Thursday, April 9, 2015

There Was This One Time When...


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

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

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

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

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

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



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


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

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

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

The silence wins.

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



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

BTi EP 1. from ETCHED MOTION PRO on Vimeo.

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

[EDIT] Here is Episode 2:

BTi EP 2. from ETCHED MOTION PRO on Vimeo.

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

Dave pictures himself like this, humorously enough...


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

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

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

Well, it makes sense to Dave....

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

"Adios for now!"

Monday, March 23, 2015

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


How majestic! A helium-filled cat!

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

How did the BTI premiere go, you may wonder?

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

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

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

Enough said.

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

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

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

Whales aren't much better....



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

Adios for now,

Dave the Tested and Found Wanting...

Friday, March 13, 2015

A Review of Birdman, and a Selfie (So To Speak)


Hello! Dave the Somber, checking in tonight... I have a lot of ground to cover...

OK, so, my initial plan, vis-a-vis the BTI premiere, was to wait (this final, excruciatingly slow week!) until the event occurred (tomorrow night, 3/14/15), take lots of photos and come in here, writing a lengthy, detailed description of the (hopefully awesome) events of the evening...

Instead, here I am, the "night before", coming in here to write...

Why the change in blogging plans? Mostly it has to do with a combination of nerves, and the fact that I saw Birdman last night, and I really must talk about it all. Birdman is the best movie I've seen in decades... I've given two "10" scores to films that I can recall in recent history... first, to Batman Begins, and secondly to Inception (both Christopher Nolan films)... As I left Birdman, mentally handing it the easiest 10 ever, I reflected upon the movie on the drive home, and by the time I arrived home, I had elevated my rating to "masterpiece", which I do not do lightly...

Granted, different folks resonate on different levels, as far as what appeals to them, in a cinematic-experience sense. The only other person I know of that saw this film said it was weird, but enjoyable, and that she liked Whiplash better. I have yet to see Whiplash (I will, ultimately, since I'm dying to see JK Simmon's performance), so I don't know yet how they can compare. What I can tell you is that Birdman worked for me on so many levels, it staggers my mind.

Cinematography: Visually, the film is unprecedented. The movie is filmed seamlessly, as though it was all shot in one continuous shot, moving in and around a little theater on Broadway in NYC, out doors, into windows, up in the air, circling, sliding down hallways, following one character or another as they prepare to put on a play. It's unlike anything I've ever seen before, visually.

Acting: I can see why practically everyone on the cast was nominated for Oscars. Michael Keaton was magnificent, period. But amazingly, he was not alone. I have never seen Edward Norton this good, anywhere else. I've always liked him, in general, but since Primal Fear I thought of him as serviceable... (this will lead me to another point later in this long post)... he was so good in Birdman, it's scary. Naomi Watts is always great, always... and this is not an exception. She shines. And every single time Emma Stone was on screen, she was riveting. That girl can act her butt off. Zach Galifianakis was perfect. Everybody was perfect.

There are a pair of rooftop scenes with Emma Stone and Edward Norton that are among the very best things I've ever seen in film.

Script: The dialog in this film is everything I strive for when writing dialog myself. It is so rich and multi-layered, I was constantly amazed. And so many incredible monologues, so wonderfully delivered, it was an acting clinic. I seriously envy the cast members that got to deliver such well-crafted words...

Themes: As stellar as everything else I've mentioned so far was to me, this is where the film resonated so strongly with me on so many levels. Wanting to be loved and accepted by others. Trying to find a sense of self worth. Why certain people seem to have power over the way we feel about ourselves, as people and as artists. What do we really want? From life, from family, from careers, from strangers, from ourselves? Is it ever too late to reinvent ourselves? Is there anything wrong with what we are/used to be? Why do actors act? Is there really that large a difference between celebrity and artistry? A movie blockbuster actor and a Off-Broadway theater stage dweller?

It digs into the reasons why creative people feel compelled to create. It wrestles with the definition and application of truth. It touches on things that I have chewed on my entire life, and even approaching a few I've never even considered before. And it adds an element of the fantastical that takes it to a still-higher level.

This is going somewhere...

So, in light of the BTI premiere tomorrow night, as you can imagine, it's given me tons to think about. Frankly, up until last night, the impending premiere wasn't really ruffling me. I was planning on just going, enjoying the night as it unfolded, and just rolling with it. In a way, I still plan on doing that. Yet last night, in the middle of the night, maybe 4am or so, I woke up, wide awake, staring at the ceiling, trying to shake off a wave of panic that was washing over me. Things always seem so weighty in the middle of the night, don't they?

