Trish and Harold's Weblog

News, information, and random thoughts from the busy lives of Trish Egan and Harold Phillips.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Mr. Buddy's Final Escape

Among our friends and family, our beagle Buddy is something of a legend. Many stories get shared about our boy... how he escaped our fence on the third day we lived with him and ended up (two weeks later) being found in a pound in Vancouver, WA; how he managed to get an entire half-rack of ribs through our dog-door and consume them in the space of three minutes; how he led me on a merry chase across a golf course (while I was still in my robe and slippers); how he forced us to tile part of our family room and replace our pantry door... the list goes on and on.

Well, legends never fade but their earthly inspirations must eventually pass on. At about 3:30 this afternoon we were forced to put our dear, beloved boy to sleep. The past couple months have been pretty hard on him... his years of using his nose as shovel to move rocks and furniture out of the way had given him a bad vertebrae in his neck, and we knew that was going to cause some degeneration as he aged. It all seemed to snowball recently, though. In the end, he was in a lot of pain, and as hard as it was for us, we took the steps necessary to end it.

So, you may notice the "Buddy counter" on the right-hand side of the blog has changed... he may be gone from this earth, but he'll never be forgotten.

Hug your loved ones tight this new year's eve.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

New Media, Big Media, Impeachment... and the Commercial Game

Hey folks! Today's post has a little bit of reality and a lot of theatrical news... sorry, but sometimes reality has to intrude on Trish and my fantasy life!

>> First off, Episode 3 of Lady Wasteland is up at This episode focuses mostly on one of the other main charcters, Yuri... but I do appear briefly (all our stories are connected, remember!). One note - if your monitor is set to a resolution below 1280x1024, you might have trouble viewing this episode due to the site's layout. I know that the web team is working on that... in the mean time, you can see Episode Three at the official Lady Wasteland MySpace Page, or you can just look here:

>> 2nd, Fox News is about to own your local newspaper. Well, they already might... but seriously, one of the big issues we face here in the US is the problem of Media Ownership. It's been said that six companies own most of the media in the United States... and on Monday, FCC chairman Kevin Martin is ready to hand these companies even more control of what we see and hear when he relaxes ownership restrictions (even in the face of the huge opposition he met in Seattle when he had the FCC's ONE public hearing on the subject). There's currently a bill before the United States Senate to halt this rule change - your Senators need to hear from you if you want them to support this bill!

>> 3rd, Isn't It About Time We Had Hearings About Cheney's Offenses? You may remember a month or so back when Kucinich introduced articles of impeachment against Dick Cheney in the House of Representatives, and they very nearly got debated on the floor. The articles got kicked back to the Judiciary committee, where they've sat unattended ever since.

Three members of the House Judiciary Committee yesterday wrote an op-ed piece about their belief that the American Public wants them to hold hearings on whether there have been impeachable offenses committed by Vice President Dick Cheney. The Washington Post declined to publish the piece, and it seems to have fallen way below the story about sports steroid use in the importance queue of the national media (apparently, the media thinks that baseball players on steroids are much more important that possibly illegal actions by the Vice President. Remember item #2? Hmmmmm).

If you support such a course of action, one of those House members, Robert Wexler, has created a web site: His plan: to use the number of people who go to the site and sign supporting the hearings as a way to try and get those hearings started.

If you belive, like I do, that we need to do something about this corrupt administration and make clear to future generations that what they've done is NOT acceptable, visit the site and let Rep. Wexler know.

>>4th, Enough About All This Political Stuff. What Happened With The Commercial? The Ron Tonkin shoot went great. I met up with the creative director and producer of Livengood Nowack, Ron Tonkin's ad agency, and their Director of Photography Dave Semeoane at around 8 (there was a bit of fog that morning that made trafic an issue). We were shooting at a private home in Beaverton. The home owner had kindly cleaned up the back yard we were shooting in... which actually became something of an issue since I was supposed to be raking leaves in the spot. Not to worry, though. Our producer, Tad, grabbed some of the leaves that had collected under the trees in the back yard and dressed the set.
It was a pretty cold morning (in the low 30's), which created some problems as they shot my scenes in the spot; my breath kept steaming when I smelled the great Ron Tonkin year-end deals in the air. Dave came up with a great solution - they got me a glass of ice water and had me chew ice cubes until my throat's temperature started to match the temperature of the air around me. Presto chango - no more steam.
We basically shot four angles. The sum total of my job was to sniff the air. I think it'll be a pretty cute spot. We'll see what people think when it starts to air after Christmas. I'm hoping to pick up a copy next week once the commercial has been through post; I'll add it to the video section of once the spot starts to air.
>> 5th, What Ever Happened to Trish's Regence Commercial? Did She Ever Get Paid?
Well... yes and no. The check is in the mail... but I'll let Trish tell you about this one:

Hi, all. I wanted to send a thank-you to all of you who responded to my call for information about when the Regence commercial was airing. The situation has been resolved, and the check is in the mail!

Two quick things that might be worth thinking about for those of you who do commercial work.

