Category Archives: general

I Finally Peeled a Wrapper Off A New New York Seltzer Bottle!

Waaaaayyyyyy back in July of 2015 I received a gift from the people over at Original New York Seltzer. They responded to a blog I wrote about how the Black Cherry soda was the first new drink I had when we moved to California. It was very nice of them and I made a video about it that you can see here:

I talked about the foam wrappers in that video and how fun they were to pull off. Now, nearly two years later, I have finally done it and I put it on video for you all to see!

Like/Subscribe and all the other good stuff.

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Filed under drinking, fun, general, video, YouTube

This, this, all the this!

If you are a creative, this video will sounds very familiar – but it’s a universal message. Lord knows I’ve been down this road a few times. Determination, persistence and touch of naivete is usually enough to win the day – it’s just the “day” in question usually lasts for years.

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Filed under actor 101, actor stuff, art, artist, behind the scenes, commentary, doing new things, education, fail, failure, filmmaking, friends, fund raising, general, getting fit, getting started, happiness, how-to, inspiration, jobs, learning experience, making movies, productivity, projects, REVOLUTION, social commentary, video, videos, YouTube

Autumn, Nostalgia & Mixtapes


It’s only August, but just the other night I got a hint of a scent in the air that was unmistakable to me as Autumn. I don’t know how to describe it other than wet and earthy. It’s a smell that reminds me of October and all of the Americana that goes along with it: changing leaves, costumes, Halloween in a Normal Rockwell kind of way, and the best parts of my adolescence.

There are certain smells that just go with things. Football players talk about the smell of the field before a game.  I remember that smell, there really is nothing else like it. It almost smells as if the field is sweating before the game begins. The other day at a rehearsal for “Rope” I caught the scent of  a very specific hairspray in the dressing room, a hairspray that I’ve smelled in dressing rooms for decades and with that one contact I was suddenly reminded of all of those shows. The Autumn smell works the exact same way and triggers some of the strongest nostalgia I feel during any given year.

Every year, usually later than now, when the air starts to change and the nostalgia comes on I find myself searching though my music to make a playlist appropriate to the season. I started doing this back when I was a teenager, making mix tapes on my dual cassette/CD stereo system. There was more of an art to it back then. People had tape lengths that they liked to work in (I was a Memorex 90 minute man, myself) and you’d have to plan out your songs and hope that they would fit each side perfectly. I became very good with the Play/Pause button and mastered the length of the tape lead before it started recording. I could do it by feel, no counting required. Somewhere, deep in boxes that probably haven’t seen the light of day in at least a decade, there are dozens of mix tapes made from my music library circa 1990-1996. These tapes were with me during car rides with my friends when we first felt the “freedom” of being teenagers with cars. They were there for early relationships and the break-ups that went along with them. They were there for my first cigarette and for my first sips of Boones Farm Strawberry Hill. They were the soundtrack to my coming of age and represent all the songs that meant something to me at the time. They were also a pretty good representation of alternative hits and underground bands of the time.

My friends did it too, across the board. We’d listen to what each other made, finding new songs that we liked and new bands. My friend Jeff introduced to me to Oingo Boingo, Voice of the Beehive and October Project this way. I discovered that my friend Dan and I had a mutual love of The Cars and The Police this way. And my friend Scott exposed me to the power of Bad Religion and Pennywise this way. Entire backyard parties were powered by these tapes. They were teenage sorcery that could help bend the mood of entire rooms full of hormone fueled basket cases.

Technology changed and iTunes and iPods made it very easy to generate playlists based on whatever mood you were in at that second. Gone was the finesse of tape creation; instead you could just slam together song after song on a whim. I remember sitting at the computer for hours at a time, days in a row plugging songs into the playlists where I felt they belonged. I had the perfect list for whatever mood I was in. It was pretty awesome… until the crash of 2007 when iTunes and all of my playlists crashed and burned. That killed a lot of the fire I had for digital playlists. So much time was spent creating things that were wiped away in, literally, a moment.  After that it took until I discovered Spotify before I felt that a digital playlist would be worth creating again. I haven’t created as many playlists as I did before 2007, but I do find that the ones I curate now get a lot more play.

I started a new playlist for autumn 2015 on Spotify. It’s the start of something that will probably get bigger as the days get shorter and the air gets crisper. I’m sharing this because I selfishly want you to share your playlists with me. Back in the day we would swap tapes and CD’s, but now we can toss entire playlists around digitally. This playlist is full of songs that take me back to being sixteen-and-angry, ready to rage against the world… as soon as I finish my journal entry about no one understanding me. It’s what I would want to listen to on a rainy day, hence the name. Check it out and let me know what you think, but more importantly share your playlists with me. Drop them in the comments and show me something new. I want to try and capture that feeling of sharing music again from back in the day. Whether it’s a favorite album from your favorite band or a playlist of your own creation, pop it in the comments and let’s hear something new.

