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“31, Numb, but the Hurt is Gone…”

Friends,

I’m 31.

31 stony grey steps toward the grave if I’m looking to be poetic and needlessly morose.

It’s certainly been a full 31 years, but even in light of everything I have experienced thus far, I feel in some ways like I am just getting started.

Not at life, mind you, but at living.

This is gonna be a big year for me. How do I know?

Well because it has to be. I can’t keep on the way I have been thus far or I will keep getting what I have always gotten.

And I’m bored of that.

2015 was a big year for me. Monster was my operative word. It was my theme for the year if you will. It was on my tongue for everything I wanted to do career-wise.

And, it became a self-fulfilling prophecy: It was my biggest year in film (such as it was), and certainly I could have kept said momentum up and kept growing, albeit in a linear fashion.

But that didn’t seem righteous to me. Essentially, there were other areas of my life I had been neglecting during my entertainment pursuits, most notably my aspirations as an adventurer, and to keep on the same way I had been would have been to repress those longings.

So I donned the sombrero and poncho of el peregrino and made my first foray into Latin America where I partook in ayahuasca and shot a film. This satisfied my longing for adventure while reassuring me that I wasn’t losing too much professional momentum. I got two birds stoned at once as it were.

But now I’m back home. Back for over two months actually, and I stand at a bit of a crossroads: Where do I go from here? I could go back into that linear progression but it doesn’t feel righteous; that is to say I don’t find myself pulled in that direction. After all, do I really wanna spend the rest of my life only telling other people’s stories? No, mine must be the priority.

I feel on a very deep level that to keep pursuing the same things, the same way in the same place is to do myself a disservice and squander my potential while ignoring my passions.

If the theme of 2015 was Monster, the theme for 2016 is Evolve. I have known this…felt this, since mid-2015. I’ve recognized this need for a quantum-shift for that long.

So how do I plan on evolving?

Well, I am precipitating said evolution assymetrically and on many fronts simultaneously, developing existing aptitudes and even trying my hand at new endeavours not strictly film or even adventure related. That’s a big step for me.

So what are some of my approaches?

Well, there is another adventure documentary in the works which will be my greatest undertaking yet. I can’t speak too definitively about it right now simply because I’m not producing/organizing it (which is kind of a relief), but if it doesn’t get deferred until 2017, it will begin this October. Stay tuned for that.

But, I’m kinda sorta almost hoping it does get deferred until next year because my back-up plan is pretty damn sweet too. I’ve started making some inquiries about this one but I can’t start making arrangements until my new passport comes in over the next couple weeks…

On the home front I am starting a collective which at this moment I am simply calling ACCESS. It will be a first furtive step in the direction of embodying a set of values important to me and my partners in the project, values such as sustainability, abundance, collaboration and skill-development to name a few. We are still selecting the property we wish to purchase for this endeavour, and there is a strict set of criteria it must meet, but I am confident we can have that portion of it sorted out before any departure I may be inclined undertake in the fall. This will be a long-term project that will grow and develop as my partners and I do, and I’m excited to begin living values that I have thus far just been discussing.

With regard to strictly creative endeavours, I’ve done something I’ve been meaning to for some time now which  is to lay down vocals for a hip-hop track. Director and Rapper, Matthew Luppino is producing it and it should be out over the next few weeks. I love rhyming and playing with words and so this is a long-overdue step. I want to challenge myself to write a few tracks a year as a way of harnessing this skill. I’m nice at writing bars. Now the world will see this.

Film-wise, I haven’t been applying for auditions but I have kept busy enough through referrals and the like, and for about a month of my time home I was pretty goddamn busy doing stunts on Blood & Fury: America’s Civil War. This latter was actually really important because it gave me that feeling of still being in the game which is so useful for combating feelings of idleness during this period of reflection.. But the whole time I’ve meditated constantly upon how to evolve. A seemingly obvious step would be to finally look into getting an agent but I’m not 100% sold on that…yet. I think there are other ways in which I can transcend where I’m at before I allow that influence into my life.

Finally I am going back out to comedy shows after a lengthy hiatus. This time however I am more aware of how I present myself on stage and going to try new means of delivering my ideas which will hopefully add to their efficacy.

Like I said earlier, I’m 31. I am LITERALLY in the prime of my life when all factors are taken into consideration. True, my body may have some wear and tear (I was in the army for 10 years), but that is mitigated by eating well and keeping fit. And really, from a physical fitness perspective, I’m still easily in the upper 20th percentile of North American men my age. But even if I wasn’t that lack would be offset by the fact that I’m smarter, wiser, more focused, more established and freer than I’ve ever been. I am at a singular moment in my life where I can do ANYTHING. So it’s very important that I don’t squander this time with vain pursuits because I will never be able to achieve like I can achieve now.

