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

Friday, July 4, 2014

Let Me Be 'Frank' With You...

Choo-choo!

Speaking of "chew chew", today was July 4th, which means... hot dogs!

The annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating event took place at Coney Island, as per usual... and as per usual, Joey Chestnut walked (shambled?) away with the title -- his 8th in a row. He ate 61 dogs in 10 minutes, beating Matt Stonie by a handful of dogs (Stonie ate 56 for 2nd place). While that was interesting, the real sea change took place in the women's event, as a woman named Miki Sudo beat 11-time woman's champion Sonya Thomas to become the new hot dog queen.

All well and good, for fans of people who can wolf down copious amounts of grub. I happen to be a casual fan, so there.

Coincidentally, today was also the day when I was finally able to watch the Competitive Eating Documentary "Hungry" (dir. Barry Rothbart and Jeff Cerulli), which some of you blog old timers may recall I was interviewed for a few years back. Turns out, my part was cut from the film. I didn't know that until today! But you know, as I watched the film, and waited to see how they'd work my bit into the film, it became increasingly clear that it made no sense to include it. The film had a certain flow to it - and shoe-horning my bit about the Conti/Escondido footage in there would have interrupted the flow. Didn't make sense. So yeah, I'm cool with it. If I was editing the film, I would have given it the chop as well. Who knows, maybe there will be extras on the DVD, and it could make it there.

Didn't really know what to expect from the film, going in. But actually, I enjoyed it quite a bit. It was interesting getting a look at Kobayashi's rise and... well, not so much "fall", as a major shift sideways. He's reinventing himself outside MLE, and I think it's working out well for him. Of the other featured eaters, I enjoyed the parts with US Male (sorry Brian, lol), but I thought more was going to be done with Pat Bertoletti (he's the one with the mohawk who's coated in a layer of red koolaid after most events, lol). And I could have done with much less of Brad Sciullo, who came off (to me, anyway) as quite a douchebag. His moments of training-related vomiting were the low points of the film - and his "rivalry" with Furious Pete was laughable. Sorry, Brad... Pete is The Man.

Bottom line, I enjoyed the movie. It was well-made, had a solid through-line, and held my interest (vomiting notwithstanding) throughout. Had a couple awkward moments, but I'd say it's a solid effort. I'd give it 4 out of 5 hot dogs....


I blurred out the F-Word for those with sensitive constitutions towards such things... but, actually, I think in this case it makes the statement twenty times funnier... well, 18 to 20 times... give or take..

Being the 4th of July, I took the family into Escondido to see fireworks (as is our custom), and had an ok time (as is my custom). It was a weird evening... we parked near the Arts Center, where they launch the things off at. Went 90 minutes early, and the place was swarming already. Having time to kill, we wandered over to the Starbucks - mistake, lol. I'm not much for crowds to begin with, and it seemed half the crowd was in line at Starbucks. So we wandered back (without coffee), stopping to buy some snacks on the way.

They fired off some of the fireworks 45 minutes early, for some reason, prompting a weird sort of panic among the gathered people, lol. People are so strange. Yes, I mean you! Anyways, we set chairs up by our car to wait it out, and suddenly, roaches! WTF? Once the sun went down, they came swarming out of somewhere nearby, making the Wagner Women freak out. Which was humorous, in a way. So we put the chairs away, and stood. Tedium ensued. Thankfully, the fireworks were good, the kids enjoyed themselves (even though Middle Child has mono, it turns out.). Then Wifey drove us out of there, since navigating a packed parking lot is my idea of hell on earth. I have not the constitution to deal with such madness. Wifey does. She thrives on it.

One thing that bugged me (other than the bugs) were the endless car alarms that went off every time a "boom" was sufficiently loud enough. Drove me nuts. Along with the screaming kids. Oh, and something odd people were doing this year... they would call out names as a firework would go up - just a single name... "Frank!" then the firework would go off. Then "Bill!" and another would go off. It's like they were dedicating the fireworks to people or something! I didn't get it. And many people were doing it all around us. They weren't calling out to friends... they were specifically waiting until a firework launched and crested up, trying to call out a name right before the firework detonated. I wanted to slap six shades of crap out of people!

SOMEONE EXPLAIN THAT TO ME!


That's from the awesome web comic XKCD.

