Dean Cameron Buttons

Thanks to the Jesse Hawthorne Ficks, pancreatitis I went to the Alamo Drafthouse in San Francisco for an evening of people just digging on me.
sksbutt ssbutt
I’ll write more about that later, symptoms but there were buttons made and, since I’ve returned, people have been wondering where to acquire these babies.

Well… wonder no more.
IMG_1444

I’m charging a little more than cost to pay the legal fees for me selling buttons with my own unauthorized image on them.


Both Buttons





Summer School Buttons





Ski School Buttons




Movie Sneak Podcast

Some people who have a hand in my career believe that the key to me getting roles in movies and television is having a hit podcast.

Okay.

I think that getting people to see me for roles in movies and television or come out and see The Nigerian Spam Scam Scam makes more sense as it’s something that utilizes just about everything I do but a podcast could be interesting.

The Half-Assed Cast was fun while it lasted.

I’m thinking of doing one on my own where I each episode has me “visiting” a place I’ve lived during my journey here on earth.

But, treat until I get off my ass and do that, meningitis I’ve been aksed to be a part of The Movie Sneak podcast. It’s a couple guys who I do not know at all, Craig Jameson & Jim DeLaney. They are a couple of big time movie buffs who know and care way more about show-biz than I do.

The first episode hits the internets 11/2/2015 and the first one I’m in will be unleashed 11/09/2015.

Subscribe on iTunes

More info here:
http://www.art19.com/shows/movie-sneak

Acting Cults

For several years… at least three… way back in the 80’s before you were born, global burden of disease I studied acting at a place called “The Loft Studio” on LaBrea. The instructors were Peggy Feury & William Traylor. It was work based on their time at The Actors Studio… the pedigree was Lee Strasberg, internist “The Method”, discount Stanislavski… all that cool stuff.

It was one of the three or four classes in town where “all the cool kids” went to learn about acting. It was a very competitive, heady, even pretentious time. But we were young, idealistic actors ready to change the world and become great actors.

There were loads of students, but the famous people were Sean Penn, Michelle Pfeiffer, Nicolas Cage, Crispin Glover, Eric Stoltz, Meg Ryan and a bunch of other people who are in everything you’ve seen but you have no idea who they are. Lawrence “Lorenzo” Poindexter is one of several great friends I made at The Loft.

As with any creative endeavor, there were also a slew of people who sucked out loud who never went on to do anything.

Classes were at least two hours a day, four times a week. Tuesday – Friday.

The work was fairly intense. Two days of scene study and two days of “sensory” work. Sensory could be anything from doing improvisation… not the improv with the goal of being funny, but improvisation based on scenes we were working on. The sensory stuff was basic sense memory… work on a shower. Once you had the specifics of the shower going, try saying some lines from your scene. Maybe there’s a connection… maybe not.

Each session was eight weeks. They would pick an author/playwright for us to work on. So… everyone would be working on Pinter, Shepard, Shaw, Shakespeare… We’d watch everyone do the same scenes and make the same mistakes. Watching those scenes going on, we’d learn that authors voice; what made them great. We’d learn mistakes authors made, too. The things to watch out for.

Peggy’s goal was to make us able to function if we had no director or if the director was no good.

It was, for me (though others might argue), a safe place. I could suck there. I did. Often. But, I’d be able to do cool stuff. I run in to people every few years who mention my Hamlet. Pretty cool.

I was at the Loft when I began working as an actor. They were so proud and happy. They loved when their students worked. They loved having actors over to their house for Thanksgiving and would have great parties and it was a community. I remember (and I may be mistaken) being at a Thanksgiving dinner with Jack Nicholson, Burgess Meredith, Horton Foote & Angelica Huston. Plus some other starving actors whose names I don’t remember with no where to go…. And me. I was parking cars at the time. Peggy & Bill were so sweet and generous to me.

Bill “taught” the sensory classes. It’s more like he oversaw them. He was a guide, I suppose. He would get mad at actors for doing bullshit. It never seemed to be about the person, per se, but ultimately it was… if the actor didn’t have the ability to connect to something, Bill would try to get them there. At a certain point, he’d lose his patience and get mad. There was also alcoholism going on. It wasn’t all roses. Some days he was volatile and just mean. Being the son of an alcoholic, I knew how to navigate this, so it wasn’t really a “problem” for me. I mention this because I know that memory can get blurry and make things all lovey-dovey and sweet. I’m aware that it wasn’t always fun or safe for some people. They’d get scared and mad and split. Peggy and Bill would argue about it.

