Thursday, September 30, 2004

Ah Geez...


Sicko Posted by Hello



I'm certainly not trying to one-up my comrades, but it appears that I am coming down with some sort of horrid malady. Guess it was just a matter of time though...I made it through the entire spring and summer bug free, but as the temperature has started to do all its funky ups and downs I'm being smacked upside the head with it.

I'm sitting here, drinking my NeoCitron and thinking that I should actually be in bed trying to sweat it out but my brain hasn't started to shut down for the night yet. The spouse is telling me; or sorry, commanding me to come to bed though so I guess I'll take a shot at an early rest. Hopefully the plague won't visit me overnight.

Role within a role within a role......

This is a short essay I wrote for a contest on Canadian Actor Online. It had to be 250 words or less. And yes, it is a true story.

When it comes to auditions, the term normal need not apply. Every opportunity you have to sell your services to a casting director is wrought with the perils of uniqueness, so any preparation you may have slaved over is often thrown right out the window. You have to come in to the room expecting the unexpected.

After being called into the demesne of one unscrupulous director last July, I was told to toss away the script my agent had frantically gotten into my hands the night before and that the audition would be completely improvised. This startling revelation sent a cold shadow of fear into my being. Improvising is a strength of mine, however it can be difficult to judge whether you are giving too much or too little to a director. Plus, the character he asked me to create on the spot was a Bad Hollywood Producer pretending to be good.

Not one to back down to a challenge I gave it my all, creating a fake question and answer period with the director as my audience. He played along, but then as with most auditions I was back out the door within ten minutes.

Seems I gave a little too much. The real producer sent me a message saying I didn't get the part I wanted, but would I take a different role - "Bad Actor Auditioning for a movie". Didn't know whether to be complimented or insulted, but I took the role anyway.

What 80's Toy Are You...?

etchasketch
You're an Etch-a-Sketch!! You're the creative,
artsy type who doesn't need to actually utilize
a single muscle group in order to have fun.
Doesn't matter though, you're still cool.


What childhood toy from the 80s are you?
brought to you by Quizilla



Damn, I was hoping to be that cool toy-gun that shot plastic discs the size of dimes. Yeah, the one that would actually leave a dent on your chosen target, whether that be your bedroom door, the ceiling, or your visiting cousin.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Jackson Trigg's Winery


Hoo, mama! Posted by Hello



This picture is from the basement in the Jackson Trigg's Winery, Niagara-On-The-Lake. The lovely fragrance of a combination of French and American Oak Barrels filled the air and made me extremely thirsty for a nice glass of fermented grape.

Fortunately that requirement was filled at the end of our tour. Our guide provided us with a small amount of three different types of wine, including an Ice Wine; which surprised me as that is a very expensive type of wine.

The actual winery itself is a unique structure, made in a modern fashion but purposely designed to look rustic and barnlike. I won't give too much away though...I recommend you go to their website or just go visit and go for a tour yourself!

Adventure (The Conclusion)

After rousing ourselves from our room, we were provided to a fantastic buffet breakfast and then shambled off to the resorts Spa where we were treated to a ninety minute massage. It had been many years since I have enjoyed a professional massage and many of my muscles gratefully subdued themselves into an almost gelatenous state. Following this we hung around for awhile in the spa's meditation room and drank healthy fruit juices while admiring the rooms forty gallon fishtank (ok, I know I did - Melanie just nodded and smiled patiently as I discussed its merits).

Following this it was time for our first item to be checked off our intinerary - a winery tour. Since Melanie does not imbue any kind of alchohol, she left it up to me as to where we go, so I chose Jackson Trigg's. Seemed the right thing to do as this was the brand of wine we served at the wedding. I was left with enough awe about this place so I will reserve the right to discuss it in another post. Stay tuned for that.

After the tour we had just enough time to scoot up to our next exciting destination - the local airport where we had a 1/2 hour helicopter ride reserved with Skyway Helicopters. I had never been up in one before and was seriously looking forward to it. There was another couple coming along with us for the ride, so they crammed us all into the craft (I gave Melanie the front seat with the pilot) and took off. What a blast! I managed to get quite a few pictures of the terrain below as we went along, including one fantastic shot of the Niagara Falls from 3500 feet above. It's so good in fact I plan on doing something special with it...I'll post the details on that once I've finalized them.

Sadly, as with all things when you are having fun, the ride was over in what felt was too soon. I could have spent hours up there if I was allowed to, or had the budget for. Alas, we are not kindred of the rich so I had to be happy with what we got. I will do it again though.

After a quick pitstop back at the resort, we headed back to Niagara-On-The-Lake to finish our shopping from the day before. We picked up some nice gifts and made promises to ourselves to come back later in the year to Christmas Shop. The fact that there is an actual Christmas Store in the town bodes well for our dollars being transferred that way in the future. After shopping we enjoyed a great dinner in one of the towns many diners while debating whether we would buy some last minute tickets to one of the Shaw Festival shows. Melanie was a bit tired, and really didn't feel up to a show that night so I stopped whining and let her win - this time anyway (ok ok I'm fooling myself).

The last item on the agenda, one that Melanie had specifically been wanting to do for ages and ages, was take a horse-drawn carriage ride around the town. I ponied up (HA, I kill me) the dollars to take a 1/2 hour ride and off we went. Our driver(?) was a really nice guy and we discussed everything from the history of the town to the current market value of the homes and the esthetic rules they have when renovations occur. Melanie and I both agreed that we would happily live there if we could, because we both love the fact the town is fighting to keep it's old world charm and unlike some other towns I know seems to be winning the fight. It felt good to see.

Dusk was upon us as we finished the ride, the bats were out in the graveyard (nice touch!), and you could really tell that the long day had taken its toll on my poor wife. She was exhausted. So, we made our way back to the car and headed back to the resort. Our last indulgence of the day was room service...some evil chocolate dish.

The next morning we found we were moving a little slower as we realized that the vacation was pretty much over. We grabbed another buffet breakfast and then packed our bags, heading out of the resort around 10:30am. Not wanting to leave the memory of Niagara-On-The-Lake a day behind, we drove back and took a little driving tour around some of the quieter streets. Some of the houses we saw were absolutely incredible in their style and/or size. You could almost smell the money spent on some of these places. I think I drooled a bit. We then parked by the lake and sat out on the path for a little while enjoying the scenery before it was time to head out.

Overall, it was a wonderful time. Wish we had weeks to relax, but reality overcomes. We have both discussed coming back in the future for vacations - perhaps try out a bunch of Bed & Breakfasts instead of one long stay in a resort or hotel. We look forward to further adventures together.

Monday, September 27, 2004

The Wheelchair Races


The Wheelchair Races Posted by Hello



This is a Print Ad that featured around the June-July timeframe in the Toronto area. Humourous in its like, sophisticated in its design. My first modeling job...I was very proud of it.

The idea of getting a large format version seemed lost. The company that produced it never got back to me about a copy and I figured I would have to live with my little cutout from the Toronto Star for my archives.

Then we dropped by my fathers yesterday and to my amazement they pulled out a full 24x36 poster of this ad. My father, who is a truck-driver, was delivering furniture to one of the stores that sponsored the event, and they still had copies of the poster and an accompanying book. I guess it was kind of funny for him to walk into the store and see this picture of his son directly in front of him, and I guess it made him an instant celebrity...if only in a small way and only a moment. They gave him a copy of all the material, and he was kind enough to give it to me.

