Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Photo Used Without Permission

Without permission.

That was the catch phrase that could have been used all week at San Diego's Comic Con, or what I prefer to call, Woodstock for Geeks. A love-in of a different sort. People dressed in costumes they bought, rented, created, stole, dug up, refurbished and all sorts of cobbled together sans permission.

And you know, that's what made this Comic Con rock! This is a festival for geeks and fans and people who share like interests, and come in all shapes and sizes and colors and tastes, merging under one gigantic ginormous tent top to out-geek one another. And the thing about Comic Con geeks? They give it UP! I must have heard nine million - "Yo, great Boba Fett, dude!" And those were just from Jamie Kennedy, who insisted on getting his photo taken with every single costumed character who passed by. He is going to have one HELL of a Facebook Con album. My phone died. So, I have four pictures. Sad, really. All out of focus. One of my fabulous hotel room. Pathetic.

I arrived in San Diego and the weather was gorgeous. Sweater-weather that would soon burst forth into a I-gotta-move-here kinda day. I had risen early to drive down. I didn't want to commit too much time to the Con this year. This would be my fifth one - and I didn't have the greatest experiences at them before. In fact the last one, where I was signing at the Cartoon Network Booth for Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends, I forayed out into the crowd in search of a snack and a girl dropped in front of me having a seizure. It was a full ten minutes before paramedics reached her and I was traumatized by the time Sunday rolled around. Crowds were out of control and fans were upset that by 3pm each day, giveaways had been given away. Someone stole my wallet, my favorite pen AND my lip gloss. So I wanted to get in, do my panels and go home the next day.

I could not have been more pleasantly surprised! I am a geek. And this was geek heaven!

I arrived at the Omni - right on the water, across from the Convention Center. I keyed in the elevator with my DC Comics Comic Con key - YAY!!!! and rode the elevator up to the penthouse floor. An elevator completely decked out in True Blood posters and Eclipse walls!

"Heaven, I'm in heaven - and my heart beats so that I can hardly speak..."

My room overlooked the Convention and the train and the bay. I only wish I had my Stanley to share the whole experience with - but alas- we haven't met yet. Damn reality!

I did hair and makeup and slid out of my driving clothes and into Geek Chic. White top, mini-skirt, fishnets and motorcycle boots. Serious fan - but still - professional. (I know. Professional on WHAT planet, Miss Milo? Humor me.) I walked over and got my badge. As I reached for it from a woman named Nell who had the same split between her teeth that I had before I had it fixed and now wish I hadn't, looked at me and asked if I'd like a tote bag. I said sure. My friend Lauren Tom and I grabbed our bags and looked at each other and busted out laughing. They were life-sized! We could have lived in them they were so big. It just made me more excited to get In The Hall!!!!

My first panel was called Cartoon Voices and I was held at the door as someone dressed as a toaster with bread popping out (and whose face was somewhere INSIDE his costume) was led to a seat. I took the dais and proceeded to answer questions given by the moderator and then read a script cold. It was the truncated story of Cinderella. I got to play Cinderella. Right before my line I decided she should be a Puerto Rican with a bad attitude - and it brought the house down. Next to me, Jason Marsden did Stepsister #1 as a high pitched girl that woke me in the middle of the night laughing, it was that good! Tom Kane played the narrator and every time he said a line it was in a different voice. Chuck McCann played the Fairy GodMother and he was pure genius. April Winchell played the Evil Stepmother - and it was suddenly apparent why she was also Cruella DeVille and all other matters of womanly evil. Besides her imeccable timing, she has the best chops for that operatic diva voice EVER.

2900 people packed the room. Bill Farmer, the voice of Goofy, joined us from the audience and said hello. Fans completely went crazy as he and Jason did a father and son Goofy and Max. It was over too fast and I left the dais early to head to the Fanboy & Chum Chum panel. Before I left the hall I connected with lots of my Facebook friends! That was so cool to do!

We also did a reading at the Fanboy panel - and displayed pencil tests to read to. That was very cool. Eric narrated for us (the creator). I play a ton of characters on that show - and sat on that dais with him AND Jamie Kennedy and David Hornsby - who make me laaauuugghh. My favorite part of that was the Q&A at the end. Six kids in a row came up with the exact same question. Exact. Same. Question. And our fabulous show creator was able to interpret what they "really" meant and answered them to the delight of the audience - and the kids - who were like, "That dude is a genius! He gets me!"

