Monday, February 5, 2024

Well, it's been absurdly long since I posted anything. Partly due to a lack of inspiration to write here...and partly due to personal struggles.

I'm still not sure I'm going to keep this blog up, but for now I thought I'd let you know I'm finally working on a new film of my own--a drama called THE MYSTERY OF EMMA THORN.

With film on the brain, I've been catching up on the 2023 film I wanted to see, but missed in their debut months. I'm still watching, but here's a list of what I've seen so far and my short takes on them.

Read whatever interests you. And remember: these are just my opinions; you're welcome to hold entirely different ones. It's art. It's always somewhat subjective. That's part of the magic of it: our experience of it is a blend of the film and our own history, personality, mood, taste and more. 

So, understanding that, here are my thoughts...

In alphabetical order:


In a world of “fake news”, writer/director Cord Jefferson’s feature debut “American Fiction” is a near perfect comedy/drama about smalltime Black novelist (a brilliant Jeffrey Wright) who, using a pen name, hits the big time writing the very sort of racial pandering novel he hates and the snowballing charade that results. At once a witty satire of the media’s marketing of Black voices and a picture of one artist’s crisis with personal integrity, the film proves alternately poignant and hilarious. The acting is perfection across the board (standouts include those playing the writer’s struggling family, especially Sterling K. Brown as his messy, newly-out brother) and the savvy score buoys the proceedings deliciously. The first act is a hair too long, but that’s a small quibble in a film that so effectively skewers the publishing world, Hollywood, the perpetuation of stereotypes, and the public’s love of trashy confessionals—even if they’re a complete fiction.

Wes Anderson’s latest mix of comedic whimsy and topical depth will delight his fans and, hopefully, gain him a few more. A story within a story of a playwright struggling to make sense of his own creation: a play in which a parade of quirky characters grapple with plans gone awry: car trouble, death—even an alien encounter—all proving that life is a series of derailments and uncertainties. It’s colorful, laugh-out-loud funny, and every detail and performance is honed to Anderson perfection. And, for once, the fact that it’s so meticulously staged (as most of Anderson’s films are) perfectly suits the proceedings, most of which are—in fact—a filmed representation of a theater piece. There’s a lovely, recurring bit where two characters engage through their separate domicile windows: each, in a way, in their own proscenium. Even the “real life” of the playwright is staged or on stage more often than not. One could argue there’s a wink to Shakespeare perhaps, wherein all the world’s a stage. It certainly is in Asteroid City.

“Barbie” wins marks for its extensively researched, dream-logic satire of the effects (good and bad) the Barbie brand has had on girls (and women) throughout its impressive past. The play world of Barbie is exquisitely realized in production design, costumes, props and usage. The shower without water and the rock-hard ocean waves are just two of the pitch-perfect touches. Margot Robbie as “Stereotypical Barbie” and Ryan Gosling as (an equally stereotypical) Ken both go full out to breath goofy, lovable life into their roles. As Barbie’s personality (and body) morph with real-world concerns, she must journey to find out the cause. So, into the real world she goes--with Ken tagging along. There they both learn hard lessons before returning to decide how to live from now on with what they’ve learned. What makes “Barbie” work is its well-crafted blend of children’s fairy tale and adult social commentary—both provoking many laugh-out-loud moments. Running well past the two-hour mark, it does wear a little long in the plastic tooth; still, with its eye-popping visuals, its bounty of comedy and its unending originality, it’s no wonder “Barbie” stands on pointed feet as a bona fide hit.

A hilarious, frenzied and even heartfelt sci-fi/action/adventure about a weary Chinese American woman whose life gets sucked into alternate universes. Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan as her husband are flawless as the guides (of a sort) who we follow into the spiraling kaleidoscope that shifts not only worlds, but our heroine’s perspectives on (and value for) her original existence. It’s endlessly inventive in ideas and form, both coming at you with mind-blowing and eye-popping force. The lengthy runtime and the fact that the plot(s) don’t clearly all perfectly fit into a single package are forgivable sins, but they do make the film wear a bit by the third act (and umpteenth universe). Nonetheless, the funhouse ride is well worth taking.

