Sunday, August 30, 2015

Bill the Cat for President!


I love that photo. I know "love" is a strong word... but, yeah... I love that photo....

This blog.

This blog is (and has always been) a chronicle of my life, at the moment. I was going to say "as any good blog is", but that's not true... I visit many different blogs... I can't really think of another like this one. And no, I don't mean "another blog that chronicles the life of David L Wagner, Professional Goober"... I mean, one that chronicles the life of its author... which means either I'm unique, or I'm doing it wrong...

Anyways, the life of me.

If anyone beyond my dear sweet mother actually still reads this blog, you're aware that I've been a bit of a broken record for the past several months. It's all acting and BTI and 48 Hour Film Festival and classes at Adler Improv, etc. It's all writing and acting.... and honestly, as I pulled open this "new post" window and prepared to write, guess what popped up to the tips of my fingers, poised and ready to spill out into this post?

BTI script. BTI kickstarter. 48 Hour Film Festival "Best Of" screening. Acting classes at Adler Improv.

I've been wrestling with that as I write this (because I can write and wrestle at the same time! I'm talented like that!). Do I ignore all that? Do I unload yet another "acty/writy" post on you? Do I chuck it and drop weirdness on you? I enjoy weirdness as much as you do... but if this blog chronicles my life, and my life at the moment is acty/writy stuff, whats a Professional Goober to do?

So I don't feel dishonest, the extremely short answer to my pressing issues are: BTI is going amazingly, and becoming more of a juggernaut every day. The script-writing process is hard but rewarding. The Kickstarter needs a huge kick to the buttocks if we hope to hit our goal. The 48 Hour Best Of Screening was worth attending, and yielded some great moments (as well as some puzzling ones). Acting Classes were great when I actually got to go. And now, I will likely not go at least in September, maybe longer (even though I love the classes and really need them).

OK, that is a huge potential post condensed into one paragraph.

Bacon-wrapped onion rings.... yes please!!!

I did it again. I left my iPad on top of my car and drove away. It has been a week and I still haven't bought a new one. I need new tires on my car. I need to get the carpets cleaned in my house. I recently got dental work. I got new headshots done. So I have been spending money (and still need to) on these (and other) big-ticket items. So I can't quite get myself to drop the three-hundred dollars on a new iPad Mini... the guilt is strong....

If I'd lost it before my birthday, I might have been able to get a new one as a (combined?) gift from several people. But I lost it after all of the birthday-related gift-furor had died down...

Alas, I am iPadless. I feel naked. And ashamed for losing it.

I now officially belong to Twitter, as well as Instagram. Proud of me?

Oh, I mentioned new headshots. Here they are...

I posted them really small, so I don't come across as needlessly narcissistic. If you wanna see them bigger, click 'em! Anyways, I'm going to need my hair kept very short at least through the end of the year, so I needed to get my agent new headshots, so when they send them out on potential jobs, their clients have an accurate representation of what I look like. We'll be filming a ton of BTI in the coming months...

Dangit! I'm talking acty/writy stuff again!

Another cat photo. That should set things right again. Cat photos always set things right! That's why I started this post with one! Those lions are awesome...

Bloom County. One of my very favorite comic strips of all time. Growing up, it absorbed my imagination, along with other great strips, like Farside, Calvin & Hobbes and Peanuts. I loved Bill the Cat and Opus, Steve Dallas and Cutter, Portnoy and Milo and Binkley and the whole gang. Like all of the great strips I mentioned, the time came when the cartoonist who drew it (Berke Breathed) called it quits.

Recently, however, Mr. Breathed surprised the hipster/comics world by suddenly resurrecting the strip, publishing it only on Facebook, bypassing the "way it used to be done" with publishers and newspapers and deadlines and insane pressure and creative restraints. The era of self-publishing has breathed (no pun intended) new life into a classic, plus giving Berke the freedom to pull no punches, as far as the content. And he can release new strips whenever he wants to.

Truly a happy time. Here, read this article. It is a good one. And read the new strips here, on Berke's Facebook page.

So, yeah. Summer is ending. With all due respect to GRR Martin, Fall is Coming.... this has been quite a year so far, and it promises to increase in intensity and amazingness.

I apologize ahead of time if things continue to be acty/writy heavy in this blog. It's where I'm at. I only scratched the surface... there are other things acty/writy I could have mentioned, but I spare you them for now.

Until we meet again!

Bye mom!

Dave the Professional Goober

Monday, August 17, 2015

Wingin' It, B.T.I. and Various Other Oddments

Well, hello everyone!

Man, what a whirlwind the last couple of weeks have been... I'm going to give the shortened, summary version of events, and then if the mood hits, I'll pick something and go deeper... or not... let's find out!

First, the 48 Hour Film Festival...

The last blog post I wrote, I recapped the weekend that we made Wingin' It, and went on at length about the creation process... well, we had our screening in downtown San Diego on 8/13/2015, along with the other 11 films from our screening group (G).

Here we are, walking the proverbial Red Carpet. L to R: Gretchen (our art director - she made the wings!), Horacio (Co-Director/Team Leader), Lisa (Actress Extraordinaire), Yours Truly (Lumbering Nerd), and Fabrice (Co-Director/Team Leader).

We mingled, then made our way to our seats. Before the show starts, they always have people stand, turn around, and take a selfie with the 48 Hour Film Festival logo on the screen... I couldn't get a shot where the logo showed up on screen - it kept getting washed out...

But I did get a selfie shot with this other serious-lookin' dude in the row ahead of me, taking a selfie of his own...

