Friday, June 29, 2012

Where are the New Posts!?

I've moved on to Tumblr... Here I can really share all of wacky adventures here in the Big City. Check it out:

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Gay Bomb: The Musical!

   I've been busy. Some good and some bad. Lately I've been working on my first off-off-Broadway musical. This Friday at the Magnet Theater in New York City, we will see the opening night for Gay Bomb: The Musical! It's a brand new musical loosely based on real events where the U.S. military was considering a plan to produce a bomb to turn enemy soldiers gay. Their theory was that the enemy soldiers would be so consumed with lust that they would drop their arms and have sex with each other. Thus the U.S. could invade and finish any war. Pretty silly right? Well some friends of mine wrote a musical comedy based on that very same idea and took it further. Read about it here: Gay Bomb: The Musical! I play Bruce, the sidekick/best friend of the hero of the story. It's a super fun role, and it really feels nice to be working on a play/musical again. I've been doing a lot of improv comedy, and there have been times when I've really missed the process of working on a full production. I love the music for the show, and I feel very lucky because the writers have given me one killer show-stopping number that has a great message. I don't want to ruin the surprise, but I hope to have some recorded version in the near future. Here's a short promo video for the show. Check it out here:

  You can buy tickets here: Gay Bomb: The Tickets! I'll have more to report on the show after we open, but I really love the production thus far, and I get to work with some incredible people. What can I say? It's been a blast. Working on a brand new musical certainly has been an eye-opening experience. There have been quite a lot of ups and downs, but everyone is working very hard to make this a really fun show. It's rare that you find that in the theater world. It's taken a lot of resources, time, and energy from everyone involved. We couldn't do it without each other and without you.

  If you'd like to sponsor the show wherever you are, we have a Kickstarter event where you can donate money to the production. There are some really awesome incentives to donate, so please go here: Gay Bomb: The Kickstarter! Until then, I really can't wait for Opening Night...

Friday, March 30, 2012

I Made A Video...

   I made this yesterday... I'm hoping to start it as a series, so I'm always looking for suggestions of famous people. Feel free to share it. By the by, if you didn't know me, I'm a HUGE Prince fan. I do this bit out of love and adoration. Enjoy!

Friday, February 17, 2012

My Second Gig -

     I had some slight hesitation about writing on this experience because I wanted to see the finished product of the sketch. I mean I shot this thing all the way back in November, and I didn't want to come off like an ass if the final video cut me out entirely. Let's begin from the start. Back in April, I auditioned for the former casting director of, Adam Newman. I found the audition through one of those pay-to-meet events at a service called The Network. Check them out here: The Network NYC Here in New York, there are three main agencies that host these workshops, classes, and pay-to-meet events. These agencies are: Actor's Connection, The Network, and One on One. I prefer both The Network and One on One because you have to audition to be able to sign up for events, and they always seem to have a nice mix of casting directors, agents, and guest artists. Now these events range in prices with some being pretty costly for a broke actor, but in the long run, I've found these events to be worthwhile investments. So I auditioned for Adam Newman back in April. I used a comedic monologue that's in my current repertoire from a play called "The Balcony Scene" by Wil Calhoun. Adam and I had a short Q & A, and he seemed pretty responsive. He said everyone would be filed away in their database, and that I could possibly be contacted to do a sketch...
    Cut to November when I received an email from Lisa asking if I wanted to be an extra in an upcoming sketch. I'd be playing a student for $60 in a sketch set in the 80's as part of an acting class for one of their newer characters, Yeardly Tinsley, a foul-mouthed failed actor. The sketch was to be a part of their newer "VHS" series. Each video was to be centered around a "found VHS tape" with various footage of different shows and specials. Did I want to do the sketch? HELL YES! She soon sent me a script and asked for my dress size. Fortunately I had that day off from work, and I showed up bright and early at 9AM on a Monday at the Atlantic Theater Company with my best "80's clothes". The sketch was taking place in an empty black box studio theater, and we were constantly reminded that we as the "students" were supposed to take this acting class very seriously. We could not crack smiles or laugh if the scene did not call for it. We were told to think of those Michael Caine acting videos set in the 80's.

