Mental Flotsam, Mental Jetsam

Because the only thing that beats going crazy is going crazy with somebody else

Thursday, March 30, 2006

*Clears Throat*

Folks, something has happened that is too good not to share, but too big to jinx by giving away all the details imaginable. So I’m going to tell you what I can, and we can go from there. I’ve been fitting to burst for the last 36 hours, anyway.

I’ve been invited to an audition in New York City. For a mainline Saturday Morning Cartoon. I am. Not. Kidding.

The role is likely a bad-guy-of-the-week. I don’t care if he/she/it has one line or two dozen, it’s a Saturday Morning Cartoon. It’s my foot in the door. And what a door.

I’m taking a train up to the Big Apple early tomorrow morning, doing my thing, and getting back with time to spare for Assassins tomorrow night. Leta and David recommended I plunk down the extra tax-deductible bucks and take Acela, a subsidiary of Amtrak that runs faster, more dependably. That works for me.

As this has been ‘sinking in’, I’ve gotten somewhat anxious. It is one heck of an opportunity. My Aunt Riggin wisely pointed out there’s no downside here, so I should just try to relax. It isn’t happening yet; the relaxing.

Regardless. Keep your fingers crossed for tomorrow, folks. I’m goin’ up North.


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Well, Shoot.

Curses. Blast. Dang.

I need some demo cd's by Friday. I thought I could do it from here. I was wrong.

For some reason, every attempt to print up a super-swank label produces just a flat, not-quite-finished picture that is, frankly, not good enough.

I can still burn my demo's, but the labels... Shoot. I can whip something up that'll do in a pinch, but I fear it won't be nearly as neat-looking.

Better luck next time, eh?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I *Like* It

I'm all for quotes. Clever things said by intelligent people, or memorable things muttered my nincompoops. This one, from Helen Rowland, is thankfully in the former category.

"A good woman inspires a man; a brilliant woman interests him; a beautiful woman fascinates him; and a sympathetic woman gets him."


Not Quite An Evil Plague, But Growing Nonetheless

This afternoon, I secured the services of a Colorist. This is what it was like two years ago; finding the talent and convincing 'em to join Team... Jones, I suppose.

Nothing against my last effort, but I am confident that this time around; things could be different. Their work as individuals is dynamite. Time to put 'em together and light the fuse.

In two weeks (when his calendar opens up), my penciller is going to have some character sketches for me, the next step in this wonderful little endeavor. I'm going to be spending that same time polishing up the script of issue #1. My main goals?

A) Not repeat the same mistakes I made last time, regarding plot structure and having "too much going on" at once. (I can think of two alterations toward that end, already.) Take a little more time to say a bit less.

B) Find brand new mistakes to make. *shrug*

C) Write something I'd want to read, something that would leave a positive impression.

D) Accept the fact, up front, that it won't be perfect. Doesn't mean I can't make it every bit as good as possible, though.

E) ... I got nothin'. Yet.

In any case. Progress is being made. More to follow, folks.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Woot! Ker-Ching. BAM.

Forgive the onomatopoeia. It’s been a good day.

I got some good work done today on transcription job #2. I’ve also secured the services of a penciller who will do his own inking on Comic Book Project #2 (having nothing, repeat nothing to do with vamps or the namesake of the blog). Hence the Woot.

I got my taxes taken care of, and can expect a nice lil’ return from state and federal. Hooray for showbiz deductions. Hence the Ker-Ching.

As for the BAM. I got a message from an agency, asking me to send in demo mp3s ASAP on a possible car commercial. Doing… cartoon voices. Thanks to Audacity software, I’ve already got them recorded and sent off. Hence the BAM.

I’m going to see what else I can get done on the transcribing before I go for my walk.

It’s been a good, good day.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

No Good Way To Finish That Sentence

In effort to lighten the mood around here: Saturday during the day, I was having an early dinner in town. Sure enough, a small gaggle of Girl Scouts (with their mothers) were dutifully selling cookies on a brisk afternoon. I bought a box for the cast, and got to the show.

Ryan, our cast's resident 11 year old, saw the cookies on the table.

"Ya missed a button, kid." His shirt wasn't made up quite right, and Nicole knelt down to fix him up. She starts laughing.

"What's so funny?" I asked. Nicole explained that Ryan claimed that I liked the girls, and not the cookies. Wow. Blink. Blink.

"Big words, coming from someone being dressed by a lady twice his age."

Nicole looked at me and defended, "I'm not dressing him, I'm und-- never mind."

Couldn't stop laughing for nearly a minute.

That was good.

What A Revoltin' Development

Another weekend wraps up, and this one was one for the records. In not entirely good ways.

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday’s shows were good-- very good. A panic attack threw a monkey wrench into the gears last night (ten minutes before the show, no less); but it didn’t stop me from doing my best. We still turned out one hell of a show to our biggest crowd yet.

I cannot define how frustrating these attacks are. Especially when they get in the way of things I enjoy; let alone work that requires my undivided attention and full energy. Short of trying my best to actively deal with the stressors I think are contributing to them, I don’t know what to do. (Medication isn’t gonna happen. I’m really not interested.)

