Category Archives: new projects

Day 51 Operation: Television’s Curtis Andersen 2.0 – This is tangentially related…

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.

Speaking of which, I need to get back to it!

Here’s the playlist for May:

Here’s the playlist from April:

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under acting, business, new projects, Operation: Television's Curtis Andersen 2.0, video, videos, YouTube

Day 1 Operation: Television’s Curtis Andersen 2.0

Today represents the first day of a new personal initiative. Back in 2015 when I started Operation: Television’s Curtis Andersen I had the goal of just getting back on TV in some way shape or form. After 400 days and lots of little victories in between (including movie roles and getting back into voice-over and doing a few shorts), I was cast in FEUD!: Bette & Joan. Success!

Then Frankie had his first tachycardia event.

This was a major turning point for Rene and I and it’s only with hindsight that I can really see just how profound that evening in March was. On March 28th Frankie passed away, surrounded by Rene and I, some of the best veterinary doctors we’ve ever known, and our friend Caroline (mom to his doggy friend Stella). It was a soul crushing day and Rene and I are still pretty devastated. We had completely turned our lives toward his care and we both feel a little lost now without having Frankie to be dedicated to.

But losing Frankie also kicked in a particular type of motivation, mostly a desire to keep my brain too busy to be sad all the time. It wasn’t all that effective (although things are getting better) but none the less that motivation is here and I feel like I need to use it on things that are constructive. The most constructive thing I can think to do with this energy is reaffirm what I feel like I’ve spent the last three years reaffirming but not necessarily working toward enough – reviving and then maintaining my entertainment career.

I know how this sounds given that I seem to do this re-start or make this declaration on an almost annual basis but this tells me two things:

  1. I cannot get away from this calling. I may have times when making money in reliable ways takes priority, but in my heart and in my soul I am a performer and I am not truly happy unless I am performing or involved in the industry in some way.
  2. I have not done enough to maintain my career. I seem to allow myself to get back to square one too often when I need to be taking more advantage of the opportunities that are presented to me.

I seemed to do my best when I was doing the first round of Operation: Television’s Curtis Andersen so it sounded like a good idea to me to try it again, with a different focus. Now instead of the single laser focused goal of just booking a show I am making the broader statement that I will work only in the entertainment industry again.

If you know about goal setting and making plans you know that this is not a good goal – it’s too broad. So instead of just having this overarching goal, I’ll be setting smaller, better goals each step of the way. Things that are achievable so I can get where I want to be.

Goal 1: Finish Born For This by Chris Guillebeau before the end of April.

It’s not a long book, but I am still working twelve hour days and it’s hard to read when you’re exhausted. Once I finish the book then I will set a new goal and we will continue on from there. I’ll also be making videos again, like the one below, as often as possible (but I honestly don’t know how often that will be).

2 Comments

Filed under actor stuff, new projects, Operation: Television's Curtis Andersen 2.0, Uncategorized

LIVE Discussions & Patreon – We’re doing things!

We have been hard at work on all of our new stuff and while we’re are still working on things like sketches:

And things like Rene’s music parodies:

The thing that seems to be taking off is our series of LIVE Discussions. These are weekly (Sundays at 11am Pacific Time) and recorded live on our YouTube Channel. We have a topic of discussion (usually arts or creativity related) and I assemble a panel of friends, co-workers, and contemporaries to talk about it for at least 20 mins (although lately we’ve been going longer). Once a month we do a Feature Discussion with a bigger panel. Feature Discussions last for at least an hour and I do a follow-up video of just the highlights after the fact. Below is a playlist of all the discussions so far:

Please check these out, feel free to click on any of the advertising (wink).

Rene and I have some big plans for the future, especially as we continue building our own content. We can do a lot on our own, but we could use some additional financial support to help raise the bar on our activities. Everything we’ve done thus far has been done on a shoestring where we beg, borrow and steal what we need to get a project done. This has worked pretty well, like with The Chili and Bloody Mary:

But with a little bit more money we can do a lot more!

