Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Of work, writing, and tech

I have never wanted to make my blog about work, or complaining about work, or even just talking about what I do for a living. That said I'll try to keep this pretty short. I think I need a new job. Not just something like what I'm doing with a different company, or "same shit different day" as the sages tell us, but genuinely a new job. For the last ten years (maybe more) I have been clicking a mouse for a living. As I type this my hands are paining me. Both arms end in a dull throb with fingers. This is getting to be more and more common. There's Advil in the kitchen, but that's a dangerous game to play. It's not a big stretch from, "I think I'll take an Advil or two to take the edge off this pain," to "I can't get through the day until I've taken my Advil." What terrifies me more than anything is the possibility that I've abused my hands so much for so long that my problem isn't so much a repetitive motion strain, but early-onset arthritis. That's probably over reacting, but it's something I think about. So, yeah, I could probably use a new job.

This is kind of tough because I don't get a lot of time each day. Between my day job and other things I get somewhere between twenty minutes and two hours a day that I could realistically use for writing. To a greater or lesser extent I do use that. I've been working on a story featuring a character I'm kind of proud of, and that's been going well. That narrative has reached up over the 20,000 word mark, and around 35 pages, single spaced. That's pretty exciting. I also have three or four different short film scripts that I'm working on. These fall under a couple of different categories. At some point I would like to produce these, in fact my goal is to do two next year. Another big reason to write them is as an exercise, preparing me to write a couple of very heavy feature films that I have rattling around in my brain.

The technological awesomeness of the moment for me has got to be the market that is springing up around "netbooks". Netbooks are very small computers made by a number of companies. These computers are based on the Intel Atom processor and are fairly low power machines by most standards, but they are good for some very basic things. For the most part none of them have an optical drive, their screens aren't any larger than 10 inches, and their hard-drives tend to be (comparatively) small. However they are ideal for writing on the go, a basic computer for getting online and writing email, and for a second computer when you don't want or need your more powerful notebook. There is quite a variety of netbooks produced by a number of companies including Asus, Acer, and HP. Netbooks got started running versions of Linux, though many are now running a stripped-down version of Windows XP Home. The best part is they are all relatively low-cost. Prices range from $400 up to around $800. On the high end, you're probably better off spending a little more for a full-on notebook, but up to that point the Netbook is a good alternative if all you need is a basic utilitarian computer.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday Madness

Just a short blog post to update this thing and get back in the groove of making a regular habit of writing. There has been a lot that has happened since the last time that I posted. I'll try to go through things in order.

Directed a Production of Much Ado about Nothing
This has to have been one of the most challenging, most stressful, most educational, and most rewarding things I have ever done. The actors we cast in this production were all wonderful, gifted, and professional individuals who each brought something important to the production. They also kept me on my toes as a director, which was great. This was the first time I had undertaken to direct one of Shakespeare's many plays, and the fifth play I have directed overall. I learned a great deal that will help me the next time I direct anything, much less another of Shakespeare's plays.

Appeared in a production of Little Women
This was my first experience with the Advent Theatre, and I hope that it was only the first of many. I played "Laurie" in this adaptation of the classic novel by Louisa May Alcott. You may not realize this, but Beth doesn't die in Little Women. She dies in the follow up novel Ms. Alcott wrote at the request of the publisher, called Good Wives. At some point after the initial run of the books as separate installments the were consolidated by U.S. publishers under the title Little Women. Some European publishers still publish the separate books. This created some confusion when the play ended, and beth was generally getting better.

Appeared in a production of Much Ado about Nothing
Right on the heels of Little Women (literally) I was cast in a production of Much Ado about Nothing, in which I played Claudio. Again, it was a rewarding and instructive experience. There was much here that I will take away as both an actor and a director. What I learned aside for the moment, I had a good time. Claudio is a fun role that I would like to do again should the opportunity present itself.

Taking some time off
On the whole the last year has been busy. Very busy. Insanely busy. Out of a full year I had maybe three months in which I was home in the evening. Otherwise, I was getting up so as to be at work by 9AM, and not getting home until after 10PM most nights. Many of those nights my wife was already in bed. For a year I have missed on any kind of home life, or personal time. I'm well overdue for a break. So that's what I'm doing right now. I'm taking time to be with my wife, go back to my acting class, and teach my martial arts class. To say nothing of bolstering my savings account.

Break time notwithstanding, I'm still not sitting idle. I've ordered new headshots, which will largely be used for distribution to agents. I've stepped up my efforts to submit on Actors Access and Now Casting (more the former than the latter), and I'm focusing on paid work, or work that I can use for promotional purposes. In essence, I've committed to taking my acting career seriously. We'll see if anything comes of that.

That's about all I have time for now. More coming later. Hopefully not much later.