Trish and Harold's Weblog

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

Thursday, August 30, 2007

T-Minus 5 Days: Preparations Begin In Ernest

So, here we are, less than one week away. This time next week, Trish and I will be walking on foreign soil, conversing with people we've never met, and hoping we can drive down the road without being killed :)

It feels a little more "real" now... Lady Wasteland shooting is over, most of the fires have been put out on the day-job front, and I can really start to focus on the upcoming trip.

Tuesday Trish and I went to our local Triple-A office and got our International Driver's Permit (a surprisingly easy process... as long as you have a US driver's license, you just fill out a form and get your photo taken. No driving test, nothing). Our luggage is a bit worn, too, so we popped by Macy's and looked at some new luggage (holy crap that stuff is expensive!), and we went to get our hair cut at our favorite salon (hot climates will be much more comfortable with shorter hair).

Then we came home... and started to realize the enormity of what's coming. We need to pack, we need to be sure of the baggage weight restrictions on the airlines we're going to be flying (spent a lot of time looking at that today), we need to be sure a hundred little details are taken care of (like these little details)... and the excitement is starting to build.

Today we went out and actually bought new luggage (lets hear it for Macy's Labor Day sale! We actually saved hundreds of dollars on our new Pathfinder bags!) swim suits, and new walking shoes. All the pieces are in place... we just need to get our bags packed and get ready to take off on Tuesday!

So, with that, I thought I'd let the cat out of the bag a bit and let you know just where we're headed.

Tuesday September 4th, we head to Ireland. We're going to be taking off from Portland on American Airlines around 8:00 am, but due to a lay-over in Chicago (where we switch to Aer Lingus) and and the time difference, we're going to be arriving in Dublin at around 5:30am the following day (don't you just love that international date line?).

We've got a car reserved that we'll pick up at the airport... and then it's off to the Hillview House, a bed and breakfast in Lusk, which is right outside of Dublin.

After that, it's off to Dublin where we plan on visiting Trinity College, the Waterford Crystal factory, Dublin Castle, and of course... the Guinness Brewery!! One of the best things about being in Dublin, though, is going to be soaking up the music and poetry of the Dubliners walking down the street or conversing in the neighborhood pubs, seeing the art and statuary on the streets, and just being there.

Much Guinness will be consumed, as will Harp Lager, Irish whiskey, Irish stew, and corned beef and cabbage.

We're going to be in Ireland for five days, but we've only got reservations at the Hillview House for two nights. Our Travel Agent did a great job of building flexibility into our trip; she signed us up for an Avanti Destinations package that allows us to stay at any bed & breakfast in Ireland (that's in their network) with a simple call ahead on the day we're planning to visit. So, we're not locked into staying in Dublin all five days we'll be in Ireland. We can take our rental car down the left side of the road to Blarney Castle, Cork, Kilkenney, or wherever the wind takes us.

Got a suggestion for what we should see
or do while we're in
Dublin and Ireland?
Monday, September 10th we head back to the Dublin airport and board a Ryan Air flight for a brief trip across the water. we'll touch down in Frankfurt Germany and pick up a car, then it's onto the autobahn for four nights at the Backmulde Gashaus in Heidelberg.

Trish and I have both lived in Germany, so we're a little more familiar with that area than we'll be in any of the other countries we're visiting. In a way, visiting Germany is going to be like visiting a mutual friend. We both have fond memories of our time in that country, and of the German people. We'll see how much "survival German" we remember when we have to ask for directions :)

There are lots of things we're looking forward to in Germany, not the least of which is enjoying the food; good beer, curry wurst, schnitzel, sauerbratten, goulash, and, if I'm lucky, some erpsensuppe (German pea soup - more an autumn and winter dish than a summer dish, but I might be able to dig some up).

Heidelberg is a wonderful historic city, with one of the oldest universities in western Europe. We'll spend some time in the Heidelberg Cathedral and castle, and wandering across the bridge over the Neckar river. We're also hoping to take a day trip out to Neuschwanstein, King Ludwig II's fairytale castle (which looks oddly familiar to a lot of Americans).

Got a suggestion for what we should see
or do while we're in
Heidelberg and Germany?
Let us know!

