Monday, October 26, 2009

Production, Check

I finished shooting my senior film a little over a week ago now. All in all, it was a lot of fun. Friday - the Epic Cafe night shoot - was the best. We were only doing two scenes that night, and had plenty of time to do it. I got to spend a lot of time working with my actors, and Adam, my gaffer, set up this ridiculous little rig. By 6am, I was a little delusional, but happy none the less.

Sunday was a little bit more stressful. We had about 13 shots to do in a day in a pretty tight space. The owner of the apartment was an hour and a half late... needless to say, I was a little worried. But, despite the stress, we finished and made it back to my house at 9pm for a wrap dinner.

Tuesday night, I headed to the lab to capture and organize all of my footage. I got an assembly edit done that night, and I'm pretty happy with the overall result. It's funny to think that it's almost November and my film is all ready for post production.

So, in the mean time? Three more shoots - one easy, one medium, and one complicated. And I'm still on the infamous search for a job (that I can stand going to). I'll be filling out a single grad school application and I'll start looking for some potential post-grad industry jobs.

For a while, I was saying that I was ready to leave Tucson - I was ready to finish school and move on with my life. But right now, I'm happy here. Things are slow. Things are strange. But, for the time being, I like it that way. I'm in the moment, which is a pretty good place to be.

As Always,

Currently Watching: The Notebook, then...
Recently Watched: 3:10 to Yuma, Mildred Pierce, Some Like It Hot, The Proposal, Ever After, Benjamin Button, and Sunshine Cleaning

Saturday, October 10, 2009

And it comes in waves

I shoot in a week. Yet, every time someone asks me, "how are you feeling about your film," I usually respond with, "surprisingly calm. I feel good." 

But it comes in waves. I'm getting nervous. I go through these little waves as we get closer where I start to get stressed. It's natural. It's expected. But I still hate these brief periods where my shoulders get tense, my responses are short and I feel a little queasy. 

So how do you handle stress? How do you get through these little moments where you aren't quite sure. I'll let you know when I find out.

As Always,

Monday, October 5, 2009

Questions and Doubts

Well it seems we've reached the Question and Doubt portion of the pre-production show. After a weekend out of town I've come home to face reality and make many long To-do lists. Logistically,  I shoot in a month and a half, so I have time for costumes and props, which is convenient because my art director (Mo) is plenty busy in these upcoming weeks (see her posts for proof). I'm working on scheduling rehearsal time and communicating with SAG, but what's really stressing me out is locations. 

Locations and my story as a whole. For the time being, positive classmate and professor feedback had been enough to overshadow any doubt I had been having but now it's back. Mainly because whenever I try to explain the plot of my movie to anyone they give me the same blank stare back. I find myself covering, defending, dismissing; cowardly adding on some "don't worry, it's way cooler than I'm describing it." But frankly, that just shouldn't be. The fact that I've yet to come up with a logline satisfying enough to please the random people I tell my project about is really starting to worry me about the story as a whole. Is it just completely stupid? I've been telling myself that a lot of the humor comes from the story format, but is that a lie? I'm hoping that this is the normal self-deprecating jitters that everyone goes through, and that it'll pass. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


It is the early morning of Monique's 21st birthday! She has chosen to celebrate this event by sleeping (good choice) and I have chosen to celebrate it by not sleeping, as I can't for the life of me get motivated to write this damn paper. 

I'm just done with "real" classes. I feel done with writing papers, I just don't want to do them anymore. This isn't a difficult essay, I've already outlined and researched it, but for the past 48 hours, including the 4 I spent at work today doing nothing, I just stare at the blank word document and simple don't feel like writing. 

It's due in about 11 hours, and it's a short enough paper that I can probably pump it out in two or three hours, but I can't start it. It'll happen, but it might take another hour of procrastinating. 

Anywho, I hope that Monique has a lovely birthday because she is a lovely lady. 

Monday, September 28, 2009

Say "Cheese"

Yes, it's been a while. Seems like there are so many other things on my to do list other than update the bloggy-wog. The problem is, I haven't been doing those "other things." I mean, I go through the motions, but nothing really ever gets done well. It's been frustrating being back in Tucson after my ridiculously productive summer. And, after thinking about it, I think part of my productivity had to do with this blog. After a day of work, I was inspired to go out and do things and take photo's because I knew I'd get to share them with Sarah (and all of you) later on. When I was feeling lazy, I'd force myself to go out and try something new, so that when I got back to my (cousin's) New York bedroom, I could act as NY representative and show all of the beautiful things that the east coast had to offer. That way, when post college time comes, both of us have an idea of what to expect in whichever home we choose.

So, I've decided to come back to the blog. I figure that my lack of motivation may differ if I have a blog (aka electronic Sarah) to answer to at the end of the day. And, I always find that writing about something makes me more excited or motivated... It keeps the wild mind flowing.

Lets begin. 

 This is John. He is my classmate. He is a film student. He is also going to be one of my actors. Woot. I have all three of my actor's secured. I'm really happy with their performance and the way they handle the material. I have my shot list completed and my DP (Mr. Oliver) is working on the storyboards. The lighting scheme has been discussed. The locations are locked. I just need an exterior. The script is locked. I have some props to buy and some equipment to rent (which is proving difficult - does any one know where I can get a remote follow focus?) but other than that, I'm good.

I'm shooting in three weeks. Everything is there. I'm pretty low stress. I have a few things to tie up. But I'm in a good place. I just need a little excitement and passion about the project - it's that "going through the motions" bull. Meh. Here's an example. I had my first rehearsal last week. My actors give a fine performance but they aren't passionate about the material. It's my job to make them passionate. The way I can get them excited is to be excited myself. I'm just not sure how to get there. Sure, my project will be good regardless, but I really want it to be great. I really want to have so much fun with this project because, well, it's my last one for a while. And who doesn't want to be enthused by the things they create? 


I'm working on a couple of other projects. The main ones I'm thinking about now are:
Dinner - by Jillian - a gay couple meet to discuss and put closure to their relationship. 
The Big Job - by Adam - four cowboys journey through the desert in search of diamonds.
Lunch - by Katie - lunch ladies seek revenge when they find out their boss is cutting funds to give himself a raise.

I'm doing art for all three and AD-ing Jillian's as well. The process so far has been a lot of fun. Adam's is the most in that it requires a lot of specific dressing and problem solving bits. Plus there are a lot of spaces I'm working with. I'm most excited about his for the same reason I've already discussed - he made me excited. The amount of passion and work he is putting in his project makes me want to make his film great. Where does he get that passion? I need it!! Okay...

Katie's is cool too. We are making a room full of can's. It's gonna be sweet when it's done. She's shooting next weekend, and there is a lot to do between now and then. We are going to get props tomorrow and I'm meeting with the label designer tomorrow as well. 

Jillian's is going to be beautiful. Her location is absolutely stunning. We are shooting in the kitchen of this cooking school in Northern Tucson. The film is going to take place at sunset so the lighting in the room will be stunning. I'm really excited to see how it turns out.

1. Find exterior location - permit
2. Polaroid Boyfriend art breakdown - props, polaroids, poladroids, dressing and costume
3. Equipment - Misty's rentals and that damn remote follow focus
4. Rehearsal's, Production Meeting, finalize plans
5. crafties and budget
6. Lunch art breakdown and prop shopping
7. The Big Job art breakdown and prop shopping
8. All AD duties for Dinner (and then Torment... the next project)

And did I mention tomorrow's my birthday? I turn 21. That means bars... maybe. 

As Always,
Currently Watching: Sandra's Money Saving Meals

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Dear Monique,

Have we switched bodies? Have you become me? I ask you this for two reasons: firstly, because I cleaned a lot yesterday and that is clearly a You trait and secondly because you are starting to stress like me. I'm not saying you are not allowed to stress and freak out, you obviously obtain that right. However, I am saying that I know it'll all work out. Really, this is just me stating that I will be your cuddle producer. End of story. 


Monday, September 7, 2009

Pout Pout

Okay. I'm back. Back here for a quick rant. Let's rant.

