Copyright 2010 Anoray. All rights reserved.
 


14th March, 2010

The Shakespeare Club,
Pasadena, CA

 
 

 

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by
Anoray

Note: I must sincerely thank by best pal, Ellen, for being on standby to go to the Greenhouse Arts & Media event . With my brother and his family in town, I didn't think I'd make it to see Dougie there. However, my relatives decided to go on a big tour of Beverly Hills, Sunset Boulevard, etc., so we parted ways on Sunday earlier than anticipated. Lucky I got the best of both worlds that day! My family and I met up again for a final hurrah yesterday, all topped off with Marie Callendar's choco cream pie--what more could anyone ask for? *slurp*



GREENHOUSE ARTS & MEDIA ~ March 14, 2010

As always, the journey to get to one of Dougie's events is interesting in and of itself. This time, we almost got lost in the hills of Pasadena, but I managed to get turned around and headed back in the right direction. The Shakespeare Theater is this beautiful old building near a courthouse in an otherwise almost completely residential neighborhood. The houses are all huge, gorgeous and probably date back to the 1930's at least.

The people involved with the Greenhouse organization were all very friendly and welcoming . At various points in the evening, we spoke with Hans (the charming greeter), Chuck (a droll fellow who told me lots about their writers group), and Karen (a lovely lass who gave us lots of info about the creative teams and how to become a member).

My favorite part of the evening was seeing Dougie's mouth open in surprise when he saw I'd actually made it! Oh, and the welcoming hugs were pretty darn awesome, too. Ellen and I were both delighted to see Mrs. Laurie had made it and more hugs were shared. After everyone enjoyed about 45 minutes of meeting/mingling in the very pleasant and decorative courtyard, it was time for the presentation. The president and creative director, Shun Lee, first introduced key members of the organization and thanked everyone involved with coordinating the event. Shun Lee explained the goal of Greenhouse is to help its members (such as actors, directors, writers, poets and production people) answer the question: "How can I be the most effective artist I can?" He emphasized they are not about networking, but community.

Then it was time to interview a very energetic and amiable Dougie on stage while cameras rolled. Ellen and I had sat right behind Doug and Mrs. Laurie, so I had a great view of his shenanigans and leg kicking antics on stage. Yes, at one point he did indeed put his leg behind his head :-) Shun Lee's questions mostly focused on Doug's background and how he got to where he is today in his career. I won't go into the more familiar stories we all know about our dear Dougie, but I wanted to share some tidbits that Fan Sapiens might not be aware of. For example, he joked about how when he was daydreaming in high school, he remembers a time during the Olympics when he fantasized about being an ice skater in the pairs events and tossing some girl high into the air.

In regards to questions about making it in the industry, Doug emphasized that everyone's road to success is different and there is no "one way" or "you must do this" advice he had to give. His own success as an actor has stemmed from developing genuine relationships with people, not superficial "networking." He said that most people who are successful in the industry are constantly approached by inquisitive people with questions about how to get in the door. It's not that Dougie or others don't want to help aspiring artists. It's just that Dougie has found that his professional colleagues and himself get weary of talking about "the biz" and would actually prefer to hear more about other interesting subjects, such as people's hobbies, children, and other pursuits, too.

Speaking of non-show business things, Doug says it is very important to him that he defines himself not just as an actor, but in many other ways, such as husband, son, brother, and "Papa Dougie" to his many Puppies. His question to himself has been, "Do I have something to live for beyond show business?" and made sure the answer remains a resounding "Yes." Doug says he does not let things like people's opinions of him, whether it be fan adulation or negative attention, define his career or sense of self. He certainly does not rely on the fame he has achieved because "it can last five minutes." Dougie smiled and said Fame is a fickle girlfriend and she will leave you for the next best thing. He mentioned that having most of his high profile success happen in his 40's after he'd developed more wisdom (instead of during his more gullible 20's) has made it easier for him to avoid many of the common pitfalls along the way.