On Friday, September 14 we'll take our rental car back to Frankfurt and board an Olympic Airlines flight for Athens. A lot of people have been asking us about the recent wildfires in Greece; we're hoping that they'll have them fully under control when we fly into that ancient city.

We'll take a taxi to our hotel in Athens and spend the day checking out a few sights - the Parthenon, the Theater of Dionysus (a must-see for us!), and the Agora... a day isn't much to see everything we want to see, but we have to catch a ferry in the morning to Paros, an island in the Cyclades. There we'll be spending six days in Anezina villiage.

Our time on Paros is going to be some of the most relaxing time we spend on the trip... Paros is a small island, not a tourist-oriented area (and it's very far away from the wildfires that recently scorched Greece). We plan on spending those six days laying around, popping down to the beach from time to time, and generally not hustling around from place-to-place.

Friday September 21st we'll take the ferry back to Athens and spend another evening there, wandering among the historical ruins and getting to know some of the hills the city is built on. We'll spend another evening in our hotel, and then it's back to the Athens airport...

Got a suggestion for what we should
see or do while we're in
Athens and The Cyclades?

Thursday, September 22nd we'll be back in the air on Olympic Airlines, headed to Italy. We'll land in Milan, and then pick up another rental car... then we'll drive down into Tuscany and park the car at the Residenza Mongolfiera in Florence.

We're really looking forward to spending time in Florence... as the birthplace of the Italian renaissance, it's got some of the greatest artistic treasures in Europe (at least from that period). Thankfully, the B&B we're staying at will rent bicycles to us so we don't have to drive into the city center to see Michaelangelo and Leonardo DaVinci's homes and workshops, The Academia, The Uffizi Pallace, and the Duomo.

We're also hoping to get a chance to drive out into the Tuscan countryside and see some of the landscapes that inspired that art. Tuscany is known for its vineyards and olive groves, it's sun-drenched fields and its rolling green hills. We're especially hoping that we can visit some small Tuscan villages get a peek into their day-to-day lives.

Of course, we're planning on eating well... our friend Lana Veenker mentioned a couple of places in Florence that she discovered when she went there last year, and she mentioned that the best places to eat (the places the locals go to) are on the south bank of the Arno river, away from the tourist areas around the Duomo and train station.

Got a suggestion for what we should
see or do while we're in
Florence and Italy?
Let us know!
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end... and frankly, our wallets are going to be happy that this trip isn't going to go on in perpetuity.
On Wednesday, September 26th we'll take our car back to the airport in Milan and board another Ryan Air flight back to Dublin. We'll stay the evening in the Clarion Hotel (located inside the Dublin airport), and then board an early morning Aer Lingus flight back to Chicago. There'll be another lay-over, then it's back home to Portland the evening of the 27th.
Whooooooo... so there you have it. Our whirlwind European vacation-to-be. It's just around the corner... now I've gotta get packed for it :)
We'll be bringing the laptops and digital camera... hopefully we'll get a chance to post some photos while we're there... unless we never get around to it, which is just as likely.
We'll try to keep in touch...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Great News

Hey guys

I'm working on a post with our entire European itinerary on it... started it last night by fell asleep before I could get it finished. Hopefully I'll get it done and posted this evening.

Wanted to let you know about a couple pieces of news, though... first off, Trish picked up our mail yesterday and found a check from our agent in it. It seems her Regence Blue Cross/ Blue Shield spot, currently playing in the Northwest region, is going national! People will now be seeing her face (and her big yellow dog) all over the country and on the internet (and, of course, she's going to get paid a bit more). Needless to say, we're pretty stoked!

And the other piece of good news doesn't actually concern us, since we're about to leave town for a month... but it's good for the rest of Portland! Check out Lana Veenker's blog.

Great stuff! Eric Nguyen, you better give them a buzz!

Monday, August 27, 2007

T-Minus 8 Days: Return From The Wasteland

This is how the world ends
This is how the world ends...

Hey folks... we wrapped shooting on my scenes in Lady Wasteland yesterday. It was an odd feeling taking my costume off for the last time and saying goodbye to everyone. I've spent the past couple months working intensely on this project; going over the lines, trying to tease details of the over-all story from Mark, dieting and working out... and almost every day this past week getting the scenes that will make this fantastic series come together on camera. And now I'm done.

