Trish and Harold's Weblog

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

Friday, April 28, 2006


Please don't sue me Mr. Kurtz. I only cropped-and-posted one of your strips with love... and you can get me to take it down with a friendly email. No need to get that crack team of lawyers on the job.

So, why did I veer down this deep, dark alley of copyright infringement and risk the ire of one of the web's most venerable web comic artists (Ooo... I called him venerable. That kinda means old, right? He's really gonna be pissed now)? It was to commemorate the announcement that China is releasing a Panda into the wild. That may not seem like such a big deal, but consider: there are only around 1,600 wild Pandas in the world. Period. You could fit the entire world population of pandas (including the 180 in captivity) inside an average-sized sports stadium. Xiang Xiang, the star of today's story, was raised in captivity and trained to live in the wild. If this project succeeds, China may very well be able to re-populate the Panda population... and there will be even more calous maulings of poor Brent Sienna. Pity poor Brent, but raise a toast to panda repopulation. Huzzah!

In personal news, Trish and I both have film auditions tomorrow morning, then we're hitting the road to Seattle to see our friends Walter and Beth, and to see their show La Bette at ArtsWest. It'll be great to see them, and I've heard through the grape vine that Walter considers this show to be one of the best he's ever directed.

Looking forward to it. Hope you're all doing well (especially you, Mr. Kurtz... I hope you live a very healthy and lawsuit-free life :) ).


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Technical Difficulties

Uh, ok... I have no idea why the post below is "blinking out" the way it is. Bizarro-land! If you drag your mouse over the text you'll see the gobble-de-gook I was writing (and, faithful readers, what else would you expect to see on this 'blog but gooble-de-gook?). I'll see if I can't clean it up somehow.

Aaaaaahhh... that's better. So, the "reading the news show" that I mentioned yesterday was, in actuality, a part of OPB's much-acclaimed Golden Hours programming for the visually impaired. It was actually a lot of fun - Duane Hanson produced the show, pulled the news stories we read and the selections from the Oregonian... and then we went for it.

The Wednesday show is broadcast on "SAP" (Second Audio Program) every Wednesday night from 6-8. I'm definitely planning on doing it again. Tune in if you get the chance, and let me know how it sounds.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A Couple of Things Before I Hit The Road

Another busy day today... just wanted to make a few notes before I hit the road and start visiting clients.

If you have a television that's capable of this, tune into Oregon Public Broadcasting and set your audio to the simulcast chanel. You'll hear me read the news, weather, and some opinion pieces in a show produced by local actor Duane Hanson. It's a service of OPB for visually impared people who can't read the newspaper, and it happens on the second audio chanel every Wednesday from 6 - 8.

I'm not sure how to explain the technical details more than I already have - if your TV remote has an "Audio" button that lets you switch your signal to a different audio chanel, check it out.

I'm auditioning for another independent film this weekend called Sum of the Parts. A lot of the film has been shot already, but they still need a couple of actors to finish the film. I don't know if I'm
what the director is looking for or not, but I'll give it a shot. To see a promotional clip from the film, click here.

We went out to dinner on Sunday with our good friends Karen and Riley Caton. The restaurant we ate at, Plainfields Mayur, is simply incredible! It's got some of the best Indian food in the city (in fact, they've been ranked in the top 30 restaurants in the country), and a wine cellar to die
for. It's not cheap (entrees range from $18 - $30), but if you're looking for an elegant night out with some fantastic food, I'd highly recommend this place. They take good care of you and the food is

The shadow of Joseph Goebbels is alive and well. We've all known for a while that the Bush administration has been engaging in propaganda - they were cited for it by the General Accounting
(that's illegal, in case your wondering). We've also known for a while that Fox News is essentially the media arm of the Republican Party. Why keep this cozy relationship "under wraps?" Why not just announce the marriage of the administration and its mouthpiece by making a Fox
News commentator and conservative radio show host the new Press Secretary
Why, it's a match made in heaven, I tell ya! I'm thinking they only made Tony Snow press secretary because Jeff Gannon couldn't find time in his busy escort schedule to take the job.

Sigh.. In the words of the great Rick Emerson, "don't let the bastards grind you down."


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Return to the Nuclear Age

Ok, for those of you who haven't heard, the US is planning on testing the largest conventional bomb in history on June 2 in Nevada. Code-named "Divine Strake" (uh huh... no fundamentalists in the White House these days, right? Right...), the bomb will use ammonium Nitrate explosives (sound familiar? It should... this is the same explosive mix that was used in Oklahoma City to blow up the federal building there), and will weigh 700 tons!!!! The military expects that people will be able to see the mushroom cloud from the explosion as far away as Las Vegas.

