Friday, April 30, 2010

A Vicious Cycle

The weather is getting progressively nicer and warmer, and as much as I love the rise in temperature because it means summer is almost here, I also dread the day when I must wear shorts.

It hasn't really gotten there yet. It's been warm, but not that warm. And part of me wants to keep it that way, because my legs are paaaaaaaaaaale. I'm talking glaring, reflective white. The other day I wore shorts for the first time, and my friend told me that she recognized me from all the way across the oval because of my pale little legs. Not cool.

Of course, this is a vicious cycle. My legs will never tan if I swaddle them in jeans and other synthetic material for the entirety of summer. But as it is, my legs seem to have zero melanin in them, which, according to my pre-med friends, is the thing that makes you tan. So its impossible for me to tan anyway....?

My mom keeps telling me to just channel Nicole Kidman and be proud of it. Perhaps she has a point. But when my arms are blending in with my linen pants, I think we've got a problem.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Big Truck Tacos

Tonight a couple of my friends and I decided to temporarily shirk our responsibilities and head into Oklahoma City for some tacos. Wes has been trying to get us to go to Big Truck Tacos for a while now, and while we didn't necessarily have the time, we went anyway. And it was fantastic.

The tacos were delicious. The ingredients are all fresh, and some of it is kinda crazy. For example, my taco consisted of hickory smoked tongue, avocados, pico, and lettuce. Yup, I ate cow tongue today, and it was soooooo goooooood. No wonder buffalo tongue was a delicacy way back when. Basically, its just really soft, tender meat. Yummy.

And the atmosphere is fun. The place has the feel of a little dive restaurant, an off-the-beaten-track gem. It was packed inside, so we found a table out on the patio and ate there. The air was warm, with a gentle breeze, and the settling dusk gave the evening that enchanting feel that only comes with summer evenings.

So Fantastic

This cartoon was written by Mark Potts and published in our school newspaper, the OU Daily, a couple days ago. Love it!

Took this from a friend's FB page:

"What does the future hold, for any of us? Does where we come from define who we will be? I guess in some way we're all trying to figure out who we want to become. Some people are born into privilege, but privilege is relative, and what we've really been given is a responsibility to give back. Human to Human. We all come from somewhere, but that's not what life's about. Think instead of where you can go."

- "Go" IC
(Side note: I'm not really sure who--or what-- "Go" IC is... any guesses?)

For Future Projects

I'm thinking that if I ever get a hankering to be all film-nerdy and want to put lots of references to other films in my movies, I am going to go back to the end of this music video and copy that guy playing the piano in his whitey tighties.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

For Your Entertainment

Meeting Greg Mortenson

Greg Mortenson, author of the incredible book Three Cups of Tea, came to speak here at the University of Oklahoma about a week ago. The speech, which had originally been scheduled for a Thursday morning in a small auditorium, had moved to two different, larger venues before finally settling on the Lloyd Noble Center (our basketball arena) on a Wednesday evening to accommodate the large number of people that would be in attendance.

My friend Valerie and I got there about an hour early because I really wanted good seats (I'd been looking forward to this event since January). Since we were there so early, we got to sit very close to the front-- close enough to be able to look at the real guy and not have to watch his face on the giant screen behind him.

Overall, the speech was great. My favorite part about Mortenson's event is that he really isn't all that great of a speaker.

In fact, he was rather endearing in the way he bumbled along through his slides. There wasn't really a focus or driving force behind his presentation, and from what I could tell, he was merely taking us through the general outline of his book, highlighting the cool parts of his story. He did have some fascinating facts and quotes inserted in his speech that I hadn't heard before though.

The best part is you can tell that this is a man who found something he was passionate about and went for it. Nothing more. He obviously never intended to become famous, nor does he love the limelight. In fact, I'm pretty sure he says in his book that he really dislikes public speaking. And yet he does this almost every day (he visited over 150 schools in the last year -- one every other day), because he knows that in doing things like this, he is able to fund his work building schools.

I have an immense respect for the man, and while one couldn't say that his speech (the exact words themselves) were particularly enlightening, I left feeling lighter and more full of hope and energy than when I came in. Something about meeting a man following his passion and living his dream is such an inspiration.

On the Bright Side

In the midst of this crazy hectic cycle of papers, packing, exams, T.A. office hours, shopping for internship clothing, moving into my new house, award ceremonies, meeting up again with old friends, and enrolling for classes (still), I am trying to remember that there is light at the end of the darkness-- wait, that's a silly analogy. How about... I'm swimming frantically, not sinking yet, and getting closer to the shore every day. Not much better, but it'll do.