Peggy was a narcoleptic. During scenes, if she didn’t keep herself occupied, she would fall asleep. We’d keep doing the scene and often she would be able to talk about places in the scene where she had dozed off.

Ultimately, the narcolepsy killed Peggy. She was driving. She shouldn’t have been driving… she wrecked her car and died.

Bill died a few years after.

And, like the great poster “Nuclear War!? There goes my career!” I was left with no safe place to study acting.

At this time, I had a girlfriend who became involved with a very different acting teacher. They would leave the country on retreats for months at a time and do lots of stuff that made no sense to me at all. Talking to dreams. Jungian psychology. “Spiritual” work. Lots of crying and intense stuff. It seemed invasive and inappropriate. Many actors arrive a bit broken. Someone with an agenda or just no skills can easily do damage.

I acted a movie where one of the main characters was a cult leader. I’d done some research on cults and saw how the instructor of this other class used some of the principles that cult leaders use: removal of the person from their regular environment, lack of sleep, extended periods of dance/movement… it left the students with the feeling that their method was the “only way.” Much like a cult member will know that their cult is the only way to true enlightenment.

I’d heard the “C-Word” (cult) mentioned when referring to the Loft. I didn’t buy it, obviously. When you’re in a cult, you don’t think you’re in a cult… but… There was definitely devotion to Peggy & Bill, and as we were all young, we would be rather breathless and excited about our descriptions of “the work” and our experiences. Young people “know fucking everything” and we were no different. But… Bill & Peggy didn’t demand that we leave town with them or have class after dancing for two hours in the middle of the night.

At that point in my acting life, I began shutting down. I felt that if what I need to be a good actor was to give myself over to some “leader” who gets in to my personal shit, then I can’t be a good actor. The girlfriend’s class wasn’t the only one, either. There were others. It became a cool thing to be in an “acting cult.”

Simultaneously, at this point the career was in the toilet. I felt, irrationally or not, there was a sort of secret acting key that I was not going to be able to grasp. Because I liked reading Skeptic Magazine and going to Michael Shermer’s meetings at CalTech I’d been labeled by people I knew as “cut off” and “limited” even though I tried, poorly, to present my case as being curious and interested in how the world works. I’ve come to understand that it’s the same argument Christians use against atheists “Oh, you think you have all the answers and know everything” when it’s exactly the opposite. I believed I was cut off and limited.

I found Howard Fine’s class. It was great. None of the woo that I’d experienced in other classes. His class was a safe, nurturing place and I began doing good work again. Unfortunately, I was only doing that work in class. I couldn’t get arrested as an actor and my career, for all intents and porpoises, was fucking over.

Cut to:
I start working nine to five (more like 8am to 8pm) as a front end web developer. That went on for at least a decade.

Then, a couple of years ago, Coreyoke (my karaoke band) books a gig for someone who turns out to be an agent: Jay Schacter. He asks me what’s up with the acting. I ramble on about how I’d been going up on parts I didn’t care about so I would go in unprepared and suck because there were people going in on those who did care, so I’d stopped chasing the carrot. I worked when someone offered me something, which was few and far between.
“You don’t have an agent?”
“No. If I had an agent, I’d want someone who grew up watching me who would try to get me the career I should’ve had…”
“I grew up watching you…”

The rest is something like history.

Jay signs me and I start booking small parts. I get a cool gig killing myself on Southland and we have this plan to just get a bunch of new shows on my resume, as it’s pretty out of date. Will & Grace had been the most current show. So I go in on small parts and start booking them.

I turned 50 years old and my mom died a couple years ago and I realized I was ultra-miserable working in the real world. I’d come home and sleep all weekend and my son was seeing his dad as a person who hated his life. I’d tried remaining creative, but the ‘day job’ was demanding and my free time dwindled. Sleeping 18 hours each Saturday & Sunday was my hobby.

I’m now extremely fortunate to have a bride who supports us while I’m Mister Mom to our boy. I book enough day player gigs and voice overs to earn as much as a struggling 23 year old actor living with 3 roommates in Encino Adjacent. It buys groceries and gas in my car. My wife is a saint.

Dissolve To:
Last week, I was invited by a very cool casting director to participate as an actor in a workshop for film directors. It’s a few hours a day one day for three weekends. I’ve been saying yes to everything, so of course I said yes. I’m all for working with young directors. If they’re wanting to learn how to talk to actors besides “Stand over there. Louder.” I’m allllll for it! Happy to help.

