Used to Be

a load of crap but now it’s a load of dung.

a winter’s snow but now it’s wrapped in BPA.

a silent treatment but now it won’t shut up.

behind closed doors but now its angling for fame.

hidden like treasure and now its in a museum.

willow weeping and now its ashes

oak now table

time now bending

wages now self-employed

water now cloud

wondering now,

wandering still.

Lights! Camera! Holy Cow!

Lights, Camera, Holy Cow! is a recurring blog series in the form of an actor’s journal. It is meant as a reference to actors entering/thinking of entering the film/commercial industry as well as entertainment to anyone who cares. I am currently embarking on my own entrance to the San Francisco film/video community, and desire to share the joys and growing pains of trying something new (as long as it doesn’t violate my NDA:).

The 3rd day of shooting for the short film project I am currently working on, Unmasked.

IMG_4473The 3rd day of shooting and I have been finding out just how different stage acting can be than film acting. “Make sure the back row can hear you” changing to “just talk to the people at the table, you are killing the boom mic operator.” The element of talking and listening becoming so precise so that any little moment of uncertainty comes across as a lie… or as the uncertainty of an actor who knows he is being filmed. The camera doesn’t lie is no lie. I am experiencing the paradox of balancing the need to relax and be present and ignore the camera and crew completely while simultaneously making sure that all the requirements of the shot are being fulfilled. I am at the tip of the iceberg where this skill is concerned. Every day a new lesson. After many hours on set today, I am filled with a great energy of celebration. I broke through a personal obstacle this evening, a breakthrough in the sense that I could feel a self who was trying to “fix it” or “look good” or “do it right” shift out of the way. Getting out of my own head, the combination of preparation and comfortability and exhaustion mingling into an advantageous jambalaya. I have no idea if any certain take that ‘worked’ for me worked completely for the DP, for the lights, for the extras, for the sound, for the director, producer – so many elements going into the making of this 12-minute project. 10 hours in, we got to the last scene on today’s schedule. It was the scene we had rehearsed the most. It also happened to be the most relaxed social situation for my character. Everyone wanting to go home and get some well deserved rest. A nice combination that begged for a “fuck it, I’m alive” attitude. After a full day of working (on a film set (at a country club:):), when most of the other actors had been wrapped and the camera was running on a battery that was being charged just enough for the inevitable ‘one more take,’ I shook the jitters down my limbs, the director called ‘action’ and a moment was shared. The camera happened to be there and be recording. So much to learn. This is what a beautiful beginning feels like.

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Saturday! Saturday!

Streets bustle,

poems hurdle,

mountains climb themselves.

I could have stayed up all night

with the energy you handed me.

Instead I fell fast asleep,

with love on my mind.

I wake, it is Saturday.

“Radiant peace, like a delicate purple flower unfolding,

encompass me like water.”

The Adventures of Tom Tom – WTFYI

 

Searching for a new notebook this morning cause I filled the last one up with words, and guess what? I have a lot of notebooks which are not empty, which are filled with words and also some Tom Toms. This is the debut of a female Tom Tom. I didn’t even realize that could happen. But the truth exists and here is proof.
Tom Tom Makes Out

Top 5 Photos of the Week

Welp, it’s that time again. Time has passed and what have we done? With or without each other, at home or in far away lands, on stage, on screen, on philosophical ponderings, this has been my week, and wowzas, dang, etc. This week: there are actually 5 photos. To keep it interesting, I’ve numbered them 2-6.

 

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2) Medeski, Martin and Wood at the Great American Music Hall. I had to really concentrate to get my phone out of my pocket, the music was so good, so intense, I felt like I was attending a master class in what happens when you go beyond 10,000 hours. I kept thinking “I’ll get a picture when they are in between songs because I don’t want to break my concentration from this for a second.” Except they basically never stopped playing. Their set list consisted of about 1/3 rehearsed tunes, transitioning between them with some of the most innovative acoustic improv I’ve ever laid ears on. The 3 men having musical conversation in front of a live audience was breathtaking, mesmerizing, and a host of other good things. Really a magical experience, highly recommended. Thanks Devin for the come up!

