Wednesday, August 31, 2005

In costume

We've had no contact from the other stage dad, but here's a snap I took on the second day of shooting, to finish off Child One's disposable camera. Left to right, that's Children Three, One, and Two - and it's a very rare photo of Child Two without a genuine smile. And an equally rare photo of Child One with a genuine smile.

Note the ultra-modern footwear on the girls. The costumers had no shoes for the older girl (either actor*) and the shoes for Child Two gave her blisters. They'd have gone barefoot, but the sandpit contained scattered broken glass. The result? The kids were carefully shot from mid-calf up, although the father often lifted the properly shod boy into his arms. I'll be looking for flashes of sandal, though, when this finally hits the air.

* When did the term "actress" fall from favour, anyway?

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Calling off the ACTRA dogs

Josa called me yesterday, to offer a deal. The production wants to pay my children through her rather than go through arbitration with ACTRA. The pay is the same - they surrender, essentially - but the producers don't like ACTRA chomping at their throats.

I called S at ACTRA to get her take on it. S explained how difficult a time she has had with the producers. She says that even getting the standard documents from them is like pulling teeth. These producers are exceptionally pig-headed, and S even said that they hate her.

Wow. Strong talk.

S was willing to let things go as Josa suggests. I think it will be best for all involved, especially since S stands ready to take up the fight again if necessary. I ought to buy her flowers for her perseverence. My kids aren't even in the union.

Josa was supposed to call me again today to finalize matters, but a few days more won't matter.

Bonus coverage:

Tonight was the last night of summer hockey. Here's what we look like after a game:

Monday, August 29, 2005


We bid adieu to Jojo the guinea pig before supper. He was a fine animal who we thought would leave us earlier this summer. He was not at all well, but had since recovered in activity, although he never gained back the weight.

He was laid to rest under the crab apple tree, next to the late hamsters Matzahball and Droplet.

Child Two is sad.

Wikipedia referrals

After an initial bump of traffic to via Wikipedia, the number of visitors has leveled, more or less.

Wikipedia is now responsible for 28% of visitors who come through another page, the top referrer to the site.

Bonus toenail coverage:

My toenail hangs on bravely at the right side of my big toe. It pivots like a little Dutch door.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Airplane weekend

My dad, Children One and Three, and I spent Saturday at Air Show Ottawa. This show had a small gathering of re-enactors, which was the highlight for us. A half dozen Canadians in jeeps, a Universal Carrier, and a 6-pounder took on fewer Germans with a PaK 36.

The cool part was later, looking up close and personal at the equipment. Child One and I took a "ride" on Bofors, and targeted a CF-18 that was buzzing the airfield. I only mildly embarrassed myself when I asked about a gun I thought was a long 75-mm gun. It was, in fact, a 17-pounder (which has a calibre of 76.2 mm). Oh, the shame....

Last night, the wife and other child joined us to sleep over at her cousin's home, not far from the show. We visited the Canada Aviation Museum on the way home. It was much less impressive than it was three years ago. Although the second building is complete, it i closed to the public, and public access to the older exhibition room has been halved. At least the boy seemed to appreciate it.

Now, I'm off to catch up on work, and to continue editing yet another Netsurfer Digest for an ungrateful world.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Josa's angry

I have heard nothing from ACTRA, but Josa called to chew me out. The producers are angry, and have vented their rage at her.

Josa is the source of all of this, so rather than have me remind you of that a dozen times, just keep that in mind.

The producers claim that my kids should never have had speaking parts and should never have qualified for more than background pay. The producers blame the kids' expanded role on miscommunication with the Chinese director and crew - and, I assume, by extension on Thom the 1st AD. Regardless, that's not an issue my kids, Josa, or I need to compensate for. That's an issue the producers need to solve in-house, possibly by being on-set.

Josa was angry because she claims I went over her head to ACTRA. She says I should have come to her with the problem first, written an e-mail or called. She has a point. I did go over her head. I pointed out to her that I did complain about the classification and pay when I spoke to her last week about the $100 per. In her mind, that was not enough, and I should have pressed the issue. I thought I had....

Josa claimed I was putting my kids' careers in jeopardy. It was a version of "you'll never work in this town again!" "Careers?", I thought. She asked if the kids were still interested in the lessons, but not so much as a saleswoman as in an implied threat.

We spoke for a while. The conversation started acrimoniously, but by the end we understood each other's positions. She was angered by the heat the producers put on her, and she needs to maintain a working relationship with them. I rocked the boat, too hard in her opinion. She thought all had been settled when I agreed to the $100 payments. I thought I had made clear that I and others thought he children deserved more.

