May 25, 2007

Star Wars, I am Mel's floppy colon, & have you ever been stabbed by a sword?

When I was knee-high to a grasshopper, my folks took me to see The Empire Strikes Back in the theatre. I had seen Star Wars: A New Hope on TV and at the Wellfleet Drive-In (the home of the very first movie I ever saw: Jaws) and I had fallen in love with both Luke and Han, wanted to be Princess Leia, had nightmares about Darth Vader, and generally believed the whole story to be actual fact, not just entertainment... Heck, to this very day, I believe in The Force and Jedis more than I do God and Jesus.

Star Wars did not just change my life, it shaped it, guided it, showed me a different path.

George Lucas is the reason why I am in LA. He is the reason I studied film in college. He is the reason I did not give up. The reason why I knocked on every door until someone said yes. He's my inspiration as a screenwriter, as a filmmaker, as a human being.

"It is better to give than receive," George Lucas prior to giving Scorsese his Academy Award.

So, here I am in LA... I had a meeting today, but had to reschedule. Attack of the killer ovaries. See, a little over a year ago I started getting pain in my side that escalated into what I imagine being stabbed by a sword feels like (cue shot from Excalibur where naked Lancelot pulls the sword out of his side. Now imagine that sword being twisted as it's pulled out, then shoved back in, then wiggled around a bit. Now you get the pain in my side.)

Three cysts, several doctors, many pain killers that hurt my stomach, and one surgery later, I am no closer to less pain than when I started.

During the surgery they removed my appendix, y'know, just in case... (The pathology came back free & clear.) They found a bunch of fluid around one ovary and a complex cyst in the other. They also discovered that I have, and I quote, a "floppy colon." Um. What? The doc suggested I eat more fiber and have Omega-3 (I'm a veg, so I don't eat fish... Makes sense I'd be low on that, but still... Floppy colon?!?).

Anyway... So, here I sit, having missed my meeting due to pain, rescheduled for tomorrow and all the while almost right down the street is the celebration of all celebrations -- the filmmaker who is the sole reason I am even here -- and I'm gonna miss it.

I'm kinda bummed, but, then again, C'est la vie, right?

where does it go? (spontaneous poem)

where does all this sadness come from?
where does it go?
like waves washing over me,
cool cool waves of sticky salt water...
rolling me, tugging me, pulling me
and the thunder rages overhead
the storm clouds they gather
collide and burst rain
rolling sounds again and again...
where does all this joy come from?
where does it go?
like cool air on my face,
fresh breath and the taste
of a snowflake on your tongue...
everyday is a different mood
every character
nod and tap and toss and swirl
dance to the beat inside your mind
beethoven beckons
write the words you meant
write the words you mean
write the words
in your heart
shakespeare sighs
write the words you see
write the words clearly
write the words
in your heart
where does all this love come from?
where does it go?
when the night comes
and the stars shine bright
rays of light
Heaven sent
where does all this pain come from?
where does it go?
rays of light
where does all this inspiration come from?
where does it go?
heaven sent
where does all this passion come from?
in your heart
where does it go?

May 22, 2007

Banning yourself from OP's MySpace Pages, Joel Schumacher, & my Keifer Sutherland priceless ad

Ever feel the need to ban yourself from even remotely viewing someone else's MySpace page, be it *just* his/her page and/or blog?

If you are anything like me, the answer is a mighty YES! (Or defiant YAWP, if you prefer.) <-- cookie for whoever gets that reference.

Anyhoo... So, yeah, I was perusing my bulletins then spent MORE than a full hour viewing silly cat images.

Mike, I ban myself from your page!

(I'm not even gonna touch NF's with a ten foot pole. I ban myself for 24 hours, at the very least!)

K, what else? Ho hum... I've got 24 on in the background. My darling husband (read: ball & chain, haha, jk, hun... Or am I? *dun dun dun*), gaffed a portion of the show, and, like, omg, it's, like, totally, the Season Finale, how freaken cool is that? <-- See, that's me geeking out right there. Not too pretty, huh?

(In case you're wondering, ALL the scenes in the CTU are the ones he gaffed (e.g. close-ups of Chloe). Furthermore, in case you're wondering, a gaffer is the chief lighting technician, or CLT.)

So, back to, ahem, me.

I should really ban myself from MySpace for like 5 days. My friend did that, not really by choice, but I'm damn proud of him! MySpace is so darn addictive especially if you are an impatient writer craving to be read...


Patience. One of my final tests I've yet to conquer! Use the Force, Luke.

Oh, hey, speaking of patience....

Have you ever been to a movie premiere and NOT been on the list? Hello, wait from hell, how are ya!

See, a little while back a friend of mine invited me to a screening of Number 23. I went not so much for the film, as for the filmmaker, Joel Schumacher.