Anyway, I counted today and I have TEN DAYS LEFT until I am flying to France! Crazy! I've never been to Europe before, and I cannot wait! The thoughts of all the fun I am going to have at the Cannes Film Festival are keeping me sane and going during these next two weeks. I just need to survive this last push of schoolwork and responsibilities, and then I am freeeeeeeeeee!

If you will call your troubles experiences, and remember that every experience develops some latent force within you, you will grow vigorous and happy, however adverse your circumstances may seem to be. [John Heywood]

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

FB Creeping

The problem with creeping on random people on Facebook while studying in the crowded, very public library is that you never know who is sitting behind you. And you never know who they know.

Yesterday, I watched this girl (whom I've never seen before) go through a ton of my friend Valerie's profile pictures and then segue from there into my entire photo album of Los Angeles. It was a very surreal experience, watching a stranger scrutinize my pictures.

I'm thinking its time to reset my privacy settings.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Meeting My Niece Isabella

So I forgot to tell you that after my trip to Los Angeles, I went to Las Vegas for a day and got to meet my adorable niece Isabella. We had a grand ole time. I rocked her to sleep constantly, carried her around for at least an hour while she slept (my arms hurt the next day from the exercise), and made her cry more times than I can count.

And when she was awake and in a good mood (which was kinda rare, because she was sick), we laid on our backs and I read to her while she giggled and flailed her arms about. I think she liked the princess book the best. Probably because it had the brightest colors.

We had conversations too. Those mostly consisted of me telling her that if she ever wanted to be an actress someday, I'd hook her up, and Isabella occasionally responding with a gurgle/giggle. More often than not though, I'd get a gurgle/half-burp and then that tiny little face would screw up and out from that pint-sized creature would come the most piercing wail I've ever heard. I'm not sure what to take from that, to be honest. Who wouldn't want to be famous?

Overall, it was a wonderful twenty-four hours spent with my sister and my precious niece. I am in love.

Also, please note that at age .08, she is already a lady. Check out that pinky lift.

How to Spot a Film Nerd - Tip #3

When the teacher slips in the words "storm trooper" instead of "state trooper," we laugh. Out loud.

Favorite Procrastination Method

Okay, I think we have now discovered my favorite method of procrastination-- finding quotes to post up on my blog. I really need to stop this. Its getting out of hand.

Hours at computer: 1
Pages completed on paper: 0
Quotes posted on blog tonight: 3

Time to get back to work. And work faster. Sheesh!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

. . .

"I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul."

- Invictus by William Henley (1849-1902)

. . .

“A film is - or should be - more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what's behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later.”

– Stanley Kubrick

. . .

"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it."
- Hebrews 13:2

Crazy Summer Plans

So I have finally finalized all my summer plans, and I am going to be buuuiiiiiiiiizzzzzzyyyyy!

My plans are:
May 8- 24 - Internship with Cannes International Film Festival (Cannes, France)
May 25-June 16 - Internship with Roserock Productions (Los Angeles, CA)
June 17-August 4 - Job as Operations Coordinator with Teach for America (Philadelphia, PA)


There aren't any days in between (literally) to slow down and take a break, and I hope I wont regret that. I mean, I know I wont regret the decision to squeeze in an LA internship between Frances and Philadelphia. That'll be an incredible experience.

But when things get crazy busy, I can definitely see myself wondering why on earth I didn't choose to spend my summer lounging by the pool. Right now, that sounds like heaven.

Three Philosophy Papers in Four Days

So, as the title suggests, I need to write three philosophy papers in four days. They are of varying lengths, and I need to pick from the list of topics available to me.

There are tons of prompts to choose from, and many of them are really interesting. I really shouldn't be having any issues finding something to talk about, because all the paper topics are fascinating.

A few of my prompts:

1) How much difference should it make if the person who undergoes some kind of direct harm is a consenting adult? Can we draw a line between harm done to consenting adults that is the business of no one other than the participants, and harm done to consenting adults that should be morally censured and perhaps legally forbidden?

2) Does the government have the right to ban incendiary speech when there is clear and present danger?

3) If life and death are two equal parts of the same endless changing progress of nature, as Chuang Tzu claims, do we have any reason to take care of our lives so that we can stay alive as long as possible?

The problem, therefore, lies not in what to write about, but how to write it all. I am going to admit here that I have not done any of the readings for this semester. I repeat-- any. I have been diligent about going to class, and I take copious amounts of notes, but the reading has just slipped by.

I actually regret not doing the reading too. The books are fascinating. We read The Analects of Confucius and Mill's On Liberty, among other interesting things. I would have loved to have the time to read and learn from some of the eastern world's most influential minds.

