12-19-2014 BRUTAL…Audition?

Well, I was supposed to meet with another actress for BRUTAL at Panera Bread on Wolf Road. She had rescheduled with me twice before that. Our meeting was set for 4:00PM.

Then I get a text at 1:45PM: “Steve, I am so sorry but the universe is telling me I’m not meant to pursue this role. Good luck with your movie.”

Needless to say, I was pissed. Only two hours to go??? Are you kidding me? I arranged the rest of my night around meeting her. There were several other things I could have done that I blew off and/or postponed in order to meet her, and now THIS? I could not let this go unchallenged.

So I said, “Geez could you tell the universe to be a little more CONSIDERATE next time? You are cancelling with barely two hours to go. I rearranged everything else I had to do around this audition. There were even some things I blew off for you, and it is WAY too late in the day to pencil them back in!”

She wrote me back, but I was too annoyed to read it. Needless to say, I will NEVER ask her to audition for any projects in the future…and if she reaches out to me, I will simply say, “Sorry but the universe says you can’t audition.”

Now for those of you who get all butt hurt over issues like this, please understand I am NOT making fun of her if she truly is into all that “universe spoke to me” stuff. That is not what gets under my skin. The focal point of my annoyance here is the lack of consideration….the cancelling when there were only two hours to go.

But you know, THIS is what I get for being flexible on when and where auditions would be held. You would think that most actors, who are used to auditions being at a SET TIME AND PLACE, would appreciate the fact that I was willing to work around their schedules…but instead, they take advantage. Well, I learned my lesson: going forward, either you make the auditions when and where I say, or you just don’t get a chance at a part. Simple as that.

Oh well. I got five more people to audition from the first round of the casting call. Hopefully I will get them all done just before New Year’s.

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12-16-2014 BRUTAL Auditions

On Tuesday I met two people (Aaron and Sheradawn) at Professor Java’s on Wolf Road in Albany. The place was a lot more crowded than I have ever seen it at 4:00PM, so we relocated to Panera Bread. Usually when a male reads for me, I like to follow that up with a couple demo fight scenes, but I couldn’t really do that in the middle of Panera. We met there instead of my house because it was a better location for all involved. No harm done though, seeing as how none of the fight scenes we film now will be used in the final movie anyway.

I wound up with eight videos of their auditions. I came home and tried uploading them to Google Drive, but it told me I was out of space. I contacted Jerry (director) about it, asking if he watched the videos that were already there so I could delete some. Once he confirmed that he did, I trashed them and tried uploading again, only for it to STILL tell me I was out of storage space!

I contacted Jerry again to ask him how I can get these videos to him, but that was late at night so I haven’t heard back yet. In the meantime, if any of my readers are familiar with Google Drive and just what the hell might be going on, I’d appreciate some input so I can get these auditions out to him.

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12-11-2014, BRUTAL Auditions

Not really much to report. Two actors came over, read some scenes, and did some fight choreography. One guy (Mike) has been practicing tae kwon do for 25 years, so I let him come up with some fight scenes with Nick instead of just relying on ones from my wing chun mindset. Here are the fights that Mike and Nick came up with.

Those are between Nick and Mike, but I DID get a little play time of my own in.

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Yeah I Got 4 Kids by 3 Moms…You Got a Problem?

I want to talk about something that has been really pissing me off in my life for a long time.

To just throw it right out there, I am SICK of being judged for having four kids by three moms.

The most common criticism is, “Oh wow, that’s a pretty bad track record.” Oh yeah? Maybe it is, but first of all “bad track record” does NOT mean “bad PERSON.” Second, kiss my ass.

What pisses me off about it the most is this: I will meet someone for a date…talk to them for hours via text or phone leading up to that date…mention I have four kids, and they are okay…talk about all my different hobbies, and they are okay…go on and on for hours, and they are okay…then I mention the four kids come from three moms and BOOM!!!!! All of a sudden, everything that came before that suddenly goes up in a puff of smoke.

Suddenly, the only thing about me that exists to them is “4 kids, 3 moms.” My skills in writing and guitar, my intelligence, my wit, my humor, my extensive knowledge of movies/books/music, my views on the world/humanity/religion/spirituality…NONE of it matters anymore, all because I have four kids by three moms.

As I said with my article about loving violent movies, this is just one more way for people to get up on their moral high horse and look down their noses at me. Well, you know what? That’s cool. Get on that high horse and ride it right the fuck out of my life.

No one ASKS to be in this situation, but I am. There is nothing I can do. If you want to act as if everything else in my life is negated by the whole “4 kids, 3 moms” thing, then go right ahead. More power to you. I feel sorry for you and your judgmental way of life.

