Saturday, January 23, 2016

In Which I Number the Israelites and Analyze My New-found Boringness

And now for something completely different!

Yes, I occasionally borrow shamelessly from Monty Python... why not borrow from the best?

Anyways, and now, a man with three buttocks...

So, yeah, hi everyone.... it's me.... Dave....

So after finishing the latest script for the first (of many, I hope) of my new plays that I hope will be produced locally here in San Diego, I got it in my head to assemble all of the stuff I've written into one place, and print it all out so I have hardcopies of everything. Why? I don't know... because? So I can admire the works of my hands, and number the Israelites and other subtly proud motives... I've been writing plays and skits (and now screenplays) since the mid-nineties, and short fiction & poetry since well before that, but I've never been too careful about cataloging/preserving it all.

Anyways, take a peek...

The black two-inch binder on the bottom is all of the Christmas/Easter plays I've written (20 titles), each ranging from 20-minute run time to 45-minutes, approximately. The blue three-inch binder is the other full-length plays I've written (60+ minutes run time) along with the finished screen-plays, with the exception of Pursuing Peace, which I wrote in 2004 (and we made into a movie, using the youth from our church as the cast), which I wrote in MS Word... I'm converting it to proper screenplay formatting in Adobe Story... after it's done, I'll print it and add it here. Obviously, this doesn't include the unfinished works in progress... And the orange folder is all of the skits, reader's theaters and monologues I've written...


Of course, my two unfinished novels are not represented... I hope someday to finish them both...

So what prompted all of this? Well, aside from the fact that I've always wanted to do it, a couple weeks back, when Andrew and I met with the theater representative about the idea of producing plays, I was in a position where I had to sort of sell myself. And as I talked about all the work I've done over the past two decades, the guy seemed a bit hesitant to believe me. I guess people don't normally generate the amount of work I have... It's not like a brag, it just is what it is. I do plays every year -- it's just what I do, no biggie. I enjoy it. Anyways, after the meeting, I thought, "What if he asks to see my work? What could I show him?" So now I'm ready, if a meeting is called where I need to prove my prolificity.

See? A real writer makes up his own words!

Honestly, I'm not even sure this is all of it. Some stuff might have slipped through the cracks over the years...

Anyway, I had about 6 or 7 ideas for new plays, and the first of them is called Final Hour, which I wrote the first week of January. It's about a radio talk show host who is caught off guard by some staggering personal news right before he's set to go on the air for the final hour of his show. It's about how he processes the blow while still doing his job. Obviously, there's a lot more to it than that, but that gives you an idea. I think it's one of the best things I've ever written, actually. If the theater OK's us producing plays, that's the one we'll lead with...

But I'm working on the next one as we speak... I want to crank them out while the enthusiasm is there...

I found yet another YouTube channel with filmcraft-related videos that are amazing. The channel is called Every Frame A Painting, and it's well-worth your browse time. Who needs film school when content like this is available?

Each of these videos discusses aspects of directing and/or film making that are so inspiring to me. I tell ya, if/when I finally get a chance to direct a film, I'm going to be so ready... I can't wait. In fact, my idea file for short films and features is overflowing already... even moreso than my play idea file...

Who knows! If you want a part, let me know and I'll write you in!

I can't believe I never knew about Curt's new hat... thanks Curt!

What else?

Well, the new year has only just begun, but I've already finished reading two books and am on my third... Sunset Mantle was quite good, Way Station pretty tepid, but both were brief reads (200-300 pages)... now I'm reading a crazily-creative fantasy book called Three Parts Dead, which has more interesting ideas than I can shake a bookmark at... including this little nugget... "He contacted Kelethras via nightmare courier two days ago."

"Nightmare courier", lol... I love it! Imagine being able to send someone a message while they dream, via a sudden nightmare? I don't know, perhaps it's been done before in other books, but that's a new concept to me... very fun...

I'm not watching as much lately... got one episode into Vikings... I know it's supposed to be awesome, so I'll give it enough of a shot before deciding. I watched Ex Machina (finally) and liked it well enough. Not sure it deserves all the hype it got, but I certainly don't regret watching it. And I've moved onto season 2 of Broadchurch... the first season was sooooo good. Man, those Brits can act. I read an article recently that says more and more acting roles are going to European actors over American actors, because differences in skill levels are becoming more pronounced... not sure about that, but dang, David Tennant can act his butt off. He's rapidly becoming one of my favorite actors. That whole cast in Broadchurch is fantastic...

I was pulling up random blog posts from my archive yesterday... man, I used to be really goofy... no wonder my blog used to be more popular than it is today... I've really mellowed out, unfortunately. I've been pondering why, and I have a theory....

I started taking acting classes in March of 2013. That's also when I decided to get braces on my teeth, and also got a new car. That all came out of a very tough year I had leading up to that. I always had a rather profound sense of dissatisfaction about myself and life in general, which produced an underlying sense of "life panic", for lack of a better phrase. It meant I was prone to bursts of depression and mania... I would lose myself in goofiness and entertainment, because I desperately needed to escape from myself, and laugh at things, since I think I lacked the maturity to face life full on. It was like bubbling lava just under the surface of my life, which heated me and my output.

So in deciding to pursue my acting dream, and get my teeth fixed and try to become a professional actor/writer, it has calmed that manic undercurrent. I feel far more solid underneath, less "on the edge"... it's a double-edged sword, I think... on the one hand, that crazy creativity that came out of my extreme sense of dissatisfaction has tapered way off... but I feel so much better about life and about myself... I feel like life-long dreams are becoming a reality...