But when push comes to shove, reading a chapter from the Dhamapada (Buddhism) is going to be more of a hinder than a help. I could spend that time reading a chapter in my accounting or microeconomics books, for example.

So now I'm left with the almost-impossible task (at least it feels that way) of writing three papers on fascinating topics without knowing the material well enough to argue anything intelligently.


Side Note: I made the mistake of going to my T.A. for help on my papers last week. In my defense, I came to the meeting prepared. I had written out numerous outlines for various prompts, and I wanted him to let me know if I was on the right track with my ideas.

But I had forgotten that Thursday was the attractive T.A.'s office hours. So I go in and as luck would have it, none of my outlines are on the right track at all. He tries to be helpful and steer me the right direction by discussing the ideas in the prompts with me.

But of course, I can't think philosophically (or logically) the entire time because every time I look at the kid, I lose my train of thought. Seriously, it was terrible. Normally I would consider myself a fairly clear-headed individual, but I've never failed so miserably in my life to sound articulate and intelligent. Oh well. With my luck, he's probably married anyway.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

. . .

When you arise in the morning, think of

what a precious privilege it is

to be alive, to breathe,

to think, to enjoy,

to love.

[marcus aurelius]

Humans vs. Zombies

There's a giant campus wide game of tag going on right now called Humans vs. Zombies, which I found out about through Facebook. Apparently someone started an event on FB for the game, and it caught on (there are over 500 RSVPs). Basically, all you have to do to play is register your name online and own a bandana.

The game is humans against zombies, and it culminates in a giant dance party at the end of next week-- themed according to who won (so either 1980s humans or zombie costumes).

Anyway, the rules of the game are pretty simple. Everyone who is a human must wear a bandana around their arm or leg to signify that they are playing the game and still alive. Zombies wear bandanas around their neck or head. There is one original zombie who, on Friday (the 26th), started the game by tagging people.

Humans who have been tagged have one hour to turn over into a zombie (by switching the location of their bandana). Zombies run around tagging humans to bring them over to the "dead" side. A human can stun a zombie for fifteen minutes (in order to escape) by hitting said zombie with a sock (hopefully clean). Also, if a zombie doesn't tag a human in 48 hours, it dies.

The humans win when the last zombie "starves" to death. And the zombies win if they kill all the humans.

It's all very elaborate. And kinda entertaining. Apparently this game is being played at numerous universities nation-wide (there was an article about it in the USA Today). I read the rules, but declined playing because (among other considerations, like not being into zombies) I didn't want to have to wear a bandana around my neck for an entire week (since I'm sure I'd get tagged quickly).

To be honest, I didn't really expect that the game would take on. I read the FB invite and declined, figuring that was that. But I guess there are a ton of people registered to play. And even if there aren't a lot of them in number, they sure were making themselves visible on campus.

All day yesterday, as I walked prospective students around campus to their various appointments, kids in bandanas were everywhere. In fact, at one point, I was explaining the game to a student when, as if to illustrate my point, a "human" sprinted past us down the South Oval with a "zombie" close on its heels, complete with face paint and zombie noises. You definitely can't say life in college is boring.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

. . .

"What's money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do."

- Bob Dylan

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Giving Tree Band

Tomorrow, in honor of Earth Day, The Giving Tree Band is selling two of their CDs-- Great Possessions and Untitled Folk Theory-- for an extremely reduced price of $7 (total). And then they are giving 50% of their proceeds to Global Green USA.

Soooooo.... Here's what you do:

Step 1: Click on --->

Step 2: Listen to their music and read all about them.

Step 3: Buy their CDs and support one of the coolest small bands ever.

Serendipity to the Max

So remember how I was telling you I needed ideas for a short documentary? Well I found an idea yesterday and am already done filming my short.

The way the idea/opportunity came about was perfect...

I was forty minutes early to my Marketing class, and already on campus, I decided to get a latte and sit outside on a bench to enjoy the beautiful day. I called Shiloh, one of my good friends who is currently living in Maryland, and we chatted for a while. It had been quite some time since we'd talked, and it was nice to catch up.

I got off the phone with about ten minutes to spare before class started. As I was headed into Price Hall, I heard music coming from the grassy area around the other side of the building. Obviously curious, I walked around and came upon an eight-piece band jamming out on the grass between Price and Wagner. They were fantastic. Their music was a blend of rock and folk music, and the eight of them looked like they were having more fun than should be legal. You could tell instantly that they connected with each other and were passionately in love with playing music.

I was hooked. I sat down on a nearby bench and listened to another song. The time ticked by. I really didn't want to go to class, but I knew I had to, since it was an attendance day.

