Monday, August 25, 2008

What lurks

So.... I haven't really posted before when I'm in one of "these" moods, and I was going to write something about it last night. But I fell asleep, so tonight's blog gets to see this entry. I have days every now and then when I think about my career, or I think about my life, and I just really have to question where it's going. And what's it doing. I'm not going to claim that I thought I would be famous when I was twenty five. Yes, I hoped I might be famous when I was twenty five. But I thought I might have a career by the time I was thirty, maybe thirty five. And I know that I haven't reached those milestones yet, but I still don't see those goals being met. In the meantime, I'm working on small movies and small regional theatre stuff, but I still can't see how that is going to push my career forward. So that's part of the darker side of being an actor, I guess, and of not having the slightest idea of what I want to do with my life....

Friday, August 22, 2008

How I Roll

My audition last night for “Arms and the Man” went very well. Although I thought at first that I was going to get stuck is some massive amounts of bad traffic, I remembered all the back roads down to the theatre, and I made it there just about on time. Just before I went in to audition, I saw the artistic director of the theatre. She was surprised and very pleased to see me, and she asked me which part I was hoping to play. When I told her, she smiled at me and said, “That’s the one for you.” She was happy I was interested in that role, which, truth be told, is a less standout role but a far more complicated and interesting one.

The audition went very well. I did a monologue from another Shaw play, which got a few laughs from the director and reader in all the right places. He then had me read a scene that I’d prepared, although not for the character that I wanted. He thanked me for coming in, said that it was very good to meet me, and that was that. I knew that I did a good job on my readings, too. I may have shown off some my actor “bad habits,” but I also know that I did a great job with being in the moment, finding the words, and using the language of the speeches. Not a 100%, but at least a 95%.

I saw the artistic director again, when I went back to hang out with her and the other ladies who were auditioning people for “Sherlock Holmes.” (Sadly, I can’t do that show, since I’m such a HUGE Sherlock Holmes fan.) She said that she would make sure I was called back for the role that I wanted, the role in which she said she could see me. She even started comparing me to past people who had played the role in the area, and while I know that I shouldn’t read into anything that she says at this point in the game, it was still great to hear. She told me the date for callbacks; I made sure to clear my schedule. It also gives me another couple of weeks to read the script a few more times and get a better understanding of the characters before I have my second chance to read for them.

I’m going to nail this one. I want this part, so I will get it.

But the fanboy moment of my night was yet to come. When a woman came in to read for a role in “Sherlock Holmes,” they asked me to hang around for a bit and read opposite her, both as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. I was thrilled, giggled like a schoolgirl, and even jumped around for a moment before I put down my bag to grab the script. The ladies all started laughing, and I had to explain that being asked to play Holmes is like other actors being asked to play Hamlet. So I read two scenes with the woman reading for Irene Adler, and I had a blast! I know that role will be in my future somewhere, even if I have to produce the opportunity myself. It worked for Changing Lane, after all.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

That funny feeling

Tomorrow night, I have my first audition in a while. I haven’t been checking all the callboards and websites that I should have been, but I also haven’t been seeing anything that interested me. And then I saw an announcement for auditions for “Arms and the Man,” by George Bernard Shaw. I’m a big fan of Shaw’s work, going back to a wonderful experience I had playing St. John Hotchkiss in “Getting Married” with the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble. It was a blast working with the ensemble members up there, playing around with Shaw’s language and ideas, challenging myself to be both as smart and as intellectually nimble as Shaw was. It’s the kind of acting that I fully embraced for four weeks, and the kind of acting that I would love to do again.

Since I’ve never read the play, I swung by the library after work on Monday to pick up the play, and I read it as soon as I got home. By the time I was finished reading the first act, I knew that I had to be in this show. The writing and the ideas were up there with “Getting Married,” and the opening scene is one that promises to be both touching and funny. The last time that I felt that excited about a show was the first time I listened to the soundtrack for "The Spitfire Grill," or reading the script for "Eurydice."

I've got my sides and my monologue prepared for tomorrow night, and I've been going over them every chance I get. I'm also trying not to over-prepare for this audition, and going to try to let myself live in the moment while I'm reading for it. Having worked at this theatre before, I know that the Artistic Director was always trying to get me out of my head when I perform. From other work that I've done, I know that I've learned how to get out of my head, so I'm working on channeling that in my audition tomorrow. Make it look easy, but make it look good.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Being awesome

Last night during our standing writer's group, Rob and I started talking about one of our favorite pet projects, some sort of film or trailer or short about The Shadow. Old pulp hero, old radio character, who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men. I've had a season of radio adventures planned for a year or so now, and Rob and I were talking about different effects for the voice of The Shadow. With a whole lot of excitement, we worked on the following audio clip. Enjoy a preview of The Shadow, from Radio Hound Productions and Digital Reality Films.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

TOS photo gallery

Here are some of the photos from my summer as Lucentio. I will be sure to post pictures from the movie when (if) I get any.
First, hatching the plan as Lucentio.

Second, Lucentio in disguise as "Cambio," with Hortensio in disguise as "Lichio." Good old Shakespeare!

