From Poetic Suggestion to Digital release: How ‘Daimons’ was created and why YOU should stop procrastinating and start making your own Film.

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The Seven of Daimons

Last week I got a chance to catch up with the creators of the film “Daimons”, a local film that was shot entirely in Saskatchewan, using local crew and talent, which I was fortunate to be a part of. The film is about, and asks the question of “What if the seven deadly sins were people? What would they do in the world and who are they?”

Here is what came of that meeting:

Damien: I am here with Erich Juergens and Gray Myrfield, the Director and Writer respectively of Daimons. Thank you guys for coming here to do the interview.

Gray Myrfield (fore ground) and Erich Jurgens (Back ground, peering at the camera)

So my first question is: Daimons was inspired by a poetic suggestion based on a Wikipedia description of Asmodeus, one of the seven deadly sins, how closely did you follow the description of each of the characters?

Gray: That’s a thing that I can answer, I would say that i used them as suggestion, the actual descriptions of the characters are incredibly loose and difficult to follow, simply because they are based on loose things. There are different versions with every sect of every religion, so I cherry picked the stuff that I wanted to use.

Asmodeus is an excellent example, because Asmodeus had nine different versions of him, but they only one I paid attention to was the one of this old guy. I didn’t like the idea of a little lecherous gnome, that’s not an idea I found very interesting. But I did like the idea of this dirty minded old man that just always gets the girl, and it makes no sense! And he’s dirty and grimy and smelly, but, he still gets them. That’s a funny idea and it fit the idea of this character I wanted to make.

Some of them I completely ignored, some of them I would write down key words, and based off the key words, because I couldn’t get anywhere. Satan is one of those., because there were so many different versions that I couldn’t get anywhere, “What makes Satan unique? What makes Satan interesting?”. For a long time I wanted Satan to be a character in black armor, and silent, and I liked that idea a lot, but it didn’t make sense.

Erich: Some of those things did carry over.

Gray: That’s the thing, all of these ideas I would write them down and take little sections from them. Leviathon is the best example of that, Leviathon went though so many different iterations, in the end, it (the character) became a little bit of every single one.

Some of the character are the exact same as when they were first written, and some of them are different, so the answer is: “Sort of”.

Damien: When did you know that this was needed to be a screen play and not a stage play?

Erich: I don’t think there was ever a point where it was “Ah! This makes perfect sense for film!” It just made less and less sense for theatre, so I proposed harder and harder we do a film based off the same idea.

Gray: In the beginning we said “man this would look really great as a film, but we are still going to try and make it work as a stage show”. Then it became “A lot of our problems would just go away if this were just on film. Yeah, but, we can’t do it because of RASINS.” (Gray’s version of REASONS except with even less viable explanation or recourse) And eventually it became less reasonable to not (film)…There was a whole lot that would have been lost. The moment when you really decided to dedicate to it was when we had become disenchanted with F.L.O.Y.D. One of the original ideas behind Daimons, was where every single character got to go nuts, I just give them a thing: “Here’s my words, if you want to change it, change it”. I didn’t feel that F.L.O.Y.D would be able to embrace the idea, in this way.

Erich: There was a moment when we wanted to become masters of our own destiny, so we went to film.

Gray: There was another point where we pitched it to Xander Richards and he said: “You could totally do this as a film!”.

Erich: And then he (Xander) set us up with all the right people, Zac (Greenhorn), Gerry, and YOU!

Gray: Right before that we were willing to go: “We could probably do this as a you tube video, probably”.

Erich: We’ll shell out some money, have a white background!

Gray: We’ll spend, like, a hundred bucks and get a really nice green screen! (laughter). After the meeting with Xander, we decided “Alright, lets see how big we can go.”

Erich: And then after that the story followed, “Now we have a big production, we need a big story to back it up.”

Damien: What was the response from the community when they found out you were making a film?

Erich: As far as people wanting to help, holy cow did that snowball! We told it to one person (Xander) and he told it to several other people who worked in a recording studio, and you got told and brought on. The response was incredibly enthusiastic, there have been a lot of people following (from the start) to see the end result.

Gray: The locations were very supportive.

Erich: We walked in and said (meek voice) “Hey we’re doing a movie, could we use your business for it?” .”Yeah sure!”. “Where do we have to sign?” “What? No! Just use it when we are closed!”

Gray: That was unexpected, we were expecting to have to budget for it, out of pocket.

Erich: Even more than that we were prepared to have some really bad “B plans”, if we couldn’t get 302 we’ll have it be a house party on a farm somewhere. The suit shop we were ready go into a high school drama area and make it look like a suit shop as best as we could. We were straight ready to compromise and we never had to once.

Gray: There was a lot of things that could have gone wrong, and just didn’t.

Erich: CBC saw one of our posters, watched it online, and contacted us for an interview. There were several people there who had seen the first episode and were fans. I got more questions after the interview than during, asking: “What was the details of this thing in the (first) episode?”.

