Saturday, June 22, 2013

Pallet Map

This was a very easy, fun project to do and it was very inexpensive. The map was actually part of a care package hat someone sent me and meant a lot. So it was awesome that I was able to make this!

Things you'll need.
Hod Podge
Wood - pallet or whatever you'd like
Paint brush
Hammer and nails

First this I did was stain the map. I grabbed tea bags and loose tea and then I let it soak for a couple of hours.


Once it's soaked for a few hours get someone to help you remove the map and unfold. You have to be careful because it will rip in some places, But if it does rip it just adds to the look you're going for. So win. Use the tea bags to rub more tea across areas of the map that did stain as well or that you want darken. This works crazy well and I did several passes of it. 
While the map was soaking I pulled apart a pallet and chose the pieces of wood I wanted to use. After the map dried I started placing the wood on top of the map and started being strategic about what parts of the map were going to be cut off. Obvi I wanted to make sure America made it on a board without being cut in two. Once I figured it out I nailed two wooden supports on the back to keep it all together.
Then it comes time to hod podge the map to the to the wood. I made my own with 2 parts washable glue and 1 part water. There are also recipes that used cooking supplies like flour and olive oil. 
First you apply the hod podge to the wood surface and then to the back of the map. I did it piece by piece from top to bottom. After you adhere the entire map on there then you get to start sanding and tearing up the map. I used a nail to cut the map where the wood slits were. Then I used sandpaper and my hands to cut and wear the map in different places. 

Almost done. Once you wear the map and age it how you like it, Grab your tea bag and rub it over the places of the map that you just sanded - it's probably now white and doesn't match the coloring of the rest of it.                                                                                 After that dries put the final coat of mod podge on the top of the map and on the revealing wood. This really seals it on the wood and makes it look like a genuine wooden map!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Networking with the City of Angels

As in any city, networking is very important. I'm pretty confident that the phrase, "It's all about who you know," came from Los Angeles. My old World Changers/Power Plant friend, John Weirick, asked me to write about the blessings and curses of networking in Hollywood.

Dear John, (couldn't resist)

In theory, networking in Hollywood is super easy. This is the blessing part. Just step outside and speak to the first person that passes you by. This should take approximately 45 seconds. People here are seemingly more friendly than you would think. Credit is due to the fact that so many people live here that it is practically impossible to live a life of solitude, you must interact with people. If you are wanting to work in the Entertainment Industry you are in the prime networking place. Every coffee shop you go to will have at least one person reading a script, one person writing a script and one group talking about a project they just worked on. Everyone promises to know someone who knows someone who shops at the same grocery store as so-in-so. It is very easy to find people that are going down the same career path as you and you can help each other achieve goals.

Here is the curse. When you are in the Entertainment Industry, especially as an actor, everything about you is a business move. My hair cut, my facial hair, my clothes; its all important. I am a walking business card. Everything you can think of can be a strategic business move including friendships, dating, where you shop, where you exercise and so on. As crazy as that may sound so many people here live life out that way and you can get burned incredibly easy. People are quick to use you for their benefit and move on to the next. The lower on the Industry food chain you are, the more you have to look out. The air is thick, filled with empty promises. There are lots of people who use their connections and power to lure you. They want you to help out with a project and promise you exposure, connections and help. They get the help they needed from you while you end up with nothing more than wasted time. Because of all of this it can be difficult to tell who is genuine and who is playing the game. Its a tricky, slippery, exciting and dangerous game to play.

So far the best people that I have networked with have come from my church, RealityLA and from doing various background work and other gigs. Usually the people who are only looking out for themselves typically throw out some red flags. For example they are usually overly interested in what you can do all the while being a name dropper and trying to impress you.

You just have to have a positive attitude, remember its a game, and keep your eye on the BIG picture that this whole life is about.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

_______________ Part 2

written Monday night

In last week's post I basically talked about how much was happening in my life about my life but I had nothing to do with it. I was just having to sit back and watch. Well the very next morning was just one more reminder of how all of that was going down.

The two guys who were going to be moving in and replacing my roommate, backed out. Thus meaning my roommate could not move out. So now, everything is kind of like it was. I think we are still looking for a replacement for him so that he can move out. So, we'll just see what tomorrow brings.

In other exciting news, I did get the spot on the reality show!! So exciting! Today was spent meeting the other cast members and learning our responsibilities for the show. I cannot give out too many details as of yet, via the internet, because the show has not been picked up yet. So there is still a crazy chance that someone else could take the idea for the show and beat us to the chase.