Please consider joining our Patreon page. We’ve set-up some good starter rewards and I’m very pleased to announce that I got some of our art proofs back this morning for the merch that we will be releasing (actual release date TBD, but it’s coming!!!).

If Patreon isn’t an option, please don’t be afraid to click on the advertising links you see here and on the channel. I try to make sure that all of the ads presented are appropriate for the page and they should be set-up so that the items shown are things you, as the reader/watcher, would be interested in.

Thank you all for your support! We have seen the page jump in activity since we started – and we’re doing very well for only being about 4 weeks into this new effort! We’re really looking forward to what’s next!

Leave a Comment

Filed under acting, Andelon, awesome, behind the scenes, blatant plug, Bloody Mary, business, comedy, creativity, current events, Curtis Andersen, day in the life, directing, diy, doing new things, filmmaking, Frankie, fund raising, getting started, making movies, marketing, money, new projects, new shows, news, producing, productivity, projects, rene, short film, social networking, state of stuff, update, video, videos, YouTube

Fireside Chats with Television’s Curtis Andersen & Jeff Garvin from the World of Books

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 10.05.45 PM

The time has come! Below is the first episode of Fireside Chat with Jeff Garvin & Curtis Andersen. In it we give you the set-up to what we are doing and talk a little bit about what it’s like being a late 30-something looking back on our own teenage writings.

Like, subscribe, comment, all that good stuff.

If you want to see more from us visit these sites:

Curtis Andersen.com

Jeff Garvin Books

Leave a Comment

Filed under new media, new projects, video, YouTube

Happy New Year! Here’s what’s Coming Up!

Insanity-Wolf-Happy-New-Year

I am writing this in the last hour of January 1st, 2016. These last two months have been a whirlwind mostly focused on my quest to become a working actor again epitomized by the Operation: Television’s Curtis Andersen series of videos on my YouTube Channel. Here’s the latest one from today:

And here are the links to the playlists for November and December, in case you want to catch up:

In addition, my friend Author Jeff Garvin and I are trying an experiment where we go through and read sections of our old high school journals. Yes, it’s exactly what you think:

Rene and I have big plans for this year! Keep your eye here for all the info!

Leave a Comment

Filed under actor stuff, creativity, new media, new projects, new shows, new year, news, Operation: Television's Curtis Andersen, update, video, videos, YouTube

New Show On Its Way – Fireside Chats with Jeff Garvin & Curtis Andersen

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 10.05.45 PM

Jeff Garvin is one of my oldest friends. We went to junior high and high school together and even attended the same college for a couple years. We have seen each other at our best and at our worst. Jeff is embarking on a new part of his professional life with the release of his first novel in 2016, Symptoms of Being Human.

Since he’s working in young adult fiction we started talking about our old journals and all the crazy stuff we used to write in them.

Then we recorded ourselves talking about that stuff.

Then we decided to put it on YouTube.

Here’s the promo:

You can subscribe to my channel HERE and not miss a single episode!

Leave a Comment

Filed under new projects, new shows, video, videos, YouTube

Operation: Television’s Curtis Andersen

Picture by Molly Hawkey

Picture by Molly Hawkey

Hi.

My name is Curtis Andersen and I have been an entertainment professional for over 30 years.

I started working professionally when I was 8 years old and haven’t ever stopped, but some years were definitely better than others.

From eight through my mid-twenties I made my primary living as an actor, you can see a list of most of what I did at IMDb. But then in 2005 I thought I’d have more control over my career if I tried producing. It went fine, made some movies; sold some TV shows; and made a lot of music videos, but something was always missing. It was not creatively satisfying, at least not in the way acting is for me, and a majority of the job was hunting for financing. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried independent film financing, but I don’t recommend it. It takes a lot of time to get a “yes” and then there are a thousand ways that are beyond your control where that “yes” can suddenly turn into a “no.” In 2012 I lost the funding for three projects on the same day – it was the next six months worth of work – and I started thinking that being a producer was probably not the path I wanted to follow.

