Monday, January 30, 2006

Bloody Good

Well, the audition for that horror film on Saturday, Dead Stop, went great. First of all, I got parking right in front of the building which boded well for the audition to come as I have the worst parking karma, then I sat in the waiting room for just a few minutes before they called me in, I then traded some light banter with the director of the film, John Lohmann, and the casting director for a minute or so before launching into three minutes of "Oh god, don't kill me!!!" "Somebody help me!" "Call 911!!" and the like while running around the stage in hysterics before being mock-stabbed and slumping into a heap on the floor (the part's kind of fun as it's the "Drew Barrymore" role -- the initial murder in the first 5 or so minutes of the movie, that sets the tone for all the murders to follow. Except, like, without the blonde wig and boobs). After ending the scene I got a "Great read," from the director and I exited. Short and sweet.

I felt good about the audition, the only hitch being that I'd be playing an 18-19 year old, which is stretching it, even with my Okinawan DNA. If I don't book this part though, hopefully they'll keep me in mind when their next movie comes along.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Audición, Audition

Had a commercial audition yesterday (my first audition this year, I think) for Microsoft. Went very well, but it was one of those auditions where I really didn't look like any of the other actors in the waiting room, which could either work for me if they want to go "another way" or kill my chances on the spot. Also, I was the only one with longish hair and the only one who didn't look straight-up Latino, which the role calls for. Thought I hit all the beats well though and was pretty happy with my performance as I left the office. Callbacks were tbd so I'll probably find out next week if I got one or not.

Other good news is that I have an audition for a horror film this weekend -- the director of the film sat in on my acting class last Tuesday, looking for actors. It seems he liked the scene John and I did cause I got the word that we'll be bypassing first calls and going directly to callbacks. Sweet. All auditions should come this easily. I heard another four actors from the acting studio also got auditions, but I don't know specifically which ones. Not really something that's easy to ask tactfully. I haven't read the script yet but how killer would it be to act in a horror movie with a bunch of friends!? Answer: Super Killer.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Underwhelmed

I saw Underworld Evolution over the weekend with some friends at the Cineramadome in Hollywood. I thought the first Underworld was ok, nothing to get excited about, but there were some good action sequences, Kate Beckinsale looked hot in black leather and it had a decent style to it. The story was kind of lame - sort of a star-crossed lovers tale set in a world of vampires and werewolves at war that took itself a bit too seriously. It's been a while since I've seen it but I remember questioning why the tale was even set within the werewolf/vampire mythology when it adhered to none of the tenets: getting changed into a vampire or werewolf wasn't so much as a curse as a blessing was the biggest error, I felt. Plus, there was no daylight in the first one, no sexual metaphors, no interest in delving into anything beyond, "wouldn't it be cool to have vampires and werewolves kill each other with guns a la The Matrix?" Yeah, the vampires have guns which fire bullets filled with silver nitrate and the werewolves (they call them lycans, here) fire bullets filled with UV light. Sure.

Evolution takes place right after the events of the first movie, and it packs more action, more creatures, and an almost naked Kate Beckinsale. This, however, doesn't add up to a better movie, just a louder, more confusing one that teases you. Having a good memory of the previous Underworld can only help, since characters and events from it are continually mentioned, although the filmmakers do their best to throw as many flashbacks in as possible, just in case you hadn't seen it or need a refresher, but in the end, it doesn't really matter. Wondering where the silver nitrate bullets are from the first movie (I guess they forgot them, but they sure would've been handy what with all those lycans running around), or why Selene is carrying around a corpse (why, so it can come back to life at an opportune moment!), or why Scott Speedman must be shirtless at all times (uh... you got me.), is futile. Just sit back in the theater and enjoy vampires and werewolves beating the hell out of each other if you're so inclined. Or just wait for the release of the dvd.

