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March 6, 2003

Neverland

Last year, I worked on my friend Damion's film, Neverland.

I think it's a fantastic, risky, beautiful, and ultimately engaging film. I think it's everything independent film was supposed to be, before "Independent Film" was co-opted by Miramax and turned into a marketing buzzword.

Of course, I'm not the most objective person where this film is concerned . . . so why don't you take a look at the Neverland website, where you can see the trailer, some pictures, and perhaps form an opinion of your own?

February 27, 2003

Hall and Oates had more number one hits than any other band in the 80s.

I stayed up way too late last night, and got up way too early this morning.

After getting the kids to school, I decided to go back to bed, and just sleep until I wasn't tired any more.

That was two hours ago. I haven't closed my eyes once, because I've been watching Free Enterprise.

Man, I know these guys. I am these guys. Every single one of them.

And William Shatner is my Hero.

January 30, 2003

The Book of Days

In October of last year, I worked on a movie which was code-named Boise. This movie carries a very important distinction in my career history: it's the first lead I've had in ages, and it's the first movie I've done since deciding to focus more on writing and my family than acting and the hollow pursuit of fame. It was very strange, but not unwelcome, when I dug my actor pants out from under the bed and put them back on. Initially, they weren't very comfortable, but they did feel familiar, and when I got used to them again, I decided that I'd never be able to fully take them off -- I feel incredibly naked without them.

Wow. That was an extended metaphor from hell.

Anyway, I was really happy with the work I did. My satisfaction on the set, was matched by the joy and satisfaction I took in writing about my experiences on the set each day. Everyone who reads this lame website has been so supportive, and ridden the violent ups and downs with me for so long . . . I felt like something good had finally happened, and I really enjoyed sharing those experiences with you. (If you want to relive it, follow that link, and click the >> to get to the next day's entry.)

Tomorrow night, the movie will air on the PAX network, and we get to see if the work I did on the set translates to the screen.

Before one of my projects is released, I'm always apprehensive -- I feel unsure about how the music is going to play, how the director cut the scenes together, things like that. I also feel apprehensive about my performance. Will the audience see what I intended? Will I get caught "acting?" I don't feel all that apprehensive about this project, which is surprising and rewarding. I feel very confident in the work I did on the day. I'm sure I'll find things in my performance that I don't like, and I bet many of the things I find will be found only by me. Some people say that I'm ripping myself off when I do that, but if I don't look for those flaws, I never improve.

My gut feeling on this film is that it's going to be pretty good. It's not going to be spectacular --there's some badly written courtroom drama in the middle, where I think it really slows down -- but I think audiences will enjoy it.

They're calling it The Book of Days. Check your local listings for details.

January 15, 2003

Who Watches . . . ?

Who Watches The Watchmen?

November 7, 2002

That's a Wrap!

First of all, I got it. I screwed up my courage, and told Isaac that Anne and I were introduced to our wedding reception to the Theme From Shaft, and asked him if he’d mind signing my CD.

“Are you kidding me?! I’d love to!”

I had to hold in a girlish squeal of delight, but somehow I managed.

We walked to my dressing room, and on the way, he told me how much he loved Star Trek, and how excited he was to be working with me.

I really couldn’t believe it. I mean, people tell me that they love Star Trek all the time, and these days they usually aren’t following up that admission with, “but I really hated you, jack ass. Now get off my lawn, and take your umbrella with you.” But still...hearing from someone who I really admire that he admires me back...well, it was great.

Now I know that I’ve really beaten this horse to death, buried it, dug it up and beaten it again, so I’ll stop.

Today was the last day on the movie, and I approached it the way I always do when a project is over: with a mixture of relief and sadness. Relief because I know that I’ll be returning to a normal life again. Relief because I know that the movie is completly out of my hands, now, and I can let go of the character.

Sadness, because I’ve formed very great friendships with my fellow cast members, and with the crew, and we’ve all created this little world which we’ve lived in for the duration of the production. We all know that we’ll be leaving this world, and it’s a one-way road out.

I had a wonderful time on this picture. The hours were long, the work was demanding as hell, and it feels like it was over as quickly as it started. But the crew was wonderful. They were the hardest-working bunch of dedicated artisans I’ve worked with in years, and I will forever cherish this experience.

The cast was amazing. They assembled a fantastic group of performers, who all worked their asses off to bring this script to life. Their character choices were clear, and their commitment to bringing them to life never wavered.

As the days go on and on, it’s easy to get tired, and fall into a “let’s just get the shot” trap, and compromise on performances. I hate it when that happens, but it does, from time to time.

I’m happy to report that I never felt that way on this picture. We had this amazingly dedicated cast and crew, and we were all lead by a wonderful director.

