Saturday, June 22, 2013

It's a Hit!

Well, looks like we did something right.

The past two performances sold out with a vengeance. Tonight we packed that sucker to full capacity and then some, seemed like. This chivalrous playwright actually gave his seat up and watched from the booth.

People linger after the show to discuss the play and shake my hand until Note kicks us out. Everybody keeps telling me how smart/mature/talented I am.

It's all pretty overwhelming stuff for a scrawny kid who always got picked last in dodgeball. (Their loss. I can dodge those suckers like a spider monkey.)

I guess the only thing I'm really trying to convey in this little post is "Wow." And "Thank you." So grateful and humbled by everybody who's come out and made this thing a success so far, and I can't wait to see the last half of the run.

Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't include a huge thank you to Michael Nankin, without whom this play never would've been the same.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Trying to get audiences to find Ryan is Lost

RYAN IS LOST!
JUNE 14/29 @ 9:50!
JUNE 21/28 @ 7:30!
THEATRE OF NOTE!
$10!



I've been screaming that mantra all over the internet for the past two months and I'm still not sure if anybody knows my play is happening. I have this chronic fear that I'm going to dump all this time and energy (not to mention money) into this work of art that I've spent three years perfecting, only to have opening night come around and be the only dude in the theater. I've been there. No fun.

I always feel like I'm just clicking my heels together and thinking happy thoughts every time I do any kind of marketing. How do I know anybody sees it? Especially in the Los Angeles corner of Facebook, where literally everyone's wall is filled with "COME SEE MY SHOW COME SEE MY SHOW PLEASE COME SEE MY SHOW."

Which, I guess, is what any kind of marketing really amounts to. But it must be working alright! We've already sold more than 1/4th of our seats for the whole run! (The theater being pretty tiny kinda helps.) 

Even with those pretty encouraging numbers though, it's easy to stare at the ceiling at night and think "WHAT HAVE I DONE." This thing's so much bigger than me now, with at least a dozen different artists pouring their skill and creativity into it. It's sink or swim now, baby. No backing out now.

So now we get to the point of the blog where you realize that me moaning about the trials and tribulations of marketing a show is, in fact, just another marketing ploy.


RYAN IS LOST!
JUNE 14/29 @ 9:50!
JUNE 21/28 @ 7:30!
THEATRE OF NOTE!
$10!
GET TICKETS HERE BEFORE THEY RUN OUT!
http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/1280
(OH GOD, I HOPE THEY RUN OUT!)



Wednesday, May 22, 2013

52 Sketches in 52 Weeks: Scary Guy


I was kind of inspired by all those Slender videos on Youtube that are big with all the horror kids. Here's the progression of events for this sketch.

SATURDAY EVENING
5:30pm  - Write sketch and print it out.
6pm - Pick up my brother from LAX. I throw a script at him as soon as he gets in the car. He's not an actor.
7pm - Arrive at Sacred Fools. We have one hour before our three hour show starts. There will be no time to shoot anything afterwards.
7:10pm - Grab Erik Engman from a nearby bar. Promise him riches and fame we don't have access to.
7:20pm - Shoot a few takes. This is only the sixth or seventh time I've looked at the script.
7:40pm - "Edit" it. Compress it.
7:50pm - Upload to Youtube.
8pm - Enjoy our show. (Neverwhere! Amazing!)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

52 Sketches in 52 Weeks: Giggle Fits


Another one that was pretty tough to memorize. Felt good to pop one out that was just Zach and I again. There's an unassuming simplicity to this sketch that I find pretty appealing, sound issues notwithstanding. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

52 Sketches in 52 Weeks: Nick's Great Idea


Ah, the straight man vs. the funny guy. The oldest double act in comedy,and explored in detail this week. Anthony Backman's deadpan is so perfect in this. Dang near steals the whole sketch despite the way I loudly carry on, not to mention Douglas Gabrielle's hilarious cameo. And look at that picture quality/editing job! We're spoiled this week, folks.

I think the closest friendships stem from people who enthusiastically participate in each other's terrible ideas. There's a bonding quality to finding yourselves neck deep in trouble from all sides. My high school pals and I used to have at least one terrible idea every day, and those friendships have lasted for years. (Though we did spend most of our teenage years horribly grounded.)