I'm not all that into my project anymore. Perhaps it's because I'm bummed that it is an adaptation. I wanted to do something I created, from the ground up. Perhaps it's because I'm shooting in a month. This short term schedule feels like junior films all over again. Perhaps it's because the walls are grey in my two primary shooting spaces. I don't like the color scheme and I can't change it and I don't know where else to shoot, or how to rectify it.*

Maybe it's the money. Because, once again, the fucking money is coming into play. I can't put too much cash into this project for the main reason that I have none. None. Zero. Zilch. Not only that, but I'm trying to save up to move to New York,** the most expensive city in the country, in August.  If I could find a job, which hasn't happened yet, it doesn't really matter at this moment in time, because... well, where is the time?

I agreed to work on a bunch of projects, and I'm excited about it, I am. But I took on some big roles in a few of them... roles that require pre-production, roles that require me to actually do good, strong work. I want to do good work. I hate half-assing it and putting out shit.*** But, the point is, keeping my mind organized is proving difficult. Structuring my project, thinking about others, doing bull shit school work, worrying about a job, making time for my mates and family,**** and trying to figure out how in God's name I'm going to get to New York and get a job next year is starting to psych me out.

I'm not freaking. I'm really not. If anything, I'm removed. I'm numb to the idea - which will only fuck me in the long run. All I want to do is take one thing at a time: work on my film, focus on my project, do a good job and get it done. Then I'll be ready for the next. Multi-tasking is no longer my strong suit. I miss those days....
Okay, okay. I guess it's not really time that's a problem. I can find time. Life isn't too crazy yet. It's more of motivation. I have so little, which is surprising because I came off of summer with so much. I feel alone. I feel like I'm making this film alone, or I feel segregated from those who are making it with me. I want the team sport. I want my Jillian nights where we collaborated and it was intense and there was wine involved. This isn't how movies are made.

I need a producer. Producing your own movie is dumb. And I need someone to cuddle with. And when we cuddle, they'll say, "Monique, stop worrying. You've got this." Do they have an inspirational cuddle section on Craigslist?

Pout done.


*Momentarily. Once I de-frustrate, I'll be good to go.
**Yes, I've decided. I'm happiest there.
***sorry for the double poop reference
****who bitch, bitch, bitch about my "distanced" behavior. I got a lot on my mind, boo's!

The quiet before the storm

It's Monique here, live from Scottsdale.

I went home this weekend for the annual check up (that had to get rescheduled due to the New Mexico trip) and to visit my mom. The weekend was pretty nice. I had some mild shenanigans. I hung with my brother and his girlfriend... it was a night of licks and flicks, my favorite combination. I had some well needed alone time. And, I did a bunch of errands that I've been putting off. I even managed to be mildly productive, as I spent a good chunk of time prepping for the epic casting call we are holding this weekend.

I think that's what I really need right now... my actors. I have a location locked, and am a bit surprised and nervous at how easy it was to lock a model studio for a few days. I have one more location that needs tending to, and then I'll be set. Once I have my locations, dressing is easy enough to deal with... but the actors, that's the wild card. 

In my flick, the performance is really the make or break of the whole piece. To a degree, performance always is, but it is especially so in my case. Perhaps my nerves about performance are a combination of the strange relationship that my characters have and the fact that the rest of my crew is super competent; I'm not even stressed about those details (which is terribly nice in a way, nerve wracking in another).

I think that's enough "wild mind" for today.


Currently watching: "I Love You, Man" 

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Lazy Day

As I sit enjoying one of the last lazy weekends I'll be able to have for some time I am struck by how calm I feel. My day has been an interesting mix of productive and useless. I ran some errands, did the dishes, worked on my script, wrote my character descriptions and some logline attempts, and have also watched an absurd amount of television. 

When the programming on Food Network was too underwhelming I found myself watching some show about wedding planning on one of those channels that would have shows about wedding planning. I couldn't help but think about how if/when I ever get married I'll be so much more together than these crazy people. My logic? It's pre-production. It's the exact same process, same stress over details leading up to one short weekend, and even the type of details are similar. There are costumes, locations, set decorations, catering; it's the same type of obsessing we've all been doing for our projects now. 

That's why it's comforting to know that my current strange wave of serenity is able to occur as I kick my pre-production into gear. I have a new zen-like mentality that I wonder if I'll be able benefit from, or even sustain longer than this weekend. Now that I have a script that I'm happy with I have an alarmingly passive que sera mindset that everything will fall into place. Should I trust this calm and embrace it? Should I get back to my anxious ways and feed off the stress as usual? 

Do it to it,

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Yay New Things!

As Monique so proudly declared earlier: our blog is transforming anew! Since we are now happily reunited and are no longer living in Summer Fantasy land, the new direction of our lives is our our senior projects! 

Despite the fact that other classmates of ours have been deep in pre-production for weeks (*cough* Monique *cough*) and I have been lagging slightly behind, I think that today feel like the official starting point of this project for me. Today in class we planned out the shooting schedule for the semester and I now have official shooting dates to work towards. This makes it real. Too real. Good real. My story currently exists as a treatment which is being made into a script by Katie, whom I trust greatly as a writer. Once this script gets nailed down it's location scouting, casting, rounding out the crew, and getting down to business. I finally feel ready and excited. 

It's on. It's so on. 

New blog direction calls for a new sign off:

Do it to it,

Out with the Old, In with the New

Now that our internships are over, Sarah and I have picked up our Tucson lives, and entered a new phase: production.

And with that comes a new phase of our blog. So, this entry is the ceremonial good-bye to our old traveling blog. *moment of silence* 

This entry is also the ceremonial hello to our new production blog. *sound trumpets*

What will this new blog cover, you may ask. Well, I'll tell you! It will be a personal look at two film students attempts to create a short film from pre to post. We'll bitch, rant, moan, make lists, and recollect the hilarious and (hopefully) rewarding experiences we are about to undergo.

Lets begin. NOW!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sober me up

In need of some blood.

I just got back from the last minute internship in Santa Fe. The plane got in yesterday around noon and I said a weeping goodbye to Sin.D and Jenny, two NALIP staff members who flew with me on their way back to LaLa. It's strange being back.

NALIP was an amazing experience, no doubt. We worked everyday from 7 to 10, drank and chilled afterward, then did it all again. I've never worked so long in my life. The experience was varied as well. I did production office work, ran random errands, was an extra on set and got to sit in on some of the classes the program was holding. I made a bunch of new friends and a couple of strong contacts as well. There was definitely some shit times - I found myself in a few terrible situations. But all in all, everything worked out in the end.

Though I'm happy to be back in Tucson, I'm starting to miss my New York life. I miss not having to worry about school or money or friends or life (there are a few F stresses in there). All those things that got put on hold the moment the senior screening ended are back and waiting. And the biggest thing I've realized is that I need a little me time. I need a break from all the people and responsibilities. I need a moment to relax.

Bottom line is, I had the best summer of my life, take with it the good and the bad. I just hope life stays on that path. I'm working on seven short films this year, one being my own. That's a lot. I am back on the job hunt. Parental funding is being cut down immensely, and I was told that in May, I'm officially on my own. No more money, no more insurance. It's done. It's gonna be a heavy year. I'll decide tomorrow if I'm ready for it.

Less-Than-Three You, Monique
Listening to: some show on Food Network - What would [insert some guys name] make?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

T Town, the you and me town.

So I'm back in our hot hot hot Tucson house. Tomorrow will bring roomie Tom Tom Tom and the first of three seven-hour work training days. You win some, you lose some. 

So as I'm sitting and sweating and shmittenkitten-ing (how did I survive for so long without this blog?!?!) I'm trying to stay calm about the fact that I'm sitting on the edge of senior year. And I need Monique to be home STAT. And I need babywine. And I need our air conditioning to kick in. And then all will be well with the world. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I'm in The Hometown Lull in addition to my writers block. I've outlined 3 different scripts since being here, one is promising but that hasn't kept me from thinking about all the ways that it's flawed. Will I ever be inspired again?

At least I'm relaxing, kind of, to the best of my ability. I'm excited to get back to Tucson in a week but terrified that we're that close to starting the semester and I'm still so clueless. Despite my lack of direction I'm stoked for this year. Since Jesse will be making his triumphant return to Tucson it makes me realize how much happier I am since freshman year when I met him. It'll be the usual crew plus Jesse plus legal drinkers all around and I just hope that we're all able to play as hard as we work this upcoming semester. And I want neighborhood dinners, damnit. I want them now.