I am incredibly excited to see this finished product, and I haven’t felt that way in years.

Lots of people have asked about my back. I spent the whole morning Monday flat on same, watching
Dogtown and Z-Boys
on my iBook at the set (holy shit--what a great movie!) and I think it really helped. Lots of water to keep my muscles hydrated, focus on correct posture, lots of stretching, and Tiger Balm made the difference. I’m back to about 90% tonight.

Finally, today is my 3rd wedding anniversary (w00T!). Thank you to everyone who wished us well today. Tommorrow, I will be leaving for a weekend with my kick-ass wife, so there won’t be any updates until Monday.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

November 6, 2002

Day 12

Well, I chickened out. I didnít bring anything to work for Isaac to sign today. I guess itís just my natural aversion to getting autographs, and the fact that even though I sign them, Iím shy about asking for them myself...Iíd rather just have the memories of hanging out with him, I think, and I donít need a really cool signed Shaft CD, or an even cooler autographed-by-Isaac-Freaking-Hayes-Himself-In-The-Flesh South Park DVD that I can show off to my friends and bring to parties as a conversation piece.

Aw, who am I kidding. I blew it, big time. DAMMIT!

Well, heís working in 2 scenes tomorrow, so maybe Iíll take advantage of this second chance, and at least get something signed for a friend, who is strangely also named ďWil.Ē

So today, I got married in the movie. I spent the day in a tux, smiling and laughing, standing next to an absolutely beautiful bride. Itís ironic, because tomorrow is my 3rd wedding anniversary in real life. So standing around today, all decked out in wedding gear, watching the assembled guests and stuff, I couldnít stop thinking about how happy I was on my actual wedding day with Anne, and more than once I caught myself getting giddy little butterflies remembering that day.

I canít tell you how nice it was to have a break from the constant crying, grieving, and depression that this role has demanded of me each day the last three weeks.

November 5, 2002

People are strange

I cried today.

Hard.

A lot.

The interesting thing for me was that it was very, very easy to call forth the emotions necessary to bring this scene to life...but it was equally hard to let them go, again.

When we finished this scene, I wanted to go into my dressing room, and just sob until I got it all out of me...but there wasn't time, and I have this little knot in my chest, just below where my sternum ends.

Strange.

In a very bizarre twist of "six degrees of Anne Wheaton," a real-life doctor, who treated her for some stomach trouble earlier this year, was playing a doctor in the movie today.

Also strange.

Tomorrow is my last day with Isaac Hayes. I'm debating whether or not I should take my "Shaft" soundtrack and my 18" Chef plush toy and get an autograph.

Not sure if I will though...it could end up being strange.

November 4, 2002

Dramatic Lighting

FADE IN:
INT. STAGE - FRANKIE’S LOFT -- EVENING

The crew settles. WIL and MAUREEN take their marks. A BELL RINGS and the crew falls silent. The CAMERAMAN, a serious, artistic Spaniard in his 30s speaks.


CAMERAMAN
Hold the roll, please.
(to the gaffer)
Would you please close the doors a bit on the key light?
I want to light this more dramatically.

The GAFFER begins to work. Wil gets a mischievous glint in his eye, and dramatically takes his mark, stomping his foot on the ground and presenting his hands, upturned in front of him.

WIL
(grandiose)
Dramatically? Perhaps I could act it more dramatically!

The crew LAUGHS.

CAMERAMAN
(beat)
Oh, let me just do it with the light, please.

WIL and MAUREEN collapse into giggles.

FIRST AD
Okay, everyone, very quiet please, here we go...


FADE OUT.

November 1, 2002

Day Nine

All this week, weíve been doing emotionally draining scenes. Each day, I come to work and put myself into the skin of this guy whoís lost everything in his life, and is struggling to find meaning in the aftermath.

Now, when I get this tired, I suppose I could ďfake it,Ē but that comes across on the screen (go watch Kevin Costner or Tom Cruise, if youíre want an example of what Iím talking about...or if you really want to torture yourself, sit through ďGlitter.Ē)

So, ďfaking itĒ not being an option, I have to take time before each scene to focus and immerse myself in pain and grief, confusion and despair. After 5 days of this, I am really, really tired and totally emotionally drained. I understand what people mean when theyíve suffered a great loss, and they just canít cry any more, and itís getting harder and harder as the day goes on to find the energy to bring this guy to life, but there is no other option, so I dig deep and Just Do It(tm).

The crazy thing is, even though I have to keep putting myself through the emotional wringer, I am still having a great time on this picture. We made it across Donner Pass some time this morning, and we havenít looked back.

