Shoot The Moon Rocket

On the Red Carpet

I was at the Southern California Business Film Festival out at USC for most of today. A film that I'd worked on some months ago, called Stuffed, was one of nine films being screened.

As one of the actors/filmmakers there, I received a lot more attention than I'm used to getting, including standing on their red carpet in front of the festival's backdrop (similar to what you'd see at the Sundance festival or Cannes or any other festival) to get photographed, and being interviewed. Kinda fun. Kinda strange. Several people with the festival who'd seen the movie came up to me to compliment the film and my work.

Four of the folks from Stuffed showed up: myself, the other lead actor Phil, the director Gabby, and one other member of the crew. It was good to hang out with them and see what's going on with each of them. (And seeing that we're all dealing with the trials and tribulations of the system in our own ways.)

The films screening ran for about two hours. Most of them looked very pretty and had good production values. In most of the films, their stories were somewhat on the thin side: they were more vignettes than complete stories in many cases. Ours was the only film that wasn't a USC student project and it showed in the awards: all but one of the USC-made films won at least one award. We got shutout. There was also a certain sameness to the look and a great deal of predictability to the stories to most of the films.

They did feed us and it was a decent meal.

Afterwards, we were talking and Gabby was feeling bad that she'd invited us to the festival and we'd gotten nothing out of it. I explained that we got out film screened before a local audience. We'd gotten some nice compliments on our work. We'd gotten to hang out and talk together. We got the star treatment on the red carpet. And we got a meal out of it. So we didn't win an award. Big deal: Neither did most of the people who went to the Oscars last weekend!

I think that made her feel somewhat better.
Shoot The Moon Rocket

What's Up?

Things have been a little slow on the acting front lately. I had a one-day stand-in stint on the new show "Touch" with Kiefer Sutherland a couple of weeks ago.

I worked on a low-budget feature film called "The Scarf" back on the 12th. The shoot went okay except for the little problem of their almost strangling the lead actor in a scene where his character was supposed to be attempting suicide. They nearly succeeded for real and the guy passed out in just a couple of minutes. Very scary there for awhile but he was okay.

Last Sunday evening (yes, during the Oscars), I had an audition in Hollywood for a feature film - an SF/Western mashup called "Eden." I was auditioning to play the town barber in the 1870's. It went pretty well and they liked the costuming touches I had.

Then Monday I had another audition in H'wood for a "reality" show pilot about stage moms. (I was auditioning for the role of an acting coach for kids.) Went okay.

I've been spending the past couple of days pulling things together for a new acting reel. I made a rough cut of things this evening and it looks pretty decent. There's just one piece missing that I want to put in at the front because it's some of my best work.

This coming Sunday, a short film that I worked on a few months back, called "Stuffed", will be part of the Southern California Business Film Festival. I understand that it's under consideration for several awards there. We'll see how it does.
Shoot The Moon Rocket

What's Up?

I've been dealing with various headaches associated with the tutoring company I've been working for. Their paperwork instructions were written by a mo-ron. Their website was coded by another mo-ron. Their forms were created by an even bigger mo-ron. (Imagine having to fill out the date in a 9X5 millimeter box, the time (including am/pm)in a 7X5 millimeter box, or putting your signature in a 7X8 mm box every week.) The amount of paperwork they require for the little bit of money they're paying is pretty sizable.

I'm scheduled to tutor two kids this semester, two hours per week for each kid over in Compton. (Not an ideal area, but that's where the kids are, and they can REALLY use the help!)

In other news, I worked on "that show about advertising guys in the 1960's" yesterday in Downtown LA. ("Work" is a bit of a misnomer here: I was supposed to show up at 6 pm. So I left the house around 4 pm. At 4:30 pm, I'm on the highway and I get a call telling me that they've pushed my call time to 7:30 pm. Damn! It's too late to turn around and come home without getting stuck in rush hour traffic. So I press on. I get there at 5 pm and wait around for 2-1/2 hours. I go through wardrobe, hair, & makeup and then I sit around for another hour and a half. Then they bring us onto set and explain the scene. Sure, no problem. Right after they finish explaining the scene and our action, the first assistant director calls out that they decided to scrap the shot that we're supposed to be in. So we're wrapped for the day. So 1-1/2 hours of driving, 4 hours of waiting around, and about half an hour of work-related activity. But at least we got paid for it!)

In movie-making news, on Wednesday we shot the final scene for the first segment of my movie, "Storage Space." We shot it over at the actress's house, about a ten minute drive from here. She did a great job and the footage looks pretty good. (I'd worked with the actress on another feature film about 18 months ago, so I knew her work and what she was capable of doing.)
Shoot The Moon Rocket

What's Been Happening Lately?

This has been a pretty quiet week acting-wise. I had a fitting last Thursday for "that show about advertising guys in the 1960's" and I'll be working on that next Thursday. (It'll be the third time this season I've worked on it.) And in early January I'll be working on an independent feature film entitled The Scarf. It's a thriller and I'll have a small role as a sleazy lawyer.

Since I've got some free time, I've started uploading material from my first feature film, entitled Storage Space. We shot material for the first segment about a year ago but I'd been so busy with acting this year that I hadn't had the time to devote to it until now.

I'll be tutoring in math next semester. The tutoring company FINALLY gave me the names of a couple of students to tutor after waiting five months. 'Course now the company's in a huge rush for me to start sessions so they can start billing the Dept. of Education for 'em.

I'm also making a new etched plate (the first in several months.) I'm trying some new etching techniques and they're getting some nice results. Now I just have to work on my painting skills. But it's coming along. Should be done in a couple of days.
Shoot The Moon Rocket

(no subject)

Had an audition for a credit union commercial this evening. (My part was as a group therapist for a bunch of big bankers.) Went pretty well, though I was initially thrown off when they told me at the outset, "Play it like Stuart Smalley.") Went okay.

On the drive up there, I got a message about a possible gig for tomorrow. After a few texts bounced back and forth, I was confirmed for the shoot. Then twenty minutes later I get a text and a voicemail message saying that they didn't need me: the guy who'd contacted me didn't realize that someone from the head office had already booked someone else for the part. DAMN! But they'll keep me in mind for the next part that needs someone with my features, age, etc. Ah well.
Shoot The Moon Rocket

Last Night and Today

Friday night's screening of shorts done by students of the New York Academy (in Burbank) went well. The screening was over at the Universal lot and there were ten films in the group we saw (two of which I'd worked on.) All of them were good with some that I'd consider excellent. Although some of them were clearly still "works in progress," you could see the time and effort that was spent on them.

The two that I'd done, a teen romp with a dash of danger entitled Young Ben Foster, and a two-person thriller about an obsessed neuroresearcher and his son entitled Mindset, both got positive reactions. (In the first I played a crazed pot grower chasing after the teens, and in the second I played the neuroresearcher.) I think that Mindset will do particularly well at film festivals when the director finishes making some minor adjustments to it.

I also enjoyed hanging out and talking to the young filmmakers and hearing about their projects, hopes, and plans. I find that being around these enthusiastic, passionate, and energetic people is pretty damned envigorating.

This afternoon we went over to a craft faire in the Bixby Knolls area where a friend was selling her wares. It looks like it's been a good faire for her and she's made a lot of sales. While there, I also picked up an item that'll be a fantastic piece of costuming for my movie, Storage Space: a black T-shirt with a luche libre wrestler's mask with El Enmascarado printed on it. (In the movie, one of my main characters is an ex-luche libre wrestler named "El Enmascarado!")

Afterwards, we held a public talk on getting the science right in TV shows and movies with Kevin Grazier of JPL. He's the science advisor for such shows as Eureka, Battlestar Galactica, Dark Skies, Zula Patrol, and others. We got a great, SRO turnout, thanks in large part to there being a lot of high school kids, students of the president of our space society chapter. The speaker was great, the audience response was overwhelmingly positive, and the librarian at the branch where we held the talk said that they'd never had so many people come out for an event at the branch.

So overall, a win.
  • Current Music
    Space Cowboy - Steve Miller Band
Shoot The Moon Rocket

What's Happening?

Lessee . . .
Last weekend was Loscon, where we had an info booth, threw a couple of parties, did a kids' craft activity, hung out with a bunch of fun, smart folks, and I was on a couple of panels. So overall, not a bad weekend.

(Plus I avoided a potentially very awkward situation with an ex. So it was a win all around!)

This week's been strange: At first I was supposed to do a fitting on Tuesday and a shoot Thursday for "that show about ad guys in the 1960's." But then they moved the shooting day to next Monday. Then they said that the scene was deleted, so they didn't need me at all. Then they call me up about a possible photo shoot for the show today & tomorrow and ask for pix showing my current hair length. I take the photos, send them off, and get an email back saying that they'd chosen some other guy. Damn!

Thursday I got a call about doing a featured bit part on a sitcom next Monday - AFTRA rates. Sure!

(We also got to hang out and spend time with a very dear lady who's down from Portland.)

Friday there'll be a screening of a bunch of short films over at the Warner Bros. lot, including at least two (possibly three) that I'd worked on. I'm looking forward to seeing how they came out.

