Trish and Harold's Weblog

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

Friday, October 03, 2008

Notes From The Road (Finally) AND From Home

Note: Ok, so I suck even more than you thought I did... (and yes, Mark Roush, I'm talking to you specifically).

I actually wrote this post on Tuesday, waiting to get on a plane to go to my next OHSU site visit in Hawaii. It seems, though, that it never posted - so, when I got on this morning to stick a new post up, I was surprised to see this big, long post wasnt at the top of the blog. Grrrrr... I can only assume that I lost my wifi connection at PDX when I was telling it to post. So... here's the post you SHOULD have seen on Tuesday, with some updates (hey, it saves me having to write a whole new post, right?

Howdy there folks.

Well, so much for my grand plan to post a big ol' mega update LAST weekend... between playing catch-up from all my time out of town, helping Trish (where I could) with some home-improvement projects, and a few other commitments I'll talk about here in a little bit, I haven't really had that much time in front of the keyboard.

Now, here I am getting ready to take the next leg of my "National Tour" (this time I'm headed to Hawaii... yeah, I know, my life is tough, huh?), and as I sit here in the waiting area I'm realizing that I've been woefully inadequate at keeping you all up-to-date. Thankfully, one of the things that makes Portland's airport the #1 airport in the country is its free wireless internet access; you can log on from anwhere in the concourse. So, as I wait to board the plane for my nearly-six-hour-flight to Honolulu, let me bring you up to speed with what's been going on:

>First off, lets talk about The Outbreak... By anyone's estimation, this little internet choose-your-own-adventure film is a hit! After a few technical difficulties on launch day (the server got overwhelmed by the press of people visiting to watch and interact with the movie), Outbreak is drawing consistantly huge crowds and great reviews. Lynn Lund, the producer, had this to say last week:

We've been checking the site's stats and they've been doing extremely well, with most of the exposure being word of mouth and viral. There's been lots of discussion on the horror fansites, slowly into mainstream and even international audiences. Each day, we watch the stats as the site visitors bar graph climbs higher and higher. We had 20k unique visitors come to the site combined up to yesterday (unique means each individual computer counts only once, it doesn't include it if someone goes more than once to the site). Today, our stats showed that we had over 23k unique visitors today alone. Those are really impressive numbers seeing that the average user is staying almost 10 mins each time they visit, which is amazing since the web audience is known to have a very short attention span. We're also seeing that most users are coming back to the site and trying a bunch of different options to reach the end which shows that people are really getting sucked into the experience. Very cool.

If you haven't checked the movie out yet, be sure to pop by and take a look. You can also see some of the online reviews that we've gotten at The Outbreak's MySpace Page.

Update: Since writing this, The Outbreak has also won the FWA Site Of The Day Award. This is a pretty prestegious award in web design circles... essentially, only the finest, most cutting-edge sites get listed on this page. Director Chris Lund is jumping up and down about the honor!

>>This week's other big news...

About a month ago a local producer sent a message through PDXBackstage looking for actors of Native American heritage. Now, I'm about as much of an Indian as Todd Palin is an Eskimo (we're both 1/8, though he can probably prove it, unlike me...), but I still sent my particulars in to her. It was kind of a moot point, though, as they were shooting the video while I was going to be out of town in Pensylvania.

This week I got a surprise call from the director, Erin Van Dyke. The project, was in need of a voiceover artist, and she liked what she heard in the voice section of So, we made arrangements to get together over the weekend for the recording.

The project is actually a board game developed by the US Department of Transportation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The idea behind the Reservation Road Planner Game is to facilitate communication between tribal road planners, council members, and other offices involved in transportation planning on reservations. My job is to be the voice of the instruction DVD for the game (produced by Conquent, a local interactive development firm).

So, unless you're a tribal road planner, you'll probably never see the DVD or hear my voiceover... that is, until I get my copy and put a sample up on the Voice section of

Update: The weekend recording session went fairly well, but there were some issues with the microphone and ambient noise at Conquent's offices... so, I received an email from Erin while in Hawaii that we're going to re-record the voiceover this weekend.

>> I filmed my scenes in The Bicyclists this week, as well. The shoot ended up being a blast... the always professional and fun to be around Mercedes Rose played my long-suffering wife as I stormed around the set and generally made a butt-head of myself. Of course, we really aren't the focus of the scenes we're in - we play the parents of two young kids in the film who have a special relationship with the main characters. I can't really say much more than that, other than that Carl and Sharon Jameson, the director and producer of the film (and the original Byclist web series) have a firm idea of what they want, and the footage that Carl shot looks GREAT! I'm looking forward to seeing the film... at this point they're hoping to have it out of post-production by February of next year. I'll keep you posted on its progress.

