ZOECon 2020 – A Virtual Experience


Hello Everyone!

COVID-19 has, well . . . (gestures to the general state of things ) . . . and it’s pretty bad.

However, the fine people at Zombie Orpheus Entertainment are hosting a FREE ONLINE VIRTUAL convention! Yes, that’s right! Check out this link to REGISTER. Be prepared to read instructions, and roll with the hiccups because it’s all new and never been tried before, but there will be opportunities for all the gaming/film convention things: games, exhibitors, artists, panels, film screenings, etc.

I’ll be part of the Gamers: The Shadow Menace screening with cast/crew watch-along tomorrow 4/25 at 10:30am PT!

Check it out!

Trailers? I has dem.

There comes a time in the life of every performer when they’re asked “Do you think you could hit the gym before this project? You’re playing a barbarian.”

OK, no. That’s not true. At least, not for Dwayne Johnson. I think he walks past a rack of weights and just becomes a paragon of human physical training and development. (Love you DJ! I indeed do detect that which the Rock is in process of composing in the kitchen; it smells glorious.)

However, I did in fact visit a weight room and physical training edifice local to my place of dwelling, and the results, well, are now on film for good or ill.

This project is in the late stages of post-production, I’m told, with things like digital effects and color balancing being applied to footage at a torrid pace.


Renegades, Assemble!

Ok, so that didn’t come out quite right.captain-battletech

Or did it?


It all began after GenCon 2016. Wait. Not really.

It all began when I saw Harebrained Schemes was crowdfunding a new computer game based on the Battletech tabletop game, in conjunction with Catalyst Game Labs and Battletech creator Jordan Wiseman.tech-readout-3025

Ok. Ok. It REALLY all started when I saw a 3025 Technical Readout for the Battletech Tabletop Strategy game in a comic shop in Idaho Falls, Idaho, tagging along with my dad as he made his weekly run to pick up the new issues, circa 1992.

Battletech: Giant stompy robot war machines piloted by humans locked in an ongoing struggle for dominance of the galaxy. When you’re a 12-year-old kid who’s been fed a strong diet of comic books, TransFormers, GI Joe, Star Wars, Star Trek, and Monty Python, I ask you: What’s not to love?battletech3rdboxset

I saved my yard-mowing money until I could afford the basic boxed set of the game, and thus was an addiction born. I began playing the game with anyone who had the patience to read through the basic ‘quick’ simplified rulebook. I painted my miniature plastic BattleMechs with my mom’s acrylic craft paint. I saved for and purchased more books, more miniatures, and as friends fell away from the game, I even relieved them of their neglected troops.

I should say at this point that Battletech, like most of the things that hold my creative imagination and attention, is so much more than just the battlefield combat, and the competition of out-thinking and out-fighting your opponent. There’s LORE. There is a HUGE story involved. It’s the story of a humanity that spread out among the stars, but even with the interstellar distances involved in a galaxy-spanning human society, the universal stories of Greed, Ambition, Bravery, Cowardice, Valor, Skullduggery, Hope, Desperation, and all the crap Shakespeare and Michael Stackpole wrote about have continued to shape the human experience. . . on worlds as yet unexplored and in the depths of SPACE. It’s great stuff.

And then, like many others have before me, I discovered sports, the fine arts, and girls. School provided so much extra- and co-curricular activity, I’m amazed looking back that I had time to sleep. As a result, the disciplined warriors of House Kurita and my mercenary band of roughnecks collected dust in a cardboard box. But, every once in a while, I would flip through the Battletech Compendium of rules, just to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything. The years passed: college, Chicago, grad school, Tacoma, working, marriage, kids.

After a while, I got back into tabletop games. My parents moved nearby and I reclaimed my old gaming gear from the basement. I thought to myself, “Maybe when I have time, I should get back into Battletech. Man, I used to love that game.”mwo-grasshopper

A couple more years passed, but what was no longer out-of-sight was also no longer out-of-mind. I started looking online at Catalyst Game Labs’ website dedicated to what has become “Classic” Battletech. (Nothing is quite the same after something you loved as a young person becomes “Classic”. Classic Rock, for instance. When did R.E.M. and U2 become classic rock? But, I digress.) Once again, the itch to sit in that command couch, strap on my neurohelmet, and pilot my 70 ton instrument of battlefield dominance to victory was as overwhelming as that February day in that comic book shop I can’t remember the name of so long ago.

I never really thought I’d get as close as I have to living that particular dream.

