Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before....


Well, hello there!

Just thought I'd pop in here and drop an update into the quiet ether here in my bloggy blog. If I lay it in here softly enough, no one will ever know I was here! I'm so sneaky like that!

First things first - the dates have been set for my first play, called "Final Hour". It's the story of a talk radio host who gets a piece of staggering personal news right before going on the air for the final hour of his Friday night show - and how he processes the blow while also doing his job. It will be performed three times, at the Lamplighters Theater in La Mesa, on August 12, 13 and 14. Beginning the casting process as we speak - when I get the cast set, I'll let you all know.

Needless to say, I'm super excited about it. Granted, I've been producing plays locally at Mt. Zion Fellowship every year since the late nineties, so in a way, it's old hat. And yet, this will be the first time I produce a play that people will pay money to see. But I'm not worried - I'm confident that the material is strong, and I'm quite pleased with the lead actor, and I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on the cast (so to speak).

Nearing completion on "Momentum", my first feature screenplay. Can't wait to put a bow on that script... and begin the re-writes! Who knows if it will make it all the way into production... still, the process has been very enjoyable and rewarding. When it's done, I will leak it online for you all to read! (just kidding, Rob)...

We'll be filming this upcoming weekend for BTI. I know I keep saying this, but man, wait until you see the next segment of BTI... it's going to blow you away...

Majestic Cat approves...

Still assembling my team to film Head Hunter, which is the short film I'm hoping to direct in the early fall. I'll share more info on that when it makes sense to do so. In a way, I want to keep the film quiet until I release it, then hopefully catch everyone off-guard with how awesome it will be...

Still up in the air about whether to put together a crew for the 48 Hour Film Festival this year... I may co-lead a team with my friend Ryan... or just join someone else's team as an actor and/or writer... I have a lot on my plate (and more lined up, looking for plate space), so it might make sense to hold off leading a 48 Team until next summer...

All that, and my "idea file" is overflowing with ideas for plays, short films, features, series', radio shows, stand-up comedy bits and novels... I have a lot of avenues of creative expression operating at the moment - which is why my blog is suffering....

But at least there's this...

It's an episode of Marc Maron's podcast with Louis CK, where Louis discusses the creation of his internet web series called "Horace and Pete"... and I found the discussion deeply, almost overwhelmingly inspiring... It is a very long episode, and I don't really expect that you'll listen to the whole thing (or any of it, really)... but as I sink deeper into the mindset of film-making and storytelling, I find discussions like this endlessly fascinating...



There is some profanity in the interview. And honestly, I haven't seen Horace and Pete, and likely won't see it (because I don't find the content appealing), but the process of taking a show from concept to finish, and making your own rules up as you go, was awesome to me.

For those that want something a little more mainstream to enjoy, here is Groucho Marx on the Dick Cavet Show, back in the day...



That's another long video... almost and hour... still, worth a watch, I think!

Groucho was The Man.

So I finally saw another movie in the theater! The last film I saw was Hateful Eight, back on the last day of 2015... yesterday I went to see Captain America: Civil War, with wifey. It was as fantastic as I'd hoped it would be - I liked it a lot. They handled so many character so very well, it was a real joy. I loved how they handled Spiderman, and look forward to seeing more of that character in the future. Lots of great moments, and great lines of dialog... me likey.

On the book front, I finally finished my re-read of Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn Trilogy. I loved it again, this second time through... but honestly, I only re-read the series so that I could read the latest title that Sanderson released, called Secret History (cover shown), which is sort of an addendum to the Mistborn Trilogy, and answers some nagging questions left after the series was finished - mostly concerning Kelsier, and what happened to him after he died... I won't spoil the story, in case you want to read this title, but I will say that I found it oddly shallow and lacking... a bit of a disappointment.

But hey, at least I got to experience the original trilogy over again, which was nice. Sanderson is one of my favorite authors (Reckoners notwithstanding... bleh...).

Let's see, what else?

