K.L.'s Bog: A Diary of Artful Things

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Sat Apr 2, 2005

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OOPS! I MISSED M*A*S*H AT PLAYHOUSE SOUTH: With all the candles burning, I let Bradley Kasch's stint as Radar O'Reilly slip my mind. Bradley was, of course, Buddy Layman in Diviners, as well as Scrouge's nephew in The Christmas Carol at Sinclair Community College last December. I was looking forward to seeing his Radar!

ONE POTENTIAL PROBLEM WITH AUDITIONS FOR AN ACT OF THE IMAGINATION: I've noticed at the Guild web site that director Justin Reiter is calling for both the male roles to be in their mid-fifties. And, where I think I can play a fifty-five year-old man, it will take some hair color. There will surely be talented actors in the actual age range. This won't, of course, stop me from auditioning, but, it does make me a little less hopeful. Right now, I don't know of another theatre production in the area I would be interested in auditioning for.

FILM MAKING WORKSHOP: Last night and today, actor Clancy Brown is part of the presentation of a free film making workshop at Urbana University (Urbana, Ohio) titled "The Art of Cinema." Unfortunately, I did not find out about it until yesterday afternoon and there was no way for me to free up my time to get there. Too bad; any information I can get would be great. Plus, I like Clancy's work and it would have been neat to meet him. He and the other industry insiders who are doing the workshop are all Urbana natives. A fact I did not know about him.

NO MA, I'M NOT IN A MOVIE YET: I have gotten no call from the Paper Dolls people. The longer it is the less hope I can muster. The Cincinnati fellows doing the Stephen King short did not contact me after I sent my résumé and headshot, which is a pretty clear indicator on that score.

MY SHOOTING SCRIPT: Plugging along.

FINAL NOTE: I had thought about posting yesterday that I was cast in a major supporting role in Papers Dolls, with a $100,000 salary -- as an April Fools item. I decided not to, in part, because not every one who visits this site is from the western cultures that have the tradition. Still, I almost did it.



Sun Apr 10, 2005

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WORKING LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT: Spent last Sunday and today helping set designer Blake Senseman on construction of the LDJIN set -- Blake is also the actor who won a Daytony for his work as Burt in Proposals. I, of course, was only one of those who has been helping with the LDJIN set.

Talked with Mike (Boyd -- the director) today and I may run sound for the show. It all depends on who runs lights. If the guy who is currently on board to run sound switches to lights, I may run sound, if Mike needs me.

THE VIDEO OF MY AUDITION MONOLOGUES: Last night and this morning I processed the last of each performances I had taped when I was prepping for the auditions for the Blithe Spirit stage play and the Paper Dolls movie. I sort of felt like I used to when I smoked pot. I would come up with these really great sets of lyrics, while high, and think as I was writing them, Wow, man! This is fucking brilliant! The next day I would read the amateurish crap I'd written and cringe. Watching the monologue performances wasn't quite that bad, but, I was not as happy with them this weekend as I was at the times they were shot. There are several problems that need dealt with. I have already been aware, from these tapes, that I am too kinetic and I gesture too much. I had convinced myself I had done better at calming that habit. Looking at the tapes again I don't see nearly enough improvement. I also have this quirk of snapping the tip of my tongue on the roof of my mouth, which creates a little clicking. There also seems to be a general, if subtle, self-conscious nervousness.

I was going to send some Mp4 movie files of the performances to a couple of my friends, but, I'm not too sure I want them to see those performances.

I am definitely going to continue taping myself performing monologues, etc. It seems to be a very good tool for working on skill, especially presence, which is half the game.



Thu Apr 14, 2005

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I REPEAT MYSELF WHEN I'M UNDER STRESS I REPEAT MYSELF WHEN I'M UNDER STRESS I REPEAT MYSELF WHEN I'M UNDER STRESS I REPEAT MYSELF WHEN I'M UNDER STRESS I REPEAT MYSELF WHEN I'M UNDER STRESS I REPEAT MYSELF WHEN I'M UNDER STRESS I REPEAT MYSELF I REPEAT MYSELF WHEN I'M UNDER STRESS WHEN I'M UNDER STRESS I REPEAT - - - - - - - - -:

Well, this is going to be a ramble.

Lately, as I leave or enter my apartment, I think to myself, Jesus, Guy, you need to clean your damn home up. It is a certain truth that you can tell how involved I am in a project (or, projects) by how much disarray my apartment is in.

My apartment is in what can be modestly called Great Disarray.

One could shoot an episode of The Odd Couple in my place as Oscar's, before Felix moved in. And I am not using near the hyperbole some of you may think.

I spend much time at the computer (movie project, web site, novel, short story) either creating or doing the related business, at the Guild (somehow working a show or as a board member), or in some stage or another of prepping for an audition. Then, there is that place of employment.

As I have said before, I don't actually "hate" my 40-hour-a-week, paycheck job. But, it really gets in my way. Everything I care about doing has nothing to do with the way I keep my rent up, pay the electricity, feed myself, yadda yadda. That's not to dismiss that if I am going to have to earn money outside of my true ambitions, mine is a lesser pain than most "jobs" I could have. Though I could do without the petty office politics -- how many of you can relate to THAT? Still, I do have a job to pay that rent, etc. -- which is good.

Yet, I am trying to cram the real passions of my being into before and after that eight hours a day. Sometimes I look at my agenda and cringe at all there is to do. And, believe me, I miss my goals for the day, or week, or whatever, on an exceptionally regular basis (Anyone happen to notice how the Winter 2004 literary update, at the site proper, ended up as the Spring 2005 update?)

Of course, I am not alone in this dilemma. I know a lot of people in this boat; and I'm sure there are people reading this, whom I don't know, who have already invited me to "join the club."

It helps to know that I'm not alone in this situation. Well, save for that part of my ego that loves the concept of being, as I have heard it called, Terminally Unique. I still do find myself, at times, anxious about all that I want to accomplish. Moreover, some of it, as is its nature, is so insidiously uncertain. Will I ever get a literary agent? If then, will an editor ever say "yes" to the manuscript for the first novel (or second, or whatever)? Will I see my novel in print? It's not that I don't think I've written one worthy of it -- that doesn't really seem to be the hallmark of being published. There's enough absolutely horrendous crap on the book store shelves to prove that; some of it on the NYT best seller's list.

The other day, one of my acting compatriots said how she'd love to be a "working actor": not necessarily a Big Star, but, someone who worked all the time in her craft, who paid the bills and lived a nice life, financially.

Me too.

I have known since I started this new journey, that even if that is a destination I am looking for, arriving there, under the best of circumstances is an improbable occurrence. So, starting back at acting, in my mid-forties, not being an exceptionally stunning specimen of male beauty (not that I think I am the troll under the bridge), and in most real senses of the term, starting back at scratch at cultivating my acting abilities, I am looking at an even more improbable arrival at a successful acting career. Still, the journey, as it has been the last eighteen months, has been rather fulfilling.

I can say that about writing the first novel, too. And the first half of the first draft for the second, which I have not attended to much since this whole acting thing came up. I have, on the other hand, attended to a few things which had bugged me about the first manuscript. I have "fixed" a few things which I really always thought needed fixing but did not have immediate ideas about. So, the delay in publication has its up points.

Then there's music and me.

My friend, Lou Lala, has been making some truly nice music, writing some really good rock-&-roll songs, and has most of a CD's-worth of recording done -- this being the music I wrote of wanting to use in my movie. I have been pining some lately to jump back in that swimming pool, too, in part because of Lou's work. I have a sort of sensory deprivation from not having made any original music for such a very long time. It was February of 1990, at Lou's house in fact, where I laid down most, but not all, of the tracks for a song: multiple layers of bass work and -- in Harry Nilsson fashion -- harmony back vocals of my own voice. Since then, the closest I have come to musical work is slightly revising a set of my lyrics to use as the epilogue for my first novel. I am using my songs as those written by the protagonist of my novel series.

Of course, I have performed as a singer twice in the last few months: as a balladeer with Chris Shea in The Diviners and as Godfather Drosselmeier in Nut Cracker. However, though "How Tedious and Tasteless" (The Diviners) is a fabulous song to sing, and a right worthy challenge to accomplish, none of this is the music I love to sing the most, that being rock, pop and jazzy styles. So I am yearning to be active in the music art form again, too.

And there is this movie project I'd like to get off the ground with no terribly clear idea yet how that is going to happen. That, however, is simply a detail or two that needs working out when the time comes.

Too many passions and too much gusto to do it all RIGHT NOW!

I am apt to sometimes get a little stressed.

Went home from work Monday with what I am sure was a stress headache. Would have tried to get something done during this downtime from work, but: headache, sleep, you know.

What I know is I need to wear all these things -- these agendas I set and rarely meet -- as a looser garment. I am, after all, the one who sets these agendas that sometimes daunt me. I really don't want to cut into the ambitions, either. I just need to lay myself back a little better.

There is, too, the gym, which I usually try to get to six times a week: cardiovascular on Monday, Wednesday and Friday; weights on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. That happens except for when it doesn't. But, it is great stress reducer, and good for my self image. It's not the results that I mean are good for my self image, it's the action. I feel good about being a gym guy. It's more-or-less a crude sort of meditation. I also must admit I have not been doing much true meditation lately, either. It may not be a bad idea to bring that back in the routine along with a better appearance ratio at the gym.

I guess I also ought to start thinking about picking up my apartment

To be honest, I sometimes do stress management well. During some periods it can even be "I often do." I think I've been in this, what do I call it, a minor funk? I think it was the result of my little revelation this weekend; you know, the blow to my ego I suffered from watching the videos of my monologue performances. I'm a little ticked that I haven't gotten much better, that I am not farther along with my skill. I had been feeling like, thinking that, I was coming right underneath the line of "Very Good." I see it more now at "Okay -- but needs much improvement." And I am frustrated by it.

That I am back into the craft of acting is pleasing to me. I actually have a certain delight even that I am willing to be critical of my own progress -- it's important to me that I am serious about this. Yes, I am happy to be acting again, but, you'd better believe that I regret greatly that I don't have several decades of work under my belt, that I have not grown into an excellent veteran actor who sometimes maybe even has earned the right to be called brilliant.

I strive to be brilliant at this. And I am disheartened that I am even farther away than I had thought. But, by god, I know which way the mountain lies and I got my hiking boots on.

HOW TO WRITE A MOVIE (?): Speaking of the movie project, I am averaging about a scene a day (sometimes less) in terms of the shooting script. I also am not allowing myself to kill ideas for shots when I know I may not have the means to achieve them.

For instance, there is a type of shot known as the shuttle. Shuttle simply means that the camera is moved during the shot. Simple term, but not always a simple accomplishment. If the camera operator is top notch, it can be done with a shoulder mount; but, he or she better be really good -- a smooth camera motion while on the shoulder is hard to achieve. It's more reliable to mount the camera on a tri-pod, then mount that on a moving platform, which usually needs to be on a track, the whole devise tempered for shock adsorption. There may be a way to achieve that on a modest budget, but, I am not aware of the resource at this moment. I am hopeful I can discover the resource, so, I am writing the shuttle shots in when I think that's the best shot -- with a mind on how to shoot otherwise.

GEARING UP FOR THE AN ACT OF THE IMAGINATION AUDITIONS: The auditions are about a week-and-a-half from now. I am looking at the script a bit more and will start working on the script. The director has encouraged prepared monologues, so I will be rehearsing some as well. Don't know if I am working up something new or going with one I have already used. I have an inquiry into the director as to whether he would want one with a British character (since those in the play are), but, I have not received a response yet.

I already have expressed concern that I may not work as the type he's looking for, in terms of age. That isn't going to keep me from the auditions, however.

MISCELLANIUOS:

I am considering writing some monologues for audition purposes, too. In fact there's a short one in my screenplay that might work well. I don't know if this is a frowned upon thing or not. Going to ask around.

At this point I feel safe assuming I am not getting a callback for the Paper Dolls movie. Though I still feel reluctant to think about dipping into my vacation time, yet.

Have bought a ticket to see Natasha Randall and Craig Roberts in Iris this coming Saturday, in Cincinnati.



Sun Apr 17, 2005

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NATASHA RANDALL AND CRAIG ROBERTS IN IRIS: Saw Tosha and Craig last night at The Know Theatre in Cincinnati. Tosha was, as usual, wonderful as Iris. Craig did good, too, as the flamboyantly gay Hyde -- I still like his Kenny in Proposals better, however. A really nice thing for both of them is that this was the stage debut of the full play, so their names will be in the play book in all subsequent publications of it. The play runs about two-and-half hours but I suspect it will be shorter by the time it hits a big Equity stage -- or I hope so. I think it can stand some cutting; everything is funny and written well, but some things can be cut, especially in Act I, without hurting the story. Act II is much tighter. The playwright is Frank J. Avella.

I also must give a warm nod to the performances of Mikhail Roberts (no relation to Craig) -- whose mother sat next to me at the show -- for his work as the seventeen-year-old Rick; Matthew A. Pyle also was good as Nick, who was Iris' boyfriend, among other things. And, for her acting debut, Embrya deShango did nice work as Iris' therapist, Hallie.

As for the story of the play, let's just say I doubt there will ever be a film version shown on The Disney Channel.

I actually will see both Tosha and Craig later today, as I am going to a reader's theatre performance that will feature a one act play written by Bob Garvin, whom I met via Tosha. It will be at the production offices owned by John-Michael Lander.

MOVIE PROJECT: I can say that I have officially moved into a new phase of the pre-production. Yesterday I took my mini-DV camcorder and shot some interior and exterior footage on campus at Wright State University as location scouting. I'll be doing more on campus, probably next weekend.

I am making progress on the shooting script, as well. It's slow but productive.

MORE PREP FOR AN ACT OF THE IMAGINATION AUDITION: Have begun in earnest the out-loud practice/study of the lines, and will do so as soon as I finish this and pack up my lap top*. Strolled around the pond at Yellow Springs Park (see a picture [393 kb]) and got through about the first eight pages of dialogue. I then went to a favorite spot at Glen Helen Park (see a picture [429 kb]). I feel okay about my readings, but, I think I will withhold final judgement until I have videotaped myself and watched that. I am sure I have a good handle on the English accent -- least the educated one for the main character Arthur. I need to make it more middle class for Sgt. Burchitt. I will accept that role if offered, but, I would rather have the lead, of course.

I know that Craig is auditioning for the son, Simon.

*RIGHT NOW, I'M SITTING AT ONE OF MY FAVORITE SPOTS TO SIT AND COMPOSE. A BEND IN THE LITTLE MIAMI RIVER AT JOHN BRYAN STATE PARK (SEE A PICTURE [505 kb]).

By the way, none of these nature shots are recent.

INTERESTING SHORT STORY IN THE WORKS: I have been taking breaks from the shooting script to work on a new short story. The first I've started in a while. I'm only a little ways into it, but, so far it has my attention. Of course, it's new to me, so that is not an extraordinary reaction for me to have.

By-the-way, again, if you haven't visited the site proper, I posted one of my stories in the Spring 2005 Literary Update. A story called "The Prophecy of Your Birthday." It was originally published in The Rockford Review, vol.XXII: no.3 (Autumn, 2003).



Mon, Apr 18, 2005

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Yes, there is new stuff in this entry. I originally left something out about the reader's theatre, which I intended to put in. I also have added two more segments.

THE ONE ACT PLAY READING OF CHOICES BY BOB GARVIN: Attended the reading of Bob's one act, Choices, and liked the script. Good verisimilitude to the story line and well-written dialogue. It's a lovely vignette, at the moment, but many at the reading suggested it could be a full-length play and I agree. It is ripe with dramatic and humorous possibilities. And it's about love -- can't go wrong there.

I must say the three men who did the dramatic reading did a good job. Richard Young, who is on the Guild board, read. An actor I newly met, Chuck Ramsey, and one I have seen around but never officially met, Aaron Skira, were the other two. Lisa Sadai -- Guild board and actor -- read the narratives.

Another one act, The Old Flame, by Montgomery Holland was read, too. Cherie Cooper, whom I saw in The Laramie Project at The Dayton Playhouse, was one of the readers. She sang about half of the pop song "Close To You," and I must say she has a wonderful voice. Chuck Ramsey pulled double-duty and read a character in The Old Flame, too. Lisa read the narrative for this, too. The other actors were Nathan Webber, Tyler Davis, and Kristen Sando. The Old Flame was nice work, too, and the actors did well. Cherie, by-the-way, is directing Godspell at Dayton Playhouse. That opens in a few weeks.

