Monday, July 31, 2006

Stashin' The Middle East Away!

I went to shoot my scene today for an upcoming indie film where I am in a room of recovering addicts. They asked us to bring clothes to the shoot that they can pick from. Due to the last time I was asked to do this and came up empty handed, I decided this time to load up a suitcase full of my clothes along with a carry-on bag for my shirts and rolled out in the 90 degree weather (it was 9 AM!). I figured better be safe than sorry.

I showed up in a room of about 20 other actors and grabbed the pace as near to the box fan as I could. The place was air conditioned, however, the air flow had yet to be tamed, so, some parts of the room were muggier than others. I came dressed in shorts and a t-shirt and allowed the universe to dress me for the role. After the wardrobe director gawked at the number of clothes to choose from, she picked an ensemble that I've worn many times before - A black/red bowling shirt, green khaki's and black shoes Cool, I know I look good in this outfit, so, I am sure the camera will show it

As we sat around, "Hello! My Name Is" tags were handed to us with predetermined names. I got "Nelson". How orginal! I accepted my name while other people got "Paco", "Bob", "Dick", "Fillipe", or "Chasity" (no misspelling there). I reintroduced myself to one of the executive producers, i.e., the money men, and he seemed to remember me from the audition I did for the lead roles. In fact, the director himself also remembered me from the audition. I figured it's a good indications of things to come The EP was looking at me and said, "you know...you look more like a Middle Eastern guy with that beard. You could pass for someone from there!" Mind you, I have already been cast three times in a row for a terrorist/Middle Eastern in different productions! So, instead of freaking out because of my fear of getting typecast, I smiled and said, "You know, you're absolutely right!" and proceeded to bust out my best Arabic/Middle Eastern guy, which he couldn't stop laughing at. He allowed me to name myself, hence, "Mohammed" has been born into the production! I kept character a lot through out the day and people seemed to dig it (lots of "72 virgins" talk, some oil tycoon braggardy, and Ahkmed Suave flirtation with the older women in the cast).

We shot our two scenes together one of which featured heavily the assets of a young lady (can't wait to get the directors cut! *giggity* ). So, sitting in a hot, unconditioned room doing take after take was handsomely rewarded! I was told after the takes that everyone could hear my character's voice cut through the group chants we were performing as recovering addicts. A few times I could hear them giggling at my chracter's despair to avoid all debauchery at any given cost. The EP and the director came up to me and said, "We are doing more movies and we have your resume. We're definitely going to call you." I left walking away pretty content in the near 100 degree weather (It was 1 PM).

So, typecasting is working in my favor for now. I'm having fun doing it and making new opportunities out of it. Now, when my character dies, does he get 72 scripts?
Currently listening :
Rage Against the Machine
By Rage Against the Machine
Release date: By 10 November, 1992

Sunday, July 30, 2006

A Time To Reflect

I got to hang out with both of my ensembles this week at Corcoran's Grill and Pub across the street from Second City (If you ever get a chance to check it out, I highly recommend their burgers. Talk about finger lickin' good! I walked out of that place with nubs!). So, I got to kick it with my fellow actors where we espoused our philosophies on just what the hell we all think we're doing. I figured out that the path I am taking with it is a very balanced approach. I am doing this all to be a better performer/entertainer while acheiving something greater than myself. I promised myself I wouldn't be looking for the usual pitfalls everyone seems to go into at some point in their life when doing something creative like "making it", being "successful", getting "paid", or being "famous". I told myself I was going to do all of the acting/comedy stuff while it was fun and exciting for me. At the same time, I want to be skilled at the craft I am performing, hence, all the training, plays, improv, stand-up, music, and occasional dance routine I am into now. When I was playing music, I was in it for all the reasons that burned me out on it. Now that I've seen a new path for creativity, the love for all of it is coming back.

Currently listening :
The Eminem Show
By Eminem
Release date: By 26 May, 2002

Note: This was originally posted on MySpace with comments at:
http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&FriendID=16074757&blogMonth=7&blogDay=30&blogYear=2006

Friday, July 28, 2006

Men on Film

I reported to my first day on the set of an upcoming film this week. The casting director gave me some rough instructions as to when to get there, what we'd be doing, and under what circumstances we'd be shooting the scenes I was in. I was told to bring a few items like black/brown pants, black/brown shoes, and black/brown attitudes with a hint of white undershirt to top it off. I showed up with my items on a coat hanger into a room of actors each of wish had bloody suitcases of clothing to peruse through. Mental note:go to Walmart buy them out of every good looking article of clothing they've got there...I may be there a while ! I was immediately wisked away to the wardrobe trailer for fitting into my role. I met up with a few actors that seemed pretty nice outside and shot the shizzle with them as we all waited to be turned into movie stars.

