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Below are 20 journal entries, after skipping by the 20 most recent ones recorded in Alun Clewe's LiveJournal:

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Sunday, July 12th, 2009
11:51 am
A Confluence of Events
One may gather from the fact that I still haven't been posting much in my LiveJournal that I have been very busy. This is true. However, today is an especially busy day. I have five different commitments, or possible commitments, scheduled for the same two-hour block... and several others for later that day. Naturally, I had to cancel on some of them.

First, I have a picnic to go to. Yeah, fine, that doesn't sound like much of an important commitment, but it's a picnic for cast and crew of a movie I was cast in, that everyone involved was strongly encouraged to attend. I'm going to have to leave the picnic early, however, to get to a meeting of a filmmakers' group. Which I'm going to have to leave early to get to a shoot for a short. Which was originally scheduled for this morning, but rescheduled at the last minute. Which was annoying. I am going to have to let them know that--sorry, but I had a prior commitment that evening, since I'd originally been told the shoot was going to be that morning--I absolutely have to be out of there within four hours. (Which, to those who don't know much about film shoots, may sound like a lot. It's not. Film shoots tend to go slow, and it can take many hours to shoot a relatively simple scene, especially if the crew doesn't have everything set up earlier.) Which I do, because an hour after that I have to be at a play reading (which I'm doing as a combination of a favor for a friend, and because there are quite possibly to be some big industry names in attendance).

Things I'm not going to be able to get to today, unfortunately, include an audition (but it's for an ongoing webseries, and they said they'd keep me in the database and give me a call next time they have a part open... for what that's worth), a meeting for another filmmaker's group (not with the whole group, though, just with the organizer, so it can be rescheduled--he said he'd give me a call during the week), and a social get-together which I wish I could make, but, well, obviously I can't. And there's quite possibly something else I'm forgetting. Well, plus I think there were one or two parts I didn't even submit myself for because I knew I wouldn't be able to make the auditions.

So... yeah. Unfortunately, all these things just happen to be scheduled for the same day. It's not like I'm usually this busy. If all these things had been spread out over a week, that would be great. But they're not. So... busy, busy day.

Which may raise the question of why I'm taking time out to make a LiveJournal entry, if I'm that busy. Well... I guess there are three answers, sort of.
  1. My commitments don't start till 1:00, so... I've got a little time (though I'm going to have to get ready and leave pretty much right after finishing this entry).
  2. Writing this entry only took a few minutes, so it's not that big a deal (which further raises the question, if it takes so little time to write a LiveJournal entry, why I haven't been doing more. Answer: I am lazy, apparently.)
  3. I am insane.
Thursday, July 9th, 2009
11:23 pm
A movie I was in that shot last summer recently finished its post-production--that is, it finished the editing and music and all the other stuff that comes after the filming. In other words, the movie is done. I haven't seen it yet--I'll see the finished movie at a screening on the 19th--but I have seen a trailer for it. And since the trailer is on YouTube, I can also embed it here. So I did. Here it is:

(I have a fairly large supporting role in the movie, but I'm not one of the leads, so I'm not actually in the trailer that much, but I do appear in two brief shots.)

As far as when the movie itself is going to be publicly viewable...I have no idea. And actually, it's not even so much a "when" as a "when and if"... the makers are now planning to take it to festivals and try to get distribution, but there's no guarantee that will actually happen, and even if it does the distribution will almost certainly be direct-to-DVD. Still, I guess we'll see what happens...

(More about the movie and its development process here.)
Wednesday, July 8th, 2009
2:22 pm
Code Cost
So. One of my big plans for the summer is... well, to do something I've been meaning to do for the last, um, lots and lots of years. Namely, to finally release an album of my music. I am apparently serious about it this time, because I seem to be procrastinating slightly less than usual.

Today, I decided I would look into getting UPC codes* in case I ever get to the point I will be selling CDs through resellers. A book mentioned that UPC codes could be obtained through a website at www.uc-council.org. So I went there and clicked on a button saying "Need a U.P.C. Barcode?"**, and got to a page that went on and on about how this company (GS1) was the "only authorized source in the U.S. for your U.P.C. barcodes", and so on and so on.

*Yes, I am aware that the C in "UPC code" already stands for "code", so "UPC code" is redundant, like "ATM machine" or "PIN number". But just saying "UPC" sounds awkward and wrong to me, even though it's actually right. So I am going to continue, at least for this entry, to write "UPC code", even though I know I shouldn't. I'm usually a stickler for grammatical accuracy, though, so I'm honestly not sure why I'm doing this.

**Okay, they say "barcode" instead of just "code", but still, if "UPC code" is redundant, "UPC barcode" should be too, right? And yet there it is right on that site. So maybe "UPC code" isn't really redundant after all, because "UPC" is the name of the system? Uh... sure. Let's go with that.

And then there was a fairly complicated application to fill out. I was especially stymied by a part in the application that asked for my company's annual gross sales revenue. I wasn't sure what to put, because, well, I haven't sold any music yet. But there was a question mark next to the question, so I clicked on that, and got to a help page that said "Do not enter '$0' if you have no sales history, enter a realistic estimated gross sales revenue for your first business year."*** Gaah. And then when I tried to make a realistic estimate (that is, a wild guess), and I clicked on "Next", a popup came up saying, "You have indicated that your company has total U.S. annual gross sales revenue of [amount that I guessed at]. Is this number correct? Please review carefully: once OK is selected, you may no longer edit this field." I don't know if the number is correct! I was guessing! Aaarghh!