I heart Joel Schumacher. Seriously. The Lost Boys, man, I watched that one movie over and over again so many times I wore out at least 3 VHS tapes. (They always had 3 movies: The Lost Boys, The Princess Bride, and Stand By Me. I can quote any of them on cue.)

(Me & Keifer, 24 Wrap Party Season 2, I think)

So, yeah, we had to wait FORever to get into the theatre. Then once inside, we had *no* access to food or drink. Um, hello? Hi, we're human, too. K? Just makin' sure y'all out there in Hollywoodland remember where you came from, ok? Great. Now, fans of filmmakers either a.) become filmmakers and/or 2.) go see every darn movie that filmmaker makes so make sure you feed your fans, ok? Ok.

Now, what was I talking about? Oh, yeah... Mr. Schumacher (not that I blame him for no food! I'm certain he had a lot of other things on his mind, lol), he is so freaken cool. He gave a speech before the film and I was cracking up. Afterwards I was able to circumvent the fan wall and speak to him. (I caught his eye as we were each leaving and sort of waved to him... As he walked towards me I called out, "It was lovely!" Or some such nonsense, when I meant to say  I loved it, haha... It was "lovely" -- Number 23? Right, Mel, *pats own head*) He was wicked polite and we had a nice little chat. I wished I had thanked him for The Lost Boys, but maybe it was better I didn't... I dunno... Regardless, it was a damn cool experience!

Well, gotta run... Heroes is on. Stay tuned for a clip from one of my scripts (maybe, lol) oh, and, of course, airplane etiquette.

PS: For those partaking in the Nathan/Superhero discussion, what about this? I know it's not superhero, but still... I think Fillion would totally fit in a Harry Potter movie. Yay? Nay?

PPS: Of course I am still pushing hardcore for a Kevin Smith/Nathan Fillion project. That would be sweet.

May 17, 2007

Being a "fan," U2, Hollywood, Top 10 lists, & Kevin Smith

Being a fan is a strange thing, especially when you work within the industry.

I have A LOT of experience being a fan.

(Bono & Me, Boston, MA 1992)

In 1985, I discovered a band called U2 on MTV. In 1992, I found myself introduced to Bono in Boston, MA by a mutual friend. I had just turned 18 years old. Prior to meeting Bono, celebrities, rock stars, actors, they were all just images on TV, posters, magazine covers, and the big screen; not real people. Bono changed all that for me. However, he also inadvertently created a shiny new hardcore fan. I have seen U2 live and met the entire band, especially Bono, so many times now I have lost count. I know what it means to be a fan, and through Bono's eyes, I have seen what it is to be a celebrity.

Being a fan is a hell of a lot easier!

However, I do not take the easier road.

One major thing I learned from Bono is that while it is ok to follow, there will come a time you must lead. Dreams are only dreams until realized.

Years later, upon moving to Los Angeles to realize my own dreams, I met with a wall of resistance. This town will eat you up and spit you out faster than you can blink, if you let it.

Along the way I have met many folks who either have wanted to or did work in film but got out before (and sometimes after) success because they could not handle the lifestyle. From the outside in, this life looks so glamorous, but it is not. It is hard work and takes years of knocking on doors and more rejection than anyone should ever endure in one lifetime. So why do people like me stay in it? Why do I keep on keeping despite it all? Yeah, so, I like the pretty dresses, big award shows, and fancy parties, but what I really like is meeting and working with like-minded souls who want to enlighten, inspire, and entertain via film. I want to make a difference, create worlds, Move Mountains and dream so loud the whole world hears me!

(Me & Dave --wearing a shirt I designed, Glendale, AZ 2005)

Not everyone who works in movies is a fan of movies.  Many folk on set do not want to talk about being on set when they are at home or at a shindig. Most folks want to talk about their lives outside of work. See, my husband and me, our work is our life! We eat, breathe, and sleep movies. He creates light, I tell stories. We speak movie. "What's your 20?" "10-100." "Copy that." "Surf Nicaragua." "The dude abides." "May the Force be with you." "Death by Stereo." "Aloha, Mr. Hand." "Wyatt, your kitchen is blue."

I seem to have drifted slightly off point… When it comes to music, I am a full-blown fan. I need a constant musical score. My iPod is my soundtrack (and when I am on my computer, LastFM is). When it comes to movies, I am a fan, but I am also a screenwriter. See, therein lies the rub… In order to work within the industry, you need to maintain a certain level of distance from that whole media-celebrity-fame thing because it is not real.  Most times the concept of "fan" is directly linked to existing on the "other side" of some imaginary line between an "us" and "them," as if one group is somehow better or something. Perhaps the distance creates protection from the crazies… I do not know… Nevertheless, it can be awful awkward when you find yourself in the backseat of a car chatting with A.C. Lyles drooling over the Iambic Pentameter in Deadwood and asking when there will be more. (I tried so hard to be cool, but in the end I "geeked" out. Is that ok? Some seem to say no, but others tend to think that I should just be myself – my crazy over excited eager puppy self. Hmmm… I just do not know. I am not a Jedi Master…Yet.)

