A Delayed September Wrap-Up + More!

Okay, first things first. Sorry this entry is late (I know you probably don’t know or care but I do try to get a new entry up every Wednesday or Thursday). Normally, I start the new month with a wrap-up of the previous month. Well, last week, I was feeling a little more philosophical, so I thought I’d put the monthly wrap-up off a week. And then, a whole crap-ton of stuff happened. So much, I couldn’t fit it all on the postcard. Here are the highlights:

Acting

  • I’ve been hard at work for weeks now, preparing for The Big Event. We now officially open October 26th, and the show will run until December 8th. Due to a whole bunch of circumstances involving AEA, my final performance in Sunny Afternoon will be November 18th. After that, my friend and understudy Hank Doughan will step in to fill Det. Sims’ cowboy boots. So, catch me in Sunny while you can!
  • Tomorrow, I shoot a scene for a USC Student Short titled LOCK & KEY. I’m playing a college volleyball coach that is interrogated about the murder of a student on campus. This’ll be a nice clip for my reel when it’s done!
  • Speaking of clips, last month, I teamed up with my friends Margaret Glaccum, Travis Dixon, and Bobby McGlynn to shoot a short scene I wrote specifically for my reel, in which I play a cardiac surgeon with a secret. This was the first time I organized a shoot like this, and I’m incredibly grateful for Margaret, Travis and Bobby’s generosity with their time and talent. Considering how well this went, I’m glad I’ve got another three scenes written and ready to go! Now all I need is a crew.
  • This week, I managed to snag a prized seat in the Branding Workshop at the SAG-AFTRA Foundation and let me tell you, it lived up to the hype. I’ve taken a number of Small Group Session workshops at the Foundation, covering topics like Career Focus, Headshots, Resumes, Demo Reels (click on the Media tab), Representation, The Audition, and more, and they all built off of concepts introduced in the Branding Workshop. But doing the other workshops first helped me understand how everything fits together and gave me a much clearer picture of what I needed to get out of my Branding, and helped me formulate a comprehensive strategy going forward. My goal right now is to get my new materials in order and implement my new business strategy in time to reach out to agencies in December, just before the holiday break.
  • Speaking of The Business of Acting, my teacher, mentor, and dear friend Brad Lemack just released The New Business of Acting, the third edition of his magnum opus on building a lasting career in the changing landscape of the entertainment industry. I got my copy in the mail last week and attended two separate release events for it, one at the Burbank Barnes & Noble, and one at the Emerson Los Angeles campus. At the ELA event, I had the honor and pleasure of introducing Brad as the guest of honor that night and then spent the rest of the evening engaged in some incredible discussion about the state of our industry with ELA seniors and fellow alumni. Brad even gave me a shout-out on his blog the day after the event. Thank you, Brad. The pleasure was all mine.

Check out that endorsement on the back cover!

  • On a more personal note, I had to go through all of my casting profiles and update my size card, as I’ve lost 45 pounds over the last 90 days living the Ketogenic lifestyle! At this rate, I’m going to need a whole new stock wardrobe.

Writing

  • So yeah, if you didn’t already hear, Operation: Tetherball, a short film I co-wrote with Lisa K. Wyatt and Courtney Bell under the Hold For Plane Pictures banner earned six different award nominations (including my incredible wife, Jenn being named Runner-Up for Best Actress!) at the 2018 Los Angeles 48-Hour Film Project, and was named one of the Best of Fest! If you haven’t watched it yet, check it out! It’s only six minutes long, but we pack a whole ton of awesome in there.
  • When it comes to writing for the stage, I’ve been working on a couple projects, including a new musical collaboration with Michael Gordon Shapiro loosely inspired by the Allegory of The Cave. I also have a deadline to crank out a new draft of The Anniversary Issue.
  • I need to get back on my bi-weekly submissions to production opportunities and contests. I was getting some great results before I got overwhelmed with Fringe stuff this year. Oh well, something else for the epic to-do list. There’s also the list of script concepts I have just sitting and collecting dust. If only there were more hours in the day and I could get paid up front to write them…