***That comma should be a semicolon. Apparently I should not look to the GS1 site for grammatical guidance.

Eventually, I made it to the end of the form, and was told how much my initial setup fee was going to be.

Seven hundred and sixty dollars.

I don't have seven hundred and sixty dollars. Well, I mean, okay, technically I do, but I'm going to need that money for other things. Like rent. I don't have $760 that I can really comfortably spare on these UPC codes. So... uh... maybe I'll just be selling my music directly at first, rather than trying to go through any retailers.

Or maybe I'll go with a different company. While writing this entry, I did some searching, and found other companies that were offering UPC codes for as low as $19.99 each. Or significantly lower, if you're buying in bulk. This, I can afford. Now, there's the possibility, I suppose, that there may be some retailers that only accept barcodes bought directly from GS1 for some reason (one other reseller does have a page indicating that this may be the case for a handful of resellers). But, on the other hand, there's also the fact that I don't have seven hundred and sixty dollars to spare, so... yeah.

Also, there's the fact that pretty much all these places seem to say they'll supply the barcodes within 24 hours (contrary to what the book I mentioned said about it often taking a long time for applications to be processed). So I guess I don't need to decide what company to get them from right now anyway, given that I'm not yet ready to print CDs.

Still... seven hundred and sixty dollars. Yikes. I was not expecting that.
Tuesday, July 7th, 2009
11:34 pm
Five Words
This is, I gather, one of those "internet memes" the youngsters are always going on about.

I have no idea why I decided to write the first sentence of this post as if I were a crotchety octogenarian.

Anyway, apparently how this works is as follows: Comment "WORDS" to this entry and I will comment back with five words I associate with you. Then you post this in your journal elaborating.

The following words were chosen by gwalla:

Behind a cut, because I got wordy. As I am wont to do.Collapse )
Sunday, July 5th, 2009
8:52 pm
Missed By That Much
I haven't posted in a while again, have I?

Been busy, but not so busy I probably couldn't have posted more. (Actually, while I haven't done much on LiveJournal lately, I have a Facebook account now (well, two of them, actually), and I've been relatively active there... but that's beside the point.) Things have been happening, and are likely to continue happening. And I probably ought to post about them.

There are several things, actually, that I want to post about, and one thing I just did.

Not here, though. In addition to having two Facebook accounts, I also, as it happens, have two LiveJournal accounts. Or do I have three? I'm not sure. This is the one I use the most (which, lately, isn't saying much), but I do have another (or two) reserved for a special purpose. Namely, I happen to have another LiveJournal I'm using specifically for posts about role-playing games. (Not that I've been posting much there, either...)

I mention that now because, well, I just posted something there that I felt like sharing on this LiveJournal as well. Rather than repeat the whole thing, however, I will just link to the tragic story here. Read it and see why I am very unhappy right now. Or, if you have no interest in role-playing games, don't read it. That's fine too.

I will probably be posting here more from here on out. Though, admittedly, this is far from the first time I have said that.
Saturday, May 30th, 2009
8:29 pm
A Second Serving of Soup
So. Here is a post I started writing about a month ago, and never finished and posted. I will now finish it (editing out the parts that don't apply anymore) and post it.

So. I've been saying for some time I intended to relaunch Soup this summer. I haven't said anything more specific, largely because I hadn't decided on the specifics.

I've finally decided on the specifics.

First of all, a brief review of the history of the site. Soup launched on August 20, 2000, as a daily comic strip. It didn't stay daily for more than maybe a month or two at most before I started falling behind. And further and further behind. I eventually made it up to about 280 strips, but it took seven years to do it... by that time, I should have been at about 2500 strips.

And then the bottom fell out of my personal finances, and the Soup site was among the casualties; I fell behind on the payments for the webhosting, and the site was wiped; all the files were deleted. However, I do, of course, still have my own local copies, so even that didn't make it out of the question that I could get it set back up again and pick up where I left off.

And second of all, my previous plans. I'd said on the site itself that I was planning on catching up... on, when time permitted, posting two or more strips per day until I'd made up the deficit.

Obviously, there was no way this was ever really going to happen. And I've finally admitted that to myself.

Honestly, I think the main thing that's prevented me from just giving up on Soup is that I had so many plans for it. I had the main storylines plotted out until the end; I had before I began some strips written that weren't going to come up until the end of the strip's run (though they'll very likely be rewritten before then). This gave me the advantage that I can foreshadow later events very early in the strip--which I did; many of the early strips were setting things up that would pay off much, much later. But it also means, well, that if I just abandoned the strip, there were all sorts of plans I had and all sorts of storylines I'd plotted out that were never going to come to fruition. If I'd just been making the strips up as I went along, if I'd had no future plans for them, I probably would have just given Soup up as a learning experience and moved on. But with everything I have planned... I don't want to just do that. (Heck, the name of one of the main characters--Erlak's champion--hasn't even been mentioned in the strip yet. And yes, I did have his name decided, and I knew exactly how and when it was going to come up... I just hadn't gotten there yet.)

In a way, maybe the site getting wiped is... well, not a good thing, per se, but not an entirely unmixed curse. Starting with a clean slate means I have a freer hand to do things differently, and do things right. And there are a lot of things I ought to do differently. There are some web design issues, and some details about a few of the individual strips that I'd like to change (it's always bothered me that in one of the early strips, I gave Drv'dxx eyelids), but probably my biggest mistake in Soup's original run was the fonts I used, which aren't as readable as they ought to be (the font used for Drv'dxx's dialogue being a particular offender--and this even after it was modified from an earlier, even more illegible version).

