Television Acting

Quillette Narrated

Quillette Narrated 150 150 Greg Ellis

The Voice of Me, My Self & I

Who Am I?

This is the question ‘I’ or rather, ‘me’ asked my ‘Self’ one night in 2015 after becoming homeless and almost destitute overnight.

This philosophical root question of my Being was the first of many meaningful questions that provided meaningful answers within the hour and a half rapid fire dialectical me and my Self raced through together on iPhone notes that night.

How do I perceive myself? What is my desire? How do I realize my desire? What is meaning? If ‘it’ is raining, what is the ‘it’?   I questioned and challenged my commonly held beliefs, sought to integrate my value system, realign my behavior patters, regulate my emotions and connect with healthier feelings for the first time in my life. I communicated with my reticular activating system, communed with my insular cortex, tapped into my personal brain flow.

At forty seven years of age I was becoming an urbane pioneer in my own imagination. Illuminating my consciousness. Awakening meaning. Leaning into learning. Further extending my presence. I took stock of my emotional bank account and reconciled in the present. After all, life is remembered backwards and lived forwards yet it’s the ‘now moments’ that make us truly feel most alive…

My Pathway to Meaning

Me and my Self (the inner dialogue of my conscious conversation – or ‘inner critic’ as some refer to as  ‘Self’ ) were becoming intimately aquatinted. Becoming known to each other and Being known by each other. Me – my Being –  was becoming beloved by and with, my Self. I confided in my Self. (I call it self-conFIdence). You see, me and my Self had grown up in an atmosphere where our voice was stifled, shot down and silenced. This new philosophical journey became somewhat of a quest for me to better know my Self. In the ensuing days I questioned my politics beliefs, friendships, career, habits, past experiences, family, you name it, nothing was off limits. Me and my Self started innovating through met limits, invigorating the sense maker, evolving deeper meaning within our own thoughts as together we processed through the meaningful answers that served up ever deeper questions.

The term ‘philosophical’ is a byword for calm, long-term thinking and strength-of-mind, in short, for empowered perspective.  I was taking perceptual steps toward shifting my perspective on the night in question. While pondering the meaning filled questions, I posed an antithetical of the commonly accepted truism ‘Love is the answer.’

If ‘love is the answer’ (I ruminated) then what is the question? (answers on a postcard please). My first response to ‘If love is the answer, what is the question?’ was this – ‘the questions is, do you know thyself.” (I know, I know, Socrates got there first)

Me and my Self were becoming an enlightened trailblazer. A meaning seeker by sense making. The maker of my own sense.

My Arrival at The Nowledge

Me and my Self soon realized that we had lived a life of the ‘know it all’ and we quickly became aware we knew so little. Such is the paradox of the overly confident mind. Living an unexamined life for so long, me and my Self had lived unconsciously without knowing. By confiding in my Self, we became inwardly and quietly self-confident, unshackled from the want to express my arrogant ‘know it all’ Self. The arrogant Self was brought in from the unfeeling cold, by me.

We embraced our ignorance and sought to F-A-I-L (first attempt in learning) at every opportunity. We studied the rudiments of philosophy, the phenomenology of feelings, the concept of affect theory, non-violent communication, attended workshops at multiple institutions of note like The Meadows, The Hills and Betty Ford treatment centers, 12 step fellowship groups like AA and Al-Anon, started initiatives with The Global Wellness Institute, participated in sweat lodges, learned the code and cultures of the Cherokee and Choctaw Nations and The Crow Tribe, traveled to India twice to learn more of eastern rituals like moving meditation, forest bathing and ecotherapy and taught phenomenologically at The Parva Slum School and The Ashray Orphanage. Me and my Self, together, gave authentic flight to our newly alive free thoughts.

We started questing to find more organizations that believed as deeply in free thinking as we did.

After returning from India the second time, we came across a powerful article – A Literary Inquisition –  by Vancouver’s 2009-2011 Poet Laureate Brad Cran in the online magazine Quillette.  The essay was about how novelist Steven Galloway was smeared as a rapist, even as the case against him collapsed.

Me and my Self read more Quillette articles. We sensed this publication was operated by individuals that believed in the central tenet of freedom of speech, within an ecosystem where free thought not only lived, it flourished, no matter the political ideology. Me and my Self had found our ‘I.’ Our third if you will. One might call it the 3rd eye of perception. A vessel to speak with and through. The Other. An Other.

I emailed Claire Lehmann with a ‘what if’ proposal – to give voice to Quillette articles and, with the within a matter of weeks the podcast series Quillette Narrated was launched. The Public Humiliation Diet, Toby Young’s account of losing five positions after being targeted by a Twitter outrage mob at the beginning of 2018 was the first article recorded and there have been over thirty others published on the podcast so far. The Psychology of Progressive Hostility, Matthew Blackwell’s essay about why progressives are more hostile than conservatives when their beliefs are challenged is another, although my favorite one to record has been Divorce and the ‘Silver Bullet’ as its so close to home.