There was a pause between songs, and the guys approached the scattering of surrounding spectators, encouraging them to come out to the Deli (a local bar) to watch them play that night.

And then it hit me. And before I stopped to think of all the practical reasons why this might not be the best idea, I popped up from the bench and approached them. Immediately encouraged by their smiles and receptive attention, I told them that I was a film major and needed to make a short documentary by the end of the week. I asked them if they would be willing to let me record their show that night and document them.

Instant nods in consent.

I introduced myself to all eight of them, remembered half their names immediately (which is a huge accomplishment for me), and got the phone number of the guy in charge (Todd). Before I ran into class, I miraculously remembered to ask them the name of their band.

"The Giving Tree Band," said Todd. They named it after the Shel Silverstein book by the same name.

I went to my Marketing class in a bit of a euphoria. I had a story!

Of course, by the time class was over at six, my stomach was in knots. I didn't have a camera and I didn't have any crew members. I certainly couldn't do the thing alone, and I really needed at least two cameras to successfully film a live concert. On top of that, I had only three hours to round all this up, because the band started setting up at nine.

The next hour and a half was filled with frantic texts and phone calls to everyone who might possibly have free time, a camera, or both. My friends came through for me. I managed to round up three cameras and one fellow filmmaker to film with me. I also was able to find another person to drive me around to pick up those cameras and then take me to Best Buy to buy miniDV tapes and AA batteries. I have awesome friends.

I then spent another frantic hour or so google-ing the bejeezees out of the band. And I found a ton of interesting things about them. For example, they are an entirely eco-friendly band. They are all vegans, don't smoke or drink, and drive a van fueled by biodiesel. Their last album was recorded in an entirely carbon-neutral building, and they camped out at a local state park nearby during the recording session, biking ten miles in and ten miles out every morning to the "studio" (and ultimately commuting over 500 miles on bike). Very interesting people, by the looks of their website.

So when nine came around, I was ready. Or as ready as I'd ever be. I was so nervous that my hands were shaking. I'd never filmed a live concert before.

It turned out to be a breeze. I haven't seen the results yet (will log and capture my footage tomorrow), but I think it went really well. My friend Wes and I recorded The Giving Tree Band's entire two hour set. During the "intermission," we filmed them outside, chatting about their bus, how many miles they'd logged in the last few months, and that the bars in Oklahoma-- unlike most other states-- still let you smoke inside (and how uncomfortable that was on their lungs).

And forgetting the filming element, their concert was a blast. I absolutely love their music, and they have fantastic stage presence. More than once, I caught myself grinning at their antics. And just watching them up there, you can tell how much they loved what they were doing. These guys are living their dream.

After the show, we stifled yawns as we arranged to meet the next morning at 8:30am for breakfast. Brain spinning and ears throbbing (everything sounded muffled after the loud music), I headed home and stayed up late to compose my list of questions and to try to find an "angle" for the story.

This morning, I woke up waaaaay too early for having been out so late. Of course, I didn't wake up early enough (I have no will power at 6:45am), and once I did manage to drag myself out of bed, a mad frantic dash ensued, as I rushed around my room to make sure I had enough battery power and miniDV tape space for the morning's filming (since I'd apparently forgotten to do that the night before).

My wonderful roommate let me borrow her car for the morning, and I drove to The Earth Cafe, a vegetarian/vegan restaurant on Campus Corner. I wasn't the first one there, and I chatted with one of the guitarists and banjo players while the rest of the band slowly assembled over the next ten minutes.

It was a beautiful morning, and we decided to stay outside to eat and film (there wasn't room for us inside anyway). While I filmed them all one at a time, the rest ate their breakfasts of tofu eggs and soy sausage-- an interesting breakfast. The "sausage" looked normal, but I'm pretty sure they just added a tacky yellow food-coloring to the tofu to try to make it look more like scrambled eggs.

The filming went well, mostly because the guys are awesome. They answered my questions perfectly-- they're articulate and interesting. And as natural entertainers, they were all completely comfortable in front of the camera. In fact, they really love to talk. So while I went in expecting to have to drag answers out of some of them, I instead started wondering how I was going to edit to pare down their answers.

The image looks great (thanks to the spiffy camera I borrowed) and the guys were interesting-- I just hope the audio turns out. We filmed next to a street that ended up being toooooo busy, and I didn't correct that. I should have just uprooted our little operation and found a quieter spot, but I didn't want to go through such an effort, I guess. Now I know I should have followed my instincts. Oh well.