That seems to be the relationship ol' Nick and Jerry have. I was kinda surprised at how epic in scope this little three minute video wound up feeling. You get a pretty clear picture of the past, present, and future of the entire relationship. Too much fun, I tells ya.

Also: I wasn't joking about seducing Beyonce. It's gonna happen.

Friday, April 26, 2013

52 Sketches in 52 Weeks: Zach's Day Job


I'm pretty sure Zach kept Netflix in business last year all by himself. There's nothing quite like coming home to find Zach surrounded by empty beer bottles and screaming at whoever just relapsed on Intervention. He's a man who likes to hit life at 1000%, even the boring days when he's trapped in the apartment.

Which, of course, makes him perfect for this video. I just want to point out that there were a solid hundred different takes that I had to sort through to edit this bad boy, and I didn't have a script. Nor was I there while he shot most of this. I guess what I'm saying is... I'm really good at this.

We finally fit in our old college buddy Amanda Carter into the ATX madness, haha. Thanks Amanda!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Serial Killers at Sacred Fools: Mom's Dead


Five shows enter... three shows leave. So goes the creed of "Serial Killers" at Sacred Fools, in which five original short serials are performed every Saturday night. At the end of the show, the audience votes on which three they'd like to return the next week and which two they want to kill.

It's a pretty intense machine, and I was lucky enough to run for three episodes this past month with my dysfunctional family drama "Mom's Dead." I went into the process being pretty certain that we'd be a "one and done" piece. Writers of SK tend to stay on the flashier comedic side to ensure maximum votes, and my piece was about as dark as it gets, featuring a dysfunctional, selfish family who murdered its own mother. Characters screamed at each other and cried pitifully into their liquor. Even the jokes had a warped cruelty to them.



So you can imagine my surprise and delight when I got voted back not once, but twice! That first night of victory was filled with very flattering compliments, cheap drinks, and the inevitable dance party at 2am.

But then Sunday morning came and I had myself a problem. Time to write Episode Two! People the night before had been asking me what would happen next, and I'd somewhat smugly shrugged and said "I have no idea." It had been a funny joke the night before, but now I was staring at a blank Final Draft document and I still had no idea!


See, I'd had a "one and done" go up the year before in which I'd written out Episode Two ahead of time, and even had a general outline of where I wanted the story to go five or six glorious episodes down the road. So you can imagine how stupid I felt when it was viciously butchered on the first night. I decided to throw every good idea I had into the first round. Well... that worked. Now what?

The terror was invigorating though. I can't tell you how much fun it was walking up and down Vanowen street with all of Leo, Alice, John, and Arthur's problems rattling through my head. For me at least, this edge of my seat approach wound up being pretty effective. Everybody seems to have a different approach to writing these things.


But the writing phase was only part of the frenzy. I'd decided to direct as well, so it was off to the theater with me at 10 in the morning every Saturday to try to get all of my light/sound cues ready to go in thirty minutes! I built my first sound cue for this show. Because I guess I enjoy creating problems for myself, I also had to roll a giant hospital gurney to the theater for my third episode.

Then comes thirty minutes of stage time with the cast. (Pros, each and every one of them.) Then the run-through of the whole show, where you pretend like you aren't secretly sizing up the other four pieces to see if you have a shot at surviving another week. Then it's showtime, baby!



I think it's a testament to Sacred Fools's audience that something as dreary as "Mom's Dead" could flourish and develop there. It's nerve-wracking to do drama for me. You don't get laughs to let you know what parts people are enjoying. I once directed a production of Oleanna and sat in agony for an hour and a half on opening night, confusing the audience's silence with boredom. They wound up giving it a standing ovation. That's kind of what getting voted back felt like. "Wait, you LIKED it? Well... what parts did you like?!"

And even though I wound up getting beaten out by an incredibly fun piece featuring a crazy clown hellbent on destroying vegans, (seriously) what an awesome ride it was! Can't wait to do it again! And who knows? Maybe those awful drunks will be back for the playoffs this summer.


Monday, April 15, 2013

52 Sketches in 52 Weeks: Brian Against Bullying (Did I go too far?)


I suppose for as long as there are people writing comedy, there will always be the difficult concept of what is "too far." We shot this waaay back in August in an attempt at making a slightly obnoxious though ultimately light-hearted poke at all those bullying videos saturating the internet. The end result wound up being pretty intense, and while I thought it was still funny, ultimately I decided not to post it. We actually wound up making a much more harmless bullying sketch a little later.