I was surprised to be part of Nick's press tour and was secretly sliiiightly bummed that I couldn't cross back over the street and have a drink at the bar with the guy I met who looked muuuuuch better with his Batman mask off. I was whisked down to the main hall to Nick's booth. I could smell a Dexter moment (NOT a Nickelodeon show - oopsie!) and sure enough, a DJ wanting a station identification ("This is Lupe from Fanboy and you're listening to blabbity-blabbity-boo on your dial...") for a San Diego local Radio Station looked at me and asked, "So I understand that you are the woman who does Dexter?" So listen up San Diego - you'll hear Maya, Tito, Dexter, Cheese, Coco, Madame Foster, Mrs. Wakeman, Teacher from Cow & Chicken, Jacobo all calling out for his show! hahahahahaha Did them all. Cause I'm me.

Then we signed autographs and sat up on a large dais as fans lined up AND filed past us. We meant little or nothing to them. THEY were on display. This was their Con. We were visitors from planet TV show. They were there to strut and meet comic book artists and animators. Sergio Aragones, the MAD Magazine illustrator was part of a quick draw panel and was brilliant. I laughed so hard. We must have signed 500 autographs for Fanboy & Chum Chum - a great new show from Nick by Eric Robles And Steve Thompkins. It was kind of fun to see that the Fairly Odd Parents and Penguins cast had signed the table we were all seated at. I drew a Kilroy - and signed my name.

I was only there Saturday and yet I managed to have lunch and connect with old friends; producers, animators, casting people, and get all caught up. "Yes, Bambi's going to college! No, I haven't moved to NY yet, but I'm doing Actorfest in October. Yes, I'd love to come and be on your show and make millions and millions and millions of pennies!" Lots of hugs and promises and reconnects. This recession/depression has been hard on all of us. To a (wo)man we all pledged that we just have to hang in there and rely on each other to see us through. Creative people are simply the greatest. Art is forever!

I grabbed a nibble of bar mix at the hotel bar and I will tell you that a glass of Pinot Noir makes the Con a little more palatable. I scooted back over to Hall H and over to the Ugly Dolls booth and tried to meet the creators. I own all of the dolls - and wanted to give them my take on voices. You know, in case there was a gig coming up?!?!? :) The line was about 200 people long and since my name and face wouldn't buy me a cup of coffee and doing voices in line is something that would, even at The Con, get you thrown out - I left.

I had a drink with a couple I met after my first panel, whose boys are big fans of my work. Sigh. Under ten and under four feet - those are the men that love me...

I said goodbye and we promised to keep in touch and I rode the elevator back up to my room. I kissed my hand and touched it to all the evil vampires on display there and dragged myself to my room and flopped on my bed. Then the fireworks began and I snuggled down with room service - a cheeseburger and fries and all my free goodies. I watched "Hairspray" cause I know all the words...until it was time to sleep.

Sunday came too soon. I got up - ready for the 2 1/2 hour drive back home and thought about what fun I had in less than 24 hours. I smiled inside. I was tired and knew I had to get back to the grind of doing voices.


I know. World's greatest gig! I highly recommend it.

You know you love me - Candi

PS - Yes, I got stuff signed. I am one of them.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Oh Mel, You Sweet Talker You...

I hope her answer was, "I'll pass but, thanks honey! Do you want me to put our baby on the phone so you can say hi?"

I really wanted to be funny about Mel. I had it in mind to write about this since the first of the voice messages was made public. I was laughing to myself, picturing Mel ranting while dressed in James Caviezel's crucifixion costume.

But first I wanted to listen to them. The messages are online. I also could have listened to Tiger Woods' panicked message to his mistress saying his wife had found his phone and read the text messages from Jesse James to his mistress if I had wanted to. Just so you know. They are all out there. I didn't. Mel was enough, thankyouveddymuch.

His message, conversation, whatever it was made me sick. They are all sick messages. Twisted logically. Misogynistic. This to the mother of his daughter.

I have put it behind me, but Mel immediately brought to mind several similar ranting messages I received last December - also in front of my kid. A complete stranger called me repeatedly and screamed at me on my home voicemail - a lame attempt at bravado and threat - and sounded just as deranged, delusional and blame-laden as Mel.

