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April 2007

Uncategorized23 Apr 2007 11:32 am

The Vector was a movie philm that I worked on in High School with my old friend (he was a much newer friend at the time) and chief collaborator, Pete Desiderio. He stars in the picture and directed and edited. I was sort of a script doctor, visual effects lead, and poorly acted minor character. This movie is posted as a historical novelty, and was made over the course of just a few very short weeks while all of us had very busy school schedules. We won our high school film festival with this, so however much you might be able to find flaws in this production, I assure you it wasn’t the worst of the bunch. Adults who watched The Vector and saw the scene where 10,000 Pete Lawsons stuffed into 10,000 lockers sing Mr. Sandman have typically remarked that my generation has “no need for acid.”

I promise, it’s actually pretty funny if you have just watched the Matrix. If you aren’t as familiar with the scenes and material being parodied, it does come off as a bit strange. Anyhow, let me point aout a few of the visual effects highlights… Pete’s infamous jiggly mirror inexplicably in the real world shot is around 9:00 minutes in, and the scene with Mr. Sandman starts at about 10:00, with the actual lockers sequence at about 10:45. “Books, lots of books” is at about 16:45. And, the all CG gymnasium because we couldn’t actually shoot in the gym is about 16:15. You can view it in a wee little flash video here, or download the full sized version.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

Download Link: Full Size AVI Version (640×480)

acting22 Apr 2007 02:57 pm

Just finished shooting the Amish sex movie today.  All in all, I have to say it was a good shoot.  The crew was very organised and hoopy.  We started on Friday with the opening scene at the director’s apartment.  The shoot was done with two cameras, which seems to have worked very well.  Everybody was really on the ball.  Yesterday, we shot the bulk of things at the Lakewood historical heritage somethingerother on Wadsworth, which stood in for an isolated Amish community.  We even shot one of the scenes next to a perfect classic red barn which looks exactly like you imagine a red barn ought to.  There were a few items here and there which gave away the fact that it wasn’t actually run by Amish, like the occasional padlock and the like, but I doubt anybody watching the final product will notice.  Besides, the Amish never actually refer to themselves as being Amish, so I guess they can’t be held accountable for a few modern conveniences.  One of the scenes we shot yesterday is the “streamlined scene,” a.k.a. scene 3.  Jon has already edited it, and said that it turned out well, so I’m hoping the rest of what we shot works out similarly.  The streamlined scene contained a bit of improvisation between me and my co-lead, so I was worried that editing it would be just a mess, but Jon said it wasn’t too bad.  If I recall correctly, there was only one camera for that scene because the other camera was in the barn with the Amish folks when we did it, which I expect would have made editing a little less convenient than if there were two cameras on the improv parts.  Anyhow, the streamlined scene will probably wind up being a good chunk of my demo reel, so I’m looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

Then, today we shot the remaining two scenes in the car.  Driving there, and then the very last scene which takes place as we drive back home.  These were shot all with one camera just mounted on the hood, with no auxilliary angles of the dialog.  So, the whole last scene may just wind up being a single long shot.  If not, then the only cut aways will be exterior shots of the car.

The film will be submitted the a film school shindig which takes place on May 10th.  Unfortunately, the bastards running it don’t release a show list ahead of time, so I won’t have any idea if the film actually made it into the show until I get there, which seems unconscionably stupid and arrogant on the part of the organizers.

standup20 Apr 2007 06:53 am

I stood up last night, and it was a good time.  The show was at JC’s Ground, which is a coffee house which “happens to be a Christian business.”  I had assumed that this meant that the owner just happened to be a devout practicing Christian, and was especially fond of telling folks about this fact, but it was an ordinary coffee house.  As it happens, the walls were covered in bible quotes, prayer cards, posters for bible study groups that meet there, and all sorts of fun stuff.  Needless to say, as soon as I got there, it became abundantly clear why Dan, the guy who organises the standup show, had asked me to come with strictly G-rated material with no swearing, cursing, sexual situation, or taking the Lord’s name in vain.  I should probably do more research on the venue where I am performing before I get there in the future.

I find it funny how extreme everything seems to be in the inside of entertainment, and how reasonable the advertising tries to make it sound.  “The possibility of some female nudity,” means I’ll be on a porn set all day.  “Try to keep the material G-Rated,” means that I’ll be surrounded by quotes from the bible on every wall and ads for bible study.  Imagine if they advertised a new Star Trek film as having “the possibility of some themes or situations which may be considered as potentially pertaining to science related types of fiction.”

