Twitter

I’ve taken a break from Twitter for a while. This means unfollowing everyone. I am using Twitter Lists, though, so I am keeping track of events as they occur.

I have opened up my Direct Messages, and will respond to DMs (following the golden rule, of course).

Engage!

For the longest time, I have wanted to be a B-list celebrity.

I get a kick out of being recognised as “that guy” from a play or a television commercial, but I would not want my face plastered across the front page of the newspaper (or Buzzfeed, he said, bringing his references up to date) after a rough night out. A B-list celebrity would also have a day job to keep them busy.

I do not think it is possible to have a normal life as an A-list star, not to mention the stress and invasion of privacy for family and close friends. And there is always the past that people remember too well. I have done innumerable embarrassing things, most of which would make you cringe.

Nevertheless, I have pursued, mostly as a hobby, a life in the performing arts. My deal is comedy, and making people laugh.

Last weekend I took part in a workshop, run by Peter Skagen, called Audition Hell. For two days, I and eight other people were taken through the business and on-camera sides of life as an actor.

Incidentally, per year, actors earn about as much as I did as a teacher in South Africa in 2005, if you account for exchange rates. It is not a glamorous job by any means, unless you are “noticed” and then make it big.

I am almost 40 and still very much unknown, so I decided to stop hanging around street cafés, and do something about it.

This Monday, I have my first ever photo shoot. It costs a lot of money, but you get 150 photos taken of you, and then three are selected and made into your official headshot. Peter will be on hand to help out.

As I learned in the workshop, the headshot is critical to sell your “brand”. Are you a suave and sophisticated leading man? Are you a thug? Many foreigners (to American audiences) are cast as villains or “redshirts”, and the occasional few become comic sidekicks.

Which brings up another aspect to this whole ordeal: the Standard American accent. No one speaks it except in the movies and on television. My accent is all over the place, thanks to the Randburg accent (where I grew up), the Mondeor accent (from my mother and her siblings), and the Received Pronunciation of my father’s family, though he spoke in a standard Johannesburg English accent, as he was born there.

Now that we live in Canada, our accents have the rhotic R and it sounds awful and now I perfectly understand why Charlize Theron started speaking in Standard American all the time and oh my goodness my accent is awful.

I am a good mimic. I can do a passable Jack Nicholson or Malcolm McDowell, and even some cartoon characters. I am really good, but only for a couple of lines. Then the Seff Effriken comes out and I sound like Simon Baker on The Mentalist when he is talking fast. To my ear, my Standard American accent is horrible. I plan to take lessons to fix that.

An even bigger hurdle for me is being on-camera. My first love (after teaching) is being on stage. I have played the leading man in a two act comedy, and I can do the funny character in a drama. As I mentioned previously, I enjoy making people laugh, and a lot of that is in physical comedy.

On camera, it is way too big. Michael Caine, in his acting class video, points out that it is all in the eyes. In my theatre background, my whole body conveys the message. I really have to learn to pull in my performances to the point where, in Peter’s words, I am boiling on the inside but calm on the outside. That intensity is what people look for in the eyes.

During the workshop, we had several opportunities to practise in front of the camera, and even in my final piece which I reviewed last night (without audio because I hate my voice), I noticed that my actions, while expressive, were still too big for the scene. I plan to work on that too.

This post is my official notice that I am going to do something about this acting bug. I do not want to stop singing in the Calgary Men’s Chorus (for six months of the year), nor stop acting on stage for three months of the year, because the feedback is immediate and I thrive on that energy.

I am however going to do this other thing. This scary thing. This terrifying thing. This thing where you are stripped of the theatrical side, and the only reason you are believable is because no one can tell that you are acting.

Where Is Your Pride?

In late 2000 or early 2001, I joined the Johannesburg PRIDE 2001 Organising Committee. I’ve written about my experiences of that year already.

This post is something different, but related. Imagine you’re scanning your receipts for 2013 and 2014, and you accidentally move a PDF file to the wrong folder. Then you decide to sort that folder by file size, to see if there’s anything large that can be deleted, because you haven’t been in there for years.

Now, imagine that you happen across a Zip file called “Original sapride.org site.zip”.

I took over the hosting of the Pride website in 2001, and incorporated the content from 1999 and 2000 as best I could. But now, for the first time since 2001, the original PRIDE 2000 website is live again, albeit at a different URL: pride.org.za.

Please relive the history with me.

Retiring an email address

I have been forced to retire rpotter@e-llusion.co.za due to the incredible amount of spam that it receives. While most of this ends up safely in my spam folder, eliminating the address will stop almost 600 spam emails a week from existing.

If you want to send me email, don’t do it on that address 🙂

Just doing my part.

The early 90s were not good to me

There’s a period of around 18 months in the early 1990s, in my life, that had a profound effect on me. I am building up the courage, remembering all the pieces, and I’m going to write it down.

It may also have coloured the memory of my father, because of his reaction and my reaction to that. I know I wasn’t to tell my mother, and my father died three years later anyway.

We have deep-seated issues that can affect our lives decades into the future. This is one example.

I haven’t decided if I’ll post it on my blog yet. I think my two Moleskines and the copy of Scrivener are about to get some action.

Wish me not luck, but peace of mind. A very scared 14 year old boy needs to smile again.

Website moved again

I’ve gone for a clean slate on rabryst.ca, this site’s official new home, after having merged and migrated my ancient website and sister blog into xqrx.com/pop. Of course that /pop/ subdirectory was meant to be temporary, and now I have a redirect file that is longer than my arm.

Nevertheless, I felt it was time to have everything in one place, with a new URL (all previous URLs should redirect magically), and no subdirectories.

Welcome, even though you should technically have never left.

Happy New Year!

Regular followers will recognise the date of 22 May as the first day of the Smiters of Iniquity calendar year.

As I mentioned last year on the Smiters’ forum, I will be naming the months of the year after disciples as they die, in honour of the memory left by Ian when he died, and his mostly carbon life form became more mostly carbon, due to the fact that he no longer has as much water in his system, a side effect of being dead.

Henceforth, the start of the calendar will be known as Glory Hole Day, and the month will be known as Ian. 7.1.1 begins now.