I'm going to be in a movie. And not a documentary either. I'm acting. The film is called Shoplifting From American Apparel and it is based on Tao Lin's novella, Shoplifting From American Apparel. I'm playing the character of Brad Warner who has been been given the role of Tao Lin in spite of sharing absolutely no physical similarities with the actual Tao Lin.
We started filming a couple weeks ago in Solon, Ohio at the home of Jordan Castro who is also acting in the film. It's a low budget indie movie and they're trying to raise the funds for the rest of the film even as I type this. On March 1st a trailer is going to be released and accompanied with a bunch of shots of us actors begging people to invest.
I own the book. But I left my copy behind at Jordan's house when it was needed as a prop. So I haven't read it all the way through yet, but I liked the first part. It's kind of a strange book where nothing much happens except that the protagonist gets arrested for shoplifting from American Apparel. The director, Pirooz Kaleyah has taken a cue from films like Adaptation and American Splendor in that the script is not an attempt to visualize the book. Rather it uses the book as a launching point for something that feels like the book but only very vaguely follows its narrative. I like it a lot. It's weird and surreal.
But making a movie is kind of boring. We shot for two days in Ohio and mostly I just sat around waiting for the cameras and microphones to get set up. I only have a couple of lines in the scenes we shot. I seem to be sort of a Peter Tork character in this. I'm kind of the dummie. I just go along with what's happening. But I'm writing a scene for myself in which I get to break out of that. Once the film is done I'll let everybody else guess which scene I wrote (assuming mine makes the final cut).
Today I went to Webster Groves High School where I spoke to Mr Kirschman's World Religions and Philosophy classes. It's always interesting to speak at high schools. I haven't done a lot of that. But it feels completely different from the usual speaking gigs I do. For one thing, the classes take place early in the day. And the students aren't really there by choice. Maybe they signed up for that particular class. But they have to be in school. So you get a mix of people who are really interested in what you have to say, and people who just want to go to sleep.
Luckily as a guest speaker, I'm sort of like that day's filmstrip on the life cycle of the monarch butterfly. I'm a break from the usual academic stuff they're forced to memorize. So I don't get too many used heroin needles thrown at me. Which is always good.
Tomorrow I'm back at the school again, after I help a guy with his graduate thesis on the transformative aspects of punkrock (I kid you not).
Don't forget that the following events are coming up and you are required to attend. If not, your grade point average could be affected!
THIS WEEKEND: February 26, 2011 (Sat) 7 PM I'm at Missouri Zen Center, 220 Spring Ave., Webster Groves, MO 63119
On March 5, 2011 (Sat) I'll be in Cocoa, FL, Zazenkai from 9 AM, Talk at 2 PM Brevard Zen Center 1261 Range Road Cocoa, FL
From March 16-20 I'll be in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in the Great White North! I'll post a schedule of events soon. There are several planned.
(I’m still taking a break from reading the comments section of this blog. If you have something you feel you must say to me in response to this, write me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you just post something in the comments section, I will not see it.)