Damien: Stay tuned!

Gray: We’ve had a lot of people ask the right kind of questions, with the first episode (SPOILERS AHEAD!), there is a couple of things we don’t do too harshly, it was this delicate balance, the scars on Lucifer’s back.

Erich: Yeah! I’ve had the perfect response (to that)! There have been a handful of people who noticed it the first time, several people caught it the second time and some people haven’t noticed it at all.

Gray: And that’s perfect, where you have to dig a little bit, and if you catch it, you get a little bit more, there’s always stuff that you wish you could change, but I’ve been very happy with the reactions thus far. One of the earliest comments for episode two was “Oh I get it, it’s underworld Rick Mercer!”.

Damien: What are three things that surprised you during the process of making this film.

Erich: None of the steps took care of themselves so that caught us off guard. We shot it and went “Phew! The hard part is over“. And then editing was it’s own ordeal, then sound mixing, ratings, promotions…as far as good surprises, I was really pleased with how well casting went, casting and auditions.

Gray: Casting is a thing that even with a larger budget, probably wouldn’t change very much.

Erich: We got almost all of our first picks.

Gray: That is another place where the community really shone.

Erich: We had a lot of people come to auditions.

Gray: About seventy five people. (Author’s note: For Saskatoon, that is a lot)

Erich: A couple of the people were really professional Actors, and we told them: “You understand that this isn’t a paid role?” and they were like “Yeah totally! When do we show up?”.

Gray: More what surprised me was editing, and how draining a process it was. And I wasn’t even doing it!

Erich: (hearty laugh) Thanks!

Gray: My job was to go in and edit when Erich couldn’t see straight anymore, and try to find him more things to work on. To Erich and I, it was becoming all the exact same thing. You watch it again and again and again, and you nitpick it, trying to make little things better, and it just feels like nothing has gotten better, but it has!

The shooting process was a giant whirlwind and then it’s done, the editing is like a snail, a snail climbing a mountain and the mountain keeps getting bigger.

Erich: (Laughter) We are now aware and cognizant of those facts and we are including it into our work flow for next time.

Gray: Oh, Learning! There were all these things we didn’t expect and now we know, and we know how to fix it, the list of things we are fixing! Oh my goodness!

Erich: I don’t know if we said three yet, but another thing that surprised me is how much people, who are paid to do the thing they do, helped us for free, and eagerly so.

Gray: That was weird.

Erich Zach Green horn (Author’s note: Our Director of Photography), the sound…I can’t even think of all the things he does.

Gray: Zac Greenhorn the tech guy! That’s too low of a credit, Wizard?

Zac playing with his gyroscope he conjured, he is, after all, a Wizard 😉

Erich: Yes! There we go: Zac Greenhorn the tech wizard. He put as much effort into his part of the work as we did. And the difference is: He absolutely gets paid to do this. He is a professional, he came at it with enthusiasm, and that was really awe inspiring.

Gray: And his dad, and Gerry.

Erich: And Gerry

Gray: Gerry was a guy who was always there, and he had no reason to be, he asked Zach “I’d like to be involved” and Zach said “Bring a camera, you can do behind the scenes.” and he took that so seriously. Jerry is a professional sound engineer and he was at every, single, shoot. Even the ones that happened at 3 in the morning. He never complained, he was/is amazing.

Damien: Onto Kickstarter, the timing of the Canadian version was serendipitous, do you see crowd sourcing as the new doorway to gaining a global audience?

Erich: (Laughing) Depends on who you are!

Gray: Kickstarter was a thing that I am glad we did.

Erich: Yes.

Gray: I don’t think it was very effective. It’s this weird expectation vs results. And while it was a thing that I am glad we tried, I think we can do something more effective in the future.

Erich: We expected to get 300, $10 donations, instead what we got was 30, $100 donations.

Gray: And it just showed how willing our friends and family were willing ot throw a lot of money into it, and we can do better for them. What I have done for the future is already registered Amodeus Films as a business, and I have looked into deferred payment as a future plan. Where we can offer people a producer credit, in exchange you will get 1% of all money after we have paid off everything. And actually give them a thing: “You may never get this, but this is your part of the film”.

Erich: You’re basically buying a share in the film.

Gray: And being able to do that is a lot better than getting them stuff.

Erich: Kick starter was a good experience, but a good half of the money is going back to the people who donated, almost none of it went to the film.

Gray: A large part of it has to go back to making things for the donors, which is stuff we were going to do anyways. But not we have to dedicate to it. If it was just a smaller group of people who gave more (like this was), it would be a lot easier to give them a call and say “We’re going to make you producers with a percentage, and then we’re going to give you stuff as a thank you. You’ll be accredited and you’ll actually have a say in how things go.”

