Sanity Scratching

I think I’ve once again proven to myself that any creative outlet I have, no matter what form, helps keep me sane.

And happy.

But mostly sane.

This is a picture of the way the sky looked this morning as I headed out to work. (I certainly don’t want to even think about the ol’ day job, but it’s been a bear lately.) This morning there was this strange sunrise, where there were clear streaks of pink in the west, and this pink and purple and golden streaks in the east. It was really odd, and had a weird feeling. (This picture is completely untouched.)

So I snapped a picture. It was unexpected and beautiful. It made me think about the uniqueness of life, and the changeability. I knew those colors would be gone very soon, never to return. It made me think about living in the moment, in the here and now, and taking control of what’s happening. It made think about enjoying what’s in front of me and making the best of whatever that is at the moment. It made me realize life can be unexpected and surreal. Yesterday the sky didn’t have streaks of yellow or pink like this, but why today?

All this from a sunrise.

It also reminded me of the projects I have percolating. In some strange way, it made me think that anything’s possible with them.

Odd perhaps, but that’s how I felt.

Tonight I made some last minute changes to a script for a short (short) video, that we’re shooting tomorrow. Over the next week I’ll edit and tweak it in to something. I have an image of what it is. Whether I can pull that off or not is yet to be seen.

This coming week is the Fringe drawing, so I’ll know whether it’s time to buckle down and start on that project or not. That puts me a bit on edge, mostly due to pressure I’ll put on myself if we get in.

Tonight I chose this picture for my photo project. It seemed appropriate. And timely.

The itch is getting scratched. Slowly.

And ain’t that a helluva sky?

How do you learn all those lines?

You know that age-old, silly question, “How do you learn all those lines?” After the way my day went, I realize it’s not a dumb question.

Today I spent 10 hours on a set, acting in a short a film. Or rather, part of it. We shoot for a couple more days. Acting in a film is a bit different than acting on stage, so I was conscious of not being too big, not projecting at a ridiculous level because I was miked, or because I knew the crew had to hear me. But what’s even more different is the creation of the character and the actual performance. Obviously with theatre, an actor spends weeks developing the relationships, refining the beats, and learning the lines. When I do a play it’s much more difficult for me to learn lines by rote. Rehearsals help me ingrain them in to the character and the movement. It’s a bit more organic, in a way.

In film you get more takes, but the stuff we shot today is done. I’ll never have to go back and do it again. And, sadly, I’ll never have the opportunity to do it again. Do it, perhaps, better. More fully. It’s in the hands of the editor.

And, as for the lines….well, we had a table read and discussion a few days ago, which was when I met my fell0w actor. That few hours the other night, and the quick blocking and few run thrus before shooting it several times, wasn’t a time to “learn” lines. I had to know them coming in. And, I did.

As long as I had no distractions…such as the dozen crew members, the lighting screens, the traffic going by or over head, the gaggles of school children heading to the park, and the way the other actor says a line that sparks a different thought. Or even, props. It seems that today there were a couple lines that stumbled me up. I could say them correctly 5 times in a row, and then change the wording, and then correctly a few times, and then change the wording. We shot the scene from at least five different angles. I said the same line (in rehearsal or filming) probably 35 times. 25 times correctly. Hopefully more when the camera was rolling than not.

By the end of the day I promised the director that for tomorrow’s shoot I’d be more consistent in my lines. He (thankfully) just laughed.

I think I’ll go look at my script.

Slate it

The other day I had a commercial audition. It came a bit out of the blue. I had just reconnected with a local agent a few days before, and we chatted on the phone catching up. She’s a funny and very sweet woman who knows all the ins and outs of local commercial/film/industrial biz. As it were. Locally the “biz” here has dried up to a small pittance of what it used to be. I learned that I’ve moved into a different age bracket (I had no choice here, it happens naturally) and there are significantly fewer of “me” than there were a while back.

I haven’t been doing camera auditions for a while, so I felt a bit off my game. They’ve always been much more intimidating to me than a theatre audition for some reason —probably because I feel more in control when I’m on stage than when in front of a camera. Like the camera’s doing the work, not me. And in some ways that’s true. Plus I know it picks up the tiny things about nerves and thoughts and tensions so much more easily than a person sitting 20 feet away in the house. I can’t hide my nerves from a camera. I can’t hide my thoughts.

So I was a little anxious walking in to the casting office. The lobby was full of people, both adults and kids, and there was hardly a place to even sit. But then a great thing happened. The guy behind the desk remembered me the moment I walked in, and started telling me how he keeps seeing my face on this local theatre website. And then the assistant turns around from the copy machine when she heard the first guy saying who had just walked in the door, and she’s someone I’ve known for a long time, and she starts telling me (and the room) how she was just talking about me with so and so and blah blah blah….Suddenly my anxiety is gone. I’m having fun.

I was introduced to my new “family” and we were soon escorted in to the audition studio. The director is someone I’ve auditioned for many times in the past. She did a sort of double take, being surprised to see me, and said “Where the heck have you been?”

A few minutes of taped audition time later, all calm, comfortable and still energetic and interesting, and it was over. I think it went well.

Whether or not I’m right for it…who can say? I’m not too concerned. But I left feeling energized and elated. Walking in the door and being greeted that way was a huge relief.

And the fun capper:

Leaving the building, walking into the sunny downtown afternoon, I crossed paths with the actress who had just played my wife for two minutes. She stops me and asks, “What was that we just auditioned for?!” Turns out she looked at her calendar after the audition and realized she was supposed to have been there the next day, and now she didn’t know what to do.

I found this hilarious, but tried not to let on. I suggested she call her agent.

Boy. And here I thought I was off my game?

Art and Art-making on the Streets

I was recently in Montreal on vacation. I had never been there before, and found the city to be a great combination of a modern North American city and an ancient European one. Of course, that’s exactly what it is. This picture was taken in Old Montreal, where the narrow streets are mostly stones and bricks, the buildings don’t even have gangways.

Rue des Artistes, Old Montreal

Just out of view, to the left, is a scruffy, curmudgeonly looking man, sitting with his back to the street, painting a picture. He’s surrounded by his other pieces which are for sale. He’s clearly posted above his work a sign saying “No Pictures” with an outline of a camera and a line through it. My camera, although it’s digital, has a shutter sound effect when the picture’s actually taken. It’s loud enough for him to hear, sitting 10 or 15 feet away.

I get the dirtiest look of the entire vacation.

Before I can try to say it wasn’t him I shot, I only manage a feeble point in the direction of the street where I took the picture and my own look of “oh, sir, you misunderstand!” before he abruptly turned his back on me and continued on with his painting.

I thought it was a little rude. I also thought, “Dude, your stuff isn’t so good that someone’s going to want to steal your ideas by taking pictures of it.”


I took another pic of the street, and moved on.