Friday, May 29, 2009

a day in the valley

Green Valley Cafe for breakfast. Saw the grandparents midday. Did some school work on economics and got an A. Watched The Rookie, The Strangers, and Zodiac.

The rest?

Maybe read a play for work, The Birthday Party, may practice my lines.

The valley ain't so bad.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

a day makes all the difference

Yesterday I got my stage directions that I have to incorporate into my performance. Let's just say I was a little overwhelmed. 41 lines of dialogue, 25 different stage directions, in the dark, talking to an invisible interviewer, seventeen minutes long, with no cuts, performed in front of a live audience.

Rehearsal yesterday was by far my worst one yet. Trying to incorporate all the new stage directions into the lines of dialogue resulted in a robotic performance. I felt like the lowest rung in the muck and mire of mediocrity. If you could mix horse shit, dog shit, pig shit, cat piss, a frat guy's puke, and the piece of gum on the bottom of my shoe together... you would only have a slight glimpse of my rehearsal yesterday. I was so down after that I started to question everything. Whether or not I want to really act. Or only be a writer. Or do neither and go back to the thought of agent or manager.

So what did I do? I practiced.

And today was another rehearsal. The stage directions were seamless. The lines flowed in the EX GI's voice. When I was saying them, it was as if I was no longer myself and had finally switched over, from me to the character.

Within a day I went from almost quitting acting, (having this one act being my first and only performance), to feeling the best I have ever felt about it.

What a crazy mind I live in.

Monday, May 25, 2009

searching for a character...

Went and saw Angels and Demons tonight. I thought it turned out to be a really good thriller. Then I started thinking about Dan Brown's character Robert Langdon and other writers and their characters. I mean when you think about it, if you can create ONE great character then your work is at least half way done for you.

Just listen to this: Stan Lee had Peter Parker, Matt Murdock, Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, Thor, Bob Kane and Bill Finger had Bruce Wayne, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster had Clark Kent, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby had Steve Rogers, Dan Brown has Robert Langdon, Michael Connelly has Harry Bosch, Clive Cussler has Dirk Pitt, Thomas Harris has Hannibal Lecter, Tom Clancey has Jack Ryan, and Ian Fleming had James Bond. AND THAT'S ONLY NAMING A FEW! The list goes on and on.

The character is the answer to the writer's question.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

off book

Haven't had rehearsal since Monday and for the next one tomorrow our director wants us to be off book. Looks like I have some practicing to do.

Be back in a few hours...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Curious Case of...

Watched Benjamin Button's life tonight.

Although many people I've talked to say that it was just okay, I thought it was great. Could eventually go on the list of one of my favorites.

Maybe that's just cause I can relate to it a little more.

P.S. I also watched Terminator Salvation today. The streak continues! Four summer movies in four weeks!

Friday, May 22, 2009


That's what I'm going to start calling it from now on, and by "it" I mean Good Will Hunting. I watched it tonight AGAIN, and guess what? NO SURPRISE, still the best film ever written. There is not a single weak line of dialogue. I could probably watch it for another 100 years and not get sick of it. Other people in my dorm wanted to watch it and I was like "I don't know, I've seen it like a million times." But then I watched and am sure glad I did!

So great!

It makes me want to start writing the sequel.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

busy, butterflies, and bored

It's been a busy couple of days.

Had the read through on Monday and it went really well. I got extremely nervous before I was about to go because about thirty minutes before it was time I got a text from my director changing the stage directions around. We hadn't rehearsed what she wanted to do and I would be doing it for the first time and it would be in front of my professor and all the other directors. So I was a little nervous. It was like the episode of Entourage when Ed Burns changes Drama's sitting monologue to a walking monologue and Drama freaks out. It wasn't quite as intense but similar nonetheless. Anyways, I did fine with the stage direction changes and when I sat down on stage and was about to start all the butterflies flew away. So that has to count for something, right? Then the next day my professor, who is also the professor for the directing class told me I did a good job, so that was refreshing to hear.

Haven't had another rehearsal since Monday, so one should be soon.

I registered for classes today for next quarter. Marketing, Managerial Accounting, History, and Writing. We'll see how that turns out.

