7.29.2005

i am the biggest work nerd

Today we had a meeting for work and gee whiz I was specially recognized by the boss for being a big work nerd, covering people's shifts and whatnot (she must have conveniently forgotten the three months I took off last year to shoot TA91 which inconvenienced everybody else on the team) and I got a nice gift certificate for Best Buy which I should probably use to buy something boring like blank media but will most likely end up putting towards 2 or 3 overpriced DVDs.

So that was pleasing, and gives me yet another excuse to wax sentimental about my co-workers. I really like the lot of them. Because of the particular nature of our job, in which the two major skills are a) watching over tons of money that does not belong to us and b) accomodating very nasty customers, we're all good at a few basic things that it seems precious few people in LA can do At All. Maybe it's because the other people I know in LA are disproportionately actors, artists, and wannabe film people, but i find it a rare pleasure to be with people who are all responsible, incredibly trustworthy, and have basic social skills. For example, we have a habit of always checking in with each other about trivial stuff like directions and starting times and parking....stuff that, in the film world, is reserved for that one unglamorous job category of production coordinators/managers, because it is naturally assumed that only one person on set can be expected to care what time it is or where we are. Actors and directors are too cool for that stuff, and are considered cooler based on how late/lost/clueless they are about real world logistics.
...Also, because we work with the most overreactive, infantile people on earth, we are good at identifying and defusing potential dramas and creating/imposing a kickback atmosphere. This is the exact opposite of what most people in LA are good at, which is creating drama out of nothing and throwing star tantrums every time the sky turns blue. Rather than trying all the time to be The Most Interesting Person You Will Ever Meet, we work hard to be pleasant and not give anyone an excuse to start screaming.
...Did I mention? SO Trustworthy. Because of the money thing. I may vote differently from some of my co-workers, but I would trust pretty much all of them with the keys to my house, PIN number, and mother's maiden name. Because they just don't dick around and they always pay you back.
...These are small things, to be sure, but precious. And I must again emphasize, things which are the opposite of the most common personality traits of the average Los Angeles citizen, for whom day-to-day organization is a service provided by a paid lackey, co-workers are the people whom you have to beat out for the next job/gig/big audition, flakiness is a career move, and trust is something you never ever show, unless you want to end up robbed, raped, and denied residuals from your new identity as an unpaid Internet porn star.

7.25.2005

guerilla filmmaking satisfaction

I took a frickin awesome shot of one of my friends the other day. It's nice for me cos I know nothing about lighting or cinematography so whenever I manage a good shot it's like a happy accident that nothing is mis-exposed, horribly out of focus, or just plain indiscernable. But this shot was great. Natural twilight through the window, falling on half her very expressive face, the other half in total shadow. Ornamental window objects blessedly sort of out of focus in the background. Balanced kind of blue. A real movie-type shot. I quickly dislocated a shoulder patting myself on the back and went on to get some crappy footage of blurs and parts of people's feet and things.

7.23.2005

i need a place in LA that is open after 2 AM

The problem with getting off work at 2 AM is that there's nothing to do after work except go home and putz around. I've become nocturnal to the point where I usually don't go to sleep til 5 or 6 AM, just as the rest of the world is coming awake. In those hours of putzing around before dawn/bedtime, you can't get any business done, there are few people you can call on the phone, all the parties are over, and very few restaurants are open. So one is basically limited to the insular homebound pursuits e.g. websurfing, solitary drinking, and blogging. It allows for plenty of introspection, but the tradeoff is that I'm asleep or confined at work during the part of the day when most of the world is getting its shiznit done. It's like being on vacation from the ratrace all the time, and yet no one else has chosen to go to your vacation spot.
....All this would be alleviated if there were a couple reliable, non-drug-infested establishments in the LA area (not including casinos) where I could go and be around people still prowling around in the wee hours. Ideally a place where I could get a relaxing after-work drink, although I guess California law makes that one tricky.

7.20.2005

Bwahhahahahaha

I added a sound design element to the movie today that is one of the best ideas I've ever had.
No, really, sometimes my ideas suck, but this I'm really proud of. It add something that is so sexy, so wrong, so pretentious and so uniquely appropriate to the moment, that I can't help but feel proud.
The sound design in general is coming together. It really sounds like a movie now.
....To paraphrase Torrance in "Bring It On:"
Awesome! Oh Wow!
Like totally freak me out!
I mean right on!
Target Audience Nine Point One!

