Friday, January 6, 2012

David Dean Bottrell!

"Nothing changes if nothing changes."  
-David Dean Bottrell's mantra


Happy Friday!
I have discovered a blog that I love. It is writer and actor, David Bottrell's. 
His byline is "He writes. He acts. He makes love." Isn't that what it's all about anyway?

 Actor-Writer DAVID DEAN BOTTRELL co-wrote the screenplay for the 2001 Fox Searchlight release KINGDOM COME starring Whoopi Goldberg, L.L. Cool J. and Jada Pinkett-Smith. Studio work includes scripts for Fox Searchlight, MTV Films, Paramount and Disney. He has sold pitches and original specs, adapted novels, rewritten scripts by other writers, worked in feature animation and recently scripted his first movie musical. He is probably best known for his reoccurring role as the creepy "Lincoln Meyer" on season three of ABC's BOSTON LEGAL.
His weekly blog, PARTS AND LABOR (a seriocomic look at being middle-class in Hollywood) has developed a dedicated following.
A former off-Broadway actor and playwright ("Dearly Departed") and active WGA member, he mentors young writers each summer in a writing lab He helped found seven years ago. His first short film, AVAILABLE MEN (which he also directed) had its world premiere at the 2007 HBO Comedy Arts Festival and went on to win 17 "Best Short Film" awards on the festival circuit including the World Comedy Festival in Toronto. Recent acting gigs include guest star roles on HARRY'S LAW, CASTLE, CRIMINAL MINDS, iCARLY and UGLY BETTY, and earlier this year had a reoccurring role on DAYS OF OUR LIVES. A funny and facile public speaker, Bottrell is frequently asked to appear on industry panels around town and regularly appears at Comedy Central's "Sit 'N Spin" show and other spoken word shows around L.A. His comedic POV column appears regularly in Metrosource Magazine and his essays have appeared on the Huffington Post and Salon.com. He was one of the original cast members of "Streep Tease," a comedy show that achieved cult status in Los Angeles, running for over a year at the Bang Comedy Theatre before playing a special engagement at New York's Public Theatre in June, 2011. The son of a minister, he is originally from Louisa, Kentucky and currently lives in Los Angeles.

On Harry's Law
As busy as he is, I'm thrilled that he consented to sit down for an interview for my blog. As with all my blogs, let's start at the beginning... 

 
Travels With My Aunt
David remembers his sister taking him to a play at her high school. It was called "See How They Run."  



Neither of them really desired to see the play, but his sister wanted  an excuse to wear their mother's new wig out in public and so they went to see the play.  He says they were a very odd family.  Anyway, he loved the play.
They had just moved into Southern Ohio from Kentucky.  

They moved around a lot.   They were very much a working class family, so the arts were not exactly on their radar. David remembers when he was about 9 or 10 years old, he started becoming obsessed with all that BBC programming that PBS used to air in the 70's, but it was very hard to get everybody else in the house to agree to watch it.  
There was only one TV.  It often got bloody.  
David became obsessed with a girl in high school who was active in the drama club.  He decided the only way he could meet her was to audition for a play.  It took him over a year to get up my nerve.  He got into the show, but she dropped out.  It was called "Black Comedy" and he was absolutely terrible in it, according to him.  He says he  couldn't act at all.  

 
At the end of his freshman year of college, David got a summer stock job in the chorus of "Pippin."  It was one of those magical summers.  He was 19 years old. He came out of the closet.  Fell in love.  Doing the show was a dream come true.  He couldn't face going back to college, so he  dropped out.  All he desired was to be a "New York" actor.  18 months later,he was living in Manhattan.  He was on a mission.  

 
David's thoughts on Arts in Education

I'm very sad that Arts Education is dwindling.  We always had both art and music classes in public schools when I was a kid.  We even had some waltz lessons in gym class.  Kids now are so focused on their phones and iPads.  I'm not sure how that will all play out in the next generation of artists.  But rest assured there will be more artists.  We just keep coming.  

 
What makes you cry out of the blue when you see or hear it?

My bank account balance.  

Your thoughts on Carol Channing (All my blogs focus on Carol Channing’s Foundation For The Arts)
I’m campaigning for Carol Channing to receive the 2012 Kennedy Center Honor in 2012. If you agree that she should receive this honor, can you say why you think this should happen

I saw her do "Hello Dolly!" when I was a very young actor and I couldn't believe how hilarious she was.  You'd never know she'd been doing the show for 25 years.  She seemed so fresh.  I also saw her a few years ago when she was on her book tour and again, she was remarkable.  Just sitting on a folding chair, telling stories, she had the audience in the palm of her hand.   Such a pro. 

Most recent appearance
I was on "Harry's Law" recently and had a great time.  I'm very grateful to David E. Kelley.  He's very loyal to those of us who've done his shows in the past.  I made my professional debut as a stage director this year ("Travels With My Aunt" at the Colony Theatre here in L.A.) and I also just finished up a return engagement of my solo show "David Dean Bottrell Makes Love: A One-Man Show."  It was a tremendous year.

 
Next appearance
I have no idea.  Sad, ain't it?  Welcome to show business. 

What is your biggest success in Show Business

I'd have to say my stint as "Lincoln" on "Boston Legal."  That was so utterly unexpected.  Everything about that gig was just perfect.  It changed the whole course of my life.  To this day, I'm floored by what an incredible piece of luck that was. 

What was your lowest low and how did you surpass that?
 
