Sunday, November 23, 2014

Catching Up on the Latest Acting Stuff


Hello, y'all! Got some acting-related stuff for you tonight... gird thyself. I got a lot to cover...

First, Desert Rose, the 48-Hour Film I was in at the beginning of Summer, has been released for viewing online! It's on Horacio's website, so I can't embed it here. You'd have to click THIS LINK to go there, or just click this convenient movie poster!


Just don't forget to come back and finish reading all the nonsense I'm going to share! This is the short film that my co-star Lisa Winans won the Best Actress Award for at the event, as well as the "A-List Actress" Award at the recent San Diego Film Festival. It was a great experience making the film, and I hope to participate again in 2015.

Next, filming for the BTI Webseries is proceeding smoothly. This past Saturday, (11/22), I got to film on (and fly in) a brand spankin' new 10-million dollar private jet!


I'd never been on a jet like this before. It was so much fun. First, they wheeled the jet outside the hangar, and we filmed the scene of me getting off the plane, and greeting my co-star (the illustrious Travis Osland).

Travis and I kicking back on the plane... it still had that "new plane" smell! And Travis had that "seasoned actor" smell!

When we got the last shot, I asked if I could take a selfie at the top of the stairs, and was granted permission. Love this shot. 

Then a group of us piled onto the plane and it took off and landed twice... so they could get footage of the take-off and landing, as well as footage of the plane returning to park in front of the hangar...

That's Jeff's wife Tanya in the red, and my Eldest Daughter Chris smiling next to her.

That's me in the back seat, next to resident knock-out Leslee Baker, with Lisa Winans in front of us. Man, that's a lot of perfect teeth in that photo... good thing my mouth is closed...

So when Jeff was trying to decide who would go up in the plane, he picked people for various reasons, knowing many people wouldn't be able to go, due to limited seating. It sat 9 people, I believe. In any case, other than the pilots, I was the only guy that went up. Me, Mr. Tough Russian, right? Alpha Male? lol... we taxi to the end of the runway and waited to lift off...

The captain had his own father along for the ride, in the co-pilot's seat. Turns out his dad is a retired pilot (flew passenger planes for one of the big airlines for a few decades), and so the pilot wanted to show off for his dad (I found this out afterwards), and show him what the jet could do. So we lift off, and he GUNS the engines, and we shoot way up, fast... felt like straight up. Everyone else seemed to get a kick out of it - including the 8-year old girl that went with us. Me? Mr. Tough Guy Russian? My stomach immediately drops into my lower intestinal region, and I start getting all light-headed, like I'm going to pass out... I'm like, "holy crap! I'm going to faint and/or vomit and/or soil myself, right here on this beautiful plane, in front of all these lovely women..." lol!

Seriously, if that lift-off had lasted another second or two, I don't know what would have happened... so he leveled off and we headed out over the ocean. A few (hopefully-subtle) deep breaths later and I felt ok again. Everyone was busy taking photos out the windows, but I was simply thanking God for not letting me humiliate myself...

So we circle around and come in for a landing, taxiing back around, while I'm softly singing the "Please Let Me Off This Plane" song... and the pilot turns over his shoulder and says, "Hey, is everyone OK if we take it up again?" Everyone but me enthusiastically agrees, while I try to decide if I have the balls to ruin everyone's fun... I suck it up and say, "sure, let's do this..." Did I think I could do it? Heck no... I took a few pre-emptive deep breaths and waited for the worst... we took off again... and it was super-smooth... didn't even feel it. He apparently didn't need to show off to his dad anymore... did the normal lift-off and it wasn't an issue in the least...

So this time, while in the air, I focused on taking in the view, committing the feel of the experience to memory... because I knew that later on, we'd be filming the interior shots of my character on the plane, and I'd be looking out the windows into an empty hanger... hey, I wanted it to seem realistic, yes? We landed again without issue, deplaned, and they pulled the plane back into the hangar.

Leslee watching the activity on a monitor. It was dark inside the hangar, but with the lights set up like that, inside the plane it looked like it was daytime. Very cool. 

Another shot of the plane, with all the lights set up. 

Cool shot of the plane, nose-on...

It was a long day of shooting, but exceptionally cool. Probably a once-in-a-career type of thing. Other than almost making a fool of myself on the plane (and also breaking my glasses), it was a perfect day. I'm glad I'm getting the chance to catalog it here. From what I understand, the footage we got was outstanding. Can't wait to see it, and to show you all.

