Sunday, August 10, 2014

Random Entertainment-Related Nonsense


Iceland, anyone?

Man, I have too many disparate things on my mind... I waited too long to update...

Books I've Read Lately:

 - Fortune's Pawn, by Rachel Bach: Sci-Fi Light. After a rough, limp start, this book acquitted itself well enough. There were some good concepts and action scenes here. The characters didn't have too much depth to them, which is, I suppose, understandable, since the story is locked into first-person perspective, and seems geared toward a more YA audience.  Still, some memorable moments, and it ended up being worth the read. 

It ended awkwardly and rather abruptly, without resolving anything. More so than, perhaps, any book I can recall. It just decided to stop. Weird.  Summary: 3 out of 5. Ultimately, a fast, fun read, with minimal annoyance after the rough first chapter or two.

Currently Reading: The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman

Movies I've Seen Lately:


- Xmen: Days of Future Past: Good film. Some great scenes - the scene with Quicksilver, when they're breaking Magneto out of prison, was perhaps the coolest scene in any of the X-man movies. And the way the film ended was intriguing in the extreme, as far as making future movies in the series possible. Not too crazy about the nerfing of Magneto - I like him better as a straight-up villain. Summary: 8 out of 10. I'll buy this one on DVD when the time is right.

- Guardians of the Galaxy: LOVED this movie. Visually, it maybe the best I've ever seen. The scenes, the structure, the characters, the dialog... at about the halfway point, I found myself thinking, "They've done it! Someone has made a PERFECT MOVIE." But alas, it couldn't last. I had a few issues with the climax that left me feeling a bit confused and crestfallen. Still, it was hard to take the edge off my enjoyment level. I left the theater trying to decide where it falls on my List of Favorite Superhero Movies... I settled on slotting it at #2, just behind Batman Begins. The previous #2 (IronMan 3) moved down a slot. Summary: 9.5 out of 10 See this movie. Love this movie.

- Lucy: Had some good ideas, added some unique movie-making elements, had some good things going for it. I tracked with it until about the 60% mark, at which time the movie radically spiraled into retardation, ending with a truly insipid climax. Ultimately, as much as I enjoy Scarlet Johanssen, she wasn't enough to prevent the serious eyerolls which precede a dismal rating. Summary: 3.5 out of 10 This movie took itself way too seriously. Had some great moments early on, though...

Music I've Been Loving Lately:

- Shinedown: Fly From the Inside



- Sleepwave: Through the Looking Glass



- Gemini Syndrome: Stardust



The "Best Of" Screening for the San Diego 48 Hour Film Festival

On Saturday, August 2nd, I attended the Best Of screening for the 48 Hour Film Festival. It was a rainy, steamy, muggy evening, and WOW, I haven't been downtown in San Diego on a Saturday night ever... if I had, I would have approached diving into that madness much more strategically. Man, what a madhouse. For sanity's sake (both yours and mine) I won't recap all of the nonsense I went through getting to and from the event - I will limit myself to the event itself.

13 Films were shown, almost all of them worthy (I felt) of being Best Of quality. Conspicuous in its' absence was "3:28 am", by Groovy Productions, which I felt should have been easily included. I won't name names, but I could think of at least three titles that might have been bumped to make place for it. But what do I know? I'm a little fish with a little voice.

They would show 2 or 3 titles, then give away 2 or 3 awards, then show 2 or 3 more, etc. The highlight of the (4 hour!) event for me was when my "Desert Rose" co-star Lisa Winans was announced winner of the Best Actress, which was pretty cool.

I really enjoyed the film that won the top prize - it was a silent film called Good Ol' Chap and it was an homage to Charlie Chaplin. It was so good, I'm glad it won. If/When it's available online somewhere, I'll embed it or link to it. It beat out some really good competition, including The Affair (which I posted in a previous post), The Wish (also posted previously), as well as these three...

The Finnisher



MISSING



and The Big Talkie



Keep in mind, these were all conceived, written, cast, filmed, edited and scored all within 48 hours... So, yeah, there are some talented folks in the San Diego area - some of whom I'm beginning to become acquainted with. And a handful of whom either are already involved in the BTI web series, or will soon be.

