In Defense of the Unknown Actor

Anonymity is a powerful strength. You often see it used to terrible effect by trolls on social media and comment boards. But it can be used for good by famous writers who take on a pseudonym in order to write outside their “accepted” genre. It’s also the reason that masks are so intriguing. We don’t know who it is behind the facade.

Another way this can be used, but often isn’t, is in casting. Producers, directors, and writers are often celebrity-obsessed. Celebrity being in many ways the antithesis of anonymity. Celebrities, of course, allows any project to more easily attract funding. But it can sometimes get in the way of allowing the audience to really see and believe the character.

I had this issue when I saw the movie La La Land. Continue reading In Defense of the Unknown Actor

Ryback scored short film “30 Nights” an Official Selection Broad Humor Film Fest, 2015

This Saturday, September 26th @ 5pm, come to Venice, CA to see this hilarious short film I scored. It’s an official selection of the Broad Humor Film Festival – celebrating funny films by funny women.

The festival is held at the Electric Lodge Performing Arts Center at 1416 Electric Ave, Venice CA, 90291.

Get ticket and schedule information here.

Have You Ever Wondered Why Superheroes Wear Capes?

henry-cavill-superman-2013-hd-wallpaper-do-superheroes-really-need-capes-jpeg-67651

The other day a random thought popped into my head: Why do superheroes so often wear capes?? I wondered if there was any literature on the purpose of capes in these superhero myths.

One thread suggested that there was a link from Zorro and/or The Three Musketeers. Those swashbucklers being the original “super heroes” of literature and, given the time periods, natural cape wearers. This then held over to Superman and beyond.

Others discussed the utility purposes of capes such as it’s assistance with aerodynamics, but at least according to one study on the phyiscs of Batman’s Cape (yes…an actual study) that seems incorrect. Other purposes include making it easy to hide or confuse enemies, being a protective shield, and acting as a symbol.

My favorite blog is this one that asks Do Superheroes Really Need Capes? The author basically decides the purpose of a cape is purely for the sake of fashion. It even goes so far as to depict some of our well-known cape-wearers looking rather silly without their capes.

henrycavillsupermanmanofste-1-do-superheroes-really-need-capes-jpeg-67710

I was disappointed to find that there was no deeper symbolism to be read into it. Something like “the fluid movement of capes create a sense of the ephemeral, and as such give human shapes an otherworldly form.”

So, I guess without that I’m with Edna from Pixar’s The Incredibles. As she puts it:

9F3TQFe

The Best Pixar Film of All Time

pixar-slice-600x200

I have always been a huge Pixar fan, and reading Creativity, Inc last year by Pixar (and now Disney Animation) President Ed Catmull has only solidified my adoration for the company and their brilliant creative process. You will often find me extolling the virtues of their story-telling and business principles, and basically recommending everybody everywhere to read his book.

When I saw this post from Collider called Pixar Films Ranked from Worst to Best I had to click. Now, I have yet to see Inside Out, but…I have a VERY CLEAR frontrunner for Best Pixar film, and it is not always everyone else’s frontrunner.

Luckily – the article agreed with me as to which is the best Pixar film. Take a look at the list and see if you agree, too!

Enjoy!giphy

Human Fact in Science Fiction

Love this Film 4 interview from the team behind Ex Machina. I’ve always been a fan of Sci-Fi storytelling for its ability to be a more obvious mirror for the human condition and the challenges of our current times.

Star Domhnall Gleeson sums it up perfectly in this quotation at the end of the clip [9:06]: “My favorite films are elevated genre-films. So they’re genre-films…that use the genre to tell us something about being human, to ask really important questions.”

The Host With the Most

“It’s a wonderful night for Oscar (Oscar, Oscar!) who will win?”