For those of you playing at home, 1 ton = 2000 pounds. That adds up to a 1.4 million pound bomb.

Now, why are we doing this? The stated aim of the test is to see if an explosion of that size would be sufficient to penetrate subterranean bunkers in which nuclear and biological stockpiles are stored... in countries like... say... Iran? There's just one problem: the bomb weighs 1.4 MILLION POUNDS! The biggest aircraft in the world can only carry 225 tons, so there's no way to deploy a weapon of this size.

Unless, of course, the military were to "do the math" and create the same blast with a smaller nuclear weapon. But wait, you say... if they're planning on using a nuclear weapon to penetrate these bunkers, why not just test a nuclear weapon? The answer is: they can't. Even though Bush withdrew the US from the Anti-Ballistic missile Treaty, we're still a party to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. We aren't allowed to test nuclear weapons. We can, however, test conventional weapons and then create nuclear weapons to produce similar results. Hence the "Divine Strake" test in June.

So... lets go over the details. Our President plans to go to war with Iran. I think we can all pretty much agree on that. All conspiracy theory aside, ever since last year's State of the Union speech he's been rattling his saber and making threats against the Iranians just like he did in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq. Ok, so he's insane enough to go to war with yet another Middle East country even though US forces are over-stretched in Afghanistan and Iraq, and with neither of those conflicts resolved or under control. Being as Iran actually has weapons of mass destruction (unlike, ya know, Iraq... oh, we're supposed to forget about that. Right...), he and his good buddy Rumsfeld plan on blowing up the bunkers that contain them. Great!

There's only one problem: chances are nuclear weapons won't do the job, and the cost to the entire Middle East could be disastrous. I realize that science isn't exactly a popular subject for fundamentalist conservatives, but come on... there's a reason why we pulled back from the nuclear brink in 1962!! Put simply, no one wins a nuclear war.

Look folks, this is just another reason we we MUST elect Democrats to the congress in 2006. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I'm no fan of the Democratic Party. They've made a lot of decisions I don't agree with, and I'm sure that after this election I'll be banging the drum for a third (or fourth or fifth) party. This year, however, we have to get them into the majority in congress. It's a must if our country is going to survive this crazy president!

Our government is founded on the principle of checks-and-balances. You remember that from High School civics, yes? We need an opposition party to oversee the party in power precisely so situations like this one don't happen. How is it that Bush has gotten away with so much while he's been in office? It's simple - congress is in his back pocket, and they're the ones who are supposed to be keeping the executive branch honest. The Republicans in control of congress have let things like Iraq, Katrina, and even 9/11 happen because they haven't been doing their job of overseeing the President, and it has to stop. If we're going to move forward, we have to get an opposition party into the legislative houses.

So, pay attention to those local voter pamphlets, folks. It's not too early to start thinking about November. This might very well be the most important mid-term election our country's ever faced.


Saturday, April 22, 2006

Holy Crap! What A Week!

I mean seriously, folks... Holy Crap! this week has been a killer. Overall, it's been a good week... but I is one tired puppy.

No matter what the time-stamp says, I'm writing this post at 5:45 am on Saturday morning sitting at The Sandy Hut while the Nickel & Dime crew sets the room up for the day's shoot. Film & video shoots usually involve a lot of sitting around and waiting for the actors (nothing against the crew - they're working hard! It's just the nature of the medium... there's a lot of behind- the scenes work that has to be done in between shots). Luckily, I have my Treo with me so I can update you all on my week.

Monday - Oh My God, It's What Time?

Monday could have been a lousy day. It had all the hallmarks: My alarm didn't go off, so I woke up at 9:15... and late for a 9:00 appointment!

So I was on the run all day, trying to make up the time I'd lost in the morning. To make matters worse, I left Outlook running on my PC when I blew out the door, so I couldn't get my email on my Treo.

This could have been a big problem, since my agent Kaili uses email as her primary communication method, and it's not uncommon to get a message with an audition or job scheduled for the next day.

This COULD have been a problem... but it wasn't. Thankfully Trish had a meeting with Kaili that afternoon, and Kaili just happened to mention that she'd been emailing me to see if I was available to appear in an Oregon Lottery commercial I'd auditioned for last week. So Trish gave me a ring.


