Trish and Harold's Weblog

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

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Buckling My Swash Pt. 2 (And Other Items)

Hey everyone

I was planning on posting a detailed description of day 2 of the Salem Socke- er, I mean Oregon Knockout... but I didn't keep a running 'blog that day on my Treo, and I'm pretty cramped for time this week (it's going to be mondo busy - more on that later). I will try to encapsulate Sunday a bit, though. Those of you who didn't come to the workshop really missed out.

I got up at 5 am again Sunday morning (ugh!) and was on the road to Salem by 7. I only had one SPR to do Sunday (having already taken my recertification test in Rapier and Dagger and Quarterstaff the day before... you need to be certified in three weapons to have your SAFD status upgraded to Actor Combatant), so I got to take a couple of the non-certification-oriented classes that morning. Even though I was pretty sore from the day before, I happily joined Fight Master Dale Girrard in a class on full contact stage-combat called "Landing the blow" (full-contact combat comes in handy when you're in a "thrust" or "arena" space and can't hide moves from the audience, as well as when you're up close to the house) and Seattle fight director Bob Borwick in a class on Rapier and Dagger fights in cramped spaces (an especially good class to have under my belt, since several of the spaces in Portland are too small to have expansive rapier and dagger fights moving from one end of the stage to the other). I learned some valuable stuff in both classes that I'm going to be able to apply in my own choreography as time moves on.

After lunch, it was time to train up for my unarmed combat SPR. The fight we eventually performed for the test consisted of drags, slaps, a few punches and one of Bob Borwick's favorite moves - "The Fishhook (wherein the attacker puts two fingers inside the defenders mouth and drags him/her around the stage by them. FUN move!)".

After the final test fight, we all gathered in the Willamette University theatre and said our goodbyes. The fight masters took some time before the end of the day and tabulated the results of our Skills Proficiency renewals... I was surprised to find that I'd renewed my certification in quarterstaff (which I thought was my weakest fight), but was still too rusty with the rapier and dagger. Dale and I had a good talk about what I need to work on, though, and I feel pretty confident that I can train up for another re-cert in the coming year.

So, I drove away from Salem that evening having NOT upgraded my SAFD status to "Actor Combatant" (you need to be certified in three weapons, and I was only able to re-certify in two), but feeling confident in my skills as a combatant, and my ability to use stage violence to help tell a story. Plus, I learned some bitchin' new moves... remind me to show you the new open-handed-slap I learned some time. All in all, a very satisfying weekend.

I know I've said this before, but if you're an area-actor or director, I'd strongly recommend going to next year's workshop if you can schedule it. I think that Jon and the crew at Revengearts are going to continue holding the workshops on Memorial Day weekend. We don't have a lot of shows in Portland that contain huge sword fights, but almost every play has the potential to contain a shove, slap or punch (and many have more prolonged periods of combat on stage). Learning the basics of stage combat can help you prepare for that eventuality, and give you the vocabulary to work with the fight director on those moments. It's a valuable tool to have in your repretoire.

It's a good thing that the weekend was so satisfying, because this week is going to be BUSY!!! Because of Memorial Day we're facing a "short" week, which always makes things more difficult. Trish is going to be working all week at Lana Veenker casting on a big project they've got going. I'm going to be running all over town putting out fires that have popped up at my clients' offices over the weekend, AND we're shooting my first scene in Sum of the Parts this evening. I've also got a gig at OHSU tomorrow for the school of medicine (this time I have chronic headaches).

We're going out of town on Friday to go visit family and friends up in Washington; we'll be gone all weekend. Then, on Sunday, we'll be attending a house party for Rob Brading who's trying to un-seat our current Speaker of the State House, Karen Minnis.

So... yeah, it's gonna be a busy week. I don't know if I'll be getting on the ol' blog much in the coming week.

Hope you're all doing well...


Saturday, May 27, 2006

Buckling My Swash (Pt. 1)


Oh my sweet dear lord, WHAT am I doing up at 5:15 in the morning on Memorial-Day-weekend Saturday? Oh... that's right. The third annual Salem Sockeye stage combat workshop (well, it's the first time the Sockeye workshop's been held in Salem. The two workshops before this were held in Seattle, AND before the Seattle workshops John Armour held three combat workshops in Portland on Memorial Day weekend. So, this is actually the SIXTH annual MEMORIAL DAY workshop and the FIRST annual SALEM workshop and... you know what? It's a moot point, since they're changing the name anyway. feh!!).