So. Anyway. The new plan is to go ahead and relaunch the strip from scratch. Starting with the original strips, and then continuing from there when they run out. Tempting though it might be to redraw some of the earlier strips, I will refrain from doing so (except to correct such issues as Drv'dxx's eyelids and adjusting the word balloons to accommodate the new lettering); this means that putting up the old strips will take very little time, and I'll more or less have a nine-month buffer before I run out of old strips and get on to the new stuff. (Which I'm actually kind of looking forward to; the next week of strips, well, besides possibly being a bit of a surprise in that it essentially removes something readers might assume would have been a permanent change in the status quo, also would be the last time I'd have to draw what is probably the most complicated and annoying to draw of all the regularly occurring settings (not, though, when it comes down to it, that there were all that many regularly occurring settings in the strip--Erlak pretty much stuck to a few locations, and his champion kept moving around). And the storyline after that involves the return of one of my favorite characters, who's been twice left for dead (though readers aren't likely to have realized the two appearances were of the same character...) Yeah, see, my falling behind on Soup was never because of the writing; I'd had things planned well in advance. The drawing was always the bottleneck.

Oh. Yeah. The relaunch date for the strip? August 20, 2009. This brings up another (albeit much more minor) reason I'd been reluctant to just start things over: since the strips were all dated, I'd want to start on the same day, but August 20, 2009 doesn't fall on the same day of the week as August 20, 2000, which means the Sunday strips wouldn't be falling on Sundays anymore. But, on further thought, that doesn't really matter; in fact, it might be kind of interesting to have a comic that has its weekly big color strips on a day other than Sunday. (Leap years present issues of their own, but that's a bridge I'll cross when I come to it.)

So... August 20, 2009 will mark the return of Soup. And this time hopefully it will stay daily. Well, I can be reasonably confident it will for nine months, at least...
Friday, May 29th, 2009
2:33 pm
Okay then. It's been a while. Again. (About a month and a half, more specifically.) But this time I have an excuse for not having posted in so long.

Well, okay, I always have an excuse. But this time, it's almost a good excuse. Sorta.

So, first, as I mentioned in my last post, I was acting in a movie through several weeks of April. Given the lack of internet access on set -- and the lack of time between shoot days -- that made it somewhat impractical to update my LiveJournal during this period. (Actually, there was wireless access on set, but my laptop's wireless connectivity is, um, finicky... some wireless networks it connects to, some it doesn't. The one on set was one it didn't.)

But that shoot wrapped a month ago now (minus perhaps some pickup days yet to be shot). Why haven't I updated since then? Well, probably the main reason is... moving. Yeah, I've moved out of the apartment I'd been living in for nine years or so. And it was really about time. The ceiling had collapsed twice; the shower didn't work; the cold water didn't work in the bathroom sink; the kitchen sink plumbing was falling apart and leaking horribly... the oven didn't work... the apartment was cheap, but there were reasons for its cheapness. That apartment just wasn't a great place to live, and I'm glad to be out of it. But the move took a long time. Having lived there for so long, I had stuff stashed all sorts of places, and getting it all organized and packed was not an easy process, especially since I'm still working full time as a teacher, and going to auditions and acting classes, and so forth, which left me very little free time for the move (and consequently pretty much no free time for anything else).

It didn't help that, ahem, my housekeeping had been less than ideal. Granted, such details as the fact that the collapsing ceiling scattered chunks of plaster and insulation all over the apartment somewhat robbed me of the motivation to keep things clean since it seemed pretty much impossible anyway, but I clearly could have done much, much better than I did. (And I definitely plan to keep the new place neat and clean.) Also not helping was the fact that a week or two into the moving process, I got rather badly ill. I'm pretty sure it was an allergic reaction; the apartment was full of dust (mostly from, again, the collapsing ceiling), and it no doubt got stirred up by the move, but in any case, I was coughing and sneezing constantly... and in fact, I've still got a cough now, though it's better than it was. (Also, something in the dust from the collapsed ceiling gave me a terrible itchy rash wherever it touched my skin, which was, well, unpleasant...)

But it's done now. The moving out of the old place, anyway; I'm not all unpacked and moved into the new place now. Hopefully within a week or two that will be all finished with too... but anyway, the worst is over.

(The landlord at my old apartment was, incidentally, surprisingly patient with the move; he'd been rather unpleasant lately before that, but as soon as I told him I was moving out, from that time on he was suddenly nice and accommodating. I guess he was just happy enough to have me moving out (meaning, among other things, that he could jack up the rent on whoever moved in next) that he wasn't inclined to rush me or make things difficult for me as long as I was going. So... at least I guess that ended reasonably well.)

There are some differences with the new place. For one thing, I have a roommate; I'm renting a room in a condo from a friend, Allen. (He was looking for a roommate, and since it gave me an opportunity to finally get out of that apartment... eh, what the hey.) I've had a roommate before, of course, but not for many years. This also means I have less room to myself; while the condo as a whole is certainly bigger than my old apartment, most of it is shared space, and while my bedroom does have a decent-sized walk-in closet, it's still certainly less space than when I had my entire apartment to myself (in fact, I'm pretty sure the bedroom is smaller than just the bedroom of my previous apartment... but given all the issues my previous apartment had, I'm not complaining).