For now I'm doing "home things", like hanging with my sister, seeing the few high school friends that I still like seeing, going to a Red Sox game tomorrow night - my first in 4 or 5 years - which I'm very excited for. Whenever I visit Boston in the spring or summer I'm always reminded by how much I love the city, but am increasinly saddened by how little of a life left I have in it. I'm admiting to myself now that I'd actually like to have a life in Boston again one day, I just don't know how soon that day is.

Bye kids,

Saturday, August 8, 2009

One, Two, Three NALIIIIIIIP!

It's 10 minutes before work starts. I just had another huge meal here in New Mexico. Survey says, I'll probably gain a good 10 pounds because I eat bacon every morning (go youtube the Jim Gaffigin Bacon sketch).

Right now, I'm in the production office working for the documentary phase of the program. Next Wednesday, we switch to the fiction tract, and are shooting 4 short films in 4 days - in all likelihood, I might get some more set time. 

And although there are a lot of really cool industry people and students alike, I'm not being very social. I think this is an effect of being in New York for 5 weeks. At the end of the day, when everyone else is running off to the pool or sitting down to watch a movie, I choose to go to my room and work on (you guessed it) my senior film. This is a great opportunity and I've got to stop.

But, on film terms, I do have a working script and am in the process of securing crew, which is always the part I hate. Not only is it hard to figure out who, in the limited pool of options, is able to do what you want, but then the question becomes, do they even want to work on your film? Meh. Nonsense.

My goals for the next two weeks (before school starts) is to become a social being again, to stop thinking about all of the little details of my life, invest myself hardcore into my senior film, and to stop eating bacon... or at least cut down.

And Sarah? Try not to stress too hard about your script. You've got a few great back ups, including that awesome cooking show you wanted to do last year. At least with that, at the end of the year you would have something to shop around.

Less-Than-Three You, Monique
Listening to: air conditioning
Upcoming blog segment: reoccuring summer themes and brief tales that apply

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

live every week like it's shark week

I've been spending a few days in my family's summer house in The Hamptons before heading back home to Massachusetts. This house is where I am able to relax more than any other place. It's so familiar, full of memories, and is usually filled with my favorite families. 

As relaxing as the days are here, the nights are something else. After everyone else goes to bed, I can never sleep. I sit on the couch watching some sort of late night food television and grow more and more antsy. 

Last night, in addition to the restlessness, there was script anxiety. I read about four of the stories George had sent me and dismissed all of them (probably too quickly) for various reasons. I wrote down a list of imagery I like, themes and subject matter I have been thinking about lately, and various lines of dialogue that I had heard recently in daily life that I thought were intriguing. I read this list over and over and am still as lost as ever.

I've started going back, farther mentally than I think qualifies as "Square 1", to the idea of doing a music video or a documentary. At this point I'm open to absolutely anything. I just feel completely uninspired, like I'm deep in a creative lull. I don't know what I need to do to get inspired, but it needs to happen quick. 

I'll be back home tomorrow, where I'll be downloading Celtx to my dad's computer until my new lappy arrives. I have a sick feeling that I'll be sending Makino 5-7 completely different scripts in a few weeks and telling her to chose. Each script will include an underwater, green-screen sex scene. Fact. 

Bye kids,

Listening to: SHARK WEEK!

A last minute change of plans

Vicky called me this afternoon and asked me if I wanted to do NALIP in Santa Fe. It starts today, and the girl who was supposed to go back out at the last minute.

I agreed, and am heading to Tucson tonight, leaving for Santa Fe tomorrow, and won't be back until the 22nd. I have absolutely no idea what I'm getting myself into. We'll see...

Less-Than-Three You, Monique
Listening to: Spin City

And the nightmares have begun...

Last night I had two very vivid dreams.

The first was about my senior film. My crew and I were on set for shooting day 1. I didn't realize we were shooting that day and hadn't even seen the script. Jessica, the 2nd AD from Capture the Flag, was my 1st AD on the shoot. She told me that the first bit of the day would be an intense conversation between an adult male and a kid inside of a vivid house. I realized instantly that I forgot to cast the adult male or secure the location for the vivid house. So I thought quick - I told her we would just shoot super tight CU's of the kid and add the adult's voice over in post. She told me that was a good idea so she allowed the crew to unload the truck and stage all of the equipment. I was just about to get the kid to rehearse, but then I realized I didn't cast him either. So I started calling every actor I knew, but no one was available. I checked the script with Jessica, but all of the scenes required multiple actors. I didn't know what to do and I didn't want to dissapoint my crew.

I woke up. A few minutes later, I went back to sleep only to have another bad dream.

It was a Friday, and Katie, some strangers and I went on this rollercoaster in the middle of a forest. Before we got on, we got a call that Sarah had died in a freak elevator accident. She was in Tucson on Thursday night, going from the 30th floor down to the ground when the cable snapped and she plummeted to her death. So, we all went to her memorial. I couldn't stop crying, but it was a weird type of cry - I wasn't making crying noises, and tears were leaking from all over my face. It was like I was sweating tears. Anyway, at the memorial, I didn't recognize anyone accept for a few BFA who were on the otherside of the hall. I left early because I didn't want to see the casket (they freak me out) so I started to walk home. On my way home, I called George to see why he wasn't there. He told me he was sick and drunk (two things I've never seen him be) and when I asked him why he didn't go to Sarah's memorial, he said "Sarah's a great girl, but she got mad at me on Wednesday." I was really confused, and the phone disconnected so I called Katie. She told me that her and the BFA were headed back to the rollercoaster to celebrate Sarah's life. She asked me if I wanted to come, but I didn't want to.

I woke up a second time. School hasnt' even started yet and the nightmares have already began. It's gonna be a long semester.

Less-Than-Three You, Monique
Listening to: Balto

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sex on Fire

Adam and the crew, doing it. Look at that mack. Owh!

You know you're from Arizona when its 105 outside and you still wear a sweater.

That's code for "I'm back," by the way.

Yup, so I'm home and am terribly surprised that I'm not phased by the change at all. Usually, a change of scenery like this blows me away, but just like my entrance into New York, my exit was smooth. I'm not even antzy to get back to Tucson, which is a regular emotion for me when I find myself trapped in my parents house in this one horse town. Yes, I believe that was the first time I've used that phrase. Enjoy.

My mom came Thursday, and we bascially did New York in 48 hours. I think we hit every major district south of 81st. We saw museums, churches, fashion and photography galleries, parks, Kings of Leon live, the Statue of Liberty, Ground Zero, Crumbs, fabric stores, Times Square, Lincoln Center, and so on, and so on. We walked till our feet bled. Boom. Best part of that trip? When she told off a guy for hollering at me:*
Guy: (gives me the up down) Oh, so cute, girl. Mhmm
Mom: (angry voice) Cut it out! Filthy old man
Oh, and she definately befriend a cop. My mom's a champ.

I think I've got the script. I mean it this time. Mr. Oliver has been using his free time to assist a couple of the classmates on their films. The help I received was in the form of a lot of inspirational material, lots of potential scripts (including a brief one he wrote based on my original concept), and some 'tough love.'** I was more or less set on working with George's script, seeing that I was 80% happy with it, and it utilized a lot of original concepts I wanted. But then, I began reading some of the inspiration material he used. He told me the concept was reflective of a graphic novel by Brian Wood called "Channel Zero." When I went to the used bookstore with Yvette, I saw one of his other books, so I figured I'd check it out. Inside was a perfect short for an adaptation. It has a great structure and the character has a similar feeling to the one I initially wrote, but she is in a situation related to an earlier idea - a perfect mix of my two ideas... but done a thousand times better. So, I'm gonna work on an adaptation and, hopefully, it will be doable. Worst case scenario, I go back to George's script - which isn't a bad deal at all.

For the next two weeks, I'm gonna chill here in Scottsdale and get everything in order. It's back to the job hunt - though I might have a gig at the end of the month.*** I need to work on the film (which will be there for the rest of the semester). This may involve a trip to Arcosanti. I've got some minor housekeeping details, ie, bills, laundry, sewing, etc. And I want to see some friends that are in town before I head back to Tucson. This was a pretty sweet and smooth summer... lets hope the Tucson transition is the same.