The part they cast me in isn't the one I auditioned for. Instead I'd be cast as a "featured extra" (that means you MIGHT recognize me in the finished spot, assuming I don't get left on the cutting room floor) carrying a camera at a World Poker Tour tournament.

My day was lookin' up after that. I finished with my last client and had time to run home and feed the dogs (Trish was already gone to perform in a reading at the Miracle Theatre) and get the details on the next day's shoot before leaving again to attend a production meeting for Nickel And Dime.

The night ended up with Trish and I meeting for a drink at The Bull Ring in Northeast Portland. Lana Veenker Casting held its own awards ceremony to honor those actors who've booked a lot of jobs through them, and who've had really memorable auditions. Trish and I weren't up for any awards, but it was a nice night out.

Tuesday - Behind The Camera On Camera

Tuesday morning was spent getting ready for the lottery shoot. I wasn't due on set until noon, and I didn't have any lines to learn, so other than getting costume options together there wasn't a lot for me to do. Interestingly, they asked me to dress all in black, which is generally a no-no on camera. Black just makes you fade into the background so you look like a floating head. Since I'm playing a cameraman, though, it fits the part (and I'll be a floating head with a camera).

Heather, the production coordinator, called me at about 11 to ask if I could come in early. I grabbed a microwave burito and drove to the OPB building where they were shooting the spot. I was rushed through wardrobe and brought to the set, showed the camera I was going to carry... and then waited three hours until they needed me.

Like I said above, it's the nature of the medium.

Once I did get on camera, I learned a valuable lesson: beta cam's are freakin' heavy!! I probably carried all 35 pounds of that camera on my shoulder, "taking shots of the poker table," for five hours (though Ryan and Johnny from the props department did their best to relieve me of it in between shots. They saved me from having a permanent dent in my shoulder at the end of the day). By the time I was done my shoulder was throbbing... and the REAL camera guys were snickering at me for being such a wuss.

It was a good shoot, though. The whole Food Chain Films crew was great to work with, and the finished spot is going to pretty funny. They got a real set from the World Poker Tour, complete with a table wired for lipstick cameras - the first time people see the commercial I'm sure they'll think they're watching the real show.

The shoot did run late, though, which made me late for the pre-shoot rehearsal for Nickel and Dime at the Sandy Hut. I managed to get there, though, and the director got us prepped for Saturday's shoot.

Wednesday - A Face From The Past.

I'd been looking forward to Wednesday all week. This was the day that a very good friend of mine in High school, John Heginbotham, was coming to town to perform with the world renowned Mark Morris Dance Group.

John was a great guy in high school, and one of the most focused artists I knew. He was a brilliant kid (we were both in East Anchorage High School's "School Within A School" program for special - er, I mean "gifted" students), and totally dedicated to dance. He danced, choreographed, and was even Rudolph Nureyev's personal assistant when he came up to Anchorage to perform.

I have the most vivid memory of shooting John's audition tape for Julliard at a little dance studio out on Fireweed Avenue in Anchorage. I wasn't a big dance fan, but when I saw him take these flying five foot leaps off the floor, I knew that he was destined for greatness. And, it turns out, I was right. John's been dancing professionally all over the world for the last 17 years. He even did the choreography for a rock video.

Seeing him on stage at the Schnitzer was a real kick. We were up in the nosebleed seats for the show, but even after 17 years I could instantly pick him out in the crowd. His movements were the same that I'd seen way back when, but stronger and more grounded. His grace was still there, but it was tempered by a self confidence that he never had back in high school (go figure, huh?).

We met up afterward and went to Higgins and had a couple of beers together (world-traveler John recommended Chimay Tripel, a Belgian beer with a three-American-beer kick. Boy was I glad Trish was there to drive me home afterward). It sounds like life has been treating him pretty well... living in Brooklyn, traveling the globe to dance, looking ahead to what's next. Sitting across the table from him, I felt like 17 years had been two weeks. Now that I finally have his email address I'm really looking forward to keeping in closer touch with him.

Thursday and Friday - The Blur

Two Chimays and staying up until around 2AM with John made me more than a little fuzzy Thursday. I was supposed to be part of a reading at ART that evening, but it got called off at the last minute because a couple of the players were cast in a coffee commercial being shot in town (so, coincidentally, was Trish). I wasn't crying too many tears over this, since I was feeling pretty tired from the last few days' events. I cut my back yard (it's that time of year again...) and hit the sack.

Trish had a decent enough time at the commercial shoot. She was just doing extra work, but the crew treated her really well and she even got a pound of coffee out of the deal. How cool is that?

