Tuesday, January 31, 2012

All I know is that it ends with life.

I made some notes this morning of something I wanted to blog about. However, I wrote them in a morning half-sleepy state, so I cannot decifer what I wanted to write about, but I thought that would be a good starting place...not know what I'm talking about. I think it says "Evation Colot is life"...maybe "elevation color is life"? I'm not sure, but the last two words are "is life."

The point is, I'm sitting down and writing, which I've been really lazy about in general. I have an ever-growing list of ideas and a lack of drive to realize those ideas into sketches, blogs, etc. It's the whole -don't die with the song still inside you- thing I'm looking at. Maybe it's more like that time the future me talked directly to the past me. This requires a story-telling moment:

In college, one of my actor friends told me several times that I reminded her of her dad. I took it as a compliment...along with further proof that I've always been an old man. During the run of some show or another, after the play she introduced me to her father. I told him it was nice to meet the future me and we had a laugh. Then I asked him what he wanted to tell the younger version of himself. He took a moment and I could see him go to a personal place inside. Then he looked at me and said "Well, there is one thing. I always wanted to be a pilot, it was my dream, in fact. I entered the airforce and on one of my first times up, the instructor berated me the whole time and said I would never be a pilot. So...I stopped. I did not try to be a pilot anymore. I've done a bunch since then, but I still think about how I let one person keep me from flying."

That's like one of the things you read in a real chicken soup book, right? Well, it happened to me in college. I've had plenty of people tell me I could never be a pilot, but that won't stop me from flying.

[insert "The More You Know" song and shooting star]

....I still don't know what I wanted to write when I woke up this morning. "Exation Kotat is life"? The first part remains a mystery, but I know that it ends with life...and I hope I do too.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The things that help us, hurt us.

While watching 30 Rock on my compuTV (just an old Goodwill computer I stream TV shows through...because I can't afford TiVO...or cable), I heard that old familiar gurgling that happens once or twice every night from the kitchen. When my neighbor in the apartment building uses their disposal, my sink backs up momentarily. It's a regular occurrence and I've gotten used to it. During the next ad break I ran into the kitchen to do the customary filling of my quart jar with water and rinsing the bubbles and food bits back down the sink [from whence they came] before filling the water filter back up. Whew.

Then I had a momentary revelation, as they tend to occur. This little daily annoyance led me to a double-rainbow-like quandary--what does it mean--about me? If I were in a relationship with my apartment (and I'm glad I'm not, beyond the fact that I'm sub-leasing the place), I know it wouldn't last. I wouldn't even move in with my apartment. Then I realized how many people are in relationships they don't really want to be in, but they'd rather put up with all the little daily annoyances than face the fact that they could do better. In that same way I realized that I NEED to put up with all the little daily annoyances of living in this apartment in LA. That's what I need to do to follow my dream. I know I can do better (and will), but I need to put up with these little annoying things today so I can put myself in a better place tomorrow.

As I am writing this the child upstairs is making sure I know he's throwing the biggest tantrum he can think of. Maybe I'm doing the same.

Crap, now I have to shut up, because I know when I walk down the street to see an improv show later tonight, I'll walk past a few homeless people. At least I have a roof over my head and I can complain about my sink temporarily backing up. I'm not in a bad relationship, I'm in a temporary situation. I'm not sticking it out until death, I'm living as best I can while I prepare for the next step, wherever it may be, with a whole new set of idiosyncrasies to complain about.

My raison d'etre in LA

This evening I went to a social thing for Catholics. It went much better than last night's thing where I was the youngest person by a few decades (I'm trying to make contact with people outside of the acting world in a social way). Tonight's was at a wine bar in Santa Monica. I love that area, it's really great. Traffic is terrible from Hollywood, but that's true for everywhere down here.

It was interesting for me, to talk to real people. By real people I mean non-actors. I've been spending most days going to class with other actors, so my own personal story became a part of the background, alongside everyone else who picked up and moved to LA to follow their dream of being a star. Nickel a story (+tax) kind of a thing. Tonight I heard people say “wow, that's ballsy” about my relocation. Through these other people's eyes and lives I realized “oh yeah, I'm here following my dream. That's pretty cool. A little ridiculous, but awesome just the same.”

My everyday life in Hollywood has become normal and so insular that I forgot I'm a pioneer, even though I'm pioneering a thing that's been pioneered so many times it's mapped on everybody's brain. I'm not here to be an overnight success (though I wouldn't say no to it), I'm here for the long haul, to do the work it takes to get where I want to be, and be a successful working actor (then later on a star). Tonight was a good reminder that I need to remember my place in the scheme of things, and the joy and realization that 6 months ago I never would have expected to start a paragraph with “my everyday life in Hollywood.”

Monday, January 9, 2012

Me do stuff?

