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

Friday, July 10, 2009

Dear Monique,

It's 2:01 here, making it 5:01 in New York - happy Friday afternoon.

I was planning on responding to your letter earlier in the day, but I didn't expect to have something to do the moment I got into the office. Friday's are the best days in the office because Melissa is here interning as well, and because we get free bagels. As always, when I come in first thing in the morning I check in with my supervisor to see what needs to be done. He pointed me in the direction of the bays to help one of the shoots organize their wrap and said that Melissa was already over there helping. We spent the first few hours of our day organizing the talent and payroll sections of their wrap book and got free lunch out of the deal. Right now we're just chilling, waiting for another task to pop up. Melissa is falling asleep next to me but I don't want to wake her up. Teehee. 

It's interesting how you say that those things are over. I don't picture babywine, cupcakes, and John laying on our floor being over at all. I picture the next year being pretty much exactly as it was (minus a cat and plus a Tom) with babywine, cupcakes, et al. It's the fact that the year can continue as always and then it will end suddenly that makes me so bummed, but I never considered a real change to our lives once back in Tucson. 

Brandon is leaving tomorrow for Tahoe for the rest of the summer so we are having a farewell dinner for him tonight. Our tribe is shrinking quickly. We all still hope for an Alex return but no news yet. Katie and I are the next ones scheduled to leave, we're heading back to Tucson on the 29th. I'm not at all okay with how fast the summer is moving. There is too much left to do- and too much left to not do. 

I read your script. It was a definite mess of ideas, but a lovely one. I'm excited to see what elements you pull out of it for more refined draft. There's too much going on in the draft I read to discuss now, but that means there is plenty to work with. My script is...a script. I've written two completely different stories out of the same idea. There's a chance I'll write several more completely different scripts before figuring out which elements I want to keep from each. I also made things interesting by telling Jesse that if he writes the script idea he's been talking about and I like it better than my best attempt at a script I might make it. Who knows. 

Be well and happy. Despite random freakouts about the future, I have been able to be both of those things. I don't even mind the stress about the future, I'm embracing the fact that we're all at least a little masochistic because it's the things that keep you up at night that are worth pursuing. 


P.S. Though I am sad you didn't get very close to the action at the HP premiere, at least you didn't get swine flu from the Weasley boy. 

Dear Sarah,

So, I'm sitting at my cousin's computer at 10:38am. I think that makes it 7:38am for you - happy sleeping.

I'm still smoking: partly due to the lack of sleep, partly due to the guiltless feeling and partly in an attempt to avoid pre-stressing. I finished the pack of Menthol's yesterday; we'll see how long until I cave again.

I've been living in this house for almost two weeks now and my cousin said the funniest thing to me last night while we were trying to teach Paula how to speak with an American accent: "Monique, you're so reserved. Your pitch is higher, your voice is airy and you speak quietly." He doesn't know me. It's not his fault, this is the first time we've gotten to know each other, and in this place, I am those things. I'm not myself here - not fully.

I just finished the first half of CNAM yesterday. Three more weeks to go - two here, one in upstate. I don't belong here. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy - how can you not be. But, I don't belong here. This city isn't for me after all. The glamor's gone, the magic has left and any mystique these dirty streets could hold have mysteriously disappeared - or congealed; this is New York after all.

And although I like it here, although I'm doing my best to make the most of it (I'm finally going to the Met tonight), I can't stop longing for something that no longer exists. After being here, I can't imagine living in Tucson again. I can't imagine babywine or cupcakes or John laying on our floor. And, for some strange reason, I'm okay with that.

I find myself missing the things that I know won't be around next year - certain BFAer's that I probably won't keep in touch with, certain places that I go or certain things that I do. But regardless, this year has ended (in my mind) before it even began.

If you read that script, I apologize. It was too rough to show. It was a compilation of ideas without any research to back it up - I'll be working on it. But once it's done, then what? Do I submerge myself into pre-production, getting lost in shots and lighting schemes? Do I find a crew and work tirelessly for a few days? Do I loose my mind, loose some friends and drink some wine until the edited piece of shit airs at The Fox in less than a year from now? I don't believe in my film. I don't think I ever will believe in anything I make. Maybe I'm not cut out for this - not because I can't do it (I have no doubt that I can), but because I don't want to do it (is all this really worth it?).

