Monday, November 14, 2016

I Have A Couple of Friends That Call Me "Whiskers"...


Wow, where to begin?

I tell ya, this year. Talk about highs and lows. In many ways, never been higher, never been lower. But it's my own fault, really. I recalled today that for the bulk of 2015, a constant prayer of mine had been "Please, Lord, help me to grow up."

I'm an introspective, socially-isolated type of person. I've sifted my personality and over-analyzed the findings so thoroughly over the past two decades, it must be counter-productive in the extreme by now. It's in my wiring - I need to understand things. Everything needs to make sense or it drives me crazy. I can't rest on an issue until I know which mental shelf to put it on and why.

It's as exhausting as it sounds.

That having been said, here are the highlights and lowlights of the past two months.

First, the positives...

I finished the first draft of Momentum, the feature script I've been working on for the past year or so, with the illustrious Rob Dey. We're going to meet this week to begin discussing rewrites. The draft is over 200 pages long. We're going to tweak it into two versions. One feature version that will be rather drastically pared down. And a series version, breaking this script into episodes, and keeping more of the content. We've actually renamed the project, but I can't divulge that info yet.

In fact, I can't really share anything else about it at this time. But it is a huge, great feeling to be done with the first draft. I've written short scripts, and tons of plays, but this is my first full-length script. Can't wait to see how this project evolves.

There is a second big positive, relating to writing, but I can't talk about that at all yet, lol. And two other possibly big developments, also under wraps.

Man, I thought I'd have more positives to share!

Before I ever-so-briefly hit the lowlights, here's some fun stuff for you...

Here's a classic from SNL with Will Ferrell doing his Harry Carey impression for the skit Space: The Infinite Frontier...



Awesome.

And here's a recent Conan segment with incomparable John Cleese and Eric Idle...



There, that should take the edge off.

The first lowlight was an intensely personal one, which seemingly cost me two friendships. I don't make friends easily. I have a reasonable amount of acquaintances, but very few people I would call friends - as in, when things are rough, I call and/or go see him, and talk things out, etc. I had two, and both were radically affected simultaneously. It was, as one might imagine, very disillusioning. I've never been one to claim to understand people very well. I thought I had a good enough handle on it to at least maintain a select few friendships. I learned the folly of that mis-assessment.

HOWEVER!

During the course of dealing with that (a very ugly time), I learned some very positive things about myself and about people.

In other words, God seems to be answering my prayer from last year, about growing up.

I will be writing all of the lessons I learned in this journey down at some point. I may even share some of it here, since it might be of interest to you.

The second lowlight was, of course, the election. I'm not going to get my political ramble on, fear not! I will limit myself to a few easily-skimmable sentences only!

I was not a Hillary fan, but I thought Donald Trump was a joke. Now he's our President. I lost my composure on Facebook and stomped on toes on Election night (and E-Day +1), and cut loose. Then I realized the futility of it all, and deleted my posts (and all the replies), with some embarrassment. My stance at this very moment is that of (I believe) everyone else that voted for him (which I did not). We have absolutely no idea what he's going to do. That means, there's a possibility (no matter how slim) that he'll be ok as President, and not a complete, unmitigated disaster. So for my own sanity's sake, I am clinging to that impossibly slim hope, bolstered by two things... first, the knowledge I gained about myself and people from my personal crisis (referenced earlier), and the 60 Minutes interview Trump gave, where it seemed he presented himself quite well.

I'm not a fan, but I'm not flabbergasted any longer. We shall see.

Wow, the lengths I could go to, in elaborating on both of those topics! I shall spare you. And by "you", I mean my mother, who is likely the only person who still reads this blog...

Hi mom! I love you!

The Christmas Play at Mt Zion is on the razor-edge of having the plug pulled. I wrote the script, cast it, and had the read-through. Then a cast member dropped out and another expressed concerns about finding time to rehearse, and now we're about 5 weeks from performance. Christmas is on a Sunday this year, so we need to put the play on the Sunday before (December 18)... I don't know if we can do it.

Here's a question I've been pondering lately. Is it possible to tell whether an author is male or female, by the writing itself? I think I can tell. It's a gut thing... what the author decides to say and how...