If the first Underworld was a love letter to (ripoff of?) The Matrix, then I must mention that Evolution seems to be an (unintentional?) homage to the Terminator movies -- there's that blue light cast over everything, there's the poking-people-in-the-shoulder-with-sharp-appendages-then-twisting gag, there's the oh-my-god-we-almost-died-let's-have-sex-and-create-mankind's-savior schtick, and there's the Sarah Conner-esque voice over at the end. Methinks someone involved must have a hard on for Cameron.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Working Actor (in practice)

Congrats to my roommate, Michael Cornacchia, who has started off 2006 with a bang -- he's booked commercials for Aleve and Sprint, voice overs for the upcoming videogames Driver : Parallel Lines and Resevoir Dogs, and just found out he'll be the voice of Bouncing Boy on the Warner Bros.' Superboy cartoon all within the past month.

Awesome.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

'Shopping

On an invitation from classmate and friend Tim Trobec, last night I went to a casting director workshop run by Steve Nave, in the NoHo Arts District of the Valley. I'm glad I went. I've been loving the Talent To Go workshops I've been doing recently but this was a nice change of pace as there was a new crowd of actors to work with and we did cold reads as opposed to prepared scenes. Tim and John Keating were there, both of whom had great scenes, so it wasn't an altogether unfamiliar experience.

Kari Kurto, the head associate at Dava Waite Casting, was the featured guest, and she came prepared with a lot of tips for us actors to get into casting offices and a bunch of great scenes from Yes Dear, My Name is Earl and an unaired pilot, all of which were/are cast out of Dava Waite. Kari gave insightful notes and direction for all the scenes and actually provided great reads herself, getting lots of laughs for a number of parts. She was very down to earth, approachable and really seemed interested in finding new talent.

My scene was from the unaired pilot and it went great. My scene partner wasn't so happy with it, but I thought we got some good laughs from material that wasn't quite as solid as some of the stuff from the Earl scripts, but I think that worked in our favor. I definitely think she'll hang onto my headshot and if something comes up that's right for me, hopefully she'll bring me in, and that's a big part of why I do these things. This workshop with Steve Nave was done on kind of a whim but I think I'll continue with them as they're a good complement to Talent to Go.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Is This Dee End?

Well, yesterday in acting class, Dee let us know that the class might be cancelled in June or July. She's been taping a show for NBC called "Sons and Daughters" for the past few months and should it be picked up, well, she's just not going to have time to teach. I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this announcement. I love the class not only for the lessons I've learned and the chance to get on stage and act in front of an audience each week, but for the people I've met and the friends I've made, which I suppose won't change once the class is over, as long as we feel like making the effort. Also, there's been a change in mood this year, a sort of near tangible restlessness that makes the possibility of closure feel right somehow. I'll definitely miss the class if it does end though, don't get me wrong. The blend of acting and spirituality, passion and insight Dee brings each week makes it a unique experience I'm sure I won't find with any other teachers. But maybe it's just time for something new.

On a side note, a bunch of us went to Timmy's, as always, after class and due to our loud, raunchy and sometimes vulgar behavior, we had a hazing of sorts of the new student in class, Jamie (she's at the bottom left of the picture). So, welcome to the class Jamie. And, sorry.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Golden Globes Musings

During what I watched of the Golden Globes last night, I realized there are a bunch of movies I need to see before the Oscars get here. Capote, Transamerica and Hustle & Flow are at the top of the list but I'll see Walk the Line and Crash too, just less enthusiastically. Do I really need to see North Country or Memoirs of a Geisha? Paradise Now sounds really interesting and I'm dying to see Grizzly Man, too. I think most of the rest of the potential nominees for the Academy Awards I've seen.

I was glad to see Steve Carrell win for The Office last night at the Globes - it can't touch the BBC version but this season has been very funny nonetheless. The Christmas show with the video iPod gift exchange had me laughing out loud, as did his acceptance speech last night. All the stuff Brokeback Mountain received last night was deserved. Was kinda sad that neither Good Night and Good Luck nor Syriana received much recognition except for a couple noms. If I had more time, it looks like I should be watching Grey's Anatomy and Weeds, I don't think that will happen though since I can't even keep up with the shows I actually care about.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Hair Apparent

For Christmas, my sister Laura wanted me to design a business card for her hair styling business in Valencia, CA. Things were kinda busy so I bought her something instead. She requested the business card again when her birthday rolled around January 4th. Again, too busy, and I ended up buying her something. Well, just in time for my parent's anniversary this past Wednesday, I set aside some time last weekend and finished Laura's card.