A welcome finale to the summer action glory film franchise, Harrison Ford goes on one last artifact search with (thankfully) a non-romantic female cohort, the marvelous Phoebe Waller-Bridge as his trouble-making goddaughter. The plot is a little clumsy at times (the time-travel element is a wonky as most time-travel tales are) and the run time is a bit long (including t
he protracted, nostalgic opening), but the film is packed with everything a fan could want: exciting chases, Nazi fighting, killer eels (the sea’s version of Indy’s hated snakes) and we get nice cameos and callbacks to films gone by along the way. All in all, it’s a fine farewell to a beloved actor in a beloved role.

Scorsese knows his strengths. “Killers of the Flower Moon”, like all his period pieces, brings a bygone era (in this case, 1920’s Osage County, Oklahoma) to vivid life in rich detail. The visuals are glorious and the aim for authenticity is palpable. The acting, led by a bravura Leonardo DiCaprio performance, is top notch. The murders of the area’s Indigenous people of the time is a worthy tale, though its themes of collusion, exploitation and violence feel tired—especially for Scorsese. But the biggest flaw lies in the indulgent runtime which flounders unevenly: the killers and their plans are revealed so early, it fosters little suspense, making the proceedings lag; alternatively, the FBI’s emergence arrives so late that it and the ensuing trial feel rushed, which is saying something for a 3 ½ hour film. The denouement is especially indulgent; though its point about the commercialization of tragedy is fair, the satirical whimsiness feels inappropriate and pretentious.   

“Leave the World Alone” wins out solely due its actors adeptly giving us complex characters that hold us—even when the world around them seems to be falling apart. Yes, it’s about a half hour too long and (whether by intent or fault) it doesn’t explain or develop all the elements it throws at the viewer, but it’s a rare and welcome case of character over plot in this particular genre. Julia Roberts shines as the self-admitted misanthrope whose ice slowly melts just as Ethan Hawke, her sensitive husband, proves heartless as fear rules his actions when confronted by an unknown woman in need of help. It’s this kind of character dynamic ambivalence that makes “Leave the World Alone” as engaging as it is—much more so than the crashing boats and planes that imperil everyone. The lack of things tied up neatly will be off-putting for many, no doubt; I usually abhor it in film, myself. But in a story where all the answers won’t be discovered by the characters when we leave them, it seems apropos.

Todd Haynes’ latest will likely be a love-or-hate it affair, but Julianne Moore and Charles Melton are stellar and very human as the emotionally odd couple with a tabloid past upon whom descends a sociopathic actress, eager to play Moore’s character in a biopic. Natalie Portman is in rare form as the subtextually moustache-twirling actress who woos and wangles her way into the couple, their family, friends, and past coworkers. Haynes’ understands the melodramatic made-for-TV subject matter and pokes fun at it, often with the help of composer Marcelo Zarvos. Even so, he balances that with the gut-wrenching honesty of the invaded couple’s emotional landscape. But balance has its downside: while the ongoing ambivalence intrigues, it also allows the film to lack a strong point of view which makes the overall effect less than fully satisfying. But Haynes does seem to make movies to be discussed; in that, he has certainly succeeded.

Cillian Murphy makes a fine anchor as the titular character, leading a host of other great performances, including an excellent Matt Damon. But the film belongs to Robert Downey Jr. who steals the show; even outshining Christopher Nolan’s writing and directing which are smart as ever, but occasionally lack focus and depth, but add to the bloated three-hour runtime. Cases in point are the mostly unnecessary (if well-played) roles of Oppenheimer’s tragic lover, who is little more than sultry and sad, and his wife, who does little more than whine and vent. They are lengthy distractions from the tale of Oppenheimer’s building the team that builds the bomb and the man who orchestrates his fall from grace. There are also some metaphoric images that are eerily similar to those Nicholas Roeg used about the bomb’s destruction in “Insignificance” nearly 50 year earlier. But Jennifer Lame’s sometimes mad editing skills and Ludwig Göransson’s thrilling score fill much of the proceedings with effective tension and Nolan, as usual, offers many spectacular sights along the way. 