7.18.2005

guidelines for talking about dreams

A) Don't talk about dreams that you only remember abstractly, like where you were in a dark place and had a funny feeling about something....this is kinda dull because everyone has dreams like that, that they don't remember very well. No one wants to hear about that unless they are a professional being paid to listen to you.

B) Don't talk about the dreams where you're in your underwear at school or you're falling and you wake up right before you hit the ground....again, everyone has dreams like that.

C) Don't analyze your own dreams for sexual content....everything can have sexual content.

D) Don't talk about dreams where something really weird and surreal happened, unless it's somehow specifically relevant to the person you're talking to. IT DIDN'T REALLY HAPPEN. So big whoop.

E) Do talk about dreams that involve specific people known by the person you're telling the dream to, doing something funny or uncharacteristic....your subconscious thoughts about the people in your life can be interesting to others, because it's like getting to peek at your id.

F) Do talk about your erotic dreams involving specific people...again, the details of your id might be interesting to others. Unless the specific person is Monica Bellucci or Brad Pitt or someone typical like that, in which case who cares.

G) Do talk about your nightmares out loud, not necessarily to make conversation, but because the process of letting the scary thoughts out into the conscious world will lessen the chance that your subconscious dredge them up as future bad dreaming.

H) Don't talk about the dreams where God spoke to you, or there was a brave new world where no one suffered, or where you had relations with a family member (exception to F, above). These are all kind of creepy.

I) Do talk about dreams where something bad happens to someone you know; some would disagree with this, because I believe there are some superstitions that say if you dream someone's gonna die, they're really gonna die. But I think it's a good conversation piece because maybe talking about it will ward off the chance of it happening. Plus whenever a friend is hurt in a dream and I wake up to reality and they're fine, there's a sense of relief and refreshed love and appreciation for that person, and I think telling them about it is a sort of small way of saying that you care.

7.16.2005

nothing makes me feel older than...

....this fancy Sony Ericsson cell phone I just bought off craigslist to replace my old crappy Motorola one. It has many features and no manual. It has features that make me, an aging, stodgy, narrowminded human go, "harumph! what could that ever be good for?"
....if I was a 15-year old kid, I would already have this phone loaded with a pile of mp3s, taken a zillion pictures, pumped them into my laptop for photoshopping and then back into the phone to be assigned as wallpaper to each individual addressbook entry, downloaded an obscure Thai exercise video for the media player, composed a song, and of course, have about a thousand ringtones. And I would have finished all that within 12 hours of purchase, just in time to be already bored with the new gadget today and anxiously awaiting the new improved model with the tracball.
...I do not even know how to get a new ringtone into my phone. So I am behind schedule.
...I don't know Bluetooth. I don't know syncing. I don't know if these things work with Macs. I don't know where to look these things up. I have never in my life successfully picture messaged anybody. I don't even have these features enabled on my cellular plan. Whoa. I just said "cellular."
....I am old.

7.15.2005

free press!

TA91 was mentioned in, of all things, the New York Times yesterday. It may be unreadable if you don't have an online subscription, but it's in there. What it says is:

Is it worth spending thousands of dollars to retrieve files? It was for William Storkson, a motion picture sound designer in Novato who lost four reels of work on the independent film "Target Audience 9.1" when an external drive connected to his Apple Power Mac G5 malfunctioned. He had bought the drive as a backup three months earlier, when his Mac's two-year-old external drive started to falter. That drive was by this time dead.

"To rebuild the data from scratch would have taken me one to two months of 40-hour weeks," he said.

....it's hilarious because of all the minor disasters that have happened in this process, this is the one that got media coverage. Never mind that the Department of Homeland Security still owes me $800 for BREAKING INTO OUR FRICKIN GRIP TRUCK BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT WE WERE TERRORISTS. (See my earlier entry.)
...of course I'm extremely glad that all these pitfalls were overcome in the end. But if I'm going to read about my movie in the nation's newspaper, and I know that the major drama of our shoot was a story involving unhjustified property damage, imagined bomb threats and the majority of the Van Nuys police force, it's a little underwhelming to read about some company reanimating a bunch of bits in a malfunctioning metal box.

