Hacking My Way To Stardom

This is storyboard art for a movie called Nightmask, with
the interesting property that I will probably get a speaking part in it
if it’s actually produced.

“Whoa!” you may well ask. “How does a middle-aged geek with no
showbiz history beyond a few singer/songwriter coffeehouse gigs in
his college days land a part in, you know, a real movie?”

The answer, it turns out, is by hacking for a movie star. And thereby
hangs a tale.

Back in October I was the top-billed guests of honor at the first
Linucon, a convention for SF fans and Linux hackers in Austin, TX.
First night I was there, at the invitation-only dinner for con guests,
I found that I knew a lot of them. Steve Jackson, Wil Wheaton, Howard
Tayler, Eric Flint…but there was one I didn’t recognize and she was
striking enough to make an impression:

This woman’s charm was somehow only increased by the fact that at
the time she was wearing black nerd-frame glasses; she looked like a
supermodel playing a geekgirl, a guess which I discovered was nearly
correct the next day when I found her sitting in the lobby of the
hotel tapping keys on a PowerBook. I introduced myself, asked her
name, and we were soon deep in conversation about all manner of
interesting techie things. And her name? Tamara Gorski.

Yes, that would be the Tamara
who played Rebecca Lowell in on an episode of
Angel and Morrigan the Goddess of War (looking like Lucy
Lawless’s kid sister) on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.
She’s also had parts in quite a few B movies over the last decade; she
told me later that she thinks she could get A-list parts if she pushed,
but doesn’t really want the pressure or the fishbowl existence that would
bring with it.

I had to admit to never having seen any of her stuff, as I don’t
watch TV at all and hadn’t caught any of her movies. This, however,
did not bother her in the least; in fact she seemed happy to be talking
to someone who was (a) a low risk for going all fanboy on her, and (b)
willing to teach her techie stuff, like how to program an automated
way to mail people electronic thank-you cards. I launched into writing
a Python program on her PowerBook to do exactly that.

That program took me about three hours to write, time scattered
over the next two days, most of it with Tamara looking over my
shoulder and (I kid you not) giggling with delight as I explained how
this or that bit of Python helped get the job done. Tamara, it turns
out, is (a) extremely bright, (b) by her own description, “shy and
geeky”, and (c) intensely curious. And yes, formerly a successful
model. So, not exactly a supermodel playing a geekgirl, more like one
really letting her inner geek out to play for maybe the first time
in her life.

Tamara loved discovering SF fandom; the atmosphere of Linucon
delighted her. “I think I’ve found my people!” she said to me Sunday
night. And I was her guide to the territory. By the time that program
was finished, we were friends.

Tamara had told me early on that she was interested in writing and
direction. She talked offhand at the con about casting me in her next
film, but I didn’t know how seriously to take that until she emailed me
a script and a character list and asked which ones I was interested in.

The plot is a sort of space opera with horror elements about a
multispecies galactic future in which vampirism is a scourge that
affects every species. The part she had in mind was Klaaghu, an
initially sinister-appearing alien who dies heroically bringing

evidence to the anti-vampire resistance. After reading the script, I
agreed that of the available roles, that one seemed like probably the
best fit. It’s a nice juicy bit part; Klaaghu doesn’t get a lot of
screen time, but he does get dialogue and a dramatic scene.

The big variable here is whether Tamara can get backers to produce
the movie. She’s planning the low-budget route, shooting in New
Zealand or Bulgaria. She’s got a natural market, as this is exactly
the kind of thing the Sci-Fi channel buys. Tamara says “If you know
anyone who wants to invest at all…there will be returns, and if it’s
someone who would get their kicks from being in the film and getting
screen credit as producer, that’s all cool and kosher.”

There you have it. Calling all dot.com millionaires: you wanna
be a movie producer? Have a part in an SF flick? Your shot at stardom
is waiting.


  1. I’m sure this will silence your critics you think you’re an attention whore. :)

    It’ll be a good thing to have more Linux geeks in movies. Unfortunately I can barely afford to rent a movie at Blockbuster, much less fund one, but hopefully things will work themselves out.

  2. It is possible to make a (Sci-Fi) movie without millions of dollars. See Star Wreck, made by volunteers, funded by the producer himself. Check the trailers, they are great.

    The movie will be released both on DVD and online, licensed under a Creative Commons license.

  3. Hey, maybe Eric has acting skills that we’ve never realized.

    Would experience with role-playing games (D&D) count towards “getting in character”?

    Just a thought.

  4. As to whether I can act…(a) I’ve been successfully working crowds and refining the stage-presence thing for six years, and (b) Tamara, having met me FTF, felt sure enough of my ability to offer me a speaking part unsolicited. If she’s not worried, I’m not.

  5. You are a fat worthless piece of pudwhacking garbage. I’d like to see you dead….but in a gay ass Sci-Fi flick with a Furcadian plot-line…that’s just as good. Now I can laugh at you.

  6. interested to hear more about Ms. Gorski’s movie script, where is she with regards to her production process?

  7. Wow, after reading it all I’m even more thankful. He would have been coming to NZ. Though I’m sure he would have opted out because he wouldn’t have been able to have his precious guns with him.

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