* * *
One thing about writing these things is deciding what goes in, and what gets left out. I had an experience Saturday afternoon that I would love to describe with detail, but decency prevents me. If you don’t have anything nice to say…
* * *

In other news more fit to print, I showed a friend my latest script. I asked his opinion of it, and he gave it to me. His remarks were frank, constructive, and completely ripped the script a new one.

It was well-deserved. It’s possible to lose perspective (and objectivity) on your own writing; which is why going to others for input is such an important part of the process. He was kind enough to ask up front what kind of feedback I was looking for: Generalities, High Points, or the Full Opinion. I asked him to lay it on me. He pointed out several things that, in hindsight, were 100% on the money.

I try not to shoot the messenger, and do what I can to accept the remarks in the helpful vein they were intended. I think I’m doing okay, there. Thank you, Jeff.

I had a great day today; and spent some quality movie-time with my brother this afternoon. Regardless, I’ve been in a funk since the attack last night. My big hope tonight is that throwing myself into some work will air out the gray cells and let me focus on what’s truly important, here.

Ciao, folks. More to follow.


Saturday, March 25, 2006

Tonight, Tonight, Won't Be Just Any Night

Show #6 of Assassins is going to be a good one, tonight. (Well. They've all been good. But, you know.) The house is completely. Sold. Out. They're adding seats to increase capacity. BAM.

Oh, and for Steve: I was crooning ala Byck before warm-ups, which admittedly sounded awful. Andrea started singing like a basset hound. I looked at her and asked, "So I start a tune and dogs wanna burst into song, is that it?"

From out of nowhere, Steve chimes in: "Nuh-uh. Flames."

OW. He's not wrong, but still. Nicely done, Mr. Yednock. Nice.

Too Much Buzz... Add More Snakes

For cryin' out loud... The latest news that's barely fit to print brings us this.

They're going back to re-shoot Snakes on a Plane. Thanks to the quality satires like the one linked to below, the powers that be have put Samuel L. Jackson back on the plane to raise the stakes for an R-Rated flick. (In this case, the R is for Retarded.)

More violence, more language, and you've got it, more snakes.

The fact that this spoof includes the line "I need more snakes" is just too good.


Friday, March 24, 2006

Take. The. Hint.

*sighs* You know, I consider myself a relatively patient person. One peeve, however, is the need to repeat myself to people who don't listen.

One of my bosses at work has been getting phone calls from a magazine company, looking to renew his subscription. He isn't interested.

"Hello, is Mr. Xxxxxxxx in?"

"I'm afraid he's in a meeting. May I take a message?"

"Is his secretary or assistant there that I can speak with?" (Strike one. I answered his phone! Who else would I be??)

"... Speaking."

"I'm with blahdy blah Magazine, and was curious to see if Mr.--" (Strikes two & three. You're out.)

"He isn't interested. This is the third or fourth time I've said this. Please stop calling."

... As I'm hanging up the phone, I hear her squeak a hesitant "Thank you" that frankly, didn't sound all that sincere anyway.



Last night, we reached the half-way mark in our performances of Assassins. I couldn't be happier with the way the show has gone so far.

And? I'm amused by the single most-recurring comment I've gotten from viewers of the show: "Scary."

Diego's mother has seen the show a number of times, and eats it up every time. Friends of castmates give me that wary "He's not really batshit, is he?" look before we make introductions. Even people who've known me for years have been unnerved when they saw me as Byck. "Scary."

...I like that. I do. Sammy is not a well man. If my turn as Father Christmas-gone-wrong is making people a bit uncomfortable, great. It means I'm doing my job. And if I can radiate a little unhinged fury while I'm at it, swell.

Five down, five to go. Tickets are still available, folks. Get 'em while they're hot.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Truly Outstanding

Once in a while-- every once in a great while-- Hollywood manages to... well. Words fail me. I'll let the movie title speak for itself.

Snakes On A Plane. Starring Samuel L. Jackson.

Snakes. On A Plane. Starring Samuel Freaking L. Jackson. I swear to God I am not making this up.

But I know the guys that made up
this. Thanks to the modern age we live in, sheer geniuses were able to produce a phenomenal satire to a movie that won't hit theatres (or rather, smack them up) until August. The first time I heard it, I laughed until I cried. 'Til I cried.

If you're reading this, then we have at least some things in common, sense-of-humor-wise. Believe me when I say you will laugh your God Damned ass off.

Tragically, not safe for work. But totally worth it.

Go. Go now.

Tethered For A Reason...

Folks, coming from the too-good-not-to-share department, we have a story from Amanda this morning.

Evidently lack of O2 can affect one's hearing. Who knew?

Walking with one of her patients this morning, she wanted to adjust his oxygen intake. First she asked him to stop walking. Nothin'.

"Stop!" She insists. Nada; on he plods. Everyone else in earshot comes to a halt, of course, including nurses and other patients, as hers is a tone that commands respect (snerk); but this guy's on a roll. Not stoppin' for nothin'.

Finally she tugs on his safety belt, which actually manages to snag his attention (along with the rest of him). "Did you say something?" he innocently asks.