I assure you, as I write this long and nonsensical message, that I am very happy here and with the general state of things. I am. I've just realized that I've been talking myself into something for such a long time that I'm not sure what I really want anymore. My mind is chaos, nothing is clear, and I need to commit to something - for once.

Keep enjoying that beautiful weather and those beautiful people.


Harry Potter Revelations

The only attempted pic. Then I felt ridiculous.

After work, I bolted over to the Harry Potter US Premiere yesterday. By the time I got there, a huge group of fans were chained off on the south side of the street. The red carpet and the press area was on the north. What did I do? I found a back way into the press section and tried to stand as uninterested and calm as possible. While I was in the box, I checked out all of the equipment I could see: camera's, lenses, arri-lights, etc. It's funny how seeing a porta-brace and a black sandbag can make you feel welcome. I managed to stay in the area for a good 20 minutes, until the theater owners came up and started checking in crews. Fuck.

I started to bail and made it up the stairs when I made eye contact with this boy probably a little older than me. We did the point and stare, mouths hanging open. He spoke first: "I know you," I looked back and said "I know you, too." As he told me his name, Andrew, I looked to the left and caught the eye of another person I knew - but this time, I recognized him. It was my dear Emmerson (creator of Mugglenet my favorite fan site, my 15-year-old crush, a lucky bastard) and his crew. How I knew them? Well, they have pictures on their site, obviously. How Andrew knew me? He didn't - he said I looked a lot like the girl who runs HPANA, another website. So, I looked to him and said, "Well, it was nice meeting you, I'm sorry for bothering." "Not at all," he replied, "are you gonna stick around for the premiere?" Light bulb. "Well, I want to, but I'm not sure where to go... this place is chaos." "Oh, well I think the fans are over there." [Insert awkward moment as he realized what I may have been hinting at]. I play it cool, "Ah, thanks, see you later!"

Smiling to myself, I headed to the other side. The place was a clusterfuck. Fans were screaming at anything that moved. Little kids walked around in Hogwarts ties. And I was in the back, 5'1" and unable to see shit. I did some maneuvering through the crowds, found two or three decent spots (until the theater guys kicked us out). I finally settled in the back, memories of the 2007 Muse concert running through my head (l.s.s., I couldn't see shit). With the ridiculous commentary of fans in my head, I made a choice: I left.

At that moment, I realized that I just don't care that much. It's not about Harry Potter, it's about Hollywood. Outside of the excitement and the chaos, they are just a bunch of high school kids parading around in prom dresses. Think about it from their perspective - the glamour's lost. And more important than that, I realized that I don't belong on that side of the street, with the crazed fans who glaze away their days dreaming about Daniel Radcliffe and contemplating whether or not "they get tired of seeing their face on the big screen."

Don't get me wrong, I may not belong on the other side of the street, the side with the red carpet, hot lights, Yates and Rowling. But, even if I never make it big in the industry, film school has done one thing. It's made me see everything for what it is. Yes, I know that's a sweeping generalization, but, in regards to somethings, it's totally true. The point is, actors* are people, filmmakers are people, the creators of mugglenet are people, we are people. No one is an idol to everyone, and talent doesn't make you an idol.* I'm pretty sure no one gave a fuck when some of those crew members hit the carpet. What made that event? A red carpet, some lights, some cameras, some fans, and "people." Fuck, Adam and Nick managed to do that a few months ago for no money and less hassle. The point is, it's all a show. Even reality, it's all a show. Or a stage - where we're all merely players...

There it is, some insight for the day. I'll save my other thoughts for some other time.

Less-Than-Three You, Monique
Listening to: birds chirping

*Rupert Grint, if you're reading this, you will forever be the only redhead I will ever truly love.
*This may be why I'm not really bothered by name dropping. Unless you're a certain 'doctor'...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Life is moving too fast.

I told myself early on in the summer that there would be a moratorium on stress while I was here. For the most part, I've been far from perfect at that but still better than expected. There have been some frets about the senior film, about money, about health, and some other small things that I managed to keep a low freak-out level about, but overall I haven't really been full on stressing. When it comes down to it, and I when I follow the George method of diagnosing anxiety, my F stress right now is: Fast-moving life. 

It's all going by far too quickly; this summer, the past year, my college experience, everything. I'm terrified to start the school year because I'm very scared that one it begins I will have to very difficult endings. The first will be a larger-scale repeat of what Katie and I termed last semester, "postpartum depression" i.e. the awful feeling both of us got immediately after our shoot ended. All of that work and stress and effort gone after one quick weekend left us feeling pretty darned bummed, and I know that this feeling is inevitable this year. 