They showed all of the films - and as expected, it was a mixed bag. Not just because every film was a different genre, but because... well, let's just say not all film teams are created equal. There were some solid efforts, some diamonds-in-the-rough, and, frankly, a few turds. But some of that is subjective... one man's trash is another man's treasure, natch? I instinctively want all the films to be great, and if a film isn't working, my patience grows short, and quickly. I look for positives in a piece, but I'm also not going to overlook the flaws... I guess that's why I'm not a judge! And certain teams should be grateful for that fact! If a submission is great, I am its biggest cheerleader... but if it's a turd, I'm gonna call it a turd.

As I watched the films, I ranked them on the program on a scale of 1 (dismal) to 10 (awesome)... the reason I do that is so that when it comes time to vote for the three films I liked the best, it would be a simple case of checking the scores I gave them and picking the three highest... so I wouldn't have to rely on my often-flighty memory.

I thought about posting a snapshot of my score sheet from this years' screening, but I don't want to publicly insult anyone or their efforts, lol... it's a tough thing, making a 7 minute film in 48 hours, concept to finish. But hey, as critical as I am about the other films, I'm equally critical about our own film. I see the strengths and am open about the weaknesses... in last year's event, our screening group had several films that were better (in my estimation) than our submission, and the scores reflected that. I didn't vote for our film last year (Desert Rose).

Everyone in attendance gets a score card and a little golf pencil, and everyone is to vote for three (exactly three, no more or less) films.

This year, I felt ours was the strongest, and so it definitely got one of my votes. And apparently I wasn't alone in that assessment, because our film got the most audience votes, giving us the Audience Choice Award for screening group G!

The results of the voting were announced at the after-screening party at a nearby hotel. The teams all sat around tables, snacked on food and imbibed certain beverages, and basically waited to be announced the evening's winner. There were several strongish teams which all hoped to win... and we beat them all. Horacio was one happy man! I was really glad for him.

But the teams we bested that night ended up getting the last laugh...

I assumed since we won that we would basically be a shoo-in to move on to the Best Of San Diego screening. This is where they pick the best films from all 80+ submissions and screen them together one final time, plus give out awards for best film, best actor/actress, best screenplay, etc., like a mini-Oscars... I thought, cool, we won Audience Choice, that means we move on! Right?

Wrong. The line up for the Best Of Screening was announced today, and we weren't on it. In and of itself, that's fine... if there were 13 better films than ours, it makes sense that we be left off... but three of the teams we beat out in our group were all selected for the Best Of... and we weren't... doesn't make much sense to me...

O well, ultimately it's of little import. Each film had it's pluses and minuses, including ours. It appears the judges felt their pluses were stronger than ours. I'm still going to the Best Of screening to see all the cream of the crop from this year's films. I have seen a couple of them already, including one called Elephant in the Room, which is terrific, and will be hard to beat. Best of luck to all of the films, I say...

That's life... highs and lows, right? At least we know our film hit the audience well. The Audience Choice Award is no small honor! And Horacio is already talking about polishing the film up a bit more and submitting it to other festivals, etc. Plus, who knows! Maybe we'll film more content, and revisit the characters, and add more to the story!

Next, more BTI Stuff

So lots is going on in the world of Origin: Beyond the Impact.

We had our Kickstarter Launch Party last weekend, which happened at a really nice home in Mission Hills, outside by a beautiful pool. A large swath of BTI cast members were in attendance, not only to help promote the project and the kickstarter campaign, but to be interviewed by the TG Geeks podcast. We had to be interviewed in 2 large groups, and it was a wild ride - another first for me - my first ever interview...

Both interviews are worth listening to...

Here's our group...

Ben and Kieth were/are terrific, and they're behind our project 100%.

And here is the second interview, with another batch of cast members.

Our kickstarter campaign officially launched on my birthday, August 16. Please take a moment and check out the page - it took a lot of work, and it looks/reads beautifully...

The Link to the Kickstarter Page for Beyond the Impact

Also, here is the promo video, featuring Dave the Bug-Eyed Fake Russian at various points, for your amusement. What can I say? I guess when I talk about something that excites me, my eyes get all big, lol...

BTi Kick Starter from ETCHED MOTION PRO on Vimeo.

I think Jeff did a fantastic job on the promo video (Bug-Eyed Dave notwithstanding).

We made supporting the project easy - if you donate $1, you can get your name in the credits! How cool is that? There are other levels of rewards for different donation amounts. I don't think I've ever tried to "sell" anyone anything here before, but please consider supporting our web series. We tried to make it so that at whatever level -- even $1 -- you can somehow come along with us for the ride.

Yeah, that sounded "salesy", sorry. It won't happen again.

The Kickstarter will go forward until the tail end of September.

Beyond that, the work on the (admittedly mammoth) script continues full ahead. And, frankly, the project has picked up quite a head of steam - lots of people are behind us and excited about the project. It's continuing to grow as the days progress. It's really remarkable to see and to be a part of.

What else?

A friend of mine who headed a 48 Hour Team this year wants to keep making short films, and asked me to participate, which I gladly agreed to. Plus, the steampunk film is still a viable project. Plus, We'll be filming out BTI throughout the rest of the fall. Plus, I need to start thinking about this year's Christmas play at church. I might bring in a couple of ringers on the cast this year... Plus other cool things I can't talk about yet!

All in all, I'm living the dream, after all these years.

Are you proud of me, mom?

If you've read through all of this, thank you immensely! I know I said I was going to do the summary version, but I guess I dove in head first anyways...

Had a great birthday (yesterday, as I write this sentence). I'm 45 years old now. I had a great dinner with family, got a couple of great movies on BluRay (St. Vincent and Birdman), and reaped dozens of birthday wishes on Facebook.

These are good days for me.

Talk to you again soon,

Dave the Happily Busy