I'm going to get it plaque-mounted, and will hang it with pride in my office. People may think I'm egocentric to have a gigantic picture of myself hanging in my workspace, but as it's a very silly look I think they'll be forgiving.

May my rants spread upon the land

Just received a phone call from an old friend of mine, JC Paquet, who is behind the creation of a new magazine in the area. He let me know that he has picked up my Community Theatre Rant for publication. Very exciting.

This should be interesting too, depending on how wide the distribution gets, as I didn't necessarily paint a nice picture of certain groups in the area. I'm sure I will piss off some people, and may even get some angry responses back.

Oh god I hope so. {Rubs hands together in anticipation}.

Adventure (Part One)

The drive towards Niagara was an extremely uneventful one, which is a pleasant surprise considering we were driving the 400-401-427-QEW route. This pathway is notorious for becoming a hinderance to many drivers as an accident at any one point can stop traffic dead for miles around. The gods of traffic safety were smiling upon us though so we enjoyed the drive, basking in the sun as it spread it's warmth into the car and into our hearts. It was a Friday and we had no office journeys to make. No meetings to prepare for. No clients needing our support. We were on vacation.

I realized about half way there that I had left my map to the resort on my desk at home, so began picturing it in my head, thinking we would have a few twists and turns to locate it in the vineyard laden countryside. To our surprise however, White Oaks resort is located immediately off of the QEW. Initially I remember thinking that it was too close to the highway, though fortunately this fact did not hinder us at all during the weekend. Now, we were quite early when we located our major destination...with about four hours to spare before check-in, so I used a pleasant time killing technique that I have developed over the many years that I have been driving. I got us lost.

Now this is not a bad thing. I am a fairly good navigator, so enjoy just driving off into some unknown road to see where it leads. Yes, I know this is the premise of the 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' and many of its cinemagraphic doppelgangers but so far I have not had anybody try to hack me apart just for being there. Plus, driving alongside the Welland Canal and through all kinds of vineyards is just a glorious experience. You can just feel the health in the land with all the greenery around you. The need exists to just get out of your car, walk into a field and feel the warm, rich loam supporting the years crops, but I think you'd get shot by a farmer for trespassing. "Signs, Man! Everywhere are signs...."

After a few dozen twists and turns, and two different crossings over the canal, we found ourselves in Niagara-On-The-Lake. Deciding we had time to look around before heading back to the resort, we went to park our car. And looked. And drove around. And looked. Then whined a little bit. And drove around some more. Finally, I located a spot at the far end of the Prince of Wales Hotel parking lot that allowed Metered Parking so we paid up and went for a walk.

The sights and sounds and smells of the town were an overload of the senses. Every sidewalk was crowded with people either shopping, looking for a place to eat or just lost in a daze. That kind of thing happens in large crowds. Not wanted to be part of the vaccous experience, we kept moving, browsing in a few stores and selecting some things we planned to buy. I chose to hold off actually making any purchases that day though as I knew we were coming back the next day so empty handed we strolled back to our car and headed off to the resort to check in.

Whereby it looks somewhat industrial on the outside, the resort is beautiful on the inside. There was a constant piping of light jazz music throughout the resort, and from time to time a live pianist would perform on our floor to add that extra little but of chemistry. Our room was lovely, and Melanie was delighted by the goosedown duvet on the King Sized bed. Soon enough I had to drag her away from it as we had reservations at the restaurant.

Liv (with an accent over the i that my keyboard cannot emulate) is a uniquely designed 4 Star Restaurant in the resort, and the spread they provided to us was also unique. Where Melanie went somewhat conventional and had a Sea-Food platter for an Appetizer and Beef Tenderloin for dinner, I was more courageous and had the Roast Quail with Goat-Cheese and Apple for Appetizer and Ostridge for dinner. My first time having both kinds of birds on my fork, and I can't say I regret the experience one bit. One absolutely lethal desert later and we almost needed to be rolled out of the joint.

The idea of going anywhere afterwards was laughable. We were so full from dinner that all we wanted to do was go back to our room. Which we did. The next day would provide us with enough adventure.

To be continued..... (awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww)

Sunday, September 26, 2004

We're Back

On the Helipad Posted by Hello


Well, we made it to and back safely from Niagara-On-The-Lake, and what a wonderful time we had. The weather was gorgeous, the food was plentiful (perhaps too plentiful) and all of the events we placed on our agenda made for a great Honeymoon.

Now, funny enough - I've gone full circle. I left on Friday in a somewhat tired state, and I'm exhausted now that everything is said and done. Just thought to write this one post and I'm off to lala land (not to be associated with Telletubbies). I shall post about our adventure tomorrow. Cheers!

Friday, September 24, 2004

Early Morning Nonsence

Sleeptyping Posted by Hello

Well, it's still in the wee hours of the morning. I'm sitting at my PC, and you are asking, "Tim, what the ^*^*#@ are you doing up at this time?". Or at least in my head you are. I know I am.

I've never been much of a morning person. So many people I know talk about how they function perfectly with only five hours sleep, and those people I hate, and occasionally want to kill and bury in my backyard (if I had one). My double problem is that I am a nightowl, so going to bed earlier than midnight just seems a horrible waste to me, plenty of good minutes being wasted that could go to a new art project, writing, digital editing, reading, etc;

This has always been a problem with me for working, especially when I was a salaried employee. Going to bed at 1am but still needing at least 8 hours sleep so I don't sound like Gamera at business meetings (note - you know I'm tired when I start referring to obscure Japanese monster flicks). I can manage with less if I really need to - like I have a meeting first thing because the boss is a masochist, but if it is business as usual I was the guy strolling into the office well outside of the 'expected' 8:30-9am range. Can (and has) been career threatening.

This is why consulting has worked so well for me. If I'm not there, they just don't pay me. Simple as that. If I could keep up this lifestyle I would.

I've gone on a tangent here, haven't I. Oh yeah, why am I up this morning? Because I decided to get up early to finish prepping for our vacation, which we are leaving for in 2 hours. Clean and top-up fishtanks, sweep, make sure the mice have food and water, bathe the cats (kidding, not if I value my blood anyway), and write this entry.

WIth that I'll bid you adieu. If I get a chance and access to a PC I may post from the resort, otherwise I'll be back Sunday evening.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Sent down a notch


Well, it appears that during my absence tomorrow, the company elves are packing up my desk on the 6th floor here at Aviva and shuffling me off to a new location on the 5th so that I could be closer to (though still not ajacent to) the current team I've been attached to.  So, I quickly packed up all my belongings - my herbals teas, soups and various papers and took them down to my new abode.  God, I wouldn't want the elves touching my stuff - you don't know where they've been!

Not a bad spot, and I'll be sitting around people that I've assisted in the past so it should be a friendly enough location...don't want to be sitting around a bunch of grouches.  I mean, I'm grouchy enough as it is coming in to work, never mind being treated to a bunch of people that could make it worse...yikes!

Oh...as a follow-up to my previous post, I did go buy a new camera.  Picked up a really nice Kodak CX7430.  4 megapixels and much more solid feeling than the HP 435 was.  Looking forward to getting out and taking some snaps with it.

