Sunday, August 31, 2008
The Actors Enterprise is a small company, operated by Erin Cronican who is a professional actress and Acting Career Coach.
The 'mission' of the Actors Enterprise is to assist the working actor with vital business skills, such as promotion, marketing, networking etc. And the aim of the networking event was to bring together actors, directors, producers and various other entertainment professionals for a casual 'meet and greet'
The event was very informative, and I had a great time talking to the numerous guests in attendance. I was able to swap business cards with a variety of different people, and I've already been following up with some of the people I met, regarding upcoming projects for both aacting and photography work.
You can visit the Actors Enterprise website here.
In other news, I spoke with the producer of 'Fifty To Death' - the sitcom pilot I shot, and I understand the scene I'm in is currently being edited. As soon as it becomes available I will post it here for you to see!
A lot of the time, I'll write on the train. Since I'm going between various places on a daily basis, I use my travel time to listen music, catch up on Podcasts and write.
The play is "situational" in style (just like anything else I've ever attempted to write) I'm so intrigued by putting characters of different persuasions, different backgrounds and different opinions in a single space, and creating interaction.
When characters are confined to one common space, (especially if they are either physically or socially 'trapped' in that space) it forces the characters to face whatever situation they're in, and it raises the stakes of the drama. Well, potentially it does.
When I was in college I wrote a short one-act play called 'Discovery' in which a business woman is trapped in an elevator with the building's janitor. Two seemingly different people, of contrasting social status.
At the opening of the play, the two characters are argumentative, and oppose each other. The business woman is the 'high status' character, and the Janitor is subservient. As the play progresses the two level out to an 'even' status, and by the end entirely swap status. By the end of the act, the business woman has broken down completely and relies on the Janitor to comfort her.
I also cast and directed the piece. An added bonus was that, in staging the play, we were able to build the set of the elevator so it was adaptable, and as the piece played out, the walls of the elevator subtly and ever so slightly moved closer and closer in, causing the space to get smaller and smaller. It was a great effect.
I'm noticing this pattern in my writing, confinement and 'situation' based drama.
By no means are the characters in this piece physically 'trapped' but they are trapped in some ways, and forced to be together in the context of the play.
I'm hoping to have it finished soon. The debate then will be, who will I show it to, and what will I do with it?
Do you ever listen to a song and say 'wait a minute' and then rewind the track and listen again and say...oh god, I never noticed that before.
You hear a lyric, maybe it's so grammatically incorrect it can't make sense, maybe it's just bad...
I started thinking about song lyrics that irritate me, here are a few of mine...
"If I was a sculptor. But then again, no" - Elton John (Your Song)
We can't blame Elton John for this, Bernie Taupin is his lifelong partner in crime and lyricist...
Imagine if you applied this theory to other famous song lyrics...
"Tommy used to work on the docks, or, maybe he didn't..."
"I'm a joker, I'm a smoker, I'm a midnight toker. I play my music in the sun, but then again, I play it at night too"
"Lucky that my breasts are small and humble, so you don't confuse them with mountains" - Shakira (Whenever, Wherever)
"There were plants, And birds, And rocks, And things" - America (Horse With No Name)
Evidently there were all of those things, but no further nouns in the desert...
Again, apply this theory to other song lyrics.
"I'm a joker, I'm a smoker, I'm ...lots of other things"
"I wish it was Sunday. That's my fun day. My I-don't-have-to-run day" - The Bangles (Manic Monday)
Some might say this is a clever lyric...I'm on the fence. I either think it's really cool, or I think it's a cop out. I'll leave it in my list none the less, you can decide.
"Coast to coast; L.A. to Chicago" - Sade (Smooth Operator)
I would let this one slide, but the punctuation has qualified it as incorrect. If "Coast to coast" and "L.A to Chicago" were two separate thoughts, then fine... but the semi-colon confirms that she is suggesting LA and Chicago are on opposite 'coasts' - which is dumb.