I just have this image in my head of her playing tug o' war with a patient twice her size, using half his gown as the rope. That's good stuff, right there.



I reveal last night's valourous venture in visiting the videomat was in vain. I vacillated, finally voting not to vitiate my duties; vis a vis my verbal vocation. I value Heather's vigor in vouching for V For Vendetta, yet my verdict valiantly prevailed toward the validity of my work. Vouchsafe, the verisimilitude of this vent should vocalize its own voice. Voila.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Another Night Off

It so happens that various plans, being flexible as they are, have left me with nothing planned for the night. No rehearsal, no auditions, no plans.

I scarcely know what to do with myself.

I enjoy being busy; having things to focus on. They beat the alternative; a complete lack of things to do. So! Why not an update on things in general...

I'm giving serious thought to writing another comic book, one that I will seek to publish through one of the labels I applied for last year. Different story, different genre, with hopefully a better penciller at the helm. Couldn't hurt.

My day job pretty much concludes in another eight business days. With no definitive plans in line save for some promising freelance writing work (and various V.O. gigs), I'm feeling pretty damned good about it. We'll see where those feelings are, come April.

* * *
It occurred to me a few minutes ago that I've had only three panic attacks since November. For each one, I had someone to talk me through them. I don't know if you can know what it means-- They come out of nowhere, they last as long as they last, and during them, having someone standing next to you or on the phone to grant some focus is a very good thing. McCall, Amanda, Jaclyn: Thank you.
* * *
I hope you all have a terrific evening; off, on, or otherwise. I see laundry folding in my immediate future, along with some fiddling around with freelance work and if I play my cards right, V For Vendetta. Rock on.

Whoah, Whoah, STOP.

Folks, despite the fact that I have managed to loosen up somewhat over the past few years and generally be a more relaxed guy, there are still things that I take fairly seriously. When those issues / views / whatnot are rubbed the wrong way, it still gets stuck in my craw.

Things like this. Scroll all the way down. Alan Moore, creative mind behind V for Vendetta and too many other modern classic comics to count, wants his name stricken from any association with the new movie of the same name.

I can completely understand where he’s coming from. Completely. (I have yet to see the flick, but it’s on my list.) That’s not what I’m ticked about, here. No no.

They call Moore a cartoonist.

They call Alan Moore a GD cartoonist.

Moore is one of, if not the most respected writer in comics today. The term ‘graphic novel’ was coined for his work; you think I’m kidding?

I thought about making an asinine comparison here, i.e. “calling him a cartoonist is like calling xxxxxx a xxxxxxx.” But I couldn’t think of any that would have the oomph I’m looking for.

I also want to go on record as saying I respect cartoonists. I wouldn’t have links to some damned funny webcomics (on the right, there) if I didn’t. But Moore doesn’t belong in that category, and he never did.

Take a look at Watchmen or the character John Constantine; League of Extraordinary Gentlemen or From Hell. Then you tell me if they belong in the Sunday Funnies.

Careless Jerks.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

We Meet Again... Ya Jerk.

Tonight's show went well. Damn well, point of fact. That doesn't change the fact that roughly half an hour to places, I had a panic attack.


I'd been 'good', and not had a single fluctuation in roughly two months. I don't keep sharp track of these things. Never the less, I thought I was past them. Not the case.

I made the most of it (after it was over) with some friendly assistance from Jaclyn, but it was enough to leave me drained and spent before the lights ever came up in the first place. Not fun.

Jaclyn gets phenomenal points for making me laugh during a period of unavoidable temporary misery, and has only half those points deducted for making it even harder to breathe. 'Cause of the laughing.

I was sitting in a chair, out of the way, trying to ride out the adrenaline. She came up and put a styrofoam head (used to hold her wig) on my lap. I had no idea what she's doing. "What's this for?" I asked.

"Just a little head, to make you feel better." I responded by laughing harder than I have in days. Totally worth the shortness of breath.

Ciao, folks. Have a good one.


Saturday, March 18, 2006

Working With What They Give Ya

Folks, I'll be the first to admit that last evening saw me in a pretty lousy mood. I was downright ticked.

It isn't worth getting into why-- just the myriad of different things going on at the present about which I can do jack squat. So be it.

But I didn't just sit there and stew about it. Nope. That's where Sammy came in.

Sam Byck is the first role I've ever experienced where showing up in a lousy mood to a performance can actually be a good thing. A very good thing, as it turned out.

I took all the things that were pissing me off, and let Sammy use 'em as ammunition. As fuel. The payload. Two hours later, I felt 100% better. Dynamite difference. Dynamite.

The audience seemed to appreciate it: One person told me she heard a few high-schoolers whispering "He's so crazy!" every time I took the stage. I can live with that.

* * *
I try not to give the exact same performance twice. Some actors strive to do just that. Both approaches are completely valid, mind, but I don't want to get stuck under a particular reading and not be able to alter things. I don't think playing Byck would be *nearly* so cathartic if it was the exact same job, show after show. Then it just becomes repeitition.

