Monday, February 27, 2006

CALLBACK - Malcolm in the Middle

A few hours before shooting "Captured" last Friday, I had a callback for Malcolm in the Middle at CBS Radford in the Valley. It was a really cool experience. Just walking around the CBS lot was awesome enough, but being around all that elevated energy within the Malcolm in the Middle offices blew my mind. I want to be working as an actor within an environment like that soon. Sally Stiner, the casting director, was supercool, letting me know she had seen my audition on tape the night before. She then brought me in to meet with the producers. My first read went well, and after getting some feedback from one of the producers, my second one was great. I had literally just gotten the sides five minutes before going in, as the ones that had been sent to me earlier were already outdated. It really pays to check that you have current sides when you arrive at a casting office, don'tchaknow.

Well, I probably would've heard by now had I gotten the part, but meeting with Sally and the producers was awesome. Hopefully, they'll keep me in mind when another part comes along that I'm right for. And hopefully again, my agents will be pleased that I got a callback and they'll send me out on more stuff.

SHOOT - Captured

I shot "Captured" - a student film by Leigh Gaston (pictured at left), a student at Loyola Marymount University - this past Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It's a short film about an emotionally damaged photographer, Charlotte, played by the lovely Sabrina Bolin, and her encounters with a musician, Jack (me) who just may be the one to heal her, if only she'd let down her barriers. Healing may not be exactly what he has in mind, however.

It was a fun shoot, with a relaxed set and an efficient crew, keeping us mostly on schedule except for Friday, when we didn't wrap until after 4 in the morning. I don't think Sabrina or I actually ever recovered from that night, as we got kind of loopy between setups and takes, cracking each other up with lame jokes, silly insights and random musings all of Saturday and Sunday. Actually, no - thinking back now, we were pretty silly on Friday, too. Anyway, she was awesome to work with and hopefully we'll work together again. Oh, and boy, can she put away the salad. I witnessed her ingesting at least five plates our first day of shooting. Of course, she fasted the next day, but it was fascinating to watch.

I think the end product will be pretty cool, and a good showcase for the talents of all involved. Although it was a lot of work and I'm extremely exhausted today (should've taken the day off to recover) I had a lot of fun and met a lot of great people, and I should have some more material for my reel, which was the original intention for doing this project.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

AUDITION - Malcolm in the Middle

Gwenn, my awesome theatrical agent, just called to let me know she got me an audition for Malcolm in the Middle later today. Yeah, I didn't know that show was still on either. Still, the show was great in its first two seasons but I haven't really kept track of it since. Anyway, this means I'll have to leave work early, and I'm seriously glad to get out of here today as we had an Employee Meeting this morning that was fairly depressing. Watching ever-older and ever-plumper co-workers get called to the front of the Lunch Room to claim their 10-year company wall clock or 15-year world globe was something akin to the short story "The Lottery" or, more recently, the movie "The Island." Not cool. I'm less than a couple years away from getting my 5-year Company Pen-with-clock-built-in or other disposable trinket of appreciation and my blood runs cold just thinking about it. I think I'll jump off the "Y" of the HOLLYWOOD sign if I'm still here to pick up that globe.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Three-Hun-dred-Six-ty-Five-De-grees

I'm not sure why I forgot to mention this last week, possibly due to some sort of post-traumatic stress disorder, but my roommate Michael almost burned our apartment building down last Monday. Seems he was using the stove to boil water for tea in a newly-gotten kettle, when a dish towel placed too near the burners suddenly ignited. Luckily, I was at the kitchen table, 10 feet away, when this occurred.

I remember first noticing a strange smell, then peripherally a bright light to my right caught my attention, which turned out to be a three foot column of fire. I reacted fairly swiftly and calmly - possibly due to my regular playing out of disastrous events in my head - assessing the situation, figuring out whether to take the time to fill a pot full of water and then throw the contents on the burning towel or turn the faucet on and carefully pick up the towel by its ends and douse the flame under the running water. I chose the latter.

