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People, by nature, have some interesting things to say. Here are some of my things. Some about acting. All about living ...

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Lolcats and acting

It's nice when two things I love intersect.

Here, it's Lolcats and acting:

funny pictures of cats with captions

'Nuff said.

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Friday, April 09, 2010


There's an interesting featurette on "what's the deal with nuns in Japanese pop culture?" over on

It's got a couple of nuggets of interesting historical stuff, so it's a decent lightweight read. It is, however, a ridiculously shallow view (but hey -- it's Kotaku), and candy-coats at least one medium's portrayal of Judeo Christianity.

If you (for example) look at how Christianity is portrayed in Japanese animation (popularly, "anime"), like MD Geist and Evangelion (the latter of which mixes in Gnosticism and Kabbalism as the same thing), Macross, etc.) -- the religion is not popular. As a matter of fact, Christianity is often held up as the device from the West that literally brings about the end of the world.

That doesn't quite mesh with the Kotaku feature, which puts kind of a positive spin on Christianity's reception in Japan.

But none of that matters.

What does matter is the feature's reminder to me of the term, "Nunsploitation" -- Exploitation films about nuns, popularized in Europe in the 1970s (while the West was doing backsploitation). And then Japan was off and running with nunsploitation through the 80s and 90s.

Fascinating cultural stuff.


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Friday, April 02, 2010

Good Friday and my dad-in-law

Today is Good Friday -- that day where Judeo Christians remember the day Jesus died.

Wait -- What?

So here's the deal:

For Christians, Jesus died on Friday. He rose from the dead on Sunday. So, it was in restrospect that the Friday he died was "good" -- It probably didn't feel that good at the time.

This year, it's also the first anniversary of my dad-in-law's death -- and it somehow feels right that for this first one, it's on Good Friday.

I've said before Victor Wallace Tirabassi was a "good man who made people better." I'm not so foolish as to elevate him to any version of pseudo sainthood, but he is a real-world inspiration whose example that has driven me forward as a husband, dad, and worker, in some ways as much as my own dad.

A year ago, when dad died, my oldest asked if we could make the anniversary of his death a holiday -- "Poppa Day" -- to celebrate all of the good memories.

Smart kid.

And this year, Poppa Day and Good Friday share a date.

Original Posts:

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Monday, March 22, 2010

My daughter's perspective on my new job

My daughter gave me an excellent perspective check this week about my new toy job.

I'm in the process of traveling back and forth between Austin and North Carolina as we finalize our move back to Texas, so I was in NC last week visiting my girls and fixing home inspection stuff (and glad that I'm handy).

While driving for an errand with my oldest, she looked up from her book, and asked:


Yeah, Sweetie?

How's work going?

It's going great, Hon. I really, really like it.

Are you working long hours?

I am.

Are you making as much money as you were before?

No, but --

That's OK. At least you're working for two companies you like Marvel and Disney and they have all those characters you like so much and you're getting to play with them and doing something you love and you're making a GAME and people buy games because they want to do something fun and your job is to work making it more MORE fun for them.

Um ...

So it's OK if you're working long hours and aren't making as much money and are in Texas away from us for a little while.

I love you, Sweetie.

I know.

(Goes back to reading her book.)

Yeah, that worked.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

On making decisions (video)

Life decisions. We all have 'em.

Here's a pseudo-animated rendition of a semi-dream my psyche tried to work through for a recent pair of my upcoming life decisions.

And it's available in HD. Because I found that funny.

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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Birthday shenanigans

While not quite the "weekend o' selfishness" that was one of the high points of 2006, today's lazy B-Day was a good recharge, and recapping it is kind of interesting to me. While the activities don't define me as a person anywhere near in totality, there are some things for me to consider, and for me to look at down the road to see if I feel like the same guy.

Might have been more exciting if I took a whole 4-day weekend like I'd originally planned, but Friday is our planned company-wide celebration for our Gamebryo LightSpeed product launch, and given how much of my life that sucked in, I'm not going to miss that, and not going to miss celebrating the folks who made it happen.

Anyway, here's the B-Day blow-by-blow:

Got up late, after desperately trying to sleep in. "Late" being 9 o'clock, as after about 8ish I start feeling lazy and squishy.

Read a few comic books -- notably the Sub-Mariner and Captain America number 1s, part of the Marvel's 70-year celebration, and Captain America: Theater of War / Brothers in Arms. I'm a Captain America fan (if you don't know that, you haven't been paying attention), but anytime Paul Jenkins writes him, I grit my teeth. Jenkins has got poorly veiled political views, and while I think he's a phenomenal writer, at times he Chuck Austen's his biases inappropriately on a character. His last Cap book was phenomenal, and this one was pretty good, though his biases showed through a few times, which for me is irritating by itself, but it hurt the flow of the book, so there were creative impacts. Still a worthwhile read, and Jenkins does raise some important stuff. There are also some good panel layouts in the book.

Then it was breakfast with my incredible family. Great food, coffee, and mealtime silliness, followed by running around too soon after eating too much, and some focused Flintstones re-enactments.

I grabbed the Nintendo DS and plowed through another chapter of Dragon Ball Z: Origins, which I still like as a franchise fan, even if the game implementation still irritates me (the non-skippable start-up sucks, and keeps me from swapping carts in and out).

My foot fell asleep during this play session, which made me think about character acting and believable affectations, so I spent some time working on a limp, a la The Usual Suspects, and realize I need to get some focused character acting coaching help.

I went back to comics with one of my other favorite characters, Beta Ray Bill, in the BRB: Invasion Aftermath one-shot. Brit writer Kieron Gillen does an interesting job in what could have come across as a heavy-handed tolerance and redemption tale, and pulls it off. I think he would have done better if he wasn't so vocally dismissive of the genre. But he sets up the upcoming new Godhunter BRB limited series well. And I'm glad Bill is getting some Marvel Universe love.

Then I dug into the art book and behind the scenes DVD content for Gears 2. I like the game and the franchise it's becoming quite a bit, know several of the folks who made it happen, and enjoy looking at the art and craft of bringing it together.

Then it was responding to several too-kind birthday wishes and notes (many via Facebook, to which I've recently fallen), as well as several Biz communications that I don't want to lag, despite today being my "day off". I don't think I ever want to take off from the Biz, and my current self-induced slump in response to a series of larger life happenings has gotten untenable. I also downloaded a bunch of free music from Amazon at the same time, to expand my musical palate (and maybe palette; but not pallet, unless metaphorically).

Then, It was off for a quick 3-mile run, which could have gone better if I A) hadn't eaten so much at breakfast; B) hadn't been sedentary typing beforehand; and C) North Carolina humidity wasn't so stifling. Still, a good run, and got the blood and creativity flowing.

Got back and did a quick spin through the house to do some minor chores (set up shelves in the garage, replace light bulbs, filters, and the like, etc.).

Then back to some me-time to take product picts and unbox several toys with which I've been delinquent in doing something (I really need to figure out a shelving display system for my new office). I watched the episodes of Marvel Super Heroes: What The --?!, then sent a quick note to the folks I know over at Marvel involved with the gig to see if I can be part of it. Must ... be a part ... of ... it.

Then a fantastic dinner / dessert / presents, where I got a pair of Sennheiser HD-280 headphones for my voice and production work. Been looking to get some decent professional 'phones for some time. Not sure if I'll keep them or swap for the Sony Pro MDR-7506, but regardless, I'm sooo grateful for the giftage.

Then, a bunch of long phone calls with the fam (the important stuff), before cider, TV, and Sweetie quality time.

Then Wolverine comics (Switchback from a South America team) and the Xbox 360 game; after a re-do of my theater setup (which did not go as smoothly as I'd hoped, but it's all good).

So I'm blessed six ways to Sunday, and had my first genuine day off in I don't know how long.


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Saturday, April 11, 2009

Loss and Jesus

AUDIO: Victor Wallace Tirabassi: Loss and Jesus

This is a follow with some of my thoughts about my recent dad-in-law's death. For the original audio, please see Victor Wallace Tirabassi (1946-2009).

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Victor Wallace Tirabassi (1946-2009)

AUDIO: Victor Wallace Tirabassi (1946-2009)

Here's the to-brief obituary, but please listen to the audio.

