Sunday, October 19, 2008

My New BABY!

Christmas came early for the Burbank/Ochs household this weekend. She's black and beautiful...and electric (boogie-woogiex3). I have been wanting a piano for a long time, and since it's a bit much to ship my first love all the way from the shores of the River Styx (Alabama - irony intended); well, I just had to go out and buy it myself. She is a Kurtzweil electric piano, and she sounds amazing. The plusses are that she is much more portable than a real piano, and I can plug a headset in if I don't want to disturb the neighbors/roommate. Also she doubles as a MIDI keyboard, with digital in/out for recording and composing. These functions are a little beyond my skills for now, but I can at the very least compose basic music for my videos... if I am so inclined. I have already given my friend Josh his first official piano lesson (it went very well - he has some bad habits but learns fast). And I spent even more dough on a stack of sheet music to entertain myself for the next year at least. Everything from Ben Folds to Beethoven, which I think is both not much and a whole lot. I have been playing John Williams' Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Czerny's School of Velocity.

It's been awhile since I blogged, and a lot has happened. You'll have to call me if you need filler that desperately. Right now all I can talk about is World of Warcraft, my piano, and how anxious I am for Nov. 4th to arrive.

I promise I won't be a stranger.

Oo! Also I have sheet music for Strangers in the Night....

Monday, June 09, 2008

Yes, That Was Me

Here is the link to see the teaser trailer I was talking about.

I went Friday to see Kung Fu Panda, which I might not have otherwise seen, except that I was hoping to catch a glimpse of myself on the big screen. I arrived 15 minutes early and sat through countless previews. You know that or whoever it is spot where the guy is leaping buildings to get to the box office and then his girlfriend pulls up in the SUV and leans out the window, "Steve, I tried to call you - I already got the tickets on ..."? Yeah, well I saw that spot, and I met the girl who was in the spot this weekend at a bachelorette party (weird), but that's not the point. The point is that I didn't get to see my teaser with me and Steve because they didn't play it. Sigh.

And then my brother, the true film fan in the fam, saw it in New Orleans and called me right away. He also found it on the internet in two clicks of a PC mouse. The link is posted above for you to enjoy, for at least as long as they keep the teaser on the website anyway.

I am very happy with my work. I did a fine job. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Workin' with Steve

So last week I booked a job. Yay!

I played the part of a box office girl who tells Inspector Clouseau (played by Steve Martin) that the tickets for "insert name of summer kids movie here" are sold out. It was described to me as a movie trailer teaser promo. Oh my! Basically its a trailer for Pink Panther 2, which will air like most trailers - before the start of this summer's biggest flicks: Kung Fu Panda, Wall-E, etc. Oh, did I mention I got to work with Steve Martin??? It was a last minute booking, so I spent all weekend devouring Steve's new book, Born Standing Up; I watched the Jerk for the first time all the way through, and also caught Pink Panther 1, which I had never seen. Anyway, the bulk of the trailer, from what I can tell, is the two of us arguing over the fact that he can't get tickets for "" movie - and then he proceeds to break into the theatre anyway.

All weekend long I was floating on my own little cloud. It's always great to have a pending job, because nothing ever seems as hard when you can nod your head while letting your happy little secret put a sparkle in your eye. It was the weekend to run into old friends who have been succeeding wildly in the biz. It was the weekend to have a table of industry folk that you wait on and who get drunk enough to stumble upon that ultimate LA social blunder: What do you really do? It was the weekend to call your parents.

There was no script, and I like it that way. That's my specialty! That morning, on location, Steve was already working by the time I arrived. As I was being escorted to set, fully made-up and costumed, the PA commented on the fact that I was shivering. He said, "Yeah, I know that feeling, when you are so nervous that it makes you shiver. " Um... who had said anything about being nervous? It was the middle of May in LA and a really chilly day for no reason at all! OK, and maybe I was nervous. In fact it seemed that everyone on the crew was expecting me to be a pile of anxiety over having to work with a legend. Apparently it didn't faze them, but I was being treated with kid gloves. And here's the thing: I was really cold, and pretty excited, and even tense - but I wasn't nervous. No really, I swear. Although the PA's comments weren't helping.

"OK, it's time - follow me," that same PA announced in hushed tones to me as he lead me by the elbow towards an open door in the old movie theatre where Steve was shooting. It was between shots, and Steve was standing behind the video monitors talking with a man I could only assume was the director by the way he responded to Steve's questions without hesitation. The room (and I'm seriously not making this up) fell silent. Everyone stared at me and the bailiff on my arm for an awkward moment, and then Steve stood and took a few steps toward me, hand outstretched. The director hefted himself from his tall chair and stuttered, "Oh, ah, Tah-ra, this is Steve. I just wanted you to meet...before." I stepped forward, looked him straight in the eye, and saw the man I've known since I was a kid, for the first time. And.... nothing. No violins, no electric shocks, no confetti or spotlights, no gasps of recognition or secret knowing looks. There he was, just a man, and probably sick to death of the velvet cage he'd been living in for so long that everyone around him treated him like the most expensive fish in the tank.