It was around this time that I heard Michael ask innocently from the couch in the living room, "What's that smell?" At this point it would've been fully justified for me to stride into the living room with the sopping, smoldering, lump of smelly former-towel (pictured, above left) and throw it in his face yelling, "This, BITCH!" I refrained.

With Michael spending vast stretches of time unsupervised in the apartment, and my collection of comics, videogames, movie posters, dvds and toys at risk, I'm now thinking renter's insurance would be prudent.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Panda! Go Panda!

Okay, I've been playing World of Warcraft since Thanksgiving of last year pretty much for the sole purpose of joining Panda Attack, the guild started by Scott Kurtz, creator of the funny, sometimes brilliantly so, webcomic PVP. Not sure why that came out sounding like a confession. Am I shameful of my inner nerd? My outer one? Anyway, I'm happy to say this dream was realized last week, when, after months spent leveling, questing, exploring, and socializing, I was finally invited to join the Panda Attack guild.

World of Warcraft is an
mmorpg, a genre I've avoided since its inception partly because I loathed the idea of paying a monthly fee for the privilege to pay, and partly because I knew there was the possibility of me falling into a gaming hole from which I'd never emerge. When I read Scott was forming a guild however, I just couldn't resist. For those unfamiliar with World of Warcraft, imagine an online, persistent world of Elves, Orcs, Dwarves, Minotaurs and other fantastic creatures on your PC (or Mac), many (sometimes most) of which are controlled by real, live, human players. You can gain experience points to level up your character by taking on quests or going out and killing things. Most of the time, quests are fairly mundane, involving delivering "item x" from point a to point b, but sometimes they can be pretty involving, especially if you take an interest in the history of the game's world, the scope of which is quite huge.

I was enjoying my time playing WoW, but it wasn't until Christmas Eve of last year, when I made a long and dangerous trek to the capital city of the Horde (an alliance of creatures such as Orcs, Undead and Tauren of which I am part), Orgrimmar, to complete a quest during Christmastime (or Winterveil, as it's called in WoW) to visit with Greatfather Winter (turned out to be an orc dressed in Santa robes). Well, it seems a lot of people had the same idea because there were what seemed like hundreds of human controlled characters, running about the streets of Orgrimmar, reveling and dancing, throwing snowballs at each other and kissing anyone who came near the hanging mistletoe and large Winterveil tree in the center of the city. There were so many people, in fact, the streets had become extremely crowded, and people were hanging out on/falling from rooftops everywhere. It was funny, because I hadn't really felt the "Christmas Spirit" last year until then, but seeing all the revelers made my heart grow a size or two. The event was one of my top gaming moments of all time and it had nothing to do with killing a Boss Monster or achieving a high score. Amazing.

Anyway, as you can tell, I'm loving the game, and it's worth the monthly fee of $14.99 to play, even if I only have time to play a few hours a week. Playing with the Pandas makes it even more fun, as they're a large guild and there are always a few of them around to help out on quests, and they all seem to be quite friendly. Even without the guild, however, it's fun to play alone, even to just go exploring and seeing what the world has to offer.


Oh yeah, and if you're unfamiliar with the PVP webcomic, check it out. It's a great strip that would make a great sitcom if there was any interest in watching a show about the office staff of a gaming magazine and their intern Skull, a big, blue troll.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Book 'em Danno!

I booked a part in a short film I auditioned for about a week ago. I'm playing a guy in college, a musician, who's interested in a photography major, but she doesn't feel the same way about him. Beyond that, I don't know anything. I just received the script so I'll blog more about it tomorrow. Hopefully, I'll get some good tape for my reel out of this. Woo-hoo!

Have a Happy Valentine's Day everybody!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Sweeney, the Barber-ian

Friend Fig is stage managing the East West Players production of Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in Little Tokyo at the David Henry Hwang Theatre, which runs from February 8 through March 5, 2006. I had the opportunity to see it last week, and I must say, it's a deliciously dark, fun and well-acted musical. For those who don't know the story, it takes place in Victorian London, and concerns the tragic tale of a barber, "Sweeney Todd" - out for revenge after being wrongly accused of a crime and sent to Australia for 15 years by a corrupt judge and his beadle. The story begins with the barber's return to London, only to find that his wife had taken poison after being raped by the judge, and his daughter was now the judge's ward. Wicked laughs ensue when Sweeney is befriended by a woman, Mrs. Lovett, who owns a shop that sells "The worst pies in London." Given that Sweeney needs to dispose of his victims discretely and Mrs. Lovett needs to stir business by upping the quality of the meat in her pies (and has no qualms about a little thing like murder), they make the perfect demented partners in crime.

