Saturday, April 19, 2008
Hey y'all. Welcome to my blog. This is designed for all of you who have an insatiable appetite for all things Jono. But since such people don't really exist, my contingency plan was to make it accessible to everybody else as well. Here you will find all the things you would typically find on a blog, with an extra twist: everything here is laced with that oh-so-subtle Jono wit and charm which you've come to know and love. Didn't do it for you, huh? Hmmm. Okay, well the real extra twist is that this blog will be frequently updated with my media reviews (mostly movies, but TV, music, books, and funny or noteworthy web sites will make occasional appearances). Today I'll also be giving you my review of the first Jackie Chan/Jet Li collaboration The Forbidden Kingdom, and an update on my new movie CTU: PROVO
ABOUT ME: A VERY BRIEF HISTORY
I lived the first 18 years of my life in Mesa, Arizona, the youngest of five children in a happy Latter-Day Saint family. Growing up I had several obsessions, among them Superman, Batman, sharks, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In high school I ran cross-country and track and became involved in film-making. (In fact, I am the pioneer of a new genre: the martial arts seminary film. Unfortunately it never took off like I wanted it to).
I had a great bunch of friends in high school ("The Regulators"), one of whom, Tim Whiting, has been my friend since time began.
I served a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Southern Chile, spending two years sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and serving the people. Everyone says they loved their missions, and they mean it; I am no exception. It was on my mission that I started to really develop a love for helping people to better their lives and their relationships.
Afterwards I received my bachelor's in Psychology from Brigham Young University, further developing my love for social service as a youth counselor for at-risk teens for three and a half years. Great kids. I channeled my creative impulses into several film projects and was an actor/writer for two years with the popular BYU comedy troupe Divine Comedy; the highlight of which was performing in Hawaii! I didn't want to leave. My experiences performing with DC are among the happiest and most fun of my life.
During my last semester at BYU, my dear mother passed away. I won't delve into such a deeply personal matter here, but suffice to say I am grateful for a close and loving family, for the Gospel and the hope we gain through our Savior, and for good friends. I have always been blessed with good friends. I miss her very much. She continues to exert such a positive influence on me, and was a great mother, a dear friend, and, frankly, a pretty awesome therapist for all intents and purposes. I miss her laugh and humor. I am reminded of the words of Abraham Lincoln: "All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother."
My father has since remarried, and I couldn't be happier about his choice. Carol (my stepmother) is my mother's first cousin, was one of her best friends, and is a widow herself with five boys. Carol is a wonderful woman, a great companion for my dad, and a caring, compassionate, bright, and fun woman. Her kids are married and having children, as are my siblings, so all told there's something like 35 of us now! Yikes.
Graduating as an anomaly (unmarried from BYU; they wouldn't even refund my tuition!) I applied to and was accepted by Auburn University in Alabama. Auburn has a prestigious marriage and family therapy program, and I am blessed and honored to be going here. The South is growing on me, definitely, but I'll always be a Westerner in my heart. The South has excellent BBQ, but I need ready access to quality Mexican food! However, I absolutely love Southern people, culture, and living. The hype about their hospitality and friendliness is well-represented by the actual reality.
The biggest news I have is that CTU PROVO, the independent action-comedy I acted in last year, is finally done! The film is a 90-minute homage/parody of the TV show 24, though it's designed to entertain non-24 fans as well, and co-stars Donny Osmond, Rick Macy ("The Testaments"), Jimmy Chunga ("The Singles Ward"), many current and past cast members of Divine Comedy, and local talent like my friend (and "High School Musical" dancer) Charan Prabhakar. The basic premise: the United States Counter-Terrorist Unit (The titular "CTU") has a branch in Provo, Utah. Since no terrorist would target Utah Valley, the government uses the site as a dumping ground for inept (or at least underrated) agents. When a crazed eco-terrorist threatens the city, the understaffed CTU reluctantly accepts the help of a pair of die-hard "24" fans, whose knowledge of the show may come in handy. My friend (and co-star) Alan Seawright is the director; he and my Divine Comedy bud Ryan Croker penned the script. I served as lead actor and as principal fight choreographer.
The great news is the movie is available for free download at our website, for you to watch and share with friends! Just go to www.ctuprovo.com, click on "Download," and get er done! I think it turned out really well, and you'll be entertained. You can also check out our trailer at the site.