Episode 3: Al Griffin Goes Outside

Change things up a little?  Don’t mind if I do.

(For a better viewing experience click on the HQ button once the video starts.)

(Big ups to Dylan Ricards for manning the camera on this little adventure.  Much appreciated, my friend.)

This one was actually a lot of fun to do, believe it or not.  Much more so than last week, and I’ve got to think it’s because I did more work on the character before we started shooting.  (First off, if you’re interested, read the entry called “How To Handle This?” for a look into some of the changes that occured while prepping for this character.)  So, after I lost my “bit”, I was suddenly wondering, “What the hell is this character going to DO tomorrow?”  So I decided to do a bit of old, tried and true, actor homework: I wrote his bio.  Here is a snippet, if you’re interested:

Al Griffin biography

Al was born and raised in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn.  He is currently 35 years old.  He was a frail child.  His father left at the beginning of his mother’s 3rd trimester.  They have seen each other three or four times throughout Al’s life, but those situations are always uncomfortable at best.  His father beat his mother, savagely, which his mother described to him, during his youth.  These stories, and an incident he witnessed when his dad “paid a surprise visit” traumatized him.  He was an only child, and his mother, a Brooklyn accident lawyers’ assistant, was incredibly overbearing, overprotective, and cloying, as he was all that she had.  She died three years ago, to the day, of congestive heart failure.  Since then, Alan has continued to live in their small Windsor Terrace apartment by himself.  He has considered getting a cat, but is afraid that if he were to die suddenly, the cat might starve to death.

He is an incredible recluse.  He transcribes surveys at home for a living, part-time, and has been living off of his inheritance for the last three years.  That money will run out soon; he doesn’t know what he will do when it does.

There you have it.  Or there I had it, rather.  After writing that, I pretty much knew what I was going to do.  He was originally going to go out to get flowers to put on his mother’s grave, but then I thought better of it.  It almost felt sadistic to do it, but if I’d created an agoraphobic who is terrified of people, where is the last place in the world he would want to go?  Yeah, I pretty much had to make him go to Times Square.  It couldn’t be random, though, because Al would NEVER go to Times Square unless he felt he absolutely had to.  The answer, again, was in his bio.  I decided that Peanut M&M’s was his mom’s favorite food (before she died of heart failure), and she was looking forward to the opening of the Times Square M&M’s store like it was the second coming of Christ.  She told him they would have the best M&M’s in the world.  This is his yearly pilgrimage.

What did I learn?
-Baked sweet potato with fried eggs on top is delicious!  Even with ketchup on it.  That was something I’d never done before, and it was entirely for the character, but I actually really enjoyed it, and will probably make it again some time.
-There is no substitute for doing your homework.  Writing the bio was absolutely key, as was spending an hour or so walking around my house as him.  Doing the work greatly increases your chances of success.

Alright, it’s 6:06am, and I’m supposed to wake up in an hour and a half.  Another cracked-out Wednesday for me.

Hope you enjoyed.  I’d love your feedback.

-Brent  4.15.09  6.06am

~ by 50in50 on April 15, 2009.

12 Responses to “Episode 3: Al Griffin Goes Outside”

  1. That was great! So awkwardly perfect and sad. the background story really helps the overall feel of it.

  2. Very well done, Brent! I definitely thought this video was quite impressive and is a marked improvement over your last offering (which I felt was a bit contrived and forced). It’s remarkable that you were able to evoke so many conflicting thoughts, feelings and emotions of the character without ever uttering a single word. You really got inside said character and I was thoroughly convinced that you “became” Griffin in terms of both physicality and personality. I’m looking forward to future videos; keep up the good work!

  3. I love this one. I felt like I wanted to give him a hug. And great editing again. Looking forward to next week!

  4. Brunch at Brent’s house! Good job!

  5. I really liked today’s episode. Definitely my favorite so far. Big but still grounded. And really sweet. I didn’t know what was coming and I thought the idea was great.

  6. Lovely! I think Al says more with his silence than the previous characters said with their words.. very evocative. Your breakfast left me wondering if he always starts yolk-first.

  7. I really loved this. The hilarious moment with the tape at the beginning and then to be brought to a place where I was truly sad at the end. Your character work really shows. And I finally watched the first week too. Really great work Brent. I can’t wait to see what you come up with next.

  8. Terrific job. It’s like 100 years of stories and living boiled down to a few minutes. Love it. :) Thanks so much for doing this and doing it so well. Wish I knew a few deep pockets…

  9. Brent this is great – you certainly know how to evoke anxiety and panic from your character, and make the audience experience it as well. Bravo.

  10. I’m such an asshole. I read the entry before watching, and I think I should’ve watched first. Spelling out “MOM” was effing hilarious, as was the tape scene in the beginning. And sorta plausible, too.

  11. Great video again. Because I just found your website (through http://www.ehrensenf.de) I first saw the movies and know I am taking the time (at a place where I shoudln’t, I know, bad bad bad) to read everything you have written down and also the comments, and I must say, it helps to understand the story much more. And somehow know knowing the background I fell sorry for him.

    I will also try the potato and engs breakfast :)

    I am looking forward for more…

    PS: Should you ever go to Berlin, Germany, let me help you with anything you need…

  12. Brenny-ent, I think this is one of my favorites. You were entirely transported into this weird pasty mustache that is a long way from your own galaxy. It was a super-awesome episode, and the m&m spelling pretty much killed me. I’m dead now, thanks a lot. Prick.

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