At the end of 2014 I was ready to be done with producing. I was very pleased to be a part of the first year of Fun Size Horror, but found myself having a lot more fun being in the shorts than being behind the scenes. That’s when the final decision was made – I needed to be a working actor again!

That being said, becoming a working actor in Hollywood, even when you were one for over 20 years, is not easy. It takes dedication and persistence and a lot of hard work. I’ve decided to chronicle my path back both here and on my YouTube channel. I’ve created a playlist of the videos I’m shooting, you can see it down below:

I’d love to hear your comments as this keeps going either here on the blog or on the videos.

Let’s see if we can make the nickname “Television’s Curtis Andersen” a reference to me in the present instead of the past.

3 Comments

Filed under acting, actor stuff, artist, behind the scenes, business, career, challenge, Hollywood, new projects, Operation: Television's Curtis Andersen, videos, YouTube

Am I a Startup?

Startup Post Art

For the last year or so I’ve been looking at my career and trying to make decisions about which way to move it in the future. Even though I’ve been in the entertainment industry for 30 years now it hasn’t been one long smooth ride. Over those three decades I’ve actually had several “careers.”

  1. When I first started out as a kid doing commercials and voiceovers mostly.
  2. My awkward phase, around 13-15 when I exclusively played “nerd” characters.
  3. Late teens to late 20’s – the Sabrina the Teenage Witch years.
  4. Post 2005 – the producer years.

After this last decade of working almost exclusively behind the camera, with a few on-camera moments here and there, it’s time to start career number five – The “I-don’t-have-a-name-for-it-because-it-has-yet-to-be-defined” Years. For most of my working life many of my opportunities have depended a lot on other people saying “yes” which bred a bit of a reactionary response to the decisions that I’ve made in my work life. I would get a call for an audition, do my best at that audition, and then wait to see if I’m selected for the job or I would pitch an idea, put down a bid for the production, and then wait for the green light. After being beholden exclusively to other people it feels like it’s time to take as much control of my career as I can, especially since 40 is a lot closer than it used to be.

To this end I started thinking about how to make this paradigm shift. Up until now being proactive and taking control meant meeting people in the industry, participating in social media, being caught up on marketing materials like headshots and reels, etc. But this whole process needed to change if I was going to have any real control over what I wanted to do. My brain latched onto the idea of “startups.”  You hear all about startups everywhere, it has become a common term in the business vernacular. Just cruise LinkedIn or business circles on Twitter and you can find all kinds of reports, news and advice about “startups.” But nearly all of those articles and reports refer to tech startups, new apps or other tech that supposed to change our lives for the better; it was hard to see how I could fit my goals into the idea of startup structure. So I did some reading.

What is a “startup”?

Before I could really get down to business I needed to know what I was getting down to, so I hit the Internet. I did a search: “what is a startup.” This is what you find. Assuming that you exclude the results that are about creating a startup disk for your computer, there are hundreds of pages of results. After narrowing it down to about a dozen articles, there were three in particular that helped me to define what it is to be a startup and the dos and don’ts that go along with starting one. Of all the articles that defined a start up, the one that worked best for me was this article from FORBES.COM. In it “startup” is defined by Neil Blumenthal, co founder and co-CEO of Warby Parker as:

“A startup is a company working to solve a problem where the solution is not obvious and success is not guaranteed.”

This sounded to me a lot like my current situation where the problem Rene and I are trying to solve (my career direction) did not have a clear solution (because I didn’t have one) and success is not guaranteed (because it’s not). They had other technical definitions as well, directly out of dictionaries, but I don’t want to get off track.

The article also discusses how the idea of “startup” is cultural currency. The concept in the zeitgeist is that startups are exciting and innovative and ready to tackle problems in new ways so other industries adopted the phrase even though they technically aren’t startups. Posers aside, this along with the definition presented by Mr. Blumenthal cemented my resolution that I would approach this year as if I, myself, were a startup. Here comes Curtis 5.0!

So what does one do?

Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy. A lot of people like to fancy themselves as one, but few can actually back up the claim. Fortunately when you’re a new startup, like myself, there are lots of places where you can get a nickel’s worth of free advice and one of those places is Entrepreneur.com. I found a lot of advice here about all kinds of things related to starting a business.  A lot of it was retreading well known ideas, but some of the lists were good reminders of the basic principles that are easy to lose track of. The article that was most relevant to me was 4 Best Practices to Avoid Startup Failure. These practices are remarkably applicable to the modern professional actor with just a few minor tweeks to the explanations. I’ll let you go to the original article to read the unaltered breakdowns, but here are my thoughts on the 4 Best Practices:

  1. Maximize your resources. While all of us in the entertainment biz may want high powered agents and PR firms backing us, that’s not always option and since my plan is all about what I can control maximizing the power of my personal resources is key. All of us, I don’t care who you are (and if you want to fight about it I’ll see you in the comments below), have some resources at our disposal. Maybe it’s a supportive family. Maybe you happen to be really good with Final Cut or other editing software. Maybe you just give good “chat” at parties. Whatever you’re good at and have access to is what you should be using.  Not sure what you’ve got? Sit down and write down what you know how to do and what is available to you. And get really basic: a reliable car, a cat that does tricks, an old tuxedo that still fits. You never know what can come in handy and it might be right under your nose.
  2. Leverage your network. I’m really bad at this. I have great friends and family and they are spread all over this fine globe in a variety of different industries. I always feel guilty about asking them for anything, but anytime I don’t they have always, to the person, told me that I should have said something. You probably have these people in your life too (unless you’re, like, a big ol’ mooch). It’s time to reach out. But the key is not to reach out to just anyone, seek out the people who you would like to emulate or who can encourage you on the course you’ve picked. Don’t ask them to just “hook you up,” but let them be a source of advice or even referrals to people you might not otherwise have access to. For example: I would like to do more Think Fast seminars, a seminar that teaches people how to think on their feet using interactive exercises. A resource available to me is a group of friends who work in the corporate sector in H.R. and training. Speaking to them can let me know what materials I need to have to be able to pitch the seminar and, if it makes sense for their industry, maybe even a shot to do one for their employees.
  3. Build a learning culture. Pride. Ego. Asshole. These are all traits that may pop up as you are struggling to get things going – especially if you’re a stubborn son of a bitch who really only changes his mind once he’s figured it out and not when his lovely wife tries to save him some trouble by suggesting it earlier. But I’m not speaking from personal experience or anything…

    …anyway. It really is important to keep an open mind and to be ready to steer the ship in a new direction when the situation requires it. Also, be open to new skills. With YouTube tutorials and a little elbow grease you can learn just about anything. For example: With Think Fast it became obvious that I would need a website dedicated to just that seminar, which Rene had mentioned about a year ago. I finally got around to it and, in order to be able to make it do look the way I wanted it to, I needed to really expand on my Photoshop skills. Am I ready to be hired out as a graphic designer? No, but that wasn’t the goal. In the end I was able to learn what I needed to to get my the website built in a way I liked and that was the goal.
  4. Have an MVP. This is not a Most Valuable Player, this is a Minimum Viable Product. Actually their breakdown of what that means is pretty relatable:

“No, not an individual. A minimum viable product is the least amount of product or service you can bring to market while achieving two objectives: maximizing value to the customer and minimizing costs.

Good judgment only comes from experience, and experience typically comes from bad judgment. The toughest lessons to learn are usually the most costly in terms of resources and capital, so the best practice for you is the one that keeps your business unique.”

So how does this work for the performer? Focus on what makes you unique or sets you apart and really go for that. For example: you probably recognize a few different commercial actors by defining physical characteristics. The next time you’re watching TV pay attention to the people in the commercials, you’ll see the same people over and over and many of them have defined hair or beards or a general “look” that is clearly their trademark. If we look at the Think Fast example: There are a lot of team building and “outside the box” seminars out in the world, Think Fast is different because it uses interactive exercises that are easy to pick-up and challenging. Take an honest stock of yourself and pick out what sets you apart – then commit to it 100%.