Happy listening.


Filed under creativity, Curtis Andersen, general, happiness, high school, iTunes, music, musings, rambling, songs, Uncategorized

Mobile Blog: This is a Mobile Blog Test for NYC

I will be completely honest with you, this is not going to be a content rich post. This is a test of the WordPress mobile app and how well it posts to a site that is not a dedicated WordPress blog. So far, so good. Although I think I may have complaints with the way image options work on this.

Rene and I will be headed to New York in March on a business/pleasure trip and I’m sure there will will be times when I’ll want to post things more than a tweet or a Vine and the more mobile I can be the better.

To that end: this is a post made on an iPad, in my lap, while I am distracted. I’m shocked that I’m spelling things as well as I am, but I should probably thank the text prediction for that.

Is there anywhere in particular we should go while in NYC? Let me know in the comments.

See you next time.

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The Joy of Paper


Our modern world offers wonders of technology that would boggle the minds of people even just 30 years ago. If you would have told 8 year old me that I could have every Iron Man comic book ever written stored and readable on a device the size and depth of an actual comic book I don’t think that I would have believed you. Likewise that there was even something like the internet! All of these new devices and machines make jobs easier, have brought about changes in entertainment unseen since the television revolution, and keep us all connected.

But, for all that, I find that I have been going back to an old technology: paper.

That’s right good old fashioned wood pulp paper. And pens, a wide variety of pens.

My paper habit really got going again back when Rene and I got married in 2010. I was looking for groomsman gifts and was having a problem finding something that I thought would be A) not cliche and B) something useful. That was harder to find that you’d think. My search ended with me at a Borders Books by my parents house (like I said, 2010, before Barnes and Noble was the last big bookstore). I didn’t know what I was looking for while I was there so I just wandered around hoping that inspiration would just fly out and hit me in the face.

It didn’t…

…until I was walking out of the store when a spinner rack by the door caught my eye. It was full of journals in a few different sizes. Mostly the size that would fit in your pocket, but some larger. They all had a funny name: Moleskine. Moles-kine (with a hard “i”)? Mole-skin? Moly-skiny? However it is pronounced (and the current CEO of the company stated in an interview on NPR that he doesn’t care and pronounced it three different ways during the interview) it is apparently famous!

Moleskine® is the heir of the legendary notebook used for the past two centuries by artists and
thinkers, from Vincent Van Gogh to Pablo Picasso from Ernest Hemingway to Bruce Chatwin.
The anonymous and essential little black notebook, with its unique rounded corners, elastic
closure, and expandable inner pocket, was originally produced for more than a century
by a small French bookbinder that supplied Parisian stationery shops frequented by the
international literary and artistic avant‐garde. This trusty, pocket‐sized travel companion held
their sketches, notes, stories, and ideas before they became famous images or beloved books.

Well, I liked the idea of using things that Hemingway and Picasso did, even if it felt a little pretentious. I liked the feel of the books and since all of my groomsmen were in creative or technical fields I knew they could all use a  notebook to jot things down in. So they each got one and I got a notebook for myself, but I didn’t use mine until months later. It was December 29th, 2010 when I made my first entry, which was all about how I wasn’t sure if I would even use the book at all. In mid-January I forced myself to put words down that ended up being a rambling mess. But then we went to Sundance that year and the little notebook became invaluable.

We had a series of meetings and sessions where I needed to be able to take notes and having a legal pad, like so many others did, was just unmanageable with the coats and gloves and everything else that goes along with a cold weather festival. When I took my notes I felt agile and quick, ready for the next bits of information. I also felt small, like I took up very little space. Which was handy since there usually was very little space to be had. I still keep that original notebook on my desk for reference.

That’s when my habit formed, and my brand loyalty. Moleskine is not paying me for this post (although if anyone at corporate is reading this and feels like throwing some swag my way…) so I can say, just from my personal use and opinion, I really like these notebooks. I am on my third pocket book, an Evernote branded one that came with a three month premium subscription to Evernote, and have a project book, story journal, wine book, plus a few others that are just waiting for things to fill them.

