Category Archives: blog

Batman to the Rescue

I am officially a total geek right now.
I am listening to the Batman soundtrack (the Danny Elfman score, not that Prince monstrosity) on my PC speakers while I type this.
I think it’s appropriate, because I’m writing this morning about those really awesome days of youth, when nobody understands you, your parents are completely unreasonable, and you can’t wait to grow up.
During those days in my life, the Batman score competed with Black Celebration and Only a Lad for air time in my car. It was part of the soundtrack of my life.
Last night, I was watching the History Channel, and this commercial for some 80s super box set comes on. It’s pretty standard for an 80s collection: there’s Foreigner and Journey, as well as some Crowded House and Howard Jones (yeah, I thought that was a weird mix, too.)
While I’m watching this commercial, I start to feel this completely overwhelming sadness. This type of massive sadness that starts so deeply within me, I can’t even define its origin in a physical location. It was sadness coming out of my soul. I get this feeling that I can only describe as “hyper-nostalgia.”
So I’m sitting there in bed, my cat snuggled up to me on one side, my wife sound asleep on the other side, and I start to silently weep, as this David Fincheresque montage of childhood images and feelings races through my mind. I can feel my fear and nervousness the first morning I went to public high school in 9th grade. I can feel the excitement of standing in line to see Batman, in Westwood, at 9AM a few weeks before it opened. I see faces of friends long forgotten, and places which were teenage hangouts that don’t even exist anymore. I feel pain, love, hope…but mostly, I feel sadness and regret that is completely overwhelming.
It’s like I’m sitting in my bed, mourning the passing of my youth.
It’s not that my life is totally miserable now, it’s just so much more complicated than it was when I was a child, and I haven’t really stopped to think about that in quite some time.
I mean, I would gladly trade wondering whatever bullshit my wife’s ex-husband is going to pull today for not being able to stay out past 12 with my friends.
I would gleefully trade worrying about making mortgage payments for…well, for anything, really! :)
Every time I go to Paramount, I look around and I think to myself, “man, I had it so good here. Too bad I was too young and arrogant to realize that.” But that could be a series of entries, all on it’s own.
When I go up to my parent’s house, and go to my old bedroom, I can see in my mind the phantoms of my teenage years: Watchmen comics bagged and hung on the walls. Depeche Mode concert posters above my bed, where my cat Ziggy would be sleeping. Stacks of GURPS source books on the floor, and, of course, my Mac II, complete with smokin’ fast 2400 baud modem.
I miss all of these things, and writing about them now I can really feel a sense of loss, and longing. I just closed my eyes, and I could see things in my old bedroom that I haven’t thought about in years: 82 Los Angeles Kings season ticket stubs from 1988-89, taped to the wall next to my computer, underneath this simply dreadful fantasy-art poster I bought at a game con that same year. A clump of silly string mashed into the cottage cheese stuff on the ceiling, above my bed. Five book shelves, filled with VHS copies of the entire collection of 79 episodes of Star Trek.
I recently visited one of my best friends from high school, who moved into his mom and dad’s house when they moved out. It’s the same house we hung out in when we were young, but now his kids are running around in it…and I can still see the path we wore through the ivy, going up the hill to my house. The house is the same, but it’s so very, very different now.
My best friend Darin is getting married in just a few weeks. Darin and I have known each other since I was 14 and he was 16. We have done just about everything together, and crossed lots of major bridges together on our way to adulthood. I’ve been married with kids for 2 years, but never felt like it was that big a deal…it’s HIM getting married that makes me feel like we’re finally adults, with mortgages and responsibilities. When he is married, we will have crossed another major rubicon together.
So when I saw this commercial last night, it hit me: I’m turning 30 in 3 months.
Three months, man.
I am the primary father figure to two kids, one of whom will be a teenager two days after I turn 30.
A teenager, man.
I am going to be the parent to a teenager, and I’m going to be 30. I don’t know why that’s fucking with me as much as it is, but it sure is burning a lot of cycles in my brain.
Thing is, I know that I’ll be 40 someday, and I’ll look back and think, “Man, I thought things were so messed up at 30…and I was so wrong,” as I watch Ryan graduate from college, or get married, or whatever.
But right now, I miss those wonderful days in the late 80s and early 90s, when I couldn’t wait for the weekend, so I could hang out at Darin’s house and play GURPS and Illuminatti, before heading out to the movies to catch whatever crappy Lethal Weapon movie was in theatres.
I totally understand that saying about youth being wasted on the young. I guess that’s the beauty of childhood: we don’t know how tough life is going to get when we grow up, so we cavalierly waste time, blissfully ignorant of how valuable our youth is going to be to us, late one night when we can’t sleep, because we’re thinking about paying bills.