Oh! One last note! The "Capture the Flag" shoot has a flickr page. Check them out! And Sarah, darling, you can see Skyler's big-headed, blue eyed baby right here. Imagine that thing comming out of your lady parts (Owh! Deal, audience, deal). And $20 goes to whoever correctly identifies "Shorts" and "Legs" first. Go!

Less-Than-Three You, Monique
Listening to: (in my head) My Moon My Man - Feist

*Ladies, if you haven't already been to NY, be prepared to hear more compliments and more insults than you ever have in your life. Regardless of what you look like or what you're wearing, there is a NY man waiting to holler.
**It's been a summer of 'tough love.' Beside Mr. Oliver, I'd like to thank Mrs. Dias, Mr. Locke, Mr. Jones, Ms.Laughlin, Mr. Hulsey and (briefly, as requested) Ms. Haber. BMD, BMU.
***Film kids! If you want to hop on a paid short in Phoenix, let me know.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Hey Tucson Hey!

I am home, in our little duplex on 1st street, with lots of little bugs that worked their way in somehow. It's weird. Super duper weird. It all seems familiar enough; my bed still feels like my bed (and is still as amazingly cozy as ever), I still can fall asleep in one of our chairs in less than five minutes, and it looks like the same house I habitated in all of last year. But it's just all wrong. It probably feels that way for the following reasons: 1) I have no computer to occupy my time and I am incredibly lost and bored as hell without it. 2) I am alone in the house, without my Mo and without Mr. Tom even though I see evidence of his existance everywhere and am constantly tempted by the sixpack of Dos Equis that he left in our fridge. 3) Since reasons 1 and 2 have left me completely stir crazy in the house, all I want to do is go outside but it's so miserably hot out that I regret that decision within minutes of walking out the front door.

At least the library is air conditioned. I drove here because I didn't want to walk in the 110 degree heat but the drive is so short that I felt pathetic.

At least George, Nick and Allen are around so I've seen them a little. Still, the two days I've been here have been painfully long and lonely. I miss the beach and the breeze and the endless amount of activities that exist in LA. I'm also very very ready to fly back east tomorrow. I need to recouperate from the summer, I need to see the people from my Old Life, I need to write a script that I am happy with.

I am still as lost as ever when it comes to my script. I want to write about robbery, since I have it on my mind, but when I told the Momelet my idea she dismissed it as contrived. Of course it is; I feel contrived.

I'll be without a laptop to call my own for a while longer, but I'll have my sister's laptop to dick around with once I get home before my own lappy arrives.

I'm not ready to be back here for real. I'm not ready for the semester to start. I'm just not ready to be a real person again after this summer.

Bye kids, be well,

Listening to: Some guy getting tutored in History a few computers down.

P.S. MONIQUE I SAW SKYLER! I was walking out of the blood drawing room after getting some taken and there she was sitting in the waiting room with her adorably large-headed baby. She said the shoot was great and she's very please with it, so obviously in my head I gave you all of the credit for that.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"New York, I love you"

I just completed my last day at work. I have successfully finished my internships. Whew!

Today was a really good day, as a matter of fact. After 3 weeks of straight transcribing, Yvette and I did nothing of the sort today. Paul Steckler, who spoke at UA and is working on this doc with Peter, Loui and Andy (my bosses), stopped in today to watch an 8 minute cut of the doc. It was really interesting to see how our work was utilized and I was excited to see and be apart of the project.

CNAM is changing locations, so Loui had Yvette and I sort and sell books at this used shop on 12th and Broadway. We got to pick out some books to keep. I got some pretty sweet ones, I might say. After the book selling, Loui bought all of us Japanese food for lunch to celebrate my last day. It was so good - probably the best bento box/sushi experience I've ever had. Ugh... I'm gonna miss the food.

I finished the day by dismantling the interior of a computer and making paper dolls of all of us. I told Loui that he's not allowed to take them down... ever.

After work, Yvette took me to a bar for a post work drink. It was my first drink in a month, and I'm proud to say that she offered me a cig and I declined - 2 weeks since my last, and I intend to keep it that way. Coffee is a perfectly adequate vice.

I took off around 6 and headed back to the used book shop to get a few more books. By the time I was done at the shop, I had 5 CNAM books, 2 used books, and 4 personal books stuffed in my purse. I need to get another bookshelf.

On my way back home, I passed this great little gallery and was going to stop inside. But it was raining terribly by that point, so I hurried off to the subway. Now I'm home with a mild headache, a sack full of books that need reading and a half packed suitcase. My mom arrives tomorrow so I'm moving out of Joel's and into a hotel for my last two nights in the city. (!)

So, this is it. My last blog written in NY. Nothing too special, nothing too heavy... just a nice little tale of a pretty cool day.

Less-Than-Three You, Monique
Listening to: the rain

Monday, July 27, 2009

Let A Man Do It

The Set House

I just got back from Glens Falls. The shoot was perfect.

On my way to meet the caravan, I got caught in the effing rain, just like I predicted and accidentally walked through Harlem. We stopped along the way and I bought some boots - the best $25 of my life, even if they are now covered in mud. Along the way, the producer mentioned that Adam said he might stay with me in the city. My first response to his name was "I am so terribly in love with him." This led to an awkward look and some fun time for me. I spent most of the trip faking like I was head over heels for Adam, and that he came to New York so that we could work things out. It was great and he was a good sport. Anyway, we made it to the hotel, I met with Adam for a total of 5 minutes, during which time I couldn't stop smiling and rocking back and forth with glee, much like a 6 year old. I adore him to pieces.

This was our one day of prep. Anne, the Production Designer,* had me cover a chair... Adam didn't believe that I did it cause it was so sexy. We also prepped the house and some of the hero props. The labels and the faux cigarette packages were amazing. That night, we had a group dinner, where I saw Mulcahy, whom they forced me to call Michael. Needless to say, I avoided saying his name altogether, and the one time I had to, I called him "Mike, Michael." It was awkward. Later, I made Adam go to the pool with me. He sat and watched me for a good 10 minutes, and then bailed. I would've stayed longer, but a gaggle of 12 year old girls came in running and giggling. I bailed.**


Day one of the shoot. I met Joe*** the property master. I spent some of the day on the prep set, but at one point, Anne sent me to work with Joe on the actual shoot. He had a machetti and let me play with it. I was happy. That night, I headed back to the hotel and came up with a new script idea and an alternative idea to the one I already wrote. I ran all three by Adam, the original, the innovated and the new, and with his help, I cleaned up the innovation even more. Some impromptu 2am discussions brought further script developments, but I'll leave that for another post.

Joe hurt his back and was late to set. He told Anne to let me run property for set. A few hours later, Joe popped in on set and watched me for a while. Later he pulled me aside and told me I had a knack for this and he wouldn't have let me run props if he didn't trust me. This gave me a little well needed confidence seeing that Joe has no problem ripping people to shreds, even girls (another story for another day). ****

Joe was back, so we worked together. We got the vintage cars - 5 of them. I changed out the plates so that they were the right time period, and Joe let me use the machetti; he could tell how fond I was of it. During down time, Adam and I talked about the actors, particularly "Legs" and "Shorts." Of course, others took our giggling and whispers as further hints affirming our love. Classy.
Kevin Black, the director's husband and actor, talked to me about the senior BFA class, noting that our reputation precedes us. When he asked me why my class was so good, I responded by saying "We tell unique stories, we are comfortable with the equipment and we are technically dedicated to making good work." His co-actor, the sexy Scott Cohen, said he could tell because of my confidence on set.**** He later stalked Adam. Interesting man.
On the way home, I had a mildly awkward ride with Joe for several reasons, but mainly due to an error on our part. We forgot to replace one of the plates. It was 2:30am, and we were 45 minutes from set. Boo. Note, we found this out after Joe gave me a longer version of the "you should seriously consider this as a career option" speech. Epic Fail.

This set was super calm, even if we were behind. Champs.

Sexy cars. I want that soft blue one.

Makeshift Art/Prop set truck.

