want to take the job away from him. I also told her that though I really wanted the job, I also didn’t want to take it from someone who had it first and who could probably really use it now. That would be a double whammy to lose his mom and then a cool job too. She said she’d call him back and tell him he was back on. I felt like I’d done the right thing. Luckily I didn’t have too much time to get too excited about it.
My condolences to you, Anthony. I hope you at least had a good time on set to ease your mind.

27
Nov
2007
23:48

Acting as a confidence builder?

Most people talk about how brutal acting is because you encounter more rejection than anything else. I’m in the unusual situation of actually having build my confidence in my abilities since, so far,about 95% of my auditions have resulted in me being cast and I also have people just outright calling me and asking me to be in their films without even auditioning sometimes. I realize this will like all get worse as I get further into my career but at the moment, it’s pretty sweet.