I'm sad to say that I didn't get my picture taken with Steve Martin. I didn't have a conversation with him about the feeling of performing live. I mentioned to him at one point that I knew a director he had worked with in the 80's, and had I been able to tell the story properly, it might have made for a truthful moment. Instead it came out sounding like a 2nd grader's first attempt at writing a story. And we both smiled awkwardly and went back to work.

A more respectful and kind person you couldn't ask for. He shook my hand several times, always looked me in the eye, called me by name and told me that I did a good job, that he had enjoyed working with me. A true professional and a gentleman. And then he was gone, whisked away in a huge black SUV complete with leather seats and tinted windows. If I ever have the pleasure of working with him again, I feel certain he will greet me like an old friend.

It was a good day - I was working as an actor, which is what I wish I could do more often than 5 or so days a year. Hopefully if all goes well, I will have some excellent footage for my reel, and my mom and dad will be watching me on the big screen this summer for a few seconds, across from a guy that my dad has horribly misquoted all my life. Don't worry, Dad, it is funnier when you do the jokes. But that's probably because I love you.

* In this blog, I called Steve Martin 'Steve' 7 times. To his face, I only called him 'sir'. *

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Latest

Sometimes, you gotta start where you are. My front yard is in desperate need of watering. So I let the hose drip all day long and just move it from section to section. Its the only thing that seems to work: because of the soil, if I just stand there watering the ground it all just runs down to the sidewalk and makes a puddle. It's very embarrassing that ours is the only dead yard on the block. That's what's been on my mind this morning.

I also got a job at Universal Studios theme park for the summer. I will be working at one of their live shows. The idea is to start looking for other avenues of income separate from waiting tables. The kinds of jobs that might lead to other more adult jobs that do not include restaurant manager in the title. Also the kinds of jobs that maybe happen during the day so I can feel a little more human. I am very excited because its a gig that most of my friends have so it will be a lot like summer camp. Including the sweltering heat and stinky whiny kids part. Wow. I don't sound like I'm thrilled about this new job, but I really am. It's five minutes from the house, and hey, it's a THEME PARK!

I will also keep the waiting tables job because I'm trying to stock the savings. But I'm one step closer to the end of my service career. Whew!

These days I am trying to avoid the heat (100+ in the Valley!!) and I'm working on the hustle. That means I'm tired of playing nice. I'm asking everyone for favors out here, and I'm not shy these days about selling my soul for a decent agent, audition or acting gig. I don't know what changed. But that's what I'm up to these days. Sorry that I haven't been blogging lately. I sure would love to be more insightful and expressive like my friend "Tommy Housworth" or informative and heart-warming like "Nora Lee's mommy Sara" but sometimes you just need to catch up. Alright. Back to the daily. I love you all.

Friday, February 22, 2008

La in L.A.

Let the fun begin! Next weekend my little sister Laura will be arriving in Los Angeles for a classic SoCal weekend. So of course I want to make it worth her while. I had to figure - she lives in DC, so there's already great museums, great shopping, great monuments and touristy things to do there... And she's been to L.A. before, so the Hollywood Sign hike is not going to cut it. My plan is going to have to be a little more fantastic. So here goes:

Friday, arriving mid-afternoon and grabbing a late LA bite. I'm thinking somewhere with a patio, since the weather is going to be nothing short of GORGEOUS - 70+ degrees with no chance of anything bad. Perhaps we'll lunch at the Ivy, and peep out some stars. Maybe trot down to the Movie wardrobe resale store It's a Wrap. Friday night La will be attending my comedy improv show at ACME, and then we will be grabbing a late Italian dinner next door while hob-nobbing with my improv buddies.

Saturday: Up at the crack of dawn to travel to Big Bear for a day of skiing and snowboarding. We'll spend a day on the slopes, and then head back into town that night for a fancy dinner at the Huntley Hotel on Santa Monica (I happen to know some folks there who will take great care of us).

Sunday: Up at the crack of dawn to head out to Sunset beach for a surf lesson. Mr. Tom of SurfingLA will provide boards and wetsuits, and a little help to get us riding the waves in true SoCal style. And we plan on picking up some cuties with sun-bleached hair to buy us some mojitos at Paradise Cove once we are finished with the waves. Even without the cuties, the mojitos will definitely happen. Laura's day will probably end with a sunset down by Santa Monica pier, before heading back to DC on a red-eye flight. What a trooper!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Happy Nude Year!

Well, not exactly, but one of my major goals is to be a little happier about the Bod. And so far so good! I've lost about 7 pounds in the past two weeks, by simply following these four rules; No Dairy, No Sugar, No Red Meat, No Alcohol. And I have knocked down my caloric intake quite a bit. And started exercising a little more consistently. OK, there's no magic answer for losing weight, and after two weeks of chopping veggies and hunting down fresh fish, I have already begun to grow a little restless. I tried the pomegranate mousse cheesecake we are offering on the Valentine's Day Menu this weekend. Twice. It was worth it! I just don't know how these really skinny girls do it, and frankly I don't care. I love food. And absence makes the heart grow FRIGGIN' HUNGRY! Great, it's 11:30 at night and I've started thinking about food again. It's funny, this LA mentality has me convinced my weight is something I need to worry about. Back in Atlanta they would be chasing me with buckets of sausage gravy. Oh Wow... Sausage gravy...and hashbrowns. With chicken fried steak and two eggs over medium... STOP! STOP!!