FEEDBACK ON MY SCREENPLAY: Got some good input from Tosha about my screenplay, too. First, she seems to think the running time will be closer to fifteen minutes, rather than the thirty that I am guessing. I'm going to have to sit with it and try to read it in real-time, allowing for the actual timing of action, and see. I think she may be right that it's not quite thirty, but, I still would guess it's longer than fifteen.

Beyond that there is a fuller exploration of one relationship that she has suggested and I believe it merits a hard look.

So I may be dropping back from the shooting script for a spell to add in or change some of the screenplay, first.

Tosha had lots of good things to say about the story, which is always gratifying to a writer.

EVENING ADDITION TO THE DAY'S ENTRY

HUMAN RACE THEATRE GENERAL AUDITIONS: I noted today that the general auditions for the new season are in just about a month. The Race being the Equity theatre in town. Thing is, after my little self scrutiny over the weekend I am back to where I was a few months ago. I may wait until I've been cast in a few more roles before I audition there. I still am seriously considering the general audition at The Rising Phoenix, which is in July -- that being one of the other close by professional theaters. Ya'll remember my non-casting in Blithe Spirit, there?

There's also La Comedia Dinner Theatre in nearby Springboro. But, as some of you -- (the fraction of a handful of you) -- who have read earlier entries may know, I am not usually enthused about musicals, and that is what La Comedia does. But, it is a professional gig and that is a good thing for my résumé. They are doing Jesus Christ Super Star in the fall. I could be Pontius Pilate. Clearly too old for Jesus or Judas. "Pilate's Dream" and "Trial Before Pilate" are both interesting songs and in my range.

BRUCE CROMER IN WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINA WOLFE: Local actor Bruce Cromer will be George in Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival in May. I have every intention of going to see him. I missed him twice at The Race, in the last few months.



Tue, Apr 19, 2005

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TWENTY-EIGHT MINUTES AND FIFTEEN SECONDS: That is the count I have after doing out-loud readings of each scene from my movie script. I think I allowed reasonably correct time for the action. To be on the safe side I am going to say the movie will fall somewhere between twenty and thirty minutes.

I have decided to extend perhaps two scenes to better look at one relationship -- as was suggested to me by Tosha Randall -- and to address another issue left a little too opaque. I can't imagine these additions will add many more minutes.

There are, by-the-way, currently twenty-one scenes, though I may add one more short one.



Wed Apr 20, 2005

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TIME OFF TO PREP FOR AUDITIONS: Now being painfully sure there will be no callback for Paper Dolls, and thus, no chance of being cast, I have asked for vacation time for next Monday and Tuesday, for the An Act of the Imagination auditions. I'm taking all of Monday and part of Tuesday (working 9:00-2:00 instead of 7:00-3:30).

Grabbed some plays by British playwrights to go monologue hunting for Monday and Tuesday: John Arden (Serjeant Musgrave's Dance), Noel Coward (Brief Encounter and Still Life), Tom Stoppard (Arcadia, Dalliance, A Separate Peace, and Undiscovered Country). May grab some more before the weekend.

As for that general audition at The Human Race, I have gone ahead and asked for that day (May 16) off, too. Might cancel it though, but, we'll see. Saw at the The Rising Phoenix web site that the general auditions there are June 18 and 19. I hope I have to set an early appointment on the 18th -- due to the 4:00 call for the 5:00 curtain of An Act of the Imagination.

PAUL McCARTNEY WILL KEEP ME FROM OTHER AUDITIONS: This Friday, I will be buying tickets for the Saturday, Oct 22 Paul McCartney concert in Columbus, Ohio. That means I will not even attempt to be in the second Guild play next season, as that will be the second Saturday of that show's run. The play will end around 7:30. Paul will take the stage about 8:00, over an hour east of the theatre. I have no plans to be in Dayton at 7:30 that night. Ultimately, however, though I'm not ready to say what play it is -- I should not jump the official announcement of the season -- I will say that I don't really think there's a role for me in that play, anyway.

This would also count out an audition for Jesus Christ Superstar at La Comedia Dinner Theatre because there is an 8:00 show on Oct 22. I say "would" because I've just been to the La Comedia web site and realize that there are Wednesday and Thursday matinee performances, and the shows run ten weeks, so, unless I am really willing to burn up some vacation time, La Comedia is out as long as I have a day job.

I would even stay away from The Race and Rising Phoenix for Paul's concert. One may question my sincerity as a "serious" actor, in light of this. Hey, Paul is Paul, and I can't allow myself to not see him. I might think about a road trip for another show, but the friggin' $197 per ticket for a good seat is already far more than I ought to pay (but I will). A road trip, with a possible overnight -- even if in a cheap motel -- and possibly another vacation day, is beyond the expense I can do.

Clearly, I'm a big Macca fan. Something extraordinary will have to be in the works for me to not go see him in concert. Even at the extortionary ticket price -- paid $250 for one during his 2002 U.S. tour. That's one reason the bloke is a billionaire, because of fools like me!



Thu Apr 21, 2005

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NOW IT'S NO TIME OFF TO PREP FOR AUDITIONS: So, I was painfully sure there would be no callback for the indy movie Paper Dolls.

Yeah, I was wrong.

Got an email this morning from the casting director. I have a callback in Mason, Ohio, probably at or near King's Island, on Saturday, May 7.

So, I have gone from all day off this coming Monday, and, in late; out early from work on Tuesday, to, no gym after work either day, using that time to prep for Monday and Tuesday auditions for An Act of the Imagination. Of course, I'll do lots of prep work between now and then, including much of the weekend.

Now I'm back to banking vacation leave for the principal photography of Paper Dolls -- which is to be starting around mid-August or so. As of my August 5 paycheck, I'll have 71.96 hours of vacation: just shy of two weeks. That, if I use none between now and then. I haven't a clue at this point how much I would need if cast -- but, you know, "safe side" and all that.

Let me completely expose my neophyte status in all its glory by saying I am very pumped that I would get the callback. I was relatively sure the whole screen test was purely an exercise for me. Still, I know I am only a little closer to being cast; I still need to be wise enough to know that odds still are against me. But, geez, I got a callback. I had not expected this!

The appointment will be officially set and sides will be emailed to me, probably later today.

*FOR THOSE WHO ARE NOT FAMILIAR, "SIDES" ARE EXCERPTED PAGES FROM A FULL SCRIPT -- USED IN AUDUTIONS.

Now I am back to feeling a little better about my acting, if only cautiously so.

PROGRESS ON THE SLIGHT RE-WRITE OF MY SCREENPLAY: I'm in the midst of adding onto a scene in the script and will add one more short scene, not long after the one I'm in now. I think this will address the problems discussed a few entries ago.



Fri Apr 22, 2005

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PAPER DOLLS callback: Was sent a side of one scene (two pages) last night. The character is a surgeon who fills in two principal characters about a patient's medical status. I am not sure if this is the surgeon's only scene, though that is not unlikely. But, the script does draw the character rather well, so, I have a good idea what the director, Mark Archer, who wrote the screenplay, wants.

I also mis-spoke, yesterday, when I said the callback audition will be in Mason, Ohio, near King's Island; actually, it will be in Madison, Ohio, on Lake Erie, the opposite side of the state. I am South West, Madison is in the North East corner. I have arranged to drive up Friday afternoon and stay the night with a friend who lives close to Youngstown. Probably will be about an hour drive from his place to the audition, but, that's better than a five-hour drive right before I audition.

RE-WRITE OF MY SCREENPLAY: I think it's done, though I haven't re-timed the scene with additional dialogue, nor timed the new scene. Back to the shooting script, where I have already incorporated the re-write, even if I haven't put in the shot set-ups for those scenes, yet.

ODDS & SODS:

Got a floor seat for the McCartney show -- for those who care. No, not toward the front, but, not in the back, either. Kind of mid-ways back, in the center.

Going to be the theatre host for Long Day's Journey into Night, both tomorrow night and Sunday, May 1.

Going to see Jake's Women next Friday, at Brookville Community Theater. The next night, I am using my Dayton Theatre Guild season ticket to be an audience member for LDJIN. Haven't bought my ticket to see Bruce Cromer in Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival in May, yet. But I still have them plans. Need to plan for Godspell coming up at The Dayton Playhouse, too. And there are some others I'd like to get to.



Sun Apr 24, 2005

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PREP FOR THE AN ACT OF THE IMAGINATION AUDITIONS: I decided on combining two short monologues by the character named Brown, in Tom Stoppard's, A Separate Peace. They are two paragraphs from the same scene and they fit together well. I'll be able to do a British dialect in a piece that actually calls for it, rather than just putting the accent to any dialogue, as was a suggestion I got from a friend -- who is not familiar much with theatre and acting. I just feel better representing the character as the playwright intended. Brown, from the Stoppard play, works well for the purposes of this audition, being played as he was written to be.

I actually am, at this very moment I write this, taking a break from memorizing the text, letting what I've acquired so far settle in, assimilate, germinate a little before I finish the process. I've actually taken catnaps before while in this process; I find it helpful, especially when I am in information overload status. Today I was starting to stumble over the parts which I had just previously been sailing through -- that indicated: "Break Time."

LOCATION SCOUT FOOTAGE I SHOT LAST WEEKEND FOR MY MOVIE PROJECT: (It's a couple hours later, and I'm taking another break) -- Yesterday morning I took a good look at the footage I shot the week before on campus at Wright State. I shot it in letterbox screen -- that's how I plan to shoot the movie. The main location looks as good as I expected it would. The other location I shot looks good, too. There will be some hot spot problems (meaning places with a lot of white light glare) but I am hoping between myself, a good director of photography, and a good high-end camera, that issue can be dealt with.

LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT "SOUNDED" GOOD LAST NIGHT: As I said I would be, I was the theatre host for last night's performance of LDJIN at the Guild. I purposefully tried not to watch it, and only "saw" what amounts to less than a minute of it. I want to experience it as an audience member next Saturday as freshly as possible. But, I heard it -- and it "sounds" good. Though I did occupy myself with duties and such to keep me from attending too carefully to the performance. I know the audience was impressed.

APR 25 ADDENDUM: One of the WriteGallery regulars got nit-picky on me so now I have to clarify; The audience was impressed with the performances of the actors, not with the fact that I had occupied my time. Geez!

WILL MY CAR MAKE IT TO LAKE ERIE FOR THE PAPER DOLLS callback?: I was out and about earlier today running errands, including picking up a headshot for the audition tomorrow, and I noticed a wabble in the front right wheel of my car. I have doubts about a 250 mile trip. I'll have it looked at next Saturday morning, but, there's a real chance I'll be renting a car for the trip to the callback audition.

And I just got that damned credit card down to zero balance, and wanted to keep it there for a while. Well, either way, repair or rental, I'm looking at likely no less than $200.

- - - - -

Well, I'm off to rehearse (and video tape) my Stoppard monologue, as well as further study the script for An Act.... First, I'll get into the clothes I plan to wear -- a suit -- as well as gray my moustache and hair, to get me into the mid-fifties. (Or should that be, under the circumstances: "grey") I want to see what the effect is of the whole.



Mon, Apr 25, 2005

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FIRST -- & ONLY -- NIGHT OF AUDITIONS FOR ME FOR AN ACT OF THE IMAGINATION: Yeah, read one short scene, one time, and a few minutes later I and a few others were told we could leave and that we shouldn't come back tomorrow. I didn't even get to do my monologue -- pout pout.

We were told by the producer that they knew what we could do and they didn't need to see any more. But, well, the cynic in me thinks perhaps that was just politeness. Yes, I think the old, "And It's On To The Next Audition" will soon be posted here.

I KNOW HOW I'M GETTING TO CLEVELAND: Speaking of the "next" audition, I checked on the cost to rent a car for the weekend, when I go to the Paper Dolls callback, up by Cleveland. After tax is tacked on, it'll still be under $40. My car's gettin' old. Even without the wobbling wheel, it's worth forty bucks to leave it at home and spare it the 500-mile round trip.



Fri Apr 29, 2005

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IT WOULD BE "AN ACT OF THE IMAGINATION" TO HOLD TO THE IDEA I MAY BE CAST: It's Friday. I left, Monday evening, 99.999999999999999% sure I was out of the running. Since I have heard nothing by now, there's no sense pretending that the .000000000000001% or so of hope I held out is real. I do have to admit, though I wanted to be cast, and would love to pretty much always be in rehearsal somewhere, the Paper Dolls callback that is forthcoming, did lesson the sting a little.

JAKE'S WOMEN: Off to see this tonight at Brookville Community Theater. Looking forward to it.

LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT REVIEWS: Both Dayton Daily News and Dayton City Paper have reviewed LDJIN. Russell Florence Jr. (DCP) gave the show a mixed review. I haven't seen all of Terry Morris' (DDN), but from what the start of the article suggests, it's more positive. I'll see the play tomorrow night.

K.L. THE NOVELIST: Just sent another batch of query letters regarding my finished novel to literary agencies.

SCREENPLAY: Few more tweaks to the new scenes.



Sat Apr 30, 2005

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AND IT'S ON TO THE NEXT AUDITION

Shocking, shocking..........just shocking. Actually, I have heard an unofficial cast list and it sounds like a good one.

I have decided I am a weird guy (I think a few others have already concluded that). I have lately been having this doubt about my acting abilities; but, now that I know for absolutely sure I did not get cast as Arthur, I've been thinking about how well I would have done in the role. Yeah, now that I don't have to deliver....

Well, the guy whom I've heard is cast as Arthur will do a great job.

JAKE'S WOMEN: Spent a nice evening last night at Brookville Community Theater seeing Jake's Women. As I said before, I have never seen Alex Carmichal on stage before but I did see him audition for The Diviners. I knew from there he's a good actor and he reaffirmed that last night as Jake. I also very much enjoyed Becky Lamb as Jake's sister Karen. This must be about the fourth time I've seen Becky on stage and I have always liked her work. Heather Gorby -- Sheila -- is a young lady I've seen around the theatre community but finally saw perform here, and I much enjoyed her performance. Heather also appears in the Dale Grow short, Coming Up for Air, which I auditioned for the end of last year. I believe Ms. Gorby's in a few films.

The shrink, Edith, was done well by Cheryl Mellen, another lady I have seen around the theatre community but finally saw on stage. The rest of the cast were all ladies new to me: leading lady Elena M. Monigold (Jake's wife Karen), Marissa Phillips (Jake's daughter, Molly, at 12) -- though she did audition the same night that I did for this play, Jodi Cruea (Molly at 21), and Elisabeth Anne Wenzel (Jake's dead wife and Molly's mom, Julie).

LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT REVIEW IN THE DDN: I got to see the whole Dayton Daily News review, by Terry Morris, and it is indeed a good review, much more evenly praising than the Dayton City Paper review was. Well, I experience the show tonight.

GEARING FOR PAPER DOLLS: The callback audition is one week away. So, it's learn-the-pages time.



Sun May 1, 2005
*(Originally posted around noon; slightly revised in the evening)

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LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD: Last night I was in the audience and, once again, it was another fine production at The Guild. To start, the chemistry between all the actors was tangible -- one really believed they were a family overwhelmed by love/hate (or maybe that's "Hate/love"), regret, resentment, envy, and a dark passion.

It was top-rate performances from the cast. Kathleen Cleary gave a wonderful portrayal of the morphine addicted Mary Tyrone, whose moods could abruptly alter by great degrees in an instant. Greg Smith's vulnerable James Tyrone was quite moving to me. His Act III monologue was even more effective than when he read it in auditions; and it was very impressive then (may have even won him the part).

Philip Smyth and Chris Shea were damn fine as, respectively, Edmund Tyrone and Jamie Tyrone (the role I wanted). Amber Brandt was perfect for the role of Cathleen, the Irish servant (and her Dublin accent was right on the money).

Today, I am again the theatre host. This time I'll watch the performance, no longer worried about spoiling my audience experience.

SORDID LIVES -- BACK WITH A VENGENCE!: The show is coming back the second and third week of July 2005. Don't know if I'm going to be Mama or not. I have made it known I would be able to be back and I assume I will be the stage manager if not also Mama. There is an idea floated out there about Mama in each performance, which I don't think I ought share here -- since it is at present, just talk.

