WRAPPED ATTENTION

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This week we completed five days of shooting MORE material for season one of The Impression Guys this week, and I came away feeling really wonderful about the project.

Finishing up work a show can be bittersweet, you’re exhausted, spent, your clothes are all over the inside of your car, you’ve drunk too much coffee for too many days in a row, and you feel that you can’t stand to be with your fellow actors a second longer. 

Happily, in this case, only the part about clothes and coffee were true.

The Impression Guys is the brainchild of filmmaker Ben Shelton, who I met through mutual friend Skyler Caleb.  Ben has thrown himself into this project with incredible energy, balanced by hard-won knowledge of film, and sprinkled with a terrific sense of humor and fun.

My other half in this series, Ross Marquand, is a brilliant and facile impressionist on one side of the ledger, and a strong and convincing dramatic actor on the other.  I’m very lucky to have him to play beside, and I’m always impressed by the reality, and the choices he brings to his role.

The other cast members have entered this process with the same enthusiasm, and their performances are top notch.  Piotr Michael, Tamra Meskimen, Dana Delorenzo, Amy Castle, Angela Kinsey, Christina Bianco, Skyler Caleb, Tom Ayers, Tiffany Hutson, Dylan Mooney… you are doing to love getting to know them.

The crew are… just delightful.  I’m crazy about them.  They work really hard, they know their business, and they keep it light and fun.  How the heck they do it, I don’t know.

But that’s all behind the scenes.  All you need to know is that the show is fun, funny, has many surprises, excellent guest stars, and a ton of impressions.

When can you see it?  I’m reluctant to say… today.  There have been a lot of strategy meetings and changes in the release schedule.  But I will let you know as soon as it is confirmed.  Believe me!

In the meantime, just know that we have a fun series from SoulPancake for you to binge-watch very, very soon.

Thanks again for reading!

GRACED

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I’m just taking a brief breath between days of shooting some additional material to flesh out Season One of The Impression Guys, our soon-to-be-released web series, and I’m marveling once again at the serendipity of my life.

We are very fortunate in this latest set of scripts to have some really amazing guest stars, which are bringing the quality of our story and the general mood way, way up.  First, Erika Christensen agreed to do a funny cameo, and she is wonderful.  I have known Erika for years, and she graciously made time in her busy life, in between shooting the popular TV show Parenthood, to play with us.  She may not be an impressionist, but she always leaves a memorable impression.

Then, feisty, funny and talented Christina Bianco happened to be out here from a break in her busy Broadway career and accepted our invitation to play–what else?– an amazing impressionist!  I’ll be singing with her in various voices in an episode we will shoot tomorrow, (you can see us rehearsing part of it when you click this LINK.)

There is another very exciting bit of “stunt-casting” coming up… but it’s too soon to let that cat out of the bag.

But with Erika and Christina, plus our current cast which is already top-heavy with talent, including Dana Delorenzo, Matt Jones, Melissa Villaseñor, Angela Kinsey, Angela Hoover, Eamon Brennan, Jason Lewis, Tom Ayers, Tamra Meskimen, Portis Hershey, Piotr Michael, Amy Castle, Skylar Caleb, Dylan Mooney, Brandon Routh and others, The Impression Guys is shaping up to be an embarrassment of riches.  Which is my favorite kind of embarrassment, frankly.

I’ll keep on keepin’ you posted.  Thanks for your patience.

Back In Production

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Well, the new year is already speeding ahead like a car you left in the driveway of your old house (after you’d been drinking) without putting the emergency brake on, and it rolls down the driveway until it piles into the bushes of the house across the street and… not that I’ve ever DONE that.

Anyway, we are about to launch into ANOTHER five days of shooting for season one of The Impression Guys, a new web series that I have been told will launch in the beginning of February.  Of THIS year.  So that’s very exciting, because I think, based on the edit I watched last year, it’s pretty doggone entertaining.

As usual, the writer/director, Ben Shelton, who works best under mammoth pressure, has pulled off a miracle and given us some scripts that are full of marvelous opportunities for myself, my talented co-star Ross Marquand, and an amazing group of guest impressionists, actors and even a few celebrities to really have some fun.

I’ll be taking lots of photos and posting them to my Facebook page, so you can keep tabs on us.

The Impression Guys is produced by Rainn Wilson’s production company Soul Pancake, which has its own very popular YouTube Channel, and where I speculate you will be able to watch the entire eight episode season of the show in the comfort of your own laptop or 76” Smart TV. 

I can’t say much about the show, except that I really think it will show off both my and Ross’s talents very well, it will be very entertaining, and… there will be Shakespeare.

Please help us spread the word, if you like.  Here’s a link to the pilot episode: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4RGvLnhvfo

If you enjoyed it, pass it along to others in your world.

Little by little, we build our massive following… Or not.  But we ARE having fun.

Thanks!