Taxes and Pixels

We are getting all prepped to go away this weekend, making sure we have all our stuff packed and going over a list of what we need for the trip. Furthermore, Melanie is insisting I get other items out of the way before we go, so amongst a few things I have been frantically doing I have to run out and pay my GST for the 2nd quarter of the year

Yes, I know we are almost through the 3rd quarter, I'm a procrastinator - so shoot me. But hurry up if you want to do so because the government is tempted to do that first.

Fortunately, I had a rather expensive period for business expenses during that time so I was able to lower my payment by quite a bit...so it doesn't rip as badly a hole in my pocketbook when it leaves me. More drinkin' money!!! Or maybe not....Melanie would cheerfully fillet me if I did.

Now as of this morning I discovered I have another expense to put out. My HP 435 Digital Camera, which has already been replaced once due to a factory defect, has croaked. And apparently croaked badly too, at least for my side of the deal. The cover for the batteries and SD Card has snapped off, and now I can't get the thing to work at all. So, I took it back to the place I bought it and they are sending it away, though they think my warrantee won't cover this damage. So, I'm S.O.L. with a vacation to go to. Serves me right for dealing with a Liquidation Centre and refurbished merchandise.

So, looks like the money I just saved on GST is allowing me to go buy myself a brand new camera without my wife clubbing me like a baby seal.

Oh...and cool! I just got a call from my agent saying my cheque is in for one of the gigs I was in. Geez...it's almost like the powers that be have opened the way for me to pick myself up a new toy...er...tool. I'd love to get an SLR Digital Camera, but then I would be struck dead instantly by the god of matrimony. So, I'm going to slip over to one of those big box stores around the corner and see what I can get. All I know is it has to use SD cards, because I already have a 256mb one and there is no reason to waste it.

And double cool. Melanie just called, and when I diplomatically discussed my plan with her, she agreed with me. Who said that getting married would cramp my lifestyle......

.....Gotta go before she changes her mind.....

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

GTA Theatre

On my way in to work this morning, cruising along at a healthy but not outrageous amount of speed on the 404, I was struck with an idea.And as it generally takes me 45 minutes to get to work I was able to think that idea through before it was struck into the abyss of conceptual ideas as I changed my focus to how I would write this new piece of code at work. Hey, sometimes a long commute can be beneficial!

The idea stemmed from my morning ritual of going through my e-mail. As I have been involved in theatre for awhile, I have managed to get my name onto many e-mail listings (whether I asked to or not) that promote different groups, whether for auditions, workshops or shows themselves. One of them was sent by my friend Shelley, who is the President of Newmarket Stage Company, promoting their upcoming show. As you can see in the last posting, I actually took her e-mail and revamped it for my blog. Seemed a nice thing to do for them.

I then forwarded the three or four others that came in today, and forwarded them down to my work e-mail so I could read them later. Mainly it was to look at my schedule and see whether they fit in, but in the back of my mind I was considering posting them as well on the blog.

Fast forward to my car ride. I suddenly realized that I shouldn't post those on my main blog, which in my heart is for writing practice and to work through concepts occurring in my life. I should create a whole new blog just for this area.

Hence GTA Theatre is born. And it's somewhat fitting too.

Over the many years that I have been a website developer, I have run several theatre websites, all of which have met their doom for one reason or another (except for the South Shore Website - but even that is in it's 4th home and has been completely redesigned every single time). There were various reasons. For starters, I always did them for free, so to save money I would host them on my own servers at home, using free regional .ca addresses that were available for non-profit groups. Occasionally my provider would protest this so I had to move them, which caused disruption and chaos. Then Canada changed it's internet policy on domain registration and the addresses all went poof!

Sadly, that's the simplest and most politically correct explanation. The real reason the websites died is the members of the groups just didn't care. I put hundreds of hours into the design and content of these sites, even going so far as to delve into the twenty year past of one of the groups {coughQPcoughcough} and detailing every single alumni member and what they did. I wrote special software and databases to track this stuff. And when I asked for help to keep the website fresh and alive - I got nothing. So, after taking that abuse for several years (I'm nothing but patient) I shut them down one after the other. Still have all the info that those groups could ask for if they wanted (except for NSC for some reason - that mysteriously disappeared - sorry Shelley)...but even that has not been requested. It's frustrating on a scale you could not fathom.

My one foray into a generalized website for all theatre groups in the area was an actual domain I went out and bought called yorkregiontheatre. Still got crickets from the groups I was associated with, but I was getting a lot of interest from the groups in the southern regions so felt inspired to put more work into it. Then I changed jobs, moved out of the region, and a very nasty eight months later limped back into town practically broke. Some stuff had to be cut, and yorkregiontheatre was one of them.

Blogger, and other blogging websites is the perfect forum for me to start again. Promotion is easier, the community exists and it's less maintenance for me to endure. I look forward to seeing how this works out.

Info on the who, what, where, when and how can be found on the new blog.

The Discipline Committee

This isn't one of my shows, or even one of my posters - but I like to support other local groups, and I am a former member of Newmarket Stage Company, so here's a promo for you.


NSC Presents... Posted by Hello

Produced by: Bryan Coughlin

Directed by: Helen Coughlin
Assistant Director: Carrie-Ann Nihmey Smye

Featuring: George Houston, Mark Hayward, Heather Coulter, J.D Coulter

September 23, 24, 25, 30, October 1, 2

with a "pay-what-you-can-at-the-door" Seniors Preview night on September 22(Tickets NOT required for Senior's Preview night)

Curtain at 8:15pm, for all shows

At the Old Town Hall, 460 Botsford Street, Newmarket

Tickets available at the Backyard Birder @ 228 Main Street in Newmarket or by calling our Box Office 905-830-1082

$15 Adults, $10 Seniors


Set in a boys' boarding school, this award-winning play begins with two male teachers interviewing a senior student accused of performing an act of brutality on a younger boy. The teachers' initial confidence in their ability to extract a confession dissipates in the face of the youth's cold hostility. Slowly, it becomes clear that something more sinister is going on than first met the eye. The deteriorating situation is saved by the intervention of a young female teacher who has been sitting in on the proceedings- she interweaves three stories with a cross-examination that eventually reveals the unsavory truth. A chilling twist near the conclusion will leave your audience gasping.

Warning: Strong Language and Mature Subject Matter - not recommended for young children

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Inspiration


Where does inspiration come from?

Since starting this blog earlier in the month (so very long ago, whew!) I decided to push myself to write as much as I could.  Not just for the sake of writing but to exercise a literary muscle that has fallen into decline over the last decade.  

I don't know for sure why that happened.  It's just that sometime towards the end of highschool I just stopped writing.  Walked away from all my half-finished novels and forgot all about the craft.  Even in college I deliberately took a pass on the English courses offered so I didn't have to do the extra work.  For somebody like me, who started writing stories in grade three, and who would later spend days and days reshaping chapters of my horror based novellas in my early teens, this was a strange occurrence.  Where did that devotion go?

Looking back, I see several possible correlations.  I stopped writing when my social life began to take off.  Up until then I was a bit of a loner who used writing as his key catharsis.  Once I had a whole lot more friends and several theatre groups vying for my time the energy and focus I placed upon my writing faded completely from view.  It wasn't that I didn't want to write - it was that I just didn't think about it.  I'm also certain my insatiable and somewhat destructive interest in girls and alcohol had something to do with it too.