The crew has been so jovial today, and there has been much laughter, and Iíve faced an additional challenge: leaving the mirth and joy of geeking out about D&D with the boom man, and geeking out about Final Cut Pro with the first AC, to plunge back into the emotional depths of this character. Itís a welcome change from yesterday, when I felt like we were sitting atop a powder keg.

As I write this, we are finishing up the last scene of the day (fortunately not a gut-wrencher, so I can relax and catch my breath by writing for a little bit before they call me in). It just feels wonderful to be so close to finishing up a great week of work.

Iím so grateful for this weekend, and Iím even more grateful to have a role which is so demanding, I really need the weekend to recharge.

Have a great one, everybody. Hope to see some of you at the gallery opening tomorrow.

October 31, 2002

Day Eight

It happens sooner or later on every shoot.

The long hours, the pressure from production to finish the day and stay on time and on budget...people start to lose their patience, and they get cranky.

It happened today. We’re tired, and, we’re all trying to make a “bigger” movie than the budget will allow, so I think everyone is feeling the pressure, and cracks are beginning to show.

Fortunately, everyone seems to understand that we’re all cranky, and why we’re cranky, and we haven’t turned on each other, yet. It’s the time when “please” and “thank you” go a very long way to keep us all sane, and everyone seems to be aware of that.

It really says a lot about the cool people on this crew and in this cast, that even though we’re wiped out, and the production has set some very tough expectations for us (13 pages today!)we’re all still playing on the same team.

So even though we’re all in danger of reaching Donner Party status, the work hasn’t suffered, and everyone remains supportive of each other, which is cool. We’ve even managed to work some cannibal humor into the day to lighten the mood.

I like feeling like I’m on a team, and that I’m part of something much larger than myself. On days like today, that camaraderie is really tested. Fortunately, as far as I can tell, we’re passing the test.

The scenes today were mostly between me and Maureen, and our long personal history is adding this great extra dimension to our performances. We have this great trust in each other, and we’ve been allowed by the director to improvise a bit within the scenes, so they have this great natural, conversational quality which I hope translates into the final product.

On the way home, I pulled into my neighborhood, which is swarming with children and their parents, trick-or-treating. I drove slowly towards my house, smiling and waving at numerous Spider Men, Buzz Light Years, and a few vampires.

When I got to my house, I felt really sad...Nolan and Ryan had already carved their jack o lanterns, and they were out trick-or-treating...but my insanely cool wife hadn’t carved hers, yet...because she was waiting for me. As soon as they get back, the carving will begin.

Happy Halloween, everybody!

October 30, 2002

Day Seven

You’d think that, after working as an actor for 23 years with some pretty impressive people, I’d just stop feeling star struck, just take it in stride when I have a scene with someone who I really admire.

Of course, you’d be wrong.

Each time I have a scene with Isaac Hayes, I get this flutter in my belly, the same way I did when I had scenes with Patrick on TNG or Robin Williams in Flubber, or Ron Jeremy in Mr. Stitch. I catch myself between takes, mind wandering, thinking, “Oh man! This is so cool!”

We had a scene this morning, and this other actor, a brilliant man called John Reilly, is in the scene with us. John turns to Isaac, and says, “ I saw you on this awards show, and you were covered with FX smoke...what show was that?”

Isaac looks at him, and smiles, and replies, “You mean the Academy Awards?”

Maureen and I explode into laughter, and I say, “Oh, yeah. that awards show. Did anybody see it?”

John laughs too, and explains that Isaac is one of his idols, so he has seen most of his performances, and they’ve sort of blurred together across the years.

They talk about the performance, about how hard it was to see Isaac, and Isaac says, “Man, Billy spent the rest of the night talking about that!”

“Billy” is, of course, Billy Crystal.

When Isaac speaks of these hugely famous people he knows, he always refers to them by their first name, only, and he speaks of them the way you’d speak of Dan from Accounting, or Jenny the girl from upstairs. It’s very surreal.

The rest of the day is spent filming scenes with just me and Maureen. It’s long and at times it’s a bit arduous, but very satisfying.

There’s a scene which really needs some help from us, because in the rewrites, it’s drifted from its original meaning, and has gotten sort of muddled and a bit confused. So maureen and I spend a lot of time just improvising, staying true to our characters and keeping things simple, and we ultimately discover several very wonderful moments which add great depth and meaning to the story and our characters. We are very fortunate to have a director who trusts us, and to trust each other, so we can follow the little inspirations which occasionally pop up during a take, knowing that we’ll create something interesting and maybe even moving in the process.

I’m happy when the day is done. I feel very satisfied with what we’ve done, and proud of the work we’ve turned in.

We also got the word from the Big Tough Executive Producer Guy Man Dude, and the word was that he loves the work he is seeing, and that this is his favorite of all the productions he’s done for PAX.

