Sunday, May 10, 2015

Release the Quacken!

Yes, I wrote my wife a poem for Mother's Day. Hey, I'm sure it is/was as big a surprise to her as it is to you!

It's odd. I fancy myself a writer - I enjoy it and I'm pretty good at it. Plus, I fancy myself an artist. I can draw, and paint, and do graphical things that are visually impressive. Heck, I can even play guitar quite well (thanks, dad!) and write songs. I'm a pretty good singer. You'd think with all of those things at my disposal that I would always be writing and painting and drawing special things for certain loved ones on special occasions...

But I don't. And I'm not sure why.

My wifey and kids are always making homemade cards and little artsy projects for Gramma and others... I know it means a lot to them, and I know it would mean a lot to them to receive such things as well. I mean, part of me knows that. And that part of me is compartmentalized. It never seems to interact with the part of me that decides what to do with my time.

For some reason, at long last, those two parts of me met and shook hands, in time for me to write a poem to my wife for Mother's Day. Surprise surprise!

Now, I know I've occasionally vented in this blog about the rocky road that is my marriage. Hey, nothing new under the sun, right? Every marriage is rocky. I suppose it was poor form on my part to vent such nonsense in such a forum, but my argument has always been that, hey, it's my blog, it's about me and what's on my mind, and hey, people don't have to read it... I don't necessarily write this blog for other people (though it is nice to know people do occasionally visit here), but rather I write it for myself, to help maintain a certain level of sanity that allows me to function socially at acceptable levels.

That having been said, I know I've occasionally waxed honest about certain domestic grievances, but I don't know how often I've balanced it out with the good stuff. It isn't all difficulties and frustrations, there are plenty of moments of fun and joy as well (thank God). As much as it may have been an embarrassment to vent my spleen in here about things that were likely best left in the dark, I'm afraid it has also been an embarrassment to neglect balancing things out with the positives.

So... sorry about that!

I have lots to be thankful for.

All that to say, I wrote a poem! And no, you can't read it! It's personal!

So I recently finished reading the first two books of Brandon Sanderson's Stromlight Archive -- The Way of Kings and Words of Radiance. A 2,100 page journey, and I loved every minute of it. I'd write a lengthy review of each for you to skim, but I haven't the strength. So I'll summarize: 5 stars for both titles. Great characters, great action, wonderful dialog, terrific world-building, a robust magic system... top to bottom, a terrific ride, highly recommended. I even pulled a trio of monologues out of the text, to add to my collection.

Oddly enough, Wifey recently started reading Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy, at my recommendation. She devoured (and loved) the first book in the series, and quickly moved on to book 2. It's funny... we have something new in common now! I'm not sure we'd ever read the same book before... I'm going to have to re-read the trilogy again, so we can talk about it!

And now, the Most Interesting Man in the World...

So cool. What a great acting story...

Perhaps some day, I'll have a great acting story of m'own!

BTI Update: Currently laboring away on the next script. And there's talk of a convention and an appearance on a radio program in the near future... stay tuned, eh!

I'm loving the acting classes up in LA more and more. Believe it or not, it's worth the trip, though it's putting crazy miles on my car. I'm leasing it. Man, I'm going to take it in the shorts when it comes time to turn it in... anyways, yeah, 110 miles up, 110 miles back, twice a week... and it's worth it.

I'm thinking it's time to resurrect my Wagnervana website and make it my professional actor site... I think I have enough to make a good demo reel now, between BTI and the two 48-Hour films I did last year, and the Lazarus film we made at Mt. Zion a couple Easters ago... I should be able to pull together a good 2 minutes... You know, I wonder if it would be too unprofessional to simply add a page to this blog instead? Going to have to think about that some more. Anyways, time to kick things up a notch, as far as my acting presence, etc.

Going to turn in for the night. Hey, it's 1:33am! I need my beauty sleep!

Adios for now. More soon, I promise...

Dave the Goof

Sunday, April 26, 2015

What Can I Say? This Is Me.

Howdy, y'all... yup, I said "howdy".... why does that surprise you? Didn't you see me wearing the boots and cowboy hat? And that I'm chewing tobacco? Sorry about your shoes, by the way... don't normally chew this stuff...

It was a dreary day in San Diego today... yucky and rainy and miserable... do you pity me/us? The one day of the year that the weather isn't perfect! Come on, send some pity my way! Don't be so stingy! Or stringy, for that matter. How about springy? Ay, springes to catch woodcocks! I do know! When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul lends the tongue vows!