Last Place You Look

Playing dodgeball yesterday up in Sacramento with Boomer and The Dave was a very traumatic experience, and it brought back all the painful childhood memories associated with goddamn fucking dodgeball.
Matter of fact, the only difference between playing yesterday, and playing in 3rd grade, was that I wasn’t crying when I walked off the court.
I still sucked, I still got hurt, I still felt humiliated and embarrassed when I tried to play…
But at least I knew why I felt so terrible when I was done: I just suck at dodgeball. I’m weak, I can’t throw, and that stupid ball always slips out of my hands when I try to catch it.
My wife, on the other hand, rules at dodgeball. In 6 games that we played, she was the last person left on our time 4 times.
So Dodge Club (har) really sucked for me, but I did have fun the entrire rest of my trip up there. Boomer and The Dave are really cool guys, and the whole crew from KWOD is always super hellacool to me when I visit them.
But I hate dodgeball, man.
I fucking hate fucking dodgeball so much, I could sit here all morning, and well into the evening, and rant about how fucking much I hate fucking dodgeball.
But I won’t.
I’ve got lots more to write, but I have to get to work and finish an Arena episode today, so I’ll briefly say:
The show last night was really fun. Holy crap there were TONS of soapboxers and posse members and farkers all in effect, and it really made me feel great.
I know that I got to meet lots of you, and that I had to literally run from the building to catch my plane (which had 4 people on it, including me and Anne) so I missed a few of you, and I’m really, really sorry that I didn’t have time to stop and talk and stuff.
Coolest thing yesterday: Hanging with Tiffany. Wow. What an amazingly cool person. She agreed to be a guest on the JKvS next month, so all of you who are in LA should come out and see us. I’m trying to get her on the May 10th show.
As I was running out to the car to get to the airport last night, there were a few people walking in front of me…and one of them reaches up, and puts a sticker on a stop sign, the way I put OBEY stickers on everything in the world. So as we approach the stop sign, I look up at it, and see that it’s a “Wil has a posse” sticker.
How cool is that?!
So I took a picture, which I’ll scan and upload next week sometime.
Speaking of pictures, here’s a color version of Sweet Uncle Willy.
If you’re looking for something to do today, you should check out The Mystery of Wil’s Pants over at Retrocrush.
Oh, and the Soapbox is fixed. Send your thanks to jbay.