Yesterday, I spoke of that seemingly endless waiting period when we don’t know if what we’ve done will translate to the screen, and today I had a thought: the wonderful sense of satisfaction I enjoyed today can’t ever be taken away from me, regardless of what happens with the final cut of the film. It is that feeling which compels me to create, whether it be as an actor, writer, or street-performing mime who is trapped in an ever-shrinking box.

That feeling is Mine(tm), and if the audience likes what we did, if everything comes together in just the right way and we end up with something memorable, well, that’s just a bonus.

October 29, 2002

Day Six

The alarm was brutal this morning, and I moved through the first half of the day on autopilot.

Well, that’s not entirely true. When I was on the set, my mind would wake up long enough for me to be present in the scene, from action to cut. Until after lunch, though, all the other times were spent in an exhausted haze.

I was so tired because I spent the evening yesterday with Anne and the boys, picking out punkins for Halloween.

I love Halloween more than any other holiday. I love the scary decorations, the spooky movies, and the costumes...oh, the costumes!

Anne is really skilled with the FX makeup, so we always end up as really horrible zombies, complete with gushing blood and spooky wounds...it’s hard to tell who loves it more: me or the kids.

I usually start decorating the house the last week of September, and by the 31st, the house is in full-on spook mode.

This year, though, between the Avon 3 Day and the movie, Anne and I haven’t had time to hang a single skeleton, or tape up a single mummy. Anne took the kids to pick out their makeup and costumes last week while I was on the set, so last night was my first chance to do anything “Halloweeny” with the kids. Even though I was exhausted from work, and I knew that I should have been learning lines and going to bed early, I wasn’t about to miss out on time with the family...and I felt really great about that choice. As recently as a year ago, I wouldn’t have stayed up to learn lines after they’d all gone to bed, and though I am positively wiped out, I don’t regret the decision at all.

Tomorrow I have 7 1/8 pages, and since we’re shooting out of order, I have to work hard to ensure that I track my character correctly across the story...I love that stuff because it’s a challenge, but it’s also one of those efforts that I won’t know the results of for months, until I see the movie. That’s a part of acting in places other than the stage which I’d forgotten about: we work really hard all day long, for days at a time, and we don’t really have anything to “show” for it, other than the occasional reassurance from the director, and the visceral feeling that we did something right.

Then it’s months of waiting, hoping that the composer, the editor, and the director bring to the screen what we thought we were making while we were on the set.

I only have to wait until the end of January to see this picture, and I don’t think I will be disappointed.

I had some challenging scenes today; some real emotional stuff, where my character has to contemplate some life-and-death choices...heavy stuff, and I was able to use my real physical exhaustion to inspire my character’s emotional exhaustion.

I also had some scenes with Isaac Hayes...and every time he spoke, I had to really focus, so I wouldn’t start singing, “suck on my chocolate salty balls” in my head.

Heh, see how it’s in your mind right now? That was me, all day long.

October 28, 2002

Day Five, and some Pimpin'

Today was a very routine day working on a film, and the only really interesting thing that happened wasn't even related to the movie!

There's a great show on NPR called "Marketplace," and one of the producers emailed me a few weeks ago, asking if I'd be interested in participating in a program about how child actors deal with the money and fame that comes with success.

I told her that I'd love to do it, and she asked me, quite charmingly, if I had heard of a program called "This American Life," which she also produces.

Heh. No, really. She asked me that.

So I geeked out, and we scheduled the interview for the tuesday following the conclusion of the Avon 3 Day. Trouble was, I booked the job on the movie while I was gone, and I wasn't going to be able to get into a studio. I thought that I was going to lose the opportunity, and we spent the last week or so emailing back and forth, trying to pull together some sort of plan...and we hit upon one over the weekend: she'd send an engineer out to the set with a DAT, and I'd call her. She'd sit in her own studio and record herself, I'd be recorded in my dressing room, and they'd put the two together later.

Isn't technology cool?

So today I did my interview, and it was really great...it went on and on, for close to three hours, broken up by my calls to the set to do my scenes. The engineer, a really nice and patient guy called "Skott" was at the set for nearly 6 hours, and never complained once.

So what's the cool thing, you ask? In the interview, I ended up telling her this story about my childhood...that she said has a very good chance of making it onto This American Life.

Holy.

Shit.

Talk about dreams coming true!!

Tomorrow I am in everything, so I'm off to learn pages of lines...but before I go, I want to pimp out my friend Sean.

Sean and his wife Caryn are opening a really amazing gallery in downtown Los Angeles this weekend, and I want to let everyone know about it. If you're in LA, or know people who are into the art scene here in town, please come over and check it out this weekend. You can "read more" to get the address and times.