Beyond that, not much to tell. Major revisions to the BTI script underway. Wish I could tell you about it, but I can't! You're not cool enough! You'll just have to wait until the time is right, ok? Sheesh, you're so demanding!

OK, enough nonsense for now.

Adios,

Dave the Mildly Ocholophobic

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Around the World in 80 Daves


Now THAT.... is a selfie... hey, lets take a drone up to the top of the Matterhorn and get a pano-selfie! Yay!

That might be one of my favorite photos of all time...

Except, of course, for the 9GAG tag on the right side... grrr...

Hello, all! Dave the Lemming here, with another vacuous blast of hot air... this is the part where I ramble on about my life and pretend that people actually care about it. How narcissistic of me, eh? I know all you come here for are the funny animal photos...


But that's ok. A little of what you want, a little of what I want, and we're all happy, right? Right!

So let's move on...

First things first! The 48 Hour Film Festival!

This past weekend, we filmed our effort for the 2014 48 Hour Film Festival, and it was great fun. Friday night, every team sent a representative (or two, in our case) to Hospitality Point on Mission Bay to pull the random genre for our team, and get the elements that had to be in each of the films. This year, instead of the "pull genre from the hat" thing they normally do, they had a giant Genre Plinko board, which was funny...


You let the disc go, and wherever it landed, you pulled that envelope, and got one of 12 different genres. I was representing Team Viva, so I got to climb up and drop the puck (so to speak)...


As you can see, we got "Road Movie", which was a nice draw, I'd say. Other genres were Horror, Western/Musical and Film Noir, which would have been harder... of course, Comedy, Black Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi and Fish Out Of Water were other choices...

All things considered, it was a good pull. So we had to do a variation on a road film, where "it's all about the journey"... we phoned it into our writing team, and they started gathering viable ideas for the short film (up to 7 minutes long, final cut). At 7pm they announced the other elements that had to appear in each of the submissions. The prop was a marshmallow. The character was an investigator, and the name was John or Joyce Jansen. And the line of dialog was "I saw one of those yesterday". So all those elements needed to be in the script for it to qualify.

We grabbed a GoPro Camera along with all the accouterments, and went to the place in El Cajon where the director(s) were holed up, ready to write. I say "we", because I was at the genre pull with fellow cast member Lisa Winans. We dropped off the GoPro Camera equipment, and then sat in on the brainstorming session for the story. That was one of the best parts of the whole experience. We talked for maybe 20 or 30 minutes, kicking around ideas, before settling on what I considered to be a terrific story idea. We left the script-writing team to do their work, and went home, ready to get a good night's rest so we could film all day Saturday.

Turns out, my part was only in the first minute or so of the movie, so I was done filming by 1pm. I got to go home after that and take a nap and fart around, while the rest of the crew filmed until about 9pm. Then the actors went home, and the real fun began. Editing! Long story short, they edited the film, added the sound and music, and was able to get it turned in Sunday by about 8 minutes before deadline. Whew! We made it!

The experience of shooting was great fun. I loved it. We even had one of those hover drones, which we attached the GoPro to and got some cool aerial shots.

I was able to see the finished film (Called "Desert Rose"), and man, it turned out great. I wish I could post it here -- maybe I will be allowed to at some point in the future. But hey, for only putting it together in 48 hours, it turned out amazingly well. We have our screening downtown on July 17th, along with the others in our bracket that turned in films on time...

That was Saturday. So on Sunday, I had to be downtown in San Diego to do test shoots for BTI, the web series I've been bragging about for half a year now. Heck, at this point, you may even wonder if it really exists! I assure you, it does.

We met at a restaurant in Little Italy, downtown San Diego, at 6:30 am, and filmed until midday. This is the series where I play that crazy Russian guy... In a suit...



That's me and Travis, my co-star, going through our scene. As you can see, I'm doing what I call my "Russian Forehead" thing, to help me be in character, lol...  That's the Assistant Director Mike Evans on the right, watching us intently on a monitor. Hey, I'm wearing a suit! See? See how respectable I can be?

I felt so comfortable on set, it was a little unnerving. I seem to have developed the ability to simply tune everyone else out. So even though more than a dozen people were there watching the scene as it unfolded, to me, it was just Travis and I. 