The second ending is the obvious one. The graduation one. The one in which our little family breaks up and moves away from each other. It's likely that most of them will end up in LA, but what about my Mo, she's a NY gal. I don't want to have to chose between which friends I want to live with. I used to be very adamant about not choosing my location in life based on where other people are. Boston to Tucson was a random ass move. I didn't know a single person in the city and I knew I was going to be leaving friends. The result of that has been staying in touch with very few people and feeling extremely bored when back in the Boston area. My life is in Tucson now. But for whatever reason I don't feel as ready to move away from people in Tucson as I was people back home. It's not an issue of caring about people more or less, but this time around I don't feel as confident in choosing where I want to be just for me. I don't even know where the 'for me' place is. 

I've been telling everybody who asks (random people back home, from school, people at my internship, random crew on set) that I still like to think that I could be anywhere a year from now. I want to believe that's true, but I know I have been eyeing everyplace I go as a possible place to make a regular return to and I know I've participated in many conversations with other BFAers about here regarding "when we're all living out here next year" with more than just a hypothetical approach. 

I think what is most troubling to me is that I actually am starting to figure out what I want to do "when I grow up" and I'm scared that the starting point for that is far too close for comfort. 

Bye kids,

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I need money for beer, drugs and hookers (at least I'm not bullshitting you)

Okay kids, I'll make this short(er) and sweet. Yes? Here we go!

Work: We get another intern tomorrow, Yvette. I'll be training her. I've started to take advantage of this internship opportunity. Rather than just type, I've been actually paying attention to the information in the interview footage. I'm pretty well versed in New Orleans, political corruption and race relations now... good thing too because I've got some more inspiration for my senior film (more to come on that later). Also, I've been talking with the guys I work with about sound and am hoping to get a chance to play with their camera's. I just got to work up the nerve to ask.

Senior film: I'm combining both idea's I had at the beginning of this summer and have topped the whole thing off with a bunch of experiences, media influences and people that I have experienced this summer. The innovated story focuses around the question, how can one person change the world? Is it through art, or is it through action? I make the concept tangible by applying it to a failing relationship. The female gets caught up in a sort of vigilante revolution while the male tries to inspire through his art. The piece takes place in the near future and includes fireflies, guns, ribbons, art, children, hipsters, news and booze. I like it.

In the past: I've been spending a lot of time at Central Park, walking, reading and writing. I've picked up another book, as per so many of you kids - "Franny and Zooey" by J.D. Salinger. Yesterday, I went to see "The Hurt Locker" - it was pretty good and the theater was hilarious. I was six stories up.

Today: I saw Elmo, a homeless man with an epic sign, a large group of Asian tourists with "I Love Jesus" shirts, Obama condoms and a field full of beautiful shirtless gay couples.

Up and coming: Tomorrow is the US Premiere of "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince." I'm going to go watch all the celebrities and crew walk in. I'll try to eye-fuck as many of them as possible... more on that tomorrow. This weekend, I'm going to hit up as many museums as possible and I'm spending part of Saturday and all of Sunday in Connecticut with my brother's kids. On Monday, I'm going to an advanced screening of "(500) Days of Summer" followed by a Q&A with the director, Marc Webb and Zooey Deschanel (who happens to be named after the male character, Zooey from "Franny and Zooey." Ironic.). I'm pretty psyched about that.

So that's the plan, Stan. I'll be back tomorrow with (what I hope will be) an epic tale involving me and Rupert Grint macking in the Ziegfeld bathroom.

Less-Than-Three You, Monique
Listening to: Paula on the phone

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Get it, "running" through my mind. Get it?

Maybe it's because I just worked my first Real Deal shoot (will write about later), maybe it's because it was so damn hot, or maybe it's because I've been on a 90s music kick, but this has been running through my mind all day. 

Doin' it and doin' it and doin' it well.

If I write it down, it must be true. Here is my list of what I must do before I leave California:

1) Eat in Little Ethiopia
3) Visit The Broad Museum, The Getty (not Getty Villa), and MONA
4) Go back to Pinks, and maybe Sprinkles one last time. Maybe a few more favorite places.
5) Possible trapeze lesson on the Santa Monica Pier. 
6) Aquarium? San Diego Zoo?
7) Finish my frickin' script. Or at least get to a point where I'm happy with it. 
8) So much more. 