“Poor Things” is a surreal reimagining of the Frankenstein ethos, though its bloated runtime stalls at times with its ambling, episodic plot and various excesses. The cast, led by a fearless Emma Stone as the creation Bella Baxter, is superlative and the production design of the quasi-steampunk world is exquisite; so is Jerskin Fendrix’s effectively bizarre score and Holly Waddington’s eye-popping costume parade. Yorgos Lanthimos’s attention-seeking, hyper-stylized direction feels appropriate for once, but its overused fisheye and peephole lens effects grow tiresome. And the script, despite many fine, funny moments, drags on—spending a little too much time on each leg of the journey and pushing the litmus test of prurience along the way. (Despite part of the tale being a woman’s realization of her physical self, many sex scenes feel gratuitous and go on ad nauseum.) Even when the tale has come full circle, we’re thrust into yet another virtually tangential (and predictable) plot string. A tighter script would have kept the story moving as quickly as Bella’s growing mind; instead, it lumbers at times, more like Bella’s slow-witted replacement. Still, the good outweighs the bad, overall.

Based on the true story of Baynard Rustin, who helped Martin Luther King Jr. and others organize the 1963 March on Washington, “Rustin” is a wholly engaging piece of entertainment. Colman Domingo gives a tour de force performance as the complicated, but determined, titular character who fights racism, homophobia and more in order to make a difference improving racial equality, human rights and democracy. But the whole cast shines—including a stellar Chris Rock as one of Rustin’s key antagonists. Excellent as well are the production values and the ambitious script that provides context and comedy to frame the central, dramatic proceedings. And bonus points for keeping it under two hours.

“Saltburn” manages some savage, on-point black humor in fits and starts, but ultimately proves a predictable rehash of material that’s been done before (and better), without relying on sophomoric shock factor. The boy of humbler means visiting the world of the ultra-rich is as old as it gets; that he’s a manipulative psychopath isn’t even new. The film does boast some terrific acting—all the more impressive, since so many characters are nearly flatliners. Successful as well are the production value and cinematography, creating a bounty of breathtaking imagery: several shots not only look gorgeous, but provide manifestations of visual metaphors; notable examples include a shot of Oliver in a virtual black void, surrounded by an excess of platters of food, and another where he is caught in creepy colored lights with literal horns on his head. Alas, these metaphors are mere decoration in a plot that treads very little new water but for contrived scenes serving only to shock; the result renders “Saltburn” a bit of a well-dressed cheap trick. Even the aspect ratio proves more gimmick than depth.

Alexander Payne’s bittersweet comedic nod to the classic American cinema of the 1970s is about as perfect as a film can get. Paul Giamatti, Dominic Sessa and Da’Vine Joy Randolph are solid gold as, respectively, an unlikeable teacher and student and the head cook who are forced to spend the winter break at their deserted New England academy. True to form, little by little, misadventures, revealed secrets and hard truths of their various lives make them all realize how human one another is…and how they are more in common than they ever knew as aching, imperfect people. It’s a bravura celebration of how we must never judge others, for we can never know their story…until they share it with us. It gets a little long in the second half, but it’s a small flaw in such an otherwise well-crafted, heartfelt film.


So, there you go. Till next time, keep patronizing the arts in whatever way you choose. It's vital to a richer and more rewarding life. Even more so in a time where divisive views are becoming more and more dangerous all around. 

Stay safe. Seek out goodness. Keep loving.



Monday, February 20, 2023


        It was near the end of the night on February 5th at the 36th annual Robby Awards when it happened. The awards recognize achievements in theater for the year just passed and the awards show included celebrity performances of songs by the late Stephen Sondheim. The penultimate award was for “Best Actor in a Drama”. Three of us from Angels in America had been nominated along with acting giants Bryan Cranston, John Rubinstein and Harry Groener. Being included in a list of names alongside those luminaries was an incredible honor and enough for me to live happily the rest of my days.