Okay, I'm losing 'em. Time to wrap things up here... I hope you have a great day, folks. I'm looking forward to a nice day, myself.


Friday, March 17, 2006

Green Eyed Lady

On Saint Patrick’s, it seems only fitting to take a gander in retrospect at one of my close friends (and headliner on the list of women that can shut me up).

Heather? Take a bow.

I’ve known this woman for over a decade, now. On today of all days, she’s the one lady I know who can claim to still be ‘wearing green’, even in her birthday suit. Yowza. (What. The woman fences. With foils. That’s hot.)

She’s in the home stretch of earning her Master’s Degree in English, and is simultaneously seeking gainful employment that will befit her new, highly-educated status.

It’s a trial. It is a trial. The first place she applied and interviewed for came back after a period of a few weeks, with no job offer.

Regardless; I know she’s doing everything she can. I’m equally confident that it’s only a matter of time before the right job comes along for her. I’ll be waiting to congratulate her, until it does.

She rocks.

And The Hits Keep On Comin'

Folks... Ah, what the hell. I'll say it. We rock. The Cast, Crew, Orchestra, Director and Producers of Assassins rock, en masse. That's a lot.

Need further proof? How about the review over at

Why, what's this? It appears to be an excerpt!! Heavens!

"Diego Prieto, with his strong stage presence, anchors the entire piece as Booth, and Andy Izquierdo creates a nice contrast by giving Oswald a touching fragility."

"Casey Jones is particularly impressive in the role of Sam Byck... He has no song of his own, but he makes the two monologues based on Byck's tape recorded messages to Nixon and Leonard Bernstein equal in dramatic weight to the sung stories of assassins..."

Wow. Wow.

"Jeff Breslow does a particularly fine job with the song I Am Going To The Lordy!" "Sam Ludwig is very good as John Hinckley in his duet with Jaclyn Young as "Squeaky" Fromme Unworthy of Your Love."

"There is a solid sound from the on-stage orchestra.Of special note is the work of whichever reed player who handles the saxophone behind Ludwig and Young's duet, Unworthy of Your Love."

Nice work, ladies n' gents. Very nice work indeed.


I've got a question, folks.

This isn't state-capitol-of-Montana question, either. Bigger. Broader. TEXAS.

The 'state of transition' thing I've been feeling lately is frankly, getting bigger. And harder to distinguish.

I know what I *want*: To make a living outside the 9 to 5. There's still that stubborn voice upstairs that firmly believes it's possible. It is possible, people are doing it. Is it practical? Not likely. Is it lucrative? Couldn't begin to say. Is it attractive? Hell Yes.

90% of the actors I know have deskjobs, dayjobs, and other ways to spend their day that will allow them to support themselves, and so forth. I worked retail for all of two months before needing to walk away from the insanity of it. I've worked a secretarial / administrative / whatever-you-call-it job for the last 2 & 1/2 years.

Enough o' this nonsense. My question, posed to anybody who cares to answer, is this: What would you do? Follow the safer route that carries steady employment with healthcare? Or brave the elements of the 'gig' life and feel that much more alive?

I don't know. They both have their strong points. And I'm certainly still young enough to recover from a few more mistakes, if they can teach me something.


Have yourselves a good night, folks. Be well.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

In Other News

Oh. Yesterday? Phenomenal.

Hopped on the Metro to Chinatown, met Amanda in plenty of time to get to the Studio. We were like a pair of kids in a candy store. She put it best-- it was entirely out of her scope of experience. Yes, she’s been on stage before, and knows the acting world… but this was a completely different arena.

Getting in the studio, seeing the process behind the scenes… having Karen and I banter back and forth in character (with Karen scoring the majority of palpable hits)… just great.

It gets very warm in the recording booth: No fan or AC (either of which would make unwelcome noise). I ended up takin’ off my shirt, it was so freaking warm in there. Still had an undershirt on, of course, but I didn’t wanna get any hotter than I already was.

The recording went great. In addition to the episodes, Dark Marker had some lines of discouragement for the end of an interactive game, if the player loses too many points. It should come as little surprise that I got a bit carried away:

“Sorry, kiddies! Tell mom and dad not to splurge the college fund just yet! That Academic Scholarship isn’t looking quite so likely.” Followed by derisive laughter, or course.

After hours of this, we made our way to Sonoma. For the third consecutive visit, we were seated at the exact same table. We may have to install a tiny plaque or something: Official site of the Aught Six Round Table. HAH.

All in all, it was a spectacular day. Start to finish.

Have a good one, folks. I know I plan to.


"Everybody's Got The Right To Be Happy"

Step right up, ladies and gents, for a sight to see and a spectacle to behold. It is my supreme pleasure to direct your attention to this morning’s Washington Post, and the review therein by one Mr. Michael Toscano…

“Director Craig Pettinati created a finely tuned unit with his cast of 18 and the small but rich-sounding orchestra conducted by Stuart Y. Weich.”

“Every performance is perfect -- a truly remarkable achievement.”

“John Wilkes Booth, played with self-absorbed swagger by Diego Prieto…”

“Charles Guiteau (Jeff Breslow)… is played as an all-out loon.”