Since then, and until recently, my only major writing outlet was poetry.  Deciding that it was time to pay homage to and to perhaps kill all of my bitterness and anger, I began writing at a frantic pace.  What came out first created a feeling of relief, and that slowly developed into pride.  And suddenly one day I felt good.  The Cobain in myself had been set free, and with it my knife-wielding muse.  I set down my pen and didn't ever really look back.  I kept wanting to write, and even found myself writing or typing key sentences that hopefully would propel myself forward, but the rest just drifted away.  There was no inspiration to drive me.

Something has changed.  Whether that something is totally within me or as part of my environment, or a healthy combination of both I'm not sure.  But I feel so inspired to write.  Not just some of the time, but all of the time.  I could happily sit in front of my computer and just keep the words flowing.  And though I'm still resurrecting the demons from my past, as in my last post, and I'm still planning on writing the ever-changing apocalyptic horror novel from fragments of ideas in my head, I'm approaching it from that happy place, not the lonely or bitter domain from my youth.

I still have a long way to go before I'm truly proud of my writing, again.  My literary muscle is still a featherweight.  But with consistent practice, some more reading and even a couple courses I'm planning on taking; I think I'll develop that pride again.  So for me at this time - my inspiration is the journey to be a better writer.  What better vicious circle could you ask to be in?

Monday, September 20, 2004

Balls and Stones

I always hated outfield.

I was reminded of this fact during my wedding. My Aunt Marilyn sent a bunch of stories about me to Ric Knight, who was our Master of Ceremonies and of all the choices he was given, he chose this one.

I'm a big baseball fan. Love the sport, both for playing and watching - though I was a bit of a late bloomer when it came to being a team player. While living in Kleinburg, my mother made sure that I was involved with as many social organizations as she could handle, and given a choice of sports she chose baseball. From this choice I was initially very excited. Then reality hit me.

I was a bit of a social pyria in Kleinburg. Most kids found great pleasure in teasing and beating the crap out of me, for multiple reasons. One - I came from a lower middle-class family in what was generally a very upper-middle class town, so couldn't afford all the cool fashions that were expected of me. My mother never understood when I complained about being forced to wear rubber boots to school, but of course she didn't have to experience the school bully gleefully ripping them off me and shoving them up my ass. Not fun. Two - after awhile, the teasing and beatings get to you, so I developed a major emotional problem - breaking down at the slightest taunting. Sadly, the Principals and most of the Teachers never supported me through this, so I had to find my own escapes...this including leaving school property completely during recess...though I found myself caught and in front of the principals office more times than I could count. Hey, better than being tied to a tree and kicked repeatedly by girls and boys in your class.

If you think I'm exaggerating...sadly I'm not. These were the days when bullying kids wasn't just accepted, it was expected. Bigger + Meaner + Large Body Count = Cooler.

Worst of all is I hit puberty at the age of eight, so I was dealing with weird emotions at an age where most everybody else couldn't fathom. And I had no idea what the hell was going on so couldn't really explain myself. Even if I did know...what eight year old kid could really talk about this stuff to an adult?

Enough about my pain...back to the game. Because I wasn't cool like everybody else, who had years of T-Ball experience (go coolcats go!), I was immediately positioned in Centre Field, with bigger and faster teammates in the Left and Right fields, so that I was just a glorified Garden Gnome. Boredom would set in, so I would sit down and look for Fossils in the stones. I'd lose total focus on the game. Then some good batter would notice my lack of attention and hit one my way so I got yelled at by the other players.

I wasn't that great of a hitter then either. My eyes had started to bother me for awhile, and I just couldn't keep my eye on the ball like they suggested. Even when I did start to make contact with it, I would hit my poor pitcher (always felt bad for that) or it would head directly into somebody else's glove.

One day I was excited to hit a full Grand-Slam and won our team the game...but there is one secret to that I never told anybody.

My eyes were closed - it was a lucky shot.

It wasn't until we moved away from Kleinburg in 1985 that we found out the problem with my eyes. I needed glasses...and badly, too. I started playing baseball in Georgina and found my niche. I was a great backcatcher, and my batting was well respected too. I still wasn't Mr. Popularity, for completely different reasons (another day perhaps), but at least for one moment in time when I'd pull-off some great play in the game, I was smiled at and not kicked.

I miss playing the game. It's been my biggest gauge for how much I've grown and for what I've overcome to be the person I am today. I've spent plenty of time in Kleinburg since as a visitor. I've been around all those old diamonds and tried to think of any good memories...but sadly they just aren't there. It's like the old me died when we moved away, and a fresh ten year old boy began, purging most of my angst in the process. I forgot what it was like to be that lonely little boy out on the diamond.

I can't do that. I need to remember...because if I see my own child doing the same thing, or if I'm coaching and see other kids doing it then I need to know how to help. I can't be one of those same people who just ignored my problems and made me suffer unnecessarily.

Don't leave them out in the field alone.

Pints and Zombies

Shaun of the Dead is coming...

I was first introduced to this movie on entertainment websites that I frequent, including CHUD and Dark Horizons and it peaked my interest. I've always been a fan of horror movies, especially the Zombie Genre, and am also a big fan of British Humour. So the concept of a movie that mingled the two without going totally into farce zone sounded appealing.

Sadly, it was only released in Europe....us poor schmuks on this side of the Atlantic were deprived. I managed to get my hands on a third rate bootleg (that looks like it was shot by a very drunken cameraperson standing on his head) and at least got to enjoy the movie in part, but it left me longing for more. I wanted a legit copy, and even a chance to see it in the theatres.

Luckily the gods that be have answered me. Starting this Friday it is being launched in a fairly limited release in North America. And though I still have had no luck tracking down a local theatre that will be playing it, I have been given the impression that it will be here...somewhere. There was a sneak preview on the 17th...but as I just found out about that doesn't help me all that much.

Most likely I will end up seeing it next week, as Melanie and I are taking our short little Honeymoon to the Niagara region this weekend, and I doubt she'd be too happy about me running off to catch a flick during this. What do you think?

Sunday, September 19, 2004

For the love of.....Commercials?


Tragedy & Comedy Posted by Hello

Didn't get an opportunity to write yesterday, as I had Day One of my workshop, and then went out and got REALLY drunk at a party so was in no shape to entertain you with my blathering.

The workshop I am referring to is Sears & Switzer's TV Commercial Weekend. This is a target in the industry that I have had very little success with, only gaining one semi-major gig so far (though have also won two promo spots for television stations), and I would like to get my hands on more of the work. Television Commercials are probably my best chance to get any real impact in the industry - so I need to learn the skill.

Yes, there is actually a skill required for Commercial Auditioning. If differs quite dramatically from the stage, and even quite a bit from other television and film auditions. As David Switzer mentioned in the course, commercials are driven more by the marketing side of things than the artistic so you need to be able to not only sell yourself, but be able to sell their product. "Solve Their Problem" is the best summary I've seen.

David Switzer and Theresa Sears are two phenomenal teachers, and I highly recommend any actor, both new and experienced to take their courses. I had a blast in this two day workshop. All my classmates were great to get along with, and everybody had their own dynamic energy and style that really spiced up everything.

I did have one small problem though. And this is a common problem among Canadians.

They complimented me just too damn much!!!

