Well, that's it... our downtown (Milwaukee) rehearsals for "The Trip To Bountiful" have come to an end. Tonight was our last night in the rehearsal space. On Monday, we begin tech week on the stage at Concordia University Wisconsin. And on Friday, we open the show.
It'll be a busy week too. Monday will be our first run-through on the actual stage, and by then we'll have our set in place (it's being assembled this weekend). Tuesday is our first rehearsal with costume and make-up. Wednesday, we're working out any last-minute kinks, and on Thursday we have our final dress rehearsal.
If you're interested in seeing the show, either this coming weekend when we open, or the weekend after that, check out the Acacia Theatre box office page for more information. And if you do take in a performance, stick around after the show and say hi. I'd love to meet you!
Day off from rehearsal. Worked away from home. Painted walls in an occupied apartment. Unexpectedly treated to lunch by the tenants: cheeseburgers, yummm! Mowed some grass on a beautiful early evening. Love the smell of fresh-cut grass! Enjoyed an Italian beef sandwich for dinner. Came home. Chatted with Kelli on the phone. Missing her presence. Watching a little of the Brewers/Padres baseball game on TV. Heading to bed shortly.
I'm not much of a beer-drinker. It's an acquired taste, and I haven't acquired it yet. Nonetheless, this clever Heineken beer commercial made me laugh. So, I thought I'd share the laugh with you too. Consider it your humor of the day. Enjoy!
I posted this on Facebook earlier today, but I thought I'd repost it here -- for those of you who aren't connected to me on the social networking site. It's a press release promoting the play I'm in. There's a photo attached as well. It's your first glimpse of me... as Ludie Watts. Enjoy!
Here's something neat: Take a moment and watch as Boeing builds a 737 aircraft for Southwest airlines in this 2.5 minute time-lapse video. The plane is called the Florida One -- for its intricate artwork featuring the Florida state flag. Enjoy!
Attitude is important -- in just about anything you do. And that includes theatre. Sometimes, although the task may be great, you just have to breathe deep, take it by the horns, and make it work. And you have to do so with a positive attitude, otherwise.... you're just wasting your time.
I've been discovering this a lot with my role in "The Trip To Bountiful". Sometimes, the size and emotional scale of my character seems way too daunting. I have to feel things with Ludie that I don't usually face in my own life. I have to dive into emotions and experiences that I just haven't endured on the same scale. And it's often more of a challenge than I'd like to admit. But I still have to find a way to make it work. That's part of the job. That's part of the fun.
There are times, I'll admit, when I just don't want to go to rehearsal. I've had a long day. My mind is on other things. Or... maybe I'm just plain tired, and I want to spend more time in bed. Hours of rehearsal isn't always my favorite way of ending the day. Staying home, in my comfort zone, sounds more appealing. It's easier to be me.
But, on the other hand, there are advantages to perseverance. Persistence. Dedication. For an actor, telling a story is an oddly enticing prospect. It's a challenge. A game. A project. And when everything comes together after a long hard rehearsal period, the reactions of an audience are more than enough reward for a job well done.
It's like a deeply emotional need to bask in the focus and attention of others. Yet, also a driving passion to provide someone else with the opportunity to develop emotions of their own -- based upon the fruits of your own hard work. Good actors are some of the most fascinating enigmas you'll ever meet. We crave the spotlight, the opportunity to create, pretend, inspire. But we also feel incomplete if we haven't moved our audience in some way.
When I have one of those long tiring days where I just don't want to spend an entire evening in some rehearsal space somewhere, I have to stop, breathe deep, and remind myself... sure, it's hard work now. I may not feel up to the challenge emotionally. But when that curtain rises.... it's payday! If I give my best at rehearsal, my best in performance will be far more satisfying!
I love the attention, sure, but the truth is, I just want to impress the audience. Without them, I would be nothing more than some geeky guy babbling pointlessly to row upon row of empty chairs. In an empty auditorium. With no way of filling my deep need to tell a story. Where's the fun in that?
Rehearsals are a LOT of hard work. Anyone who tells you they're easy, is lying. But with the right attitude, perseverance, and plenty of passion... good things WILL result. You just have to have fun, work hard, be patient... and play.
On a whim, I searched Facebook to see how many other Jon Baas's there are. Since my full name is "Jonathan", I also searched for "Jonathan Baas". Interestingly enough, I am not the only one.