I was feeling better on Friday after some sleep, but it still felt like a short day. I knew that my call at The Sandy Hut for the first day's shooting of Nickel and Dime was going to be 5:30 am, which meant that I was going to have to get up at around 3:30 or 4 (I need time in the morning to regain my humanity - usually caffeine and mental stimulation via internet is involved in this process). That meant that if I was going to have to get to bed at around... oh... 7 pm?

That may have been the plan, but of course it didn't happen. I finally conked out at around 9 for a pretty short night (or at least I short morning).

Saturday - Short Shooting

Which brings us back to today (I started this post in the morning, worked on it between shots... and here I am in the evening finishing it up). Overall the shoot went pretty well. I arrived on the set at around 5:35 and hung while the crew got the place set up for shooting - replacing standard light bulbs with halogens, gelling the televisions so they didn't cast additional light... that kind of thing. It was about two hours later that we realized one of the actors hadn't shown up for his call (Wendy, the producer, and Jeffrey, the director, had realized it a lot earlier. Obviously). When the actor hadn't answered multiple phone calls, Jeff made the decision to re-cast the actor playing the bartender into the missing actor's role, and we started blocking the first shot. Just as we were getting ready to bring the camera in to shoot the day's first shot, the missing actor called Wendy to say that his alarm hadn't gone off and he hadn't heard his phone ringing. So... we waited for him to get there. It was probably 9:30 before he finally got there and we were able to get the first shot (four hours into the shoot day).

Things went pretty quickly after that. We had the shoot planned for two days, but were able to get it all in the can today (which means I don't have to get up at 4am again tomorrow - YAY!!!). The Sandy Hut generally opens at 10am for breakfast. Our director Jeff persuaded the owners to keep the place closed until 2pm... and we used every iota of that time. The owner opened the doors of the bar just as we were replacing the last light bulb... and as people came streaming in (yes, there are plenty of people who are anxious to get into a dive bar at 2pm on a Saturday) we packed the last of the gear away and got lunch at the Nob Hill Cafe.

And... that's a wrap. I'm going to get some sleep!

Hope you're all doing well...


Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter Everyone

I knew if I searched the web long enough I'd find something irreverent enough without being "burn-down-the-Danish-Embassy" offensive to commemorate this weird holiday.

I mean, think about it... Jessus + Ressurrection = Chocolate bunnies? That's just weird, man.

Anyway, hope your Easter bonnet fit right and you found lots of colored eggs on your breakfast plate (pssst! I know you like them, Sam-I-Am, but I'd pass on the green eggs and ham).

We closed In The Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer last night. This is one of the rare shows I've been a part of where the last two weekends of the run were entirely sold out. Of course, in a 26 seat house that's not a TITANIC feat... but it still made us feel pretty nice.

I didn't get paid much by Northwest Classical Theatre Company for this show, but I have to say... I'd work with them again in a heartbeat. They took very good care of us actors. Rather than being treated like just another "resource," as so many other theatre companies seem to consider the actors, NWCTC treated us like professionals. We were given free range to work within our parts and keep growing and changing them. We were trusted to arrive on time (well, all but one of us), we had a full range of snacks and food from the kitchen (including beer), we had pizza on opening, midway through the run, and on closing... and they laundered our shirts every week.

This probably doesn't sound like much, but it's one of those little things that really endears a company to you. A lot of companies make it the actor's resposibility to take their shirts home and wash them. Some companies will wash shirts and hang them on the their hangers to dry an hour before show time. NWCTC (and, specifically, Bebe Walton) actually took all our shirts to the cleaners every week. We arrived to find them clean, starched and pressed before each Thursday show. That's a little touch of class that you can't help but notice.

So, yeah, I'd work with NWCTC again. They treat you right, even if you don't get rich off their pay checks.

In other news, our pug dog Baby doesn't want to jump up on the bed or any other piece of furniture. We're really hoping that her back legs aren't starting to give out on her.

Ok, great pate' but I gotta motor if I'm gonna make that funeral. Actually, Trish and I are going to a much more festive occasion: her brother Bill and his wife Karen invited us down to their house in Salem for Easter Brunch. So, we gotta get on the road... Hope you all have a happy Easter!


Saturday, April 15, 2006

Blast From The Past

Hey all you gamer-geeks... I did horrible on this quiz (but then, you could tell that by my ranking as an "Atari Idiot). Those of you who misspent your youth in the 80's may do better. Check it out!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Myspace? Whyspace?

So, I uh... set up a Myspace profile today.

