A guide for spelling things over the phone:
It's helpful if the following letters are followed by an "as in..."
B as in boy
D as in David
F as in Frank
G as in girl
M as in Mary
N as in Nancy
P as in Peter
S as in Sam
T as in Thomas
V as in Victor
Z as in Zebra
All numbers and remaining letters are generally understandable without further clarification.
This should save considerable time and stress for both you and the person with whom you are talking.
Also, if the person on the other end of the line says, "I'm having trouble hearing you" and nothing is amiss such as a broken microphone or your face being an abnormal distance from the phone, that would then be your cue to speak up.
So, it's the end of yet another year...ya know...in case you didn't already know... Some things have been awesome - European commercial, Season premier of Raising Hope, 2 - yes 2! - auditions for Halmark movies, some things not so good - broken arm, getting fired, I'm still not married and all... But there's always plenty to be happy about, here are this year's 100 things:
the smell of burning wood
white chocolate chip cookies from Disneyland
running on the beach
frothy hot chocolate
rickety carnival rides
laughing out loud
double chocolate bread pudding soufflé
Brazil Butt Lift
moving musical numbers
my favorite pen
my home-made snuggie (thanks Ames and Emily!)
weekend getaways to the OC
friends with friends in high places
the See's candy factory
the knee board
stupid internet videos
sleeping on the couch
a great view
vanilla pudding sauce
seeing my face on prime-time network TV
sappy motivational stuff
family chip dip
Resolution: A resolve or determination (don't you love it when they use the word to define the word?)
I am a strong believer in taking time every now and again to take stock and set some goals for change and/or improvement. Usually at the beginning of the year think about making some new year's resolutions - sometimes I even write them down - but they last about as long as a new box of crayons in the hands of a kindergartener.
This year, though, I think I've had a bit of an apostrophe (10 points if you got the reference). I recently read "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin, and though it's not the most well-written book, and there's nothing necessarily unique or original about it, it really resonated with me. In a nutshell, Gretchen wanted to be happier, so she read a BUNCH of studies and the like dealing with happiness, then set about systematically putting all that stuff into practice - one month at a time. That was the lightning that struck my brain: Why try to have a resolution for an entire year? Why not do them monthly? So, that's what I've decided to do.
In the book she has resolutions for becoming happier each month, I'm going to take a slightly different tack, and just have resolutions each month that deal with some area of my life in which I feel I need improvement. The great thing about this, I think, is that it's on-going and I can always come back to a resolution category if I need to! (I suppose that's fairly self-evident...nonetheless...) Plus it gives me yet another outlet for my own creativity - which I love.
So, here we go! I found it highly convenient that I managed to read the book a couple of weeks before the new year. It gave me a chance to do some of that good old introspective stuff and figure out exactly what I want to do over the next year - or at least for the first few months - and make a plan for it.
For January I decided to start at what is - for me, at least - the core of everything: My spirituality. I've been feeling in a bit of a rut lately in that particular area. I do all the things I'm supposed to do as a good Mormon boy (well...most of the things anyway...), but I'm still feeling stuck, so I'm gonna go ahead and work on that stuff to get started and build a solid foundation for everything else. My resolutions for the month:
1 - AT LEAST a half hour of gospel-related study every day. I'm expanding my definition of "gospel-related" just a tad to include things beyond what you might find and your typical Deseret Book. I have a strong testimony of my faith, but I don't necessarily think we are the only receptacle of truth out there. I also think we Mormons tend to pigeon-hole ourselves a bit in that area, so I want to see what other people have to say about spirituality.
2 - 15 minutes of meditation every day. I've been intrigued by the idea of meditation for a while, and have read in several places how beneficial it is, so I'm gonna try it out for a month and see what happens.
3 - 4 times to the temple. I love the temple and since I only work weekends, and don't have 3 auditions every day, I figure that, for the month of January anyway, I can probably get to the temple once a week, even if it's just for a quick round of sealings or something.
4 - 100% HT - I am a TERRIBLE home teacher - fact. But, it's a new year, and I think this'll be a great way to start off.
So, I've got my resolutions for January all planned out and I'm feeling super motivated and ready to go. Feel free to share any thoughts, suggestions, experiences you have with resolutions, ideas etc. I'd love input!
Coming up: February - work, March - friends, April - family
At the end of the day, this is really a story about footwear and hot chocolate. But let me start at the beginning...
My grandpa is that guy. You know the one with all the cars? And I don't mean the garage full of pretentious cars that have random letter/number combinations instead of words from foreign languages as names. I mean the guy with 7 cars in the driveway of which 1.5 are in working condition. And it's not that he's the guy who uses a second-hand love-seat as a deck chair, it's just that he has no luck with cars. Like...none. It's kind of a family joke. And it applies to all forms of transportation, too. When we go to the lake, the boat will work fine until Grandpa starts driving. I think I may have unwittingly, and certainly unwillingly, inherited a small portion of the auto-deficiency gene.