A simple Facebook search yield's 12 results. Not all of them are legitimate. And some of them do not list any information. Here is a list of my namesakes and the global location in which they reside. (Only those with locations, are listed.)
Jon Baas ... aka, me. Residence: Milwaukee, WI. Soon to be, Brillion, WI. (I usually post from my FB page, though. You can find that here.)
Maddie Chambers created a Hobbit doll house as part of a college course called 'The Importance of Play.' As it just so happens, the house is a fantastic replica of Bag End from "The Fellowship of the Rings". And there are photos to prove it! Take a peek, and enjoy!
Today was a self-imposed day off. No office work. No out-of-office work. No scheduled rehearsal. Just a "Jon day" to relax in the comforts of my own apartment, recharge before another busy week, and enjoy some peace and quiet while my roommate is away.
And how did I relax, you may ask? Well... I played Civilization III, I surfed Wikipedia, I watched a little television, and I slept. How's that for a lazy day!
Sawed off tree branches. Cut down a tree. Moved some large flat rocks. Filled a trailer with dead wood (branches, tree limbs, brush, etc). Deposited that wood at the dump. Fascinated by all the beautiful flowering trees currently in bloom. Enjoyed dinner at Old Country Buffet. Satisfied my taste buds. Came home. Showered. Relaxed. Talked to Kelli on the phone. Finishing some design work. Heading to bed before 2am.
The Milwaukee Brewers made news today. They trounced the Pittsburgh Pirates by a score of 20-0, setting a record for the biggest shutout win in franchise history. The last time they won by 20 runs was in 1992 (as an American league team), when they beat the Toronto Blue Jays 22-2.
This afternoon, Milwaukee scored 20 runs on 25 hits, hit seven doubles, smacked four homeruns, and ended the three-game series by outscoring the Pirates 36-1. This was was also the Pirates most-lopsided loss in their entire 124-year history.
You know, I just realized something. In the play I'm rehearsing right now -- "The Trip To Bountiful", I am the first person to enter a room on stage at the beginning of the play. And I'm the last person to leave the stage at the end.
I also speak the second line of the play, as well as the second-to-last line at the end of the play. I don't know if that's intended or not, it's probably just coincidence, but I found it fascinating nonetheless. Useless statistics often fascinate me. I don't know why. They just do.
Rehearsal went well tonight. We did a full run-through of the show. And things are definitely coming together. I still find myself challenged in some areas, and my work is far from done, but with the remaining two weeks left before we open, I should easily get to where I want to be.
I think we impressed the director tonight too. She was very excited once the final lines were spoken: "This is going to be an AWESOME show!" Her words exactly. There was a moment of jump-up-and-down-in-glee cheering on her part as well. Always nice to see! Impressing a director like that -- at this stage in the game -- isn't always easy.
Tomorrow the three main characters -- me, our new "Mother Watts", and my "wife" -- will be working the dramatic first two scenes in the play. I'm pretty confident in those scenes myself, so I don't anticipate the need for a lot of prep time before rehearsal. I have a good many non-theatre projects to work on during the day. Gotta get caught up. I'll look over my lines on the bus, and then jump back into the character of Ludie once I arrive downtown.
Thursday is a day off from rehearsal, and Friday will be another full run-through of the show. Here's hoping the rest of this week goes smoothly. We're getting down to the wire. Time to start polishing the details until they shine!
In film, chroma keying is a technique for compositing two images together in which a color from one image is removed, revealing another image behind it. This technique is also referred to as "greenscreen" or "bluescreen", since green and blue are considered the colors least like skin tone.
Here's a video that shows a few examples of this technique as employed within the entertainment industry. What you see in movies and television shows, was originally filmed like this.
Acting isn't just about memorizing lines, and then reciting them back to an audience during a performance. No, the lines merely dictate the story. They tell the tale of what the playwright has written in his/her original script. It's the little stuff, like mannerisms, inflections, expressions, and the actor's physical interpretation that make a story come to life.
And that's what's so great about rehearsal. It's the time when actors come together, and play with these things. We experiment. We create. We see what works and what doesn't. We take the lines, commit them to memory, and then have fun playing with the details.
It's like a sculptor working with clay. He shapes part of his creation, looks at it from all angles, and then decides he wants to make things bigger. So he adds more clay, molds the shape further, and then steps back once more. Maybe now it's too big. So he removes some clay, and takes another look. When he finally has his creation the way he'd like it to be, he puts down his tools, picks up his sculpture, and puts it carefully into the kiln. Hours later, he takes the hardened object out of the hot furnace, lets it cool, and can finally prepare it for presentation.
