Power Outage

The Press Conference At The End Of The World may have been the highlight of my acting and writing semi-career. Big crowds, enthusiastic response, actual profit. All the things I worried about proved to be non-things. And To Mars With Tesla won the encore slot at it’s venue, for having the most attendance. It’s really impossible to figure out how I could have had a better Minnesota Fringe Festival than I did.

So why did I take so long to mention this? Well, right after the Fringe, I went on a family vacation to Maine. It was something my parents and my brother had planned for quite a while. So I was unplugged in Maine for about a week. If you haven’t been to Maine, just imagine a trip to northern Minnesota, and swap out all the walleye with lobster. But I jest. The scenery around Acadia National Park is just astounding. If big rocks and waves and forests excite you, and yes seafood, you should hustle your butt over there sometime.

But I tend to be one of those people who needs a vacation from a vacation. I came home and did aggressive amounts of nothing. It was like nothing squared. After the marathons of CONvergence, the Fringe Festival, an upcoming birthday/middle age crisis, and vacationing with small children and elderly parents, the sudden nothingness kind of swamped me. The temp job I had petered out, so I didn’t even have day job drudgery to occupy my mind. It wasn’t the good kind of nothing, like a revitalizing nothing or a peaceful nothing. My power supply was cut. I just shut down.

Anyway, I’m sort of waking up again. If nothing else, there’s this whole thing of employment I need to address. So I’ve been posting resumes, deleting spam about really terrific insurance agent franchising opportunities, and wondering how much longer I can survive on microwave burritos.

I’ll be funny again. I just haven’t been able to summon the energy for a few weeks.

Speaking of funny again, I’ll be a voice actor in Fearless Comedy Productions’ Big Fun Radio Funtime , at the Bryant Lake Bowl September 12th at 10:00 PM with audio sketches by people such as Tim Wick and Courtney McLean. And I’ll be in the Fearless Lab show at Honey on September 10th at 7:00 PM. Thank you, Fearless, for giving me something to do in September.

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The Writing “Process”

It’s been an odd couple of months of too much and too little. I became unemployed around mid-June, and used my new free time to devote myself to writing my show for the Minnesota Fringe Festival. For said writing, I used an unusual method called “sitting on my ass and goofing off.” It hasn’t resulted in a lot of word count.

Procrastination is hard work! Worrying about a project, then worrying about various real world and personal problems as a way to avoid worrying about said project, and then worrying about all the worrying you’ve been doing can really take it out of you. I have felt extremely tired and overworked doing jack shit.

A lot of the worry comes from not having a clear idea of this thing called a “plot.” I had no sense of a plot at all when I did Death Perception in 2011. It was pretty much just stream of consciousness kvetching, saved by the structural conceit of being stuck with Death in a sort of “trapped in an elevator” scenario, and the ending was just what I had at the end with no time to spare. But it worked! The process with Someone Is Wrong On The Internet was almost the opposite. I had the end in mind from the get-go, and the problem was how to get there. I wrote a bunch of little vignettes and strung them together in the most logical manner I could. And it also worked! I was on a roll. A roll that I did not feel I was consciously controlling, but a roll nevertheless.

My 2013 show is called The Press Conference At The End Of The World, and the writing process is falling somewhere between Death and Internet. I have kind of a beginning, and kind of a middle, and kind of and end, but nothing firm. It is proving to be a much more plot-oriented sort of piece. I feel I need to have the beats planned out in advance, rather than the zen-like “just let it happen and we’ll fix it in post” semi-approach I used in the past. And it’s murder. Slow, unrelenting murder. I’ve never written like this before, and it’s kind of terrifying.

Ah well. I have done this to myself, and I shall have to sprint to the finish line in a more teen drama sort of way than is usual. Hard to picture, but true.

It occurs to me this has been a terrible piece of self-promotion. I think in Self-Promotion 101, whining about how hard it is to write is the second thing they tell you not to do, right after standing behind a cow.

Oh! Just because I like to complicate things, I’m also in a second Fringe show: To Mars With Tesla!, a remount of the English Scrimshaw Theatrical Novelties production from last year. Bad timing and bad luck kept our initial run from getting much of an audience, so I’m glad to be doing it again. It’s everything you want in a show. Tesla versus Edison! Silent movie comedy! Steampunk! Inappropriate grabbing of boobs!

