Friday, March 30, 2012

The Vault

This is a web series I starred in called The Vault. The director teaches a class I had taken in how to audition for commercials, and he's a friend of Doug's, who is also in the series. It's the first thing I've acted in that was not written/directed/edited by myself or Doug (though it did feature some improvisation, and many of my own ideas for movies that should be made). The story arc is much different than anything I would write, and much of the dialogue and the way we delivered lines varied from how I would've gone about it, and the series as a whole is not strictly comedy-oriented. All of this made me extremely uncomfortable. But, supposedly, not having full creative control over the final product, or being able to choose your own best takes, is a customary part of the process of being an "actor." So, in that sense, it was an educational and thrilling project to be a part of, not to mention flattering that I was even chosen for it. It was also exciting because one of the other featured actors was John Robinson, who is an actual, recognizable professional, who you may know from Gus Van Sant's Elephant or Michael Bay's Transformers. He said that working with me was "exactly the same" as working with Shia LaBeouf. Or he probably thought it, anyway. Unless Shia LaBeouf is difficult to work with, in which case, he probably thought I was "a delight compared to Shia" and he will certainly recommend me to Mr. Bay for any future projects.

The first "season" is eight episodes, mostly between 2 and 4 minutes long, and it ends with somewhat of a cliffhanger. We'd like to do a second season, but the response so far has been underwhelming, so an official decision hasn't been made yet.

Episode 1. My first acting challenge can be seen here, where I'm talking at the same time as other people, and also speaking to someone without looking directly at them to make sure they're listening, which are things I am completely incapable of doing in real life. I don't know if I successfully pulled off being a character who is capable of those things. Honestly, it looks unnatural to me, but maybe I'm being overly self-critical. There's definitely some good awkwardness, though, because that is something I am beyond capable of in real life.

Episode 2. This one features Tobias Jelinek, who has been on Nick Swardson's Pretend Time and was in Point Break Live, among other things. People kept touching me in this episode, which is something I'm weird about. I was hoping my displeasure with it would be conveyed on screen more than I think it was.

Episode 3. In this one, I lift a weight at the end. We did multiple takes, which became very difficult, because I am feeble and weak. My inability to lift it with one hand was very real.

Episode 4. If there's one movie idea from this series I genuinely think should become a reality, it's this one.

Episode 5. This was my favorite episode to shoot because I got to move around a bit, and have more enthusiasm than I do in the others. I had wanted the name of the movie I talk about to be called Ripping Baby's Teeth from a Blood-Blistered Cunt, and the plot was about a baby with "a full set of sharp teeth, and he bites this woman’s labia, and clenches down for weeks, until blisters start growing around his gums, and fire-fighters have to come in to rip his jaw away." The original script had called for a title that was "something pretty crude". Some of my other ideas were Ejaculating Maggots Into a Gaping Flesh Hole, The Rape of Christ, Spic Mountain, and Kitten Puncher: The I'm-Not-Sorry Story. I'm happy with the one we went with, though.

Episode 6. Another first for me, as this one features making out. I didn't have to be part of it, but just being in the room while it was happening was very strange. The best thing about the episode, though, is that I got to talk about one of the greatest movies ever made, Dream to Believe.

Episode 7. I had an abortion joke that got cut out of this episode ("I have to tell you something. I just had an abortion."), but I still get to reference Showgirls and mutter about cutting someone's eyes.

Episode 8. The dramatic season finale. I have an outburst here that I was very nervous/excited about doing, as it's the most serious-est acting I've ever done. I think it came out ok.

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