Friday, July 29, 2005

Facial Hair Pt. II

It's day two of trying to, once again, grow facial hair and for some reason it doesn't seem as long or thick as before. Granted, I decided that I would just grow it all out, instead of shaving the sides and outlining the growth around my mouth. So, maybe that's why.

The girl I "pinky promised" with says she doesn't remember doing it. See? We didn't sign or copy it, so there's no proof. That's why she doesn't remember. I also think she was pretty drunk that night.

On Saturday night, I'm going to an '80s-theme party and I was thinking of going as Don Johnson ala Miami Vice. Only thing is, the timing's not right. I'm going to shave my cheeks on Saturday morning. But on Saturday night, I need the 5 o'clock shadow. What to do? WHAT TO DO???

I'll let you in on a secret. To gain the ultimate 5 o'clock shadow, you use a blade, not an electric razor, and you only shave with the direction of the hair growth, not against it. So, I'll do a down swipe of my cheeks on Saturday morning, keeping the goatee and mustache area. Then after the audition, I'll do a down swipe of that area. By evening, I should have pretty good growth.

See? All those evenings watching Miami Vice wasn't completely wasted after all.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Pinky Promise

Yesterday, I wrote how I was growing out some facial hair. Well, today, I shaved it off. Why? Because I got a call from my print agent for an audition today, which, unsurprisingly, does not call for facial hair.

The thing is, I made a pinky promise with a friend to not shave it. Or did I?

First things first. A pinky promise is one of those promises you make while locking pinkies. Some people also "sign" them by scratching each other's palms with the forefinger, followed by a swipe along the palm with the fingers in order to "copy" it. I didn't do all that other stuff, so, you see, there's no proof of the promise. And yes, I breached the agreement.

But not entirely. You see, after today, I'm growing it all back for the Saturday open casting.

Now this would all be fine, except for the fact that I will most likely see the person I made the pinky promise with tonight, and I believe she will not be pleased.

But here's how I look at it. Today's audition is for Nokia. Now for those who remember my earlier posts, I've had several encounters with the Nokia folks, mostly being put on avail for crazy money. This one is for $2000. Not bad. Minus the commission, it's still $1600 to me. But then again, they didn't exactly want me before. So will three times be a charm? We'll see....

I drank so much last night, then didn't get much sleep. I woke up with a slight hangover, but it wasn't something coffee and a shower couldn't fix. Today, I don't look half bad. My hair's looking presentable. And I'm wearing my current favorite shirt and jeans. I'm doing okay, despite the circumstances.

Anyway, the audition is not for another 4 hours. I've gotten uglier in less time.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

All-Expense-Paid Trip to the Bahamas

The Pirates of the Caribbean movie folks have been trying to get a bunch of Asian actors and extras for their next movie. This has been going on for a while now, ever since last December when they did a major call. In May, they did an open casting for actors, which I didn't go to.

Well, on July 30, they'll be looking for more extras of the pirate and townspeople variety. They want character types, of course, which means the uglier the better. So, I've decided that I could use an all-expense-paid trip to the Bahamas -- apparently, that's where they're shooting -- so I'm now growing facial hair around my mouth. I know that this would be a good time to utilize the photo image capabilities of this blog, but I don't have a bluetooth connection right now. So, no photo.

Meanwhile, people at work are wondering why the sudden change in appearance. But they haven't asked, so I'm not telling. Actually, I'd like to keep it for a while. Guess I'm growing tired of seeing the same ol' face in the mirror all these years and could use a break.

The funny thing is, I've noticed that much of my facial hair is of the "salt" type, as in salt and pepper. Man, am I getting old or what!

It's kinda fun playing make-believe at such a ripe old age. I think Johnny Depp has it pretty good. Speaking of whom, I just saw Willie Wonka, er, uh, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The story was pretty true to the original except for some tweaks here and there. And, of course, no Gene Wilder. Just Depp in an almost Chaplin-esque turn as Willie Wonka.

People have been comparing Depp's version to Michael Jackson, but really, there's no resemblance except for the skin color.

The one thing I have to say that I'm disappointed with is that Willie didn't sing some updated version of "Pure Imagination," which I think was one of the major pivotal character revealers in the original. And it's a great sentimental tune as well. Actually, I don't remember Depp singing at all, but I could be wrong since I did go to the bathroom about halfway through it. (I had this idea to drink 2 beers before the movie for a more "tipsier" experience. Unfortunately, I have a small bladder.)

Anyway, I hope to have the luxury of being able to discuss this movie with Mr. Depp, if I get the chance to vacation, er, uh, work as an extra in the Bahamas. Of course, as an extra, you get the farm animal treatment. Yup, they literally herd you around, from costume changes to the waiting area (often a folding chair outside) to eating from the dining car.

I've been an extra on several occasions and I decided I was through with it a long time ago. It's good to do those in the beginning, but it's better not to make a habit or practice of it, unless you're doing it for financial reasons. Or, in my case, to take a cheap vacation.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Have You Ever

Have you ever felt like you had no control over the next word you were about to say? Like you were a puppet on a string and the strings were just cut. Or being plugged into the Matrix and then being unplugged all of a sudden.

Actually, for me, it's similar to being stoned and not having any control over what you might possibly say. Well, that's what happened in the course of the performance yesterday as the warm-up act for Cold Tofu's regular gig. Our class did a few exercises for the audience and, right now, I have absolutely no recollection of what happened. Ten minutes are a complete mystery to me. But I do know this: people seemed to love it. And they told me so after the show.