I’ve met women who have just as many kids by just as many dads (sometimes MORE), but I must have been raised different because it never crossed my mind ONCE to look down upon them. If anything, I felt sorry that they’d had kids by guys who weren’t “man” enough to stick around. But like I said, I guess that’s just me.

And you know, it’d be different if I weren’t trying to carry my end of responsibility here. I take my kids whenever I can. I call them every day that I don’t have them. Whenever they need anything at home, I help get it. I help get them to errands that the mothers can’t. Unlike a lot of guys who take off when a woman tells them “I’m late,” I do my part.

And not that I have to justify why I left anyone, but two out of three women involved cheated on me. What would these moral police expect me to do? STAY with the cheaters? But like I said, that part of it is neither here nor there because it is really NO ONE’S CONCERN (except mine and the mothers) why I’m in this position.

So again, if the “4 kids 3 moms” thing makes you feel a certain way about me, then I have a beautiful solution for you: DON’T TALK TO ME!!!!

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A Story I WANT to Write But Don’t Know How

Many months ago I thought of a story that would make for some good dramatic content. It would also give me a chance to express my views on race relations, ethnic identity, and the “human condition” in general. In the wake of the Ferguson riots, it seems like this is an appropriate time to write it.

The only thing is, I’m concerned about just how to pull it off. I don’t want to be deemed “inappropriate” or “insensitive.” Let me explain the concept, and you will see why I’m worried about this.

It all started when I found myself reminiscing about high school, and I remembered this kid named Jahmal. He was black, but he hung out with the skateboard kid crowd, which (except for him) was all white. He and I were friends. In my mind, that was the only way I defined him: a friend. It never dawned on me to call him “the black skateboarder” or anything like that. Jahmal was just another kid in the crowd. No more, no less.

Then my memory did a fast forward, and I found myself thinking about the mother of my twins. She is also black. At one point in our relationship, she revealed that she had dated mostly white guys. It turned out that other black people mocked her for this, calling her “Oreo.” (For those of you who don’t immediately get that insult and need it spelled out: Oreo cookies are black outside, white inside.)

This got me thinking: Jahmal and the twins’ mother were not 100% accepted by people of their own ethnicity because they mingled with “the other,” but then again I bet “the other” didn’t accept them entirely either. I’m sure there were moments in their lives where they were called “N” by some white people. After realizing this, one question immediately popped into my mind: what kind of effect would this have on someone as they grow up? You are criticized by both your own ethnicity and your “adopted” one (for lack of a better term). How do you handle that?

As I raised these questions I realized this would make one hell of a story, so I started to imagine characters and a setting. The setting came first: since this was all triggered by my memory of Jahmal, I would set it in high school. (Teenagers are VERY susceptible to identity crisis.) Developing characters would be no challenge either: I would base them on Jahmal, myself, and the rest of the skateboarding crowd. Most of the tale would deal with Jahmal and the troubles he faced. Naturally the story would have to reach some kind of critical mass, the dramatic moment that Hemingway called “the moment of truth.” This was where I stalled out. In fact, I still haven’t figured out what this should be because then ANOTHER problem came to mind.

Simply put: I’m not black.

I have this uncanny ability to look ahead and see what problems I might face with something down the line, and you don’t need to be able to see TOO FAR ahead to predict the kind of backlash I’d deal with for writing a story like this. What does my white ass know about being an oppressed black man, right? Of course, it’d be easy enough to counter such arguments with logic: Do you think everyone who wrote a Vietnam story was a Vietnam vet? Is every fictional Holocaust story written by a Holocaust survivor? However, it’s a good bet people would dismiss such a rebuttal. When it comes to issues of race, these defenses just don’t work.

Then I hit upon a good idea…a GREAT idea…the ONLY idea that I think will make this work.

If you have ever read the book ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST, then you know that it was narrated by Chief Bromden. (For the movie, they changed it because the attention needed to be on Jack Nicholson’s mind-blowing performance.) Even though Randall Patrick McMurphy was the center of the action, it was NOT told from his point of view. Instead it was told by Bromden, an observer to all of McMurphy’s antics.

There was my answer.

I could tell the story from the perspective of one of Jahmal’s skateboarder friends. Then the story might not get blasted as much because I’m not writing as if I were Jahmal; I am writing as an outside looking in, one who is empathetic to Jahmal’s plight.

I believe this solves the issue of how to write it. Do you agree? Disagree? It would be great to hear people’s thoughts on this one.