My dad-in-law, Victor Wallace Tirabassi (1946-2009) 63, went to be with Jesus April 2, 2009. He was surrounded by all of his kids, his wife, and his sister.

Born in Lynn, Mass., he was the son of Irene Tirabassi and the late Frederick Tirabassi.

Victor shined Christ, and was a model of generosity, hard work, holiness, and good humor. He was a U.S. Marine Corporal Vietnam Veteran, and 20-year Nucor Steel employee.

Victor is survived by his wife, Elaine Tirabassi (Johnson); his children and their spouses Dan & Kate Tirabassi, Joanne & Adam Creighton, & Anthony Tirabassi; his four lovely grandchildren Kiera, Gianna, Isabella & Carina; his siblings and their spouses Frederick & Pat Tirabassi, Maria & Steve Segars; and his mother, Irene Tirabassi.

His Funeral Service will be held on Monday at 11 a.m. in the Nardolillo Funeral Home in Cranston, RI, followed by Military Honors in RI Veterans Cemetery in Exeter, Rhode Island.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking donations be made to:

Hope for the Hungry
In support of Randy Sperger
PO Box 786 Belton, TX 76513

Vic wasn't my father-in-law -- he was my second Dad.

He said he'll greet us at heaven's gates.

Now, you have to do something.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Battle o' the Songz (Round 3)

If you're not up to speed with "Battle o' the Songz", go here, then here, first.

Due to the craziness surround GDC prep, this round actually took two weeks before we called it a wrap. And in honor of GDC, we're making our next battle video-game-themed -- which makes both chaining and theming required for the first time.

You ready to rock?

'Cause here's round 3 play-by-play!

Opening Round 3 strongly with Joey Scarbury's "Believe it or Not". Yeah, Real American Hero fare.
Office mate Dan firing back with "Midlife Crisis" (Faith No More), and I counter with Blink-182's "What's My Age Again?", which is countered with Winger's "Seventeen". He loses points because the answer is "23".
I answer with "Foolish Beat" from Debbie Gibson, who at 17 wrote, produced, & performed a Billboard Hot 100 number 1 hit.
Chaining the title, Dan sends me the Go-Go's "We Got the Beat", and I bring the hammer down with "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" from Wham!. I am all that.
In an anemic response, Dan sends me Finger Eleven's "Awake and Dreaming", but I give Gary Wright's "Dream Weaver". Classics have weight (Even before Wayne's World).
Got "Mad World" from Gary Jules as a response to Gary Wright's "Dream Weaver". "Gary" and "dream" linkage - Not bad.
Responding to "Mad World" from Gary Jules with "Mad Mad World" from Tom Cochrane. His world is more mad than Gary's. (It was that or Shaggy.)
In one of our few highbrow response's, Dan uses the "Adjective Song" from the Connells in trade for "Mad Mad World". Extra points.
I send back The Idoru's "Behind Words", which has weirdly similar lyrics to the Connells "Adjective Song".
Getting The Velvet Underground's "All Tomorrow's Parties" in response to my "Behind Words" (The Idoru'); All Tomorrow's Parties is the sequel to William Gibson's "Idoru". Erm.
Returning U2's "Party Girl" for Velvet Underground's "All Tomorrow's Parties". And then Dan bad-mouths U2. Yeah, he's a hater. And he loses points.
Receiving Dan's "Solitary Man" Johnny Cash cover for U2's "Party Girl". Kind of the "anti-link", and I'm giving him extra Johnny points. (Heh. I said "Johnny points".)
Sending Neil Diamond's "I Am ... I Said", another loneliness song from the guy who wrote the Johnny Cash covered "Solitary Man".
Getting Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy" back for "I Am ... I Said". This is tenuous at best, and I would have given more points if the link was "Neil Diamond is too sexy".
I return Hannah Montana's "Who Said" for Right Said Fred. Feeling dirty. Dan fires back Billy Ray Cyrus's "Achy Breaky Heart" in response to my Hannah Montana play. Wait, Hannah Montana's secret identity is Miley Cyrus?
Thinking I'd already gone to the dark side, I volley Hillary Duff's "Break My Heart" to Cyrus's "Achy Breaky Heart". She's a contemporary of Hannah Montana, there's a title link, and it hs the same lyric line. Boo-ya.
Dan "Control+Zs" my attempt to "Break My Heart" with Toni Braxton's "Un-Break My Heart". Brilliant!
I end this round with Riddlin' Kids "Pick up the Pieces" (they're there to pick up the pieces from the floor of Toni Braxton's "Un-Break My Heart"; they're helpful like that).
(Now, on to video-game greatness.)

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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Battle o' the Songz (redux)

Not satisfied to call it quits after our latest high-brow culture battle, co-worker Dan and I continued our song battle at a reduced rate.

To recap: We trade song volleys back and forth, and they have to be linked by artist, lyrics, themes, or other meta-context. The greater the link, the more “points”.

Here's the round #2 blow-by-blow.

Dan opens and wows me with the Transformers theme remix from Vince DiCola. I keep my cool and fire back the safe-but-appropriate G.I. Joe animated movie theme song from Ford Kinder. Dan responds with Joe Satriani's "House Full of Bullets" (because "G.I. Joe's fire bullets"). And it is on.
Finding the previous volley too easy, I fire off the Jimmy Hendrix riff "Red House" covered by Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, and Eric Johnson. It's a sharp retort, but it softballs my office mate a bunch of options for response. He answers with The Streets's "Get Out of My House".
I answer with U2's "Where the Streets have No Name", and he answers with Eddy Grant's "Electric Avenue" (because his street has a name). Not bad.
I answer with Amy Grant's "Big Yellow Taxi" (boo-ya!), appropriately making it hard for Dan to respond. After taking a day to recover, he fires back with Vince Gill ("What the Cowgirls Do") in response to yesterday's Amy Grant song. (They're married.)
I retaliate with Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive" ('cause he's a cowboy, and -- let's face it -- in his heyday he looked like a girl; keep your hate mail to yourself). Dan sends back Stone Temple Pilot's "Dead and Bloated".
Seeing my opp to get Weird Al Yankovic in the mix, I lob over "Happy Birthday". Dan is appropriately non-plussed, and lobs back barely linked "Gangsta's Paradise" from Coolio. I fire back with LL Cool J's (the Original West Coast Gangster) "Mama Said Knock You Out. And I'm in high school again.
In perhaps the best volley so far, Dan (springboarding off of "Ladies Love") plays "Laid" from James, and I blast back with the Rebecca St. James abstinence song, "Wait for Me" -- the I'm - not - getting - laid (yet) song. Poetry.

After regrouping, Dan sends REO Speedwagon's "I Can't Fight this Feeling", and while losing points for moving away from the sexual motif, he gets points for it being REO Speedwagon.
I try to bring us closer to the gutter by firing back Blink 182's "Feeling This". Dan plays into it and answers with the Divinyls "I Touch Myself".
I pole vault over the line with Harvey Danger's "Flagpole Sitta". Look, he went there. I just followed. And escalated.
We call a mutual truce on the self-pleasuring theme, and after getting Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy", I counter with the Alanis Morissette cover of Seal's "Crazy". That's meta-funny. "Insane in the Brain" (Cypress Hill) is the response. I'll take that.
I backhand with Public Enemy's "Get The F --- Outta Dodge" (read the lyrics of both if you don't get the link). Dan comes back with a solid "My Own Worst Enemy" from Lit (with a private enemy making a good comeback to a Public Enemy).
I send back Something Corporate's "I Kissed a Drunk Girl" (they're Lit, for pete's sake; plus I think the girls in both songs are the same kind of person).
Dan finishes with "Santana DVX" from The Lonely Island -- and we mutually call it a fitting enough response to "I Kissed a Drunk Girl" to close this song volley round.

(Oh, and you people who think this is "stupid"? Please stop Emailing me to tell me. You're obviously reading. You're stupid.)

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Battle o' the Songz

Alright, in the midst of a company-wide working weekend, a coworker (Dan) and I were having a “Battle o’ the Songz”.

Basically, we traded song volleys back and forth, and they had to be linked by artist, lyrics, themes, or other meta-context. The greater the link, the more “points”.