THE 2005/06 SEASON AT THE GUILD: I noticed last night that the new season is included on an insert in the LDJIN program; that is certainly an official announcement. So now I'll talk about the shows from next year I have an interest in, as an actor.

First up is Gross Indecency: the Three Trails of Oscar Wilde by Moises Kaufman (Sep 2-18). It can be played with nine actors (and perhaps a creative director could stretch it more). With the possible exception of Queen Victoria, it's an all-male cast. The auditions are July 11 & 12. I started reading it, but things have interrupted me. I am interested as it has looked good so far. Of course, if a miracle happens and I am cast in Paper Dolls there could be a conflict with rehearsals. Again, I go back to that bit about this being the sort of problem I'd be thrilled to have: shooting a professional movie and needing a schedule allowance for the fine stage play I have been cast in.

Lobby Hero by Kenneth Lonergan is next (Oct 14-30). I don't think there's a role for me in this, but, that wouldn't matter anyway because this is the one that has a performance the same day Paul McCartney is in Columbus, Ohio. And so shall I be in Columbus. I might offer up to be the producer for this show -- and do a little better job of it than whatever the heck it was I did for Grace & Glorie.

The third show is Belles by Mark Dunn (Nov 25-Dec 11). This is an all-female cast, so I know I am not in the running for this one. There's no Mama role in this one. Again, unless I am cast in a play at another theatre, I could either produce or otherwise be crew for this.

2006 begins with Jerry Sterner's Other People's Money (Jan 13-29). I haven't read it yet, but have been told there is a role or two I could pull off. This one auditions November 28 & 29.

The next 2006 slot has one I am much interested in: I Never Sang For My Father by Robert Anderson (Mar 3-19). I've read this one and I can really see myself in the role of Gene. We won't discuss that I read this and imagined myself in the role before my critical reassessment of my acting via tapes of my monologues. Yeah, well, auditions are January 16 & 17, and I'm going anyway.

The season ends with Bright Ideas, a dark comedy by Eric Coble (Apr 28-May 14). I havent read it yet, but have had a few folk run it by me and it seems to be a comedy along the lines of To Die For or Mean Girls, in mood if not in plot. Don't have a clue yet if there's a part for me.

OTHER AUDITIONS: I do plan on doing the general audition for the 2005/06 season at The Rising Phoenix, which will be June 18 & 19. I, of course, don't need to worry about an early slot on Saturday June 18 as my only time to be there, since I am not cast in An Act of the imagination.

I've decided to wait until, at least, the Spring 2006 general auditions to try-out for The Human Race Theatre Company. As impatient as I am to push forward, I want to have honed some skill to a proper level for whatever I am trying to do.

Actually, I shift back-and-forth on this acting ability stuff. It may be more that I want to have a better self confidence before I go after an audition at The Race. Yet, I don't seem to feel this trepidation about the Paper Dolls callback. Then, the other thing there is, how often will I get an opportunity to audition for a professional film while living in the Dayton area? The chances do come around, but, not with great regularity. So I just can't walk past the Paper Dolls door rather than walking through it.

I may also be making a bigger deal out of The Race than I ought to. But, I still think I want to have more experience back on stage before I shoot for The Race. Think about it, I've only had two real roles with lines and an active drive to the story line since I've come back: Johnny Pateen in The Cripple of Inishmaan and Godfather Drosselmeier in Nut Cracker. Not that the other two count for nothing, especially the Balladeer in The Diviners. It's a thin layer of new stage experience though, and much less than I'd wished for by this time in my "return."

I am, of course, aware I'm nowhere close to alone in this pining for more roles on stage. There are many fine actors in the area, hell, everywhere, who want more time on stage than they're getting -- not a small minority of them more deserving to be there than me. So, no sense bitching, but, no sense lying about my desires, either.

As for other audition opportunities, I am trying to learn of more information resources and have a few now. There were a couple short student film opportunities I've recently been made aware of. They are Wright State University film school student films. I contacted both producers with queries about more information but neither ever responded. Of course, I'll also start scoping out the rest of the Dayton area theaters for their 05/06 seasons.

THIS'S & THATS:

For the rest of the week, I will concentrate more on the sides for next Saturday's Paper Dolls callback, than anything else. Though there's a good chance my lap top will open at lunch everyday and one document or another dealing with my own movie project will be up, with a heavy probability it'll be the shooting script. I doubt I'll be doing the in bed by 8:00, up at 4:00 routine this week. If I do, that early morning slot will be for Paper Dolls.

My new short story has been neglected the past week or so, but, you know, that's not always a bad thing. When I get back to it, it'll be with a fresh perspective on what has already been done and the potential for where it can go.

Still have to sometime soon secure a reservation for Bruce Cromer in Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival. I also plan to see Bradley Kasch and Lisa Sadai in The Glass Menagerie coming up at Sinclair Community College, along with the other forthcoming productions I have recently mentioned.



Mon, May 2, 2005

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PAPER DOLLS FOR LUNCH: Haven't even pulled the ol' lap top out of its case, yet. Spent most of my lunch hour sitting in my car, doing the start of dramatic reading of the Paper Dolls sides.

The television stays off when I get home, too. Don't know if every lunch time will be script study, but, my evenings will be. And, if not tonight, then tomorrow, that dreaded DV camcorder will be taking its shots at me.

Now that I think about it, tomorrow night I have a Guild board meeting, so the evening rehearsal will be a little short. Hell, I'd even go early and use Guild space, but, An Act of the Imagination is likely in rehearsal. So, to make up for the lost time, I will again have Paper Dolls for lunch tomorrow.



Thu May 5, 2005

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THE PAPER DOLLS callback IS THIS FRIGGIN' SATURDAY!!

I'm gearing up for it. I have not yet video taped myself. I have shied away from that. Will bite the bullet and do so this evening. In fact, save for a likely haircut after work, my evening is all about the three pages of script (yeah, it's three, not the two as I'd earlier stated).

It's not like I'm going to go read for a major role in a big-budget movie. The role is most likely three minutes on screen in an independent movie that probably will not get anything close wide distribution. For a freshman like me, however, this is a pretty big thing. It is a professional screen gig, even if I shouldn't be planning to quit my paycheck job based on the check I'd get if cast.

Bytheway, the haircut is because I had just gotten one only days before the screen test, and I figure a hefty amount of why I was chosen for a callback was the look the director, et al, saw -- so, I ought to go back looking the same.

I also am trying to give my character the same persona as the "Jake" I did for the screen test. Seems Mark Archer saw something like what he had in mind for the doctor.

Some of the language in the script seemed a bit awkward at first, but, now that I am off-book (or "off page") I have been able to smooth it out. There also are two cases of misuse of the word "whom," which I am correcting because it's clearly not Archer's intention to have the doctor misappropriate them. The character description says specifically that the doctor is "well-spoken." Oh, and I'm not going to be stupid or arrogant enough to say, (insert David Lettermen's dumb-guy voice here): "Um, I corrected your grammar in this part." I'm just gonna go in there and be a well-spoken doctor.

IMPATIENCE GIVES ME SECOND THOUGHTS: So I've been going through this:

Jesus, K.L., you're turning forty-seven in less than six weeks. Maybe a guy pushing fifty needs to say, "Screw your self doubt! If you know you CAN be a good enough actor to be on the Race stage, then force yourself to get there. Do the damn audition this year! Stop being a coward, fortheluvapete.

Another part of me says I am being wise to hold off until I've put more time in on stage, cultivated and sharpened my skills.

Who knows.

The calls for the May 16 appointment are accepted starting 10:00 tomorrow morning. 51% chance I won't make the call. I'm sure what I see on tape tonight will influence me greatly, one way or the other.



Fri May 6, 2005

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THE PAPER DOLLS callback IS TOMORROW!!!!

Yes, I taped myself doing the lines from the audition script last night. No, I didn't like what I saw much. It got okay toward the end, but, I really am far too animated. It's a "performance" thing, too. I don't do it near as much when I am not "acting."

I also lack much presence, in my opinion. Maybe I have presence, but it looks different to me than what I expect, so I can't see it.

I've rented my "vehicle" to take the trip. I say it that way because they did not have the economy class car I had reserved, when I showed up; all they had was a 4-wheel drive Dodge Ram. Bytheway, the "under $40" does not include damage insurance. It's still about $75 for the weekend -- not including the King's ransom in gas I'll be shelling out -- which is still less than I had originally expected; the $75, not the gas hog wallet sifting part.

I doubt that I post to the blog while up there. I will be writing to it and an account will be here by sometime Monday, I'd be pretty sure of that.

IMPATIENCE LOST THE BATTLE: Based on my lack of great satisfaction with what I did on tape last night, I have allowed 10 a.m. to come and go, this morning, without making a call to set an appointment for The Human Race Theatre Company 05/06 general auditions; I am passing, this year. I just don't believe I am ready, yet. I'm a little frustrated that I'm not ready, too.



Sun May 8, 2005

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THE PAPER DOLLS callback AUDITION: As I begin this entry, it's Sunday morning, I'm a few minutes out of bed, coffee is on, and the thickness of slumber behind my eyes is promising to dissipate.

Here's a tip: if you are ever on I-70 driving through Columbus, Ohio, don't use the 270 bypass. The theory is that it will save you time and aggravation by allowing you to escape I-70 through the Downtown area. I have never once, that I can remember, experienced 270 as a good idea. Friday night it added an hour to my trip. Granted, it was a traffic jam due to a wreck, but it seems to always be something like that. I did spend the time going over the Paper Dolls lines.

Of course, most of the four-hour trip (well, five, Friday), was spent on the lines. I'd do the lines for a few minutes, then I'd listen to one of the two CD's I brought (1 or the first half of The White Album, both being The Beatles); or I'd listen to the radio; or I'd just be quiet for a while.

I arrived at my friend Denny's, in Leavittsburg, Ohio, a little after 9 p.m. Denny Lawrence, as an aside, is one of my life mentors. He is, in most ways, one of the wisest people I know. He's a classic trouble maker -- meaning that not only is he willing to point out that the emperor has no clothes, he believes it a shirking of public responsibility by anyone who can see that emperor has no clothes yet says nothing. One of the greatest things he ever taught me is that the trial and error of "doing" is far more effective than sitting down and "thinking out" the perfect plan before moving into action. Close to that: "Ninety percent of life is showing up"; and, a quote I have at times tacked onto my email signature: "You don't have to build a mansion to get out of the rain." It seems fitting that I spent the night at his place before I went on my first callback for a professional movie audition. In some ways, Denny can be directly credited with the fact that I am doing all this.

I didn't rehearse the lines at all Friday evening. I visited with Denny, then around midnight or 1 a.m. I went to bed. I did go over the lines in my head before I went to sleep, and quite purposefully, to try and make them what my mind would be centered on during REM sleep. I do know that I more-or-less had dreams related to the audition and the script, but, I have only the vaguest remembrance.

The alarm was set for 8:00, but I woke up at 6:55. So, you know, I just went ahead and got up, got myself ready and dressed in my audition suit: black slacks, as close to a conservative tie as I could find in my collection (loosened a little), white shirt with the top button undone, for the white doctor's coat I used a larger white shirt made of thicker cotton. My shoes were black dress. I was supposed to be a surgeon who just came from the operating room, so technically I'd be in greens or grays, but, I was just going for the idea of dressing as the character, to at least look like a doctor, if not exactly like one who just came out of surgery.

doctor audition suit picture 1 doctor audition suit picture 2
Stills of me, dressed as the doctor, from the Thursday, May 5 rehearsal video.

Denny's property is on a little river -- which I didn't get the name of. I went to the bank and rehearsed the lines for a little while, maybe twenty to thirty minutes or so. There's some business with a handkerchief -- the doctor wiping sweat from his forehead -- and I wanted to get that cued in correctly from the script. I also wanted to directly attack this "over-animation" I take issue with in my performances.

My audition appointment was at 11:40. Allowing for Madison to be an estimated hour from Leavittsburg, and hedging my bet against possible traffic delays or getting lost, I left a little after 9 a.m. I also like to get to auditions early so I can get a little more relaxed in the location and the space, especially when it's a new place to me.

There were no travel hitches and it was probably around a fifty-minute trip. I arrived in Madison just about 10 a.m. It was a lovely drive, too. There's a lot of really lovely forestry in North East Ohio. Pretty much it was all rural, the entire way. And Madison is a small town, probably incorporated as a village, but that's just a guess on my part.

The audition was at the Madison Combined Martial Arts center. I had wondered about why it would be there. The answer is that the establishment is one of several such owned by the co-producer of Paper Dolls, Richard Fike. Fike, as well as a former special agent for the U.S. Department of Defense, is a stunt coordinator and fight choreographer, and has worked in film for seventeen years. A partial credit listing is in the films Out of the Black, A Better Way to Die, The Cut Off, and Best of the Best III. And, obviously, he's a martial arts specialist.

Mark Archer, who is directing and producing the movie (and as I've mentioned, wrote the screenplay) produced the critically acclaimed 1997 independent movie, In the Company of Men, which won a Film Makers Trophy at the Sundance Film Festival.

A few things that I found out from Fike: Paper Dolls is part of a trilogy. Richard (Rick) said that even if Mark does not cast someone he's auditioned for Paper Dolls, he does like to draw from a pool of actors he's seen in the past and had interest in. So he could contact someone later, for another project even if the actor wasn't used in the current one. Archer has other projects on the planning board, too.

There were several young ladies from the Dayton area at the callback. Two of them were sisters who were in the production of Trojan Women I saw in February, Tierney Deaton (Hecuba in TW) and her sister Lauren (Fayruz in TW). Only Tierney was auditioning, Lauren was along as moral support. There was also a young lady named Adrienne, who actually lives rather close to me, and is involved with a Dayton area, interactive dinner theatre troupe. It's a Creek wedding sort of a thing, and I feel like a big ol' doofus because I can't remember the exact name and I use to see casting calls for it all the time. To make me feel like an even goofier doofus, I gave the young lady my card, but, still can't bring the exact name of the production to mind!! There was also another young lady, accompanied by her father, from Dayton, and one who's going to school south east of Dayton at Ohio University -- their names I did not catch.

Madison's a nice little village and I walked around, going over my lines and enjoying the small town ambience. There was a lovely little coffee shop right next to the martial arts center and the brownie cake I ate for breakfast from there was good comfort food.

As for the actual audition. I did the scene with an actor named John Woodruff, who is already cast in the movie. How did I do? Well, I don't feel like it was disastrous, but, I didn't leave feeling like I killed, either. I am, naturally, concerned about this frantic energy thing, and am afraid I did not control it well. Archer did direct me to be a little more deliberate as the doctor and I am not too sure I gave him what he wanted that second time. I guess we will see, either by my being contacted again for another audition or an offer of the role, or, by the lack of any contact -- sending another message, altogether.

One thing I do know is that if cast, it would probably not take up more than six days of my time, and some of that might be over a weekend, so, I am well covered in vacation time if an odd twist of happenstance occurs and Mr. Archer has a different opinion than I about my audition.

Well, here's hoping. What the hell. I may not feel any real sense confidence that I'll get cast. But, by god, I showed up!



Mon, May 9, 2005

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FIRST, A CAR RENTAL EXPERIENCE THAT COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE: Enterprise Car Rental ended up pretty much doing right by me in concerns to the behemoth Dodge Ram they gave me Friday for my drive to Cleveland. I had reserved an economy class car well over a week in advance, and even called the day before I left to confirm the reservation. Well, as in the scene from Seinfeld they seemed to have had a difference of opinion from me about the definition of "reservation," because, as I noted Friday, they did not have an economy class car when I showed up to pick it up. They had a gas thirsty truck.

And it drank a lot of gas between South-West Ohio to North-East Ohio and back. I spent a total of just more than $80 on gas. I had planned on perhaps $35 or so.

I did complain about the disparity today when I dropped Goliath off. They took a day's rental, about $27, off my charge. That's close enough to fair compensation that they have not lost my business. I include this only because you'd better believe I'd post here if they had not attempted to make things right. So, fair is fair.

MUSIC FOR MY MOVIE: First off. Lou Lala and his band of merry players have begun recording two songs especially for my movie. I still will have their whole cannon to chose from, but I like that he's chosen these two with the scenes in mind.

And despite that I have this hankering to write a new song for the closing credits, I have realized that I wrote one about ten to twelve years ago that is perfect. It will be a capella, and there is a heavy probability that I will have a female vocalist in the lead melody position. I even have a particular woman in mind. Like the cast, however, I will not approach her until this production has some wheels on it.