Anyhow, Dan was the MC, so he introduced the show, and then did a few minutes of his standup, and then I was the first actual performer.  This made me a little nervous because I was trying new material, and it was somewhat obscure.  I always find that somewhat obscure stuff usually fits best when it isn’t right at the front of a show because the audience is already used to laughing.  Once you get them in the habit of laughing, it is generally pretty easy to keep the momentum going.  Also, it was a pretty small crowd.  Small crowds are naturally quieter, which means people are less inclined to laugh because there are so few people laughing around them.  But, even so, my routine was fairly well received.  The audience didn’t fall out of their chairs laughing or anything, but I was expecting that, and I was pretty happy with how it went. It was an education themed routine.  My jokes included the perils of writing a paper with a keyboard that doesn’t have a working R key, the difficulties in actually getting your dog to eat homework, the perils of reading wikipedia, and a survey of linguistics technical jargon and how it all sounds like the name of a Scandinavian rock band.  Like I said, some of it was slightly obscure.  At least I don’t think anybody will accuse me of having stolen the list of linguistics terms from another comedian.

After the show, Dan said that he liked what I had done, and told me that if I wanted to do the show again some time next month, I was welcome to come back.  So, I guess I am a proper standup comedian now.

Uncategorized17 Apr 2007 10:10 pm

So far. this hasn’t been a political blog.  I have just given random updates on my life, but for this, I felt I couldn’t not say a few words.  Those of you who know me well know that I have never had any particular fondness for Daylight Savings.  There are oodles of reasons why I think it should be abandoned.  It saves no energy.  This has been born out in plenty of studies.  The recent daylight savings shift also saved no energy.  Further, based on electricity usage patterns, it may actually waste some energy, and is going to be wasting a lot of energy in the near future if usage trends continue.  It also leads to lost productivity as people who are in separate areas need to keep track of when and how they switch to and from DST.  But, all my arguments about wasted energy, lost productivity, and general inconvenience don’t quite match up to this:

A kid spent almost two weeks in jail because of daylight savings times.  He made a call about an hour apart from a bomb threat call.  Nobody bothered to fix the clock after the daylight savings time switch, so they thought he was the one who made the bomb threat call which actually happened about an hour later.

So, what have we learned today?  Daylight savings time will get your ass thrown in jail.  Now, can we as a country please just use UTC?

acting and improv and metablogging10 Apr 2007 04:41 pm

Okay, so, haven’t blogged much recently.  Not too much going on, but a lot of little things.  So, a mad dash through random topic follows:

Mouth Off.  Still no word about when/how we hope to return from hiatus.

Amish Sex Movie.  It has been renamed from “Sowing The Seed” to “Intercourse, PA.”  I also had my first rehearsal last week.  It was a good time.  I got to meat my costar, who seems like a really nice guy, so I think that this will go fairly well.

Standup.  I have my first actual scheduled and confirmed standup gig coming up.  It’s on my handy dandy calendar at the right.  It’s April 19th, G-rated, probably about a five minute set.  I’m writing some new material.  Also standup related, there is a Mercury Café open mic night tomorrow.  I’ll probably check that out.  I may not perform, as I have never seen the open mic night there, and I’m not even sure how one signs up, which may need to be done in advance.  But, I may well perform at the Merc at some later date.

Radio.  Radio Avenue is doing a taping on Sunday, May 6th.  I may well try to do something for them, too.  From what I understand, they tend to sort of scramble at the last minute when preparing, in order to make sure the humor is as fresh as possible, especially for political jokes, etc.

Writing.  Work continues on Laser Kickboxing on Mars.  No, I’m not going to tell you the plot.  You would need like 87 million on disclosure agreements, a pound of flesh, and your grandfather would already have to know the plot before I could even consider explaining it to you.  But, active progress has resumed on writing this feature length screenplay.  It’s still at partial-first draft stage.

Atom Smith.  With the various other things going on, I deprioritised Atom Smith.  He isn’t forgotten, but he needs a bit more work before I go crazy and start releasing stuff.

Video Games.  Wow, I have started to play them enough that I think I’m wasting too much time.  On the other hand, Rise Of Legends is a wicked cool game.  It’s not targeted toward the hardcore strategist in the way that Rise Of Nations is, but the steampunk world of the Vinci is an amusing playground.  The biggest downside:  The voice acting is frankly terrible.  I understand that schedules are always too tight, and it’s hard to get everything done.  I’m not necessarily saying that the actors are incapable of voice acting.  I’m just saying that they didn’t do any of it on this project.  I think hearing this game has instilled a deathly fear in my for working on Atom Smith now.  I’ll be constantly thinking, “What if it turns out almost as bad as the voice work in Rise Of Legends!?”

acting and improv03 Apr 2007 08:24 pm

I was an extra for a movie today. It was interesting. I ran across a notice online which explained that it was a mockumentary. One of those comedic fake documentaries. The movie was the Westminster Wife Show. According to the notice:

*Must be 18
*Must be available Tuesday 4/3 afternoon/evening
*Must be comfortable with female nudity
*Must be reliable
*Must sign talent release forms

I like how they were careful to put the part about female nudity precisely in the center of the requirements in order to avoid makinmg a big deal about it. I think they may have come up with the one about being “reliable” (whatever that means for a gig where you have to show up one time at two in the afternoon…), solely so that the nudity line item was buried further in the middle of the list. Since they billed it as a mockumentary, I assumed that it would be mostly comedy, with the possibility of a nipple slip or something happening once or twice during the shooting.

