And thanks for reading! Again. Hopefully. This week I’ll just ramble on a bit about taking a break writing and what happened over the last 8 months. This one is going to be only marginally about all things acting.
Just a reminder here that when I use the term “actor” I mean it to encompass all forms of acting including voice, stage, and screen. Yeah, I know I (used to) say this every week (and will again), but it falls under the heading of “The things that go without saying are the things that most need to be said”. What follows applies relatively equally to all of these forms of acting Well, not this week really).
Honey, I’m HOOOOME!
So, here we are about 8 months after my last post. Some of you may have noticed I was gone, some not…but I was. What happened?
A combination of things if I am being honest. Between a writer and actor strike and having a rough time figuring out what to write about a pause seemed the right thing to do. I had no idea when I took the pause that it would last nearly a year, but here we are.
Speaking of a year…
And speaking of a year, it’s a new one and I wish you all the best in 2024! Let’s hope this year is at least a little better than last for everyone. A lot happened in 2023 and for actors a lot of bad happened (which led to some good, but hey…). For us, even us not-yet-union folks, our careers took a bit of a hit. Being non-union for now meant I was able to work some, but if I am being honest the jobs were few and competition was a lot fiercer for those few jobs. Now that the strike is over AND the Holidays are behind us, I notice the number of jobs starting to really climb. Fingers crossed!
So, what did I do last year?
Well, for one, I stopped writing this blog. For the two of you who missed reading what I write, sorry. For the rest of you, you are stuck with me again! While I won’t detail my entire year here…I’m not sure I’d want to relive it anyway…I’ll try to hit some of the highlights.
I started a podcast!
Since there wasn’t a lot of outside work, to keep busy I (and a partner) created work for ourselves! I don’t want to give too much away, as the podcast hasn’t been released yet, but in short, we decided that the story of my GF’s brother’s murder was interesting enough to document. For any of you who are contemplating starting a true crime podcast, I can tell you the research is brutal! Also, finding people who were involved in something that happened 20+ years ago is difficult, and time consuming. If you are interested it will be titled “Aftermath of Murder” and you can see the not-quite-ready-yet website here. Tge URL may change, but it’s a start.
Not to mention…
Trying to get people who were involved in a way that may be criminal are impossible to get to cooperate and participate. It makes sense, I mean, why would they want to revisit something that was not only traumatic, but if they said the wrong thing could actually get them arrested? I confess I was slightly naïve going in that some of these people (if you can even FIND them) would be willing to tell their side of events. Turns out…no. One was very clear, with colorful language, that we should leave them AND their families alone.
In the end we did manage to find a LOT of people, and a number of them agreed to participate. We are still trying to get a few more, but thankfully we have enough to begin production, which will happen next month.
I spent some time near the crime scene…
This was probably one of the most interesting (not THE most, but one of the most) periods of last year. Of course, it’s related to the podcast, but we flew out to Utah and Arizona and spent a week interviewing participants, getting some B-Roll footage of locations involved in the crime. And almost got detained at the prison where the murderer is presently awaiting execution.
Almost getting detained…
Did you know that prisons frown on people hanging out filming outside the fence? No? Neither did I. While situated within a city, the prison sits in the middle of miles of open fields. We drove around it on some dirt roads and Two trucks with prison guards stopped us, asked what we were doing, and made us leave the grounds. Thankfully, after calling to see about permission we were told that they had no jurisdiction off the grounds, so we were able to go across the street and get some pretty awesome drone footage of the prison.
Paused acting classes. This was probably a bad move, but with a focus on the podcast last year and the few gigs I did do it was inevitable something had to give. Turns out that something was acting classes. Thankfully I re-started them last week and I am really happy I did!
I went on an awesome trip!
For those of you who don’t know, we bought an RV late in 2022. We had some problems with it, but got many of them worked out (at least enough to use it several times throughout the year) and in November, when Karen retired, we embarked on a seven week trip. Seven weeks in an RV seems like a long time, but it was over in a FLASH. 10/10 would (will) do it again!
We hit 12 states!
The trip included: Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina again and then back home to Virginia. We put about 5500 miles on the RV in those seven weeks. In essence, other than Orlando where we spent four nights (I mean, Universal Studios AND Disney!?), we spent three nights in each location. The lesson is 3 nights is not quite enough, so felt rushed in some places. We decided future trips will be minimum five nights in each place.
We bought a house!
Now that we are both retired, no reason for us to stick around in the DC area with all the traffic and population density so in 2024 we will be selling our home and moving to South Carolina. We bought (well, still working on ironing out the details, but essentially bought) a home in a 55+ active adult community. I am not a fan of HOA’s, but the amenities of the place (not the least of which is they do all the landscaping and maintenance) outweighs the negatives. It should be built by the end of this year, so something to look forward to!
My daughter got pregnant (and my grandson had his first birthday) …
It’s very exciting to have grandchildren. Watching them grow and seeing the excitement on their faces when you arrive…also having no real responsibility so all the good with very little of the bad part of small kids…is amazing. Only problem is he’s in West Virginia and when our granddaughter is born, she’ll be in South Carolina. Our solution is to find some property in WV where we can live in the RV for extended periods so we can divide time.Still looking for the perfect land…but I’m sure we’ll find it.
I bought a guitar…
Yeah, it was an impulse buy when we visited the Gibson Garage in Nashville. I’ve wanted to learn guitar for a long time, but never really had the time while I was working full time. This time I’ve committed to practice at least 15 minutes a day, 6 days a week. Things are actually progressing pretty well. It’s been just under 2 weeks since the guitar arrived (had it shipped to the house, so I didn’t have to schlep it around in the RV) and I am pleased with my progress. I have my first in-person guitar lesson today but have been following some online lessons since it arrived. Hopefully this time it’ll stick. I’m too old to become a rock star, but looking forward to sitting around the campfire playing some songs one day.
That pretty much sums up 2023 since my last post. My plan is to begin posting weekly again but will likely change the format slightly to not always feel the need to write specifically about acting and Voice Over. I know that means some of you will likely unsubscribe…and I promise my feelings won’t be hurt (too badly, anyway) if you do. It’ll just make it somewhat easier to find topics to write about, and I promise not to abandon them altogether.
So, till next week!
I hope you’ve enjoyed my ramblings, and I’d love to hear how your 2023 went. So if you are so inclined, please leave a comment to tell me about it and I promise to review them and respond with something pithy (OK, I just wanted to say pithy) and maybe even relevant.
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