AUDITIONS FOR FUTUREFEST AT THE DAYTON PLAYHOUSE: Every year The Dayton Playhouse hosts a summer production of new plays, which have never been staged before. Some of these will be staged, others will just be done as dramatic readings. Each play gets one performance over the festival weekend.

This year the FutureFest is in July, the weekend right after the Guild revival of Sordid Live's closes. I was asked recently if I was going to audition for FutureFest -- by Saul Caplan, as a matter of fact. My first instinct was that I have an allegiance to Sordid Lives, as the stage manager if not as Mama. But, several folk have pointed out that either role can be easily taken on by someone else. SL director, Greg Smith, thinks there may not even be a big time conflict as The FF plays don't rehearse every night. I would be concerned as the SL stage manager about missing some tech rehearsals. I can't see how that couldn't happen.

Still, I have been urged to "go for it," and so I probably will. And, of course, though I haven't set the appointment, yet, I will do the general audition on June 18 or 19 at The Rising Phoenix.

CAST OF AN ACT OF THE IMAGINATION AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD: Here is the official cast list for AAOTI. I have, in one way or another, worked with most of those cast. I know it will be a wonderful show, despite my absence from the stage.....(!!!!!!) -- and, please do read the good humored intention into the last half of that last sentenced that I mean to be there.

    THE CAST IS:

    Blake Senseman as Arthur Putnam
    Barbara Coriell as Julia Putnam
    Craig Roberts as Simon Putnam
    Jim Lockwood as Det.-Sgt. Fred Burchitt
    Sarah Gomes as Holly Adams
    Wendi Michael as Brenda Simmons
    Teresa Connair as Brooke



Wed May 11, 2005

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STEPHEN KING'S DOLLAR BABY PROGRAM MOVIE AUDITION: Tony Bushman, one of the co-producers (along with Steve Smith) of the short movie based on a Stephen King short story, called about an audition for the movie. This is the one I wrote about in late March and had since written off as a dead end. I am driving to Cincinnati tonight to read and do a screen test.

What the Dollar Baby project is about is that Stephen King sells new film makers the rights to make a movie from one of his short stories for $1 and a copy of the finished film. Here are links to a couple pages with unofficial information:

SHOOTING SCRIPT FOR MY MOVIE: I am actually making good progress though it does not seem so. Of the twenty-two scenes I only am in Scene Five -- and I'm already at Shot Setup# 54. Though I'm not done with Scene Five, I seem to be averaging ten to fifteen shots per scene. I don't know if that's a norm or not, but, I can see how it makes for a long day for a few minutes of action in the finished product. It may be that I'll need to simplify later. Right now I'm going to include all the shots I want. When I get my DP, he or she will have an idea or two on the situation. At this rate I am looking at two-hundred to three-hundred shots for the whole thing.

PLAYS PLAYS AND MORE PLAYS: Tomorrow I see The Glass Menagerie, with Bradley Kasch and Lisa Sadai in the cast at Sinclair Community College. Saturday it's Godspell at The Dayton Playhouse. Sunday, May 22 I'll get to see Blithe Spirit for free at Rising Phoenix as I will usher there. Probably sometime else that weekend I'll see Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe at Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival. And Sometime this month I ought to squeeze Cabaret, at Wright State University, in.



Thu May 12, 2005

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LAST NIGHT'S AUDITION FOR THE "STEPHEN KING'S DOLLAR BABY" MOVIE: Drove down to Cincinnati to meet with Steve Smith and Tony Bushman, co-producers of the short movie based on Stephen King's short story, "Nona." Couple nice fellows, whom I hope have a great success with the film, with or without casting me. Were I to be cast it would clearly be in only one scene -- (being that it's a Stephen King story, it may not be too difficult to figure out how I am sure it's only the one scene).

"Were you brilliant?" you ask.

Ehh! Who knows. Well, actually, I was not brilliant. Once again it certainly wasn't a train wreck, but, we'll see if the two gentlemen were greatly impressed or not.

SOMETHING TOTALLY UNRELATED TO MY ARTISTIC VENTURES: I have, on several occasions, mentioned an old high school friend, Jim Rittenhouse, AKA Alfie Doolittle in the 1974 Wilbur Wright High School production of My Fair Lady. Jim and his wife, Susan, adopted a young Chinese girl, whom they named Meredith. Without getting into the great details of the story, it became known that Meredith had a paternal twin sister, whom was also adopted by Americans. The sister was also named by her parents: Meredith. The newly released June 2005 issue of Good Housekeeping, with Goldie Hawn on the front cover, has a feature article about the two Meredith's and their families. I met Meredith Rittenhouse several weeks ago. She's a lovely, precocious little girl. Check out Jim's web page (www.marmotgraphics.com/jim/) for all the details of the fascinating story, which I think is ripe material for a cable movie on the likes of Lifetime or The Hallmark Channel, or some such.

*(ADDED LATER IN THE DAY)
ANOTHER FULL-LENGTH FEATURE OPPORTUNITY: Just saw at the web site for my own Dayton Theatre Guild, a casting call for psychological thriller, The Monsterís Mind, which will shoot "in and around the Miami Valley area from mid-July to early August." I have sent a query for info.



Sat May 14, 2005

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THE GLASS MENAGERIE AT SINCLAIR COMMUNITY COLLEGE THIS PAST THURSDAY: As I sat looking at the program I realized I know, to one extent or another, three of the four cast members. Lisa Sadai (the mother, Amanda) is, as I've said, another member of the board at Dayton Theatre Guild; Bradley Kasch (the son, Tom) was Buddy in the Guild production of The Diviners. I met Elizabeth Wilemaitis (the daughter, Laura) through Bradley and Travis Williams (The Diviners), as the three went to high school together. Elizabeth also auditioned for The Diviners, and though she wasn't cast, I know that decision must have been based on other than her abilities, because I remember she did a good audition.

This was the first time I've had the privilege of seeing Lisa act; there was the stage direction narratives at the recent reading of one acts, but that's a different animal. I must say I was impressed -- she is a fine actor. Bradley, once again delivered a good performance. This is the second time I have seen Elizabeth on stage. The first time she had a few opportunities to shine as Nadira in the chorus of Trojan Women, and did; this time she had plenty of chance to shine and did so effectively. The scene between her (Laura) and fourth cast member Chaney M. Morrow (the gentleman caller, Jim) is executed perfectly between the two young actors with a lot of electricity and sexual tension. The pregnant silence just before Jim kisses Laura was magic. I guess you can tell I liked Chaney's work, too.

The play was directed by local actor Brian McKnight, whom I have seen on stage once, with Natasha Randall in Crimes of the Heart. He's a good actor and clearly a good director. Plus he's a major Beatles fan which spots him 60 out of 100 points before all other things are considered.

One of elements of the production which I assume is to Brian's credit, is that Laura had no perceptible limp or other manifestations of something to make her "crippled," despite that it is mentioned frequently. The idea I get from this can be either that her crippledness, if you will, is only a definition created by the crippling machinery of this sad family -- or that, being that the story is remembrance by an older Tom, he has edited out the physical manifestations. Either way, it is an interesting touch.

As already stated in an earlier entry, tonight it's Godspell at The Dayton Playhouse.

AUDITIONS FOR THE FULL-LENGTH FEATURE, PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER, THE MONSTERíS MIND: I've been in contact with the director, Brett Hatten and he's sent me a copy of the side between the two male leads. I have an interest in one of those characters. There may be problems that prevent me from even auditioning for that role, however. There certainly may be reason for Mr. Hatten to not consider me. It's the shooting schedule.

Principal photography will be three weeks starting in mid July. Though he told me via email he does think anyone will be needed for more than twelve shooting days (each week being six days for a total of eighteen days). If he is shooting during the day on week days -- which is relatively likely -- I could not commit to a big role in the movie simply because I would not have enough vacation time from work. Plus, I really want to have some banked for the possible miracle that I get cast in Paper Dolls and need perhaps as much as few days in early September.

Hatten and I have not had the conversation about this yet, My hope is that he will tell me there are a lot of late afternoon and/or evening shoots. I can likely bring off half or partial vacation days, with an occasional whole day off. I will try again for a phone call today, to see where his temperature is on this.

I am not trying to be arrogant enough to think somehow I am a given in this lead role I have an eye on. It's more the idea I think I must have that: 1) don't expect to be cast -- but -- 2) look ahead at the landscape if you are cast; what needs to give in other areas, including other potential productions?

At this point I have not decided to not audition for the role. There, too, are other roles in the movie which may demand less of my schedule. I can't, however, abandon the opportunity to go after a lead role in a full-length feature, even if it is a low budget production. If there's a way to get this done, I want to find it.

The other side of that is, I can't walk away from Mark Archer's Paper Dolls project, either, despite that I would only have a few minutes screen time. This project has the potential of a big franchise with a major studio eventually behind it. And Archer is developing a television show. I can't afford to miss a chance to be on his radar. I suppose I already am to a certain degree. I'd still like to work with him just so I am a bigger blip on his screen.

Thing is, in a manner that I doubt is rare for many an actor, I want my cake and eat it too. I'd like to be involved in both these projects. And I'd love to at least feel like I have a shot at the lead role in Hatten's project.

I have a copy of the novella, The Monster's Mind, by A.J. Conley, on its way to me. I will research this regardless of whether I am going for the big role or not.



Sun May 15, 2005

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GODSPELL LAST NIGHT AT THE DAYTON PLAYHOUSE: Had an enjoyable evening last night with a fun production of Godspell directed superbly by Cherie Cooper Darragh (the lady who impressed me with her voice at the one act readings). It was a well performed, energetic show with lots of up-to-date pop culture reference sprinkled in, excellent choreography by John-Michael Lander, and good musical direction from Timothy Larrick.

It was a fine ensemble cast. Roger Watson, whom I've worked with once (in Sordid Lives) did a strong vocal as John the Baptist on "Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord." Out of a crowd of fine performances I was most impressed by James Roselli, who came relatively close to stealing the show, mostly with his versatile comic timing and antics. Stacy Emoff (Sordid Lives, again) gave her strong vocals to her "Stacy," who was really the Mary Magdalene character. And she had some wonderful comic moments. Gina L. Beck had her own musical moments with her soprano voice, as "Gina."

The adept cast of this entertaining musical is finished out with the talents of Tom Richard (Jesus), Stan Cole (Judas), Rachel Hering ("Rachel"), Cerelia Bizzell ("CB"), Kip Moore ("Kip"), and Nathan Weber ("Nathan"). The band was musical director Tom Larrick on keyboard, Chris Robinson (guitar), Abby Williams (bass), and Jerry Francis (drums).

By-the-way, Bruce Brown (on the board at The Dayton Theatre Guild) designed the really cool set that represents a section of Dayton known as The Oregon District -- a little strip close to downtown with bars, restaurants and shops. It's a happening spot on the weekends, especially in warmer weather.

CATCHING UP ON MISSED BUSINESS: I really didn't directly complement Saul Caplan's job as director of Jake's Women and feel that is an oversight on my part, because I think he did a great job. That goes for Mike Boyd's direction of Long Day's Journey Into Night, too. So, hats off to both.



Mon, May 16, 2005

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TRYING TO WORK OUT AUDITIONING FOR THE FULL-LENGTH FEATURE INDY THE MONSTER'S MIND: I have been in contact with the director, Brett Hatten, and have shared my dilemma.

I am looking hard at ways I can commit to the production schedule in a way that makes it not a waste of Hatten's time to even read me for the lead role I have my eye on. The issue is having enough vacation time to cover principal photography. And it's difficult -- nearly impossible -- to get time off without pay from my employer. As I've said before, it's not that I am assuming I am some kind of lock for that part, I just don't see sense in reading the role if I can not commit if cast. But, clearly I will go for him if I can.

The three weeks of production I previously mentioned will be eighteen production days (three six-day weeks). I suspected the shooting would be during the day time. My last email from Hatten confirms that.

My last hopes have to do with exact scheduling. First item is when morning call will be. If it is late enough, I can drop into work and give them some time then take vacation leave the rest of the day. If the call is late morning (say 10-11 a.m.) I can go into the office at 7 a.m. (which is my start time anyway) and work for two to three hours then come to the set.

Second, of course, is that weekend shoots are not a problem, whatsoever. In fact if the production week happens to be Saturday through Thursday (or something that has Sat/Sun as two of the six days), that can make it possible even with early morning calls, because I can do up to around thirty hours of vacation each week. And, Hatten has said even the principals will not be needed for more than twelve shooting days.

If there are both late morning calls and Sat/Sun in the mix, that's even better. But if either is there, I can likely commit. If neither of those are in the cards, I may still read for a supporting role that would take less shooting time -- say five to six total days.

Brett has emailed me back and said I should go ahead and audition and see what happens. I have ordered a copy of A.J. Conley's novella and should have it tomorrow. Thus, I can not only have a grip on the character I have my eye on, I can have a decent idea of the supporting roles, if I need such.



Wed May 18, 2005

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"THEATRE KARAOKE" THIS FRIDAY EVENING IN DOWNTOWN DAYTON: This Friday Dayton (Ohio) is having an "Urban Nights" event. The Guild is participating.

Now the rest of this text was originally composed by Dodie Lockwood (actor and the fund raising chair for the Guild's board). I have modified it only slightly, to suit the needs of the blog:

    The event is a self-guided tour of downtown art galleries, condoís and apartments. Restaurants will be open and entertainment will be scattered throughout the downtown area.

    The Dayton Theatre Guild has agreed to provide entertainment -- "THEATRE KARAOKE" -- at the old Courthouse at Third & Main, which has just been newly restored. The Courthouse will be open for tours. We will be out front, weather permitting, or inside if necessary.

    We will be reading from the 2005/06 seasonís scripts and will take turns reading selected scenes (similar to auditions, but no pressure). We'll rotate the scripts with each reading. This will be pretty casual and we will also invite passers-by to join in the fun.

    There is plenty of room for lawn chairs off to each side of the front steps of the Courthouse, so bring a chair if you have one handy.

If you live close enough to Dayton area, are an actor or have been yearning to try, stop by. "THEATRE KARAOKE" will be this Friday, 5:00-10:00 at Courthouse Square in Downtown Dayton. I'll be there about 6:30 or 7:00. Love to meet some of the WG or K.L.'s Blog visitors. You don't have to join in the readings if you don't want. But, come watch the event. You can even travel a long distance if you are so inclined.

WHY I LOVE PROJECT GREENLIGHT. PART 1: If you don't know what Project Greenlight is, check out the official web site: projectgreenlight.liveplanet.com. But in a nutshell, it's a contest put together by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck to help other hopeful film makers (screen writers and directors) get through the eye of the needle and have a chance at the brass ring of making a full-length feature film. There have been three seasons (the first two on HBO I believe, the third on the Bravo cable channel): Three seasons, three films.

I saw marathon reruns of Season 1, which features the movie Stolen Summer, written and directed by Pete Jones. It features Aidan Quinn, Bonnie Hunt, Kevin Pollak, Brian Dennehy, Eddie Kaye Thomas, & Mike Weinberg, and introduces the young actor, Adiel Stein in the principal role of Pete O'Malley.

The second season, which I have not seen, featured the movie The Battle of Shaker Heights, which takes place and was shot in Cleveland, Ohio -- you know, where I just was close to in hopes of winning a role in a movie?

The third, which I have been following, but, am a few episodes behind on, just ended its season. This time it's a horror flick, Feast, written by Patrick Melton & Marcus Dunstan and directed by John Gulager.

Although, there can be no question that a part of the documentary aspect of watching these films being made is manufactured for the Project Greenlight TV show, it is still a good peak inside the making of a movie. Now, as I limp toward the eventual production of mine, there are a lot of things about even these small budget movies that are far more sophisticated than my production will be (I'm not likely to have a second-second AD -- or even a second AD for that matter). Still, there's a lot to watch and learn from.