We set up speakers, blasted songs at each other, and gave rough weightings to each volley.

If it feels a bit like an ad hoc game from Where I Met Your Mother .. I'm honored.

Anyway, below is the summary. It's arguably a bit of a aural Rorschach (or MMPI) test, so let me know what you think it says about me.

I counter the opening volley of Dana Dane ("Rollin’ wit’ Dane") with The Soup Dragons ("I'm Free"). Granted, it's a bit of a tenuous comeback, but I linked it by (A) “Free” and the “whatever I want” message in Dana Dane, and (B) DD says “lyrics” like 13 times, and The Soup Dragons song, uh, has lyrics.

Piggy backing off of "Freedom" (and partying), my office mate lobs back DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince ("Parents Just Don't Understand"), with gives me an easy way to answer with Roxette ("Joyride"), because DJ and the Fresh Prince go on a joyride in their parents’ Porsche. He takes the driving theme to Sammy Hagar ("I Can't Drive 55")
I blast back with the Rolling Stones version of "Route 66", one of the most covered driving songs ever (it was that or Depeche Mode's cover), and thereby chain the 3 previous car and joyride themes (you get points for continued chaining), "Route 66" also winds up in Cali, and I get the additional double digits link ("55" / "66"). Dan answers with Chicago "Saturday in the Park"), because the Hagar and Stones entries start in Chicago, and he wanted to break from the driving theme.

I counter with Soundgarden's "4th of July", with a lyrical link from Chicago's "You'd think it was the Fourth of July" to Soundgarden's "I thought it was the 4th of July".
Heating things up (sorry), Dan volley's back wtih DJ AL-B's mashup of Audioslave Vs. Busta Rhymes ("Woo Haa I Got The Gasoline"), with Chris Cornell (in both Audioslave and Soundgarden) as the link.

Temple of the Dog seemed like an obvious retort, but I responded instead with my college thesis theme song from Mc 900 Ft. Jesus: "The City Sleeps", and definitely felt like I was winning the Battle (“Gasoline” in the title of theprevious song dovetail with the lyrics in the pyro song: “clutching the tools of my trade in my hand / an old box of matches and a gasoline can”).
In response, I get Guster ("Jesus on the Radio"),which links “Jesus” and has the nice meta link of Mc 900 Ft. Jesus (kind of) playing on my "radio" (it was an MP3, but whatever; he gets style points).
In a bit of a lackluster return, I spin up eighties darling Dead or Alive's "Spin Me Round", since the Guster tune says “go around” several times.

Honestly, Dan's response metaphorically jump-kicks me (Kosheen / "Damage" -- from the Dead or Alive video f****** movie!). It's brilliant, becasue “Dead or Alive” the band links to “Dead or Alive” the movie, which is a VIDEO GAME movie, and Dan's real (and my toy) job is in video games.
Gathering myself, I see an opportunity (and a willingness to stay stuck in the 80s) and lash back with Culture Club's "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?"
Link #1: DOA (The Movie) → "Damage" / Kosheen (lyrics “I know I hurt you" / I didn't mean to”) → "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?" (title from Culture Club).

Link #2: DOA (The Game) → Crying Game (The movie) → Boy George (the artist, who was in ...) → Culture Club, the band, who sung) / Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?

(There's seriously still a flow chart in my office.)
(We ended the day calling it a draw. Grudgingly, but a draw.)

(Starting Sunday.)

My opening volley was Johnny Cash's cover of "Personal Jesus" from Depeche Mode (Since it was Sunday.), and Dan followed up with exactly what I would have -- Nine Inch Nails "Hurt" (which Johnny Cash also later covered).

I follow up with the band - unknown - to - Dan - but - blasted - on -a - regular - basis - at - several - guys - I - accused - of - stealing - my - girls tune, "Under" from Filter, because it was another drug song, and from a band made up of sometime NIN touring and album members (oh, and the song I usually blasted was "Hey Man Nice Shot").
He was less impressed that I was with my response, and volleyed with Huey Lewis and the News ("I Want a New Drug"), which both maintained the chain, and lifted us (a bit) out of the somber.

I had been waiting for two days to aurally assault Dan with some NKotB, and Huey let me leverage New Kids on the Block ("I Wanna Be Loved By You") via “New(s)” / “New”, the same insecure love vibe, and I’m sure Jordan did drugs.
Not missing a beat, Dan spun out Marky Mark's "Good Vibrations" for the Wahlberg-to-Wahlberg equal assault. At least he's a good actor. (Really good, IMHO.)

I bounced back with Bob Marley ("Positive Vibration"). Duh -- “positive”; “vibration”; dancing; drugs; and I loves me some Marley. This also felt like the first legitimate volley return of the day.

Sliding deeper into the drugs connection, Dan sends over Sublime's "Smoke Two Joints" (Marley / Rastafari / Marijuana).
This let me fire back another entry I wasn't sure I was going to get to leverage -- the odd LazyBoy "Underwear Goes Inside The Pants", partly because I wanted to see if I could get a quirky response into our battle, and partly to softball 6-8 launching points so we could get away from drugs.
I'm sure just to screw with me, Dan hits me with Electric Six (which I like) and "Down at McDonaldz" (which I don't, but at least it links LazyBoy's “I’m pretty sure even McDonalds has a ‘underwear goes inside the pants’ policy”).
I end the day with Phantom Planet's "Leader", linking the two songs via cult leadership vibe (dude in “Down at McDonaldz” sounds like a cultee). I almost went with a song about Marilyn Manson, or from the Marilyn Manson Band, which would have been creepy clever. And cults are better than drugs (??).

We kind of fizzled at this point (late on a Sunday night on a working weekend), and Dan said he didn't buy the cult angle, but if he did, he would have responded with Guster's "Red Oyster Cult".
(So ends the day. And the initial battle.)
And now we've turned this "Battle o' the Songz" into an ongoing thing. As part of keeping our heads clear (and improving company morale and culture by creating a lighthearted betting pool rivalry), once or twice a day (we figure we couldn't keep up the previous pace and still justify our paychecks) we crank the speakers and fire off tunes at each other.
Where are we now? Obcure 80s cartoon themes (Vince DiCola and Frank Kinder, you are masterful).
Rock on.

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Saturday, June 07, 2008

On creativity and composition

My last post was pretty hefty, and there's no easy way to step down from it in a measured way that wouldn't be more orchestrated than it was genuine.

So, instead, I'm goning to dive right in with my next post and talk about boobies.

OK, not per se, but at least I've set an appropriately low bar on the thematic weight side of things, and have much more ceiling.

Moving on.

I so dig I'm not associate with them in any way, but I've been a fan of the package that is their company and offering and product for a long time.

They make hilarious T-shirts, riffing or springboarding off of retro and pop culture love, and they do it in creative (if not brilliant) ways.

An all-black shirt that says, "There are 3 ninjas on this shirt [try to find them]".

"Your epidermis is showing."

(Two pictures of bags of ice and a picture of a baby.)

But like I said, it's not just the logos and the products -- it's the package that is the company.

Take this shirt, "I drink your milkshake":

(If you're unfamiliar with the deriving song, I envy your blessed naïvité.)

The shirt is funny by itself; it plays on pop culture, and has an odd, stilted old-school graphic juxtaposition against what's in essence a jug-happy metaphor.

But what finally prompted me to write about these folks are there ads (which I usually see on

I snagged a pict of this ad, because you could take almost any of them, and match what works alone in the graphic above, magnified with A) an appropriately attractive (but not stereotypical) model, who's B) animated and bought in during the shoot, but in a C) realistic, living, non-posed way.

Tie to acting? Creativity and "being" (not faking).

(Let along the obvious example of smart branding and leveraging pop culture.)


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Sunday, June 01, 2008

The Other Side of Something Horrible

I haven't posted on the acting side in a while.

I've had good reason.

Here's the MP3 -- and remember, this is my "Ramblings" blog ...


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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Love ya! Mean it!

I just got back from a week in the Big LA, Los Angeles -- La La Land, Latte Land, HueyWould, GlitterTown, etc.

I really like that burg. I like the glitz, the glamour, that it feels like everyone (CEOs to baristas) work really hard to keep up appearances -- hell, I even genuinely like driving in LA (other than in torrential rain).