It was incredibly odd waking up this morning and knowing that I didn't have to drive for an hour to some remote location, jump into my post-apocalyptic costume, and sit down in the makeup chair. My entire morning thus far has been a sort of fog... I don't know what to do with myself (never fear, though. My day-job clients are making sure I'm not bored. They just figured out I'm leaving in just over a week).

The people I've seen every day are, for the most part, still shooting (shooting for the entire first run of episodes wraps on Tuesday). Kyra and her mother have gone back to Eugene. And here I sit with my third cup of coffee starting the long wait as the post production team gears up to create episode one. It's a mix of fear, excitement... and a certain inner-void that I'm feeling.

Good think I've got stuff to keep me occupied... time to get packing for Europe. If I get home in time today Trish and I are heading to Triple-A to get an international driving permit. My parents and brother's family are coming down on Friday for my stepson Jesse's wedding, so we've go to get the house in shape.

Still... I find myself drawn back to the wilderness... and the Wasteland.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

T-Minus 9 Days - Notes From The Wasteland

Hey folks

I haven't been keeping up with my blog much of late... Today is my final day of shooting on Lady Wasteland, and I thought I'd take a second before heading to the set to upload the notes I've been keeping on my Treo. Then I've got to get my butt in gear and get back to the set.

Tuesday, August 21st Here we are on the first day of filming Lady Wasteland, the new action-adventure web series I'm working on. Director/ Producer Mark Roush is keeping a lid on any early information about the series, so I can't tell you much about what I'm filming, but I'm going to keep notes on the shoot itself (leaving out the juicy details that might give too much away).

I arrived at our first location this morning in Timber, OR. The location is fabulous - out in the wilderness with old, decayed buildings. Finding it was a little tricky; I actually passed the turn-off, had to call our Assistant Director, and double-back to find base camp.

Mark's arranged a really good base of operations here in Timber; we've got an RV with running water, power, and a bathroom, tents, and lots of room to spread out. The crew is fantastic - our DP Russ Eaton has a great communication style with Mark, and everyone works really well together.

After rehearsing these scenes over the past month it's great to be on set and shooting them. Mark knows exactly what he wants, and works patiently with the actors until he gets it. He's especially good with our young actor, Kyra Walters. He knows when to let her play a little on set, when to joke with her, and how to get serious with her and bring her back to the business at hand. It's been a real education to see how he works with her.

It's also been great to be on set with Richard Topping, a gent I've had passing acquaintance with over the years but have never worked with. He's as generous on set as he is when you meet him in "real" life.

We wrapped around 7 tonight, and I made the drive home. I'm really excited about the week ahead.

Thursday, August 23rd A truism in the film acting field: You need to hurry up and wait. A lot. It's just the way of things - there are a lot of details the director and crew need to get worked out before the actors do their jobs, and depending on the angle the camera is shooting at and the amount of gear that needs to be set up you might not be needed on set for hours. Today is one of those days.

I got to the set around 8 and hurried into costume and makeup so that Kyra and I could be in one of the the first shots of the day (a reverse angle of something we shot Tuesday). Then we went back to base camp with the RV and tents and waited until we were called again... for a few hours. No big deal, though. I get to hang with our costumer Martha Hines and catch up with Crystal Shade and Christina Walker, two makeup artists working on this shoot who I got to know on the set of Dark Horizon. And I got to be somewhat cool while I waited and eat some great food (our AD's daughter Sierra Funk has been doing Craft Services on the shoot and has put together some fabulous food).

After lunch Kyra and I were driven up to a ridge to shoot a scene. We got up to our location and got set up for the scene. At that point in the day, however, the light was starting to fade. Mark decided that he didn't want to rush the scene for the sake of getting it done before the light was done, so we postponed it until another day. My respect for Mark's direction, which was already high, grows with every day. He knows exactly what he wants to see in the final product, and he makes the decisions that will give him the best results. I'm really loving working with him.

The last shot of the day didn't require much acting on my part - they only needed my boot for an effects shot. When the episode is finally "broadcast" on the Internet, you'll see why they needed it (assuming the shot doesn't get cut in the final editing process - you never know what's going to make it in). I drove home in the dark feeling very happy about the day... even though I sat around a lot, I'm really happy to be part of this project. I can tell it's going to be great just by seeing the way Mark and Russ are shooting the scenes.