(Me in nouveau 3D glasses -- the ultimate geek girl accessory!)

Wax on, wax off. Waxing philosophical… One journey has ended, another just begun, and all I can think is, girls just wanna have fun! (They just wanna, they just wanna!)

Speaking of fun… I was thinking about my Top Ten all time favorite films (because my Mum and I are List Maniacs) and she sent me hers, but I have yet to send mine… I am having a terrible time narrowing it down!

See, what I do is I compartmentalize movies in my head. For some inane reason I cannot just list out 10 flicks and say that is that. It is like, ok, one of my all time favorite movies is Star Wars, but another one is The Lost Boys – two vastly different films! I love La Dolce Vita and Casablanca, but I cannot watch them as often as The Princess Bride or Serenity. There are just so many movies out there that I love on so many different levels. Space Balls. Ice Pirates. Labyrinth. Time Bandits. Twelve Monkeys. Brazil. The Matrix. Blade Runner. Total Recall. Taxi Driver. Fanny & Alexander. Jaws. Close Encounters. ET. Stand By Me. Pulp Fiction. SLiTHER, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Pump Up the Volume. River's Edge. Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. Ferris Bueller's Day Off. This is Spinal Tap. LOTR. Vampires – ANYTHING with vampires. The Breakfast Club. Heathers. Dogma.

Oh! Here is a perfect example of The Adventures of Fan Girl in Hollywood: Kevin Smith, writer, director, actor, god. He made Dogma, one of my ALL TIME favorite movies EVER. Jeremy, my husband, first worked on Chasing Amy. Later he gaffed Clerks 2. As a result, I was invited to the Clerks 2 kick-off party at Kevin's house (no, I will not tell you where it is, so don't bother asking).

Begin Flashback:

So, ok, picture this, you are in your 20's working at a video store whilst majoring in Film, dreaming being a big Hollywood something-or-other, and feeling a million miles away from it when a big cardboard box of Clerks videos lands on your desk for inventory. You open it up and there is a gift: a Clerks Hockey Jersey. Sweet! (Yes, I still have it, in case you are wondering… Along with all my other swag… I love movie paraphernalia… Clerks 2 hoodie, 24 coat, fleece, cap, hat, etc., Baseball Diaries tank, Undressed hat & scarf, and so on...) So, the gift catches your eye, as does the cover, black and white, video store clerk… Clerks… I could relate BIG TIME. I was Randal. Then I thought, "But wait… Who is this Kevin Smith guy anyway? If he can do it…" I think you see where I am going with this little flashback...

So, fast-forward to the party and little ole me climbing out of my Geo to go inside the awesome big house of one of my film heroes… I geeked out hardcore, but kept my cool (until I got drunk on Margarita's – Mr. Johnson, sir, I still need that footage!)… That night I met Gail, Kevin's Mother-in-Law and spent most of the evening just chatting with her… Before we left, she showed me her office, asked if I had any of Kevin's films on DVD, and when I told her, "No, VHS," she proceeded to hand me a stack of signed DVDs! I kept saying, "Oh, no, no, that's ok," and she kept handing me another... It  was too funny! A fan would go bonkers in Gail's closet alone! (Gail rocks!)

Fast forward some more and you'll find me in the front row of the Hollywood premiere of Clerks 2. As I sat there listening to Kevin give an opening speech, watching the cast & crew (friends of mine, no less!) support him, all I could think was, "Holy shit. Exactly 10 years ago I was unpacking tapes of Clerks to rent to customers in Massachusetts and now look where I am! Huh? How'd I get here!?!"

It was a truly awesome moment. I love this town...

Well, I've been up all night (again)... Think I'll go read Choke and then maybe get coffee in Larchmont later or something...

Next on The Adventures of fan Girl in Hollywood: meeting Joel Schumacher and how The Lost Boys is the penultimate movie.

May 14, 2007

Popping Nathan's Talk Show cherry, Bingo Wings, & the Curious George basement

So, I hadn't been able to blog about my es muy interesante experience last week on Thursday until now... (Why is unimportant, so let's just skip to the fun stuff...)

See, last Thursday was a very special day... It was May 10th, Bono's birthday. I like to do special things on his birthday. (I'm a dork. I know. Shut up.)

This year my special thing was attending a taping of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, but I wasn't going for him. Nor was I going for Roseanne Barr or Miranda what's-her-name country singer girl about the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (though that song does rock). Nah, I was going to see my latest celebrity crush... Nope, not a Rock Star... an actor... Nathan Fillion to be exact.