Metaphorically, that's exactly how the rehearsal process plays out in theatre. With the help of a good director, each actor adds and subtracts from his or her performance until everything works together in dramatic harmony. Then, when the cues are set, the curtain rises, and the audience grows silent, a theatre production is ready for presentation.
Theatre is one of the oldest professions in the world. And it remains so because creative individuals long to play, create, and imagine. Which, in turn, brings eager audiences together with a deeply-rooted longing of their own... to be engaged by that collective imagination in front of them.
Without actors sweating the small stuff in rehearsal, a play is nothing more than a script. And without visual interpretation, a script is nothing more than a good book.
Earlier last week, I was expecting this past weekend to be a busy one. With a new actress stepping into my current stage show (to fill the role of the former actress who had to drop out), I was anticipating a long weekend of theatre work. And when I wasn't in rehearsal, I had plenty of other delayed projects that needed my attention.
Up in Brillion, though, Kelli (my fiance) wanted to come down for a weekend visit. Originally, I had asked her not to, since I wouldn't have much time to share with her. She, of course, wasn't too keen on the request. But, after some discussion, I agreed to the visit... and I agreed to share whatever time I had -- even if it was just a few hours at best.
As it would turn out, though, my weekend didn't go as expected. Kelli came down on Saturday morning as planned (since I was gone Friday night), and we hung out before my early afternoon rehearsal. I was expecting a long rehearsal (Kelli even brought two books with her to read while she sat and watched me rehearse), but after a short publicity photo shoot, and only two lines of dialogue, I was let go for the day. The director didn't need me. Just like that, I suddenly had my Saturday back. Kelli was happy, I was happy. And we had our weekend together afterall!
It's funny how things work out sometimes. You anticipate the worst. You expect to be busy. Yet sometimes, God and fate have other plans. It just goes to prove that no matter what happens in life, no matter what you expect, you can never fully plan for the future. You do what you have to do. But the future will work itself out on it's own.
It's Sunday night now. Kelli has gone home again, and I'm here typing this blog post. It was a wonderful weekend. It was. Unexpected too in so many ways. Yet looking back, and contrary to what I thought last week... yeah, I needed this weekend. I needed to spent time with Kelli. I needed to enjoy a break from rehearsal. I needed to unwind. De-stress. Slow down. Relax.
Maybe God was telling me something.
A new week starts tomorrow. A fresh opportunity to begin anew. Here's hoping things run smoothly, work gets done, and smiles abound for all.
Have a wonderful Monday everyone! Until next time,
One of the things you can always expect in theatre.... is the unexpected. Anything can happen. The audience might react in ways you don't foresee. Actors could inadvertently mix up their dialogue. Or, a prop might be in the wrong place, and someone has have to move it -- in-character. Anything can happen, but that's just part of the excitement of live theatre.
The same thing can happen in rehearsal, however. And for us... it did.
On Wednesday, with three weeks left before our show opens, our lead actress dropped out. She's the older woman who plays my character's mother. And... the largest role in the play. Rarely ever is she offstage, and her line load is, to put it nicely, intense.
Her reasons were sound though. She's retired, and going back to school full time for a degree in theatre. With her class load, her age, and the intense requirements of the Mother Watt's role, she just wasn't able to keep going with the play. So, on Wednesday, our director broke the news to us, and the frantic search began for a new actress to step in and fill the role.
At tonight's rehearsal, we met the new actress, and spent the night familiarizing her with the character, the blocking, and some of the character interactions at the beginning of the play. Things went well, the new actress is settling in better than expected, and we're back to rehearsing as planned.
Still, we'll miss the former actress. She was well respected, her work ethic was admirable, and we'd been developing relationships with her and the character for some time. Now we start all over -- with a new actress. The show goes on, and in three weeks we'll still open. Ludie... has a brand new Mamma!
Painted walls in an occupied apartment, while listening to the Brewers game on the radio. Enjoyed a tasty Italian beef sandwich for dinner. Came home. Talked to Kelli for a few hours on the phone. Heading to bed shortly.