“Also notable is Casey Jones, radiating unhinged fury as Samuel Byck... Jones alternates between moments of dramatic intensity and dark comedy as he spills his guts into a tape recorder for a tour de force performance.”

Damn. I mean, HOT DAMN.

I could not be prouder of this cast, this crew, or this director. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to do a little dance now.

Out. Standing.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Be Where, The Ides Of March?

Where indeed! I'm headed into DC in less than an hour, folks. Off for one of my *favorite* pastimes... hearing myself talk. HAH.

Headed for the studio, actually, to record the final 3 episodes of Pendemonium. Will there be more to come?? Who can say.

I can say this: It'll be a blast. Amanda's coming with me to see the studio. My brother managed to stop in for a spell, last time; and had nothing but good things to say of the experience. This is fun.

There will hopefully be stories to regale you with later on, but for now, I'll content myself to say that Dark Marker shall rise again!

*Cue Evil Laughter*


Monday, March 13, 2006

Waxing Philosophical n' Stuff

Change. An alteration from the status quo, be it temporary or permanent. A subject that has been on my mind before, and more than once.

Change can be a wonderful thing; the fruits of taking a risk and having it pay off. A random chain of events can lead to a new job, a relationship, maybe even a new way of looking at things. For the better, for good.

It can also be disastrous. Be it a sudden over-night slam that you could never have seen coming with binoculars and radar; or a slow, gradual, incremental landslide from a good place to be to someplace you never want to visit again. Metaphorically speaking.

Regardless, change is coming. New opportunities have arrived, old friends have resurfaced. For the ones that have, I’m smiling. But not knowing what’s coming next while being aware that something’s coming can be downright daunting.

I don’t know. It’s entirely possible I’m full of shit.

At this point the only sensible thing to do, seems to be: Keep doing what you’re doing. I like myself, I like what I’m doing and I like the people I choose to spend my free time with. Still: Ingredients in my life, beyond my control, are being altered. Such as where I’m going to be spending 40 hours or more a week.

Try not to over-think it, play it cool, and stick to what you know. And, remember that you’re not in it alone.

That by itself is a comfort. And not the only one: Screaming, ranting, and brandishing a fake gun before a live audience is all sorts of cathartic. Blammo.

Whatever’s next-- bring it. Just don’t drag your feet getting here, already. Sheesh.


The Word Is "Sweet"

Tonight, after many a week in rehearsal for Assassins, my tradition of movie night con mi hermano resumes. Tonight's flick? Leon, aka The Professional. Luc Besson at his directing best, with Natalie Portman's debut no less. Rock the EFF on.

This dandy of a side-project I'm working on is coming along at a satisfying pace. I'm also typing a lot more than usual, so that's makin' the hands feel a bit stiff, but; the things I do for my art. (If you can call this gibberish art.)

*FLAG DOWN* Whoah. Okay. Yes. I'm sorry. That was indeed a reference to Phantom of the Opera. Wow. Won't happen again. *blows dust off the reference, moves on*

Regardless of coffee, today has been a fairly sleepy day. Yawn. Maybe if I got my sleep the last few days in the allotted blocks, rather than chopping them up to four-hour nuggets when time permitted... Hrmm.

Tonight, I see my brother. Tomorrow, I'm hoping to still hang with Pedro. Wednesday? In the freaking studio for the cartoon. WITH COMPANY. Shazam.

This? This right here? This is me, unable to wait.

More to follow, folks.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

How To Make A Homicidal American Quilt

Lots has happened, these last few days.

Assassins opened this weekend to a pair of virtually sold out houses, which is always great to see. Nothin’ like playing a psychopath with rage issues to get the blood pumping. Nicole (one of our cast members) wondered how exactly I managed to still have a voice, following plenty of in-character screaming and a celebratory cigar. Who can say, but the cords are still in fine shape.

In other news, Amanda really kicked some behind this morning at the St. Patty’s Day marathon. She ran 8 kilometers in what was a personal best, time-wise. It was great to see her cross the finish line. Congratulations, Amanda.

This weekend, a friend of mine was in a very bad car accident. Wendy’s car was totaled. Except for some minor scrapes, she was fine. Still… it was a very close call. I’m grateful she’s okay.

I saw a production of Julius Caesar this afternoon, set in Caesar’s Palace. They made some very interesting choices. Putting poker chips over the deceased Caesar’s eyes was a nice touch. Jay did a fine job as Brutus. I’d say he stole the show, but it was pretty much his to begin with. The man certainly knows how to work a room.

It was a good weekend, Folks. The good news was great, and the bad news could have been much, much worse. Sounds like a win in my book.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Number Four Hundred and Sixteen

I’ve had a fair amount on my mind, lately. This, this right here; is what I’m charitably referring to as ‘a period of transition’. Three weeks from now… I’ll be packing up my things, which will mostly consist of taking reviews, a web cartoon or two, and a few pieces of poetry down off my wall. (Not my own work, incidentally. No need to hang my own stuff.)