Symbols have increased in importance in my mind the past few years -- and the premiere represents something big in my life, as an individual, as an artist, and a human being... whether it ends up being a big moment in my life and career or not, I don't know yet... but at the moment, right now, it represents what could be a huge turning point in my life. A definite peg upon which I may be able to hang a new stretch of the life tapestry which I'm weaving. Corny, yes, but true (to me) nonetheless. I'm putting myself out there for evaluation in ways I've never done before. I've poured myself into this project for a long time, and tomorrow it shines.

Part of me wishes I could be on the other side of it, and see how things played out, and plan my next move(s), in both the project and in my career. The other part of me wishes I could hang onto this moment, right now, indefinitely, since it has brought a clarity of mind that I haven't tasted in a long time. I haven't seen a movie in the theater since Guardians of the Galaxy many months ago. It seems a little odd (or does it?) that I would see Birdman, of all movies, in a theater all by myself, two nights before a (possibly) very important night of my life... especially since I've been wrestling with many of the very same issues that were dealt with so beautifully in Birdman. The timing is crazy...

So, yeah... tonight feels surreal. I may be making too big a deal out of it. But right now, this is what I'm soaking in. And, honestly, I feel ridiculously blessed. Tomorrow night may be huge for me, or it may be barely a blip on the radar, enjoyable in passing and then quickly forgotten.... who knows? But for now, the symbolism of it all fills my vision.

And I love the view.

If you read all of this, thank you for humoring me. This was a very self-serving post, but I needed to get it all out of me.

Dave the Self-Serving.

Friday, March 6, 2015

In the Homestretch!


Whoa! Frightful weather out there tonight, eh!

Hello to almost every last one of you! There's one person from whom I am consciously withholding a hello... you know who you are! I withhold a hello from you tonight because you deserve far more than a simple, heartfelt hello! You deserve O so much more! You deserve a hearty handshake and an innocuous ruffle of your hair!

Well, I suppose that would rule out all females, eh? I can't think of a female in my acquaintance who would want her hair innocuously ruffled. Women are particular about their hair, aren't they... especially if they're wearing a wig and I didn't realize it! Then they get angry, right? No one wants her wig ruffled...

What was I talking about?

Oh yeah...

The premiere for Origin: Beyond the Impact is a week away! I'm excited, to say the least. I've seen more of the edited footage, and man, it is even better than I'd hoped it would be. The excitement levels are at an all-time high, on the cast, crew and beyond... as far as when you among the great, swirling, unwashed masses can see the results of our lengthy labors, that will depend in large part upon what happens at the premiere. I better not say any more at this point (even though I *really* want to)... suffice to say, in a week or so, I will update this blog with photographic evidence of the evening, and provide a detailed recap of the (hopefully memorable) events, and we can discuss it more at length at that time.


A black wolf. Not trying to be philosophical or symbolic or anything... I just like the photo.

What else?

Life continues as it has since the beginning of the year, in most respects.

-- I'm still working out with my physical trainer (Vince!) once a week (and threatening emptily to work out additional days in the interim). 
-- I'm still going up to LA on Tuesdays to my acting class at Adler Improv (and threatening emptily to come up Thursdays as well). I've had two of my San Diego friends come up with me the past two Tuesdays to audit the class up there, and they each will be joining the class in the upcoming weeks. The drive up used to be a bit of a dread, but anymore I don't even think about it. 
-- I'm still steadily reading novels. I finished The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter (Rod Duncan) recently, and am trying new titles to see what hooks me. 
-- I'm still saving the world from the hateful zombie scourge, in Dead Island and Dead Island: Riptide. Much fun. Knock 'em down and stomp on their heads! Woof woof! 
-- I'm still playing the guitar routinely. I'm getting my callouses back! 
-- I'm still tinkering with my first screenplay, and concurrently coming up with a ridiculous collection of story ideas for movies, books and serials. 
-- I'm still pretending that Tax Day is not looming like an angry thunderhead. Man, what I wouldn't give for money to be a non-issue. Being debt-free must be the most amazing feeling...

And now, 20 minutes of Bill Murray on the David Letterman Show, from last January...



Bill Murray just might be the Greatest of All-Time...

So what else?

Nothing else! Just in a bit of a holding pattern until the premiere. The cool thing is that Jeff (the director & series creator) told me today that the premiere is small potatoes compared to what he has planned for the future... and I have no reason to doubt the man.

Great days ahead, methinks!

Adios for now,

Dave the Indefatigable Goof