Even though I feel like my “addiction to paper” is new, really, when I think about it, I’m just going back to my old habits, before the smartphone and tablet. When I was a teenager and full of hormonal rage I filled book after book with the rantings and thoughts of my brain. I recently found that trove of tomes in my parents storage facility and, hoo boy, I was definitely a teenager. Have you ever wanted to reach back in time and smack yourself? Go read your old journals and  you just might. Although I no longer compose bad poetry and ponder the existential existence of Bat Boy, writing is still the best way for me to get an idea out of my head.  Even though I can 3D render things on the computer or dictate notes to my phone, there’s something satisfying about the scratch of pen nib on paper that makes everything feel more “real.”

What about you? Are you a paper person? Are you all tech all the time? Let me know in the comments.

See you next time.

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Filed under books, general, musings

First of the Year Dash!







I would be lying if I didn’t cop to having these feelings. Every January is the beginning of a new year, it feels like the slate gets wiped clean, and since most people have time off it is really easy to start new things or try to make new habits. This leads to gym memberships, hobbies, playing musical instruments, writing, the list goes on and on. Just last week I posted a half assed resolution post about getting re-focused (which I’m totally sticking to, by the way).

But here’s the problem, by March a lot of resolutions and plans all fall apart, or at least show signs of cracking. After I wrote that post about focus I started thinking about what that was going to mean for the rest of the year. 2015 is kinda’ spoken for as of now. Fun Size Horror 2015 is going into early prep, there are shows to do, and I’m mapping out my teaching/speaking schedule. That doesn’t even include any acting opportunities that may pop up. If I’m 100% honest with myself, that means that I have very little that I can safely commit to and the new year is just starting. First World problems for sure, but I’m the kind of guy who is going to be upset about having to say “no” even when it’s the responsible thing to do. So I had to take a pretty hard look at myself and what I know I want to accomplish this year and examine why my best intentions in previous years always seemed to drift into trouble.

I am not going to speak on how this affects people in a general sense, I don’t have the qualifications for that, so everything that I talk about in this post refers to me personally. Looking at my past, you don’t even have to go that far back to see good ideas and habits get dropped – perfect example: 52 in 52. Not managing to stick with this actually upset me quite a bit. It’s an idea that I was/am really excited about. I was pleased with how things were going, but a story a week ended up just being too much. To be fair, the things I gave it up for; Fun Size Horror and all the shooting we were doing; were absolutely worth it, but it still stings.

I won’t lie, my gym membership has been pretty useless for a while now too. I just don’t make the time for it. I should (who shouldn’t?) especially since I spend so many hours in a chair, but my discipline is bad when it comes to the gym. And eating better. I still eat like I’m in college. Rene has made some noble in-roads and had some effect, but I still love me some cheeseburgers.

So how does it come to this? What gets in my way to keep me from achieving the desired goals? Goals that pretty easy to achieve in a practical aspect when it comes down to it:

  • Rene is willing and able to prepare better food for me.
  • I have the gym membership – it’s even close by.
  • The work that I do to earn money is both varied and flexible so I can make the time to do the things I want to do.
  • I have an amazing network of friends and collaborators who are willing to help me achieve what I want.

These are not small resources. But then I take an honest look at what gets in the way:

  • Feeling like there is a lack of time.
  • Getting distracted by the “shiny things.”
  • Trepidation at trying something I have no experience with.
  • Lack of funds.

Most of these I can get past. Lack of time usually translates into lack of rest. Instead of doing the things I’d like to do when I’ve completed what I have to do I fall down an internet rabbit hole of YouTube videos and random Wikipedia research because my brain is tired. A quick nap is usually the best fix for this or turning in early if I can manage it. Distractions are tougher, but that’s what this year is about fixing. For example, I should have completed this post hours ago, but I got distracted by an episode of “This Week Tonight” and ended up marathoning about ten episodes. Avoiding distractions is going to take a little practice. Trepidation of trying something I have no experience with, more commonly known as “fear of the unknown” or “resistance” by Steven Pressfield in his book The War of Art (which I highly recommend for everyone and have a link for at the bottom of this post) is something that I prefer to face head-on. I find that once you realize that everyone has to do something a first time it’s actually just a matter of girding yourself up and charging forward. The War of Art suggests a lot of great ways to achieve this. I can’t recommend it enough.

Lack of funds – this is the big one. Money is such a sensitive thing. There’s a certain amount of investment that you need to make into anything you do, that’s just an economic reality, but I hate parting with any funds unless I can “see” the return or a way to recoup. This only makes me pinch pennies more when  those envisioned returns don’t show up. If I had unlimited funds (c’mon lottery!) or a benefactor (c’mon mysterious uncle who won the lottery!) I would probably feel differently about this but, put on news announcer voice in these trying economic times, it’s a tough thing for me to get past.