As it stands, the children will get actor pay, but may not get a credit. Considering that actors need to pay dues to ACTRA ($350 a year) once they accumulate four credits, the result may be the best possible outcome.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

"Sheep's End" goes up

Just finished wrapping up a few misplaced scenes and adding a bit more emotional tension. Time for some readers. It goes up on TriggerStreet tonight.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Get my motor running

We've heard from the garage. They will replace the faulty engine for free. I didn't speak with the people there, but I'm told that a bolt fell out of a head and destroyed the engine. That's not really supposed to happen, I guess.

Wikipedia footnote and

Believe it or not, doesn't quite match in visitors. Nonetheles, I still track visitors, mostly to learn how they come to find my site. Webring has been a winner so far, but in addition to sprucing up Wikipedia's Avia S-199 article, I also planted my URL in the articles for "Supermarine Spitfire", "1948 Arab-Israeli War", and "Israeli Air Force".

After only one day, visitors lured to my site from Wikipedia already make up more than a quarter of all my visitors who visit through links. They arrived primarily from the "1948 Arab-Israeli War" and "Supermarine Spitfire" articles, which now rank one and tied for second in referrals. I thought this might happen - I saw a big bump when some kind soul mentioned my site in the Wikipedia obituary to Ezer Weizman earlier this year.

I'm going to keep an eye on this. If traffic stays high, maybe I'll find the motivation to finish converting my site completely to CSS format, and finish the pilot biographies.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Hot chick pwns flight-sim geeks

The eponymous Crystal, of the Midnight Therapy with Crystal blog, was invited to AGW flight-sim bulletin board (see link in the right sidebar). Aanvil is a poster there, and he made Crystal mad.

I, for one, welcome our new hot-chick overlord.

Nice feedback

A reader from my Montreal Screenwriters group just sent me the first bit of feedback I've had from a reader of "Sheep's End":

This is FREAKIN HILARIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I've just read the first few pages. Oh my GOD this is funny.

I'll send more comments when I'm done. I just had to tell you that it's page 4, and I'm laughing out loud at my desk....

To use a punchline out of context: that's a good start. And to think that I thought five ass jokes in the first four pages was pushing the assvelope.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

A night out, and a Wikipedia skirmish

I caught a Disciples of Ursula Big Band show last night. I've seen that band live more than any other, primarily because my wife plays is the band's clarinet player. You can buy their music at the iTunes Music Store. They started as a swing band, but the repertoire has expanded to more rock-y tunes, world beat, and other variations on the genre. The kid on the cover of the album is Child Three, when he was two years old.

Looking over my list of things to get done on Friday, I note that I still haven't put any words toward the "101" treatment. It's building, though. Some day this week, it will explode, and all spill out through my fingertips onto my keyboard. I don't feel like I haven't been working on it.

I found the call sheet from last week's shoot. I thought I must have lost it, but it was stuck to the back of a notebook. The kids' mother was played by Anna Papadakos. The 1st AD is Thom Parkinson. My children are listed in a category titled "Extras & Atmosphere".

Our friend Stuart is visiting us. He is a one of two degrees of separation between me and Linus Torvalds. He shares space in a Borland Paradox Easter egg with my wife.

Stuart arrived with two T-shirts I bought from the 101 Squadron CafePress shop, one for me and one for Child Three. They look really nice. You should buy 37 of them. And a few thongs.

Speaking of things and thongs 101, I added some details to Wikipedia's Avia S-199 page, but some mathematician in Mexico nicknamed Drini insists on stripping out my contributions. I've followed Wikipedia since its inception and in fact did some work on it for Reader's Digest (Canada) this summer. The one huge drawback of Wikipedia is its pocket dictators, like this Drini. Lesser visited pages fall under the spell of jealous guardians who brook no opposition, no dissent. It stops being an open-content project and turns into a series of gated communities. It's no skin off my nose, and if he wants his little empire, I'm not going to fight him on it any more than I have.

Friday, August 19, 2005

The newest Charter PHARTer

I've just joined the Professional Hack Authors RecogniTion Society.

Charter PHARTers need to fulfill the following:

- You are incapable of holding down a regular job.
- Somebody stupidly paid you for some piece of crap you wrote.
- Your piece was published or produced, even if only on the Internet.
- You are willing to give us an IOU for your dues.

I am overqualified.