The Kick starter seems more geared for global projects, the whole crowd sourcing things…I’ve become disenchanted with it, it’s so hard to predict what you need to do. Of the money we made, we probably used $500 towards the film, the rest had to go towards things (Kick starter rewards). There was another experience! I had to put money in a bank account and not touch it (laughter), and I am good with that!

I wouldn’t recommend Kick starter personally, maybe for a different kind of project, maybe like a book or something.

Erich: Really do the math before you do a Kick starter.

Gray: Definitely , understand that there is a weird legal obligation.

Erich: One thing I would say is never (solely) rely on a Kick starter, always have it be a side thing, because there’s always the chance that it won’t go though.

Gray: And I guess there’s the overall point: If you need a Kick starter to make you do something, then that’s a bad sign. It was a good thing for us because it was an opportunity.

Erich: Daimons would not have changed much at all if we did not do the Kick starter.

Gray: We would never base a project off of it. If we wanted to do a project that badly, we would just do it.

Erich: I would take out a loan and be in debt for several years and know i have the money and know exactly what I need it to go to.

Damien: If a brand new film maker from Saskatchewan was asking you for advice, and you had five minutes, what would be your number one tip?

Erich: (Laughs) If I had five minutes I would give them my number and we would have a two hour meeting. My number one tip is…

Gray: Five minutes you said? (Starts timer on phone)

Erich: Okay yeah, lets do this! For me, what I would say is, first of all, plan everything, pre plan everything and do it again and again and again. You should essentially make the film twice, you should do it in story boards, you should do test shots of everything, you should do animations if you have anyone who can animate. You should know exactly, exactly how you want the film to look. If you think you know exactly how you want the film to look, you don’t  know exactly enough how you want the film to look.

Gray: You need to write it down, take a look at it, have someone else take a look at it, have them tell you what they think.  Go though it again and again and again: “What works, what doesn’t?”.

Erich: Even for simple things! Like a scene for someone sitting in a chair, take a camera, sit in a chair and record yourself, then put it on TV and ask: “Does this look like a film and, if not, why not?”. Don’t cheap out on lighting.

Gray: (Laughs) Don’t spend $700 on makeup and zero on lighting.

Erich: (Laughs) It’s an in joke.

Gray: Lesson one!…Step one, get someone people who are willing to dump a lot of time into it with you. Step two, use what you have and just do it. Step three, don’t put money into it unless you are completely confident you will get it back, or, you don’t care if you get it back.

Erich: Yes! Yes, that one entirely.

Gray: Do not expect your thing to make you a lot of money or make you super rich and famous, because it won’t.

Erich: Brace yourself for being the only driving force behind it. You will get people who are willing to put time inot it but be ready to do all of that stuff yourself, be ready to be the one to call people and say: “Hey, why are you not here, you need to be here.”

Gray: We are more or less done (on that topic)

Erich: Oh no we could keep going! (to Gray) Couldn’t you?

Gray: 3:17 (on the timer) All in all, use what you have.

Erich: If you have an Iphone, settle for an Iphone, don’t be all like (whiney voice) “Aw I would be a good film maker, but, I can’t afford a camera, so I quit.”

Gray: Red or bust, red or bust!

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A Red Camera

Erich: (Laughter) Take whatever you can get, if you are in such a position that you can’t buy a $200 video camera, and shoot anything at all, and just work on the craft…then you definitely don’t have the time to think about making a film at all. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, do the project and have that be your goal.

Gray: One of the things that I am definitely going to be working on in the future is using limitation as an advantage, it was a thing that was easy because of stage plays. With plays it was easy, because it was where we both started, and where it is very clear: “The Actors are on stage, the audience is right there, you can’t use any special effects.” You can only do things that are real, you cannot break their suspension of disbelief, unless you want to”. And using those limitations “What can you do? What can’t you do? What goes against their expectations?” And that was very easy. Film? The things that you are not allowed to do are harder to grasp. You can kind of do anything, but, reasonably, you can’t. You can have a giant car wreck, but do you have the time and energy to actually put that together? Or the resources? Or the finances?…

The Blues Brothers

…We couldn’t get special effects so we focused a lot on the dialogue, audio equipment is a little out of our price range right now, so our next project is going to be a music video. We can’t get the best of this, so we are going to work around that. That’s why I was really dedicated to the ‘one shot’ thing, the one thing I know I can focus on more is the Actors, I don’t understand camera’s so much, and Erich does, and that scares me. I always work with what I have (to Erich) 43 (seconds remaining) you can go.

Erich: we covered it mostly, step one: do it

Gray: Here’s the other part, if you actually want to make it, just call us, we’re probably going to be willing to help.

Erich: Even now we are starting to order some equipment, we’ll be able to provide people with what other people provided us.

Gray: At the very least we can always say: “Alright the big problem I see here is that you don’t have lights in your budget?…”

Erich: (Laughter) “You see that car you use? Not anymore, sell it and go buy some lights!”

Gray: Hundred bucks, get a work light.