Today has been an emotional day, followed by an emotional game-changing rehearsal. I'm all out of words right now, so, I think I'll just pass on writing anything significant, and wrap up my Wednesday. I have to be up early tomorrow for a day of apartment painting, and I can't say I'm all that excited -- given the events of today. But we'll see. It could go better than expected.
As far as news... I'll bring everyone up to speed in my next few posts.
Have a wonderful Thursday all! And until next time,
Rehearsal went well tonight -- for the most part. We ran the whole show. From my perspective, it started off strong, and then I started to stumble a bit by the end. It wasn't really lines that tripped me up, I was over-thinking my character's internal dialogue.
Every time an actor says or does something in-character, there's also a train of thought behind those lines or actions. We call it "subtext". What's the character thinking? What motivates him? Why does he do what he does? Without subtext, a performance loses a great deal of believability. And if the actor doesn't believe what he's doing, the audience won't either.
That's what snagged me at rehearsal tonight. I have to slow down Ludie's internal pace, and I need to keep from over-thinking his motivation. "Keep it simple, stupid." That's a phrase that can easily get overlooked by an actor if he's not careful. In real life, I tend to get passionate about things that interest me. And when I get passionate, I get excited. Ludie -- my character -- isn't this way.
So, I've discovered yet another thing to work on. Pace. The list grows with each rehearsal. But, then again, that's what rehearsal is for. If I take these things to heart, and I master them before opening night, then I might just offer the audience a performance they can believe... and enjoy.
It's been a long Monday. I spent much of my early day working on projects that each found a way to frustrate me. Either one thing wasn't working out like I had hoped, or another just kept thwarting me at every turn. By the time mid-afternoon rolled around, I just wanted to hop my bus, and go to rehearsal. I wanted to play.
Ultimately, that's what rehearsal ended up being. Play. I even had the opportunity to dive into some of the deeper emotional elements that drive my character. Which, now, after the fact, I find great amusement in. After my frustrating Monday, who would have thought my character's emotional breakdown (one of the scenes in the play) could be so invigorating! I've got plenty of work to do yet, I'm nowhere near ready to become Ludie Watts. But, with each day that passes, I learn more about him, I dig deeper, and I become more comfortable in his skin.
That's the great thing about acting. It's all about discovery. As human beings, we live with ourselves every day. Who know who we are. We know what we like. We understand our perspectives. But as an actor, we have that wonderful opportunity to create an entirely new character. New likes, dislikes, perspectives... emotions.
Life might send us a crappy day every once in a while. It might throw things out of whack, cause us to sidestep, or frustrate us unbearably. But when it comes time to play... to rehearse... all of that can be set aside. For a few brief hours, we can become someone else. We can go exploring. We can discover. We can create.
For me, that's a rather enjoyable way to end a crappy day!
I love the drums. I love the violin/fiddle. Add in some Celtic influences... some Irish step-dancing... a rollicking beat... and it's no surprise that Canadian musical group, Leahy is one of my favorites.
Here's a performance by Leahy titled, "The King's Dance".
Ben Meyers turned the empty hallways of his school into his own personal recording studio. Then he edited everything together into this video titled, "Empty School". He produced this in only one month -- from the first notes written to the last shots edited. Catchy stuff! Enjoy!
Today's afternoon rehearsal was a short one. I caught my bus at 11:30am, and was at the rehearsal space by 1pm. We worked my scene, had some fun, and an hour later I was released, while the director moved on to another scene.
It was a beautiful day today. Warm. Sunny. Pleasant. So after I was let go, I decided to enjoy the weather, and walk a few blocks to a local pizza-by-the-slice restaurant. I'd been there a few weeks back, and had enjoyed their selection. That first time, though, the employee thought he burned my slice, so he gave me a coupon for a free slice on my next visit. I was hungry today, and in the area, so I stopped in. One dollar for a slice of BBQ chicken/bacon pizza and a soda (the dollar was the cost of the beverage) makes for a nice little lunch!
If you're in the area, I recommend you check them out. Ian's Pizza By The Slice. East North Ave. Near the corner of Prospect. Milwaukee, WI.
After lunch, I walked the neighborhood a bit. It was an upscale commercial part of town... near the UW-Milwaukee campus. Lots of little cafe's, small-scale clothing shoppes, an old-fashioned movie theater (the Oriental), etc. Other people were out and about too. With weather like today, it would have been a crime not to be! The cafes were packed. The outdoor tables were full. People were plentiful, and the atmosphere was casual and relaxed. Even the shorts, Spring dresses, and flip-flops were out in full force! It was a gorgeous Saturday, and everyone was out enjoying it.