A little Shakespeare for you there. Just to keep things fresh. Nothin' fresher than Shakespeare, eh!? EH!!?!??!

So the BTI train rolls forward! Many people in my acquaintance have seen the whole thing (all 3 episodes), and many more have seen the 2 episodes that have been officially released. And many people haven't seen any of it yet, in spite of my sending them a link directly! I'm trying to analyze it, and the best I can come up with is that when a person discovers something (to watch or read, etc) on his or her own, they will make immediate time to consume it. But if someone says, "Hey, would you watch/read this and tell me what you think, please?" then it becomes like homework or some such, and thus easy to put off indefinitely.

Several folks told me they'd gladly watch it and share their thoughts with me, and still haven't, after a couple weeks now! Part of me is bummed, and part of me understands.

The part of me that has labored over this thing for 18+ months and knows all that went into getting it up on the screen to share with the world, that part of me loves the series. All of it, warts and all. I'm so proud of what we've done, I could burst. I want everyone that means something to me to see it and see what we've done...

But the part of me that watches it fresh, as though I knew nothing about it ahead of time? That part of me can see the "flaws." But the flaws don't bum me out -- they are few and minimal, in my estimation. There is far more positive about the product so far than negative. Yet there are a few folks I know who seem to enjoy pointing out all of the flaws and niggling little aspects of the acting, the story telling, the craft... there are nits that need to be picked, apparently! Everyone's a critic, right? That's ok, I'm good with it. It's just another lesson I'm learning, about life and storytelling and friendships.

I don't fault anyone for either not watching it, or for picking it apart.

That having been said, my excitement level for the future of this project (and beyond) is sky high. We're working on more scripts as we speak.

I survived Tax Day. In case you were wondering.

Let's see, what else?

Let's face it... if you're familiar with this blog at all, you already know what else... Still reading books (currently Words of Radiance, by Brandon Sanderson), still watching movies and comedy (November Man (meh), Daredevil (meh), and Jim Gaffigan and Brian Regan (Yay to both!)), still listening to music (80's music, plus contemporary rock), and still going to acting class up in Hollywood twice a week (currently working a cool scene from Nightcrawler). Still playing Minecraft. Still drinking Caramel Macchiatos.

The days are sliding by. My hair is growing out. My beard itches. The carpets need cleaning. I need new tires on my car. Gas prices are climbing. I bought Interstellar weeks ago and still haven't watched it. I'm sore from my last workout. I have more lemons than I know what to do with. I want GTAV but don't want to pay $60 for it.

You know... same old thing.

Here's my latest favorite song... Failure, by Breaking Benjamin...

One more thing about Beyond the Impact... the main website is not up yet, and I'm not sure when it will be live... so in the interim, I've made a page here on this blog, and this is where I'm going to post embeds of the episodes, as well as photos and notes on the story lines and characters, as long as Jeff approves. The link is up there below the banner.

Here's the latest trailer for the series. It's awesome. You should watch it.

BTi Season Finale Teaser from ETCHED MOTION PRO on Vimeo.

What can I say? This is me. This is my world at the moment.

I hope you're doing well, whomever and wherever you are.

Adios for now,

Dave the Small

Thursday, April 9, 2015

There Was This One Time When...

...after a long day of feeling a bit yucky, Dave decides it has been quite long enough since his last blog post. So he lopes over to his blog, unlocks the front doors, flinging them open, and ambles in.

It seems musty and stuffy in his blog. The air is still. There's a mild, lingering odor; a strange mix of cheese puffs, BBQ corn nuts and unfulfilled dreams. Plus, methane. Or maybe he brought that particular scent along with him, I dunno...

Glancing up toward the vaulted ceilings in the blog foyer, Dave notices cobwebs. Plus... wait, what is that, way up there, stuck to the wall near the ceiling line? Good grief, is that a booger? Dave marvels at the dedication involved in that placement. Was it a 16-foot ladder, or a world-class fling, he wonders?

Dave sighs. Three paragraphs in, and already he's sunk to Jr. High School levels. Farts and boogers? Really? Good thing he's alone in here. No one to be embarrassed in front of. Unless, of course, the live web stream is still active. Dave walks over to the statue of Bill Murray by the entrance to the main ballroom and checks the hidden camera for the blinking red light. Nope. The webcam is dead.

