It's been a year since I moved south. And it's been good. Uncertain and stressful but good. Actually more how I imagined and less like I realistically assumed. But I have a weird way of being a realist, so there you go.
My Twenty Foot Tall Head
I was doing shorts and scenes for my reel, what I need to show casting directors when they watch a tape of me. Since I lost a lot of weight and look different I can't really use any old footage(by the way, all this pressure I am talking about is put on me by me and no one else, its just how I want to be an actor), so I needed a bunch of new stuff. I had been working with a group of actors and writers and directors who do these things. I broke in to that group as a writer(and from connecting on Facebook with a reader of this site, who made the hook up, David, thanks a bunch by the way). I stayed later after one meeting for a short, when the next meeting was starting, I just never left my seat. By default that made me one of the writers and very likely one of the actors, since everyone was busy and this was going to be for a 48 hour film festival.
When that friday came, they announced the theme of our short at 7 PM. Drama. I had spit about five or six different possibly filmable short stories(Buddy Cop comedy movie, 2 person Zombie movie, Super Villain movie with no effects, and a few more I forgot, of yeah a comedy horror about a clothes apocalypse, shit I'm going to keep remembering more) but none of them were straight drama. The director had an idea, so me and my buddy brainstormed it and she wrote it and worded it(I say all this because I just sat on a couch drinking beer and yelling out suggestions, not really writing down one word). It became a short called Synchronicity(which is fitting for a title in my body of work, which in my mind is filled with the names of future projects I keep vague about, but have a certain and specific irony to my personal life). But Thought Balloon Man is about synchronicity so it works and I wasn't even the person to name it.
With everything in place I turned out to be the lead. So the next day I woke up at 7 AM read my lines, got ready, drank five hour energy, and went to the shoot. Of course these always take about a hour and a half of set up, but you absolutely never know when they will need you so you just have to hang around and stress(or check Facebook, take pictures to post, text people between takes) . And in this case the story involves me being suicidal after putting the killer of my son in jail, so I'm not playing the most chipper lad.
I basically needed to keep myself on the edge of emotion. Like that moment before you are about to break down, right before you cry or blow up or whatever. Plus I got good at being emotionally devastated from practice in real life, so edge of emotion is like second nature to me. And I almost feel like other actors don't get vulnerable enough to cry, so I said fuck it, that's my strength, I'll do it all damned day. So I basically cried for almost ten hours.
Part of the job is impressing directors, producers, etc.. And in my mind I have the added reason to network because I am a director(I figure I'm writing complex comics and shorts already so I'm not really looking for a job with that except part time maybe). That's why I take the emotional prep and staying in character so seriously(emotionally at least, doesn't mean I can't eat a sandwich or somethingwithout sobbing). Also for the record, I am not a sobber or a whiner when I cry, in fact I barely make any noises. I just say that because crying can be lame if done wrong.
We filmed all day and it was exhausting. I always have a closing ceremony for a night I act(martini shots is what one friend got me into, it felt lke a good closing ceremony so I took it up, if there were women in my off time I would say fucking the shit out of them would be the after party, but instead it is usually a huge bong hit with two or three shots and saturday night live on my DVR alone, which in some pathetic way feels not empty, but my hands not touching woman always feel empty) after a shoot because I'm just done for the day, even when the day ends at 7 or 8. I worked with a brilliant actor who I had previously seen in things. He had some pretty genius theories on having an acting career, which is why he is successful. Me and him hit it off and I'm sure well work together again(he loved my crazy six pitches at the meeting, he said I had something loose in my brain and that it was wonderful that way). I felt that I made the impression I wanted.
After all that, they still had to edit it in order to get it into the 48 hour Film Festival. So it was a bunch of work. Luckily I didn't direct or edit so I just slept that day.
A few weeks later the festival happened at this big movie theatre in downtown Los Angeles. Sure it's a film festival where most of the audience are the participants, but its still an audience. Funny thing was I went to the wrong theatre and was almost late to get to the screening. They were showing ours first.
I walked into the theatre, heard the first sentence, my own voice, through theatre speakers. I started smiling. I turned the corner and my big ass head was filling the entire movie screen. Since I was on the side because I didn't have a chance to sit, I was shielded from everyone. I could hear them laughing at the right parts. My hands were over my mouth leaning against the side wall getting ready to wince at my acting, knowing that in this little area no one can see me writhe in pain at all my mistakes. But instead, I ended up not wincing. I was surprised that magnifying myself that big didn't make me look like complete shit. I was thankful to the camera, the camera man, the cinematographer, the director, And the editor for making me look good(if I do, I know I looked as good as they can get me).