Friday, August 24th A new location today. We've moved from Timber to a location just outside Vernonia. This location is just astounding - Mark had shown me photos while we were rehearsing, but I had no idea of the scale until I actually got there. I wish I could tell you more... but you're just going to have to wait until the final series is webcast to see for yourself.

An earlier call, too... I was called at 7:00am, but the hour-and-a-half drive (plus my habit of getting up a couple of hours early so I can caffenate and get my brain back in my head) meant I had to get up at 3:30am.

This was a pretty hard day on my physically. Mark wanted to me "get lean" before we started shooting (for some reason he doesn't think post-apocalyptic survivors have pot-bellies. I'm not sure what he's thinking... but hey, it's his vision, right? :) ), so I've been spending the past few weeks in the gym taking off the pounds and firming up. After today's shoot I'm glad I did.

There's a lot of action in the scene we shot today, including (but not limited to) crouching, running, and swinging things at other "people" (all supervised by Douglas Bailey, a fantastic fight choreographer. It was great to get the opportunity to work with him). Now I've done a lot of stage combat, but film combat can be a bit more strenuous. Unlike a choreographed stage fight, which goes from start-to-finish, film combat is broken up into small pieces (which you'd think would be easier) which are repeated multiple times so the editor has lots of stuff to cut together. That repetition and focusing on small movements can be taxing; instead of crouching from left to right once, for instance, you can crouch from left to right about 18 times. Then do it again from a different angle.

I think that I gave Mark some good stuff to put together in the final product, though... if he fills the screen with Batman-style "Biffs" and "Pows" when I'm in action, you'll know that I dropped the ball :)

I got to leave a bit earlier today, since the crew had another scene to film after Kyra and I were done. It was nice to get home before 9pm for a change... but I wasn't awake for long!

Saturday, August 25th Remember a couple days ago when I talked about the "hurry up and wait" nature of filmmaking? Not much of that today... the only scenes being filmed involved Kyra and I, so we were on set for most of the day (except for the time the crew was taking to get set up).

I got to the new location in Yoder (near Canby) early... VERY early. There was an error when the call sheet was generated, and I was called to location 15 minutes before the crew arrived. It was a nice opportunity to see the location, though, and talk to the guy who owns the property. We're shooting on a 100 year old + farm that has been in his wife's family the entire time. You can see the original farm house as you drive up to the property. It's a big plot of land, too... he's got his own airstrip, and he rents an area out for other people to farm on.

Like I say, today was all Kyra and I. I can't tell you anything about the scenes we were filming, but they're key to our evolving story... whatever that is (I don't even know the full scope of our story. Mark is being very closed-mouthed about the details). The Yoder location was a great place to shoot, though... we utilized a lot of areas on the property, and even moved next door to an... odoriferous location for the final shots of the day.

The main challenges of the day were the sun (which was very bright and hot - Kyra and I had to be covered with umbrellas in between shots so we didn't burn and screw up the makeup department's continuity) and the number of planes flying overhead. I'm expecting to have a lot of ADR to do when I get back in October.

So... that's what I've been doing for the past week... it's been an adventure, and hopefully I'm giving Mark some good stuff to put together into the final series. The word at this point is that the first episode should be ready for webcasting in late October or Early November... I'll let you know when I can tell you more.

Have to get on the road to my final day of shooting... hope you're all doing well!


Saturday, August 25, 2007

T-Minus 10 Days - Screening News

Hey folks

I've got just a couple of minutes before I get cleaned up and on my way to location... wanted to let you know, though, that a short film I appear in is going to screened at the SoCal Independent Film Festival. How To Breathe will be shown on September 9th at 3:15pm - if you're down near Huntington Beach California, check it out!

Off to set...


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

T-Minus 14 Days - NEXT YEAR'S Vacation...

Hey guys

I'm up early this morning getting ready for my first days shooting of Lady Wasteland. Not the worst call time in the world - I don't have to be on-set until 8:15am. I got to sleep in all the way 'til 5:30! Woo Hoo!!

As I was going through my email this morning I came across this message from my old college chum Jeff Seastone from the University of Alaska, Anchorage theater department:


June 22nd, 23rd, 24th 2008 Anchorage, AK

Hello long lost theatre people! This is Jeff Seastone, UAA alumni 1986-1993.Bostin Christopher and I are putting together a UAA reunion. We've started a Google Groups website for everyoneto gather and exchange info. Cut & paste the link below and go
sign up.

