This was one of my favorite sketches from 2003’s The Pat Kilbane Show. It’s a dry, English style of comedy in the form of faux documentary – silly, but in some ways believable. I shot the dancing sequences in my living room while my house was being torn up for remodel. In retrospect, I can see how this wasn’t right for the Comedy Central audience; it’s just too subtle. I love it, though.
Having grown up in the ’70s and ’80s, Roger Moore was always my 007, and Richard Kiel as “Jaws” was always my quintessential Bond villain. Richard was signing autographs at Fangoria’s LA show back when I was doing promotion for Day of the Dead. I was happy to get this picture from him featuring his character from “To Serve Man,” one of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes. He was a sweetheart of a guy – friendly and generous (especially for an oral-aggressive spy killer). That’s one of the great things about those conventions – you can fulfull adolescent mini-dreams, interacting with screen stars who were larger than life during your younger years. Thanks, Richard!
Emile Castelle: Superhero Fashion Designer was part of The Pat Kilbane Show pilot of early 2003. It’s a mash-up of comic book culture and the old show Fashion File from the Style Network. I did the voice of the announcer in addition to playing Emile. Rodney Munoz, our costumer, really had his hands full having to create so many outfits on such a tiny budget, but he did a great job. It doesn’t surprise me that he went on to win an Emmy. Looking back, the sketch seems to be ahead of its time, coming out years before Project Runway, Who Wants to Be a Superhero? and even The Incredibles, which had superhero fashion character of its own.
The Bagging Showdown
Behind the Scenes
In the Spring of 2008 my agent told me that My Name Is Earl was doing a Karate Kid homage and was casting the character of a world champion grocery bagger – a Billy Zabka type bad guy. I had always loved Earl‘s quirky world, and the idea of playing a nasty, arrogant grocery bagger sounded like too much fun. Billy Zabka actually showed up at the audition, which made me think my chances of getting the role were slim. If anyone was a Billy Zabka type, it would probably be Billy Zabka. He’s a great guy, by the way. We shot the shit for about twenty minutes while we were waiting to go in and read.
My read went well. I improvised some lines that I thought were consistent with the character, and Greg Garcia, Earl‘s executive producer, seemed to like my audition. My agent called me later that day to tell me they were trying to decide whether to cast me or a professional juggler. I said, “Tell them I can juggle,” and immediately got to work on my grocery juggling skills. When they finally gave me the role, I practiced diligently, developing some cool bagging moves, most of which didn’t end up in the final cut. I could grab the corner of a cereal box and flip it 360 degerees with one hand into the bag. I could take a can of tuna in each hand, and keeping my hands at my hips, make the cans switch hands in the blink of an eye.
It was a fun shoot day. A nice, laid back set full of people who knew what they were doing, and they all made me feel welcome. In the clip below, you’ll notice a young Rico Rodriguez making a one-line appearance. That little trooper is now making more in a week working on Modern Family than most grown men earn in a year. Ahhh, show business.
Bagger Lance Intro
This demo was my calling card for my post-Mad TV years in the early 2000’s. The music and impressions are definitely “of the time,” but I’m still proud of it as a synopsis of my contribution to the show.
Behind the Scenes
When we wrapped Season Five of Mad TV in the spring of 2000, I knew that my contract was up and that coming back would not be a sure thing for me. In fact, Fox was still deliberating at that point whether the show would even be returning for another year. I got a part in a pilot that spring – the role of a spaceship 1st officer in an ill-fated Star Trek parody – but I knew I needed more momentum.
Then I saw an episode of MTV’s Biorhythm that covered the career of Jim Carrey. The cutting style was manic and made Jim look like an absolute lunatic in the best possible way. I immediately started getting my Mad TV material together to cut a demo reel that did the same thing for me. Rich LaBrie, a great guy and talented Mad TV editor, worked with me on putting together the cut at a facility-for-hire in Burbank.
The weeks of hard work paid off; the reel ended up in the hands of Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg, and later that year I was signed to a massive two-year holding deal at Dreamworks SKG. I appeared in Evolution and Spin City during that time and worked on numerous film and television concepts for them. Creatively it was a very exciting.
The lesson of this demo reel was poignant for me: when a vision for something seizes you, see it through and interesting things will follow.
Most discussions about surviving a zombie apocalypse center around gearing up wisely and staying on the move. But what about the idea of buttoning up and hiding? For those with the resources and foresight to have a well-stocked underground shelter, staying put for a while may be the most sensible thing to do. Here are three reasons why… Read More
In “The Walking Dead” and other zombie fiction, survivors often stress the importance of weapons that kill quietly. After all, when facing so many challenges in a broken civilization, why make your life tougher by firing a gun and announcing yourself to a mob of undead cannibals? For me, this begs a more probing question: just how many zombies would your gunfire attract? For your post-apocalyptic convenience, I have created a table that gives you a rough idea. Read More
(An interesting post I wrote in December 2011 for Military.com)
Well thought out equipment is huge for me in the enjoyment of science-fiction fare, so I wanted to take a moment to praise this awesome piece of sci-fi gear. Named for the electrical pulses that ignite the primers on its caseless cartridges, the M41A Pulse Rifle was the standard issue weapon of the U.S. Colonial Marines in the 1986 actioner Aliens. And when you consider that James Cameron, the movie’s director, was both an avid shooter and a stickler for detail, it’s no surprise that the M41A seemed so plausible in a near-future setting.
It supposedly fired 10mm caseless HEAP rounds, of which it held 95 in its high-tech magazine. But the real appeal was its under-barrel, pump-action 30mm grenade launcher that was said to hold three rounds in the tube. Seeing that every rifleman in the movie was also a multi-shot grenadier made one think “Why aren’t we doing this now?”
Cut to a few years later when our real military’s OICW program called for exactly such a weapon. I have no evidence that the directive was inspired by the movie Aliens, but it’s not unreasonable to think it might have been. Life has imitated art under less likely circumstances.
Check out this video of a live-ammo-firing M41A built by Lage Manufacturing. The “rifle” portion fires 9mm Parabellum ammunition from a 50-round Suomi magazine, while the “grenade launcher” fires 12-gauge from a two-round tube.
When you’re a kid, playing with dolls and action figures is a great world-building exercise. The toys provide a nice jumping-off point, leaving it up to your imagination to create the characters, story, weather and terrain. Your living room becomes a massive green screen where amazing vistas can be mentally painted in.
When I see clever animations like this featuring toys from my childhood, it strikes something in my creative core. It realizes the fantasy I had that my toy figures would come to life and embark on extraordinary adventures.
The human skull is an iconic symbol of horror and can be used to great effect if you’re building a macabre world. I made this distressed cranium on the cheap from a $35 plastic model kit. After assembling it, I filled the seams with Magic-Sculpt and sanded them, then stippled the skull’s surface with MMD Green Putty to give it a crusty texture. Finally, I painted it an orange-brown to simulate the protective coating used by archaeologists to preserve bone.
I like this particular kit (which is hard to find nowadays but appears to be available here) because the teeth are cast individually. There are a couple of human skull kits available from Lindberg that you can get at any local hobby store, but their teeth are lumped together in pieces like a dental bridge and don’t look as real.
I’m pretty happy with the final product; it’s a little small at eight inches in length, but it has a nice, lived-in look that movie props often lack.