Something else new is that Allen has a cat, Loopie. I'd never been around cats all that much before. My family always had dogs growing up, so while I had nothing in particular against cats, I just never had much experience with them. I'd always understood that cats were aloof and unfriendly animals, not having the dog's fondness for human contact and companionship. Apparently either this stereotype is unfounded after all, or Loopie is an unusual cat; she's constantly craving human company and wanting to be petted or played with, and it doesn't take much to get her purring. (And, oddly enough, rubbing her head against random objects, which apparently is a sign of contentment in cats.)

Oh... and one thing that I guess highlights the different direction my life has gone in in the last few years. I guess acting has become a significant enough part of my life now that I'm now called by my screen name more often than by my real name. My roommate even calls me by my screen name. He does know my real name, but that's not how he thinks of me; I first met him through an acting class he was teaching and a theater company he was putting together, so he knows me primarily as an actor, and primarily by the name I use as an actor. Moreover, much of the other interaction I have during the week now is with people who know me through acting... of course I'm still called by my real name by my family, and on the job, and by one or two other social groups, but on the whole I've very much gotten used to answering to my screen name now. (Well, okay, I guess I spend enough time on the job that it may not be true that I'm called by my screen name more often than by my real name... but even if it isn't, it will be over the summer when I'm not teaching.)

So, yeah. That's what's been going on lately, and why I haven't been posting. But the worst of the move is over now, and in another couple of weeks I'll be done with teaching for the academic year, so I should have a lot more free time... so there will hopefully be a lot more posts in the near future. But in the meantime... well, a lot of things have changed. And it may be that more will be changing soon...
Saturday, April 11th, 2009
8:29 pm
Okay. So, I've been really busy lately on movie shoots. I've been on set eight of the last nine days. In fact, if you count the fact that the Sunday night shoot went past midnight so technically I was there early Monday morning, that's nine of the last nine days. But it's been good. (I did have to take a few days off work for the current shoot, but it was definitely worth it.)

One of the things I enjoy about acting is meeting and hanging out with the other actors in the film. There's a stereotype of actors being shallow and self-centered, but in my experience that's not at all true--of course, my experience so far is with low-budget independent movies, so I can't definitively rule out the possibility that maybe when actors hit it big they suddenly turn into obnoxious egotists, but it doesn't strike me as all that likely that that's a universal law, and anyway on the shoots I've been on the other actors--and crew--have generally been friendly and interesting people who were fun to be around--even if the characters they were playing were less than pleasant.

Take the shoot I was on last weekend. It was kind of an unusual shoot; the entire movie takes place in a motel, and rather than shoot different scenes in whatever order was most convenient for production as is the usual practice, the whole movie was repeatedly shot from beginning to end in almost real time. So basically, every actor in the entire movie was on set through the entire shoot, which means you have the actors playing every character appearing in the movie all waiting together in motel rooms, or talking at the craft services table. Now, the motel in the movie is, to appropriate the words of Obi-Wan Kenobi, a wretched hive of scum and villainy, and virtually every character is a criminal or a lowlife of some sort or another. Even the relatively wholesome couple that stumbles into the motel and remains oblivious of all the crime and violence going on around them isn't completely innocent, insofar as they're trying to keep the presence of their children a secret from the motel clerk so they won't be charged extra. And yet the actors playing all these despicable degenerates were perfectly pleasant people. The aforementioned clerk, for example, is a thoroughly slimy and repugnant character, who steals from his boss and dumps dead bodies without a second thought, but the actor playing him was, when not in character, charming and apparently a really nice guy--at one point when a mosquito or cranefly got into the motel room most of the actors were waiting in, he carefully caught it without hurting it, and patiently waited with the insect in his hand until there was a break in the exterior shooting and he could safely open the door and release it.

(A side note: The actor in question was from North Carolina. For some reason, I seem to meet a disproportionate number of people from North Carolina, relative to surrounding states. I don't recall ever meeting someone from South Carolina, for instance. Why do I meet so many people from North Carolina? Are North Carolinians more likely to come to Los Angeles than their neighbors are?)

The shoot I've been at for the last week isn't quite the same, but it's still the same people hanging around together most of the time, because the movie is very much an ensemble piece--there is one main character (I'm not him, of course), but there are also about a dozen other major characters who share a lot of screentime. (I can't say much more about the movie, because the director is trying to keep things under his hat for now and has asked the actors not to reveal anything about it--I can't even mention the name.) Again, and in fact even more so than last time, the whole cast and crew are just fun people to hang out with, even those who are playing less than pleasant characters.

One thing that's new for me concerning these last few movies is being around child actors. In the previous movies I'd been in, I was never around anyone younger than his late teens. (One movie I was in had child actors in it, but I was only in one scene of that movie, and it wasn't one they were in, so I was never around them.) Both this movie and the last include young kids in the cast, and because of the nature of those movies those kids were around a lot. So... that was different.

In a way, it's kind of sad when a shoot ends and those people you've become used to being around aren't around anymore, but it's not as if that means you never hear from them again. I've had a Facebook account for about ten months now--actually, two Facebook accounts, one under my real name and one under my screen name (but none under the name "Alun Clewe", incidentally)--and after every movie shoot I've been at that lasted more than a day for me a few of the other cast and/or crew members end up added to my Facebook friends. Now, obviously, a Facebook "friend" isn't the same thing as a real close friend, but it still is a means of keeping in touch, so I do continue to some degree to keep tabs on people from my past shoots, and vice versa. And who knows? Maybe someday we'll be working on a project together again.