The email address for the production was a single use email address at, rather than When I got there, I signed a release for “Colorado Satellite Broadcasting,” which was apparently the name of the production company. When I asked what sort of distribution was planned for the film, I was rather vaguely told that it was intended for an “On Demand” video service.

Now, the clever among you have already come to some sort of suspicion about the exact nature of this film just from what I’ve said so far. Kristen, on the other hand probably doesn’t want to know, and ought to just skip the rest of this post.

That’s right, I was an extra for a “saucy” Pay Per View film. And, by “film,” I mean cheaply made video production. Colorado Satellite Broadcasting is apparently some sort of shell/puppet organization which doesn’t have its own website. It has to do with New Frontiers Media Corporation. Of course, New Frontiers operates under a different trademark when they distribute their content. I quote from the New Frontiers website: “TEN, The Erotic Networks, is a leader in the electronic distribution of adult oriented entertainment.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. I wouldn’t have tried.

The Westminster Wife Show is a competition which features events like changing clothes in front of a camera, topless laundry sorting, and topless beer carrying. All in good fun, I suppose, but they had some of us record brief interviews about how much we liked the “Show withing the film” before we got far enough into the day to realize that there isn’t any plot. This should actually prove rather funny with people talking about how they feel that the show has done so much to help the community, immediately followed by a scene where a topless woman sprays beer all over herself. In order to ensure a minimization of boredom, I didn’t bother to maintain any character consistency in my several mini interviews. At one point I was a Westminster native, later a crazy Russian, and then an Irishman. There were many boobies, but I spent a bit of time plating pizza and helping the crew because the boobies were phenominally boring. Good luck to the editor.

I heard back from Madcap about Sunday’s audition. Got a nice form email saying that they had picked some other folks. Oh well. Not a terrible thing. The theater is fairly close to where I live, and it would pay. Even so, my improv style is a bit different from their’s. I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way, but I’ve never been a big fan of loud stock music or props and they use both. Now I just need to find something to do that I would like even better.

I know this blog has several readers. Leave a comment, dammit. This blog is all about me trying to make myself feel important by getting other people to read about stuff that I do. Comments help with the feeling important part.

improv and radio01 Apr 2007 06:33 pm

I did an audition for Madcap Theater today.  It was fun, but i was somewhat surprised by how it went.  Each person only got to do one scene.  That’s not very typical for an improv audition.  When I auditioned for Mouth Off, and when we did our later round of auditions, there was always an effort to see each auditioner with a few people, and in a few scenes.  Oh well.  For the Madcap auditions, we were called into the theater in groups of four.  Each of us four got on stage, introduced ourselves briefly, and then we were put into pairs.  The other pair went before I and my partner went.  Their’s was the only scene I got to watch.  They were told to do a flat scene with the suggestion of dough nut.  They didn’t have very interesting or distinct characters.  The guys running the audition asked them to make a few changes to the scene to try and get some more character work, but there wasn’t much there.

My partner initially wanted to do the scene as a one word story. This was logical enough, trying to demonstrate knowledge on scene game structures, but I knew  that Madcap tends to focus on zany character work more than trying to impress folks with knowledge of structures, so I told him we should just do a regular scene.  When I saw that they were doing changes to the scene in front of us, I was thankful that he didn’t argue with me, because it would have been impossible with one word story.  So, I told him we should be a logger and a hippy environmentalist trying to save the forest.  This seemedlike the most obvious way to have distinct characters and conflict in a tree scene.  He was the logger and I was the hippy who showed up late and chained myself to a tree that had already been cut down.  He chopped off my foot.  My foot being chopped off was an act which I deemed “uncool, man.”

Since the one scene was all they saw, they have no idea whether the idea was mine or my partner’s.  Even assuming they liked it, I’m not sure how exactly they plan on picking who they like best.  I shouted loudest during the scene, when my foot was cut off, so I guess my zaniness level was higher than my partner’s.  I suppose that would be the prime differentiating factor.  Of course, I have no particular reason to suppose that they liked our scene best, as I only saw the one other scene.  Apparently, I’ll know by Tuesday, which means I’ll probably blog by Wednesday, if you want to know how it went.  Rick was there.  Rick was also at the Mouth Off audition I went to.  If arbitrary symbolism has any merit, then I guess I’ll be likely to beat out Rick again, and he is my lucky angel or something.  It also means he’ll probably be inspired to kill me.

After the audition was done, I went to the avenue theater, because the taping for Radio Avenue was happening.  Apparently, it broadcasts on Monday.  I read a few lines from a movie for a “stump the listeners” movie quotes quiz game.  I have officially made it a month since I stepped away from my day job.  I guess going from having no idea what to do, to being on local radio is acceptable progress for a month.

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