Other related news: I auditioned for a part in a YMCA in-house industrial training film, and got the part! It films on December 7th. Also, the Christmas play is moving ahead smoothly. Our cast is complete and solid -- though I won't be there for either the dress rehearsal or the performance itself. But I trust Cathy O. to fill in fine. Should be fun.

Also, the Hollywood classes are continuing to amaze me and wring me out. I actually remembered to take some photos this time!

That's Lisa Winans and Kat (don't know her last name!) in class, with Rob (our instructor) silhouetted in the foreground. 

Rob#2 and Mark, not only performing their scene from American Buffalo, but also playing a game called "Sub-Text", where they say their lines while simultaneously texting to each other on a completely different topic, lol... Mark (the one on the monitor) has a small part in the recent Ben Affleck film Gone Girl...

Well, that should just about cover it for now... if I had the strength, I'd tell you about a dream I had recently which really rocked me (so much so, I got up in the middle of the night and journaled about it), which fits the "acting" theme of tonight's post... but honestly, I'm pretty spent, and I'm sure you're ready for this post to end as well...

All things considered, these are amazing times for me. And the months ahead promise more of the same... plus, I get my braces off in about ten days... awww yeah...

Adios for now,

Dave the Goof

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sometimes, A Swift Kick to the Posterior Is Just What the Doctor Ordered...


Yeah, Turnip Rock for the WIN!

Honestly, I have no idea whether that photo is legit or photoshopped... I mean, who can tell nowadays? You can't believe anything you read or see anymore! With all due respect to Curnden Craw, those are the times...

Hmmm, I'm feeling a tad cinematic tonight... lemme see...

INT. OFFICE - NIGHT

DAVE sits at his computer,  updating his blog. Fortunately for us, his viewing audience, he's in one of "those moods", whereby he is willing to make a total fool of himself for our enjoyment. Unbeknownst to us, he has cycled through about a half-dozen different titles on Netflix, trying to find something worth watching, and has failed miserably. Various movies, documentaries and stand-up comedians have failed the basic entertainment litmus test, and he deletes them from his NetFlix queue with reckless abandon. At the moment, he has "Lost In La Mancha" paused, moments away from deletion, on one monitor, while he is updating his blog on another.

He is focused intently on his keyboard, determined to make it through this post with a minimum of typos and grammatical quirks.


DAVE
Hello all! It is Dave, the blatant goof, hoping desperately to entertain you! Because then you'll, like, love me or something... and I'm so pathetically desperate for your love, I'll do just about anything!

DAVE does just about anything. 

It doesn't work.

So, enough of that.

The Wagner Women are in glorious, exotic Albuquerque NM as we speak... Wifey is visiting Mother-In-Law, who is having a Hard Go Of It. This means I have Wagner Manor to myself for 10 Whole Days. Which means: Minecraft, bad food, Netflix, Writing and generally promising myself I will work out, and not doing squat. Or squats.

It's so quiet! I'm tempted to turn on Real Housewives of Bumbleslap OK, just to try and achieve a sense of normalcy around here. Oh, and updating my blog... did I mention that? It is especially important of late, since (you'll be happy to read) I've quickly tired of seeing that guy mooning me (and you) from that bomber plane every time I pull up my blog (to check for comments, of course)...  by the way, Beth wins the award for Comment of the Month for the comment she left, which was six shades of AWESOME.

Your prize, Beth? Name it, and it's yours!

See? See how benevolent I am? I'm, like, Mother Theresa or something... but, like, the male version and stuff. Except I've never been to Calcutta. And I'm a putz. But beyond that, I'm exactly like Mother Theresa...


3D graffiti! I bet you never thought you'd see that, eh? Way cool... in, like, a spiritual sense or something...

OK, fine, you came here to see Cat Math, I'll give it to you....


Cats and boxes. Is there anything better in the world?

I'm sure there is. But, hey, I've lived a fairly sheltered life. I don't really know all that's out there in the world!

INT. OFFICE - NIGHT

Dave sits at his computer, updating his blog. He has just come to the realization that he is, in fact, a putz. He decides to shrug it off and continue as though he was not, in fact, a putz. But we all know the truth, right?

Is there anything better in the world than Bill Murray?



Nope. Nothing better in the world. Bill Cheek-Slapping Murray.

OK, there's, like, Jesus. Then Douglas MacArthur. Then Jeff, the director of the BTI webseries, and then number four is Bill Murray. Number five? Hmm... John Cleese? OK, so, Jesus, MacArthur, Jeff, Bill Cheek-Slapping Murray, and then John Cleese. That's my Top 5.