Because I was consumed by all the other things going on in my life I thought, "ok fine. You got my unlisted number. You dialed it. You swore. You threatened. You keep forgetting to turn off your caller-ID. Yay for you. I'll take it from here." The content was nonsensical, nonlinear and delivered like a bipolar poodle who missed a Lithium dose. My girlfriends and I laughed about them and waited anxiously for the next one. They didn't scare me, clearly the intent of most raging lunatics, but they did make me sad, because they were a betrayal, an unforgivable betrayal because it meant I had to get a new phone number. And a new number meant I had to order new checks! Someone owes me $26.44. Hee hee...

I believe Karma is amazing and so never felt the need to retaliate, other than writing my blog. I knew the calls were the brainchild of someone who was caught not playing for team Candi, while still in team uniform. But hey, sticks and stones... (I know - 7th grade was longer ago for most of us - some people are still there and with cell phones.) I hope I get an invitation to their wedding. Better than that I want front row seats at the break-up! Ringside at The Garden!

Truly, my serial caller never reached the disgust level that the Gibson Gabs do. I remember thinking the messages, accusing me of everything under the sun and promising to make sure I paid, sounded so impotent...on many levels. wink wink That's also how I felt listening to Mel rant. The whiny bellowing over Oksana's obviously unnatural body parts ("No, really?!?!? Why don't you check out her lips!!!", his ex-wife is screaming on line 2.) and his insistence that she appear more modest - is hysterical in its "but this is likely exactly WHY you slept with her in the first place MEL!!!" double standard.

If you put a French accent on Mel - it would be like listening to Napoleon Bonaparte. "I am incredibly short. I have an incredibly teeny wee-wee. Everything I do is incredibly pure and just. And if you do not do as I say I will have an incredibly teeny tantrum! Or as I call it a teeny diatribe - a word STOLEN from the French!!!!!...wheeze...gasp wheeze...wheeze gasp..."

Life's too short and apparently so is Mel - for anyone to be be subjected to crap like this. I don't care HOW much money is involved. It is time for someone to lead Mel away in a lovely jacket with buckles in the back. And take away his damn Verizon calling card for crissakes...

Mel, from me to you. You left your wife for this woman. She turned out not to be what you wanted. Not her fault. It's ok. You made life choices, well you and Johnnie Walker, so your life is right where you led it. Handle the fallout over what you have done. If you don't, the guilt and confusion can cause this affliction known today as Robo-Ranting. Not a good thing where kids are involved. Not a good thing, period. I know, leaving a nasty voicemail for your ex about her boobs is kind of like drunk texting; wince-inducing but semi-forgivable. But when you talk about setting a house on fire? Go away, my friend.

As hard as jail time is going to be for Lindsay Lohan - it may end up saving her life and her career. Ask Robert Downey Jr. So, as career-destroying as it is being outed as a Napoleonic racist-sexist-lunaticist and being dumped by your agent - Mel you CAN rise again on the third day in a new career. Hopefully nothing that involves having to look at or listen to you. But only if you go away first. Far away.

And Oksana, for the sake of the kids, do what I did, change your number! And if you are concerned for the sake of your daughter - stop releasing these voicemails to the public. It doesn't do her any good.

Unless you have one of Mel playing Napoleon...how can that not be good?!?!?!?!?

You know you love me, Candi

Friday, July 02, 2010

Move Through The Ball...

Have you heard that expression...move through the ball?

I've heard it but never understood it in the context of sports. I was not a team sports player in high school or in college, for that matter - too small. Too tired. Didn't want to get hit in the face. Too busy, doing a show. Student government. Working. Chasing boys.

But I understand it in the context of life. If you use "move through the ball" as a metaphor for dealing with life's obstacles it's kind of cool. If you can move through them they don't really exist - ok they do - but they are permeable - so move through them. Jello. Water. I like that. They are not insurmountable. You just have to think of them in the right way. The air bender way. Wax on. Wax off. Move through them. I like not having to move around them. Avoidance is cowardly. Unless it's a large dog. Then, it's smart.

Rocky Balboa's landlord had a big dog. It didn't know how big it was and I think that made it cranky. He hated me. Not the dog. Rocky Balboa. But that's an earlier post. Back to ball playing...

Every time a ball player (and let's take a baseball analogy - because I loooooooove baseball players) steps up to the plate he has put himself in that position. He wants to be there. He may not like the circumstances surrounding his chance at bat - but honestly, he didn't have to get on the team bus. He could have taken computer sciences. But he chose to be there, and every decision he has made has led him up to the plate at that moment. He can avoid the ball - but that is not going to keep him in LA or Tampa or NY or San Francisco. No, he has to confront the ball and eventually hit it - hard and clean. The best way to do that is to picture moving through it. Keeping your swing, your arc fluid. Think about coming all the way around. Strong. Graceful.

