Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I love this direct TV russian commercial

When you are done seeing this hilarious commercial, click here to see my current blog postings. 

Check out the weirdness

GUT PUNCH: Ep 4 "RETREAT" from Crandall Miller on Vimeo.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Thoughts on Acting

So, as I mentioned here, I am in the middle of a transformation.  Both in terms of appearance and in terms of acting....style, if you were to allow me to put it crudely.

The weight loss was not only for health reasons,  it was also for my career.  It's not like I was exactly booking work left and right as a big big guy.  Something had to change.

Regarding acting styles.  It was brought up in Wednesdays acting class by my sensei/avuncular figure Steve, that when I play a scene with elements of mischief/charm/confidentiality I am a lot more engaging than when I don't.  Hmmmm.  I will take that advice.  I'm in the class to drink the kool-aid,  so I will gulp it down.  We'll see what happens.  That could be my niche. I'd be cool with that.  For sure.

Countdown to episode 4 release for Gut Punch!  ASAP, you will see this guy......

STRAY THOUGHTS: I'm getting pretty big in Asia.  Recently, I've had blog visitors from Kuala Lampur, Malaysia.....Davao, Philippines......and one visitor from (drumroll)  Kathmandu.  Welcome Asian blog readers!

Gut Punch is taking over the world (or el mundo en espanol)

Andrew Tucci, Gut Punch's whimsical bearded one has a new video out on youtube that is blowing up the interwebs.  He is a commercial director by trade, and his been directing a series of Bounty paper towel commercials.  They involve rapping, autotunes and LA based UCB performers.  Done done and.....done.
Bang it here to see Tucci's collaboration with Reverend Run, who is some guy from Queens.

Today or tomorrow the new Gut Punch video goes live on the internet.  For those of you who don't know, the internet is like a dump truck.  Or is it more like a system of tubes?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Choices equal call backs.

They also equal going down in flames. RIP "Goose". Monday I had an audition for "Cannon", the camera company.  It was for a trade show at the Javits Center in town. This wasn't for a regular trade show, like the boat expos that are open to the public for general consumption needs.  The audience was to be people in the industry.  News crews, production companies looking to upgrade their cameras etc.  I was to play an on-site news reporter. 

OK.  So I am supposed to play an on-site news reporter whose big story is about new camera technology brought to you by Cannon.  Keep in mind that this ENTIRE room would be filled with people who either shot news reporters on video, or edited the video, or synced up the audio of reporters.  These people know reporters.  So I made the choice that it would be TERRIBLE to do my best impression of a news reporter.  Because no matter how well I could pretend to be a reporter, it would no doubt appear to be genuinely.......fake to the room.  It would be so hamboned, so heavy fisted, so bizarrely fake......It would look like this to their eyes.

So I made a choice, I took a gamble.  I just spoke to the people in the room like they were my best friends.  I took it slow and read the heavy technical jargon.  There was no camera in the room, so I looked directly at the two people and just spoke to them. 

Callbacks were today.  I was not invited.  "you gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run."

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

ADR work with Gut Punch

I am very excited about the next episode of Gut Punch.  All I can tell you is that it revolves around a corporate retreat and I play the leader of said retreat.  I mentioned filming this episode here.  So tonight, the GP crew went to an audio editing place just below Union Square to do some ADR work.  ADR stands for automatic dialog replacement - it is also known as "dubbing".  This can be done for a variety of reasons.

This is what it looks like. Hit it, Vinnie Chase!

Usually ADR work is needed when an actor muffled their line, or it isn't clear enough or the director didn't like the tone/accent/what-have-you.  Additionally, ADR work can be done as a money saver.  Say you have a scene where Matt Damon is yapping on the phone to George Clooney.  Only, Clooney can't come into town because he is too busy pleasure yachting on Lake Como.  Heaven forbid you keep a star unhappy, or even worse pay them for another day.  The director has Matt Damon speak his lines into a prop cell-phone and his end of the dialog is recorded.  They either have an actor on set read Clooneys lines to Damon and they have Clooney dub or ADR over the lines or they can just have Clooney say the lines and they'll make it work in post production. When I did stand-in work on "The Taking of Pelham 123" I read lines over a walkie-talkie to John Travolta. 

It ----  was  ----  really -----  fucking  -----  cool.  (The Travolta part, that is.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Back in town

That was a very relaxing and fun week!  Mrs. PhillyRay and I enjoyed a lot of relaxing, ocean watching and pizza eating. 

Returning home from the beach, we were waiting for our train in Bay Shore, NY and I saw an actor whose skill and career I admire.  This guy, "The Wire" and "Breaking Bad" fans will recognize.  He is really fun to watch.  That's a career I'd love to have. 

In other news, I have an audition today for "Cannon" products at a trade show.  The pay would be really good.  I'd do a trade show, I don't care,  money is money. 

Friday, July 9, 2010

I'm going off the grid for a week.....

Well not truly "off the grid" but there is no TV, internet or quality radio signal.  There is plumbing though.  Mrs PhillyRay and I will go to the Ray family retreat on Fire Island for 10 days of doing absolutely nothing.  It's going to be magical.  I do plan on hammering a new monologue, a "Mike the Cleaner" monologue from AMC's "Breaking Bad."  If you haven't seen that show, you should Netflix it or something really quick.

