Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Horror films and webcomics...

So I figured I should take a minute and talk about the few links I have attached to this site.

First and foremost, the new link to the Stump the Band website is up and I definitely suggest people going and visiting the site. It's for a horror movie that's coming out on June 3rd. I was privileged enough to see an advanced screening of this film, and I walked away completely entertained. Stump does a great job of not taking itself seriously and allowing laughter to join in with the fear. There is a great balance between characters you want to live and those that you are waiting to get killed off in some satisfying manner, and Stump doesn't disappoint. Check it out on June 3rd. It is available on Amazon.com and will be available at your local Blockbuster. Enjoy the rock and roll horror!

The next link sends you to a new web comic started by the talented pair Tony Chavira (writer) and Josh Dunlap (artist) called Tuna Carpaccio P.I. While they are only on their third comic, the tension in the strip is already thick. Don't expect your typical one liners/find the joke in everything comic that currently is the trend on the internet. These two gentlemen hearken back to the serial comic that used to be found in your daily newspaper and it brings something fresh to the internet. There is a lot of potential and talent that is on display, so go and check it out!

The last is just a link to my flickr site. Unfortunately, there isn't anything outstanding there, but mostly just pictures from my life. Still working on getting a better camera to document life, but at least I have something. I try and update it pretty regularly, so keep checking.

Thanks for playing!

Monday, April 28, 2008

A new kind of grilling...

Well, the last two nights I have gone out on a limb and have used wood instead of charcoal to grill with. I have never gotten behind gas grilling mainly because it adds nothing to the process. It's the lazy man's grilling method. Yes, it's easier to clean and light and blah blah blah, but you lose something in the flavor of the meat (or whatever) when you use gas. I don't know what it is, but every time I have grilled using charcoal, some type of flavoring shows up that makes the food that much better. Of course, you have to be careful with some of this match-light charcoal, since if you don't let it burn long enough you get the lighter fluid taste on the meat (yeah, bad experience with beer can chicken). Anyways, the last two nights I have grilled both steak and chicken using hardwood, and it's by far the superior method. While it takes longer to prep, it is well worth the effort. The unprepared, unmarinated steak I grilled tonight was mouthwatering. With only the marble in the steak to flavor it and the hardwood to cook it, something came out that I can't even coax out using charcoal. It made the extra time worth it. Oh, and grilled asparagus with sea salt and olive oil is awesome.

Well, other than that life is moving forward. I am actually leaving Starbucks for bigger and better things. I have gotten a job with just as much flexibility as I need, but doubles my pay while still giving me benefits. Granted, I will be working more hours, but that's fine since I'll still have time to audition and take gigs. While I enjoyed the people at Starbucks, I have mastered the job and have become bored (of course, the electrocution didn't help either). I am looking forward to adding to my savings and ira again.

Next Monday I am working on a short film for a writer buddy of mine who will be showing this film to some powerful people in this town. I'm not guaranteed anything of course, but it's a good script and at least it's more people seeing my face. Still pushing myself forward and trying to meet and network with as many people as possible which is what this town is about.

Was able to go out for with a bunch of the guys on Saturday night and of course had a blast. Good food, friends and alcohol. It doesn't get much better than that! Here's an interesting picture from that night. Yeah, I am crazy.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


So at church, the pastor talked about storms. How we as humans focus so much on the storms and even hold onto the storms instead of moving on or dealing with them properly. Sometimes the storm while tumultuous can be reassuring since in this changing world they are something we can latch onto and are constant. These storms can be anything from the worst moment of your life to just small insignificant little moments that bring pain. The movie Swingers has a perfect conversation that explains it:
Rob: Sometimes it still hurts. You know how it is, man. It's like, you wake up every day and it hurts a little bit less, and then you wake up one day and it doesn't hurt at all. And the funny thing is, is that, this is kinda wierd, but it's like, it's like you almost miss that pain.
Mike: You miss the pain?
Rob: Yeah, for the same reason that you missed her... because you lived with it for so long.

Generally, I try to let the small things go...or slide. For most things, I couldn't care less about because in the scheme of things they don't matter. Fight Club talks about this and it's one of the reasons that it's my favorite movie. However, while I let most of the small stuff go, big events can be a problem. I mull it over in my brain, I try to analyze, and I replay through all my actions again and again. The problem is when I am dealing with the big stuff, it's harder for me to pass off the small events that I usually don't care about. Like today when the yogurt idiot had my car towed because he thought it wasn't an employee's car and cost me $200 to get my car out(which the landlord is going to pay for). While I would say this is more of a medium to large problem, I almost went nova. Luckily, some fellow employees calmed me down, but it was like this was going to be the outlet to let out all the pent up frustrations and emotions.

I bring up storms because even right now, I am still fuming about the car and I need to just let it go. Life is too short and too enjoyable to let that idiot ruin my day. I just have to let it go. Things I wish for I have to let go. I can't hold onto these storms anymore. Life has too much to offer.