I met with a lot of brilliant people at a bunch of different (and different types of) companies. I'm a studier of people, and I'm fascinated by people navigating (or navigating badly) perhaps the weirdest social network in the world.

Here are some of my observations.

Treat receptionists, administrative assistants, and personal assistants well. I'm a firm believer in being a respecter of persons independent of role, folks in these roles work ridiculously hard, and I'm grateful for the work they do. Add to that the power these people have in this geography, and you'd be hard-pressed to justify abrasiveness in these situations. I literally shook my head at a visitor blowing off someone behind the front desk, and then almost laughed out loud when they didn't get in to their scheduled appointment.

There was even a scenario where I let a PA set up my laptop for a presentation. I'm super tech saavy (and obviously know my own computer), so while this was a no-brainer for me, this was part of his job for this meeting. Me canning my ego and getting out of his way made the setup faster than it would have been with us both trying to do it, and showed his competence to the bigger group.

Get names right -- especially names of important people in the Biz. Say you're talking to "Grand Pooba A" for a media deal, and you keep miss-calling him "Grand Pooba B". And it turns out "Grand Pooba B" is his peer, and they're at odds with each other as to how they each see the project moving forward. Mixing up names is a bad move anyway (it implies you don't value the person), but in this glitterati scenario, it can remove you from the game.

Leverage the superficial. People in the Biz are some of the most brilliant and creative folks anywhere. But I've been in conversations where they've dismissed me, and doing something like pulling out a super-sexy, little-known phone (not the iPhone -- that's so last year), can bring attention back to me. I don't want to manipulate, but I do pay attention to subtle cues so I can leverage common ground that we're all excited about.

Love the franchises. The meetings I took last week were gifts. Part of what made them gifts (aside from busy, talented people taking time out of their production schedules) is the meetings were all built around creative franchises core to how I grew up or where I am now. Being able to connect with artistic and technical folks at a fanboy level made the conversations more exciting, collaborative, and productive. Plus, in many ways, I am arguably the target audience for at least three of the projects, so that sanity check validation was key for them and for me. This is my personal favorite, as it's so fun. To get to work on the stuff I love? True giftage.

I got a ton more out of last week, but this post already has the double whammy of being a bit preachy, and overly vague as I steer clear of exposing the actual meetings or franchises.

So I'll call this bit o' rambling good for now, and hope it was helpful for folks who maybe dismiss the importance of these little social bits.

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Another reason to be unafraid

I was at my brother-in-law's gymnasium the day after Christmas, and I watched various kids of various ages try various things, interested in what they were trying, when, and why.

Turns out the more comfortable a kiddo looked, the more likely she was to try something daring (hanging from the higher of the uneven bars, jumping from stacked mats into a foam pit, sliding on the big slide -- whatever).

The more secure they felt, the more gutsy stuff they tried.

This got me to thinking about adults in general, and me in particular, and the fact that the more secure I feel, the more gutsy stuff I'm comfortable trying.

And since everything comes back to living, and the more I learn about life the more I learn about in my acting, I was struck with some life/acting lessons from the observations.

Taking risks while comfy -- having supportive cast mates, coaches, directors, and so on -- is great, but it's kind of the low bar for me. I work to train myself to take risks when I'm not comfortable.

This means while I can do daring stuff in a comfortable place (supportive director, professional working environment, etc.), I don't need that comfortableness.

If I train myself to make gutsy choices and "tear it up" without the crutch of security, I'm much more useful in the industry (being an actor is a freaking uncomfortable gig).

And when I am working with a supportive director and professional cast and crew (which, frankly, is way more fun)?

Watch out for the fireworks.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays, and Best Wishes to You Yours for the Coming New Year!


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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

WGA strike

I'm bummed by the Writer's Guild of America (WGA) strike.

You can catch some good pithy insights and links to supportive and antagonistic thoughts on the strike on the DealFatigue blog (and Peter's an insightful, good guy).

But let me talk about why I'm bummed.

I'm bummed because, as a consumer, shows are being put on hold, indefinitely. First casualties were things like Leno, Letterman, Colbert, and Stewart. Shows like Rules of Engagement and Two and a Half Men followed suit. Heroes may go into early re-runs, which it will likely survive, with its rabid fan base. But my being bummed as a consumer is a wee bit selfish.

I'm more bummed because striking writers may be responsible for killing shows like "Friday Night Lights". Almost cancelled after its first season, it's seen new life in a second season on Friday nights. While many folks have cried foul on a time slot where "shows go to die", it was actually probably a strategic network decision -- with little ratings expectations for a Friday night time slot, "FNL" arguably only needs to marginally well to get moved to a better slot in the short term, or renewed for a third season in the medium term.

There are good folks on "FNL", and they're twiddling their thumbs and losing work and may need to go on to other things which will kill that show (if waning interest from early reruns doesn't do it first). And it's the one network show filmed in Austin, so if you pull that, you impact that acting and commercial community.

I'm bummed because this strike probably takes WGA out of the video game opportunity they've obviously been pursuing.

And, yes, I'm bummed that, as a working professional actor, I'm impacted by this strike. Projects I was up for are on hold -- TV, movies, advertising, voice over, and the like. Anything touched by WGA talent.

And I'm bummed, because -- not to be alarmist -- with a stoppage in writing work and slow down in ancillary work, shorting of advertising spend, an indeterminate strike period before being ended by a likely mutually unfulfilling compromise, followed by a return of writers to network slots populated in their absence by reality and game show TV not needing as many of their services, this strike could cause or exacerbate a nationwide recession.

I saw an interesting comment from one of Letterman's writers saying he though many of the strikers didn't realize how emotional the strike would be, because there are other people who are there friends, who are hurt, and "it isn't their fight."

I don't want to be disrespectful, but ... duh.

Peter's more measured about it:
"... a strike would seriously harm the overall health of the industry. Everybody
involved knows that."
"... a strike is a lose-lose outcome for everyone in the business; the writers
in particular, regardless of any gains for the Guild at the negotiating table."
There are pros and cons to unions and strikes. I'm not the guy to debate that.

But should a group have this kind of potential impact on people outside of the group's affiliation?

Or am I overstating the impact?

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Soyanara Texas! Hola, North Carolina!

Wow, things can change quickly.

I've just accepted a new job in North Carolina, and I start the first of November (yes, less than two weeks from now).

Which means I'll shortly be making a break from my more than ten-year home of Austin, on to the next phase this adventure.

This is wicked exciting, and wicked hard for me. I've been blessed on so many fronts in the decade I've been in Central Texas -- with relationships, professional ties, and acting.

Now, I'm choosing to say goodbye to the day-to-day blessings of those things.


In my current acting training, there's a rule that says I don't make a change in what I'm doing in a scene unless and until I'm compelled by something more profound.

I was compelled by something more profound.

Besides being an actor, I'm a lifetime gamer. And I'm a wicked good business development guy.

I've been taking concerted steps for almost three years to position myself to move into the video game vertical market (it's unfortunately very closed). Almost out of the blue, an opportunity opened that lets me apply my technical background, my mad Biz Dev skillz, my enjoyment of PC and video (and table top, come to think of it) games, my people passion, and my creativity in one place. I'm pretty sure I've never had a such a mutually excited interview process; it just so felt like that "perfect storm" of opportunities for my skills and passions.

So I said, "Yes."

Not tepidly. Not half-heartedly. Full-on, let's-make-something-happen, "Yes!"

(Oh, I negotiated; would you want to hire a person who doesn't know how to negotiate?)

So, what's the new gig?

Can't say yet, but watch this space. Or maybe this space. But probably at least this space.

And while I said it's wicked exciting, I also said it's also wicked hard.

Yes, I'm finally in the video game industry in a big, makes-sense, impactful kind of way. But I'm also leaving Austin.

I have had some of the same friends for the entire ten years I've been here. I'm solidly networked in the business and technology markets here. I've been growing as an actor here for almost six years. Austin rocks in and of itself.

Which is part of why this job -- and this move -- appeals to me.


