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Enterfornment and SkullFucker and acting and education and history and improv and standup and television and writing17 Dec 2008 03:27 pm

Ahoy hoy!

I recently tossed some of my old history lectures up on YouTube. Be sure to watch it two or three hundred times, and tell all of your friends. I already have one subscriber. This means that my claims of being slightly famous on the Internet now carry some weight.

I recently was amusing at a party. We thought it was going to be an improv show, but it all went horribly wrong when we realised that the hostess had not hired us to perform structured short form improv games to entertain her guests, but had rather hired us to mingle with her guests, trying to liven up the party simply by making it seem she had more interesting friends. Heather blogged thereapon.

Later that very same night, Steve and I did the Bovine Bleu Cow Five show contest. We were performing as the Denver based improv comedy group known as the Denver Wigs, and we performed improvisational comedic theater games. We got second place, and won a video tape of the blue collar comedy tour. Yes, an actual tape, in VHS glory. Trevor/Robert took it home. He was there, too. We lost to a standup who was well prepared enough that she was basically reading her whole routine off the notes in her hand. But, she brought more friends than anybody else. Apparently, she considers Whole Foods to be the best icon of Colorado culture, and a source for comedy. Because, you know, grocery stores that have an organic section don’t exist anywhere else in the world. Outsider perspective comedy can be entertaining, but it can also be a dismal failure… She proved the latter with her bit on whole foods. The premise was that everybody in the audience was an asshat just because Whole Foods exists.

The Adventures of SkullFucker is coming along. A second episode is nearing completion. And, it’s way too fucking long, so it may be a two parter. The core outline for the first ten episodes exists. Expect episode one to be live in February.

Enterfornment and acting and education and history10 Jul 2008 02:42 pm

After playing phone tag with the owner of the Mercury Cafe for the past seven zillion ages, we finally had a conversation. I’m doing a show on July 19th. It’s free, and the Cafe is a great place. You should come, and make a zillion of your friends come.

Marilyn called me a few weeks ago and asked me to do a show for her. The past few weeks have just been spent leaving each other messages. Honestly, I was rather amazed when I realized I was actually talking to her. In the end it boiled down to a conversation that lasted about two minutes. The show is at 8:00.

I’ll post more as I have more. My dinner theatre show for the 24th is now up in the air, and may not happen. Flaky client. There is also a possibility of an Enterfornment Late Night show through August at the Bug.

Enterfornment and acting and education and history and standup12 Jun 2008 10:02 pm

Enterfornment was a success. I hadn’t slept the night before, the game show didn’t work, I expected I was going to fall asleep, and was basically fueled only by panic and caffeiny energy drinks. Some segments got cut at the last minute because it was decided they “weren’t ready.” (Like the complete history of the split between Sunni and Shi’a Islam in 60 seconds or less, and the overthrow of Hawaii.) I didn’t have anywhere near enough memorized, and I didn’t even have all of my notes at the podium to read. And, all in all it was a success. Sure, it wasn’t perfect, but the show certainly proved the baseline concept that it is possible to pull off an entertaining, funny educational show for adults. Even if you use a subject which is assumed to be extremely dry.

It wasn’t exactly a comedy show. When you talk about Osama bin Laden, and our support of the repressive Diem regime in Vietnam, the whole show can’t be 100% funny. It did have some funny parts. The audience did laugh a lot, and they got a lot of the jokes. I think one of the best laughs was showing a picture of Eric Estrada when talking about a Mr. Estrada who was important in central American politics around the start of the 20th century. Go figure, eh? A similar joke about Mr. Diaz with a picture of Cameron Diaz was found to be more confusing. Mostly because I botched the delivery.

The first act had First Barbary War, War of 1812, Opening of Japan, Spanish American War, and the Philippine American War. It ended right before the start of the 20th Century. The band, “The Moment” played in the middle of the act to break things up, right after Opening of Japan.