I hope to see some WWDN readers there!

Continue reading "Day Five, and some Pimpin'" »

October 26, 2002

Day Four

I can't believe that I am still awake and coherent.

It's almost 1am as I write this, and I've only been home for a little over an hour.

Yeah, we were supposed to wrap around 7, but we shot until 11.

Holy mother of the Jackson Five. It was a long farking day.

Usually, if it's getting later and later, they'll just push the material to another day, but I guess we lose this particular set today, so they had to finish all the pages, and we didn't get to leave until they did.

So today was a long day, but it was fun, and I did some nice work, I think.

In addition to the work, I also met the one and only Chef himself, Isaac Hayes.

I wrote about it earlier this morning:

CHEF!

When my alarm went off at 5AM today, it seemed like I hadn’t slept at all. I felt I had just turned off the light, and there was no way I was going to get up.

So I did that thing that we do when we’re exhausted...I did some quick math in my head, and figured out that if I ate breakfast from the caterer at work this morning, rather than cooking it myself before leaving, I could grab an extra 30 minutes of sleep.

So I reset it and fell back to sleep...and of course when it went off again, I felt like I hadn’t gotten any additional sleep at all. Matter of fact, I didn’t even feel awake until I was half-way to work.

I got to work at 7, went through makeup and hair, put on my wardrobe, and walked over to the caterer to get a breakfast burrito.

When I walked around the corner of the trailer, I saw him standing near the juices, talking with another actor...Isaac Hayes.

Dude! It’s Chef, standing right in front of the food!

I suppress an excited girlish squeal, and extend my hand, “Hi. I’m Wil,” I say.

“Oh, I know who you are! You’re the boy genius who made all those adults look stupid!” He says.

What? Am I still asleep? Did I just meet Isaac Hayes, and he told me knew who I was?

He continues, “I loved you on Star Trek, man. It’s really nice to meet you.”

I can’t believe that I’m keeping it together. I don’t even try to mask my enthusiasm, and tell him, “Jeeze, thank you. The admiration is mutual! I’m really excited to be working with you.”

We talk for a few more moments, but I can’t tell you what we said, because it was sinking in that I was standing here, in front of the catering truck, talking with Isaac Hayes, and he is excited to meet me!

After a moment, I tell him, “At my wedding, when my wife and I walked into the reception and were introduced to the assembled guests, we walked in to the theme from Shaft...”

He beams and says, “That’s cool! Thank you.”

He sort of half-bows, and he seems genuinely touched.

“...yeah,” I continue, “when I told her that you were working on this movie, she said I should tell you...so...there you go.”

I’m starting to feel like a full-on fanboy, so I decide now is a good time to STFU. Luckily, my breakfast is ready, so I excuse myself and head back to my dressing room to eat.

Of course, I’m so excited, it’s now cold, sitting on the desk next to me, because I had to write about this before I could eat.

I am such a dork.

October 24, 2002

Day Three

I learned something today: having no lines can be just as exhausting as talking until your throat is sore in every scene.

It's surprisingly hard to just sit there for hours, trying to focus on the other actors, react to what they are doing, and not get bored.

Oh man, is it easy to get bored...because of the lights, it's close to 85 degrees on the set, and the air is very still. We spend a lot of time on each scene, so we get to hear the same lines over and over again, and it's easy for the mind to wander and the eyelids to fall down.

Now I understand why Levar fell asleep on the bridge behind his VISOR so many times in the early years of TNG.

I didn't expect to feel wiped out when I got home, you know? I expected it to be a really easy day...but I am beat right now. To be honest, it feels really good.

The lack of dialogue did give me some free time during the day...I watched some Simpsons on DVD on the iBook, and played a few games on MacMAME.

My day started at 5AM, and we shot nearly nine pages, which is really, really, really a lot in films. When I was on Trek, we'd average about 6.5 pages per day, and when I was working on Mr. Stitch, I once managed something like 15 pages in one day.

So now that you know more about page count than you ever wanted, I can give up some details:


  • This project is a Movie Of The Week for the PAX network, and it will air at the end of January in 2003. When my friend Keith found out that it was on PAX, he teased me that I was in one of those stupid "Left Behind" piles of crap...but I assured him, and I can assure you, that it's actually a pretty cool story. =]

  • Included in the cast is an actor you may have heard of..."Chef" himself, Isaac Hayes! He plays a mysterious guy who give me this mysterious, ancient, powerful book. The story is about how I deal with it.

  • Also in the cast is my friend Richard Grieco. We've done three movies together before this one, and it's the first time he's not kicking my ass. I really like Richard. He's one of the sweetest guys who ever lived, he's very generous and funny...and it bugs me that he has this image as a real cheeze*wiz.