Here are links to my two Fringe Festival shows. Click on links. Forward links. Stick links in one of those My Fringe 5 thingies. Promote the arts and shit.

http://www.fringefestival.org/2013/show/?id=2530

http://www.fringefestival.org/2013/show/?id=2504

Long Time, No Blog

Jeepers. It’s been a while. Why the long digital silence? Uh… stuff. Yeah. Stuff.

Without going into gory details, I got rehired by my place of work as a temp, to do the exact same job from which they laid me off. See, they laid me off right before the busiest time of year for my job. The temp agency called them up for a reference, and they said (paraphrased) “um, er, ah, could we get Kelvin back for a while? We’re kind of screwed.” So that happened.

Then the backlog got cleared up, and the incoming work slowed down to a trickle, and now I’m working part time. And looking for a real job. Resumes were posted online and whatnot. You know who loves me? Guys from India who want me to start my own insurance agent franchise. That seems an oddly specific type for me to attract, but whatever je ne sais quoi I’m projecting there, I’m seriously working it.

As weird as this whole situation has been, it has paradoxically left me pretty well off. The lay off severance, the paid out vacation, overtime temp work, and the lack of benefit deductions have made me as cash-on-hand rich as I’ve ever been. Of course, I can’t spend any of it on anything cool. It’s dwindling away on such luxuries as food and heat, possibly for several months, but it’s nice to know I’m not in any immediate emergency.

So… yeah. Overtime work, worries about Christmas, Thanksgiving, and employment, plus the occasional non-noteworthy crappy movie have left me without much bloggable material. And there you go.

One thing to note: my remount of Someone Is Wrong On The Internet is a go! Contracts have been signed and shit. A co-production with Shadow Horse Productions, it’ll go up at the Bryant-Lake Bowl on February 1st and 2nd, at 7:00. If you missed it at the Minnesota Fringe Festival, you’ve got another shot. Ticket discount with a Fringe Festival button available! Now to re-memorize the bastard, mull over adding a couple extra bits, etc.

Oh! And the swede of Die Hard I starred in finally got edited together. Man, that was a fun day. Featuring C. Robert Cargill (screenwriter of the recent horror hit Sinister) in a supporting role, plus Joseph Scrimshaw and plenty of other local notables. And some doofus named Jeremy Messersmith provided the music. I guess he’s popular or something. Go ahead and see why I should never, ever be allowed to wear a wifebeater!

Aprés le Fringe

Holy wow, the Minnesota Fringe Festival was a good time. So why so long to write about it? The biggest reason is simple exhaustion. Man, I was tired. Staying up until bar close every night, even with no job the next day, really takes it out of you. There were some movies to catch up on. There was Valley Meadows’ CD release party (one heck of a night of musical comedy). But mostly, there was Skyrim. After denying myself video games for weeks, I finally dove head first into Skyrim. Ah, Bethesda Software. Not the most compelling games I’ve ever experienced, but their unique, mysterious combination of graphic prettiness and game play make time vanish like little else. “Well, I’ve got an hour. I’ll just collect the bounty on this one bandit chieftan, and then go see this show.” Boom! Suddenly, it’s past midnight. That happened the odd dozen times or so.

Those were the time sucks, but there were also some slipperier factors as well. The feedback I got from Someone Is Wrong On The Internet was quite frankly stunning. Well in excess of the feedback I got from Death Perception the previous year. I made a creative decision to mitigate my geek tendencies and tell a story solidly set in the real world, mostly just to prove to myself I could do that, and I succeeded way beyond what I expected. I couldn’t really process it, and it led to a certain inertia. Hugely positive feedback can be overwhelming. Any thanks I could express verbally or through writing just seemed inadequate. People have been very kind, and I am very grateful.

So what’s next? Shit, I don’t know. I definitely want to remount Internet at some point, but new work? That could be anything. Where could I put it up? Should I do something realistic again? What if I wanted to go back and do something weirder and sillier again? Will the people who liked Internet reject a wackier, less structured piece? These are unanswerable questions. Well, unanswerable until I actually do something and get people’s reactions to it. But while I’m sitting here on my butt, blogging into the ether? Unaswerable.