It was just a weirdly out of body experience. After this is all done I can put that as my first official IMDB credit. Although I may be crew on some other project I helped on because I've done story boards for buddies movies and a all sorts of various stuff that may qualify in a weird way. But this was the first that I was a big part of that I didn't write or direct. And after that other people started writing for me, which in urn frees me up to write for my friends scenes and stuff.
Through a weird set of circumstances I sort of am known as a dude who writes a lot of women characters. That kind of came out of left field. And lets face it, what the hell do I know about women? Probably less than every dude I know since I can be like a hermit most of the time(you got to love emotional scars that should long be healed over, but whatever, at least they are healing). But the first thing I wrote for that group had a lot of actors and I didn't want to do boyfriend/girlfriend dynamics, since my relationships have been shit and I have zero confidence with myself romantically. Instead I focused on what it would be cool for these actors to play. And somehow I lumped the female actors into a group of bad asses, which is funny because they are meeting men who are supposed o be bad asses, but are weak comparatively. After that short, they all wanted to do a sequel, so I've been circling ideas for that.
But then at my school I also had a series of shorts plotted out for those actors, mainly the female ones because they approached me about writing something. And with that, I want to focus on determination. Not focus on traditional, stereotypical girl characters and motivations(which in most movies are just motivated around their men, and remember I don't know shit about relationships, so I don't focus on that). I watched the Bedchel Test, a test most movies fail, where female characters are usually focused only on the male lead. Plus I wanted to talk about wonderful women, not the cruel ones I've met in my life, those ones don't need a voice. Why not have female characters who can change everything themselves, where sex has nothing to do with it.
My comic has three main characters(and a truck load of supporting). One is a man suicidally bent on revenge. The other a manipulative puppet master who wants to destroy empires. And lastly, maybe most importantly, a female character who wants to save the world. For her, I think of Neil Degrasse Tyson and Steve Jobs as character inspirations. Her relationships are defined by her love of science, and how just like science, love has its highs and lows. Every great invention has been used to do horrible things. Science can be salvation but it can also be damnation. The field of physics and the millions of dollars spent on it led directly to the atom bomb. Now imagine a woman who wants to make utopia, but knows fully well that it comes at an immeasurable cost. See, I don't think that's cliche. And how that reflects in her personal life is what the story is half about. But yeah, somewhere in the future I left room for an epic romance. Just don't know how those two will get together for that. In fact I wrote that whole first volume and while there is mention and clues to her relationships and past, there is only one scene where romantic sparks fly, and that is only in a subtle way.
Not really. I realized on Labor Day that somehow along the way I stopped being awkward. For the most part at least. Still weird, just completely embraced it. I'm happy with it for the most part. Sure I need my female rocket sauce(i mean a good woman) to take me to a higher level, because right now I'm an aimless fireball. But I sort of like the road I'm on enough, really a lot, and don't want to waste it on anything but passion. It's how I view art and I made art my life, like people make things their religion. Compromise, at least artistically is not what I'm about. I want to make art, pure art, or at least as pure as I can get it from my brain to a piece of paper(or film). So without compromise, without true fear I just told myself fine, I'll die this way, as whatever the hell kind of artist I am. As long as I do it big and true. That leaves no room for indecision or backing down, and definitely no room for desperation (that kills most art). That puts me in the state of mind that I'm on a bullet train and I can't slow down if I ever want to get where I'm going, so you either need to come with or get the fuck off, because I'm going a thousand and miles an hour no matter what. Really feeling that makes it hard to be awkward anymore.
The other day I acted as a Heroin addict(an impression I got from someone I knew) and my ex boyfriend is coming to try to get back together. Had no idea an hour before I was going to have a boyfriend at all, let alone played by one of my best friends out here, and had no idea two hours before that I'd even be doing that impression at all. And the whole thing was a twisted version of something in my own life all reversed and distorted. That's the sort of artistic truth I'm looking for. However it mixes up, I like having a body of work that has some sort of poetic irony between my art and my life.
My ridiculous single hood started to seem nonsensical. Even to me. Sure I know people who are very attractive. As attractive as possible, really. But a lot of them are friends. And sometimes to be honest I want them anyway. Once I was drinking with a friend and I let my guard down and started flirting with her a little, and somehow towards the end I found out she was on a show I wanted to watch badly(I bought it the week before but didn't watch it, and I haven't bought shit in forever, so I wanted to watch it that bad not even knowing). I was even a little star struck, but that was all mixed up with being a little tipsy, having a beautiful woman in front of me, and crushing a little all at the same time. It's hard to be totally star struck when you are around them as real flesh and blood humans, and they are all fairly normal(for actors at least, its a different kind of normal).