Damien: What is on the horizon for Asmodeus Films?

Gray: The next project…(to Erich) how much do we want to go into that?

Erich: I say we show them the road map and not the projects.

Gray: Ok, so we’re going to do some smaller projects next, test people out in different roles.

Erich: The next few projects are about finding our weak spots and making them our strengths.

Gray: One of the negatives of the first times round is some people shone and some people didn’t do so great. So having a bunch of projects that don’t have as high of stakes and testing people in roles and seeing where people do a really good job and say “Next time, we’re calling you, when there is a budget we are calling you”. When the stakes aren’t so high, we’re able to meet up with a lot of people and ask: “Do you want to be involved? What do you want to do? Direct? Alright; you can do the small one, and then we decide from there.” It gives us a chance to meet people from all levels and get them started.

Erich: It’s really funny that you say that, because it’s exactly what I would say, except about the gear. It wold be about: “How do we light this thing? How do we work within our budget? What do we have to absolutely spend money on to absolutely shine? And where can we use the craft to refine things?”

Gray: It’s very humorous that we just naturally fall into those.

Erich: (Chuckling) Yes!

Gray: It’s exciting, there is a lot of people who were intrigued right from the beginning by Daimons (link) and like the process there. The people near the end are the ones I am more interested in, who saw the product and said “That is within range” and they want to see what the next step is. That’s probably the next year or so.

Erich: The next big project we are working on is a western, and I don’t want to say anything other than that.

Damien: Sounds good.

Gray: Story boarding though! Aw man, all those story boards!

Erich: (Laughing)

Damien: Will there be any sequels to Daimons?

Gray: (Sighs)

Erich: (Laughing) If there are, they are not within out minds right now. we keep joking about revisiting it, but I don’t know about sequel.

Gray: I think if there was a sequel, it would be a spiritual one.

Erich: What I feel is more likely, is like, five years from now, we’ll be like “Man, we have all the equipment, and experience and we know who’s good and who isn’t, lets just remake ‘Daimons’, but properly, beginning to end, as a film and not episodic”

Gray: If someone was really interested in making a spin off, I’d help.

Erich: That said, our ideas do not end with Daimons, we have so much stuff we want to do.

Damien: Bonus question time: The seven Daimons are all at a house party and the famous “Chocolate Suicide” cake is being served, however, there is only one piece left and they all want it. How do they handle it?”

Erich: I think I would yell “Cut” and I would take it (laughs).

Gray: I don’t know! There would be this giant clash where if anyone tries to step out of line, someone would keep them in check. Greed and Pride would be bickering, If Wrath go the first shot of taking it and she could kill someone, she would do it. Gluttony would steal some from the back, he’d find a separate solution. Lust would joke about trying to take it, he’d try to but there is too many powerful forces.

Erich: Sloth would be annoyed that people are not giving it to her.

Gray: Yeah, Sloth would be out of the running pretty quick…I think the major players would be Wrath, Greed, and Pride. It would depend on who went first. And the consequences therein.

Erich: I think Pride would argue to take it because she organized the party.

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Ashely Pach as Pride

Gray: But then Greed would counter it…he would say “No” and try to take it, and then Wrath would be like (scary Batman voice) “You don’t get to take it”. and then Pride would say “Whoa, whoa, whoa lets all split it three ways” and then Greed would say “Ok, I’ll split it”.  And it would spin in circles.

Slade Mckee as Greed

Damien: And what was the result for Envy?

Gray: I don’t know…I think Envy would wait till one of them won and convinced them to give it to him.

Erich: Convincing isn’t Envy’s thing…He would wait until one of them won…He would convince Greed to give him the most pieces.

Gray: No, Envy would try to take the people who opted out early.

Erich: Hmmm, yeah! “You guys already don’t want cake so can I have your pieces.”

Gray: No, no, he would try to inspire them “You guys clearly want the cake, but you are not going to able to get this, so follow ME, we will make it so we get the cake, we will start a vote and we will win”…Wrath is still a good counter to that.

Erich: The thing with Wrath is: Wrath doesn’t play by anyone Else’s rules. Right now we are talking about “who is best at convincing the others” and it doesn’t matter because Wrath would physically beat the others.

Marie Bradley as Wrath

Gray: The question then becomes…is Wrath able to beat the others? And the answer is maybe. In a fair fight, one on one, yes, in a one on six fight, maybe, but not in a room.

Erich: (Laughs)

Gray: No one really wins…Eventually someone gives up and destroys the cake, probably Lust. He’d say “You know what? No one gets cake!” and destroys it…and Gluttony would lick up the pieces.

Damien: Anything else you would like to add?

Gray: I spent too long on this project (laughter)

Erich: It’s like having a kid, you don’t have the kid and you’re done, that’s when it starts.

Where can we watch Daimons?

Gray: www.youtube.com/the7daimons or www.daimons.ca or search for Daimons on facebook, all three of those are equally effective.

Damien: Gentlemen, thank you so much!

Gray/Erich: Thank you!

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On being restructured by the bliss, evolution of ‘The always working Actor’ and transumuting ‘The Imposters’

Stanley Tucci and Oliver Platt in “The Imposters”

The last few weeks has been a collision of kinds, life has started to free flow restructure itself around me and the intentions I had set at the beginning of The Accidental Actor are starting to manifest real time.

It’s not about me, it never was

They say that Actors have, often times, outrageous egos and that is sometimes true. When you are committed to what you are doing in a big way, you need to have your sails billowing as large as possible, because there are people out there who will, for whatever reason, take shots to bring you down.

The reality is, when an Actor is fully present, in the now, that state of being is alien to most people, who are constantly scattered, fighting the distractions, to lesser and greater extent, of the current paradigm.

And when, as an Actor, you are fully present, in the now, you know its not about you. Its about the greater story you are serving, be that in a film, on stage, or walking down the street living your own.

I had started this blog with the intention of re writing my history, so that I can draw my circle bigger and help other Actors re write theirs.

I can say, with certainty, the writing is starting to work.

Update on the Alpha:

The always working Actor Alpha is entering its fourth week, I am working with half a dozen Actors and there is some already exciting traction developing. I am so excited to see what they will be creating this week.

Conversations from L.A

I reconnected with a friend I hadn’t spoken with in a few years and I told him about what I was doing with the Alpha project, he mentioned a common thing in L.A is, often times on dating sites, people will list on their preferences in block letters: “NO ACTORS!”, because of the inherent implied poverty.

This is the paradigm I am tackling, this is the change I want to bring.

Pursing something you care about (and I don’t me care in a little sense, I mean care as in, it is your fire and breath, it is your North and South, your Moon and Sun sense of care) should never come with such a social stigma. This is about re inventing the self image that Actors perceive about themselves.

The new conversations I am envisioning are ones where an Actor talks of the creative contracts they have with businesses, the value and smiles they brought with it, the opportunities that lead to more, both Acting gigs and otherwise.

The Actor is now creating their reality, defining their framework. There is always a learning process, and with time, acquired skill, and knowledge, they move forward.

Their life becomes more and more of what they care about, and where they want to be.

This is the new breed of Actor I see.

The next few week.

Victory

The Actors of the Alpha project will begin the very awesome task of building and creating their very first creative contract. A few of them already have great connections and one of them may have just landed a creative contract project in her lap. I am beyond excited as we move into these next steps, I cannot say that enough. I live for ground breaking moments. It is these never before seen realms of possibility that are the most rewarding. The Alpha Actors are made of sturdy stuff.

How sturdy?

Try Titanium.

Transmuting “The Imposters”

There is a brilliant movie called “The Imposters” (Stanley Tucci and Oliver Platt’s labour of love), with a star studded cast (Steve Buscemi and Billy Connelly are histerical, worth watching), and it accurately captures the struggle (in a humorous way) in which Actors live.

The Key fact that occurs to me now: It was set in the 1930’s. All that time , and nothing has changed? All that time and nothing (on a large scale) has presented itself to bridge the gap?

We can do better

We can

And we will.

Yours in commitment to process and excellence.

 

Damien

 

 

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“…At breathtaking speed”: The Alpha launch, 2014, and Stephen Amell.

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“Why yes my good man, I do indeed know EXACTLY what time it is…”

Since 2014 began I made a little promise to my Live your Legend Local crew almost 30 days ago. The last month I did the following:

-Started doing intense body weight exercise program to train with a local model for a major showcase down in the O.C.

-Interviewed Actors from across North America about the Alpha program I was creating, getting to the heart of what is important to them and what they would like to see in it.

-Live stream interviewed Cameron Radice.

-Coached aforementioned local model to a 2nd place win at the Big Talent showcase.

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Proud of you buddy!

-Did my V.O for the monologue I wrote for the film Daimons that I have a lead roll in, it is a very rare and special thing to be able to write your own work for a film ever, I was allowed to help create this character and that is something I will treasure always.

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I loved doing voice work!

 

-Outlined the foundation courses.

-Named the program: The always working Actor.

-Began videoing the courses.

This extremely intense process has solidified the direction I want to go this year with the blog and what’s to come. As I write this I am excited, grateful and going “this is really happening…at breathtaking speed”. this is what they mean about real time, it’s live, raw, in your face and I love it.

Isn’t this what we Actors live for? The very moment? the essence of NOW.

In a moment of prescience I can see and feel that I am not the only one experiencing this, there is an urgent need for decisive, and immediate, action. The people I am coming into contact with are all echoing these sentiments.

The Always working Actor can be found here. There are a few spots to be filled before Friday so this is your very last chance before it closes, so sign up!