On-set for "Acting Class"

     When arriving on-set, we were greeted with coffee, pastries, and bagels. I was in food heaven. We were asked to hang out while the crew was setting up, and for some of us newer CollegeHumor recruits, we were asked to fill out basic paperwork and tax forms. We also met with make-up and consulted with the costumer about our looks for the shoot. Apparently all of my clothes were considered too dark and drab for the look they were going for. Let it be known that I am terrible at costuming/dressing myself. Our smart costumer chose a look that was bright, fun, and preppy. I was dressed and sent back to set to wait some more. I felt like a villain from all of those high school teen 80's movies. The cast and I came up with fake names for our students. I was to be known that day as "Rick Studebaker". Any minute I was ready to scream, "NERRRRRRRDSSS!" 

Meet Rick Studebaker...
     Most of the morning was spent snacking and cracking jokes in the makeup room with the star of the sketch, Josh, a CollegeHumor veteran. I had a plan, and that plan was simple. Get to know people, be a nice/funny guy, and get asked back to do more projects. Also if I could get a line or some decent screen time, that would be great too. The interesting thing about doing the shoot was that most of the sketch was improvised. Yes we started out with a script, but I soon learned that Josh was an amazingly talented improviser. The director would let Josh toss out lines, play, and have fun as Yeardly. Josh started out in character, and he just wouldn't quit finding newer and funnier lines. It was like getting a Master Class on how to be funny on camera for sketch and commercials. The shoot went very smoothly and was a ton of fun. Throughout the shoot, Josh would improvise dialogue with the students, and suddenly a light bulb went off in my head... Thanks to my improv training, I was accustomed to listening in a scene and then returning with a line or quip at a moment's notice. I was ready to deliver if called upon. At one point, Josh was to go around and ask various students secrets. Here I thought, "Now this is my big chance!" "Who has a secret," Josh asked. Two kids' hands went up as they were cast per the script. Boom! My hand went up to volunteer. Someone else's hand shot up too. We were then locked as "The Secret Kids". Score! I might get a line in the sketch after all! Soon we were prepping the "Secret Scene", and off we went. It started off with this kid, Brandon. Next came me, then another kid had to share a secret, and finally the secrets would top off with a girl who was cast to deliver the secret that she was molested at a young age. Ahh... comedy. Brandon started by saying he killed a gerbil in grade school. As my turn came, I knew that I had to "heighten" the pattern of secrets by sharing something that was deeper and darker than Brandon's secret. Ding! I had it. While not entirely a true secret, I figured that my character "Rick" was a closet transvestite. I had my secret! The camera turned to me, and I blurted out my secret hoping that it was good enough to make the cut. The next boy delivered a line about throwing up in school, and finally we reached the girl who delivered the molestation bombshell. We finished the shoot with tons of stuff that didn't make the cut such as Brandon delivering a monologue while Yeardly directed him, and I volunteered a few more times to do non-speaking business with Josh. I might have cut some people out from getting some opportunities for screen time, but I guess I figured, "How many chances am I going to be able to do this? "You only live once right? I also supposed that I probably wouldn't see most of these people again, and if I stole some thunder, who cares? I went home that day proud that I made an effort to step forward and speak up. I didn't fade into the background. I took a chance and hoped that it paid off.
     For months, I addictively checked the CollegeHumor site to see when the final cut would be posted. Yes I had told friends that I had done the shoot, but I was eagerly anticipating as to what the final sketch would look like. I know it seems insignificant, but this second gig meant the world to me. It was further proof to my circle and to me that I was meant to be here in New York. It's proof that I am funny, talented, and I was meant for something more. Here I was taking one step further into this crazy mixed-up world of theater, film, and television. Yes I did do the All-State ad a while back, but I still haven't seen a copy of it or what it looks like. This simple sketch is further evidence that I'm making strides in the Big Apple, and that my first gig was not a fluke or accident. It's been a crazy ride so far with an even crazier start to 2012, but I feel like we're just revving up the engine. Stay tuned.

     Here we are. The final product. What do you think? You can check out the final version of the sketch here:

Saturday, February 11, 2012

How to Succeed in Life...