We are sending this to everyone we have in our e-mail lists.Please forward this e-mail to everyone you know who went to UAA. More information will be coming as we get an idea of how many people are interested in participating. We will be updating the Google Groups site as information comes in. This is going to be alot of fun! It's been 20 years for some of us. I look forward to seeing how all of you have changed.... YES! I
still have all my hair! NOW GO SIGN UP!


So come on, all you UAA alums! Make your travel plans for next year! I'll be there...

Friday, August 17, 2007

T Minus 17 Days: Exhaustion, Inebriation, Edification & Elation

Hey folks

It's my one day off this week... I've been working like a dog all week on various Munin projects (check the Pages link for some new web sites I've put together) and rehearsing for Lady Wasteland which starts shooting next week. Just about every waking hour has been spent on the phone, in front of the computer, or on the road.

This is pretty much my one day off. I should by helping Trish and our friend Jackson work out in the front yard (as I mentioned in my last post, Trish is completely renovating the front of the house), but instead I'm relaxing in the back yard with some coffee, my laptop, and a little music streaming over our home network (getting over the exhaustion, you know...)

As much as this week was dedicated to all the work I have to get done before we take off to Europe, some fun stuff happened...

First the inebriation... As most of you know, we've been working with a financial advisor named Andy Pollack for the past few years. He's helped us get a solid financial footing, guided us through a few major real estate transactions, and generally get ourselves a firm financial footing for the years ahead (if you haven't gotten it yet, I'd strongly recommend his services to anyone).

There are other benefits to working with Andy... a few times every year he organizes little social events for his clients. Now, from a completely mercenary standpoint, these events help him stay in business... his clients get to re-connect with him in a non-stressful financially-oriented environment, and if his clients whould happen to bring some guests who might be in need of financial advice... well, he won't turn that down either.

That being said, Andy's little outings are a blast. He does vineyard tours, dinners at fancy restaurants, and all kinds of fun stuff. Trish and my wacky theatrical schedule usually precludes us participating in these events, much to his chagrin. He contacted us a couple of weeks ago to tell us that his latest outing would be a tour of Portland microbreweries on the Portland Brew Bus. I technically had that night off, but I really shouldn't have gone out. I had way too much work to do... Trish prodded me to take the night off, though. She wasn't up to going on the tour (her stomach doesn't deal with alchohol too well), but she thought it'd be good for me.

And hey, I am in training for Europe. Europeans drink a hell of a lot of wine and beer in their daily lives... so, I figured I need to get my liver in shape. Don't want to be an "ugly American" complaining that I can't drink the water, right?

Well, the evening was a lot more beer-soaked than I expected... we left Andy's office at around 6pm and didn't get back until 11pm. In the intervening time, we visited four micro-breweries (including the Bridgeport Brewery, which we got to tour) and drank a whole HELL of a lot of beer. Andy actually had to sit with me in his office parking lot after we got back so I could sober up enough to drive.

The Brew Bus tour is a blast, though. The guide, Rich, is a really interesting guy; he's written a couple of books on Oregon History and even worked for Carter administration in the seventies. He's got a wealth of knowledge about Portland and beer history that he shares on the bus in between breweries... and of course, he has really good taste in beer. I'd really recommend it to anyone who's interested in beer, Portland history, or just going out and having a good time exploring our little town.

A couple of the many things I learned on the tour:

  • Portland has the most breweries of any city in the world.
  • Portland had the longest continually operating commercial brewery in the United States. The Henry Wienhard brewery had that honor until Miller bough the company a few years back.
  • The origins of the name India Pale Ale have been a subject of conversation for many years... the cellarmaster at the Bridgeport Brewery finally told me where it comes from. When the British were colonizing India they gave their soldiers a beer ration. The barrels of beer would spoil, however, when they were sent by ship to India. So, British brewers changed their pale ale formula to include more hops (a preservative), to keep the beer fresh on the trip over. Hence India Pale Ale, which uses that same hoppy formula.
  • The Bridgeport Brewery is the oldest microbrewery in Portland. The tour fas fascinating... they rent their building in Northwest Portland, and were forced by new ordinances to either leave or bring it up to new earthquake codes. They chose to shut down operations for 14 months to make the changes to their building (which dates back to 1885), losing that revenue and on their own dime.
  • They're also a completely green, self-sustaining operation. Everything there gets recycled, including the water. They have an on-site water treatment plant, and they recycle all their grains into baked goods.
  • The equivelent of 10 glasses of craft-bewed beer really messes Harold up :)

