Thursday, August 24, 2006

Not much to report regarding my friend Bags’ short filmConsumed” that I did last year. I think he didn’t want to put it on the ‘Net because one scene utilizes an obscure song to which he hasn’t properly secured the rights. On one hand, I don’t think it’s a big deal. Ifilms or YouTube might as well rename themselves “”, but I understand his hesitation to toss it in among the homemade blooper reels and “Family Guy” clips swirling in cyberspace. I’ll see if I can upload a different scene soon. A silent one -- no music, and there certainly ain’t me talking in this thing.

Bags did tell me that Chris Carter, creator of the “X-Files”, saw “Consumed”. It was the result of one of those six-degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon things. Bags plays in a band whose drummer is Carter’s personal trainer. Or something like that. Anyway, Carter said he thought it wasn’t bad -- the concept wasn’t entirely original, but he liked the execution. Bags started filling my head with ideas that when Chris Carter spearheads his next sci-fi conspiracy show, maybe he’d cast me.

Right. As what? Cigarette-hating man? Someone to act even more deadpan than David Duchovny, just so Mulder seems alive by comparison?

Unlike Adam, who appeared in "Consumed" and is now featured in the major motion picture comedy Accepted, I'm not pursuing an acting career.

So I appreciate Bags' crazy what-if scenarios, but I jokingly reminded him that even he wouldn’t use me in his next film. A few months ago, he managed to secure another production package and said he re-wrote “Consumed” with a more fleshed-out concept and storyline. I had just started my TV gig and couldn’t take the time off work that was needed to reprise my role. So did Bags work his shooting schedule around his star? Hell no. He just recast the part. I haven’t seen any clips, and I’m sure it’s another good film, but, c’mon, this ersatz Mike Markham is bound to be the indie equivalent of George Lazenby.

On the other hand, I did get cast in another short film. Out of the blue again. I’m convinced if I pursued an acting career, I wouldn’t get as much work.

The way this came about begins over ten years ago. Through some writer/actor friends, I took an improv comedy class, similar to L.A.’s famous Groundlings, only cheaper and less competitive. A lot of us were there to have fun, maybe hone some comedy skills, not use it as a stepping stone to doing hackneyed characters on Saturday Night Live.

Anyway, the instructor, Tweed, was funny and talented, so my friends and I cast him in our independent feature film. He and one of the other improv guys had just a few scenes, but those two were so hysterical, they practically stole the entire movie.

I lost touch with him after that, but then, early this year, I saw him in the elevator at my old job. I learned that he had moved back to his native Toronto, where he had a successful writing and acting career working on the Canadian equivalent of the Jay Leno show. From what he told me, the comedy sounded hit-or-miss, but since they didn’t have Nielsen ratings and the FCC on their backs like we do here, they could experiment more and get away with far raunchier stuff. But he came back after his second baby was born -- he said he didn’t want to raise his family in that awful weather, but I think it was just the accent. Who wants their kids sounding like hosers, eh? Tweed was still working on his show biz career, visiting one of his talent reps whose offices were in my building. We reminisced about the old days, said we should stay in touch, and of course didn’t.

Fast-forward to last week. My home phone rang, and I answered, surprised the caller ID didn’t say it was a solicitor. Who calls my home phone anymore? It was Tweed. He had lost my cell number I gave him, and he had to track me down through our long-time mutual friends.

He said he had written a role in his short film with me in mind. Just like Bags last year. And unlike the situation with Bags’ latest film, I actually had time to work on this one. Plus there was dialogue. So would I do it? Well, I hadn’t seen any script yet.

“It’s not a snuff film or porn, is it?”

“No,” Tweed said. “Of course not.”

“Well, I’ll do it anyway.”

So recently I went up to his house in the Valley, along with the other actors, a kind of pre-production meeting. But it was completely laid back. Just like the script -- a funny concept, but with a casual slice-of-life tone to it. It would feature Tweed, his wife, his friends (one of whom I knew from 10 yrs ago), me, and even one of his kids. We all hung out and joked around -- in a way, it was a rehearsal for the tone of the film, which will shoot in a few weeks.

I’m looking forward to it, considering how much fun it was seeing Tweed and the gang. And I realized I’m occasionally cast not so much for any special acting ability, but because working with friends (even long-lost ones) there’ll be a relaxed set and easy-going production.


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