Stephen Amell is an Actor I have grown to really enjoy and relate to. He spent most of his 20’s banging around with his acting until he realized something very important. In a Q+A he did for hitting 750,000 Face Book fans, he said something profound: “When you stop attaching financial success to your Acting, is when things start to take off and you being to grow as an Actor, then prosperity will follow:. This was roughly paraphrased, but that is the essence of what he said.

It is often, really, really difficult for Actors to get to that state of calm, in a world that is utter ably OBSESSED, with money and material possession, it makes it hard to hear the voice telling you: “follow your bliss”. As Actors we often hold on so hard sometimes, because we care so much.

Strangely, that actually does more harm than good.

A wise man once said: “Care, but not that much” which is to say: Care about what you can control, the rest, leave the Universe to sort out. There is an essential give and take that happens when you do this. So focus on your Acting, and the answers will come. Who knows, one of those answers might be The always working Actor.

2014 has already defined itself for me as a year of great action. I see the breath taking pace only building upon itself. Tomorrow I meet with my LYL crew and we lay further foundations to what we have already started, I am looking forward to working with my Actors, I am excited to seeing the change we bring, together, for Actors everywhere.

These moments of prescience also have another name that I call them: Cosmic rightness: When you can almost feel the starts overhead ‘click’ into place, its then you know your place in the whole of the wide worlds out there, you feel small, awed, humble, grateful, connected, and a deep sense of abiding joy that soars.

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“The Thunder Children are calling me to come play…”

That is how I am feeling, right this minute.

That’s all for now, so damn excited 😀

Joyously

Damien

 

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Cameron Radice interview: On creating a new langauge for Actors and Business.

In this video I interview my good friend, Cameron Radice, an Actor who’s out in L.A working and creating original pieces.
Today we discuss the Alpha program: Creative contracting between Actors and businesses. Where it can go, what it can become, and do exploring for the near future, great insight from Cameron too!

You can follow Cameron!
https://www.facebook.com/cameronradice
Twitter: cameronradice

Don’t forget to follow the D as well!
damienbartlett99.wordpress.com (bottom right for “The Accidental Actor”)
Twitter: DamienBartlett

More to come!

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The importance of continued training.

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As an Actor, this goes without saying, most of us are fairly fanatical when it comes to keeping our creative blades sharp, but what if you are working three jobs because that is the price you must pay in order to afford to live in the center that supports your art form? Or what if you live in a small town and there really isn’t much happening?

Here are a few key things to remember, as you begin working your acting process.

1. It begins with YOU:  You decide that you are worth it, that this is what you want to do. This mindset is the ‘make or break’ that will guide you through the tough times, you learn to not be governed by emotional highs or lows. And this takes time, because as an Actor, we are ‘athletes of emotion’, we always must be present to honour what we are feeling, on and off stage.

2. Understand this is ALWAYS a process:  As you grow in knowledge and time, you will add more and more to your repertoire, your learning really begins after your formal training ends. And this process requires constant attention. Amanda Murry, a dear Dancer friend of mine who understands performing artists of all kinds,  said: “This isn’t a hobby, it is a lifestyle”.

So lets break down these obstacles into bite sized chunks, shall we?

 

Senario #1: Living in a small town/center where nothing is really happening.

This one is both a challenge and a great opportunity all rolled into one. The challenge comes from the fact that if you want something to happen, you have to create it and have a high tolerance for going through the learning/creation process of discovering what works and what does not work.

Every town has some kind of community center, it can be as simple as putting up a poster with your contact info, saying:

1. Movie watching on Monday night, bring yourself, I will supply the popcorn and we will about our favorite movies.

2. Play reading circle, looking for people do read some famous plays/screen plays together over some tea and coffee.

3. Creative writing group. Bring pencil and paper, we’ll be talking about poetry, short stories, play writing and screen writing.

These are some ideas, and I have numbered them in order of easiest to more difficult to pull together, depending on what kind of community you live in. Don’t let a lack of structure impede what you want to do and where you want to be in life, sometimes the greatest gift is being able to create something meaningful, no matter how small. Even one person showing up is the start of something.

 

Scenario #2: “I live in a major center that has a lot going on, but I work three jobs just to pay rent and have no time.”

This is at the opposite end and is actually fairly common. Time is a finite and precious thing so lets find ways to maximize it.

1. Locating workshops/reading circles/Actor forums: A casual search will tell you what workshops are happening and when, chances are there are also local online forums related to acting you can join for free. Then it is a matter of conversation and discussion from there that will connect you to people who can help.

2. Finding the time: No matter how busy you are, you are going to need to set aside sometime for doing workshops and meeting other Actors. In a large center where hour and a half commutes are not uncommon, it requires planning ahead, so make sure your times are clear and your travel route sorted. Book the time off work at least two weeks in advance.

3. Saving, saving, saving: Even spending money on one major workshop a year will give you the critical edge, but it’s important to know which one is right for you, so shop around and ask those friends you have made from talking online. (Hopefully by this point you will have met them in person, in public, and, happily, they are not the axe murderers everyone fears, yay!)