The second act featured American meddling in Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras, a note about Sayid Qutb and his role in creating the ideology that inspired Bin Laden while he lived in Colorado, Iran, Nicaragua some more, Panama some more, our role in the 1980′s Iran (again) – Iraq war, and Iraq again ( in Operation Desert Storm aka “The second first Gulf War” ). The overall theme was the importance of understanding our enemies, and how it can save us money, time, and lives. Almost every war, revolution, and overthrow included a line about how “it was then that we as a nation finally came to understand the vital importance of understanding our enemies.”

So, since the show ended with a brief mention of the Iraq-America war in 1991, the closer was a note about how thankfully, we finally acted according to the one lesson that was learned so many times over. We finally understood our enemy and acted accordingly (at least for a while). And, we closed with the infamous clip of Cheney talking about what the results of invading Iraq would have been. It would have been a Quagmire, because Iraq isn’t a unified country, but a collection of chunks which could not all simultaneously be controlled by us, and chucks would have fallen out of our control. It seemed a fitting and poignant end. The audience seemed to appreciate the irony.

So, I never adressed the current Iraq war directly, but in a sense, the whole show (and basically all of American history) were basically a setup for it. The show had enough historical examples to allow the audience to understand the current war in a different context, even though there wasn’t much discussion of Iraq. (Except for a few pictures from modern times used as an ironic means of explaining past events. Like how the water torture in the phillipines over a century ago was just the work of “a few isolated individuals,” in almost the same way that things like water torture and psychological torture is officially the work of a few isolated individuals in our current global war on terror.)

So, all in all. The audience says they liked it. They laughed during the show, and the vibe felt good. There is plenty of room for improvement, but it went well enough that I am planning to do more educational shows when I get a chance.

As for upcoming stuff, the 24 hour film contest is in a few months. Dunno if I’ll participate. I am doing some private dinner theater in July. Iraq War: The Musical is coming to town, and I missed my chance to audition. And, the Regional Championships for competetive air guitar will be taking place in Denver. I certainly won’t be competing as I have no musical inclination, but I will probably be a supporting member of the Rock a Feller entourage. (Who I insist ought to dress up as John D. Rockefeller.) No word if Bjorne Turoque will be there.

I think this lolcatz picture is funny, and makes me want to do an economics show.
I think this lolcatz picture is funny, and makes me want to do an economics show

acting and education and history and movies and standup and travel26 Feb 2008 10:45 am

US History In The Middle East may be coming to a theater near Denver in the near future as a long form lecture. I did Freak Train last night, talking more about the 1953 Iranian coup. People are starting to seem ever more interested, and several have been asking where they can see me do a longer history talk. So, having been effectively drafted, I intend to start figuring out where I can do it. It’ll probably be a month or two. One guy even called me the “Carl Sagan of History.”

Always on the verge of losing all faith in Humanity, I am slowly being forced to admit that people really will pay attention if you put something in front of them, and keep it lively. This is a good thing. It took a few months, and thus a few five minute talks – out 20 minutes in total – to move the audience from not caring to having a bunch of people come up to me afterwards asking for more.

Rodents of Unusual Size (local improv group) have asked me about the possibility of opening for them in a few months as well. I have a dinner theater gig in Rui Doso, New Mexico this weekend. I need to learn my lines today.

Dangerous Theater now has a weekly improv competition on Sundays that is just starting out, but could be amazingly cool if it gets going. I went last week, but it was just me and another guy. And, our audience locked her keys in her car, so she spent half the show outside waiting for AAA to come and unlock the car. It was a short show, and then we all went out drinking and did a round of pub trivia. Their trivia was all fucked up, did you know that Crash Bandicoot was a Genesis game? Of course not, because it actually wasn’t! But, that was still the right answer. I lost my shirt. Not as part of the trivia competition – just in general.

Jon Stevenson, of “Intercourse, PA” directoring fame is premiering Kung Foo Kops at the “1st Annual Super-Amazing-Awesome-Happy-Funtime Film Festival”
Hosted by: Jon Stevenson and John Schmidt
Type: Party – Movie/TV Night
Where: Dave & Busters
When: Sunday, March 9 from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm

Be there, or be a stupid square jackass. Oh, and dress “70′s.”

I think that covers it for the moment.

acting and movies22 Nov 2007 08:46 am

This may give you some idea about the film.Wild Bill, Productivity Consultant

This is Wild Bill, from the set of Fist Full Of Staples.