Near the statue is a half-empty bowl of peanuts. Yikes. Probably long-since stale. He tries one. Yup, stale. He grabs a handful and munches on them as he moves into the ballroom.

Silence. He powers up the phonograph, and kneels down to grab an LP out of the nearby milk crate. He wonders what he should play to break the silence. Sabotage, by the Beastie Boys? Failure, by Breaking Benjamin? In the Air Tonight, by Phil Collins? He decides on something mellow... Marlene Dietrich's Favorite Poem, by the enigmatic Peter Murphy.

Dave shuffles over to the middle of the ballroom floor, lays down on his back and looks at the mural on the ceiling, as the haunting music plays...

Dave is amazed by the photography of Tim Flach. Then again, Dave is amazed by many things. He's childlike like that. Yes, childlike and childish, all in the same blog post. Dave spreads his arms and legs apart, like that famous drawing by Michelangelo, or DaVinci, or whomever it was, and lets his mind begin to wander.

He's letting his hair grow out. It's at that awkward stage that is best endured by employing a hat. He had a video-taped audition for an SDGE commercial today. He filmed it with his iPhone as he sat in his car during his lunch break. He hopes his awkward hair wasn't a minus. He loves his time in his car during lunch. Alone, windows open, a salad in his lap, an iced caramel macchiato in the cup holder, his iPad draped over the steering wheel, the Kindle app opened to whatever novel he is currently reading. Ah, a golden time. The only part of the day he enjoys more is climbing into bed each night at 2am to go to sleep. In the dark, exhausted, drifting off to sleep. Wonderful.

The Peter Murphy music stops. Dave tries to decide if he should put on another song, or just lay there in silence.

The silence wins.

Dave's mind continues to wander. His acting career is moving forward. He's going up to LA twice a week now for classes. He's slowly understanding the importance of "play" when it comes to acting. For someone who likes (needs?) to be in control as much as possible, it's been very difficult for him to learn to just cut loose and play with abandon, without fear of making mistakes or "doing it wrong". John Cleese spoke brilliantly about just that, in a video clip of a speech Dave watched recently...

Being re-wired on a foundational level has been a fascinating, occasionally-painful journey for Dave, but the results are tangible. He's working on the next script for the Beyond the Impact web series. The first 15-minute episode has been released to the public...

BTi EP 1. from ETCHED MOTION PRO on Vimeo.

The second 15-minute episode will be released on the 13th of this month, and the final 20-minutes will be released on the 26th. Dave is learning patience the hard way. It's hard to wait, but it's the right thing to do. Dave is learning.

[EDIT] Here is Episode 2:

BTi EP 2. from ETCHED MOTION PRO on Vimeo.

He sits up, sighs and glances about the ballroom. He remembers the last time people were dancing in here. It was fun to watch from a detached distance, but up-close mingling always unnerves Dave, no matter how hard he tries to blend in, and so that night Dave fled his own party and played Minecraft instead. He felt badly about it, but, hey, you are what you are, yes? Dave holds out some bizarre hope that somehow, some day, he'll magically transform into a Man, capital M. A heroic type. Someone people can rely on in a pinch, when things get rough, instead of crumbling and fleeing.

Dave pictures himself like this, humorously enough...

Is there a more manly picture in existence than that one, Dave wonders? That beard alone could rule a small country.

Dave hops up to his feet, stopping his mind before it wanders down that philosophical rabbit hole -- What is man? He strides across the ballroom, pushes the nose on the portrait of Matthew McConaughey, activating the door to the secret passageway, and enters his Snack Storage Room, grabbing a 1-pound bag of teriyaki beef jerkey and a bottle of water (he'd given up Red Bulls long ago), and continues through the greenhouse, up the spiral staircase and out onto the balcony, overlooking the city.

The sounds of the city soothe him tonight, reminding Dave that he isn't alone. For though he enjoys being by himself, he doesn't like being alone...

Well, it makes sense to Dave....

He sits on his director's chair, opening the bag of jerkey, and calls out to the night.

"Adios for now!"

Monday, March 23, 2015

Hey, Look! There's an Elephant in the Room!

How majestic! A helium-filled cat!

Might as well address the elephant in the room from the outset here...

How did the BTI premiere go, you may wonder?

In the interest of maintaining a level of professionalism and "act like you've been there before"-ism, let me give you the EXTREMELY sanitized, succinct version of the answer, stripped of all emotion and potentially self-embarrassing repartee...