        Angels in America had been nominated for a total of ten awards and, at this late in the evening, we had won none. Not surprising, considering the amount and caliber of talent that we were up against, but I think we had all secretly hoped for at least one win. Thus, at this late hour, it looked like a bust. I think we all were stunned—no one more than I—when Rob Stevens announced the winner of the "Best Actor in a Drama" award and we heard my name. I stumbled to the stage and improvised the best expression of gratitude my reeling brain could compose.

        I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: any win of this nature is a testament to more than the person whose name ends up on the trophy or plaque: the entire cast and crew of a production work as a team to make each element the best it can be, so everyone’s success is inextricably linked. And this is true even more so in smaller scale productions—every person adds something to the mix. My performance as Roy Cohn was the result of Tony Kushner’s script, Mikey Mulhearn's direction, the support of my brilliant cast whose talent inspired and propelled my own; every person involved shares in whatever success any one us may achieve. And this award is no different; it truly is for everyone who made this production of Angels in America the unique theatrical experience that it was.

        I am so grateful for the opportunity to have played this character. To have been a part of this monumental piece of theater. And, yes, to have been recognized for it.  

“You'll find, my friend, that what you love will take you places you never dreamed you'd go.”

 Tony Kushner, Angels in America

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Angels, Gifts and Joy


Well, it’s been a while…and my apologies. But here’s to 2023 being a great year for everyone.

Now…If you want to know what I got up to since last May’s post, I have a full run-down of the year here:

Lots of great things happened, but the most recent have truly been exceptional for me.

I received two nominations for “Best Actor” for my role as Roy Cohn in “Angels In America”. These are exceptionally meaningful, since I had not been on stage for several years and the play (and the role) are monumental in scope.  The play (actually two plays) span about 7 ½ hours and the role of Roy goes from the height of his power to his tragic and horrific death.

Being cast and getting to play the role was a gift. Getting to do it surrounded by a dedicated and talented cast was a gift as well. So were the glowing reviews we received.

And then I was nominated for first a Broadway World Award and then a Robby Award. Both awards are huge in the theater world for Los Angeles.  And I am honored to be considered alongside such luminaries as Bryan Cranston, John Rubenstein and Harry Groener. Again: what a gift!

I feel very blessed. I will cherish all the gifts this production has bestowed upon me for the rest of my days.

With gratitude to all who have allowed me such joy.

May we all find more joy in the days to come.

Monday, May 2, 2022

Angels in the Wings

“Angels in America” is a monumental piece of theater. No one who sees it, ever forgets it. And no one involved in it, leaves it behind without a broken heart.

So, with our final performances anon, I write this farewell to the people who have shared this journey of the “great work” with me, to commemorate forever the impact they have had on me.

To Mikey Mulhearn, our fearless leaderand equally fearless Prior Walter: the passion and prowess you so openly shared on stage and off has been and remains inspirational.  The love you have for the transformative magic of theater is palpable and touches everyone you meet. It has touched me and changed me in profound, wonderful ways.

To Emma Maltbyour defiant, lunatic Harper (and my blathering, slurping Martin): your vibrance and artistic acuity have made working with you a treat. We may not have shared much stage time, but I’ve treasured every minute and have enjoyed our time together all these months. Seeds have been planted.

To Nathan Frizzellour ever-verbose Luis: your intrinsic charm has created a Luis that, though self-sabotaging and dogmatic, proves utterly endearing and sympathetic—a feat no other actor in the role (that I’ve seen) has ever accomplished as you have managed. What a gift. My yarmulka’ s off to you.

To Michael Mattsour wise and witty Belize, the sly Mr. Lies and the Man: you prove every performance that you can say volumes with a single phrase or look—that every moment on stage can be full of entrancing, nuanced life. Thank you for getting me into this; you are my own, personal angel!

To Sarah Flemmingour Hannah (and my dry Henry and wry Ethel Rosenberg): what a joy to get to work with such an endlessly devoted, diligent actress. Watching you dive into each role and blossom into them has been a beautiful experience. You can sing to me anytime!

To Jahel Corbán Calderaour fierce Angel, our charming Emily and Sister Ella, and our crazy Homeless Person: the innate talent and honed craft you have brought to your multiple roles has been a thrill to watch; you make each character thoroughly on-point and memorable. We have been blessed.