Concrete Jungle

The show last night was really fun. I got to meet lots of Farkers, inluding Drew, who is just a really cool guy.
The show wasn’t my funniest of all time, mostly, I think, because David Carradine had this certain energy that said, “Hey, Wil, just keep your bitch mouth shut, funnyman.” Don’t get me wrong- he was extremely cool, and told great stories. He just wasn’t as easy to joke around with as some of our other guests. It didn’t help that I was really intimidated by him. I mean, Kung Fu for farksakes.
However, I did get some good funny out there. At the beginning of the show Keith and I sit at the desk, and he asks me what I’ve been doing, and I said, “Well, Keith, my wife and kids have been out of town for over a week, which means that I’m living the bachelor life right now.
“And I’ve learned a thing or two this week, while they’ve been gone: I have learned that there is, indeed, such thing as too much Playstation and porn.”
(pause while the audience laughs)
“I mean, goddamn. My hands are KILLING ME! I can hardly get them to work anymore!”
I held up my hands, twisted and contorted into this crazy shape.
People laughed. It was fun.
We had two other guests, who were simply BRILLIANT. Our comedian was Greg Fitzsimmons, who made me laugh until it hurt.
Our musician was an amazing jazz singer, Sandra Booker. I can’t believe that I got to sit on the same stage as her, while she sang. If you like jazz at all, you should check her out.
The coolest thing in the whole show for me, though, was when Keith, Adam, and I had a scatting contest, with Sandra Booker. It was really fun, and I won! (France surrenders.)
After the show was over, I hung with the Farkers for a bit, then headed home, where I stayed up until 4:30 playing GTA 3, completing only 3 missions. Which is the beauty of GTA 3, I think. :)
Today, I’m writing more Arena stuff, and working on the Soapbox.
Thought for today:

“The concept of violence is out of date. The destruction of your neighbor is the destruction of yourself.”

Four Minute Mile

Well.
Final updates: Not testing on any of the pilots. Not going any further on the other call from Monday, but not because I wasn’t funny…because I’m too old. Which is really okay, because I kind of knew that as soon as I looked around and realized that 1992 is Nostalgia, and Perl Jam is $#@!^ing oldies for the other kids there.
But I’m going to trust that this is Balance for something really wonderful that is just beyond my ability to see right now, and I’m going to put down seven things I’m happy or grateful for:

    Seven

  1. Ferris is home, following me all over the house. I realized today that I have officially become a “dog” person.
  2. David Hasslehoff, singing “Hooked On A Feeling.” You’ll just have to trust me on this one.
  3. The Frodo Crew. You’re my confidants, and I’ve only met one of you in real life.
  4. Spudnuts. Not just his brilliant comedy, but his Wisdom.
  5. Taking out the garbage cans tonight, I saw that a huge garden spider had built an enormous web in my backyard. I love this, because this huge, complex, beautiful web is vital for this spider’s survival, yet it will be gone by noon tomorrow. That spider is going to build an equally beautiful and necessary web again tomorrow night, and this web will be as unique and as complex as tonight’s. This is a great lesson.
  6. No matter how fucked up the entertainment industry is, I know that there are people out there who feel the same way I do. We will find each other and bring forth a Revolution.
  7. I have been so preoccupied with my own bullshit, I thought that my little brother was having sinus surgery tomorrow. It was today. I just talked to my mom and found out that Jeremy is doing fine, and the surgery was totally routine and was completed without incident. I love you Jer. I’ll see you this weekend.