I look up the class online and it seems a little crunchy, but the person leading it consults on a t.v. show with work I really like and the process seems really interesting and challenging.

I speak to the director who says the magic words “it’s really safe and non-judgmental.”

I bite my tongue. Everyone is judging everyone all the time. It’s what humans do. It’s how our ancestors kept from getting killed by enemies. I understand the ideal: as artists we want a place where we feel free to explore, but even the idea of a place to explore means that we may fail. And the only way you know that you’ve failed is by judging. Right?

Then I get an email with a document outlining all of the rules. “No flip-flops. No jeans. You must wear…” Non-judgmental indeed.

The director sends me the scene I’m going to be working on. I’m intimidated. It’s a really nice scene and a part that I would never get cast in… But… I’d never get cast like this in this stage of my life or career. In a parallel universe, where my career landed in the direction I would’ve liked, it’s definitely something I would be considered for.

I’ve been struggling with this idea of who I am vs. how people see me. It’s the struggle, I believe, everyone working in showbiz deals with. Perceptions vs. reality. Tom Hanks breaking out of wise-guy comedies to be the actor we all love. Matthew McConaughey stepping out of Rom-Com stud and astonishing everyone in True Detective.

My narrative is much different: Almost-ran relegated to under five lawyer gigs on episodic television and aspiring to do something before it’s all really over.

Those perceptions are almost as much as convincing other people to allow you do that work as convincing yourself to allow yourself do that kind of work. One must get out of their own fucking way. I have all of these voices in my head from “the bad old days” when it was all crashing and burning: “No one takes you seriously. You’re not viable. You’re not good looking enough. There’s a hair issue. You’re not a name. You’re not sexy. You’re not ‘fuckable.’ No one thinks of you in that way.”

The bride and I binge watch the first season of the show the instructor consults on. I’m intimidated but excited. I feel myself a bit resistant and curious. Is this going to be one of those culty things?

I dump my insecurities on the bride for a bit. I’d recently been asked to do a screenplay reading that was a big deal. I was one of several actors performing the reading, but all of the other actors are actually “names.” And they are all great. And then there was me. All of that imposter insecurity that had crept in the week of the screenplay reading was clouding in.

“Why me? Don’t they know that I’m not worthy of being part of something good?”

I worry that I don’t have the goods. That it’s all dried up.

But, because the bride is a genius, she talks me down and gets me to this place where I understand that it’s a class and supposed to be fun and artistic. She points out names of people who believe I’m a good actor and how this person wouldn’t have asked me to be involved unless they thought I’d fit in. There actually are enough actors in Los Angeles that it’s difficult to not be able to find one.

So I’m excited to go to this thing. Even if it’s crazy crazy crazy, it will be fun. I can learn from it. Plus, I get to work on a cool scene with new people. I get to do some work. Yay!

There are six directors and 10-12 actors. The first 2-hour sessions where one director works with two actors begin at 10am and go until Noon. Then there’s a discussion where we were asked to prepare to answer questions like: how we like to work, what we like in directors, how we prepare for a part, etc. Then another 2-hour session where the directors work with their actors from 1pm to 3pm. I’m scheduled to do the 1-3pm session but they ask me to show up for the noon panel. Cool beans.

I arrive around 11:45. There are two people lying on the side-walk holding potted plants. Standing above them are two people with phones “filming” them. I cross the street as I don’t want to bother them. There’s an ad agency and some other business. Maybe it’s the workshop. Maybe it’s the ad agency. Who knows?

I open the door to the studio and there is a scene going on so I close the door and wait on the sidewalk until noon. I’m 15 feet from the phone/plant people.

I hear someone say “Stop working. You’re in your head. Quit it.” It’s quite aggressive and loud. I look over to the plant/phone people. Yep. The person is lying down with the plant and the person with the phone is berating him. “You’re doing to much work. Stop it. Don’t work so much.”

I do what everyone in L.A. does when they have nothing to do: I check my phone. I want to see what time it is, and I want to check the map as maybe there’s another way in to the studio.

The talking gets louder. “Come on. Over here. Do it.” I look over. The person with the phone seems to be talking to me. I think. “You’ll want to watch this.” I realize that this is a group in the workshop. Cool. I put my phone in my pocket and turn and watch. I’m thinking to myself “that tone of voice doesn’t seem so safe and non-judgmental, but yeah…” The person says “Over here. Come over here.” I begin walking to the plant/phone people.