Also, to blog about:
1) View of LA based on 90s music videos?
2) At the end of my time here, I will do a review of every place I've eaten at here. Or, at least the ones worth mentioning. Trust.
3) Like Mo, things that aren't just recaps of how I spend my days. 

Bye for now, kids,

Listening to: (and watching) Weeds

Monday, July 6, 2009

On a side note...

I've realized that my blogs have become a simple list of "what I did today." Must work on that...

Less-Than-Three You, Monique
Listening to: a truck

My Blog(y Wog)

So I'm back from Vermont, a little sunburned, a little wiser. I left for Long Island (where Alex and Christy live) on Thursday so that we could head down to Vermont first thing in the morning, literally - 4 a.m. Surprisingly, I was pretty awake in the morning and along the way we stopped for doughnuts and coffee (yes). The 6 hour ride was pretty entertaining: we listened to music, read from Russel Brand's hilariously titled "My Booky Wook", listened to Jim Gaffigin's stand up, and looked at the epic scenery that is Vermont. Joe should've shot "The Wind and the Hills" there, it was just that epic.

When we hit Vermont, we headed to Alex's house. His brother, Jeremy, (yes, he is exactly the same as he was in Alex's documentary) made us ecstasy - I'm not even gonna bother explaining this. But, just know, if he ever offers you it, take it - maybe.

Afterwards, we went over to Christy's house and hung out in (and around) the pool. Alex thought it would be a fun idea to put Russell in the middle of the pool on a raft. Bottom line, I thought it was too. We got rained out and went downtown to try and check out the heart of their town. But, sadly, the rain was terrible, so we grabbed some ice cream and headed back to Alex's for his brother's birthday dinner.*

In Burlington, they celebrate the 4th on the 3rd, so we headed down to Christy's dads boat to watch the fireworks. It was absolutely beautiful. Imagine, thirty minutes of non stop fireworks so close that it made the boat shake. Sexy, right? Moving on... We headed over to Alex's friend, Quinn's house for a lil party. We drank, we talked, they played music. It was really chill.

On Saturday, Alex's mom made us french toast* and homemade Mocha's.* Thank you. We went back downtown again in an attempt to dodge the rain. We did for a while. I bought a ridiculous shirt and a bunch of earrings. We got these epic sandwiches called "Red Onion" sandwiches at a store called [surprisingly] "Red Onion." We grabbed "Gran Torino" (you know, that movie where Clint growls and kills people) We headed back to Christy's to play with Russell, eat our grub and watch the goods. She has a home theater in her basement, perfect for escaping the rain. Later that night, we headed back to Alex's where his mom made us burgers.* The night continued to flourish with a game of Donkey Conga (win), a bonfire (fail), fireflies (mild fail) and the drinking version of scrabble (win). Before long, we headed back to Quinn's for another night of good conversation, good music, and good drinks. It filled my Tucson nostalgia.

Sunday, we rolled out of bed and headed to the lake. Christy's dad took us out on his boat and we got these really bomb mozzarella sticks. The boat ride was amazing. I was in heaven - I love a good thrill. And then it was done. We packed up and hit the road. The ride, once again, was amazing. 6 hours of nonstop conversation... everything from submission to sex (by the way, they aren't the same thing). Before I knew it, I was back in the grungy city, standing with my suitcase, outside of my 8 floor walk up.

So that's the tale - but it isn't the story. Great moments in VT weekend:
2. "Having a finger up your butt while getting a blow job. It's an interesting way to live."
3. "Is that a penis in your pants?" "Yes" "You lied to me!"
4. "He spite pooped in your bed."
6. "I was committed."
7. "Oh my God, that town is named Coxsacie!"

Less-Than-Thee You, Monique
Listening to: Joel sing renditions of Hair - amazing, yet disturbing(ly good)

*If a French woman ever asks you to cook for her, say yes. You are guaranteed to food-gasm**
** yes, I stole the word food-gasm from you, Sarah.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sand and Sangria, Hot Dogs and Fireworks

Our fourth of July celebration started with the ladies (Alisha, Melissa, Katie and myself) heading over to the farmers market - which was unfortunately about half the size of the Wednesday one, now we know - to buy some fruit for sangria. We ended up with a meyer lemon, 3 blood oranges (for a dollar!) and some fresh lemonade which we ended up giving to John instead of using for the sangria. We then stopped for a pizza lunch, bought some wine as well as some cheap water bottles to make the sangria, and headed back to our place. 

