Wednesday, June 15, 2016

"The Duel" aka "By Way of Helena" Release Date!


Long time, no post!
I have just found out today that the film I did with Woody Harrelson and Liam Hemsworth is very close to being released in theaters, as in next week (June 24).

I played a small part, "William", and while I am not in the trailer I am looking forward to seeing the film. I had a great time working with Woody Harrelson, albeit breifly, and I really enjoyed working with the director, Kieran Darcy-Smith.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Treklanta 2015


Treklanta [http://www.trektrax.org/] was a terrific reminder of why I absolutely love the smaller, fan-run conventions. Formerly TrekTrax Atlanta, the convention now known as Treklanta expanded into its current incarnation last year, celebrating all "space opera" franchises in addition to its original Trekkie focus. It is held (obviously) in Atlanta, Georgia.

Heading there on South West Airlines was the perfect start. What a great flight with an intelligent, personable, witty crew though the airline's slogan "without a heart a plane is just a machine" had me wondering whether The Sirrius Cybernetics Corporation had a hand in the design.

Friday night, for me, consisted of Opening Ceremonies and the VIP Champange Reception. In between those two events, in the hotel restaurant, I also had the delight of meeting a lovely group of Newfies from St Johns, a beautiful Newfoundland city where I had once had the pleasure of spending six weeks working on a film. I joined them for a quick dinner of fish and chips. I would later learn that they had created and starred in the fan film "Star Trek: Reliant." The VIP Champange Reception was comfortably low key, and I was able to meet and converse with many attendees and guests while enjoying plentiful hors d'oeuvres and various champagnes (the Brut was my favorite and quite effective). I said "converse" but, of course, the more I enjoyed the champagne, the more the "conversation" became "happy heated debate". Good people, Great fun.

After the Alka-Seltzer, Saturday was a full day fueled by yummy, made-to-order omelets from the breakfast buffet. No I mean it. I know it was a hotel omelet but it was delicious. I could be wrong but I think they actually used eggs. The egg-chef James haled from Trinidad. Later, after a bit of autograph signing, I decided to creep in and catch the second half of the "Babylon 5" introductory panel from the back of the room but was spotted by panelists and invited on stage. A glutton for attention, up I went and finding it hard to keep quiet on a stage, with inadvertent self-indulgence I diverted the panel's focus for a minute or two. I did settle down and focus as we were treated to a slideshow guide of all alien species that appear in B5. Wow there are a lot of them. Luckily for me, my own panel that was scheduled immediately after was in the same room, so we had a smooth transition to my "An Hour With Jason Carter". I didn't have to move off my butt and the room filled up.

Aware there were a couple of kids watching I endeavored to respond to questions in a 'family friendly' manner and was for the most part successful. We all had a good laugh, even without swearing, so I assume we all had fun. As I finished and headed back to my table to sign, I was instead whisked away to film my bit for Project: Potemkin. My cameo is in their third and last collaborative vingnette "Room Service", which is not yet available but I will post a link on social media when it is.

The highlight of Saturday was Treklanta's hosting of the 16th annual Miss Klingon Empire Beauty Pageant. I was on the judges' panel along with fellow guests Sean Kenney, Anne Lockhart and Keith R. A. DeCandido. I will post a video as soon as one is available, but let me tell you now it was a highly entertaining hoot as well as a fine display of several lovely ladies' talent. Anne Lockhart at one point gasped "Is anyone recording this? I've never laughed so much in my life! I'm crying!" The Treklanta con chair, Eric L. Watts, who is also the creator and producer of the pageant, MCed the event as a very authetic and commanding klingon portrayal.

I'd like to take a moment to recognize my fellow Treklanta 2015 guests. Anne Lockhart - whom I had attended conventions with in the past but never actually had any conversation with – revealed herself as such an authentic and classy lady. She regaled me with tales of her fascinating pedigree and family history, as well as many stories of her acting career. As for Sean Kenney, I got to know him a bit slower. For a time on the B5 panel I had been playing with the B5 action figures that were strewn on the table and at the end of my panel, the unboxed 9-inch Marcus doll that had been having so much 'Team America' fun with the other dolls was generously gifted to me. Later in the day, Sean noticed it on my table, remarking with a wink, "Oh that's nice. They only made a Christmas ornament out of me!", He was referring to his Capt. Pike character from "Star Trek" TOS. What a quiet sweetheart he is, his birthday was on Saturday but the only way we learned of it was when, that evening, just after he had finished signing for the day, he was presented with a surprise birthday cake. Red Velvet birthday cake, he shared and it was delicious. The other guest, Keith R. A. DeCandido, I had met at several conventions in the past and we still get on quite well. I purchased a copy of his book "The Klingon Art of War" for my wife Tara, which she blazed through on Sunday and reported back to me how enjoyable it was, relating how in her words "it reflected both familiar elements in spiritual codes of conduct combined as well as teachings found in several martial arts disciplines". So now, though a much slower reader, I too have embarked on reading much of Klingon wisdom and honor. Thank you Keith.