To Dane Larsen—my baby Joe (and my Prior 1 compatriot): sharing the stage with you has been my honor and my pleasure: you are as talented as you are warm and generous. I could not imagine anyone else I’d rather call my son. Or my friend.  You are forever “familia, now.

And to our incredible crew, who worked and continue to work tirelessly in ways that leave me in awe: you are the necessary and welcome wind that sends this ship sailing every night and I thank you.

And finally, to our audiences: I shall be ever grateful for your taking this journey with us. You are the raison d'être for it all.

I shall miss you all, terribly. But the ache will forever be outshone by the love I bear for all of you.

I think playwright Tony Kushner sums it up best:

“You are all fabulous creatures, each and every one.”


Tuesday, March 29, 2022

What Makes a Winner

History was made at the Oscars this year, but it’s probably not why you think. 

Forget Will Smith for a moment and take note of these pioneering achievements:

--Troy Kotsur became the first deaf actor ever to win “Best Supporting Actor”.

--Ariana DeBose became the first openly queer woman of color to win “Best Supporting Actress”.

--Jane Campion became the third woman in the history of the Oscars to win “Best Director”.

--“Best Picture” and “Best Adapted Screenplay”, also normally dominated by men, were both won by a woman, Sian Heder.

We must not allow these milestones to be overshadowed by one privileged man committing (and getting away with) battery on live television. While that event and all its factors and ramifications must be discussed for us to learn from, let us remember that far more good happened on that stage Sunday night. You have only to look at the list above to see that.

But I would leave you with one more. One that I think is a far better thing to share, remember and cherish as a lesson about who we should be and how we should treat others: the moment of grace, respect and care when Lady Gaga helped a struggling Liza Minnelli get through her guest appearance, offering a comforting “I got it”. 

If Will Smith showed us who we can be when we let anger and poor judgement guide our actions, Lady Gaga showed us who we can be when we allow love and kindness to guide us.

That is the lesson of the night: be like Lady Gaga. Act with love. Gentle, mindful love. 

Do that and you become a winner.

And so do we all.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Things To Look Forward To

Another December comes to an end and we all begin to wonder what the new year will bring. I think all of us are hoping for more joy than grief; more love than hate; more cooperation than contention.

I can’t foretell the future, but I can promise you a few good things that are coming your way. I’ve been involved in several projects that should be making their debuts next year.  And you will be able to see them all...


First and foremost (because it will have no shelf life) is my appearance--live on stage--as Roy Cohn in ANGELS IN AMERICA. It’s a jaw-dropping play and dream role and you won’t want to miss it. Arriving April/May for a very limited engagement.

"Angels in America" on stage!

Next, you should be able to see me as the unexpectedly psychotic biker Simon in Heroic Age Studio’s brutal new horror feature “TRICK AND TREATS”, which also features Gary Busey and the voice of Malcolm McDowell. It’s perhaps the darkest, scariest film I’ve ever done. You’ve been warned.

Gregory in "Trick and Treats"

Then there’s the feature film 16 BITS from the mind of writer/director Aaron Mento (“UGLY SWEATER PARTY”). I only have a small role, but it’s a hoot…as is the entire crazy, genre-bending film. If you’ve seen Aaron’s work, you know you’re in for a wild ride.

Gregory and Kevin Caliber in "16 Bits"

FAVORITE SON is a short thriller with an LGBTQ quotient that director Dustin Clingan (PHOTGRAPHIC MEMORY) hopes to complete in time for Outfest. I helped write it and also play one of the pivotal roles in the story’s web of deceit.

Tag line for "Favorite Son"

I also play a role in Mikey Mulhearn's short comedy ENVELOPE which will most likely be released next year as well. I play a hilariously histrionic hairdresser.

The cast of "Envelope"

And, last but not least, the 10-year anniversary cut of DEADLY REVISIONS (including cast interviews) will likely appear toward the end of the year. I’m especially thrilled with the new cut and think it’s going to be something you'll want to add to your collection.

"Deadly Revisions"

So there you go. Things to look forward to in 2022.

