Thursday, July 19, 2018

What I'm looking for in a Director of WT

I'll be looking for a film director who is as sensitive to literary language as s/he is to cinematic image, at home with Shakespeare, and will be inventive in adapting stage conventions to film conventions. I'll be looking at reels. In reels I'll hope to see a feel for dialogue, understanding of verse and how to support verse cinematically, and a feel for relating characters to landscape and setting. A liking for such as Sorkin, Malick, Taymore, Branagh, Akalaitis, and Orson Welles would be helpful.

Monday, July 09, 2018

WT Journal

(Note: I'm working on adapting Shakespeare's THE WINTER'S TALE for film, and will occasionally throw an entry up about it.)

Has anyone done research on the audience for Shakespeare FILMS? Have smaller budget Shakespeare films found an audience or made money? 
Film adaptations of MACBETH don't count (every kid with a camera tries a MACBETH adaptation and they're all terrible); neither do large budget films by Al Pacino or Orson Welles.
My favorite big-budget filmed Shakespeare are CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT, TITUS, and Branaugh's MUCHO ADO ABOUT NOTHING, though Pacino's MERCHANT OF VENICE has a lot to recommend it. Branaugh's HAMLET hasn't aged well. Tenant's HAMLET has aged better. I also like the opening of Olivier's HENRY V and there's a lot to like in his OTHELLO, though the blackface is cringe-worthy. Whedon's MUCH ADO is interesting but falls flat for me.
Almereyda's CYMBELINE and HAMLET interest me but I want to better match visual interest--or 'spectacle'--to the heightened language. I have some ideas about how to achieve that while staying mainly inside a naturalistic approach.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Soon to be 'Divemaster David!'

I'm super close to completing my PADI Divemaster certification--just need to spend a couple of pool sessions assisting Open Water students and complete my EFR refresh. This training definitely made me a MUCH better diver so I'm excited to turn 'pro.' I look forward to helping friends with their certification refreshers and further assisting the good and capable people at Dive Connections, in Charlottesville, VA.

Monday, June 25, 2018

How I Roll

When I was bothered by nagging anxiety while scuba diving I decided to become a PADI Divemaster. When I was paralyzed by what other people thought of me, I became an actor. That’s how I roll my stone up the hill.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Madam Secretary, or, 'The Good Family'

Because I'm a NYC actor, I try to keep up with tv that's shot here, so finally started watching MADAM SECRETARY, which is better than I expected to be, and turns out to be the story about a happy family, in the guise of a political procedural. I'm all for watching happy families.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

In FB Recovery Mode

Now that I no longer make political or personal comments on FB I feel like I escaped a cult—a jealous, hydra-headed, indignant believer in THE RAGE God—when I peruse the home page. I tried to be a reasonable and inquiring FB citizen but that Village of the Damned didn’t allow it.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

The Costar Blues

Today, I'm prepping a costar side for a workshop with a tv casting director.  The character is a prison guard giving testimony in a prison murder case. Straight forward enough, as costar sides almost always are, but to my reading, the side contains clues that suggest the character's circumstances give him a touch more personality--more attitude and point of view--than the situation necessarily suggests; there's room for a little humor, a little self-importance, a little uncertainty. The actor who played the role on tv didn't approach it that way: he kept it simple, 'just the facts, 'ma'am,' which is probably right; probably serves the stars acting in the scene with him; but may or may not serve the entertainment value of the scene.

I'll give it a crack and see how the CD takes it.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Cold Turkey on My FB Addiction

Now that I've closed down my personal page on Facebook, I need to migrate the mini essays that I came to love posting there, back to here. The original migration happened because I found that FB is where my readers lived: my audience there grew faster, and was more actively engaged, than it had been on my blog. And posting on FB often gave me the gratification of seeing that some people thought I was 'smart enough, pretty enough, and gosh-darn good enough,' for them to spend some online time with me. Posting on FB was like crowd surfing a grunge concert that was already rowdy long before you got by the bouncer, and will still be going strong after you're eventually kicked out. Posting here, on my 'blog,' is like playing putt-putt golf by myself on a midweek morning, when everyone else is at work.

But I had to get off of FB, for the foreseeable future. Although I made my FB 'brand' something like, 'I'm the guy who talks reasonably but honestly and passionately about the unreasonable things that upset us all,' I also was too often the guy who lost his online shit in embarrassing, unreasonable ways. E.g., I can't talk long about Israel and the Middle East before getting defensive about what I perceive as antisemitism, I completely lose my patience when talking to others who don't share my panic about attacks on free speech from both the political left and right, and I have a hard time hiding how appalled I am by the lack of critical thinking skills I see exercised by people I desperately want to do better (in my judgment). My occasional rants around these or related topics took too much energy and self-respect from me, and has become a distraction from more important work I need to be doing: i.e., the writing and acting prep on which I need to focus in order to sustain a career in theater and tv/film.

My years of writing on FB brought me new friends, repaired old relationships--as FB friends and I got to know each other better through sharing ideas and passions on the page--and helped my self-esteem through the positive feedback for my writing and thinking. I find leaving it behind difficult. The ready-to-hand conversation and positive reenforcement is addictive, but it's time.

Putting my time and passion into building a career is scarier than posting screeds on FB. But, here goes....

Saturday, March 17, 2018

In Memory of Zach Doss

Zach, a 34-year-old writer whom I and many friends and colleagues who attended the U. of Houston in the same era knew and admired, unexpectedly died this week. His passing touches a nerve (though I don't know if Zach would approve of a euphemism such as "passing," as he was more direct than that.) He is already missed, even by those such as myself who didn't know him well enough.
Zach and I did NOT hit it off when we first met, to say the least. I found him youthfully arrogant and he found me ridiculously old and stodgy (we were both right about each other!) But, since we both roamed the same bit of ground at the same time, we became FB friends, after we each left UH, and I came to respect and like Zach very very highly! I don't often suffer correction from friends ("stodgy" is the word I used above), but more than once, I leapt to accept some correction from him, because he was often right, and always stood up for others whom someone like myself seemed to treat unfairly. I was looking forward to someday being in the same room again with Zach, because I wanted to say to his face how much I'd come to enjoy knowing him, albeit through the public, epistolary form of FB. I regret having waited. Zach was a good man, whom I didn't know well enough, and whom I'll miss.