Thursday, August 25, 2011

Play: Body Awareness

This is a great play. Its a 93 minute comedy playing at the Seven Stages theater. It is about a couple that have a son with Asberger's (well, one of them does, his mother, the other is his step mother). The son is rather in denial of this fact. The mother is a high school teacher and the step mother is a psychologist at the extremely PC local university running Body Awareness Week. Frank, an artist who takes nude photos of women, shows up as the guest artist in their home and all hell breaks loose.

Without giving too many spoilers in the play I will say a) It is a comedy. b) It has some surprisingly insightful things to say about the human condition. c) It is an excellent opportunity to learn a lot about the dictionary and what not to say at McDonalds. The actors are all quite talented, and with just four characters, they are able to establish unusual and interesting chemistry between all four of them. Seeing the group dynamics is one of the more interesting elements of this play as it the slow descent into madness or apotheosis for three of the four characters involved.

It runs through the 28th.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Movie Review: The First 20 Minutes of Percy Jackson the Lightning Thief.

The Book is interesting and fun.

The movie is a joke.

The book spends the better part of the book building up who Percy's father is. It is no secret he's a demi god, but it spends a long time trying to make the reader guess.

The movie reveals it in the first 30 seconds.

The movie goes from scene to scene with adequate but mostly forgettable flare after that. Its not really good, but its not horrifically bad either; about on par with the average forgettable fantasy movie until they get to the scene with the minotaur right before they get to the camp.

First of all, this is a critical scene that defines Percy's character, and they do it in about 2 minutes 30 seconds....but even that is forgivable (if not a tragic loss.)

Then his mother dies.

He looks about as upset as if stepped in a pile of dogsh*t. He doesn't cry. Doesn't stoically swear revenge. He just goes, (essentially) 'bummer'. Then they proceed to show him the camp.

And that's when I stopped watching.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Voice Acting Class by September Day and Bob Carter

So, if you have the slightest interest in doing voice acting work, I can't recommend this class enough. They typically advertize by only advertizing on Craigslist, primarily because they really don't need the class to make a living but use it as a recruitment and filtering tool for their talent agency. And they both make an excellent point, about the fact that you really want to take a class from someone who has recent industry experience and someone who knows how to get more work.

In fact that is the first half of the class. The basic XYZ's of what you need to do to put together a home studio and how to put together a demo reel without coming across as a jackass. It is practical and it works.

The second half of the class involves how to network and basic studio etiquette. It also involves taking concrete steps and setting up a plan to put their counsel into concrete format. The last portion of the class involves an actual audition in the studio where you read for a commercial and then an anime character.

To be honest, the banter and chemistry between Bob and September was worth the price of admission alone. Their story is the kind of thing you can't make up, proof that reality is more interesting than fiction, and they make even the driest subject seem interesting. There is also a genuine honesty about them that makes them very fun to watch.

If you want to get into voice acting, contact them and take their class. You won't regret it.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Play On Con 2011

This was a most excellent con. Play On con is a largely gaming based convention merged with party and other fan aspects. The entire thing takes place in a Birmingham Mariott this absolutely the right size for what it does. I don’t have precise attendance numbers but I’d estimate it between 300-400 people, which lets it have enough numbers to sustain the parties, the costuming and the gaming but still keeping an intimate feeling. By the time the con is done you’ve had a chance to get to know many of the people there though there are still strangers.

One thing I’ve come to realize from these cons is that the costuming aspect is very important. Its kind of the glue that brings a lot of fandom subcultures together, and more importantly the costume contest is often the single largest gathering of a con. Especially of the medium sized ones. The effort that goes into building them ranges from the sublime (such as the winner of the contest who made a Steam Punk bordello owner who was able to give functional body shots on stage to the MC with an extremely elaborate hand piece) to the simplistic (such as the Liono costume the guy put together in two to three hours the night before which still looked pretty damn good.) Many of the secondary prizes seemed invented on the fly, but they were also appropriate such as ‘fan favorite’ for Judge Dread or ‘most creative’ etc etc. Each of the costumes that won an award definitely deserved something. One VERY nice thing about a medium sized cons is that there are no huge lines anywhere.

There were six panel/room locations sites which tended to be going for all of the prime hours and only seemed to have a few vacant spots. One of the more interesting to me was the ‘how to’ element which showed everything from how to make your house haunted, how to dance (anticipating national dance off week) to how to design your own world. It also included a whedon track, media track, anime and gaming. The Cheese Grinder from dragon con was also there and ran a marathon session from Friday through to 1pm Sunday. I made three characters, which lasted from 2-3 hours to 5 seconds. The rooms can be lethal but fun. I spent most of my time doing the alternate activities rather than the games, primarily since the rpg aspect of things focused mainly on Pathfinder. If I end up going next year I’ll probably run some Shadowrun missions. It could use a bit more variety in that department.

The parties were very fun. There were three parties I wasn’t able to go to Sunday night. Attendance dropped off a bit on Sunday afternoon and Evening but they also had an election and party congress. I also greatly enjoyed the casino on Friday night where I won enough chips to be able to become a party judge. The con suite was very well run as was the video game room. Basically the whole thing worked very well.