So while I enjoy going back and re-reading some of the older blog posts, it is with a certain amount of nostalgic wistfulness... I'm sure that's part of the reason far fewer people come here to read this blog anymore... look how boring I am now!!!

Such is life, I suppose. Trade one level of creativity for another, eh?

Going to get back to working on my next script. I'll let you know how things develop!

Adios for now,

Dave the Older, Wiser, and More Boring

Monday, January 11, 2016

Will You Play Upon This Pipe?

Well, hello everyone!

It's a new year, eh! Same as the old year?

Maybe, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, for me... Yeah, that sounds selfish, I know... but hey, I can't talk about you with any authority! I don't know how things are going with you, you never talk to me anymore! Remember when we used to hang out, and, like, go on picnics and ride skateboards at the beach and eat spaghetti? Remember!? What happened!?

I guess we grew apart. *sigh*

But it's a new year! Let us renew our friendship! To keep things simple, my friendship can be purchased for a reasonable price... I accept cash gifts, as well as Amazon Gift Cards! I'll use it to buy more books! Which I will, of course, go off by myself to read... it's a vicious circle, really...

So, what's new, then?

Well, the most exciting tidbit of news that is consuming me of late regards theater acting... The Illustrious Andrew Ian and I are in talks with a local 100-seat theater here in Beautiful San Diego, to produce original plays, to be performed in their down time between big productions. I would write and likely direct them, at least initially, which is sort of a win-win for everyone involved. It's a beautiful space - when I saw it, the possibilities blossomed in my brainpan. I'm already working on (and am almost finished with) the first of a half-dozen scripts for play ideas I had. I can't give too many details yet, since the board at the theater has yet to sign off on it, but it looks like this year might see Andrew and I making an entrance into the local theater scene.

I know my focus these past two decades has been on spiritual themes (read: I write church-friendly plays), so those that know me may wonder if I'll be writing secular plays now, or sticking to church stuff. Well, yes and no... I think I've found a sweet spot in the middle, with secular characters and settings, which hit themes that can be considered spiritual. Sort of like the Christmas play we just did (called "Out There"), which you can watch in the previous blog post, if you'd like. Non-religious people dealing with things that include spiritual, philosophical aspects.

More info as it evolves.

As far as Beyond the Impact, excitement levels are ramping up on the cast and crew, as the scope of the project intensifies and expands. It truly is amazing, as Jeff and his inner circle put piece after impressive piece into place. Of course, Jeff is increasingly concerned about keeping details under wraps, and I know he occasionally reads this very blog, so I will leave it there. Let's just say, no one is ready for this... MUAHAHAHAH!!!

Also, movie-related. I went on opening day to catch a matinee of Quentin Tarantino's latest film, The Hateful Eight. And I wrote a review of the film, which the Glorious Two Gay Geeks, Ben and Kieth, posted on their website for their millions of fans to read! If you'd like to read my thoughts on the film, by all means, head over there and check it out! HERE is the link!

And while you're there, catch the latest podcast. They're all great fun to listen to. I'm a big fan (even though I'm pretty sure I annoy Kieth... sorry Kieth!).

I guess one could logically ask why, if I consider myself a church-going person with a strong faith, would I subject myself to a film like The Hateful Eight, with a tidal wave of foul language, violence and other offensive elements... I mean, not exactly a film I would invite a church youth group to go see, lol... and the answer is multi-faceted, and ties into my life-long love for story-telling, in its various forms. Books, films, TV shows, music, plays, poetry, dance... anything that takes people away from their daily concerns, and not only entertains them for a while, but also inspires them and possibly makes them think about their concerns a little differently. I love when I see stories that do that for me - jar me out of my civilian noise and let me see things in a way that could possibly lead me to a solution. As a prayer supplement, of course. Does God communicate to me through stories? You bet he does....

Plus, I love good acting. Which brings me back to the Tarantino film. The beautiful visuals, the effective setting and costuming, the richly-drawn characters, the snappy dialog, and the eyes... man, great actors communicate so much with just their eyes... I wish more actors understood that, especially locally. I've seen so many locally-made short films and web series', where the actors have dead eyes. It's as hard for me to get past as a bad script is. Mediocre dialog delivered by dead-eyed rote is impossible for me to handle for very long.

I'll take great, effective story-telling wherever I can find it, even if it's bathed in mud. Because if it's done well, I can find the lessons in it, the inspiration, the escape, the new perspective. The film isn't for everyone, I know, I and I don't fault you if you stay away from The Hateful Eight. I saw the gold in it, like I knew I would.

Here's an hour-long round-table discussion featuring an incredible set of top Hollywood directors: Ridley Scott, Quentin Tarantino, Danny Boyle, David O. Russell, Alejandro Inarritu, and Tom Hooper. I found it endlessly fascinating.

And for those of you who don't have an hour to watch a video like that, here's something fun instead! A little slight of hand from an amazing performance artist.

One last acting-related link, which is to a series of incredible videos on the Variety You Tube channel, called "Actors on Actors," in which a pair of big name actors/actresses sit down and "interview" each other. There are some incredible videos in this collection. LINK is right here.

So that's that.

So, yeah, lots of cool stuff on my plate, including things I haven't mentioned yet (and won't, in this post). Going to keep plugging along and see what happens. Who knows? If big things happen, I'll take you along with me!

Adios for now,

Dave the Still Blogging After All These Years.