Now, I'm not so gullible and starving for praise that I'm looking for any scrap that might come my way. But yesterday really gave me a sense of the mind of the improv artist: Complete trust in the moment. And you're so busy being creative that you have no time to be worried or nervous.

I just hope I don't lose my marbles completely. Because that's what it started to feel like.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Creeps

We just had our last class of the Cold Tofu improv level 2 workshop yesterday. I wasn't feeling very grounded because I had a big cup of coffee and, frankly, I was just a little too pumped with caffeine.

Regardless of that, I realized yesterday that I'm really creeped out by someone in the class. I actually wrote about him before but had to edit the comments out because I inadvertently forwarded my blog address to someone in the class. Well, after two workshops with him, things haven't really changed, especially my contempt for him.

In the beginning, he did some friendly role-playing, which is basically a psychology term for playing out your feelings in a situation. He's tested out his gay tendencies and his hatred toward women in class on many an occasion. First of all, I don't think it's a bad thing to have these issues. I think it's a bad thing to discover these issues and work them out in an improv class. After all, we're all paying customers here. Why should my money be spent on helping you with therapy? You should actually see a therapist for that.

My instincts tell me that this guy has a weird sort of crush on me. Hey, it's not the first time a gay guy has had eyes for me. But this guy, like I said, gives me the creeps. To be near him makes my skin crawl.

Yesterday, I had a talk with one of the instructors about this. He cut me short and said we'd better talk about it later. But I basically said I wasn't so sure about continuing on to level 3 of the workshops. He wants me to reconsider for a couple reasons: One, people who stop tend to lose momentum and their learning curve takes a dive. The other reason is that, maybe, I need to work this out for myself. And maybe it's me who has the issues. Right?? Anything's possible.

Truthfully, this guy makes me uncomfortable in every situation: in class, doing improv exercises together, and on stage in front of an audience. He's sort of unpredictable, but not in an entertaining improvvy sort of way. He's unpredictable in a deep-seeded (seated?), issues-oriented, need to express himself sort of way. I don't want to work on issues. I want to be a better improv artist or actor. Period.

Lately, I've had discussions with people on the subject of helping others. Sure, it's one thing to help people you get along with. But it's quite another to associate with people you couldn't care less about. To truly grow, I think I need to work with people of different energies, intellects, and stages in life and spirit.

That is, if I really want to grow.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Just Realized

You know, I just realized I enjoy a good bout of criticism. Must've been Mom and Dad's upbringing.

Again, explains my sadistic tendencies.

Spaghetti with Tofu

Tonight, my improv class is scheduled to perform in a variety show/fundraiser for the Nisei Week 2004 Queen's Court called "That Spaghetti Show." In a nutshell, it's a spaghetti dinner with a '70s theme, plus a variety show featuring some new and burgeoning talent from the greater Japanese American community. There's no main act, but our class is featured toward the end of the show, which makes it seem like we are the main act.

Next weekend, Cold Tofu does its regular monthly show and our class will be the warm-up act, just like we ought to be. ;)

Last week's class was pretty fun. We did this thing where each person in the scene had an AUDIENCE-SELECTED idiosyncracy or tic that happens when another specific person in the scene does a particular PERSONAL idiosyncracy. So, they had me beat my chest like King Kong every time one guy touched his hands.

This guy usually touches his hands all the time, but for some reason, he didn't do it all through the scene. But the purpose of the improv is to bait them to do the thing that makes you do your thing. That's where the improv comes in. We did a set-up scene of being in an election campaign office. So, you have two things going on at once: the tic you're supposed to do and to help progress the scene. The scene culminates when everyone knows each other's tic. It's a total kick to do and hilarious to watch, since it isn't dependent so much on dialogue.

We'll be doing that skit tonight and it should be a lot of fun for the audience members.

We had evaluations during the last class. As always, this is a difficult thing to go through. They start off with your strengths, then tell you what you need to work on, then bookend it with an overall assessment, usually positive. I was told this: You don't think you're funny but you really are.

I'm not sure what that means exactly. But sometimes I do find myself in an exercise not knowing where it will go or being frustrated because it just isn't funny. He said that is when it actually gets funnier, because I'm caught with my pants down and it's interesting to see how I'm going to pull my pants back up. Ah, now that's improv. I get it.

Another thing he says is that I tend to think a lot and that it's noticeable. I didn't know that was the case so I asked him, "Can you really tell when I'm thinking?" He said that if I wanted, he would throw an eraser (we do our class in an actual classroom) at me every time he catches me thinking. I'm sure that would help, but it does seem a little like "Japanese volleyball coaching." (Not sure if you'll get that one.)

My instructor said my pauses were hard to describe but he said they were noticeable. So I said, "Like a truck?" One person in the class laughed at that. He was a theatre person and that alludes to "a pause so long you can drive a semi-truck through it." It's an old theatre saying.

Interestingly enough, when I said, "Like a truck?" I didn't put the brakes on. I just said it whether anyone was able to understand it or not. One person did and it was enough to show the class that I wasn't just saying things pulled out of my ass. But that's the point, I suppose. It shouldn't matter if anyone understands what I say. I should just say it.

I think I've made a practice all my life of censoring what I say. Of course, I don't censor everything and sometimes I end up saying some inappropriate things. But really, who the frick cares, huh? In one minute, no one remembers anything you've said.

What you write, however, is another matter. That lives on as history in the blogosphere of life.

What you do -- well, that's another matter entirely. Sometimes your actions suck. What do you do then? Regret? I've always believed in this: Do or don't do. And don't have any regrets about what you do. It can be difficult though.

Tonight, I hope not to regret any actions or things I say. But if I do, you can be sure I'll be writing about it here.