I’m a Loner Dottie, A Rebel

I have a partial update from the auditions on Monday:
I’ve heard nothing from the second call. However, not surprisingly, the first call, where they really made me feel unwelcome, is going nowhere.
I talked with my manager about it, and he got some feedback from them: they found people they really liked on Friday, and I guess lots of actors left that room on Monday feeling shitty, like they didn’t even want them to be there. Well, duh. If they found people they really liked on Friday, why even bother to bring us in on Monday?! And why bother to bring in actors if they’re going to make us feel like they don’t even want us there?!
Now, I know I probably shouldn’t say this, because in the entertainment industry, nobody is supposed to say obvious and truthful things, like Tom Cruise sucks, or James Cameron is an epic A-hole and Michael Bay is a complete hack, but here’s some information from The Inside(tm):
This happens all the %$@!^ing time. Actors prepare their guts out for an audition, only to get there, wait an hour or longer (SAG says they’re supposed to pay us like 30 bucks or something if we’re there longer than an hour, but if an actor actually asks for that he will be blacklisted by that casting director, so nobody ever does), and go into a room where producers are on the phone, or looking through paperwork, or doing just about everything in the world except paying attention to the actor who is auditioning for them.
Most of the time, the person who is reading with you is so overworked, he or she doesn’t take the time to learn what the scene is about, and reads the other lines in the scene with a flat, monotone disinterest that throws off the best of us. I guess what most of them fail to realize is that the best acting is reacting, and it’s tough to react to complete and utter disinterest.
A notable exception to this rule is Tony Sepulveda, who casts at Warner Brothers. He is one of my absolute favorite casting directors to read for, because he ALWAYS makes me feel welcome and comfortable, and he ALWAYS knows the material he’s reading. The last time I read for him, he was totally off the script, and even improvised with me. Tony is an incredibly busy man, yet he still manages to find the time to make actors feel welcome. It’s a shame that there’s only one of him.
You know, if I were a producer or director, I would want every actor who comes into my room to feel extremely comfortable. I would want to create an atmosphere where actors are free to feel vulnerable and take chances, and where they are able to do their absolute best work. I would want actors to come before me, and not worry about anything, at all, except showing me their take on the character.
Oh, I’m so living in a dreamworld. That is just not how it is. 4 out of 5 times, I go into an audition, and the people I’m reading for don’t even stand up and thank me for coming in. Most of the time, I’m lucky if anyone other than the casting director even says hello, or shows a remote interest in my being there. I have experienced people taking calls on their cell phones and talking during my audition, taking calls on their cell phones and leaving the room while I’m doing my audition, reading the newspaper, reading their schedule for the rest of the day, talking to another person in the room…it goes on and on.
Good acting comes from an actor who is not afraid to stand there naked in front of a room, and bear their soul to the camera. You’d think that the non-creative philistines who run this bullshit industry would give a shit about that, and try to create an atmosphere where actors can relax and do their best work.
But here’s the truth: these days, most of the people sitting in that room know that their show is going to maybe make it three episodes before the equally-insecure and un-talented people at the network cancel it before it can find an audience, and put re-runs of some shitty reality show in it’s place. And because they know this, they are scared to death, and they don’t trust their instincts, and they project all their insecurities onto the actors who are in front of them.
You know, the audition process for Win Ben Stein’s Money was the most fun I have had in YEARS, and that was entirely because Andrew Golder and the entire group over there told me, from the very beginning, “We want you to feel comfortable and relaxed. We want you to feel free to make mistakes, and not worry about looking bad, because when you can do your best work, it makes us look good.” It made me feel likeI was playing before the home crowd in The Big Game(tm).
So the challenge for me is to somehow get over this terrible enviroment that pervades auditions these days. I have to be able to walk into a room, and not give a shit about them, because they certainly don’t give a shit about me. But that’s extremely hard! I do care about them. I have put time, energy and effort into creating this character for them, and I want to please them! It’s really tough to do my best, when I feel like the people in the room don’t care whether I’m there or not.
Now, maybe I’m insane, but wouldn’t it be better, and easier, and more cost-effective for the studios to put actors at ease, and make us feel like they do, in fact, give a shit about us being there? If they’d do that, actors would be able to do much better work, because they wouldn’t feel nervous and overly scrutinized. Shows would be cast much more quickly, and everyone would go home happy.
But, as I said, I am so living in a dreamworld.
Thought for today:

“If imagination is not set to the task of building a creative life, it busies itself with weaving a web of inner fears and doubts, blame and excuse.”
-Laurence G. Boldt