Evolve.

Best,
-Andre Guantanamo

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Lights, Camera, Action

Friends,

   What have I been up to lately?  Well, I am glad you asked cause in truth there are very good reasons for me not blogging as prolifically as I would like to.
First of all, my computer finally shit the bed on me and stopped working  a few weeks back.  That has really cut down on my computer time, buuut evidently I still do have some computer access (I am typing this blog) so I can’t really put all the blame there.
Then there has been some minor writer’s block too; sometimes I’ll have a post that has been mostly written for weeks but I have trouble getting back into and finishing it up (see Life Imitating Art).
But mostly my prolonged absence from the game is an indirect result of attending the Art-o-Con on May 5th (2013).  My friend, author Harrison Wheeler had a booth there promoting his book, Jester’s Incognito and while there we happened to sit in on a presentation put on by the horror movie magazine, Fangoria.  This presentation had 5 panelists from the Canadian horror film industry, three of which were producer, Kelly Michael Stewart, director Torin Langen, and actor, Robert Nolan.
I found myself getting very involved in the presentation asking many questions and becoming genuinely fascinated with the thriving Canadian film industry.  I guess I had always figured there was some stuff going on in Canada film-wise but I figured it was spill-over from the US industry, i.e. Hollywood filming up here cause it was cheaper.  But to hear these guys talk I was starting to realize that not only was stuff getting made here (and really, they were only talking about horror and not even delving into other genres) but that it was GOOD stuff too.
After the presentation I made ended up speaking briefly with a couple of the panelists but I had more of an in-depth conversation with Robert Nolan.  He was a cool guy whose story I kind of admired.  Rather than groom himself to be an actor his whole life, he was someone who had done a lot of living before deciding to take on acting as a profession.  In his estimation, this had actually helped him by giving him a broader experiential base when plying his trade.
I confessed to him that pursuing acting as a career was something of a pipe dream of mine but it seemed like kind of an overwhelming undertaking because I always assumed I would have to pack up and move to Los Angeles.  Seeing how the industry was thriving here in Canada I was beginning to see how much more accessible the dream was.
Robert was great and really supportive; he gave me some pointers about what I needed to bring to the table to be considered by directors and sent me some links I could use to look for auditions.  We even became Facebook buddies lol.  Most importantly, he said that if I thought I was an actor, I was, end of story.
So basically for the past month and a half now I have been going hard trying to break into this world that has always seemed so foreign and mysterious to me.  I have had some early success  (which I owe mostly to being well prepared for auditions.  Thanks Robert!) but enough rejection to keep me humble.  It’s a lot of fun too; I find myself in Toronto for much of the week, living on my sister’s couch and whipping around the city to wherever the auditions are at.
Now if you are a follower of my blog, you may remember that I quit my full-time job back in February because I hated it and I was miserable there.  I literally used to stay up late on Sunday nights (and drink) because the thought of going to bed and resigning myself to Monday morning and a new workweek was too depressing.
Now, in a weird sort of twist I actually look forward to Monday mornings as, after the lull of Saturday and Sunday, Monday is typically the time that the casting websites tend to get flooded with new job postings and casting calls.
Today is sort of an appropriate day for me to update you guys in my film-related pursuits too, because if all goes according to plan, my first production should go up online today (finger’s crossed).  It’s the pilot for a web-series whose working title was “What NOT to do in a Zombie Apocalypse” but the director had talked of changing the title so who knows exactly what it will go up as.  I guess I will see in a few hours.
In the series, I play Stan, the leader of the survivors of  the recent Zombie Apocalypse.

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The Survivors (from L to R): Jeremy, Darcy, Lydia, Chris and Stan (Moi)

   What attracted me to this project (aside from being an up and coming actor who will take what he can get lol) is that it had a pretty clever script.  And the way the director, Ana Sani, described the style she was going for (fast, witty dialogue and quick cuts) made it seem like it would be pretty damn good.  Having seen only the first draft of the episode, I’m pretty happy with it and I think we have set ourselves up for some good character conflicts down the road.

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Me killing a zombie and being filmed doing it.

   There are a few other projects I am in contention for which hopefully pan out, and even in cases where I haven’t gotten a certain part I feel like I have made a good impression so we’ll see how it goes.  Anyhow, its Monday morning and I have yet to check the new audition postings.

Best,
-Andre Guantanamo

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