Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Wanna Become A Producer? All You Need Is A Buck.

Making a movie can both liberate and obliterate you. It’s why Zach Braff decided to go around the studios to make his second film, and if you’ve been following his Kickstarter campaign, it’s downright astonishing. He gave himself a month to raise $2 million to make the film, and wound up receiving $1.5 million in the first day. A week later, and he’s passed $2.2 mil. (In an interview he said he really needs more than that to make it happen.) The key is in how well he crafted his Kickstarter page (check it out here), which included the video embedded above. Brilliant.

Monday, April 29, 2013

This Weekend In Rage.

When it comes to my neighbors using the washer and dryer we share, I’m like a complaining shark. I have to keep complaining forward.

I only share the machines with one other unit, and over the years most of the tenants really know how to make Hulk mad. There was the dude that literally did laundry 24/7 even though he wore the same shit every day, and the couple that would leave wet clothes in the washing machine for four days, then wonder why the machine was rusty. Pardon me while I run it by Bill Nye the Science Guy.

Meanwhile, when I do laundry it’s like a damn military extraction. One load a week. 90 minutes and I get the eff out of Fallujah.

A new couple moved in a year ago, so I decided to try a passive aggressive, preemptive strike by telling them about the previous tenants screwing me royally with the washer/dryer. For a year, the new couple were like well-trained puppies. Then over the weekend they pissed all over my couch.

The machines ran from Friday evening through yesterday afternoon. At one point, for some reason they did a load of just four teddy bears (perhaps to wash the blood of out them), even though they don’t have kids. The major problem was, I had a big workshop Sunday morning in front of seven casting directors, in which I needed to dress in a suit, but thanks to last week’s shoot, two auditions and a callback that all required me to wear suits, I was all out of black socks. So I went to the workshop yesterday in a dark suit with white socks. Klassy.

Quick audition tip – unless your scene calls specifically for you to sit, choose to stand. It creates much better energy. Yesterday’s workshop scene involved me playing a doctor in the middle of a consultation, so I rehearsed it sitting, then realized that revealed my white socks, so I stood when I performed it. In this particular workshop, the casting directors provide critiques, which are later emailed to us. Below are mine. Pay particular attention to one of them:

“Really good body language, great look, nice comedic timing, very funny delivery, fascinating to watch but would like to see scene sitting, great job, good levels.”

Yep. I guess what I’m trying to say is: next week, if my neighbors ask you if you know anything about someone throwing a cup of bleach into their colored wash, you saw nothing.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Want A Luxury Car?

Just drive what you’ve got to Torrance, CA.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Did They Recently Purchase The Weather, Too?

In Burbank the other day, this was the “city” that appeared on my iPhone weather app.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Malpractice.

I like to think I’m proof that women and men can pretend to be friends.

And I’ll put my dating knowledge up anytime against Dr. Alex Benzer, who a few years ago wrote an article urging people not to date actors. Dr. Benzer, a self-proclaimed pussy hound (he’s gone out with “enough” actresses), offered up nine reasons why dating us is a bad idea. My rebuttal:

1. Actors are financially unstable. If we are, it’s only because we choose to be. Any one of us could have easily leaned into the pitch and taken the first job offered back in our hometowns. But instead, we chose to invest in ourselves and follow our dreams. And we bust our asses bartending and waiting tables because that’s what we have to do to fund our mission. And by the way, I’m an actor, and I live a block from the beach and my credit rating is 850, ace.

2. Actors are in a state of perpetual emergency. Seems more like perpetual excitement to me. When I find out I’ve gotten a callback, saliva leaks from the corners of my smile. Oh, and you contradict yourself by saying a guy feels left high and dry because an actress has an audition. Don’t you want her to book the role and be financially stable? It’s a real chin-scratcher.

3. Actors have funny schedules. She might not be around because she’s in a theater production, or away on a shoot? Suck it up, you codependent pussy.

4. They are constantly exposed to rejection, hurting their self esteem. Yeah, and they develop a thick skin about it, because they knew coming into this business that it was loaded with rejection. Seems to me Dr. Fugly doesn’t like being rejected by his myriad actress girlfriends.