I'm actually a little anxious about attending this weekend's workshop. I'm going to attempt to get recertified as an Accredited Actor Combatant by the SAFD... and I don't feel ready. I haven't been certified since 1996 (four years after I left the University of Alaska program), and it's been about five years since I did a full weekend workshop. I've done some violence in Portland-area shows, and I've choreographed a few fights since then... but I'm not really sure if my skills are "up to snuff" and ready for adjudication.

Well, I'll just have to swallow my fear (and my fourth cup of coffee) and hit the road for Salem. The workshop is being held on the Willamette University campus. I've been to Willamette before, but never to the theatre arts building. I'd better get an early-ish start so I can find the place.

Check in: 8:15 am
It's a good thing I gave myself extra time to find this place - I drove past the driveway to the theatre arts building three times before I found it.

Check-in was a breeze- John and the crew at Revenge Arts (who's running the workshop) have a large crew of staff and interns helping out. Things were a little disorganized at the beginning... the class schedule hadn't been printed up and distibuted by the time I got there, people were crowding into the lobby without any idea of where to go, etc. We were slated to do warmups and have introductions & announcements at 8:15... and it ended up being more like 8:40.

But hey, this is a pretty huge event, with people coming from as far away as Washington DC, Colorado, Ellensburg, San Francisco, and even (gasp!) Tacoma & Seattle! I don't begrudge the Revenge Arts guys a slow start. They've got a lot of stuff to get organized.

One thing we did receive right at the outset was a T-shirt with the new name of our local Memorial Day weekend workshop printed on it. The workshop hath been officially re-dubbed the Oregon Knockout.

I'm suprised that I seem to be the only Portland-area actor at the workshop (if a couple of the other participants are from Portland, I haven't met them before). I know that John sent information about the workshop to PDXBackstage, and that other people in town knew that the workshop was going on. It's great to see so many college students attending, and people from other areas of the country... but I was really hoping that some of our local actors would take the opportunity to learn some of the principals of stage combat to help them prepare for that next show which might require them to participate in violence. As a combat choreographer myself, I've often been disappointed by the fights I see on Portland stages... it's often not the choreography that's at fault (not that I haven't seen bad choreography...) so much as the actors' comfort with the moves and their bodies doing them. Workshops like this make for better fights on stage, which make for better plays that contain them.

It's my not-so-humble opinion that every actor should be familiar with the principals of stage combat - not because they plan on being in a lot of plays that require broadswords or quarterstaffs, but because combat training makes one a better actor. Combat is just acting. Every moment of violence, whether it's an open-handed slap in the face or a full-on broadsword battle, is a scene in a play that tells a story for a specific purpose. Understanding how to tell that story with your body safely helps you figure out how to tell other stories in other ways. I REALLY hope that more Portland-area actors will come down to the next shootout so they can add these skills to their repretoire.

Ok... gotta go. Time for my first class: Quarterstaff training to prep for my Skills Proficiency Renewal. I haven't used a quarterstaff in about 15 years... this is gonna hurt.

10:30 am

Ooof... I was right. I'm WAY rusty on the Quarterstaff. A lot of that weapon's use comes down to knowing when to use the "blade" of the staff, and when to use the "butt." Bob Borwick, a Seattle actor combatant and choreographer who's teaching the SPR class, has been very patient with me this morning. He had to stop me a lot to remind me of which part of the staff to use, and when to cross my body with the staff and when to leave the body open.

The rest of the class is more experienced with the staff than I am. We've got college teachers, Seattle-area performers, and Craig who flew up from Washington D.C. to attend the workshop (he'll be my partner for the SPR exam later that afternoon).

I'm already sweating like a horse. Time to get back in for the second half of the class.

12:15 - Lunch Break

Oh boy. I'm going to be hurtin' tomorrow. Not because I got biffed by a quarterstaff... actually, Craig's quite confident with the stick in his hand (and yes, please ignore the double-entendre). The repetition of our choreography for our SPR has left my legs and shoulders very sore, though. I've completely sweated through my T-Shirt (good thing I brought a spare). As I sit in the Willamette theatre lobby and eat my bag-lunch, I can tell that I'm going to be paying for today and tomorrow. My body's going to be soooore.

The good news is that I think I've got the SPR choreography down pretty well with Craig. I cover a lot of ground when I advance, so we had to adjust the fight a bit to keep from running out of room. That being said, I'm feeling pretty confident going into the afternoon. The trick will be remembering the choreography from here until 4:30, when we perform the fight for SAFD adjudicator Dale Girrard. Luckily, they're going to give us about ten minutes to practice on the stage before we actually get tested.