It probably would have wasted away on my computer forever if I hadn't been too busy with my late night show at Sacred Fools (also a tough sell: it's a comedy about matricide) to finish editing our next piece. So I brought this bad boy up, edited it a bit to make it shorter, and threw it up there.

Weirdly, this thing has gotten views waaay faster than any of our other Supreme Saturday sketches so far. People seem to have stronger reactions to it than usual. I've had people get in touch with me specifically to say how funny they thought it was, which never happens. Not that it's going viral or anything, but it's still cool.

That being said, not four hours after it hit YouTube, a viewer commented on it. Strangely polite for the internet, he said that he found the video cruel and offensive, and that he was disappointed in me. I guess that kind of bothered me a little bit. 

Now I'm not really one of those First Amendment thumping comedians who's under the impression that I should be able to say whatever I want without any consequences. I do want everybody to like my stuff, but I also want to be able to experiment and try to find new ways to make people laugh. I think sometimes that means treading through some rocky territory.

I guess the trade off is that if I have the right to put out risky subject matter, my viewers have the right to think of me as an insensitive jerk if they don't like it for whatever reason. I'm fine with that. And hopefully my viewers are fine with giving my stuff another chance even if they don't like one specific video. (Fact: My brother hates Cat Bowties more than life itself.)

So thanks, Justin Cook. (And anybody else who might comment later.) I appreciate the feedback, and I look forward to hearing what you think of our other videos.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

My High School Might Cut Its Theatre Program


I recently became aware that my high school is thinking about cutting their Theatre Arts program. I wrote them the following letter. If the arts mean anything to you, maybe you could share your experiences with them?  Here's the link to their emails:


Ironic motto there, eh?

Members of the Board,

I'll try not to make this too long. I know you're all busy people and I thank you in advance for taking the time to read this.

A lot of my former classmates are buzzing about a rumor that the theatre arts society is potentially being cut. If you'll forgive my bluntness here: I am appalled, for reasons I'll try to explain.

I'll start off by saying that since graduating Paul Blazer in 2007, I went on to study theatre for four years at Morehead State University. I'm currently a working actor in Los Angeles where in only one year I've been in commercials, television, the stage, and music videos. (You can check out www.nathan-wellman.com to see more specific examples.) My love of theater also led to my passion for writing, and i've had short stories published in eighteen different publications, plays performed all over the country, a novel published by Amazon, and screenplays produced by respected people in the industry. I cannot overemphasize how different my life would be if I hadn't been a student of Jane Modlin's theatre classes. I honestly can't even picture what it might look like.

Perhaps even more importantly, I came to Theatre 1 as a shy Freshman who didn't have any friends in basically the whole school. Being given a venue to consistently perform over those four years gave me confidence in myself at a stage in life where, let's face it, confidence is usually in short supply. I've seen it happen in those classes time and time again. Quiet kids who would rather fade into the background are forced to be looked at and acknowledged on the stage, and even though this concept usually terrifies them at first, over time they realize that they do have something to express. 

The importance of this program is critical. Not even taking into account the many people I know who've graduated from Paul Blazer and gone on to pursue acting professionally, theatre gives kids the confidence to believe that they have something to say in a world where sometimes it feels like nobody's listening. It breaks kids out of their own shells and gives them the courage to succeed. I wouldn't trade my time at the Blazer Theatre Arts Society for the world, and I beg you not to take that opportunity away from future generations.

Sincerely,

Nathan Wellman BA in Theater, MFA in Creative Writing
SAG-AFTRA Eligible

PS: Thanks for all the snow days.

52 Sketches in 52 Weeks: Tough Guys


I got in a fight a few times with my babysitter's kid back in the day for knocking over his Lego's. People don't seem to be very impressed with that story. Or the time in college my friend and I decided to duke it out on New Years just to kinda see what it'd be like. No, you aren't a real man unless you just KICK THE CRAP OUTTA SOME PUNK!

Which, alas, I've never done. So I must be contented with smudging the front window of the Man Club with my nose for now. At least until I can get somebody to try to beat me up...