Stay Gold, Pony Boy

Happy Tuesday, everybody.
Hey, remember that band “The Happy Mondays?” I wonder whatever happened to them…if I only had some vast, global reserach device at my fingertips to find out.
Oh well. I’ll put it on the Big List of Future Stuff.
Before I get to the recap of my auditions, I thought everyone should know that the G4TV website is up and running. Take a look*! My show is called “Arena.”
Also, WWDN got reviewed by The Weblog Review today. Take a look.
So, there is no word yet on the auditions, but here is my personal recap:
The 2:30 wasn’t as good as I had hoped. The I went in after a guy who clearly did a great job (he was in there for close to 20 minutes), which is the absolute worst time an actor can go in…I could tell that he had given them exactly what they were looking for, and I really felt like they just wanted me to hurry up and get out of the room. They were all really nice people, though…people I could totally work with. It was just bad timing for me.
A good thing though, was that I saw Sean Astin while I was there. Now, Sean is one of my absolute favorite people in the world. I’ve known him since forever, and I respect him tremendously both as an actor and as a person. It’s funny; every time I tease him about getting roles in Lord of the Rings, or Goonies, or any of the other kick ass movies he’s been in, he tells me, “Hey, you got Stand By Me. So we’re even.”
So, since I am always looking for the hidden positives in the increasingly shitty world of life as an actor, seeing Sean made that call worthwhile.
The 5:00 call went much better. It was also for a sitcom, and it was over at Warner Brothers. It was tough for me to focus, because of the lousy experience I had just had at 2:30, but I was somehow able to leave that behind me, and I did a pretty good job. There was only one other person in the room besides the casting director,which means that there is not a ton of laughter where there would normally be, if you were in front of an audience. That can really throw someone who isn’t experienced in these things, and I was really glad that I knew how to handle that. I think I’m a little bit too old for that part, but I guess they’re seeing people of all different ages, so I think I’m still in the hunt on that one.
Thank you to everyone who sent me their good wishes. I especially enjoyed “cat mojo.conf > /dev/Wil”
I copied that one onto the back of a calendar page, and carried it in my pocket.
You know, the thing about both of these calls is, I did everything that I could possibly do to be prepared. I created characters, I learned the lines, I developed the relationships…I will never get used to the people on the other side of the table not putting as much effort into their side as I put into my side.
So, now the stupid waiting begins…I’ll update when I hear something.
Thought for today:


“You’re a jerk, Dent. A complete kneebiter.

*the site is loading very slowly for me, YMMV

Nerves

Often, when I have an important audition, I won’t say anything to my friends or family, beyond my wife. I know that my friends and family get their hopes up for me, the same way I get my hopes up for myself, and sometimes that messes with my head.
It’s like knowing that half the stadium is friends who have shown up to watch me play in The Big Game. :)
So, it just hit me this morning, there must be thousands of people (based on my webstats) who know about these auditions today. Jesus. Talk about filling the stands!
Well, it has worked in the past, so I’ll do it again: would you please spare a moment for me today, at 2:30 PM PDT and again at 5:00PM PDT? I swear, in the past when I’ve asked for people to send me mojo, it has really worked. I’m the most skeptical bastard on the planet, but I swear to god I felt it.
I also realized this morning that I feel this extra pressure to not blow it today, because I stayed home from the vacation, and I have spent the whole weekend preparing. I mean, there is really a lot at stake this time out, and I can’t blame it on not having time, or whatever, if I mess up.
However, I am super prepared…nearing that place where I’m over-prepared. I had time to create full characters, as well as get extremely familiar with the material.
The only thing I could do to be more prepared, is memorize the script, but I don’t ususally memorize material for a first audition, becuase memorizing lines can lock me into a performance. If a producer or director wants me to change a performance a bit one way or another, it’s much easier to make those changes when I have the sides in my hands. Of course, at this stage, the other actors have all been in on this at least once, in some cases twice or three times…so I’ll have that working against me.
Heh. I have just realized something: for the first time in a very long time, I feel nervous about an audition. Not nervously excited, but anxious. I feel like there’s a lot at stake this time, a lot more than usual.
Oh boy. Please send that Mojo as quickly as you can. I need it. :)

Golden State

The house is so empty, and quiet…if it weren’t so clean, I’d say it feels like when I was still a bachelor.
Being alone is sort of weird, since I’ve been with Anne and the boys for close to 6 years, but having an empty house does have some advantages…

  • I can blast the punk rock as loud as I want, without fear of reprisal from the Missus.
  • I can blast the Cake song “Nugget,” without having to run into the room and mute it when they say “Shut the #!^& up!” because there are no kids in the house.
  • Two words: Hookers and beer.