I'm not to that point yet in my current shoot; we've still got about a week of shooting left to go (though I won't be there for every day). But I'm having a great time so far, and I'm looking forward to seeing how the final movie comes out. (And as soon as the title is made public and we don't have to keep the movie's subject a secret anymore, I may say more about it.) But in the meantime, it's an opportunity to make new friendships and spend some time with some great people, and that's one of the wonderful things about being an actor.
Tuesday, April 7th, 2009
10:50 pm
On The Road Again
So, given that I had a shoot in San Bernardino last weekend, I had to rent a car... taking the bus to San Bernardino really isn't an option. But then, it turns out that this week -- and next week -- I have another shoot in Santa Clarita. So that would mean renting a car for... well, for long enough that at that point it's getting to where it would almost be more economical to go ahead and buy a cheap car. So I did.

It's been a long time since I last drove, so I was worried I'd have more or less forgotten how. It's been long enough since I last drove, in fact, that I'm not sure exactly how long it's been, which in and of itself may say something about how long it's been. Anyway, though, as it turned out, once I was driving again I had no problem with it. I was perfectly comfortable.

As it turned out, maybe a little... too comfortable.

Okay, see, so, tonight I was on my way back from the movie shoot. And in one scene in this movie, I'm supposed to be singing a song. Which the writers had, um, just written. So I needed to learn it fast. (Originally, the scene was supposed to be shot today--despite my having just been given the song this morning. So the fact that it was pushed back one day was rather fortunate.) So, I had the song on a CD, and I was listening to it as I drove.

As it turned out, perhaps I should have been a little more intent on the road... because after a while I noticed a police car with its lights on right behind me.

I pulled over, and a police officer told me I had sped right past his car, which had been moving at seventy miles per hour, and that he had been behind me for some time before I'd started to pull over. He asked for my license and registration, and then (after I had to get out of my car to get the registration, which was in the trunk) told me to wait in the car. His partner, however, forestalled him, and started to ask me a lot of questions, including some about prior arrests and drug use. He explained that I seemed very "animated", and my behavior was consistent with a person on methamphetamine--enough so that he didn't seem to believe me when I said I had never been on any drugs. Eventually, after having me follow the first officer's finger with my eyes and stick out my tongue (I'm not really sure what that latter part was supposed to accomplish), and shining his flashlight in my eyes, he was satisfied that I was not on drugs but rather just naturally weird, and allowed me to go back and wait in my car while they wrote out my ticket.

So, yeah, anyway, I just got my first ever speeding ticket. As well as my first ever time of being suspected of being a meth addict, apparently. So... yeah.

I did not play the CD the rest of the way home. I decided I should probably just finish learning the song after I got home.
Friday, April 3rd, 2009
2:24 pm
Yipes. I said a few posts ago that I was going to be shooting several movies this week, "if the scheduling works out".

The scheduling is turning out to be quite an issue.

The biggest problem is a film that I auditioned for a couple of months back. I wasn't quite what they were looking for for the part I auditioned for, but when they needed to recast another role at the last minute, they thought of me and offered me the role.

I had some reservations. Sure, it was for a feature film, but I was only going to have a few lines... and they were shooting the feature a weird way. They wanted to shoot the whole thing in real time... but multiple takes, over the course of several evenings. That meant I'd have to commit for basically all night Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. That seemed like a big time commitment for just a few lines.

The real problem was, though, that there was another movie I would probably be shooting a scene in this weekend. However, the schedule for that was probably flexible, so, after calling the director of that project to double-check the situation, I called back and accepted.

So, the other movie I called the director about? That didn't turn out to be a problem; the shoot got pushed back. No, the real problem was yet another movie that I got a role in at the last minute--a rather more substantial role than in that three-evening one. I got an e-mail outlining the days I might be needed, and Saturday and Sunday were on it. But when I called the director to ask about the schedule for the weekend--thinking that if those shoots were during the day, I could still make it to the other shoots at night--he said the scenes that were going to be shot that weekend had been pushed back to the following week.

So, OK, great. No problem, right? Well, it wouldn't have been, if it weren't for the fact that they wanted me to come to a rehearsal Friday evening. And didn't tell me until Thursday afternoon.

So... this is a problem. As it stands, I told the director I can't make it to the rehearsal. He's not happy about that, but, well, the alternative is to back out of the other project at the last minute, and leave the other director in the lurch. If I'd known they'd want me for rehearsals this weekend during the evenings, I'd never have accepted the role in the other project to begin with... but as I said, they didn't tell me until Thursday evening (and Friday was not one of the days the earlier e-mail said to keep clear).

Trying to get back and forth between the two isn't really an option. The shoot is in San Bernardino.

I'm not at all happy about this, and I'm wishing I hadn't accepted that role in the three-evening project now... but, as I said, I can't back out of that now without leaving him in the lurch, and I guess between a rehearsal and a shoot the shoot is more important. I don't think they're going to recast my role if I can't make a rehearsal, but it still looks bad to miss it, and isn't going to endear me to the director. (Although really, while the director is upset, and while I wouldn't say this to him, he really should have told me about it before the previous day, and if he gives me a single day's notice about a rehearsal, on a day he had given me no prior indication I should be keeping free, well, I think he does have a certain amount of the blame if I can't make it.)

[EDIT: Okay, I take back the part about wishing I hadn't accepted the role in the three-night project... sure, I wish there hadn't been a conflict with the rehearsal for the other movie, but after all I'm still glad I did it.]