Putting all of these things down on “paper” makes them feel manageable. Putting them out in public makes me want to take ownership of them. Knowing that this makes me vulnerable to scrutiny makes me want to be responsible. Sometimes it takes the possibility of looking like an idiot to motivate you.

…Of course you can always end up looking like an idiot anyway, but if I let that stop me I wouldn’t have had a career.

How are you doing this far into the new year? Let’s talk in the comments.

See you next time.

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Filed under Andelon, art, artist, business, challenge, commentary, Curtis Andersen, doing new things, evil plan, general, in real life, insight, inspiration, learning experience, making movies, marketing, money, musings

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

It’s been a heck of a year! Hope that you’re all looking forward to a wonderful 2014 – I know that Rene and I are!

See you next time!

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When It Rains It Pours, But In A Good Way.

There’s a phrase that I have been using since I was a kid. I heard it from an older actor in a waiting room, I have no idea who he was, and it has proven true over and over again:

Work begets more work.

I have no scientific evidence, but a lot of anecdotal evidence. As an actor you can track it. Next time you book a job, whether it’s a play, commercial, movie, musical, whatever; things just kind of blossom. You’ll get more auditions, or maybe direct calls to work. People talk about you, you’ve got the heat, and the next thing you know you’re booked for the next six months!

It might not last forever, and it may peter out quicker than you’d like (OK, it always peters out quicker than you’d like) but for a while all that nose-grinding, ass-kicking work you’ve done to get there pays off. And even if the dividends diminish, it takes a long time for them to go away completely.

And it comes in cycles. Sometimes you get so many offers it can be hard to fit it all in, and your brain will try to find a way to do it because you never know when a dry patch will come up. When you’re young it isn’t much of a problem, but as you get older and start to think about being away from your family suddenly being booked up can be a scary proposition.

The thing to remember when it comes to this is finding balance.

You just made a face and said, “Duh!” at the screen, didn’t you?

Yeah, I could hear it from here.

And the face palms.

I know this isn’t wildly original advice, but the reason why this advice gets brought up so much is because people, lots and lots of people, choose to regularly ignore it. Personally, I’m the king of over-booking. If it weren’t for Rene making an effort to keep my schedule sane I’d have to be in two different places right now and experiencing all of the embarrassment and stress that goes along with over-committing yourself.

And it’s REALLY easy to get caught up in that cycle when they’re paying you! I have hired, worked with and remember BEING the actor who would say yes to everything, no matter how much it overlapped. I think sometimes as performers, no matter what discipline you practice, we get so used to starving for work we over do it when people start offering it to us. Like starving yourself and then hitting a Vegas style buffet. It sounds like a good idea at the time, but you go home feeling sick and tired and everybody – you, the restaurant, everyone you know – is unhappy.

So, yes, this advice isn’t new or radical but do your work. When you work, more work will come. When the work comes remember it’s not the only thing. Keep it in balance.

For what it’s worth.

See you next time!

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Filed under actor stuff, general, rambling

Thoughts on Things & Stuff

It’s been a light blogging month which can be attributed to two major things things: time – the incessant excuse – and lack of writing topics.

Time I only have excuses for. I’ve been working on other projects, mostly for corporate clients so I can’t really share the results directly, and been getting ready for a speaking engagement in Chicago this September, more info on that later.

Topic wise it isn’t so much that there haven’t been topics to discuss as they are topics I don’t like to discuss here. When I started this blog it was just a writing exercise. It was just supposed to be a place where I could put my thoughts down and practice getting ideas out that maybe a few other folks would enjoy. As I started to like it and as the readership grew I tried to write with a point. We have the Actor 101 posts, the Project: Iron Man posts and the performance announcement posts. Those are all working out well and I really like doing them. Something I’ve always avoided on this blog are the “dangerous two” topics of polite conversation: politics and religion. They are polarizing subjects and it’s easy for points to be lost in translation. Rarely does it cause discussion because it seems like everyone is more interested in yelling louder than actually finding solutions. It’s been a tough season to avoid thinking about politics. With the Zimmerman trial being all the craze on the cable news networks, the uprisings in Egypt and Edward Snowden there are major things happening in our world and in our country right now that just can’t be ignored. Rene and I have spent a lot of time talking about it, debating things and actually researching things (my high school teachers would be so proud!).

I’ve sat down to write here several times only to delete what I’ve written because I don’t want to break my rule: no politics, no religion.