In no particular order the glaring lessons for the director I have seen are:

  • when scouting locations take sight, sound, weather conditions, possible bad times of day (people congestion mostly) into account
  • make sure the company (actors and crew) know what is coming up in production
  • rehearse your scenes/shots with all production people, who need to know what the scene is, there to watch -- this gives everyone a chance to ask questions, including your actors
  • be sure there is a back-up plan for shooting, in case something stops you from shooting what you intended -- especially true for outdoor locations where the weather may end up contrary to what you need
  • be a good communicator and set a good tone (read: "attitude") for the company to see and follow
  • in conjunction with communicate and organize: hash out as much as you can in production meetings beforehand
  • make sure you have a table read of the script with the whole cast and all relevant production people -- I already knew and planned this, but, an event occurred for the Feast movie that prevented their scheduled read through and it hurt their subsequent shooting; so that drove the point for me
  • make sure everyone knows your vision and be willing to listen to input from cast and crew -- you may at times hear a way to achieve your vision that you hadn't thought of

There's more, I know, but, lunch hour is almost up and I wanna wrap this entry. I'll come back to this.



Fri May 20, 2005

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REMINDER ABOUT "THEATRE KARAOKE" THIS EVENING IN DOWNTOWN DAYTON: Just a reminder about the mock auditions the The Dayton Theatre Guild is hosting tonight as part of Dayton, Ohio's "Urban Nights." *(see previous, May 18 entry)

THE MONSTER'S MIND SCRIPT & NOVELLA: Director Brett Hatten has sent me a bit more of the script. I also received A.J. Conley's novella yesterday and read it. Between the two pieces of writing, I guess I have no excuse to not have some idea what I'm doing at Monday's audition.

PLAYS THIS WEEKEND: Tomorrow night I see Bruce Cromer in Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe at Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival. Sunday it's Blithe Spirit, as I've said before, for free at Rising Phoenix, since I will usher the show. Hey, these ticket prices add up! Gotta take a free show when I can get it.

A "BY-THE-WAY" SORT OF A THING: If you read the entry about my Paper Dolls callback, you saw that I was up in Madison, Ohio with a few young ladies from the Dayton area. The one, Adrienne, who lives close to me, who is involved with that local Greek wedding dinner theatre thing I can't exactly remember the name of....? Turns out I know her dad. He's a fellow writer, Jimmy Chesire, who's had one novel published (Home Boy), and is, as I am, seeking an agent for his next. Jimmy and I had some writing seminars together. And we have shared a few pretty cool times together. I thought when I met Adrienne up at the callback that I'd seen her before. We could not pinpoint it and decided it was just around on the street. I am sure now it was at an authors' reading where her dad was one of those featured.



Sun May 22, 2005

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BRUCE CROMER IN WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOLFE AT CINCINNATI SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL: Now I have had the privilege of seeing Bruce on stage twice, and if I were a little less mature (not that I am too much so) I might hate him in a rage of silly jealousy. His George in this play was superb. The pain, anger and frustration of George, which often came out in acidic humor was played with a delicate balance off of the wounded love and self-disappointment. Bruce would, on occasion give us little glimpses of the latter, just about at the point where the mean-spirited side had made it all but impossible to have any sympathy for George.

Bruce was paired up with the equally accomplished performance of Amy Warner as Martha. Amy's Martha was the bitter lush Albee had written, with the eventual self-loathing and truly deep-seeded love for George (which causes her through her self-hate to despise him for loving her) seeping out through her drunken confessions.

The chemistry between the two actors was fascinating to experience.

This was also the second time I've seen Corinne Mohlenhoff (Honey, here in Wolfe). She was Babe in Crimes if the Heart when I went to see Natasha Randall's performance last Winter. Here's a nice note about Corinne: After the show, as I complemented her on her performances both in Wolfe and Crimes, I stated I had seen her in the latter the night that Tosha was on stage "as babe" (which was Corinne's role) rather than as Meg (which is who Tosha played). Ms. Mohlenhoff was gracious enough to do nothing to correct me. It wasn't until I got home that I finally realized my mistake. Not really a big thing, but impressive to me none-the-less. I will say that she played the young, relatively naive, and tipsy Honey with savvy.

I also liked Matt Johnson as the slighty uptight Nick, with his youthful delusions of grandeur and his own version of naivete that equals his wife, Honey's.

Of course, today it's Blithe Spirit, as I've said before, for free at Rising Phoenix. Unless, I decide my car can't make it. Got the "Service engine soon" light on my way back home from Cincy last night. The Phoenix is a good forty miles from me. I may decide not to risk the drive until I have done what my dash board advises. Hate to do that, as I am supposed to usher, but, not much interested in being broke down on the highway: I do not have a cell phone and my AAA membership is long expired.

"THEATRE KARAOKE" LAST FRIDAY EVENING IN DOWNTOWN DAYTON: Though it certainly was not a failure, it was not a fantastic success either. We all read well, etc, but we did not get a lot of traffic into the part of the courthouse where we were. Got some, and they seemed to enjoy it. Even got a few audience members to read.

I also erred in saying it was 5:00-10:00; it was really until 9:00.l But, we packed it in at 8:45.

PREP FOR THE MONSTER'S MIND AUDITION: I will spend the evening, after I return from Blithe Spirit on the side I have for tomorrow's audition. Unless I have decided I can't risk the trip to Middletown for the show. Then, I'll spend more time on the side. I am about to walk out the door to attempt the trip, with my eye on the dash for the warning. If it pops on, I am most likely to turn around. Hate doing that to the Rising Phoenix people at the last minute, but if I must I must. And damned if it hasn't starting raining!



Mon, May 23, 2005

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BLITHE SPIRIT AT RISING PHOENIX YESTERDAY: Saw the closing show. Lots of energy from the young cast. The most impressive thing was that Jared Lefevre came in at the last minute to take over the lead role of Charles for the closing weekend. He had less than a week to learn the lines and then -- I assume -- be involved in special, emergency rehearsals. One could not tell from his performance yesterday. He did quite well. I've seen Jared on stage as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird last fall at Wright State, then later in a supporting role in Tartuffe. Good actor.

Must be obvious my car did not die as I was afraid it might.

THE MONSTER'S MIND AUDITION THIS EVENING: So much going on I really haven't given the sides for tonight's audition the attention I would like. Did go over them a bit last night; then, I got up early this morning and spent a couple hours on them. Will attend to it at lunch then after work.

The audition is in the Creative Arts Center building here on campus. That one I write of at the start of this blog -- the one which used to taunt me. I get off work at 3:30. The auditions are at 5:00. It's a five minute walk from my desk in the library.

A nice aside: Came home yesterday to an email from A.J. Conley, the author of the novella the screenplay is based on. She had found me through Google while looking for mentions of the movie project. As co-producer of the movie, she will be there at the audition. She sent me nice note and complemented the WriteGallery site proper.



Tue, May 24, 2005

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THE MONSTER'S MIND AUDITION YESTERDAY: I have decided to focus on how I feel about my auditions rather than how I think I performed. Probably reasonably close to the same thing, in a manner of speaking, but at least I have a better chance of judging my emotional reaction to an audition experience than intellectually assessing the merits of my performance.

I am happy with my audition for The Monster's Mind; I did the character I believe is in the script. I don't know if it is the same one the director, Brett Hatten, and the author of the novella, A.J. Conley, see in the script, but, well, there ya are. We will see.

I may be able to work out something with my employer if I am given a chance at this lead role. The nature of my job does not dictate that I need to be there on a week day. I could work on a Saturday or Sunday without it interfering with my duties. Brett told me the first week of production will be Sunday through Friday with the first Saturday off. But the schedule does juggle around a bit. At any rate, I am going to propose to the powers that be that I be able to work some weekend days if offered this role. I can get 10 hours in or more, if they let me. I'd have no days off during the production, but, come on: small price to pay.

Not sure I have a clue how receptive my employers will be to this. Nevertheless, If that's going to end up being the big obstacle to keep me from being cast in this lead role, then, what excuse do I have to not try?

Might be a moot point; could be other things that keep me from the role, such as I do not fit the vision of the film makers -- but let's not go there.

A GOOD OPINION OF MY ACTING: The weekend before last, I helped with set construction for An Act of the Imagination at the Guild. Got what I consider to be an important vote of confidence regarding my acting ability from Greg Smith, who designed the set, and is, (for the information of those of you not inside this local theatre community), very respected and admired locally. Greg recently had happenstance to read some portion of this blog -- one of the several places where I discuss my dismay, due to my personal judgement of the progress of my acting skills. Greg told me he finds me to be a good actor. That means something to me. First of all, Greg Smith's opinion on such things is one to pay attention to. Second, he is not going to offer up insincere praise. If he did not believe I was a good actor, he would not say it. At the time, I thanked him, rather nonchalantly. I think I will be a little more direct in my appreciation of his encouragement. He is the one, after all, who cast me as Johnny Pateen, which got me off to a running start. Well, tonight is our Guild board meeting.

FUTUREFEST AT THE DAYTON PLAYHOUSE: Auditions also began last night for FutureFest at the Playhouse. They go through this Thursday. The Monster's Mind causes potential conflict with my involvement with Futurefest, however. Film production would be the same time as any rehearsals for the theatre production. And the casting for FF will come before the casting for the movie. So, I am now back to not auditioning for FF this year. Likely next, though. Sordid Lives will be counted out, too, if I am cast in the movie -- unless it's a small movie role.

ALL THEM OTHER PROJECTS: Everything else has not been attended to in the last several days. Have not worked on the shooting script for a few days; never have finished shooting location scout footage on campus; have done very little to look for a co-producer (not completely sure it's time for that); have not worked on the new short story. Also, most of the last batch of query letters to literary agents, for my finished first novel, have all been answered with the infamous "Thanks, but...." So, just about time to send another batch out.



Thu May 26, 2005

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ARRANGEMENTS WITH MY EMPLOYER IF I AM CAST AS THE LEAD IN THE MONSTER'S MIND: Yesterday I formally requested an arrangement in the event that I would be offered the lead role. I sent an email to my immediate boss, her boss, and then his boss, who is an associate librarian on campus.

As of lunch break today, there has yet to be a response, except from my immediate boss, who believes it is not likely to be a problem (with, of course, some caution in that hopefulness).

Too bad the Ohio Lottery picked the wrong numbers last night.

OH WHEN OH WHEN WILL MY MOVIE GET MADE
OH WHEN OH WHEN WILL THAT BE?

I pretty much want to shoot my own movie project in warm weather. I am not seeing this summer as a possibility. I can not conceive I'll have money raised in time. And, if all goes as I wish, in terms of my own acting in other movies, there's too short a window (mid August-ish) for actual production of mine. Looks like Spring/Summer '06. Which means Sundance 2007 at the earliest.

! ! ! ! !

Oh well.



Mon, May 30, 2005

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CABARET AT WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY: The performance I saw Friday night was marvelous. Both the vocals and choreography were strong (with musical direction by John Faas and the choreographer being Teressa Wylie McWilliams). This production, directed by Stuart McDowell, did not shy away from the kinky sexuality of the seedy Kit Kat Club in the presently Nazi Berlin.

Stephen Joshua Thompson was spot-on wonderful as Emcee: campy, kinky, mischievous, with just that slightest hint of his Nazi malevolence peeking through, then as the show progressed, acting as the foreboding yardstick of the doom in the air. Thompson played it well.

All of the vocal performances were good. Stephanie Thompson (no apparent relation to Stephen), as Sally Bowles, was particularly impressive with her work on "Mein Herr." It was her finest moment on stage that night.

I will admit, I had a bad seat: front row, all the way to stage right. It's not a good place to get the full effect of all the choreography. Still, I found the dancers, especially the Kit Kat girls and boys, enjoyable. Ms. McWilliams designed some really nice movements. There was also a nice, slow-motion fight scene choreographed by that Bruce Cromer fellow -- part of a motif of several slow-motion moments in the show, including a portion of the poignant ending. Right before lights down, parts of the stage fell apart and the back wall became a large swastika. It was effective.

BIG LENS FILM FESTIVAL: Last night I went to The Neon Movies, a little movie house in Downtown Dayton, which features the little releases and such (the smaller independent movies, documentaries, etc) to see a film festival featuring five short movies by Wright State University film majors.

The first film, Reconstructing Beecher (directed by Hannah Beachler), a purposefully disjointed work, had a familiar face in it: John Michael Lander played the husband/father.

None of the films were bad, but, I'd say I liked the dramatic film Nicked (writer/director: Sherman Payne) and the documentary Saving Jackie (director Selena A. Burks) the best. The former is a subtly effective look at racism and the latter is very personal look at the director's, and her sister's relationship with their crack-addicted mother and her eventual recovery from her addiction.

Also featured was Jill Malusky's documentary Farm and Family. Also autobiographical, it looks at Jill's and her sister's rearing on their parents farm, as well as the parents' struggle as farmers. It balances the almost financial futility of the farm life with the benefits of growing up in the life style. In terms of Men is directed by Scott Bowers. As the printed program says, it "is an abstract [look at] memories of youth, [that] takes place in a small boxing gym.... Through boxing, the young men [being trained] learn about life."

ADDING MORE TO MY SCREENPLAY?: Well, I have had feedback from someone else on the screenplay. Greg Smith has read the latest incarnation, the one with the expanded scene and the added one. He liked it. But, he had the same question a couple other people have posed.

I have written the male lead as a Scotsman transplanted to the United States. Greg and a couple others, including actor Goeff Burkman, wonder what the significance of his being Scottish is. The real answer is that I want to do the accent, even though it won't be a heavy one. However, I know that some people have a tendency to need such particulars as his national origin to have a strong reasoning in the story. I am not one of those. I usually accept such elements of a book, short story, play, movie, whatever, as a part of the universe I have been brought into. As long as everything is a plausible part of the world I am watching, I don't need an explanation. To me it's the same as whether or not he has brown hair or a moustache -- unless there is reason he should not, I see no problem or need to explain it. But, many do need an explanation, and as a storyteller (writer or director) I need to be aware of this.

Not that I think I necessarily must explain such. But, I do need to decide whether or not I wish it explained. Honestly, too, if someone's big criticism of the movie is that he or she wasn't sure why the main male character is Scottish, well, that's pretty minor, and I can live with it.

However, I can address the Scotland aspect in a new scene, one I had originally thought about but did not write. Mostly I was thinking in terms of production when I elected to not put it in. I didn't want to have to scout the location or possibly pay for it (or create it, which would cost bucks). Plus, it being a restaurant, I was trying to avoid even more extra actors. Can't use the same ones as in other scenes. That works on stage, but not in a movie. In a movie, different people need to be different actors.

Another point Greg made, which duplicates Tosha Randall's thought, is that it seems to him the screenplay represents about a fifteen to twenty minute movie. So, I did another timed reading this morning where I physically acted out the actions of the script. There were some time differences in some scenes, but never more than thirty seconds, and usually closer to about ten seconds one way or the other.

With the new material I timed it at 28:45. The new scene I am contemplating would likely add about another two minutes. My take is that each sentence of direction usually represents action that will take more time to execute than it may be imagined; certainly it will take longer to do than it does to read. And remember, today I not only allowed for the action to be "seen" in my head, I did each action in real time. So I am sure my count of the time is pretty accurate. And I possibly spoke some dialogue a bit faster than it ought to be -- the correct speed making the movie even longer by perhaps a minute or two.

Well, with the recent resignation to the fact that this thing ain't going into production earlier than Spring 2006, I can easily add the scene. Since I am also aspiring to a bigger budget, maybe even as much as $15,000, or more, the thought of one more set (whether it's a created one or another scouted location) and more extra actors to pay (even if it's just token payment) is tenable.

WHY I LOVE PROJECT GREENLIGHT. PART 2:

  • Chris Moore -- The no-nonsense, take-no-prisoners partner of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in this venture. Moore is interesting to watch as he shows up on the sets of the Project Greenlight movies. He's charming yet intimidating as hell. When he starts a sentence with, "What I want to know is...," everyone there flinches, because they are about to be confronted for some incompetence of one sort or another, and they know it. Confident and straight shooting, when Chris is happy with you, he let's you know; when Chris is not happy with you -- he let's you know. And he's fun to watch, with that winsome southern grin of his and those twinkling eyes.
  • It's such drama and satisfaction watching a group of creative people fight it out with each other but end up deeply committed to the cause and ultimately bonded together by Wrap -- least that's the way the show makes it look and I choose to buy it.

    Go ahead, call me a silly romantic; I don't care.

  • The two seasons I have seen (One and Three) have proven that as long as you are creative and have a vision, you don't have to know everything so long as you have the help of folk who are expert in the areas you are not. And between you and them, you can do something very damn good.

There's still more I'll likely think of later, so there might be a Part 3 coming.