It’s off-putting. I’ll be doing something that requires my complete focus (such as rehearsing) and all of a sudden I’m miles away. Or divided. Or so ‘in the moment’ that I marvel at how I didn’t see things that way sooner. In any case… it goes away. The clarity, the distraction, or whatever frame of mind I happen to settle on for five damned minutes. It goes away, and I’m on to the next thing.

Another scene in the show. Thoughts about money. Friends, and the goings-on in their lives. My writing. The fact that I’m doing editing work for the first time. My voice-over career. Doing an imitation for the amusement of… whoever’s around, frankly.

It occasionally gets a little tiresome.

Regardless: This is the current state. This is ‘where I am’. Sixteen months and 415 posts later (minus the one or two that were deleted), I’m getting exactly why these things are so addictive. Hmm.

*shakes it off* Have yourselves a good afternoon, folks. I’m off, shortly; to sing, dance, bellow, and play merry havoc with imitation firearms. If that’s not a recipe for a good time, I don’t know what is.


Oh, Make Up Your Own Freaking Title

*checks bag o' stuff* Well, dang. Looks like I'm fresh outta rehearsals. None left. Looks like it's time for a show.

Assassins opens tomorrow, folks, at the Kensington Arts Theatre. Hope you'll make it. Good times will be had by all. Just... earmuffs would not be a bad idea, for gunfire and/or coarse language, both of which are ably provided by yours truly. Tada!

I could spin you a story from our final rehearsal right now, but the truth is I'm too damn tired. I'm hitting the showers, and going to bed. Well. After I dry off. From the shower. Then, you know. Straight to... to bed.

Right then.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

We Laughed, She Cried, There Was A Brief Riot...

It hardly seems like yesterday really managed to fit inside just twenty-four hours. A very full day, folks.

At the booth, I recorded some tracks for more books on tape, in addition to undertaking a new side-project (more on that later, if I can get away with it); and making a new friend. One of the engineers, Dave, was freaking hilarious. He’d toggle in and out of accents as fast as you could blink.

“You know, Dave, I have to say, that’s one of the best Brits I’ve ever heard.”

“I am actually English, Casey.”

*Wipe humble pie off my face* “Ah. Then, that’s one of the best American accents I’ve ever heard.”

Dave’s been living state-side for over a decade as I understand it, hence the multiple dialects. We were laughing up a storm, too: somehow the topic had gone to Christmas, which he tried to convince me that people in his hometown called “Lollyday.”


“No, it’s true. In honor of the lollipops presented to the Baby Jesus.” His straight-faced delivery here was a credit to him.

“There were no Lollipops presented to Jesus. They didn’t exist.”

“Well they took that out, din’t they. No mention at all. Right shameful.”

“Oh! You must be referring to the fourth wise man, Wonka.”

“Yeah. That’s ‘im.”

“Although to be fair, the gobstoppers didn’t actually become everlasting until Christ began to suck on ‘em.” High-grade, quality silliness. Great stuff.

* * *

Later that night, we made a gift of a brand-new keyboard to Robin, to replace the one that’d been stolen. The look on her face said it all. Everyone chipped in that could, we got the funds together in no time. Talk about Community Theatre…

Rehearsal went very well. We had one or two bumps along the way *cough* Jack! *cough* but all in all it was a good show. Opening night is gonna kick some ass. Yes, yes it will.

(Only kidding, Jack. Only kidding.)

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

On Today's Menu Of Carnage & Destruction:

As previously stated, one of the highlights of doing the books-on-tape gig is the great number of death scenes I get to voice-act. It amuses me, what can I say.

On today's menu? Getting shot in the face and neck (I think I'm going to need my water bottle again), and a new one-- Being set on fire! Woo hoo!!

From that previous statement, one would be correct in extracting that, yes, I've had to react vocally to fake gunshot wounds before. Come the day, ain't nobody gonna be able to do a death scene like me. SO much experience, here. Bam!

All The News That's Barely Fit To Print

Last night at rehearsal… was last night at rehearsal. Some parts went great, others not so much.

Byck evidently hates his damn sandwich, in his first speech. Jenna brings me the ingredients I need to make it since she’s not feeling well, and I put the bloody sandwich in the bag and off we go.

To date, various incarnations of the sandwich have nearly flown off stage, gotten crumbs on the tape recorder, or just generally presented a choking hazard as I try to tirade around half a mouthful of sandwich. Demosthenes would be so proud.

Last night, the sandwich finally got its wings. Whoosh it went, down it fell on the stage, completely free of its wrapping. Oy. I made sure I picked it up before I skedaddled, but that is the *last* time I’m touching the damn thing during the scene. Just wasn’t in the cards.

So get this: We’re getting ready for vocal warm-ups, and Jeff (our Charles “I Am Gonna Lose My Beardy” Guiteau) walks up to me and says, “I want in.” Huh? What?

Jeff wants the fame and glory that go hand in hand with being mentioned in my blog. Of course, no-one else has collected their allotted fame and glory, so it’s just sitting here. I’m delighted to have been asked, though. More power to me. Mwa ha ha ha.

OOH: Speaking of Mwa ha ha ha, I’m headed back into the booth this afternoon, where I will be using a number of accents. Including my French. Haven’t had cause to use that one in a while, so it’ll be fun to blow the dust off and see what happens.