In addition to getting to know one another today, we had to rehearse for three major important meetings that will take place on Tuesday. We have three production companies that are interested in producing our show. That means there are three companies that are interested in actually filming and making the show, and trying to sell it to television networks. These meetings are really exciting because we are meeting with the executives of these companies. Our show has already passed through all of the smaller offices and people and now we are dealing directly with the top of the chain. So nerve wracking! Basically at this point they are all sold on the show concept and now just need to be sold on the cast. SO, the day will be spent doing nothing more than public speaking, schmoozing and essentially parading myself around. In fact as you read this I may be introducing myself to the guys who came up with "The Biggest Loser" or "The Real Housewives of Orange County." It will be a long long day!

So here is the run down of what needs to happen for this show to be on the air. We need one of these production companies to say they want to produce the show. Technically we want more than one of them to want the show, then they will fight over it and we will get the best deal out of it. Then from that point, that production company has to get a network to buy the show and decide that they want to air it on their network. It only seems like two little steps that need to be taken. This is true. However, in actuality there are hundreds of other shows who are also needing these same two steps to be taken. If any situation defines, "So close, yet so far," it is this one.

It is truly a fun a situation to be in. I know that it is a crazy blessing for me to already be in a situation like this after only being in Los Angeles since December and pursuing acting since February. And even though it is a reality show, rest assured my acting skills will be put to test tomorrow.

summary: I need some prayer!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I am in the most awkward, un-assuring time of my life. Literally as I write this I have no clue what the future holds and by that I mean, I literally do not know what my life will look like one week from today. My life is on pause; rather my person is on pause while my life continues around me. I am currently nothing more than a bystander to my own life. Several changes and decisions that will directly impact my life are happening, but I have nothing to do with them.

At the end of this week my current roommate will be moving out and two other guys will be moving in. These guys are only temporary and will be moving out in August so I will be looking for a replacement for them. However, I do not know what next week will look like much less what August will look like.

Try and follow:
Next Monday I will have a meeting with a cast for a reality show that I, may or may not, be a part of to discuss several meetings that will take place on Tuesday. Those meetings will be with executives and producers that, may or may not, want to film the show. Then they will talk with television networks who, may or may not, want to air the show on their channel. If the show gets picked up then I, may or may not, have to move to the other side of Los Angeles. In the mean time I have to sign a contract saying that I will not get any other acting jobs for one year so that I will not back out on this show that, may or may not, become a reality. My head, may or may not, explode.

I cannot apply for jobs, or submit myself for auditions right now because I do not know what is going on. Nor do I know at what point in the future I will know what is going on. We have all seen the big scene in an action movie where someone is speeding down the road in a car only to find that the break line has been cut. Okay, now imagine that same scene but instead of the car going 90mph, its going closer to 10mph. That, is my life.

I'm looking forward to next week's update. I will be in the middle of all the excitement of the interviews and meetings and hopefully will have a much better grasp on what in the world is going on with my life! This is for sure an extremely exciting time for me, but I am beyond anxious! I cannot wait to see what God has in store and where this is all taking me.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I do not even know where to begin.

Sad. Happy. Surprised. Taken back. Helpless. Confused. Hopeful. Still.

I have been without words and mixed emotions for almost an entire month. Shortly after my last post I was fortunate to be able to return home to celebrate my Grandfather's 90th birthday and Easter! Little did I know that one month later I would still be at home. This has potentially been one of the craziest months of my life.

For a little bit of back story, my family notoriously and traditionally never has a good month of May. May is when the deaths, accidents and bad news occurs with the Tates. May arrives like a unwanted grocery store reunion of a high school acquaintance. You look down the aisle just in time to make eye contact with Awkward McGee and now begrudgingly await their approach. Each year my family grind our teeth, squint our eyes and pray to successfully make it through this month. This year May got a head start.

After only a few hours of being back home for my visit, my mother sat down beside me on the couch. She began to explain that she had breast cancer. Welcome home to me. Cancer is something that is constantly happening all around us, but for some reason we tend to believe we are invincible. What do you do, what can you do, when there is literally nothing you can do; it is completely out of your hands. She explained that they caught the cancer early and that it had not reached a stage yet. She was to have surgery in two weeks and then begin five weeks of radiation. I originally was planning only to stay two weeks; immediately my plans changed. I could not believe that this was happening. It was a Tuesday.

Friday, Good Friday, was my Grandfather's birthday. He had no clue I was coming into town and I could not wait to surprise him. He is my last living grandparent and he means the world to me. You should have seen the look on his face we I showed up! At first he did not really pay attention to the fact I was there. Nothing new, just Wes. Then you could see it click. I was supposed to be 2,000 miles away, not in Alabama. His mouth opened and he just stared. I will cherish that moment forever. To add to that excitement came Easter Sunday! I mentioned in a earlier post how Easter was my favorite holiday. I was so excited to be able to spend it at home with my family. Beautiful day!