When I walked into the trailer, the entire Marshall Fields' mens' department must've been purchased! I saw every conceivable size of black and brown pants hanging with all the stickers still attached. I was handed one to try on and did. It didn't feel/fit quite right to me but I was assured that it was okay when I was told, "you're probably not used to wearing clothing that actually fits you". Apparently 10 years of dressing myself has culminated in a misunderstanding of my own proportions and clothing styling.

After being fitted, we waited outside for them to release us. And we waited. And we waited. An hour and a half later, we were then herded back to the holding area inside the crux of the set. We waited for another 6 hours to be released. They were shooting various scenes outside while we were inside, thus, they had no real use for us other than to ask us to drive vehicles around or to walk around in the parking lot while the shooting was going down. I wasn't one of the chosen few that got to go out and do some of that but I did have a good time talking to my fellow actors and getting to know them. I also learned a whole lot about the industry, unions, talent agencies, eating catered box lunches while the rest of the cast ate like regular human beings out of the buffet, and the best way to get people to remember you by giving them a funny catch-phrase (pick a subject/activity everyone is involved in and say "Man, this is some boolsheet!". It always invokes a reaction. For example, "Man, this comedy movie filmin' is some boolsheet!") I did get a really nice compliment from one of the staff as we were leaving our torturous day of sitting around. He said, "Did you audition for this?" I told him, "Yeah." He's like, "Good. You're a really funny guy. They're lucky to have you on this." Awwwwwwwwwww

I got paid roughly $12.50/hr to sit around and enjoy myself. Apparently acting like a bagger earns me more than being an actual bagger

Currently listening :
EP from the Underclass
By Dovetail Joint
Release date: By 20 February, 2003

Note: This was originally posted on MySpace with comments at:
http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&FriendID=16074757&blogMonth=7&blogDay=26&blogYear=2006

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Day After...

I enjoyed reading/watching the reactions of folks who couldn't get their fix of MySpeed. Being unplugged from Locutus of MySpace was defniitely a shock for a lot of people. I mean, people had to communicate the hard way like in the ancient days like using instant messaging programs, using their nubby little fingers on a cellphone for text messaging, picking up the phone to talk to each other, or *GASP! Heaven forbid!* actually having to be physically in front of someone to speak to them! Kids will be talking about this day to their grandchildren!

"Yep...mmmhmmm...I remember the Great Outage of 2006. It was a hot day...Jool-eye 26th...I reckon. Everythin' seemed fine and dandy, ya know? Ma knees started flarrin' up due to the hours of sittin' at the 'puter typin'. I knew somethin' was coming down the pike. *sigh* Little did we know how powerful electricity could be! Ya see, son, back then, we had to have electricity to keep everythin' in line...ta maintain order...so people don't go wild in the streets! But nobody - I mean nobody - saw the magnitude of what was comin'! The hammer came down without warnin' and wiped us out! A whole lot o' people got hurt that day. *cough* Dem sonsofbitches...Yer granpappy had to wait for 6-8 hours 'fore he could add 500 random people as friends to his profile...I couldn't get ta my messages! Muh comments! It was like going blind...but online! I hope you'll never get to experience what I went through that day. Wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy!"

It did, however, make me think to say, "Hey! I need to make a backup site just in case this happens again." I do have a lot of blogs up here I would like to keep as well as video and pictures. So, stay tuned for an announcement on the new backup site for this place!

Currently listening :
Here Comes the Bride
By Spin Doctors
Release date: By 01 June, 1999

Note: This was originally posted on MySpace with comments at:
http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&FriendID=16074757&blogMonth=7&blogDay=25&blogYear=2006

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Brenda, Becca, Jenna, Anna, Tammi, Tonya, Bambi, ...

I keep getting friend requests from some troll out there who set up a bot that generates profiles with pictures of good looking women asking me to add them as a friend. As you add them, they all have almost the same exact profile and heavily push their webcam websites. But what makes me laugh are that they have like 1000 friends and all of them are male. And they all leave comments! Like for this profile, I see comments like,

" hey gorgeous. howve you been?"