Geez. Even writing that statement makes me out to be an arrogant bastard. But I don't know how to discuss the issue if I don't lay all my cards on the table. Please don't hate me because I'm...er...beautiful. Or something like that.

The reality is, hands down, that I had the most acting experience in the room, except for the teachers. I have had a lot more chances to hone my craft, and it has made me a very competent character actor. So, I'm able to read into a scene a little faster then some and can find the meat that's going to make my presentation very impactful and normally very funny. My classmates rallied around this, complimenting me constantly...so much so that I found it difficult to leave the building at lunch due to a much swelled head.

Jeez...I wish some of these people were casting directors. I'd be able to retire by now, sleeping on my big pile of money in the South Isles.

This can actually be held against me though. It's my own instinct to find or create humour wherever possible...even though perhaps humour wasn't called for. So, I'm sure I've lost good paying opportunities in the past because I was a little too over-the-top for the casting director. I've been aware of it for awhile, but there were a couple spots during the class that threw up the mirror to my face and made me see myself for what I am. A grade A 'Foole'.

As an appendum to my entry the other day about education, I know one thing. I need to take some courses that study the dramatic side of the acting world and purge a little bit of the comedy from my soul. Not enough to change who I am - I know my main sellable features are my goofy face and elastic expressions...but if I want to continue to grow as an actor I need to spread roots in other areas - lest I get pigeonholed like people tried to do with Jim Carrey and Robin Williams - both of which have proven they do have the chops to pull off straight situations while being able to snap into their zany personalities at a moment's notice.

I'm not there yet. But with some more schooling and a bit more work under my belt I may just have a shot at the big-time. So, I take the formidable knowledge I received from this course and wait for my next moment to shine.


Friday, September 17, 2004

School dreams instead of nightmares

I look forward to school.

It's funny to hear myself say that aloud. I mean, I never did in the past. Public school was almost unbearably boring for me...if it wasn't for drama and my gig as a morning announcer, I wouldn't have had any pleasure going at all. Kind of sad seeing how many years I was stuck with it. Then I graduated high-school and found myself in the real world.



Well...almost. First I had to get through college. Sadly, on a social and emotional level I just wasn't ready for it. I still was kind of screwed up from some upheavels in my last highschool year (a story for another day) and I just didn't have the focus to give my all. I finished the first term of my Radio and Television course at Centennial College, but left before the full first year was out...citing that the costs of the photographic component were too much to bear. This was pretty much true, though others had offered to help me through it. In reality my heart just wasn't up to school anymore...my focus had shifted.

Years and a whole lot of jobs later - 90% being in the computer sector - I find myself wishing more and more that I had at least finished that first year of college. Even if I didn't stick with the programme beyond that I would have been able to take my credits and move in a different direction. But hindsight is 20-20 and I just can't go back to correct that mistake.

So...here I am, often feeling like the world is leaving me behind. I have been very fortunate to make some incredible connections that have led to great jobs (or at least jobs that keep me alive), but it's getting harder and harder to move forward without that piece of paper that says I have completed some certified programme...whether it be certification or diploma. My goal is to change that.

I've been taking little courses here and there when I have the time. Mostly all acting courses, however there has been a graphic design course to put a foot in that pathway. I want to do more...and I would like to finally find a programme in a school and finish it completely. What I'd REALLY like to do is first get a college certification in something and then transfer credits to a University and get my BA. The only problem with that has been cashflow. Melanie and I aren't doing bad financially, however with me having so much uncertain consistency as to how long I'm going to be employed it just hasn't allowed me to just start throwing money around. That's the problem being a consultant who keeps getting short-term contracts...they keep you sweating.

If I get this new job in October, I think it'll be time to buckle down finally and add some serious schooling. It could take years to complete, but at least I'll have the knowledge that I'm working towards doing something better, for me and my family.

Until then, it's all acting courses. I have a Sears & Switzer course this weekend on Commercial Auditioning Skills, and I plan to register for Second City courses the first week of November. Just because I'm planning on studying something else doesn't mean I'm giving up the acting. I may be confused, overtly ambitious and unfocused much of the time, but I'm not stupid.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Scaredy Cat


Our Butler Posted by Hello

Poor Furface. This unfortunately named cat, who was originally one of my ex-girlfriends - but she didn't like him so he became mine - has been having a rough week. With Dextor being over, Furface just doesn't know what to do with himself. In reality, Dextor is just a baby who is more afraid of the cats than they are of him, but I guess some instinct on Furface's part has made him very skittish so he's been hiding most of the time.

At this exact moment, he's come out of hiding and is sitting right next to me, but that's the first time he's done that since Monday. This is an extremely rare thing, as normally he rarely leaves my side during his waking hours (what on odd sentence - I had to read that three times to make sense of it...I must be getting tired). He's been like that ever since he was a kitten, following me from room to room (even into the bathroom which took time to get used to), and being very upset when a closed door separates us.

I'm sure if Dextor walked into the room right now Furface would be gone in a flash. And though I enjoy the little dogs company, It just doesn't feel right to have my own pet inconvenienced. Our other cats, Branagh and Goofy (who I will share pics of another day) are handling Dextor ok...it's just our little butler that doesn't feel too happy about the situation.

I hope this doesn't cause some sort of stress breakdown on his part. Hate to have him try to kill me in my sleep because he thinks he's a leopard on the prowl. Hey, stranger things have happened - right?

If I'm not back to blog further, my 11 pound cat ate me. Now that's something to have on your tombstone.....

A Look of Longing


Papa Want!!! Posted by Hello

I've always been a bit of a geek when it comes to cool toys. Like my father, I always wanted to have the biggest and best stuff available. With him it was stereo equipment...with me it was computers.

Ever since the introduction to the 486 days, I've been building my own PC's...but I rarely ever kept the same system in my residence for longer than a couple weeks at a time. I built a machine, and then promptly sold it so that I could build something slightly better. Through this I've managed to keep up to date on new technology and cosmetics, and it's the latter that seems to have finally taken a firmer hold in the industry.

Computers used to be so ugly. Well, that depends on your definition of ugly. The old Dec Alpha server I used at work once was beautiful to me, but just a big grey box to everybody else. All PC's were designed to function as a piece of office equipment, not a home furnishing so there was no thought put into the esthetic design.

This trend began to change a few years ago. I remember buying my first Black and Silver case in 1998 and being viewed as the rebel. It just looked so cool. Then the first iMac's came out - those transluscent ones - and everybody wanted a PC you could see through. And boy did the industry embrace that. Now you can buy partly transparent cases with neon lights and really interesting button layouts.

The picture above is just a piece of beauty. I discovered it on Tom's Hardware website (www.tomshardware.com) and fell in love. The thing would be awesome for it's ability to dissipate heat so you could run some amazingly overclocked system without burning your province to the ground. The only problem is it's about the size of three computers side by side, so it's almost a throwback to the old days of needing a big computer for anything functional.

Maybe if I was to redesign my office I could find a happy home for it. I'll throw out my corner desk and design a new one around this masterpiece. Yeah!

Sadly, this would be the extent of the conversation Melanie and I would have when I rolled it into the apartment.

Mel: "What the...."

Tim: "Honey, it followed me home...can I keep it?"

Mel: ...........

Sadly, those dots would keep going on for longer than your buffer could hold so I will spare you the gory details.