She wanted the card to be larger than a normal business card, hoping people would put it somewhere it would be seen, like on a refrigerator or desk, rather than getting lost in someone's wallet, so we decided on a 2.5" x 3.5" playing card size. I was totally down with that as the larger size and dimensions are a better showcase for the artwork. She also had a sense of which colors she liked and the style she wanted, which I appropriated from greeting cards, websites and different artists she had taken notice of. I was already interested in doing a take on this retro style that's kind of popular at the moment so this project interested me from the start.

I initially sketched the woman out in pencil, scanned it, "inked" and colored it in Illustrator, then took it into Photoshop to airbrush in the eye shadow. I have a Wacom tablet, but I mostly just kept to the mouse. I had the eyes originally colored black, then a deep blue, which was cute, but when I began playing with making them the color they are now, the character took on this weird, possessed look which I really liked and also contrasted well with the color of the eye shadow, so I kept it. The stars and lettering were all from a font package called House-A-Rama from House Industries. We haven't decided on a cardstock or printer yet as there's still some tweaking to do, but it'll definitely be something glossy (and I normally don't like glossy, but it fits the style).

I'm pretty happy with how it has turned out so far.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

It's Dee-lightful

Tuesday night I had one of those, "Who am I and how did I get here?" experiences. I was back in acting class for the first time after a long hiatus due to the holidays and was up onstage with my scene partner, Michelle, in a scene where my character's anger towards his girlfriend escalates until the final moment where he kisses her violently/passionately. My teacher, Dee Wallace (you may know her from E.T., Cujo, The Howling, etc.) had us do that last part repeatedly, redirecting us each time - changing the staging, upping my "virility", throwing Michelle onto a table before the kiss and some other tweaks. We (and our lips) were up to the challenge but there were a few notes Dee had for Michelle that she wasn't quite getting. After a couple more tries Dee replaced Michelle onstage to show her exactly what she was/wasn't doing. Of course, I didn't lip-lock with Dee (my loss - Dee still has it as much as ever) but as I was up there, holding her, doing the scene with her, I couldn't help but think that when I was a kid, watching E.T. on the big screen, seeing Dee up there with Gertie, Elliot and the extraterrestrial, there is no way I could ever imagine that, cut to 20+ years later, I would be holding that lady in a passionate embrace, on the verge of leaning in to just give her a big kiss during an acting class in Toluca Lake.

Sometimes life is funny.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Over the weekend

Was hoping to chill out a bit this weekend and see some movies but that didn't happen. Instead I spent all of Saturday working on freelance stuff and putting together a 2005 retrospective DVD for family and friends with images gathered from my digital camera. Didn't finish either project but did manage to squeeze in some quality time with World of Warcraft (woo-hoo! just hit level 21!) and Animal Crossing : WW. On Sunday I had dinner with family for my sister Laura's birthday. As over the holidays, I ate too much but with my mom's Mexican Lasagna and an ice cream cake on the table, that was a given.

I woke up today with what felt like the beginings of a cold, the symptoms of which have continued throughout the day – sniffling, sore throat, stuffy head. I was just sick like, a month ago though, so what gives? Crap.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Saw Munich and Rumor Has It

Munich was great. It's been discussed ad nauseam, but it's true: Spielberg doesn't wimp out at the end by overexplaining or sugarcoating (Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, Amistad, Minority Report, A.I.), instead leaving us all in the theater to make up our own minds about what we just saw. Not everyone liked that aspect, however. I'm sure many if not most in the audience would have wanted everything tied up in a neat bow and to leave on a feel-good high. I heard one man saying crabbily to his wife, "What was the point of that!?" The acting was top-notch, especially Eric Bana, whose character's transformation is amazing to watch as he loses his soul bit-by-bit. Inspiring as an actor. Definitely my favorite "serious" Spielberg film since Empire of the Sun. He probably won't pull off the box office/awards feat of 1993's Jurassic Park/Schindler's List, but I thought 2005's War of the Worlds/Munich were better movies, and who even has such amazing years like that anyway?