I went on a road trip for about a week, back to Albuquerque, to visit my always-interesting inlaws. The occasion was a high school graduation... as taxing as those ceremonies can be, I was shocked at how painless this one was... I was expecting several hours of uninspired speeches and endless names of no one that I knew (save one, of course), but they ran a tight show, and we were in an out - speeches, names and all - in about 45 minutes! Extremely efficient.

Had a great drive out there and back again (in my new car!) with my Eldest Daughter. She introduced me to a local band she's acquainted with, called After the Fall, and I love their music. The lead singer has a classic 80's rock voice (like I grew up with), and it's married to the more modern harder-rock sound, and I absolutely love it.

Here, check this song out... it's epic...



Love love love that song. Majestic Cat approves as well...

Lots of stuff on the horizon. I shall do my best to update more frequently. I hope you're all doing well...

Adios for now,

Dave, Living the Dream

Saturday, April 23, 2016

"Recalcitrant" is a Great Word to Wedge into a Blog Title


Location, location, location!

Hello world!

OK, that was a gross, optimism-fueled exaggeration. I know only 3 people read this blog, not the whole world... but that's ok! Because you three fine folks mean the world to me! So there!

:O - BUUURRPP!!!

Wow... excuse me. That was quite, quite rude on my part.

So, again, another month passes, like the winds of winter, and I stumble in here to sweep out the cobwebs, check my answering machine, make sure the blog's pipes didn't burst and flood the place while I was away... and (obviously) to open the windows and let some fresh air in here!

Alas, my life remains quite thoroughly entrenched in routine... in fact, so much so that now, my iPhone even taunts me about it. My weekly routine has become so predictable, when I get in the car and start it up, my phone chimes and lets me know what traffic conditions are like on the route I'm going to drive... it knows my route without me even having to tell it. It's eerie... I don't know how that feature became active on my phone, but for the past month, every time I drive, it knows where I'm headed, and how long it will take me to get there...

I don't know whether to be amused or unnerved by that...


So what have I been up to? Work, writing and combat training. That's the short answer. Sprinkle in church and Minecraft, and a slow mosey through the Mistborn Trilogy (Brandon Sanderson) and that pretty much spells out the entire life recipe for me. Pop it into the oven for 25 minutes at 450 degrees, let it cool, slice and serve! That's my life!

I did trade into a new 2016 Sentra since we last spoke. The lease was up on my 2013, so I rolled into a new one. I like it, although I had to settle for less options... bye-bye BOSE stereo (*sob*) and NAV system! Oh well, first world problems... not sure what they did to the new Sentras, but I'm averaging 45 mpg on this bad boy... Also, I got my new license plates, and the three-letter combo on the plates is SNT... initially, I thought, "Cool, my plate says SAINT!" But then I thought "Well, unless it really means SNOT instead..."

I've been telling myself since last August that as soon as I got into a new car, I'd start going up to LA again, to acting classes with the Magnificent Rob Adler... but I'm dragging my feet... that drive.... I've kind of gotten used to not driving 250 miles round trip through hellacious traffic.... we'll see...

So, Prince died. Normally, when someone famous passes, I'm, at most, mildly nonplussed about it. I mean, bummer, right? But I normally don't lose my head over it. Sounds callous, I know, sorry. But for some reason, I'm disproportionately bummed by Prince's passing. His musical talent was gargantuan. I've always loved his performance at the 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony, where he played While My Guitar Gently Weeps, on stage with a bunch of musical legends... and stole the show with perhaps the best guitar solo I've ever heard...



I always routinely watch this clip in any case, but since Prince died, I've been watching it a ton. I just love it. It's inspiring to me. Makes me want to create.

I read somewhere that Prince has over 2,000 original songs stashed away in his "vault", along with dozens of fully-produced music videos... man, I wonder when those will see the light of day? No denying he was a musical powerhouse...

Shifting gears...

Still assembling my crew, cast and funding for a short film I want to shoot soon. One more major piece to put in place, and then I can start table reads and location scouting... fun things soon!

BTI filming will very soon kick into high gear.