In college I remember realizing that maybe I was stretching myself a little thin when I was student government president, in a play, doing homework, working on my senior thesis and maintaining family and friendships while hosting weekly parties.

Now I am not working and taking a few classes that don't really have homework, but I feel hard-pressed to write an email let alone sit down for ten minutes to write a blog. What's happened to me? I think Newton's Laws have caught up to me. I became an object at rest and I don't seem to have the smallest drive to change my state.

It's crazy, especially since I plan on getting back to the point where I am doing so much I am only maintained by the sheer momentum of my life.

Rethinking things, perhaps it was because in college I was responsible to all the other representatives on the council, my director, my teachers, grades and social status. Now I am, in theory responsible to my family and friends, but in reality I am responsible to myself. I need a Capn. Harris to my Mahoney. Lame Police Academy reference aside, I think I do need something like that. Wow. I just realized that I only did things because of the people around me. I need people around me again! Ones that want me to do things. Mainly things I need to do, not stuff like make a pizza or unload a truck, though both have their place.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Me overthinking

After having changed my twitter modus operandi to funny, I am now realizing how "serious" my blogs have been. Not that it's a bad thing, I just feel both overexposed and unentertaining in my blogging. I wrote a post and chose to not publish it about how there have been several friends from Portland who have apparently either visited LA or moved here without contacting me. I can't not acknowledge that without bringing up what that might say about my own actions. I have not found a way to make it funny without putting so much thought into it that it is no longer a blog and something else, but here I am. Maybe I need some more nakedness. Maybe I'm just overthinking as usual. Either way, I'm blogging, which is one thing I want to keep up, though it's so much easier to come up with a funny sentence or two and tweet that in stride. If tweeting is like candy, then what is this thing? Oh yeah, chicken strips! It's something that is satisfying, but probably not the healthiest thing out there. Woot! I'll call that resolution to this paragraph.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Take No for an answer?

I don't like saying no. Especially to people. However, I've been finding myself doing just that. In improv, I am still very confused at the UCB approach which tends to lead to more "no's" than I am comfortable with in long-form improv, at least at the lower levels of experience. In life and improv I just want to go on an adventure, and when you "yes, and..." things, you build on that adventure. However, if it were my choice I would have every scene in space, so perhaps some grounding may be very useful.

I just said no to an acting opportunity because the subject matter did not quite gel with me. As in I was mostly okay with it, but I would not have wanted to show it to some of my family, so I said no out of principle. It was to a friend with over 20 years experience in films. That was a big and unusual no for me.

No and yes are both powerful words. Destructive and creative.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Skyrim junkie

I'm a dummy.

I bought the game Skyrim and I knew exactly what would happen. I am recovering like a junkie from yesterdays/this morning's 19 hour straight session of staring at the screen. It's a fun game and you can do anything in it, and in contrast to my last post, I have no problem saying yes to more playing. I have so many quests, side quests, etc that I can foreseeably play until the Nords discover America...if only they weren't bound by the dynamic geography of Skyrim's map.

On that note, I suggest Skyrim for those people who have something in about 6 months and they really have nothing else between here and there. Time will move around you like a swift current and you will be all unawares. Just live in Skyrim time.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Plugging into social networks

Social networks look a little different in the country than they do in the city.

This morning I was walking to church and my neighbors were pulling out of their driveway and offered to give me a ride. Yesterday before leaving for a party I walked to another neighbor's house to wish them a happy new year. That neighbor happened to be my brother, so I guess that's a little different. The point is, in the country a social network involves very few zeros and ones. Rather, a country social network is a bunch of people living near each other. That's it. Simply being near each other requires you all to know everyone and look out for everyone. I know if some strange car pulls into the barnyard our neighbors will know and report it to my parents. That's just how it works.

Now that I'm living in LA, I don't even know the people who share the walls in my apartment building. My social network there consists of some people I met in classes who live all over the city.

My point here is that country social networks are people in proximity while city social networks are people at a distance. You can make arguments saying it's a division of responsibility between more people and how that means every individual is less responsible for everyone else, etc. What I've noticed from this is my own subtle detachment.

I remember when I said yes to every invitation to adventure, whatever it is (or I at least imagined a time when I might have done that). Now I would much rather say maybe next time and just play xbox. I see it in small ways in improv in the moments when I resist saying yes to something my scene partner introduced. I saw it in church when I was asked to be one of the people doing the collection (I view that as the tax for sitting near the back of the church). I am an actor and am used to being in front of people and here I am not wanting to carry a basket on a stick during mass.

Now that I recognize this, I can shake it off and move forward not only maintaining my social network from all the places I've been, but building it wherever I go by saying yes and participating in life. No more dalliance with detachment. Now there's a New Year's resolution for you.