      So recently I switched jobs... Okay I was fired. Let's be honest. Some of it was my fault, and some of it theirs. I suppose it was fate, and these things happen for a reason. It certainly woke me up from my general malaise and stupor. I was pretty unhappy for a while, and some of the people were straight up terrible. For a week or two I was dead broke, and thanks to the many terrific friends that I've made here. I survived. I got the hook-up for this job from a friend I made through improv. Thanks to her, she helped me live another day in the Big Apple. So now I've gone from waiting tables to currently working in a call-center for a reputable theatrical company that sells tickets to Broadway shows here in New York and across the country. It's been interesting going from the lunch and dinner rush to the slower pace of office life. I think I'm still getting adjusted... The people here are nice, and I'm currently closer to Actor's Equity HQ to audition for more theatrical productions than I've ever been before. I usually can sneak out on my lunch hour to audition for some regional theater or the latest Broadway hopeful. Here the coffee flows plenty from one of those fancy K-cup machines, I can drink all of the Diet Dr. Pepper I want, and I've decorated my little cubicle to resemble my own little slice of life. The thing is that here it's pretty easy. The money is not as good, but it's easy to get comfortable and feel safe. I just have to be careful... I don't want to get too comfortable. I don't want to forget why I moved to this city. My dream. My love. My constant.
      It's been a rough start to 2012 nonetheless... Recently, my professor, mentor, and friend John Dennis passed away. JD, as he was affectionately called, was the head of my MFA acting program at LSU, and by God was he incredible. JD brought me to LSU when a lot of acting schools wouldn't even give me the time of day. For those three years, I grew as an actor under his tutelage, and I would often run to his office for guidance and a place to hide. We shared a mutual love of Tennessee Williams and snide, snarky comments. We had a special bond I think different from some of his other students. His passing has certainly kicked me in the ass to get going and get back to auditioning. This past week, I auditioned for a new diverse version of "A Streetcar Named Desire". I only prepped my Williams' monologue a few nights before, but when I entered the audition room, I felt him there. He was guiding me, coaching me as only he could to get the best out of me. I'm probably going to miss his memorial service this weekend here in Baton Rouge, but I'm pretty sure he would want me to just keep auditioning, hustling, and working. It's also around this time that I think of another friend, Chase Korte. Chase, was one of those superstars during my time at the U of MN that you knew was going to do great things. Unfortunately his life was cut short when his car was crashed into by a drunk driver. At times I feel guilty for living longer than Chase. Sometimes I ask, "Why am I here? Why was he taken?" His passing was so quick and so sudden that I still can't believe it. I still expect to hear his voice or hear about some great project that he's working on. Once he passed, I secretly resolved to live for Chase, to work for Chase, and to do all of the things that he didn't get the opportunity to do. That's why I need the constant reminder to follow this dream. One of Chase's favorite quotes was, "Follow your bliss..."

    Where were we? Oh yes. One of the perks of this new job is that occasionally we get tickets to free shows both Off-Broadway and on. I have this thing that my homework is to try to see theater at least once a month. Keeps me inspired. The night before, I saw "Sistas: The Musical". A decent jukebox musical that was a bit heavy-handed on history and light on character relationships. Last night I got a free ticket to the revival of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying". Unfortunately I missed this show with Harry Potter's Daniel Radcliffe and Glee's Darren Criss. This particular production starred Nick Jonas of... Jonas Brothers' fame? Let me just say... Oof. I'm sure he's a nice kid, but he was just very vanilla... Like tapioca. Bland, boring, and could barely sing which is important when you're like in a musical... When your lead female blows you out of the water when doing a duet and your acting can't carry a scene, you're definitely in trouble. I think the show certainly left me empty too. The show is definitely a blast from the past, and this revival had a bright 60's feel that was fun... I guess it just hurts too that thanks to "Mad Men", there's been this huge resurgence of 60's nostalgia. As an actor of color, you'd love to do these kinds of period pieces, but usually the stories don't call for anything other than white faces... Or the casting director's just not that imaginative... So while the supporting cast was very talented, the production just left me wanting something more... Michael Urie from "Ugly Betty" was delightful as usual, and the lead ingenue had a terrific voice. I'm glad I did see the show. I'm definitely grateful for the free ticket. Lord knows I'm still too broke to afford Broadway tickets, but I think this show certainly inspired me. It fueled what things/projects I need to start working on. It energized what I should be working on, and what my art should be. I bought the mug above because I thought it would be cute to have around the office, but I also thought it would be a good reminder as to why I'm here. The show certainly let me know that I still need to raise my voice. To speak up, sing out loud, and just be heard. JD and Chase, I hope you're watching... I'm gonna make you proud. I'm not gonna stop. I've only just gotten started...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sh*t People Say