On Thursday, Trish and I went to the screening for my 48 Hour Film Competition entry. We were both really tired, but it was very edifying (eh? EH? I can get all those six dollar words from the title in... you just watch me!) to see the results of all the hard work the crew put in over the weekend (I would say "I put in..." but really, my part was a fraction of the work the rest of the team put in. I was done with my bit after about seven hours - Scott and the rest of the crew had to keep on pushing to get the film edited, scored, and finished).

The crowd at the Hollywood Theater was huge - keep in mind that my film was in the fourth group screened for audiences. While a lot of people in the audience had films in the competition, many were just interested moviegoers who wanted to see the scope of what local filmmakers could do in the span of 48 hours.

Secret Identity Crisis, the film I was in, was screened first because the team didn't get it in by the 7pm deadline on Sunday (Scott almost made it, but he had some problems with getting the finished film exported to a DVD). It was a hoot - my part in the film is pretty small (I get saved by the Superhero "Solarman,"), but it was fun to see myself in the campy role of "Innocent Bystander 2." The other actors did a great job filling their roles... and honestly, of the films we saw, ours was one of the better ones.

Of course, Trish and I didn't make it through the whole showing. We were both exhausted from the week up-til then. We really started to droop about half-way through, and decided it'd be better to just go home rather than fall asleep in our seats. It was quite the experience, though... from the shooting to the showing. I got to meet and work with some great people - and I hope I get to bump into them again on-set.

If you didn't see the film, you might try to go by the Hollywood Theatre on Thursday. They're having a "Best of Portland" show that night. I don't know if my film is going to be in the showing (and I'll be shooting Lady Wasteland out in the wilds of Oregon, so I can't go), but it'll be worth going to see the films that do make it. Also, some time in the near future the film is going to posted on, the 48 Hour Film Project's new web site. Check it out in a month or so... and you can see me in all my goofy glory.

Finally, we got some great news on Friday (you might say we were... elated? Eh? EH???). Our travel agent sent us an email saying that the bed and breakfast we'd wanted to stay in while in Italy just wasn't getting back to us. She gave us some other options, and in about 24 hours the hotel we picked from her new list confirmed our reservation. So, everything's set for the trip... other than the packing and other stuff we have to do on our end to get ready. Now that we've got eveything confirmed, I'll try to post the whole itenerary in the next couple of days.

So, that's what's been going on with us... I think I'm going to stay mellow for the rest of the day. Maybe take a little visit to Azaeroth, go for a ride... might as well enjoy my day off while it's here.

Hope you're all doing well... I'll post more soon.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

T Minus 20 Days - The Preparations Begin...

Well, no, "the preparations" have been ongoing for quite a while now. This is just the first chance I've had to post anything of substance about our pre-Europe break life. We're currently 20 days away from getting on that plane, and I figured I'd bring you all up to speed on what's been going on.

The Itinerary for our little jaunt is still being finalized... Which is a little nerve wracking, to be honest... like I say, 21 days!!

We know where we're going (Ireland, Germany, Greece and Italy), how we're getting there (thank you Ryan Air!), and when we'll be there... but there's been some problems with the accommodations. Our travel agent was having a hard time connecting with the hotel we were planning to stay at in Germany... they finally got back to her today. We still haven't heard back from the bed and breakfast we want to stay at in Italy. If they don't get back to us tomorrow, we're going to have to look at other options... which isn't exactly where we want to be at this point.

Sigh...once everything is finalized I'll post all the details. I just hope I get to do it soon!

This past weekend I participated in the 48 Hour Film Festival... I've known lots of people who've been on 48 Hour teams over the past couple of years, and figured it would be an experience.
Man, was it an experience.

For those of you who don't know how this works, the 48 Hour Film Festival is sort of an "Iron Man" competition for filmmakers. The teams have 48 hours to write, shoot, and edit and complete an entire short film. To make matters more interesting, the 48 Hour Film Committee selects the genre for the team's film, and gives them a prop, character, and line of dialogue that must appear in the film.