I'm one of those guys who genuinely likes change. I look for opportunities in change (for myself and other people). The problem with me liking change so much is I'm comfortable with it. But, for me, comfortable is bad. It fosters personal laziness and lack of risk-taking.

What better way to get uncomfortable than to move into a new vertical market, and a new part of the world where I don't have a support base?

That'd do it.

And there's more too it, but I don't think it makes sense to get into it too much here. Suffice it to say acting is hugely important to me, but knowing myself, I have to be careful not to make things like acting too important. It doesn't make sense for me to allow acting to become a god that takes away from more important relationships and responsibilities. I guess it's shorter to say that I'm an adult, and sometimes that sucks on the hard-decision front.

Am I ending relationships in Austin? Of course not -- just the day-to-day phase of those relatiobships. I suspect I'll be back to Austin regularly, but I'm going to be investing heavily in my North Carolina life. It's the InterWeb age, though, so there are six ways to Sunday to hit me up.

Am I giving up acting?

Don't be ridiculous!

My incredible agent will continue to represent me aggressively. I'll be adding East Coast representation, and working in a state that has a good interactive and film incentive program. I'm still available to those long-standing Texas clients who have been willing to fly me out for auditions and gigs. I'll be a short hop from New York. I already have to get on a plane for West Coast gigs, so no big whoop there. My voice travels everywhere.

And weird as it sounds, I'm excited about hopefully getting out - of - my - skin uncomfortable on the acting front. I have some ideas for some fun, gutsy stuff, and I'm hoping I can onboard some to-be-local-to-me NC actors.

Good times are coming.

Like I said, things are happening fast, but I hope to have three quick fairwell get-togethers (social, professional, and acting) in the next couple of weeks. Watch this space.

I'm grateful to the folks who have challenged me, supported me, trained me, and otherwise contributed to my success in my more than decade of there - is - not - enough - time - in - the - day frantic doings. I wish I could sit with every person and say why you rock. I realize that isn't likely to happen.

Let's face it, it's easy to keep in touch with me.

I've got this this Website, which is obviously my main avenue for communicating to the wonderful men, women, and others keeping tabs on my acting and ramblings.

In case you haven't been paying attention, I also use Twitter quite a bit to track folks and keep peeps informed of my day-to-shenanigans and ruminations (think of it as micro-blogging). It's not all deep stuff, but I do consciously use the service strategically to keep you abreast of my professional doings (and I try to avoid the insipid "I'm eating macaroni" type posts).

If you're into Windows Live Messenger (including Yahoo! Messenger, since they inter-operate), send me a request to stay in touch. If I feel close enough to you, I'll add you as a contact. ;-)

If you're a gamer with an Xbox 360, send me a friend request via Xbox Live (Hitachi Wasabe). You can school me online.

And if you're a professional acquaintance of mine, track my career path via

Thank you, and here's to the adventure!

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

My brand ...

OK, I've been meaning to write about this for a while, and a question over on inspired me to jump the gun a bit (shut up; I was going to write about it).

The initiating question was simple (ha!):

Is there one word, a pinnacle, that describes you? What is it? Why?

-if you have a package, show us that too!
First, yes, I laughed at the wording of the second part of the question. But that's because I'm horribly immature. And I just realized I want that on my headstone ("Adam Creighton: He was Horribly Immature").

So how do I respond to a question like this? Because, honestly, it's a hugely important question, and I take an active role in packaging "Adam Creighton" as a brand.

Just one word? How do you even do that? One of my pet peeves is the reductionism of the individual -- none of us can be reduced to one word.

One word? Maybe "Integrity" -- I'm willing to lose a job for my integrity, suffer the slings and arrows of critics, yadda yadda yadda.

Two words (and another facet)? "Professional Creative" -- It's a differentiator for me from many of the folks that are the former or the latter. Not that it's a competition (I've written on that many times before; read the whole post for the "competition nugget").

A "branding package"?

Yeesh / [snicker]. Uh, here are a few:

"Technology Manager. Independent Creative. Llama Wrangler."

"A Voice & Film Actor, living a Mortal life."

"Living a passionate, ecstatic, and urgent life."
I don't like the idea of answering this question, because I don't know how I keep it keep it from coming off as being self-aggrandizing or braggadocio.

But here goes. ;-)

Honestly, I professionally see myself (Adam Creighton) as a brand, and all of the things I do are products and services that are logical extensions of that brand. And I actively and constantly work on my brand.

Notice my site? Are you a regular reader of some or all of my 7 active blogs? Notice my logo? Notice the packaged consistency? Notice all of the things I do (and just wait, there are some bigger, more WTF ventures on the way)?

Do you know me personally? Do you find any common thread there?

Integrity? Professionalism? Creativity? Immaturity?

Erm (again). Very little good comes from late night blogging.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to do a still photo shoot of some new toys, and then play some video games. Because I just finished reading a 115-page script I'll be table reading for the Austin Film Festival Sunday.

(How's that for self-aggrandizement?)

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Living a care-free life ...

I haven't written about class recently. I need to talk about last week's epiphany about my character spine. Later I need to talk about that.

I want to talk about last night's class, because I had another of those "life equals acting" epiphanies.

The discussion was around being care free in our acting. Studying under Steve has given me a bunch of tools and applications geared toward getting me to be care free when I perform. (And I've touched on some of them before, but you're not going to get them here; get in class with someone of Steve's caliber.)

Anyway, the hard part about practicing to be care free is it puts it on the fore-front of my mind -- "mind" being that cerebral/intellectual killer of acting/being.

Steve doesn't want his students hung up on these tools and techniques (and, to be fair, a lot of these acting process steps are things he's figured out, so he's got a leg up on applying them more organically to his own process), so we've been doing things in class to help us become more care free.

Last night was one of those nights. And it was fun and inspiring, both when I was on stage and when other people were.

And what made my time (and the drive home, and thinking through the night, and this morning before things got all life wonky) especially good was my epiphany just before we finished prepping to go on stage:
I already work to live a care-free life. Acting is part of my life. That means I'm already working to be a care-free actor.
I don't mean I'm care free in a dysfunctional, character-disordered, disconnected kind of way. I've very much a planner and an executor, which on the professional side makes me great at doing both strategic and tactical work.

But I don't -- at home or at work -- worry about stuff.

There are a bunch of reasons. From a religious perspective, worry is a sin, it doesn't add any time to my life, today has enough worries of its own, yadda yadda yadda.

From a pragmatic perspective, what's worry going to get me? Honestly, best I can figure is an ulcer. Maybe even a bleeding ulcer. Yippee.

Taken to professional application, what makes me a great manager is I don't worry about managing. I'm ridiculously proactive about management -- personnel, risk, project, customer relationship, business recovery, whatever.

I build out a number of contingencies. I understand the impacts. I know what's allowable, and what's not. I communicate that to everyone. And I don't worry.

I still have tough, aggressive conversations with folks. Stakes are still high. I know I could lose customers, projects, or my job through no fault of my own; I don't worry about that. I worry about what could be my fault. And then when stuff does happen that is my fault (because it will), I take ownership, I fall back on one of my contingencies (fixes) for the situation, and I move one.

I once worked a project where someone walked into my office and said, "If anyone thinks this project is getting done, they're insane."

I sat down with him, we worked through the project, found out the project manager had been miss-representing things, and yep, anyone still wanting the project on the original cost, scope, and schedule was probably certifiable. So I articulated options, scenarios, and new cost, feature, and timeline considerations. And ended up getting negatively tagged and penalized. And I didn't worry (doing the work and and doing the right thing are incredibly freeing activities).

Understand, I work wicked hard at my job and in life. People who know me know I will fill any available time with doing stuff. Productive challenging fun stuff. It's my strength and my weakness.

And while I'm working with high stakes (corporate international mega-million dollars or personal relationship issues), I have fun; I laugh.

I bring a game console in to work for my development team and we blow off steam for a couple of hours (because if you can't spare the couple of hours, your project's already beyond in trouble).

I go catch a move for lunch to get creatively fed and reset and clear my head and be more productive when I hit the office.

But I don't worry.

It pours rain off and on for months on end and I can't get my lawn mowed and my neighborhood association might fine me and I don't worry. I mow my lawn when the chance opens up because I care about my neighbor, and if that chance doesn't open up until after I get a fine, so what? So I couldn't mow my lawn and someone was doing their job or was bored or was on a power trip? Not my issue. Not my worry.