  • The actor who is playing my best friend in the movie is Maureen Flannigan. Mo and I have been friends since forever, and I absolutely adore her. I think that our personal history will cascade into our performances, and make the film that much deeper and richer. The cool thing is, the producers didn't know that we knew each other when they cast us.

Tomorrow I talk and talk and talk, so it will be the polar opposite of today. Should be interesting to contrast the two.

I'm having a really good time. It feels good to be on a set where people know what they're doing, and there aren't any incompetent a-holes with huge egos farking things up. I didn't realize how much I'd missed that.

Time to learn lines.

October 23, 2002

Boise? WTF is that?

Copuple of updates on the movie:

I'm having a really good time. This director is just awesome, the crew is friendly, professional, and all the actors I've worked with so far have been great.

There is this one strange thing, though...the movie isn't being called by it's title on the call sheet, or our signs to location, or the slate, or anything...theyr'e calling it "Boise," like it's a codename or something.

I wear lots of suits, so I walk around talking into my cuff, telling people "I'm on Project Boise," and looking mysterious.

Hey, without WiFi at work, I have to find ways to entertain myself, right?

Yesterday was Day One and it was a typical First Day On A Movie(tm). Most of the actors had gotten their material late Monday night, so they were having a tough time with the lines. Luckily for me, I had the studio email it to me as a .pdf, and I printed it out.

I shit you not, that laser printer paid for itself on Monday!

So I knew my lines, had worked out enough of the character to feel really comfortable living in his skin and stuff. Since we've all really hit the ground running, I'm being forced to trust my instincts and make quick and deliberate character choices, which is actually good for me, I think. If left to my own devices, I have a tendency to overthink things, and complicate the hell out of stuff. Since I don't have the ability to do that on this picture, it is a good test of my acting skills.

Speaking of my acting skills, I was paid a very nice compliment by the director late in the day yesterday. We were between scenes, and we were talking. I mentioned to him that I hadn't done any real acting jobs in over a year, since I'd been working primarily as a writer.

He looked at me, his face showing real surprise, and he said, "Wow! I would never have known. You're performance has been so wonderful, I thought you'd just come off of another movie, right into this one. You'd never know that you've taken a year off."

Shortly after that, the producer came over to me and told me how happy they all were that I'd been cast, and that he'd been watching me work. He told me that I was doing great things with the role, exactly what they'd wanted.

It felt good to be told that I was doing a great job, without it being followed by, "but we're going with another, bigger actor."


My character in this picture has suffered a terrible and tragic loss, so he is never too far from tears, covering his pain in various ways. He's ironic, he's angry, he's sarcastic, he is occasionally vulnerable...boy, it is grueling work.

At the end of the day yesterday, I was physically and emotionally exhausted.

Today was much easier. I was only in 2 scenes, and I was mostly reacting in them...but I was so tired from yesterday, I was having an insanely difficult time focusing and staying present. I'd forgotten just how tough it is to not get distracted and let my mind wander...it seems that in every spare moment I am thinking about the book, or how I'm going to write about the day when I get home.

The next two days are pretty much like today. I don't talk too much, but I'm there for each scene...Patrick Stewart called it "Face Acting."

I was able to break away from the set long enough today to call Screen Savers when they aired my segment. I haven't seen it, but Anne tells me I didn't look like a total dork...even though I was wearing what she calls "Your Croccodile hunter Shirt."

Yeah, there's nothing quite like gettin' dissed by your wife, you know?

So that's it. I'm bleary-eyed and having a hard time staying awake.

More tomorrow.

June 15, 2002

Seth

"This assistant, who was way overqualified to be doing this, turned to me and said in his French accent, `I have scouted this alley for Luc Besson, Neil Jordan, John Frankenheimer...and you.'

May 20, 2002

White. Jane White.

UGO has a really funny interview I did with them to support the release of Jane White is Sick and Twisted. Don't forget to scroll past the advertisement, or you'll miss the whole second half. (When I read it I thought, "Hey, didn't I say a lot more stuff?")

March 21, 2002

Nobody knows you're a dog

So I've gotten lots of emails about this apparent Nemesis script that's on the net, and I have a thing or two to say about it.

I took a look at it, and it's not the script I was handed, stamped "CONFIDENTIAL" all over it. It's not the script we shot.

I guess lots of people have jumped to some wild conclusions about this, which is understandable, because we all want the movie to be good.

Finally, here's something to ask yourself , if you've read it: Would you judge a baseball team's world series chances by their performance in their first Spring Training game?

Like every movie, some people will love this, and some people won't. I bet every hard core Trekkie will find something to love, and something to hate. That's the mark of a good movie. The studio could still mess it up, but I'm not too worried.