And in one week… I return to the studio in DC to wrap up Season 2 of Pendemonium. Dark Marker will strike again. Yes indeed! Mwa ha ha ha ha ha ha!


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

It Turk Ah Lottel Purple Meeka Gurn

At a party a few weeks ago, Shannon equated every Assassin to a different Muppet.

Squeaky Fromme? Janice. “Fur sure, reelyyy.”

John Hinckley? Gonzo, singing to a photo of Camilla the Chicken.

Sam Byck? Animal! “Nix-on! Nix-on!”

My favorite, however, far and away, has to be who she elected to represent Leon Czolgosz: The Swedish Chef.

Czolgosz, a factory worker, has an impassioned speech about carrying red-hot bottles across a factory room floor. At the party in question, I picked up two wine bottles and went ‘bork’y to demonstrate. Jenna and Andrea were giggling like mad. Good Times.

Well, It Seemed Funny At The Time

It bears repeating that we have some smart cookies in the cast of Assassins. One damned clever bunch, here. As a result, my own puns have been a bit worse for wear in an effort to keep up with the quota being produced by my colleagues.

Sunday afternoon, before our first run, Mike and Shannon were talking about Phantom of the Opera, and how it was the first musical to do so and so. I forget the specifics. Sue me, already. I stepped over, nodded as if I was listening (guess I wasn’t), and waited for an opportunity to chime in.

“Ah yes. While Fanta of the Opera was the first musical to focus on a variety of fruit-flavored sodas.” Mike nodded in a scholarly fashion, and proceeded to help carry the joke another few feet. Shannon just stared at us.

I love this cast.

Monday, March 06, 2006

So This Was My Day

Let’s talk.

Or rather, since one-on-one in this particular medium is a bit impossible, I’ll talk and you… read. Sure. That’ll work.

Rehearsals today for Assassins went splendidly. Just super. I use the plural here, because we ran the show twice. And it’s just getting better.

We’re now using live (blank) firearms, so any people in upcoming audiences that may be hard of hearing will be in for a treat. Lots of noisy, noisy treats. Blammo!

In all honesty, playing Sam Byck is therapeutic. I put him on and get to rant for a while in someone else’s skin-- but it’s still my shouting. It’s still my venting, which feels marvelous. Plus? The oh-so-thin piece of wire keeping the mini-microphone adjacent to my ear is a constant source of irritation. I take that tiny little pinch and add it to the brew of Byck. I’m liking the results.

Next Wednesday (not in three days time, but ten), I’m headed back to the booth for another three episodes of Pendemonium. Yee Gods I love this stuff. Any stretch of time where I have something to look forward to, is a good one. I am looking forward to the Fifteenth with so much delight, in another week I’ll be positively bouncing. I get to be a cartoon villain again. HAH!

In the mean time: every day this coming week save tomorrow, I’m in rehearsal. At this moment I have no idea what I’ll do tomorrow evening-- hopefully something productive. There are miles I could walk, stories I could develop and V.O. auditions I could answer. I do love being busy.

Have a good night, folks. Ciao.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Take A Listen

Folks, I'm pleased to say my voice-over site has been updated with demo #3, for narration. Hop on over to for a listen. The material isn't exactly what I'd call safe for work, so be forewarned.

Heh heh. Whales.

Just How Big Is That Stride, Anyway?

Last night, we managed to run Assassins from start to finish. There were one or two flubs along the way (like my gun leaping out of the holster… click), but beyond everything else, it was a good run.

Everyone’s doing their part, here. But honestly, I have to tip my hat to our stage manager, Jenna. Jenna’s been steering things behind the scenes quite effectively, taking care of the cast’s needs left and right, making sure things run smoothly as they can; generally being one outstanding Stage Manager.

Last night was the first time we worked with this HUGE sign of Sam Byck’s. Its entrance presented a new quandary: what the heck do I do when I’m finished with it? There’s really no place to put it, it’s designed to catch your eye. Our director, Craig, said “Give it to Jenna.” I told her about the new change, she shrugged and said, “Okay.”

If that doesn’t sound like a reasonably big deal, think about this: In addition to all the ‘extra’ things she’s taking care of, Jenna is also coordinating dozens of props, making sure everything is where it needs to be. With a show with no intermission, she’s never going to stop moving from start to finish. Probably longer than that, at both ends.

She makes Sam’s sandwich, for pete’s sake. With a little mayo! Wednesday, when Jaclyn was ill and I was in the throes of an Olympian headache, she took every opportunity to check up on both of us. Damn. And she’s done every single thing asked of her without batting an eye.

Jenna, you’ve been outstanding. Frankly, you rock.

*Truck backs up, unloads 8-foot-tall boulder* You rock this much.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Something Completely Different

Something funny that happened two nights ago at rehearsal: Our person in charge of hair and make-up, Malca, was giving us the basic run-down. She started with, “Now, I’m assuming you’ve all applied theatrical make-up before, and know what you’re doing.”

I couldn’t resist leaning over to Mike (our own Czolgosz, bearded man) and whispering, “What’s make-up?”