Till, then, all the best and Happy New Year!


Sunday, November 28, 2021

To Help Us Survive

I feel a great sense of loss at the departure of Stephen Sondheim. His mastery of the musical theater medium may arguably be unparalleled in our age. Certainly the breadth of his works is incomparable. And not just the volume, but the diversity. From murderous barbers to marriage foibles, from the death of vaudeville to the birth of East/West relations, from the aspirations of artists to the rancor of society’s disenchanted, Sondheim’s works have gone places no other composer/lyricist has gone.

Yet, within these esoteric subjects and intellectual musings, he has created some of the most beautiful music of our time. “Send in the Clowns”, “No One is Alone”, “Not While I’m Around” and so on.  Songs singers love to sing. To record. To share.

My first memory of hearing Sondheim was a television special called “Musical Comedy Tonight". Carol Burnett sang “The Ladies Who Lunch” which fascinated me; Bernadette Peters and Richard Chamberlain did “Barcelona”; and Sandy Duncan banged out “Another Hundred People”—a song that thrilled me like nothing ever before. Then I saw the original Broadway production of “Sweeney Todd” and I was obsessed. I never knew a score could be so complex. Then, by sheer chance, I got the original Broadway cast recording of “Merrily We Roll Along”. It was that album that cemented my love for this master of the art. The way the score itself worked backwards—like the actual plot—gave me unending lessons in composition and the mechanics of musicals. Not to mention songs that give me chills forever more. “Our Time”, “Not a Day Goes By”, “Franklin Shepard Inc.”. And that original ending. That gut-punch, ugly-cry ending.

Then it was “Follies”, “Anyone Can Whistle”, “Pacific Overtures” and on and on. Each show having moments of such magic; treasures that make my life all the richer for having heard them. I’ll never forget watching ”Sunday” from “Sunday in the Park With George” on the Tony Awards. I had no idea what the show was about. But I heard it was by Sondheim, so I figured it had to be worthy. And by the time the number ended and the painting was complete, I was shaking. Jaw dropped. Unable to move. Had I really just witnessed a theatrical representation of the creation of a famous painting? How did anyone even conjure up that idea? And to manifest it in such a visually clear way in synch with such a beautiful, stirring song?

That is the genius of Sondheim. With full props to his manifold collaborators, surely. Because theater is a collaborative art; “no one acts alone”. But to have a score that can stand so perfectly and solidly on its own is a marvelous, magical thing. And to create a lifetime of them and provide the world with “so much stuff to sing” is one of the greatest gifts I can imagine.

There’s a moment in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s recent film version of “tick, tick...BOOM!" where the main character, in the middle of a musical homage to “Sunday”, faces Bernadette Peters and puts his hands over his heart as if he cannot keep it inside for the love and respect he bears for her. It’s a callback to her gesture in the show being honored, sure. But it’s a perfect visual representation of the emotions I bear for Sondheim and the gift he gave to me.

“Look at all the things you gave to me”.

To all of us.

Farewell, “Old Friend”. You never knew me. But you have been some of the best “company” I have had. You helped "make me alive". And I will sing and celebrate your songs as long as I have breath within me. 

Till the days go by.


Monday, November 8, 2021

The Importance of Appreciating the Moment

Don’t worry: I’m not gonna get all “mystic guru” or anything. There has been a glut of folks yammering on about “being in the moment” in western culture as we slowly realize the value of each moment for what it’s worth. It’s a good thing to be aware of, but not a good thing to over-analyze or spend too much time thinking about; it pretty much invalidates the whole concept of noticing and accepting a moment if you’re engaged in picking it apart.

But here’s something I have learned…or re-learned as I was struck by two things. The first was my lack of offering a blog post for so long. That prompted me to wonder what I had been so busy doing that I neglected this aspect of my creative content output. The second was, as is my November/December routine, going through the year to see what I had accomplished to layout in my annual review I share on the “History” pages of my website. 

Here’s what I discovered.