John showed up and the five of us hung out at our place for a while, watching music videos and waiting for Brandon to drive down from Malibu. After Brando's arrival we went and bought sandwiches which we took down to the Santa Monica beach. We picnic'd, swam (not Melissa and me, we were on stuff-watching duty and by the time they came back to let us go in we were too cold from the wind), and had a beach photo shoot

Filled with sangria and covered with sand, we came back to our place to drop some stuff off and giggle and be merry. We had missed the Santa Monica fireworks - they were on the 3rd. We actually noticed them the night before while walking to see Up but assumed they would have them two nights in a row. Incorrect. - So we drove down to Venice to try to catch the Marina del Rey fireworks from the beach.

Venice, which is pretty sleazy any day of the year, was a colorful and entertaining choice for the 4th of July. There were illegal fireworks going off everywhere, and the plethora of cops just stood and watched them go without doing anything. From the spot we selected on the beach we were able to see not only the illegal ones exploding right over our heads every few minutes, and not only the Marina del Rey displace, but we could see two other firework shows down the Coast including the Manhattan Beach ones. 

Alisha, Brandon, and I grabbed some customary 4th of July hot dogs  while we made our way back to the car, and then the whole lot of us decided to head over to Brando's to sit in his hot tub. Turns out that his building closes the hot tub at 10pm, and we were all so disappointed and exhausted at that point that we just headed home and passed out. 

All in all, a very delightful 4th of July with good company and good fun. See the 'book and flickr (latter is linked above) for photos. 

Bye kids,

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th!

We may have missed our chances for fireworks. More on this development after the day is done. 


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Snow Bunnies

Day three of the internship: 6 hours of (you guessed it) typing transcripts. I'm supposed to be doing some casting stuff for Internship 1 on Monday and will be talking to the Art Director (hopefully) in the next couple of days... Dear God, I want this film stuff to pick up.
I tried to spice up my day a little by trying a new place for lunch: "Grey's Papaya" where they serve a Recession Special that consists of 2 hot dogs and papaya juice for $4.45. Done and done. I knocked out my lunch in about 10 minutes, so I took another 10 and walked around the block. I saw hanging meat in a window and got nostalgic for Sarah. On my way back to the office, I passed two construction workers. This brings us to my new blog special: NEW YORK PHRASES!
Encounter 1 -
Guy 1: *winks* hey
Me (to myself): you're my dad's age
Guy 2: Leave that young girl alone, you old perv.
Guy 3: (walking in my direction) you know they were gonna say something right?
Me: Yeah
Guy 3: Now that I'm walking with you, they won't say anything. I'm Michael, by the way...
Me (to myself): you're pretty old, too.
After work, I decided to head over to Bryant Park to work on my film. I'm thinking about switching to a short story adaptation... I fell in love with "Teddy" by J.D. Salinger yesterday, so we'll see how that goes. Before I got into the park, I stopped at Crumbs to get a Blackout cupcake and an iced coffee. Food in tow, I found a nice table and annotated the story for an hour. I think I've spent too much time with Jillian, because a bird decided to shit on my book and hand. Yes. (And when I told my mother and aunt the story later, their first reply was "I hear that's good luck." I responded by saying, "that's probably a lie to make people who got shit on feel better.").
Anyway, after the poop incident, I headed toward the Hudson. Along the way I passed a live concert/benefit show. It was super intense (please refer to picture). As I continued my journey, I passed a group of dudes. NEW YORK PHRASES!
Encounter 2 -
Guy 1: Hey there, Snow Bunny
Me (to myself): what the fuck? [long pause] I'll take it!
On my way to the Hudson, Alex called and confirmed the Vermont trip. I'm heading to Long Island tomorrow so we can drive up to Vermont first thing Friday morning. His parting words were "don't forget a swimsuit." I brought one with me, but it's mildly skank and doesn't fit properly (the bottom's too loose and the tops to small) - so I headed over to Macy's to find one of those one pieces with the backs chopped out so that my suit won't fall off in the lake. Long story short - that place is huge... after searching 5 floors, I couldn't find the bathing suits so I gave up and headed back to the Bronx. NEW YORK PHRASES!
Encounter 3 -
Guy 1 (to Guy 2): It's like having sex with a roc ho
Me (to myself ): I wonder what exactly is comparable to sex with a roc ho...