The competition started at 7:00 PM on Friday. Our director, Scott Cummins, and one of the writers went to the opening ceremony at Portland's Jupiter Hotel while the rest of the team gathered at the Kennedy School, waiting to hear what the genre and other details were going to be. Showed up at about 7:30 and announced that we were to produce a Superhero film, which had to include a balloon, a character named Roy or Rachel Schwarz (a quality control expert), and the line "Do you smell what I smell?"

Whoo... a couple of hours passed at the Kennedy School while we brainstormed ideas for the script. Then well all broke up so Scott and the writers could actually put together a script. The actors were told that call time would be 7:30am - but we didn't know as yet where our set was going to be (Scott had reserved three locations; a night club, a house, and an office. It would be one of those three). I went to bed with the cell phone by my pillow and my alarm clock set.

5:00am Saturday rolled around and I was up like a shot. Scott had left me a message saying that the shoot was going to start at the night club. I checked my email and, sure enough, there was a script waiting there called "Secret Identity Crisis." I printed it off and read through it as I sipped my morning coffee, then hit the road.

Of course, even the most meticulously planned shoot has several things that can go awry, and when you've only got 48 hours to do an entire film, the pressure's on. The first challenge we encountered was the location - the owner of the nightclub didn't show up to let us in. Scott quickly changed gears and moved us up to Portland's South Park Blocks for the big superhero battle between "Solar Man" and "Ice Meister." As the crew was setting up shots (and racing the rapidly rising sun), Scott handed out the roles to the cast.

No superhero part for me... I got one of the "Innocent Bystander" parts. I'll have a moment in the completed film where Solarman saves my friend and I from an ice blast.

So... my co-innocent bystander and I waited while Solarman and Icemaster battled it out. By 11:30 Scott and the crew were ready to shoot our part. It took about an hour to shoot what will end up being 15 seconds in the final product. Once we were done, we moved to the (now open) nightclub.

I changed clothes so I could be a nightclub patron for that scene... I was at the night club from about 12:30 to 5:30 shooting a scene between the two main characters. Once that scene was done I bid the crew adieu... I got off easy. They were there until at least 11 pm.

Sunday I kept an eye on my email and my cell phone in case Scott needed me to do any ADR (doubtful, since I only had one line). No call came, though, so I got to relax a bit on Sunday... which is more than I can say for the post-production crew who were busily cutting the film together and adding in special effects. I got an email from Scott at about 10 that evening saying that they couldn't get the film done in time for the 7:00pm deadline. They did get it completed in time to have it shown, however. So, "Secret Identity Crisis" won't be entered in the international competition, but it will be shown at the Hollywood Theater Thursday at 9:45 pm. Come on out and see the results of our craziness. I'll be there to see my one line, to be sure.

If you're coming, you might want to click here and buy advance tickets, though... with 14 teams in our group, the showing might very well sell out.

One of the great things about doing the 48 Hour Film Competition was getting to work with my buddy Kyle Vahan. Kyle and I have gotten to know each other a bit this past year by auditioning together, and shooting a commercial for Grover Electric and Plumbing Supply. That spot is now playing in Southwest Washington on the area's cable stations... keep an eye out if you live in Vancouver, Chehalis, Long View, etc... It's getting a lot of play during football games, so if you're a football fan keep an eye out for the "Soaking Wet" guy (Kyle) and the "Frizzed Guy" (Me... you'll understand when you see the spot).

In November the spot will start playing throughout the Northwest on the Comcast's Trailblazers Cable Network. So, if you're more of a basketball fan you'll be able to see it during Blazers games throughout the season.

Of course, many of you don't have cable, and even if you do you may not live in the Pacific Northwest. No worries... a copy of the spot is on its way to me from the producer. Once I get it I'll post it on in the Video section, and you'll get to see it there. I'm looking forward to seeing it myself... I don't live in Southwest Washington or watch football, so I haven't gotten a chance to see the commercial myself. I'm pretty sure it'll be a funny spot, though.