Well, maybe not that last part. At least not the hookers part.
Seriously, the quiet has been really nice, because I’ve been able to completely prepare 2 of 3 auditions, and get a rough draft of my Arena script done, and still have lots of time for Tony Hawk 3.
Here’s a word of warning to PS2 owners: Finding memory cards is really hard. The 16 Meg “Mega Memory” card thing is a pile of crap, and, though I absolutely love EASports, Triple Play 2002 is the worst pile of shit game I have played since ET on the Atari 2600. I’m gonna go trade it for High Heat later on today.
I’m about to get back to work, but I wanted to share this funny link from Something Awful, which will certainly offend people who have no sense of humor.
The Thought for Today is actually from an Email I read this morning. It made me laugh out loud, so I’m sharing it with the world.


To: < [email protected]>
Subject: star trek
Ya know the writers could have solved that whole image problem of Wesley Crusher by
A. Giving him a cool name like “Sparks Mcgee” and a peculiar accent, possibly a tattoo
B. Having him kill people randomly on the ship for no apparent reason.
C. Giving him a cool car to drive around in, like a 1978 Trans Am or one of them Dukes of Hazard cars
D. Giving him a cool catch phrase like “I got a course you can plot”
E. Wear a cowboy hat
Then like Picard would say “Number One, where the devil is Sparks Mcgee?”
Then Number one would say “In his muscle car sir”, then everyone would laugh except Worf who would say some shit about honor or something. Then people at home would think, “Man that Sparks Mcgee sure is cool, a real rebel.”

My response to him:
Dude! Where the $#@! were you in 1988? Your country called you, and you failed to answer. I’m re-printing this at my site, so the whole world can see how much better Star Trek could have been if you’d just answered that phone call.

Alone Again Or…

The Big Plan for this weekend was to go up North with Anne and the kids, because it’s their Spring Break, starting today.
So we get the *cough* rental minivan *cough* loaded up, and ready to go, and I get a call from my manager: I have two auditions on Monday, both pilots, and I have an audition on Tuesday, for an Indie. I’m also supposed to test for at least one, possibly two pilots on Wednesday.
So all of my stuff comes out of the rental beast, and I go from spending the weekend with my family to spending it alone, preparing for these three auditions, as well as writing an episode of Arena, which is due on Friday.
Holy crap, how things can change in an instant.
It’s not a bad thing, missing the vacation I mean, because I continue to make it down to the last handful of actors on all my auditions, (except for the call I had last week, where I got to spend all of 25 minutes with the material, and the producers were taking calls on their cell phones and leaving the effing room while I was doing my audition) and the more I have the better my odds are…but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t going to miss them.
It’s weird to be in my empty house, alone, without even Ferris to keep me company.
It’s just me and the cats, just like the old bachelor days…except I am under pain of death to “keep the $!%$#ing house clean” from my old lady.
So it should be interesting to see how I do on these three auditions, since I’ll have three whole days to prepare a character and memorize the sides, without any distractions.
Well, except one.
I finally broke down and bought that PS2 I’ve been staring at in the Toy Shop window all these long months.
Oh, and I saw this thing on Tech Live last night, where they were interviewing this guy who does the official website for Walter Koenig, who was Chekov on Star Trek.
The angle of the story was that this guy does a great job with the website, and that Walter’s fans know that it really represents him, because there’s only this one guy running the site.
This was fascinating to me, because I see a trend developing in Star Trek alumni websites.
See, I know this other Star Trek guy who has a website, and he’s got a pretty firm hold on it, and it’s a really good representation of who he is, because he’s fairly close to the webmaster.
He wasn’t even mentioned on this show, nor was he mentioned in the feature all about blogging, even though he’s got a pretty widely read blog himself.
I think we all know who I’m talking about.
Thought for today:

“For those about to rock, we salute you!”