Jul 30, 2013

Rusted Gold

So the thing is,things are sort of great.  In a way that makes for both the best and worst stories.  Especially when your right in the middle of things you cant't predict.  Who wants to read the middle.  And when things are going good who wants to read that shit.  No. We want blood and guts.  And in reality there is plenty of that. But sometimes these good things.

Lets get to the interesting stuff, right?  Like when I was almost naked for a part. But since I'm a dick lets skip it, I'm gonna make you wait it out some(or scroll, but that' just so much harder).


I just finished all the pages of the graphic novel I've been working on for a few years(off and on).  It has a publisher so its scheduled for sometimes in 2014.  I still have to do edits on those two hundred pages so the buffer time is needed anyway.  I finished a story for a secret anthology for a famous comic writer.  And it's a Thought Balloon Man story(its autobiographical) about inspiration, passion, and creativity, almost losing it, and finding it(if you've read this blog for a long while this is obvious).

My science fiction comic finally has the foremost place in my schedule.  But I've never had more fun drawing a comic(although certain parts of Thought Balloon Man past stories were close).  My characters, my weird science fiction and futurist ideas.  My very specific way of telling a story.  All my stupid theories on how to tell the most kickass science fiction/futurist comic/story.  My theory about never running out of ideas and always having something awesome around the corner.  My epic.  

I love my characters, I feel bad for what I have to do to them.  Some of them I feel bad for them the first time I draw them, knowing how they will die, and sometimes deserve otherwise.  I feel bad because they become real.  That idea I had, those words I wrote, those deeply ingrained parts of me expressed through them, when drawn, and done, finished, to be published, those ideas become a fact outside of me.  And their destiny is written already in my head.  I share their hopes because they are my hopes(the few heroes in the story at least).  I have to torture my villains to insanity to explain why they are villains and not just stock characters.  I have to conceive of every way you can destroy a person.  And in a way I start hoping for those villains, hoping they can get out of it, but knowing their destiny, and how it really turns out.  Knowing the future of fictional characters that will become real in the minds of others.  Didn't occur to me until I had to kill of a few characters in a few pages in gruesome merciless action, and even though they are random villains, I tried to give them something a little extra. Maybe a personality, or way of being that gives them a reason to exist.  Even small gestures.  And I know in a few pages they will be dead.  And I felt bad.  Like I killed off a cool actor in a movie who only plays a bit part.  

But the destiny of their story demands sacrifice.  Action and consequence.  Victories and defeats.  Victory in defeat.  Defeat in victory. Those are four different ways to go(and that's just more traditional storytelling).  But I know what happens to them and it is worth it.  It is the story.  And I'm. It one to keep things safe, simple, or predictable in any way.  

I've decided to gear my storytelling in general(and especially in my comics) to be about fascinating people who have the potential to change the world.  I decided I'm not interested in anything less.  Both in life, and even more in my fiction.  I want to read about the great, or at least those who aspire to be.  I want to see the great failures and the great successes.  Tesla is a perfect example.  A tragic scientist, but perhaps one of the most brilliant people in the world.  Why don't we have more fiction or non fiction about those people. At some point showing the directionless Everyman has become the majority of most stories.  I don't care about that anymore.  I want the people who really tried.  So I spent time building my characters as pivots, as in they may or may not change the world, but the story should be interesting seeing them try(and very possibly fail).  Real characters with actual directions.  I'm not going to beg anyone to like my characters.  I'm going to make them.  


I've been going to acting school which is a sort of complicated thing to explain.  It's the most fun school ever, its frustrating, and it's been life changing.  I've made a bunch of friends and learned a lot about not only acting but storytelling.  I'm sort of thinking a large part of it was because I went to this specific school. I really wanted to learn to be a professional and be as natural and real as possible.  And at first the whole Meisner method seemed crazy but as it built I was able to do things easily that were near impossible before.  It's become infinitely easier to open up my emotional reserves(a deep, deep well of them) and act hard circumstances.  It is the kind of school where I could see an actual progression in my skills and my classmates.

And with my classmates its been a sort of summer camp. That's the only thing I can compare it to.  Not college at all.  Something like a job in seriousness, but summer camp in fun.  And we've all become really close friends.

Probably the wierdest thing was how much in common I have with the people I've met.  At least half of us have some fucked up back story.  The other half are models.  But the weird thing is I haven't met one actor that's been an asshole(at school at least).  And my eccentricity(code for not broke but weird) has strangely matched every actor I've met on some level(although the majority of them are almost half my age, its made no difference).  If anything most people think I'm in my twenties.  I can't even play my own age, people insist I play 25-33(or at least assume it).  In a sense its like I went back in time when all my friends are way younger going through the craziest time in their lives, and my old ass is doing the same right alongside them.

I've met people here with all the potential in the world.  More than anybody I ever met.  And it's daunting.  But that's a weird thing about me.  I guess the first class I saw that people were gorgeous and I was me.  Sure I could look better and worked on it a little and hopefully do, but I've met people at my school who are the next most famous people in the world and I am not capable of that bone structure. But maybe I'm capable of something else. 