Beat. Mike blinks twice, then comes back with, “It’s what you do when you want your girlfriend to like you again. Which, I don’t think you do too often.”

ZING. This was no mere mortal zing. This was a powered-by-stolen-diamonds-laser-through-the-heart zing. And it was magnificent. Mike managed to not only come back with a perfectly timed smartass remark to my sarcastic question, he capped it with an insult. Outstanding stuff.

I tip my hat, man.

Tall, Dark & Handsome Bookends

Folks, I disclose the following, fully in mind of Leta’s suggestion from a year ago or longer: Namely not to talk about one’s job in too much detail, as it could land one in hot water. Since I’m headed for the bath as it is, here goes.

Two and a half years ago, I was in a play called The Enchanted. I played a guy who was pure government cheese: It was requested that I resemble Clark Kent as closely as possible. Having no problem with that, I dyed my hair dark brown, and it seemed to work for the show. I have not had it re-colored at any other time, besides Enchanted. Simultaneously, I got the day-job I’m currently working.

Or at least, the job I’ll have until the end of March. My contractor’s deal with the bigger company is expiring. I applied directly for my current position, and didn’t get it.

This evening, before rehearsal, I’m getting my hair dyed a dark brown at the request of the Assassins make-up and hair designer, Malca. I’m trying to resemble the dark-haired Sam Byck as much as possible, short of an actual haircut. (Come on. I like it this length.)

The end result? My hair’s going to be the same false color leaving this position as it was when I started here. Huh. Go figure.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Surely As Night Follows Day

I love The Onion. I freaking love The Onion. They practically invented the concept of fake news, if they didn’t outright.

This article?
This right here? Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. It cracks me up how they can take something so completely commonplace and make it sound, with 100% sincerity, like the apocalypse.

They got it right. They completely got it right.

Acting Vs. Imitation

I read an article this morning in the Washington Post, by Ann Hornaday. She analyzes some of the Oscar-nominated performances from this year, and picks them apart. With or without delicacy.

It got me thinking. (Do try to recover from the shock of this.)

I’ve been an actor, learning as much as I can about the craft and employing it; for ten years now. It’s fair to say that I’ve gotten somewhat good at it, if the roles I've earned or the reviews I’ve gotten are any indicator.

But what exactly is it? How much is imitation, how much of it is mere characterization, and how much of it is genuine acting? Does it count if the particular role is fun, or easier than others?

I know I’ve imitated. I played Ben Franklin for Theatre IV my first year out of college, in a children’s educational tour. I read a biography of him, memorized the script, took a long look at who I knew this man to be… and couldn’t ‘find’ him. Then I watched 1776. Howard Da Silva’s performance as Franklin was delightful.

So I stole it.

Da Silva’s low, melodic baritone speaking voice is one of my favorites to imitate, even though these days there’s little call for it. But I got his patter down pat, and in doing so found Ben Franklin. The kids loved it, and I loved doing it. Going into that voice just tied into all the other Franklin-qualities (a bit whimsical, a flirt, loved talking about science) I’d been looking for.

I played Hal in Proof, and could feel it, because I had some things in common with him. We were both twenty-something geeks who still occasionally got nervous around the right woman. I had no background in Mathematics, but that wasn’t important. I could relate to Hal, so I became him.

Last year I played four parts in The Mystery of Irma Vep. The roles could not have been more different from each other, or from me. I did such a job of it that I garnered a WATCH nomination. It was a lot of work, and there was no shortage of effort or zeal in the performances, but I’m not sure I can call what I did there, acting. Partly because it was too much fun.

What acting? Adopt a limp, drop a shoulder, crook the neck and talk like a Monty Python reject, there’s Nicodemus. Straighten up the spine, hands perched just so, toss on a effete feminine Brit and shove a metaphorical stick up my rear, there’s Lady Enid. With enough practice, I could shift from one to the other in less than five seconds, ten including costumes. Arguably the best time I’ve ever had on a stage, but was it acting?

Now I’m playing Sam Byck, a homicidal lunatic in a Santa Claus suit. Again, I used literally finding his voice as part of finding the character. This Philadelphia native is using a gravelly Brooklyn accent, because it’s the best ‘blue collar’ I’ve got. The director hasn’t complained. But I couldn’t stop there.

Yes, he’s a caricature. Andrea put it best, telling a mutual friend that he had to come see the show: “You know how Casey likes to ramble? This is so his part.” Byck does go on for pages at a time. (Okay, two pages, but that’s still plural. What.)

He’s also funny. It’s not a coincidence that he’s been played by stand-up comics in the past. The more important thing here, is the pain the guy is in. He’s angry, he’s lonely, he’s bitter and desperate; and he has no shortage of words with which to vent those feelings.

I can’t fake his emotions, though. I have to get myself worked up to be that angry, lonely, and bitter before I can call myself Sam. Regardless of the voice I use, the feeling’s gotta be real. And it’s work. That’s what I consider acting.

I don’t know. I'm not claiming to be an expert, but that’s my feeling on the subject, folks.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

It's The First Of The Month

Bunny Bunny.