"Thanks for the add!"

"How are you doing? You are very beautiful and sexy. Lets keep in touch my yahoo messenger ID is XXXXXXXXXX. Do you have yahoo messenger too and Aim messenger? How about adding each other and chatting on there."

"Thank you so much for the invite--I can see you must be fairly particular about who you want around! Take care~"

Comments like these support two things about MySpace newsreporters have been spouting:
1. MySpace is a place to perpetuate high school social habits based on popularity vs. merit.
2. Guys are REALLY REALLY creepy. They'll add anybody/anything if they think they can get into it's pants!

Ooh! Friend request from NelsonYouAreSoHotAndAllIveGotOnAreMyPJs! Time to start adding!

Currently listening :
The Hits 1
By Prince
Release date: By 14 September, 1993

Friday, July 21, 2006

Anyone Can Be a Rapper

I went to my favorite restaraunt last night (Uncle Julio's Hacienda) and was kidding around with the bartenders that know me all too well due to the thousands of dollars I spend there in a year. I saw him pick up a glass to start a drink I chanted,

"PUT SOME ICE IN IT!
PUT SOME ICE IN IT!
WHAT?!
PUT SOME ICE IN IT!
SON!
PUT SOME ICE IN IT!
SALT!
PUT SOME ICE IN IT!
SWIRL!"

All these rap guys say, "Well, you know what I'm sayin'...I'm jus' spittin' 'bout my life and stuff I know about...I don' rap 'bout fur coats...or shiny shoes...or even 'bou tthe apocalypse...I keep it real. Like the other day I saw a relative of mine and I busted a rhyme like,

'LET ME DRIVE THE HONDA CIVIC TO THE LOCAL SNACK SHACK!
LET ME DRIVE THE HONDA CIVIC TO THE LOCAL SNACK SHACK!'

But you know...Moms wasn't havin' that cuz, you know, she was drivin' the car to hide it from the repo man and she was tired of takin' the bus. You know. It's sh*t like that I talk about. My boy the other day came around with his new girl. Whoo! After lookin' this girl up and down and sizin' her up, I leaned over to my friend with a smile and said,

'GAWD DAMN! YOU GOT YOSELF AN UGLY LOOKA RIGHT THERE!
RUN AND HIDE! GOT YOSELF AN UGLY LOOKA RIGHT THERE!'

So's, I keep it street, you know what I'm sayin'. Real hardcore. I got this new joint that's hot in the clubs right now. We be talkin' 'bout how we ball once we're inside...I had Busta, Fitty, and Fisticuffs all guest on it. The hook got this piano part played by the honorable queen of the streets Liberace and we all goes,

'I'M BROKE! YO! SPOT ME A FIFTY!
I'M BROKE! YO! THIS CLUB IS SO NIFTY!
I'M BROKE! YO! MY CLOTHES ARE THRIFTY!
DON'T BE COMIN' 'ROUND SON! CUZ I WILL ROB YOU IN A JIFFY!
CUZ I'M BROKE!'

Yeah boy! That's dope! See, I've got my man Frosted Flake (Efinef) hittin' it up from the otherside, you know. He's flippin' the script on the urban experience and bring it in from a whole new level, you know what I'm sayin'? We got this record called "CrackaJax" and we sing on this one! Yeah, we got soul singin' on this one, son! It's loosely based on the ole, ole, ole, OLE school track "Amadeus" that came out when Efinef was just comin' into the game. It goes like this,

'CRACK-A-JAX CRACK-A-JAX CRACK-A-JAX
CRACK-A-JAX CRACK-A-JAX CRACK-A-JAX
CRACK-A-JAX CRACK-A-JAX CRACK-A-JAX
OH OH OH CRACK-A-JAX'"

See, it's so easy to be a rapper! Just rap about everything you see when you're walking to the bus stop or when you're sitting on the john. The next hit can come from the crapper! Come to think of it, many of them already do

Currently listening :
New Joc City
By Yung Joc
Release date: By 06 June, 2006

I'm Being Challenged...

I got an excellent and fun part in the upcoming production of Peep Hole. The only problem is that the lines I've got are very difficult to memorize cuz they're written ina pseudo-language. So, I have to memorize both the translations and the regular lines which is making for slow memorization. Oh well, I'm up for the challenge cuz I want to get off-book as quickly as possible.

Rehearsal tonight was fun. The cast I am with is large but very good. Once I get the ticket information, I'll blast it all over here for y'all to read.

Alright...time to cuddle up with my girl to a nice, romantic episode of Oz...can't wait for those shower scenes!

Currently listening :
Greatest Hits (CD + DVD Combo)
By Huey Lewis & The News
Release date: By 23 May, 2006

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Whoah! Yeah!

"...Kickstart my heart/Hope it never stops..."

I went out with the family to celebrate a relative's birthday in Plainfield, IL. I don't know if you've ever been to Plainfield, Il but let me tell you, all that's there is a plain field! Nothin' to visit but cornfields, dirt bikes extravaganzas, cookie-cutter housing that looks like it's begging to be hit by a tornado just to make things look a ltitle different block-to-block. and the local quickie meth lab where Habib is not welcomed to run the shop but Gunther is!

The activity chosen to commemorate the occasion was the Skate West Skating Rink. Going to the skating rink as an adult is different than going as a kid. I remember going there to skate to songs like "Who Shakes the Best", "Baby Got Back", and the all-time favorite "Mama Said Knock You Out"...you know, clean, wholesome family-oriented music. I remember watching my best friend racing other kids in the speed skating competition, and being just as cut-throat as the rest of the kids when taking the corners. My friend was so vicious he would cut kids off in the corner and cause them to fall down just to get trampled by all the other skaters behind them. One night my friend and I hit the rink and the fast skate came around. I was much to slow with my "Mondoblades" on (they were "Mondo" cuz they weighed like 50 lbs. a piece and went about as fast as a guy who took a "Mondo" hit) so I sat this one out. I'm glad I did. The race starts and the kids are vying for position in the first lap. Come the second lap, my friend cuts off another kid, which he's done plenty of times before. Well, this time, apparently this kid was taught all the virtues of speed skating like control, speed, stride, and cornering...but he wasn't taught the minor convenience of stopping himself! In a hunched over position, this kid, with the crown of his head, went head-first into the purple concrete wall! He collapsed immediately.

Time slowed down at this moment. Everything became surreal. The music faded out in the background. The disco ball turned ever so slowly, and the crowd fell silent. It stayed that way for what felt like an eternity...until I bust out laughing hysterically onto the floor. Everyone turns around in slow motion and looks at me in disbelief.

Once the ambulances left the rink, we found out that the kid had broken his collarbone and wouldn't be able to do much of anything for a while. My friend and I bailed at the sound of that news never to return to that rink...until the next week when we returned to pick up girls.

"Whoah...Yeah...Ba ba ba ba ba baby!"


Currently listening :
Dr. Feelgood
By Mötley Crüe
Release date: By 08 April, 2003

Friday, July 14, 2006

Conflicts of Interest

Lots of cool opportunities have been presenting themselves to me lately, but I'm having a hard time juggling all of them. If I get offered a chance to do an improv show, I have a conflict with a play I'm rehearsing for. If a movie op comes up, I've gotta be out from work for 9-10 days straight shooting for it. If a rock/jam gig pops its head, I can't cuz I've got class on the same day and time. If I want to go do some standup, I don't have any new material to go cuz I'm doing a bunch of other crap! If...then...else...goto...error!

I'm grateful for the opportunities I've created for myself. I need to now create them at times that don't conflict!

Currently listening :
Mezmerize
By System of a Down
Release date: By 17 May, 2005

Monday, July 10, 2006

Interesting Bit of BS

I was watching Penn and Teller's BS show on-demand from the local cable company and they had an episode where the speak on manners and etiquete. There are people out there that claim that there is more rudeness in America than there ever was in our entire existence, and that can be measured by our lack of use/knowledge in proper etiquete.

There interesting part was how they portrayed that there are a lot of people and companies out there going on control-freak binges with other people or employees. For example, they had some guy walking around downtown Chicago complaining the entire time about everything! He considered it rude for people to use their cellphones while walking. He didn't like how cars would turn without signaling their intention even though they were in a turn-only lane. He didn't even like couriers double parking to deliver packages because they blocked traffic. He felt that if eveyrone followed his rules, then rudeness would exponentially be reduced in the world. He claimed that there should be a "Rudeness Police" correcting peoples behaviour in the world. I find that rude as he's not honoring my sense of individuality! CALL THE RUDENESS POLICE, ARREST HIM, AND READ HIM MY RIGHTS!