  So I made a video straight on the heels of the "_____ People Say" trend. I thought it would be a fun challenge to create, write, and edit a video like this. Here in 2012, I've decided that I want to generate and write more content for myself to showcase my abilities. As an actor/performer in NY it's easy to get down-trodden about not landing the part or auditions. I've learned that sometimes, you just have to create your own work. It keeps you artistically fulfilled and busy. I shot the video around New York with a Flipcam in my neighborhood in Queens and Manhattan. Check it out:

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A New Year - Anything Goes

   Sorry it's been a while since postings... It's been a crazy past couple of months. You know... "Holidaze". Lots and little has happened since you last saw me. I've triumphed and failed spectacularly, and I've tried to survive this city as best as I can. Still confused, still fresh, and still optimistic. Still struggling and hustling when I can. Working hard on all things me. Here we are... 2012. Supposedly we have less than a year left if you follow your favorite Mayan calendar. Guess I gotta make some things happen, like now. 2011 was pretty good to me through all of my bitching and moaning.  I got my first major paid gig, shot a CollegeHumor sketch, made a house team at an improv theater in NYC, made more good friends, saw incredible theater, and really grew as an artist and a person. Yes I'm still single... (That's whole other post.) Through it all, I've been very grateful to everyone and anything that has helped move me to this place thus far.
    I did have a good New Year's holiday. Rather then do the Manhattan thing, I visited a friend, watched a movie, shared a bottle of wine, and then attended a house party in Astoria, Queens. We'll just ignore the four drunken hours I spent trying to get home falling asleep and waking up all over the New York City subway transit system... Thank God I had the next day off. I met up with some friends for brunch in Hell's Kitchen and just finally took it easy...
Anything Goes...
   I also saw a show on New Year's Day that got me really inspired. Of all things, it's a remount of a musical classic: "Anything Goes". Yes I saw the one currently on Broadway with Sutton Foster. I could barely afford the ticket, but my friend Colleen was in town. I also have this thing of seeing a show each month. It keeps me grounded, and it makes me feel good as an artist. It's funny because we did the show in college, and I always hated it. It was one of my worst auditions ever. You know the kind where you leave the room and burst into tears? I saw our college production, disliked it save for my friend Eileen, and hated the show forever for cheesy plot and racist undertones. So as I entered the theater for the Broadway production, I had my fingers crossed. I was praying it would be a decent show. After all, you can't go anywhere in New York without hearing the praises for Sutton, and my personal hero Joel Grey was in it. He's a Broadway living legend! As the curtain fell, I left the theater being wowed and falling in love with Sutton Foster. I was also in awe of the terrific cast, dazzling sets and costumes, and furthered steeled myself that I want a career like Joel Grey's... I even ran into Michael Gladis from Mad Men on the way to the bathroom! Seeing the show helped me find my resolve that I deserve to be here. I belong here. My new motto is "Anything goes!"
   All that being said, I still feel like I've got a lot of work to do. It's hard for me to relax and do nothing. I've got to keep pressing on. There are a lot of goals and things to do left on my bucket list. A new year usually brings resolutions made and broken. I try not to make them, and I prefer to shoot for targets. Keeps me focused. So for all of you and myself, a simple list of targets. Here we go:

1. See/do more with this city.
2. Date more.
3. Keep building that acting career.
4. Eat less. Keep being active/healthy.
5. Stay happy. Write more.

   There... Not so hard, right? Granted, these are not resolutions or promises. They are targets. Some are easier to hit, and some are terribly difficult to shoot. I'll just try to attack them as best as I can. I hope you'll hold me to that. It's all I can offer. I'll definitely be writing more... Stay tuned.