OK, I should just let that last photo sit there, and sink in...

In fact...

INT. OFFICE - NIGHT

DAVE sits at his computer, looking at the KINTSUKUROI photo, waiting for the symbolism to sink in with all of his readers. He knew that his mom and Beth would both understand it immediately. But for the rest, it may take a while. So he decided to kill time by adding a classic Ed Bassmaster video from his archive...



OMG Ed Bassmaster is friggin' hilarious. In fact, let me modify my Top 5...

1. Jesus
2. Douglass MacArthur
3. Jeff
4. Bill Cheek-Slapping Murray
5. Ed Bassmaster

Sorry, John. Number 6 is still pretty respectable.

Hey, remember that time I was just making this nonsense up as I went?

If it hasn't been made ridiculously clear by this point, I do not have anything of value to share tonight.

INT.  OFFICE - NIGHT

DAVE tries in vain to think of something worthwhile to say tonight, hoping to make it worth his reader's time, as far as stopping by. The key part of that phrase being "in vain"... 


Really? This is the point to which we have devolved?

I apologize with a distinct level of profuseness, as far as what you hoped to read here today.  I know the disappointment must be acute... therefore, I appeal unto the legacy left by our long and storied past, whereby I have, in fact, made stopping by this blog worth your while, and beg that you will overlook my lack of competence this night...

INT. OFFICE - NIGHT

DAVE decides to pull the plug on this ridiculous attempt at a blog post, and call it a night. Sleep beckons. Do the right thing, Dave, Ol' Bean!

Adios for now...

Dave the Ol' Bean

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Six Shades of What the Heck! In A Good Way, Of Course...


Go ahead... ask me again if I'll ever grow up... go on, I bet you don't know the answer...

Yeah, no....

That's the tail gunner, I think...

So, the real question is, what kind of guy starts off a blog post with a photo of Full Moon Over Berlin? The kind of guy who's teetering on the brink of sanity, I suppose... so much has happened since last we spoke, I didn't know where to begin! So I began at the end... so to speak...

I cannot wait for you to see the Beyond the Impact web series I've been bragging about since last year... man, what a ride it has been, and it is daily evolving, as Jeff (our director and captain) comes up with one amazing new tweak after another... that's him in the plane, by the way... ok, fine, it isn't... but he might do something like that... those flyboys do things different, eh!

My acting class in Hollywood has been ten shades of challenging... it wrings me out, every time. I could wax long-winded about it, but most of you would be uninterested... let's just say that I'm learning how to play on stage... when I say "play", I literally mean it. As in, know your lines, come in with a choice, as far as how you're going to approach the part, and then be prepared to chuck it out entirely, and just try different ways of doing it, having fun with it, looking for honest moments, something unexpected... finding a place where you're off-balance and unplanned, and then playing with it...

Amazing things happen. But for a person like me, it is frightening... I like to contemplate, make clear choices, rehearse, plan, perfect, polish and present... it's liberating and terrifying to just try something else out completely...

The scene I've been working on lately, I played a man whose wife was angry with him. My approach to the scene and the dialog was to placate, and deflect her anger from me onto someone else. That made sense to me, in light of the script. My objective was to deflect her anger away from me, onto a third person, and keep it there until it was spent. Fine. I prepped along those lines. I present it, and apparently, it didn't work. So it was chucked, and on the fly, I was asked to pick a new objective. Same lines, different objective. Now I accept the anger, but try to get her to shut up about it.

Changing the objective changes EVERYTHING about the scene. Same dialog. Completely different scene. On the fly, change it. No time to practice, rehearse, polish... just "new objective. Now, GO."

That may sound like nothing much to you, but I assure you, it's challenging on the face of it. Add into the mix my personality, and it was terrifying, exhilarating, embarrassing, immensely rewarding, and exhausting. Something about no rehearsal time lent a freshness, unpredictability, spontaneity... watchability... that was lacking in what I'd rehearsed and prepared.

It stretches me. In ways I'm not quite ready to be stretched... but desperately need. It's making me into a real actor. Because I not only have to absorb a new objective, but closely monitor how it's being received and adapt on the fly accordingly... am I getting my objective? If not, try something else until I get it...

It's amazing.


So the Christmas Play has been written and cast. It is unlike anything we've done before, and I'm stoked about it. It takes Christmas and sort of turns it on its head... in a good way... it takes place in an airport terminal in the Midwest, the day before Christmas. Inclement  weather has grounded all flights, with people trying to get home for Christmas, and while folks wait to see if they can make it home or not.