Rumor Has It was okay. Kevin Costner was really good in a subdued, casual performance and Jennifer Aniston was fine. Mark Ruffalo didn't have much to do and came off annoying, though. Neat premise for the story but a rental, maybe.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Got Rabies?

I found this little gem spray painted on the sidewalk outside my apartment building yesterday morning (click picture to enlarge). Now, I like the occasional display of urban art as much as anyone, but I don't even get this; it just seems lame. If anyone can explain the humor or social commentary I'm not getting, please do so. Could it be a new awareness campaign by the CDC? Is rabies that out of control? A drunk dog catcher with concerns about disease who wandered down from Sunset Blvd. after a bender? I'm open to any and all theories.

Whoever did it even left the spray can by his (or her) work. Fool. I think the police picked it up as evidence before I took this picture.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Bloody Dull

Over the New Year's break, I was able to (finally) finish the penultimate book in the Harry Potter series : Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling. That it took me six or so months to read this book speaks to how I feel about it, seeing as how it took only a few days to read each of the first five when they were released. Now, I'm a big Potter fan - of the books and the movies - so to say that I found this book dull was quite hard for me. But, yeah, I found it dull. Dull, dull, dull.

There's really not that much plot to speak of in Prince, no Sorcerer's Stone to find, no Goblet of Fire to win, just Harry kind of ambling through his sixth year at Hogwarts while figuring out what Draco Malfoy and Snape are up to (although, incomprehensibly, no one believes him), who the Half-Blood Prince is (the revelation is more silly than clever), dealing with increasing hormone levels in himself and his friends, and meeting with the good wizard Dumbledore in order to reveal the dark wizard Voldemort's past. This last bit is the most compelling part of the book since we get to see (albeit fleetingly) he-who-must-not-be-named's life as a child and student at Hogwart's, but even this isn't as interesting as it should be and comes off as rather mundane.

I think the most frustrating aspect of the book is that Harry hasn't seemed to have progressed much in the ways of magic since the series began. I mean, seriously, why is Harry so weak? He only knows a handful of spells, which would be fine if he were in his first or second year, but he's in his sixth year. We should at least see glimpses of a capable magician if not a downright powerful sorcerer by now. When Dumbledore gives him an important task, or asks Harry to accompany him on a dangerous mission, I couldn't help but think, "Why?" Harry is so inept at even the simplest tasks and schoolwork I don't understand why he is so trusted and held in such high regard by Dumbledore. When Rowling writes about Harry's parents and how amazing they were with potions and spells at his age, it makes Harry look all the more incompetent. He also doesn't seem very smart. I mean, c'mon, why would he trust using a cryptic book of dark spells he finds when he already went through the events in The Chamber of Secrets? I can only hope he gets some skills by Book 7 (I can see him now, all bad-ass in black, a la Luke's first appearance in Return of the Jedi. "You will bring Hermione and the House Elf to me.") or he's going to get a serious trouncing by Voldemort.

I've been pretty harsh on this book, but it's not to say that I'm not excited for the next one. The Half-Blood Prince just felt like more of a lead-up to Book 7 rather than a compelling novel in its own right, although where Ms. Rowling ends this book bodes well for a big, all-out battle between the forces of good and evil in the next. Yeah, it was a bit sappy, and I had images of Peter Parker and Mary Jane at the end of Spiderman swimming in my head, but I liked how it looked as if Harry might finally grow a pair. I just hope J.K. brings back some of the cleverness and sense of adventure from the first five books and leaves out a lot of the glumness found in this one.

Hmm, I'm betting that Harry himself is the final Horcrux and he's going to have to destroy himself to kill Voldemort. Just a guess.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy 2K6!

Just a quick post to wish everyone a Happy New Year. I celebrated mine at my parent's house with a whole crapload of teriyaki skewers, Guitar Hero, pasta, prime rib, chicken, karaoke, pecan pie, poker and vodka. Hope your celebration was just as warm and fuzzy as mine. Man, sometimes I feel so lucky to have such great family and friends.

Have a peaceful, prosperous and successful 2006 everybody!!!