Monday, January 31, 2011
In about the middle of the month, I went to the city to audition to be a storyteller for Historic Philadelphia. They are the group that hires the street performers, costumed characters, and polo-shirted storytellers to entertain visitors who come to Philadelphia over the summer. Some people dress in period wardrobe from the 1700s and play historical people - Betsy Ross, George Washington, random soldiers - and others sit themselves down at pre-approved and advertised benches around the city, telling stories from history and answering any questions that the people have about the city.
Friends of mine have done this storyteller gig in the past, so I went into the audition armed with a 3-minute story about a small historical detail that often gets overlooked. The story I told was one of my favorite pieces from a show I did called "Eureka: Inventors and Their Inventions" that featured a dozen tales of inventors throughout recent history. In fact, I used the same story when I was interviewing for a permanent position at a local non-profit organization. It's a good one. The directors and producers liked it, too, complimenting my choice as something that fit perfectly with their asthetic, even performing it exactly how they storytellers are trained to perform. "I'd have to do very little direction with you," I was told. So I left the room feeling happy about the work I had done.
But here's the crazy thing. The most interesting part of this whole audition, however, was going into it with the sure-fire knowledge that I didn't want the job. I hinted at this in the early part of the month, but I am no longer interested in being an actor. It's something that I always enjoyed, and something that I will most likely continue to do as a hobby, but I am no longer interested in trying to make my living at it.
I'm in the middle of a massive life-change, career-change, housing-change, everything-change that is leaving me an emotional wreck. But at the center of all of it is the absolute certainty that I'm steering my life in the direction I want to go. Sure, I look back now and then and wonder and lament. But that is my former life, and a new one awaits me. It scares me that I might not be able to have it right away, but I'm trying to have faith. So any good thoughts, prayers, good vibrations, etc. that you send me way will be greatly appreciated.
This isn't an official picture, of course, since the casting was literally announced a few days ago. In fact, I just found it online. I think it looks like a good fan photo, but what Cavill will look like in the actual Superman uniform is, at this point, anyone's guess.
Well, I guess Zach Snyder and Christopher Nolan know. But other than them, no one.
Congrats to Mr. Cavill on a role I would kill my best friend for, and I hope they make a good movie around him. Just like when Brandon Routh was cast, I'm a little disappointed that it's not going to be me in blue tights. Last time it depressed me, and made me think long and hard about my career. This time, it just makes me want to get out of the business even more.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
But that will soon change. Early January marked the first studio recording of the second season of Radio Hound's audio offerings. The episode will be the next one to broadcast - it's a special Valentine's Day show - and then the second season of radio shows will be up and running. We're planning on several miniseries, possibly a season of Boson Higgs adventures, and then the occasional Stray Dog to fill the weeks in between.
And so on a very cold and snowy day in January, I dragged out the recording bucket and spend the afternoon recording a radio show. It was nice to get into the swing of things again, but here's the kicker: my heart wasn't really in it anymore. I loved the idea of setting everything up and brining the people together. I even really liked directing the episodes, but when it came time to record the takes, my heart was a little lukewarm on the matter.
I think that Radio Hound was a creative outlet connected to my acting career for so long that it's going to be a little strange to be doing it without acting around it. Or it's just that we took so much time off that it's hard to get back in the saddle. Or even that I just lost some of my focus without my resident director in the saddle with me.
Whatever it was, I pushed it aside and rode on through, and the recording sounds great. I have some smaller recording to do for the project, and then the final edit needs to happen in time for it to be uploaded next weekend. And then, of course, the new episodes need to get written and recorded. I was ahead of the schedule for a while, and now I'm falling back into "on time" with the episodes. I really enjoy producing these projects, and I want them to continue.; it's just about finding the momentum again and getting back on the ball.
Wish me luck.
And, if you listen to the podcasts, drop an occasional note to me and let me know how you enjoy them. Or don't enjoy them. Feedback like that is one of the only ways that I can know what people think of all this hard work we're doing.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Now, to be completely fair, the movie has been nominated for almost every category there is: worst film, worst director, worst screenplay, worst eye-gouging use of 3D, worst sequel, prequel, ripoff, or remake. So my involvement in the film is not the only terrible part of it.
Nor is my involvement with the film extensive in any way. I stood where they told me to stand, fought where they told me to fight, ran where they told me to run, and then ate their breakfast burritos and cashed their checks. It was one of the most fun months of work that I have ever had, even leaving the paychecks aside. I loved being on the set, I loved working with friends, and I loved being a part of a movie.
My month's worth of work on Airbender also started me off on my quest to be an actor, inspiring me to leave my day job, audition for everything, take interesting work, and even start producing my own projects. And it was a great year or so after Airbender, when I was successfully pursuing that acting career. It has been an interesting journey.
I should write about the evolution of that journey. And I will, once I have an ending to the story. It's still a little up in the air.
I'll confess up front. I haven't looked at my lines in about two months, literally since the last time the cast was assembled. And I didn't even bother to look over them before rehearsal. Another actor said he reviewed them on the bus; I didn't even go that far. If they had wanted me to brush up, they should have paid me for it. At this stage in my career, why would I work for free? Besides, I knew this rehearsal would be about our new actor Reuben, and having him step in to learn a LOT of blocking, lines, musical moments, and costume changes.
And I was right. We worked his bits for the first half of the show, over and over again, and I think I did my opening King speech once. Then I spent a lot of time dressed as the Lego ghost of Hamlet's father, said a few lines here and there, banged the gong, and went home. Our fight director came in to work the final swordfight in the play, and I got to go home early. I always like being dismissed from rehearsal early. Makes me feel like I'm getting away with something.
All of my big scenes with the new actor are in the second half of the play, so I know that I'm going to get my share of the workout on our second rehearsal, now scheduled for Valentine's Day. So that's going to be my big day working the new-kid into the play. And then we have two additional rehearsals before hitting the road to tour schools in March.
I was pretty amazed at how the show just came right back to me. We worked on it so hard and so deeply for what amounted to almost two solid weeks, the lines came right back into my mouth and I even remembered my costume changes and cues. I don't say that the lines came back into my brain, but they certainly just came into my mouth. I was just saying them. It was a rehearsal after all. One little glace over them before our big rehearsals coming up, and I should be good to go.