It's noon, and I've finished chores 1, 2, 3, 6, and 8 from last night's list.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Things to do tomorrow

In no particular order:

1) Invoice Reader's Digest (Canada) for work this month, and possibly berate them for two missing payments.

2) Feed the cats my mother-in-law left with us by mistake when she moved to B.C.

3) Feed the guinea pigs.

4) Feed myself.

5) Gush over this snippet of e-mail from a former student: "Hope you're enjoying the summer. I gotta say, your Data Accessing class is proving to be one of the most useful courses ever."

6) Finish a screenplay review for TriggerStreet.

7) Start a treatment for the next rewrite of "101".

8) Brush teeth.

9) And maybe even shower.

The letter to ACTRA

To: [ACTRA person whose name begins with S]
From: Lawrence Nyveen
Subject: Dr. Bethune


I spoke with you on the phone yesterday about my children's experience with the "Dr. Bethune" production. My concern is not strictly with the amount the production plans to pay them as it is with their classification as background versus actor.

All three of my children worked on camera: [Child One] (age 11); [Child Two] (8); and [Child Three] (5). [Child Two] and [Child Three] worked eight hours on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2005 and eight hours on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2005. [Child One] worked only eight hours on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2005. None has worked as talent before, and none is a member of ACTRA.

At no time was I informed of pay rate or classification, and I have yet to sign any documents concerning the children's work. The two younger children were confirmed for the parts on Aug. 9 by Josa from the MSOPA for the first day of shooting, who described the work as "non-speaking acting roles". She called to book all three children for the second day on Aug. 15.

I was only shown a call sheet at the end of the Aug. 16 shooting day. If I recall correctly, the children were listed as extras. For certain, they weren't in the cast list.

The two days of shooting covered identical same scenes as far as I could tell. On Aug. 10, [Child Two] and [Child Three] played the younger children of an immigrant family that lives in a wagon. Their older sister was played by an ACTRA member named [T]. [T] was unavailable for the Aug. 16 shoot, so [Child One] was hired to replace her.

The children acted with Carl Alacchi, (who played their father, Franz), Anna ??? (mother), Trevor Hayes (Norman Bethune), Sabine Karsenti (Frances Bethune), and David Rigby (One-Arm Jack).

The scenes I remember are as follows:

INT. The children cluster around their mother, who is in labour. Franz hustles them outside. The kids protest: "No, no, mommy, mommy!"

EXT. Franz puts the children outside. [Child Three] refuses, lifts his arms to be carried. Franz picks him up, heads back inside.

EXT. The children are playing outside and spot Bethune and Frances, who have come for a visit. The kids run to greet them, and escort them to their father at the wagon. The kids' dialogue: "It's my turn!" "I found the stick!" "Doctor! Doctor!" "Pappy, pappy! The doctor"

EXT. The kids cluster by the wagon's front door. [Child One] and [Child Two] are tall enough to try to look in the window. [Child Three] tries to listen at the door. No adults in this scene.

EXT. Bethune leaves the family after delivering the baby. Franz hands him money. Bethune won't accept payment, and Franz won't take it back, so Bethune hands the dollar bill to [Child One]. [Child One] courtsies, "Grazie". Franz sends [Child One] inside to fetch the doctor's things. [Child Two] comes out with his coat and hat; [Child One] carries the doctor's bag. They hand the doctor his belongings. [Child Three] crawls into Franz's arms. The doctor kisses all the children before he leaves. The kids wave goodbye: "Grazie, doctor, grazie. Ciao! Ciao, doctor!"

INT. Franz puts the children to bed before burning his family to death. [Child Three] refuses to close his eyes, just stares at Franz.

There may be a few more scenes I don't remember, but the director also took close-ups of the children to go along with the broader action.

This is my family's first time at this sort of thing, and I would have been left in the dark in terms of payment had Carl Alacchi not asked me about the terms the children were working under. I had no idea - I was relying on good faith (I know, I know). He explained that because they had dialogue, close-ups, and because they related to the main characters, they should be classified as actors. He and Anna recommended I speak to ACTRA.

I asked the 1st AD, Tom, about this on set. He told me the children should be paid for what they were doing. As the Aug. 16 shoot wound down, he told me that he had fixed it up with Aldo, the 2nd AD. Back at base camp, Aldo said he'd arrange the pay details with Josa.

On Aug. 17, Josa told me over the phone that the kids were classified as background, and that they would be paid a flat fee of $100 each for their work. I assume that was what Aldo arranged with her after the fact.