Whew... time to pack up and get into the Rapier and Dagger SPR prep class.


Wow... after working with a quarterstaff all morning, you wouldn't think that two little pieces of metal (a rapier and dagger) would weigh so much. You'd be wrong, though... my shoulders and upper back are ABSOLUTELY feeling th e moves that Geoff Kent has been putting us through.

Unlike this morning's Quarterstaff class, which focused on drills in the first half and then choreography for the SPR test in the second, Geoff has had us working on the SPR choreography from the first minute. This will make it easier to remember the fight (lots of repetition), but the repetitive movements are also making my arms feel very very heavy :)

My partner for the Rapier and Dagger fight is a fellow from San Francisco who's not an actor. He did some acting in college, and he got certified by the SAFD, but he's since decided to pursue a career in Chinese medicine and alternative health care. He just came up to recertify because he likes combat. Cool guy. He'll be a good partner to fight with.


No time to write too much... We're doing the proficiency test for Rapier and Dagger first, then the Quarterstaff proficiency test. EEK!


Whew... I'll do one more note before I drive home for the evening. I think I did pretty well in my proficiency exams. The Rapier and Dagger exam went off pretty flawlessly, though the Quarterstaff exam had a couple of missed parries. Craig and I rehearsed the fight a couple of times before we actually tested, but we were both pretty tired after an entire day spent fighting, and I think it showed. Dale didn't say anything to the individual fighters after their fights, but both SPR instructors gave my partners and I a thumbs-up, so I'm hoping that's a good sign.

Oh god I'm going to hurt tomorrow...

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Tom Selleck and the 7 Ft Mutant Chicken

Hey everyone

Ok, I don't often remember my dreams. I have some vivid ones and some odd ones, but they usually don't stick with me in the morning. This morning, however, I had a doosy and the first thing I could think of when I woke up was, "I have to write this down!" Where better to record the bizarre pathways of my subconscious than my 'blog? That way I can share my unconscious insanity with the rest of the world. Who knows... maybe they'll turn this into a comic strip on SlowWave.

Now, this is a very wierd dream. In retrospect I think I can trace its orgins to three distinct points:

1) Francesca Sanders and her husband Rick came over to our house last night for dinner, and we read her new play Celeste and Starla Save Todd and Win Back The Day. Now, this is a very strange play. It's quite good (in this early-draft form), and very funny... but VERY strange. I suppose that and the two cups of coffee I drank last night might have helped contribute to my mental space.

2) Trish and I recently read a science fiction script that a local film maker wants us to be part of. It's very odd as well.

3) Finally, as we tried to wind down last night after reading Francesca's play (and drinking coffee) we found Mind Hunters on cable and ended up watching the whole thing. Oh my god, what a titanic load of crap that movie was!! Aside from the completely implausable death scenes, stilted dialogue and unbelievable situation... the entire cast of characters are supposed to be FBI Profilers in training, and they do the same stupid shit that EVERYONE does in horror movies. I hate it when people do stupid things in movies, but I especially hate it when supposed smart and educated people do dumb things. It's one of my pet peeves.


Ok, so, THE DREAM (cue wavy lines to fall across the screen): we'd just finished shooting a film with Tom Selleck, and we were having drinks at the Dirctor's house after the shoot (the director was no one famous... just a woman I wouldn't be able to name who looked kind of like this). While Tom was in the other room getting a drink, we were chatting about strange movies we'd read, seen, or been part of. After Trish or I told the her a story (can't remember what the story was), The Director leaned in and said "Don't tell Tom I told you about this, but did you ever see the science fiction western he did where he had to ride a giant mutant chicken?"

Trish and I were stunned, but about that time Tom walked in with a glass of scotch or burboun or something (no girly drinks for Tom Selleck, thank you very much!). We looked at him with questioning eyes and I said, "Tom, a giant mutant chicken?" Selleck looked very sheepish and explained that the movie and tv offers had stopped coming in, and he had been forced to take a low budget sci fi movie where he led a group of settlers through radioactive wastelands while riding a 7 ft. Chicken.

We finished our drinks and walked out to our cars. On the way through the apartment complex's parking lot, I told Tom that I assumed he had ridden a horse, and I asked him if the production team had to paint the horse he was riding blue so that they could CGI the chicken in over it. By this time he was more comfortable with the subject, and he said that no, they painted some white spots grey to match his horse's coat, but they otherwise left it alone. He did have to ride a special saddle, though, that had a 60 degree angle so it looked like was riding a chicken's back.