I know, I know... part of me feels like some weak poser trying get "in" with what the hip kids are doing. But really, how "hip" can something be when it makes the cover of Newsweek?

Actually, I did it for a couple of reasons. First, more than a few of the high school contacts I've re-connected with through sites like Project Alumni have Myspace profiles, and I thought it might be a way to re-connect with more of them. I'm such a "joiner," dontchaknow?

Second, and much more importantly, quite a few independent filmmakers are setting up Myspace pages to promote their work, and I'd like to be able to network with them. As is so often the case on the internet, something that started off as kid stuff is quickly becoming a communications network for underground industry. I'm not sure that creating this profile is going to get me work, but it's yet another way to promote myself to the future directors of America.

And, at this stage of my career, promoting myself is pretty important. As I go on more film, commercial and television auditions (auditioned for a Goodwill spot today, as a matter of fact... didn't fell like was 100% there, but I think I did creditable work), I'm becoming more and more aware of how important it is to have a diverse array of contact mechanisms at my disposal. I now check my email many times a day to see if my agent has sent me anything, or if a new casting notice has been posted on the PDXBackstage or Oregon Film Casting Society listervs. The cel phone is always on. Trish and I recently registered domain names for personal web sites to market ourselves with ( and, to be specific... don't bother looking them up, though; there's nothing there yet). New headshots will be coming soon, now that I'm getting used to my new hair cut, and with them will be postcards that I can send to directors and producers.

Remember, the larger part of the term "Show Business" is "Business". In any business, your customers have to know how to find you before they even think about hiring you. I'm not saying that any of these promotional moves I'm making will get me work; I'll have to turn in a good audition and beat out the legions of competing actors for that to happen. If they help me to get that audition, or keep me in a director or producer's mind... well, then it's all worth it.

And don't worry, Rick Emerson, I'm not going to go all slutty like those "Myspace Girls" you were talkin' 'bout on yer stinkin' radio show today. I'll keep it clean (though I do have a photo posted of me without my shirt... see if you can find it. Just to clarify in case any of you go stampeding over to Myspace to look - she's rubbing my FOOT!!! My FOOT!!! Didn't any of you SEE The Waiting Room?? Yeesh!! What a bunch a pervs!!!)


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Something Tells Me...

... that Dick Cheney Won't Be Attending Any More Washington Nationals Baseball Games.

Honestly, I was amazed that the evil emperor slithered out from his "undisclosed location" to appear in the light of day to begin with. I mean, he's even more unpopular than Bush, and with Bush's aproval ratings at around 36% that's saying A LOT!

I guess the crowd should just count their blessings that he didn't have a shotgun stuffed inside that jacket. As it was, he probably Leahy'ed them as he slunk off the field.

(Here's a link to parody site's take on the Cheney/ Leahy incident. Be warned, though, the language is fouler than foul. Probably not apropriate for kids, grannies, and anyone not from Alaska. Neither is this Patriotic Poster from the same source).

So, what am I doing posting this in the middle of the day, anyway? Well, Trish had an audition at 3, and I have an audition at the same place at 5. Trish forgot her headshot and resume, so I ran it out to the casting agent's - didn't make a lot of sense to drive all the way back to the East Side after that (the casting agent's office is in Northwest Portland), so I'm parked here at Anna Bannana's, one of our town's hippest coffee shops. Free wifi, great coffee... life is fine!

Yeah, so... that's what's goin' on.


Fun Time

Hey gang

I should write about the campaign event I went to this evening for Rob Brading, featuring Markos Moulitsas ZĂșniga of the Daily Kos and Jerome Armstrong from It was a powerful event, a lot of people showed up... Markos and Jerome are very nice fellas and I really want to read their book Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots, and the Rise of People Powered Politics.

I also really want to tell you how important it is to remove Karen Minnis from the Oregon State House (as Mr. Moulitsas Zuniga said this evening, "Her name appears to be spelled wrong." You don't get that joke unless you say her name out loud).

But I don't seem to be able to put things together too clearly tonight. I'm in one of those "zen" moods where all I want to do is float around not thinking too hard about things. So... I won't.

Just to save this post from being completely pointless, however, note that I stuck links to some of my favorite web comics on the right-hand-side of the page (you'll have to scroll down a little way). Check 'em out. They're nifty.

And, to keep your morning from being too boring, try this cool internet tennis game that my lovely sister-in-law Mary Lou forwarded to me: Gowaaaan... click the tennis ball. Try it... you'll like it!

One more: How many of THESE do you Northwesterners identify with?

