News & Views

The News & Views page is where you'll find updates on what MacLeod is up to and hopefully a thoughtful reflection or funny story here and there. This is the blog of my blog-site.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

To Catch Y'all Up

January has proven to be a time of eclecticism. I have found myself writing a fair amount. My good friend approached me with a concept for a comedy web series that I think has solid potential. I've written an episode for the show and we have talked much about the various aspects of development. It draws inspiration from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which is far and away my new favorite comedy series. I've been catching up on Hulu. I've also found myself returning to a film script that I've been nibbling at for the past three years. Aside from scripts, I've really been enjoying writing character snapshots for an audition that I am preparing.

I am in the midst of auditions for an independent film for which the process is heavily based in improvisation. I prefer using a possessive form of the word that in place of 'for which the' but I am fairly confident that the word that's in reference to something being owned by that is a fabrication. And I do so strive for grammatical correctitude, for my father's sake. I oft stray in service to expressiveness. But I digress and regress and must redress my wandering prose by addressing the matter of the audition that I spake of moments ago before I figuratively blow my brains out. I'm an idiot, forgive me. The next round of callbacks entails the presentation of four characters before the director. I am to 'exist' for ten minutes in the skin of each character. That means a total of forty minutes for the strictly literarily minded. It has been a fun and interesting challenge to prepare for such a callback.

The challenge primarily has been in creating a structure of some kind. Typically in any audition the actor is grounded by the structure of the script. The character is revealed through their written language and behavior. In this case I literally can do just about anything for my ten minutes. I may talk to the director, deliver a monologue, or completely ignore the circumstance and have what's called a "private moment" as the character. But the most illusive question has been, who are these characters? What do they do? There is no answer, because it's up to me to create them. This offers complete artistic freedom which is great fun but initially daunting. Exploring physicalities is certainly a useful and critical step. Vocal qualities are also such. But these, for me, are to be developed subsequent to basic background work. Where do these people come from? How do they interact with people? To answer these questions I simply had to start writing. Writing specific stories from their pasts, who their parents are, what they're up to in the present, and for some of them what kinds of phone messages they leave for people. Now, some actors reading this might say, "well that's character development 101 for any script you tackle," but I've never been much of a character biographer. I admit it can be extremely helpful for building depth and subtext, but I find at times that focusing on "filling in the gaps" distracts from the more pressing matter of discovering what needs to happen in a scene as dictated by the script in hand. In this circumstance however, character biography seems to be an inevitable, unexpendable, and primary concern (the Oxford comma is a shout-out to my peep on the West Coast). All this rigamarole is more or less to say, I've enjoyed the experience of writing these characters. Next step is actually preparing some kind of presentation, and then letting it go to leave room for improvisation.

Aside from the aforementioned proceedings, I will begin rehearsal soon for a show with Rising Phoenix Rep who brought you such crowd favorites as Too Much Memory. I can't wait!

Another exciting development is the convocation of a number of talented Middlebury Alumni living in New York City with the intention of starting a theater company of our own. Things are in a nascent stage but the will seems to be there.

Amidst all, I have been attempting to breach the world of recording audio books. Another challenging yet enjoyable endeavor.

Also, I have been urged by MacLeod Andrews Management to acquire new headshots, so if anyone has actually read all of this and knows of a good and cheap photographer, please holler!

Excruciatingly sorry for this verbal masturbation. But I hope it has given you something to do while at work.

All my best! If you're reading this, chances are you're one of my favorite people, so all my love too!

Good Things,

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