The people who saw the children's work on set (Carl, Anna, Trevor, and Tom the 2nd AD) seem to agree that the children were actors, not background, and that they deserved a credit. The people who never saw them on set (Josa, Aldo) dismiss the work as background.

Like I said, we're new at this game. If what the children did is within the realm of background, that's fine. But on the advice of the people my children worked with, I thought I should bring this to your attention. Other than this, I have no complaints about the production's treatment of the children.

Please let me know if there's any necessary information I've left out. You can call me at 514-NNN-NNNN, although if I'm near the phone, I'm near the computer, so e-mail works fine, too. I freelance from home, so I'm always available.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


The wife and kids and dog have gone camping, and I will be alone for the next two days. Strictly speaking, I have the two guinea pigs inside and the two cats outside, but that's alone enough. I need this every once in a while.

Josa called today to say that the production is calling the kids background characters, but from what I had learned, with the kids' lines and interaction with other characters, they should have been designated actors. That's a contractual designation for performers who have fewer than five lines of dialogue and are part of the plot. Carl, who plays their dad, was sure they should be actors.

The difference is significant. As background, the production will pay each kid a flat fee of $100, without credit. As actors, they would get scaled pay per day of work, which would work out to about three times that amount per day, and a credit. The credit is important for future work, should the kids decide to do that.

I called ACTRA in Montreal for advice. The woman I spoke with told to take what is offered and submit a letter to the union. If ACTRA agrees that the children are actors and not background, it will take up the cause.

What irks me most is that the 13-year-old son of the 2nd AD (second assistant director) was on set as a production assistant. If he can be paid actual money, I don't see why my kids shouldn't be.

I think I'll rent "Downfall" tonight. But what to eat....

Back from the set

We just got home after a long night at the set. I confirmed that the kids are getting actor -scale pay, as their roles expanded to speaking parts on set. That makes missing hockey worth it. The cast and crew couldn't stop complimenting the kids, and I got a few more leads on agents from the actors.

The actor who played the kids' mom said I should write plays. Strangely, she's the third showbiz person in two days to tell me that. Maybe I should consider it. It seems like there are lots of opportunities to write for the stage.

Bonus points:

1) The toenail I damaged during hockey more than a month ago is finally - and more importantly, painlessly - lifting off my toe.

2) The dog was not skunked tonight.

Monday, August 15, 2005

More movie-making

Josa called today. Children Two and Three are wanted on set tomorrow afternoon at 2:30. So is Child One, as a replacement for the original actress who played the oldest sibling - she's on vacation. I'll have to miss my Tuesday evening hockey to go with them, since the wife needs to be elsewhere.

I attended my monthly Montreal screenwriter group meeting this evening. Everyone seemed hooked on "Sheep's End", and wanted to know how it ended after my pitched synopsis. That's positive, I suppose, but doesn't help sell it....

A finished first draft

I just completed the first draft of "Sheep's End", a fantasy comedy/adventure. I suppose most readers will compare it to "Shrek" or "The Princess Bride" but it doesn't really share the same vibe. "Sheep's End" has a lot more ass jokes.

I was a bit worried I wouldn't get to the magic 90 pages, but I ended up at 91. The screenplay has three songs in it, so that will add some running time. I'm not worried about its length any longer. I'll clean it up and send it out to a first round of readers.

I wrote "Sheep's End" as an exercise in emotion. After a dozen years of journalism, I find it hard to infuse what I write with enough emotional conflict to make a compelling story. I hope I got it down. I'll find out.

Sunday, August 14, 2005


I played a few hours of touch football with the musicians in the Disciples of Ursula Big Band (my wife's band) and additional hangers on (like me).

It's a good thing I only have to move my fingers to work.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The day marches on, and that promised movie review

Child Two stepped in a previously undiscovered puddle of dog vomit in a dark corner on the stairs. I'm not sure if it's new or leftover from the morning.

I've had two unsolicited comments from people who say how much they like my writing, and that I should consider writing for a living: my wife and my dad. Booker Prize, here I come!

I don't mind adopting a cliche, for "Valiant" was all cliche and reveled in it, so I'm comfortable in describing this as a film for the whole family. The animation was adequate, not at the level of "Shrek" or "Monsters, Inc.", but generally good enough to stay out of the way. An early shot of a buoy in the English Channel had me worried, though.