The main character is a college student writing a paper on how families are over-rated... hilarity ensues.

There, that doesn't spoil things much. It's a tight dozen-page script, and man, it packs a punch.

The problems are: I'm commited to the web series, and we have a lot of filming to do on the weekends between now and the end of the year, including the Sunday before Christmas -- which is traditionally the day we have the Christmas play at our church. This means I have to have rehearsals during the week, I can't give myself a part, and I need an assistant director to be there the day we hold the play, since I'm going to miss it.

Things have a cool way of working out, so I'm not really worried about it. I'll just do what I can and roll with the punches. I think the script is strong, and doable, with the time remaining and the cast we have.

If you'd like to read the script, let me know and I'll email it to you.


Speaking of reading, I've been very lucky with books lately.

I read Thief's Magic, by Trudy Canavan, which is a wonderful book. Then I read perhaps the most delicious book I've read since Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor. It is Pat Rothfuss' latest offering, The Slow Regard of Silent Things. This is so achingly beautiful, it defies my ability to describe it... which, if you know me and how verbose and effusive I can be, should be revealing. Add this one to your TBR List, wait for it to drop to a reasonable price, buy it, read it, love it. I can't recall the last time -- if ever -- that I wanted to immediately begin reading a book as soon as I finished it. It breaks every rule of novel writing, and really should not work... but it does, and wonderfully. If you haven't read The Name of the Wind, it might not have the same impact on you... your call. But it has no dialog, focuses on one character only, and the only real action involves this character making soap... and it is AMAZING.

Now I am reading Seven Forges, by James A. Moore. And it is incredibly well done as well. 3 for 3 so far! That's dang good! Usually, for every above average book I read, I hit a mediocre title or two... I'm on a good run. It makes me want to work on my novel(s) again!

Yeah, fat chance.



Endlessly amusing.

Lately, I've been listening to an odd mix of music. Middle Daughter is friends with a member of a San Diego band called Killing the Messenger, and I've been digging their first album. I have to be in the right mood to listen to it, since it's a band that does the "screaming" thing... but when I'm in the mood, I like it. Plus, I bought Pearl Jam's greatest hits album. And, of course, some Volbeat and Breaking Benjamin...


Yeah, so there's that about it.

I'm trying to recall anything else I wanted to share, but truth be told, I am quite spent at the moment. I needs me some sleepy sleep!

I'm just in a weird place in my life right now. Not a bad thing, just new. I feel a distinct "calm before the storm" vibe that, frankly, frightens me a bit. But, hey, a little fear helps one feel alive, yes!?

When I get something I'm allowed to show you for the web series, I'll post it here immediately. I think it's going to be amazing.

I have so much other nonsense to dump on you, but, not knowing how/where to start, I shall leave it be for now. Hopefully I shall cook on it enough to post it soon, so you can help a bruthuh figure some stuff out. Until that time...

Adios for now.

Dave... you know... Dave?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A.D.D. Has Had Its Way With Me...


OK, fine, I broke tradition. I didn't start a post with a purty landscapey photograph, but I led with a funny animal photo. That just tells me that I'm not afraid of change! Right? A cat delivering a Rock BottomTM on a little lab puppy... near a backyard swingset, no less! You know how dangerous backyard wrestling can be! I mean, pets watch WWE on the TV, then take it to the backyard, and sometimes they can get hurt! Because, gosh ding durn it! WWE guys are professionals! It is not in vain that they say, "Do not try these things at home!"

Reckless pets. Man, I hope that puppy didn't end up paralyzed.



So, yeah, there's that about it.

Hey, remember that one time I was writing a blog post and making it up as I went?

Oh, yeah... it's RIGHT NOW.

So, because no one reads this, I feel safe in revealing my deepest, darkest secrets... so, here goes... *ahem*...

Umm... hmm, lemme think...

Holy crap. I am...

THE MOST BORING PERSON ON THE FACE OF GOD'S GREEN EARTH.

No, no, that can't be true... there must be a deep, dark secret of some kind I can embarrass myself with... hmm...

Well, I tend to take a dump about six times a day... yeah, you probably already figured that one out yourself... Umm... Well, I don't always wear the rubber bands on my teeth, like my orthodontist wants me to... no, that's not even a "shallow, light" secret... umm... Well, I secretly think I'm far better at acting than I'm sure I really am... no, that's just run-of-the-mill narcissism... nothing deep or dark about that. I already confessed that I sometimes sleep in the buff...

Man... no deep, dark secrets to reveal? Sheesh...

Oh well, color me boring, then. If I think of anything, I'll let you know.


So, my acting class in Hollywood is amazing. I really like my coach, probably all out of proportion. And I'm trying to figure out why. I think it's because he's quickly come to "represent" something. You know, symbolism can be powerful in a person's life, yes? He's like a door or something, leading to someplace new and amazing, that I want to go. And it's bigger and more intimidating than I had even begun to expect. Seriously, last night's class, he was working with two sets of actors, on scenes they were working on, and it was riveting. I watched him working with them, leading them to places they hadn't even fathomed before, as far as how to work with their characters and the dialog, and my initial reaction was feeling a wild mix of emotions, such as how glad I was that I wasn't the one up there, and how I empathized with their obvious inability to see what he was trying to lead them into (without just giving them the answers), and mortification on their behalf... and it was all I could do to throw the brakes on that, shake myself, and say, "Hey, Dave, you idiot... pay attention! He's trying to teach us all something here! Don't let the lesson pass you by because you're too busy feeling bad for the actors up on the floor! This is what you're paying him for!"

Does that make sense? Man, I took classes in San Diego for 18 months... I thought I was doing well. I thought I was getting the hang of it all. I got up to this Hollywood class and I realized that I had no idea how deep the rabbit hole could go. I shouldn't feel bad for the actors being stretched to the breaking point before my eyes... I should envy them the experience... take everything I thought I knew, and chuck it... or cling to it and ignore the possibilities of what could be...

By the way, that's his picture up there. His name is Rob Adler, and I'm pretty sure he's a genius.  Here's his IMDB page. The funny thing is, I can tell he's not particularly fond of me. For a number of reasons, I kinda got off on the wrong foot with him. Those of you that know me know how intense and inquisitive I can be. I ask tons of questions, and I feel a compulsion to "figure things out". The term for that in acting parlance is "being stuck in your head", which is counter-productive to any form of higher-level intuitive acting training. Thankfully, Rob knows how to deal with folks like me, but it must be patience-trying for him. I'm one of "those guys"... hopefully, a few months of work will see me free from this mental prison and turned lose on stage and in front of a camera in ways I'd always dreamed were possible. I'm witnessing him do it for others in the class, but no one else is as mired as I am.

I know, Paula... this whole "acting thing" has its' teeth in me. I can't help it... there's something that happens inside me when I see really well-done acting and film-making. It touches me in a powerful way... and I really want to be able to do that to/with others... be a consummate story-teller...convey things to people in a way that impacts them. I know, from experience, what that feels like. I want to be able to do that. Where does that desire come from? Is that desire mutually exclusive from a God-friendly desire? I don't feel like I'm turning my back on Him by wanting to be a world-class actor/story-teller/communicator. I actually feel like it may be a path that leads me closer to Him... but it's new. It's an unknown. I haven't "figured it out" yet... it's a door that has been opened and it reveals a vista I haven't seen before. It's a bit scary... but there's something adventurous about it. Diving into something I haven't thoroughly mulled-over yet...

Rob represents that door to me, at this time. It sucks that I've annoyed him already... I'm hoping that a few steady months of keeping my head down, doing the work, learning and experimenting, will create more of a mutual bond, but even if it doesn't, I know I'm in the right place.

Wow, that was a ramble... I shouldn't write when I'm super sleepy... my edit function is apparently easily-disabled when I'm pooped.



All that to say, yeah.

Currently reading a book called Thief's Magic, by fantasy authoress Trudy Canavan. After a shaky start, it has settled into a wonderful read. I'm about 60% through with it at the moment. There could be a book review of it in the near future! Also, I'm pondering a new Wagnervana comic strip... fingers crossed, eh! My plate is full... actually, instead of a plate, it seems a better analogy for the way I work is a bingo ball tumbler... I have all these ideas and thoughts and projects and potential projects bouncing around in my ADD-riddled brainpan... occasionally, one thing will spit out and I'll do it... or it will fall onto the floor and bounce under the couch, never to be seen again. In this way, things do get done, but far more seem to either eternally-tumble about, or get lost and forgotten...


Real or photoshopped? You decide.

OK, I'm done. I've inflicted enough literary meanderings upon you for one evening. I still haven't thought of any juicy, embarrassing secrets to spill.. perhaps if you ask me a specific, potentially-humiliating question in the comments, I'll feel compelled to answer it and reveal my foibles and idiosyncrasies to all!

Ask away!

Thanks all for now.

Dave the Yutz