Twenty Five Tacos

That’s how many I ate. 25 tacos. All in the name of independent television.  It was over an 8 hour period, granted, but it was still 25 tacos.

Last week, Allison Vanore and I had a telethon of sorts in order to raise money for two projects: “A Boy’s Life” and “Replaced.”  The premise was simple: we compete against each other by eating one taco for every $50 donated to each project.

For the first two hours, I was doing great. I’d had 7 tacos, spread out, and felt that the pace was comfortable. Then “Replaced,” which I was representing as the composer, got a generous $500 donation from @tibits, who who wanted to watch me eat 10 tacos at once.

It was not a pretty sight.

The entire event was streamed, an hour at a time, on Ustream, which is an amazing site for doing this kind of thing.  There’s no cost, (you just need to create an account), you record directly through your computer’s webcam and microphone, and you have the option to record the entire thing and download it for future use (or blackmail).  I highly recommend Ustream, Allie and I used it for my first book reading at Stories Books as well.

The event was a HUGE success. Our goal was to raise $1000 for each project, and we finished with $2500. I wanted to take a few minutes to thank all the guests we had during the fundraiser, who took time out of their busy lives to sit with Allison and I for an hour at a time, sometimes longer.

Vianessa Castanos – Actress, Producer, Host Vianessa is a force to be reckoned with. She was Allison’s roommate before Allie & I moved in together (actually, mine as well since I lived there half the time), has multiple things going on at once, and a sense of humor that reminds me of myself. But not quite as quick. She’s also very sweet and talented, and is a total foodie.

Jamie Fishback – What can I say about Jamie that I haven’t already in my book? A working Actor, Producer, Networking Machine. Jamie always comes through when we need him, and I’ve had the pleasure of scoring his on-screen death. He’s a great friend and, if you’re in LA, you should meet him before he gets so famous you won’t be able to.

Alicia Ying – One word describes Alicia – Rockstar. She’s an Actress, a Producer, a Singer, a Force To Be Reckoned With. I’m privledged to be working with Alicia on her upcoming webseries “It’s Always Greener,” she’s the only person I know who consumes more coffee than I do. Alicia came out helped when there were a million other things waiting for her, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Robb Padgett – Robb is one of the few composers I associate with. But he’s so much more than that. Robb’s (with his partners in crime Tanya and Steve) webseries “Vampire Zombie Werewolf” is a testament to his talent. He acts, produces, edits, scores and rocks the show like no one else could. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the VZW Christmas Promo video.

Robb brought his guitar, we actually sang two songs about tacos that will be on Facebook and YouTube as soon as I can edit the footage to mute my own voice.

Sheila Daley – Remember the time we had a last minute cancellation, and Sheila drove across town to fill it? Sheila is an Actor, but she’s also a good friend, and she does both things really well. Jonathan Nail from “SOLO” caught the flu at the last minute, and Sheila filled in with charm, wit, and grace. Even when she was stuffing a taco in her mouth.  Sheila is in a play this month in LA, if you get a chance you should see her live.

Laurie Records – The best Casting Director you’ll ever find in Los Angeles. Laurie is an amazing person. She’s been a good friend since we met during “SOLO” casting (when I was her assistant), she’s one of the sweetest people you will ever meet, and incredibly driven.  If you need a Casting Director for your project, and don’t think it’s necessary or affordable, you need to talk to Laurie. What she brings to the table you couldn’t do yourself, trust me. Also, she makes a mean margarita.

Heath Vinyard – Ahh, Heath. My boss for the exciting webseries  “End Result,” and my future boss for “Replaced.” Heath writes and directs the movies I love to score: action, drama, action, guns, action, people being held over the edge of buildings, and action. Heath is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever know, he’s a newlywed, and his passion for his projects make me want to go to the ends of the Earth for him. I would eat 1000 tacos to help him achieve his vision.

Heath showed up an hour into the TACOathon, and stayed for 6 hours, filling in when we had a gap, bringing salsa that was the best of the day (Thanks, Rick Bayless). Do me a favor and watch his shows on the web, because they’re going to be on television soon enough.

Eli Benevidez – Eli went to UofA with Allison, and he’s been a friend of mine for years. Eli is one of the best writers I’ve ever known, his scripts are edited to perfection. “A Boy’s Life” is his second film, and I didn’t hesitate when we knew he needed help reaching his fundraising goals. He brought the tequila shots, and his own recipe for tacos, which he made on the spot (and I ate 6 or 7 of). Eli just might be the second coming of Spielberg, so watch him closely.

Finally, and more important than even myself, and the Facebook and Twitter fans who watched, donated, and participated in the chaos that was TACOathon. Without them there would be no money, no tacos, no audience. Over 700 people watched the stream over the course of 8 hours, and chatted with our tireless show producers Diane Beck and Krista Vanore, who tweeted, chatted and kept the energy up while Allie and I were on camera. I was incredibly moved by all the support the online community gave, and I bow to all of you. You are all my real friends,and my life would not be complete without you.

Thank you.