Saturday night was such fun – I landed myself in the con suite and stayed up well into the night drinking, chatting, ranting, drinking and chatting again. Treklanta's hospitality suite was well laid-out and effortfully maintained, as well as being positioned on the top floor where our late-night loudmouthing (or anytime loudmouthing, really) wouldn't bother anyone. I extend a large amount of gratitude to the convention and to the hosting Mariott hotel for that particular boon.

The convention wound down a bit on Sunday, yet both of my mid-day events were very well-attended. My fellow guests and I presented awards at "The Independent Star Trek Fan Film Awards Ceremony", in which "Star Trek: Axanar" swept in nearly all categories. Following that, I did my second panel, appropriately titled "Another Hour With Jason Carter."

In review, Treklanta is a wonderful small (but growing) convention that is definitely "by fans, for fans." I highly recommend it to anyone who is tired of the huge commercial mega-cons with snooty celebs and desires a more casual and intimate environment with well-chosen guests who are not "too cool" to hang out, chat and have a good time with the attendees. I am thankful for the excellent experience I had there and extend immense gratitude to Treklanta for inviting me.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Back To Work

A couple of months have passed since my last update and there have been some interesting developments. The time has come to talk of many things... 

Last I wrote, I had finally gotten much sorted out personally and professionally – immigration, taxes, SAG-AFTRA, a new agent, etc. which allowed me to begin pursuing acting work once again. My first audition was for a very tiny role in the film “By Way Of Helena”, starring Woody Harrelson and Liam Hemsworth (check out this article for recent photos of these fine gentlemen on the set). I read to video with the casting director, who was pleased with my reading but thought it a shame– due to the timing of only recently signing with my agent – I had missed the auditions the prior week for a slightly larger role in the same film which was specifically for a British character. I joked how funny it would be if the producers in Los Angeles saw my tape and asked me to read for that part instead.
Curiously enough, the following week, that was precisely what happened, and I read for the Brit part. 
Sometimes life just works.

In the meantime, I was encouraged by my wife to apply to work at The Mortuary “haunted house” in New Orleans. It seemed like a fun way to make some extra money, so I decided to go for it. I was told at the casting call that they loved my look, and there was talk of me doing something special. I informed them that I may or may not have a movie job, to which they said they were totally flexible. A week later, I went to the Orientation Meeting and was about to shake hands with the owner, Jeff, when suddenly I hear, “Oh, hey! Jason?!” It was special effects make-up artist Brian Demski, of Demski Creations, who I had worked with in Ohio a few years ago on “The Dead Matter”. He had done a lot of the special effects and set construction on the film, and it turns out that he's been coming down to New Orleans to be the head of makeup and design at The Mortuary every Halloween season for the last four years.

So, I started working there on the weekends in September, donning red contacts, fangs, and vampire makeup to portray Master Ravencroft, the “owner” of The Mortuary who greets each group of new “victims” right inside the front doors. Eventually, some of the staff at the house caught on to my previous work experience, and I even got a “Nice job, B5” one night. Ha.

I'd like to make a special note here before I go on. Should you or your friends visit The Mortuary and recognize me there, I sincerely request that you please play along with the character. I'm working here to portray a part, and we don't want to ruin the show and atmosphere now, do we? 
That said, should you wish to stick around after closing for a little chit-chat with me as myself about what-have-you, that is perfectly fine, C];-D>

After a couple of weekends working at The Mortuary, I got the call from my agent that I had been cast in the British part for “By Way of Helena”! Wow. First audition = first job. I would be working two days in September and three in October. I informed the haunted house management, who congratulated me and told me that it would be no problem. So, I've currently already done some of my scenes and I'll be shooting the rest of them this coming weekend (so no Mortuary work again for me until the following weekend).

