Week 38: The Poetry of Mason Looms

[Thanks muy mucho to Mr. Max Livingstone for shooting this one, all stealthy-like.  Couldn’t have done it without you, my friend.  The moral support was as important as the camera work.]

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I’ve been wanting to do this episode for a long time.  It was probably one of the earlier concepts I came up with.  It just, somehow, never seemed to line up, though.  Either I was ready to do it, but there were no open mic nights happening, or I was waffling about what character I wanted to do it as.  Also, originally, I’d planned on writing and memorizing a piece.  When I finally decided that this was the week to go for it, though,  I wanted to start fresh.

I decided to start from scratch, character-wise.  My main inspiration was a friend of mine when he’s drunk (he’s fairly bi-polar), and my secondary influence was Bill Hicks (who was a hero of mine).  So I started working on that.  Then I started working out his backstory (his education, where he’s from, what his day to day is), and as I did, it started to become clearer that this was the type of guy to go into an open mic night and just start speaking from his gut.  Great, I thought, I won’t have to write or memorize anything.

When it came down to it, this was terrifying.  I hemmed and hawed all day, trying to come up with an excuse to back out.  I tried to sabotage myself by showing up extremely late (so I probably wouldn’t get on the list).  I mean, as I’ve said before, I don’t want this project to be a Borat type of deal, and I don’t like lying to people or tricking them in any way.  It just makes me uncomfortable.  So there’s that, plus the idea that I was going to go up in front of these people and I have no idea what I’m going to say… I was really nervous about it.

It wasn’t until I got there and realized that they were almost through their list, and it was now or never, that I sucked it up.  I dropped into my character, and I just went.  It was scary, but it was really fun and freeing.  I felt safe in the character.  I couldn’t fuck up, really, because the character was just making it up as he went, too.  As long as I stayed in character, there were no mistakes.  I mean, I have no idea what the hell that Leslie Nielsen bit was about, but hell with it, Mason didn’t know either.

I really had worked a construction job that day, and I decided to use all of that.  I just decided not to change and just show up filthy, ragged, and smelly to see what happened.  Nobody at the bar was in on it.  Max shot it with my tiny point-and-shoot still cam (that happens to shoot 720p30).  When I was done, I left the stage, knocked over a music stand, and just kept going out the door.  Kind of a dick move, but it’s definitely what Mason would have done.

In the end, it was like ripping off a band-aid, and I’m really glad I did it.

From an editing stand-point, this is the second easiest 50in50 ever, which is fantastic.  I recognize that this episode is a little longer than usual, and it’s certainly a different format, but in a way I think this is much more in the spirit of the project than a lot of the episodes I’ve done.  It’s not about the editing or the writing, it’s about the acting and character work.  More process-oriented, and less product-oriented.  Back to basics.

So, I’ve got one more week in NY before I head to South Carolina to do a playwright’s summit for two weeks (as an actor, not as a writer).  I’m going to try to keep busting these out, but we’ll see what happens in S.C.  Regardless, I’ll be back next week with something fun for you, so come on back now.

Hope the world is treating you well,

Brent  6.4.10  1.07am

~ by 50in50 on June 4, 2010.

2 Responses to “Week 38: The Poetry of Mason Looms”

  1. i like!

  2. Balls of Steel, my friend. Balls of steel.

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