I could have said after that first class, wow, give up, how the hell can you ever be noticed in a room of the best looking people you have ever met?  How can anything in me be noticeable enough for someone to remember me? But I'm not exactly a shrinking violet over here, and people seem to actually care about personality here(not that mine is golden, but they care, they didn't at all ever in my past) and its gotten me farther than most anything else.

Yeah this conversations gonna get a little ego driven.  Sorry, but we're talking about my life and right now that's my carreer and right now that is acting and drawing the hell out of shit and somehow selling that to thousands of people.  Millions if you're lucky.

A cool thing about acting school that I think we all take for granted is how emotionally we all get to know each other.  We cry, we pretend to fall in love, we hate each other. And after a while you've just seen that person naked.  Mainly emotionally, but there is a lot of taking off of clothes to.  I've seen things you people wouldn't believe(to quote Bladerunner, my favorite).  I've met girls who were my drawings that I had never seen in real life.  I met girls who were famous and the prettiest I have ever seen in my life, and they were cool, and normal, or my normal.  Intimidation starts to appear stupid.  Because your friends are your friends despite how incredibly talented they are.  And my fire has made me best friends with the most driven people.  It's like a race for me.  Not for who succeeds first, but for how we all can succeed and support each other.

Almost all my friends are auditioning all the time.  Some even leave for months to film.  I read scripts with friends for famous tv shows and future big movies.  I think I've even read for very famous people, that my friend was auditioning against.  There is an electricity.  And it brings out that fire in me.  The intensity.  My female friend said I was very charismatic.  I took the compliment, looked around and said with disgust, "to men maybe."  But then smiled and said something like, "that's sort of the opposite of what I'm looking for." And evidence is thankfully mounting that maybe it is changing.  I get texts from women who would be my celebrity crushes in the near future(because lots of them already have fame in ways I try to be ignorant of, otherwise I'd be intimidated) where they just want to help me out and hang out.  Sure, those are just friends, and now some of my closest friends, and I don't think more of it, but its encouraging to know that women really understand me in that deep way I didn't feel before and care about me for the things I care about(art, the way I live, fun).

Filming Stuff

My whole life I tried to learn as many skills as possible to be the best director/comic book artist I can be.  So writing acting and editing were essential.  And since I do things in my own specific way both in life and in art and since those things are intrinsically intertwined I have to be "on".  In every way. This isn't something told to me, this is trying to hedge my bets.  I'm available for a lot of stuff because I know a lot of stuff and that in turn introduces me to very many creative types(actors, directors, writers, producers, artists, casting directors, comedians, assistant directors, cinematographers, money people, singers, dancers, stage actors, conceptual artists, etc.).  Presenting me with more avenues for employment, helping out very talented people, and possibly setting me up in the future to direct.  

I don't mention writing and acting because I am currently doing that.  I volunteered for as much stuff with people I trusted as possible.  At first to get footage for my reel, since I look nothing like my old reel.  But to get into one group I wrote a script for their short.  I had some ridiculously short time span to do it in, I never met any of the actors and I had a random story to go with.  I just sat down and let it flow wherever the characters took me, based on head shots and loose associations.  I ended up writing a heist story with a female crime family.  I went to the meeting and they did a table reading, which went extremely well.  They laughed really hard at the parts I only hoped were funny and they all seemed to love their short parts.  I wrote it from the viewpoint of what I thought those actors I never met might enjoy playing and it payed off.  They filmed it, I was script supervisor, watched the filming, even added a line to fix a continuity problem.  I became friends with all those actors and the crew.

I then did some scenes for my reel and met a bunch more actors and writers.  For that I got to spend all day in a 30 plus set studio. Sitting in prisons, hospitals, every form of bedroom, office, even court house with court rooms and gigantic lobbies.  And people were wearing post apocalyptic clothes and hot assasin outfits.  And I get to hang out with everbody and rehearse and waste time and talk about life and draw.  It's kind of fun.

I read a short story type version of what my screenplay would be as a pitch the other night and it went over well.  I had to read the whole thing myself and it was a neurotic story about details and obsessive compulsiveness.  And in my pitches and sometimes in my scripts I write humorous stuff that is just there to explain stuff, but not to be said.  It's just me playing with the telling I guess.  But reading that was fun.  And that was my intro to a bunch of other actors and directors and writers that night.

Balls Out

From that first script I got a part in a short/web series thanks to one of those actors.  I must have said something flirty because she gave me the part of a former gigolo with only a towel for wardrobe.  I'm still a little thick but I did do a thousand sits ups on one day so I could at least get some shadows in my abs(so ridiculous to admit, but what the fuck would you do).  I saw shadows when we did film so I hope I don't look completely shitty, but who knows.  Anyway, I flirted with the writer mercilessly(at least for me, and I can be shy, oh and hi, out there, I loved every second of it, you were always an upstanding woman, and you had to hear all my pervy ideas to make things dirtier, so I commend thee for the tolerance).  So she wrote a part where I take off my towel.  