But before he thinks about moving through the ball he thinks about what it is he'll swing at and what he will let pass by him. Not only which pitch. But the one pitch. One obstacle at a time. He can't really have a list about which pitches he likes and how he is going to handle it when the time comes. He couldn't read it. He's got the bat in his hand. A wad of gum in his mouth. Tight pants.


He has to make a snap decision when presented with what's coming over the plate. Because he's practiced he can kind of tell when the ball leaves the pitcher's hands whether or not to take a crack at it. Whether it will serve his goal of taking a victory lap around the bases as the ball goes over the fence.

He either takes a swing or not. He either connects or not. And if he does - and moves through the ball - it will likely go as he hoped or planned. Or maybe not. Here's the thing, though. A forward motion has been started and a new set of circumstances lines up and he is impelled to act upon them.

Let's use my life as the "life's obstacles" example. Because this is my blog and I said so. And yes, I'm wagging my finger.

Late last year, by my choice, by my life's set of decisions and choices - I was where I was - and as it turns out exactly where I needed to be - and presented with a set of obstacles. Didn't matter who was pitching. I was at bat. For a moment (ok, 4 months) I focused on the fences, forgetting everything I knew about how to handle life's curve, knuckle and sliders.

Yes. Soon I'll run out of baseball terms. Bear with me.

You see, like Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle (I have a few left, but just a few...) in competition to break Babe Ruth's record - I forgot about the game and focused instead on hitting it out of the park. Now, my God has that wicked sense of humor, remember? Wicked. And while I was up at home spinning like a demented top - it dawned on me. No matter how hard I swung, as long as I focused on the fences and not on moving through the ball coming over the plate - I was hitting air. I was an air bender in the wrong way.

(Just so you know, that made me laugh... Want to know what else makes me laugh? I remember I HAD to take tennis in high school. As a PE. I had to be on the PE team. I dressed for tennis every day and walked out to the courts and stood on the courts with my racquet in front of my face saying to anyone who would listen, "I'm going to be famous one day, and I can't be hit in the face. Sorry." True. hee hee heeeeeeeeeeeee...)

It's isn't about hitting a home run. The home run comes from the perfect swing. It is about connecting and moving through life one pitch at a time. One obstacle at a time. I had forgotten. I was watching TV one afternoon thinking Steve Buscemi was so dang cute and it hit me like a lightning bolt. I'm at bat.

Yellow pad.

I needed a list. See, I am not really at bat, with a wad of gum in my mouth or wearing tights pants. (Well, the tight pants - I am actually in tight pants.) But my hands were free and I could break down my obstacles into single pitches. Still have the goal of the fences in mind - but move through each pitch fluidly and with grace - connecting and swinging all the way around.

I switched my goal from the fences of immediately moving lock, stock and barrel to NYC - to finding joy - knowing full well that moving back east would give me that happiness. I broke it down into what needed to happen to make sure I was on the way to happiness. And guess what happened. I was connecting with pitches and each one went right over the center field fence. And then I was impelled to act upon this new set of circumstances.

I am officially out of MLB quips. You're welcome.

In less than one month I have dug in at the plate and homered the following:

1. I did a short film - called "Last At Bat" (I just realized that is a baseball term...hahaha!) - it is racy and hysterical. Look for it on Funny or Die soon.
2. I finished a professional musical theater workshop and from it put together 8 audition songs. 4 monologues. (That photo is of me and Bambi after my performance. I am sooooo relieved!!!!!)
3. Shot new photos.
4. Got a new VO agent with offices in LA and NY - and signed with them in both cities.
5. Got a new legit (theater - musical theater) agent in Los Angeles. And hello! - I was actually singled out of the workshop show.
6. Got a new legit agent in NY. They said it was impossible!!!!
7. Got parts in two LA-based musicals that begin rehearsals next week.
8. Contacted a Manhattan realtor - just for look sees when I go back there next week...Turns out she is a huge cartoon fan...

That's quite a season. These are HUGE accomplishments. And all for the love of the game!

To play my best game I must always remember that nothing is bigger than a single pitch, remember to focus my eyes on the prize and remember to swing through the ball with grace, fluidity and determination.

But in tackling my life's obstacles - and no, I am not on to football references - I learned that I really am a team player.

I play for me.

You know you love me - Candi