That's our Fearless Director Jeff Patton watching the proceedings on a monitor. Look at me! I'm a movie star! This whole thing is so much fun, I'm beside myself. Apparently, Jeff said the footage turned out really good. I doubt I'll be able to post any video samples here, sorry. Gotta keep things under wraps until the pilot is finished. I'm sure you understand.

Still, it's so much fun...


Here's a handful of my other co-actors, including Lisa Winans (whom I mentioned earlier), on the left there, making kissy-faces at the Sheriff. You can't see him, cuz he's turned away, but that's Shawn Wildern, a fellow student at my acting class, whom I introduced to Jeff when the role of the Sheriff became available. I think he's a perfect fit, and so far, he's proving me right. Good work, Shawn. And that's Susan in the red shirt. I don't know her last name!!!! Doh!


Me and Travis and Jeff (Herr Director) posing for a photo out front, after the shoot. Jeff is so cool, it isn't even funny. He is, as they say, "The Man".

I got lots of positive feedback from everybody, regarding my "performance" during the test shoot. That's always nice. We plan on filming through July and into August. Once the pilot is in the can, I'm sure you'll all know about it here. I hope I can do you all proud!

So it was quite a weekend. The 48 Hour thing, and the BTI thing. In both cases, I felt so at home, it only confirms that I really need to be doing this for a living. I've met so many awesome people this past year, it isn't even funny. Lots of other cool stuff I can't talk about yet in the works. Once I can, be assured, I will relay it here.

OK, video break. Check out this strange encounter between a nature photographer and a curious elk...



Sadly, from what I understand, the ranger service "put the elk down" after this encounter. Bummer. I guess...

So what have I been reading? Glad you asked!

I had a couple failed attempts. Hey, you try new authors, right? You can't just stick with the old tried and true, right? Sometimes, the old tried and true will yield the occasional turd (ahem... Sanderson and Steelheart...)... actually speaking of Brandon Sanderson (I referenced a Parenthetical comment! Man, what a mess!), I've been wanting to dive into Book Two of his Stormlight Archive (Words of Radiance), but enough time has passed since I read Volume 1 (The Way of Kings) that I really need to reread it. The porblem is, Volume One is 1,000+ pages long, as is the second volume... that's a 2,000 page commitment I keep postponing...

In the interim, I tried to read The Scribe, by Elizabeth Hunter, which I bought for a song at some point in the past, and decided a "4.41 out of 5" average rating on Good Reads was reason enough to read it. Well, I got about half-way through before I gave up. It started out with an interesting "angels and demons" premise... but quickly devolved into an amateurish love triangle thing, which I tired of quickly. I decided I had too much good stuff waiting in my library to be read, so I jumped ship. Sorry, Liz....

So I dove into another new author, Seth Skorkowski's debut novel Damoren, which also had a high average rating (4.08 out of 5 stars), and another interesting premise - a secret society of monster hunters wielding Holy Weaponry. Another cool premise clumsily handled and frittered away. Sorry, Seth. I bailed at about the 60% mark as well. Too many bland characters introduced and then killed off for me to give a rip.

Third time's a charm, eh?

I really enjoyed Heroes Die by Matthew Stover last year, so I fired up the first sequel, called The Blade of Tyshalle today... man, what a difference a pro writer makes. From the first page, this one is SUCH a great read, I'm diving in and likely won't surface for a breath until I'm finished. So great to visit with Hari Michaelson again. Expect a review soon...



I survived the Steam Summer Sale with only three new acquisitions... and two of them were gifts from a pair of friends of mine! I'm practically healed of my addiction! Are you proud of me? I still actually play next to none of my games... I know what it feels like for a woman to stare at a closet full of clothes and feel like she has nothing to wear...

OK, I've rambled long enough! Here's one more funny photo, and then I'm gone!

How to brush your teeth, by a Real Man...


Success!

Adios for now,

Dave the Wannabe Thespian

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Saving the Blessed for Last...


Greetings all! I know, I know... you're only one person. I called you "all"... as you can see, I set up a "house of mirrors" type thing inside the blog lobby here, so you're reflected about 2 dozen times. That way it seems like this place is a'hoppin'!

So, anyway, thanks and all that...

The days.... they... they blend into one.... repeating... merging... swirling together... until I can't tell what time it is... there's sleep and food involved... but the whirlwind... so much happening, but nothing happening... Work, church, food, reading, playing, sleeping, acting class...