Hmm...maybe it's big enough so I could sleep on it. It would certainly be warm enough...and I'd pretty much need to as I'd be banished to it or the couch, and I'd have to fight the cats for the couch. They'd win...they always do.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Honestly, Now! Poster


The Completed Poster!!! Posted by Hello

Just finished it a couple minutes ago. The concept of the puzzle pieces came from rufus (who happens to be the Director of the show), and I just played with it until I was happy.


Feelin' hot hot hot


Note to self.  If planning on changing shirts for an audition - don't leave second shirt in hot car over several hours.  PHEW!!!!!!

I just got back from my audition for an American Sports Product that I won't name lest I jinx it.  The audition was improvised, which is always kind of neat, and I was told to act wacky for once.  At so many auditions I have been told to take it down a notch and it's nice to be allowed to let my comedic side just roll with it.

The only problem with improvised auditions is you're left wondering even more than usual as to whether you gave the casting director what he/she wanted.  Now, I've learned to not read too much into auditions post mortem, as it's pretty much a guarantee that what you think happened really didn't.  What you think may have been a good audition probably gave the director nightmares so badly that he still sees his therapist about it.  And man, after that last audition I thought sucked I had to get a restraining order to keep the director from showing up at my doorstep.  In a pale green woolen tutu.  aieee.

Curious.  I'm in the middle for this one.  I can't decide whether it was good or bad.  Does that mean the entire production will be in limbo for eternity?  Have to watch the headlines for that.

He shoots...he's...locked out.

Today is the deadline for talks in the NHL to be completed. Much focus should be put on the word dead.

Now, I'm not really a big hockey fan. I enjoy watching the occasional game, and was very proud to watch Canada smack everybody around during the World Cup. However, I just never really became the kind of fanatic that would practically kill somebody for blocking the screen in overtime play, and would sell their own left testicle for Gold seats at the Air Canada Centre. Any kind of fanaticism like that can be dangerous, especially mixed with testosterone and alcohol...as evidence of the events in Toronto last night would prove. Following the game last night, a lot of schmucks went out and thought that Canada winning the series gave them the right to destroy property and punch police officers. On TV this morning you would have thought it was feedback tape from the LA Riots....lovely...just the kind of image Canada needs on the worldstage these days. Embarrassing.

That wasn't where I was going with this, but the punchline sometimes writes itself. What I wanted to write about was I have a feeling this kind of thing has the potential of having the same effect of the Baseball strike ten years ago. In Toronto, we went from complete euphoria about our team, The Blue-Jays, winning back to back world series titles to 'Baseball? Who watches baseball?'. It felt like everybody had given up on watching the professional sport altogether, though the smaller leagues still thrived. People didn't give up on Baseball, specifically, they just felt so disgusted with the concept of their idols complaining because they had to give up their 13th Porshe due to cutbacks. It just feel evil and greedy. Especially as those same idols worked so closely with organizations that fought for the little guy - it just didn't add up.

Hockey's getting the same way, and maybe it's time to break things down a bit.

I totally understand how hard young hockey players have to work to even get a remote shot of getting onto a Farm-Team, never mind the NHL itself. But when you have so many people in cities all over Canada and the United States complaining because they aren't getting enough public services, and the city is having to bail out a struggling hockey franchise because it's paying its players 1.5m per season in a 7 year contract you just have to pause and wonder.

Toronto has an even worst problem, which amplifies everyone elses. We are the premiere hockey town. I'm not sure any other city can get even close to matching us on that. However, the biggest hockey fans can't even afford to get nose-bleed tickets because the best tickets are all corporate. Ticket prices match demand, as with any normal service....but then how does a city that isn't necessarily a hockey town compete? I've heard tell you could just walk in off the street during Playoff games in the Southern States and buy tickets to a game at face value. Here in Toronto you would risk your life to pay 20 times the face value from a Scalper in a dark alley during that same series.

Owners are the biggest culprits for this problem because from one side of their mouth they will agree with all the other owners to play on an even field, and then turn around and offer some new hotshot an insane salary to keep them from heading off to a new team. And it's those same owners who are locking out the players. Go figure.

Don't kill me for saying it (thank god for your computer screen and millions of miles of fibre/copper wiring separating us), but maybe what we need is a good long 1-2 year break so they can restructure the system. Following that I could see a viable league running for the next 2-3 decades on steam alone. Without that? The whole thing may collapse under the weight of its players egos and salaries.

Tim is not a sports columnist, nor affiliated with any sports organization. He's just some poor deluded idiot that you want to strangle and string up in a tree for the vultures to consume.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Well That Sucks...

I just found out that I video I was involved with - Good Charlotte's "Predictable" doesn't show me at all. The scene I was in must have ended on the cutting room floor. %*%#)@

Everything got screwed up on the day of shooting. The director, who I had worked with before on another video, wanted to shoot my close-up scene first but then there were other scheduling problems so they moved on. So, a lot of waiting around later and I finally was in one scene as Joel (the lead singer) was walking along the street. The close-up scene was scheduled for last. Then they ran out of time due to the oncoming night and an impending thunderstorm (which didn't occur, btw) so they had to cancel the shot.

So, I sat around for like 17 hours, had about 4 seconds on screentime, and even then I didn't make it in. WTF???

Oh well, you win some, you lose some....

Is that Part I or II? Mr. Sumner...help!

Synchronicity is a cool thing. All day I've been thinking about how I haven't been to an audition for awhile, and that maybe my agent was pissed off at me for some reason. So, I planned to start hitting the audition boards later in the day to start getting myself some auditions.

Just as I was about to do so, my agent called me with info on an audition tomorrow. Funny how that works....

All I know so far is that I have to dress quirky. My agent (Sam) is going to fax me the script in the morning.

If we share this nightmare
Then we can dream
Spiritus mundi

The human mind...try this:



I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdgnieg

The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are,the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae.

The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorant!
?

Our New Houseguest


Dexter The Meek Posted by Hello

We are dog-sitting this fuzzy little friend for the next week while our friend Suzi is away in Vancouver. And though the cats don't take too kindly to it, you couldn't find a better houseguest than him. He doesn't bark very often, doesn't try to run away, and is extremely affectionate.

I wonder what Melanie meant when she said I could take lessons from him? :)

Monday, September 13, 2004

Honestly, Now!

South Shore Theatre Presents...


Honestly Now!


By Jack Sharkey


October 15,16,22,23 - 2004


At The Stephen Leacock Theatre
130 Gwendolyn Blvd, Keswick, ON
Box Office: (905) 476-1093



I play Hector, who you first meet acting like a little boy. However...there is perhaps more than meets the eye.

Southshore Theatre has coughed up this great Crime Comedy for their October production and it's one I look forward to. Unlike Infidelities!, I get many opportunites to get off stage for a few minutes, though still have a meaty enough role to make it worth the drive to Keswick.

It's a great ensemble cast of eight people, including myself. The other players in this production are:

Pat Reddick as Carlitta
Glen Haseman as Raoul
Ninette Gyorody as Nadine
Bruce Morrison as Sam
Michelle Holm as Marigold
Chris Morton as Oscar
Shannon Read as Holly

Ok, Gotta Run Now...I have to start practicing my yo-yo techniques.