Bullets Dodged

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I just finished narrating a very well-written, but ultimately depressing autobiographical story by Blake Bailey, entitled The Splendid Things We Planned, about a dysfunctional family.

I guess one could say that the family I had growing up was dysfunctional, although what labels like that actually accomplish, even so far as differentiation of any useful sort, is dubious.

We were functional, and then at times not so functional… I imagine almost any family could be described like that.  An ideal family has yet to trod the Earth, I reckon.

In any case, immersed as I was in the telling of this story, I began to appreciate how very, very fortunate I am to have the kind of family that I do.

The story is told from the viewpoint of the younger brother of a fellow named Scott, who at a young age suffers merely from being a bit selfish, insensitive and arrogant, but ends up a completely dissolute, wasted and worthless criminal who commits suicide in prison at age 43, after decades of ridiculous behavior, punctuated by moments of endearing lucidity.

It’s a portrait of the tormented life that many have unfortunately lead, owing to the abuse of alcohol, especially,  and drugs, coupled with no real knowledge or tools for handling life.

It brings to mind Act III, scene 1 of Hamlet, the part of that famous speech:

“… but who would bear the whips and scorns of time,

th’ oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely (harsh treatment)

The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay

The insolence of office, and the spurns

that patient merit of the unworthy takes,

when he himself might his quietus make

with a bare bodkin?”

This question of Hamlet’s seems ever more fitting and pertinent.  Especially after reading this story about a guy who, in the end, decides that “to sleep, perchance to dream” is his best and only option, and ushers himself out of this universe.

(Don’t worry by the way, I’m feeling FINE.  I’ve been studying Hamlet’s speech not because of any philosophical conundrum, but because I mean to work it into a JIMPRESSION video very soon.  I feel great!)

There is the expression, “There but for the grace of God go I…” and I wish there was a better, non-religious one.  But it communicates.

I had my first steps on that same path to utter worthlessness, and then by sheer luck, love, good fortune, God, and/or my own quiet ambition, I got help, and skittered back off the verge back onto a road that lead to somewhere worthwhile, and, eventually, an enviable family life.

I’m pretty sure you had a less melancholy Sunday than I did, pronouncing every syllable of this captivating, at times sardonic, yet very sobering cautionary tale. I hope so, anyway!

And I hope that you and your family will have a lifetime together that is pleasant and mutually rewarding, and devoid of the heavy drama that seems to rise up like a summer storm for some, as it has since the very earliest tribes.

Sheesh!  More laughs next blog, I promise!

Published in: on January 12, 2014 at 4:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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HELLO, HORIZON? WHATCHA GOT FOR ME?

Me & Tam, sunset

It’s now about a week or so into the new year, and I’m very relieved to report that I have recovered my lapsed ambition.

I had lost or misplaced it in December, and it was amazing how much things slow down without it.

Last year was an amazingly varied and rewarding one. I did a lot of very unexpected things, had adventures all over the map, and met some really delightful people. It was almost all unscheduled, or at least in January of 2013, totally over the horizon and out of view, so I can only assume that the marvelous things in store for 2014 that are likewise invisible to me will soon fill my vision and cause my eyes to bug out. Exciting!

I am of course not leaving anything up to chance. I’m planning and scheming and dreaming, and in every way I know, flexing my refreshed ambition.

I think I was just a little spent!  America’s Got Talent, Parks & Recreation, Jimpressions, animation, TV appearances, interviews, audiobooks… Sheesh!

The main thrust for 2014 is, to create many more entertaining, enlightening and fun things to show you, and to collaborate with other artists to bring about some new works that will stun and amaze, and make the world at least a tiny bit better place for all.

I’m planning on pushing myself a lot, doing things that, frankly, will take a bit of doing. It’s time for me to reach far, and push myself farther and harder than ever before. I’m not just giving myself a pep talk here, I am actually only interested in doing something new and challenging; I can’t be bothered to do the same old things anymore.  Been there, done that!

So, to that end, here are some of the targets:

•     The NEW live JIMPRESSIONS show–upgraded, revamped, retooled and supercharged. Watch for JIMPRESSIONS 2014 sometime in March and get ready to ACCEPT IMITATIONS!

•     Eight episodes of season one of the webseries, THE IMPRESSION GUYS, starring myself and actor/impressionist Ross Marquand, written and directed by the talented and hard working Ben Shelton, to be released very soon.

•     Weekly hilarious videos at www.youtube.com/jimmeskimen that explore my impressions, characters and creations in a bigger, better way. More from Professor Knestor, of course…

•     A book about doing impressions for fun and profit…

•     Speaking engagements, live shows, readings, MCing events…

•     And, somehow, someway, more paintings & drawings.

Then of course, there are those as yet unseen things over the horizon– I wonder what they will bring…

In short, life is in me today, and I don’t plan on wasting any of it.

I’m glad you are sharing life’s abundance with me!

What about you?  What do you insist your 2014 will contain?  (You have to insist, you know…)

Happy New Year!