I have to let go.

I have to let go.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Orwellian...and beyond

Finally having the time and inclination, I sat down and watched George Lucas' THX1138, and I have to say on a first viewing that I was simultaneously impressed and unimpressed. His depiction of an Orwellian future was visually stunning. While the images and cinematography were great, the pacing was a little slow. It felt like Lucas was spending far too much time drinking in the sets than he was worrying about how the story was progressing. I am not talking about the acting here. Duvall and Pleasance did fantastic jobs, especially given that they were working with a director who really doesn't direct his actors. When the locale is one where emotions are chemically subdued, then Duvall does a great job holding back and then climbing out of the emotionless pit. The iconic scene of the three guards with long poles holding back Duvall was just as awesome as the stills I had seen previously. Lucas has a great eye when it comes to setting up shots, and he would make a great dp or even better a producer since he seems to excel at that job. Lucas, while stealing heavily from George Orwell and Ray Bradbury, creates a film that allows me to let the flaws and the blatant stolen ideas and phrases (Nixon speeches anyone?) go by. I am a huge Orwell fan in general and 1984 specifically. There is something about the Orwellian films that I just enjoy them even though they are sometimes the same idea with just a different outcome. I wouldn't mind either acting in or making my own version of 1984 or Fahrenheit 451.

So this past week has been quite busy with my improv class and voiceover class, I am getting a good amount of practice and training from some talented teachers. Besides that I was able to audition for a couple of independent films and two voiceovers. The voiceovers I should hear something by next week, but the independents I have no idea if they'll contact me. One of them, I think I would look a little young for, but since they had it in my age range I still went. I'll never pass up a chance to network or audition. While the jobs are infrequent right now, at least my auditions are frequent which at least makes me feel like I am pushing forward. I have still been doing extra work on my days off to both add to my income and hopefully get my third SAG voucher. However, the biggest avenue I am looking at is still voiceovers (at least for paid work), since they are simple and quick to do and are good money. I will be doing a short film for a friend who is a great writer. I am excited to work with him and see what is in store for him.

Other than that the week was a lot of fun. My uncle came into town over the weekend and so on Monday we were able to hang out and I got to show him around. Luckily, he has seen all the "tourist" stuff, so I didn't have to drive him to downtown Hollywood which is honestly worthless in the daytime. He wanted to go on a studio tour and so after reading a couple of reviews of the Universal Studios and NBC tour, I just took him to Warner Bros. and we took the tour there. Even though I had gone in January with my mother, it was a blast to go back since the strike is over now and we were able to see some filming in progress. Also, my camera had died about halfway through the tour last time, so I was able to get some better shots of the water tower and other sets that I missed the first time. Of course, no visit to Burbank would be complete without a night out at Don Cucos, so we met up with one of my uncle's coworkers there and enjoyed some margaritas and dinner.

So finally after six months in Los Angeles, I finally swam in the Pacific (which brings me to only 3 more of the seven seas to swim in!) and while cold was fun. On Thursday, I went down with a bunch of friends and was able to just relax on an almost deserted beach around the Santa Monica area, catch some sun, and skim board along the beach. It was a perfect day for the beach, and I had a blast of course (how can you not have a great time at the beach?). I have a couple of good pictures, but while I look good, I am still way to white to show.

Right now music-wise, I am going through my Itunes library and giving a listen to those albums which I have only heard once or not at all. Some are good while others I couldn't care less about. Been listening to a good amount of Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds too.

I'll leave you with my wonderful picture of someone having fun with their De Lorean DMC-12.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Acting and Alcohol

Well, this weekend was a blast. My roommate's dad came into town to drive my roommate's old car back to Kansas. Luckily, he was able to stay and hang for a couple of days which was quite enjoyable. He fit in well with Ben and I, and we had a mini-celebration. There was lots of good food and alcohol for three days straight. On Friday night, I came home to find that Ben's dad had went grocery shopping for us and we had become stuffed to the gills with food and alcohol in our kitchen. It was a glorious night. There are just some parents who I feel can transition well when their kids become adults and then others who can't. Mr. Starkey is definitely in the former of those two options. We tried this Brazilian steakhouse and I must say it has become one of my favorite restaurants. If you like meat of any kind, then this is definitely a go to place. They cook everything from steak to lamb (and everything in between) right on spits and once the meat is done they take them off the grill and bring them around to all the different tables. There is so much to choose from and there wasn't a single piece I didn't enjoy, and it is all you can eat too. It is definitely a place I will frequent if I can.

This week I start my voiceover class and I couldn't be more excited. While I have had some success in that area, I know I have a lot improve upon and also this gives me a chance to meet some more people in the industry. My biggest issue is that I am in my head too much when I do voiceovers. This isn't stage, and it needs a much more natural feel then any stage play and while I have been able to perform, I know I can be even better. I have a couple of other options that may have me actually filming in other parts of the country over the summer which would be awesome. Nothing is definite yet, but I have gotten past the first hurdle in a couple of them.