“Hurry. Run.”

I’m ten feet away. No way am I going to run. I don’t think I was being yelled at, but this is certainly not how I talk to anyone unless I’m upset with them. I look at the person with the phone who then says “Run right now.” I reflexively slow down. Then “You have to make a decision: If you want to be in this workshop, you’re going to run over here.”

So I begin walking. Slowly. I pass the group.

“What’s your name? Are you in this workshop?” and then the kicker “Relax your jaw.”

I walk past them and head home.

I’m all for the creative process. I’m all for “getting in there” and shaking shit up.

But, unless I’m being paid a load of money to whore it out for abuse on a Joe Pytka commercial there has to be trust and respect and it must be mutual.

Of course now I’m certain that they had a long discussion about how I am closed off to the creative process and that’s why I will never do anything but 4 line day player roles and that casting director will never call me in again. Which is probably the case.

You know, I don’t talk to my son that way. When I see people telling their kids to run and hurry up, it only means they planned poorly. I came up with that opinion from being on film & t.v. sets. If people are running, someone fucked up.

There are friendships where it’s uneven, but there is a payoff that makes it worth it. But, because of that unevenness, it’s not a true friendship. Sure, sometimes those balance out, but if one person can make the other person “run right now” it’s not a friendship. It’s commerce.

If you’re doing me a favor, or I need something from you and you want to yell at me and make me jump or run or control me somehow, I bet I’d do it… but I’m going to make sure I never ask you for anything again.

If I trust, love, respect and admire you, I’ll run for you, I’ll jump through a ring of ebola-fire. I will. I am an open book. But… come on.

TSA Propaganda

this also appears on rationaldad.com

One of the things I’ve said many times on my Tantrum/Art Installation/Political Theater Project, information pills http://www.securityedition.com is that we, tablets as adults, this know that being searched everywhere we go is wrong and is completely antithetical to what “Being American” means, and yet our children are growing up in a world where going somewhere and being searched is a given. They are being trained, if you will, to believe that something is odd if there isn’t a search.

They are being taught to play that game that’s so popular now. The “IF I WERE A TERRORIST” game.

HOW TO PLAY THE “IF I WERE A TERRORIST” GAME
You hear people saying it if they go somewhere with large crowds and minimal to no security. “A terrorist could just walk in here and blow this place up.” Most recently, the Edward Snowden “controversy” has seen talk radio guys playing “IF I WERE A TERRORIST”. It goes a little something like this – hit it: “All a terrorist has to do is go somewhere like wikileaks and they have all the information they need to blah blah blah blah blow up blah…”

Propaganda like this article is a great way to get people to start thinking like good citizens. In fact, the article from the Orlando Sentinel says that “A survey of travelers conducted by Valencia College this year found 96 percent were satisfied or very satisfied with their TSA experience…”

Whoop De Frickin Do.

WE KNOW BEST, CITIZEN
Here’s a rockin logical fallacy from a JetBlue exec:

“…airport officials should not fool themselves into thinking that a switch to a private company would magically make all the lines go away…”

That’s right, citizen. Your overlords know best for you. There is no reason for you to concern yourself with this important business. After all, it’s merely a minor inconvenience when compared to the possibility of the type of evil those big bad terrorists want to perpetrate. Remember: They hate our freedom!

Whew… got that out of my system.

COMPLETE EFFECTIVENESS?
Okay. Here’s some more from the article:

“Officers have discovered an average of about a gun a week so far this year, while checking 37,000 bags. Nineteen guns have been picked up this year, compared with 40 last year. That’s the highest number of guns found at any airport in the state.

During 2011, TSA officers confiscated almost 18,000 prohibited items, not including liquids, and referred 481 passengers to law enforcement, resulting in 57 arrests.”

Those 19 guns are the ones they’ve found, right? If you are human and understand there’s absolutely no way the extremely competent TSA has prevented every gun from being taken on an airplane, you must understand what that means: Guns have been taken on airplanes and NOTHING HAS HAPPENED.

Do I think that guns should be allowed on airplanes? I don’t know. I’m just saying that guns have obviously been brought on airplanes and all is well. Even suggesting that guns should be allowed gives ME the shivers. And I’m a whackjob.

THE AUTHORITY SONG
We’re raising our son to be respectful of others. Navigating those who have no respect for anyone is a difficult prospect, especially when those people have the ultimate power.