Still stuck in limbo, as far as producing original plays for a local theater I mentioned in a previous post... Still waiting to get the final thumbs-up from them. Either way, I'm getting some fun stage scripts out of it... When I get news on that, I'll let you know as well.

And I'm still working on the screenplay for the Momentum feature - and honestly, I love love love the script. It's been so much fun working on it.

I may head a team for the 48 Hour Film Festival this year as well... depends on a number of factors, which I won't bore you with at the moment. But if the pieces fall into place, I may dive in and see what happens. The 48 is in August this year. If I don't head a crew, I'll (hopefully) join another team as an actor and go from there. Either way, I'd like to participate again.


Entering into Birthday Season in the Wagner Household. Within days, Eldest Daughter, Wifey and Brother John will all have birthdays... not to mention my good friend Jeff P.! He's technically not part of the household, but he's like a brother to me! So I think that should count...

And now, Tom Hanks steals an iPad...



That smirk at the end is golden...

I've never been much for wanting to meet famous people -- I mean, what's in it for them, right? I get to tell people I met someone famous, and they get to smile and immediately forget me... just another in a vast sea of addled faces they encounter daily... that being said, I think I'd actually like to meet Tom Hanks... he seems like a genuinely awesome individual.

I've given up on GOTHAM. Man, after that gushing, glowing review I gave the show for Season One, the show took a dramatic turn for the worse. It's barely watchable anymore... *sigh*

Well, I suppose that's enough of that. I think the blog has been sufficiently aired out for now. I hope to be back sooner rather than later.

Take care!

Dave the Wayward

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Popping In, Goofing Off and Popping Out Again


Let's see if I can sneak back in here, hands in pockets, whistling, and pretend that I haven't been an absentee bloggist for such a long stretch... "Oh, hey, sorry, I lost the address to this blog, and my GPS was wonky, so I couldn't find my way back here!"

Hello to anyone who might have likewise wandered in here! It's me, Dave the Meanderthal! Do you remember me? Remember what I look like? Goofy, lumbering white nerd, big nose, bad posture? Remember?

Here's a photo, to jar your memory...


Partially hiding behind a giant bag of Smartfood... I eat it all the time now... you know, to get smarter...

I can feel it working! MUAHAHAHAH!!!

So, I was wondering if you were wondering if I was wondering if you were wondering what I've been doing the past [grumble grumble] weeks while I've been MIA?

Here is this short answer, in the form of a handy list....

List Of Things Dave Has Been Up To Of Late:

  • Combat Training: Kicking my butt. But the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. The main drawback, of course, being general soreness and perpetual state of butt-kickedness. The benefits are that I'm getting in better shape, and my confidence is increasing, and hey, I'm learning a new skill, which is cool, seeing as how it sort of undercuts the whole "can't teach an old dog new tricks" truism... I won't be able to post any video footage of my training, however... you'll need to wait to see the results on the screen when we finish shooting the next section of BTI...
  • Writing: My main writing projects at the moment are Momentum (with/for the esteemed Rob Dey) and a pair of play scripts which will hopefully be produced locally (with/for the esteemed Andrew Ian). 
  • Short Film: A script I wrote last December for a short film is moving into pre-production. It's exciting for me, since I'm using it as a chance to learn what it's like to helm a film project. I get to pick my own team, involve people that I want to work with (on both sides of the camera), see what all the steps are and take the complete ride from concept to screen (knock on wood). I really hope it will actually happen. Going to be a bit tight-lipped about the details for now...
  • Easter: By the time you read this (if ever, lol), this year's Easter production will be overwith (it happens tomorrow, as I type this), and it will be difficult to explain. We will, however, be video-taping it, so I will hopefully post it up here for your amusement/edification. 
  • Daredevil: I've been working my way through the second season of Daredevil on Netflix, and I have to say, it holds it's own. It's nowhere near as awesome as the first season, but it does have some solid elements going for it, most notably that of Jon Bernthal's terrific performance as Frank Castle (aka The Punisher). Of the returning cast, I still wish I could punch Foggy in his face, and I could do without Karen Page - honestly, two of the least appealing main characters in any show I've ever seen. But Charlie Cox is a great Daredevil, and Scott Glenn is fantastic as Stick. All in all, a solid show with some great moments... but the writing/dialog was far weaker this season.
  • Mistborn Trilogy: I've been re-reading this series by Brandon Sanderson, and it's as awesome as I remember it was. The problem, of course, is that I keep occasionally adding more books from my wishlist to my collection (you know, when they drop to $1.99 for the day or some such), and my collection grows and grows.... it will literally take me years to read them all... 
  • Diablo 3/Minecraft: Of course.



