I did this movie last year. We shot at Aldworth Manor in late September and October. It was a gorgeous location and such a great time with a great team. I’m very grateful to have had this experience and I’m REALLY excited for you all to see it!
I have been very bad about videos lately as well as blogging. If I were to follow my own advice I would tell myself that I am not doing the work necessary to foster a growing organic audience, the kind of audience that I want to build to maintain a long term entertainment career. This is also where my other self, the one who has to time manage, would argue with excuses about jobs and exhaustion and all the other things that go into “resistance” as it is called in the War of Art.
However, while I do not like excuses, I will say that the things that I’ve chosen to spend my energy on are starting to bare fruit – at least the kind of fruit I can talk about.
For those of you who may not know, I am currently working for a new toy company start-up: Panda Mony Toy Brands. For the last eight months we have been preparing to debut our first toy line. It’s been work that has essentially been secret, and frankly I can’t even tell you that much about it right now, but we’re getting close to having everything birth-out like an alien out of John Hurt. Our first toy line will be debuted at the ASTRA show June 10th through 13th in New Orleans. I’ll be there along with the other partners as we dazzle the sales floor with our stuff.
I promise that I will post more when I can, but for now this is all I can show you:
You can follow everything HERE, but I’ll also be posting it on all of my social medias.
How is this tangentially related to the overall goal? Well since one of the best ways to promote a toy line is through an animated series and comic books that is something else that I have been actively working on as well! So I’ve been stretching my producer muscles looking for the perfect co-production. However, that doesn’t make for good videos so there’s that. In the end, because there is so much to do with the release I have had to modify my goal this month. I will not be rebuilding my class as I hoped (although I will probably do another one-day seminar in late June) but instead I’m working to make sure the launch goes as planned.
Being an artist of any stripe, musician; actor; painter; writer, means that you are trying to engage an emotional response in an audience. You want a reaction. You want the audience to feel something. As actors we typically have the benefit of collaboration in that there is typically a script from a writer, there is a director in charge of the overall project, the actor is allowed to be very specific in the scope of their work. That’s a nice place to be. You are in charge of you and get to mold something with other people. I really like that kind of creation, which is why I’ve continued working in this industry for so long.
However, in the modern world, where monetizing art is possible due to more opportunities yet harder due to the amount of stuff being put out into the world on the available channels, being a collaborator is just a part of what you must do to keep yourself afloat. Now, and for the foreseeable future, just about everyone (at least anyone with a smart phone and a social network account) is a content creator.
“Content creation” is the current marketing buzz word/phrase. It includes things like social media posts (especially Instagram), video creation (and live streaming), and written blog posts/articles (yes, those are still important). Entire jobs exist for this now, mostly as curators but sometimes as actual creators as well. When you are trying to promote yourself, like I’m trying to do at the moment, the same tactics apply. I need to produce content that represents me in the work that I want to do so people can see that I am good at it and want to hire me to be included in the content that they are creating (ideally “they” is a big ol’ studio that wants to shove me into a minimum 6 of 13 deal on some kind of serialized television show).
This has been the thought that has been distracting me from writing and doing video updates for the last week.
And it distracted me so hard that I actually didn’t finish writing this yesterday. It is now May 10, 2018, Day 39, and I’m not in a much better position than I was.
Scratch that, May 11th.
Nope, May 12th.
I’m keeping track of the date changes and the amount I actually get done on each of these days because I think that the “warts and all” experience is really important when I do things like Operation:2.0. It’s easy to create a personal challenge like this, set some attainable goals, and then just cover the highlights. It makes the subject easy to root for. People love a winner and they like to see people do well (at least until they don’t, but that a different bridge to burn when we get to it). I feel like that is disingenuous. If it were really that easy then everyone would do it. As it is, it is really hard to create an entertainment career and still just about everyone thinks they can do it. It’s when they see how much work goes into creating any kind of sustainable acting career that their priorities tend to shift.
But this is not what I had intended to talk about four days ago when I got started on this post. So as I was saying, I’ve been pretty distracted by my need and seeming inability to create content based on me. Part of this is just straight up exhaustion. I’m working 12 hour days right now and my energy is going into those jobs. When I’m done so is my brain and there’s just nothing coming out of me after that. But another big part is that I don’t feel like I have anything to say.
May 13th – Happy Mother’s Day
I remember back in the late 80’s when Madonna was in the height of her popularity, right after “Vogue” and Truth or Dare came out, and she was being interviewed for MTV. Although I don’t remember the core of the interview there was something she said that has stuck with me ever since and cast a bit of a shadow over every creative thing I’ve ever done since. She said, and I’m paraphrasing, I may not have been the best singer, but I had something to say and it needed to be said.
I don’t know that I have ever felt that.
I believe that there are things that must be said, I’m a massive consumer of things that I feel have “meaning,” but I don’t know that I, myself personally, have ever had “something to say”. I used to have this problem when I bought journals in my early twenties. I was really into journalling as a teenager. I have volume upon volume of hormonally fueled rants that a 16-and-angry Curtis felt very justified in putting down on paper. Some of them have story attempts, however, that are missing that kernel of a central point or theme beyond my-friends-and-I-having-amazing-adventures. When I entered my twenties I found songs by other people tended to focus my angst more than writing it down, but I still really liked blank journals. I found myself not sure what to do with them. I was just collecting books and then feeling obligated to use them, which led to me having a bunch of really cool half-filled journals that I have much better use for now.
