Blighty comes to Tinseltown

Friday, May 18, 2012


Wow!! I last posted in 2007?? Well, I'm back! What's been going on? Well...

Still in LA.

I had to take a sabbatical from the entertainment industry (due to lack of funds, natch) and have been travelling around practicing hypnotherapy. Yes, seriously. As far South as El Centro, CA, as far north as Juneau, AK, West to Hawaii, HA and East to Boston, MA. So, yes, there's been quite a bit of travel. I've flown probably 200 times and driven 10s of thousands of miles. Lost more sleep and slept in more hotel beds than I care to think about. It's been a blast but... I'm done with that.
I went Vegan in 2010 and I feel amazing!

I'm week 3 into P90X and my body is transforming - I can't believe it!

I'm going back into the industry and I'm very excited about it.

I have a new agent and high hopes for the future even though the industry is insane and there's more people out of work than ever before! SAG and AFTRA have now merged and I'm sincerely hoping it's going to lead to more pro jobs and fewer non-union projects - we can but hope.

Anyway, here we go, back on the rollercoaster. Wish me luck....

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Since last post...
Met with my manager on Friday to plan our attack on the next three months and basically my focus is to start working with a new agent, one of the three she has calls into or the one I'm scoping. Also, I will be putting up new online content (including the comedy skits I'm writing) to give her more material to send interested parties to.
Saturday and Sunday, I was standing in on the set of Rush Hour 3 in downtown LA. Getting up at 4am on weekends is never my favourite but the money's good and the set was extremely friendly. Met some very interesting peeps and may well kick off a project or two with them - you never know what's going to take off so your focus has to be, well, er, focused in several directions but never just for the sake of starting a ziliion things which there's no hope of finishing.
Monday was class and K and I rehearsed section 3 of PM. Also looking into another scene for Thursday, probably with M.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Very impressive and a little spooky...

Dear Hallmark... and indeed the rest of the US Population, Kwanzaa is a made-up holiday, it's false, a joke, a falicy, a sad state of affairs...

December 23, 2005

On the First Day of Kwanzaa, My True Love Tortured Me ... (Reprise)
By Gail Heriot

This post has become a holiday tradition at the Right Coast:

If you visit a card shop at your local shopping mall these days, chances are you will see Kwanzaa cards. It's big business. (Well, maybe it's just medium-sized business, but it is evidently lucrative enough for card companies to bother with.) And if you go to swanky private schools like the one attended by the children of my fellow Right Coaster Chris Wonnell, you may well receive instruction on this traditional African-American holiday. Taking Kwanzaa seriously is all part of the spirit of multiculturalism.

Except, of course, Kwanzaa isn't traditional at all. It was invented in the late 1960s by convicted felon Ron Everett, leader of a so-called black nationalist group called United Slaves. I use the word "so-called" because United Slaves' veneer of black nationalism was very thin; most of its members had been members of a South Central Los Angeles street gang called the Gladiators, just as the Southern California chapter of the Black Panthers had been members of the Slauson gang.

In the early 1960s, these gangs were mostly concerned with petty and not-so-petty crime in the Los Angeles area, including the ever-popular practice of hitting up local merchants for protection money. By the late 1960s, however, they discovered that if they cloaked their activities in rhetoric of black nationalism, they could hit up not just the local pizza parlor, but great institutions of higher learning as well, most notably UCLA. Everett re-named himself Maulana Ron Karenga ("Maulana" we are told is Swahili for "master teacher"), donned an African dashiki, and invented Kwanzaa. And the radical chic folks at UCLA went into paroxysms of appreciation.

In theory, Kwanzaa is a Pan-African harvest holiday, except that it is not set at harvest time. And in theory, it celebrates the ties of African Americans to African culture, except that it purports to celebrate those ties using the East African language of Swahili when nearly all African Americans are descended from West African peoples.

But those are just details. Many of the best-loved holidays in the Christian calendar have traditions connected to them that don't quite fit if you examine them too closely. But those rough edges have now been smoothed over by the long passage of time. No one really cares if the Christmas tree was once used to celebrate pagan holidays; many generations of credible Christians have earned the right to claim it as their own.

Kwanzaa is different. It has connections to still-living violent criminals. It is an insult to the African American community, very few of whom celebrate Kwanzaa and even fewer of whom would celebrate it if they knew the full story of its recent history, to suggest that it is an "African American holiday."

UCLA soon found that a bunch of street thugs calling themselves United Slaves can dress themselves up in colorful clothing, learn a few words of Swahili but they will still be ... well ... street thugs. The beginning of the end for United Slaves as an organization came with a gun battle fought on the UCLA campus against the Black Panthers over which group would control the new Afro-American Studies Center (and its generous budget). In the end, two Black Panther leaders--Alprentice "Bunchy" Carter and John Jerome Huggins--were dead. Two members of United Slaves were convicted of their murder. (Under UCLA's High-Potential Program, which admitted politically-active minority students during the late 1960s, often regardless of their academic credentials or even whether they had graduated from high school, many members of the Black Panthers and United Slaves were registered as students at UCLA.)