Don't read this wrong -- I haven't "arrived". And there's a balancing acting between not worrying and being character disordered. And there are times when I worry, and have to have self talk (or a close accountability friend) reset me.

Kind of like when I have to get out of my head as an actor.

The main reason I wanted to study as an actor with Steve is I know I'm too careful as a person. I tend to do things right. But until last night, I didn't connect that I don't worry about getting things right.

So, the epiphany for last night was all the "right" stuff in life? Taken care of.

The acting opportunities? Networking with the right folks to get me the gigs I'm passionate about? Already happening. If the opportunities don't happen, it's not my shortcoming.

Auditions? I already know I carry myself professionally, know my lines, have my headshots, know the etiquette. So the audition, the callback, the freaking on-set scene is play time.

Work is done. Nothing to worry about.

And when I say "play time", I don't mean bounce a beach ball inanely for hours at a time. I mean no inhibitions other than what's ingrained and subconscious and I can break loose and do something important.

Last night, I had seven minutes to read a monologue I'd never seen, make some whacked out choices, and go. There was no way for me to memorize perfectly, so that wasn't a worry (though I surprised myself by still getting 80% of it, by not thinking about it).

The monologue was from a drug dealer. I did it with a debilitating stutter on Ts, Ks, and Gs, and a constant nervous bicep-rubbing-the-ear physical tick that nearly gave me rug burn.

Would you buy X from that guy? Maybe not (though I was pretty desperate in my stuttering, spastic plea).

Will you remember that guy who tried to sell you X?

Oh yeah.

And I wasn't worried about getting it right at all. For that moment, I was a care free actor.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Recognizing Jack Kirby ...

The new York Times (free registration required) has a short article on comic book legend Jack Kirby (his 90th B-day would have been yesterday).

The guy is amazing, and I'm grateful for his influence on comics. I've actually been re-reading a lot of his original stuff lately, so this tribute to a hugely influencing creative comes at a good time for me.

Don't know who Jack Kirby is? First, shame on you. Second, here are a couple of snippets from the NY Times article for context:

"Mr. Kirby did a lot more than just draw. As the critic Gary Groth so ably put it in The Comics Journal Library, “He barreled like a freight train through the first 50 years of comic books like he owned the place.” He mastered and transformed all the genres, including romance, Westerns, science fiction and supernatural comics, before he landed at Marvel.

"He created a new grammar of storytelling and a cinematic style of motion. Once-wooden characters cascaded from one frame to another — or even from page to page — threatening to fall right out of the book into the reader’s lap. The force of punches thrown was visibly and explosively evident. Even at rest, a Kirby character pulsed with tension and energy in a way that makes movie versions of the same characters
seem static by comparison."

(Via Boing Boing.)

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

On convictions and acting

I've been having some important discussions lately with actors. These discussions center around convictions -- what they "will" and "won't" do -- and how it impacts their acting and auditioning.

The discussion has been ongoing, but started anew when someone recounted to me an anecdotal instance, and it grew from there. In this particular instance, an actress in a mock audition scenario asked if she could substitute something else in a line of dialog that used "God" as a verbalized sigh. It was against her personal convictions to use "God" in what she considered a flippant manner.

Let the contention begin.

And while the scenario was recounted to me anecdotally, I'm sure every actor has experience with this. I know I've got direct experience, and the ensuing discussions were not anecdotal. ;-)

First, by way of background, let's go with at least two working principles:
  1. There's a separation between the actor as person (and their convictions), and the actor in a role (and what is true / authentic / organic for that character).

  2. I don't have this figured out, and struggle with it all of the time.

Let's start with the first issue, that of separation between the actor as person actor in a role as character.

There's one school of thought that says my movie role as a megalomaniac world conqueror is not likely to bridge into the "real" world.

There's another school of thought that says anything I do in a role is OK, because it's not "me" doing it -- it's the character.

One of my favorite tools for figuring things out reductio ad absurdum -- "reduction to the point of absurdity". As an apagogical argument, this is a great way for me to find the ludicrous in a debate, discard it, and find out what holds up. Put more simply, it's "finding the stupid". (An analogy in marketing or sales is "getting to a 'no', so we can start discussing the 'yes'.")

In practicality, I use reductio ad absurdum to assume something (for the purpose of discussion), get an an absurd or ridiculous outcome, and figure out the hole(s) in the original assumption (because the result is wonky).

That's your logic lesson for the day.

And I would say applying it this disussion, to posit "anything I do in a role is OK" is bullsh***.

(See I deftly mix high-brow intellectualism with low-brow boorishness?)

In all seriousness, I'm irritated with the arrogance of Biz folks who espouse this philosophy, because we know it's false. If I'm in the role of serial killer, I don't literally get to get away with murder. If I'm portraying a rapist, I can't actually violate my co-actor victim (just like hopefully no one argues it's OK for him / her to be violated by me, because "they're just playing a part").

These same folks might say this differently: "You need to get rid of your inhibitions."

Really? Because then I probably would kill (think road rage), violate (horniness without inhibitions is a frightening thought), and probably sleep with any person, animal, vegetable, or fruit (kumquats come to mind, for no obvious reason).

In short, I'd be an animal.

I watched an Inside the Actors Studio with James Gandolfini, where he said the same thing after recounting tearing apart a stage during a Meisner class, and the importance of being -- and controlling that being -- is what makes him an actor, and not an animal. So, we should learn from James.

(As an aside, it was this Gandolfini interview that motivated me to take my acting to the next level, and seek out a Meisner coach, and connect with my current coach and training).

How does this play out in practicality?

There was a monologue I gave where I'd been unjustly imprisoned, was out, and was going to attack a girl. I delivered my monologue directly to a girl, and I was so ramped up and angry and screaming I wanted to lunge across the tape line that was my mark and grab this girl. And I didn't cross the tape line. And in that moment, there was no intellectual ("non-being") interruptive acknowledgement that it even was a tape line.

Now, make no mistake, the cost is high. Like Gandolfini, scenes with violence toward women (verbal violence included) messes me up. I hate it. Because it's still me physically acting out this scene.

Which brings us back (in a roundabout way) to the struggle between me as individual and me as actor -- it's still me doing the stuff. If, as a person, I believe there is an all-powerful being called "God", and I believe one of his "big rules" is "thou shalt not take my name in vain", and I have a conviction to obey that, then I have to wrestle with whether I say it in an audition or scene.

Of course, it's all more complicated than that, as there are other factors like "is there something redemptive that happens to my character?"; "Is there something that happens to this character that serves as a warning to the audience?"; "Does art have a 'higher' purpose?"; "Is there something cathartic for me in doing this role?"; and on and on.

So we've had a nice, brief little dialectical jaunt around this topic -- So what was the advice given for the originating scenario?

It ranged (obviously). One person I know and respect deeply basically said, "Do what you're going to do and don't ask about it ahead of time."

Another industry vet (who I don't know personally, but admire his work and career in around 150 memorable supporting roles, so I won't mention his name), in essence gave the following advice:

"If you're unwilling to say lines as written, you shouldn't even audition.... It should be okay to speak privately to the director afterward and discuss it, but the audition room is not the place to do that."

I actually practice the former advice. To be honest, I think if I totally sell an audition -- it's believable -- they're not going to care if I leave out a word.

I disagree with the second bit of advice (admitting I'm responding to it in a vacuum). The way I see it, if I don't audition, I already don't have the part, so why not audition, leave out the contentious words, see if I get the part, then have the discussion?

More importantly, I feel like if I'm violating my convictions to nail an audition, I'm in essence prostituting my beliefs to get a gig. But that's just me.

And I've had bigger gigs -- like one 15-page scene where I told the director I couldn't do it as written, and asked permission to re-write it to where I could. To his credit, he let do whatever I wanted "to make it mine". But I was ready to be done with the project if push came to shove.

Circling back to that second working principle with which I started the discussion ("I don't have this figured out"), don't misinterpret this as inconsistency or waffling on my part. I consider my struggle with this the nature of the importance of the conflict, the strength of my convictions, and my being a thinking person who challenges, tests, and reassesses personal conviction (which is to say I feel "blind faith" isn't faith; or something).