When we got home, we got on the computer and searched for the movie. Sure enough, there it was on IMDB. The film also had a MySpace profile with a photo of Tom Selleck riding a giant white chicken, and a video clip from the movie. All I remember about the video clip is him shouting the line, "We've got to get out of here now! Everyone saddle up your chickens!"


So, how's that for an odd way to start your Wednesday morning? I better get to work... time to saddle up my chicken and get out of here!

If your TV is capable of receiving the SAP audio channel, tune in to OPB tonight at 6pm and you'll hear Trish and I with Duane Hanson on Golden Hours.

Hope you're all doing well... Yeee Haw (buc-buc-buckaw!!)


Monday, May 22, 2006

Our Lives Are Ruled By Schedules!!

Howdy everyone

Trish and I spent a lot of time this morning just making sure our schedules match up. We're trying to figure out if we can take a trip up to Washington next weekend (not Memorial Day weekend, but the weekend following), and you'd be amazed at all the checking and double-checking that such a thing requires. Our friends laugh at the fact that Trish and I both have our Palm Treo's glued to our hips... but as busy as our lives are, we're constantly checking them to be sure we don't double-book something.

We were able to do something spontaneous Friday night... I had an appointment that ended up not happening, which gave Trish and I A Free Night Together!!!! Wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles! So, we decided to go see The DaVinci Code on its opening night. First time I've ever been to the opening night of a movie, and as you might expect the theatre was packed.

I had the disadvantage of having read the book already. I say "disadvantage" because no movie can ever stuff everything printed in a book up on the screen. It's just impossible - the two mediums are too different. Books are cerebral, and films are all about action and visuals. In a book the narrator can go on for pages about the thought process leading up to an action that, on the screen, takes two seconds. If that description of the thought process happened in a film, most of the audience would be asleep before the action ever occurred.

With that in mind I tried to stuff all my book-borne preconceptions to the back of my brain as I watched the film... and found it to be one of the best novel adaptations I've seen. To be sure, Tom Hanks isn't the man I pictured Robert Langdon being, and Ian McKellen isn't who I thought of when I read Leigh Teabing's character (I was pulling for Sean Connery, but hey... Ron Howard didn't call me when he was casting. Whatchagonnado?). The film did, however, succeed on many levels.

The novel, The Da Vinci Code, is a historical mystery pure and simple. Sure, the historical mystery is pursued in the contemporary world, at a very thriller-like pace... but the real meat of the book is in the history, and how it drives contemporary events. In the book, this history is explained by the characters in long monologues with supporting narration... BOORRRRRING on film. Ron Howard managed to give the audience a view of the historical events as they happened - at times he meshed the contemporary and historical events together. A great solution to the problem of describing history.

Now, as to the "controversy..." yeah, what ever. I read the book and liked it, so I'm obviously not predisposed to clinging with a death grip to church dogma. It's a ripping yarn based around a historical "what if." If you believe that Jesus was so holy that he never went to the bathroom or that he could beat Superman hands-down in a fight... eh... it's probably not for you. If you can actually allow for things like alternate gospels that didn't make it into the bible, if you remember that the Councils of Nicea and Trent are the reason the contemporary bible looks the way it does... then you may be open to the story it tells. You be the judge.

But take my adivice: see the movie, then read the book. It'll be a much fresher experience for you, and the book will help to elaborate on a lot of ideas and historical elements that were just touched on in the film.

So, anyway, back to the schedules... this week sees Trish and I meeting up with Francesca Sanders tomorrow night to read a new play she's written (not a public performance; just a living room reading), and being heard on OPB's Golden Hours Wednesday night (broadcast on the SAP channel of most OPB stations in Oregon. This will be Trish's first time). Wednesday and Thursday I'm going to be acting like I have ADHD for an OHSU study. Then, on Saturday and Sunday, I'll drive down to Salem for the Salem Sockeye stage combat workshop, run by Revenge Arts (I'm going to attempt to get re-certified by the SAFD this weekend... and try not to injure myself. With luck, I'll be successful in one of those endevours).

It's going to be a busy week... hope yours is looking a little less full, and that you're doing well.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

New Photos

Howdy everybody

As you can tell from the title (and the photo to the left), we got the proof CD of our new head shots today. I posted a few of my favorites on my MySpace Profile's "Pics" section (look below the photo in the upper-left-hand-side and click the Pics link)... take a look and tell me what you think.