Speaking of BTI, we will begin filming (knock on wood!) this upcoming weekend, and hopefully have the pilot in the can by late September/early October. As far as when y'all will be able to see anything, well, expect a trailer first, and then who knows? Tentative release of the pilot episode will be the beginning of November, with filming to pick up again after the holidays. But this whole project has been fluid, as far as getting the pieces to all come together. I'll keep you updated as I'm allowed to...

I buzzed my hair super-short... Ahhh! I'm feeling more Russian already!

Well, I'm not sure what else to share tonight... I covered a lot, and it's late! Sheesh! What do you expect of me? Backflips!

[Dave does a backflip, lands on his head]

Adios for now,

Dave the Near-Bald

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tightropes, Autographs and Incompetence


Look, all I'm saying is that some people are crazy, ok? And, yes, that guy on the tightrope is one of them. Yes, he's tethered to the line, but still... nutso. Obviously done for the photo-op, and to impress onlookers... I can't imagine that dude could take even a split second to enjoy the view from up/out there... hyper-focus time, eh? Would I ever have the balls to try such a thing? Absolutely not. I can barely even post it up here without feeling a trifle queasy!

Other than that, I'm all man, baybay! Woohoo!

Like this guy...



Except, of course, I likely couldn't do that either...

Well, what *can* I do, you may ask?

I... um... well, I can write blog posts, the content of which tends to skew heavily toward the juvenile and/or flatulent... this Brit decided to build a giant butt, put it on the shores of Dover, point it towards France and pass wind on France...





That very well may be... the most impressive thing I've ever seen... the rumble was heard over 20 miles of water, in France! Mission accomplished...

Speaking of windy Brits...

I went to that Joe Abercrombie book signing I was threatening to regale you with! Let the regalation begin!

Believe it or not, I have almost no photos to show you. I intended to document the entire event, beginning with a photo of the store front before the legions of Abercrombie fans descended upon the place... but I was inside the store before I knew it... here, let me ruthlessly rip a photo off Google Images and shameless pass it off as my own!


There, that's what the storefront looked like! Pretend I took that, ok? In fact, that shot was take July 12, so the posters in the windows are exactly the same as when I was there, eh! The magic is complete!

I arrived an hour early, to be assured I got a decent seat before the Abercrombie Nation arrived. There was a little corner set up with a podium and about 20 chairs... I thought, "lol, no way... that's WAAYYY too few chairs..." so I grabbed one quick, in the back row. Of course, most of the seats were empty still, but there was still an hour to go. The only other people there were about a half-dozen older people... and when I say older, I mean the youngest might have been mid-sixties. I thought perhaps I was in the wrong place, but no, up by the podium was a huge display of Joe's latest book "Half a King".

So I sat and listened to the older folks chat. Turns out, their hobby is going to Fantasy/Sci-Fi signings and getting lots of books autographed, so they can sell them online. They travel city to city, event to event, throwing out names of authors and books, like a bunch of kids with baseball cards. It was surreal. You really need to experience sitting behind people nearing eighty as they discuss their plans to attend "Bubonicon" next month in Arizona (or wherever)... they were talking like old pros... listing off the books they'd had signed, how long they'd waited in line for certain authors, etc.

It was weird.

More old folks trickled in. They all greeted one another like old friends. Each carried at least a half-dozen different Abercrombie titles to get signed. It just felt.... wrong... like a business instead of a passion. Thankfully, a few younger loners (like me) also gathered, taking seats. I breathed a small sigh of relief.

About 5 minutes before the start time, Joe himself arrived, all smiles. By then all but 2 of the chairs had filled up, and another dozen folks were standing. Yes, the crowd leveled out at about 40 people. Total. The Abercrombie Nation had appeared, and it was shockingly meager. But if it bothered Joe, he never let on. He was all smiles and jokes.

Again, no pictures... apparently, I was worried what all these random strangers would think of me if I inconspicuously snapped off an occasional photo while Joe talked. I'm lame. Here, let me swipe another pic and pass it off as my own...


That's from a different signing... same store. Man, I think I recognize some of the same old autograph hounds though! Lol!... picture me in the back there. That's actually about the size of the crowd, including the standers.