Wed June 1, 2005

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THEM MOVIE AUDITIONS: I have heard back on none of the three movies recently auditioned for. I suspect I would have by now on one particular movie, but, that is only suspicion. But we will talk of them in order of audition.

  1. Paper Dolls: Who knows on this count. The production is slated to start the last weekend of August, which probably means, as I've written here before, I would not be offered the part until early August. If I am not cast, my guess is that the production date will come and go with no word from the producers.

    Like I have said, the real bummer about this is that I really would like to audition for the first play up at The Dayton Theatre Guild for the 2005/06 season, Gross Indecency: The three trails of Oscar Wilde. That auditions July 11 & 12. But, it goes up Friday September 2, which means that Tech Sunday will be the same weekend that production of Paper Dolls begins, and that week will be the tech rehearsal week for the play. I can't audition in July, possibly be cast in the play, then later get offered a role in the movie (on some slim miracle of happenstance). I will not turn down the Paper Dolls role if cast and I refuse to drop out of one project because of another I like better -- unless it was a "This wonderful opportunity was just dropped in my lap!" sort of a situation. But I am going to have more class than to audition for the play knowing full well that there is a chance (even if small) that I may need to leave the show. There is that I might know about the movie a few weeks before Gross... opens, which allows for any role I might have in it to be recast -- especially if I was not cast in a significantly big part. Still, the play director, Michael Boyd, and the rest of the cast deserves better. And the movie producers might wait until almost the eleventh hour to offer that role.

    So I am passing on a project I'd like to be involved with because of the gamble that I'll get to be involved in another one that edges the first out by a few inches.

    I won't have another chance to be on the Guild stage until Other People's Money in January of 2006. Though I do believe I am the staff producer for the show right before that, Belles, which Greg Smith is directing.

  2. Nona: This "Stephen King Dollar Baby" is already in sporadic production, due to the leading lady's college class schedule, and the scene I auditioned for is supposed to be shot sometime between June 6 & 12. I pretty much figure I would have been offered the role already, were I to be. But, then again, I had pretty much written this one off right before I was called for the screen test -- just as I'd written off Paper Dolls right before the callback.
  3. The Monster's Mind: Lessons in Don't-Be-Too-Quick-To-Assume.

    I emailed director Brett Hatten yesterday morning to say I was negotiating for enough time off to fully commit to the movie production schedule. (Which, by-the-way, I have just this day received word is okayed by the University Librarian). Brett's reply to my email was to ask me to return for the second night of auditions, last night, to read another role; to read a much smaller role.

    My response to that began with, "I'll have to interpret your reply (request for tonight) as meaning I am not in the running for [the lead], and that this schedule arrangement I am negotiating at work is a moot point." I went on to say, "I hope you understand that if this likely interpretation is the accurate one it is not a turn of events I am incredibly enthused about. However I will read for the other part."

    As it turns out, he just had not had anyone read that role and he wasn't sure how it played out. He asked me in to read it because, with the auditions being on campus, he figured I was an accessible resource.

    IE: I am still in the running and both he and the co-producer, A.J. Conley (author of the novella) at least liked my reading last week and have not counted me out.

THEATRE AUDITIONS: If you've been following my recent entries you know I had tentative plans to audition for FutureFest at The Dayton Playhouse. Because of the potential schedule conflict with The Monster's Mind, I skipped this year. I will do a general audition for The Rising Phoenix, on June 18, for the 2005/06 season. I am not sure if I will bother singing, mostly because there does not seem to be any musical in the new season I have an interest in. If you've read much of this blog you know I am not excited about performing in most musicals.

It is, too, time to start looking at the playbill for all the Dayton area theatres to see what piques my interest for this coming season.



Sat June 4, 2005

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VIOLET AT WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY: I saw this musical last night at the Herbst theatre, which is the black box theatre in that infamous CAC building. The Herbst being the same venue where I Saw Uncle Vanya several weeks back. I liked all the acting in Violet and most all of the vocal performances, though I was not hot on a lot of the actual musical composition.

Julie Langan was in the lead role and I think this young woman is a very fine actor. She has a presence that draws attention. I hope she acts for the camera because she has a lovely ability to act with her eyes. I praised Ms. Langan here about a year ago for her excellent portrayal of Squeaky Fromme in the Way Off Broadway production of Assassins. Without singling anybody else out from the Violet cast, I will say that I found all their work to be quite good.

As per usual, there were also a few familiar faces in the audience. I happen to run into Natasha Randall and Bob Garvin (who wrote that one act, Choices -- from the April entries), and they invited me to sit with them. I also saw Cynthia Karns, Becky Lamb and Adam Leigh, among a few others. Pretty much always the case: I see other actors and directors whom I've either worked with or am looking forward to eventually working with, at just about any theatre production in the Dayton area I attend.

Here's another interesting thing pointed out to me by Tosha. The lady who played Sally Bowles in Cabaret, Stephanie Thompson, also was the young Scout in the production of To Kill a Mockingbird that I saw on campus last fall. I am now far more impressed with her talent. I did not make the connection at all. It had been a while; still, the transformation was so complete between the two performances that it might as well have been a different actor. An astounding feat.



Mon, June 6, 2005

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ADDING TO MY MOVIE PROJECT SCREENPLAY: I have begun one of what I think will be two added scenes to the screenplay. This one, as I wrote earlier, takes place in a restaurant. The other will likely be an exterior, (probably not of the restaurant) later the same evening: more dialogue by the same two characters to help with other aspects of the script.

The interesting thing here has so far been to keep the dialogue between these two characters focused, without that focus being in yer face. The scene is, obviously, a dinner engagement, so there has to be at least the feel of some "small talk" involved. That needs to be sparse though. There should only be enough true "small talk" to help set the tone -- which in a screenplay (or a stage play, for that matter) means precious little. Every word uttered on screen has to advance the story. This sprinkling of small talk, serves that purpose by letting the audience see the characters' moods and the mood of the scene. But, just a smidgen too much and that purpose is no longer served; at that point there is mud in the script. It's the same in any fiction writing format, really.

What's actually better is to use some key point about a character as fodder for small talk: something you want the audience to know about a character or a story point.

           FRED
I've always loved the taste of hamburger. It reminds me of the back yard on a Saturday afternoon when I was a kid... Before my dad split.

My other problem is there are always several forks in the road as per their conversation, all which are legit and reasonable, points of divergence I'd like to hear the characters talk about. But, gotta pick a flavor of focus and stay with it. So, I have been writing dialogue that is, I think, nice work, which I have had to go back, highlite and delete.

In the world of art that is called: Murdering your little darlings.

Still, as I once wrote along the same vein in an essay for the site proper, those little darlings have not died a vain death. I have better defined the characters for myself, through these spoken words the audience will never hear. The audience will have a better understanding of the characters because of those words, though, since I have a better understanding and will write them with deeper clarity.

    * FRED'S DIALOGUE ABOVE, BY-THE-WAY, IS IN SCREENPLAY FORMAT

NO MA, I STILL AIN'T CAST IN NOBODY ELSE'S MOVIE: No word on Paper Dolls, Nona, or The Monster's Mind, though Nona is still the only one I would have expected to hear about by now, if having been cast.



Thu June 9, 2005

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STEPHEN KING AND I: It could someday be true that Stephen King will see me perform as an actor on the screen. It does look like that will not be in the case of the current Cincinnati production based on Mr. King's short story Nona.

No word yet on The Monster's Mind, either, and I believe that decision is either immanent or has just been made.

THE NEW MATERIAL FOR MY SCREENPLAY: Now, I am into a little bit of research to be sure the things I have my characters saying in these new scenes are fact-based.

OTHER "K.L. THE WRITER" STUFF: Have worked a bit more on the new short story of mine. It also has dawned on me that though I began it before this whole Monster's Mind came up, there are some similarities between the two. They are very much different stories, however.

Same ol' same ol', concerning my novel and an agent. Just got a clump of rejection letters and just sent more queries out as replacements.

Over the weekend I downloaded eighteen songs by The Monkees from the Itunes Store, which led me to realize I have a reference to a song off their first album, in my novel, which is incorrect. I have the last cut on side one of the LP as "For Pete sake" (you old folk remember LP's, right?); that's actually the last song on side one of another of their albums. What I should have is "Take a Giant Step." With that minor correction, I suppose I can say I have also done another slight revision to my first novel.



Fri June 10, 2005

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HOW TO SCREW WITH A NEUROTIC: Last night I was at the final dress rehearsal for An Act of the Imagination. I saw actor Don Smith there -- he's the gun handler for the production. Don was (and will again be) G.W. in Sordid Lives. Don asked me if I had gotten a callback for The Monster's Mind, because he just had.

Since I have not received a callback, my neurosis is in full bloom. Mr. Neurotic is sure that this development is conclusive evidence I am not in consideration for the part (a different one than Don is up for; he's up for one that I can see him in, easily). Reason tells me that of and by itself, the fact that someone else, especially one who is up for a different role, was called back for another audition does not mean anything concerning my chances/probabilities of being cast. Just because he was called back and I was not only means that the director needs to take another look at him for whatever reason.

Yet, the callbacks have started and as of right now I have not gotten one and Mr. Neurotic cannot let that pass by without notice.

Broken legs to Don, regardless of my being cast or not.

SPEAKING OF AN ACT OF THE IMAGINATION: Show looks to be good. There were a few rough spots last night, but, that's why it's called rehearsal. I am hosting tonight and will attend as an audience member tomorrow night along with a few fellow cast members from The Diviners. Natasha Randall was there last night and will be back tonight, since she is, um, "close friends" with Craig (Roberts). Saw Bob Garvin there, last night, too.



Sun June 12, 2005

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AN ACT OF THE IMAGINATION LAST NIGHT AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD: As I said I would be, I was in the audience for last night's performance, along with a few Diviners folk, namely Bradley A. Kasch (Buddy), Deirdre Root (Norma) and her husband Grant, Justin Carr (Melvin), and Eric Ng (the stage manager, but an actor as well).

Again another good show at the Guild. I'll focus on the two actors I'd not seen on stage before. Wendi Michael was just great as the cockneyish Brenda. She had the accent down cold and her performance was impressive indeed. Teresa Connair was as good as Brooke.

The Season ends on a good note.

THE MONSTER'S MIND NEWS: No, I have no firm news one way or the other on whether I am cast. And, believe me, Mr. Neurotic has been weighing in far too much on the subject with his doomsday opinion. Truth be told, I am kind of suspecting I am not cast, but, we'll see.

The good news is that Donald Smith is cast, and, without giving anything away, in a role that, as I've said before, I can see him in. Being able to work with him on this set would be nice. We more or less work together in Sordid Lives, but not in any interactive manner in front of the audience. In the movie he's cast in a role that certainly does share screen time with the role I hope for.

Well, until I know for sure, I am holding out hope.

2004/2005 DAYTONY AWARDS AND 2005 DAYTON THEATRE HALL OF FAME BANQUET: The banquet for our own version of the Tonys (or Oscars, or whatever) will be August 22. The cool thing is that Greg Smith is being inducted into the Hall of Fame this year. And, as we know, Greg has played a vital part in my return to acting and the world surrounding it. I don't know the other two who are being recognized -- Jack Blackburn and Nelson D'Aloia -- though it's not entirely impossible I have seen them around the theatre community.

MY MOVIE PROJECT: I have one of the two new scenes added and have some ideas for the other. I also have been in contact with dialect expert Rocco Dal Vera. In the role of producer I want to start getting some sort of ballpark idea about budget. I need help with the Doric Scottish dialect for a poem my main character is going to recite. Plus I may have him say a phrase or two in Scottish Gaelic.

Here's the really cool thing: I have made my character a native of Aberdeen Scotland. Rocco is spending time in that very part of Scotland this summer to do dialect research.

Here's the caveat thing: Rocco is exceptionally good at this and his rates are relatively steep. But between the facts that my movie will be a very small budget, non-professional production, with everyone getting a stipend for payment, and that I won't need him to put in more than a few days work, I may be able to get a number from him my meager budget can work with.

I met Rocco at the start of rehearsal for The Cripple of Inishmaan where he got our cast on target with our Irish accents. He will be worth every penny to get my Scotsman sounding correct.

SORDID LIVES RIDING AGAIN: Monday night the cast and crew meet to get the ball rolling on the return engagement of Sordid Lives. I will be there and will reprise my roles as stage manager and Dead Peggy. Of course, I rather hope I have to miss the last two shows -- the last Saturday so I can work flex shift hours at the library to accomodate the production of The Monster's Mind, and the next day, which is the first day of production for the movie.

A DEVELOPMENT LATER IN THE DAY -- 2006/07 OHIO ARTS COUNCIL GRANTS: I have spent much of my morning still as Mr. Producer Man for the movie. Was at the Ohio Arts Council web site looking over the grant requirements, deadlines, etc. The rules have changed so I can no longer resubmit my first novel. One can no longer submit a work previously submitted. There are decidedly politically incorrect passages in the novel, anyway, so it always has had marks against it.

The screenplay, on the other hand is a much safer animal and it is new work. The deadline for submission is September 1. I do believe I can make that. The awards are $5000 and $10,000. Naturally, the TEN looks much better to me than the five.



Mon, June 13, 2005

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MY MOVIE PROJECT: First off, Rocco Dal Vera has responded with a workable deal, so I have some excellent help with the dialect work. Now all I got to do is get a production going to need his services.

Some of what follows has been stated elsewhere in this blog, but, here's my vision of the scope of the movie project and it's production (I have stolen this text, and slightly re-edited, from an email to Rocco) --

I had first planned on a very thin shoestring production but as time as gone on decided I needed to give the movie the quality treatment it deserves. Still in terms of the world of movies it will be a very modest budget. Right now I have pulled the number $15,000 out of the air and am now looking at how I can make that real. I, not being fabulous at the salesman part of production, haven't hardly a clue how I will raise that money, but, guess that's just something I will have to learn.

My real goal is to bring in another producer for much of the business and accounting side and I will act mostly as the creative producer (and the director). But, I cannot be totally out of the financial loop, obviously. I will submit the script to the Ohio Arts Council for an Individual Artist's Grant and am now actively researching other arts grants resources. Gotta find those other avenues to raise the money too, and I need the help of a qualified partner to do that. As soon as I have shored up a few documents, as well as this slight re-write of the screenplay, I go hunting for this mystery man/woman.

I will be using likely all original music: some things of mine I have already recorded and at least one song I wrote about ten years ago that I think I will have a woman sing lead on. I also will use at least two songs recorded by my friend Lou Lala and his band -- that which doesn't seem to have an official name. He's in the process of finishing production on two songs recorded especially for the movie, but, will give me access to their whole canon of recordings.

Again, I want to pay every one involved, however, the word "salary" is less accurate than one such as "stipend." The principal folk in the company (both cast and crew) ought to receive more than a piddley $50 or something like that, but, the upper end isn't likely to get past $1000 each -- if it gets to that.

Needless to say, my movie will not be a SAG shoot -- unless I win the lottery or befriend a really rich, generous woman. The cast is ensemble with four principal characters, one minor and probably about a dozen extras (some with a small amount of lines)

I am hoping on a total of around fourteen shooting days, but at this point that is just a guess. I'll rehearse the cast doing the script in continuity, less emphasis on blocking, more on the emotional levels, so when we get to the disjointed shooting of scenes there will be an experienced understanding of emotional level for the scenes. This is outside of the shoot days number. Probably five days.

Right now there are three exterior locations and about a dozen interiors (counting different parts of a building as separate). I doubt any sound stages will be used, but, if I can manage to build a set or two cheaply (but looking good enough) I may. I know a few good designers to approach. I also have an idea of a facility to rent at a reasonable rate, though there could be a sound problem there.

The crew will consist of such major players as a DP, First AD, probably a gaffer, likely a key grip, make-up artist, costume designer/manager, art director, prop master and maybe that set designer. There may be others involved, but I can pretty much guarantee that a lot of the assistant functions, like Best boy/girl will be performed by the key positions (The AD will likely be script supervisor, as well).

I haven't decided about line producer yet, whether I will separate that out -- the co-producer I bring in might be able handle that. There will be doubling/tripling/(...) up of other duties as well, like production coordinator, location manager, etc. You know -- smaller movie production, leaner crew design.

I really don't have much idea about distribution; it does not seem to me there is much of a lucrative market for short films unless one can get it on a bigger cable channel; and I am not under the impression that would allow me to quit my day job -- though I may be wrong about that.