We're taking the CD to our agent Kaili tomorrow, and she'll browse through the shots and let us know her picks sometime next week (I'll see if I can't post her picks too... she'll most likely have different choices than mine). Once she's made her picks, we get one or two printed and shipped back to us for dissemination to directors, casting agents, etc. It'll be interesting to see which one she likes best... I have a hard time choosing, myself.

It's been a pretty full week. Had a couple of commercial auditions (one I know didn't pan out; the other I'm still waiting to hear back on). I also recorded some dialog for Sum of The Parts at Ray Steers' house and discussed a new scene he's writing for the film.

On Wednesday, Trish and I went to the Art Institute Portland and worked with one of Shelly Lipkin's students on a film project he's doing as part of Shelly's directing class. It was nice to have a whole scene to work with, and it was especially nice to act opposite Trish (we don't seem to get too many opportunities to do that these days).

Tomorrow I've got a full day at OHSU, doing one of their Standardized Patient programs. I'll have low back pain this time... THAT'LL be a stretch :). I haven't been to the gym all week this week, and my back is letting me know.

Anyway... that's what's new in our lives. Hope you're all doing well...


Monday, May 15, 2006

More on Net Neutrality... Sort Of

Hey, did my long tirade about "Net Neutrality" leave the Star Trek geeks in the audience scratching their heads? Well, Scott Kurtz at PVP has helped to boil things down for you... into even more confusion. Kind of. See for yourself: PVP on Net Neutrality.

Look at me!! I'm posting as soon as I think of something to avoid three-page-long posts like I've been doing over the last couple of weeks. Wheeeeeee!

I'm off to an Intel commercial audition this morning... keep your fingers crossed for me...


Stephen Colbert's White House Correspondant's Dinner Speech

Hey everybody

Just got home from a lovely evening at our friend Kate's house. She's got a wonderful little North Portland house with a gorgeous back yard, and a kick-ass talent for making special pies. Yummy!

I returned home to find the full text of Stephen Colbert's White House Correspondants Dinner Speech in my email box. My friend Mary Lasswell forwarded it on to me. You may or may not have heard that Colbert, who hosts The Colbert Report on Comedy Central (a send-up of Pundit-driven "talk" shows like Bill O'Reilly's, much like The Daily Show is a spoof of the Evening News), caused quite a stir with what he said. I myself thought that he delivered the stinging truth in a very very funny way... with Bush sitting just 10 feet away. Wish I could have been there...

Anyway, I'm not going to re-print the whole transcript here, but you can find it by clicking this link.

How's that for a start to your Monday morning? Hope you're all going to have a good week... and Kate, thanks for the fabulous evening!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

How Do We Know It's Been A Busy Week?

It's obvious that things have been busy when we're running too hard to write about how busy we are. It's the inherent dichotomy of internet 'blogging, I guess...

Hey everyone... yes, Trish and I have been running our lilly-white butts off this week. It's been a great week, without a doubt, but busy nonetheless. So, here's a quick little snapshot of what's been happening (I might just get Trish to supplement my recollections this time around... but don't quote me on that. She's not That into sitting at the computer and writing...).

And just for fun, I've put my Windows Media Player on "random" while I write this. I'll preface each paragraph with the song that's playing as I write it because... Oh, I don't know why. Because I'm a big dork, and I've got diverse musical tastes, and... no, really it's because I'm a big dork).

(One Trick Pony, Nelly Furtado)Before we begin, though, I want to ask you all to sign one of those pesky internet petitions. Yeah, yeah, I know... my inbox is full of them every week too. This one is really important, though, and if you don't sign the petition I hope you'll visit and/or to find out more about the issue.

(So Many Stars, Sergio Mendes) Here's the skinny: Congress is considering a new law that would end the free and open Internet that we know today. This 'blog is a feature of that "free and open internet -" I can post anything I want to up here, and my page has the same standing as WebMD, Yahoo, or any other page on the internet. You can find me on the search engines, and you can get to me be plugging my address into your address bar. The internet, as we know it today, is a great equalizer- small businesses and individuals can compete with big business and government on a "level playing field" at a comparatively low cost (I mean, come on... sites like Blogger and MySpace are totally free, and their traffic is dictated by the content on those sites, not by the business deals that the creators of the sites put in place or the advertising they've paid for).

(Be My Number Two, Joe Jackson) Of course, there's the added benefit that the "free and open" internet gives dissenting voices a forum to speak in. Consider that when Bill Clinton was in office, the majority of the traffic to internet 'blogs was directed at conservative outlets like and Now that Bush is in office, the majority of the traffic is to non-conservobot 'blogs like the Daily Kos, Liberal Oasis, Democracy Now, etc... The internet, since it has been public, has always been a place where the outsider can spread his or her dissenting views, and build communities around those views.