So Joe read a passage from his latest book (very cool, by the way), then took questions for about 30 minutes. I asked him a question - are you proud of me? I asked him if he regularly re-read his older work, or once a book was finished, did he just close the covers and move on. He said he does re-read his stuff, and he enjoys it. He said whatever he is currently writing sucks, and whatever is finished is good. He said other stuff, but I can't recall it all - I was so stoked that I actually got my question out and that he took time to answer it...

After the Q&A, we all lined up to get things signed. I brought a trade paperback copy of The Heroes. I was near the back of the line, so I had a bit of a wait, but not bad. To pass the time, I asked the guy in line behind me what he thought of Brent Weeks, lol... after briefly telling me how much he enjoyed Weeks, and that "if you like Abercrombie, you'll love Brent Weeks", I politely but firmly took him to task... I was actually trying to engage him in a discussion, but once he realized that I begged to differ about Weeks, he shut down like a true introvert and the discussion was over... oh well...

It seemed like everyone in line was having the person behind them take a picture of that person and Joe once the time came. They'd all turn, hand their phones to the person behind him, and that person would take the photo. Well, it seemed I burned that bridge by offending the Weeks fan behind me, so I had to settle for a selfie...


That's it, the only photo I actually took, lol...

When I handed him my book, thanking him for coming, I told him how cool it was that I was now in possession of my three favorite books, all signed by their authors. So he said, "Really? What are the other two books?" A simple question, yes? Well, hey, let's see you answer a simple question when you're laboring under the nerves associated with meeting someone you admire! I looked at him for a few excruciatingly long moments while I tried to get my head to work... I finally said, "Well, Gates of... uh.. Fire..." and Joe said, "Ah, Pressfield! Good company! And the other?" lol.... I said. "Ummm..... "

Inside, during these painful two seconds, I kid you not, what I was thinking was "OMG, this is going to be a funny story to write about on my blog"....

"I'm drawing a blank... oh! Rothfuss! Name of the Wind! That's it."

Wow. I'm 99% sure Joe thought I was a total tool. I never thought I'd ever freeze up like that in front of a "celebrity". It was embarrassing and hilarious (to me) at the same time. So I regrouped, told him how much I loved The Heroes, asked him for a quick pic, which was "for my blog, which you actually left a comment on back in '09, thank you for that..." I snapped the pic, shook his hand, and let him get on with the business of immediately forgetting me, lol...

I went to Starbucks and drove home.

I forgot to mention that he asked me if I wanted him to write anything in particular as he signed it. In my state of brain fart, I said, "Oh, just "to Dave" is fine." Which is what he wrote, lol...


Dangit. I wish I'd had him write, "You have to be practical" or "Those are the times" or "Bremer for President" or something from one of his books. Oh well...

Overall, Joe Ab was very engaging, funny and thoughtful in person. He answered every question, took time to meet everyone, signed everything people put before him, and was a Class Act of the Highest Order. I only wish I'd carried myself with a little more competence. Never thought I was the star-struck type...  I was shocked at the low turnout... 40 people? Really? There should have been an overflow crowd for that guy...


There it is, the Shelf of Honor... I could list off my Top Three in a heartbeat to anyone, anytime... except, apparently, in front of the author of one of them... lol...

Ah well, next time, I'll handle myself better...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

48 Hour Screening Recap, plus Additional Nonsense


I wonder what ^^ that^^ feels like? Man, there's something about that photo... Awesome...

OK, I'm going to talk movies and stuff tonight!

I went to the screening for our group for the 48 Hour Film Festival last week (on 7/17) downtown. It was quite an event. It was at the Gaslamp Cenema in downtown San Diego. Ours was Group E, consisting of 13 teams (there were 6 groups total, A through F. That's what? About 75 films?). Each team pulled a genre at random, and had 48 hours to write, film and edit a 7 minute movie. There were 13 films shown, so I assume everyone in Group E finished their film!

We arrived a little early and did the whole "red carpet" thing... I was wearing a new blue shirt and everything!

These are the members of Team Viva that were able to show up. L to R: Me (duh), Lisa Winans (actress), Horacio Jones (director/team leader), Walter Carlin (actor), Fabrice Murgia (co-director/screenwriter), and two other members of the crew - I'm sorry, I don't remember their names! I feel bad! Here, I'll punch myself in the head...

Lisa was the star of our film; she seemed to have a great time.

Another gratuitous shot of me with the star and the director... hoping some of their awesomeness rubs off on me...

