Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Actor Talk guest Geoff Mark (VFX Artist on Supah Ninjas)

Having known Mark and what he does for a living for a couple of years now I thought he could provide some useful information for actors that get the chance to work with a green screen. Go ahead and watch the interview.

In August, Mark finished 8 months of being Visual Effects Supervisor on "Supah Ninjas" for Nickelodeon.  The show is live action with 15-year old stars.  Mark worked with main actors and guest stars, including George Takei (Star Trek,) Danny Masterson (That 70's Show) and Brandon Soo Hoo (Tropic Thunder).

Currently Mark is working on "Triggers" for Discovery Military channel.  The show is about the history of mechanical weapons and it's not on the air yet.  He is creating, animating and delivering 100% CGI guns and their inner workings. Mark is working from home (lucky dog) on this project and is not working with any actors.

If you'd like to see all projects Mark has worked on over the years just click here to see his IMDb page.

Actor Talk guest Clark Perry

Well, I've procrastinated about as long as I could. I am finally writing the blog entry that goes with Clark's interview recorded over a month ago. I am watching the interview again now to be sure I remember what I want to say. Standby...OK, I'm done.

Aah, the life of an actor. In the year that Clark has been in LA he has pretty much experienced the whole roller coaster ride. Frustration, disappointment, roommate problems, elation, satisfaction, and success. Then the cycle repeats. Well, hopefully, the roommate problems won't. The rest of those emotional states will cycle though. Some of the frustration can be mitigated, as Clark talks about, by simply appreciating the each of the small accomplishments. Just landing an audition is an accomplishment considering all the competition out there. Treating the audition like a performance instead of a job interview really helps too. Sometimes, though, it's hard not to get disappointed. Coming out of an auditions that went really, I mean really, well and not getting that callback will eventually affect everybody. Satisfaction is felt when the notice of a callback arrives. Elation is felt when the call comes in that the role is yours and success comes when the shooting is over (hopefully accompanied with a paycheck).

In the time since the interview I followed up with Clark to see how the shoot in Idaho went. He tells an inspirational story of his experience shooting scenes on a boat floating on a lake. It was the type of acting job that I hope all actors get a chance to experience. Clark then says auditions have slowed to a trickle. Thus the cycle is complete. He's back to the frustration point that actors deal with.

Clark has been, well I was going to say lucky, and that does factor in, but Clark has also been working it. He's got a means to support himself while he pursues the acting career and he's got the drive to achieve his goal. Clark knows that it takes more than desire to become a "success" in Hollywood. It takes time, money, a lot of hard work and patients.

I for one will keep an eye on this young man's career. You can too by checking out Clark's IMDb page.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Actor Talk guest Hannah Townsend: Most likely to succeed

During my chat with Hannah prior to the interview I gained a bit of insight into what drives her forward in pursuit of an acting career. Hannah spoke of bad choices she made in past. While one’s life experiences are integral part of what an actor brings to the table, some things are best left unspoken. These are the little gems that makes every actor unique. Hannah also spoke of her mother’s losing battle with cancer. Hannah has had a lot to deal with already in her life yet she is overcoming her tribulations. She has a fierce determination to achieve her goal and this is why I used the phrase ‘Most likely to succeed’.

If you look at Hannah’s IMDb page you will only see a few entries, but the work she did on Diary of a Black Widow revealed her willingness to go beyond her comfort zone. ‘Diary’ is a Horror themed screenplay with Homo-erotic scenes.  Ever actor has to decide what they will and will not do to pursue acting as career. The role Hannah portrayed required her to perform like a professional actor and she rose to the challenge. Click here to watch the Actor Talk interview.

Oh, and although it may look like I’m looking down at Hannah’s cleavage near the beginning of the interview, I’m not. I swear. I never did that…during the interview.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bill Oberst Jr. - From Jesus to demons

I had the pleasure to meet Bill a few months back at a symposium for actors. He was actually one of the speakers. Take a look at Bill's IMDb page. He's amassed a pretty impressive amount of credits in just four years. He started out doing theatre in New York where one of his roles was Jesus of Nazareth. Now that he's in Hollywood, and this is oh so ironic, he's playing, mostly, satanic killers. The camera just loves the darker side of Bill's persona.

I wanted to interview Bill to learn what it's like on the set of a Horror Film. Click here to watch the 15 minute interview.