The sound recorder that we used is an expensive, fantastic little device that picks up absolutely everything. In fact, it worked just a little too well. So while it picked up the soft-spoken words of the guys, it also picked up (with annoying clarity) the sound of nearby doors opening and cars passing.

Overall, I think my two biggest challenges will be dealing with the audio (reducing wind noise, etc) and threading together a story that has some sort of conflict in it... because all good documentaries have conflict. As the band is made up of pretty peaceful, all-embracing kinds of guys, I had a hard time dragging from them any kind of frustration about anything.

And even if the audio is worthless and the story is a flop, I don't care in the least. I made friends last night with people who know their passions and are living their dreams. They are funny, generous, and deserve to be ridiculously famous someday. I hope I'll get to meet them again.

Monday, April 19, 2010

. . .

"If you’re susceptible to distraction, reading a screenplay on a laptop

can be like trying to count ceiling tiles at a Victoria’s Secret fashion show."

-Stu Maschwitz

. . .

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you're rotten,
either write things worth reading or do things worth the writing."

- Benjamin Franklin

Funny on Command

I have a short film due in my film editing class in two weeks, and I still don't know what I want to do it on. I know that I want to make a short documentary, both because I've never made one before and because a documentary requires considerable less pre-production planning than a narrative short film.

I don't have any ideas for a topic. All I know is that I would like to do a character sketch, rather than following an actual event (since I'd probably digress into a news story).

The only problem is that I don't have anyone to document.

I'd like to do something funny, because funny student films are always the best. Serious short films are hard to pull off, and are often rather silly. I mean, I'm only a young college student, so thinking I can tackle giant life issues in seven minutes seems a little pretentious.

So going off that, I'd like to make a funny short documentary. That means I'll have to either document a funny situation or funny people. But I guess I don't have enough funny friends...? No one comes to mind as someone whose life is so crazy that it'd translate well onto film.

And the person would preferably need to be a stand-up comedian on the side, because I can't rely on my comedic timing in the editing room to make things funny.

So... they need to have a crazy life and be insanely funny with zero prompting from myself. And through it all, there'd preferably be a story worth telling about their lives or humanity in general (speaking of tackling giant topics).

. . .

"One can feel some respect for people when they suffer. They have a certain dignity. But have you ever looked at them when they're enjoying themselves? That's when you see the truth. Look at those who spend the money they've slaved for - at amusement parks and side shows. Look at those who're rich and have the whole world open to them. Observe what they pick out for enjoyment. Watch them in the smarter speak-easies. That's your mankind in general. I don't want to touch it...Is it an inspiring sight to see a man commit a heroic gesture and then learn that he goes to vaudeville shows for relaxation? Or see a man who's painted a magnificent canvas - and learn that he spends his time sleeping with every slut he meets?"

- Ayn Rand

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Thoughts of L.A. Dance Through My Head

I haven't been able to stop thinking about Los Angeles since I've gotten home. My mind is always there. I'm thinking about my upcoming internship there or what I am going to do after school or where my life will be ten years from now-- all of it ties back to LA.

Today I went to a workshop put on by an OU alumn (Matt Payne) about how to get a job in Hollywood. He handed us a sheet with the five lowest unpaid positions (that we all ultimately start in) and how to network our way up from there into better positions. The sheet had everything from job descriptions, to what to wear on the job, to who to suck up to.

He also had a lot of valuable advice about practical things when moving out to LA. Like don't EVER break any traffic laws, however minor you think they are, because they will cost you a fortune in California (like $450 for running a yellow light and $100 for not moving your car on Tuesday morning when the street cleaner comes by). And scope out the addresses of apartments for sale before signing a lease, or you'll end up in a sketchy neighborhood-- seems intuitive, but apparently happens to a lot of people.

I'm glad I went to the workshop. It was definitely a recap of the things I learned in LA, but the ideas were more flushed out here. And honestly, I could probably go to at least three or four more of those things before I felt that the information was too redundant to bear.

Every time I hear it, I feel inspired. And it's heartening (in a twisted way), because I feel that if I'm getting all pumped up now about working in an environment where people scream and throw cell phones at me, then maybe I am cut out for the business after all.

"Having" a Genius

The first time I found this fantastic video on TED, I watched it at least three times. The woman, Elizabeth Gilbert, intrigued me, and I was fascinated by her way of describing creativity. She interested me so much, in fact, that it was from this video I was inspired to read her book.

And I absolutely love her writing-- "Eat, Pray, Love" is a moving, inspirational, thought-provoking book about what it means to find joy, and I loved every page of it.

Take a moment and watch this video-- especially if you are a creative person in any way.

TED's description of the video:
Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses -- and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person "being" a genius, all of us "have" a genius. It's a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk.