Thus began every Oscar monologue given by the master Billy Crystal.  The first time I ever seriously watched the Oscars (I was super invested in “Good Will Hunting” winning) it was hosted by Billy.  He worked his ass off to entertain – a true performer and just plain silly.  He came out 3/4 of the way through the show at crouched behind the glass podium exclaiming: “Look!  I’m a present!”  7998822

His songs during the opening monologues, pointing out the (at the time) 5 Best Picture nominees were the precursor in many ways to what Neil Patrick Harris has accomplished many times at the Emmy’s and Tony’s.  To Matt Damon and Ben Affleck he crooned to the tune of “Night and Day”: “Matt and Ben – you are the ones.  Your script was tight and, damnit – so are your buns.”

images-1This Sunday, however, will be hosted once again by Ellen Degeneres.  Ellen did a great job the last time she hosted with her signature folks-y, meandering comic style with surprise zingers.  She last hosted when Helen Mirren would win for “The Queen.”  Ellen quipped: “Lots of British nominees.  Would I say ‘too many’?  Not here.  Alone at home in my pajamas with a box of chardonnay in me? who knows what I’d say!”

The good thing about Ellen is that she never gets too overtly political, which is bad for the air on Oscar night.  Chris Rock went very far in that direction, holding his mic like a true stand-up, with this joke that didn’t even have anything to do with the Oscars: “Bush did some stuff you could neeeever get away with at your job, man.  You know when Bush got into office they had a surplus of money.  Now there’s like a 70 trillion dollar deficit.  Now just imagine you worked at the GAP…”

Whoopi got political the first time she hosted (the first time ANY woman hosted), but she condensed it to one “political soapbox rant” that ended with: “Let Frank Sinatra finish!”

Jon Stewart, who I love on Daily Show, was also a bit political, but less so.  He just seemed ill-at-ease while not behind his desk.  He didn’t know what to do with his hands.  But he did have some great lines such as: “Diablo Coldy used to be an exotic dancer and now she’s an Oscar-nominated screenwriter…I hope you’re enjoying the paycut.” And my favorite of his:  “This year’s theme is “Bringing Back the Glamor” and let me just say — thank god.  Because for too long Hollywood has been without.”

Second to Billy as my favorite host is definitely Steve Martin:  “When they asked me back in January if I wanted to host the Oscars my first thought was: “Would there be enough time for my facelift to heal.”

What they both do so well is poke fun at Hollywood, which I think is so necessary on a night where super rich celebrities give each other statues made of gold.  And when he joined forces with Alec Baldwin (the first DUO to host the Oscars) it was pure magic.

Unfortunately it lead the way to one of the WORST Oscar duos – James Franco and Anne Hathaway.

So here’s to Ellen and a great night at the Oscars!

 

 

OSCARS Live Tweet

Anyone who knows me well knows how much I love the Oscars. The celebrity, the art, the speeches.  The Oscars make me fall in love with show business over and over.

In fact, the only thing I love more than the Oscars is LIVE-TWEETING the Oscars. The jokes, the snark, the hashtags.

So follow me on twitter (@btryback) and this Sunday, March 2nd follow join me starting at 4e/7p.  I won’t quit until the last man affirms his heterosexuality by thanking his girlfriend/wife/escort.  Or the wine puts me to sleep, which ever happens first.

See you Sunday!  And may the statuettes be ever in your favor.

BT Oscars

Day Off: Into the Woods Style

My day off from MURDER FOR TWO at New World Stages is Tuesday – which is an odd day off for a stage actor, Monday being the typical day, or sometimes Sunday.

Typically, I’ll spend the day at home – writing, catching up on TV, drinking beer, and cooking for the week.

If you’re the cast of the INTO THE WOODS movie, however – you apparently spend your day off filming a music video with Paul McCartney at Abbey Road.  Which, y’know, six of one…

Lincoln’s a Bitch

Lincoln
As dramatic and historic a time as the Civil War was, attempting to dramatize the “struggle” of Abraham Lincoln is damned near impossible.

If you saw the recent Spielberg movie, you know that Daniel Day Lewis’s portrayal of the 16th President is sweet, subtle, and extremely endearing – all attributes that Lincoln was noted to have.  But the truth is, even 3-D glasses wouldn’t give this Lincoln any dimension.

Having written a play about Abraham Lincoln myself…
tumblr_m27hunmZoZ1qggv4ro1_500…I know a little bit about what Mr. Tony Kushner was dealing with. Continue reading Lincoln’s a Bitch