Yes, I still intend to submit to Sundance, as well as other film festivals; the Heartland Film festival in Indianapolis looks for movies with the tone and feel mine will have. Film festivals are the primary market for a thirty minute narrative, I would think.

This movie, in my mind, will be more of a résumé for my acting and film making; something to help me put myself out there in another manner. I expect to not go into the black directly from the movie -- however, I am very willing to be wrong about that. Hey, bring the profit margin on.

This does not address everything, but, it does give some idea of what I have in mind.

I am patiently waiting to blog the wrap party and the premier, as well as my nerves at the festival showings. Okay, okay, sometimes not so patiently.

PREP FOR THE RISING PHOENIX GENERAL AUDITION, THIS SATURDAY: Gettin' close and I have not a final decision on what monologues to use. I am leaning toward the Jake's Women monologue I used for the Paper Dolls screen test. This time I would take it back up to a theatre performance from the subtler interpretation I gave the camera.

In a coincidence actor/director Saul Caplan will love, my other choice is one of two spots in A Walk in the Woods, one of two dialogues by John Honeyman, whom Saul portrayed earlier this year at the Guild. Of course, he directed Jake's Woman after that, at Brookville Community Theater.

In case anyone knows Jake's Women, the monologue I did, and am likely to do again, is the one where he talks to the audience about himself as a puzzle he's trying to put together, and blindly. Then he tells a brief anecdote about his mother and her explanation of where cockroaches come from.

If I use Jake, I'll do a John Honeyman about visiting missile silos. It's actually a conversation with Andrey, and I'll have to edit it both for continuity and time, but, it can be done.

I'm also thinking about a monologue by Gene from I Never Sang for My Father -- the Guild show I most wish to be in next season. This one can either be paired with Jake or the other Honeyman: his accounting of a run-in with the Swiss police.

Point being there needs to be a contrast. The Jake and the second Honeyman have humor; the other two are more "dramatic," to use the word outside of the theatre lexicon. So I have to couple two appropriately contrasting performances.

As for singing, I must admit, I am leaning toward going ahead and doing it. At this late date I almost have no choice but to use "Comedy Tonight" (from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum), as I did last summer for Little Shop of Horrors -- only this time, not go up on the lyrics!

A fellow actor suggested I not use any Sondheim song, that it is becoming cliché to use him for auditions. Well, in all honesty, that's just fine with me. I am not as enthused with Mr. Sondheim as many are. But, in this case, it's all I could have prepared in time, unless the Phoenix people want to hear an a cappella rendition of "How Tedious and Tasteless." I would be a little more excited about that. It's a much better song and calls for a better vocal from me. A cappella is usually frowned on at auditions, though, and I would bet more than who the songwriter is.

CAN'T STOP TWEAKING THAT DAMNED NOVEL!: It starts with Sordid Lives. As some may have read back the end of this summer (here), I came to realize that novelist Katrina Kittle was in the cast. Now, mind you, I had not yet read either of her published works, but, I have many friends, especially in the English department on my campus, who have good comment on her writing.

I have finally gotten a copy of her first one, Traveling Light (Warner Books), in hard cover, and, as I will see her tonight at the Sordid Lives cast/crew meeting, will have her sign it. I am big on signed copies of hard cover editions. Haven't been able to find her second book, Two Truths and a Lie in cloth, yet.

I opened Traveling... just to see what the opening line is. It's: "I woke and wondered if my brother was dead; gone before I could keep my promise." Very strong.

So, I opened the file for the start of my novel and read. And, as is so often the case when I look at my writing, I decided to change something. The opening. Well, the opening of Chapter One. I think my novel has two opening lines:

    The Prologue: "Damn right I was pissed off!"

    Chapter One: "'Seventy-five dollars is a lot of money,' his dad said to his mom."
         *(the new one)

The second one is I hope effective when one has read the entire prologue and has the context for it. Technically, "Damn right I was pissed off!" is the opening, but, the chapter one open is almost as important.

So, I am still friggin' working on the damned book.

NEWS ON CASTING IN MOVIES: Nothing...

    Nothing......

      Nothing............

        Nothing........................


Tue, June 14, 2005

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INTERESTING ACTING SKILL TIPS: I was at a little cookout get together with fellow actors Sunday and some of us were sitting around discussing how to glean the character out of the text.

A really great idea that was floated out there was to ask yourself what the other characters in the script are saying about your character. I can take that further and ask what are their scripted reactions to your character; not the reactions decided upon by the actors or the director; the ones embedded by the playwright/screenwriter. Then, take the reactions created by the other actors into consideration -- of course, their reactions to your character will be informed largely by your portrayal as your reactions to their characters will be informed by their portrayal. But, starting with the universe created by the text is a really good idea.

There was also discussion of actors getting so comfortable on stage that they lose focus on their characters and allow their own selves to appear. They become themselves up there.

Get committed to the character at the call time -- or before -- and put your personality on the back burner. Keep yourself off the stage. Stay focused and committed to the character's personality the whole night. Don't show up, yourself, until curtain call.

Not too sure I have to concern myself heavily with the comfort thing in the immediate future. But, the rest of this stuff is all great food to nourish my freshman craftsmanship.

ACCENTS IN AUDITION: I also now have come down on the other side of doing an accent during an audition monologue. I did Irish and rural midwestern last time I auditioned at The Rising Phoenix, and it actually wasn't unsuccessful. But, more actors and directors have given me the opinion that dialect is a bad choice for auditions; unless specifically asked for, it's best to not do it. So, from now on, I am adopting that convention.

NEWS ON THE MONSTER'S MIND: Nothing, yet....

    Nothing........

      Nothing..............

        Nothing..........................

        Still waiting.......................

      waiting............

    ....waiting.

     waiting....

...waiting.



Thu June 16, 2005

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RISING PHOENIX MONOLOGUE(S) AND SONG: Last night I began working on the Gene monologue from the end of Robert Anderson's I Never Sang for My Father. I have gotten through his final confrontation with his father, and have pretty much committed that to memory. The second half is his closing address to the audience, the story wrap-up and his final thoughts about his relationship with his father. That's about the last thirty-five percent of the monologue.

I've also edited together the John Honeyman missile-silo bit from Lee Blessing's A Walk in the Woods, but I have not attended to it as a rehearsal piece. I may not, least not for Saturday's audition. If I do a song, which at the moment seems likely, I only am required to do one monologue. The Gene piece has a good emotional dynamic and range, so it would be my choice. I have not edited Honeyman's police run-in monologue together, but that is a likely addition for future use, too.

If I end up doing two monologues, and no song, it'll probably be the Jake's Women cockroach monologue and the Honeyman missile silo one. Mostly because, though they are emotionally contrasting (or at least contrasting in tone), Jake and Gene both deal with family dysfunction and I'd like the monologue themes to be more dissimilar.

I have also emailed the theatre and asked if it is okay to sing the a cappella "How Tedious and Tasteless" rather than the accompanied "Comedy Tonight." I actually did not identify the songs, but did explain I thought the a cappella song is a much stronger choice. I have not yet heard back.

I will have to have a firm idea tonight on all my choices so I can get about the direct, deliberate rehearsal of the audition as it will be -- dreaded DV camcorder recording, of course.

SOME LESSONS I HAVE LEARNED ABOUT AUDITIONS: Two of the three recent film auditions I've done have taught me some things. Both were in retrospect, yet valuable.

With Paper Dolls, in Cleveland, we ran through the scene once, then director Mark Archer gave me some notes for a second run through. He told me he wanted the character to be a little more deliberate, to be more thoughtful about what he was informing the other characters of. As I said before, I don't really think I made the adjustment wholly. I felt that as I was doing it and the feeling stayed.

What I did not do, and have no good explanation for not doing, is say to him, as I should have, "Can we do the scene again? I can do it better." I will never again let what I feel is a bad reading stand without at least requesting to do it again.

With the audition for The Monster's Mind, Brett Hatten only had me go through much less than half of the scene from the sides he had sent. The more interesting part of the scene and a better gauge of the actor's portrayal of the character was later in the scene. He gave me notes before we did it again -- having me be a little more intimate with the other character. I am absolutely sure I did deliver this time.

The problem was that we again did the first part of the sides. I wanted to do the later section. I should have said, "Can we pick this up where we left off, or go farther into the pages?" I think he would have even gotten a better reading from me. I regret that I did not make this request, too. And the next time I am in such a situation I will be sure to at least ask.

So, without being pushy, I need to get more assertive, so that I and the director can get a better audition.

SO HOW COME I AM NOT VERY "CRITICAL" WHEN I AM CRITICAL: Got an email from an actor from England who ran across the blog while doing a search for playwright Tom Stoppard and snagged my mention of Stoppard when I was rehearsing a monologue from A Separate Peace for my Act of the Imagination audition. The British actor apparently read a good volume of the blog -- why, I am not sure -- and poses this question to me: why do I never say anything negative about any of the plays I attend? He asserts that I never write of what I did not like.

Not entirely true. I do not write about performance or direction I did not like. I will say if I am not thrilled with the material or the music. but I leave the actors/directors alone when they have not thrilled me. The reason is quite simple. That ain't what this blog is about and I am not presenting myself as a theatre critic. Have I seen some performances I have not been impressed with? Yes.

Consider this, though: I have, on occasion thought a performance was not very good, then had someone else, whose opinion is at least as qualified as mine, if not more so, find the performance very good. It's just a matter of opinion and taste, that's all.

And what purpose does it serve for me to say in such a public place as this, "Jane Doe seemed to have phoned in her performance as Gertrude," when I may be on stage with Jane in a later production. I'd like to kind of not needlessly offend people who are or may be my friends at some point and certainly my fellow cast members.

Is that a cope out? If you like, then describe it as such. I, on the other hand, believe I just don't need to assume I am one to offer critiques of fellow actors, most all who have been on stage far more than me.

This blog is touted as "A Diary of Artful Things." It's supposed to be a journal of my journeys in acting, writing, movie making (eventually) and the likes. I mention going to see productions because that is part of the life and the education.

I am more than happy to report when someone impresses the hell out of me. And, by the way, my lack of mentioning someone or their particular performance does not necessarily mean anything. And let's go back to the point that just exactly what should the opinion of a novice like me mean, anyway? Especially a less than flattering opinion?

I discovered along time ago that we may learn from everyone we come in contact with -- either what to do or what not to do. Of course, as I am involved with productions or I attend them, I learn both. I love to share the celebration when I see someone doing what it seems to me are the things to do. I see no value in placing the other here. I may share my observations of what not to do -- but it'll be with some subterfuge; i.e.: you ain't going to know who I was watchin'.

Besides it not being wise diplomatically, it's also simply not nice, unless one is a critic. I am absolutely not presenting myself as such.

And I've read some critcs who could have said the same thing about someone's work in a much classier manner than they have. But that's another story.



Fri June 17, 2005

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SORDID LIVES RIDES AGAIN

Live close enough to Dayton, Ohio to come check it out? Then, come check it out!

Sordid Lives rides again! (Click here)

The specialized flyer (i.e: highlighting me) is courtesy of Greg Smith.



Sat June 18, 2005

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First off, Happy Birthday Paul!

THIS MORNING'S AUDITION AT THE RISING PHOENIX: Woke about 6:00 this morning. Did the morning stuff (shower, etc) and vocal warm ups. I always do complete vocal warm ups whenever I am headed to any performance, audition or otherwise, and regardless of whether I will actually sing. Speech needs a warmed up, exercised voice as much as singing.

I spent some time this morning at the apartment rehearsing two monologues and two songs. The main monologue was, of course, the ending of Robert Anderson's I Never Sang for My Father. That was the certainty. I also picked the Tom Stoppard A Separate Peace monologue as a back-up. Don't really know why, especially since it goes against that new rule I have: don't do accents in auditions. I guess I just had it prepared in case there was time left and someone said something like, "Well, can you show us something completely different than the rest of your audition?" Nah, probably, rehearsing up this second peace was just a way to keep myself maybe a little sharper.

One of my two song choices changed. When I looked for my sheet music for "Comedy Tonight," I could not find it. I did come across the sheet music for "Nutcracker's Lament," my big song as Godfather Drosselmeier in Nutcracker. So, though no more enthused about this one than "Comedy Tonight," the former still replaced the latter. "How Tedious and Tasteless" was still the other choice, and my pick.

By about 8:00 this morning I was at Yellow Springs Park, where, having the whole place to myself, I rehearsed my audition, with an overcast threat of rain that never materialized, the sounds of bird songs in the background, and an occasional fish jumping in the large pond. It worked very well for me.

A little later, after grabbing a coffee at Dino's in Downtown Yellow Springs, I went over each monologue and song a few times while walking a trail in John Bryan State Park, then, about 10:00, I got in my car and headed south to Middletown and The Rising Phoenix, some fifty minutes away from the park.

I feel very good about my audition. I did the ...Never Sang... monologue, of course, and thankfully, they were all right with letting me do "How Tedious and Tasteless."

Was I hyperactive? Did I gesture too much? I don't know. I want to think I was able to curtail it, but, maybe I didn't. I also elected to not video tape myself rehearsing for this. My reasoning is that I didn't want to be freaked out by my own critical unhappiness with my performance. The tapes are still a great idea and I will still use the tool -- just not right before an audition. At least that's my present thought on the matter.

As for the Nutcracker musical, I also, courtesy of my fellow cast member thereof, Deirdre Root, received a DVD of one of last December's performances. I haven't watch it yet, but, it will be fun -- unless I am hyperactive and gesture too much on the DVD.

MONSTER'S MIND?: Don't know. Haven't heard. Though, it is becoming decidedly difficult to hold out hope. Only that last vestige of uncertainty keeps me from declaring defeat. But, I really don't expect to get a call saying I am cast.



Sun June 19, 2005

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STOP ME BEFORE MY "SHORT" MOVIE BECOMES A FULL-LENGTH FEATURE!!: Suddenly I think I need another scene added to my screenplay. I need a good transition into the first of the two already added scenes, for one thing. The other reason is that I have tipped things away from my primary adult female lead. The two added scenes are with the other adult lady. I need the original primary to stay that way, else the ending is weakened. Not only do I need to add a scene, but the one I had already lengthened may need a little more, too.

THEM DAMNDIBLE LITERARY AGENTS!: Still getting the ever-constant diet of: "Thank you for your interest in our agency, but we do not feel your novel is a fit with us."

Along with the fact that this is very certainly a numbers game, I am again wondering if I have an effective query letter. I'd share it here for helpful critique but there are spoilers in it. They are necessary for the letter, which is mostly a brief outline of the novel, but I don't want any potential readers to be clued in.

Just so you know, anytime I get one of those rejection letters, I send the next query letter out to a new agency: if it's email, it's the same day; if it's snail mail, it's no later than the next day.

NUTCRACKER DVD FRUSTRATIONS: Alas, there is some fatal error or corruption either in the Nutcracker video file data or on the physical disk. The DVD pauses (stops on a particular frame) around six minutes in. I tried cleaning the disk; then I used some scratch removal goop on some spots that more-or-less looked as if they might possibly be culprits. Neither action solved the problem.

The recording just happens to stop in the middle of a sentence by me as Drosselmeier. I've been on screen for about two minutes and am about two more away from "Nutcracker's Lament," which is, again, my "big" song in the show.

Gotta tell ya, that though I was looking forward to seeing the DVD, I had, in the space of those two minutes before the freeze-frame, already found a good handful of flaws in my performance. Twice, for instance, I reacted to things not yet said; that sort of "actor's anticipation" can totally destroy the audience's suspension of disbelief by calling attention to "performance" over character's behavior. This telegraphing my anticipation was a habit Greg Smith was on me during Cripple of Inishmaan to break -- thought I had.

I'm not really thrilled with my vocal use either; I don't mean singing, the DVD died before I got to that, I mean Drosselmeier's speaking voice. He doesn't sound old enough; his vocal timbre just a little too high.

I understand that there is a video of The Cripple of Inishmaan out there. If I want to keep at this acting game, maybe I'd better never watch it. I have seen interviews with various pro screen actors who've said during such they don't like to see themselves on screen. I have this feeling that, even as big as my ego is, I will be one of them.

SO WHAT'S MY PROBLEM WITH MY OWN ACTING?: It may not seem like it from various entries over the life of this blog, but I actually believe myself to be a talented actor. The thing is, I expect myself to be an excellent actor, even a brilliant one, and I am not living up to my expectations, whatsoever. I sometimes don't even find my work as good as "good."