Relax, everybody. It's not Episode One. I promise. It's going to be fine.

Thought for today:


"When the country falls into chaos, patriotism is born."
--Tao Te Ching

March 15, 2002

The Good Things

I am in this movie called "The Good Things."

This should come as no surprise to regular readers, because I talk about it alot, as I am very, very proud of it.

People ask me all the time, "Wil, how does your skin stay so clear?"

I tell them it's a plesant side-effect of hard-drinkin'

Then I tell them that, if they were so inclined, they could SEE THE GOOD THINGS!

That's right! From the convenience of your own monitor, you, too, can view The Good Things! View it while eating dinner! View it while butt naked! View it while your roommates think you're working on that paper they're paying you to write!

To explain how this wonderful opportunity has come along, I turn the microphone over to my dear friend Mr. Seth Wiley, who directed the film. Seth?

"I found out today that our short film "the good things" is a quarterfinalist in the Chrysler Million Dollar Film Festival. this is a really good deal for the winner (something, something...million dollars,) and an exceptionally good deal for the semi-finalists, who get a trip to Cannes. so I'm asking everyone to visit the link and vote on the film as well as see the twenty-four other short films that are
viewable on the site.

This link will get you to a group of shorts, one of which is "the good things." there's some registration and password cha-cha, but it only commits you to buying a minivan...no, two minivans. I apologize for the quality of the digitization, but alas, the technology--she is young, no?

For those of you who don't want to sit through the entire film again, please feel free to vote for it, as the votes could help the film become a semifinalist. for those of you who've never seen the film, please watch it and save me the false promise of sending you a tape.

Thanks a lot for helping out!"

This movie means so very, very much to me. We worked very hard on it, and I am so excited to share my work with the world. Please watch it, please tell your friends to watch it, and then vote for it, dammit!

If javascript is busted on your computer (like it is on my POS 9000), our movie is in the top row, in the middle.

Feel free to discuss the movie in the soapbox.

March 3, 2002

Ass means donkey

I spent the evening watching Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, on DVD.

Kevin Smith is so awesome. He's living the dream for all of us who want to be successful in the entertainment industry, while kicking it in the nuts for how lame it can be. I met him a Comic Con two years ago, and (surprise) geeked out at him, and he was really cool to me. I'd really like to work with him, someday.

I'm going to bet that most of the WWDN readers have already seen this, but if you haven't seen the DVD, yet, you must get your hands on one, by hook or by crook, so you can watch all the deleted scenes (there's something like 90 minutes, or so of deleted stuff), and see all the spiffy extras on disc 2. There's this thing called "The Genius of Will Farrell", that made me feel totally bush league as an improviser, and there's many precious minutes of all the girls running around in their undies. Always a bonus.

I blame this DVD, and Day of Defeat for keeping me up until almost 2 AM, and I haven't even watched the movie with the commentary, yet. I'm going to have a lot of explaining to do with my wife tomorrow, when I can't keep my eyes open when we take Ferris to class!

February 6, 2002

Mister Mastodon Farm

It's been a long day, and I should really be going to bed...but Anne is still out in Riverside, working on "Neverland", and I know that I won't be able to sleep until she's back...

Do any of you married or living-in-sin types feel this way? If I know that she's staying with one of her friends, or something, I can go to sleep at 9, and sleep like a baby...but if I know that she's coming home, and I get into bed, I sleep fitfully, and wake with a start after about 90 minutes, absolutely convinced that she's been smeared all over the freeway.

So I don't even try to get to sleep now. I just wait up for her, listening to CAKE, and working on the website. I was playing Diablo II:LOD on BattleNet, but the farking lag was so bad, I got killed twice. Reminds me of the old MUDding days, when I'd go to kill Tiamat, and the happy text messages would slow, stop, and then I'd see something like:

Tiamat's Claw EVISCERATES Shaft!
Tiamat's Claw EVISCERATES Shaft!
Tiamat's Claw EVISCERATES Shaft!
Tiamat's Claw EVISCERATES Shaft!
You are really hurt, now.
Tiamat's Claw EVISCERATES Shaft!
Tiamat's Claw EVISCERATES Shaft!
Tiamat's Claw EVISCERATES Shaft!
You are feeling faint.
Tiamat's Claw EVISCERATES Shaft!
Tiamat's Claw EVISCERATES Shaft!
You are nearly dead.
Tiamat's Claw EVISCERATES Shaft!
You have died.
You are near a healer. "Mmblfggzpth," the Healer says.

I wonder if that's funny to anyone but me?

Anyway, enough about Lag. Let's talk about "Neverland", shall we?