Dude, I keep writing more and then deleting it, because what I'm trying to say isn't coming out right. It keeps sounding like I'm taking a shot at female authors. I'm not. I guess I won't elaborate on this, then. Bottom Line: I think I can tell author gender by the storytelling choices.

Lol... man, that was like opening the door to a room, seeing something frightening, and then slowly backing out, and closing the door again... I should just delete the topic altogether... *shudder*


Oh,man, do I have a bunch of great ideas for time travel stories... just saying...

What else..?

Just filmed more for BTI this weekend. And THAT is all I can/should say about THAT. I will provide a more robust BTI update as soon as I feel bold enough to attempt to navigate that minefield again...

I think I'll end with this compelling (to me) video essay from the YouTube channel Lessons from the Screenplay...



Great insights for a writer, me thinks...

So, how to wrap up this post?

Highs and Lows, just like everyone else. Thanks for your patience and understanding mom! And to any non-mom readers wading through this morass, thank you as well. Here is something I'm learning, as I grow up...


Take care.

Dave the Tedious

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Quick Word


I've done it. I've broken through it. Man, it's been tough. I was cruising along, firing on all cylinders, for most of the year. Then it all collapsed.

It's like having arms full of packages and walking into a closed door, which you thought was open. Wham! Drop everything, sitting dazed on the floor, feeling like an idiot... What can you do, but gather your senses, stand up, shake off the embarrassment, collect yourself and your belongings, and try again. What's the alternative? Give up?

Being cut off from my usual sources of advice and conversation has had the odd benefit of forcing me to figure it out on my own. And I'm happy to reveal, I've done it. I have to give God the credit, even though I felt cut off from Him as well. I'm sure He was involved (probably on both ends), which is cool, but annoying of Him.

I need to percolate on it all for a bit longer before dumping some/all of it into this blog, but it boils down to the importance, value and purpose of words (spoken and written), and the nature of truth. If that sounds esoteric and hopelessly cerebral, that's only because I have no better way to summarize it at the moment. Trust me, there's meat in there that anyone can benefit from.

But since the insights keep presenting themselves to me, even as recently as an hour ago, I think it would be premature of me to try and vocalize it right now. I want to let it come together. But on a personal note, let me say it is a series of revelations that have helped me make sense not only of my current predicament, but also of recent history and other issues dating back decades. It's a gift that has fully shifted the way I view life and people, in a profound, still-unfolding way.

Never, never, never would I have imagined such a thing happening to me at this stage of my life. It is humbling, and I am so grateful. Granted, the road getting here sucked, but hey, ultimately, it may result in fruit on many levels. Heck, it's already given me ideas for new plays/characters...

Adios for now,

Dave, Evolving

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Not All Who Wonder Are Lost....


Man, look at that... I love it. A hundred stories come to mind, just looking at that photo. Wow.

Hello again, y'all. It's Dave the On-Again-Off-Again Recluse, with a drive-by blast of hot air, if for no other reason than to bump my last post down a notch, so I don't have to look at it or think about it again... so life's a teeter-totter, ups and downs, highs and lows... gee, big revelation. It's not like I haven't been there before (both the highs and the lows). But honestly, it does really help to talk about it... and also honestly, I really don't have anyone to talk to about it. I am a man, alone...

No man is an island? Well, perhaps I should change my name to "no man"...

So, have things settled down for me? Yes and no. It's odd. You know how when you get a new vehicle, suddenly you see that vehicle everywhere? Or if you or your wife is pregnant, suddenly you see pregnant women everywhere? Well, a similar phenomenon is occurring with me, whereby it "seems" that I'm being ignored/avoided on every front. In one part of my brain, I know people are just busy with their own stuff, and hey, it's not like I haven't always been sensitive to being ignored... that's why I enjoy my invisible audience so much... they love me!

But I think the difference is that, whereas I normally have lots of things to keep me occupied in my isolation, lately I really could use some good news and/or someone to talk to... so that makes each instance of delayed response, ignored inquiry, unreturned message, etc. that much more acute... like getting poked in a bruised area... the poke normally would be a mild annoyance, but getting poked on a wound? Ouch...

So, yeah, it's getting hard to want to care anymore. I know the grown-up response is to look life in the eye and show a little back-bone, and ride it out.

That's me, on the left...