No, Maulana Ron Karenga was not among them. But not long after the incident, Karenga proved himself to be every bit as brutal as his followers when he was charged and convicted of two counts of felonious assault and one count of false imprisonment.

The details of the crime as reported in the Los Angeles Times (and quoted last year by Paul Mulshine in an article for FrontPage magazine) are horrific. The paranoid Karenga began to suspect that the members of his organization were trying to poison him by placing "crystals" in his food and around the house. According to the Los Angeles Times:

"Deborah Jones, who once was given the Swahili title of an African queen, said she and Gail Davis were whipped with an electrical cord and beaten with a karate baton after being ordered to remove their clothes. She testified that a hot soldering iron was placed in Miss Davis' mouth and placed against Miss Davis' face and that one of her own big toes was tightened in a vise. Karenga, head of US, also put detergent and running hoses in their mouths, she said."

The Los Angeles Times went on the state that "Karenga allegedly told the women that 'Vietnamese torture is nothing compared to what I know.' "

Karenga spent time in prison for the act. But if you are worried are what has become of him, you needn't be. He served only a few years. When he got out, he somehow convinced Cal State Long Beach to make him head of the African Studies Department. Happy Kwanzaa.

Went to a SAG seminar entitled, "Prep for Pilot Season". It was a panel discussion comprising a Casting Director (CD), an agent, a manager, an actor (who has been through the pilot season a million times as well as the pilot audition process and has booked at least a half dozen) and a producer.
It was a very interesting evening with so much useful information, it's difficult to know where to begin. Well, the main thing to say is that Pilot Season is as tough, if not more so, on these guys than the thesps who are so convinced that they are hard-done and being passed over because life is so unfair (boo hoo, that's life as an actor - if you can't get up off your arse as many times as you are pushed over by disappointment and rejection then go home to Kansas!). The CD said that they have to cast within days rather than the many weeks they used to have. The agent said that sometimes they have to mobilise everything on a Sunday evening to have people (the right people) in the office for the suits the next morning at 9am. He also mentioned that the submissions to his office climb to over one and a half thousand each week during pilot season. The manager said his level of activity was as per the agent. The producer said that it's as insane as life gets, it's unfair, the vision they had early on is never what the suits want. The bottom line is that everyone is run ragged during PS. They also said it ran for most of the year as opposed to the traditional 1st quarter. Loads more snippets of note which I'll write over the next couple of entries.
Oh, by the way, ran into the agent who I've been tracking over the last eight months. Long story short... a series of banal events led me to be face-to-face with the guy. We shook hands, he remembered me from our discussion mid-last year, I told him I'd be ready for him to see me in a few months when our scene is ready for a scene night. He said he would definitely come (excellent!). I'm also going to be volunteering to usher/check-in at future events. Much talk about the standard of reels (no picture montages, please - just your best work). Max length 4 mins (CD). Make sure your breakdown info is accurate (Mgr). Intelligently submit - only what you're absolutely sure you're right for (agent).
A great night with great people and fantastic info. A spontaneous meeting with an agent I'm interested in and a possible behind the scenes opportunity at union events. A great night.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Well, had a special day today. My friends know what it is, so, 'nuff said.
First class after the hols and worked on the third section of The Pillowman. Went very well and, just like, everyone else, I outlined my goals for the year. The first thing I want to get done is to finish the scene and perform it at one of the regular scene nights held at PHW. My scene partner and I are going to work on a Northern English dialect to take ourselves even further away from 'ourselves' and to stretch ourselves a little more. Don't get me wrong, the idea isn't to make it difficult and to put ourselves through hell so for the sake of it but we both agree that a dialect is necessary for the play's setting.
Park & Dins.

Headed over to our friends in Pasadena and a wonderful time there too! Watched An Inconvenient Truth when we got home and scared the living daylights out of ourselves. For those of you who haven't seen it, why not! WATCH IT. Here are a few facts (not guesses, facts).
And here's what you can do, right now.
It's the planet, our planet... our only planet.

Headed over to our friends in WeHo (a coupla' streets away!) and had a fantastic afternoon/evening.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The World needs real heroes like Julio Gonzalez, Pedro Nevarez and Wesley Autrey.

Two New York men are being hailed as heroes after catching a toddler as he fell four storeys from a fire escape.

Julio Gonzalez and Pedro Nevarez saw three-year-old Timothy Addo dangling from a railing and rushed to position themselves underneath him.

As the boy lost his grip, he hit a tree branch, bounced off the chest of one of the men and landed in the other's arms.

'Hero of Harlem'

Police said Timothy crawled out of a fifth-floor window in the Bronx while his babysitter was briefly distracted. He then fell through a gap to the fire escape below, 40ft (12.2m) above the street.