You know you are from the Pacific Northwest if:

1. You know the state flower (Mildew)
2. You feel guilty throwing aluminum cans or paper in the trash.
3. Use the statement "sun break" and know what it means.
4. You know more than 10 ways to order coffee.
5. You know more people who own boats than air conditioners.
6. You feel overdressed wearing a suit to a nice restaurant.
7. You stand on a deserted corner in the rain waiting for the "Walk" signal.
8. You consider that if it has no snow or has not recently erupted, its not a real mountain.
9. You can taste the difference between Starbucks, Seattle's Best, and Veneto's.
10. You know the difference between Chinook, Coho and Sockeye salmon.
11. You know how to pronounce Sequim, Puyallup, Issaquah, Oregon, Yakima and Willamette.
12. You consider swimming an indoor sport.
13. You can tell the difference between Japanese, Chinese and Thai food.
14. In winter, you go to work in the dark and come home in the dark while only working eight-hour days.
15. You never go camping without waterproof matches and a poncho.
16. You are not fazed by "Today's forecast: showers followed by rain," and "Tomorrow's forecast: rain followed by showers."
17. You have no concept of humidity without precipitation
18. You know that Boring is a town in Oregon and not just a state of mind.
19. You can point to at least two volcanoes, even if you cannot see through the cloud cover.
20. You notice, "The mountain is out" when it is a pretty day and you can actually see it.
21. You put on your shorts when the temperature gets above 50, but still wear your hiking boots and parka.
22. You switch to your sandals when it gets about 60, but keep the socks on.
23. You have actually used your mountain bike on a mountain.
24. You think people who use umbrellas are either wimps or tourists.
25. You buy new sunglasses every year, because you cannot find the old ones after such a long time.
26. You measure distance in hours.
27. You often switch from "heat" to "a/c" in the same day.
28. You design your kid's Halloween costume to fit under a raincoat.
29. You know all the important seasons: Almost Winter, Winter, Still Raining (Spring), Road Construction (Summer), Deer & Elk season (Fall).
30. You actually understood these jokes and will probably forward (or post) them

Ah, it's a Northwest thing... you folks out East probably don't get it. :)

I'm off to bed. Hope you're all doing well...


Saturday, April 08, 2006

Oi!! What a Business!!

Well, It's been an interesting couple of days in actor-land.

I auditioned for Nick Hagen's new feature yesterday morning (Currently titled The Lonely Apocolypse, but titles can change many times between pre and post-production unless you have Samuel L. Jackson to safeguard them).

These film auditions just kill me. My agent Kaili sent me "sides" (scenes from the script that I was going to do in the audition) last week sometime. I spent all week going over them - memorizing them, looking for the different layers of subtext, building a character. I got up early in the morning to go through the script again, to drink too much coffee, and to get into character.

Then I got to the audition and spent a sum total of five minutes sitting in a chair doing the lines for the director and producer.

I'm not complaining about how Nick and his producer ran their auditions, mind you. I was surprised to be sitting in a chair (most of the scenes in the sides I was given had my character standing or walking through the woods), but the audition itself was fairly normal: fill out a form, get ushered into a small room with the director/ producer/ casting agent and a camera, spend about five minutes doing a scene, and then leave. Pretty standard audition.

I just find it funny that I spend weeks getting worked up over these auditions, tieing myself in emotional knots, for five minutes in front of a director. There's a reason we actors consider auditions the worst part of our jobs.

Ah well... As I mentioned in an earlier post, I don't expect to be cast in this part. The character's supposed to be in his 40's, and even though I'm often cast to play "older" than my real age this is a major role in a feature film. I figure they're going to find someone the right age.

My main goal in this audition was to do a good job in the hopes that Messrs Hagen and Deal would remember me for future projects. I think I did all right, sitting in that chair, so yeah... I accomplished what I set out to do.

Most of the rest of the day was spent helping Trish prep for her trip down to Eugene to shoot an industrial (a training video on ways long-term-caregivers can avoid falling into depression). Trish was to bring a few changes of clothes with her so the director could choose her costume for the video... This means, of course, that she had to pour through her closet looking each piece of clothing to see if it fit the "older schoolteacher" she was going to play.

This happens more often than you might think - often the commercials and industrials we do have no wardrobe budget, so we have to provide our own costumes. She and I have ended up taking mounds and mounds of clothing with us to shoots only to have the director or producer pick one outfit. You never know what they're going to want, or if what you have in your wardrobe is going to fit their concept of the character. So you end up carrying every piece of clothing you think might work (this time around Trish ended up with a garment bag, a suitcase, and several jackets on hangers).