Then came Wednesday. The day Alabama was ravished by tornados. Nothing is a stranger feeling than having to sit back, helpless, and watch such an event unfold. Even trying to write this now I do not know what to say. I watched a tornado plow through Cullman and a few hours later I watched as one tore through my town. How do you express that? You can't. I would shortly find out, that feeling would only increase as the sound of sirens sang me to sleep that night. It is just mind boggling to live somewhere for twenty-four years and not be able to recognize anything. To drive down streets where you went to high school, and point out which pile of rubble someone used to call home. To not know where your friends were at the time and if they were okay. To be thankful for your safety but so torn over others.

Recovery is not a new word but one I am beginning to understand. It seems to be the stage that my surroundings and I are in. Recovery is a word that appears to be very positive, and it is. It is no longer the worst, you have already been there, and now you are on the way back up. That however does not mean you get off easy. Through watching my mom post surgery and Tuscaloosa in the aftermath, I see just how much pain is really involved in the recovery. It is in the recovery that you grow, learn, are challenged and changed. The people who lost their homes during the tornado may have been injured and hurt. But the pain is in the digging in the rubble to find the remains of your life. After injury and surgery the pain comes in the rehab and the rest.

All through out life each of us will be faced with hard times. Wether it be spiritual, physical, psychological, troubles with relationships, finances or health we must be strong in the recovery. The recovery maybe the toughest and most crucial times in our lives. It is important to desperately cling onto the truths and foundations of our lives. This song and scripture has been constantly playing in my head through this month. It is filled with much promise and reminds me of the greatness that is to come!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sittin, Waitin, Wishin

Have you ever been in a place where you knew a life changing event was going to take place? Where you literally knew the timeframe you had and the only thing you could do was absolutely nothing? You just had to sit back and be a bystander of your own life? Ladies and Gentlemen, I welcome you to the life and times of Wes Tate.

I would venture to say that this was life, for the most part, in Los Angeles for someone trying to break into the entertainment industry. You see a posting for a role so you submit yourself in hopes they want you to come audition. Then you sit, wait and wish for a phone call asking you to come audition. If you get that phone call then you go audition and then sit, wait and wish for a call saying they want you to come back. Then if you make it that far you have to sit, wait and wish for a phone call saying you got the part. Lots of sitting, waiting and wishing.

At this point, I have been on four auditions and have received one callback. That callback, turned into another callback. Then that callback informed me that it was between one guy and myself for a part!

And now we sit, wait and wish.

Around the third week of May I will be shooting a "sizzle" for a new reality show. A sizzle is basically a promo reel for a reality show in order to pitch it to the networks in hopes the show gets picked up. The thing is that my competition will also be shooting the same sizzle in the same role that I am. The producers have yet to decided which of us they want in the show. They like us both and do not want to loose either, but have to. So after we both shoot the sizzle they will choose who makes the cut.

This opportunity is potentially a game changer for me and at this point there is nothing I can do, for an entire month and some days! But sit, wait and wish... and pray of course!

I am kind of at peace about this. I know that it is out of my hands and that God is in control. I know that I have done what I can and if God wants me to have this role, I will. So, only time will tell!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Blessed Be Your Name

Have you ever had a terrible day or week immediately followed by the polar opposite day or week? That has just happened to me! Two weeks ago was collectively one of the worst weeks I have had in Los Angeles. Nothing seemed to go my way. I could not get booked for any work. I could not get a response from the agent that contacted me. I kept getting rejected for background work... background work. I mean if you cannot get cast for background you might as well hang it up. It is worse than being picked last for dodgeball; at least that kid got to play, I was told to just stay inside. It sucked.

How does the saying go? When you are down there is only one way to go, and that is up? Well last week was the absolute best week out here! I was booked to work four days! Three of those days I got overtime and the other day I got featured! Which means I may get a credit and can put it on my actors resume! Currently that resume only consist of theatre productions preformed last decade by the prestigious Holt High School Drama Club. This week was such a huge blessing. I could not believe how perfect the week was. To close off the week, Sunday I had an audition that went really well! In fact, earlier today I got a call back, meaning I am one step closer to getting the part! Not thirty minutes after getting that call I received another for an audition this Thursday. I am so excited!!

Despite the excitement of the week and my Sunday audition, came the one year reminder of my Grandmother's passing. That day at church we sang "Blessed Be Your Name."


I was moved to tears. This moment could not have better summed up the past two weeks. This passage and song can be such a hard pill to swallow sometimes. It can be hard to see God's love during the hard times and pain. We can be quick to anger and question God instead of giving him praise. "Blessed Be Your Name," I believe is arguably one of the greatest worship songs written in our lifetime. It reminds us that God is always in control, always loves, always has a plan and always is praiseworthy.