So I know this pretty much goes without saying, since I'm sure just about all of you agree with me... but what the heck is going on with the Presidential race this year? Really? Trump and Hillary? If there are two people on the face of the earth I would want for President LESS than those two, I don't know who it would be. Trump is a buffoon and Hillary is a liar. I'll take Obama for a third term, please.

Honestly, I don't know what I'm going to do, come November...

There's a new skate video featuring the truly unique, creative skills of skater Richie Jackson. The music is annoying (so mute it), but the 6-minute video is well worth watching.



My life has settled into a comfortable routine, centered around the combat training elements... the days are sliding by, which is both good and not-so-good, I suppose... good in that I'm enjoying things, and bad in that when I do occasionally come up for a breath, I see that weeks have passed... I don't get in here much, but I haven't forgotten the blog or you... just know that I'm doing fine and plugging along... if/when something happens that I feel you'd enjoy reading about, I'll pop in here, but really, there's no way of knowing when that will be.

I trust things are going well for you on your end.

Take care.

Dave the Goof, signing off

Friday, February 19, 2016

The Clam Before the Storm (aka Feeling a Little Shellfish)....


My body is revolting!

Hang on, let me explain....

So, for the past few weeks, I (and a handful of other members of the cast of a certain webseries I'm rather intimately involved with) have been undergoing combat training, in preparation for something we are likely going to shoot soon... If you're wondering why I've been silent here in this blog for the past (almost) month, this is why. For the most part, I lead a fairly sedentary existence. I work out with a physical trainer once per week, which consists of 10-15 minutes of cardio warm-up (usually jumping rope), followed by thirty minutes of fairly strenuous weigh-based activity... it has kept me from getting too potato-like, but that's about it...

But now... lol...

The combat training regimen increased that to 4 days per week: 3 hours M, W and Th, and a 90 minute class on Saturday... this covers strength training, endurance conditioning, boxing, self defense, aikido, judo, fight choreography, reaction training, grappling, knife fighting, throws/flips and more. My body is nowhere near used to anything even close to this level of frequency and intensity; therefore, it is revolting...

I am overflowing with aches, pains, soreness and various other clear indicators that my body is not amused... but I am determined! I will persevere and endure and learn it all, even if it destroys me!

It's actually a very fascinating endeavor. The hardest part for me is trying to learn so much at once. It's like trying to learn all 12 grades of math at the same time. I'm learning about geometry and algebra when I'm also trying to learn to count to 10... compounding this problem is that rather sizable disconnect that exists between my eyes/brain and my body. Meaning, I can see something and understand it, but getting my body to do it is a whole other story, lol...

But I have that same problem in other areas of my life, so it's not new. In acting class, I can hear a concept, see it demonstrated, understand it... and then when I try to do it and watch the video-taped results, I see that I missed it by a mile, even if it felt like I nailed it. That connection between "how it feels" and "how it actually looks", has been my nemesis for some time, and still is. The good part is that one of the lessons I'm learning with all the combat training is that it is imperative to relax. When you tense up, it causes no end of problems... Your balance is off, you're easier to injure, your power flees, you can't think straight, you can't see what your opponent is doing, you're unaware of what your own body is doing... but when you relax, you can see and think much more clearly, and you can be infinitely more aware of what your body is doing...