Hey you! Reader! You're stupid! I hate you! If you were a baby seal, I'd club you over the head! WHAT'RE YA GONNA DO ABOUT IT?!!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

My Fan Letter to Gerard Way


Gerard Way,
            I was sad when I heard My Chemical Romance had recorded its last album. Guess I just took for granted that the party would never die. I still have my Black Parade jacket even seven years after buying it. Probably gonna be buried in that thing.
            You guys were my favorite band. That’s something that I’m sure you all get a lot, and deservedly so. I discovered MCR in high school, at a time when I was just starting to discover that I could have my own sense of style, that maybe I could wear something flashy and cool instead of a T-shirt and jeans all the time. More importantly, I was starting to discover that it was okay to be noticed, and that maybe nobody would laugh if I chose not to fade into the background all the time. The first piece of clothing I ever bought that I LOVED was an MCR shirt. You guys made me feel cool in an awkward stage of life where coolness was everything.
            And oh, the music. MCR was there for me through shitty break ups, wild parties, and everything in between, like a trusted friend who’ll never turn his back on you.  MCR’s still there for me. I suspect it always will be. I have this image of myself as a seventy year old man blaring “Welcome to the Black Parade” while my exasperated grandsons are begging me to switch to whatever newfangled music genre will be popular in the future.
            But then again, they might be screaming along right with me. That’s the kind of power your music has. It taps into something beyond the constraints of 21st century rock in roll. It’s human, in all of our confusing, pissed off, lonely, primal, ugly, beautiful, hateful, loving glory.
            I’m not really sure what I’m trying to say here. I’ve never been passionate enough about an artist to write fan mail before, so forgive my clumsiness. I guess I’m supposed to encapsulate everything MCR has meant to me, which is why I’m bumbling on about fashion and grandkids. Because there’s really no way to fully express it in just a few pages. I guess I’ll just cut things short and say thank you, Gerard. And of course Mikey, Frank, Ray, Matt, and Bob. This letter is for you too.
            And even though MCR’s journey is complete, I can comfort myself by knowing that there will always be art coming from Gerard Way in some medium or another. It’s just in your blood. I look forward to your next masterpiece.

Sincerely,
Nathan Wellman


Sunday, March 31, 2013

52 Sketches in 52 Weeks: Marshmallow Fix


Plump, delicious marshmallow. It's like chewing on a soft, sugary cloud. You can set it on fire and IT'LL ONLY BE EVEN MORE DELICIOUS THAN BEFORE. Seriously, they're unstoppable. Sure, maybe they're full of empty calories, but they're also full of vitamins FOR YOUR SOUL.

Friday, March 29, 2013

ATX's first fan art!

Friend of ATX Daniel Davis did this awesome poster for our horror short "Noise." Looks great, Daniel!









Tuesday, March 26, 2013

52 Sketches in 52 Weeks: Second Date Interrogation

Second Date Interrogation (#34)

About a year or so ago, I was walking around my old hometown with my best high school buddies. It was business as usual, just a couple of young dudes goofing around, until one of us said something that plunged us that much deeper into adulthood.

"So I think she's the one. Probably going to propose soon."

Whoooooaaaaa. Hold up, we're not ready for this! Suddenly we were all filled with questions about his relationship. WE HAD TO KNOW EVERYTHING. (Although, nothing quite so invasive as this video, haha.)

Not to say we didn't love the heck out of the lady in question. (In fact, you're looking at the Best Man to the wedding!) But a close friendship is a kind of family, and so as far as we're concerned, she was about to be our family too.

So I thought it'd be funny to see that kind of friend taken to a crazy extreme. Special thanks to the adorable Leah Thomas and the unstoppable Christina Jeans for helping out!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

52 Sketches in 52 Weeks: YouTube's Not Funny


There's something about hearing "This is hilarious" that instantly makes you not want to laugh. I guess so much about humor involves the element of surprise that the joke loses power if you know to expect it. When you have somebody waiting for you to laugh at something, "that's a lot of pressure." 

Tried to disguise the ambient noise with "YouTube noises" that are supposedly coming from the computer, but I don't know how successful I was. I just moved into this apartment, so we didn't really realize how noisy things would be. Ah well. My new roommate Nate totally stepped up to the plate in the 11th hour though and went toe to toe with Zach for us!