(Every Summer Night, Pat Metheny Group) Well, Internet providers like AT&T and Verizon are lobbying Congress hard to gut this idea of "Network Neutrality," which says that little guys like me have equal standing on the internet with big guys like Yahoo,, etc. They want to be allowed to turn the internet into a pay-per-service zone, wherein they can direct traffic to web sites that have paid for preferential treatment. This is more than Google Ads appearing at the top of the search engines - this would fundamentally change the internet as we view it today. Those who can't pay would be relegated to the back-waters, stuck in hard to find places with traffic routed to bigger, commercial sites instead.

(Kit Kat Jam, Dave Matthews Band) So, yeah, this is pretty important. If 'blogs like this one are going to survive as a vehicle for people's free speech... if most of the small businesses I construct web sites for are going to be able to offer their services inexpensively to compete with big corporations, we have to tell our legislators to stop this bill. Click here to sign Moveon.Org's petition. Click Here to visit and find out more. This is VERY important.

(Rush, Yoko Kano) Ok, enough of that... here's what's been going on with us. I was just commenting to Trish that our lives had gotten so busy we can't keep track of each other's schedules any more.

(True, Spandau Ballet) I've definitely been cast in Sum of the Parts. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I auditioned for this locally produced film a couple of weeks ago and wasn't sure if the director, Raymond Steers liked what I did. I met up with Ray, his associate producer Hunter, and a couple of others actors on Wednesday and they confirmed that if I want to be invloved with the project they'd love to have me. I have to admit, I'm pretty pumped by this! If you've seen the clip at, you know that the film has a pretty innovative use of split-screen, and the story is a big mish-mash of action, conspiracy and the meaning of life. I think the film's going to go far, and I'm very happy to be connected with it!

(Fireball, Deep Purple) I'm also going to appear in a new play on Monday, or at least a reading of a new play. It's called In Love With Mrs. R, and it's about Eleanor Roosevelt and the times she lived in. We had a rehearsal on Monday with the playwright, Dorothy Anton, and dramaturg Joan Holden. After reading over the script, Joan asked a lot of very good questions that prompted discussion about the play and how it could be made better. We were scheduled to have another rehearsal on Wednesday, but I received a call from Dorothy that day saying that we were rescheduling the rehearsal to today because she'd completely re-written the script. So... I can't really tell you if the play is going to be any good or not, because I won't see the script for another two hours (I don't even know if it's still a musical) :) I can tell you that Dorothy has meticulously researched the Roosevelt family and the times they lived in. It should be an interesting night of theatre. If those of you in Portland would like to come out and see the reading, it'll be at The Coho Theatre at 2257 NW Raleigh Ave. (Click here for a map). The reading starts at 7pm.

(Cruising Down The River, Russ Morgan) We Spent Our Weekend With Lanford Wilson! Well, we spent last Sunday seeing Redwood Curtain and Sympathetic Magic at Profile Theatre, and Lanford Wilson did a talk-back after the matinee performance of Redwood Curtain. We also got drafted to drive Marshall Mason and Tanya Berezin back and forth to their hotel (it was a masters class just listening to them talk in the back seat). Trish, you want to fill in the details on this?

**NOTE: Trish actually wrote for quite a bit about her week with Lanford Wilson, but for some reason the Blogger system lost her work. So... you'll just have to take my word for it that it was a magical week. And lets keep our fingers crossed that she won't let this experience keep her from 'blogging ever again (she's pretty disheartened).

(All I Need, Michael Franks) We had new headshots taken on Monday by Owen Carey. Owen's not cheap, but he is the best in town when it comes to theatrical headshots. We were a little anxious about the session, and met with our agent Kaili last Friday to discuss the right "looks" for the photos, what kind of clothes to wear, etc. Her answer? "Just wear what you feel good in." The clothes, she explained, weren't the important part. It was more important to wear anything we were comfortable in, and have a good photo of us come out of the session.

(Casual Conversations, Supertramp) Even so, we ended up packing half our closets into suitcases and driving down to the Interstate Industrial District where Owen's studio is. He shot photos of me in three outfits, and Trish in four. We paid to have a stylist there (again, not cheap but worth it), and that made a huge difference. She spent a lot of time evening out our skin, getting our hair done right for the camera, and consulting on wardrobe (if you're looking for a stylist on a film project, I'd highly recommend Kathleen Chetlain. She's got a great eye, she's really nice, and great to work with. I can't sing that girl's praises enough!).