. . .

"The aim of an argument or discussion should not be victory, but progress."
- Joseph Joubert, essayist (1754-1824)

Stole this from a friend...

Two atoms are walking down the street together. The first atom turns and says, "Hey, you just stole an electron from me!"

"Are you sure?" asked the second atom.

The first atom replied, "Yeah, I'm positive!

Friday, April 16, 2010

. . .

"The purpose of life is to live it,
to taste experience to the utmost,
to reach out eagerly and without fear
for newer and richer experience."

--Eleanor Roosevelt

L.A. Trip (Part Three)

On Saturday, we all had most of the day to ourselves. We didn't need to report back to the hotel until 5pm that night (we had dinner plans), which left us with hours and hours of free time to fill to our heart's content.

Half of the group went to Disneyland for the day. They came back exhausted and happy, with Disneyland pins and tons of pictures of the rides and a parade.

The other half of us did some networking. We decided to call up Ken Sherman, a literary agent we'd met on Friday morning (forgot to mention that), and we asked him if he'd like to have brunch with us again. He was more than happy to meet with us. So Wes, Jen, and I made our way to West Hollywood and had brunch with Ken at a cute little French restaurant.

It was fun to hear him talk about his experiences. He had all these great stories about how, after college, he left to go to Europe for six months and came back two years later. He lived in Paris for most of the time, getting paid under the counter for doing everything from odd jobs, cooking in a restaurant, and writing travel guides of Paris in English for PanAm (when they were still around). That was an enjoyable breakfast.

After that, we took an hour-long bus ride aaaaaaall the way over to Venice. Venice is by the coast, and the first thing we did was head to the Pacific (my first time seeing the Pacific in the states). We walked down to this huge pier, where there was a theme park and all this crazy stuff. I took lots of pictures.

Then we headed to the 3rd Street Promenade, which is an entire city street blocked off to vehicle traffic for a good three or four blocks. In the promenade were fountains, bushes trimmed to look like dinosaurs (that were sometimes also fountains), and plenty of street artists and musicians to entertain the throngs of people milling about.

We met Cory (the guy from Roserock Productions) again for coffee, and this was probably the BEST part of the entire trip. All the rest of the trip was just a ton of fun, but this part of the trip was the most helpful and informational.

Because Cory is our age, he really knows what the job market is like right now in Hollywood. He told us that anyone more than a decade or so older than us really doesn't know what it takes to get into the film industry anymore, because the industry is always changing. So while they mean well, taking two years off to travel the world (Ken's advice) isn't really practical-- at all-- when it comes to getting a job in L.A.

I'm so glad I got that advice now (even if taken with a grain of salt), before taking two years off to teach and then two years to go to graduate school before heading out to Hollywood.

It makes sense that taking time off before going to L.A. isn't practical or advisable. The interns that come fresh out of college and go to Hollywood are all going to be roughly in the same age group. All the interns make friends with the other interns, sharing stories and leaning on each other for help. And so they are going to work their way up together, helping each other along the way (with getting jobs especially).

So if you start way later than the others, you are going to be too old and you wont make friends as easily, get invited out as often, etc. And sadly enough, because the film industry is all about who you know, that might be enough to squash your hopes of working in Hollywood.

Basically, after Cory told us all this, we were stunned. This and all the other stuff we had learned that weekend was enough to almost overwhelm us. Later, Wes likened it to feeling like he's just been punched in the stomach. Personally, I was on an adrenaline rush right after that. I couldn't wait to get started and barrel straight into this hugely intimidating, extremely rewarding industry. Of course, I also felt that sinking sensation when the adrenaline wore off and the colder reality sunk in of being a slave to my work for the next decade (and the lifestyle that accompanies that choice). So many decisions to make!

... to be continued...

Grand Tetons

I guess I miss the mountains, because these pictures take my breath away. I need to visit the Grand Tetons someday. Preferably someday soon.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

L.A. Trip (Part Two)

After Paramount, we headed back to the hotel to freshen up. Then we all piled back into the van and were chauffeured out to Santa Monica by our awesome film professor/tour guide for the weekend, Dr. Horton. We were meeting some of Horton's old friends for a pizza dinner.

At the pizza party were a documentary filmmaker, a screenwriter, a man who works on the Simpsons (putting together their extra things, like books, etc, to sell), and the most adorable old couple in the entire world.