Still, it's uncomfortable being in a position of feeling so clueless... if I knew what it was I'd done wrong (probably a collection of little things), then perhaps I could do something to rectify it, or at least understand it all. Or more likely, as I mentioned at the outset, it isn't anything of the kind. Nothing personal, just people being people, doing their people things... without reference to me whatsoever. Probably just my own insecurities teaming up with my inherent self-centeredness (byproduct, no doubt, of my life of solitude) to freak me out...

I doubt much of this makes sense, but I feel like riffing, and that's what this blog is for...

I won't beat it into the ground. Feeling detached from life. It will pass.

Speaking of "detached," this video is incredible...



Man, I wish I could have seen that in person... stunning. That seems like an event that would permanently mark the person who saw it. So friggin majestic and breath-taking.

Here's another video of the same event, from higher-up...



Amazing...

Shifting gears...

The holidays approach. A lot of writing on my plate: Momentum; Best Dressed Guest; the Mt. Zion Christmas play; a pastor's appreciation skit. All of these ideas are well-developed in my head, but I've yet to actually write them (except for Momentum, which is almost finished). Writing is my safe corner. I can do it in my aloneness... acting and directing? That involves people, lol... I'll need to steel myself to go that route again... but writing? Bring it on! Let me put my wings on and fly!

Halloween... every year, I threaten to dress up for Halloween, and every year, I don't... Youngest Daughter usually has a birthday party around Halloween, and it's a costume party. I'm always the only one not in a costume (which inspired, in part, the plot of Best Dressed Guest, actually)... this year will, no doubt, prove to be the same. I'd love to dress up! I'm an actor! Costume me! Let me be someone/something else for a few hours! You'd think I'd be all over that! Not sure what keeps me from doing it... embarrassment and laziness, I guess...

This year, I'd like to dress up as the lead singer of the band Avatar...


Actually, I'm only partly kidding... I know he's a bit creepy looking, but he always wears such cool costumes, and the face paint is fun... and the whole band looks like they have so much fun. Their videos are a hoot. They're actually kinda campy and silly. They remind me of a harder-edged version of Oingo Boingo...

Masks in general are fascinating to me... hide who you are, be a version of yourself that you'd like to be, or wish you were, or heck, even be someone completely different! Oddly, that concept also inspired/informed the plot of Best Dressed Guest... there's a lot to play with in that concept...

No, I won't dress up this year. But if I did, it would be as something far more tame than that guy... wouldn't want to freak people out and have them think I'd lost my religion or something, lol... I don't spook easily, but others do...

What else?

Not much of note. Mostly writing. If anything changes, I'll mention it here. Or maybe I won't, who knows? It seems lately, the more I say (regardless of how careful I try to be), the more trouble I get myself into. Perhaps "Dave the Silent" would be a good mask to wear for the time being!

Adios for now,

Dave the Meanderthal

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Meow! (You Were Supposed To Meow Back...)

Sing us a song, you're the Piano Man...

OK, one song, coming up...


*GROAN* *sigh*

O great, here we go again. David in his "alone in the world" mood again... "For crying out loud, Dave, learn a new song already! We've heard this one from you way too often! It's over-played!"

OK, fine. Let me find my happy face to put on for you... gimme a sec...


There it is...

:D

There, how's that? Better?

"No. Look, Dave, we come here to read your goofy nonsense, to cheer us up from our own raft of crap! If you're in the dumps as well, it's counter-productive, eh! Try harder!"

OK, fine... here, let me try again...


"No, no, no! We still see through you!"

Hey, look... first of all, I'm an actor, ok? I never said I was a particularly skilled one. I try my best, on set or off, to play the happy, together guy. I think I pull it off well most of the time. But dangit, the more I learn of people, the less I think I like them.

I pretty much spent the first 40 years of my life squirreled away in a safe place, sheltering myself from The Real World(TM), and crafting my own little goofy version of the world to live in. Made my own rules, crafted people the way I wanted them to be, and moseyed my way through life, willfully ignorant. Well, for the past few years, I've tried to break free of that self-induced, self-crafted little utopia and see what life is like on the outside, with real people, trying to make a legitimate impact out there.

The results have been decidedly mixed.

I'm realizing not everyone is like me. In fact, no one is like me, that I've found. And I don't say that to flatter myself - just the opposite. I am, in many ways, quite socially retarded. I suppose that's logical - not sure why I should be so surprised. I mean, a tree that grows up outside is much more resilient than one that grows up inside a greenhouse... Exposure to the elements toughens one up, I suppose... so why should I be surprised that I'm stunted inside in many ways?