The movie takes place during the war, in May 1944. Kids will like the movie for its simple moral: don't judge a bird by his wingspan. Dads like me will enjoy it for the accurate, if brief, depictions of a Tiger, Hummel (?), and several Halifax (?) bombers. If the movie doesn't engage you, you can always play "Guess the Voice" if you go in not knowing the cast. Hugh Laurie and Ewan McGregor were easy to "spot". Others are harder.

The movie reminded me very much of "Chicken Run", and not just because it was birds in a military atmosphere. The tone is similar, as well, and while "Chicken Run" is the superior film, "Valiant" remains enjoyable for nearly all audiences.

One of those days

Those days happen far more frequently to me than average, and I don't think that's a purely subjective judgment.

Last night, my wife's aunt gave us free passes to a preview screening of "Valiant". Child Three had a baseball festival and preferred to go to that, so the movie was left for Child Two and myself.

The movie was to start at 10 a.m., and as we were about to leave, our vet called. My Samoyed had escaped and was waiting for me there. The dog gets out of the yard once every two months or so, always the same way: someone leaves the gate open.

I checked. Sure enough, the gate was open. Normally, no one in the family admits to leaving the gate open - shocking, I know - but this time no one had any cause to open the gate. It was closed yesterday and nobody used the backyard today. I closed the gate and headed off to the vet.

The vet told me that the dog had been parked on someone's lawn since around 7 a.m., and had been so pitiful that Urgences-sante (the local ambulance service) had checked him out to make sure he was OK. The vet herself passed by then, recognized him - for, as I said, he escapes often - and took him to the office, from where she called me. The neighbourhood must not be so accommodated to my dog's neurotic mellowness.

I suspect a neighbour may have gone into our backyard, and I'm going to padlock the gate.

Off to the movie we went.

My wife had left the minivan extremely low on gas, but I hate missing the first few minutes of a movie, so I didn't fill up beforehand. The digital mileage estimator helpfully displayed the 0 km we could expect to travel on our fuel load.

After the movie (watch this space for a forthcoming review), I came to the highway on-ramp. I could veer right and get on Autoroute 20 to go home or I could stay left and hit a gas station. I wisely chose to get gas. Within two blocks, the minivan started shuddering from what I thought was a lack of gas. Fortunately, the gas station was downhill. My engine died as I crossed the sidewalk threshold and I coasted to the pump.

I filled up (about 66 L @ $1.054/L = about $70) and turned the key. The engine did not start. I did it again, and again the engine didn't catch. I thought the problem might be an empty fuel line, so I pressed the gas pedal. The engine caught, then died. Maybe I flooded it, I thought. More cranking, more starting and dying.

If I gave the engine fuel, it stayed running, although it made a horrible ticking. I was able to pull the minivan into a parking spot. Child Two and I took the Metro home.

While we were gone, the dog threw up a good serving-plate-sized puddle of pea-soup green vomit on the rug in front of the vestibule. I wonder what those kind strangers fed him.

We arrived home the same time as Child Three and my wife. We have to go get the minivan now. She has a CAA account, so the tow will be free. We plan to tow it to the garage that replaced the engine last May. I hope the garage honours its guarantee without too much hassle.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Why I love my job - part 1

I get e-mail like this:

First of all thanks a lot for featuring [site name removed] in the Netsurfer digest - we really appreciate it! Now - since none of our crew is subscribed to Netsurf, is there any way you can send us the article/review so we can mention it, or quote a part of it in [site name removed]'s "others about us" section? Is it ok if we do this and link to you?

Sure, I sent them the blurb and let them do what with it what they wanted, but if they really wanted to make me happy, they could have passed the hat and bought a subscription.


As I wrote, the children's last scenes took place after dark out in the country. That means mosquitos.

Mosquitos love me. They will hunt me down in a crowd. My wife is astounded how quickly they home in on me.

A logical combination of the previous two paragraphs explains why I've spent the last day and half scratching my ankles and feet. Mosquitos in warm regions of the US (I've had lengthy stays in Houston and San Jose) bite, and the reaction itches for a day. The mosquitos in Montreal make you suffer for a week.

Thank goodness for Gold Bond Medicated Cream. It's the only thing I've ever found that really does stop the itch. Calamine is a joke.

I have to stop shilling....

Thursday, August 11, 2005

IDF and the A-10

I posted this on a mailing list a few days ago as part of a discussion on why Israel never bought the A-10. Might as well repost it here....

Tactically, the A-10 is a fantastic aircraft for IDF/AF needs. Armour is the game in the Middle East, and the A-10 is one of the top anti-armour weapons in the world. It wreaked havoc in Iraq.