In terms of my character development... I have the walk down, I have the voice (mostly) down, I hope I have the emotionality down, now it's just a matter of mastering my lines.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

running to prove something

In continuing to better myself for my character I went running yesterday. The reasoning behind this is, I figure, that soldiers are in pretty good physical shape and that in playing a soldier that I should at least be in decent shape. It's not that I'm in bad shape, just that running would help a little more for the physicality of the role (and by physicality I mean sitting in a chair and reciting soliloquies). I did this once before for a role I thought I would be playing. We had been planing out our senior video project for an entire year before we had to do it. I was planing on playing Neely Crenshaw who is the greatest high school quarterback in Texas football history, from the novel Bleachers by John Grisham. To prepare for this role I started running about two miles almost everyday to "get in shape" for the role. Now that I think about it I was even trying to "become" the character back then, like I am now. I worked on passing a football even though the film probably would not have even included any football throwing. But there was going to be a running scene so the training for that was legitimate. For LOST Lit all I really had to do to get into character was put the shades on and change my voice and I was Captain Beatty. That's why if you noticed when I get my glasses knocked off and have to give my farewell address to Frederick, I drop my eyes and stuttered in a different voice (this could have also been due to only having one take). Having the sunglasses on really made a difference for me.

In other news, today we had another rehearsal for the one act. I had to yell my lines today to give an over the top performance, one of the girls and to read her lines in valley girl voice, anther girl had to do a really cheesy French accent, and another had to whisper her lines. It was really funny and hard for me because my character is playing it super serious, so I had a few breaks of character that Mr. Fallon may know a little something about from a few SNL skits. Overall though it was a very good rehearsal and tomorrow is the first read through in front of the directing teacher and all the other directors that passed on me. So let's just say I've got a little bit of a chip on my shoulder and something to prove.

what a waste

This post is not related to acting.

I found something out today that I kind of already thought I knew but it's not exactly real until it becomes "official." So that officially sucks, and what sucks even more is that I should have stuck with the realization I made on January 13th, cause that would have saved me a lot of time and effort could have been devoted elsewhere.

I guess I just wasted and threw away a whole year. But don't worry, I won't let this happen ever again.

Hey, maybe this will reinvigorate my screenwriting by supplying me with more ideas. AND it has definitely given me some real world experience for my EX GI character, so now I can relate to him a little more (oh look! there's a funny choice for words).

I guess this post did turn out to be related to acting. How About That.

Friday, May 15, 2009

acting and ideas

Forgot to post yesterday, probably cause rehearsal got canceled and I went to go see The Phantom Tollbooth play.

Anyways back to the acting. I have now developed a specific style of walk for my character. When I speak his lines it is now in a different tone, almost as if there is something more behind what he is saying. My character, as an ex soldier, has to put on a front of his stoic nature as a soldier. He is trained to show nothing is wrong, when something actually is wrong and that's what I have to show when I am preforming.

Rehearsal was canceled again today and the next one should be Sunday, so more to come.

On a different note I've been watching a lot of the SNL Digital Shorts lately and have some ideas for SLO Digital Shorts. We'll see what happens.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

third time's (not quite) the charm

Had my third rehearsal today for the one act. I did a little better in parts than the first day we did a read through, but I still am off on a few lines. I'll have to work on that a little and be ready for the next rehearsal tomorrow.

Tomorrow is going to be a busy busy busy day.

Went and saw Ralphie May tonight at MY school, and it was HIL-arious!

That's all for now, more tomorrow in which I'll go into more detail about the process I'm taking to create a fully imagined character that also lives outside of the context of the play.

the second

Had another rehearsal today. I practiced my lines the hour before it, trying different phases, voices, tones, and emotions, thinking that we were going to do a read through but we didn't. It was much better actually. We did a memory exercise where we found something in the room and studied it for one minute and then closed our eyes and recited everything we remembered about it. This gave me a chance to show the director my partial photographic memory, so much so that the amount of detail I was describing made her laugh with amazement. Then we did a mirror exercise. Following that we did a following exercise. All were very fun and interesting to do. It was my first time doing these exercises and they worked really well with connecting to the other actors.

A good second rehearsal.

AND I got a note from the director about the emotionality of one of my lines.

For this certain emotion, I have to reach back to graduation night and find what I was specifically feeling then and then duplicate that for the line she wanted me to focus on; because if I can do that, that's all I need.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

An Author in Search of the Future

Rehearsal was canceled for today.

I read the play Six Characters in Search of an Author tonight for class. I didn't like it so much in the beginning but then I started to really enjoy the writing style (it reminded me a lot of the Jack Nicholson "You can't handle the truth" speech from A Few Good Men). I even found myself acting out the lines in the study lounge of Tenaya Hall. Hey, whatever I was the only one in there so who cares if it's a 24 hour quiet zone.

