Sunday, February 8, 2009

And now, I'm ready for my students.

What a waste of dream-space.

Never have I fancied myself as an actor, or at least as somebody who'd ideally make for a talented on-screen-er. If for a second I ever thought I could do it above-average-capably, I totally would enroll in acting classes and give it a go. I mean, turn on any random cable movie channel and you'll see an average of five terrible actors at any given time, any given day. So I'm sure I could pull off a poorly-written character in some shitty straight-to-DVD horror flick that nobody outside of the genre-obsessive world would ever see anyway. Shit, maybe I should look into this a bit more, huh?

Any acting-rooted dreams of mine stop many day-hallucinations before giving an Academy Award acceptance speech, or anything of the want-to-be-acclaimed-as-an-acting-great such. Well, maybe I should retract that, come to think of it. Because the only real dream/goal/wish that I've ever had centered around being an actor is one that does in fact require a bit of greatness, or at least name-prestige.

You see, I've always harbored this secret desire to be interviewed James Lipton on my very own episode of Inside the Actors' Studio.....


....which is a bit surprising, since I absolutely loathe being the center of attention, anywhere. Hate it when all eyes and ears are honed in on me and what I have to say. Would much rather blend into the wallpaper, buzz about like a fly from wall to wall. Enjoy the perks of a certain locale without having to commandeer the bulk of its entertainment value. But there's something so cool to me about Inside the Actors' Studio. Whenever its on Bravo, I immediately cease all other actions and watch, regardless of the interview subject in question. Whether its Conan O'Brien or Matt Damon or Fran Fuckin' Drescher, I can't help but be captivated.

With this one, zero explanation as to why I'd want to watch is necessary:

Much credit should be given to Sir Lipton, for his disarmingly-relaxed demeanor as an interviewer, and the insane amounts of research he and his staff put in to digging into the actor's hidden past. The interview subjects, even if they're the introverted, quiet type (see James Gandolfini's episode), always give off clear degrees of respect and admiration to Lipton; they realize that this glasses-wearing, soft-spoken-yet-sharply-witty, cinema-encyclopeda sitting before them is a consummate professional. They're in great, experienced hands.

Maybe it's because, through my profession, I'm always the one interviewing people that any chance I have of being interviewed myself is one I welcome with enthusiastically-open arms. For whatever reasons, I strangely enjoy answering questions, especially ones about myself. I'm pretty much an open book, so I can answer any and all inquiries with quick honesty. Add in the fact that on Inside the Actors Studio your responses are being closely studied by an extremely-attentive audience, and my always-erratic confidence would be sky-high while seated next to the dude Jimmy Lipton.

Even Hellboy has been given the privilege.

Say that tomorrow Lipton himself hit my cell to request my presence for an experimental Actors' Studio interview. Something for his freshest crop of acting students, like an interview exercise to test their attention-capacities by enduring a two-hour long Q&A session with some anonymous 27-year-old from Jersey who watches weird films like it's his 9-to-5. I'd be armed and dangerous, packing two "me as an actor" childhood stories that I've never shared before. I'll save both in-detail-recollections for later posts here, but two quick teasers (as if these memories are trailers for Tranformers: Revenge of the Fallen and G.I. Joe or some shit...who am I kidding?): 1) My first thespian-ic moment came in the 4th grade, when I was selected by the faculty of St. Catharine's Interparochial School to play Jesus in the school's annual "Stations of the Cross" play in the church. I did it all....carried a paper-mache cross; consoled which ever female classmate of mine played Mary (probably Jen Bressor). It may have been the best Jesus portrayal this side of Jim Caviezel. Kidding, I'm sure I made Pauly Shore seem like Brando.

2) That same year, my class was involved in the D.A.R.E. program, and as part of our "graduation" ceremony, we had to break off into groups and put on five-minute skits that showed the drugs are bad, mmmkay? life lessons we had learned. I was the goodie-two-shoes kid in the class (sad but true, though not shocking in the least), so I had the genius idea that I'd play the druggie in the skit (like if Paris Hilton played a MENSA member). I also had the honor of conceptualizing the skit and developing the characters. My role ended being "T.J.," the bad-seed dude who tries peer-pressuring a couple of kids into buying pot. My wardrobe: a backwards Raiders cap, a black Raiders coat (Starter, of course), and some of the most stereotypically "thug" dialogue imaginable. Sample, off of memory: "Come on, don't be a loser, man! You ain't cool if you're not doing drugs. Word!"

I share the man's hatred of "custom ringtones," btw.

That's about the extent of my acting expertise. Nevertheless, I'll reach my final hour having never let go of my Inside the Actors' Studio dream. Considering that the likelihood of yours truly ever making it onto James Lipton's grand stage rivals the chances of Dubya Bush ever being considered "misunderstood," though, I'll now take part in a self-imposed-interview, through Lipton's infamous final questions (answered just now right off the top of my head):

1. What is your favorite word?
2. What is your least favorite word?
3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
4. What turns you off?
5. What is your favorite curse word?
6. What sound or noise do you love?
Gianna saying "I love you, Matt"
7. What sound or noise do you hate?
my alarm clock
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
fulltime screenwriter
9. What profession would you not like to do?
taxi driver
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
"I have a room full of Amerie lookalikes ready to welcome you, Matthew."

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