(Best of My Love, The Eagles) Unlike the last shots we had taken by Owen (sometime around 2000), this time he shot entirely digital photos. This means, of course, that we were able to see some previews of what the shots turned out like... and let me tell you, we're going to have a hard time picking just ONE to be the headshot we print up and hand out at auditions. Owen is incredible... for one thing, he's very comfortable in directing you ("Move your chin down, look over here, lets have a little bit of a smile...") to get the right shot. He's also a great believer in natural light - several of my shots were taken inside a wooden storage shed that I would have thought would be too dark to get a good shot from. Not so - Owen's a master. Those were actually some of the best shots of the session.

(Never Let Them See You Sweat, Go West) We should be getting a CD from Owen sometime early next week. We hand that off to our agent to get her picks, then we have the hard choice of figuring out which one we're going to send down to LA to get printed. I'll post a couple of the low-rez "preview" images from the CD when we get them on my MySpace profile... let me know what you think!

(People's Parties, Joni Mitchell) Incidentally, MySpace Rocks! Of course, I don't have to tell you MySpace users that... but I've been having a great time getting re-connected to old friends and staying in touch with current acquaintances. If you haven't checked it out for yourself, drop on by. Setting up an account is free (yeah, they have banner ads all over the site to pay for running it), and you'll be amazed by all the people with diverse interests who are on there. It's a great networking tool, too... I've gotten in touch with a lot of filmmakers via MySpace, and it's a handy way to keep yourself in their minds.

(Organza, Bob James) Work has been VERY busy this past week... I've been running from office to office all over town, plus launching a new website for a local naturopath: Meridian Natural Medicine. Want an alternative to the "traditional" healthcare system? Check Dr. Thomas out.

Well, I think that's the nutshell of what's been going on this week... Trish, did I forget anything?

Hope you're all doing well...


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Well, I Did It Again...

Yeah, I could have said "Oops" instead of "Well," but this is a Britany Spears-Free Zone.

Another week has gone by, and I've been too "behind the ball" to update you all on the comings and goings in our lives... here's a quick encapsulation:

>> Things have been busy on the film front... I auditioned for a film last weekend called The Sum Of The Parts. The film is mostly-finished; they started shooting it in 1999, and the director has been cutting it together ever since. In the process of cutting it together, however, he came to realize that he needed a flashback scene to help explain some of the things happening in the movie. So, he put out an open casting call to cast a couple of actors for this new scene. I didn't feel particularly good about the audition... wasn't sure if I was giving director Raymond Steers what he wanted. I got called back, though... so lets keep our fingers crossed.

The film has an interesting storyline, and the clips I've seen of the stuff that's already been edited to together look great. One of the most interesting things about the movie, though, is the style its shot in. Almost the entire film is in split-screen, with still photographs interspersed among the action. I think that this style is actually going to get the film a lot of attention on the festival circuit. Click here to see a finished clip... you'll see what I mean.

Trish auditioned for a film tentatively titled Recovery last weekend (a Playground Films project) that she felt really good about. She loves the script, and it'd be a great part for her. She got called back to read with another actor today (in fact, that's where she is now)... so we're keeping our fingers crossed on that end.

AND I've got an audition lined up for No Red Ribbons, a film by Gypsy Films that'll be shooting later this month. The character is described as a "Meat and Potatoes" kind of guy who's still fairly open-minded. Yeah... I think I can do that. I'll just have to leave my tea and crumpets in the car :) I'm taking off to read for that part here in a couple of hours.

Needless to say, there's a lot of stuff shooting here in Portland right now, and the grapevine suggests that even more will be coming up in the summer. Trish and I are both going to get new headshots taken by Owen Carey on Monday. I really need them, since my current shot doesn't really look much like me (especially with the new hair cut). Trish just got new headshots last year, but she's lost so much weight in recent months (close to 50 pounds now!) that her face has thinned out a bit. So... you gotta invest the cash to get the jobs (Owen's not cheap, but he is the best in town hands-down).

One last note from the film world... Patrick Kwan, one of the actors in the short film I shot last month, took some candid shots on the set while we were filming them. I posted a few in my MySpace "Pic's" section. Click the link, then click the "Pic's" link underneath the photo on the left-hand-side. Patrick's comment to me when he saw me in costume: "Are you Russian? Do you own a chop-shop?"