K, I full on blame my husband for this one. His cousin Wade lent us Firefly. Jeremy watched it, then bought Serenity then forced me to watch them all back 2 back. I instantly fell in love with Mal because I felt like, I dunno, like, holy crap, look, it's Han-fucking-Solo with his own crew doing his own thing, man, the correlations are far and wide (more so than I probably even realize!), but most of all just him, Mal, the Captain. Oh, Captain, my Captain! He instilled a sense of safety, security in me. I'd follow him into Serenity Valley! (Wow. I am a major geek!!!)

Sooo, yeah, I have these little fantasies of writing that wicked awesome script and, y'know, having my agent call his agent and if he liked it, and I had the power, casting him as my lead. That would be a dream come true! (If so, I'd definitely want to direct, too. Phew! I dream freaken big!)

So, yeah, because he sort of inspires me and all and since Jeremy got me hooked, I had to drag him to that taping....

It was a very bizarre experience. The only other talk show I've been to is the Jay Leno show ages ago, but that's so big it runs like a regular live show. Not Mr. Ferguson's Show... No... That's more like being a Seatfiller than an Audience member. You are, more or less, told when to clap and so on. It's like an unpaid extra gig but you don't even get to be on camera. (Heck, way back when, I at least had a feature moment on one of my "seatfiller" gigs on the Dick Clark New Year's Bash. That was killer. Pink & Bush played. It was like having a private party with these rockin' bands playing just for you and 50 of your closest strangers.)

K, back to Nathan... The audience was obviously inundated with Browncoats. We scared the bayjesus out of poor Craig who seemed to not know quite what to make of us aside from the fact that we were totally bonkers over Nathan Beatlemania-style. That was wicked. What a rush that's gotta be, to be merely a nearly famous actor (currently unemployed, I might add) and get the loudest damn applause The Craig Ferguson show had that night. Genuine laughter & applause, I might add! (All you browncoats in attendance will get my meaning, I think.)

So, yeah, I had a great view... At one point I felt like I caught  his eye so I chucked him the peace sign and then the British bird and he did like a weird look with a nod and sorta waved his hand a bit, like, yeah, yeah, I get it. (I made my husband go over the tape with me like 5 times to make sure I wasn't just hallucinating, lol.)

I didn't really realize until later that I had accidentally attended his first Talk Show appearance, so, in retrospect, that is wicked cool.

Before, during, and after The Show, this Chucky B dude warmed up the crowd and instructed us on what to do when and such. At one point he mentioned Craig would be doing a book signing at Barnes & Noble later that night and at another point he gave stuff out to audience members who did what he asked them to do, like sing a Britney Spears song, or Beatles tune, or recite Shakespeare. Yeah, that last one went to my husband... At first he seemed like he was gonna choke, but thing is, my boy's a genius yo, so not only did he recite some Shakespeare, but he recited the Bard's Scottish play in honor of Mr. Ferguson.

I don't think ANYONE got that. Oh well... Us geniuses live lonely lives... (teehee)

So, yeah, as I type this I am wearing a lovely men's size large t-shirt with the show's logo. Wicked sweet. (I tried to give it away, but my friend wouldn't let me.)

After that, we went to a sushi joint where I pretty much ate nothing and watched Jeremy eat dead, raw fish. Fun.

Next we headed over to Barnes & Noble to see if the signing was still going on... We missed the reading, but we were the second to last people to get a book signed. That was cool. I felt shy, but once Jeremy got talking with him, I was able to open up and compliment him on his Bingo Arms bit. (I don't know why, but that bit just slayed me!)

Anyhoo, here's that:

As we were leaving The Grove, Jeremy got a phone call that he could pick up his check, so we headed over to Universal to catch up with the production who were shooting in the Curious George basement... Weird, but whatever...

As we were waiting around, I was like totally zoning out. I've been on so many sets I just do that, zone, usually on crafty. (Like, mm, I wonder if they have Hershey's Minis and if so, do they have any Mr. Goodbars left? That sort of thing.) So, I'm zoning out, some dudes exit the set, walk right past, look right at me, and I completely miss it cause I'm, what? Zoning out, right. So, who'd I miss staring right at me? Tom fucking Sizemore, that's who. Oh well...

Thing is, I haven't even gotten to the kicker of the evening, yet!

That very night, at that very moment, one James Gunn was winning an award and doing interviews with one Nathan Fillion, whom I had just seen on the Late Late Show,  right over my head on the Universal Lot. So, this dude, Tod or Tom or something, yeah, he does some kind of effects... Well, he worked on SLiTHER and he was working on this gig (Stiletto) that both Jeremy & Mr. Sizemore were on, so all Tod/Tom/whoever had to do was walk upstairs!

How's that for coincidence?

A day like last Thursday is why I call this place Hollyweird.