Better Than the Dream

This last week has been a blur of VFX work and True Blood season 4 episodes. It’s been: Get home from work, work on effects for a couple of hours, and eat dinner while humans commiserate about how bad vampires are and vampires commiserate about how doggone adorbs Sookie Stackhouse is. That’s a great show.

Pre-production and production blogging are always a lot more action oriented. During all stages of post production I tend to get a little more theory driven and blog about what I’ve been pondering while desk-bound. This week’s personal revelation revolves around how creating The Platoon of Power Squadron and self releasing it online has given me an extraordinary opportunity to do exactly the kind of storytelling I’m interested in. Sounds pretty self explanatory, right? But I’m working on a passion project in front of an audience without ever having had to work my way up. The conventional industry proving ground is rife with entertainers working their way up. Actors especially have to work in projects of questionable quality just to get some credits on their resume. And a guy like me? Forget about it. When I was auditioning in L.A., I basically got called in for three character types: Stoners, geeks, or pedophiles on cop shows. The third one only happened a few times, but the fact that it happened more than once was an eyebrow raiser. I started acting because I wanted to be a plucky hero or a dangerous antihero. Nobody gets into acting because they’re dying to be a pedophile brought in for questioning on the way toward meeting a more interesting criminal. But I cheated. I started my own internet series. Terrible quality at first, but better by leaps and bounds with every episode. It became good enough to get a really kickass audience going. Now, I’m my own antihero, the kind of character I’ve always wanted to play, a sarcastic wise guy with unspeakable power and a dark past. Ten years ago I probably never would have gotten to play this part to an audience. I just don’t look the part. Actually, ten years ago I DID play this part as a wisecracking serial killer living in suburbia with two girls in a show I made called Mr. Massacre and the Debutantes. We even had an audience and everything. It ran on our local cable access channel to an audience of about 15 people: Our parents, some people from my church, some of the girls’ friends from school, and one guy I’d never seen before who dropped by the video store I worked at to tell me he liked the show. Cable access, man. We used to sit there and watch the TV Guide channel scroll by to see the title of our show next to ACTUAL TV SHOWS. It’s a whole different ball game now. Now we’ve got a much larger audience that cares about us enough to give us an actual budget. I’m finally getting the chance to see myself be an antihero in style, with a filmic depth of field and a whole bunch of strangers all over the world willing to talk to me about it. Thanks, internet. You’re the badassest.

On the flip side of working-your-way-up, I always thought it would have been fun to have a shot at making a Roger Corman-style first feature. I would have really liked to have a Piranha II: The Spawning of my very own. I guess Mr. Massacre is my cable access Piranha II. Speaking of the man who would be Cameron, let’s take a look at the trailer for the film he brought us before he was the box office king of the world with Terminators, Titanics, and T… Avatars. [Apparently, this copy was ripped off a Swedish VHS, which explains the subtitles and the alternate subtitle, Flying Killers. Doesn’t make it any less fun though.]

Thanks for reading.

–Jarvi

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