On the subway, I heard a woman sing that Whitney Houston song from "The Bodyguard" and a dude do a drum cover of "Smooth Criminal." Yes.
So, that's it today. I won't write until after the VT trip so you get a reprieve for the next few days.
In the end, I'm having a blast in this city, I really am. But I'm starting to ache for certain people. Being here is so bitter sweet.
Less-Than-Three You, Snow Bunny... I mean Monique
Listening to: nothing, nothing at all
*EDIT* I just heard a gunshot and screams. Welcome to the Bronx.

Kumquats and Other Silly Things

I still can't believe that it took me a whole month to get myself to the Santa Monica Farmers' Market. I still can't believe I've already been here a whole month - but that's a different story. In another example of how living in Santa Monica is like living with rose colored glasses (that block out the view of smog, traffic, homeless people) and will certainly give me a jaded view of living in LA, Katie and I walked to the farmers market. The fact that we have places to walk to (with nice scenery on the way) is impressive enough, but being walking distance from good food puts me over the top. 

I assumed that since the Farmers' Market is every Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday that the Wednesday turn out would be light, but instead it was packed and there were so many tents in all different directions that Katie and I decided to do a loop around the entire place before buying anything. It was all a big tease, considering that the guest house we're living in has a kitchen consisting of a hot plate, toaster over, microwave, and mini-fridge which freezes half of our food (we were thrilled to discover that our milk had frozen yet our ice cream was completely melted). It was a little upsetting being around all that amazing food and knowing that we have no way to prepare or cook any of it in our little home. 

We ended up buying some fresh guacamole - I considered buying the ingredients to make guacamole instead but Katie pointed out we lack bowls and knives scarp enough to cut anything beyond butter. I also bought a bag of Kumquats and a variety of stone fruit. I was always a berry girl, but since I can't eat them too often anymore I've been venturing out in my fruit buying. There must have been at leave 20 stands with plums, peaches, nectarines, and apricots and we had at least 1 sample at all of them. I also had my first raw oyster after finding a booth that was shucking fresh ones. I've been reading Saucier's Apprentice, which not only makes me extremely hungry every time I pick it up, but after a scene describing the author's first raw oyster experience I couldn't resist getting one, even if they were 2 dollars per 1 little half shell. It was delicious. 
The halfway point of the summer is pretty mellow. Ellie and Tarreyn came down last weekend and the girls all went out for a cupcake raid of Sprinkles and Crumbs. Box, Jesse, and Mike are all possible visitors for the next month, and there is also rumored excitement about a triumphant return of Mr. Alex. I've fell into a nice rhythm here. I'm comfortable at my internship, I go for a walk by the beach every afternoon, and I have time to read and work on my script without feeling rushed.

Still, when I contemplate if I could live here in a year I start to get nervous. I could definitely call this city home for some amount of time. When I'm honest with myself, I could probably get used to living in any big city, but there are certainly things here that I really enjoy. But despite enjoying my internship it's given me some perspective about how the industry really works here and I don't know how happy it makes me. 

There are three routes: 1) You move out and say "I want to direct and only direct" and less than 1% of people who say this actually succeed and the rest fall back on something else. 2) You can work your way up the production ladder starting as a PA. The problem with this is a lot of people who aspired to be directors or DPs get stuck as grips and ACs permanently because they get too good at the jobs in the middle.  3) You can get a job at a production company and work your way up in the office. This is what I'm experiencing first hand, an office filled with people who mostly wanted to work in production or Direct but instead work closely with planning and dealing with productions but are never on set. Even if you work your way up in the company you pretty much get a bigger paycheck, but no real set time. The people in the office in their mid-20s all seem so bogged down that it's like they forgot or don't have the energy to pursue their original goals. This last option seems the most likely for me, but I'm not exactly sure I like what I'm observing and people who've gone down that road. 

During a long phone call with George the other night he said that most of what people stress about can be divided into F's: Friends, Family,  Food, Funds, Fucking, Film, Future.  This post has gotten absurdly long, and really should have been two separate entries, but I guess it properly sums up my current thoughts, though: food and future. Oh, and Free Willy, which Katie is currently watching. 

Bye kids,