One, if you do a commercial that's airing in your area, or where you have friends/family, it might be good to have them jot down when they see your smiling face on the screen. I'm told by some actor friends that they do this routinely, for just this sort of situation, and keep some kind of a log for all commercial work. I think I'll do something like that from now on. I also plan to drop a quick email to any friends that I see on TV commercial work. I've heard from several friends that they didn't know a commercial they did was airing again....and that they hadn't seen pay either. While it's true that, if you are a union member, they deal with this sort of thing, I'd imagine it's nearly impossible for them or anyone else to monitor all commercials airing everywhere...So a good thing to tell your friends and loved ones!

Second, it's a very small world. Word of my pay problem got to Regence through a pdxbackstage reader who works for them. I just wanted to let everyone know that Regence was fabulous through this whole situation. The problem was with a payroll service, not them, and though it wasn't their issue, they went to great lengths to make sure the problem was corrected. My experience with them was wonderful from the filming through the pay process. It just didn't occur to me that anyone would think the problem was with Regence per se. So, I'll think more carefully before sending out a message to the whole community that might affect anyone's perception of a company, etc.

So, thanks again for your responses, my wonderfully crazy and loving theatre community. I send to you all much love and wishes for a wonderful, warm and loving holiday season!

So things are resolved on that front... thanks to everyone who let Trish know when they saw her commercial.

>> 6th (and Finally), What's next? Things keep on trucking. It used to be that the end of the year was a slow period for commercial and film production here in Portland... but not so much any more. Aside from the Tonkin commercial I just shot, I've got a call-back for an Autodesk industrial Monday ("industrial" is a catch-all term for non-broadcast video, usually used for corporate training or education) which, if I get cast, will shoot on the 20th. We did our final Wild Bills murder mysteries on Thursday and Friday, so we're just about ready to take a holiday break.
And that's what's been happening in Trish and my lives... remember as you hustle around in the cold to take a moment during this holiday season and remember what you're celebrating. It's not about running back and forth after the "perfect gift;" it's about pausing to appreciate your loved ones, and looking back on the good things that have happened in the past year.
Stay warm out there...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

... And Sometimes It Pours (Part 2)!!!

Giggity Giggity Giggity2

Well, it's been a VERY interesting past couple days.

Sunday I got an email from my agent with a casting notice for a new Ron Tonkin commercial. The spot was set to shoot on Wednesday the 12th; no lines, pretty straightforward... they were looking for guys with big noses, which I certainly qualify for.

So, Monday I headed to Lana Veenker Casting for the audition. I had an hour or so before my audition time, so I went to one of my favorite internet cafe's - The Dragonfly Coffee House - pulled out my laptop, and checked my email. There was a message waiting from Stewart Boyles, a producer I'd done some short films with earlier this year. Stewart works at OPB, and he needed someone to do a voiceover job for a new educational series OPB is producing. The hitch was I had to get back to him that day. Luckily, I had Stewart's cell phone number programmed into my Treo (one of the best investments I ever made - a phone book with over 1000 numbers in it can come in very handy!) so I gave him a ring and told him I was up for the gig. Moments like this make me VERY glad I check my email multiple times a day.

Once I had details worked out with Stewart, I went to Lana's for the Tonkin audition. When I filled out my casting sheet before going in, though, I saw that the shoot date was listed as Thursday the 13th. I had a Murder Mystery show for Wild Bills scheduled that day, so I was pretty sure I wasn't going to get cast - a conflict in the middle of the shoot day would definitely lower my standing against the competition. I felt like the audition went really well, but I pretty much wrote off the possibility of booking the job.

That evening I was at rehearsal for another Wild Bills show (this one is on Friday) when my cell phone rang. It was Trish, telling me that Lori Lewis at Lana Veenker's had called to ask if there was any way I could clear my schedule on Thursday - it seemed that the producer and director really liked me for the Tonkin spot, and there was a good chance I'd be cast if I could make myself available.

It was pretty tough for me to bring the situation up with Emily, the director of the Wild Bills show. I'd committed to this show a month ago, and it was a daytime show, which meant that a lot of the other Wild Bills actors might not be available. She totally understood, however, and pulled out her cast list to see if we could find someone to fill in for me. I left a message for another actor and headed home, filling Lori in from the car.

The next morning I still hadn't heard from Brian Young, the actor I'd called to ask if he could substitute for me. I gave him another call and got him in person this time; apparently he hadn't gotten my message the previous night. He told me he should be able to fill in, and would let me know at around 4 when the boss at his day-job returned to the office.

I was checking my voicemail and email constantly during breaks in my voiceover session. The session itself went pretty well, but the text was hard to wrap my mouth around; the series OPB is developing, called "Across the Sciences," is focused on physics. I had to use some very cumbersome scientific language (you try saying "explain the inelestic collision") and make it sound friendly and not "stilted." After a couple of hours in the booth Stewart seemed pretty happy with what we'd put on tape, though.