Harriet and Sam (the adorable old couple) are both 89 years old and have been married for over 65 years. They told us the story of how they met, and I literally teared up a little, it was so sweet.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Harriet lived in L.A. at the time and drove up to San Francisco for the weekend to visit a friend. On Saturday, the friend was at some sort of conference, and Harriet went to join her. She was going to go out on a lunch date that day with a sailor that she kinda knew, and they agreed to meet at the conference. While at the conference, Harriet's friend introduced her to Sam. They immediately were attracted to each other and started in an earnest conversation. They were enjoying each other's company so much that when the sailor came to pick up Harriet, she invited Sam to come with them. So two became three.

The way Harriet tells it, lunch was brief and a little awkward. As soon as the checks came, they went "dutch" and the sailor left as soon as possible. Sam stuck around. They spent the entire rest of the day together. In the evening, he walked Harriet to her friend's home where she was staying and then took three different street cars to get back to his home.

The next morning, a Sunday, Sam again took three different street cars to pick Harriet up from her friend's home. Harriet kept stressing the three-street-car part... I guess it took a lot of effort back then to travel across town, and she was flattered. They spent the entire day together again, walking San Francisco's downtown area, riding the trolley, and enjoying each other's company.

That evening Sam proposed. And she said yes.

That all happened in July. They married in November. So basically, they dated for two days, their courtship lasted four months, and they've now been married for over sixty-five years.

They are the sweetest couple you will ever meet. And still so in love. They hold each other's hands, and Sam kissed the top of Harriet's head once when he stood behind her chair.

. . . . . . . . . . . .

Overall, it was a really nice evening spent with really nice people. When I got back to live in Los Angeles, I am going to visit Harriet and Sam on a regular basis. They are wonderful.

After the pizza party, we all went back to the hotel, and after a short break, we (the younger set) decided to sample the L.A. night life. On the recommendation of the guy who showed us around Paramount, we went to this little dive bar on Sunset Blvd. Don't remember what it was called, but it was great.

It had a very intimate feel, being narrow and dimly lit, and the drinks were all written up on a chalk board on one wall (a kinda common thing to do in LA, I guess?). This is the place where we had our two celebrity sightings (and another one the next night when we went again... I just can't remember that girl's name). It makes sense too, since the place is very quiet and definitely off the beaten path.

But, even with the swanky atmosphere and high-class patrons, my favorite part of that bar was the bar-back. A bar-back is a guy who keeps the bar stocked with alcohol, ice and lemon wedges for the bartender throughout the night. He's usually the guy carrying the giant ice bucket and chewing on a black straw, towels dangling out both sides of his pants.

Anyway, this particular bar-back was one of the nicest guys ever. When we first got there, we must have looked pretty uncomfortable. I definitely felt like we had the words "Oklahoma" stamped across our foreheads.

But Trevor, as if sensing our pain, came over right away and started chatting with us. Almost like I expected, he's out in L.A., working to be an actor. His name is Trevor Trout, after all. A pretty distinct screen name. And he has already been in a few things too.

For example, he's in the music video, "Hillbilly Deluxe," by Brooks and Dunn.

He's the kid with blond hair sitting in the passenger seat of the big red muscle truck at the beginning.

I hope he gets famous someday. I really do. He was nice.

.... to be continued ....

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Where I want to be right now...

... instead of studying for my Marketing exam.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

. . .

"Whoever said 'nothings impossible' never tried to nail jell-o to a tree." -Unknown

Star Sightings

What would a trip to Los Angeles be without a couple star sightings?

I got a picture with...

...Jake McDorman, a.k.a Evan from the television show GRΣΣK.

To be honest, I had no idea who that Jake guy was. Jen, the blond on the left, is a huge fan of GREEK and recognized him immediately. But she refused to approach him, since she didn't want to be one of "those girls." We could tell that she really, really wanted to though.

So, when Jake stepped out for a cigarette, our friend Wes went outside and approached him, telling him that his friend inside was really shy but really wanted a picture with him. Being a B-list actor and still open to that kind of thing, he agreed. Jen was ecstatic afterward. I still had no idea who I'd just met (and had to go home and google the kid to find out who he was).


I saw (but didn't approach)...

... Mindy Kaling, a.k.a. Kelly Kapoor from the hit television show The Office.

She didn't look half this glamorous, of course. She was tucked into the back of a booth, surrounded by comedians and writers, out for a laid back evening with friends. She actually looked very down-to-earth... the kind of girl you could be friends with easily. No excessive makeup or trendy clothes.

We definitely didn't feel like we could approach her though. At one point, we sorta got up to kinda make our way over (we were very indecisive), and, almost as if they sensed the coming intrusion, the men surrounding her tensed and drew in. It was fascinating to watch, really. I don't know if they even knew they were doing it, but I could tell that they instantly felt the need to protect her. I'm sure if I were friends with someone so famous, I'd do the same thing. In fact, it really didn't bother me at all that we didn't get to talk to her, as I was kinda glad she was able to go out for a night and not be pestered with fans.