Eventually, I wandered back to my bus stop, and caught my two buses home. I stopped for some Dr. Pepper at my local CVS, and was back in my apartment around 4pm. Pouring an icy glass of the tasty beverage, I sat down and watched the last three innings of the Brewers game on television. They lost. But it proved to be a nice continuation to my lazy afternoon.
Later in the day, Kelli called, and I chatted with her for three hours. Since I have rehearsal most nights, the two of us don't get to chat every night as we've become used to. Tonight, however, was an opportunity to make up for the lost nights from earlier in the week. And it was fun. Nothing beats spending downtime with the love of your life. Sure, spending that time together in person would have been ideal, but, with 100 miles between us, and for only three more months (until we get married), I'll take whatever I can get. :)
With our phone conversation at an end, and the day closing fast, I think I'll continue my lazy Saturday, do a little computer work, find something to eat, and head off to bed. Tomorrow is a day off from rehearsal. I'll get to spend it doing non-acting work for a change. I'm looking forward to that!
So... here's hoping all of you had a pleasant and enjoyable Saturday. Wherever you may be. If you have nice weather, enjoy it. If can to relax, take the opportunity. Life is short. Enjoy every minute!
Well, tonight's stage rehearsal wasn't as daunting as I had anticipated. I spent all afternoon preparing, studying my lines, committing them to memory, etc. When I went in at my 7pm call, I was feeling confident. Eager. Ready to work.
The scenes on the schedule were actually two of the most dramatic in the play. They're the first two scenes of the show, to be precise. And the three main actors (of which I am one) have to nail those scenes, and present them well, because they set the stage for the rest of the story. If we fail, if we lose sight of our intentions, the story falls flat. And that's not a pleasant prospect.
Granted, we've only begun to work the play off-book. Lines are still fresh -- recently memorized. We're still stumbling a bit in that regards. But without the scripts in our hands, the characters can start to take shape. Mannerisms can develop. Relationships can grow. And that's where the fun of rehearsal begins. Playing. Bonding. Being.
We still have plenty of time before the show opens. The curtain rises on May 7th, so that leaves about a month of rehearsals yet before we're performance-ready. We'll get there. For now... we're into the playing phase. Working out the kinks. Getting a feel for the space and the characters.
Tomorrow's rehearsal is an afternoon gig. 1pm call for me. I'm actually looking forward to it. So far, rehearsals have been in the evening -- after dark. I've had the afternoon to prepare, and then the evening to play. This time around, I'll be heading out on a nice day. Hopefully with lots of sun. I'll have my afternoon and evening to myself for a change. I like that!
So, here's to a great Saturday! Scene 3. Let the afternoon playtime begin!
Project of the day: Installing electrical and battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors in multiple apartments owned by my landlord. No rehearsal in the evening. Used my free night to work on designing my wedding invitations, and talk to Kelli on the phone. Tomorrow: working on lines for a dramatic (and somewhat dreaded) rehearsal.
For now, the day is at a close. Heading to bed shortly.
Tonight's rehearsal was a good one. Better than yesterday's I think. And my preparation paid off this time around too (although my lines are still a bit sluggish). I've got a lot of work to do yet, plenty of memorization, character elements, dialect study, etc. I'll be busy through the weekend, but at least I've found my stride again.
It was a rainy day today. Cold and wet. Unfortunately, that made my commute to rehearsal a less than comfortable one. Especially as I stood outside waiting for my bus transfer among the skyscrapers of downtown Milwaukee. The chill wind whipped pellets of rain at me, and the cold numbed my skin, but I survived. Thankfully, it was warmer inside the rehearsal space than it was out (usually it's been the reverse), so the cold didn't linger.
For this show, we rehearse in the basement of an old four-story Italian community center -- now converted into a church. It's a nice space... suitable, sufficient, spread out. We perform, however, in a large theater auditorium on the campus of a nearby college. About three weeks before we open, we'll move to the stage. So for now, the set is represented in tape on the floor.
Tomorrow, I've got the day off from rehearsal. The entire cast does. So, I won't have to commute anywhere. I'll be working for my landlord most of the day -- probably painting in another apartment, but at least I'll have a brief respite from the norm of rehearsals. I'll work on my script again after I return from painting, and then I'll spend most of Friday preparing for a tough rehearsal in the evening. It'll be a busy end to the week. But I'll manage. :)
Here's hoping all of you had a productive Wednesday. I'm heading to bed for the night, but I'll be back with more musings tomorrow. Have a wonderful evening, and until then....