"I'm as serious as cancer, When I say Rhythm is a Dancer." -Snap (Rhythm is a Dancer)
An otherwise cool song is spoiled. I'm guessing that nothing is more serious than cancer.
Let's apply the same theory...
"I'm as serious as a puppy mangled in a farming accident, when I say Rhythm is a Dancer"
"I'm as serious as 9/11, when I say Rhythm is a Dancer"
"The wild dogs cry out in the night, as they grow restless longing for some solitary company" - Toto (Africa)
It's going to take a lot to get me away from how stupid 'solitary company' is, as a lyric.
"But if this ever-changing world in which we live in ..." - Paul McCartney (Live and Let Die)
1. Everything after the word 'World' is redundant.
2. Too many prepositions in one sentence makes me itch.
Let's apply Paul McCartney's theory to other song lyrics....
"My heart will go on and on (beating and loving you)"
"Imagine all possessions (that you own and keep in your house)""I'm a joker, I'm a smoker, I'm a midnight toker (that tokes at midnight)"
I met a playwright. He served me a drink at a bar. Which is funny, because you'd think he'd be writing a play.
This dude was about... 30. He was bar-tending at 'Harry's Burritos' on the upper west side (I'm incredibly rude so, I call this place 'The Hairy Burrito' Yes, that's right, I'm 14)
Anyway, I was there with my sister and she and I were talking about acting.
This bar tender (who my sister described as being 'kind of an idiot...but not fully committal') asked if we were involved in theatre, and I said "yes" - he said 'I'm a professional playwright'
I was curious... So I asked him, "What kind of plays do you write?" He said "Oh you know, Drama, Comedy, Thriller. Action/Adventure"
A red flag started waving in my mind's eye. A huge red flag.
I said "Wow, I don't remember the last 'Action/Adventure' play I saw?"
Yeah, well I just have a few things going on right now, I'm just tending bar until they hit.
"Oh, I said. What are you working on now?"
"Well, I've never actually written anything...I mean, I've just had some ideas."
Again, it was not my intention to cut this guy off at the knees, or try to test him, I was just asking the same questions anyone would ask if someone told you they were a playwright.
Turns out this guy doesn't write anything, nor did he even attempt to lie about what he wrote, in fact he admitted quite openly 'I've never written anything before'
If I were to draw a flowchart of our conversation, here's how it would look.
I'm a Professional playwright
I write Action/Adventure plays
I've never written anything before
A similar series might be:
I'm an astronaut
I've been to the moon
I've never been to the moon
Now, again, I'm not tring to humilliate this guy, but it occured to me how irritating we all are in the entertainment business to people who aren't.
I was a little irritated by this guy who said he was a professional playwright who then admitted he wasn't. And I work in entertainment. Imagine if I were an investment banker....
If people ask me what I do, I tell them I'm an actor. I have experience in it...It's what I've done more than anything else professioanlly.. So I tell them.
Then people ask 'What have you been in that I might have seen' - and I say 'well, nothing major... You probably won't have seen me in anything'
They probably think I'm just some guy who lives alone in a small apartment, who eats cereal for dinner and creates a fantasy world to live in. All of that is true...but, they think that I do all those things in a creepy way.
So I have a solution... I will lie.
I will tell people I'm a scuba diver, and then list all the oceans I've dived in ...since they can't prove or disprove that. I will tell people I'm a mountaineer, or a goverment worker, or that I own my own cheese souring company in Virginia, Cheese for which the recipe is so secret, the location and name of my company could never be revealed. So there's no way of tracing my lie!
I suggest you try it to avoid the long lingering silence you hear on planes or in public places right after you tell people you're an actor...An actor who's never appeared in anything they've seen. I suggest you avoid this awkwardness by telling lies.
....what lies will you tell??
PS: There is a small Chinese grocery store in my neighborhood that I occasioanlly go to if I run out of something essential. This is the warning that appears on the plastic bag they gave me today:
New York is bizarre in the heat. It's almost like the temperature and the humidity just hang mid air. If I were a pretentious person I'd say it were a "tangible heat." And since I am a pretentious person, I'll just say it... "it's a tangible heat."