The specter of Madonna’s words are popping up again now as I struggle to figure out what content I want to produce. I don’t need it to be revolutionary or profound. I don’t need it to be a viral hit (although that would be nice) but it does need to be more than me doing updates in front of my desk. And of course the biggest trick to this is making the time to create these things.
This post took five days to write. I’d like to do better next week. While I figure out what else to create here are the existing playlists for Operation: 2.0:
Today marks 30 days of Operation: Television’s Curtis Andersen 2.0 and it’s been a good run so far. I’ve moved a few projects forward, gotten some work, and have a plan to keep this train moving. The only down side is that I have been insanely busy so right now I’m insanely tired. I had high hopes of doing a 30 day video today, but other obligations meant that I could not. And now it’s nearly 11pm and I’m just getting this blog out.
My brain knows it has more to say but the rest of my body says, “go to bed!” So I’m going to listen to that and I’ll try and rally tomorrow.
No play list today. No Amazon ads. It’s time to go to bed!
This weekend’s acting intensive went very well! It was a really good group and the four hours flew by. It hasn’t even been a year since I taught my last session in California and I had forgotten how nice it is to be working with a class. Because of how well the intensive went I’ve decided to start up my ongoing acting class again. The first session will start in June, so I’m using May to get the word out. In fact, my goal for May is to get the ongoing class up and running. The nice thing is that results will be obvious: either I will have a class or I won’t.
One of the things that seemed to connect with people, and in turn got me excited about starting the class again, is that there does not seem to be a class like mine here in the area yet. I’m not doing and improv class, there are places like The Ape and Curious Comedy that are already doing those very well, and according to people I’ve spoken with the other acting classes up here work very differently. So I think I may be able to offer something to actors and non-actors alike who can use these techniques not just to work as an actor but to succeed in their other jobs as well.
There’s a lot of work to do, so I’m going to get started.
I cannot believe that the day after I finished reading Born for This, a book designed to help you get more out of your career and help drive you toward the kind of work you want to do, that I was hit in the face with one of the craziest weeks I can remember – and not in the positive-this-is-how-you-want-your-life-to-go kind of ways. To give you an idea of the insanity I dealt with: I taught someone whose job involves daily use of computers and various programs you would see in a Microsoft Office suite how to copy/paste. Not a cool new way to do it, the actual concept of copy/paste – that it exists and is a thing people can do. That was my week.
Although we had some really cool things happen with Panda Mony Toys that I can’t talk about yet. After June 13th I can’t wait to show you what we’ve got coming!
And, most importantly, I did my first Portland exclusive acting work – so that was a pretty big milestone since the move!
It was very flattering that I was still getting to audition for L.A. as much as I have since the move. Self-tape submissions have really changed the game as far as what’s possible and where someone can be based, but if I’m totally honest with myself a lot of the stuff I was being seen for was co-star/guest star and it isn’t necessarily financially viable to pay travel for someone to do that kind of role. So being able to start cracking the industry up here, where I’m a local, really helps. It’s already helped get some irons hot. We’ll see where that goes.
People also shared their old/first headshots this week. I showed off this group of classics:
But these are all headshots from my twenties (except for the newspaper clipping). And then I realized that those are over twenty years old! I’ve been doing this for a really long time. I forget sometimes. Even though I’ve changed entertainment jobs over that time, some more glamorous than others, the only parts of it that I haven’t liked is chasing down people to finance the projects. Anytime the money was in place, even if it was a micro budget, it’s been the greatest work in the world. It was a nice reminder of why I’m so dedicated to doing this. I do not need to be famous. I’ve been kinda’ half-assed famous and that was plenty. I just like doing the work and I like getting fairly paid for that work.
To that end I need a new goal, and it’s just in time for the end of the month! I will announce that goal on Monday – just to walk as close to the finish line as possible before stepping over. Now I need to go prepare for tomorrow’s intensive!
Rene and I had a wonderfully relaxing, rejuvenating, and pleasant weekend. We slept in, walked the city, had some local drinks and read – oh lord how we read. I read so much that I accomplished goal number 1!
I have completed Born for This by Chris Guillebeau.
Achievement unlocked – and with seven days to spare. I had intended to do a video about my conclusions and talk about them here today. I also wanted to set the next career goal…
But then Monday happened.
Holy shit, today was non-stop from 6am to 6pm it was just go, full steam ahead. If I hadn’t gotten the rest I got this weekend I think I might have died.
Also, I would like to say that my interactions with people over the age of 50 today did not help the stereotype that Baby Boomers do not know how to use technology. If anything I’m pretty sure that there is a breed of older person that probably should not go near a smart phone for fear that it might spontaneously explode in their hand from lack of understanding.
It was a rough day. A busy day. And I have a filming in the morning so I need to work on that stuff.
However, I have high hopes about getting more done tomorrow.
Don’t forget, my Portland Acting Intensive is Saturday: