Monday, May 31, 2010

Seeing Butter: Episode 1

As promised, here is Episode 1 of "Seeing Butter" -- a little, no-budget webseries we shot a while back -- written by Gina Monreal, directed/edited by Jeremy Henthorn. Thanks for checking it out!

Episode 1: Randy starts to unravel when a mysterious visitor from his past shows up with a message.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

So Long, Century 8!

Despite its worn carpeting, outdated seats, 80s decor, and occasional technical difficulties, the Century 8 cinema in North Hollywood did have a certain charm.  No longer.  The Century 8's singular charm was that it gave free admission to anyone with a SAG card.  Upon getting to the front of the line tonight however, I was told that they discontinued the policy on May 28th.  (Thanks for the warning!) 

And no, I didn't stay to see the movie.  My $10 can better be spent elsewhere.  Bitter?  Yes, I suppose, and I am indeed grateful for the many movies I saw there.  But, I also think it's a dumb idea for the joint.  I bet the attendance at the ancient theater (which has already seemed pretty sparse) will drop even more, since I always saw other SAG people getting tickets.  And less butts in the seats means less popcorn and candy sold and this doesn't bode well for the Century 8, since most of a theater's profit comes from those very concessions.  So, good luck with the new policy, ladies and gents of the Century, been nice knowing you!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Who is Butter?!

Many long-time readers of this blog may remember mentions of a certain 'Butter.'  Well, Butter will finally make an appearance this weekend.  Stay tuned!  (In the meantime, see the attached photo for a hint as to Butter's identity...)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What's in YOUR Wallet?

Working background on a Capital One commercial in Beverly Hills...

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?

You probably are.  I think I am, too.  And I would love the chance to prove it.  To that end, I 'applied' to audition for the show that Jeff Foxworthy hosts -- now in syndication -- a few weeks ago, and actually got called to come in.  So, after filling out a very looong questionnaire, yesterday I hauled myself over to Sony Studios in Culver City for the 'try-out.'  The first step in the waiting room was a 10 question pre-test.  Now, for those of you familiar with the show -- it was nothing like that.  It wasn't a knowledge-based test at all, more of an IQ test -- sequencing, ordering, etc.

There was a lot of hemming and hawing about the questions amongst some of the dozen or so folks waiting, and one girl snidely said to me, "yeah, good luck with that" as I picked up the packet.  And, to be fair, there were some challenging questions, including one or two that really made me think, but it was not as bad as all that.  It was funny to see a couple folks trying to use their phones to get answers, since as I said it wasn't knowledge-based at all, so unless they had a smarter friend on the other end of their texts, they were probably out of luck. 

Finally my name was called and I went in the room.  A gentleman interviewed me on camera for about 5 minutes and that was that -- mostly about where I was from and my education.  No show-esque questions!  That was a disappointment, and I think it means they probably don't want me since I've known people who have auditioned and had to answer a few mock questions in the style of the show. 

Anyway, with a show like this it's hard to know exactly what they want; unlike Jeopardy, the gist of 'Fifth Grader' is not necessarily to find out who knows the most, but who can be the most entertaining while competing.  Let's face it, if they booked the same folks that are on Jeopardy, the show would be ultra-boring and they'd go broke giving so much money away.

Even if I don't get on the show, I'm glad I went down there.  Then again, maybe they will call after all.  Time will tell.  Until then, I'll just have to keep convincing myself that I am indeed smarter than a fifth grader...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Luminous Beings Are We...

NERD ALERT -- As many of you know, I am a huge Star Wars geek.  So, you can imagine my unadulterated excitement when I won an ArcLight Theatre trivia contest to see a special 30th anniversary screening of one of my all-time favorite movies: The Empire Strikes Back.  I got dressed up in my Star Wars finest and dragged my friend Todd along.  As to be expected, I got chills when the music began and the opening crawl started... The digital projection and sound was absolutely superb! And damn that movie still holds up well...

For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. -- Yoda  

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Some Cable Shows...

I got the chance to work background on a couple cable shows this week: Entourage and Californication.  The former is a show I enjoy watching, and it was fun to watch a scene with Ari Gold.  On the latter, I got to play a paramedic and was used in literally one shot, walking by for about 3 seconds.  Not bad for a day's work...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Stage 15 at Warner Brothers

 It was just announced yesterday that Conan will be shooting his new show for TBS on Stage 15 at the Warner Brothers studio in Burbank starting later this year.  That might explain all the construction I encountered when I was on that exact same sound stage on Friday...