We've started investing in good-quality luggage so we can at least keep the clothes in good shape when we're transporting them. Hey, it's deductable... and if it makes shoot days like Saturday's run smoother, it's worth the cost.

Then, last night's performance of In The Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer took an interesting turn. As I've mentioned in the past, we witnesses in the third part of the play have a later call than the other actors (to save us having to sit in the small dressing rooms for two-and-a-half hours before going on). We generally arrive at the theatre somewhere between 8:30 and 9.

Last night, one of my fellow witnesses called our stage manager Racheal a couple minutes before 9 (after the third act started) to say that he'd just woken up and was going to be late. He was due on stage in about, oh... 20 MINUTES!!!

Needless to say, we all flew into a panic. Bebe Walton, our house manager, jumped into her car to get him (this actor doesn't drive), while we all struggled to figure out what to do if he didn't make it on time. Phil Rudolph, who plays Dr. Edward Teller, took a lot of thoughtful "pauses" during his testimony, and I was "on deck" to go on early in case the actor didn't make it in time.

Thankfully, all our preparation was for naught. He got to the theatre about ten minutes before he was due on stage, jumped into his costume, and made his entrance on time. I knew that the other actors on stage questioning "Dr. Teller" were mystified by Phil's "elongated" performance, so I passed them notes when I made my entrance explaining what had happened.

Ah, live theatre... ya never know what's gonna happen. That's one of the reasons why we do it. Who needs skydiving for an adrenaline rush?

Trish got back from her shoot at about 7:00 tonight (just enough time for us to eat a little bite together before I had to head to Oppenheimer). The shoot went great; all the people working on it were very professional, and they kept up a rapid pace - they actually wrapped earlier than they expected because everyone meshed so well together.

And yes, as expected, the director chose one pair of pants and shirt out of the 10 or 15 choices she took down. Ah well, that's the way it always seems to work out... I know she's going to look great in the finished product.

I did get one piece of good news last night - the rest of In The Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer's run is sold-out (if you were waiting to come see it next weekend, you'll have to put your names on a waiting list when you get to the theatre). Seems the show has definitely found its audience. There was talk of extending the run by a couple of weeks, but many of the actors (myself included) have conflicts that would preclude that. We have, however, been thinking about a remount in the fall... if there's enough people who wanted to see the show and couldn't, it might be worth it.

Something to think about... hope you're all doing well!


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Oppenheimer Reviewed and Other Odds 'n Ends

Good morning campers

The Oregonian finally got around to reviewing In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer today... here's the link: Oregonian Review. Apparently the Willamette Week came to see the show last weekend, but didn't print a review. The Portland Mercury... well, we've learned not to expect too much from the Mercury. It's the Mercury. If we aren't serving PBR in the lobby, they're generally not too interested anyway :)

As I mentioned in my last post, Trish and I attended Profile Theatre's anouncement of their next season on Monday night. For those of you who don't know, Profile's "thing" is presenting the work of one playwright for an entire season; you really get a feel for the writer's style and recurring themes by going to see a season that encompasses early work and newer work. They're going to feature Wendy Wasserstein in the 2006-2007 season (their 10th, by the way). Some of the plays they're going to be producing are Uncommon Women and Others (her first), The Heidi Chronicles (Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning), and The Sisters Rosensweig (one of her last plays). We and just about every actress in Portland are looking forward to the upcoming season (most of her plays have a very female-heavy cast, which is a good thing - most other plays in the American canon have just the oposite proportion).

Wednesday saw me attending a grant writing seminar put on by the Oregon Arts Commission, the Oregon Cultural Trust, and the Oregon Council For The Humanities. The seminar was attended by around 140 people, all looking for tips on how to write their grants and get the best chance at the funds available to nonprofit arts organizations. I walked away with a lot of paperwork and a brain so full that I'm sure some leaked out... I always knew that grant writing was complicated, but ye gods man!

Even though I'm not working with Mt. Hood Rep in an operational capacity, I did grab a lot of the paperwork for Karen and Riley Caton, the board presidents... and I took about eight pages of notes. I didn't just go for them, though... I will produce theatre again some time in the future. Just not now. I'm a little too tired. But someday soon, I'll probably put a show up under my own banner (whatever that banner may read), and it'll be in my best interest to have thought about raising money and approaching granting organizations.