Joe went to the ER for his back. Once again, I got to run set entirely on my own. I got pissed momentarily when I experienced some brief womanizing moments on set. The big one came in the form of Craig. I was trying to cut a branch with these dull sheers to replace a broken flag stick, because an HGTV carpenter look-a-like decided to gank my machetti. The problem? I couldn't cut it quick enough. Craig yelled "Let a man do it!" My face went red hot and I had to bite my tongue from saying "Do it yourself, you old fuck."***** Skyler however snuck in an told him off for the comment. I understood what he truly meant, but the way he said it, and the fact that it was in front of the entire crew made me pissed for a good hour or so. Later, I helped Anne with some set dressing and aging a few props. By 9pm, the shoot was wrapped and we had a quick party regardless of our exhaustion and loaded the trucks as quickly as possible. I said goodbye to Adam, who was leaving that night, and headed back to the hotel to get some sleep.

6am. Coffee and a doughnut. Anne, Joe, some PA's and I headed to set for break down. We knocked it out in 2 hours. I met Joe's wife briefly and he gave me his card, saying that if I ever needed anything, ask. Thank you. Once we got back into the city, Sarah, the other Art PA, and I headed down to Greenwich Village, which is an experience that I have to explore some more.

-I learned to HATE headsets.
-If it's a small set/ non union set, help other departments if you have down time/aren't a key. They'll love you and have your back later. This is particularly true when it is raining and everyone wants to get the hell out of dodge.
-I could do art and be very happy. I could do prop and be very happy. I could live in New York and have a job and be very happy. This set made me ready to work and collaborate on other projects this semester and in the future.
-"There's a train leaving in the morning. I guess I expected too much."
-Sexual innuendo's about Gazebo's completely negate any comment made on a mans penis size.
-Fireflies sometimes have green lights and are easy to catch.
-Your teachers really don't know everything, but some *cough* Mulcahy *cough* are still champs on set.
-New York is obtainable. Mixing film and family is possible. And a little luck and a little hard work do go a long way.
-A rat trap and some mylar are all you need to recreate a gunshot blowing out a window.


Being back, this city feels different. With a little less than a week to go, I've realized that in a year, I wouldn't mind living here at all. This place is starting to feel like home. Tomorrow, some of the crew and I are heading to the museum. Wednesday is my last day at work. Thursday my mom arrives. Friday is a concert and some exploring. And Saturday, I head back to Phoenix, arriving at Sky Harbor at 9:30pm. Until then, I'm gonna enjoy these last bitter sweet moments, and worry about the future in a week from now. And no matter where the rest of this summer goes, what I've done so far has been amazing.

People often tell me that I come off as confident. What they don't realize is that it's because I'm comfortable in the things I don't care about, which is most everything. But when it comes to the only two things I do care about - film and relationships - I'm a hot mess. I feel like a failure in both, a child in both, incapable and unworthy in both most of the time. But after my experiences this summer, I'm starting to see the two in a clearer light. I'm not so nervous and not so unsure anymore. I see what I deserve and realize what I need. And that hope I had on the first night of this blog - the hope to cash in my ticket for a life changing experience - well, if this was it, it was worth every penny.

Less-Than-Three You, Monique
Listening to: My Moon My Man - Feist

*Anne Stuhler is amazing. She could have become a pro tennis player. She turned down a job on "Elf" because her daughter was graduating high school. And, she makes her own furniture and paints. What I learned from that woman is invaluable.
**Adam came down to the pool later and confused me with a 12 year old. Fuck that.
***Joe is crazy and amazing. He is covered in tat's and owns a tortise. He isn't afraid to tell off anyone, even Craig, the AD. He talks a lot of shit and taught me to use a machetti. This man made me have faith in being a filmmaker and a female on set, even if Craig didn't.
****This set was really good for me in that for the first time, I have confidence in what I'm doing. It was well needed after last semester and after working with my ridiculously talented class. Love you, boo's!!
*****All my respect for the man was lost during this set, not only because of the comment, but because, well, "I guess I expected too much." And if I ever hear the phrase "let a man do it" again, regardless of intent, I swear to God someone is gonna get socked in the fucking face.

"Let's tear up Santa Monica like it tore you up" -Jesse

After a whole summer of talking about how wonderful and safe and perfect Santa Monica is, Katie and I got our wake up call. Figures that it had to come out last weekend in town (Katie's last night in town, no less, as she is now back in Phoenix) but this Saturday night our house was broken into and both of our laptops were stolen. We suspect that it was some punk kid from the neighborhood, since he clumsily left behind finger prints, and the power adapter to my computer which he had unplugged and wrapped up thus leaving behind more finger prints. Our landlady is so shocked by what happened she is convinced that it couldn't be someone from the neighborhood and must be someone we know. A scary thought - but one that Katie and I refuse to believe. So after the initial shock of being robbed, waiting until 4am for the cop (a cute one, actually) to arrive, a manically giggly photo shoot reenacting the nights events at 5am, and being woken up by the forensics investigator at 6:30am and 8am respectively, it was quite the evening. Jesse slept through most of it, including the cop's visit, and now his sleeping self is pictured in the photos from the police report because we didn't want to wake him to take them. 

As pissed off as we both are, it doesn't (completely) taint the Los Angeles experience, as even that very day that we got robbed we were out having lots of fun. Since I've hijacked one of the desktops at my internship, and my supervisor is out sick on my last day at work (boo) I have the opportunity to point out all the fun we've had despite the theft. 

Our weekend pretty much started on Thursday when we went out with a bunch of Comedy Corner alumnus (Box, Ross, and 4 or 5 others) to the improv club iO for a free "cage match", two competing improv troupes. The show was meh, very much worth every penny that we didn't spend for it, but the company was good and we got lots of stories about the heyday of Comedy Corner. 

On the ride back from Hollywood, we chatted about the mentality of LA. Justin, our driver for the night, was talking about the differences between here and Chicago where he had been living before. He touched upon exactly what I miss about East Coast Cities - public transportation. Not just because driving in traffic is extremely annoying, but more because of the feel of a city and its residents when everyone travels together. As cheesy as it sounds, you develop a weird mindset when you're constantly separated from the rest of the city by your windshield. 

Friday brought the arrival of Jesse, which had been much anticipated. Saturday we drove up to Malibu with Chris and Box and some Comedy Corner alums to picnic on the beach and watch the enormous waves. Then, we went to Point Break Live! We had been talking about going since pretty much our first week in town and it was well worth the wait and the twenty bucks. I recommend it as a must do in Los Angeles if you like comedy and specifically laughing at the awesomeness of Point Break. Afterwards we had a late dinner and dessert in Westwood before we all headed back to our respective parts of the city and Katie and I had the awesome discovery of "holy shit our door is open. holy shit our window is broken. holy shit where are our laptops?" 

After about three solid hours of sleep Katie drove back to Phoenix (crazy girl, luckily she got in fine) and Jesse and I spent the afternoon at The Getty. The grounds of the Getty are absolutely beautiful, and sadly since I was so exhausted I found them more engaging than some of the art. There was a particularly cool photography exhibit featuring two pioneers of color photography, Paul Outerbridge  and the more contemporary Jo Ann Callis that I quite enjoyed despite exhaustion. Once I hit the point where I felt like if we didn't leave then I'd be too tired to drive back, we headed back home and took a nap before "tearing up Santa Monica like it tore me up" which included a chinese food dinner, gourmet churros, and seeing Moon

Currently I'm at my last day of my internship, quite bittersweet especially considering that it looks like it's going to be an extremely slow and boring day. Tomorrow I'm spending the day at the beach, as a final goodbye to the ocean which I will miss dearly, and then Wednesday I drive back to Tucson. I'm not quite sure what I'll do there, seeing as I have no laptop, our cable is shut off, and it'll be hot as hell. Hopefully my days there will include a lot of Nick and George and other honorable mentions still in Tucson. Saturday night I take a redeye to New York (essentially taking the reverse trip that Monique will be making earlier that day) and spending a few days in the Hamptons with my family and my new laptop (which the kind parents are getting for me prior to my arrival). Then it's two weeks in Boston to see friends, more family, some doctors, and generally recuperate from the LA summer. 

I don't know when I'll have the blogging opportunity next; it could be in a week when I'm in The Hamptons, in a few days when I'm in Tucson, or in a few hours when I steal Jesse's iPhone - but hopefully Monique will be updating about the shoot and her last days in New York to fill any blog void. 

I wish that I could document my last days here with detail and depth, but it looks like that's just not in the cards.

Bye for now, kids,

Listening to: The hum of the office. 