I had some very busy periods…and some periods where it seemed I was not as “productive”. But notice those quotation marks. I think it’s important to recognize that you can be very productive without having a physical result to show for it. This is what vacations and other forms of time off, rest and relaxation and so on are all about: it’s productive for your body and mind to take time to recharge. To review. To ponder. To sift through or let go of things. And I think we’re realizing that more and more. Life is not all about achieving external things; it’s about achieving internal things as well.

So, what I came to realize was that I had problem…and maybe you have it, too. I felt a great sense of satisfaction and worth when I was busy and active achieving external goals but felt significantly less of that when I was “having” time off. Notice those quotation marks, again. What I wanted to say was “enjoying”. But I wasn’t exactly enjoying the time when I wasn’t working. I felt antsy. Guilty. Wondered about my worth to others. And the double-edged sword was: when I was crazy busy, I often pined for some time off…and when I had the time, I pined for work.

So, here’s the point of all of this. I think it’s important to learn to enjoy and embrace the moment you are in, regardless of whether it’s filled with externally “productive” activity or not. If we can learn to appreciate who and where we are—in each moment—we will live much happier, peaceful lives inside. And I think, how we feel inside translates to the outside world through our mood, our attitude, and our behavior: the more peace and joy we have inside, the more peace and joy slips out and is shared with others. And, as we move into the season that touts being all about peace and joy, that seems like a good thing to remember and to try to manifest.

So, appreciate the moment: whether it’s busy or not, challenging or not, you’ll never have the chance to embrace it again. Breath it in.

Now, let’s all sing Kumbya.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Sharing my Tools

A colleague of mine, filmmaker Jason Horton, asked if I’d be interested in creating a series of videos about some aspect of filmmaking that he could host on his YouTube channel. I was honored and said “Yes!” before realizing I might not have anything new to say.

But maybe the way I said it would resonate with someone. Or maybe I’d reach people who hadn’t heard some of these ideas before. In other words, if I did some good for anyone, it would be worth it.

So I did.

I decided to focus on writing—specifically screenwriting, since I do consulting for folks on that front. I thought I’d share some basic tools to help people make their writing a little better—even after a single video.

So, if you’d like to take a look, feel free. Some of the tips and tools are specific to screenwriting, but many of them are usable for all writing--including email, blogs and other prose.

The series is called ”Tools, Not Rules” and can be found on Jason Horton’s YouTube channel—which is full of great content for filmmakers.

The introduction is here:

Enjoy. And feel free to leave a comment!

And for tons of other great filmmaking stuff, visit Jason's YouTube channel:

Oh...and if you're interested in my screenplay consulting, check out

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Keep Pushing

Long ago,                 Today, 
trying to fit in         being myself

When I started to try to get film roles, no one wanted me. I didn’t fit any brand. I wasn't tall enough, pretty enough, bulky enough. Back then there just wasn’t a cornucopia of roles for off-beat, quirky 20-somethings. So, I did background work. Some people love background work; I find it tedious and unfulfilling.

I finally got a few meaty roles in a few independent projects and, after years of that, landed an agent. Through him I got a nice recurring role on TV One’s “Love That Girl”—a perfect fit for my off-beat, quirky look and style. We all thought this was the beginning of a new trajectory in television. But, what we both learned, eventually, was that off-beat, quirky roles remained far rarer than the hunky, handsome heroes and winsome pretty boys that make up the bulk of male roles in film. The competition for the few crumbs was fierce and the roles often went to "known" names.

That’s changed a bit in the last decade or so with the explosion of new entertainment platforms creating a much wider variety of material—often aimed at niche markets. Sure, hunky handsome heroes and winsome pretty boys remain at the top of the food chain, but there are a lot more opportunities for those of us outside that domain of pedestrian pulchritude: those of us who fit in with Steve Buscemi more than Tom Cruise.

I’ve been fortunate enough to find directors, producers and audiences for my unique brand. But it took years—decades, in fact—and I’ve still got more to do.  The point of all this to remind any of you pursuing this careeror any career in entertainment or the arts—that this is a long game and there are many ups and downs. So my advice would be to tell you to enjoy whatever you can, wherever you are and (as the title of this entry spoils) keep pushing forward.

Best of luck on your journey!