PS. In the interview I wanted to say CSPAN, but ESPN came out of my mouth instead. I didn't mean to say ESPN was a boring channel, except, of course, when they show golfing, or bowling, or ...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Saved By The Bell: The New Class

You looked at the title of the entry and wondered why I'd be posting about a kid's show from the 90s. Well, don't fret, I am, for another day or so, a neighbor of one of the stars. Jonathan Angel, who played Tommy De Luca in Saved By The Bell: The New Class, resides (I was going to say 'lives', but the man is alive so he lives wherever he is) in the apartment below me. In an effort to support himself he is taking a job in Sacramento, where he is from originally, and will be there by the time this blog is read by most. I will at this time admit that I will miss him.

I am starting a series of video interviews I am calling 'Actor Talk'. I, an actor, will interview another actor with the goal of providing other actors with little tidbits of knowledge and/or wisdom. I got the idea to interview Jonathan before he is completely moved out so I had to do it quickly. The rather impromptu interview can be watched by clicking here. This interview is obviously impromptu by the fact that one of our neighbors crashed the party. The interview was recorded gorilla style and it is unedited.

The bottom line Jonathan is making is that it takes a lot of work and dedication, no matter what the age of the actor is, to be successful in this wild and crazy industry. Everyone comes to the acting business from a different angle. Everyone has to do what they think is right for them to keep afloat and stay in the game. The 'game' doesn't have to be played all the time either. It is also alright to admit the 'game' is not for you. There are no rules. It's your life. All I have to say is live life to the fullest. You only get one chance...unless you believe in reincarnation.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The first day of the fifth year

Four years ago today I woke up on a futon at my friend's place to start my first full day in LA. I met my friend Ava the year prior at an Actor's Boot Camp at TVI Studios in Studio City, CA. I had taken a class at TVI in Chicago, when TVI had a place in Chicago, and learned of the boot camp. I met several people I still keep in touch with at that boot camp. In fact I spent the night at Ben's place in Albuquerque on the trip out here. Thanks Ava and Ben for helping me make my transition to LA.

In the three weeks I spent camping in Ava's living room I got started learning my way around. I bought a copy of the Thomas Guide, which I still have in my car. Now days, of course, I use Google maps to figure out where I'm going. I also started mailing out  headshots to find myself an agent and I got myself a P.O. box in Hollywood. Since Ava's landlord wasn't keen on me staying there too long I got on Craigslist and found a room in Glendale, CA. Prior to my finding a "Day Job" I did Background work on four TV shows just to have some money coming in. Luckily I got a job and things started looking up. I started taking classes, one of which was Improv at LA Connection Comedy, and I signed with my first LA Commercial agent. I stayed in Glendale for about seven months and moved to my first apartment in the Valley Village area of North Hollywood, which is still part of Los Angeles...I know, it's complicated.

These last four years haven't been easy. Shortly after I get here the Writer go on strike bringing the Entertainment Industry to a crawl followed by the threat of a SAG walk-out. Then the economy started heading down the tubes. Two months after I move into my first apartment I loose my job. I have to give up my apartment a few months later and rent a room from a neighbor. I get another job and my own place again only to loose that job a year later. I was out of work for 14 months before I got a contract earlier this year that lasted for four months. I am again looking for a day job and despite all that I've managed to persevere and move my acting career forward.

When I came to LA I had only one credit on my IMDb page and my raking was over a million. Just by being in LA a couple of months my ranking skyrocketed. I still don't have a good explanation for that. Today I have 12 credits and my ranking has improved over 950%. The number and quality of the auditions I been going on has improved and I've gotten good vibes from the auditors. It's just a matter of time before I book something big.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Back To The Future

I attended a meeting of the LA Scotch Club last night (and into this morning for that matter). It was held at the home of one of the club's members. John lives on Bushnell Avenue in South Pasadena and has what's become a shrine in his front yard. This shrine is the tree George McFly fell out of in the movie Back To The Future. Fans of the movie from all over the world come to see, touch, and/or climb the tree. How do I know this you ask, because of the documentary John made. John came to own the property after Back To The Future was filmed. After learning of his tree's fame, and the fame of Bushnell Avenue for that matter, he set out to make a film. It's interesting to see how many people make a pilgrimage to his tree. Like one person who was interviewed said, "The tree is real whereas so much of the movie is shot on sets that where destroyed". Well those probably weren't the exact words, but the thought is correct, and I can attest to that. I spent a day in Courthouse Square of Universal Studios back lot prior to the 2008 fire. The facade that was the town's courthouse has been used, and reused, many times over the years and doesn't exist as it did when Back To The Future was filmed.

So if you are a fan of Back To The Future and can make your way to Bushnell Avenue go ahead and give the tree a hug.