I have escaped for some photo shoots in the park, which have been great. Central Park has a selection of different backdrops, and with everything in full summer bloom, it's amazing. I've been lucky to see the park change from the winter, to the spring to the summer, and now I'm just waiting for the fall colours...which I'm anticipating will be most impressive.
So, with all my anecdotal blogs about New York since I got here, I've not really given a decent update...so here it is...
I moved to NY. It was something of a financial 'risk' - I basically sold up everything in Orlando and just moved. It reminded me a bit of moving to America 6 years ago... I just...did it. My awesome friends and roommates (Michael Colavolpe and Kevin Bee) were superb...and supportive in my going (despite being slap in the middle of a 12 month lease with them... ooops.)
The window of opportunity was only open for a little while, so I leaped through it while I could. I was ready to make some big changes in my life...
NY is so expensive. It reminds me of London, in that the rent is high, the cost of living is pretty high... But I have to tell you: I feel like I am so settled already. I'm energised...busy...working... and I really love it!
I had an audition for a sitcom pilot. When I told my grandmother that, she thought it was a sitcom about pilots.
The character I auditioned for was a mid-twenties British guy...well, I got the job. I shot the pilot episode (the test episode that gets sent to the tv channels for approval...that clarification is for if my grandmother reads this blog) and I was told I did a brilliant job. Actually, I'm sure nobody used the word 'Brilliant' - I suppose that's just proof that I'm paraphrasing. Who knows what will happen with that, but my role is recurring...so if I'm kept on...I'll be shooting more.
I read a statistic before I left Orlando that there was an abundance of single women in New York - it seems they've all scattered behind the trees, or they've all gone underground for the summer, as I haven't met any. I've mainly met outrageously gorgeous models, who have boyfriends who look like girls, with no personality.
I asked one guy (who was 'hanging out' while I shot his girlfriend) "I'm new in town, so I'm always looking for something to do, what do you do for entertainment?" He said "Sushi"
I was holding out for a full sentence…but I guess they don't teach that at "douche" school.
The glorious and wonderful Allison Van Ness invited me to a 4th Of July party in Connecticut last week. I must confess, it was my first ever 4th Of July party. One person at the party did ask me if we celebrated 4th of July in the UK. You would think I would scoff, and say something rude... but I was a guest. So I just slapped her and said 'get a fucking education'
I make an awesome first impression.
The party was great and I got to hang out with Allison to celebrate 'hooray for America day' - I ate deep friend Oreos. I was my typical cynical self saying things like "What are you thinking, why would you deep fry baked goods...." But then I ate one... "Well ...GOD BLESS AMERICA" (I don't have a fryer at home, so I'll have to figure out a way to rig something so I can deep fry Oreos at home. And potentially other things too.)
I fell of a hammock and did a little tumbling on the family trampoline...which kept the Americans amused. But I had the most wonderful day, which is rare - because I usually spend 4th of July inside, peering through the curtains watching the fireworks saying "one day we'll take it back, you'll see...."
Would you believe I may be back in Florida at the end of this month for a few days...Miami and Orlando, and then also I'll be in Chicago in early August...both for work...but I'll try and swing a little socializing in both places, I'm sure...Right now, I'm off to take photos of the line outside the Apple store.... I thought about standing in the line (to buy the brand new iPhone) but I think I'll wait a few days.
I have always been somewhat unlucky when flying... I am usually sat next to someone irritating (this can be especially annoying on international flights) - But this was not the case, Monday, when I flew back to New York from Orlando...
I sat next to Jennifer.
Jennifer was 6......and Jennifer was awesome.
Jennifer's mother asked me as we were boarding if I would mind switching seats with her, so she could sit with her daughter. (Jennifer's Mom was hot) - I of course said I would move but Jennifer piped up "I don't want to sit with you Mommy, I want to sit with the man"
After a brief discussion, Jennifer, Jennifer's Mom and I all agreed it'd be cool if Jennifer wanted to sit with me... She took the window seat.