These have all been the “do’s” of treating yourself as a startup, but there are some “don’ts.” Unfortunately I think we’ve reached the point of TL;DR. So next time we’ll look at the don’ts. In the mean time, if you would like to fight me in the comments then get to swingin’ down below.

See you next time.

1 Comment

Filed under business, creativity, evil plan, getting old, insight, inspiration, new projects, new year, Uncategorized

52 in 52 Is Nigh!

Next week starts my 52 short stories in 52 weeks and I feel a bit unprepared. I’ve been excited about being “creative” since I made the decision to do this, even filling up pages of ideas in anticipation, but now that the time is drawing near I’m starting to feel like I’m about to run a marathon without training first.

In my head I see this as a self imposed “focus and discipline” intensive. Forcing myself to take the time to do at least a little bit of work on each story for seven days at a time. But now I’m wondering if there shouldn’t be some kind of structure that I’m prepared for to make the process easier?
So what follows is my stream of consciousness rambling about whether or not to structure…

I’m guess that there’s a a certain amount of discipline that goes along with deciding to do this project. In my head I’m seeing Sunday as an idea/outlining day. Monday is when you refine the outline. Tuesday /Wednesday rough drafts and then refine e drafts on Friday and Saturday. That would make sense. That would be structure. But I’ve never worked well under that kind of structure. Sometimes the ideas roll off my brain better just being blurted out and then refined later. I don’t think that the structure is really what the challenge is about so much as the discipline. Making sure that the writing actually happens. The writer writes and as long as there is writing then the job is being done.

This suddenly feels like a very first world problem.

Maybe my biggest decision will be to hand write or type…?

Sunday is only a few days away!

See you next time.

Also, here are some books that may help if you are trying something like this:

The War of Art is one of my favorite books about getting creative things done. It will light a fire under your ass!

This is one I haven’t read myself – but I’ve heard good things.
Writing a screenplay? Check this one out.

Leave a Comment

Filed under 52 stories in 52 weeks, new projects, projects

Ray Bradbury: 52 Stories in 52 Weeks – My Project for 2014

Picture found at QuotePictures.com

For 2014 I’m going to attempt to do the Ray Bradbury 52 short stories in 52 weeks writing hygiene exercise. It’s an idea that he brought up in a lecture, I’ve included a link below:

I started the video at the 2 minute 40 second mark, but if you have about an hour to watch the whole video it is worth it.

I’ve had a few ideas buzzing around in my head and they just haven’t found a way to get out. I think that the structure and discipline that this exercise will require will be a good way to at least get these things down on paper.

I don’t know if I’ll post them. I may decide that on a case by case basis, but I’m excited enough that I wanted to talk about it here.

Sometimes being creative takes a back seat to the things that we do to survive. If we’re very lucky, sometimes what we like to do creatively will end up earning us a living but more often than that we end up using our creative skills to help bring someone else’s creative vision to life. There’s nothing wrong with that, in fact  in many cases that’s how we get good at what we do, but eventually there comes a time when you have something that you want to make from your mind and then it’s up to you to find a way to get that idea out into the world. Given that I do not have hundreds of millions of dollars on hand and that I could use a lot of writing practice I have selected this exercise.

Apparently I’m not alone either, doing a simple Google search shows that there are Facebook pages and websites dedicated to the Ray Bradbury 52 Stories in 52 Weeks Challenge! I will probably not join up with any of these groups, but it was neat to see this idea has taken off.

I’ll be starting in January, although I have started keeping track of writing prompts so I have some ideas to pull from.

What do you think? Is this kind of challenge for you? Let me know in the comments.

See you next time!

P.S. If you want to get any of Ray Bradbury’s excellent books why not try Amazon? And if you want those books quicker, and access to the movies and TV shows available with Amazon Prime check out the free trial link below.

Leave a Comment

Filed under 52 stories in 52 weeks, creativity, doing new things, new projects, projects, Ray Bradbury, storytelling, writing