Divorce and the ‘Silver Bullet’

For the first forty seven years of my life me and my Self had little interest in reading. My new found passion for literature and my quest for deeper meaning in my life had led me to connect with members of the Intellectual Dark Web (IDW) and Quillette.

Who am I?

I am a an urbane pioneer. A sense maker. Meaning seeker. Enlightened trailblazer. Poet. Author. Artist. Actor. And anything else we – me and myself –  choose to be. We don’t have to agree with every opinion expressed in the articles published in Quillette – just ask Dave Rubin – yet the collective conversation taking place outside the main stream media outlets, not driven by propaganda and ratings, is where I prefer to reside these days. It’s afforded me fresh new perspectives.

Two years ago I considered myself most ‘woke,’ and then I started awakening from my pre-conditioned progressive idealogy. The individuation of my voice, not bullied by mob think or speech police, is an aspect of myself I cherish now.

“Speak, and risk something. remain silent, and risk something else. Pick your poison.”

I’ve picked mine, and I’m still seeking to pluck more truths from my evolving and late blossoming tree of knowledge. I’ve experienced first hand the tenacious, hard working team members of Quillette provide writers from around the globe with a platform to express their thoughts, freely, without censorship, on a myriad of culturally relevant topics. In an age of defenestration, deplatforming and person cancelling, this commitment to freedom of speech is a mission I am proud to be aligned with.

Podcasts Quillette Narrated

The ‘best of’ anthology podcast series Quillette Narrated is produced by Quillette in association with my production company Monkey Toes.

Quillette Narrated has afforded us opportunity to give voice to the many interesting literary articles, opinions and viewpoints outside main stream media. Me and my Self are very grateful to the Quillette team.

When seeking deeper meaning and purpose in life, sometimes a simple question can upset the established order of our lives, herald new awakenings, and provide new opportunities to give voice to others.

 

Dexter: The Definitive Moment

Dexter: The Definitive Moment 718 436 sashadmin

On Location

Lying stark naked on the floor of my trailer rehearsing my next scene up with Michael C. Hall the door swings open and John Lithgow walks in. “Oh my,” he exclaims, “Either I’m in the wrong trailer or…or…” John’s not often found without words. This is one of those occasions.

I pick myself up off the carpet, cover my body with a bathrobe and say what any self-respecting Englishman would given the circumstances… “Stay for a cup of tea?”

John and I exchange pleasantries while sipping tea for half an hour before I politely excuse myself to get back to preparing for the definitive moment of being serially killed on the Showtime television series Dexter.

In the Works

After final touches in the hair and makeup trailer I head to set, a derelict warehouse in downtown Los Angeles. It’s a particularly hot afternoon.

On Set

I remove my bathrobe and the props and wardrobe department start tightly wrapping my entire body in cellophane before I’m lifted onto a cold stone slab. My body temperature is rising and I start sweating profusely which causes the cellophane to keep coming unstuck.

Rehearsals Up

Michael and I discuss the scene with the director and go over his blocking before running the lines, then the crew is invited in to watch the scene. After rehearsal I’d normally return to my trailer to prepare for a scene while the crew make adjustments to lighting and camera placement, although today I decide to stay on set as part of my process. Trapped, overheating, naked, vulnerable and afraid. I want to feel as uncomfortable as possible for when camera starts rolling, and lying naked tightly wrapped in cellophane on a cold stone slab in a derelict warehouse on location in downtown LA surrounded by a busy television crew helps my sense preparedness.

1st Team is Up

Michael arrives back on set, senses my ‘uncomfortable readiness’ and asks if I’d like to start shooting right away (as opposed to another rehearsal). I accept his thoughtful invitation with a restricted and somewhat sweaty nod of the head. After a quick check on where he’ll slice open my cheek with the scalpel and the best angle to raise up the meat cleaver before the fatal blow to chop off my head at the end of the scene, we’re ready to shoot.

Pictures Up

First positions are called for, as well as quiet on the set. Sound speeds. Camera rolls. Action is called. The first take goes quite well, although there’s a few technical hitches. We shoot the master one more time before moving in for coverage. The crew are professional and collaborative and move fast and efficiently. Like most successful tv shows, they have their flow down and express good camaraderie to boot. Time is money, and in the eight days it takes to shoot a one hour episode of television a small mistake can set you way back behind schedule, especially on location when there’s less control of the elements.

Close-Ups

Michael and the director graciously ask if I’d like to do my close ups first. I decline, citing my desire to be as uncomfortable as possible when we turn around on me. On the second (and final) take of my close-up I lose myself in the art in flow and spit in Michael’s face when he’s inches away from me. Then, at the definitive moment Michael raises the meat cleaver and makes the downward motion to chop my head off…

…And “CUT”

My head is pounding, my face scratched but unscarred as the crew rush in after the final take and hastily remove the cellophane and my body breaths a huge sigh of relief.

Being serially killed on Dexter was a serious business. All in a day’s work.