5. They are in constant danger of being criticized publicly and therefore feel insecure. Don’t date an actress because some tabloid might take a swipe at her? That’s a reason? Even if it were true, I’ve dated one or two or ten chicks with crazy-low self esteem. None of them were actresses.

6. Their self-absorption leaves little room in their lives for others. Getting a little repetitive here, “doctor.” You say because she’s in a constant state of emergency, she won’t have time to be understanding and patient. Guess us guys better rule out dating female cops, firefighters, doctors, reporters, corporate execs, PR execs and military personnel. Leaves few options, but not to worry – chicks dig repetitive assholes with mutton chops.

7. They are incapable of sustained, deep happiness. Um, you can’t throw a punch without hitting a miserable person. 99% of the people with whom that punch connects aren’t actors.

8. Their satisfaction is externally determined. You think an actor’s whole way of existence is about expression rather than introspection? No one knows themselves better than actors. And I’ll date someone who has the self awareness to pursue a dream over someone who doesn’t, and is later racked with regret. That is one cold spinster.

9. They inhabit a perceived state of permanent decline. Actresses hate getting old? Unlike the rest of us, who are positively thrilled to age. Speaking of which, what are you hiding under that douchey hat, Doc?

Here’s the bottom line: I’ll admit as actors we’re all a little broken. We can be needy and lack confidence. But people can have those qualities no matter the profession. These traits happen to be more out in the open with famous people.

How about before judging someone, you walk a mile in his shoes? Unless he wears those shoes that look like feet. Then judge away.

So to everyone out there: feel free to date an actor. Just don’t date a crazy one.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Fight, Fight, Fight For Maryland!


Please be careful – emailing while driving is a leading cause of accidental reply-alls.

Though it is a nifty excuse. My friend Jeff passed along a story about a girl from my alma mater, the University of Maryland, who’s in Delta Gamma, the sorority across the street from my fraternity. She recently went kablooie in an email sent to her sorority sisters, and it got out nationally. It seemed funny and harmless enough, until one of my favorite actors, Michael Shannon, decided to read the letter in character. Click above.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Our Weekend Shoot: An iPhone™ Photo Gallery.

We shot outside a home in Burbank, where the next-door neighbors decided to throw the white-trashiest garage sale in the morning. An old guy wandered over to our camera package, put his hands on his hips and said, “How much?”

A “ballbuster” is film-set slang for a 35-lb. sandbag. At one point, the key grip asked for a couple of ballbusters, and without missing a beat, one of the crew pointed at the two broads running the garage sale and said, “They’re right over there.”

My SUV was used as the hero car. It can fit seven passengers comfortably, or five smelly teamsters rather uncomfortably.

Click on this pic for my panoramic point-of-view, right before I acted in a scene. While the sunlight cooperated all day, the neighborhood noise did not, so Bru offered a landscaper full access to our craft service table if he would just stop running his damn leaf blower. He did.

One of my favorite casts ever. Playing my dad, Jeff Harlan (I blogged about my man crush on him recently); my girlfriend, played by Katie Von Till (who is right now the fourth-ever voice of Snow White); me (slovenly, because I’d just removed the lav mic that ran into my pants and forgot to tuck my shirt in); and my mom, played by Loanne Bishop (soap opera star who just appeared in an episode of “Mad Men.”)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Weekend Recap.

Automotive tip: if your Stingray is in need of a rear bumper, casually placed rags will do in a pinch… Woman at my gym: “I’m having the worst day.” Me: “It’s 8:30 in the morning”… More than a brush with fame: my friend Chad’s girlfriend works at a vet hospital near Jupiter, FL, and got a rash on her arm from Tiger Wood’s dog. Still beats what she could have contracted from Tiger himself… CNN is my new favorite sitcom… To all you super stable chicks who are tweeting how hot you think Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is: before you propose to him, keep in mind, your soon-to-be husband looks to be such a pussy that he’ll give up any info the FBI needs in about 90 seconds. Nonetheless, congratulations. Let me know where you’re registered.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Friday, April 19, 2013

Appearing In A Fly New Window Near Burbank.

Anybody have plans to stare at their phone someplace exciting this weekend?

I do – from the set of a shoot for something I wrote with my friends Aina and Bru. Aina is producing, Bru is directing and I’ll be acting. And so will my SUV, which got a fresh, new, albeit temporary window tinting so it can be reflective for filming purposes. Cops will hate my ass til Monday, which is fine. I’ll hate them a whole lot longer.

After one of the shittier weeks in American history, let’s all have a kickass weekend, okay? Okay.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I Went To An LA Freeway And A Philadelphia Broke Out.

The only thing more satisfying than removing a splinter is unsubscribing from an email list.

Oh, and seeing showbiz being conducted right here in Hollywood. On the 405 Freeway yesterday I turned to my right, and did a quick double-take before realizing the Philadelphia fire truck and ambulance were on their way to a set. LOVE it.

My only regret was not having Ricky with me, who I assume would have howled at that ambulance with an appropriate Philly accent.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How To Inconspicuously Take An iPhone Photo Of A Hilarious Guy In A Restaurant.

Even if the open shirt and medallion aren’t your thing, you still gotta admire his commitment to this hairstyle.

Okay, here’s how it’s done: turn the iPhone camera on, hold the phone down by your side as if you’re just strolling through the joint, aim it at goofy 70s relic guy, and press down either of the volume buttons on the side, like so:
Point. Shoot. Upload. Trade ‘em with friends. You’re welcome.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Time For A Rerun.

Really bad shit happens in this world. It’s why my favorite drinking game is making it through the day.

The number of tragedies lately could lead you to believe the bad now outweighs the good, but I’m positive it doesn’t. I still know most people are inherently kind, and what happened in Boston yesterday doesn’t sway me from still feeling exactly what I felt when I posted this last summer:

Check it out, and better yet, check out the link inside the link, featuring 25 random acts of kindness, including the pic above, shot in Rio. See? People are awesome.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The La Brea Tar Pits: An iPhone™ Photo Gallery.

“Brea” is Spanish for tar, which makes the name of this place the redundant equivalent of wearing a belt and suspenders to hold up your trousers.

Or just ask a married fella.

I would love to have this animatronic saber-tooth cat attacking a sloth in my living room. Why? Two words: the ladies.

You’re an animal who gets stuck in tar. Other animals attack you, kill you, and your remains stay trapped in the tar for 11,000 years, until finally, one day, what’s left of you is liberated. And put right into salsa jars.

Before you think it’s sweet that I’m holding my nephew in the reflection of this sabre-tooth cat exhibit, keep in mind if that cat came to life Night at the Museum style, I wouldn’t hesitate to use my nephew as a human shield.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

F Them.

Unfortunately for a certain online company, I have off-road rage, too.

I blogged about my credit card being stolen last month, which was a major pain in the ass. Yesterday, I received a letter from Shoplet.com, saying:

“We recently learned of a security incident that resulted in the disclosure of the credit card information, names and addresses associated with your account.” 

And then:

“As a valued customer, we would like to offer you 10% off your next order with Shoplet.com.” 

These bullshitters didn’t notify me out of the kindness of their hearts – they were required to by law. But then to offer me a whole 10% of another purchase as their way of saying sorry? Just wait ‘til I call I them on Monday (yep – closed all weekend. Their security department is only outdone by their customer service department). I promise it’ll get ugly.

I’d also like to ask everyone out there to go one better than them (11%?) in appeasing me by never, ever buying something on their site. Especially if you’re fond of your current credit card digits.

Shoplet.com – as a valued website, I would like to offer you a 100% boycott.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Get Your Butt To LA, Part 54: Once Again, Learn To Speak Actor.

Some days, it feels like life sent an email with all the instructions, but it went straight to Spam.

I’m here to help. When you move out here, and get an agent to represent you, here are a few terms that’ll help you appear to be an instant pro:

On avail. After you audition and then receive a callback, you may get a call from your agent telling you you’re “on avail.” This means you’re one of the favorite choices of the people who auditioned you, and you should keep your schedule free for the shoot date. Some actors think being on avail is the biggest tease in showbiz, because you can really get your hopes up only to have them go with the other actor. But man, if you’re their choice, you’ll get a dopamine rush that feels similar to having sex while holding a puppy while hitting a grand slam while eating a dry-aged porterhouse.
Used in a sentence: “Hi, we’re calling to let you know you’re on avail for “CSI.” The role shoots next Thursday.”

Theatrical. There are two types of agents, and two types of corresponding auditions: commercial agents, who handle auditions for commercials, and theatrical agents, who get you TV and movie auditions. In New York, they call theatrical agents “legit” agents. As in legitimate. As in commercial work is “illegitimate” for a real actor. As in New York can suck my legit ass.
Used in a sentence: “I just signed with a great, new theatrical agent.”

Booking out. If your agent calls you with an audition, but you can’t make it because you’ve got something else scheduled, your agent will feel just cause to punch you in the throat. That’s where booking out comes in. All agents want is for you to let them know ahead of time that you won’t be available to audition on a certain day or at a certain time, so they don’t promise casting directors you’ll be coming in and then have to renege. My agent has a voicemail set up specifically for actors to leave booking out messages, even if we’re just running into a 20-minute teeth cleaning. Do it. Landing a lunar module is easier than procuring a good agent. Don’t blow it.
Used in a sentence: IN THE FORM OF A VOICEMAIL: “Hey, this is Matt Shevin, and I need to book out from this Monday, the 22nd, through Friday the 26th.”

Pre-read. An odd, but common term. George Carlin said, “What does it mean to ‘pre-board’ a plane? You get on before you get on? ‘Place the turkey in a pre-heated oven.’ That’s ridiculous, there’s only two states an oven can possibly exist in, heated or unheated.” But this particular “pre” is justifiable. If your agent tells you your audition is a pre-read, this means it’ll be a little more relaxed in that the casting director will have actors come in and simply audition for her, as opposed to recording it and sending the video to producers. She’ll then whittle down the number of actors who came in and call them back to audition for her with the producers in the room. This is called a producer session. By the way, if you aren’t going to be put on camera, this can factor into your choice of outfit (white looks like shit on camera; gray blends into most casting offices’ walls to give you a floating head effect; and I’ve been told you chicks gauge your makeup accordingly.)
Used in a sentence: “You have an audition tomorrow for ‘Castle.’ This is a pre-read.”

Hope that helped. Have an illegitimate day.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

More Trailers For Movies I Can’t Wait To See.

I’m not against movies being a distraction during tough times. They’re absolutely necessary. What I’m opposed to are movies that appear designed to make us feel like failures as we leave the theater just because we’re unable to miraculously reverse course in our (possibly) shitty lives.

And as we approach summer, life is good, and loaded with plenty of films I’m excited about:

Mud
Main Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Michael Shannon, Sam Shepard
Premieres: April 26th
Thought: Was a huge hit at Sundance. I love Matthew McConaughey and want him doing more films like this.

  Now You See Me 
Main Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Morgan Freeman, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Michael Caine  
Premieres: May 31st
Thought: With so many of my favorite actors in it, it’s physically impossible for this suck.

Only God Forgives 
Main Cast: Ryan Gosling, Kristen Scott Thomas
Premieres: July 19th
Thought: Ryan Gosling’s last film before he takes a break from acting. It’ll be nice to move up one spot on the actor pecking order, but it still sucks to see him go.

  2 Guns 
Main Cast: Denzel Washington, Mark Walberg
Premieres: August 2nd
Thought: It’s weird nowadays to watch Lethal Weapon, knowing Mel Gibson eventually went kablooie. We need a good, new buddy cop film to cleanse the palate.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Kidspace Children’s Museum: An iPhone™ Photo Gallery.

Feel bad for us unmarried people without kids. We have no one to scream at.

Yep, we’re relegated to the shitty end of the stick: fun excursions with extended family. That said, my mom is in town, so we brought my niece and nephew to Kidspace Children’s Museum in Pasadena. I documented the afternoon:

Great poop exhibit, or the greatest poop exhibit?

Actually, I’d like to borrow a fistful of the weasel poop and force feed it to whoever stole the items from the earthquake preparedness kit.

Maybe I’m just not the Kidspace demographic, but this exhibit seemed a bit underwhelming.

Then again, things are looking up, thanks to an anonymous donor tossing a whole penny into the “Fund the Fun” box. You shouldn’t have.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Question:

Does white smoke billowing from The Habit mean we have a new Charburger Pope?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Thumbs Down.

My favorite part of working is the death that comes about twenty years afterwards.

Life goes fast; you’d better love what you do. Roger Ebert loved what he did, even after decades of seeing over twenty movies a week. I loved his show and his thoughtful writing style, and his death really bummed me out yesterday. Here in LA,

Roger would do the local pre-Oscars coverage on the red carpet, and actors had genuine affection for him. It helped that he had no qualms about telling them during interviews if he felt they’d been robbed of nominations. It was genuine, because if the man didn’t like a film, he would really tear it a new one. (My friend Ben and I will never tire of re-reading this classic.)

Comedian Patton Oswalt tweeted it perfectly yesterday: “By the way, death’s about to get a SUPER shitty review. RIP, @ebertchicago.”

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Once Again, Out-Of-Context Thank-You Notes I’ve Recently Written To Casting Directors.

• According to Amazon, customers who purchased a Segway also bought Top Gun on laser disc and a tanning bed.

• I would never cheer at a funeral. I’d do “the wave,” of course. But cheer – heck no.

• It was nice to cry in an audition, as opposed to just crying myself to sleep every night.

• Crying over a deceased wife was interesting. My married friends tend to cry while their wives are very much alive.

• It isn’t an actual joke–it’s a test run for Sarah Palin-brand refrigerator word magnets.

• According to the label, Enchilada Supreme Doritos are manufactured in a facility that also processes food.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I Translate The Best Craigslist Post Ever.

A mental disability is still a disability. So today, treat yourself to the handicapped stall.

I stumbled upon a real doozy of ambition: a guy shooting 100 feature films in 300 days, and I’m completely fascinated by it. The other night, my friends and I discussed the logistics of pulling this off. The physical impossibility of shooting, downloading, compositing and editing even one film in four days. Our conclusion: we must contact this guy and film him, and create one hell of an unintentionally funny documentary.

Allow me to break down the highlights of what this guy posted. The first being arguably my favorite:

Post: Hello I am an award winning director and excellent writer, and I will be making 100 feature films in the next 300 days. I do expect a handful of these to win Cannes and Sundance, the others will merely be entertainment with meaningful messages.
Translation: Is it egomaniacal in here, or is it just me?

Post: We will shoot about 60 - 90 pages per day, the entire film. Some films I won’t write a script at all, and you can improv.
Translation: Like falling off a log.

Post: I’d like to flood the market with meaningful films, since today most films are retrograding our society even more.
Translation: I can cure herpes.

Post: You will star in all of the films, you will get 100 IMDB credits to your name.
Translation: 100 times shit is still shit.

Post: I need for you to be available to film for the next 300 days, only apply if you are willing to give 100% for the next 300 days. You will have a contract per film, that states meals copy and credit, no monetary payment at any time.
Translation: What desperate actor doesn’t have the means to take a year off?

Post: I will output to DVD and do the poster art, submit to Amazon.com for purchase.
Translation: Purchase 100 piece-of-shit movies, and you’re eligible for FREE super saver shipping.

Post: We will take a 1 week break after each 10 films is complete, to allow our minds and bodies to recuperate.
Translation: Even waterboarding victims get to take five every now and then.

Interesting fact: in the time you took to read this post, this guy produced six films. But hey, if anything I’ve said sounds skeptical, then please, prove me wrong, award-winning director and excellent writer. Prove me wrong.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

You Could Always Hold Yourself A Bake Sale.

Honesty is the best policy, but the payments can be quite high.

Speaking of cash and being direct, I’m often emailed by both friends and readers of my blog who are considering moving to LA and want to know what rent is like out here.

Well, to give you a barometer, my mom, a real estate agent, passed along a listing for Larry David’s house, pictured above, which is not for rent, but for sale.

Nice enough, I suppose. (Though my friend Jenn called it a tear-down.)

Asking price: $14,999,000.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Weekend Recap.

This pic was sent to me by kickass actor/Navy vet/non-jew Rob Kolinsky of a Passover sedar on Rob’s first aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson. Question: dig the camouflage yarmulkas, but how was God able to see the guys wearing them? Answer: there is no God. (Spoiler alert.)… Tweet from @mattshevin over the weekend: “What’s the symbol can I use on my Facebook page that says I’m against ALL marriage?”... Went shopping at Whole Foods. Everyone working there looks like they were kicked out of Smashing Pumpkins… I bet it’s nearly impossible to successfully fire someone on April 1st.