September and October have been rather eventful, but the excitement doesn't end there - Contra 26 is coming up in a few weeks! November 7-9, you will find my wife and I as Guests of Honor at this sci-fi and fantasy themed “relaxacon” for ages 21+ located in Independence, Missouri.

Hope to see you there!


Friday, August 8, 2014

Starting Over

I've got enough good news now that I thought an update would be appropriate.

As I have related to many, I spent 2009-2013 "mid-life-ing", which - considering that I am 53 years old - might be seen as optimistic. The latter part of 2013 marked a wild departure (literally) as I moved myself and everything I owned cross-country, overnight, 11 hours straight from Michigan to Louisiana in my modified Chevy Express cargo van.
Love is a powerful motivator.

I then investigated my Screen Actors' Guild situation. Protracted unemployment in Los Angeles whilst in a bad marriage, combined with misinformation about the ease of union reinstatement when offered the lead in a non-union film had motivated me to leave SAG. Well, not "leave", but rather I went "Financial Core" or "Fi-Core" status, which allowed me to star in "The Dead Matter" at the time. However, I would need to rejoin SAG, currently SAG-AFTRA, if I was going to reboot my career. You know, for Love. So, I called SAG-AFTRA and, firstly, paid my dues up to current. I then began the process to appeal for re-admittance as a full member.

One other, much larger concern was also on my mind - my "green card". My permanent resident card was set to expire in May 2014, which is kind of a big deal. No amount of SAG-AFTRA membership would matter if I could not legally live and work in the USA. So, I applied in January to renew that as well, which involved having my "criminal history" (damn that Los Angeles speeding ticket!) evaluated by the FBI and being fingerprinted. I also hastily ensured that my taxes from the last few years were in order as well.

Seven nail-biting months later, I finally received some good news: SAG-AFTRA would allow me back in as a full member. For two weeks thereafter, I enjoyed the bittersweet notion that I had cleared that hurdle only to possibly fall at the immigration fence. There really was no good reason why my green card renewal would be denied, but I think everyone knows the crippling power of UNCERTAINTY, especially concerning something so impactful upon one's life.
And one's Love.

Thankfully, I did at last receive that wonderful news in a letter from the government, with my freshly minted permanent resident card arriving in the mail the following day. Now, I had everything I needed to engage in this acting-career-thing again. Well, everything except a professional agent to represent me.

Therefore the culmination of all of this good news is that I now have an agent! There is a lot of television and film in "Hollywood South", so I hope to be in front of a camera again soon.
For Love.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Figments & Filaments 2014

Better late than never - a review of the first annual Figments & Filaments costuming convention!
I'd first like to give a huge shout-out to Corwyn MacCamie and his convention crew for a smooth, professional show, an innovative concept, and (most of all) for having me as a guest.

Figments & Filaments is a convention all about costuming, encompassing everything from historical recreation to cosplay. Themes such as goth, LARP, steampunk, etc. were all represented in the many informative panels offered. Costume designers and historians filled the roster of special guests, and the convention flew in Gale R. Owen-Crocker, a Professor of Anglo-Saxon Culture at The University of Manchester, UK and Director of the Manchester Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies.

I had the delight to be seated next to Thomas Willeford, whose Guest of Honor table sported a mechanical menagerie of steampunk staples: flasks, leather jewelry, and goggles. Upon closer inspection, the goggles he had to offer looked extremely realistic, more so than any I had seen before, and I was impressed enough to purchase a pair for my top hat. Thomas was a lively, charismatic chap, and he drew me in with his searing intelligence and wit. I have the pleasure of owning a signed copy of his clever book, "The Steampunk Adventurer's Guide", which explains and illustrates the methods of creation for various steampunk regalia using materials that won't break the bank. Through the use of clarity and humor, Thomas guides the potentially inexperienced reader down a path of artistic creation - as it says on the cover: "contraptions, creations, and curiousities anyone can make". Who knows, I may get crafty. C];-D>

As a Guest of Honor myself, I had a panel titled "Costume and the Role", in which I was to cover how wardrobe informs a role. I have worn various vastly different disguises in my career, many of which strongly influenced my portrayal of the characters (from Kings on stage to Demons on television). So I mouthed off for an hour or two, as I am wont to do C];-D>

In retrospect, I dare to say a terrific time was had by all at this cozy, first-year incarnation of FNF. A huge "thank you" again to all those convention staff who chauffeured me, fed me, and gifted me with copious amounts of alcohol. Most of all, I have gratitude for those of you who attended and are spreading the word, as this promising event has every potential to blossom into an information-trading mecca among costumers and costume-makers of every background. I hope to see you (and some fresh faces) again in 2015!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Chi-Fi 0

I would like to extend a big thank you to James Dobbs, Anne Elliot and Matthew Duhan for a fantastic, albeit short, convention in Chicago this weekend.