Okay! That is a pretty good start, what are some other ideas for continued training? Write them down in the comment below!

I have updated a new page for the Alpha project, it’s in the about me section found here: https://damienbartlett99.wordpress.com/about-me/

We are moving closer to the launch, I’m excited and nervous, more excited than anything, everything is flying at a delightful madcap pace, but it will be worth it! Check out the link, comments are welcome!

Yours in commitment to process and excellence

Damien

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Damien’s Vlog the first! Update on the Alpha project and the state of the D

This is my first Vlog, enjoy 🙂
P.S  I have been told that annotation links do not show up properly on mobile devices, for those of you who do not wish to fiddle with setting, here is the link in question: https://damienbartlett99.wordpress.com/2014/01/08/the-alpha-is-coming/

And for those of you joining the game late, here is the short and sweet: I am creating a program that merges Acting with Businesses in a niche way. Stay tuned for much more to come!

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Sick

There will be no blog post this week, Damien is very sick. However, here is a famous scene from ‘The fellowship of the ring’, re enacted by cute cats.Image

Yours in recovery.

Damien

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The Alpha is coming…

This year has already kicked off in so many exciting ways. I’m starting to have projects landing in my lap, I hosted a successful global meet up in my home city for ‘Live Your Legend’ (google these dudes, Scott Dinsmore is on track to being a world changer in the next few years) and despite the dismal temperatures outside, in the words of Albert Camus: “In the midst of Winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible Summer”.

You see, my project idea keeps meeting positive feedback and excitement, the things people are saying over and over: “That is a really good idea. One that is needed”.

I can feel it, so it’s time

The coming of the Alpha

This month I am going to be designing the alpha program that will eventually become the foundation course here. And I need your help. I cannot work inside a vacuum, this project needs real life situations and opportunities, and for that I need dedicated Actors who are willing to stumble along with me though the creation process. The bonus is you will be on the ground floor of something that has NEVER been done before, I am nearly 100% sure this is official ground breaking territory. Super exciting stuff!

So I am running something of a contest.

And then there were Five…

The Program: A 101 course on approaching perspective businesses, engaging them successfully in dialogue for the purpose of creative contracting with them. You create an original performance piece to promote them, they pay you to Act, you get to build both your performance resume and be recommended to other businesses for your professionalism, with the end goal of working as a full time Actor and this is the safe bridge to that goal.

Sounds good?

Tell me why, in one hundred words, this is something for you, what has your experience been up to this point? What do you want to change about your current Acting situation? The best five answers will be chosen to work in the Alpha.

This contest closes on January 27th. You have three weeks.

This is something of a trust exercise for me too, I am nervous and also excited about the possibilities that are going to come from this, it’s like inventing a language that has never before existed up to this point, and then teaching others to speak it, and then having the new language pervade the social and cultural landscape…Heady thoughts but this is the time for such bold thinking.

There is a real need.

I cannot stress this enough, the Acting world is crying out for this bridge across the canyon, there is no universal language to address this pain Actors (and other performance artist) go though when they are struggling to make due while keeping their Art afloat, this is a real burning need, and together we can address it, one step, however great or small, sure or unsure, it might be.

So are you with me? Say you are with me, say you want to take that courageous leap and try something that has never been done in a way that will be repeatable for all.

You have until January 27th to send your one hundred words

The email is damienbartlett99@gmail.com

Go

Impress me.

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“Half way thought the dark” The last and the first thoughts of the year

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“You and I, Winter, don’t always see eye to eye, but sometimes, just sometimes, you are beautiful beyond compare…”

New years is always a time of reflection for me. So with a cup of tea in my hand, I begin the journey forward.

This year past was a hard year of lessons, which ended in the fruitful knowledge of ‘Follow your Bliss’ and from that point forward, harmony began clicking everything into place.

And now here we are, The Accidental Actor.

Moving forward

The Accidental Actor is going to start unfurling different aspects over the course of the next while, it is going to be more than just a blog about Acting, what started these events, transpired back in March of 2012, when the Brad Wall government of Saskatchewan became the only place in all of North America to completely remove the film tax credit: A program essential to the survival of any feature film work within the province’s boarders.

What happened next, for the film community, was disaster, all the major production company pulled up stakes and went west and east away.

That would be the first pebbles trickling down the mountain side…

Had these events not transpired, The Accidental Actor may not have existed.

There is always brightness in the dark.

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“And it is in these moments, of such chilled and utter stillness, I can hear the world Dreaming…”

 

The road ahead
I have always been a trail blazer, I revel in exploring that which has never been attempted before, and what I intend to create, I am fairly certain is unique. Will it be successful? To be completely honest, I don’t know, but one thing I do know is this: To do nothing, is to say to people like Brad Wall “You’re right, the Arts and Actors are an irrelevant bunch of dirty eaters taking up valuable resources that could be better spent in more lucrative industries”. And we can’t have that…

With every misfortune comes equal opportunity
In 2014 I have the following goals:

1. To expand my subscription base to at least 3000+, with a goal of 10,000 subscribers

2. Alpha and Beta runs of the programs/services/products I will be creating and collaborating with experts to ensure the best quality possible.