It’s getting hard to avoid because this rush of ideas is building up in my mind. So to help stave off a burst blood vessel and maintain my rule I’ve actually made a list of some of the documentaries that I’ve watched recently that I have enjoyed because they have made me think and I think they are good enough for you to watch. Clicking on the image should take you to the Amazon link where you can rent or buy the movie. I watched them all on Netflix.

– Revenge of the Electric Car

I don’t like cars. I’m not a car guy. If I could I would never own a car…
…but I live and work in Southern California and so not having a car is not an option. If I have to own a car I don’t want to pay for gas. In fact I’ve got a whole newsstand worth of issues with oil companies, but that’s not what this movie is about. This is a great look at the resurgence of the electric car and how it really is a viable option and not just some hippie pipe dream. I’ve always wanted my next car to not require gas and it looks like the major car manufacturers are going to help make that dream a reality.
– The Yes Men Fix the World
If you aren’t familiar with the Yes Men check out the link. Rene and I were at the Sundance Film Festival the year this movie was accepted and I wanted tickets to it SO BAD, but we just couldn’t get them. Every available ticket was gone as soon as it was available –  and it was one of the years when we had our corporate sponsorship with all the special ticket privileges and everything, it was just that popular. This thought provoking film forces the veiwer to face the idea of corporate ethics and the disparity between the importance of profits versus common sense and people. Their pranks are also very entertaining, even if their end results are not as world changing as they had hoped. 
– Hot Coffee
I’m sure you’ve all heard of the case of the woman who sued McDonald’s because her coffee was too hot. It has been the butt of jokes for decades, hell I’ve even made some myself. This shows the real story behind the case, how severe the injuries really were (seriously, be ready for some very shocking and graphic images) and how changes in tort reform are effecting the civil justice system. Very eye opening and, as a guy who regularly uses a mediation clause in his contracts, it made me examine my personal motivations as to how I build my contracts. If you have any interest in the civil justice system, and you probably should have at least a passing interest, this is good to see.
– Kumare
This is one of my favorite documentaries ever. A man presents himself as a yoga guru and builds a practice in the self-help world telling his followers the truth in a very skillfully built lie – but is it really lying? Challenging notions of what it means to be a religious leader versus a marketing leader, this film leads you down the rabbit hole as one man seeks out his own path to faith. Seriously, take the time, it’s so worth it.
I look forward to your thoughts on these. Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment.
See you next time!

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Filed under general, politics

Inspiration – How Does It Hit You?

It’s easy to get distracted.

There are lots of things that can get in the way of what you really want to do and, unfortunately, a majority of those things disguise themselves as “life.” There’s the job, and laundry and grocery shopping and street sweeping day and pets and kids and a whole list of things that, while legitimate, end up taking time away from whatever it is you’d rather be doing.

Even a vacation can be a distraction.

To get specific, my vacation was a distraction. A WONDERFUL distraction and Rene and I hope to leave as soon as possible to rejoin the islands and start lives as kale farmers on a ranch with Frankie and Charlie. Frankie will look good in overalls.

After a week basking in the sun drinking (too many) Mai Tais and then a full week of playing catch-up I’m finally caught up. But being caught up and being inspired are very different things. So I’ve been struggling to get inspired, to get excited about things. Rene and I have a lot on our plate: movies and shows and live shows and jobs and…

And that’s where I hit the wall. We have things, but it’s the same stuff that we have been working on for a while. The documentary is in heavy post production where we are waiting on people outside of our production group. Pom Pom Massacre is in negotiation for funding (Yay!). Other projects have hit the back burner mostly due to a perceived lack of time. The only really active things going on are the mystery shows, Shmimprov and this blog. That definitely doesn’t seem like very much when you write it down and it definitively isn’t where I’d like to be activity wise.

Some may read this and think, “Why is he posting all this? Why would he point out his problems and when the hell is that cheerleader movie getting made?!?”

First, I hear you, nobody wants to listen to a winer. Second of all, the movie is coming!

So what am I getting at? Finding the spark that gets you out of your routine! The motivation to start something new! The thing that got all these other projects started! I’m starting to feel it again and it only took a week off and dinner with my wife and good friend Jeff to get it going. What does that mean? Hopefully lots of new content and one particularly cool idea that is still being sketched out.

But what I really wanted to do was hear about you. I didn’t even know I was in a slump until I was out side of things enough to see it. So are you feeling inspired? What gets you inspired? What is inspiration anyway?

I’m looking forward to your thoughts. Maybe we can find a way to keep that feeling going because lord knows I’m definitely jazzed about everything more right now than I was a month ago and that’s a much better place to be.

See you next time.

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Filed under general, inspiration, projects, rambling