All the President's Men...Blazing Saddles...Ghostbusters...and soon, CONAN!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Streets of New York?

Nope.  Just one of the many 'streets' on the Warner Brothers lot.  I snapped this shot while walking by on my way to lunch.  I imagine they use these exteriors for a variety of TV shows and movies.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Mythic, Elusive 'Golden Time'

Anyone familiar with film and TV sets knows about Golden Time -- it is reached when a work day goes past the 16-hour mark.  While overtime (past 8 hours) gets paid at either 1.5x or 2x the regular hourly rate, even one minute past 16 hours (and that includes time you spent at lunch) gets you the full day rate, i.e. 8x the hourly rate.  Anyway, this Golden Time, this most elusive of all creatures is often spoke of but rarely seen -- like the Yeti.

Yesterday, I came close.  Working background again at Warner Bros. on the new Steve Carell movie, I finished at exactly 16 hours.  The check will still be good, but it would have been nice to finally be able to say I've seen Bigfoot...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Say Hello to My Little Friend

One year ago today, a half-Siamese/half Scottish Fold then in foster care came home to live with me.  I'm not sure how anyone could give the little guy up, but I'm glad they did.  I was told then that if I wanted a friendly, affectionate cat this probably wasn't the one, and indeed when I first brought Art home, he spent much of his time cowering under the bed and/or avoiding me.  But, what a difference a year makes: as I write this, Art is sitting contentedly on my lap, and he rarely leaves my side.  Thanks for making my life a little better, my furry friend.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Those Rare Moments

I had to put together something of a bio/personal statement for a project recently, and it made me think about a lot of things in terms of the industry, my place in it, what success means, what I'm doing here, etc.  I won't post the whole thing, but here is a little of what I came up with:

...However, primarily because of the exhilaration I have felt being on certain sets, being around certain artists, I have come to the realization that yes, while earning money is a necessary part of living as an actor, my ultimate goal is now to find a place of creative freedom; a place or path that allows me to continually grow as an artist while sustaining me financially.

This road is not an easy one as I've discovered.  Sure, the SoCal weather is great and I've gotten to experience some pretty cool things.  But, there are those days when I question my life decision.  There are the days when the bills are piling up or when I should go the doctor to get another sports injury checked; those days I miss the security of my old business job -- a consistent paycheck, insurance, heck, a retirement plan!  There are the days when having to do odd jobs or extra work feels so humiliating and pointless that I almost want to say forget it and go back to the 'real world.'  There are the days when the frustration of not even getting a chance to show what I can do is almost enough to drive me out of town.  There are many days

But then there are those fleeting moments in class, or when doing a one-act play in front of a handful of people, or on set seeing an actor deliver a line just so, or in working on a small independent film with like-minded folks who have an affinity for the craft...  Those rare moments of emotional truth, of feeling, of connection; those brief but oh-so-addictive moments that serve to remind me why I'm doing this.  And those moments are just enough to carry me through in the hopes that another one is just around the corner.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

For the Love of Mom!

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!  Wish I could have joined you for brunch this morning.  Since you are 2,000 miles away though, I played some three hours of pick-up softball to celebrate instead...
 Thanks for always being my biggest fan.  Love you!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Visitors From Afar

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to grab some lunch and a couple beers with one of my oldest friends.  Ryan happened to be in town (or more accurately, near town, as he was really visiting Beaumont, CA...) on business for a couple days, and though we both had rather hectic schedules during that brief time, I'm so glad we managed to get together.  It was good to catch up, and I hope Ryan finds himself around these parts again soon.

Also, Gina's dad has been in town this week to catch some Brewers/Dodgers action -- and apparently he brought the Brew Crew's offense with him!  It's been great to see them throttle the Dodgers the past two days.  He and I also visited Gina on the Disney lot for lunch yesterday which was a lot of fun -- quite a bit of history there in Burbank!

As always, it's nice to see some familiar faces, so if you happen to be in SoCal, definitely let me know!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Write On!

For those of you who haven't read my enthusiastic Facebook postings: Gina got staffed as a writer on ABC's Brothers & Sisters!  This is a tremendous accomplishment and one that she has been working towards for the last few years.  She interviewed with the showrunner two weeks ago, and just got word this week that they want her to join the B&S writing staff for the upcoming season.  The show is on hiatus until early June, so she will remain in the ABC writing program until they start back up at which time she'll join the writers' room.  You go, girl!