You see a year ago, a Seattle-area game developer, Harebrained Schemes, Kickstarted the aforementioned Battletech computer game. It would be a turn-based, third-person, top-down strategy combat game, with all the flavor and many of the mechanical aspects of the Battletech tabletop game (but, like, with 3d ‘Mechs and terrain, and environmental effects, awesome lighting, sweet weapon animations, voice acting, an open-ended single-player campaign mode as well as a PvP gameplay aspect as well).hbs-logo

I totally backed the heck out of it when time came to crowdfund the production of the game. (If I’ve piqued your interest, and you’re interested in backing the game yourself, just follow this link.)

Six months later, Em and I were invited to GenCon Indianapolis, where I knew there would be a chance to play a super-early build of the game at the Harebrained Schemes booth in the exhibition hall. I played the heck out of that demo, too, and came away super impressed and, well, wanting way more.hyperrpg-logo

Also at GenCon, I made a brief connection with Zac Eubank of Hyper Rabbit Power Go!, which is a Twitch channel. (More on Twitch here) Not only is HyperRPG a Twitch channel, but they’re affiliated with Harebrained Schemes and producing a weekly broadcast of a hybridized Roleplaying and Tabletop Battletech series, played on a large scale gameboard with huge, 3D-printed Battlemech ‘mini’atures. The name of the show? “Death From Above”. Cool. Super cool.dfa-logo

So, there I was, at GenCon with Zombie Orpheus Entertainment as a ‘booth dude’, and I thought to myself, “Hey, I should make sure and get Zac’s card and see if I can make some kind of connection between these two companies because they’re both in the Seattle area and in the same sort of entertainment biz and maybe we can bring them some of our audience and we can get some more exposure for ZOE. . . everybody wins?”


I handed off Zac’s card to Ben Dobyns and he handed off the networking to Chris Ode, who thought it would be a super good idea to leverage all the improv comedy talent in the ZOE stable to help create content for HyperRPG. And thus, history was made, and a rag-tag collection of actors became the Renegades of Death From Above.dfa-banner-ad-hyperrpg

As a way to introduce us to the HyperRPG audience, and give the original cast of “DFA” a break (They’d been at it every Friday for five months.), the kind people at Hyper RPG put us right into their prime Friday 6pm spot, and I was so graciously asked by the one and only Chris Ode (chosen by the top brass to be the gamemaster for this little circus of improv and Battletech) to be the first “Bad Guy,” of this interim series. I would get to be the first obstacle to the other characters’ goals, the first speedbump on their path to success . . . or maybe I’d end up killing them all off in the game.

One of the interesting aspects of this episodic ‘game’ show is that when a player’s character is killed in the game, that actor is done. Finito. Not asked to return. So, if you want to come back and play again, there are some significant stakes to the survival of your character.

I was called on to play a tough bounty hunter character who is after the price on the head of our plucky hero (played with some drunken elán by Christian Doyle), and Chris thought it would be fun if he had some kind of dialect. I remember trying a few out on him over the phone, and somehow we settled on Russian. That was basically my brief for the evening, with a couple plot bits thrown in for good measure. Not only did I get to create a fun character, but hey, my character survived! And I didn’t kill off any of my opponents, so, in the game, and after the combat was over, our characters all decided to go out for drinks together to celebrate living to fight another day.

Another of the more interesting parts of this experience was discovering the community that this show had generated. Wow, are they a great bunch of people! They were so welcoming and really seemed to enjoy what we brought to the gaming table and into the room as these new characters came together in this established show.

To elaborate: the followers of this show are able to chat online with each other while watching the show, and this chat is essentially part of the action (and through contributing $$ to the channel during the program, they can affect the course of the game).  They chat with each other and comment on the action in a way that the audience of an improv show can’t. It was entirely novel to me, and the richness of the interaction was something I was totally unprepared for. During performance, there’s no way to really keep track of what they’re commenting on, but it was possible to see what they enjoyed/liked/didn’t like so much when I watched the Video On Demand of the episode with the Chat visible. It was easy to see that this was truly a remarkable group that was really enjoying our work (play).

To top it all off, the audience enjoyed me enough as the Russian from space, the good people of HyperRPG and ZOE invited me back! I got to play in four of the eight episodes of the “DFA: Renegades” run, and I had an absolute blast as the Space Russian Bounty Hunter: Nikolai Sokolov. It was such a pleasure to work with both the ZOE and HyperRPG teams, and I really hope I get to do it again!

And THAT’s the story of how I got to play Battletech in front of the ENTIRE INTERNET.