So... yeah. I'm... kind of stressed out right now. But... we'll see what ends up happening.
Thursday, April 2nd, 2009
3:29 pm
Car Search
So... I've been getting enough parts shooting at locations hard to get to by bus that I've decided I should maybe start looking for a cheap car again. As it is, I'm going to have to be renting a car this weekend, but I have to rent a car too often... well, then of course it's going to end up being cheaper in the long term just to buy one.

The problem is, when I say cheap, I mean cheap... about a thousand dollars is about the most I can afford to spend. I've had some luck before with a certain mechanic who sometimes has cars for sale he's fixed up, but he doesn't have any at the moment in that price range. I could look in online ads, like craigslist and recycler.com, but, uh, there my luck hasn't been so good, and I'm a bit reluctant to risk it again.

So... does anyone here in L.A. know of any other options? Any trustworthy used car dealers you know of who might have cars that cheap? Any advice on trying to find a decent cheap car?
Tuesday, March 31st, 2009
1:43 pm
On the Tragic Transience of Socks
How long are socks supposed to last? I mean, seriously?

See, in my current job, I have to wear professional dress every day--long-sleeved shirt, tie, slacks, etc., and that includes dress socks. I didn't used to wear dress socks on a daily basis. Or any socks, really. My usual costume when I'm not dressed up is shorts, a T-shirt, and sandals. But now I'm wearing socks every day, and I'm finding I have to buy new ones surprisingly often. I'm not sure why.

A pair of socks only seems to last me a matter of weeks before developing holes in the toes that make them very uncomfortable to wear. I'm really not sure what's going on. I mean, I trim my toenails regularly; they shouldn't be poking holes in my socks. For a while, I had rats in my apartment (window that looks over the dumpster + no screen in window = DO NOT LEAVE THE WINDOW OPEN--lesson learned the hard way), and I assumed that they were chewing holes in my socks for some reason (they certainly chewed holes in plenty of other things). But the rats have been gone for months now, and my socks are still developing holes, so apparently they weren't the culprits after all.

Is it normal to have to buy new socks this often? It seems unlikely to me that it is. And if it isn't, then what the heck am I doing wrong!?
Monday, March 30th, 2009
12:28 pm
Out With The Old
So. Okay, this LiveJournal I started more or less because of webcomics, so maybe I should say something about webcomics here.

The thing is, though I'm a big fan of webcomics (and yes, I still do plan to get my own comic up and going again sometime in the hopefully not horribly distant future), there are very few comics I actually read regularly. In fact, unless I've forgotten one, there are just a dozen comics I check on a daily basis. Or there were. But I'll get to that later.

Why don't I read more webcomics? Well, time's the main issue, and there just aren't that many I keep in mind to check. I guess I could--and probably should--set up a bookmark of all the comics I like, or make a webpage of links to them; that way I wouldn't have to remember more of them, and it would expedite matters. But I haven't done that. So, yeah, what it comes down to is there are a dozen comics I check daily. (Well, every weekday, anyway; most of them don't run on weekends.)

The list is, to be honest, fairly arbitrary. I can't say they're really all my favorite comics. A couple of them I probably wouldn't bother keeping up with if they weren't on Keenspot and thus easily accessible via dropdown from another Keenspot comic or two that I'm more interested in. Another I really can't give any good reason for why I read regularly; I'm not at all fond of the rather amateurish art, and the writing is uneven at best--while it does show very occasional flashes of brilliant creativity, it's at least as often crude and sophomoric. (It was, however, the first webcomic I ever heard of or read; maybe I keep reading it out of nostalgia? I dunno.) And I can think offhand of at least three comics I don't check regularly that I like better than most of the comics I do. I'm not sure why. Well, I can venture some guesses, I suppose. One of them is on Graphic Smash, which means it has a long and inconvenient URL; if its URL was shorter and easier to remember, I'd probably check it more often. (As it is, I don't think I've checked it since 2008, and not necessarily late 2008, either. I should go back and check it sometime, but once I've fallen behind, then I'm daunted by the prospect of going back and catching up with all I've missed...) Another, well, it has a short, easy-to-remember URL, but it updates erratically, and gets mixed up with way too many crossovers and artist swaps for my taste. Actually, I guess it must not be the erratic updates that bother me as much, since one of the comics I do check daily has a very erratic update schedule (though it's also one of the Keenspot comics), but all the crossovers and artist swaps are kind of a turn-off. And a third... well, that one I guess I don't check daily for stupid reasons. I was subscribed to its RSS feed, and then I stopped keeping up with my RSS feeds, so I fell behind on that comic, and having realized I'm now hundreds of strips behind on that comic I'm, again, daunted by the prospect of catching up... (Which is especially irrelevant with that comic, since it's one that doesn't have much continuity and could easily be read out of order without missing much, but... I guess that's the way I think.)

Should I mention the comics in question by name, and link to them? Yeah, probably. But, for no good reason, I won't. You're welcome to try to guess the comics if you want.

But what I was really getting at was that "there were" bit at the end of the second paragraph. See, as of a couple of months ago, there were twelve webcomics I checked on a daily basis. Since then, though, three of them have ended (two having given warning well ahead of time, the third and most recent just abruptly going on a hiatus from which it seems it may or may not ever return), while a fourth is scheduled to end within a few months. That means fully a third of my hitherto regular reads either have ended or are soon ending.

