2023..acting, singing, and (maybe) writing)

Gosh, I didn’t intend for this Blog to become a once a year look back/glance forward, but here we are again…

2022 was a mixed bag…I started out eating good and exercising until covid hit the household in February and stuck around into April. By the time we all felt “healthy” I was starting a new job with a ton less freedom and way more stress…without any better money/benefits. You may be asking yourselves ‘then why take the job?’ which is what i’ve asked myself on repeat for the last 8 months.

I did get to film a fun bit for a film called, Trivial which was written and directed by James L. Edwards. He and I worked on Dwellers together and hit it off. This was a small yet interesting part that was written into the script late in the game. The cast and crew had been filming for some time before my part, so it was an interesting experience popping in, seeing how they had all meshed, and then performing my duties without getting in the way/slowing down their roll/ruining the vibe they established. It’s about energy, really. I could’ve played the part and said my lines many ways, and been “correct”, but you also need to jive with the tone and character and lighting and sound pallets already established. This is particularly difficult when I didn’t get to see/hear anything else filmed before i sat at a table in a basement and the camera rolled.

The director might not even know how it all gels until he sits down to edit the footage months later. I can say, for my part, I had a blast that day filming. I am not an actor, so each time I have done when of these parts I realize it could easily be the last time I get on camera or spend time with friends/strangers/friends on a set. I look forward to seeing the finished product, maybe in 2023?

Indoria released a single called “Sharks” this year, though it was recorded much earlier…maybe even 2020? Adam had a lot going on between moving, new job, and a kid starting school, so mixing had to wait. It felt great to get it out into the world. Michele sounds brilliant as always. Our previous song released was called “Foxes” and might be my favorite song we’ve done as a group. Donald, our guitarist, can step in and add emotion and intensity and layers and atmosphere without effort. I enjoy watching him play/record. I hope for more of that in the near future.

I tried doing guest vocals for a project in Scotland, but whatever I did didn’t move the needle enough to get the song released. It’s a bummer because i really enjoyed it and I wonder if the miscommunication was due to the software we tried using.

Christian ‘Opus’ Lawrence and I finished his book Break When I’m Dead and handed it in to Scoutmedia. It came out in the Fall to a really strong reaction for an independent book about an independent musician. I am enjoying the reactions to the book and am glad I took the plunge, even if we had no idea a pandemic was coming when I signed on. When you buy it, try doing it direct from the publisher or through Opus at a show, so they can turn a profit.

The Firmary was grinding all year. It’s the hardest I’ve ever had to work to keep things moving forward, inch by inch. We released a single “Gasp” along with a self-shot video in the Spring. We had to shoe-horn in footage of Eric on drums as he joined after we had shot most of the footage. Adam, who joined us on keys, didn’t make it into the video, but what a cool thing to have him in the band!

We played a handful of shows around town with friends in Phestur and Life Magnetic, while meeting new friends in Alec and the House Plants, Blue Antidote, Vera Bloom and others. Getting back onstage after so many years felt amazing, though I’ll admit I am still shaking off rust and finding my footing as the vocalist rather than the conga sidekick. 2023 should see us play more shows in more places. Would be fun to get out of town for a concert. Our first show of the year will be January 19th at Coda in Tremont. We’re opening for a touring drummer/producer who has a totally different vibe than us, so we just don’t want to scare off his fans, ha.

Our debut EP Soft Reboot comes out February 21st 2023. Aside from marriage or helping to raise kids, I’ve never worked longer/harder at something. Every delay/decision/obstacle piled on until I felt like I was carrying a lifetime of baggage through hip deep slime. I’m sure William felt a lot of the same things as he and I started this journey together back in 2003…2003!!! Though a couple of the songs were written over the last year or so, several of the tracks go back to our earliest days together. We had demoed and recorded and rerecorded and remixed a few of those songs a dozen or more times, so saying anything was “finished” felt like the biggest decision. The artwork was done by Erin Mulligan who went so far and beyond what i could’ve hoped for. The mix is split..two songs by Joe Haze and 5 songs by Richard Easterling. While not ideal to have the EP mixed by more than one person, they both did a great job with the songs they had. Mixing during/after covid from a distance has to be one of the more cumbersome and time consuming jobs. Dealing with bands in a studio when you can adjust levels on the spot is draining enough, but spitballing various mixes back and forth/rendering files over and over gets tedious. Much love to both those guys for seeing us to the finish line.

Is the EP perfect? You know, having it done feels perfect enough. There will always be mix issues, someone you forgot to thank, misspelled credits, and a million other things to fret over, but we created some kick ass songs that are now out in the world and I couldn’t feel more proud of everyone involved.

The obvious next step is to record, mix, release more new stuff before we can start to overthink it.

I haven’t written so few fiction words in any year since I was a young kid and I can’t explain quite why. there are reasons, but none of them justify it completely. I have several open ideas spinning around, but I think so much rejection of my other novels the last couple years and the inability to find a publisher for two in particular really killed the buzz and stunted my drive. I sincerely hope to regain my mojo in 2023, but if not I have to step back and fix the issue because life without spending time in other worlds and in other people’s brains feels empty 🙂

Some background guest vocals I recorded as part of a chorus over the Summer might be out later this year, but I don’t know what I am allowed to say about the project. I’ll just say, my buddy invited me to his studio with a dozen or so other people to sing some background parts on a tune and i had a good time working with strangers and friends alike.

In December I spent a weekend working with Director Richard Russell on his short film, It’ll Be Okay. The role was completely unexpected as the person cast had to drop out a couple weeks before production was scheduled to begin. I learned lines as fast as i could, but primarily just took each scene as it came. I was uncomfortable and self conscious and out of my element as the rest of the cast were trained actors who had had some prep time and meetings, but there were things in my performance that I enjoyed and I’d like to think I didn’t ruin the project with my presence 🙂 Look for a trailer soon-ish i think.

So, to look ahead, 2023 should include a small cameo in another short film A Family Matter, also by Richard Russell. Will it be my last acting gig? Maybe. It’s the last thing I have planned, that’s for sure. Though, as I type I am waiting for my dad to gather some outfits and head over so he and I can film content which I hope to use for a short untitled film I have rattling around in my brain. It’s a bit artsy and high-brow for my taste, but it has provided a good channel to lear and make mistakes in filming without blowing a bunch of time and energy and making a cast mad. Pro tip: Cast people with a lot of patience, like my dad, if you have no idea what you’re doing.

I plan to self-publish one or two novels that didn’t find a home, and to self publish an old novel that had a home, but I took it back when the contract ran out. Maybe purging old material and not having those books to re-edit and tinker with will help clear the mechanism and get me moving forward.

Oh, did I mention a movie The Other Side of Darkness that I had a small part in got over 1 million views this year?!?! Wow, congrats to Adam and Vinny and all the cast and crew.

I hope by year’s end, I find an audience for The Firmary and that I get to collaborate with you on a project. What are you cooking up? Let’s grab a coffee sometime and compare notes, yeah?

About douglasesper

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