Uncategorized and acting21 Nov 2007 11:47 am

I’m not dead yet. Just a bit out of touch lately.

Fist Full Of Staples wrapped shooting this weekend. It’s directed by Nick Falls. It’s an office western. It’s somewhere in between “The Office” and “The Good The Bad And The Ugly.” I played Sam, and it was shot on 16mm film. This was my first 16mm production (as well as the director’s), so I am pleased to say that for the most part everything seemed to go quite smoothly. Except for when they set off the fire alarm and the fire department showed up in a big fire truck looking to put a fire out.

Which leads to the absolute sum total of my ultimate wisdom with regard to film making: No children, animals, old people, or fog/smoke machines. To this day, I have never actually seen a smoke machine work right on set. So, for anybody who might run across this bit of wisdom, and really wants to use a smoke machine despite it being a stupid idea:

-Do it outside. Outside is easier to vent than inside.
-If you must be inside, make sure you can easily vent the space. Really easily. Seriously, be on top of this. Smoke machines will not only set off the fire alarm, but also make it impossible to shoot the next take until you vent.
-Have fans. Fucking enormous giant fans. Many of them. Even if you are outside.
-Have a cold box setup. If that doesn’t make sense to you, you aren’t supposed to be using a smoke machine yet! Generally, people want a smoker for cool “ground hugging” fog effects. To accomplish this, you need to run the smoke through a cold box so that it stays near the ground.

Indymogul did a good cold box tutorial. Check them out at

It’ll be a while before the film is developed and telecined (Put onto a video tape), so we won’t know for sure that nothing bad happened to the footage until then. But, I think it probably turned out quite well, and I’m looking forward to it.

Also, my main phone number is working again. If you tried calling me in the past week or so, you may have gotten a cryptic error message. It’s a SkypeIn VOIP line through Skype, which I paid for the next three months on. But, they dragged their feet on actually recieving my money (which showed up as having been taken from my bank account very quickly) for several days. So, the number expired for a while until I complained. Once I complained, they were able to realise that they did in fact have the money within a day. So, when Skype says “Pay Pal usually clears within an hour, and always within a day” they actually apparently mean “like a week, depending on how lazy we feel.” I dunno, maybe it was some issue between skype and paypal and actually wasn’t Skype’s fault. Still annoyed the crap out of me. The key point I’m trying to make is that my phone finally works again.

acting and metablogging14 Oct 2007 09:32 am

Those of you who know me, know that I’m pretty laid back. It takes a lot to really get to me, and I’ll usually forgive almost anybody. Maybe it’s that Buddhist upbringing, or maybe it is just because I find it more convenient to go with the flow. Regardless, it’s exceptionally rare that anybody annoys me enough to merit any sort of inclusion on “The Shit List.” Only a tiny handful of people have ever managed to annoy me enough that I would decline to work with them. Even then, I typically hope they will have good fortune in their endevours without me, and don’t go out of my way to speak ill of them.

Rachel Wear has managed to annoy me to such heights, that even as I ponder the situation as intensely as I am able, I can’t imagine any way in which I could be in more sour spirits at the present moment. Any further annoyance on her part, and I would have simply been content to ignore her, resulting in a net decrease in my own level of discontentment. It’s as if she has perfected the art. So, I don’t forsee any circumstance in which I will ever work with her, and if anybody ever comes to me asking my opinion of her, I won’t hold my tongue.

She is a student at Colorado Film School, and refers to herself as being with Devil Cat Productions. I met her when I went for an audition at CFS. Usually, I have found working with people at CFS to be a pleasant experience. With this audition, I was just asked to give a monologue. I wasn’t shown a script, given any information about what exactly I was auditioning for, and didn’t have a chance to discuss characters. This is probably the single worst way to run an audition because you can imagine an actor far more brilliant than myself picking a monologue that is unlike a character for which he would be suited, and then not being considered for the role. What’s more, since I am something of a working actor, I really only have an interest in playing interesting characters with interesting dialogue. That’s the only thing that’s useful for my demo reel, really. That’s why I was willing to drive to Colorado Springs to be in a student remake of a scene from Trainspotting. Or, why next weekend I’m playing a flashback scene of a priest from when he was a young alcoholic drug addict. Or why I played an uptight apartment dweller on a quest to have sex with an Amish woman. Consequently, I have absolutely no interest in being in a production I don’t find interesting. Student films don’t pay anything, so being in a production means donating my time and effort, and gas money to a student film maker. It’s a gift. At this point, I really don’t need to be in any more student films. I grace some lucky student films with the gift of my participation because I am a nice person.