And speaking of Zach, YES. Zach is back. Woooooot!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

52 Sketches in 52 Weeks: I Think, and Therefore I... Um.


Mwahaha! With Zach out of town, my high-art existential comedy BS is free to RUN WILD!

My favorite feedback about this sketch:


  • Other Guy
    just watched your video

    • Nathan Wellman
      oh yeah?

      • Other Guy
        yeah..
        : //
        ?
      • ??
        ?????
        • Nathan Wellman
          EXACTLY

          • Other Guy
            ...
            exactly

            All jokes aside, this sucker was a nightmare to learn. Many an hour was spent pacing my empty apartment, muttering to myself with no pants on. I actually had a few takes where I didn't stumble over the words nearly so much, but I felt like the character bumbling through the monologue added an extra layer of hopelessness to it that made things more fun/real.

            As far out there as this piece really is, I think it's one of my favorites. It's extraordinarily unique it its bizarreness. Like a big logic vacuum that sucks the audience's brains out. Or something.

          Tuesday, March 12, 2013

          Strike for the Actor: College vs. Professional

          Ah, the strike. A both symbolic and literal destruction of a once proud production that (hopefully) has entertained and nourished many happy theater patrons. I've noticed something of a difference between how strike works in college vs. how it works in the "real" world of the 99 seat theater, and I thought I'd share some of them with you.

          Showing up:

          College: SHOW UP FOR STRIKE IF YOU'RE IN THE SHOW. SHOW UP FOR STRIKE OR I WILL KILL YOU AND FLUNK YOU AND GIVE YOU WEDGIES.

          Professional: Oh crap, you actually showed up!? Thank you so much, you're amazing! You're God's gift to theater! Have a donut! Have three!

          Nearly dying because something almost fell on your head:

          College: SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN STANDING THERE!

          Professional: Sorry, bestie! Here, take my helmet!


          When you're standing around not doing anything:

          College: MOVE YOUR ASS!!!!!

          Professional: Oh, you're taking a break? Good idea! I'll join you!


          When you're running out of things to do:

          College: Walk purposefully back and forth so it looks like you're super busy.

          Professional: Walk purposefully back and forth so it looks like you're super busy.


          When strike's over:

          College: You get pizza.

          Professional: So you're coming back for the build tomorrow, right? Please? I'll bring pizza!







          Wednesday, March 6, 2013

          52 Sketches in 52 Weeks: Cheese Puffs and a Cowboy Hat


          Pretty sure every aspiring actor has had a moment like this. "What am I doing here?" "What's the point?" etc. Heck, I've even blogged about it myself. 

          But I guess there's also something darkly funny about every actor's secret conviction that they're special and deserving of global adulation for doing nothing but spreading around a little charisma. Eventually every actor has to face the harsh truth that this big dream of seeing your name next to Meryl Streep may never happen. In fact, statistically speaking, it probably won't.

          I think that's the point where you find out if you're what they call a true artist. Because that's when you can either keep going because it's what you love or mope on the couch and drown in a bag of cheese puffs.


          Thursday, February 28, 2013

          Artist vs Person?

          So as of now I am currently in Lone Pine, California, about three hours away from LA's gravitational pull. The friend that I came to see mostly works during the day, so when the sun is up I'm left to my own devices, whether that means fixing a screenplay in the hotel room or walking alone through the tiny town and enjoying the mountains.

          I don't think my friend fully understands why I haven't yet died of boredom and screeched my way back to the city, leaving behind only the stinging smell of burnt rubber.

          It's something I've noticed any time I leave town. When I'm in the city, Nathan Wellman the Artist is always in my belly, snarling for more successes. Even when I'm just walking to the grocery store, I catch myself scheming about this web series idea or that marketing class. I moved out here to MAKE ART and damn if that's not what I'm gonna do!

          But when I leave the city, I'm allowed to just regress back to Nathan Wellman the... dude. I can't tell you how liberating that can be.

          Now don't get me wrong. LA is an absolute blast and I couldn't live anywhere else in the world. I love being Nathan Wellman the Artist. Even though nobody is calling me a superstar by any means, out there my name still represents a body of work and ambitions that are larger than myself. That's a thrill and an honor that shoots me full of adrenaline every day.

