Monday, May 14, 2007

What's this? What's this?

I feel a little like Jack Skellington when he discovered Christmas Town. I've just finished a homework assignment for my latest UCLA Extension course, Fundamentals of Reporting. I was going to describe it as "simple," but that would be a gross exaggeration - if you had seen me on Thursday night when we received the assignment, you would have thought someone handed me the head of my dead cat. Well, maybe YOU wouldn't have thought that, but trust me, I was ill. We were assigned to do a mini-profile on our teacher. It involved ten minutes of classtime to research on the internet, and 15 minutes of interviewing the teacher, all culminating in a 250-word paper to be written the last 30 minutes of class. Luckily the teacher had mercy on us and let us take the assignment home for the weekend. Papers could be e-mailed to him this morning. So, true to form, I woke up this "morning" at ten and proceeded to finish my paper. I figured I had two hours left of the morning, and in truth, it only took me one. That's because (and here's the point, my friends) I laid in bed for an hour thinking about what I wanted to write. And then I jumped out of bed and went straight downstairs to the laptop to get started. I practically ignored my roommate Ryan as I feverishly typed and researched and flipped through the online thesaurus. In short, I was MOTIVATED. Weird... My experience has been that writing, for me, is like going to Six Flags: about once a year I get really excited and go, and afterwards I am always nauseous and exhausted, swearing I will never go again. Except that, unlike roller-coaster driven theme parks, writing seems to be growing on me.
So I dove into this assignment this morning, and afterwards I felt a swell of pride as I re-read it... fifteen times. It's the actor's equivalent of staring in a mirror to practice your lines, I suppose. I had been planning to head upstairs to my new gameroom to reward myself with a little Rogue Galaxy before lunch. But I didn't go, instead I decided to write some more. On my blog, but still - perhaps you see where I'm going with this. My little tortured actor's soul is starting to really enjoy the writing thing. STARTING. Don't get too excited, OK? I might revert tomorrow. We'll see. For now, I'm Jack and it's Christmas. Ho ho ho.

Friday, May 04, 2007

The Dharma Initiative

Isn't Lost just so good? I never thought of myself as a person that has "shows" they watch, but I have been a faithful Lost fan since the beginning, and strangely, it makes me proud. I feel like I belong to something, and that I'm invested. No longer one who fears commitment, I! The downside, I suppose, to being a fan, is that you do dumb things like I did with this guy pictured above. If you are a Lost fan, you'll know, first of all, that the man in the picture with me is Dr. Candle, a somewhat mysterious character who has maybe appeared in five episodes. For about three minutes total screen time. And I, shamefully, recognized him, and worse, insisted that I get my picture taken with him. And when I say shameful, I mean REALLY shameful. I was on the set of a commercial that we had both been cast in, so as a fellow actor I should have known better than to stalk him like a tourist on the Map-of-the-Stars'-Homes Tour. But I did, because I am a fan. And now I am posting the pic on my blog. The gentleman's real name, by the way, is Fran├žois Chau, and he is quite a good sport, although he knows very little about the outcome of the show, or for that matter about his character's storyline. But he does get to go to Hawaii every once in awhile, and he does get recognized more often than you'd think.

As for the commercial shoot, that's a cool story, too. I booked a job (I think I mentioned a few blogs back) for Direct Energy, and they liked me so much, they brought me back for another campaign, this one for three 60-second spots. It took three days to shoot, and I played the part of a sexy/nerdy tech who is a member of an A-Team of Direct Energy technicians who make sure your home (in Canada) is energy-efficient, eh? The director, Ted, is one of the coolest guys you'll ever meet, and he shot the whole thing just like an old A-Team episode. We even had a Mr.T type on the team, and our van was tricked out with flames and a tailfin. In some shots, Ted would play the A-Team theme song while we did our "take" to camera. That damn song is still in my head. Our leader on the team was this fantastic guy who's been acting for ages, John Kapelos, who you'll know as the janitor from The Breakfast Club. It was a star-studded shoot, let me tell you. That's four (count 'em) commercials shot in April, none of which you are likely to see. But I'll see the checks, baby, and that's what matters.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Guess it runs in the family

...not knowing what to do with your life. Or maybe procrastinating by way of taking college courses. I'm referring to an article that my sister drew my attention to this past week. Nola Ochs attends Fort Hays State University (where my dad got his undergrad degree) at the ripe young age of 95. We don't know for sure if she's related, but the Kansas Ochs are widespread, so its most likely she's connected somehow. When she finally graduates from school, she will be the oldest person to have earned a degree. Click the link of her name for the full story. The point is, we Ochs just don't seem to be able to settle down and pick a damn career. I can't be blamed for constantly threatening to quit acting, when it's actually IN MY BLOOD to remain undecided. My sister frequently calls me with doubts, Jay took 3 years to pick a major, and my mother went back to school after having three kids! It's just in my DNA, you see, to go back to school and pick a new career. As often as I like. Nola, by the way, is studying history. Which I find joyfully ironic. We Ochs love easy A's.

So, I have until I'm 90, you see, to make up my mind about what I want to do with my life. Plenty of time. Plenty of time. Another thing about us Ochs - we live FOREVER.