7.12.2005

War of the Worlds (A Summer Mega-Event Film By Me)

EXT. NEW JERSEY

An alien spacecraft arrives and annihilates all of Tom Cruise's homies.

CUT TO:

Tom Cruise indulging Dakota Fanning's request to pee.

DAKOTA FANNING: Daddy! The aliens are coming to kill us! Should I stand here and scream?

TOM CRUISE: The important thing in the middle of this genocide is that you and I discover what it means to be a family.

An alien spacecraft arrives and vaporizes some more of Tom Cruise's non-relatives.

DAKOTA FANNING: Daddy! The spacecraft is coming for me! Should I stand here and scream?

TOM CRUISE: All that matters is blood. The rest are just strangers.

An alien spacecraft arrives, impales some random person who is not a legal dependant of the Cruise household, and starts sucking his blood.

ALIENS: All that matters is blood! Blood!

TOM CRUISE'S LIVER: Sake! Sake!

TOM CRUISE: Shut up! I need to protect my helpless children so that they can grow up to replace my useless ass.

DAKOTA FANNING: Daddy! The aliens are killing people in exactly the same way people were killed in the Holocaust, 9/11, and the Rwandan massacres! It's almost as if they watch The History Channel for ideas on how to create blockbuster visual entertainment based on tragedy! Should I stand here and scream?

TOM CRUISE: You are the finest actress of your generation.

Fast dolly in toward Dakota Fanning's eyes gawking. Her eyes reveal the innocence of a whole generation of children who stare helplessly at the thing that's going to kill them. This shot repeats 8000 times over the rest of the film. Sometimes mirrors are involved.

TOM CRUISE: I killed an ambulance driver so that my daughter would not feel icky! And my son and wife are alive too! I win the War of the Worlds! I win! I win!

Fast dolly in towards Dakota Fanning's eyes. The camera hits her in the nose.

DAKOTA FANNING: Ow!

The world ends.

FADE TO CREDITS.

7.08.2005

now we are three wee poems

Some people are all dolled up
Some people are solar and radiant
and some people are like being with the moon.
Some are skinny and wise
some are svelte and stupid
some think they're fat and some think they're right.
Most people stress me out
and if not, I soon learn how
even that bloody sun sucks when I'm driving into it.
But I like being with the moon
I like losing and reflecting and
coming up with ways to continue the night.

age aint nothing but a number

Aaliyah said it best, RIP.
....I know that there's nothing intrinsically different about being 30. For legal purposes it's the same as being any age from 21 to 65. Oh except that in 5 years I believe I can run for president. I guess it's the feeling that one should be more responsible for all the things that I avoided taking seriously in my 20's. Like having a 401K, personal health care, etc. I still have no special urge to get hitched or have kids anytime in the near future. I'm still dumb about a lot of things, and the things I used to be precocious at I guess I'm just at an acceptable level now. It would be nice if suddenly people started taking me seriously because I'm no longer this 20something kid mouthing off, but I highly doubt that's gonna happen. Wherefore the perks?
....I think I've accomplished a good number of things for this age. I've almost finished a feature-length movie, started a theater company, co-written some songs that I like, learned and forgot how to play guitar, eaten snake, loved and lost, transitioned successfully from being alive in the time of no Internet to a guy who knows how to use a few different kinds of software, tiled a bathroom, and already have spent more time playing cards than most people will in their entire lives. Most importantly I've met a lot of interesting and precious people at different stages of my life, many of whom showed up at the bbq on Monday. This is lucky. Lots of people don't know anyone on whom they can count to not punch them in the eye, much less say a nice word.
...I guess there are some things I would like to work on in my encroaching geezerhood, if only to make this artificial mantle of "responsibility" worth something. To wit:
- Be more self-sufficient so as to relieve portential burden on my endlessly gracious and generous parents.
- Contribute something towards making the world a better place, as opposed to making my DVD colllection a better place.
- Write fewer run-on sentences.
....Anyhoo. On to the 30's.

7.01.2005

vegas baby

Turning 30 on Monday.
Going to Vegas tonight.
Movie issues pretty much under control.
Yup.