I read over my lines again for the one act and practiced a few different things with pauses and such. It is a really different writing style than Six Characters... which I found more enjoyable to act. So, I guess I'll just have to make my lines a little more enjoyable.

Oh, and don't forget you got drilled by an 80mph tennis ball in the hallway today in the worst possible place.

Monday, May 11, 2009

revelations at 1:00 am

Last night after I was super doubting myself and my ability I talked with a friend who helped me realize that I may just have a little talent and a shot.

I was just about to fall asleep and wake up to another week of school when the ideas started to come and not stop. For some reason my best ideas come to me when paper and pen are nowhere to be found, like in the shower or in bed. Why is that?! Who knows? But that's a question to be answered on another day. ANYWAYS... when the ideas came I managed to have a stack of post-its and a pen nearby (oh post-its, how you save my life and cover my desk). I wrote out the few brief scenes that came to my head right then and the even better thing is that it was mostly dialogue that I was writing down, not just camera angles or action sequences.

How the moods change from day to day, or more accurately, hour to hour; it's an amazing thing.

POP QUIZ: Is it a coincidence that I just had my 100th post and this revelation came to me at 1:00 a.m.?

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Today was one of those days where I'm really doubting myself in whether or not I want to pursue acting as my profession.

I did not do much to further help myself for my role and may have even taken a step backwards by doubting myself.

It's a shame that this feeling of self-doubt had to come on my one hundredth post I was hoping it would me something a little more monumental, but then again maybe this feeling is monumental.

the accent

I just finished watching some youtube videos of different accents I'm trying to learn for my character. I want to give him something that is his own and defines him even more and I think an accent could do that. A little something to show that his character has a little character and is actually from somewhere.

I started by listening to Texas accents but didn't really like those to much.

Then I went to the Boston accent.

But eventually ended up watching a few videos on New York accents. The guy doing them actually said in the video that the only people he could imagine these helping would be actors and I guess he was right. It sounds really good, it'll be just a slight accent that people may first notice as a different style of speaking and then may later catch the NY undertones. But I think it could work for my character if I just put a little time into it.

But hey, I got this thing I gotta run, I'll talk to yous.

Friday, May 8, 2009

character training continues and a revelation brought on by Star Trek

Continuing my training for my first role I decided to walk downtown today. It was only about two miles and it gave me a chance to practice how an Ex G.I. may walk and carry himself. The soldiers of WWII walked almost everywhere across Europe, so today gave me a very small taste of what it would have been like to get from point A to point B only by walking. I read a little from the book Band of Brothers while I was at Barnes and Noble. Just a little though, turned to a random page and it happened to be about when two of the soldiers went on leave for a weekend, just like the character I'm playing. On my walk back I stopped at the Veteran's Memorial here in SLO. I read all the plaques on the side of the building, in front of the Sherman tank, and then walked around and inside the building that was built in 1950. It really gave me a feeling of being around back then. I don't know what it was about the essence of that building but there was definitely something there. The Veteran's Museum was closed however and I'm going to have to go on another day to see that, but that's good because I'm still growing the character.

On another note, I saw Star Trek today and realized something. The people that were mostly there today where fans of the old series; men and woman in their fifties or sixties. Some even brought their parents with them because of their love for the characters. I stayed for the entire credits to finish rolling and so did a few others. People cheered and clapped during the movie when certain characters came on screen for the first time, even though it was a completely new actor playing their favorite character. What I heard one older woman, in maybe her late fifties, say when it was all over really had an impact on me. When the credits were done rolling and the Paramount logo came back on the screen, she said, "They did a really good job." This meant a lot to me because it means that people that liked the original felt that the new version did it justice. It was faithful to the characters and still provided a new original story and opened the franchise up to a new generation.

This makes me want to be an actor even more now. If I could simply make someone feel good and entertained from a performance, then there is nothing I would rather do in this world. Just knowing that someone was entertained today by these actors and filmmakers brought a smile to my face.


This will now become my actor's journal up until my first performance in early June.

I will do at least one thing a day that I feel will strengthen my relationship with the character I am playing. I will then write on here the what I did that day to help build my character. Whether it be creating back story, emotional depth, mannerisms, style of walk, style of talk, facial expressions, voice control and accent, hair style, body language; characteristics different from my own. The goal is to create a distinct character away from myself because I feel the hardest thing to play is a character most like yourself. This is because, I feel, extremely critical of myself when I see "me" on camera. When I played Captain Beatty and watch it back now I do not see me. I see the character because I created a different style of walk, changed my voice, looked at the world from a different perspective (the jet black sunglasses) and created an entirely separate and distinctive character away from myself.