          But sometimes it's nice to set that burden aside for awhile and waste a few days watching raccoons cross the street, closely followed by a lazy tumbleweed.

          Sometimes art can wait.


          Tuesday, February 26, 2013

          My Grandma's Friend Tries To Help

          At this early stage in my novel's life, I'm desperately hustling anybody who's already read it to write a review of it. Reviews are BIG currency for a completely unknown book like mine.

          So I don't want anybody to think I'm throwing this one under the bus. Totally appreciate it. But also: pretty funny.


          5.0 out of 5 stars Scarecrow by Nathan Wellman February 19, 2013
          By Lori
          This was a suggested read by Natahan Wellman's Grandmother Rosemary Wilks, I really enjoyed the book, it was the right amount of gore, not over done. It was supensful enough that I wanted to finish the book. I did. I would read Nathan Wellmans next book. Truly: Lori Alexander - Huntington WV
          Comment | 

          Was this review helpful to you?





          Now I get to be the guy who's like "Hey that was great, thank you so much! Now... can you change it?"

          Monday, February 25, 2013

          52 Sketches in 52 Weeks: Serial Killer Happy Ending


          He finally butchered somebody! Yaaaay! Eh?

          So ends our first little trilogy. I'm going to miss that character. He was one of my faves. Just like I'll miss ol' Matt.

          And no, we haven't cleaned the blood off the walls yet.

          Friday, February 22, 2013

          Don't Polish The Turd

          I was at a casting workshop taught by Marisa Ross a few hours ago. (She's the casting director for How I Met Your Mother.) She paired us up, gave us scripts, and told us to go rehearse for awhile.

          Technically, the point of these things is to "learn valuable lessons." But come on. Everybody in that room was just trying to get cast as Barney's new girlfriend, Ted's secretary, Robin's co-anchor, whatever. So of course I'm excited. Time to show her what I can do!

          Until...

          I'm rehearsing the scene with my acting partner and... well... what's a nice way to put this?

          He sucked.

          Me: Hi Bob, how are you?
          Him: (PAUSE.) Hi Jack. I'm doing... well... (Pause. Pats my shoulder for some reason.) pretty good. 

          It'd be easier to suck bone marrow out of this guy than acting energy. I start to panic. This scene is terrible. I have to jazz it up! I MUST SHOW HER HOW FUNNY I AM!

          Him: How are... (Pause. Touches my face.) you doing?
          Me: I'M GREAT, WAKKA WAKKA WAKKA!
          Him: That's............. (Pppppppppppaaaaaaaaaaaauuuuuuuuuuussssssssseeeeeee) good.
          ME: IT SURE IS!!!!!!!!!! (Random cartwheel) I'M HAPPY TO BE ALIVE. (Unnecessary ad libbing)

          And that's the story of how I paid a casting director fifty bucks to watch me drown.

          Spoiler alert: I won't be cast as The Mother in the next season.

          Thank God she let us do it again, and she complemented me for mostly fixing the problem the second time around. The other guy still got most of the heat (and she was pretty blunt), but no matter what I managed to fix, I was only as good as my partner. Which is true for pretty much every audition, I've found.

          While perhaps I won't be called in to audition for HIMYM anytime soon, I did, ironically enough, learn a valuable lesson. Particularly about just playing things honestly even in dismal acting conditions. It's not my job as an actor to be funny. Or even interesting. I just have to react to what I'm given and leave the rest to the audience. The arts are not the place to be in complete control.

          Thursday, February 21, 2013

          52 Sketches in 52 Days: Serial Killer Gets His Heart Broken


          Now that we've hit the seven month mark, it seemed like an appropriate time to continue one of our more popular sketches. So before Matt left, we shot two more Serial Killer sketches! The first one can be found here.

          But then, how does one repeat a sketch without simply giving the audience the same thing? If we're revisiting this character, I wanted him to be more than just a joke. I wanted to get to know the guy a little better. In its own weird way, the Serial Killer's failed slaughters turn into failed friendships. Even though I think it's all very funny, that last shot of the Serial Killer, sad and alone in the darkness, manages to actually be legitimately touching.

          Which, perversely, only make the sketch that much funnier, since you catch yourself rooting for the poor sap.

