Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wow - Warp Speed for Trek Sequel

Star Trek Poster Star Trek Poster

Hmm, maybe my Starfleet Cadet can live to fight on???

From CanMag.com:

No surprise here. With
Star Trek due to hit theaters this May and make lots and lots of money, Paramount figured they might as well cash in on the franchise and makes a sequel of this prequel. I don't want to give anything away, but I don't think there is then any chance of Kirk, Spock or the rest of the infamous crew of dying in this installment. Wink!

Star Trek Sequel Coming

Paramount Pictures has hired Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof to pen the screenplay for the twelfth Star Trek installment. While Abrams directed the recent installment, he has only committed to produce the sequel. Don't rule out the possibility, however, of him getting back behind the camera for a second go.

While there can't be much of a story on paper just yet, the trio is expected to have a working script turned in by Christmas in order to get the film ready for theatrical release come summer 2011.

"There's obviously a lot of hubris involved in signing on to write a sequel of a movie that hasn't even come out yet," said Lindelof, co-creator with Abrams of ABC's "Lost" who produced the upcoming "Trek" but did not contribute to Orci and Kurtzman's screenplay. "But we're so excited about the first one that we wanted to proceed."

Expect the scribes to wait until the release of Star Trek before they commit all their resources into the new script. Fan feedback will be used as a tool on deciding which direction to take the franchise.

"Obviously we discussed ideas, but we are waiting to see how audiences respond next month," he said. "With a franchise rebirth, the first movie has to be about origin. But with a second, you have the opportunity to explore incredibly exciting things. We'll be ambitious about what we'll do."

Star Trek will open to theaters on May 8th.

Monday, March 30, 2009

New Angels & Demons Stuff

A couple new A & D movie posters and a new TV spot that highlights the action - Movie is out May 15th:

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Visitor

Well, despite our nomadic existence due to my flooded apartment, my dad and I managed to have a good time watching hoops and enjoying the sun this week. We spent much of his visit watching NCAA tourney games at various spots (i.e. where we could find the Marquette games). But, we also headed down to the beach, ate at lots of good places, and hiked in the mountains. Fun stuff. Come back soon, Dad!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Paul Kampf Acting Class

Occasionally I post about my weekly acting class - what we worked on, how it inspires me. I don't write about it every week, but I probably could. In the year or so that I've been studying with Paul, I really feel as if I've made huge strides in my acting. The class is nice in that it works on all different aspects of the craft; preparation, auditioning skills, scene work, technique. So, every class is something different and it doesn't get stale. That and the small size (anywhere from 6-10 students depending on people's work/rehearsal schedules) and reasonable price make me very grateful that I found it.

Paul believes that the key to being a good actor is having a deep and clear understanding of what makes your imagination/emotions/instincts come to life when approaching a script or role. So, much of the work we've done so far deals directly with knowing and "tuning" your own instrument. I know that I still have a way to go in this (actually I think it's a lifelong learning experience, as our 'instrument' is always changing based upon our life experiences...), but I am appreciating the journey.

Anyway, if you are out here and looking for an inspiring coach/teacher/class, let me know and I'll put you in touch with Paul.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

New Star Trek TV Trailer

In the last couple days, this Star Trek TV ad has started to run for the upcoming release. Looks pretty good.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My Apartment: 1 Week Later

It's been a little over a week since my apartment flood. Thanks for all the supportive messages and e-mails. Just trying to get all the insurance crap squared away... Everyone has a list of everything they own, where and when they bought it, and how much it cost, right???

I've heard from several folks that my situation inspired them to look into renter's insurance (which I highly, highly recommend!), so maybe something positive can come from this ordeal ;)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sheesh...It's a MOVIE, People!

Sounds like Angels & Demons is going to get a box office boost from an unlikely source: The Vatican.  Yep, seems that the Pope and his friends are calling on the world to boycott the upcoming Ron Howard/Tom Hanks (oh yeah, ahem, Jeff Boehm in a bit part ;) movie that takes place in Rome and deals with the Papacy.  And just like most occasions, an urged boycott will likely only spur interest in the movie.  