They cut to a montage of different articles of employees being fired for having matieral on personal blogs or pictures on websites. One guy got fired because his company disapproved of the matieral in his stand-up comedy routine! When that got mentioned, I thought, "I wonder what my company would do? I have a personal blog and I do stand-up comedy...good thing I don't do jokes about managers and projects...cuz those types of jokes do kill...literally...I mean, they get so boring sometimes that they kill people sitting their in their sleep..."

Basically, I kind of understand both sides of the table. An employee can be thought to represent a company at any given time, hence, should act in the comany's best interest. However, employees are people first and are granted the right of individuality first and foremost. If it was agreed upon in an employee handbook or business conduct guidelines that no matter what someone is doing that they represent their company and can be fired for their activities in their personal life that are completely legal, then I find it acceptable at the very most (I don't like the thought but hard to argue the point if it's been agreed upon). Since companies are slow to adopt new technology into their bcg's, it's almost arbitrary how they deem employee behavior out in the real world.

Well, I better go peruse through the employee handbook and see what parts of my act may get me in trouble...

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

The Soul Plane Should've Crashed and Burned

I saw most of Soul Plane yesterday while I took a break from recording a new song. It was billed as the black version remake of the great movie classic Airplane! Oh boy...was it ever. Every single black stereotype was exploited in the movie,e.g., Popeyes Fried Chicken being served in the "low class" section of the plane, black male models with extremely large packages hitting on women, the in-flight safety video being shot like and set to Destiny's Child's Survivor, the white family with the cross-over, hip-hop son that knows all the jargon, and the husband that gets to know black culture throughout the movie. Now, I like making fun of stereotypes and exploit them to my own use a ttimes, but, this movie didn't have anything else going for it. All the acting was awful, the dialogue was far-fetched and felt forced, and the idea of having a hip-hop club in the upper deck of a 747 killed it for me. I would like to think there is a movie that is worse than this one...but I can't .

Currently watching :
Soul Plane (Unrated Mile High Edition)
Release date: By 07 September, 2004

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Kryptonite to the Movie Watching Experience

I went to go see Superman Returns this weekend. Superman is faster than a speeding bullet, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, and be mistaken for birds and planes. However, he is unable to have enough dialogue to thwart the whispering diatribes of a gaggle of 14 year old girls watching a movie together.

These girls apparently couldn't adhere to the finer rules of watching movies like:
1. Turning off your cellphone during the movie (or at least putting it on vibrate)
2. Avoiding text messgaing their friend sitting next to them in the theater. When they all have T-Mobile Sidekicks, it's like a portable plasma screen in a darken theater.
3. Shutting the fawk up during the movie and just enjoying it for what it was.


SPOILER ALERT
If you haven't seen the movie and don't want to know what happens, continue reading from LESSON LEARNED?!


During the scenes where there was a lot of silence in the dialogue, I heard these girls whisper loudly stuff like:

During the scene where Superman is hospitalized after saving Metropolis:
"I THINK THAT BOY IS SUPERMAN'S SON..."
"SHE WHISPERED TO SUPERMAN THAT SHE LOVES HIM"

When Superman is standing over his son in Lois' house with a loving look on his face:
"OOH! WHAT A CREEP! I'D BE CREEPED OUT IF A GUY WAS STANDING OVER ME."


During the entire movie whenever Superman was featured:
"OH MY GAWD! HE IS SOOOOOOO CUTE!"


I was annoyed because the sound system in the theater couldn't drown out these comments. I make comments during a film myself but I really try to keep others in mind when I make them cuz they spent the same $9.50 I did. So, I shushed these girls a few times in vain and got them to be quiet for brief periods of time.

LESSON LEARNED?!
Basically, I've learned that if you REALLY want to watch a movie, pick a movie and a theater that caters to the type of audience you think is conducive to your style of movie watching. SR is a kids movie (I used the term kid loosely as in kids in their traditional sense and obnoxious adults that have no regard for other people's movie watching experiences) and I should thought of that before going. The best time to go see a kids movie is when they're all at school...but, I guess I have to work, huh?


Currently listening :
Sweatsuit
By Nelly
Release date: By 22 November, 2005

Note: This was originally posted on MySpace with comments at:
http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&FriendID=16074757&blogMonth=7&blogDay=2&blogYear=2006