Saturday there's a public lecture I've arranged with Kevin Grazier of JPL. In his day job he's the spacecraft navigator for the Cassini mission at Saturn. But he's also the science consultant for a number of TV shows and movies, including Battlestar Galactica, Eureka, Dark Skies, and the upcoming George Clooney/Sandra Bullock feature film, Gravity. Should be fun.
Shoot The Moon Rocket

Latest and Greatest

Last week I was working on the movie "Gangster Squad" over in Bellflower. It's a period piece about the LAPD efforts to keep gangsters out of L.A. in the 40's and 50's. The weird part for me was the shooting location: in a building that used to house the thrift store for the Children's Hospital of Orange County - across the street from the Radio Shack that I'd worked in 27 years ago. It was just down the street from my sister's old house. Talk about old home week! The shoot went pretty well, though I didn't get home until 2:30 in the morning.

The next day I had and audition in the morning and ADR work in the afternoon. I was dog tired for both.

Most of last week was spent working on our Halloween decorations. Halloween itself went pretty well - We got ~75 kids and a bunch of adults going through the maze, which featured
1. an entrance vortex (with laser beams and a fog machine),
2. a dinosaur room (with a stegosaurus that moved its head, a flying pteranadon that flapped its wings, an erupting volcano, and a Tyranosaurus Rex that jumped out at people) all amidst lush greenery
3. an alien room (with a green glowing alien that moved its head back and forth, a mechanical spider that dropped from the ceiling, a sitting alien with a flash plate in its chest, a plasma globe, a gold Mars rover, an alien baby in a jar and plexiglass case, and various lights)
4. an exit vortex (with a flash plate and fog machine)

All of the rooms had soundtracks and lighting effects. Got lots of nice comments from people and some of the kids went through several times.

We spent Tuesday tearing down the maze.

Wednesday I had a shoot for some scenes from the movie "Network," where I was playing the William Holden character Max (the voice of reason amidst all the madness.) It was pretty disorganized, with the leading actor having to read all of his lines off cue cards and scenes being shot in a very fragmented way. But we got through it.

Thursday I was working on "that show about an advertising firm in the 1960's." It went pretty well and they remembered me from my stint a couple of weeks ago on it.

Today has been for finishing the Halloween cleanup in the dining room. (I was so tired on Monday and Tuesday that I just dumped stuff on the counter and table - thereby leaving a BIG mess to clean up today.)

And the director of a short film that I worked on a couple of weeks ago posted it online. I think it came out pretty well. Enjoy: http://vimeo.com/samuelgonzalezjr/thekill
  • Current Music
    "Monster Mash" - Bobby "Boris" Pickett
Shoot The Moon Rocket

Last Night's Premiere of the Movie "Rehearsal"

Back in July of last year, I worked for a couple of weeks on a feature film, a "light drama" called Rehearsal. Last night they had the premiere at a theater here in Long Beach. Most of the cast and crew were there, as well as lots of their friends and family. (I'd guess that there were~200 people in attendance.)

It was good to get back together with these folks - we'd done overnight shoots for two weeks and became a cohesive group in the process. (And about a third of us came down with a "creeping crud" because of what the shooting schedule did to our body clocks.) Many of us have stayed in touch via FB. Some were professional actors but many were not.

As far as the movie itself went - I thought that it was enjoyable, with a lot of good characterizations and nice little moments. It could stand to be cut at least 15 minutes from its current 118 minute running time: there were some scenes that went on just a little too long and dragged a bit. (There's an opening conversation that's done over the credits that's a shot of someone making hummus and the shot needs to change somewhat earlier: it gets a little tiresome watching the same set of hands stirring the same bowl for five minutes.)

And my performance? I think that it was decent. (Or, as I like to say, "minimally cringe-worthy," because I tend to cringe when I see my performances onscreen.)

After the showing, several of us went to a nearby pub for drinks and conversation. Unfortunately, they had a band there that was pretty loud. So we couldn't hear one another speak until the band finished. Most of the people in our group left before the band was done. As T & I were working on our drinks, a trio of drunk moviegoers came over to our table. They were amiably soused and one of them was talking and talking and talking such that most of the other folks at the table couldn't get a word in edgewise. And he was gesticulating more and more as time went on, so much so that T was moving further and further away toward the wall so that she didn't get an elbow in the face or ribs. He was claiming to have been an intern for writer George Clayton Johnson (who wrote the original Ocean's Eleven and co-wrote Logan's Run) and a friend of Ray Bradbury's. He compared me to Wally Cox when I had my glasses on and claimed to have had Frank Gorshin as his acting coach. It was amusing to listen to him B.S. away but after awhile, we were getting tired and took our leave of the trio and headed home.