I went to bed last night just before midnight. The plan was to sleep for a few hours, and then be up working in the early morning. Unfortunately, like last night's rehearsal, things didn't go as planned. Instead, I ended up sleeping for ten hours. Straight. I'm well-rested, and I'm glad for that. I guess I just needed more of a reset than I thought!
Here's to Wednesday. May it be productive... and far less frustrating!
Tonight's rehearsal was an eye-opening one. Don't get me wrong, we had a lot of creativity, and plenty of great ideas to go around, but I felt a bit off from the moment I walked into the rehearsal space. I had spent much of the afternoon working on my script. Preparing. Memorizing lines. Internalizing my character. I thought I was ready to go, but once we started running the scene... that preparation just evaporated. And I was left stumbling around.
Such is the way of things sometimes, I suppose. You put a lot of work into being ready for something, you're confident, steady... but then when the event begins, the nerves take over -- often unexpectedly, and you're back at square one.
Thankfully, I didn't have to be as ready as I prepared for, but still, it flustered me. I tried to hide my frustration, but I have a feeling the director may have picked up on it. And I hate letting others down. It bugs me. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, this I know. And I know I over-prepared. But still. I wasn't completely happy with what I brought to tonight's rehearsal.
Tomorrow will be a chance to redeem myself -- even if only inside my head. We're doing a different scene, a shorter scene. Less dramatic (for my character anyway). I'll take the lessons from today, and turn them into the success of tomorrow.
For now, I'm home. Strangely tired. Ready for bed. I enjoyed my late dinner; I think I'll grab some sleep, and start fresh tomorrow. Perhaps a reset will do me good.
Have a successful Wednesday all, keep trying, and until next time,
I'll be a married man in 95 days. On July 10th, I'll tie the knot in Tomah, WI, and after that I'll be moving north to the small town of Brillion, WI (near Appleton). My fiancee is a kindergarten teacher up there. She's settled. Established. My business is mobile, so I'll be moving in with her.
There's a lot happening in the next three months. Transitions, wedding planning, a big move, etc (not to mention my stage play, and all the projects I'm wrapping up here in Milwaukee). If you're interested in following along, stay tuned. I'll be blogging, keeping everyone in the know. If it's happening, you'll hear about it right here!
I had the day off from rehearsal today, which was nice. I spent most of it working on my lines, and exploring my character some more. I always enjoy that process. I fit in a nap, a little work, and a few errands too, but for the most part, my nose was in the script.
Things are coming along nicely with this play, and I'm gearing up -- along with the rest of the cast -- to be off-book by Wednesday. In other words, by mid-week, all lines must be memorized. After that, the real fun begins. The truly creative part of rehearsals: making the story come alive. We'll have some Texas dialects to work on, character interactions, relationship-building, and of course plenty of subtext, motivation, and objectives to play.
Then, when all is said and done, and opening night on May 7th rolls around, we'll be able to take you -- the audience -- on a bittersweet, emotionally dramatic, Southern-style... "Trip to Bountiful".
Major League Baseball is back in full swing again, as the Milwaukee Brewers played host to the visiting Colorado Rockies this afternoon. The Crew lost, but not without putting on an exciting show before a packed house at Miller Park. The roof was open too -- the earliest it's been open for a regular season game since the stadium was built ten years ago. And with warm temperatures and sparkling sun, it turned out to be a beautiful Opening Day at the ballpark.
Look to hear more about the Brewers as I follow them all season long.
My Prediction: I think they'll make it to the Playoffs!
Have you ever wondered what the Earth's surface looks like UNDER the ocean? What would the planet look like if all the water was drained away, and we could gaze out at the vast unexplored land hidden beneath the waves?
I watched a TV special on the National Geographic Channel last night that asked these very questions. Not only did they use CGI animation to recreate the water-less sea floor (using actual undersea topographical maps), but they also explored the strange marine life living in the depths (with the water still there). It was a fascinating two hours, and one of the most educational science shows I've seen in a long time. We really do live on an amazing planet!
If you're interested in learning more about this show, feel free to visit the Drain the Ocean page on the National Geographic website. It's an equally fascinating read. And if you'd like to watch the next airing, it'll be on again on Sunday, April 11 at 1pm (EST).
