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 don’t think that this is any kind of real surprise to anyone who reads this blog or knows me, but it’s not something that I bring up that often for public consumption. Working in toys has really activated my geekery gene and since that is what I’ve been spending so much time on turning it into content for the internet seemed like the next natural choice. But as I’ve gotten back into my geekier pursuits I’ve noticed that I’m not feeling particularly connected to “geek” as a community – and I don’t know how I feel about that.
Why do we care?
In all likelihood you probably don’t, but it’s very possible that we are about to see a change to geek culture and since geek culture has been mainstreamed any changes that come are likely going to affect the entertainment industry in a massive way. I think my identity crisis is just a symptom of something bigger… maybe.
Being a geek is nothing new and we are somehow still in a geek culture golden age. If you were to tell me twenty-five years ago that some of the most popular things on YouTube, videos that were getting MILLIONS of views, were of people playing Dungeons and Dragons and other role playing games I’d laugh until I passed out. Put on top of that the fact that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of the most popular, profitable and unstoppable franchise factories making household names out of characters that no one knew of merely a decade ago? And the fact that Star Wars as a universe is still chugging along in mainstream media? And that I can find Iron Man action figures in just about every single armor that he has ever worn both on screen and in the comics? I tell you my little teenage heart would burst.
But it was not always this way.
I like to frame myself as a “proud geek,” but if I’m being honest that hasn’t always been true. Even in times as geek popular as now I tend to hold that part back from the spotlight. In the past I have justified this hiding because of my “brand.” On this blog and on social media I preferred to be an actor first, focus on career related things… and every once in a while toss in an obscure movie reference, mention that I need to go play D&D, or talk about Iron Man. But that was not very authentic in how much of my private identity can be tied back to what are considered geeky (sometimes VERY geeky) things.
Although some of the geeky things have gained a hip status, the fact of the matter is that all the cool popular people playing or involved in this stuff are a very small, niche part of the people who play and participate in the core of geekery. The core audience still carries the stigma that was turned into stereotypes used in TV and movies, especially in the late 70’s through the 90’s. Hell, that was my bread and butter for most of my young acting career.
I think that Simon Pegg has presented the best definition of the modern geek:
As he points out, this doesn’t just apply to things like superhero fans and Warhammer 40,000 players but sports fanatics and people who love cars too. But the stigma doesn’t follow the latter the way it does the former. Jocks and nerds may be satisfying the same itch deep down, but society in general views them in very different ways and always at odds.
I was at Rose City Comic Con this year. It’s the first con that I’ve been to since San Diego ComiCon back in either 2012 or 2014 (I can’t remember) and even longer than that since I went to a convention of any size that wasn’t related to the entertainment industry in some way shape or form. This year felt different than what I remember.
Some of my favorite childhood memories are of my dad and I going to comic cons all over Southern California (mostly the Shrine Shows in L.A.) looking for old Iron Man back issues, checking out old toys and collectables, and doing our best to bargain down a price with the dealers. At these shows I built a very impressive collection of Yoda memorabilia, got my first Iron Man action figure from the defunct Secret Wars line, and completed a volume 1 collection of Iron Man comics.
I would spend my days reading comics and coming up with adventures for all my favorite characters in my head. The reading material came in handy for auditions as well since I was merely a passengers for nearly a decade. I was proud to know as much about the Marvel Universe as I did. I knew Doctor Who lore and stories that would surprise adult fans. I knew Star Wars down to the Tonnika sisters. But I had very few people that I could share all this with.
Junior High School, the worst of all the “schools” in my opinion, was when I met my core group of friends, people I still know and love to this day. Jeff Garvin was my entry point to the group. He and I met doing Annie with a community theater group (another thing that is generally considered pretty geeky, but that’s another blog post altogether). We shared mutual interests, Star Wars and comic books in a general sense, and he introduced me to his Dungeons and Dragons group. Jeff, Dan and Scott became my best friends through school.
In addition to D&D we shared other common interests in movies and music. Star Wars and Indiana Jones were big favorites and we spent way too much playing the original X-Wing and TIE Fighter computer games. We tried some other RPGs and Dan, Scott and I all started playing Warhammer 40k. We had each other’s backs. We were our own little community and we could run in the circles of other geek communities without effort.
At Rose City Comic Con I was the outsider. Even though I’m an over 40-bearded-beer-gut-guy (a description that has come to be the standard archetype for the stereotypical geek) I saw the distrustful looks that came from the cosplayers and gamers and comic book fans. I imagine I must’ve looked like a dad who was missing his kid, especially since I was there by myself. There was a part of me that wanted to say, “Don’t worry I’m totally one of you.” But even writing that seems condescending and pointless, especially since geekdom and fandom are plagued by toxic jerks right now. I can’t find fault with the suspicious looks. If you didn’t know any better I could be one of those entitled, angry and anonymous man-children screaming about The Last Jedi. Toxic Fandom is the culmination of people who felt powerless finding a voice and, in most circumstances, trying to claim ownership on a fictional world that should be open to everyone. When that kind of “fandom” finds other people who feel the same we get things like what we saw with recent Star Wars stars leaving social media.
But that’s not what I want to see. Sure there will always be jerks, but in general the community is at its best when it is supportive of each other and when people who want to learn about and participate in the geekery are welcomed. Even though I got a lot of side-eye yesterday, the folks at the convention we all very polite and super excited about what they were doing there. That’s the part I like. That’s what I’d like to see more of.