Advice I Got from Hollywood

From L. Langs:
- Always know names. Make a list of the people that you strive to be like, so when the opportunity arrises, you'll be able to grab the chance to work with them, etc.

From K. Sherman:
- If you want to produce, make sure you are reading every single book and screenplay possible. Watch as many movies as possible. You have to know what's out there right now.

From C. Lanier:
- People here don't care about your degree. Film school doesn't really matter. They just want to hire someone who is street smart and will work hard. You move up from there.
- You have to get an internship in L.A. People wont hire you for a paying job until they see that you're serious and have put in the time to get to know Hollywood.

From M. Payne:
- Do every job that comes available to you. It doesn't matter if the job is at a talent agency and you want to produce. Get that job and learn everything there is to know about the position. You never know where your next job (or recommendation) is going to come from.

L.A. Trip (Part One)

I just got back from an amazing trip. A long one, too. I was gone so long, I feel like I'm getting back from a second Spring Break.

I flew out of OKC on Thursday morning and finally arrived in L.A. at 5pm (after a roundabout trip that had me connecting in Memphis). We all got to the hotel by 8pm, and exhausted, we went across the street for sushi and to meet with Leslie Langs, a woman who has been the music editor for movies like Titanic and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. She was a really nice woman, and it was interesting to talk to her. Even though she isn't exactly doing what I want to do, she had a lot of good advice. In fact, every person we met with had great advice. I feel overfilled with information and recommendations.

Friday morning we went to Warner Brothers studios to visit with producer Hunt Lowry's assistant. Hunt is from Oklahoma, and his production company (located on the WB lot) is called Roserock Productions (for those who don't know, rose rocks are a rock unique to Oklahoma).
We met with his assistant Patty and his creative executive Cory. Cory was the most helpful person I met the entire weekend. A friend of mine from here at OU, Kelley, interned with him last summer, so she'd called him before the trip and told him to keep a lookout for me and Jen (another one of Kelley's friends).

We got a tour of the entire WB lot, including the backlot. Backlots on major studios are basically mini cities. You'll have an entire street where all the building fronts looks like they come from New York City or Chicago or Italy. There's a suburban neighborhood, a town square, and a courthouse from the fifties.

Part of the back lot...^

We also went into their little museum, where they displayed costumes and props used in the actual filming of some of their major productions. They had costumes from some of their old classics, like Casablanca, as well as from Miss Congeniality, 300, and The Dark Knight.

The entire second floor was dedicated to the Harry Potter franchise. Elizabeth, one of the girls in our group, almost had a heart attack. She's a die-hard HP fan. Oh, and judging from the suit that Humphrey Bogart wore in Casablanca, he is one tiny man.
I sneakily this picture on my phone,
against the rules. No cameras were allowed.

After Warner Brothers, we went to Paramount, the only studio still located in Hollywood proper. All the other studios moved out to Burbank when they wanted to expand, since real estate in Hollywood is rather expensive. So Paramount was older and smaller. It had a more classic feel. It was also a lot quieter. Warner Brothers was bustling with activity (which means that the studio has a lot of projects going on), while Paramount had a much calmer feel to it.

That being said, we did get to sneak partially onto the set of The Last Godfather, a feature being filmed at Paramount. I snapped a few pictures before we were caught and asked to leave.

... to be continued...

Monday, April 12, 2010

. . .

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Thankful For...

Today, in the face of oppressive adversity (namely, an Accounting Exam at 1:30pm), I'd like to take a moment to realize that my life really isn't all that bad, despite the assets and liabilities-induced headache.

Reasons I am lucky today:

1. I fly to Los Angeles tomorrow for my introduction to Hollywood.

2. I meet my beautiful baby niece Isabella on Sunday.

3. My roommate continues to get sick and I haven't caught anything yet (Get better soon, Rooms!).

4. The tulips are bloooooooming on campus in gorgeous reds and yellows.

5. I have a mother who lets me call her at 3:30am to cry about my exam and who speaks true words of wisdom when she tells me to just go to bed.

6. I don't have to scramble around today for a green scantron (like I did before last test... too stressful).

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

How to Spot a Film Nerd - Tip #2

We wear t-shirts that say things like, "The first rule about film club is you do not talk about film club."

. . .

"When you can do the common things of life in an uncommon way, you will
command the attention of the world."

- George Washington Carver

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sunday, April 4, 2010

. . .

"Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends--hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism--these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths."

-- President Barack Obama (Inaugural Address)

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