Also, I need to figure out what to do with this here blog thing. I coughed up the dough for the URL, I should probably do something with it. I don’t want it to be a big dumb plug machine. That’s what Facebook is for. I don’t really want to review stuff. I don’t want to rant about the state of the world. But now that the Fringe Festival is over, I can slap something up here without feeling guilty. We’ll see.

Anyway, I need not to do anything for a bit. My day job has started back up, and that will soon swamp my mind for the rest of autumn. Something will take shape. At least it will once I get a few more missions completed in Skyrim. You hear that, you undead Nord kings? You’re goin’ down.

Journey Into Terror

Well, I’m in the Minnesota Fringe Festival again, and I’ve barely got any time left to get my show together.

This is not a new situation. Everything I’ve ever done has come together late. My method, if we can be generous enough to call it that, is to fret and stew and worry and panic for weeks, and then throw everything together in a mad rush. Somehow it works. Or rather, it has worked so far. We could be way overdue for a fall here.

I’d like to think that what’s happening is this: my subconscious is doing all the writing. The stewing and brooding is the part of the writing that doesn’t involve typing. I’d like to think that. What is probably going on is just blind terror, spewing everything out in blind terror because there’s no time left to over-think things. Lord knows over-thinking has been a major problem in my life.

Right now, I’m deep in the woods of Whatthehellamidoing. I can’t see the forest for the trees. I’m too in the middle of everything. I don’t know if the funny bits are funny. I don’t know if my character is sympathetic. I don’t know if there’s actually a plot. What if people think it’s more autobiographical than it is? What if people think it isn’t autobiographical enough? But everyone doing some bit of creative work goes through this phase in the creative process, I tell myself. And I should know. But what if I’m wrong?

Last year, I was in the Fringe Festival with a show called Death Perception. I was big sweaty mass of fear throughout the whole writing process. I put it off and I put it off. I wanted to do the show. I didn’t want to do the show. Finally, there was no time left, and I threw what felt like the biggest Hail Mary pass of my life, writing most of the script in a blaze. I didn’t have an ending for the show until 4:30 in the morning, the night before I had tech rehearsal. I sighed. What was done was done. But once the run was over, I was astonished how many people told me the ending was their favorite part. Chalk one up for fear.

So odds are good I’ll stagger into tech right after an all-nighter, bleary-eyed, mainlining coffee, and bumble through a run, script in hand. And it’ll be fine. Unless it isn’t. We can’t predict the future. That’s life, isn’t it?

So that aside, please come to my show! Someone Is Wrong On The Internet, presented as a part of the Minnesota Fringe Festival, at HUGE Theater, 3037 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN. Show times:

Saturday, August 4, 8:30 PM

Sunday, August 5, 2:30 PM

Tuesday, August 7, 10:00 PM

Wednesday, August 8, 10:00 PM

Saturday, August 11, 10:00 PM

Now to write the son of a bitch.

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Procrastination

If there’s a single thing that ruins my life, it’s procrastination. There are a large number of things that ruin my life (847 at last count), but really, it all boils down to procrastination.

I am in the Minnesota Fringe Festival again this season. I’m doing another one-man show, entitled Someone Is Wrong On The Internet. And by “doing,” I mean “staring at Microsoft Word and wondering why it doesn’t have a button I can click to automatically compose a show.” Many writers say the hardest part is just getting started, but come the fuck on.

Oddly, this situation does not have me panicked. Call it experience. Writing last year’s Fringe show, Death Perception, was a terrifying experience of a late start and long stretches of not doing shit. I didn’t come up with an ending for Death Perception until 4:30 AM the morning before I had tech rehearsal. I did tech script in hand, throwing myself on the mercy of the court, so to speak. Occasionally, I’d be thrown by this weird noise, sort of a burbling murmur, muffled by walls and glass. I was shocked to find out it was the tech, laughing. The script worked! So anyway, I have some small track record of getting shit together at the eleventh hour, and that is an immense comfort.

But I am panicked that I’m not panicked, if that makes sense. I just have an ice cream sandwich and it goes away.

It’s not like procrastination is without benefits. I have never been so on top of laundry in my life! I had so many clean clothes, I needed to clean out my closet. Ragstock is about to be flooded with a lot of Nineties-era shirts. That was a nice little project to get done. Lacking industry in your personal life? Just write a show! You’ll be living in House Beautiful in no time.

Wow. It’s past 7:00 PM already? I’ll get started tomorrow.