          A very special thanks to Erika Rose and JR Esposito for volunteering their talent for this one. I'm really getting kinda humbled by how many great people I know who are willing to goof around with us.

          Wednesday, February 13, 2013

          I'm Going Places

          When I first got to Los Angeles, any time people asked me what I did, I would always say "Oh, I'm an 'actor' right now" or "I'm trying to act." or "I'm trying to maybe get into the acting business someday. Perhaps."

          Gee, who wants to hire that guy?


          The thing I didn't realize was that even at those parties and coffee shops, I was auditioning. The aura of success around you is often just as important as actually succeeding out here.

          Now that sounds like a bunch of LA bullshit, but it's really just as simple as how you present yourself. A friend of mine was talking about this on the way to a screening with me today: If a police officer is on the way to a crime scene, he doesn't sit in traffic on the 405 and maybe change lanes every once in awhile. That dude BLARES THOSE SIRENS because he's getting where he's going and he wants everybody to know it.

          Even when I did get gigs, I would shrug sheepishly and mutter to the ground "Yeah, I booked this modeling gig for a Del Toro movie" almost as though I was ashamed of it. Because God forbid somebody might think you're smug! Gasp!

          Not anymore. I trumpet my successes from the mountain tops. When people ask me how I've been doing, I look them straight in the eye and say "I'm great. My KIA commercial just aired and I can't wait for my next project. Let me tell you about it..." 

          And ya know what? It works! Even in dry spells, I'll run into friends who say "You're really doing well out here!" They see me with a new respect, because I respect my own successes first. And that respect, in turn, creates new opportunities for people who remember you as an artist whose career is on the rise.

          Monday, February 11, 2013

          52 Sketches in 52 Weeks: Noise (Goodbye Matt)

          I met Matt Hatfield in college. He was without question the funniest guy in that department and insanely talented onstage. That guy is still the only person I know who can hold a whole cafeteria table's attention for three hours. People would literally skip class just to sit around and listen to Matt crack jokes.

          Even more interesting (to me) was that he was THE WRITER of the group. People respected that about him, and as an aspiring freshman writer myself, it gave me something to shoot for. I wanted people to talk about my work the way they talked about Matt's one day. In this way, Matt was pretty influential in the fledgling stages of my writing career.

          Backstage for Matt's Midnight Beckons

          Over the years, we started emailing manuscripts and screenplays back and forth for the other to viciously critique. His play Midnight Beckons was the first show I ever directed outside of class, and he later acted in Oleanna, which I directed as my sort of goodbye to Morehead State.

          Matt in Oleanna

          So I was of course delighted when Matt decided to come with me to Los Angeles. If we pushed each other forward at school, imagine the possibilities in a place like LA! We crammed into a tiny little bohemian apartment, and Adventure Team Extreme was born. (In fact, he came up with that name.) And what a ride it's been.

          But, over the past year and a half, it became abundantly clear that for whatever reason LA just isn't a place where Matt can thrive. The personality of this place just always seemed to clash with his. So I wasn't too surprised when one night he told me that he was leaving to go pursue other opportunities.

          Before he left though, he wanted to make an ATX piece that was more epic/ambitious than anything we'd ever tried to do. So for the past three weeks he and Zach have been constructing makeshift camera dollies, splashing blood all over our walls, and screaming in agony at 2am while our neighbors tried to sleep. This creepy Hitchcock tribute is the result of that effort. I think the cinematography on this is our best yet.


          I'll miss collaborating with ol' Matt. It's a shame our paths had to part. But I'm excited to see what new opportunities come his way. See ya soon, old buddy.

          Also: You left your copy of The World Ends With You here. You're not getting it back.

          Friday, February 8, 2013

          52 Sketches in 52 Weeks: Humble Sprouts of Grass


          Okay, I admit it: I listen to NPR on a fairly regular basis. I think it's a fine radio program. Now that being said, I've spent more time than I care to admit grinding my teeth through some breaking news they have on the newest organic cantaloup to hit the market. NPR listeners are stigmatized as tree-hugging hippies for a fairly understandable reason.

          Just once I'd like to hear one of those calm, soothing voices just completely lose control and rage out Fox News style on some poor unsuspecting sap. Maybe it could be an Opposite Day thing?

          And yes, I do still have that zit on my face. I'M VERY SENSITIVE ABOUT IT.