So the screening was set to start at 7pm. We took seats about a half-hour early and listened to live music (a local band, don't recall the name). On the way in, we each were handed a ballot and one of those little golf course pencils. Everyone was allowed to vote for their three favorite films at the end.

I sat next to Horacio - well, there was a seat between us... you know, in case Elijah showed up. No, wait, that's Passover, sorry... That's Walter closest to you, there... he wasn't a fan of the loud live music, lol...

Before they rolled the films, they had everyone stand up and face the back of the theater, so we could all get a selfie with the big 48 Hour logo on the screen...

There's mine! Looks like my collar is up, lol... such a hipster!

After a few announcements and promos, they started the screening. The first film was called MISSING, and was a horror short about a kid killer. Well made, and a nice twist at the end. I gave it a 7 out of 10. I'd link to it, but it's not online yet. In fact, most of them aren't online yet, including ours!

Ours was shown second, called Desert Rose. I think it was a solid effort. If I had to offer some honest critiques, I thought, aside from the apparent audio issues, the story was a little heavy-handed in the emotion department. I gave ours a 7 as well. Making it was a great experience.

I suppose you'd like to know how it was seeing myself on a big screen for the first time? Really, it was no biggie. In fact, it just seemed normal, as it was happening. It wasn't until after the fact that I thought, "Oh yeah, I was supposed to be freaked out, right?" I wasn't. It was cool.

Third up (I believe - I don't have the program with me, I'm going by memory), was a film called Beyond John... this one is available online. I thought it was really funny and well-made, but it has profanity in it, so be forewarned...

Beyond John - San Diego 48 Hour Film from Dampt Productions on Vimeo.

I liked that one a lot. I rated it an 8. Nice settings. I think they said they drove up the coast to film in the redwoods or something...

Honestly, I don't recall the order of the rest of the films from memory, so I'll just mention the ones that stood out in my mind. If I had the list still, I'd talk about each film. But some of the good ones included: there was a film called Uncomfortably Numb, which featured a great performance by the lead actress, and some funny moments. There was a film called "3:28am" that glitched on the sound track, turning it into a silent movie... they raced off to get a good copy of it, and showed it in the screening after ours, but from what I saw of it, it was extremely well made, and the two leads were very compelling. It got second place in Group F, so it must have been as good with sound as it seemed it would... Another comedy took place in a graphic design lab, full of employees who were a little bit nuts. Amusing. There was a black-and-white comedy called The Last Resort that had a couple people I knew in it, which was cool...

But the best of the night for me was, easily, The Affair...



Man, that blew me away. So well done, top to bottom (except for the awkward kiss at the end, lol). These are the guys that won it all last year with "A Man Called McClane". I enjoyed the heck out of it. Gave it a 10.

After they showed all 13 films, they had a representative of each team go up front for a quick Q&A session, which was cool. And then, it was over! For me, anyway... there was an after-event get together for everyone at a nearby hotel, while everyone waited for the results of the audience voting. I skipped that part, but I knew we weren't going to win 1st or 2nd. As I said, it was a good, solid effort, and I enjoyed it... but objectivity being what it is, there were a few films that were better. It would have been hard to top Bad and Classic this year - they'll probably win the whole thing again, who knows...

One last video to post... my acting coach (Stephen Walters) was on a team again this year. His film (called Wish) was in Group A, so I didn't get to see it. But I did see that it won the top slot for his group. I was hoping they'd make it available to see online so I could post it here, and today they did just that! So for those who have heard me talk about my acting classes and my coach for over a year now, this is him, at the beginning and end of this film (yep, the bald guy). Both his kids are in it as well..

Wish from Aly Bucholz on Vimeo.

That will be going to the Best Of screening on August 2nd, which I will attend again this year.

It's really cool to see so many quality actors/film makers in San Diego. Of course, some of the films were... uh... how can I say this politely? Not quite as good... but there are many quality people in the film making industry in San Diego. I met many this year, and hope to meet many more as the year continues.

All things considered, participating in the 48 Hour Film Project this year was a wonderful experience. I'll do it again next year in a heartbeat, given the chance. Hopefully between now and then, I'll be in more things I can post here, including the web series I've been involved with for the past 9 months or so.

Good things ahead!