To that point I’m going to start talking about my geekier pursuits here on the blog more. I may not feel like I’m directly linked into the community like I used to be, but I still D&D like a boss, build and paint 40k armies competently, and can still throw down in Supernaturalcontinuity conversations with the best of them. The old saying goes “be the change you’d like to see” and I’d like to help put some positivity back into the geeky stuff that I love.
Please join me! Tell me about the geeky stuff you love in the comments. Introduce me to that thing you like that maybe you’re self conscious about. Let’s build a better community without entitlement and toxicity.
I am currently on location in Harrisville, New Hampshire at Aldworth Manor shooting the new indie horror movie Squirrel. It’s been a lot of fun and you’re going to see a lot of it if you’re following me on social media.
Autumn is my favorite time of year and October is one of my favorite months. Rene and I got married in October, we LOVE Halloween, the weather is my preferred type with clouds and rain and chill, it’s our cup of tea. It’s really hard to be all the way across the country away from her and Frankie. They seem to be having a good time back in Portland and Frankie is super-cute in his outfits to keep him warm, as you can can see in these pictures:
But it’s still hard. So I’ve been keeping myself busy in my downtime.
In the interest of Halloween, I’m telling spooky stories here at the manor. The first one you can see here:
I’ll be doing more all month and these stories are TRUE! Also, the manor house is apparently haunted so I’m going to be going through it with some of the cast and crew later this month to see if we can “catch” anything. Here’s a preview of that from Friday the 13th:
Of course, it wouldn’t be Halloween if I didn’t post Bloody Mary again – it’s a tradition:
And since we won’t be able to do LIVE Discussions for a while, here’s one that i think is still incredibly relevant on being a journeyman actor:
Oh, and I forgot to mention that we have COOL NEW MERCH NOW! You can see that HERE.
You can currently order these cool designs:
Of course, our patrons have first crack at all new material and at the higher levels of patronage you get discounts on your order! You can check that out HERE.
Please like, subscribe, click the links, share, follow – you know, do all the good social media stuff! We’ll see you soon!
You may remember that last year Rene and I were involved in the Fun Size Horror project, a series of 31 horror shorts that were released the week of Halloween. Rene and I were directly involved in the production of two of them: Bloody Mary, which featured Rene and our niece Katie, and Home which starred Rene and our friend Matt Conde. After the release embargo was over I released Bloody Mary right away – but I thought that I had lost the final file for Home!
During a massive file transfer to my backup drives I found it, and posted it on YouTube for all to see! So please watch and enjoy Home:
Now kids are building the proto-version of that laser in their garage.
I present to you, on this fine Friday, a demonstration of a laser weapon that may not be powerful enough to fill a house with popcorn, is powerful enough to strike fear in the hearts of balloons everywhere.
I talk a lot about the changing entertainment industry in this blog, mostly from the perspective of an actor, but the business of movie making itself is in constant flux. I rarely talk about the projects that we are working on until they feel like they are in a position where they look like they are definitely going to happen.
“But Curtis, ” I hear you saying, “you’ve talked about things that have totally gone belly up before. What about those?”
Well, dear readers, those projects that I’ve talked about that ended up not working were all victims of a dangerous calculus known as Independent Film Finance. Getting a film made is a metaphorical tightrope walk over a mile deep chasm filled with razor blades and sulphuric acid. At any moment a stiff breeze could come by and destroy you and everything you’ve worked on – but the promise of a completed project is enough to make you try and if you get to the other side…? Oh there is no sweeter feeling of satisfaction!
However the realities of film finance are not well known among the audience. If you knew what filmmakers know you’d be amazed that any movie ever got made ever and how terrible movies are getting made at all. In the interest of education I’d like to share with you a video made by indie filmmaker Adi Shankar, he’s the guy responsible for the gritty Power Rangers remake that hit all the blogs in late February/early March. He is also the guy behind DREDD which was a great adaptation of the popular comic hero judge Dredd. He breaks down, in a wonderfully efficient way, how independent films get made currently. It is beautifully succinct. Oh, and there’s adult language so be aware.
How do you feel about all this? What movies would you like to see happen? What movie would you erase from existence if you could?
It is the bane of the modern entertainment industry.
It has completely changed the paradigm of the music industry and altered the business of television and film distribution in ways that have yet to be realized.
For many consumers, media piracy is thought of as a new thing. Something that the industry has to cope with in a world full of modern marvels that allow for quick duplication and distribution. But that isn’t actually true. Piracy is something that is as old as the entertainment industry and CineFix has done a great job explaining it in their latest Film School’D video.
Another lesson from this video? Edison really was a prick. An industrious prick, but a prick.
How do you feel about piracy? what do you think the industry can do to combat it? Let me know in the comments.
They are finally able to be released publicly! The shorts we made for Fun Size Horror are now available for public view.
“Bloody Mary” was a fun bit of filmmaking made under surprise conditions. Originally we had a different crew, location and equipment – but then there was some bad luck behind the scenes. Thanks to some help from Fun Size founder Zeke Pinheiro we were able to shoot and get this in on time.
Give it a look and then watch it a bunch more and tell a friend. More next week!
For those of us in our thirties, the Nintendo Entertainment System burned images into our head that equaled fun and happiness. The 8-bit games sprites were shaped just well enough to figure out what they were, but never super specific. It was like impressionistic painting study on an interactive platform. Today’s video is from the animators at Cinefix and it is the 8-bit “game” of one of my favorite movies “A Clockwork Orange.”
I’m a fan of YouTuber CinemaSins. He does comedy videos about things that are “wrong” with movies like plot holes or logic errors or when they are just plain silly. Today’s Fun Video is his twenty minute breakdown of the disaster porn movie 2012. This is longer than the videos that I normally post, but when I was watching it I didn’t even notice.