Ronald M. Banks in the title role was perfect. Probably the best Sweeney I've seen - he was psychotic yet likeable and his deep voice was awesome whether speaking or singing. Ray A. Rochelle was well cast also, committing 100% to the twisted, perverted role of Judge Turpin. Also notable were Lito Villareal and Antoine Reynaldo Diel, who played the Beadle and Pirelli, respectively. Marilyn Tokuda is very likeable as Mrs. Lovett and gets a lot of laughs, as well. Overall, there was a lot of fine acting and singing going on, although there were a couple of performers who seemed a bit timid when singing and their voices came out somewhat soft and flat, but otherwise, I enjoyed what everyone was doing on stage. Especially Ronald and Ray.

The show moved along at a quick pace no doubt due to the professional work by Tim Dang, Director. Set was cool. Lighting was cool, done by Lighting Designer Rand Ryan. Actually, the lighting was really cool - reds, greens and purples were cast about in creepy, uneasy ways, with shadows lurking about here and there. Although blanketing the stage in red whenever a murder took place seemed a little heavy handed and typical, it was no doubt effective. And of course, the music by Stephen Sondheim is wonderfully sick, funny and filled with lots of clever word play. All this together makes another EWP production that you shouldn't miss. I'd love to get in with this theater company as all their shows are quality. Just another thing to add to the list. Anyway, go see it - tickets are available online
here.

Lisa Hayes (sans Minmei and Rick)

I went and saw a friend, Lisa Hayes, play Genghis Cohen in Hollywood Wednesday night (02/10/06). It had been a while since I'd seen her last - we used to work together at the office I'm still stuck at, but she left California to pursue her musical dreams in Austin, TX a couple years ago. She was back this week, however, visiting L.A. for a screening of the feature length documentary, Cowboy Del Amor, in which her song "Love" is featured.

The songs she played on Wednesday night were stripped down - just Lisa on guitar, her voice, and her friend, the amazing Michael Thompson on accordion filling the space - so it was much different than the the tracks on her CD, Sweet Forgiveness, which I'm used to listening to. I supposed it's due to all the touring and playing she's been doing in Texas, but her voice has even more depth and texture than it used to, and it sounded simply beautiful and aching in the small space at Genghis. "Like honey," is how my friend Rebekah put it. True dat.

Highlights of her set included "Are You Still Mine?" (love this song), "Where Angels Fear to Go" (really love this song) and some original "hillbilly music" she launched into for her final song, the name of which eludes me, but it was fast and fun, and something of hers that I'd never heard before and I can't wait for her to record it so I can have it on my iPod.

Get her CD at cdbaby.com.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I AM JeffSchuetze

About a year ago I was thinking about registering JeffSchuetze.com but was holding off, waiting for one of those $1.99/year deals to roll around figuring, who would want to register JeffSchuetze.com except for me? I had done a couple checks to make sure the site name was available, and after about a week or two, the deal came up, I went to GoDaddy.com to register the name, and lo and behold, someone had already registered it, the day before! Totally pissed and kicking myself, I had to settle for JeffSchuetze.net, not willing to whois the owner, and bid on my own name. I just found that completely wrong.

So, cut to yesterday, and on a whim I decided to check to see if JeffSchuetze.com had become available. I had purposefully chosen not to do any searches on the name for the past year, fearing that somehow, somewhere, someone was seeing what searches were being done for domain names, then buying the names before they were taken. I've heard of it happening too many times to friends for it to be a coincidence. Anyway, yes, JeffSchuetze.com was available so I bought it immediately (woo-hoo!). Nothing on there yet, but eventually.