Raising money is certainly on Trish and My minds of late. We just got a phone call from Sandra Vincent, our tax preparer, about how much we're going to owe in taxes this year. Actually, the total figure isn't going to be as bad as past years, since the tax incentives I got for buying the Prius late last year are actually going to yield a refund from both the State and the Fed's. Still, we've been laying out a fair chunk of change in repairs to the duplex as we get it ready to sell (we've had some interest in the property, but no real offers yet... we're going to drop the price by about $5,000 this week to make it more attractive to potential buyers), and our bank account is looking a little thin.

Even with not having to pay the Federal or State Tax we're still going to owe about $1300 for the Multnomah County Tax (a special limited-duration tax the voters approved to help fund our cash-strapped schools), City of Portland Tax (i.e. my business license), and TriMet Tax (all business owners have to pay a special tax for Portland's mass transit system)... plus paying Sandra to do our taxes (and trust me, our tax form is compliated enough that I'm glad we're paying someone to do it).

Still... it could have been worse. The good news is that we're going to apply our refunds to the estimates that we'll owe in the coming year (remember, we're self-employed. That means that we have to pay quarterly estimated taxes as well... around $2000 every three months to the State and Fed. Read my lips, self-employed people: pay your estimated taxes!!!! I know it sucks to have to pay every three months, but they're gonna get your money sooner or later. Best not to have to pay a ton of cash to the IRS in one big chunk.); that means we won't have to pay anything to the State until the third quarter of 2006, and much less to the Fed's on April 17. It's all good in the long run...

My old friend from high school, John Heginbotham, is coming to Portland to dance with the Mark Morris Dance Group on April 19 (part of the White Bird series). While I don't go to a lot of dance shows, I'm going to have to go see this one - I haven't seen John dance since 1989 when I filmed his audition tape for Juliard. Hopefully he'll make a little time for me after the show so I can take him out for a drink. I'd love to get caught up with him (though he's a world-famous dancer guy, and I'm just a lowly small-time actor in Portland, OR. I'm probably beneath his notice) :)

Ok, gotta run. I'm gonna hit the gym before my first appointment of the morning. Want to be a little "pumped up" for my audition tomorrow. Hope you're all doing well...


Monday, April 03, 2006

Giggity giggity...

...giggity giggity - Awwright!

Happy Monday everyone. Did you change your clocks over the weekend?

Got some great news yesterday. I received a call from Late Bloomer Productions telling me that I've been cast in "Nickel and Dime," the short film I auditioned for a couple of weeks ago. It's a non-paying gig, but it'll be nice to get a more recent credit on my resume (and I'm starting on some new acting web sites for Trish and I, which will include video "reels" with highlights from our previous work - this'll be a nice addition). It's also very gratifying to go through the whole audition-and-callback process and actually get the job. The film shoots in a couple of weeks, and will probably be done with post-production a couple months after that. I'll keep you posted.

I'm also auditioning for a feature by Nick Hagen, a local "indie" filmmaker, on Friday. It looks like a very meaty part that's a bit older than I am... I don't think I have a chance of actually getting cast, but I am hoping to make a good impression on Nick so he keeps me in mind for future projects.

As if that weren't enough, local playwright and actor Shelly Lipkin contacted me late last week to do a part in a new play of his thats being read at ART. The play is about the venerable Shakespeare and Company book store in Paris, and it bounces back and forth between the 20's and the 40's. I'm going to be reading - are you ready for this? - James Joyce. Guess I'd better brush up my Irish dialect, eh?

Got an interesting email from my Dad yesterday, as well. He's directing a play called "The Fat Of The Land" at Blaine Community Theatre up in Blaine, Washington (near the Canadian border). One of the lead actresses had a little "complication" and dropped out of the show... on opening night! So, like any good director, Dad had to find a replacement and juggle the cast around. He ended up moving one of the actors up from a smaller part, and replacing her part with my mother, who's never been on stage in her life (well, she did play the baitone in high school). Makes me wish I didn't have In The Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer for the next two weekends so I could get up to see her in the show. This sounds like something not to be missed :)

Tonight we're going to attend a little to-do which will include Profile Theatre's 2006 - 2007 season announcement. This is Profile's 10th season, so we'll be really interested in seeing what Jane Unger, the Artistic Director, has planned for the company. Trish is hoping that she might be able to direct one of the shows this year... we're keeping our fingers crossed.

With luck, I'll also be able to make it David Loftus' reading of Harlan Ellison's stories and poems at Grendels Coffee House (729 E Burnside) at 7:30 tonight. Ellison turns 72 today (if you can believe that).

So, that's what's been going on in our lives.... hope you're all doing well!