I mean, I have had multiple days of shooting on three different features. I’ve worked on projects that were nationally broadcast, and my work is seen weakly via the Stream of Consciousness network. I’m not famous, and I’m no super star, but at this point I am well enough acquainted with enough people ‘in the biz,’ that it’s not exactly an exciting thing to work on some run of the mill student project. I’m not trying to sound like a braggart when I talk about the stuff I’ve worked on, I’m just trying to explain where I’m coming from at this point.

So, I auditioned for Rachel, by doing a monologue, and then leaving. At this point, she really hadn’t come across as particularly friendly or appreciative of my bothering to take time out of my day to come and give the monologue, nor appreciative of the time I had taken out of the previous day to look up an remember said monologue. Then, I don’t hear from her for weeks. Weeks.

Then, I get a call from her about a week ago asking me to be in a project with her for today. I was busy, so I wasn’t able to get back in touch with her immediately. I kept getting home after midnight because I’ve been working on a project of my own, and I didn’t want to call her that late because I expected it would have been rude. She didn’t even leave me with the name of the character she wanted to play, explain the type of project, or tell my a title. A few days later, I get an email with a script and a call sheet. I’m expected at the hospital set to play a Doctor in a PSA at 8:30 on a Sunday morning. I’ve never met anybody else with the audacity to just decide to put me on a call sheet for 8:30 in the morning on a Sunday without having yet confirmed that I’m available, nor having sent me a copy of the script, nor having told me which character I was being asked to play. My efforts were not being looked at as a gift. Even better, it was for some PSA about how you shouldn’t leave babies in dumpsters and I only had one line.

But, I’m a nice guy. Despite having been booked all day Saturday, and also booked this evening, by a lucky fucking coincidence I had nothing planned for this morning. Except sleep. And, I had been planning on working later last night on the script for my project currently in development, but had to be down unusually early for me to have a shot at being anywhere by 8:30 in the morning. Now, I brought this situation up with several people who’s opinions I greatly respect. Every one of them was genuine surprised that I intended to show up. I was apparently expected, and I didn’t want to leave an aspiring film maker out in the cold, so to speak. I tried calling Rachel Wear with Devil Cat productions a few times, asking her to call me back, so that I could talk to her and confirm things. She never called me back. Now, she had initially called me almost a month after my monologue reading. I called her back in less than a week. Consequently, as near as I can figure it, that makes me about four times as prompt as her. She has yet to return my calls to her from several days ago.

So, in spite of her not having called me back to confirm things, I woke up early this morning, drove all the way across town in cold, foggy, rainy weather with made the going annoyingly slow. I arrived at the location (a large hospital), parked, and called the number that the contact sheet said to call when I arrived. I walked around in the cold rain, looking for any obvious signs of a production, and was told “I’ll call you right back.” So, I continued walking around in the cold for a few minutes, got a call back, and was told that my part had been recast, and I wasn’t needed. I was naturally miffed at this point, but I asked where the location was anyway, so that I could poke my head in, say hello, and shake a few hands. At this point, I was more than annoyed with Rachel, but I expected she might have some crew that would be good to say hello to. Quite possibly some people I’ve worked with before who I am already friends with that I would have liked to say hello to. Also, I intended to, if there was a few moments of downtime, take Rachel aside and privately explain to her my perspective, in hopes that she could learn from it without having to put anybody in the awkward position of acting as a middleman for that conversation. I was told something to the effect of, “I’m sorry, the director says she’s very busy, and has told me not to tell you were we are shooting.” I didn’t write down the exact conversation. So, I tried, as politely and and respectfully, and directly as I could to explain my perspective on the course of events to the young woman with whom I had been speaking because Rachel Wear was “too busy.” I gave her my time and trouble, and she wouldn’t even let somebody tell me come in out of the rain. Maybe it’s a good things I never actually made it on set. I’d have been tempted to just spit in her face by way of an explanation of my perspective.