As conceited as this will sound -- and, well, I guess, as conceited as this will actually be -- I know it is in me to achieve both those higher heights. I am not, on the other hand, at all sure if I'll pull that excellent, brilliant actor out of me any time soon. I am impatient for his arrival and am sometimes afraid he'll never see daylight nor grace anyone's stage or screen.

As far as I can tell, he certainly has yet to make his presence known. Perhaps, there's been the hint of a promise of his forthcoming arrival, which has peeked out for a few, slim, fragments of moments. Perhaps.

It always feels like he's up there with me when I am on stage, either in a production (those few times thus far) or doing an audition. There just seems no execution of him. This is all this skill stuff. It's the skill verses the talent. A well-skilled actor with some talent is more effective than a low-skilled actor with a lot of talent. It's skill I lack.

I pretend as well as I did when I was a child; I am good at understanding the feelings, thoughts and motivations of the character; I can put myself in his shoes and in his skin; I can get inside his reality and make it mine. I just have not learned the disciplines of the performance craft. The sureness, the delivery, the eradication of self-consciousness, the deep focus: these are the things I need to get to, or at least get to consistently. There may be rare times I am there with these skills; but, they are not constant by any stretch of the imagination.

They will be.

Ah, but there are those moments of spiritual enchantment on those stages. There are those times, those brief seconds when I have felt the rush of pure, golden-white magic course in me, jolt my heart, flare my nostrils, tingle in my lips and fingers. It is those moments when I have known profoundly that I was perfectly suited to be inside the electricity of what was happening on that stage. That's it, That's the gig. That's what the stage experience is supposed to be about for the actor -- at least for this one. That being the character; that being of the story; that being on the canvas the audience is seeing and touching. Not all those moments have been doing the performance of a production, either. A couple have been during auditions and rehearsals. These Zen-like moments of acting happen when they happen and are not dependent on the type of "audience" who is there to bear witness.

It's this make-believe with some fun but seriousness to it that is the point. And I am drawn toward this goal of becoming a great artist at it.

Probably seems pretentious to many of you, even some of the actors who may be reading this. It seems a bit pretentious to me, too. There's not a word of it that's not true to me and my heart, though.

It is good that there are people around, who have weight to their opinions, who have told me they believe me to be a good actor. Besides Greg Smith, a few other actors, all who are good at their craft, have told me such. Just because I think I can be a good actor, clearly doesn't always mean I think I'm a good actor. So, the word from someone else is a good thing.

It's also good to know I am not the only one who suffers from this particular neurosis: egomania with feelings of inferiority.



Tue, June 21, 2005

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AND IT'S ON TO THE NEXT MOVIE AUDITION

Got official word that I am not cast in The Monster's Mind. Too bad. I was interested much in the project. I just do not fit what the director, Brett Hatten, has in mind for the character. He did like my audition but I just am not a fit for the part as he sees it.

Seems like a recurring theme here.

Guess the up side is I'll have plenty of vacation time if I do need it for Paper Dolls at the end of the summer. As far as vacation leave is concerned, in general, I am now going to be terribly conservative about using any. The next time I need a few weeks for the opportunity of a movie or other acting project, I want as much built-up time as I can muster.

As for "on to the next movie audition" -- I am seeking out new opportunities now. There were a couple student film makers seeking actors a few weeks back. I contacted both with initial queries and neither bothered to respond. Not too sure those were missed opportunities and I hope both get better at the professional face than they are right now. And, I will continue to seek out movie projects. I still feel a need to wait on getting an agent, though I may be off on that. An agent would make access to industrials a lot better. I'd like to do a few just for the experience on a set.

MORE VALIDATION FROM INSIDE THE ACTORS STUDIO: Saw the cast of Everybody Loves Raymond on Inside... this weekend. As is often the case, I found it all interesting. But, it was Patricia Heaton's statement of advice to the audience members that I key in on here.

This will not be verbatim, but her message was that actors (and the likes) should not sit around and wait for opportunities. We should create as many as we can. Get a group of actors together and start a readers theatre, become a producer, be involved in creating and getting projects started. There can be a lot of sitting around hoping for someone else's approval and permission; we should do whatever we can to circumvent that.

Sort of like some goof in southern Ohio who decided to feature himself in a short movie -- one that seems to keep getting longer. I have the complete approval and the permission of the director, producer, and writer of my movie. He thinks I am perfect for the role he cast me in.

Patricia, by-the-way, is another Buckeye, from Bay Village, Ohio, near Cleveland.

ON THE NOVEL FRONT: I have decided I need more query letters to agents out there in circulation. Right now there are five at all times. I am upping it to ten or more in the near future. Yeah, yeah, I said I would send ten a week for a while into 2005. That was another of those goals I didn't meet. But, there are letters out there.

I am also about to start querying smaller presses. There are some copyright clearance issues to contend with. I may eradicate the Lennon & McCartney (ATV/Sony) issue by not directly quoting any lyrics. I have already rewritten most passages to that end. I do have to contend with a passage from the classic play Inherit the Wind. That particular quoted text is important to have in the book, but I am not at all sure I can cover the fee that may be required. I expect it will be pricey.

I still am debating about posting the first chapter or so at the web site proper. I have not convinced myself to do it, yet it's not out of the question, either.



Thu June 23, 2005

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A PROMOTION -- OR SOMETHING -- ON THE GUILD BOARD: As of the 2005/06 Season I am the house manager for The Dayton Theatre Guild. Don't be overly impressed, what it really means is I shanghai folk into hosting each performance. I also am technically responsible to see that the place is clean and that supplies (bathrooms and kitchen stuff) are maintained. The lady who is leaving the H.M. position has agreed to help out with that stuff. My main gig will be the hosts.

I also am confirmed as the staff producer for Belles next season.

LIT AGENT QUERY LETTERS: Got ten new contacts, will ready up the letters (and in some cases, sample chapters) and they will go out snail mail tomorrow (Saturday for the ones with chapters); a couple will go out email tonight. That will put fifteen out in circulation. I am thinking about adding at least another ten to that number.

Of course, every time some foolish agency sends me their rejection letter, a new query goes out to keep up.

SCREENPLAY ADDITIONS: Coming along. I hope to be back to work on the shooting script version -- on hold for the moment -- in a week or so.

WHY YOU READING THIS?: I am aware of a few people who read this blog regularly. A few of those are friends or acquaintances who have an interest I can understand. But others, who are not local, what is the interest in this silly thing? I am not even always sure why I bother to do it. Ego is in there of course. Oh well. I'll keep writing and you keep reading -- even if you are having a good laugh at my expense.

Not that I think I may be revealing any naivete or anything in any of my entries......



Fri June 24, 2005

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REVIEWS OF AN ACT OF THE IMAGINATION: Both the Dayton City Paper and Dayton Daily News have reviewed The Dayton Theatre Guild's season closer. Russell Florence Jr. (DCP) gave it a luke warm review, Wednesday. Today, Terry Morris (DDN) gave it a little better.

Russell's review said the performance he saw was "presented in a mildly entertaining fashion." He gave Wendi Michael kudos for her British accent, saying she was the only one who sustained such. And he also called the set, "very warm and inviting scenic design."

Terry was bit more complementary overall. He also singled out Wendi, attributing the breaking of "inertia" to her appearance on stage toward the end of Act I, at the point when the story starts to actually take off. "From then to the finish, it's a romp with twists and turns delivered with cool calm," he writes. Of the rest of cast he says:

Blake Senseman plays the author, Barbara Coriell is wonderfully contained as the wife who's so much more than she seems, Sarah Gomes is the nicely turned-out young editor, Craig Roberts is the author's son and Teresa Connair is on special assignment.

Both reviewers comment on the exposition, which, indeed does take up far too much (more than half) of the first act. I know that everyone involved with the production was very aware of this one flaw in the script. The night I saw it, the cast did a good job of injecting as much energy as they could into playwright Bernard Slade's plodding set-up.

I don't think The Oakwood Register's Burt Saidel has seen the show, yet. The paper's web site does not yet have a review, at least.

For as long as they're available, you can read either review in its entirety at one of the following links:

I more-or-less grab another peek at the cast's work tonight, as I am again the host. I'll help strike the set on Sunday, too, but I may not catch much of the show. I'm thinking the picnic table at that bend in the Little Miami River on Sunday morning, with my laptop and the screenplay. Then, maybe a hike.



Sun June 26, 2005

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ONCE AGAIN, I WAS WRONG ABOUT THE "STEPHEN KING DOLLAR BABY" MOVIE, NONA
OR, STOP THE PRESSES -- K.L.STORER HAS ACTUALLY BEEN CAST IN SOMETHING!:

Talked on the phone today with Tony Bushman, the co-producer and DP for the short movie Nona. I had assumed, since I'd heard nothing, and the projected shooting days for the character I auditioned for were coming up, that I was not cast. And that's relatively correct.

For one thing there have been production and scheduling problems. The other, Tony called to offer me what sounds like a more interesting role. It actually will be a little less screen time than the role I had originally read for -- and that was not much. Both are one scene, but, if I am only doing one scene, I'd rather go with the more interesting role, even if it's less time.

Let me tell you, I needed to hear what Tony had to say about my audition!

He said that after I left the night I auditioned, he and the director/co-producer, Steve Smith, said to each other, "Unless somebody comes in and just blows us away he's got the part." Tony told me I was by far the best to that point. They did shortly audition another fellow who was comparable, but took it a direction they had not planned on. I was probably in for that role. Then, the actor who was already cast in the role I have just been offered had to back out. Tony and Steve decided to offer me this role without having me read, because based on what they saw they are sure I can do it.

Very nice complement that, considering my recent anxious criticisms of my acting performances, I appreciate about ten-fold along with those other folk who have praised me to one measure or another.

The scene, which takes place in a mental health holding cell, will be shot sometime during the first week of July. There will be tech rehearsals for Sordid Lives that week, during the evenings -- but, since I have vacation time free, now that I am unfortunately not in The Monster's Mind, the Nona scene will be shot during the day to accommodate my evening conflict. *As the SL stage manager, I ought be at all tech rehearsals; even though I will have an assistant SM -- not Brandy Scott, though, who now is in West Virginia, I believe, or it may be North Carolina -- somewhere in that general region of the continent.

    JUNE 27 ADDEUNDUM: Let's not forget I am supposed to lie in a coffin for thirty minutes, too.

Well, the movie casting is a small role, but it's a cool project and I am happy to be a part of it.

And it's about damned time somebody said yes to me!

K.L., THE NOVELIST, ATTACKS THE BUSINESS END: After I have dropped by the post office tomorrow, to send off a few queries to agents, those such with sample chapters, the number of active queries to literary agents, letters floating in the netherworlds, will be at twenty-five. I will, as I have promised, send a new one out as soon as any agent responds with a foolish rejection letter. The number will stay at, at least, twenty-five until I have a serious bite.

Jeez -- everything I am most interested in is fraught with rejection.

BTW: I elected to stay home and deal with this new blitz of queries rather than go to the Guild and help with the set strike for An Act of the Imagination. Greg Smith is going to use most of the current set for Sordid Lives, and simply modify it. There was not a large amount of work to be done today. And sometimes my time is so friggin' premium. It was also far too hot for that planned trip to the woods I had made.



Mon, June 27, 2005

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ALREADY, ANOTHER LITERARY AGENCY HAS FAILED TO RECOGNIZED BRILLIANCE: Haven't even gotten to the post office to mail off the remainder of the snail-mail queries to literary agents (re: my novel) and already I have a response from one agent I emailed a query to over the weekend. A does not suit our needs email.

So now the count will be at twenty-four queries out "there." That is until I go home tonight and find another agency that looks to be a possible mark.

OOOH, THE MUSIC MAN IN ME IS YEARNING: I was in a BestBuy the other day, to pick-up blank tapes, when I walked by that area with the Yamaha and Casio keyboards. Now mind you, these are not the sophisticated, high end machines that the Moogs I worked with in the Eighties were (they belonged to my music partner, Rich Hisey -- who knew how to manage his money and thus invest in some decent musical electronics). Still, for writing songs and generally boning back up musically, one of these simpler keyboards would work just fine. And some of them have some really nice sounds and voices in them.

I was spending a little too much time fiddling around with a Yamaha that went for $600. I made myself leave. I have the $600, but it needs to be spent otherwise -- there are some upgrades to my Macs and other hardware needs I have, all in preparation for the movie.

Mind you, a keyboard can be easily justified in the name of the movie, since I am thinking about writing a new song and certainly will need some instances of incidental music. I need an instrumental track for a very important series-of-shots sequence, for one thing.

For the moment, however, I need to walk away from impulse buys like that.

It wasn't easy, though.



Tue, June 28, 2005

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FOLLOW-UPS ON YESTERDAY'S POSTING:

1) Keeping The Number At 25 -- So, the Schiavone Literary Agency has no interest in my novel, hey? Well, when I accept the Pulitzer for it, I'll be sure to mention them, along with the growing population of other agencies who seem as "enthused" as they are.

Next up? The Alicka Pistek Literary Agency, LLC will soon have their chance to recognize something worth fighting for. Mailed the envelope, which includes the Prologue, Chapter One and Chapter Two, at the start of the lunch break that finds me working on the blog.

There's a voice chastising me for not working on the screenplay at lunch. Ah! What fun being a neurotic is!

2) Oooh, The Music Man In Me Is Yearning (Redux) -- Okay, okay, yesterday's accounting of this was a bit glossed over, a little too nonchalant, a tad matter-of-fact, lacking in poetry and literary fashioning.

Don't get the idea I was ever fantastic as a keyboardist. It would be a great stretch to ever have considered me a "keyboardist," as a matter of fact. In terms of musicianship, the closest to either flattering or accurate would be: rhythm piano player. Oh, I would get in a few nice little scale licks and note sequences from time to time, but, over all, I would have never had any business being any band's "keyboardist."

Though I was able to adequately play piano or synthesizer as an instrument in a song, the keyboard's real value to me was as a tool for writing songs. It was a place to visualize and spell out chords and arrangements. And I love that art, that craft, just as much I love acting, writing fiction & poetry, singing, creating visual art such as for the virtual chapbooks at the site proper.

As I stood there in that BestBuy, trace-memory of hours spent in my late teens and into my late twenties percolated. My fingers felt that certain vibrancy. I filled with the self-satisfaction of having come across a really effective chord change on into a smooth, tastey key modulation.

I have been missing my active role as a music maker. I wasn't an especially great musician -- though I got to be pretty damned good on the bass guitar, which I tried much harder on. I was, however, an exceptionally good music maker. If you don't know what the distinction is, I am not sure I can offer up a good explanation.

Being a good music maker, I will say, is far more effective and important than simply being a good musician. The greats like Yo Yo Ma, they are exceptionally good at both. Technical skill and technique of the soul. I guess that's as best as I can put it. I have in my life heard some exciting, interesting, compelling recordings by some mediocre musicians; I've also heard some uninspired, boring crap from some technically high-skilled players.

Point here -- back from my little digression -- is that the music maker in me is wanting to make a come back.

I almost left BestBuy with a tool to help him. It can't be much longer before this blog tells you about a new purchase.

FIRST LINE OF CHAPTER ONE: I have revised the first line of chapter one of my novel, once again. Now it's:

"It wasn't good, what his dad said to his mom."


Wed June 29, 2005

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STEPHEN KING'S NONA MOVIE UPDATE: The producers do not have a secured day to shoot the scene I am in at the location facility. I am either on set sometime during the day, next week, day or evening, July 13-14, or day, July 15. Evening the 15th is out due to the Sordid Lives performance, much as evenings are out July 5-8 because of SL tech rehearsals or the Friday performance.

SNAFU ON NEW SCENE IN MY SCREENPLAY: Got to the theatre early last night, to watch the Sordid Lives rehearsal and make note, as stage manager, of some prop needs, etc. As I ate my dinner, I started that new scene I want to add to the screenplay for my movie. Got a nice bit of dialogue started between the three principals.

Today, when I opened the document at lunch to work more on the scene -- BAM!

Only the very beginning of the scene was there. Not sure what happened. But, at any rate, rather than adding onto what I did last night, I had to recreate it. It was close, but I am sure I lost a few nice little gems of dialogue twist.

I got to the same moment in the scene as I had last night.




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