So what then? The obvious answer would be that the creators of the comics I was reading regularly will be making new webcomics (which seems to be true in at least three of the cases), and that those comics would then move into my regular reading list in the place of the old. Maybe. But maybe not. We'll have to see whether their new projects, whatever they are, really grab me. (OK, I guess in one of the cases it sort of already has; the creator of the ended comic has already launched his next project, a weekly comic that I don't check daily mainly because, well, it's a weekly comic.) I guess the second and third most obvious answers (not necessarily in that order) would be that I either find new comics to read, or just read fewer comics. The latter choice probably is better from a time management perspective. But we'll see.

(Or, I should just go ahead and make a bookmark or a link page to all the comics I'd like to keep up with, as I mentioned a few paragraphs above... and yeah, I know there are also various services that aid one in keeping up with his favorite comics, but (a) are there any that aren't of doubtful legitimacy and not behaving questionably with regard to keeping readers away from the webcomics' actual sites against the creators' will?, and (b) I don't really feel like taking the time to research them...)

So. For the moment, I guess, there are just eight webcomics I check on a daily basis...
Sunday, March 29th, 2009
12:40 pm
Once Again, It Has Been Way Too Long Since My Last Post
Okay, then. My last post was... let's see... February 3. Yeah. It's... okay, I haven't really kept up with this.

Granted, that post was at the end of a run of three days in a row, so I guess I was doing okay for a while. If you define "a while" as three days.

And those three days of posting came after a gap of forty-five days, as opposed to this time, after a gap of only... um... fifty-three days... okay, never mind about that part.

Anyway, though, I want to get back into the habit of posting. Fortunately, in the last fifty-three days, there has been a lot I wanted to post about. Or maybe unfortunately. Anyway, some of the highlights: (Or not really highlights, but, um, some of the things that occur to me offhand)

  • I have an agent now. Did I mention that? (Checking previous posts.) No, I didn't Well, I do. Though she's apparently not getting my e-mails.
  • I lost a lot of things in February. My cell phone. (Got it replaced through insurance for $50.00.) A plastic box full of index cards with notes on them. (Fortunately, most of the notes on the index cards were only recently copied out of notebooks--the transition to the index card system having just occurred because I couldn't reorder the pages of notebooks or pick and choose which pages I wanted to bring along--so, since I still had the notebooks, few if any important notes were actually lost.) Both of those were left on a bus. I also lost my thumb drive, but I found it again.
  • Then, in March, I lost my voice.
  • Speaking of losing things, that RPG Superstar contest I posted about? Didn't make it past the first round. Which is just as well, because I really didn't have the time for it. In fact, that's probably a big part of the reason I didn't make it past the first round... my entry for the second round was really rushed. It is also just as well I didn't make it past the first round because I would have felt kind of bad if I had given that, um, some people--well, at least one person--voted for me just because of my post, without knowing anything about RPGs, which isn't really the point. See, that post was meant kind of half-jokingly; I didn't so much mean "Go vote for me!" as "Go check out the contest and vote for me if you think I deserve to win!" And really, it was directed toward people who, you know, might actually be interested in a contest like that. In other words, mother? I appreciate the fact that you felt like supporting me (and that you called to tell me afterward), but you were really not the target audience for that post. But, again, I didn't make it past the first round anyway, so it all worked out, I guess.
  • Also speaking of losing things, or, uh, not getting things, I guess I didn't get that role in the pilot I auditioned for, or I'm pretty sure I would have heard about it by now. Well, it would have been nice, but I figured it was a long shot.
  • I have been getting other roles, though... in fact, next week I'm shooting two different movies. If the scheduling works out. I'm working on that.
  • Wait... if you count from weekend to weekend, actually three movies. Um... I'm going to be busy.
  • Last week was midterms at the school where I teach. A week or so before that was the science fair. This school takes its science fair very seriously, and since I'm the middle school science teacher, I was pretty much in charge of all the middle school science projects. (Well, there's another middle school science teacher, but I was put in charge.) Remember when I said how busy I've been? That's a good part of the reason why.
  • There is, alas, still no immediate prospect of Soup going back online in the very near future. Maybe this summer. Hopefully this summer. But almost certainly not before. I should at least update the main page so it doesn't still say it's returning June 30, 2008. But, truth be told, I probably won't do that before this summer either.
  • I also have other plans for things I'm going to be doing this summer. Launching in fall 2009 (if all goes as planned): Mr. Sunshine and the Conqueror of Worlds! No, it's not a webcomic. It's... you'll find out what it is in the fall.
  • Also, launching (probably) this summer: A secret project I'm not going to say anything else about because I'm doing it under a pseudonym and, for no particularly good reason, don't want it known that I'm behind it!
  • Launching hopefully much sooner than this summer: my first album of my music, finally. Seriously, I've got to get that done.
  • I am right now typing this from school because there is an open house today and I'm supposed to be here in case anyone comes by to see the school and wants to know about the middle school science program or, I guess, the high school math program. (The other middle school science teacher, however, is not here.) No one has shown up yet, but the open house only officially started a minute ago.

Okay, that's enough for now. I will try to get into the habit of posting more often, though. So... yeah. Bye.
Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009
11:45 am
Audition Aftermath
So, I just got back from the audition I posted about. How did it go? Well, there are lots of details I'm second-guessing myself about, but I'm pretty sure I didn't make any colossally stupid mistakes, so there's that.

This was just a preread, with only the casting director present. So it was... well, actually much less elaborate than I expected. Just me and the casting director in a small room in a "bungalow" on the CBS lot; she had me go through each scene once, with no redirection.