The other day I was talking with a friend at school when another friend poked around the corner to change. So she's in a bra and underwear and I'm trying to talk sentences n'shit, but that breaks down, you know. She said, "oh, I change in front of you guys all the time", and the only reply that made sense came out of my mouth instantly, "yeah, but it never gets old." So I am visually stimulated folks.
But a few of my friends, they saw that despite all my bullshit about art and relentlessness I am just devastated about women and my past life with them. That's my shyness. My only shyness. I have zero confidence with women, in life I'm doing pretty well with my certainty, but that doesn't work here(I won't get into it this time, but 90% of everything I do has to do with certainty that I can do it, from experience, not confidence, which is an illusion, so things that rely on confidence, like me and women, that shit I suck at).
I guess in some weird stupid rebellious sense I decided if I'm so bad with women I won't even bother with them unless they are irresistible. Like if I can't have anything I will then go for the best. I guess that's anti-logic, but like I said its my train, you can either get on or be left behind. It's a good ride to a great destination. In a sense it makes me laugh at girls boyfriends, because honestly they seem pretty fucking lame to me most of the time, and I think, okay, this girl isn't ambitious enough if that's all she wants(most men just don't impress me at all).
It's a mixture of my insane lack of desperation(to a painful degree) and having a clearer path. I don't care to be set up with someone(even the gorgeous women they have out there). Technically I'm not looking at all. I mean it helps that I have a lot of eye candy around but it hurts too.
Descending The Ocular Abyss
Anyway, someone did get my full attention, finally. And before we get into this, I have to be somewhat vague about cool details(like where, or what the person looks like, because you never know who might be famous, and sometimes you do and so you can't say shit). And really I just met this person so I'm still talking to other woman and am free to do whatever the hell I want. But those others didn't have this connection with me. Sure she was in a bikini and ridiculous looking, ridiculous like two pianos crashing together(sorry for stealing that, Magnetic Fields) or fireworks in your house. Awesome basically. That oh-shit-I-only-see-that-in-movies, look, and situation(she was coming out of the pool holding a beer for gods sakes). And yeah, her eyes were hypnotic. Somehow I took my first chance to meet her and she was cool and we started just joking and talking and somewhere in there, my mouth was moving, the conversation was still happening, but whatever is in me tripped and fell right into her eyes. And whatever she had in her was pouring out through her eyes right into mine. Just a normal conversation. But shit was on now. You can't fall into me and let me fall into you like that and its just fucking over.
And then her boyfriend showed up. Or whoever she was with. But she was clearly with him. And me with my missed opportunities, I'm used to twists of the knife, this shits old hat for me. So in some deeply held moral irony I laughed at myself and said oh well let it go. Easy to tell yourself but my body and long unused parts of my brain wanted one thing now. Everything. But no, move on.
Except that didn't happen. Seriously something like magnetic attraction, not conscious at all on my part, I mean the checking out her perfection with my eyes, sure, that was deliberate and intentional. No, I'm talking about like somehow we just ended up near each other and would talk and laugh but it was like an old Thought Balloon Man comic I drew where the color would come out of our eyes and caress and entwine each other in spirals.
And really, since she was so attractive, and since I hate desperation in myself, I was wondering if any of this was real, maybe I had just blown a conversation out of proportion. We never once said anything actually flirtatious. It was so weirdly unspoken. And I swear, when her dude showed up we both, instantly and nonchalantly ignored each other(I didn't want to see that guys hands on my woman, so I just turned away and did anything else). It was hilarious. Because it was so perfectly timed and choreographed. When that happened like two times I started to suspect maybe there really was more going on.
And I don't know exactly how this happened but towards the end she actually got my number. I think part of my brain returned to its lizard origins. This didn't phase me at all, but some little voice in the back of my mind is screaming holyshitholyshitholyshit nowaynowaynoway peoplenevergetwhattheywant!!! But then sometimes they do. But we're talking still and she's cool so I guess I'll find out.
I guess I just needed to remember that. Inspiration, passion, purpose, drive. Or just lust. I don't know yet. But it's encouraging either way. That's why I'm picky about who I see. Because I don't settle. And because of girls like these, who'd come at me like that.
Okay, I need to update this site, put up a bunch of artwork, start an Etsy store to sell stuff, edit my graphic novel to be released next years, edit my Thought Balloon Man short story, finish the first issue of my science fiction/Futurist comic, write two scenes for those short I want to do for class, write that sequel for my acting group, and write a short for Brooks Laughton(my character) with the whole new status of things in my life and ideas.
Busy, but doing things I love.