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3) Trying to look tough enough to be tough-looking next to dudes that are actually tough looking. Cause tattoos and muscles do a really good job of making people look tough. Whereas just shading in your beard a little darker and messing up your hair… yeah, I could have probably tatted up and worked out for like 5 years if I was really method. On set at a bar scene for a crime reenactment show.

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4) Ultra Marine Date with Ariel. We went to the Maritime Museum near our house and got to hang out on boats, including a tug boat and a boat that looks like a pirate ship, but was really a cargo ship. I learned things about being a sailor, like how glad I am that I am not a sailor and also how now both Ariel and I agree that we understand why people would become raging drunk pirates given the circumstances, which we read on placards and heard spoken of by authentic-looking guides, who were startled by Ariel ringing the giant bell at the hull of the pirate ship super loudly. Some things had signs on them that said “do not touch.” Some things may have new signs made for them.

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5) The angry mob waiting for Evan to show up to read excerpts from his novella, Autumn Monsters. This is an excerpt from Netheryonder’s National Poetry month celebration. Pictured: Me, Rob Ready, and Adam Donnegan. If there was a big muscly tattooed guy standing next to us, he would have made us look like baby children, so don’t let us fool you into thinking we are tough.

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6) This is not my father but he has the same name. Also he has 3 hands. Found in a library book making fun of actor’s head shots and resumes. I really love the library, especially since my fines got “taken care of” by the library mob. Thanks, library mob.

Intergalactic Poetry Month

You said you would be there, and

you appeared to teach and be taut.

bar at midnight, graceful presence/with the present,

you’ve heard tell you could not be resonant.

be correct in yourself.

be at a loss for words.

be silent and still and

listen.

when the man speaks he has something to say.

the initials of a Caesar who has long gone.

Surrounded by angels of hell himself.

the drink sits at the tip of his tongue.

the man speaks from experience:

it’s all he has,

all any of us have.

Movies

The more I say, or

The more I do.

The more I act,

react and listen,

the more habits melt away,

nerves relaxing under heat of day.

weight, shifting,

“have you been here before?”

the kind of line that requires patience.

more craft, more service,

same/same/same.

On Waking Early

What a funny feeling to have woken up at 5:30AM on my own accord. I am so excited for the day! I have been working on waking up early, I prefer it. I am a closeted morning person. I can accomplish so much when the world is quiet around me, it puts such a jive in my jaunt  to rise with the sun. Today, I woke early. I made coffee, took a short walk with Bowie the dog, wrote for a while to clear my head and set my day off in the right direction, studied my script in a hammock in our city backyard, and witnessed the sun’s light greeting the Bay.

I have not always been an early riser. I thought people who were early risers were crazy, why not just sleep? I can remember my first encounter with Mary Oliver, the Pulitzer Prize winning poet, on the shelf at the Winston-Salem Borders or Barnes and Noble, wherever it was that my classmate Cedric worked. I was browsing around and came across the title “Why I Wake Early.” Intrigued, I peeked inside.

Why I Wake Early

Hello, sun in my face.

Hello, you who made the morning

and spread it over the fields

and into the faces of the tulips

and the nodding morning glories,

and into the windows of, even, the

miserable and the crotchety –

 

best preacher that ever was,

dear star, that just happens

to be where you are in the universe

to keep us from ever-darkness,

to ease us with warm touching,

to hold us in the great hands of light –

good morning, good morning, good morning.

 

Watch, now, how I start the day

in happiness, in kindness.

 

~ Mary Oliver ~

 

(Why I Wake Early, 2004)

At the time, I considered the poem far-fetched and “naturey” – I mean, does this lady really believe herself? Some inkling urged me to buy it anyway. It could have been the Pulitzer Prize award on the cover. Like it could become useful even if it wasn’t immediately so. As time progresses, I recognize more and more the power of waking early. Each day, new opportunities. Each day, the witness grows in power. In passion. In love. It may have taken almost a decade, but now I thrive on the energy of morning. Thank you, sunrise. Thank you, today.

Try it, you’ll like it: Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages. I usually start mine with “Good morning, good morning, good morning, thank you.” Julia starts hers with “Good Morning, I’m tired.” There are no rules. Write 3 pages. In the morning. A vacuum cleaner for the mind. A release. An focus establisher for the day. Open your brain to your thoughts. A solid tool.

Would you like help getting out of bed? Develop Pavlovian response to alarm through rehearsal.