(Okay, a brief glossary for those unfamiliar with acting terminology is behind the cutCollapse ))

The fact that the casting director didn't redirect me could mean a number of things. It could mean she thought I did it right on the first try. It could mean this audition was just a formality and she's already planning on bringing me in front of the producers. Or, conversely, it could mean I did badly enough that she figured there was no point in redirecting me anyway. I was a little uncertain of my Southern accent, and thought that at least she might redirect me to try it without the accent, but she didn't--which, again, could mean she liked the accent, or could mean that, even though she didn't like my attempt at the accent, the role still required it, so there was no point in auditioning me without it, or it could mean that she thought my accent was so bad she'd already made up her mind about me and didn't want to see it again.

After the audition, the casting director said that if I didn't get this part, they'd keep me in mind for other projects. Again, this could mean several things. It could be entirely genuine; maybe she is hoping I get the part, and plans to recommend me to the producers, but even if they decide on another actor, she's going to call me in for other projects. Or it could mean that she's not recommending me to the producers because she thinks I'm not right for this part, but she thinks I'm good enough that I might be right for other parts. Or it could mean she didn't like my audition at all but was just being nice.

On balance, though, I think I have reason to be optimistic. I'd first met this casting director at a workshop last Thursday, which means she actually saw me act at the workshop; the fact that she called me in for the audition at all, therefore, means that at least she liked my acting there. Also, when she called me Sunday night to tell me about the audition, she also said that she'd told a friend of hers who was a manager about me, and that she--the manager--would be calling me soon to meet with me about possible representation. And today, after the audition, she asked me if I was meeting with the manager, and when I said that the manager hadn't called me yet, she said, "She will." So... yeah, the casting director seems to like me.

Anyway, I guess I should know one way or the other within the next few days; if I'm going to be called in for an audition for the producers, it ought to happen relatively soon. We'll see...

Well, I probably ought to end this entry here and go to work. (Yes, I took the morning off from work for the audition. I don't like taking time off work, but in this case I think it was warranted--if I get this part, and if the series gets picked up, then that would be a very big deal. A quit-your-day-job type of big deal. Granted, those may be some pretty big "if"s, but even for the possibility of its happening I figured it was worth taking the morning off.)

Further updates as events warrant.
Monday, February 2nd, 2009
9:37 pm
Alligator Point
I have an audition tomorrow morning for a role in a TV pilot. A role that, if the pilot gets picked up, will be one of the series regulars.


Okay, I'm still kind of excited and nervous about this. (Okay, not so much "kind of".) Sure, I've been in some independent movies and local commercials, but... yeah.

The pilot has already been shot once before, actually, a few years ago. But then due to a change in management, or something, nothing ever happened with it. Now it's been picked up by a different network. But most if not all of the roles are being recast because the original actors are no longer available. The main character, for example, was originally played by Nathan Fillion. Who, well, has since become somewhat better known than he was then. The part I'm auditioning for was originally played by Jim Rash, whom I hadn't heard of, but who according to the IMDb has... not really done anything all that notable since. Hm. I mean, not trying to minimize his accomplishments; certainly he's been working regularly and has had recurring roles in several series, and he's currently a member of the Groundlings, but he doesn't seem to have nearly Nathan Fillion's level of success. So I guess I'm not entirely sure why that part's being recast, but I won't complain.

So. I've got an audition tomorrow morning for a TV pilot. Yeah. Um...

Okay, I ought to be working on polishing my Southern accent now...
Sunday, February 1st, 2009
12:49 pm
Vote For Me (Or Don't)
Okay, so, it's been a month and a half since my last entry. Yeah, I'm seriously getting back into posting regular, aren't I?

I've been very busy. There are, in fact, lots of things I want to post about. Unfortunately, I'm in a hurry right now and don't have much time, so I'll just post about the thing that's the most time-sensitive.

Paizo Publishing is running a contest called "RPG Superstar", about writing role-playing-game material. I entered kind of on a whim, and somehow ended up making it to the second round.

The winners of the second round are decided by voting from the general public (or at least, that subset of the general public that's registered on the Paizo forums, and knows about the contest, and cares enough to vote). So... you can vote for me, if you want. (I'm listed under my real name, Jeffrey Scott Nuttall. You'd have to register on the site to vote, but registration is free.) Unless you think my entry is stupid. Which it probably is, because I've been really busy and it was badly rushed. But if you want to vote for me anyway, I guess that's okay.

I really will try to update my LiveJournal more often.
Wednesday, December 17th, 2008
2:17 pm
And That's The News(!?)
From a BBC News article:
Eleven extras have been injured after falling off a truck on the German set of Tom Cruise's latest movie, Valkyrie.

One man was seriously injured in the accident, which happened when the side of the vehicle burst open as it drove around a corner, Berlin police said.

The other 10 were treated in hospital but later released. Police said there were "no findings to suggest anyone famous was involved".
Let's repeat that last sentence:
Police said there were "no findings to suggest anyone famous was involved".
Is it just me, or does that sound like something that belongs more in a parody than in a real news article? I mean, is that really the impression the police want to give? That the important question is whether or not anyone famous was involved?...

Okay then.
Monday, December 15th, 2008
4:48 pm
Who knew?
My various projects often involve some rather esoteric research.

Latest subject I had to research: Does MIT have cheerleaders?

The answer, as it turns out, is yes.
Sunday, December 14th, 2008
6:53 pm
The Most Stressful Time of the Year
"Merry Christmas" is an oxymoron.
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