This movie is really amazing. My friend Damion adapted the book "Peter Pan", and is retelling the story, featuring homeless kids as The Lost Boys, a Transvestite as Tiger Lilly, and a Leather Daddy as Hook. It's really twisted, and really amazing, too. I play John Darling, and I'm getting to work with a bunch of really accomplished stage actors in this movie.

Because Hook is a S&M guy, we shot in a real-life S&M dungeon on Sunday, and I gotta tell you, it was a really...interesting...experience. I was initially really freaked out by the place, but, after spending quite a bit of time talking with the head Dominatrix who runs the place, I figured out that my feeling freaked out was based entirely on erroneous preconceptions. That world is totally not my thing, but I have a much better understanding of the whole lifestyle. My favoreit moment of the entire day was when she was about to tie me up. I told the still photographer that he couldn't take any stills of me all bound, because there are freaks out there who will take those pictures and do...unnatural...things with them. She realized that I was that guy from Star Trek, and she told me that I was "her guy" on TNG. I guess she and all her friends chose who their "guys" were, and she choo-choo-choosed me, even though all her friends thought I was a dork.

So when she was tying my hands for the scene, I think she enjoyed it a little too much...but I was flattered, anyway ;-)

We shot today at this really crappy, totally run-down amusement park, that is like a small version of Knott's Berry Farm, but with traveling carnival rides made permanent, if that makes sense....oh, and there's about 10 people in the whole place.

Anne, Stephanie, and Elyse (the line producer), and I all went into the "Haunted Mansion", which was little more than one of those things you see at Coney Island, you know? It's really just a makeout ride, right? Well, we walked through it...al 25 feet of it, in the dark, "Scooby Doo" style, with just a flashlight. It was very subversive, and we almost got caught by some security drones.

Speaking of Security, I had a callback at Warner Brothers this morning, and holy shit! The security is insane! They checked my ID, and made me open my trunk, and I had to drive around these barriers, like I was going into an embassy. There are all these freaky, Gothic-style posters everywhere, too, extolling the virtues of "checking that mail twice" and "guarding your badge: it's on you when you're on the lot!"...they all looked like those old propaganda posters from WWII...but I was happy to see the security, even if it did make me 15 minutes late for my audition.

Speaking of auditions, I did not book the LA LAW gig, but the casting director told my rockin' managers that I was, and I quote, "far and away the best actor we saw". She went on to tell them that they cast someone who just looked way more like the guy whose son I would have been playing. At first, I was bummed, because I thought, well, the streak continues...but I feel really good about it. I mean, I absolutely did my best work, with each part of the process that I had any control over.

It also looks like I won't get the pilot that I had my callback for today, because they are looking for someone more "quirky", but the casting director really liked what I did, and was impressed with my funny. Trust me, there are worse things in life than having a casting director at Warner Brothers be impressed with my funny! Anyway, it's only the first week of February, and there's a lot of pilot season left. This is going to be a good year.

Today's thought comes from LM:


"Only those who do nothing please everyone."

February 5, 2002

Spiffy

Good morning!

I'm checking my email, while the kid's sausage sizzles on the Foreman Grill, and I was sent a link to this story on Trek Galaxy. It's an interview with Rick Berman, about Nemesis. It's a good article, and I call attention to this section:

STM. We know now that Kate Mulgrew and Wil Wheaton will appear in Star Trek: Nemesis as Admiral Janeway and Wesley Crusher, respectively. How did their appearances come about? "

Berman: "John Logan, who wrote the script, very much wanted Kate to portray an admiral that we had and Kate was delighted to do it. We have a wedding in the movie and guests at the wedding include Wil Wheaton and Whoopi Goldberg."

STM: Did anyone have to twist your arm to get Wheaton back in there? He's been under the impression that you didn't like him.

Berman: "You know, that's so funny because somebody else told me that. I can't imagine why anybody would think that way. I'm very fond of Wil. Somebody else, not someone from the press, said to me, "Wil is very interested in being in the movie, but we hear you don't like him." I can't imagine where that came from."

STM: Actually, it came from Wil. He's said that he lost favour with you because of the way he left Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Berman: "That could not be farther from the truth."

STM: The wedding, as we all know, is between Deanna (Marina Sirtis) and Riker (Jonathan Frakes), so it seems like an ideal opportunity for Majel Barrett Roddenberry to reprise her role as Lwaxana. Will she be back? "

Berman: "Nope. There's a plot point I don't want to give away, but there's a reason."

January 29, 2002

ForCor

I just found out that Foreign Correspondents is available at Amazon.com!

I'll put it up on the right in a week or two, but I'm pretty excited about it being available at the evil amazon, and I wanted to share that with everyone. :-)

Bloggie results have not yet been revealed to me...so I don't know if we should be getting tanked to celebrate, or to drown our sorrows... ;-)