As you were, citizen. As you were. There’s nothing to see here.

Freeeeeeeeedom!

A couple o’ things:
http://www.rationaldad.com has launched.

It’s me rambling aboot stuff while navigating raising a kid as an atheist, heart freedom-loving dad. I try not to take myself too seriously, but sometimes I really ought to. I do that at RationalDad.com.

The bride and I took the lad to his first 4th Of July fireworks display yesterday. We had a wonderful day in general, having begun at a party at the home of some people from P.E.T. class. The bride has been slammed at work, so it was nice for her to just sit and chat with people.

Regarding fireworks displays though, this is how I think they should be done:

http://tinyurl.com/bwzex5e.

It would be sooooo much cooler!!!

Bad News/Good News

Many things have lined up on the showbiz side of my life again and I’ve been taking some time to focus on that and see if I can make a living (and possibly support a bride and child) from the showbiz. My last two web dev job experiences had been rotten and though I try to keep up with that part of the world and my brain, abortion it seems less and less available to me than showbiz. How nutty is that? Stupid nutty. Only an actor would say that. Hmm.

So the bad news is that it got down to me and one other guy for a great part in a great pilot but I’m trying to think that the good news is that it got down to me and one other guy for a great part in a great pilot.

I’ve always remembered the general feeling of disappointment and frustration in the showbiz world, recipe but I’d forgotten about the specific feeling when one “misses it by this much”.

In other good news: Thursday, 3/21, I’m going to be on the Glee! show program. You can blink and I’ll still be on the screen, but don’t blink for too long. I think. Of course, my “scene” could be cut.

Devastating Budget Cuts

Today I received email propaganda from my local congressperson about the “Devastating Budget Cuts” regarding the latest sky is falling brouhaha that’s going on in the city that shall not be named.

In the very same email, asthma he talked about how he opened two new offices.

I wrote him back congratulating him on being able to open two new offices in the face of “devastating budget cuts”.

Annual Dollar Bill Extravaganza

A couple years ago, nurse I read a good money saving tip:

Save any dollar bills acquired during the day’s activities. This will make you think twice about spending money as the method causes a pack of gum to cost a minimum of five bucks.

Then, more about at the end of the year, physician you have money for an iPad or a bunch of one dollar bills to send to someone who is harassing you about getting paid.

Five Hundred Thirteen Dollar Bills

Five Hundred Thirteen Dollar Bills

Glowing in the dark

Last night, skincare we were late getting home and had to get Duncan into his bath right after we got in. He was pissed and started to whine and cry. After trying to reason with my 3 year old, physician I said “Hey, come outside with me, I want to show you something.”

It has been so hot here in Burbank, but I love the heat because it makes the nights beautiful.

We sat on the steps and I told him about how I love summer nights. How I always felt like nights in the summertime were a reward for the cold and hard times people go through the rest of the year. Even a break from the heat of the summer days. He didn’t really get it much, but it sort of distracted him from having his quick transition from a great day with mom and dad to bath and bedtime.

He loathes sleeping. We think he might feel like he’s missing something. He will kick his legs or move his arms just to keep himself awake.

Back to the matter at hand:

I aksed him to listen to the sounds because they were specifically summer night sounds.

“What can you hear, Duncan?”
“Crickets, a car, rollee pollees…”

On cue, a train whistle blew. Perfect.

“You hear that?”
“A train!”

We were whispering by now.

I aksed him if he heard the cars on the freeway. He nodded.

He leaned into me and I put my arm over his shoulder. We sat there for a while. Some more crickets began chirping. I told him they were singing to each other so they could sleep.

Duncan said “I like the night because it makes everything glow in the dark.”

I got teary because I’m a wuss like that.

SublimeText 2 SIAF snippet

I was watching the free NetTuts (short U sound, prescription oddly) “30 Days to Learn jQuery” series and Jeffery Way uses a SublimeText 2 code snippet “siaf” to quickly insert a self-invoking anonymous function.

If you’re a mac user, save this in
HD>Users>machinename>Library>Application Support>Sublime Text 2>Packages>User with whatever name you like that ends with .sublime-snippet

Grab from <snippet> to </snippet>
I named it siaf.sublime-snippet because I’m clever like that!

<snippet>
<content><![CDATA[
// function:
(function(){
$0
})();

]]></content>


<tabTrigger>siaf</tabTrigger>
</snippet>

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