"I know everything about kissing, so you don't even need to tell me - I got boyfriends, and not just at my school, and other schools too"
"What's that truck?" she asked, looking out the window
I said "That's the truck that brings out all the luggage to the plane"
"Huh" She said "That's a whole lotta luggage. Why do people have so much luggage?"
"I don't know?" I said
"The Gub'ment should do something about it" she said.
I was sold. This was going to be awesome.
"What's yo' name anyway, Mr?" she asked. I told her my name was John, and asked her what her name was.
"My name's Jennifer... don't callme Jenny, ok! It's Jennifer"
I said "Funny, you're not the first Jennifer to tell me that."
"My nana used to call me Jenny, but now she's dead, so she don't call me Jenny no more"
**Evidently, now deceased, Jennifer's Nana calls her completely different**
Jennifer went on: "Do you Drink?
I said "Do I what?"
She said "You know...Drink... like... Liq'uuh?"
"Oh" I said "Sure, I drink... do you?"
"Don't be silly John... I'm 6. I'll drink when I'm 29" was her response.
I asked Jennifer "Do you live in New York"
She said "Yep. I live in Mad-Hatter"
I laughed. She laughed. And said "I'm just messin', aint no such place as Mad Hatter"
I decided that should it be necessary, I would steal this child...and keep her.
She asked "Are you married?" I said no, she asked "Do you have a Mom?" I said yes, and then she asked... "Do you have a girlfriend?"
I told her I was single...
She said "That's right John, keep it loose. That's how you do"
Jennifer's mother (who was hot) couldn't hear Jennifer, but exchanged glances with me that said "I know my kid well enough to know she's making potentially embarrassing conversation"
If Jennifer's mom weren't so hot, I'd have murdered her and stolen Jennifer.
Jennifer and I talked the whole flight. Well, Jennifer talked, I listened. She let me (Occasionally) listen to her mom's Mini iPod, onto which her Mom had burned her a Disney playlist... Her headphones were about twice the size of her head.
When the drinks cart arrived, Jennifer explained in great details that she'd be ordering but "that lady over there (her mother) would be "taking care of everything"
She was clearly a frequent flier, as nothing about the flight phased her at all. She was familiar with all the customs of flying, and ordered from the flight attendant with flare and confidence...
She asked what food was on offer, and the flight attendant showed her a tray of various items, from which Jennifer selected a giant cookie, a chocolate granola bar, gummy fruit animal snack things and a box of orange juice. I was told I could share her Animal fruit snacks...and I was also allowed half of her giant cookie.
She pointed to her mother, and told the flight attendant "she'll be taking care of this"
Someone else might have thought she was spoiled...But not me. Maybe she was a little spoiled...but she rocked it. She wasn't bitchy...she was just, matter-of-fact.
She told me when she grows up she wanted to design clothing for KMart. When I asked her why, she said "Well, have you seen the clothes in there...They need better stuff"
She said she was interested in clothes and then pointed out 3 people who she thought were KMart shoppers.
(Remember this was a flight inbound from Orlando, so seeking out KMart shoppers was not too tricky)
We arrived in New York, we had landed, but we were not yet at the gate. The flight attendant announced "Welcome to JFK, please remain seated with your seatbelts securely fastened until the captain has parked the aircraft at the gate"
As she said this, we heard the immediate clickety clack of everyone unfastening their seatbelts.
Jennifer rolled her 6 year old eyes and said "Dayyumm.. People are stupid. Didn't they hear what she just said?"
We arrived at the gate, and started to make our way off the plane.
Jennifer said "Well, I guess this is goodbye, John" and extended her hand for me to shake it. Which I did.
Her mother (who was still as hot in New York as she was in Orlando) said "Thank you for tolerating her..."
I told her mother of all the flights I've been on this was one of the best...
...because of Jennifer! :)