My character falls deeply in love with a young French woman in World War II Europe and is then forced to leave her. So to strengthen my inner character, as of right now, I have made myself listen to James Blunt's Goodbye My Lover twenty times... IN A ROW.

Maybe I'm taking this whole "method acting" thing too far, but I don't think so. At least not yet anyways...

It'll be too far when I reach the point where I come up with the idea to make a time machine and travel back to WWII Europe to fall in love with a French woman just so I can then purposely leave her.

Wait a minute! That doesn't sound like a half bad idea!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

the script, the "system," the character, the research, the legends, the speeches, and the unknown

Today I got the script for my first role as an actor. I did not read it right away. I let it sit for a little, let it develop and age.

I read up on Stanislavski before I got the script and what he said about his "system." He talked about it having to be the right conditions when an actor should first read the script, because it is those first impressions that stick with the actor and help build the character and that relationship is so fragile.

After reading the script I thought about the life of my character. Where he was before the events in the play, what he has done, seen, felt, been a part of, where he was coming from and where he may go next.

The character I play is an Ex G.I. so I read up on the day to day life of an American soldier in World War II. I thought about the burdens he has had to face. What it would feel like to get a weekend pass in Paris. I'm watching and listening to old movies and video clips of the forties and fifties to see how people talked, walked, and acted. I put classic World War II dramas into my instant Netflix queue to watch, like From Here to Eternity. I looked at Marlon Brando in early screen tests to see how he talked and carried himself. I looked at James Dean's essence and passion he brought to his performances. Paul Newman's charm and personality he brought with him everywhere he went. I did this because when I read the part that's who I saw in it. The character is a young soldier, but he is an EX G.I., not just a G.I. It is something about the EX part that conveys something different about the character, and I haven't quite figured it out yet. I'm still feeling out where I want the character to go.

Then somehow during all of this I got caught up watching over an hour of youtube clips of Oscar acceptance speeches. I am starting to realize just how hard a successful career in acting is to accomplish.

I do not know if I will ever be able to reach the point in my life where I think I am good enough to do this.


Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Doc... are you telling me it's 8:25?

Dr. Emmett Brown


Marty hangs up the phone, grabs his skateboard and runs out, as Huey Lewis' "The Power of Love" begins to play.

That was my morning today. Well not the on the phone with Doc part, OR the part about hanging up the phone and skating to school with "The Power of Love" playing in the background. But the late for school part did happen.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

sign me up

I guess I was wrong. I got a my first role as an actor after all.

All I know right now is now is that the one act play is called Can Can, it was written by Laura Linney's dad, it has a lot of monologues, and the name of my role is Ex G.I.

So I'm guessing I play an Ex G.I.

The next thing to do is read a little bit about what Stanislavski has to say about acting, since I studied about seven hours into the wee morning for my theatre midterm and got to know a little more about him and his taught acting methods. I'll read how to prepare for a role and make my preformance real. It may only be a small role in a one act play but I'm treating it as an a leading role in an Oscar contending movie. That's how serious I'm taking this.

Then I guess the next thing to do since I'm going to be a method actor is to go sign up for the military. Hey, I have to play an EX G.I. so how can I do that if I've never actually served in the military? Oh, wait that's called acting. Maybe I'll just go train with the ROTC on campus, that will probably be just a little bit safer too.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

not the one step forward I needed, but the step forward that will take me farther

It doesn't look like this is going to be the one.

I haven't heard back from the director from yesterday yet and I was supposed to hear back around six if I got a role and it's just a tad bit past that time. One failure will not stop me though. Sure I am little bummed out and upset right now. But I know that I did not do my best in either audition, and the fact that I got a callback in the first place was a big surprise. My thought for not doing my best with my ability is because:

1) It was my first audition EVER on Friday and I was a little nervous.

2) For the monologue I did not know anything about the character because the directors gave zero background information making it impossible to have the slightest clue to knowing what they wanted.