Friday, July 24, 2009

Check It

I wish that I could be as clever as Meg Shoemaker and Phil Pinto who have created a cute tote bag that they're selling on the internet to fund their short film. It's an awesome, unconventional fundraiser...if only I had thought of it first! Check out the Love, Summer Of. campaign. 

Bye kids,

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Yup Yup

In copying Monique, here is the view from my bed, which for whatever reason Photo Booth decided to flip and make the mirror image of. Whatevs. In honor of the backwards picture, this post will go in backwards chronological order. Enjoy. 

The air mattress on the floor is the current sleeping place of Mike, who is visiting for a few days. 
After he leaves it will be the sleeping place of Jesse who will be the last visitor in our little abode. 

Today marks the first day of the last week of my Los Angeles summer. We have just returned to the beach, and despite the fact that it was one of many many visits to the Santa Monica beach. The water was the warmest it's ever been, though I didn't stay in for long because it was low tide and the waves were small. Mike bodysurfed as I enjoyed my favorite ocean activity - bodypummeling, the act of just letting yourself get beat in the face repeatedly by oncoming waves. After the water I laid in the sun, thinking about how every other trip to the beach we made felt rushed for some reason or another, like we always had things to do later. Today we lay in the sun unsure of if we were going to leave in the next minute, or next few hours, and just allowed ourselves to soak in the sun. We ended up leaving after about two hours in the sand and walked over to the pier for soft pretzels. 

I only have two days left at my internship, which actually makes me very sad. I developed a nice little routine and a good flow through the office. I make small talk and gossiped with all of my "co-workers" said hellos and goodbyes to everyone while walking in and out each day, and got generally comfortable with being there. Yesterday and Monday were the only days in the office that I had real stress. It was good stress, the kind where after it's all over you feel an immense rush of calm and pride in finishing your work. I was assisting a producer as he prepared for a shoot next week in Vancouver. This producer did not treat me like an intern, did not give me little bitch work tasks to keep me occupied (though I did have to run out and buy him and the director fresh fruit and muffins one morning) but instead he told me exactly what he needed to get ready for this shoot and left me to figure out how to get it done. After the initial rush of I'm-not-qualified-for-this fears, I got my shit done. I asked people in the office when I wasn't sure of protocol, I googled like a motherfucker, and called Canada more times in a day than I might have in my life. I got to count three grand in cash (the most I think I've ever held at once) and then sign my life away calling myself the person responsible for said money and making sure that the producer got it. After filling out the forms for the payroll company, one of the people in accounting said to me "you know, now you can say you've been a production coordinator for a day or two". 

On Sunday, Katie and I went to the Museum of Neon Art in the Historic Downtown of Los Angeles. It's funny that we went there the day after my "where are all the pretty parts of LA like in (500) Days of Summer" post because...there they are. The Historic Downtown's building we're beautiful, though slightly dilapidated, and had much of the older architecture that was featured in the movie that I hadn't found anywhere else in the city. The area had the feel of an East Coast city, and easily could have been an area of Boston or New York. The neon museum was small but extremely enjoyable. I could see other people bitching about the price of 5 whole dollars being not worth the dozen or so neon signs on display, but for me it was the kind of place that I love giving money to: a small organization who is excited about the art that they show even if it's for a niche audience. The signs themselves were pretty nifty, they ranged greatly in size and purpose, and I snapped a few pictures with my crappy point and shoot digital. 

That sums up the past few days. I'm still clueless about my script, and still in my returning-in-a-year mindset about Los Angeles. The next week will include, if all goes to plan: a visit from Jesse, a self-guided (500) Days of Summer tour, a trip to Malibu to watch Alex surf (and hopefully see the dolphins that I missed out on yesterday while I was at work), Point Break Live (finally!), maybe a Getty trip, my last days of work, and then a somber drive back to Tucson. 

I'm now off to shower the salt water out of my hair and clean the sand out of my belly button. 

Bye kids,

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Capture the Flag

the view from my bed

I woke up this morning to the sound of rain coming down, heavy enough. I stumbled out of bed and over to the window to make sure. The sky was a cool grey, the red brick walk up and the tree outside my window were brilliant with color - my favorite effect of the rain. But, today, it's not welcome. Sometime (relatively soon) I have to put on my clothes, grab my suitcase and hop on the subway to 125th to run, no walk some errands until 3pm. I really should've packed my rain boots.

Today is day one of the shoot. I get the task of picking up some labels at a man's house so that we can greek some beer bottles. I also get the task of seeing Adam. I prefer the latter.

In a weeks time, I'll be returning to the city for my last 4 days. The dingy, smelly, claustrophobic city I love so much where I'm allowed to smoke and people walk just as fast as me. The city that has cupcakes, movie stars, Arafat scarves and a certain hobo that called me a cunt bitch. The city where a man will holler at you, tell you you're beautiful, despite the fact that he knows he won't be getting laid tonight - at least by you. And I mustn't forget the free concerts, free art and the free entertainment from a cousin I still hardly know. I'll miss it.

Though the countdown has begun - 1 week on a shoot upstate, 4 days in New York, 2 weeks at home, 1 year in Tucson, then real life - I'm pretty sure I'm gonna try to enjoy every second I have left.

Less-Than-Three You, Monique
Listening to: Electric Feel - MGMT, and other rain appropriate music

Monday, July 20, 2009

That hot chick from Weeds

Mary Louise Parker, the hot mom from the best series on television, did a nude spread in Esquire. She wrote a letter to men in the article. I really liked it. Chiggity check it!

To you, whom it may concern:

Manly creature, who smells good even when you don't, you wake up too slowly, with fuzzy, vertical hair and a slightly lost look on your face as though you are seven or seventy-five; you can fix my front door, my sink, and open most jars; you, who lose a cuff link and have to settle for a safety pin, you have promised to slay unfortunate interlopers and dragons with your Phillips head or Montblanc; to you, because you will notice a woman with a healthy chunk of years or pounds on her and let out a wolf whistle under your breath and mean it; because you think either rug will be fine, really it will; you seem to walk down the street a little taller than me, a little more aware but with a purpose still; to you who codifies, conjugates, slams a puck, baits a hook, builds a decent cabinet or the perfect sandwich; you who gives a twenty to the kids selling Hershey's bars and waits at baggage claim for three hours in your flannel shirt; you, sir, you take my order, my pulse, my bullshit; you who soaps me in the shower, soaks with me in the tub; to you, boy grown-up, the gentleman, soldier, professor, or caveman, the fancy man with initials on your towels and salt on your chocolates, to you and to that guy at the concession stand; thank you for the tour of the vineyard, the fire station, the sound booth, thank you for the kaleidoscope, the Horsehead Nebula, the painting, the truth; to you who carries me across the parking lot, up the stairs, to the ER, to roll-away or rice mat; to you who shows up every so often only to confuse and torment, and you who stays in orbit, always, to my left and steady, you stood up for me, I won't forget that; to you, the one who can't figure it out and never will, and you who lost the remote, the dog, or your way altogether; to you, wizard, you sang in my ear and brought me back from the dead, you tell me things, make me shiver; to the ones who destroyed me, even if for a minute, and to the ones who grew me, consumed me, gave me my heart back times ten; to most everything that deserves to call itself a man: How I do love thee, with your skill to light fires that keep me warm, light me up.

Less-Than-Three You, Monique

Listening to: Kings of Leon

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Some woes and a justification

I hate scriptwriting. I never ever wanted to be a screenwriter, I just don't think the way that is needed to be good at it. Earlier in this summer I was all about it; I took my notebook down to the beach and sat and wrote, read and revised, typed and revised, only to create a script that was a big pile of 'meh'. Attempt two, an entirely different script using similar visuals and concept was also a 'bleh', but for different reasons. (George's reaction to script 2: "You figured this out in pieces as you wrote, didn't you?" - Of course I did, hence the hot mess.) 

I'm too attached to visuals and concepts to create something with a solid story and tone. I just can't figure it out. I keep going back to the ridiculous script I wrote for Writing The Narrative last semester that has such a simple, decisive plot that I practically wrote as a joke yet is a better script than any of my serious attempts. I've been so determined to shoot underwater that I'm finding myself trying to create stories around that, which is so backwards that I'm getting stuck. 

I feel like I have nothing to say or express, which really makes me a terrible art student. Part of me feels like I should just write what I know, which I have a feeling would lead to me writing a script about food. Even so, it would be a script based on what I want to show and concepts that I find amusing but probably would have a shit story. 