Here's an excerpt from The Hollywood Reporter:
'Angels & Demons' may face Vatican boycott

Official newspaper: Church 'cannot approve' of the film

By Eric J. Lyman
By Eric J. Lyman ROME -- The Vatican could be gearing up for an official call for a boycott of "Angels & Demons," Ron Howard's big-budget follow-up to "The Da Vinci Code." Avvenire, the Vatican's official newspaper, ran a story in Friday's edition noting that the church "cannot approve" of such a problematic film. 
The Turin daily La Stampa, meanwhile, said the Vatican soon will call for a boycott of the film, though the same article also quoted Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, who warned against a "boomerang effect" that could call attention to the film and eventually make it more popular.  
The Vatican press office declined comment on the reports. Producers requested permission from church officials to film parts of "Angels & Demons" in the Vatican but were denied. Scores of church officials called for a boycott of "Da Vinci Code" when it was released in 2006, but the calls had little effect on the popularity of the thriller, which is based on the best-selling novel by Dan Brown. 
The film earned about $760 million in worldwide boxoffice receipts. "Angels & Demons" features many of the same characters as "The Da Vinci Code." While Brown published "Angels" three years before "Da Vinci," the film version of "Angels" refers to events in the film version of "Da Vinci" and so plays more like a sequel than a prequel. 
It is set to open worldwide May 15.

The Agony of Defeat

My alma mater, Marquette University, put on a valiant comeback before coming up just short in their bid to make it to the Sweet 16.  Too bad.  My dad, who is out here visiting, and I went to a sports bar down the street called Hollywood Billiards to watch the game where they have about 2 dozen TVs.  There were a lot of Marquette fans which was good to see, and a few Mizzou partisans.  It got a little rowdy towards the end, but it seemed all in good fun.  Tough way for the boys to end a season that started so promising though...

In other news, my brackets are pretty much garbage unless all my remaining teams can win.

Oh well, baseball season is right around the corner!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Let the Madness Begin!

Even non-sports fans know that March Madness means lots of college basketball and the occasional office pool. It also means cheerleaders and plenty of "what the hell was that?!" moments.

I typically enter brackets into various contests/pools which usually makes even the most mediocre match-up interesting to watch. That being said, I still love upsets that screw up my bracket. It's always fun to see David slay Goliath. So, tune into CBS over the next few days - it's the best reality television on TV...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Richard Dreyfuss Story

In class on Thursday night, my teacher relayed the (well-known, I guess) story about Richard Dreyfuss and his headshot. Or lack thereof. Apparently, young Mr. Dreyfuss didn't want to get caught up in all the 'busywork' business new actors are usually told is absolutely required: "get good (i.e. expensive) headshots," "market yourself," etc. etc.

So, after getting out of school, on his first audition, the producers said, "Okay, where's your headshot." Apparently, Dreyfuss told them something along the lines of, "I'm an actor. And I'm right here...So let's do this." As in, Why do you need a picture of me if you have me right in front of you. My picture can't act, but I can. Here I am, and this is what I can do. And he was good. And he got the job. And he's never had a headshot.

Now, times have changed, and who knows how much of that story is fact and how much is legend. But, it did make me think about how easy it is to get caught up in the minutiae of the business: getting new pictures, submissions, postcards, making contacts, more pictures, 'special skills,' writing letters, paying for workshops, etc., etc. How easy it is to get preoccupied with that stuff and to forget about the craft. And the craft is what's most important. And while it may be smart to at least consider all those other things, the bottom line is if you do good work, eventually people will notice. Worked for Richard.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Fine Mess

Nothing like all your stuff getting wet. Unfortunately, my apartment flooded this weekend. A pipe came loose in the apartment above me and soaked through virtually my whole ceiling, which collapsed in several areas, early Saturday morning. There was standing water over my whole floor (the pictures are AFTER all the standing water and plaster crap has been cleaned out.) And it was black water that smelled horribly from the old ceiling wood/plaster. A real mess. Some stuff I was able to salvage, but I had to get everything out right away. So, now my stuff is in storage and I'm not sure where I'm going to live for however long it takes to fix. Sigh. I have to wait until Monday for my insurance claims guy to call back. Just glad I got that renter's insurance...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Free is Good

I mentioned the "Conversations" program that the SAG Foundation has. Another of its free programs is the Casting Access Program (CAP) which occasionally brings in casting directors. These CAP nights give actors a chance to meet and cold read for the CDs that we normally have to pay $35-45+ to read for at other workshops. These CAP nights are posted on the Foundation's website, and fill up quickly on a first come, first served basis, so it's not always easy to get in. But, I was fortunate enough to get seated for one last night. The guest was Matt Kane who used to work in TV (Scrubs, The Cleaner), but now mostly does features. It was a brief Q&A, followed by a scene. I think I did okay. As per usual, you never know if/when anything comes from such meetings, but it never hurts to get out there. And the price was right -- thanks, SAG Foundation.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Breaking Bad

One of the perks of being in SAG is getting to go to the free programs that the SAG Foundation offers. One of these is a series called "Conversations" where they screen a movie or an episode of a TV series and then have some of the cast there to talk about the project and their experiences.