We're getting very close to shooting the first six episodes of Lady Wasteland, the new web series I'm in. Director/ Producer Mark Roush knows what a blabbermouth I am, especially here on the blog, so he's sworn me to secrecy on the details of the project. All I'm allowed to tell you about it is that it's a "Post-Apocalyptic action/adventure webisode series." I'm gonna break the rules, though, and tell you one more thing - it's gonna be AWESOME!!!

I've been rehearsing with Mark and the rest of the cast off-and-on over the past few weeks. The writing for each episode is really intense, and Mark runs a very tight ship - he knows exactly what he wants and communicates it to everyone involved without stomping on their input. The costumes rule, too; we shot some publicity photos a couple weeks ago (sorry, can't show any of them to you yet... once Mark gives the go-ahead, though, you'll see them), and it was amazing to put on those clothes.

Given the post-apocalyptic setting of the series, I've been spending a lot of time at the gym over the past couple of weeks, and biking on the non-gym days (it's a funny thing about survivors in a post-apocalyptic landscape; they generally don't look too well-fed :) ). It's been a great excuse to get back into shape (I've lost about six pounds in the past couple of weeks)... but man I'm looking forward to eating good when I get to Europe.

We start shooting next week, after a kick-off barbecue at Mark's house. The locations are all accessable from the Portland-area, so I should be able to make some posts during filming... I just don't know what I'll be able to post :)

I don't usually write about my day job as a computer consultant here on the blog... I figure that most of you are more interested in the theatrical portion of my life than what I do for supplementary income.

I often joke that my computer business is a "Beast or Famine" business... and lately it's been much more beast than famine. I've learned that the best way to ensure that you're going to need a vacation... Is to tell people you're going on vacation. EVERYONE seems to want me to do stuff for them before I head out for Europe... and not just little projects. Big projects like setting up servers and designing entire web sites. This is making life a bit tough around Casa De Trish and Harold... it seems that every waking moment is spent in front of my computer or at someone else's office. Add the time constraints of next week's shoot schedule and the fact that I've got to pack for Europe... some time... and I'm really feeling like that guy in the photo to the left. I'm hoping that as I put out fires in one area more aren't going to crop up in another, but that's the problem with being "Mr Solve-it -" when problems crop up people expect you to jump to it and fix them.

Trish has been busy in these days leading up to our departure as well... while I'm spending every day on the road going from office to office, she's been at home supervising doing some pretty major renovation. Earlier this month Zane Palmer, an actor and contractor here in Portland, rebuilt our back fence and built a deck in our back yard. Trish has spent the past couple of weeks transforming our front yard with the help of our friends Tall Matt, Static and Jackson; she's dug up a large portion in front of our bedroom window and removed a lot of underbrush. She's also laid down new topsoil and bark dust along the driveway and the walk-way leading up to our front door. I hardly recognize the place.
As I write this she's working with people from 1-800-Got-Junk on one hand to get rid of the massive amounts of debris that have piled up, and Hedgehog Tree Service on the other hand, getting some of the trees that have overgrown our new fence trimmed back. Incidentally, I'd highly recommend these two companies... they've always treated us great, and they're very affordable.
She's not done, either... she's got plans for the back yard as well. Once everything's done we'll try to post some before-and-after photos.

Needless to say, there's been precious little time for blogging. It'll get better... somewhere around September 4th when I'm getting on that plane to Europe... :) For now, though, I'd better assume my role as Atlas and get that globe back on my shoulder. I'll try to post more when I can...

Hope you're all doing well...


Monday, August 13, 2007

T Minus 22 Days: Something Light

Hey folks

We're getting close to Trish and my take-off to Europe... the clock is ticking! I've been swamped with trip prep, getting my day-job clients taken care of, and a couple of acting projects (I'm prepping a longer, more involved post about that which will hopefully go up tomorrow... hopefully...), but I got something in my inbox today that I thought I'd share with you. It's a hoot!

More soon!


How does the small arrow on your computer monitor work when we move the mouse? Haven't you ever wondered how it works?

Now, through the miracle of high technology, we can see how it is done. With the aid of a screen magnifying lens, the mechanism becomes apparent. Click on the link below and you will find out.

The image may take a minute or two to download and when it appears, slowly move your mouse over the light gray circle and you will see how the magic works. Be sure and move your mouse around. Stop it in the middle of the screen as well & click -

Follow this link and find out the truth: