First Night In Class

Last night I started a new music class. Kind of a nuts and bolts sort of thing. Starting with the very, very basic. Clefs. “Every Good Boy Does Fine…” Quarter note. Triplet…

I was thrilled to learn and relearn a few things I had forgotten or never was taught. And, once again it reinforced the idea that it’s always good to drill the basics, no matter what we’re doing.

Before class started, the teacher introduced herself to us all, as we drifted in thru the door one by one… The teacher remarked to one student how her name was the same as a famous performer from her home country… The student smiled and sat down. A few seconds clicked off the clock… “Do you know who I’m talking about?” the teacher inquired… It was a little awkward, and soon they began talking in Portuguese. Quickly expressions changed, and the teacher gave her new student a big hug. Yeah, the student was the famous person from her home country.

Ah life in Los Angeles… Kinda funny, no?

Anyway, don’t ask who the person is cause I don’t remember their name, believe she’s relatively unknown here, and really she deserves to take a basic music class with the same anonymity as everyone else. And I say good on her for drilling the basics too.

Basics, basics, basics…

– Quiche Out

I Give You (the)… Stars

Yesterday, after doing rewrites on a screenplay and getting to a point where I couldn’t go any further without a discussion with my collaborator… I started researching music for an upcoming live show. After going through the three thick books I had borrowed from the library earlier that morning, and dozens of amazing and not so amazing renditions of songs on YouTube, I decided to take a lazy, comfortable nap. It was perfect timing, about two in the afternoon, a half-hour after food had passed thru my lips, gray skies above, and rain gently falling onto the concrete outside my window.

Well, not five seconds after my head hit the pillow it hit me… STARS!

I should buy those plastic, glow in the dark stars and put them in the closet… I had sung “Stars” from “Lay Miz” once at an open mic about a two months ago, before I saw the newest film version of Les Misérables, and then I sang it again, in my living room, for a friend, after we had watched the film together. Russell Crowe’s rendition had us both groaning (also on YouTube too BTW).

I sprang from under my covers and jumped in my truck… I went to two shops before finding what I was looking for… Purchased the phosphorescent pieces. Bought six pound fishing line at a third store, and then came home. It was now about four and I had my night figured out. Stars.

Nothing really worked out like I had hoped it would… Stars didn’t stick. String didn’t cooperate. I even ended up smashing a shelf in half, trying to dislodge it, as it must have swelled with the moisture in the air. I also couldn’t figure out a way to have the closet be dark enough for the stars to glow, and light enough for my face to show. I tested several headlamps from my hiking and camping gear, flashlights, pen lights, cheap clip lights, even a candle or two… And… Well, if you watch the video, you’ll see what I landed on. It created a nice effect, an element of danger, and added another challenge of doing yet one more thing while singing an already challenging song, that I would probably never be hired to sing… And something else I discovered in the test runs… The stars didn’t glow very long, and they needed to be recharged every so often, or else it would just be me in the dark, in a closet, with a karaoke track playing by the end.

Honestly, the video really didn’t turn out like I had planned… I can see two tacks. Tape. Fishing line here and there. The lighting solution wasn’t nearly enough, burnt my fingers and required some generous post-production help, bumping up the mid-levels and whites way up. But yet, when I watched and listened to what I had done, there was a simple charm to it as well. You can see the wires basically, you can hear the striking…

After all for well under twenty bucks, in a closet, with no director, no sound engineer, no orchestra, no mixer, no lighting designer, no make up, no hair, no wardrobe department, no art department, no sound sweetening, no auto tuning, no edits, no cuts… Here was a perfect, cheap, “closet version” of “Stars,” with nothing more than one camera, one microphone, one take, several cheap dollar-store matches, an overhead light-bulb and just me… I had thought of the first half of the front banter on the way to the store. The anecdote about my former agent popped in my head while I was tangled up in the string and stars… And the recycled light-bulb joke, which I found perfectly ironic, was realized when I was discovering and testing ways to turn an overhead on and off without it clicking too loudly as I was singing. You know, as simple as all these Closet Singer songs seem to be, and are, they really are great exercises in creativity.

Anyway, I give you, for your enjoyment, with all it’s flaws…

Stars!

– Quiche Out

Newest Newsletter just delivered

Screen shot 2013-01-23 at 12.17.43 PMClick the image to read or CLICK HERE.

-Quiche Out

Delightfully Fantastically Horrible!

IMG_2094-badgeI just wrapped on a hilarious new web series pilot that cavity searches the TSA with big hands…

Written & produced by: MISHA COLLINS, PHILLIP SCHNEIDER and VICKI VANTOCH (More info later.)

And since I’ve been growing my hair as of late, (I’m not sure why… maybe because I now realize it won’t be with me forever)… and because my character is one of the series regulars… Or because I don’t have too much wacky fun character footage on my demo… I thought a fun idea might be to have my character’s hair style change each episode.

The make up and hair department LOVED the idea, and while the director took a little convincing… He soon came on board.

The first day the hair style was 90’s boy band with two perfect notches in front… Delightfully horrible. IMG_2101-hair

The second day we all settled on a full blown pompadour, which took the hair department at least 20 minutes. It was even worse, in a fantastic way.

In 20 plus years of doing odd parts, I don’t think I’ve ever had such a reaction from cast and crew upon walking out of the make up department. I think it was even more shocking, because they were expecting the same haircut from the day before. You can see more pictures on a Facebook page

And by subscribing to this blog, or liking that page, or signing up for the newsletter at www.TomKiesche.com, you’ll hear about the show’s release minutes after I do. Or even Twitter… @TomKiesche

This blog isn’t about this new web series, which should be laugh out loud… It’s about how people act to us off set.

IMG_2256-cropBecause this was a once in a lifetime hairdo (yes, I wrote “hairdo”) I figured I’d go to a bar where I knew the staff… Just to see what reaction I got from them.

The new bartender, who I don’t know all that well, didn’t seem to recognize me so much and didn’t say a word or make much eye contact… The waiter, I know pretty well… And I found him avoiding looking at my hair too, locked in on my face… I guess I sort of felt like a chick with big ass cleavage must feel… And now I know, they totally know when you’re purposefully NOT LOOKING…

It wasn’t until I remarked how long his hair had gotten that he said… “And yours is really high.”

The manager, who I’ve known for years now, sat next to me at the bar and started chatting… “Where you been?” “Happy New Year.” He too avoided looking at my hair, and it wasn’t until I said something like… “It’s from a shoot today…” that he actually allowed himself to look, smile and laugh.

IMG_2260-crop smallAnother person I knew came in and sat next to me… Same thing. She made no comment. She had no reaction. She purposely was not looking. It was hugely comical for me. A complete contrast to the reactions on set where people busted out laughing. Pointed. Commented. And wanted pictures with me.

It sort of reminded me of a film shoot where I wore tattoos for three days… I was amazed how differently people treated me on the street on the days that I wore the tats out in public. Course that was 15 years ago, so tats were a little less mainstream.

Nowadays, in the neighborhood I live in, I think some find it more frightening that I’m tattoo free… “Watch out for him, he doesn’t have ink… He must be tough.”

Anyway, this was just a share of something I found humorous…

Again, keep an eye out for the web series when it comes out. It was a crack up shooting the very funny scripts. And it’s stacked with talented funny peeps. Again feel free to check out the pictures on the Facebook page. Like the page, or sign up for the newsletter at www.TomKiesche.com.

– Quiche Out

Monday Celebrate MLK Day

Screen shot 2013-01-19 at 9.03.46 AMSome things are just wrong…

Monday is a national holiday honoring Martin Luther King. And yet I can’t help but think of this particularly wrong segment in episode three of School & Board.

Episode three (embedded below)

To watch the entire 3 episode series go to SchoolandBoard.com

The scene a round table, closed board meeting.

Superintendent Rowbinski: “I found that one in six students think that MLK day is a celebration of milk.”

Nelson Tuttleson: “It’s not?”

Cut to Nelson in Superintendent Rowbinski’s office.

Nelson Tuttleson: “It’s important to know that MLK does not stand for Milk Day, it stands for Martin Luther… King.”

CLICK HERE to just watch that exchange at 2:18.

Then at 5:45, the end of the episode…

Screen shot 2013-01-19 at 9.14.34 AMNelson Tuttleson: “And you can drink milk on that day, it’s just you should do other things too.”

So, got milk?

Check your expiration dates, and get your fresh cartons today. Tell your friends. Pass it on.

– Quiche Out

Remember All That Crap I Wrote About Demo Reels & Clips

So, a few postings ago I wrote about the evolution of the demo reel…  About how my new manager wanted me to break my demo reel up into clips… As he felt that no one is looking at reels any more. Just clips.

Well, my new agent feels differently and he doesn’t always have the time to consider which clip would work for which role, and would rather send a reel. Instead of picking the wrong clip, this way it covers several bases and shows I can act. However, instead of one demo reel, he prefers two… One more for comedy roles. One more for dramatic roles.

So, this past weekend I was editing again… Putting a comedy demo together as well as a drama demo. So far he and my manager have given a thumbs up to the comedy reel, but I’m still waiting to hear on the drama demo, as he experienced some technical difficulties. In my search for ideas of what to put together I stumbled across the Stripper Cop thing I did years back, and uploaded it again to YouTube. You can see that, as well as the two demo reels I cut below… Though the Drama Demo may be changing… But if there’s anything we’ve learned throughout this blog, it’s that change is inevitable.

– Quiche Out

Warning: Stripper Cop and Comedy Demo contain nakedness.