When asked "What is the most important thing an artist needs?" Dougie thought hard about it, then said, "Shut out fear." You need to trust the gifts you were given and lose the fear of being ridiculed. He said the turning point for him was when he was sitting in the waiting room at a producer's office. He was being considered for a regular role on a new TV series. He sat there with the pilot script, feeling very strongly that he knew the character inside and out and he was the right person for the role. This time, he didn't allow himself to look at any other actors in the room and negatively compare himself to them, nor did he worry about whether or not the producers would like him. He determined he'd just go in that office, be the character, and hold nothing back. Which he did--and it resulted in the producers absolutely loving his performance and casting him for the role. Like so many TV pilots each season, this one did not get picked up, but Dougie took that feeling of confidence and lack of fear with him to auditions and future roles from that point onward.

One audience member asked Dougie what it was like to work with Nick Vujicic (the armless and legless actor) on THE BUTTERFLY CIRCUS. Dougie said he had no idea how influential and inspirational Nick was in the Christian world when he met him--he purposely didn't Google Nick so he could just get to know him on the set first. The two of them hit it off very well. One day at mealtime, Nick's assistant was helping Nick get to the table and Nick said he wanted to be seated next to Doug. Then Nick totally surprised Doug by saying he wanted Doug to assist him with his meal, not his regular assistant. Doug felt intimidated because he'd never had children, so he had no experience feeding anyone before. He expressed this to Nick, who smiled and asked Doug to put the handle of the fork in Nick's mouth. Doug did this, then Nick leaned over his own plate, scooped up some lasagne, then (with the fork handle still in his mouth) asked Dougie to open up. Dougie dropped his jaw and Nick easily and handily fed him a forkful of lasagne. Dougie chewed while Nick smiled at him in a "see how easy it is?" way. Dougie figured, "Well, all right, then!" and he followed Nick's heartwarming example with no further inhibitions.

Another audience member asked Dougie a very interesting question about how does he go back to normal life after being involved in a special effects film as a creature? Dougie replied that it isn't always easy to do. In fact, he'd gone into a little depression after he came back from shooting HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY. He'd been gone for six months and worked six days a week, eighteen hours a day. He was totally drained. He'd also been involved in the whirlwind of the accolades and Academy Award hoopla for PAN'S LABYRINTH and the industry now viewed him through very different eyes. At one point, very late at night, he sat in front of the mirror at his 24 hour gym and found himself in tears because he realized he didn't know who he was anymore. He had to reconnect with his non-performer self, and rediscover the side of him that was still a brother, a son and a husband no matter what was going on with his acting persona and life.
In a final question, Shun Lee said Dougie uses the term "There's Big Love" all the time, but what does it mean? Dougie said he's been saying this since college. He says it's a way to let a person know he loves them without overwhelming them with the words "I love you." By saying "There's Big Love" or "There's Love for you" it allows that person to know he cares about them and he believes love is there for them in their life from whatever source makes them comfortable.

At the conclusion, Doug was showered with very enthusiastic applause and a very long line of people who wanted to chat with him. Ellen and I got to know the Greenhouse folks a bit more during this time, then we were able to get some time with dear Dougie before departing the scene. I was petted and coddled most satisfyingly by The Delicious One and my friend caught a bit of that on camera. She absolutely refused to let me take pictures of her, but I tried! Dougie and I chatted about his interview (he wondered if there was anything I hadn't heard before:-) and the upcoming Anaheim con, then we reluctantly released him to an eager Puppy awaiting his turn. We squeezed the lovely Laurie once more before we left, too.

All in all, it was an engaging and informative evening and I'm very glad I had the opportunity to see Dougie in this venue. It is always a pleasure to hear him speak and I've learned a lot about public speaking from observing the way he charms and endears himself to different types of audiences. Thanks for the fun, but mostly for the courage to open yourself up to everyone, Dougie!


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