See you on the other side, loyal reader(s).  I'll be sipping on a rather tall Negroni and looking at this for 10 days...(stray thoughts following images)

Stray thoughts:
- 85 degrees ordinarily does not feel cool; it does after a 3 day 100+ heat wave.
- Be aware of things that smell better than they taste.  I'm looking at you, shampoo.
- Mumus are gross.  They either hide good things or bad things.  They are unAmerican.
- Never judge a man before you walk a mile in his shoes.  That way you are a mile away from him and you have his shoes.
- I fixed my faux wayfarers.  They are "tortoise".  I now have my swagger back.
-  I think that my whole blog should be nothing but stray thoughts.  What do you think?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Onion News Network audition

I love The Onion.  I have read it almost every day for the last 10 years.  I was tickled when I heard that they are coming out with a TV show on IFC.  It's called "ONN" or, The Onion News Network.  I auditioned for the role of "Pete Dufresne" a 40 something man who "is a bit under the radar."  It is also provided in the script that he is a serial killer.  Trust me when I say that the sides were very very funny.  We'll see what  happens.  I was the youngest guy in the room by about 10 years, but that could also work to my advantage.  This was my second audition for the onion in the past year.  I always have a lot of fun there.

In other news, it turns out that one of my Italian cousins is in NYC for the week.  She is about 14 years old and is traveling with her friend and her friends family.  I hope that I will have time to see her here in NYC.  I last saw her at dinner when my wife and I were on our honeymoon.  Her father looked a lot like me when he was my age.  It's pretty remarkable actually.   

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fiction writing

There are a few students that work with me at the real estate brokerage.  One guy had a small assignment and had me answer the questions for him.  I said yes, but I also said, "You do know that I'm nuts, right?"  He mumbled yes and here is what I wrote.  You can get a sense of what the questions are by how I restated the question in the answer.  Yeah, I'm smart like that.  One and a half of these stories are true.  I'll let you judge which one(s) is which. 

There have been a few times in my life when I felt awkward and/or unsure of myself at a social gathering.  One time that has stayed in my mind (and perhaps never shall leave) is when I was at Webelo camp as a 4th grader.  Webelos are essentially Jr. Boy Scouts.  The name stands for We Be Loyal Scouts.  I was the only kid in the “Den” who did not go to school with everyone else.  I went to private school and these kids were not exactly rough and tumble, but they did go to public school.  They made me stay in my tent when they had smores and wouldn’t let me come out.  When the DenMaster (who was one of the kids Dads) found out about this, he blew a gasket and had me hang out with the same kids who ostracized me.  It was terribly awkward.  They clearly did not want to hang out with me and I was of course, intimidated.  I tried to break the ice by telling a joke but I stuttered.  That was my last year as a Webelo. 
I love spending time alone.  It’s nice to take care of things around the house and have some “me time”.  While I do enjoy spending time with my friends (both in real life and online), I feel the most comfortable chilling by myself.  I keep a diary and have done so since about the 2nd grade.  One of my favorite activities is to read a random passage and then try to write a short story about what I read.  I currently boast a collection of about 400+ short stories.

I have totally “bombed” an attempt at trying to strike up a conversation with a stranger.  2 springs ago I had a long beard and gave up my earthly possessions, save a shovel and a 20lb bag of rice.  I saw a father with his son in the parking lot.  The son was dressed up for a Boy Scout gathering and it really struck a chord with me.  I saw my childhood flash before my eyes, smoreless Phillip and all.  I approached the father and son, holding my shovel and with a scraggly beard and stuttered out, “C-c-c-c-cute Kid.”  The father pulled his son away from me and threatened to call the cops. 

 I have felt left out of group activities a few times.  I used to be a judge for youth chili cook-offs.  One time, another judge called my palate into question and did not allow me to taste any chili.  This was a rather dark time in my life and judging the chili was all that I had.  He and the other 2 judges physically restrained me from coming to the judges table, I felt like the wind was taken out of my sails.  (I have never sailed, but I imagine the metaphor works).  I will never talk to those three men again, even if they are my uncles. 


"You are going through a transformation and I want everyone to take note."  This is what my acting coach told the class about me yesterday.  It's true.  Externally, I've lost 50 pounds and I am sporting a shorter hair cut and a goatee.  My acting style has also changed - not for 100% of time time, of course.  But I do have another way to perform if need be.  I used to boast a certain largess up there in the footlights. It worked for me, I was castable and cast pretty often as that.  My coach believes, and I believe too, that while that centurion way of performing does have value at times, at other times I will be called upon to act in an underplayed way, for lack of a better term.  I've been working on that, and I feel comfortable in that "place". 

I know.  Saying "place" in that way made me cringe too, but it is correct.  

I plan on losing more weight.  I'm not sure how much more.  30? Who knows.  What I do know is that yesterday I had an audition for The Onion's TV show on IFC.  This audition was a landmark because it was the first one I had since graduating college where the role wasn't a big guy specific casting need.  All of my auditions have been for "big" men, "burly" men or just plain old "heavy" men.  Some times the break down is a bit coded, and it reads that the CD's want "nervous" men, "sweaty" men or "exerted" men.  Sometimes it's not very coded at all and they call for a "fat" man.  This was my first audition when no size was specified. 

I consider this to be a good thing.  Now I am seen as a "____" man.  I know that I will always be considered a "character" actor, and that's totally cool; my wife thinks I am handsome and that's all the assurance I need.  Besides there are only two routes to getting a camera lens on you for 2 minutes in a movie - 2 minutes is an eternity on film.  You can either be a high billing leading man, like Clooney or Butler, or Pitt.  Or you can be a character actor aka an actor's actor who directors love and DP's love too, such as Stephen Tobolowsky or Brendan Gleeson or Luis Guzman.