The A-10's strength is in its ruggedness and its ability top bring its pilot home despite any damage it may receive. It's slow, and vulnerable to hits, but it will get home. The USAF can afford this strategy. It can send out assets and replace those that are damaged.

The problem is that the A-10 doesn't meet Israel's strategic needs. Unlike the USAF, the IDF/AF has few resources.

Israel's strength lies not in the number of planes but in the number of sorties. What the IADF/AF does better than probably
any air force in the world is turn around aircraft. The IDF/AF's pit crews can get more sorties per day out of an airplane than anyone else.

The A-10's strength doesn't match the IDF/AF's strength. What good is all that rapid turnaround if your A-10s have to go in to be patched up or get a new engine every third sortie? The USAF can afford to do this, air forces with fewer aircraft can't.

The IDF/AF and other less wealthy air forces need to opt for fast attack aircraft that will evade the hits or for pop-up attack
helicopters that will hide from them. It's a strategy of avoiding damage rather than taking it and coming home.

At the movie set

We were picked up in a Dodge minivan at 11:15 a.m. on Wednesday and got to base camp about an hour later. My kids were playing two of the three children of a destitute family. Their older sister was ironically the same size as my Child One, who missed all this because she was in summer camp.

The costumers dressed the kids in period clothing, then proceeded to "schmutz" the clothes with dirty wax. Make-up artists dirtied the kids' faces and hands with a soot-like powder.

We got to the set at about 2:30 p.m., but only ten minutes of that was the drive. Most of it was waiting around. The first scenes were filmed inside this family's clapboard wagon, so I couldn't see much. The kids sounded like they enjoyed themselves. The only snag was that the caterer had gotten lost and was three hours late - and the kids were hungry.

About two hours passed. I spoke with the father of the other girl about the regulations concerning child actors and what I would be in for if we pursue this. It sounds like it's more trouble than it's worth. The crew did ship plates of eggs and bologna to the kids once the caterer showed up at base camp.

As soon as the kids were done, the outdoor set was interrupted by a torrential storm, with hail and lightning on the side. Everybody on set rushed into vans, pick-ups, and trucks. The lead had been out in the woods making a phone call and was caught in costume in the storm. We all enjoyed watching him struggle in high winds and hail with an inverted umbrella as he tried to cross the "keep out" ribbon that surrounded the set.

One of the regulations the other stage dad told me was that the kids can only stay for eight hours a day. We'd showed up at noon, and mealtime doesn't count, so we had to leave by 9 p.m. The kids got to set at 8 p.m. to film a couple of scenes in the dark. That last hour was rushed, and I'm not sure the director was entirely happy with the results. That was my favorite part, however, since the scenes took place outside the wagon and I could watch my kids do their thing.

Everyone was impressed with my kids. Sabine, who plays the wife of the lead, suggested I get them an agent. We'll see.

We go back home, and I spent the next hour de-skunking my dog with OxiClean. They don't advertise it as such, but it is the most effective product for skunk smell I've ever tried. OxiClean works by oxidizing. The skunk smell comes from mercaptan compounds, which oxygen breaks down. I put two and two together - the OxiClean works instantly.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Don't let your children grow up to be movie stars

Last week, Child Two let it be known that she wanted to start acting. I spent the weekend looking for local theatre clubs or classes without much success, but I figured that was more a failure of my own searching than of any real absence of outlets for kids.

Sunday night, I received an e-mail on a local screenwriter's mailing list. A local production was looking for volunteer extras downtown for Monday at 11 a.m. The woman in charge, Josa, worked at a local theatre school - and the e-mail also advertised courses at the school, including one for kids.

I called Josa and asked whether my kid and I could be extras. Child Two was exited when she heard about the opportunity and would have enjoyed the experience. Unfortunately, the production had prepared no costumes for child extras, and this was a period piece. I was welcome to go, but I declined. I didn't need to waste a good writing day volunteering to make someone else money. I spoke to Josa about the course for kids and said goodbye.

Later that afternoon, Josa called me back to ask if I had any pictures of my daughter, because the production needed kids for a few scenes. These would be non-speaking acting roles. I sent three photos of Child Two, one of which also featured Child Three.

This morning, Josa called to ask if Child Three also wanted to be in the scenes. "Why not?", I said. From starting a career as an extra on Monday, my daughter (and son) now has an acting role on Wednesday. We even get star treatment - the production is sending a car to pick us up.