A Sunny Day

I didn't get around to blogging yesterday because I was busy as hell catching up on other things. First, Melanie and I headed up to my Grandmothers to take her out to lunch. She's now living in a Seniors Building in Alcona, Ontario due to requiring a little more support then she used to, and I like to spend as much time with her as possible. As she is now 84 years old you never know how much time she has left on this mortal coil, and I don't wish to waste any possible good years she has. However, that's not my only reasoning - she and my Grandfather were always very good to me, and I'll be forever grateful for that. I'll dwell on that subject another date.

After a wonderful lunch at Scottie's in Barrie, we made a quick stop at her Second Cousin's Mary and Lou for awhile. They live on a beautiful ten-acre property just north of Alcona - their average size bungalo surrounded by beautiful flower gardens and a man-made pond filled with Carp. For some reason this was the first time I've ever met them, considering that they used to live just south of my Grandparents old house in Woodbridge, Ontario. We were all made to feel very welcome, not only by them but by their beautiful ten year old Poodle, Noodles. We had a great chat for about an hour, and then unfortunately needed to head out. As we were leaving, Lou gave me a few tomatoes from his garden, and made us promise to visit again soon.

We visited Grandma for a little while longer in her room, but then time did it's usual constricting factor and we realized it was time to go home. As per my usual driving style, I took the backroads home. I prefer driving in the country for the better view it provides, though I think Melanie just wanted to get home as her back was bothering her a bit.

Once back in the Aurora area, we stopped at Dairy Queen for a treat. Blizzard - yum! Then we headed home.

I had the chance to head straight down to the city for a follow-up video shoot for Low Budget but decided to stay home as I was a bit tired, and Melanie was in a depressed mood because of her back. It was the better choice, as I was able to get some stuff done that I wouldn't have finished otherwise, including updates to our Wedding Photo Site and Southshore Theatre's Website. My upcoming show needs promoting, so I'll leave that in a separate post for your surfing pleasure.

Saturday, September 11, 2004


A Glorious Day Posted by Hello

For anybody who is interested, I have created a mini-website for my wedding pictures. For now there are only a few dozen, but I may add more if Melanie requests it (the taskmaster never allows her slaves to sleep - :) )

Here's the URL: http://www.actingart.com/images/MTwedding/index.htm

There is a cool little Slideshow button on the page so you don't have to click each pic separately..it's the one on the far right.

People with Garbage Can Lids

The fun had only started, by the way. A particular show is coming up soon that Melanie has always wanted to see, and so she was very insistant about me calling the box office right away. That was busy, so I looked up the online ordering possibility and sure enough it was available. So, I clicked on Best Available Seating, and what comes up?

We are the proud owners of two Front Row seats to STOMP! It's the closing night at the Centre In The Square Theatre in Kitchener....and boy are we looking forward to it. The best thing is it's in November, when I won't have any shows on my plate...so we can just go and have a good time with worrying about other schedules getting in our way.

Ragnarok Rise!!!!

It's been a busy morning. I was up at 6am this morning - something that may seem to be a non-issue with many people but is actually an amazing feat for me - and out the door for 7am. Melanie came with me for the drive, so there were two of us pulling into Tim Horton's for coffee's this early morning.

I love driving into Toronto in the early morning. For somebody who has seen all kinds of horrendous traffic jams along that corridor, it's such a pleasure to just scoot right along and not have to stare at the back of somebody else's car for an hour and a half. We had very little time to dilly-dally though so headed straight to our destination - the apartment of the director, Jedrzeg, or JJ as he's referred to as.

We parked and headed up to the second floor. As we got off the elevator, we passed his brother Maciej in the hall who pointed us to his door. Having done his producing duties for the day, he then promptly left.

JJ greeted us at the door and we started right into it. There was no prepared material, he just wanted me to improvise a scene of auditioning for a film...which is funny because that's how I really did audition for them. He wanted me to portray myself as a Shakespearian actor and just wing something for him...so with a big sigh I readied to let it flow.

I slated myself as Michael Lance, (just a name that popped into my head) from KRP (Crap) Entertainment. Then explained that I was doing a rare Shakesperian monologue not by the bard himself but one of his little known disciples. Then I began to emit the biggest piece of dogshit monologue you ever heard in your life...something about the sun going dark because the night showed up and the wolves howled for the presence of Ragnarok and the king knew his empire would last for ever just because it could, and he loved it. Then he asked me to do the same monologue as a Russian General and it got even funnier. Ever tried repeating an improvised monologue per batem? Never mind with a stupid accent to boot. Then he asked me to do robot noises....then robot noises in a hiphop fashion. All really stupid stuff.

As you can tell...the movie is a bit of a comedy...so I hope I gave them enough footage to have fun with. There is one more shoot that I've been invited to attend. Tomorrow evening they are shooting a red-carpet gala scene by the Bloor Cinema. I'm pretty sure I'll go.

Following the shoot, Melanie and I took a nice drive around the Port of Toronto, and then up Bayview to Post Rd and around that area before heading back home....and the day has only begun....

Friday, September 10, 2004

I'm back in

Got a message from Maciej Jonasz a few minutes ago...they are shooting my scene tomorrow morning at 8am. Sucks to have to be up at that time on a Saturday morning, but at least I get to be in the movie and still have a full day available!

Info on the production can be found at: Capital j Films

Support Community Theatre

When I started doing community theatre, I found that I was surrounded by people who were there for the love of theatre. Some were fantastic actors in their own right, where others just did it for something to do and were just as happy to have a small role. But everybody stuck together. We didn't criticize (excessively anyway), and we just had fun putting on the show. As with most community theatre groups, we had a central bank account and an executive council who kept the books up to date. And when putting on the show, our goal was to break even - with the hope for some extra money so we could put a little better show on next time. It was the good 'ole days.

Since then, I have seen a horrendous amount of groups who pretend to community theatre, but which are just money making ventures for certain people. Groups that charge large amounts of money for people to gain starring roles in the production, and others that call themselves "Theatre Schools" where all they do is put on a community theatre-like show and pocket all the money. I've seen people rage against others who do this, only to turn around and do the exact same thing themselves. It worries me.

Don't get me wrong. I believe in capitalism, but there comes a time and place where it just doesn't fit. When you have a situation where one pure non-profit community theatre production is trying to exist against two or more of these money making ventures, the victim is usually the non-profit group. The for-money venture usually digs up a large amount of capital for the show-rights, advertising and sets/costumes, and then can easily donate a large amount of money to the town in what looks like generosity but is actually just a tax-saving measure. The non-profit group just tries to put on quality theatre with the little budget they have. And who do you think the town will like at the end of the day? The one that was able to spread more butter on their bread, of course. Those that could only afford margarine get ignored (OK OK if you think that was a terrible analogy, I apologize)

The worst thing of all is you see situations where some people make a wack of cash on these productions where the actors, who have provided a ton of their free time and energy to these things, get shafted. I've seen Directors and Producers make thousands off of productions, and the lead actor or actress, who had 5 musical solos, 50 pages of dialogue, had fights with their spouse every night for a week, is sleeping on the couch (or worst) and has almost lost their job - gets Zilch. Zero. Zip. Doesn't seem fair.

Then these Directors and Producers say to me. "Yeah, but I work harder then the actors do". Bullshit. Most Producers do very little work, and most Directors sit on their asses saying nothing letting the actors "be natural". I can honestly say that because I've done both of those roles in that exact way in the past.