>> Speaking of post-production progress... Crackin' The Code, a film I wrapped last month, is still in the early stages of post-production... but producer/ director Steve Coker has decided to follow in the footsteps of George Lucas. No, he's not going to replace me with a digital rastafarian amphibian... he's launching the Crackin' The Code Merchandising Arm of Hunters Moon Producions almost immediately!

Check his blog post here at the Crackin' The Code Blog, or go straight to the online shop. The majority of the merchandise is based on Steve's designs for bowling shirts and labels used in the film (I'm particularly fond of the P.M.C. Lager shirts, having lifted a few of those bottles to my lips during shooting). Stop by and pick up a t-shirt or cap to wear to the premier... whenever that's scheduled for.

UPDATE: No, not really... it's just been bugging me that I left some empty space here, and this is a good excuse to fill it.

>> Ok, so on to the travel stuff... I've essentially been out of town every week over the past month, with the exception of last week - and as I mentioned, most of that was spent catching up for the time I was out of town.

Anyway... all the places I've visited on my "National Tour" have treated me quite well. We started the sessions close to home, up in Everett Washington. The following week I headed to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.

Pittsburgh was, honestly, nicer than I expected. I think that people here on the West coast have an image of Pitsburgh as a dirty, run-down steel town. The area of town I stayed in, however (the University district) was clean and bustling with a diverse group of people, even near the drug treatment center I was workin at. The folks at OHSU put me up in a very nice hotel (the Wyndham Pittsburgh University Place) which had a certain back-East charm; with paintings on the wall, a billiard room, lounge, and very comfortable furnishings.

After the Pittsburgh sessions I flew to Dallas, TX. Dallas is, of course, not the prettiest part of Texas - low, urban, and sun-scorched. The people there had an odd mix of western politeness and irritation whenever I talked to them - though that might have been because Hurricane Ike was expected to hammer the South Texas coast that weekend (in fact, our session was inturupted by a tornado drill at the recovery center). The recovery center itself was an experience - it's actually an in-patient women's treatment center, so I was literally the "odd man out" in that environment. All in all, though, the sessions went fairly well.

The photo to the left sort of ecapsulates my experiences in Dallas... I ate my last dinner at Dickie's Barbeque Pit, a traditional Texas barbeque place in an office park near the Texas Instruments campus. Before dinner I used the bathroom and came face-to-face with... this. Only in Texas would a painting of John Wayne be across from the urinals, so the men in the room could see if they measured up to "The Duke."

The next week I went to Jacksonville, FL. Jacksonville is a large city at the Northeastern tip of Florida; a Navy town, with something like three separate installations. Not a lot of Obama stickers on the SUV's driving down those highways... for all that, though, Jacksonville feels like a fairly progressive city for Florida. There's a lot of public art, and the city fairly hums with activity. The treatment center I visited (Gateway Community Services) is actually a converted Holiday Inn, so they have several rooms with a central courtyard... this made for a really peaceful environment. My partner on the trip, Node Coordinator Lynn Kunkel, did come out with me to the beach on our first night there, though, so it wasn't all work and no play.
After a week off, it was time to head to Oahu for my sessions at Hina Mauka, their local recovery center. Thankfully, I was able to talk ORNode into giving me an extra day on Oahu, so I didn't have to fly in, do my gig, and fly out the way I had in other locations. Once I'd touched down in Honolulu and picked up my rental car (I got upgraded from a Chevy Aveo to a Mustang Convertable because there was a problem with the tire pressure light on the car they'd reserved for me... it was hard, but I accepted the offer...) I headed to my hotel: the J.W. Mariott at the Ihilani Resort. The resrort was incredible... though, to be honest, I felt a little out of my element - sort of like Jethro wandering around Beverly Hills. I'm certainly grateful to OHSU and OrNode for putting me up there, but the whole experience was a bit surreal.
Since I had some time before I had to go to work, I headed out on the road and explored Oahu. The first night there I ate some authentic local food at a wonderful little hole-in-the-wall restaurant called the Highway Inn - the food was amazing, and even though I was the only non-local in the place I was treated exceedingly well by the owner and the folks working there. If you're ever on Oahu, make this place a must-see for diner or lunch!
Like a bone-head, I left my camera at home. Luckily, near the Hawaii Inn was Don Quijote - A Japanese Grocery/ K-Mart/ Everything store that was very popular with the locals. I was able to pick up a comparatively inexpensive Pentax camera so I could take some shots of the Island while I was there... I've posted a bunch of them on our Photobucket Site - stop on by and take a look when you get a chance.
Other high-points of my trip to Oahu were visiting The USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, and finding a couple of locations used on the TV Series "Lost" - including the main "Survivors Camp" set.
Well... that's all I have time for at the moment... I need to take off and meet a director to talk about a new project (more on that later, if we decide to work together). Sorry again for taking so long to get this posted... and for the length :) Hope you're all doin well!