Two cases in point:
#1 - It's December 2009 (at least I think it was December...could have been November...regardless), I've just been on a date to the Symphony, and am walking back to my car with my date. It's roughly 4 degrees outside. We get to my car, settle in, and...it won't start. WHAT?! *sigh* After some trial and error I figure out that there is a leak in the fuel line (I'm assuming here, all I really know is that when I turned the key, fuel ended up on the ground). So, I call my friend who was at the symphony with us, but drove separately with yet another friend (long story), and friend #2 has AAA. AAA informs me that they can't send a tow truck until the fire department has been out to secure the area and declare it safe. *really?* Phone call #2 is to the SLFD. By this time my feet are icicles because I'm wearing my dress shoes (symphony) instead of something more weather-appropriate like Sorrel boots. So we wait. After a period of time we hear sirens. I think, "No...can't be." But yes, it can - and was. The fire truck came speeding around the corner - lights flashing, sirens blaring - to rescue us from spilled fuel. *slow clap* The ladies were understandably delighted by the arrival of Salt Lake's finest, and I was just relieved to get the situation resolved - which it was. Once the tow truck left, the four of us piled into friend #1's car and headed to Denny's to bemusedly drink some hot chocolate and wonder at the whole situation. (Incidentally the repairs only cost me about $70, for which I was EXTREMELY relieved)
#2 - It's yesterday. I've just gotten out of my acting class and am headed down my usual route home. I arrive at a blockade and discover that the one and only road south is inaccessible. There are no helpful signs declaring "Detour". Luckily I had my map app and found an alternate route, albeit a long alternate route home. After scooting around the backwoods of Beverly Hills (yes, they do exist), and passing 2 deer and 3 coyotes I was finally back on track. I got to the bottom of the hill to discover my route blocked yet again! And again, there were no detour signs...at least not immediately. I ran into some once I'd already figured out where to go. With my second roadblock vanquished I sailed on secure in the knowledge that the rest of my ride would be uneventful. But fate had different plans. Phin decides that tonight of all nights will be an excellent time to stop working. And that's exactly what happened. He just stopped. There was gas, there was oil, there was prayer. But Phin was not to be persuaded. So, it's 12:30 AM, I'm stuck on the side of the road and it's about 45 degrees outside. I realize that, comparatively speaking, 45 degrees is not that cold, but when one is used to temperatures in the 70's, 45 is cold. AND when you're riding on a scooter in 45 degrees, it's really cold. My Sorrel boots are currently in Salt Lake. I didn't think I'd ever consider my boat shoes as inappropriate footwear in LA, but last night, they were. Fear not, however, luck was on my side in 3 particulars: 1 - when I purchased Phin I also got a 2-year warranty with road-side assistance, so I called up the powers that be and a tow truck was immediately dispatched. (It took half an hour to get there, which I don't understand since it was 12:30 in the morning, but I'm not in charge of the world yet, so I had to wait). 2 - My route home from class passed through essentially no dangerous areas of town, so I sat on the side of the road in a relatively safe residential area just up the street from the mall. 3 - I had a book with me. Jorge arrived, but not without passing by me once or twice first, and I finally got home about 1:30, whereupon I immediately made myself a LARGE mug of hot chocolate and stood in front of the heating vent to defrost.
And so you see? My grandpa is the reason I keep a steady supply of hot chocolate on hand and will from now on and forever carry heavy boots with me everywhere I go.
Ok, that's not going to happen, but I might stock both of my vehicles with a pair of thick socks...
If there's one area where I am not confident as an actor, it's in my ability to control my emotions. I am The. Worst. Ever. Up until now it's worked out alright, but I'm a little bit nervous for that day when Mr. Howard tells me he needs more and I can't give it to him because my tear ducts have conveniently decided to dry up.
On the flip side, I always seem to cry when I don't want/need it to happen. I spoke in church on Sunday (we Mormons have no paid clergy, so we supply the sermons at church ourselves) - which is not something I dread. I actually like public speaking, so... Anyway, I forgot how emotional I get when speaking in church. I think I spent probably half of my time just trying to compose myself as I was speaking. Luckily I threw in enough humorous anecdotes to counteract the awkwardness. But it's not just spiritually-base situations that bring out my inner cry-baby. I cry during movies, speeches, The Food Network, particularly moving insurance commercials... All. The. Time. And here's the thing - I don't just cry when something is sad or touching (sobbed during that one scene in Toy Story 3 - you know the one), but if something is just sort of emotionally heightened. I even cry if the music in a movie is particularly moving. It's absurd.
Maybe I just need to trick myself. You know, whenever I don't want to cry I'll just tell my brain that it's actually really important that I cry in that moment, and if I do need to cry, I'll just picture that PSA with the abused animals...
So, remember that little picture I made with Ed and June? Well Ed finished it and it's now available to watch - FREE! Speak To Me In Poetry. Enjoy.
Los Angeles County area: 4,083 square miles. # of Arby's - 7
Salt Lake County area:808 square miles. # of Arby's - 22
Last day of shooting.