So I saw the latest X-Men movie on Monday... caught one of the last showings before it gets pulled from the theaters this week! Let me summarize: I liked it a lot, giving it 8 out of 10. The scene in the cafeteria when "they" are breaking Magneto out of "jail" is perhaps the coolest scene in any of the Xmen movies. But all things considered, I like the villain Magneto better than the half-hero Magneto featured in the film. Seemed kinda limp. And, as much as I like Jennifer Lawrence, I just don't really like her as Mystique. Beyond that, great film (if a little over-ambitious).

Going to go to a book signing this weekend! Joe Abercrombie is in town for Comicon, and will be appearing at a local bookstore. I have already purchased a trade paperback copy of The Heroes, which will hopefully have his autograph scribbled onto it, and then be placed on my Shelf of Honor, right between my signed copies of The Name of the Wind (Pat Rothfuss) and Gates of Fire (Steven Pressfield). I will then have my Top 3 books of all time, signed and enshrined.

Next would be to expand it to Top 5... for that, I'd need a signed copy of A Storm of Swords (GRRM) and Have a Nice Day (Mick Foley). Who knows! Maybe it will happen!

Well, I have a script to write tonight. I'll need to save the rest of what I want to talk about for another night.

Adios for now!

Dave the Dude

Monday, July 14, 2014

Is It Sleepy In Here, or Is It Just Me?


Well, hello there... can you tell that the above photo is, in fact, one photo, and not two stacked? That's a lake there, across the middle, eh! Sort of an optical delusion, eh? I was tricked when I first saw it as well, don't worry.

What? You're not worried? Oh, ok... I guess you're better than me, is that what you're saying!? Man, and I thought we were friends and everything!

What? We are friends?

Well, ok then!

I have a confession to make, friend. It is this: The main reason I'm posting tonight is so that I can share this photo...


It doesn't matter what mood I'm in -- and trust me, I've run the gamut lately -- all I have to do is look at that photo and my mood improves an average of 3.1 notches on the Mood-o-Meter... I find that endlessly amusing. I can't even tell for certain if that crow (raven?) is a real one or a facsimile. Its feet look a little too "metal" to me... would the raven's (crow's?) toes curl around the edge of the wood, or remain straight, I wonder..? Are they even called "toes" on a bird?

Regardless, I laugh every time. As I do for a nicely-timed blast of flatulence. And those video clips of kids swinging at a pinata and hitting an unfortunate bystander instead. Laugh every time.

Let's see... and other photos I laugh at every time? BRB, lemme check my stash...

Hmm, nope... no other "every time" photos that I could see... but this one is pretty funneh...


That reminds me... Herr Director of the BTI web series has decided my character needs to be more menacing (he says I'm still "too nice"), so he wants me to buzz my hair short, and grow my beard out. My character was always supposed to be somewhat ambiguous, as far as "is he a good guy or a bad guy?"... we're playing that up a bit more. I'm going to do it... I'll need to ask my agent (lol, I laugh every time I say that... how pretentious... "my agent") whether I need to get new headshots done or not... the head shot is supposed to be a good representation of what I look like...

We'll see...

Here's the trailer "they" made for the short film "we" submitted for the 48 Hour Film Festival...



The screening for our group is this upcoming Thursday (the 17th). It's at the Gaslamp Cinema downtown in San Diego. It will be the first time I've ever seen myself on the Big Screen! Think of it! This nose, only, like 20 feet tall! I can't wait! I hope the film doesn't get interrupted by a phone call from Limburgh Field, clearing my face for landing...

Speaking of "firsts", I also was pictured in my first ever Movie Poster!


How cool is that?

I suppose it's understood that I hope it won't be my last...

Hey, "they" even made a poster for the test movie "we" shot the week before!


Lol, nice.

Again, if either or both of these short films are made available, I'll post them here so you can taunt me mercilessly and make me cry like a little girl...

What? We are friends? Ok then!

Anything else? Well, No, I suppose... really, it was mainly the "cat/crow" photo... that was the important message which I wished to convey to all (both?) of my loyal blog readers! Hey, some day when I'm rich and famous, you can say you were loyal to me and my blog through all the bleak years of poverty and moral decay!

Then we'll, like, have lunch of something to celebrate.

Adios for now (Beth and Mom!),

Dave the Gump