At this point, I'm open to anything. I really wanted to write my senior film, but really I just want something that I can be excited about and sink my teeth into. I'm open to someone else's script, co-writing, and I've even casually pondered the idea of just making a travel show pilot or food show for my senior project. Ultimately, I don't want to do that. I know I can make those post-graduation and I really want to direct another fiction piece but I'm so incredibly stuck. 

I remember thinking to myself about how I'd spend this summer getting totally ready to hit the ground running once the semester starts. Last semester we started so ahead, we already had a script written before classes started and were working on casting and scouting before other people had their ideas. Sadly, that is not the case anymore and I feel like I keep circling back to square 1 and the start-of-school deadline is fast approaching. I don't want my senior film to be a scattered mess, I want something that I can focus on with purpose. I just don't have that yet at all. 

And now, The Justification: I just found out that July is National Hot Dog month which means I have an excuse the ridiculous number of hot dogs that I have been eating this summer. Kind of. -What...were you expecting a film related justification? Oh no no. After all, apparently when I write what I know, I write about food. Maybe I will write a script that mixes masochism and food fetishes. Or maybe cannibalism. Again, concepts but no story. 

Bye kids,

Listening to: Paul Simon 

In response to "Here Comes Your Man"

The director talked about the locations he shot in LA. He said that LA is actually quite beautiful when you look closely at all the old historic buildings. Apparently, one of the film rules was to shoot buildings made prior to 1950 (?) or something like that. He didn't want any glass or concrete or modernistic buildings that would take away from his vision and experience of LA.

Less-Than-Three You, Monique
Listening to: a car alarm go off... I really need to start listening to music again.

Here comes your man

After many months of anticipation I finally saw (500) Days of Summer and happily was not disappointed. I really could not have been disappointed, seeing as it's pretty much a modern Annie Hall minus the whole New York Neurotic Jew thing. It is sweet, and adorable. 

And it's hilarious that I've had an on again/off again crush on Joseph Gordon-Levitt since 10 Things I Hate About You came out. He is the only crush I had when I was a kid that I still find attractive, the boy just keeps getting better looking. The entire movie just made me want a boy who wears sweater vests. I fell a little bit in love when he sang "Here Comes Your Man" in the karaoke bar. What karaoke bar has Pixies songs? 
The only problem with the movie was that it made Los Angeles look too pretty. I kept wondering where they shot it, I've never seen any part of Los Angeles look nearly as beautiful as in that movie. It made the drive home slightly depressing. 

That's all.
Bye kids,

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Blockades and Limitations

Happy Saturday. Kind of.

I've been in a mood - a funk - for the past couple of days. But today has been the worst of it. It's a mix of exhaustion and frustration and confusion. A lot of little things are adding to the melee, but the big one always comes back to film. An "F" frustration as Sarah and George call it.

I've been trying to formulate an idea for this project for the better half of the summer, but nothing seems quite right. Finally, last Wednesday, I sat in front of the computer determined not to leave until I produced something. The results were... they were. After some discussion, I attempted a second draft a little over a week later. The results were a bit better, but still... they were.

After what seemed to be a lifetime of discussion and frustration about my script with George* that spawned from my mood, the deadline and his questioning, I hit a wall that was both relieving and disappointing.** He offered to (potentially) find another scriptwriter. The script I have is a mess. It has a good premise when you break it down, and there is a lot of thought and substance behind everything in it. But with the time limit (2 weeks til the due date) and my inability to think clearly, I'm not sure if it's salvageable.

So there are three options on the table:
1. Come up with something new, something simpler, something clearer, and something that embodies the initial goal of the project: create a fun, whimsical piece.
2. Find a scriptwriter. George said he may know of some people that would be able to help.
3. Bite the bullet, put my funk and frustrations aside, sift through the shit and find the gem that I started with. In other words, more and more rewrites. Here is my film in a nutshell. Yeah.

The second option is out of my hands at the moment, so there is no need to think about that right now. The third options is possible, but I need a little time to clearly think about how I plan to reconstruct this script as quickly and efficiently as possible. I'm already starting to objectively see the problem areas, so this may be a possibility.

The first option, however, opens up a lot of doors. It's the ideal solution in that I can do something, anything, I truly want to do. I'll be invested in it from the beginning. And, most importantly, I wont have to rely on anyone else to get this done.

But with that freedom comes a series of problems as well. First and foremost, I need an idea. Second, I have to consider student film limitations in the process... all of them. It's an 8 minute piece. I have an extremely limited budget, crew, resource base. Locations are limited. Actor's are limited. And so on, and so on. Although student film limitations do not need to be a problem, it is for me, which brings us to the third (and connected) issue. My idea's are always, without fail, overly ambitious. I don't understand the concept of the word "simple" when it comes to creating a good short. Those two words, simple and good, just don't seem to meld in my mind. Come to think of it, those two words don't meld anywhere in my life. Everything is always unintentionally overly complicated. Meh.

So what to do, what to do, what to do.

I bought some books today, one of which was the screenplay for "Away We Go." I thought that reading the script of a movie I liked might help me to figure out how to write scripts well and figure out what to write about. I read it this afternoon. The clarity issue was resolved to an extent - I realized that, when writing, you have to be slightly removed, constantly thinking of the big picture. If you get bogged down in a scene or a moment, it could end up completely disconnected from the rest of the piece. So that revelation was good. Still need an idea though.

I was talking to Winn a few days ago and he made a comment about this author he really likes. He said, "he is able to say in a sentence what takes other writers a page." I say that guy should write scripts. And by the length of my typical blogs, emails and conversations, I probably shouldn't... yet.

Less-Than-Three You, Monique
Listening to: smooth jazz coming from the neighbor's

*I believe you experienced this as well, Sarah. Probably more discussion that frustration. Any luck on your end with the ever elusive script?
**Not sure if you read this George, but if you do: thank you.

Friday, July 17, 2009

So Cal is where my mind states, but it's not my state of mind*

A few posts ago I made a list of everything that I wanted to do before leaving. I realized that I have been surprisingly lazy about knocking items off of it -though we did go back to Pinks, go to The Broad at LACMA, and eat in Little Ethiopia. I think the reason that I'm not striving to call this city conquered is because a) that's impossible and b) I seem to have mentally solidified moving out here in a year. No logistically or definitely, but I have definitely let myself think/act/live as if I'll be back here next May. 

One thing is for certain, get ready for a huge-ass collection of LA restaurant reviews all over this blog after I leave. 

As aforementioned, we went to BCAM (Broad Contemporary Art Museum) at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) yesterday. It was a great little visit, made better by the fact that it's free after 5, and is a prime example of my future-LA-living mentality since I kept thinking "it's cool if we don't see everything, we can come back all the time." BCAM pretty much reminded me of a larger ICA both in the architecture and organization of the building and similarities of the collections. Strangely enough, I had seen a lot of the art on display in other museums. I recognized several pieces from the abstract art exhibit from the MFA years ago, some Jeff Koons that was at The Met last year, and the same Jasper John's American Flag painting that I am convinced I see hanging in every single museum I have ever been to. The current exhibit there was pretty intriguing, contemporary art from 12 different Korean artists. Most of the display was a huge hit or miss for me, as seems to be the case with me and all contemporary art. The LACMA grounds are beautiful, despite being under construction. On the outdoor elevator attached to BCAM we were able to spot the Hollywood sign on the hills which I had never bothered looking for on any drive around the city (I'll play tourist to some degree, but I draw the line somewhere). 

That's about all for now. It's a Friday afternoon at work and I'm suffering from a major food coma from lunch. 

Bye kids,

Listening to: Nirvana off a co-workers computer

*Who else remembers this song?  I think I was like 10 when it was popular but I still know all the words. 

Thursday, July 16, 2009

This thing called film...