But even if I am past that hurdle, one more remains: how do I end it?

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12-08-2014: More BRUTAL Auditions

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh buddy! Tonight may have been the best auditions yet. I had a young man named Billy come over to read for the parts of Dave, Jeff, Steve, Chuck and a couple of the assailants. He was accompanied by a young lady named Rachel who read FABULOUSLY for the parts of Janet, Allison, Lucy and even Steve’ landlord Archer…who is a male in the script, but I converted to female for the sake of giving her more to read.

However, the REAL fun of the evening was in the fight scenes Billy and I came up with. Here they are, with me employing some of my good old wing chun skills. Keep in mind they are just rough demos.

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The Gorier the Better or Why I Refuse to Apologize for Being Me

I want to open this blog by briefly saying I missed my Sunday post, and for that I apologize. That is no way to prove I am committed to posting on a regular basis! Hopefully you can forgive me. If you can’t…oh well. Now on to the body of today’s blog.

I don’t know what it is, but lately I have been on this reaffirmation kick. Maybe it’s because after years of being judged and ridiculed and put down and bullied and so on, I’m just finally fucking SICK of it all.

Are the reasons behind it important? Maybe not. All I know is, I’m sick of hiding.

I am a fan of horror films. The gorier the better. And I am going to let my horror film freak fan fly with PRIDE from now on. No more cowering in fear of people judging me.

In the past people would accuse me of being “sick” for liking such movies. Then they would go out and watch any number of action flicks that contained the same amount of gore as your average horror film. Hell, sometimes they were even WORSE!

The only difference between an action film and a horror film is the fact that the horror movie is supposed to be “scary.” So that makes me wonder: why would someone label me sick for watching a scary movie with gore, just to turn around and watch a non-scary movie that was just as bloody? What is with the stigma attached to the “scare” factor?

I may never be meant to understand the difference. Honestly, I don’t think there is one. In my opinion, this is just one more way which allows people to jump on their moral high horse and look down their noses at me.

Well, FUCK ‘EM!!!! I don’t think my English could get any more plain than that.

I also notice that the more money you have, the more gore you can get away with and still not be labelled sick. EXAMPLE: I was talking with a girlfriend who was a big Stephen King fan. King’s stories are full of gory moments, but right now I want you folks to focus on his novel IT, which centered on a monster that killed children.

Remember that, folks: King is NOT above writing about six year old kids being mutilated.

So I told her I was writing a story about a rock star who went nuts and killed his girlfriend on stage. At first the audition thought it was part of the show…until he cuts her body up and starts throwing pieces of it into the crowd. This is how the conversation went.

GIRLFRIEND: uh yeah, that’s pretty sick
STEVE: Sick? You like Stephen King
GIRLFRIEND: yeah so?
STEVE: have you read IT?
GIRLFRIEND: duh
STEVE: ok well in that book, he writes about children being murdered
GIRLFRIEND: yeah well he’s rich and famous…you’re not
STEVE: so by your logic…I should have waited until I was rich and famous to write the story. THEN I wouldn’t have been “sick.”

One other point I did not get to argue with her: Stephen King was NOT always rich and famous. So if you follow her train of thought, King was sick when he wrote those stories as a poor man, but he was no longer sick when he earned his money.

Cool, isn’t it? The cure for mental illness is…being rich!

Another person got turned off because I wrote a story where a woman was nearly raped, but someone came along and prevented it. Well, attempted rape happens in real life. Am I not allowed to write about what happens in real life now?

Having said all this, I do feel like explaining why I like horror movies. Notice I said EXPLAIN, not JUSTIFY. Anyway, there are two main reasons for this.

ONE: I like the artistry behind special effects. I enjoy watching them make the unreal look real. And I am talking about old school effects, not something generated in a computer.

TWO: Horror movies are a form of catharsis for me. Why? Because more often than not, in horror movies the monster/slasher/mad scientist/villain gets killed. The wrongdoer gets punished in the end. Wow, what a concept! How many times does THAT happen in real life? I’m sure most of us can agree the answer is something along the lines of “hardly ever” or “not often enough.”

Whatever my reasons are for loving gory films so much, I don’t think it’s relevant. That’s how it is; it’s who I am. If it makes you think I am creepy, sick or weird, then guess what? You don’t have to socialize with me! And it would be also great if you would just silently go on your merry way instead of having to be an asshole and try to convince me that I AM creepy, sick or weird.

Because I gotta be honest here: my days of taking this criticism in silence are done. The next person who tries to make me feel this way will be getting it fired right back at them, because I believe you really do get what you give.

~~~~~END RANT

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