I long for the old days when it was all just a lot of fun to put on a show. Now it's a lesson in marketing and economics.

Support your local community theatre today. They are out there, you just need to ask.

Signs of a true community theatre group:

  • Not-For-Profit or Non-Profit (charitable) status

  • Unpaid cast and crew

  • Unpaid executive council (very important)



I'm not asking you to boycot the groups that pay their crew and exec members. Just make sure you remember the other groups who work their asses off for free just for the love of the craft.

You'll know them from the extra bit of pride you see on their faces following the performance.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Action! Hey! Where's the actor? OOPS!

Hmmm...I may not make it into this next Short Film afterall.

I had been communicating back and forth with Maciej Jonasz, who is the Producer of the film known as Low Budget. Originally they had some scheduling issues which forced them to postpone shooting my scene to a future date.

And then on Tuesday evening the calls started. And we kept playing phone-tag. Either I was out of range, or they were. I didn't actually get in touch with them until this morning.

The shoot was yesterday.

They had somebody else fill in my role (just a cameo, really), and that's that. Maciej indicated though that he'd like to have me in the movie if he can...he needs to look over the scene with his brother Jedrzej and see if they can still get me in there. However, there is a high possibility that they can't.

Being that my screen-time would only be a tiny one, I shouldn't feel too bad about it...it's just that I was looking forward to working with these guys.

Oh well...maybe the next one...

Enjoy it while we can

Melanie and I did not take a Honeymoon right away following the wedding due to financial reasons. As a compromise, I booked us into a gorgeous Bed & Breakfast following the reception called Jackson's Landing, however one evening away from home just didn't cut it.

In the days since the wedding, we have paid off the last of our debts and now look at things in a much nicer light. So, I have done my research and booked us a few nights at a resort in Niagara-On-The-Lake. Now we are just looking over an agenda of things to do while there. I'd like to catch a few shows at the Shaw Festival, and Melanie is very keen on having a Carriage-Ride while we are there. Any time in between it would be nice to walk along some of the trails as far as we can and spend some time at the Falls.

Melanie and I are both facing the prospect of new jobs with higher levels of responsibility. We are also planning on raising a family sometime along the way. Spending more quality time together and not being AS worried about saving all the money for a house at this time in our lives is necessary. There could get to be a time where it's just not as easy or damned right impossible to take a quality vacation where it's just us. It's important to keep that perspective in mind.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

The day was swell

Many a time in the past I've heard many a married man say that when they saw their bride coming down the aisle in the church they felt their hearts swell. Now, due to the fact that most men aren't openly sentimental about their weddings when only in the presence of other men ONLY, I figured this was just something they say to get onto the good side of their spouse who was within striking distance. C'mon...heart swelling? Sounds like a Hallmark saying (or some horrible disease).

However, at my wedding on August 21 I felt exactly that.

The morning was chaotic, and I had been stressed to the gills about the day ahead. Melanie and I pretty much planned the whole event....ok ok....Melanie planned the whole event and I was just there to nod my head and grin. But with that in mind I still felt that I wanted this day to be PERFECT. Not just for us but for the 70+ guests we had invited to share the day with us.

As my bestman Ted and I were locked away into the Reverends office to await the big moment I do remember analyzing the walls looking for weakpoints that I could tear through to escape. I mean, Tijuana was only 18 or so hours away, and felt tempting. It wasn't that I didn't want to marry, it was more of a man's instinctual bitchslap up the head better known as (and I paraphrase my friend Ric on his sagely advice) - "What the ^&()%* are you thinking???".

But better sense and internal resignation to my fate won over so I waited patiently in our little cell. Actually, cell is the wrong word...I'm sure hardened prisoners would find this room a little crowded for their tastes. Then the big moment came. Our Priest, Robin led me out, kindly foregoing the leg-irons that Ted recommended to keep me from running. I knew my fate was sealed.

Both my mother and Melanie's mother lit the pyres...er, I mean candles, and then Ted and I found ourselves at the front of the church with a whole lot of people staring at us. Now, I have done a lot of live theatre in my time, and rarely ever get nervous, even in front of hundreds of people. This however was a very stressful situation to be in. Would I flub my lines? Would Melanie walk down the aisle, take one look at me and run for freedom? Would it begin to rain toads as God sends his displeasure upon our union?

Fortunately, the church was amphibian free as the organist began the first notes of the wedding march, and after Melanie's Matron of Honour (also her Sister) walked down the aisle I got my first glance at Melanie in her gown. She was being walked down the aisle by her father (a HUGE event by the way as he always swore he would do no such thing) and she looked utterly gorgeous.

And the first flutter came. Was that gas? No. Heart Attack? Negative.

It's like my entire Heart Chakra just cracked open and spilled away all the stress I had been feeling. And at that moment, there was nobody else in the room but her and me. I understood everything at that moment.

The rest of the wedding went off without a hitch. The reception was awesome. Everything else? That's between Melanie and I.

I'm sure as I get older and crankier, I'll be one of the guys joking to the upcoming grooms about running for their lives, just as everybody else has done for me. It's a guy thing.

However...in my heart, the moment of that feeling will be captured forever.


Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Finding the balance

Watch me perform this slight of hand, this high-wire act, this death-defying stunt. Watch me find a balance.

I'm a busy person. Have been one for most of my life. I'm just one of those people who rarely ever got bored - even as a child. I have so many hobbies and projects on my plate that I could easily spend the next six months working fifteen hour days and I still wouldn't complete them all. But of course by the third month I'd have another nine months of work, so it's a neverending cycle. And I guess I'd have it no other way.

I am an actor. Have been one for about twenty years now. Six of those years were just your standard school plays/musicals, but I approached them with a seriousness that most of my peers did not so I think it's ok to include them in the timeframe. Since 1992 I have been heavily involved in community theatre, not only as an actor but also director, producer, lighting/sound tech, set designer, graphic designer and executive member. Furthermore, as of last year I have made the transition into semi-professional acting. I've done some commercials, a print-job and a short-film, with one more short-film coming up. Not a huge body of work - but I'm proud of it. I'm not famous, and chances are I will never be famous - but as this industry seethes with "it's who ya know" and "it's who likes ya!" I never count myself out. What shall be shall be.

Now, a side-effect of the fame issue is that this career has poor financial return...so I needed a day job. Therefore I can be found during most business hours at a major insurance company in Toronto where I am a technical consultant. I write database/software solutions for people. Woohoo! It's good solid work, with good solid pay. There are days however that I wish to take a good solid knife to my somewhat solid wrists. Soul sucking doesn't even try to explain it.
Now the reason I stick with this gig is the fact I'm married. Yup...just over two weeks now - though my lovely bride and I have actually lived together for almost three years now. As much as I love my hobbies and my acting and my other evil ways...I realize that there are times you need to run for the goal and other times you need to protect your own net (my famous soccer analogy).

Geez...I'm running out of time here. I was doing ok, but then the power went out here and I had to write this again from scratch. Not a good way to post my first entry! Aieee! I will revisit this later.

Oh...and some of my other hobbies?

Photography
Videography
Video Editing
Digital Art
Reading
Writing (Poetry, Fiction)
Animal Care (Fish, Mice, Cats)
Travelling
Camping
Skiing
Baseball
andonandonandonandon.......