BUT! I did actually get to do some filming a few days ago. A full day on set, doing a test run for our 48 Hour Film Festival Team. The actual event is this weekend, but the director got us together to see how well the cast and crew worked together. They pulled a random genre on Thursday night, secured two locations, wrote a script, then the next day, we filmed it. Saturday was editing day. Haven't seen the results yet...

It was cool to experience the full day on set. Two sets, actually. I was the lead role, and we started out filming at a pizza parlor downtown. I played an employee who finds a lost driver's license while cleaning up. I decide to deliver it to the owner myself. I drive over, and end up in the middle of a wild, dysfunctional family type situation. At one point, the dad punched me, knocking me out, and I wake up tied to a chair... lol... I eventually extricate myself from the situation. It's sort of a weird, absurdist comedy-slash-thriller.

Here's the only photo I took all day...


That's make-up, by the way. Obviously, for when I'd been knocked out. Man, I really have to get used to taking pictures during these things. They'd make blogging about it all so much more interesting...

Anyway, I'm nervous about seeing the results. It must be what all actors go through, eh? Will it suck? Will it be passable? Will it be great? Honestly, for a test film, it doesn't much matter... the real important one will be next weekend's film. Still, if there are good moments that I can capture for my "demo reel", then it will have been worth it. Well, there were plenty of other reasons it was worth it, regardless of the final results. The experience was great. Met some cool people. Worked well together with a team. Didn't tinker with the script - which is a big one for me... being a writer, the strong urge is there to want to improve every script I see, lol... I honestly wasn't sure if I could comfortably just be the actor... just take the script that's given, and do my best to bring it to life. Know my place, in other words. And I'd say, it was a success on that end.

This weekend, I'll take more pictures, I promise.

And when I see the test film, if I'm allowed to, and I think it's worth your time, I'll link it or embed it here...

So I volunteered to be the person to go to the gathering on this upcoming Friday, to be the team representative who pulls the genre out of the hat for our team (Team Viva). I'll then phone it in to the director and the writing team, and they'll start the script. And then when the announcement is made, telling everyone the list of things all the films have to have in them (line of dialog, a certain prop, a character type and character name), then I phone that in as well.

Knowing that info will be useful for me, too, in a way... I'm not on the writing team for Team Viva, but I hope to go home that night and write a script anyways. As a fun exercise, sure, but also *just in case*... you know, Plan B type thing.

Anyways, then Saturday early, we'll meet and film again. Then Sunday is spent editing, and the final film turned in by 7pm Sunday.

More BTI meetings in the next week or two as well, as we begin filming for the web series. I tell ya, I cannot WAIT to start filming that! This project is going to be amazing. Although we lost an actress for one of the main roles today. She was schedule to appear starting with Episode 2. We'll have to find a new female for that one... I'm bummed, since she was a great actress.

It'll work out, I'm sure.


That dog... would infuriate me... no way I'd keep that one...

So what else?

Oh! I dropped my second-highest-scoring play of all time in Scrabble... I mean, my own personal second-best. Here, check it out...


My apologies to Cathy, upon whom I dropped this 185-point bomb... That won't happen again any time soon...

So I saw the movie Godzilla recently. It was a disappointing turd. It managed to make Pacific Rim look great in comparison... and you all know how little I thought of Pacific Rim... I guess doing a giant monster movie must be harder than it looks. The script was a mess. Perhaps when you're talking about a movie with a budget this substantial ($160 million!!!), you probably have many different people trying to add and subtract and tweak the script, until it becomes a mish-mash. Except it had casting problems as well...

I'm just a movie snob. I try not to be, but I can't help it...

What else?

I may start video recording myself doing monologues. More for my own training purposes. But if they seem entertaining enough, I may post them here. Especially the ones with accents. I have a Russian one, two Irish monologues, and a couple British ones so far. I think my monologue folder has maybe 25 monologues in it at the moment. I know about half of them by heart. It's unnecessary, I'm sure... but I just enjoying learning them and performing them. I'll "perform" them one after the other in the car as I drive sometimes...

Yeah, I'm an odd bird like that.

All that to say, here's one last photo, and I'm calling this post done...


That's an awesome way to end.

Man, I have lots of great photos waiting to make their appearance. I may have to write a new post again soon!

Dave the Goof