3) For the callback I was reading a scene with a girl I had just met, but not knowing her did not matter because from reading the entire scene and her character, I attributed characteristics and feelings toward her from other girls in my life. It was the fact that I was playing a mid-twenties to early thirties married man with a kid on the way and who my character did not care about and only wanted to be back with his ex who was the woman that my "co-star" was playing in the scene. SIDE NOTE: A man that does that is a douche bag and something I could never do. I gave the best I could for that character which is the only thing an actor can do, BUT as stated earlier I did not give my best because that is not a character I would choose to play. That was the character the director saw me as and I can find no reason why she would see me as that.

4) I feel if I was given a character, or was able to choose a character, that was more in my age range and I could have related to (than a 30 year old man, who wants to cheat on his pregnant wife), I KNOW I would have been able to do better. I am 19 years old. I can only imagine the psychology of a character that age and who acts that way. I have no real experience with that. I had no time to research this role and find information to incorporate into my performance.

But I still felt I did a decent job, at least compared to the other two males I saw who preformed for the same role AND if it counts for anything I felt like I had the best chemistry with the girl reading for the role.

But this is not the end of things. No, it is not. One setback is not reason enough to quit. From this experience, over just two days, I have done and learned a lot.

1) I ACTUALLY auditioned for a role for the first time.

2) I was putting myself out there to be judged by nineteen strangers. Which was BIG, because I already have the insecurities of an actor, that I am sure of.

3) It has now become something else to put into my screenplay.

4) I have some of the greatest friends a person can ask for, because they were there for my right now.

5) I got a callback, so that means I must have at least something.

I can leave you with a long list of the actors who have had setbacks and made it but I will not. Instead I will conclude this long post with something a super man once said.

"At first, dreams seem impossible, then improbable, and eventually inevitable." - Christopher Reeve

"I'm here for the acting audition"

I have now said that above line, and it felt really really good to say. I will not go into much more because it's really late and I need sleep AND I'm still waiting to see if I got a role and don't want to jinx anything (that's a lot of ands). I'm really superstitious (if you can't remember from the spilt pepper post). Yesterday before my first audition (the monologue) I dropped a penny outside my door and it landed tails up. So... 1) I couldn't pick it up, and 2) I had to move it with my foot out of my doorway so that I wouldn't have to step over it. Yeah, THAT superstitious.

In other news...

Family reunion in Pittsburgh this summer which would be amazing to go to, since I don't really know any of my family from back there.

I also got asked today if I was Dr. Seuss (because I tend to rhyme words a lot). You know who you are that asked me this but I doubt you read this :). I WISH I was Dr. Seuss! If I can one day become half the writer that he was, it will be a pretty nice life. Mr. Theodor Geisel you are awesome! (that's the good doctor's real name in case you didn't know).

Back to acting, the original focus of this post. I find out tomorrow if my progression will take one step closer to my future or if there is still more work to be done and much more to be won.

Friday, May 1, 2009

the new new new revised re-revised revised plan

I wanted to post this before midnight to tie for the most posts I've done in one month with 21, (no my life is not THAT boring that this would have been the highlight of my day), but In-n-Out prevented that.

Oh well!

Here's a brief summary of the last post in which I introduced a new plan of action:

Tomorrow audition for roles in the directing classes' one act plays, and get a role. Then preform in the play in the theatre classroom at the end of the year.

Get the job I just applied for tonight as Video Editor.

Audition for Smile and Nod either Fall 2009 quarter or Winter '09 and get selected as a new member.

While on with Smile and Nod, preform in a show at the Spanos Theatre (the next step after performing in the theatre classroom).

Minor in Theatre or Psych or both.

Audition for a role in a play that will be performed in the Performing Arts Center (the highest standard for theatre on campus and the natural step after performing in Spanos), and get a role.

Get another role for a PAC play.

Stick with the Business Administration major and concentrate in marketing.

Continue to write as much as I can. Finish the first draft of at least one screenplay by the end of this summer 2009.

Continue to read plays, screenplays, writing books, and acting books to learn and teach myself as much as I can.

Graduate with a Business degree concentrated in marketing with minors in Theatre and Psychology, having performed in multiple plays, performed for Smile and Nod, written a final draft of at least one or multiple screenplays or plays, worked as Video Editor, and this should not be it. There should be more.

Then if I choose to pursue higher eduation in acting after graduation, look more into MFA programs in acting in either California or New York.

Work as an actor in films and continue in theatre in either Los Angeles or New York.

Audtion for roles in films and land some solid performances in recognized films.

Shop my screenplays around and sell one with me in the lead role. Then get it made.

Continue to act, write, and one day direct through a long successful career in film.

That is the ultimate goal.