Last night, I went to the Breaking Bad Conversation. Breaking Bad is an AMC original series that is dark, edgy, and really solid. Bryan Cranston (well known as the dad on Malcolm in the Middle) plays a husband/father/chemistry teacher who finds out he has terminal lung cancer. In an effort to ensure his family is provided for after his death, he decides to use his chemistry expertise to get involved in making and selling meth. Last night, we screened the Season 2 premiere (which played on AMC this week) and it was great.

After the show, the entire main cast came out and a moderator facilitated a discussion that ranged from how they each got the job, to some favorite and least favorite moments to shoot. It was really insightful and a lot of fun. When asked to give any advice for aspiring actors, there was a lot of the usual stuff: "work hard. get used to rejection."

But, Bryan Cranston (who is brilliant in his lead role, and who also directed the season premiere) had a thoughtful take. He said, "I don't know anyone who has made a good career in Hollywood without luck. And that's just the way it is. So, of course you try to prepare for that, to put yourself in that position (where luck is more likely to find you) by fostering relationships with casting people, etc., but you do then need an element of luck." This was nice to see that someone so good at what he does still recognizes the fact that some luck is necessary to succeed, and that he appreciates his.

Another tidbit that was very interesting was how this role came to Cranston -- a very different role than the comedic dad on Malcolm. He relayed the story of how the writer/creator of Breaking Bad had remembered him from a guest starring role he had on another of the writer's shows, The X-Files, more than 10 years ago! That couple day job got him the meeting for this pilot which went from a scheduled 20 minutes to over an hour and a half. And the rest, as they say, is history...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Seeing Butter

Working on our Seeing Butter webisodes last week was a really positive experience all around - no matter how the final product turns out ;) It's always good to 'keep those creative juices flowing' as they say, and I learned a great deal about the producing aspect of a project. From completing the SAG paperwork, to coordinating schedules, to renting sound equipment, we found out a lot about what goes into making even the smallest of productions. Luckily we had some really talented and generous people onboard who had camera equipment and sound expertise. And similarly, our director, Jeremy, came along with editing expertise, so all the raw footage is in his capable hands now.

Just a little bit about the story of Seeing Butter: It involves an ordinary man named Randy who comes home to his apartment and discovers a portly gray cat sitting inside. The comedy/mystery follows as Randy tries to discover whose cat it is and why it's there.

Here is a picture of the feline actor in our film -- she was in the process of okaying the script when something more important took her attention away...

Friday, March 6, 2009

Star Trek

As some of you already know, J.J. Abrams upcoming Star Trek (out on May 8th) was the first set I worked on when I got out to L.A. Answering an ad for an open call for extras meant waiting in line for a few hours to get a snapshot taken. The extras casting director called a month or so later and had me come in for a fitting. They fitted me for a Star Fleet cadet uniform and I ended up working as a cadet for 7-8 days - in Tustin, Long Beach, all over really. Then, they asked me to be a cadet in a flight simulator scene -- it was pretty cool as the scene was just 4 or 5 extras and the main stars, and one day we sang 'Happy Birthday' to set-visitor Steven Spielberg -- so I got fitted for another costume (this one was much more comfortable, though it looked kind of like one-piece blue pajamas.) I also got fitted for yet another costume, an engineer/workman outfit and did some green screen stuff.

In all over a period of 4 months or so, I worked several weeks. It was a great learning experience just being on a set that big and seeing how things worked. I wasn't much of a Star Trek fan going in, but I met some really cool folks who were, and learned a bit more about the mythology of the series. And just as importantly, because I was fortunate enough to be chosen for some of the smaller scenes that shot on the Paramount lot, I got enough SAG vouchers to be able to join the union.

For these reasons alone, and to see if I could spot myself on the big screen, I was planning on seeing the movie when it comes out in May. But, the new trailer was just released and it actually looks like a really solid sci-fi/action flick! Here is that trailer - you can watch a high quality version HERE.

"Live long and prosper!" or something.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Doin' Your Own Thing

Amidst the union turmoil in LA and the poor economy everywhere, it is harder than ever for actors new to town to get their break. To that end, I think my acting teacher, Paul, has the right idea that the best way to be (and feel) proactive is to get your own stuff going. This is easier said than done, but given advances in technology, it is still much easier now than even a decade ago. With cheaper high quality cameras and editing software, anyone can make a movie.

That being said, if you want to get noticed, some solid writing, directing, editing, acting, etc. go a long way. So, Gina and I came up with a story that we thought would be fun to work on and film as a series of short, 2-3 minute 'webisodes.' We convinced a few of our very talented friends to join as cast and crew and did some shooting of Seeing Butter last week. We hope to have the resulting webisodes ready to upload in a few weeks, so keep your eyes peeled!