Probably about 6 years ago, I hit a wall. Things were bad on both the career and personal fronts.  I was really lost.  Then I did what artists do.  I made something.  In this case it was a short film called "Available Men."  For something that was born out of such a sad time, it's one of the funniest things I've written in my whole life.  I'm really proud of it.  It won a bunch of awards and can be seen on YouTube if you're interested!! 

What one change would you like to see in today’s industry?

I'd love it if all the mega-corporations would sell off their entertainment divisions.  Corporate thinking is so deadly when it comes to
any kind of originality.  It's all about selling toys and games.  The business used to be run by real showman; gamblers who went with their gut.  Wish we could get back to that. 

Who are your TOP FIVE models and influences as an artist?


My family members are probably my biggest influence.  I'm grateful that they always greeted hardships (of which there were many) with humor.  It framed my whole world view.  It gave me my voice as an artist. 

My high school drama teacher, Skip McConnell.  He was a 60's hippie.  Very irreverent.  He really pushed the boundaries.  I was always scared of him, but he made me realize that the rules weren't meant for everybody.  Sometimes the rules need to be bent or broken.  

William Esper, who was my acting teacher in New York.  The guy's a legend; a titan among teachers.  I worshipped him.  He gave me faith in my own personal sense of truth.  He gave me the keys to the kingdom; permission to create. 

Donald Driver; a writer-director that I worked with when I was a very young guy.  He died of AIDS and I was privileged to help care for him a bit toward the end of his life.  He taught me a lot about valuing your own work; about not comparing yourself to others; doing the work for the sake of the work.  He was writing a new play just a few weeks before he died.  He was incredible. 

One of my biggest current influences are my students.  They are (as of yet) wonderfully un-damaged by the industry, so their enjoyment of the work is sort of pure.  They remind me to "practice what I preach" outside of class.  Being around them sort of makes me feel young again. 

 
What do you think ultimately made you become a performer? 
I never liked being myself.  I still don't.  Performing is always like walking through the looking glass.  It's magic.   

Are you happy at the point you are right now in your career?
Yes.  I'm very happy.  Very grateful.  I've worked hard, but I've also been very lucky.  Things worked out. 

Do you feel you have achieved what you set out to do?
I actually achieved much more than I originally set out to do.  All I originally wanted to be was a professional stage actor in New York.  I had no idea I'd wind up working professionally on both coasts and actually be paid real money to wear so many different hats:  TV actor, playwright, screenwriter, director, producer.  It's been amazing.  

What do you do to remain positive when life's hiccups get you down?
I'm lucky because I can write.  That means I can create.  If I can create, I'm okay.  It's my lifeboat.  Nothing makes me feels safer, saner or happier than the act of creating something.  Even if it's something quite small. 

If you had all the money in the world...that you needed...would  you continue working.
Absolutely! I'd work more.  I'd make work for others.  

 
A genie pops out of the lamp, he grants you three wishes. What are those wishes?
Money to produce my projects and the projects of others. 

Maybe an extra 20 years of life (with extraordinary health to go with it)

The ability to grant 3 wishes to other people. 

If you could travel anywhere in the world and spend some time there, where would you choose, and what would you do?
Toss up between China and Ireland.  I've always loved those two places.  I'd want to write a novel about a ghost while living in the Irish countryside.  I also think it would be fun to play drums in Beijing opera orchestra. 

What would you ask God if you could right now?
Could you get me a guest spot on "Justified?"  I totally love that show. 

What is the last stage show you saw.  Local or professional.  
The last show I saw was the one I directed Graham Greene's "Travels With My Aunt."  

Thank you, David, for ALL you do!


And thanks to all the support that you, my audiences give me! It means the world to me.

 Here are a few comments from my guestbook at www.RichardSkipper.com
Once again, Richard Skipper (ref. his tribute to Jerry Herman at The Triad on November 28th, 2011) topped himself with yet another wonderful, beautifully staged and coordinated event; and on top of that, he also managed to fill it with some of the best talent NYC has to offer, too! I'd heard-in talking with some audience members, last night-that he is doing this type of tribute to other legendary Artists on a monthly basis. He can count on my being there to see each and every Show; as long as HE is hosting it! Keep up your great work Richard, and never stop bringing the kind of happiness, joy and magic that you give to all of us!
Ronald E. Giles
Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey
CONGRATULATIONS! You're a class act all the way. Thank you for asking me to be part of last night's most memorable Celebration! You did us all -- and especially Jerry Herman and Carol & Harry's Foundation -- proud. Wonderful cast, wonderful musicians, wonderful friends, wonderfully produced. Especially loved your show-stopping rendition of "Almost Young", which is now my new favorite song.
Love, Walter Willison

 Richard: Thanks for a great seminar. I gained a wealth of information. I've put some of it to use this morning.
Paul Speziale
Chestnut Ridge, NY 10977


Spring Glen, NY




Horace: Advice is cheap, Ms. Molloy. It's the things that come gift wrapped that count! 

 NO COPY WRITE INFRINGEMENT INTENDED ANYWHERE IN THIS BLOG.  FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY!
Please do what YOU can to be more aware that words and actions DO HURT...but they can also heal and help!

Thank you, to all the entertainers mentioned in this blog! Thanks for the gifts you give to the world!
I love you ALL!! 

  Here's to an INCREDIBLE tomorrow for ALL...with NO challenges!

Now, GO OUT AND DO SOMETHING FOR SOMEONE ELSE TODAY!

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TILL TOMORROW...HERE'S TO AN ARTS FILLED DAY!
Richard Skipper, Richard@RichardSkipper.com



In Loving Memory of Harry Kullijian Born:December 27th, 1919 in Turlock, CA. Died December 26th, 2011 in Rancho Mirage, CA.

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