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
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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!


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?
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.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Scarecrow is published!

Here it is:

Smashwords (Laptops, other e-readers):

Amazon (Kindle):

And just like that, a small, delicate kernel of an idea that I had over two years ago is now available for the entire world to pick apart and dissect. Although surely the only reason we write is to be read, there's an intense helplessness that accompanies the sensation of another pair of eyes looking over your precious words. Could it have been better? Am I really so great, or am I just full of self-indulgent delusions like so many other Los Angelenos who fancy themselves "writers"?

The insecurity is invigorating, though. It's similar to the feeling of that first step onstage from the safety of the wings, that "whoo boy, I'm not ready for this" rush to the brain as you take the plunge anyway. No going back now.

Regardless, The Scarecrow is up and running. There's still a lot of things I need to do and learn, marketing-wise, but for now the biggest way you can help me out is by shelling out a couple bucks to buy yourself an awesome story, tell your friends about it every way you can (word of mouth, Facebook, your blog, etc.) and writing a quick review after you've finished it!

If I've ever needed my Nathan Wellman fans to step up (as you always do) it's for this project. Let's make sure this awesome book gets read by as many people as possible!