I'm not a hero - I just did what any other father would do
Pedro Nevarez, 40

"He was hanging on for dear life. We ran over and stood underneath so we could catch him," Julio Gonzalez, 43, told the New York Post.

The toddler hit Mr Nevarez in the chest so hard he knocked him over. But after the incident, the 40-year-old insisted the pair had just done the obvious thing.

"I'm not a hero. I just did what any other father would do. When you're a father, you would do this whether it's your child or not," Mr Nevarez said.

Police said they had spoken to the babysitter and that an investigation was under way.


NY toasts Subway Superman after death-defying rescue

WESLEY Autrey is a hero. For once the word cheapened by overuse is the only one that is appropriate.

Mr Autrey was standing on the platform of a New York subway station with his two daughters when he noticed a young man having a fit. He put a pen in the man's mouth to keep him from swallowing his tongue.

The 19-year-old film student, Cameron Hollopeter, recovered enough to get to his feet but then staggered and fell backwards off the platform on to the tracks.

Not only was a train approaching, but the subway system has a third rail that carries 600 volts of electricity.

"I had a split-second decision to make," Mr Autrey recalled.

"Do I let the train run him over and hear my daughters screaming and see the blood? Or do I jump in?"

He jumped, holding Mr Hollopeter down between the tracks as the screeching train ran over the top of them. Several carriages rolled over the men before the driver could bring the train to a stop.

"Am I dead?" Mr Hollopeter asked. Mr Autrey replied: "No, we're under the train."

When the 50-year-old construction worker yelled to the people on the platform that they were OK, he heard applause.

The two men had to remain on the tracks for 20 minutes until the power was turned off.

When he spoke to the media later, Mr Autrey still had dirt on his beanie.

And like a true hero he continued on his way. He went to work, converting classrooms into a library at public school 380 — otherwise known as John Wayne Elementary School.

Not surprisingly, he is the toast of New York. The New York Post called him the Subway Superman.

Michael Daly, a columnist for the Daily News, suggested they should rename the John Wayne school "after a real hero".

Mr Autrey is being feted by talk shows and showered with praise.

His rewards include a trip to Disney World and a year's free subway travel.

He has been honoured by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The New York Film Academy, where Mr Hollopeter is a student, has given him $US5000 ($A6340) plus $US5000 scholarships for his daughters, Shuqui, 6, and Syshe, 4. Donald Trump has given Mr Autrey a cheque for $US10,000.

Mr Bloomberg presented him with the city's highest award for civic achievement, calling him "a great man — a man who makes us all proud to be New Yorkers".

Past recipients of the Bronze Medallion have included World War II general Douglas MacArthur, Martin Luther King and Muhammad Ali.

Before Mr Autrey, the last person honoured was Felix Vasquez, who caught a baby thrown from a burning building in 2005.

Need inspiration for the New Year, all you lovely thesps out there? Well, here she is. I'm sure you know her. It's Marlee Matlin. She won an Oscar at the age of 21. Her IMDB credits are pretty bloody impressive, she's worked so many different and diverse projects... and she's deaf. Seriously, if this incredible lady can succeed without ever complaining about her condition, you can too. Kudos, Ms Matlin.

Friday, January 05, 2007

This HAS to be some of the funniest stuff in the history of UK TV (actually, any TV anywhere), a compilation from the Chris Morris comedy show, 'The Day Today', which not only made me regularly wet my pants laughing, it also launched Steve Cooghan on his road to stardom (I think this early stuff was his best, though!) and features the very gifted Patrick Marber (you know, the writer of 'Closer' and a bunch of other stuff) as the dimwitted reporter Peter O'HanraHanrahan. Enjoy.

More reading.
Writing down my goals and lists for the New Year... Such a lot to achieve and I have to make it happen. If you're going to make it out here, you have to be strong. Keep getting up and keep chasing. If you stop, you will fail. You will fall and people will say, "he just didn't have it".
Started watching 'Match Point' and within 15 minutes I was so appalled by JRM's acting, I had to eject the DVD. My god, it was terrible. I cannot believe for one second that it was JRM's fault - the amount of detachment for his characters and the reality of his dialogue, i.e. what he was saying and to who, has to reflect very badly on Woody Allen. Talk about 'phoning it in! In which reality did the director think that his actors were in the least bit convincing. And when SJ entered the fray in the scene with the table tennis table, I was cringing with embarrassment at how badly she was miscast in the role. Good God, what a mess. Maybe the film got better as it went on but I couldn't bear to watch any more. Did you see the reviews over at 92 %!!! Ninety-two per cent!! For that pile of pooh?
Respect for the actors but shame on the director.
So, luckily, we had another disc from bb online... a very light comedy called 'Just Friends'. Thank goodness we watched that instead. Yes, light and fluffy (certainly not cerebral, that's for sure), but a funny little story, superbly acted, good structure, funny lines and a bunch of comedy. Nice job.
No, I'm not a meat-head preferring 'Just Friends' over 'Match Point', it was just a better all 'round film.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Reading Al Pacino's new book.