>> On The Theatre Side of things... Trish has had a very busy week hob-nobbing with Lanford Wilson. As those of you in Portland know, Profile Theatre has been doing his work all season. He came out to help develop a new version of his Obie-award-winning play Sympathetic Magic, and Trish was lucky enough to sit in on some rehearsals for the play. She says he's a real kick, and not someone who'd take well to fawning and piling-on-the praise. We're going to get a triple-shot of Lanford before he's finally out of our little burg - Trish is going to a lecture that he, Marshall Mason and a bunch of the Circle Rep veterans are putting on at PSU this afternoon, then tomorrow we're going to see a matinee performance of Redwood Curtain and an evening performance of Sympathetic Magic. It'll be a full weekend between that and auditions... but worth it.

I had a meeting yesterday afternoon with some folks from the OHSU Research department about doing another Standardized Patient project with them. This time I'll be testing the screening processes for clinical trials of new drugs that are awaiting FDA approval... no, I won't actually be getting the drugs. Instead, I'll come in as a "patient" and go through the screening process that normal applicants to these trials will go through. The goal is to identify problems in the process and give the staff of these clinics a kind of "dry run" through the intake of people who could use the medication.

This is yet another new department of OHSU that's beginning to use actors as part of their research and training process. I'm really hoping that the word spreads about our effectiveness as a training tool - already the School of Medicine at OHSU has started to recruit more actors for their standardized patient training sessions. It'd be nice if one of the city's largest institutions would start to utilize all the talent that's crawling the streets of Portland. It's a great gig for the actors, and I truly believe that we can be a valuable tool in teaching medical people to think about their patients as people and not just as symptoms.

On the horizon, rehearsals start Monday for a new musical about Eleanor Roosevelt that I'm helping a local playwright to develop, and Trish met with local actor and writer Ritah Parrish about developing a new one-woman show. More on those things as they shape up.

>>We had a great weekend with friends last weekend. Friday night our good friend Kate came over for dinner, and brought her westie Harriet to meet Baby and Buddy. We haven't spent time with Kate in close to 10 years, so it was really great to get re-connected to her... very very fulfilling. The dogs got along great too... once Baby had made it expressly clear to Hariet that the talking pig was HER toy, and not to be played with by guests!

Saturday Trish and I headed up to Seattle to visit our friends Walter and Beth. We got to see the closing night of their show La Bete at ArtsWest (Walter directed and Beth played one of the leads). Sunday we just hung out, and got to play with their 80 year old ivory and bamboo majohng set. It was a trip to play with something that old... you could almost feel the history reeking off it :)

>>We also picked up some "new" music while we were in Seattle. Across the street from ArtsWest was a great little used record store called Rubato Records. We got a couple of albums that tripped our interest.

kind of rolled the dice on the new Jason Mraz album called Mr. A-Z - I'd heard a little of Mraz's music on the way cross-country with Trish's brother Pete (he's got a live album that he just loves), but hadn't really sat down to listen closely to one of his albums. So, when I saw it at Rubato I figured what the heck. Boy am I glad I did!!! Not to wax rhapsodic or anything, but he's got a lovely, sweet voice, and his phrasing and stylings are unlike just about anyone else I've heard in contemporary music. The opening track, "Life is Wonderful" has stuck with me for days since the first hearing... and actually all the cuts on the album are full of life and very interesting musically. Check out his MySpace profile for some song samples, if you haven't already heard them.

We also got some Barry White, a Deep Forest album I hadn't heard, and this funny Average White Band album from the 80's. THE BIG SURPRISE of our music buying trip, however, came when we were getting ready to check out at the register. The clerk at Rubato Records put a new disk into the CD player about ten minutes before we got to the register, and we started grooving on a song we'd never heard called "One Trick Pony." By the time we'd reached the register we were sold! "Who is this??" we asked. "Oh," the clerk replied, "That's Nelly Furtado. She's from Victoria." Needless to say, she had to take the CD out of the player because we were confirmed Nellyphiles.

We grooved to the disk all the way down back to Portland. I'd heard "I'm Like A Bird" in the past, and thought that it was ok... kinda bubble-gummy, but she had a nice voice. Nothing from that single, though, could prepare us for the musical complexity and layers that we found on her second album Folklore. She even has interesting people playing on the disk, including Bela Fleck and the Chronos Quartet. If you get a chance, pick up this disk and give it a listen. It's fun, it's interesting, and it sticks in your head like a peanut butter and flypaper sandwich.

Well, that's it for now... I'd better get out back and mow the yard before my audition. Hope you're all doing well...