acting28 Sep 2007 01:04 pm

So, my total income from Christian film now slightly exceeds that of my take from The Erotic Networks. Fun fact: while TEN uses lots of paper work and reciepts, the Christian film pays cash under the table. The producer carries a big wad of 50′s to pay the extras at the end of the day.

I’m also in a murder mystery improv show group. And, I met with a student director at CFS about a role in his next production. I’ll be the stoner drunk asshole before he becomes a priest in a flashback presented by the Devil. It sounds a lot like the Collector. It’s the second time I’ve run across a Colorado film maker trying to basically remake the Collector without having ever heard of it. It’s a mediocre Canadian TV show. You should watch a few episodes of it. That, and Charlie Jade. That’s another Canadian program, but it kicks more ass. (Despite the over the top color grading that I felt went about two steps too far in trying to look awesome.)

Need to bulk up my compositing demo reel.

acting and cooking and television30 Aug 2007 08:21 pm

The Internet just hunkles me some days. You see it there, a fine series of tubes, and then kersplow! All orderly and comprehensible, except that some parts of it defy common sense. So, I only actually have like two or three readers. Despite this, one of my posts has now generated comments from seven different people. I feel very slightly famous.

Neither of you probably remember this post:

From back when I had talked to some production company in New York that wanted me to pay them to produce a pilot for a cooking program. They didn’t really have much interest in who I was or what i would actually do in the pilot. Consequently, I decided that they seemed slightly shady and blogged about it and considered the matter pretty much settled. I imagine that if I had spent all my money on making the pilot, it actually would have gotten made. I just wouldn’t have been able to sell it. They seemed a bit shady, but probably not stupid enough to do anything overtly illegal. (Like just stealing the money.) So, I didn’t feel any need to warn people about them or anything. I was just blogging about what had happened to me, like any self important public diarist might. But it’s the post that just won’t die. I just got another comment on it. I only have 18 actual comments in the whole history of my blog.

This is just about enough to convince me that I should use me incredibly crappy second hand webcam to shoot myself cooking dinner for a few nights, just so I can say I’ve done a cooking show and hope to get that post behind me. Of course, if I distribute a show about me cooking dinner, it’ll no longer be my private secret that I cook in my underpants…

I just find it weird that there is like a whole little community that considers that post important enough to comment on. They just hang out in that one ought-to-be-forgotten little spot on the Internet. It is a community that doesn’t even exist anywhere else.

acting and television16 Jun 2007 05:54 pm

So, Wednesday… Well, I was a PA on Wednesday. Some of you have asked what exactly a PA does and what the heck it means… P.A. means Production Assistant, and is the title assigned to a person who assists a production in whatever way happens to be needed at a particular moment.

I was involved in helping set up Craft Services. (Setting up all the sandwiches and other food that are supplied to keep cast and crew from falling over.) I spent some time as a boom operator. (You know those guys who have really long shotgun microphones on poles.) I spent some time as a reparker. (“Reparker” isn’t a real word, but we were told that all the cars parked on the street past 2:00 am risked being towed in Downtown, so I had to run around at 1:30 in the morning finding cars parked on the street and moving them into a lot. One of the cars had a large dog in the back. I forget the exact breed, but of those kinds that people sometimes train to be mortally deadly fatal killer attack dogs. Thankfully, this one just tried to lick me a bit.)

At one point, I was manning a sound mixer, and monitoring levels. All these things are the work of a PA at various points. There were several other activities which are vastly more hilarious in which I was involved, but to specify them might be to reveal details about the production.

Friday’s shoot got postponed, which is all well and good, because I was tired enough as it was. Hell, I’m still a bit off.

I may or may not have learned an amazing secret at some point in the recent past. However, if I did, I still have insufficient information to truly gauge the significance.

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