I studied theatre in college, and there I fell in love with improvisation. My studies never went anywhere, but some friends and I did continue doing some professional improv comedy on the side. But that’s where it stayed until it ended. We never did do the work to make and promote our own shows or do what it took to build a name. We all had jobs on the side, and any kind of a golden ring seemed very far away. I liked my rut.
When my then-wife Mel and I moved out to Burnaby I kept talking about I “should” start performing again. We were so much closer to Vancouver where real acting jobs were. But that rut was awfully comfortable…
I got reminded how much I love comedy, improv, and performing almost immediately after we started Caustic Soda. That rut started to chafe. It took three damned years before I did anything about it, but it’s started now and I’m feeling completely rut-less.
First up, some on-set experience and a demo reel!
I’ve done some unpaid background acting work. It’s fun, actually. While shots are set up you can chat with people who work on some really interesting stuff — both on-camera and off.
Last week I did some background work on “Focus” for Viewers Like You Productions, run by some old and dear friends including Caustic Soda regular Dr. Rob. On-camera I was there for about two seconds as I walked by in the background. Around that was hours of waiting while they did other shots that background wasn’t needed for. You’d think that sitting around being generally quiet would be boring, but the crew and cast were so great we all found ways to keep each other entertained. Dave Heinrich brought a copy of Zombie Dice and we played several games, with Allyson Grant showing us what beginner’s skill was, completely destroying us with her brain-eating, shotgun-dodging abilities.
Allyson, I learned later, does professional face-painting. As a naturally sarcastic jerk I was sooo ready to start poking fun at this, but she just bowled me over with her enthusiasm for her work, at how much the kids love it, and how intriguing the hyper-competitive world of Vancouver face-painting is. So, ok, that was cool and interesting and eye-opening. I can handle that. Then she starts talking about the other work she does. Allyson is a clown-doctor. She is a passionate clown-doctor. Allyson spends her time making sure people going through some of the toughest times of their lives get not only some entertainment, but some one-on-one attention and care.
You just can’t make fun of that, red-nose and all. All you can do is marvel at how amazing some other people are, and hope that they can keep doing everything they want because everything they want to do is admirable.
Ok, this was about me…
So yeah, even background acting is interesting and new and fun. Smart phones help with that too — you can always connect with your friends stuck in similar situations when you’ve got the entire Internet in your pocket. Mental note: Bring wall-charger for phone to all acting work, dummy. You’re not working from home any more!
I’ve also started doing some proper acting work, starting with this zombie short by first year Capilano University students. Working on this was an absolute pleasure. The teamwork and openness to ideas and solutions while still being able to make quick decisions to move forward was impressive to see in a crew so green.
The zombie love-interest there is Kayla Anne Thomas who had to endure not just the makeup — incredible work by Vixen Makeup, but took a long time to get on and lots of time fiddling with maintenance — but lying in a pool of fake blood on an uncomfortable floor between shots. She was a real trooper.
So there’s that. I’m doing another short tomorrow and Monday. This one is for some 3rd year VFS students. It’s a pretty ugly character, but I’m going to try to come at it from the proper direction so it plays right and not just “evil”.
I really missed this stuff. Glad to be back.
Oh, and there’s this other thing I started on, but it’ll probably get its own post…