And there are lots of folks thinking about this, and most of them are more studied and articulate than me. People like Barbara Nicolosi, who I don't know, but know of. They probably have more informative discussions.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Sculpt Whore

(NOTE: This post may contain adult content. Mainly, the word "whore", used repeatedly.)

They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

So, here goes ...

(*Ahem ...*)

"Hi, my name's Adam, and ... I'm a Sculpt Whore."


Let me explain.

I like toys. Just like film, animation, comic books, or other pop culture representations, I enjoy and am inspired by toys. I have a separate blog ("NotDolls", because I'm just that clever) where I take toys (even rare, exclusive, or custom items), take them out of their package, and make fun of pop culture tropes or current events. (I actually get nastygrams for the "take them out of their package" bit.)

But what kinds of toys do I collect, and which ones do I eschew?

There are things I just plain like. Iconic figures (Captain America). Weird figures (Deathlok; Beta Ray Bill). Unique, limited run figures (like the Marvel Manga Twist Ems).

And there toys made by particular sculptors that I like. I like stuff from Dave Cortes. I like stuff from the Four Horsemen Studios.

And there are figures on which I'm not real keen. Sorry, not a big DC fan overall. And while I love the Justice League animated look, I can't stand that the toys ... can't stand. And I dislike any toy based on a bad marketing decision leveraged against one of my heroes (if they every make Scarlet Spider or Rob Liefeld Captain America toys, I may buy them just to melt them).

Recently, I've seen this tested, and (forgive me) I've fallen.

It first almost happened with the Hasbro Spider-Man Origins "Iron Spider-Man" costume. A ridiculous modernizing gimmick that fell flat (two weeks ago a watched a 12-year-old rip the concept to Joe Quesada's face; I really respect Quesada, but that was funny to watch), but I so wanted that figure. It is a fantastic, slick sculpt and paint job. I don't know who did the prototype sculpt, and I hate the concept of the Iron Spider-Man. (What did that bullpen session look like? "Hey, we're going have Iron Man give Parker new armor -- kind of jazz him up for the kids today. What should we call it? Never mind, I got it -- Iron Spider-Man!" Yeesh.)

But every time I saw that figure, I almost bought it, being saved merely by outlasting it's run in the retail stores (and being too cheap to pay the premium for aftermarket).

And then at Comic-Con this year, I fell. Hard.

I mean, I went there, thinking about getting the Four Horseman figure the "Gauntlet of Vaskkh" (which my buddy ended up getting me), but before that, I got sucked into the WizKids Halo ActionClix madness, and bought a mongo Scarab. It's not like I was planning on getting into the new game (though with this awesome centerpiece, you better believe I will), but when I saw the sculpt, did a 360 walk around, and saw how well the thing was made? You had me at "Wort wort wort".

And then my buddy got me the "Gauntlet of Vaskkh" figure (a rhino warrior thingy), and I'd already been debating between that and the Ramathhor figure (a elephant warrior thingy), and since he got me the former, I ... bought the latter.

It's the "Seventh Kingdom", for crying out loud! It's a made-up line Four Horseman put together to sell sculpts. There's no history or mythos -- but I bought two of them. And the hippo and warthog warrior thingies are looking so bad-a$$ ...

That's when I realized I'm a Sculpt Whore. Give me a well-sculpted toy (that's decently articulated, so I'm probably safe from most of Todd McFarlane's offerings), and I'm likely to buy it. Even if I don't collect that line or am a fan of the license.

I feel so weak.

But I feel better, having shared this with you.

And I'm thinking nobody's every used "Sculpt Whore" prior to this. So, "Sculpt Whore" (and "sculpt whore", "sculptWhore", "Sculptwhore", and all meaningful derivatives) (c) and provisionally tm Adam Creighton.

(Oh, and Toddy, I really like you. Just don't have much use for your toys. Change my mind on the Halo 3 stuff.)

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Monday, July 02, 2007

iPhone madness ...

iPhone attempts to usurp the smart phone regime (300 parody).
OK, I got sick of all of the 300 "This is madness!" parodies, too.

But I with the Friday iPhone launch craziness, the fact that I'm a thinking techie guy, and various headlines (ZDnet, etc.), I was inspired to create my own little 300-inspired riff.

Besides, I was feeling a little left out of the whole parody insanity.

Not that I'm wishing Apple any ill -- more power to innovation. It's just that they're not a handset manufacturer, this is their first foray, it has some initial hiccups ("Has variable call quality and lacks some basic features found in many cell phones"), and launching on Friday night, causing weekend activation hiccups to take longer and be more costly (stories range from 6-39 hours) wasn't the smartest thing I've seen done.

And I am miffed at their inarguably impressive ~75% market share for MP3 players -- and I'm miffed because their innovation has been overtaken by geek chic, and iRiver, Samsung, and others (arguably) have better, cheaper alternatives. And geek chic is pointless.

All that said, this is probably the sexiest U.S. phone out there, and once they get past the hiccups, watch out, world!

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Friday, May 25, 2007

I have arrived ...


I really hesitate to write posts like this, because I semi-worry about them sounding high-horse. But I have beautifully supportive and wiser folks like Bob Souer and Peter O'Connell and Karen Commins and Schnee who say it's good stuff and keep encouraging me to do it. So blame them.

Sometimes, I feel like the universe is trying to tell me something. Like when the same thing is said to me three different ways from three different, unrelated places.

And I try to listen to the universe:

"When will you know when you've arrived?"

"What will you do when you've arrived?"

"How much work are you going to do to 'Get There'?"
Oddly, the question(s) aren't hard, and the answers are fairly lackluster:

I already know.

More of what I'm doing.

More than I'm doing.
See, the problem for me with every version "How do you get there?" is it presupposes some definable, achievable from "here" to "there". As if artistic journey is some destination-based road trip that'll let me put a pushpin in a wall map showing I visited the world's largest ball of twine (literal or figurative; just stay with me for a minute).

I'm an actor. I believe I'm part of a lofty creative pursuit that sticks me out there in front of you with nothing more than just this too too sullied flesh to move you to laugh or cry, shout or introspect (yeppers, I just verbized that).

And I think I'm a good actor. Which means I'm not trying to act, per se. Instead, I'm putting myself through intellectual and emotional hell to (in the words of my coach) "get me back in touch with [feelings] we were never meant to have lost touch with in the first place." And it's high cost, believe me.

So I'm not trying to act. I'm trying to be. And I'm trying to be a real, affected human being in a medium that helps you be a real, affected human being by watching me. In the process, I'm hopefully learning more about myself, my loved ones, and humanity. And I'm getting over being emotionally constipated (seriously, arguably many actors are such because it's (again) arguably a version of therapy).

So, I've already arrived. Seriously, I am so blessed to be a part of this lofty vocation already, that just being a professional actor is what it's about. Sure, I'd live to make a life- / family-supporting career out of creative pursuit -- and, God-willing, I will -- but that part of it isn't "arrival" for me. That's gravy.

Which brings us to the second and third questions and answers -- I'm going to keep doing more creatively than whatever I'm doing now.

Understand, I am a wickedly driven human being. But I'm not a "Type A" personality. I think I was. But I think hanging out with and training with realizing I am a creative broke that.

But I'm still driven.

So, whether I'm "here" or "there", I'm going keep working.

Why would I otherwise? I mean, I'm not competing against anyone -- I consider my only competition myself. This is more objective and measurable and honest for me. And I can always try to backstories, accents, emotional preparation, techniques, and so on. And there are so many other creative pursuits I'm pursuing in tandem with acting (comic books, video games, writing, animation) I'm in no danger of exhausting the universe of Adam the Creative in this lifetime.

Oddly, this doesn't at all lead to dissatisfaction with what I'm doing -- just motivation and encouragement.

As part of my recent "Into the Abyss" workshop weekend, I was instructed to a write a "love letter" to myself. One snippet from that letter to me says, "You can never work hard enough, and you're working hard enough."

That's not so much a contradiction as it is a self-acknowledgement that I'm working full-bore on the creative and technical and relationship and other facets of my life. And there's more to do. And the the stuff I'm not getting done already wasn't getting done before I started not doing it. (That's a quotable.)