"Chi-Fi" was originally scheduled to have its first ever convention at the Westin Chicago River North, but - with two months to go and a 100k+ contract in place - was forced to cancel due to "irreconcilable differences" with the Westin's hotel management. James Dobbs (con-chair) stated in an official statement he released: "A senior Westin employee referred to our staff, attendees, and guests as “freaks” and hotel staff expressed their disapproval of our anti-harassment policy." The full story is fascinating and quite an embarrassment for that particular Westin.



With such little time left, Chi-Fi postponed its first full con until next year, but decided to have a one-day event and, luckily for me, chose one of the best hotels in the US to have it in: The Palmer House Hilton, Chicago's oldest hotel and the longest hotel in continuing service in North America, which is credited with these cool firsts:
- First wholly-fireproof hotel in the United States (it was built after the great Chicago Fire out of stuff that doesn't burn - brick and iron).
- First hotel to have electric lights and telephones in the guestrooms.
- First hotel with elevators, or what then were described as "a perpendicular railroad connecting floor with floor, rendering passage by the stairs unnecessary."

To get to my room on the 18th floor, I had to take the perpendicular railroad.

It is so cool – amongst other things that make the hotel special is the ceiling of the two-storey lobby which was painted in France by the celebrated French Art Deco artist, Louis Pierre Rigal, and shipped to Chicago when that section was built in 1926. Off this outrageously grand lobby, at the bottom of the steps up to The Empire Room, are two huge "Golden Winged Angels", which "are among the priceless early works of Louis Comfort Tiffany."

Classy shit, I tell you.

In 1933, the Golden Empire Dining Room of Palmer House was converted into an entertainment epicenter. A Supper Club. It hosted legendary entertainers, including Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald, Harry Belafonte, Louis Armstrong, George Burns, Buddy Hackett, Lou Rawls, Maurice Chevalier and Jimmy Durante. In 1947, the Empire Room hired a new house pianist, his name – Liberace.

Times change, and on January 19, 1976, after 43 years, the 250 seater supper club became dark. Phyllis Diller was the final headliner. The list of previous hotel guests includes Mark Twain, Sarah Bernhardt, Oscar Wilde, Rudyard Kipling, Charles Dickens and now - Jason Carter.
C];-D>

Other firsts include – The Chocolate Brownie!
It's true!
Bertha Palmer requested of one of her hotel Chefs a dessert for ladies attending the Chicago 1893 World Fair; it should be, she said, smaller than a piece of cake, though still retaining cake-like characteristics and easily eaten from boxed lunches. Voila – The Brownie was born.

However, the most important thing that sets Palmer House Hilton apart from the aforementioned Westin was their welcome to the con:
“We are thrilled to welcome Chi-Fi to the hotel,” says Palmer House Hilton General Manager Dean Lane. “Hopefully, this event is just the start of a long-lasting relationship between Chi-Fi and the Palmer House.”

So this is a rambling first blog about a triumph for Chi-Fi and Geeks everywhere in the face of, shall we say... limited understanding.

Once again – Thank You James and Crew for a marvellous weekend in a great place I will always remember. I greatly look forward to Chi-Fi 2015 next year.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

{Admin} Mira Furlan has a new official Facebook page

Hello everyone!
A sad note to any of you who were unaware, but if you follow Mira Furlan's Twtter account then you would know about the tragic and unexpected death of her webmaster, Moyra J. Bligh, back in November.
A representative for Mira now has access to her official website again after some back-and-forth with the company that owns her domain, but she was unable to reclaim her Official Facebook Page of which Moyra was also the sole admin.
Mira Furlan now has a NEW official Facebook page under her representative's control, so please follow that one instead for news and updates (link below) as the old page will remain inactive until it is taken down.

Mira's new page is here:  https://www.facebook.com/MiraFurlanFanPage