My voice may not make the final series; they're using Tuesday's session as a guide in the post-production process, to give them something to edit around. If they like what I did I may be brought back to re-record the final series... or they may get someone with a different voice (It's OPB, after all... they know a couple of people who use microphones for a living).

I called Brian back around 4:15, and he let me know that he could, indeed, fill in for me on Thursday. I called Lori right afterward, and she told me I was booked. We shoot Thursday morning at 8 am.

So... that's what's been going on for the past couple of days. It's a crazy, crazy life I lead...

Friday, December 07, 2007

Lady Wasteland Episode 2 is Up

Hey folks

I got a little surprise this morning... I knew that episode two of Lady Wasteland was due to be posted this morning (new episodes in the pilot run get posted every Friday morning for the next five weeks).

When I loaded the page, though, I was surprised to find Henry and Samantha's next episode, instead of the episode I expected to come next in the series. So, you've got another chance to see me in the post-apocolyptic wasteland... this time not tied up and being harrassed by Richard Topping and his minion (though Richard's running a little short on minions right now... he's gonna have to work on that...)

So pop on by and check out the new action-packed episode! You can also find the second episode on the Lady Wasteland MySpace site. Be sure to contact the filmmakers and let them know what you think!

In other news, Trish and I have murder mystery shows this weekend; I'm doing a private show at a home in Portland's West Hills for Wild Bills tonight while Trish does a show on the Mt. Hood Rail Road, then tomorrow night we both have a Wild Bills show at the Portland Golf Club. Ah, a life in the theatre... it'll take you places! You'll just have to come in through the service entrance :)

Hope you're all doing well...


Monday, December 03, 2007

The Weather Outside Is Frightful!

Hey guys!

You might remember from my last post (if you've just checked my blog in the past couple of hours) that we're in the midst of a pretty major storm here in Portland.
I knew it had rained quite a bit over the past day, but check out this news coverage of SE 110th and Foster Rd, just a couple of miles down the road from where Trish and I live.
Photo Show from the same site.
Luckily I can work at home today...

Three Days Into The Wasteland (and the Holiday Season)

Hey folks

Just a quick Monday morning update to let you all know what's been going on...

>> Lady Wasteland's launch on Friday went great. Thanks so much to all of you who've let me know what you thought of the first episode. The servers crashed at one point on Friday from the press of people logging on to view Episode 1, and Mark has passed along, in his cryptic way, the news that traffic has exceeded his expectations and that the response has been really positive.

Some of you have expressed a little disappointment that I wasn't in more of the first episode... don't worry. My character Henry and his companion Samantha will be the focus of future episodes, and our story is going to interweave with Lady's and other characters you haven't met yet. As Mark likes to say, "Everything is connected... everything has meaning."

Keep spreading the word to folks who may not have heard about the series. New episodes in this pilot run will be released on Fridays throughout December and part of January, so make plans to pop by at the end of each week to get your fix.

>> Well, I guess I can't deny it any longer... the "holiday season" is definitely here. Kind of a mixed blessing... as I've said before, I'm a big fan of the "Holiday Season." I just don't necessarily LOVE CHRISTMASTM (!!!!!!), with all its commercially-enforced overwhelming guilt-trip inducing stress and hustle and bustle. In fact, I got a peek at the this year's model of desperate consumerism on Thanksgiving evening when I tuned in the local news and saw that the lead story on every channel wasn't the state of the world, Iraq, the upcoming presidential election... no, every channel's lead story was about people camping out in front of stores for "Black Friday" like they were hoping for Spice Girls tickets (yeah, I know... Spice Girls tickets? Well, hey, different strokes and all...)

But, that being said, the nice parts of the holidays have blown in like a winter storm. Trish and I went to Lana Veenker Casting's annual holiday party last Wednesday at RonTom's and we've got another couple of invites for holiday fete's.

It's also Murder Mystery season, which is a special reason to cheer. I think I've written about this before, but it never quite feels like the holidays unless I do some sort of performance for people. My little way to kick into the holiday spirit "pot," I guess... as nice as it is to exchange gifts with family and friends, it feels especially nice to bring a little laughter and joy to people I don't even know during this time of year. That's really, to me, the true meaning of the season; as much as we want to let our friends and loved ones know how much we appreciate them, it's the one time of year when the "Family of Man" (sorry Womynists) comes together to lift each other up and share in our communal humanity. It doesn't feel like I do much to help this cause along... but performing for a group of some sort over the holiday season at least makes me feel like I'm contributing something.

>> Oh yeah, and it's raining and gusting so hard in Oregon right now that people are considering investing in do-it-yourself Arc kits. Well, it's not all that bad; I mean, it is Oregon. We've gotten used to a little rain. This storm, though, has been pretty strong, and it's affecting the whole Pacific Northwest. A good excuse to stay indoors as far as I can see.

So, that's pretty much what's going on at this point... stay inside and stay warm. And remember, if you rush out to brave the malls, the down-town streets or the soon-to-be-"canned-music-" filled halls of Nordstroms, that this season is about more than getting the best deal on the latest toy. It's about loving those around you and bringing people together.