Lighting Design

  • I recently did lights and sound for The Beauty Queen of Leenane, currently running at studio/stage through next weekend. I’m planning on seeing it next Saturday night. From what I’ve heard, it’s pretty darn good, and I’m looking forward to getting some of the production photos to post here and in my portfolio.
  • Today, I also went down to The Belfry Stage and programmed lights and sound for Revenge On Reality, a new show running there next weekend. They asked if I could wire up the air cannons from A Very DIE HARD Christmas for their show, so make of that what you will…
  • The team down at Gray Studios liked my work on Aladdin Jr. so much, they’re bringing me back for two more productions in late November and early December! So excited to be a part of the design team working on their upcoming productions of High School Musical Jr. and RENT! 

Producing/Theatre Unleashed

  • Okay, I know folks haven’t heard much about Theatre Unleashed lately, but there’s a good reason for that(and it’s not because I still have to finish the new website); we’ve been taking a much-needed break while we refocus ourselves and carve out a new vision for the organization as a whole. There’s still a lot of work to do, but we’ve got some really exciting plans for the next 15 months, and we’re about to hit the ground running.

I suppose I could touch on the new website I’m building for StageCrafts (also coming soon), or what’s up with What We Do When We’re Dark (we’re working on recruiting some help to produce new episodes), but I think that’s more for the StageCrafts blog, which will be relaunching with the new site.

I still need to get my Ovation Voter status renewed for this season. Missed all of the orientations earlier this year due to work. Hopefully they can get me reactivated again soon. I miss seeing shows every weekend!

Also, next week, look for more Awesome Things We Learned in Iceland!

Man, is that everything? I think that’s everything…

No, wait. There is something else I wanted to share. An important reminder.

This week, I attended two very important events in my community.

The Bride & Groom. Photo by Clarke & Main Photography

First and foremost, Jenn and I drove out to Joshua Tree this past Sunday to attend the wedding of our friends Jake and Liz. Jake is TU’s other Artistic Director, sharing the job with Jenn, and has been with the company almost since the beginning. Liz joined the company in… 2012? 13? and tread the boards in 25 Plays Per Hour, POPE! An Epic Musical (directed by me) and Ligature Marks, among others. They’re both incredibly smart, talented, and loving people and they’re absolutely perfect for each other. They met at Theatre Unleashed, and are the first couple that met at the company to tie the knot.

We celebrated their nuptials by eating, drinking, dancing, singing songs about love and life, and telling funny stories about them, and generally celebrated the love they have for each other, the love they put into the world, and the love we had for them.

Also, by riding a mechanical bull they rented for the occasion.

It was a wonderful night, full of laughter and tears of love and joy.

Tuesday afternoon, Jenn and I drove to Forest Lawn for a very different kind of celebration; one of the life of beloved L.A. Playwright Henry Ong, who passed away last month due to complications from cancer. Henry was an incredibly talented writer, and dubbed “the shyest man in the theatre.” On any given night, you could find him hiding behind a pillar in a lobby somewhere, waiting to see a show. He got out and saw productions all over town, and while he hated having his picture taken, he loved to take pictures of all of the “famous” people in our community. I had the good fortune to meet Henry a couple years ago when he came to see a show at TU, but his warm demeanor and inviting personality immediately made me feel like a real friend.

Henry Ong (Photo by Lorely Trinidad-Ontal)

He had that effect on just about everyone he met.

His memorial service was standing-room only. A final sold-out house, befitting a playwright of his talent and renown, chock-full of family and friends who loved him and miss him dearly.

We celebrated Henry by singing songs about love and life, and telling funny stories about him, and generally celebrating the love we have for him, and the love he had for each and every one of us, his “famous people.”

It was a wonderful afternoon, full of laughter and tears of love and sadness.

And it reminded me to never stop singing, never stop dancing, never stop celebrating life and love.

Because it’s over before you know it.

Onward and upward.