All this to say I am blessed to be a creative individual, and whatever I don't have or "haven't achieved" doesn't take away from what I do have and have achieved.

Maybe just that last bit should have been the whole of this post.

Great, now I'm high-handed, and rambly. At least I can tag this post for the latter.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Self-portrait ...

Conceptual self-portrait of actor Adam Creighton.This is a self-portrait I did as part of my weekend "Into the Abyss" workshop.

I chose to go a wee bit conceptual. Think of it what you will.

And let me know your thoughts.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

It is a good moment ...

I was just struck by what a good moment right now is.

I'm sitting here at my desk. To my left is my MXL-990 microphone, because I just finished and sent off a voice audition for a 1940s style voice over sci-fi piece.

To my right is a stack of comic books from which I'm pulling monologues. To the right of that is a light box and kit, set up to finish some stop-motion animation work through which I'm about two thirds complete.

I'm surrounded by amazing toy sculptures, and inspired by my recent brown-costumed Wolverine winning (and since I've finished the VO audition), I'm being "bad" and having a brewskie (funny, in college, the origin of Bane from Batman inspired me to get into a practice of doing a thousand sit-ups and a thousand push-ups; Wolverine makes me drink; this says something about the positive influence of villains versus heroes).

On the couch is a 10 page script I'm memorizing. Next to that is binder of dozens of pages of character descriptions, ideas, and scripts for 28 episodes of "Project X", the trailer for which I'm editing right now on the computer in front of me.

I've been chatting off an on all night with guys about video game stuff.

I'm about to send a resume and cover letter off to a video game company.

I'm looking at a note from Neil Gaiman sitting in my in-mail.

The dog that's still with me is asleep in the hallway, breathing deeply.

The house is totally quiet.

It's not huge. It's not earth shattering. And it's probably more than a bit selfish.

But right now feels like a really, really good moment ...

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Monday, April 23, 2007

An Ode to the 80s ...

I am a child of the 80s. Sometimes that comes out it in … unique ways.

Below is an Email conversation a comic book buddy and I had, after I overheard two girls playing with My Little Pony’s in an … unexpected way:

ME: Since everything old is new again -- and 80s stuff is pretty hot right now – I thought I’d share this.

I overhead two girls playing with a wealth of My Little Ponies, and the residents of "Unicornia" were evidently (in the girls' created world) at odds with the residents of "Ponyville." More specifically, the unicorn MLP's were in the midst of a raid on Ponyville.

A raid that was (apparently) not going well. That is, until the unicorns had had enough, and one of the girls belted out:
"Unicorns! Transform!"
And I now have an idea for an MMO ...

HIM: Awesome!

As for the MMO, I claim leadership of the Shetland Janissaries.

ME: Yeah, well watch out for my cross-bred, multi-colored Smurf / MLP centaur folk.

They will seriously rip you a new smurf.

I was at Toys "R" Us the other day, looking at stuff for me, and saw something a little odd:

"My Little Pony Wysteria as the Crystal Bride."

Bride of whom, may I ask?

Seriously, I think all of the MLPs are mares, right? So who's she mare-y-ing? Or is this a My Little Progressive Pony kind of thing?

Which got me to thinking about another gender lopsided franchise.

The Smurfs.

Which is all dudes (I try not to think about Smurfette; that whole thing creeps me out).

So, should the Ponies and three-apple-high blue men hook up?

How would Papa Smurf serenade Madame Wysteria?

"I'm down with MLP (yeah, you know me)."

What kind of freaky, multi-colored centaurish things would that make? And would Hasbro license them? (Probably.)

I'm spending way too much time thinking about this...

And Jem sings their rock anthem ...

HIM: Jem I can handle. It's those blasted Holograms that I fear.

Did I fail to mention that The Shetland Janissaries are led into battle by none other than Teddy Ruxpin? My Buddy wasn't available and those accursed Monchichis have turned pacifist.
=( They shall rue the day...

Remind me again why we don't have our own development company?

ME: Excellent question. We would so own the world. Or destroy it.

Speaking of which, I'm off to have Smurftaurs trample the Cabbage Patches, and I've got a Garbage Pail Kids mutiny to quell -- they're threatening to ditch their pooper scoopers, and I need someone to clean up after those narcoleptic Pound Puppies since I fired Strawberry Shortcake and her tart friends for taking on-the-job joyrides in KIIT -- Hasslehoff knows no boundaries...

Why don’t we have our own development company, indeed ...

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Networking for actors ...

I was going to post another "Acting Tools" type post about tech networking tools I use on the toy job front and how they can be used for acting, when I realized I should probably back up and talk about networking in general, first.

So, this is also a soapbox post. You've been warned.

Networking is a pretty harped-on skill set for any vertical market; acting is no exception. Networking helps me figure out what opportunities are out there. Networking creates opportunities for other people.

I used to be really good at networking. I mean, really good. A few years ago, on both the high tech and acting fronts, you would have been hard pressed to not find me everywhere. Sometimes, I was at different places at the same time. Seriously, I was that good.

But then I stopped doing it.


Because I honestly didn't like how good I was at networking. I got into situations and saw people doing the networking thing, and they weren't sincere. They were looking at opportunities for themselves, and didn't give a damn about the people they were meeting. They were superficial. They were exploiters. They were users.

I so didn't want to be them.

So I did sort of an over-correction. Scaled back. Took some time for me. Worked on the relationships I'd built, and the relationships I wanted to build. Met people through people I knew, and met some wicked cool folks. It nicely coincided with some life stuff and me being just generally tired.

It's not like I was working any less as an actor. On the contrary, I was working harder as I was still busting my tail (yes, I have a tail) on the marketing, training, craft, performance, and business side of the Biz.

And then, some time after my "over correction", I came to a realization that I wasn't "that guy", and I got back to focusing on networking that makes sense for me. Contrary to how that sounds, that's not selfish networking. I call it "mutually beneficial relationship building" (which should be redundant, but unfortunately isn't") -- networking that fits in with my personality and style and values.

Here's how it works for me.

I meet someone, and we talk. I find out what they do, what they'd like to do, and what makes their day worthwhile. And I talk about what I do, what I'd like to do, and what makes my day worthwhile. And we figure out if we've got stuff we want to do together that makes our days worthwhile together.

That's right, kids, we have a conversation.

And then, independent of whether we can do something together, I try to keep that person in mind when opportunities come up for them, even if there's no benefit to me.

And here's where it gets a little ... weird.

Just like I'm good at networking, I'm also good at recognizing opportunities. I was at a networking gig a couple of weeks ago, and as a room full of people talked about what they wanted professionally, little light bulbs were going off left and right (up and down?) in my brain, and I saw opportunities for them with relationships I'd built, and I got that information to those people, made introductions with other people, and so on.

Oddly, lately, people have been complaining about this.

Why? Because they're sure I have an "angle".

It got back to me recently that a group of folks had made me the topic of conversation as they were trying to figure out how I benefited from the things I'd tried to facilitate for them individually.

How sad.

I mean, I guess it is a little weird.

I had a company approach me recently for a job. I then met someone who was looking for the same kind of job for which I'd been sought out, and I pointed him to the company, told him to research them, and if he was interested, I'd get him in touch with my contact. In essence, I was bringing a competitor in for a job I had a shot at.

But you need to understand where my heads at. I genuinely like helping people. I like solving problems, and seeing opportunities and synergies and acting on those is solving a problem, with better bennies (helping people). And I don't care about competition, because my competition (professionally or acting or running or whatever) is me. No one else.

And I feel convicted that knowingly keeping someone from a gig of any kind is tantamount to fixing a game or throwing a fight -- it's not a legitimate win.

Now I'm rambling.

The net-net is I think networking -- really effective networking -- shouldn't be exploitative "what can you do for me" usury. It should be relationship building. It should be mutually beneficial. And when it's not mutually beneficial, it should be beneficial for the other person.

If everyone had that mentality, what kind of cool world would this be?

Hmph. Time for me to go hug a seal.

I warned you this would be a soapbox.

Maybe tomorrow I'll do the tools post ...

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Adam Creighton: Headshot

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