We were shooting some club scenes where I use my mad white-boy rapping skills, and shot at a loft apartment downtown. The first half of the shooting day was just getting close-ups of those involved - me, my gangster friends, the freestyle rap artists (both played by the same guy - who was HI-larious.) etc. So funny to be in that situation because I'm pretty sure if I ever ended up in the real-life situation of being dragged to some underground rap club I'd probably behave about the same as Ben does.
We broke for dinner and then came back to the apartment to get shots of all the scenes with our large contingent of extras (all 7 of them.) They actually brought an incredible amount of energy to the scenes and it was fun to have them all there. During one particularly raucous scene I was "rap battling" with "Master Blaster" and we were just getting some shots for a montage - WOOT! - so the other rapper and I were just sort of fake rapping. He was wrapping about getting girls and drinking etc. and I was wrapping about chocolate pudding, pink flowers, and straight teeth. We're hoping Ed puts that in the end credits or on some sort of "extras" feature.
We finished up the day by having a little wrap party (get it? Like, we filmed the rap scenes, AND we wrapped the shoot!) and now we've finished. It was a pretty awesome last day to tell the truth. I'll summarize my feelings about this experience in a later post. I hope you've enjoyed my ramblings about shooting this film.
Dinner: We ended where we began - Subway. Ed got a meatball sub. I called him out on it, but he said it's because it was dinner, not lunch. Since it was our last day I went all out and got cookies.
Wrap time: 10:30ish...I think.
Today we shot a couple of "date night" kinds of scenes. "Date night" referring to actual dates, not the Steve Carell/Tina Fey movie. A friend of mine, who happens to live way up in the hills of Beverly Hills, and has a fantastic view, was gracious enough to let us use her house to film.
For the first date scene we set up a table in the back yard and faked like we were at some swanky restaurant on the patio. A friend of mine - who also, randomly happens to be June's roommate - played the waitress for us. It was an interestion collision of worlds.
Ed wanted to get the first date night in while the sun was still up, and then the second scene at night, so we took a break for dinner down in the shopping district. While I usually enjoy the white-trash-heavy people-watching of Disney or the State Fair, it's a special kind of person that frequents the stores of Rodeo Drive and I am no less fascinated by them.
While we were standing on a corner waiting for the light, a cab drove past us and was REALLY close to the curb. Kelsie (my love interest in the film) almost died. We all agreed that while that would have been terrible, we at least have Ed who could have stepped in to fill her sexy shoes.
Fall has come to Los Angeles...at least it's been here for the past week, apparently we're supposed to back up to triple-digit temperatures at the end of the week...but I digress. Once the sun was down things got a little nippy. But for the last scene of the day both Kelsie and I had sweaters on, so we were ok.
After doing this for 18 days, I pause to wonder how long this process would take with a normal budget/crew etc. We busted through quite a lot last night and it really only took us a few hours. Essentially we're shooting a full-length film in 19 days, and most of days have been short. I'll be interested to see if I ever get a similar experience on a larger scale so I can compare the too...
Since the house was way up in the hills, there was no rhyme or reason to the road system we had to follow. On the way back down we came to a fork in the road. Ed indicated which way he thought we should go. I said, "yeah, that's it, I think." Then sat for a second assuring myself only realize that it was the wrong way. By
Dinner: Sharky's Mexican Grill. Super delicious. I recommend.
Wrap Time: 10:30...I think. My phone died and I couldn't find a clock, but it was about 11:40 when I got home...
Today was our longest day of shooting yet. That is due to the fact that yesterday we had some unexpected rain here in the L.A. and our scenes were supposed to be outdoor scenes, so Ed just moved them to today.
We started out bright and early at Griffith Park to do some communing with nature and stuff. It was a beautiful, but cold morning, and it was nice to be in the fresh air and peace of the park. Until we realized it wasn't so peaceful. Cars, planes, helicopters, dogs, loud British men, landscaping workers shoveling gravel and dirt off the asphalt. So. Much. Noise. by the end of our few hours there poor Ed was at wit's end. But he was a trooper and we pushed through. Because of all the noise we may end up having to reshoot those scenes, but Ed's gonna see if he can make it work.
We left Griffith Park (which, despite its seeming vendetta against our little film, is beautiful and I highly recommend a foray.) and headed back to Ed's house for the rest of the day.
Remember that well I posted a few days ago? We really got some use out of it today. The whole plot of the movie is based around a wish that I make at this well, so it was the featured item of today's shoot. Ed even got some really cool shots from down inside the well:
I had to drop some coins and rocks and stuff down there, but I think he came away fairly unscathed.
The last thing we filmed today was a talk-show scene. I won't divulge all the details of setting this scene up, but I will tell you that some killer wicker furniture was involved.
Also, the guy who played the talk-show host (who was great, BTW) originally auditioned for my part. Awkward. I mean, kind of awkward. That's the way the business works, and really aside from being white men in our mid to late-20s, we're not really alike at all. Totally different types. It was just an interesting experience.
Favorite moment of the day: The lady in Griffith Park walking her pet pig.
Lunch: Joe and Jerry's Mexican Grill. I got the special - A GIANT smothered burrito.
Wrap Time: 5:00 (because we combined days it'll end up being 19 days on set instead of 20. Try not to be too disappointed.)