(Want to check it out? The episodes of “Death From Above: Renegades” are available on YouTube and for Twitch subscribers (VOD streaming with chat visibility) at the HyperRPG Twitch channel.)

Oh, Nothing Much, Really.

What have I been up to recently? Celebration.

Celebrating  a successful run in Seattle Shakespeare’s “Antony and Cleopatra,” about to go into it’s final week of performances at the Intiman Playhouse at Seattle Center. This play is EPIC. Grand in scope and scale. Imposing. It’s not only one of Shakespeare’s great ‘late play’ triumphs, with indelible characters and themes that resonate as loudly today as they did when first produced 400 years ago, but for the same reasons, it’s far from dry or tedious. Sex, Politics, Battles on Land, Sea, and in the Bedroom, Ego, Hubris, Humiliation, Comedy and Drama are just some of the elements which combine to create a story that spans 10 of the most tumultuous years in the history of the Ancient World. Go see it. Here’s a link to Seattle Shakespeare’s website for tickets and more information.

Celebrating the release of HALO 4. Yes, that HALO 4. THE HALO 4. “Why?” you ask? Because I now get to see my work fully rendered, voiced, realized. It’s such a privilege to have worked with the tremendous artists at 343 Industries to continue to tell the story of Master Chief and Cortana, and to help write another chapter in another grand storytelling universe. Here’s a link to CNN Tech’s Review of HALO 4. Enjoy.

Celebrating completed projects. Recently: Filmed “A Bit of Bad Luck” on location in Morton, WA. Completed a voice-over session at Microsoft Studios for an industrial project. Also voiced a radio spot for Banner Bank. Voiced the role of Captain Jack “Stratosphere” McGraw in Moon Bullet Studios’ “Airship Daedalus” Serial Audio Adventure.

Celebrating upcoming work! I’ve shot a pilot for Mighty Tripod’s “The New Jack” web-series, and am preparing to film a new role in Dead Gentlemen Productions/ Zombie Orpheus Entertainment’s “Gamers: Hands of Fate”. In January, I’ll begin rehearsal for the title role in Taproot Theatre’s “Jeeves in Bloom”, based on the P.G. Wodehouse stories of Bertie Wooster and his “Gentleman’s Gentleman” Jeeves.

Stay tuned, y’all. The best is yet to come.

S-U-C-C-E-S-S! (that’s the way we spell success)

The “Gamers: Hands of Fate” Kickstarter is a success! The online pledges are above $320,000 and the film is fully funded! Now I get to not talk to friends for quite a while as we dive into pre-production with casting, meetings, more casting, more meetings, etc. Thanks to all who pledged! I can’t wait to get to work. If you’d care to send any more love (and eventually, money) our way, you can still find us on kickstarter for the next four days at:

Support your local geek filmmakers!

It’s Tuesday! JourneyQuest Season 2, now in full-swing, is taking a teeensy break this week. So INSTEAD, click the image below and take a look at this!


The same production groups behind JQ are making the third movie in the GAMERS series …at least, they’ll be making it if they get the money. 17 days to go and several thousand left… and if we don’t get ALL the money pledged, we don’t get ANY of the money pledged.

Watch the video, check out the crazy fan support in comments, and pitch in $10 bucks if you have it. It will go towards supporting professional Seattle artists–actors, writers, directors, production assistants, camera and sound techs, special effects, composers, costumers, caterers, and sooo many more– doing what they love and what they are good at. THANK YOU!

And if you REALLY don’t have $10 bucks, please re-post or re-share. Getting the word out is crucial, and I GUARANTEE you at least ONE of your friends is as big a nerd as we are and wants to see this movie made!

JourneyQuest Begins! (again!)

It is webseries season in the Seattle area again, and this year, I’m involved with one of the best. JourneyQuest is a fantasy-comedy written by Matt Vancil (The Gamers, Dorkness Rising) and Directed by Matt Vancil and Ben Dobyns. It’s first season began as a privately-funded project, and was impressive not only for it’s success, but also it’s unique distribution model.


The Journey is a Quest.

JourneyQuest is produced and distributed  by Zombie Orpheus Entertainment under a Creative Commons License. Having felt burned by traditional production and distribution channels, the producers of JourneyQuest chose to seek funding by crowd-sourcing. Their Kickstarter campaign raised enough money to fund a feature-length season, while allowing the production team to increase the technical quality of the overall production.

Keep on the look out for the second season of JourneyQuest, with episodes streaming this summer!