Due to technical reasons beyond our control, and an interminable delay, the movie files would not play on the theater equipment.

I cannot - will not - elaborate upon that at this time, and in this forum. Suffice it to say, the evening was rather less spectacular than I had hoped it would be.

Enough said.

HOWEVER, I have since seen the finished product, and I am overwhelmed by how awesome it is. Granted, that may be, in part, a byproduct of the fact that I've worked so closely on the project for 18+ months, and perhaps can overlook what other fresh eyes may perceive as possible shortcomings... but I LOVE what we've done. I had hoped to embed it here for you to watch in all of its glory, but it will have to wait another 1 to 3 days (according to Jeff's latest assessment), while he finishes tweaking (read: perfecting) the final product, and properly prepares the Vimeo page to handle traffic and process the stats, etc, that we will need for marketing strategies going forward.

Man, I am so proud of what we've accomplished -- and it's just the opening salvo. Ladies and gents, have we got plans!

There, elephant in the room has been identified and put in its place! The nerve of some elephants, man! Waltzing around a room like they own the place! They think they're so cool because they have four knees....

Whales aren't much better....

"it's mostly water weight... urrrrrr!"

Let's see, what else? What have I been reading?

I read The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter, by Rod Duncan. Just to show you how lazy I can be, I'm going to copy/paste my (admittedly-brief) review of the book from my Good Reads page!

A swift, rewarding read. Great steampunk alt-reality UK setting, with a cool main character. Detective work, disguises, circus performers, gypsies, fortune-tellers, conmen, amazing machines, thwarted cross-class love, all written with class, humor, pathos and action.
This may very well be good enough for me to grab the second volume (when it is soon-released) and continue the series! Trust me, that's a compliment. I can't tell you how many series' I have stalled out at Book 1... 

And to show that I'm perfectly fine with reusing jokes, here, let me copy/paste my review for the other book I recently read, called Bird Box, by Josh Malerman... a post-apoc thriller...

Crazy premise -- unique in that I've never even contemplated such a take on the post-apoc genre before. Wholly unique? Maybe... I'm not the most well-read person in the world, so I don't know. Maybe other authors/books have hit things from something similar, I don't know... 
But for me, this was a terrific, tense ride. A little contrived at the end, and the present-tense presentation was occasionally annoying/confusing. But overall, a terrific book, with solid characters, chew-worthy ideas and a great premise.

There! My work here is done! With little-to-no effort on my part! See? See how easy to please you are? A couple quick paragraphs for you to skim! Makes for a swift blog-reading experience! See how considerate I am of your time!? I mean, you have better things to do than read a fresh review of a book I enjoyed enough to mention! When I serve up rehashed opinions on books you'll never read anyway, it makes it all the more painless...

In fact, here, let me post another cat picture for you...

Dang! That cat could probably kick my butt! Looks like its been hitting the weights at Gold's Gym pretty hard.

Wait, I did want to mention one more book-reading-related item... I've finally done it! I've dived back into Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archive! Any of you with long memories for Dave-related minutiae will remember that I bought The Way of Kings back in the day (August 2010) when it was released, and waited almost 2 years before finally reading the thing (1,000 pages! Yikes). It was a great book, and I reviewed it well.

The second volume (Words of Radiance) was released about a year ago, and I purchased it with a mix of dread and anticipation... enough time had passed since I read Volume 1 that I knew I'd have to re-read it before diving into Volume 2... a daunting task, since reading both volumes would represent a 2,000 page commitment....

So this week, after finishing Bird Box, I started my re-read of The Way of Kings.

And at this point in the conversation, I am forced to stop myself and ask, in a loud, annoyed voice, "Dave, why on EARTH would you think anyone would want to know any of that?" And the answer is... "Well... it seemed like a good idea when I started typing it... now? Not so much..."

So instead, I will stop the Sanderson-related nonsense, and dance for you...

OK, that's not me. I could never dance so amazingly....

The next time you hear from me in this forum, I will be posting the entire pilot episode of Beyond the Impact, for you to enjoy. That is, if Jeff sets it up to allow for embedding. If not, I shall post a link! It should be in the next few days.... then, we shall see what everyone thinks... hopefully people will enjoy it, and the memory of the premiere will fade into obscurity, over-shadowed by all the love!

If not, well, hey... there's always Minecraft....

Adios for now,

Dave the Tested and Found Wanting...