3. The first success stories published here.

4. The announcement of a special project.

The last one will only be a possibility with the success of the first three goals.

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“And so I thank you, Winter, for these brilliant, sharp, moments of crystalline clarity…until next time.”

 

Onwards to the new
2014 is already shaping up to be exciting, the lessons learned from this previous year past is a great, and humbling, teacher. I look forward to the groups of people I will be working with, everything is more fun in a group, and I am grateful to everyone who has supported me and the blog and can’t wait to be creating ‘the work’ with you all in the near future.

I am blessed, I am grateful.

I love you all.

The last and the first of the year.

Sincerely

Damien

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A note about vunerablitity and the real world, though Actors eyes.

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“I only have my words…That’s the only thing of value I have ever had in this life. I only have these lips to speak my words…Will they be of any value to you?…Will I say anything that will stay, even for a brief moment?” – Ben, at the very end of the play: BURN.

That is the beginning of the final monologue in a play I wrote called ‘BURN’, and it speaks directly to what we Actors strive to do when we are onstage or on a film set; provide authentic moments of brilliant truth, being wide open as possible in the safe confines of the stage or film set.

But what about the real world? We have to dial it back down a thousand for regular joes because to them, we are too loud, bright, intense, fiery and overwhelming. We Actors, live in the moment, we live in the world the way it should be, not as it is.

How do we find balance? How do we speak the language of the real world without completely ‘shutting off’ who we are?

Find the through line

Imagine you had to take a three minute monologue, and boil it down to thirty seconds? What would you do? Probably you would have to trim out most of the words, and keep only that which speaks to the heart of what the core message is.

Boom.

That is the beginning of any business or creative proposition. The two can exist in the same space.

Merging creative + opportunity= endless possibilities

That same vulnerability, those powerful moments we create, can be directly transferred into everything we do.

1. Have an idea: What is it that you are trying to say? What is it that you want to do? Write it all down, don’t edit (don’t you dare), till it is all out there, it should be messy and that’s okay.

2. Refine it: Cut out all the extra words that do not serve, the same as if you were paring down that monologue from earlier, down to the core heart: Who is your audience? Know who you are speaking to and the words will take form naturally.

3. Test it: Talk to people who would be interested in your idea, see what works, and what still needs to be worked on for further definition, the more feed back the better it will be, you will know when it is time for the next step.

4. Galvanize it: As in ‘to charge with electric current or sudden activity’. Take it and throw it into the world and see it run/fly.

This is the true meeting of the Actor’s vulnerability with the real world. Taking your fledgling idea, your ‘baby’ and seeing if it will stand up to the rigors of the often unkind world. It also invites people in, and lets them see what you are feeling, and find resonance with it as well.

Determination wins the day, every time

The same thing that makes Actors vulnerable and open is also their armor, it is their truth, and when you can present that clearly to anyone, you have the prized undeniably, and you can sit anywhere, at any table in the world, period. This is our great strength, dear Actors, this is where we can change the course of our lives, where ever we are, and turn it inside out, one hundred and eighty degrees. As Actors we have an obligation to show the regular joes this vulnerability, on set/stage and in the real world, so that they do not do themselves a dis service and deny their own authentic experiences, their feeling every fiber of their being, screaming, in pain and in joy.

But, How?

Be willing to fail

You can learn a lot from falling flat on your face, it teaches you what didn’t work and you can avoid that mistake for next time, it is not the end, it is only a step, which leads to…

Have a high thresh hold

Be willing to try something over and over, changing it ever so slightly (or largely, depending on the YOU) every time, remember you are in for the long haul, and what helps in that is…

Have a burning desire

When you really know what you want, to the core of your being, that it is a constant fire in your belly, there is very little getting in the way from you achieving that.

And this also requires vulnerability with yourself, open up about what you really want in life. This can take a myriad of forums, as simple and as complex as the YOU, you are.

This is a process

I’m taking point here in what is called ‘leading learner’ where as I learn, I will be sharing and bringing you with me on this journey. As I said at the beginning of this blog, the D is in the process of rewriting his history, and in the course of this, help others re write theirs. There will be bumps and turbulence along the way, but what great adventure does not have this?

My dear friend Jenn showed me a quote which struck a powerful cord with me, so I will leave it here for you (slightly modified): “I’m not a human, I’m a storm with skin”.

Onwards, to brighter days and victory

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Either that’s the dawn…or a grass fire rapidly heading my way…good times…good times…

P.S: Brene Brown did a profound TED talk that nicely expands on this, give it a listen, it will be worth your time.

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