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Archive for December, 2017

In Reflection

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In March two of my films screened at The Strand Theatre.

On the eve of a new year it’s a moment of reflection on the past one. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over these last twelve months it’s what IMDb has been running as a series. Titled No Small Parts, each video looks at the career of a well-known actor and often reflects on a smaller part they once played in a film or TV series.

When I was asked to participate on ESPN’s The Price of Gold in 2014, I had no idea that three years later that documentary would continue to air on numerous networks and streaming services. Just the other day a friend saw me in a promotion for it!

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On ESPN’s The Price of Gold.

New for me this year was doing some background work on a few major films. Over the years background work never particularly interested me. But when a casting director personally reached out for one project, I’m glad I accepted. I hit it off with an actress I met on set that day and brought her into the Naval Justice School mock trial program. Will that scene make the final cut? It would be nice, but it really is all about networking.

There’s another part I played this past summer that if it makes the final cut I’m hoping to leverage it for additional opportunities next year.  I’ve always enjoyed documentaries that focus on World War II reenactments so we will see what happens there.

My point to all of this is that there are truly no small parts in this industry. Oh sure some parts are larger than others, but it really is about the cumulative effect of on screen and behind the scenes contacts that builds a career. One part here, another there, and after a while a body of work starts to develop.

One project I’m excited for in the new year is the First World prequel I’m writing. As I’m just starting to work on the third act, I have a goal for this project over the next several months. My inspiration to write it came from working with one of the actresses at the Naval Justice School. As I’ve learned over the years, inspiration can come from anywhere.

But while 2017 has had many great moments, I’m not reflecting totally through rose colored glasses. There was the sad passing of my former business partner this summer. But he would have loved the celebration of his life in November at the Skating Club of Boston.

Sadly the political landscape has caused such a polarization on both sides of the aisle I wonder when it will subside to some sense of normalcy. There are two types of people in this new world, those that face reality head on and get on with it and those that lose their entire identity in it. The latter has ruined some good people that I know. As for the former, it’s called constructive conversation and just dealing with it at the voting booth. In short you’re either on the train going forward or alone in the caboose waiting for an engine.

While I’m never one to make resolutions in any given year (you can’t predict the future), I always aim to complete some interesting projects. I think 2017 saw that happen. In closing I leave you with a variety of photos from the year.

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Thanks Kim and Brian for throwing a great party yesterday!

As always, thank you to my readers around the world!

Next Part

2017 The Ashton Times

2017 readers of The Ashton Times came from over the world.

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The Troupe

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With Helen to my left at the Naval Justice School along with new actors to the program.

This month marked one year since I was hired for a role playing character at the Naval Justice School (NJS) in their mock trial program. Since that first class last December my character and responsibilities have grown. There’s even been a change in the government contractor that administers the contract. But through it all, it has been an amazing experience.

The majority of projects I have worked on the last twenty years have largely been one day or multi-day projects (particularly for film projects). But this recurring opportunity is not only important work for NJS but greatly contributes to our acting experience and respective networks.

While a few of us are original to the program, the majority have been part of the program since March. For me it feels like a traveling troupe of actors with our audience being the students and our stage being the courtrooms of the school.

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With some of the latest class of actors.

For this round I was directly responsible for bringing on new actors. As I mentioned to some of them this past week, when I receive a resume I always try to find some sort of six degrees of separation or similar project. One of the actors had previously done a mock trial program at Harvard, so that was a no-brainer.

In my view it works when an actor is open minded to the process of one of these role playing characters and gets along with other actors. The latter may sound a bit obvious, but it’s probably the most important because we spend so much time together. When I think of the amount of socializing we did this time it confirmed that we had a solid group for this round.

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We highly recommend dinner at Tokyo House Newport.

The one thing I can’t emphasize enough is the networking part of it all. When I was doing background on a film earlier this year, one actress and I hit it off and she was the first one I thought of when filling one of the larger roles. With another, I came up with the idea for an original story with her in one of the starring roles. Another one of the actors has been enjoying a successful run in Rhode Island theater circles and some of us plan to see him in his latest play next weekend. But there is one actress that I’ve worked with since last December, that sadly won’t be returning this coming March as her husband has been transferred to another military base.

When I first met Helen last December, she was so positive, with a constant smile and eagerness to help others.  It didn’t take long for us to become fast friends and when I was in Newport this past summer we caught up over lunch.

So many of us are coffee drinkers with constant walks to the kitchen or the Starbucks on base. Helen, who isn’t a coffee drinker, suddenly arrives with a coffee maker, filters and coffee! As we were all struck with amazement and gratitude her response was along the lines of, to make our day easier. On our last day this week Helen wrote each of us a personal note. This wasn’t email, but a handwritten note!

Helen’s generosity, kindness and talent is something all of us should strive for.

Next class.

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I met Kristen earlier this year on a film set.