My uncle is in town and he has the day off today, so it's time to play tour guide again. However, I don't mind at all.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Act of bravery

It is a question that sometimes haunts me and makes me look back on my life: what have I done to serve my country? Yesterday, Bush gave the Medal of Honor to Michael A. Monsoor for going above and beyond the duty and saving the life of his fellow SEALs when he dived onto a live grenade to protect his comrades. This man, and many others, have given their lives to protect and defend the rest of our nation. I benefit daily from the freedoms and opportunities that arise from being in the greatest country in the world, and yet what have I done to help it? Have I truly ever given anything back or served in a way that even remotely comes close to what our armed services do? I look back at my family and see a line from my father back of military service, and here I am in Los Angeles pursuing acting! While I love acting and I feel God has put me here, I sometimes feel that I don't come close to being a true American or patriot. I haven't had to choose between fight or flight for my country, nor felt the fear of staring at RPGs and AK-47s firing rounds at me. It's not any desire to be "brave" or "show-off", but more along the lines of giving back to my country that has given me so much. Yes, we may have our issues and bicker amongst ourselves like siblings, but there is no greater country in the world. Hands down.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Live Musicand the glorious SoCal sun!

So I was able to score a ticket to the Bamboozle even in Irvine, Ca on Saturday, and while I didn't know or care for 90% of the bands, it was still a blast. Of course, Saturday was absolutely gorgeous. The sun was out, the temperature was in the 70s, and there was a slight breeze blowing making it a perfect day to be at the amphitheater. While it was mostly bands playing on the six stages around the theater, there were also carnival rides and other events happening (like the required guitar hero tourney). Though I hate carnival rides that can be packed up and moved elsewhere. I have no desire to go upside down in a ride that has traveled across the country and back. Call me scared and silly, but seriously, that just doesn't make sense to me.

The two highlights for me were being able to fall asleep on the lawn in front of one of the stages and take a nice nap while listening to some no-name band play (hey, I had opened the store at 4:15am that morning and was working on 3 hours of sleep, give me a break), and seeing Alkaline Trio perform since they haven't for a while. Alk Trio was a blast to see live. Though there was a band there called RX Bandits who were definitely a jazz band and I had a blast just watching them play. They were pretty good too, enough that I bought there CD.

Anyways, it has been a busy and exhausting week, and I am happy this next week will be a little slower, though I'll be heading to Vegas in the middle of the week to visit some friends.

On a more interesting note, Absolut Vodka has a new ad that has been causing quite a controversy. I won't go into it much, but it just depicts what a "perfect Absolut world" would look like and shows Mexico having control of most of the western United States. The one thing I will gladly harp on is that Absolut states that they are pushing for the Mexican national pride. That is all well and good, but wait, isn't most of Mexico living in the U.S. now? If the Absolut version of the world was true, then the Mexicans would just have a lot longer of a walk to get the the U.S. We've actually done everyone a favor! Mexico is such a worthless country, what kind of pride would you have when most of the people in your country want to leave! Oh, and if Manifest Destiny had been allowed, there wouldn't be a Mexico today, so enjoy what you have!

Anyways, if you have no true understanding of where the "idea" of this map came from, read some history especially around the years 1846-1848! Something called the Mexican-American War should pop out at you.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Crazy Times

Well, this past week has been a blur. Auditions galore along with a couple of jobs too. Snagged a role in a small horror flick (a paying gig of course), and am currently emailing a studio in Alaska about doing their small film that shoots in Alaska this summer. Had several more voiceover auditions, and with each one I am getting closer to feeling completely at ease in the sound booth. Also, I have started work on my reel which is good, so hopefully I can get an agent who will help the procedure.

I also started taking an improv class recently. This class will definitely help stretch and grow my acting muscles. The teacher is phenomenal and the people in the class are all working actors, so I am able to make some connections as well. Improv is such a primal and basic form of acting, yet it is so difficult that you really have to work to get good. While standard training is fine, improv will help work my brain to make connections and choices faster and better. While I will still sit down and analyze the roles I get, I know that my brain will be sharpened by this class. Also, improv does wonders for both auditioning and voiceover work (well, non-union anyways), so I have that going for me which is nice.

I got to explore Santa Clarita yesterday which was fun. Several friends and I went out to the "High Desert" and hiked a bit. Then we met up with some more people for dinner at Rattlers (which has the best Tri-tip ever). Being the social nerd that I am, I stayed out way too late even though I was opening this morning. 4am comes around so fast!

Overall I feel blessed and happy. Still many things going through my mind and the future is still open, but as I continue to get deeper into the acting world my desire grows and I know that this is where I should be.

I'd go through my thoughts about current events and politics, but I am out. It's beach time!