I recommend it. Especially if you're the explorer type. Like me.
Are you an advertiser? Are you looking for a place to be seen? Consider advertising right here on Jon Baas - Daily Musings Blog. Low rates are available through Project Wonderful, or, you can email me personally for a more customized package.
It's just after 10am, and rain is falling here in Milwaukee. A soft drizzling rain. The cars are sloshing softly on the street as they drive past my apartment, and the raindrops cast tiny ripples in the many low-laying puddles. I have my windows open, and I can feel the cool Spring air gently drifting around me. It's peaceful. Cool. Refreshing.
"Never continue in a job you don't enjoy. If you're happy in what you're doing, you'll like yourself, you'll have inner peace. And if you have that, along with physical health, you'll have more success than you could possibly have imagined." -- Roger Caras
Woke up minutes after my alarm went off. Don't remember turning it off. Got up. Completed a few morning projects on the computer. Went off to work for the day. Painted a few walls in an apartment while listening to talk radio. Dug up some thorny bushes. Gained a few "battle scars". Seeded two large patches of yard with fresh topsoil and grass seed. Got dirty. Cleaned up. Enjoyed a tasty Italian Beef sandwich for dinner. Came home. Showered off all the dirt. Explored the 2010 online April Fool's Day hoaxes. Fascinated by the day's creative foolery (and lack thereof). Talked to Kelli on the phone. Slowly growing tired. Heading to bed shortly.
"Paramount Studios has invited me to California to talk Star Trek"
As many of you know, I'm a huge Star Trek fan. I grew up watching the franchise, I've seen every episode, watched every movie, and have been to a few of the conventions. I even direct my own successful online roleplaying game. My fiancee rolls her eyes at me whenever I talk Trek, and she lovingly reminds me of my geekiness, but the truth is, Star Trek is part of who I am. It's in my blood. It's a universe in which my imagination can run wild. And I have a very strong imagination.
That said, it's probably no surprise that as an actor, one of my life-long dreams has been to portray a character in an official Star Trek project. It doesn't matter what the character is... speaking role... background actor... Klingon... Starfleet officer... just something that helps tell the story. Unfortunately, Star Trek casting opportunities have come and gone many times over. And circumstances just haven't allowed me to participate.
Until now. Hopefully.
Believe it or not, I was contacted by Paramount Studios earlier this week. Yes, *the* Paramount Studios. They asked not to share specific details about the conversation, but I can say this: I've been invited to fly to California next month and talk with the studio and Star Trek production staff about fulfilling my dream. Deep down, I'm hoping it has something to do with the next Star Trek movie (scheduled for release on June 29, 2012), but I can't say that with certainty just yet.
As far as what I can say, though, certain individuals have learned about me, my love for Star Trek, and some of the unique things I've done –- my personalized Klingon portraits for example -– and have asked to sit down and talk with me. At least one of those people (a well known person in the world of Trek) has also expressed interest in commissioning me to draw him/her -- as a Klingon. (I can't say who, so please don't ask!). Nothing has been nailed down yet, but the short of it is: I could be drawing a few Klingon portraits for some influencial people in the coming months. And I could very likely be part of an upcoming Star Trek project!
The studio even made a point of saying that, while they wanted to offer me the opportunity I had missed so many times before, I was also "the best example of a quintessential Klingon, and to overlook my participation on those grounds would be unthinkable". So, yeah, it would appear my geekiness was a good thing afterall! And I have a feeling my fiancee's eyes won't stop rolling anytime soon. (Sorry, Kelli!)
I'd really like to say more. This is definitely an exciting turn of events for me! But, I did agree to discretion, and I promised to remain tight-lipped, so we'll all just have to wait and see what happens when I meet with the studio. In the meantime, stay tuned here for the latest. I blog daily. And I post updates to my Facebook page just as often. Come check me out!
My Star Trek adventure is just beginning!...
------------------------------------------------------------ UPDATE: - (Friday, April 2 - 12:32 AM):
Yes, this is an April Fool's Day hoax. My love of Star Trek, and my desire to someday work on an official Trek project is truthful. However, no, Paramount Studios did not contact me. I'm open to the possibility. But for now, it's just wishful thinking on the day of light-hearted foolery. :)
Thank you to everyone who made this hoax a success. It's been fun!