With Bianca, laying the smoulder on thick.

In the finale, all is now right with the world. Check out the Clark Kent specs.
It was a really good show, with some really great people. Sad to see it go, but I like having those nights to myself again.

Now leaving God's Country

My last day of filming on the movie was this last Tuesday, and I have since promised that I'd post an entry talking about the whole experience of the film. Briefly, it was a lot of fun. Over the last four weeks, I spent 13 days of shooting on the movie. The days would rang from either all-day affairs where I had a lot of work to do, or a day when I was in only one shot that took just a few hours. This marks my feature-film debut, and I think it was a good one. Most of my scenes were with the film's lead, Sean, playing my best friend Bruce. We're both stage actors, and we had chemistry right away from the first (and only) rehearsal we had for the film. We're both trained improv actors, so we were always goofing around either in front of the camera or behind it. It was the kind of friendship that really made the performances on film work, and we finished every scene feeling that we had done a good job with it.

Part of the fun (read: adjustment) to working on a film as opposed to a play was learning when the camera was on me, and when it wasn't. It sounds like such a conceited actor-thing to say, but the performances matter the most when they are on camera. If you do all your best acting on the other guy's closeup, literally no one is looking at you. It's also funny to me to think that each scene will be a combination of all the takes, and that the conversations as they happen in the movie never actually happened that way at all. Yes, all the pieces happened at some point, but never all in sequence. And I'm sure I'll be surprised by what exactly is in all those shots, since I hardly got a chance to look at anything through the camera lens. I'll remember the sequence that was shot in the mostly-empty room, and on screen it will be a busy and hopping place.

And yes, this is all stuff that I know from working on "Changing Lane," "Preservation," and other films with my own company and with Rob's company. But it is quite an eye-opener to be experiencing it purely from a performer's point of view. It is really something to be working on a project this big as an actor. Makes me know that I have the stamina, the energy, and the talent to do this as a career.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Driving on Film

Today I had to drive on camera. At night. Without any crew in the car with me. And it is not as easy as it looks. I was very excited to do this for the first time, since I've never driven a car on camera before. It was our last shot of the day, and my last shot of the whole film. After we set up the camera and tried our best to light the shot, I took two spins around the parking lot before Steve was happy with it. The first time, I had some trouble driving someone else's car, and the shot turned out a little bumpy and out of focus. I didn't realize how many dips and bumps there were in the parking lot before they ruined the shot! Since today was my last day on the set, I'll try to post tomorrow about my overall experience working on the film.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Adventures on Set

I'm actually approaching the end of my time on the set of GC, and it's been a wild ride. It was a huge novelty on that first day to be standing in front of the cameras while the crew went through the whole deal of "sound-camera-action." Then I watched them change light setups, tape down marks, move equipment, etc. Over the last few weeks, however, the novelty of the adventure wore off a little, but I'm pleased to say that the excitement did not. The actual process of making the movie holds much less mystery for me than it did a month ago. It has also been a wonderful test of my own work ethic and ability to focus. More so than before, I know what it takes to be a working on camera actor, and I know that I have those abilities within myself. I'm always very excited to go to work everyday, and I'm also not getting bored with the movie or the role.

I've always suspected that I'd be a great TV actor, since I'd always get to play the same character and play in the same world, but I'd constantly be doing new scenes and new stories. Theatre bores me because I'm always working on the same lines and the same story, but it's not like that at all in film. And the schedule is certainly more demanding, but that's another personal struggle that I matched and proved to myself that I could handle. Onward to bigger projects!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Closing out the TOS

Last week marked the final performance of TOS, after which we went out to the bar and closed it down. Our next-to-last show was a small affair, maybe twenty people or so and a very calm performance. Fortunately we had another one later in the week, one that was actually rescheduled from an earlier rained out date. And it was a good show. A big and excited crowd was there for our farewell show, and it was a solid performance.

The show, overall, was a challenging one for me to be involved in. It was a long rehearsal process, in which we seemed to work on individual scenes over and over again. It wasn't until only a few days before our first performance that we did our first complete run of the show, which made it hard to get a sense of the through-line of the play until the very last second. As Lucentio, I also spent a lot of time standing on stage and watching what was happening around me. Playing inactive scenes like that are always a challenge. It was a good time, though, because I really enjoyed the actors that I was working with. As m Bianca, Krista shared a lot of scenes with me, and she was a joy to work with. We could always come to rehearsal together to play around and see what would work for our characters, making new discoveries all the way up to closing night. And as Tranio and Biondello, Dave and Andrew gave me some classic comedy moments and it was great to work through the comedy with them.

I also enjoyed the compliments that were heaped on me during the rehearsal process. My show with them two years ago had been a struggle, as the director was constantly making me push against and try to defeat my "bad habits" as an actor. This summer, he was very impressed with my work on this show, and that I had grown as an actor. That was great to hear, as he is an artist that I really respect and someone that I want to work with in the future. It was a very exciting way to spend the summer. I worked with a lot of friends, and I met a lot of people that I want to work with again. I'm about halfway through the filming of GC, the movie I've been cast in, so I'll be updating about that soon.