My brain is cluttered. Internship 2 is 2/3's over (only 4 days left). Internship 1 is coming down to the final bits (we start shooting Wednesday, there is still a lot to do). My script options are occupying the better half of my mind. The problem is that there is too much in there to see straight. Lets begin:

For internship 2, the Art Director asked me to follow up with a bunch of car owners in the hopes of finding 5 or 6 vintage cars by Monday. Also, we need to get a hold of a copy of the New York Times from the summer of 1970 by Monday. Also, we need bulbs on battery packs to represent oil lamp flames by Monday. I found out about this with less than a week to go. I'm hustling, trying to pull out the stops and figure out how to get these things by then. Regardless of the fact that I'm mildly annoyed that such big details were left for the last minute, part of me understands. That's how films work, right? But a bit of organization would be nice. A bit more preparation would be nice. That will be my goal for my senior film...

My senior script is still waning. I finally figured out how to structure it in a clear, concise and believable way. My friend Brandon, who writes dialogue heavy scripts, said he would be more than happy to help me work the minimal dialogue that I am to use. The problem? My heart is leaning to something else. It's a bit more personal, which could be a problem. But it's beautiful to me. I could learn to love it, or loose myself in it for a year. But should I? Especially when I have a lot underway with the original already? Especially because I know I can't commit to anything I ever have? I'm indecisive by nature, and I need to work on that... before my film becomes as disorganized as Internship 1's.

Less-Than-Three You, Monique
Listening to: Ira Glass - Didn't Ask to Be Born (thanks, SM)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

For the love of spec vids

While browsing some music video websites yesterday I found something pretty promising for lovers of low budget, conceptual music videos. Usually when someone makes a spec music video the best thing that comes out of it is maybe a mention of it on the band's blog or website, but rarely does it succeed in the way that Ross Ching's Death Cab spec has. While the idea for the video is not new or inventive, it's a certainly well done and rumor has it that the band is now calling it the "official" music video for the track. Pretty darn cool. 

Here is Ross Ching's video for Death Cab for Cutie's 'Little Bribes'. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hey Ladies

Before I get to the bulk of this blog entry I will re-state what Mo already beat me to which is: Alex is coming back to LA! He's coming back only a week before I leave, but whatevs. I talked to my boss-man at my company and Alex will be working three days a week (two of which are days that I work, though since we only overlap a week that won't matter much). --End Blog Overlap--

Speaking of that company at which I work, I've spent today and yesterday doing a lot of answer phones, dealing with the exec's and their demands, internet shenanigans, and chatting with the other assistant in my area. I've gossiped with her before during other days that I've been perched in that area, but these past few days have had some particularly interesting conversation. 

She tells me, despite being a self-proclaimed feminist, "I truly hate saying this, but you don't want to work for a woman". She claimed that while she expected powerful women in the industry to embrace younger women trying to make their way she found that most of them were easily intimidated and often would not help other women working beneath them. Sadly, I can see it. Not like the male exec's are promoting their female assistants left and right, but there is a very odd sense of competition in the dynamic of a powerful female in the industry and the women working below her. I am not sure if this is the same with male/male boss/assistant relationships, but it's certainly an intriguing thought. 

Women and Hollywood had an entry a while back about Nora Ephron who stated in a recent article that she wanted women directors to "stop whining and just do it". I personally agree with that statement from Ms. Ephron (not just because I love her, I also think she's right), but the Women and Hollywood blog seemed hesitant, asking why Ms. Ephron didn't do more to aid up and coming female filmmakers. I do not think that Nora Ephron is guilty of the same bitterness that comes from the aforementioned female execs. I do think, unfortunately, that a lot of times it's very true that the people who are hardest to the women in the industry are other women. Even with a (slowly) growing number of female filmmakers, how many of them employ female department heads in their crew? Or female crew in general? WaH put out these fun statistics a few months ago. 

So, in the words of the Beastie Boys: "Hey ladies in the place I'm callin' out to ya"...go make some frickin' movies and be nice to other ladies. 

Bye kids,

Listening to: (Surprisingly enough, not the Beastie Boys) Hey Mama Wolf - Devendra Banhart  

Yes and No

On a sad note, Alex is leaving New York and heading back to LA.*

On an epically great note, ADAM IS COMING TO NEW YORK!** Yeah boy! He just hopped onto Skyler's film deal.


Less-Than-Three You, Monique
Listening to: the sound of silence

*Sad for me, good for Sarah and the LA crew. Get ready for another cross over blog.
**He's 98% sure. I told him if he didn't come it would break my heart.

Monday, July 13, 2009

(37) Days of Summer

Yes, I counted.

So, today: Went to work. The other intern = enjoyable, fun, reminds me a bit of Jillian in some ways. I approve.

After work: I headed down to Eclectic Prop Shop, a prop house on 26th and 11th. I had to take photo's of suitcases for my first internship. We're shooting next week, so I'm getting pretty excited. What's more is that it was nice to get out of the transcript world and be involved in the actual creative side of filmmaking. I'm sick of post! This, being my first prop shop experience, was quite the novelty. It was nothing more than a giant thrift store, with cooler shit. I'll take it though. Check out some of the pic's below of suitcases, and other (cooler) things I found at this little place.

After the prop shop: Paula and I went to see (500) Days of Summer. It was the special screening and sadly, but not surprisingly, Zooey was a no show. Marc Webb, the director, as well as the writers were there for the Q&A. The film, which was based on one of the screenwriters personal experiences, was well written, well developed and well revealed. I liked it. I won't give too much away, but I will say this. They ripped off my idea, those bitches.* The film as a whole was relatable on so many levels, that I think anyone who sees it will find something to enjoy - and not in a typical Hollywood fashion. (Okay, I'm starting to talk like a politician. I'm saying nothing with a whole lot of words. Moving on!).

During the Q&A session I asked a question that we as filmmakers often discuss (or at least I have, I don't know). The film as a whole is ambiguous to the actual fine details of the relationship. Rather than letting the events fuel the characters actions, they let the actions fuel the emotions. The film, in short, is a vessel for this mans emotional response. So, my question was this: did they choose to use emotion to tell the story rather than events as a general rule of thumb for all films, or was it particular to this film. And why?

The answer was not too thrilling, as he gave me something much more specific than what I wanted, but I'll blame that on my own wording. So, world, if you can give me an answer to that (should a story be told through events or emotion, or more relevant, are stories stronger when told through one versus the other) I will appreciate it.

Well, that was my day. I wanted to say more with this blog, but my mind doesn't seem to be functioning very well these days - my clarity is getting worse, boo!

Less-Than-Three You, Monique
Listening to: crumpling paper

*They did a sequence directly comparing expectation and reality - with a split screen! J-Corsie, where are you?!?

Sunday, July 12, 2009


I'm not sure where the whole "LA is laid back" thing came from. I know the stereotypes say that the Northeast is stressed and frantic while the West Coast is chill and relaxed, but I'm not sure why that is. Maybe it's so hard for me to be relaxed in the city because a) I'm not a real West Coast Girl or more likely b) It's hard to relax in a city where everyone is trying to fight for the same career goals. I like my variety, the fact that everyone here wants to get into my industry doesn't make me feel like I belong, it makes me feel like I'm always being sized up. 

I've met people in LA that I think are maybe too relaxed. Example: I was on a short film set this weekend that John got us on since his co-worker was ADing. It was very low key, on the same level of the student shorts we've all made, except the actors were all working television actors. However, the director casually tells us that we got the location house for free on the condition so that we clean it. Guess who was casually asked to clean it, I'll tell you right now it was not anyone involved in making that deal.  Of course since the shoot is so chill and relaxed that would be okay. To me, that's not okay. I don't say that I'm "above" doing much on sets, but I will say that my resume does not have "dish-washer" or "stove cleaner" anywhere on it. Maybe I'm just not laid back enough to go with the flow when I show up to do grip work and am handed a sponge. (Side note: the shoot wasn't all bad. The people were mostly really cool, the actors were fun, and I did some Second AC and Swing Grip work in addition to cleaning.) 

Then there are the people who are not chill at all, and they are the coincidentally the people I most associate with California, maybe because I see most of them at work. So many people in the industry are uptight and self-involved far over the point of being relaxed that I can't figure out who let them get that way. 

Don't get me wrong. I am not saying this as a complaint about the city. I am, after all, from the "uptight and stressed" part of the country and I guess I just wish that people would be more honest about the amount of tension that exists in this city. The laid back beach town is a myth. Don't hate on the stress, but don't hide it either. 

Bye kids,

Listening to: True Blood (We can't stop watching it!)

What I Missed

At the Harry Potter Premiere:

Less-Than-Three You, Monique
Listening to: the video, obviously