Of course my crotch would be pixelated(I hope).  I was instructed to buy pink underwear.  Now, I'm not an expert in pink underwear markets, so I didn't exactly know where to go(although maybe I should, I do live a hairs breath away from West Hollywood after all).  I went to a popular store for trashier clothing, spotted my target and of course a girl was trying to change into stuff, which made the whole awkward situation elevate to new levels as I tried to avoid looking while making a beeline to my embarrassing underwear which she kept blocking.  It only spotlighted me grabbing the underwear more, and of course it gets stuck on the hook, after some pulling it drops a second pair, so apparently I'm a fiend for pink underwear.  I out back the extra, go to the counter, am still embarrassed until the manager comes over.  You see all embarrassment passes when the manager is wearing a see through shirt with no bra.  I felt better, didn't want to leave, but left anyway, considering purchasing stuff in the future.

I got to set and while they were setting up they asked about the pink underwear, I showed them it had white bands.  Even though it is pixelated those would probably be seen.  And I knew that so it was only sort of a surprise when they offered a more pantyhose type underwear. Women's underwear. Women's thing underwear.  I laughed, totally thought back to every female actor horror story that goes exactly like this, and how I'm the only person at all undressed in this, and thought, fuck it, why not go full male stripper.  

So I went to the bathroom of the bar we were filming in.  I tried on the thong.  The trying up my but didn't seem to bother me too much.  But my balls barely fit the cradle.  This was not built for balls at all.  And vulvas don't need a lot of space(hopefully).  I tried to wind the pipe down and tuck those nuts into the panty hose like sack.  Too much movement and you'd definitely see sideball.  I thought of the crew.  What, five, six people.  I thought of the staff, one or two, watching for insurance reasons.  I thought of the random other people on set, helping out, some old and some teenagers(teenage girls giggling being a special hell).  I thought of all the actors, some I never worked with, and all of them I never acted with.  I thought of the attractive women there who would have to see the Prestige and all the wonder he has to bestow upon the fairer sex.  And how embarrassing it is all suposed to be.  And I thought, fuck it, I'm an actor.  If this shit is enough to turn me off then I shouldn't be.  Because this is fun.  So I wore it.

I will say my first lines in those scenes I was nervous, and at least by my perception went a tad fast(your perception of your performance during the performance makes for an awful gauge of how good you actually were).  But at the part where I finish and kind of show it all off I really went for it, and we all broke down laughing when the director said cut.  And it's funny, that ending part when I went for it all my self consciousness was gone.  It was like a physical fuck you(not to my fellow actors, but to everything).  At the end of a day like that you truly stop giving a shit about what people think.  


I have to say there are way more stories and details I have to leave out.  Sometimes, because I signed non disclosure agreements that tell me I can't talk about them(for example other people's stories, or locations we film at).  Also because so many things are temporary, yet lead to even better possibilities.  And lots of these people will be successful, so its hard to mention what happens or who people are.  I can say Tom Cruise gave the graduation speech at my school(and no my school has no affiliation with any religion or anything like that, its just a very well respected school).  But I only say that because that's such an extreme(and sadly I didn't go, but my friends did, we all graduate next year).  Most things like actors I meet or how I meet them or people I know are the next big ones are just too private.  And since I get to meet more through them it becomes a sort of private network of people who just appreciate each others work and the work in general.  So being sucky isn't an option.  I'm fortunate to have that second chance to do these things and meet these people and have this growing life doing what I love.

Cry Me A River

Once I acted and made a girl cry. That was the best.  I was super into her, never talked to her, and saw her before the performance and thought, holy crap, if only I could get the attention of a girl like that.  I did this thing and it sort of reminded me of the death bed scene in Magnolia.  Plus it was the first time I really cried in front of an audience.  It was super intense.   And afterwards that one girl was crying and I was so infatuated, because even though its not a connection in one sense its a whole other kind in another sense.  And then more girls showed up.  I swear for two weeks I was just kicking ass thanks to that(and I've also sucked and been good again, its an up and down sort of thing).  That just felt like a high point to me personally.  I'm pretty shy so that's the end of that story.  But I noticed some girls, the girls I really feel that fire with or at least that matching intensity with, I really stop being shy with.  So I guess I got to me more of those.  But I am.  So no complaints.

My Blue Sky

I'm sort of getting everything I wanted, but I'm old and in a sense the reward is sweeter, but that bitter taste is still there.  And I am looking for that last bit of sweetness to erase that aftertaste.  I always wanted to go here with someone I love and share these things, but too bad, that didn't happen, and maybe its best I'm single here(it sure as hell doesn't suck, hoo boy).  In a way I like building who I am and growing with everyone else.  Because I am not what I can become.  But I'm getting there and I get to spend my time with people who have that drive I look for.  So there you go, a truly happy post, you fuckin happy now?


P.S.: I forgot to tell about the time I did master class and got to play the underground comic writer Harvey Pekar in a scene from American Splendor for school. 

P.P.S.: I put in some pictures of the boys, Oliver and Monkey because they are the cutest and love me more than anything.  Also, Daredevil, some Thought Balloon Man pages and preliminary art, wet acrylic ink drip paintings, the Bloody Nine, and some preliminary test art for a samurai story for a friend.

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