Still, the disappointment is palpable. My experience of the past few years seems to show me that most people are like my Wife... suspicious of everyone. Everybody is up to something, everybody is angling for something, some advantage over me/you. Everyone is out for himself. Honestly, it sucks to have that put on me, when it isn't a coat that fits. I don't have an agenda. I'm just me. I want to tell great stories, and involve great people. I'm not angling for anything, I'm not looking out for myself and my own best interests. I'm not trying to make a name for myself, at anyone's expense (much less everyone's). I'm just trying to enjoy life and leave a positive mark.

Having my actions mis-interpreted by people (who then react accordingly) is frustrating, because how do you fight it? Try to defend/explain myself? That only comes across as justification and guilt-dodging. And the thing is, if it was one isolated case, I could shrug it off. But it seems to be coming from every direction at once. Hence, the pervading, foundational sense of dread and depression I'm back wrestling with. Hello dorkness, my old friend...

My decision(s) now revolve around whether to retreat back into my safe little protected world again, cutting myself off again, or to "man up" and keep hitting it out there in The Real World(TM). Honestly, on paper, the answer is obvious. But the temptation is strong....

Bad grammar, but apt.

So what to do when I have no one to talk to? About this, or anything else?

I blog.

Like the previous post, where I reviewed the films I saw in the Best of San Diego screening for the 48. That post rubbed some people the wrong way. Some of the films I loved, some I liked, some I didn't really like. I suppose I should have seen it coming that voicing a less-than-stellar review of someone else's creative work would step on some toes. In my head, I had no intention of toe-stepping. I thought an honest critique would be appreciated, rather than shamelessly (falsely) gushing over every film, in some effort to avoid rocking the boat... so why post reviews at all then, you may ask?

I just told you! I have no one to talk to about these things! I went to the screening alone, came home alone, and wished I had someone to discuss the films with. So I blogged about it. Put a lot of work into that post, it may not seem like it. Talked about each film in some detail, got it all out, shared it. Good, right? Well, no, ungood. Turns out people are suspicious. They think everyone has an agenda, remember? It couldn't just be that someone wanted to chat without malice or ill intent about something as benign as a film screening...

So, yeah.

Pretend all is well? Pretend people are awesome? OK, fine... let's pretend...


Meow! How's things? Oh, peachy friggin keen!

Meow!

Brief Summary of Things Still In Progress:

BTI filming this month. Momentum script closing in on 200 pages (waaaaay way too long for a feature... gonna be an interesting editing session). Script for Best Dressed Guest having trouble moving past the "detailed notes" stage. The Christmas play for Mt. Zion is alive in concept form in my head, but yet to be written. Another test film set to be filmed with Ryan in the next month or two. He has a strong concept; gonna let him run with the script, and help where I can.

That's it.

Meow!

Of course, that's not it. Other facets of my life all seem to be vying for my attention by spiraling downward all at once. But you don't need/want to hear about that! I'll save all that for my Invisible Friend! Lucky Him!

So to cheer myself up, I've been watching tons of tsunami videos from the Japan 2011 quake.



Plus, random landslide videos. Those are always cool.

Here's a great song I'm digging a lot lately... "My Name is Human" by Highly Suspect...



And, because great acting always cheers me up, here's the best scene from the film Flight, with Denzel Washington, Kelly Reilly and the magnificent James Badge Dale...

Warning, some foul language, but incredible dialog and acting...



Man, a scene like that does wonders for me... I love that....

So, yeah, all that to say, venting. As in, I needed to vent. So vent I did.

For starters.

Trust me, you don't want me to uncork.

Then again... you're all kinda like my Invisible Friends too, in a way... I don't know who reads this... I can imagine you any way I want. And the version of you that I imagine? That version likes me as I am. And knows I'm not angling for something from you. That version of you sees that I have something valuable to offer, and is willing to put up with my idiosyncrasies in order to make use of it. That I'm just me, trying to slide through life and leave something of substance behind for you to remember me by.

Who knows how much longer I have? 46 years is a lot longer than some people get to live...

We shall see.

Adios for now,

Dave, Vented.