Demo Reels, Magic Carpets, and Screening Tetherballs!

What a crazy week. Here’s everything exciting happening in La La Land since you last surfed here!

Truth Bombs: Demo Reel Edition

Late Tuesday night last week, I got a last-minute notification that I’d been moved from the waitlist to a confirmed slot for the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Small Group Session on Demo Reels. So, I quickly rearranged my schedule the next day to accommodate and prepared to have business guru Dennis Baker drop some serious Truth Bombs on me about how I’ve been doing Demo Reels wrong.

Well, there was good news and bad news:

Bad news is: my old demo reel violated just about every guideline and rule he shared with us that day.

The good news is, I haven’t used that reel in years.

Better news? The clips I’ve been using are still totally usable, and now I know how to present them more effectively to the right audiences.

The best news? I’ve been quietly writing my own original material and recruiting help to shoot my own scenes, and this session gave me just about everything I needed to know.

Seriously folks, if you’re a member of SAG-AFTRA, and you haven’t checked out the SAG-AFTRA Foundation‘s educational programming, YOU ARE MISSING OUT.

I tweeted some of my notes during the session, which you’re welcome to check out, but I’m not going to post more than that, because I want you to make it a point to go to the next one. And then donate, as the Foundation is 100% funded by donations; not a dime of our dues get spent here. Seriously, show them some love.

Weekending in Agrabah

The past two weeks, I’ve been working at Gray Studios in North Hollywood on a production of Aladdin Jr., designing and operating the light board for their one-weekend run. This was a really fun change of pace, as I’m used to programming lights on my own system using a light grid I laid out myself. Sometimes, it’s nice to play with other people’s toys. I also have nothing but good things to say about Kim, Shanelle, and the entire GS team; they’re a really hard-working crew with the patience of saints, and I’m looking forward to designing for them again in the near future.

Operation: Tetherball at the LA 48-Hour Film Festival

Last Thursday, Jenn and I headed down to the Regal Cinemas at L.A. Live with the team from Hold For Plane Pictures to catch our film, Operation: Tetherball on the big screen. I have to say, I don’t care how many times I have to do it; there’s always something fun and exciting about getting dressed up for a film premiere. Even if the film is a short you shot in two days, and it’s screening with a dozen other similar projects. It’s always fun to get together with your fellow collaborators to celebrate the work you’ve done, to pat each other on the back, and take a moment to appreciate what you’ve accomplished. I’m so happy to be getting more involved with TU’s film-focused sister company, and I’m looking forward to what’s next.

What’s Cool This Week

As you may or may not know, I’m a HUGE fan of magic. I’m not a practitioner, because I don’t want to know the secrets. I always love being Wowed. So, when I was at Emerson forever ago, there was a guy there in my year named Justin Willman. Nice dude. We’d see each other around campus.

Well, Justin is the kind of magician who blows minds with regularity, and he’s been that way since he was a kid. Back at Emerson, he did magic around campus under the name Justin Kredible.  Sometimes, I’d be the one working the control booth in the Cabaret theater in the basement of the Little Building when he was performing.

You know when you’re in college and you’re looking around at your classmates and you see someone and you just know they’re going to be, like, wildly successful? Seeing him perform multiple times at school (and a couple of times here in L.A. at the Magic Castle), I got that feeling about Justin. Put simply, this guy’s good at his craft.

Really, really damn good.

And it looks like he’s on the verge of more well-earned success, as last week, his new series, Magic For Humans, launched on Netflix. And it’s f’ing awesome. I know this because I shotgunned all 6 twenty-two-minute episodes in one sitting instead of going to bed at a normal hour (well, normal for me, at least) the other night, and I loved every damn second of it. So that’s why it’s my New Discovery for this week, and I strongly recommend you take a couple hours and check it out. You’ll thank me later.