I don't want to wax long-winded about this here, though I feel I could write at length very easily if I wanted to. I will say that learning to relax and observe and be aware of "right now" is something I'm eager to try in other parts of my life. Being tense and thinking about 10 things at once is sort of the way I've approached every part of my life, since my youth.


All that to say, I'm usually so spent when I get home that I veg for a while, and then go to bed. Hence, no blog updating...

That's the major bit of blog fodder I wanted to hit, but by no means is it the only bit... The BTI production continues on its strange and multi-faceted journey, rife with wonders and perils and head-scratchers and powerful memories... Usually, trying to understand everything and make sense of it all is an exercise in neurotic frustration for me, which (I'm sure) gets on the nerves of others on the project, but I'm trying to apply the above-mentioned relaxed approach to handling all things BTI-related without getting so high-strung... I'm just going to roll with it and see where it goes.

Beyond the BTI train, I have a meeting next week with Andrew and the board of the local theater I mentioned in a previous post, and we're going to discuss setting the schedule for the year, as far as original plays we'll be able to produce for them. Looks like it's actually going to happen! If any of you need me to give your regards to Broadway, let me know.

Also, there's the possibility of getting to film a short screenplay I wrote back in December. Lots of great info I'd like to share about that, but I won't, on the strong, sage advice of my good friend Jeff P., who has convinced me that, all things considered, when it comes to producing entertainment of various kinds, keep as much secret as possible, and then when you spring it on people, it catches them wonderfully off-guard.

Plus, Easter is fast approaching, and we have a project idea for that at church as well.

Lots of stuff going on!


So sometimes I buy a book, thinking it will be a particular shade of awesome, and start to read it... and then it isn't anything like I thought it would be, so I stop. An undisclosed length of time will pass, and I will see the book again (in my library, or a review, etc.)... and I will contemplate reading it again, my mind reverting to that initial idea of what I hope(d) the book would be... and I start reading it again, apparently somehow hoping that it magically transformed into the book I was hoping it was! And obviously, I stop reading it again! It's the same "miss" it was before!

I wonder why I do that?

I do it with movies, TV shows, songs/albums, games... I get intrigued by the idea of something entertainment-related, begin to interact with it, have a rude awakening, give up on it and move on... and then much later, contemplate it again, and hope that if I dive in again, it will be as awesome as I wanted it to be before... that I was wrong the first time....

What causes that? It's a weird sort of optimism-based psychosis of some kind...

I think I do that with certain people, too... I meet someone, form an opinion on who they are based on initial impressions plus wishful thinking and educated guesses etc, then as I get to know them, I find out they aren't like I hoped they would be, and so I phase them out (stop reading them, if you will)... and after time passes and I reconnect with them somehow, I revert to what I hoped they were, and proceed again as though it will be different now, magically! But usually, people are still who they are, and so they get phased out again... it repeats...

My wife has a zero tolerance policy with most people. Burn her or disappoint her once, that's it, you're done. For me? I can get hurt by someone and eventually try being friends again... nothing to do with forgiveness (not trying to be all altruistic or anything), it's that weird self-delusional hope that somehow I got it wrong before and they really are awesome after all! Somehow, the fault was mine all along!

Weird.

Oddly, the reason this came to my mind was the fact that I reinstalled Diablo 3 recently, to play it again. It's been 3 years since I last played it and gave up on it. Here's the funny thing... the game has been patched and updated and tweaked so much in the past three years, it has become the game I hoped it would be initially! It's like a whole new game! Basically, it has become the exception to the rule, somehow proving that my shameless optimism actually worked this time, and the game "changed itself"... I like it now, whereas before I didn't...

Life is strange.


If I ever need to cry, I look at this photo... it rips me to pieces every time... including right now...

So it's been a wild past few weeks. If somehow you find yourself reading this far into this post, thank you. I hope you're doing well. I'm peachy. This is such an interesting chapter in my life, I'm really enjoying it. Rich, robust, productive, promising... I can't wait to see what happens next...

I'm going to risk making the non-religious readers of this blog feel a bit awkward for a moment, and say, "I hope God richly blesses you as well."

Take care,

Dave the Relaxed