So if you're thinking about registering a name and it's available : buy it immediately. Don't pull a me.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

MediocreBowl, SuperParty

My brother-in-law Mike (pictured to the left of me) has an annual Super Bowl party where he has two rooms of TVs with the game on, a bunch of minigames like nerf hoops and blackjack that take place before, during halftime, and after the Bowl, a football pool, a ton of food prepared by my sister Laura, and of course, booze, all designed to make this a fun event for the crowd of family and friends who come every year. This year was especially cool as I won first place in the QB Pass tournament for a little money (er... fake, monopoly-like money. don't wanna break the law or anything) to offset the cost of all the events and pools I entered.

I didn't watch much of the game, pretty much losing interest at the beginning of the first quarter. I was, however, interested in the commercials, as Michael had one for Aleve with Leonard Nimoy (sorry, somehow I missed it Mike), my friend Ryan Bollman appeared in one for GoDaddy.com and my acting teacher Dee had ABC promos running for her upcoming, "unique hybrid comedy series", Sons & Daughters. Sweet.

Friends Fig and Courtney swept in during halftime and picked up 1st and 2nd place in the Blackjack tournament respectively, and Fig took the "1st and 10 Questions Pool" answering 9 out of the 10 questions correctly for $172.40 (of um, fake money, of course), so they totally made out with over $200 collectively. After the game and festivities the three of us went and saw Memoirs of a Geisha which was better than I was expecting. Unfortunately, before the movie we went and got some coffee at Kelly's. My tall, mocha-whatever was supposed to be decaf, and maybe it was, but there was still enough caffeine in there to keep me awake until 4:30 in the morning. Looks like I'll be enjoying another week as part of the living dead.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Dazed and Confused

I've been a zombie all week. Stumbling around, not remembering things, mumbling unintelligibly, nearly falling asleep at work multiple times. Sucks. This all stems from me attending a Halo tournament in the Valley with friend Kurtis Bedford last Saturday night and not leaving until around 3:30 in the morning. Since I was amped on Doritos, donuts and alcohol, when I got home it seemed like a good idea to boot up World of Warcraft on the PC and play that until I forced myself to go to bed around 6am. Getting up a few hours later to hit Jinky's for breakfast with a friend was downright painful. I just haven't been able to catch up on any Zs since. Go figure.

Monday I stayed up late with my roommate Michael Cornacchia watching Disc 7 of the awesome Fullmetal Alchemist anime series. Although tired from the weekend, I was persuaded into it by a persistent Michael. Funny how, 15 minutes after I put the DVD in the platter, Michael passed out on the couch and I was too into the episode to turn it off by then. Tuesday I went out after acting class for drinks with the usual suspects. When I got home, slightly toasted, around 1:30 or so, Michael and his brother Christopher arrived, inebriated from a party they had been to but bearing yummy gifts from Taco Bell -- watching TiVO'd showings of My Name is Earl soon followed. The next day I went over to my parent's for dinner after working late, and then stayed later than I wanted to because my mom was running up a high score on Bejeweled 2 on my Treo and would not relinquish it. Yesterday I worked late again, after which I ran around looking for that She Wants Revenge CD which is on sale for $5.99 at Circuit City this week, but is apparently sold out everywhere in the Valley. After disappointing visits to two Circuit Citys and two Best Buys (they'll price match) I gave up, then hooked up with friends Michael and Mark at Sizzler in Hollywood for all-you-can-eat shrimp and steak. I'd forgotten how greasy that place is and our stomachs were all burning in fried-food hell when Mark suggested this new fro-yo place in West Hollywood called Pink Berry. That did the trick settling our guts with a variety of fresh fruit mixed with plain or green tea frozen yogurt. After a green tea/mango combo for me and regular/mixed berries for them it was back to the apartment for some more Fullmetal and more Cornacchia passing out after maybe an episode and a half this time. Cut to today, I'm at work, and I've just now realized I've been rambling in a semi-sleepy haze during this whole blogging session. I'll trust that it isn't too incoherent although that could be funny later. I'll stop now.