Thursday, August 17, 2006

Game Night

For the second time since I indirectly feel into the freelance film and television crew, I ventured up to the Valley to joined game night. After three hours of staring at my computer, waiting for words to pour brillantly into HTML formated text, my longest standing friend and most frequent partner in crime came to pick me up at my house. MD recently severed the tie with her boyfriend of almost four years. As I walked to the car, MD was an emotional and hormonal wreck. Not that I blame her, relationships are complicated and it is often harder on the breaker of commmitment than they ever could have anticipated.

We arrived to the party awaiting us with very little spunk on board. Our host S who is best described as a fiesty femme with a passion for baking and entertaining, was waiting in the living room with a handful of the regulars. I was starving so I walk straight to the kitchen without formalities. Game night is always a slow start with that ends with an unexpected gaity. That is as long as no one gets anything on the new sofa, which seems to happen every time we gather there.

I enhaled a burrito, buchetta, and fruit with marshmellow dip as the assignment was handed out. We were to break up into teams and would be set loss on the town. A list of activities was distributed, along with some tools that we may need on the way.

As we walked to the car, neither I nor MD seemed thrilled about this little game, though it wouldn't be long until my competitive nature kicked in. "Stop here" I cry as we travel toward the main road. I climb over some bright pink bushes and up into a tree. "Snap" for 1 point picture of a team memebr up in a tree. This was just the beginning of a zany quest.

Other photo driven tasked included tracing each other with chalk, bowling with exotic fruit in the grocery store parking lot, "chubby bunny" at a bus stop, blowing bubbles with a stranger, and making friends with a homeless person.

It's funny how the not-so-mature adult turns into a little kid when allowed to breakdown societal boundries and given and excuse to just "have fun".

Monday, August 14, 2006

Tragedic loss of a friend

I have no words to explain how losing a person that you know at a young age feels. Nick Papac is the third person to touch my life and to be lost before he had the chance to age gracefully. Not a true friend, but more of a set buddy. Nick worked as the assistant armoror on Next with me. The last time I saw him was just over a month ago, a few days before he left to go to Arizonia. His dad worked on the film with him and the two were a father-son team. It was always funny to see Mr.Papac put Nick in his place, in a serious but loving manner.

Nick was a fun guy who loved life. He had so much energy and passion. Though working on a big budget movie can be stressful, I never once saw him breakdown or complain. Like all of us, he had his moment but over all he was an amazing person to be around and to work with. I am deeply saddened by this loss.

At the end of every movie, you always expect to see everybody on the next one. You know that they will be busy working in the "circus" that is the film industry but some day you will see them again and it will be like you had never been apart. Friendships grow so quickly with people that you spend 70 hours a week with. Your work becomes your life, a life that you can lose so quick.

Cinematial wrote a very respectful article about the accident:

Production on The Kingdom has been delayed until Wednesday due to a tragic accident over the weekend which resulted in the death of assistant propmaster,Nick Papac. According to reports, Papac was driving a motorized cart along a closed section of the Loop 202 Red Mountain Freeway in Mesa, Arizona this past Saturday when he accidentally collided with an SUV carrying the film's director, Peter Berg .

Upon impact, Papac was thrown from the vehicle and suffered serious head injuries; he was pronounced dead after arriving at the local hospital. Filming was suspended yesterday and there appears to be no other injuries. The Kingdom stars Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner and Chris Cooper, among others. Papac has worked on films like Mr. & Mrs. Smith and Miami Vice. He was 25.

Nick Papac, you are in our hearts and you will be missed.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

TDR is alive

After losing our template four days ago and having to rebuild the site from scratch, The Daily Reel is open to the public. I wrote some of the descriptions for the top ten and I found one of the "need to watch" videos on the web. Alex, the managing editor, and Joe, our designer, have been working around the clock so we could go "live" while I have been sketching out our myspace page. The myspace profile and descriptions should be up tommorow afernoon. For dedicated fans that just can't get enough of my scarcastic banter, check out my contribution the the Daily Reel! And add TDR as a friend!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

New city, same small town

Still shaky after nine hours of being strapped to my computer screen, I step out of the elevator and start walking toward the parking garage of my building. Digging through my shoulder bag, I open the swinging glass doors with my hips while trying to find my car keys.

After two days in the office, monotony ensues. The walk to the car is already routine and I didn't even need to look where I was going. Finding my keys, I turn the corner and walk toward the structure elevator. Two guys with empty handtrucks are turning the corner as I look up. Eyes lock. I know this face instantly. My brain screens through faces and names, like encriptions in the Matrix, and locks on a certain identity. I stop and stare directly into his face.

"Seth" I announce and he freezes with amazement. "I thought that was you" he replied. Summer camp at Ithaca College were the first images that ran through my head. I never remove my oversized sunglasses. "What are you doing here? I thought you were in New York" The thought was mutual. After attending a college level media camp together, the summer between our junior and senior years of high school, Seth showed up unexpectedly at NYU. We were both sophmores and we had friend in common. I was sitting on my friends extra long twin-sized bed and Seth walked in carrying a C-stand and camera cases.

I helped him with his silent black and white film by agreeing to act in it. At the time, I was interning at a magazine and he was editing a short film that he wrote and funded. I watch one of his final cuts of the film and really didn't like it. Having no obligation to say otherwise, I told him I disliked it and gave him a laundry list of reasons why. I haven't seen or talked to him since.

Now in the lobby of my building, which also happens to be his building, I bump into ghosts past. My past, rewinds times two. Five years of history tied into present in a single moment. This used to happen to me all the time in New York. I'd find people I knew in the most unexpected places: on the subway, in a deli, or on a crowded street.

New to this LA, the people I meet seems to always bring me back to my New York roots. But some days, this new city makes me feel like I've lived my life in the same small town.

Monday, July 31, 2006

New Media Moguls

I was doing research for the Daily Reel, when I came across this article. Inspirational really. Read about the people have made such and amazing contribution to the online society! And maybe find a few hidden jems the internet has to offer.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

relaxing in LA la land

how to feel like a "B" list celeb for just one day...

Thai Massage
leave your shoes at the door and be ready to take off your skivies. I visited this quaint thai massage place in Glendale this weekend and walked away with a refreshed twinkle in my eye. No there was no happy ending nor was there a beefy man placing his hands ever so gently on my torn muscles. This hidden treasure offers no gimmic or glamor. My masseuse was a sturdy asian woman with painted eyebrows and a permanent smile. She was no more than 4ft 8 but had the vigor to pound the permanent gnarls out of my muscular frame.

Pushing deep into tissues that I didn't know I had, I felt spikes of pain in my calves and in my back as the pain was slowly punched and proded to the surface and then gently brushed away. "Ru tvns," she softly questioned as she pulled my legs high into the air, digging her elbows deep into the tender muscles of my spine. Unsure of what she said, I winced with pain and asked her to repeat. "Very pretty" she giggled to my friend JP who was lying face down in the bed next to me. Despite the language barriers, the light humor helped melt my stress while being tenderized like a slab of steak.

Modest in design and decor, this tranquil thai spa is worth every penny you pay AND a generous tip.

Fine french food
Bring a friend or five to endulge in olives, fresh breads, and moderately priced french cuisine. After a few phone calls, I followed JP to the Farmer's Marketto catch a bite at Monsieur Marcel. The mussels, frites, seasonal quishes, and salads fare best when shared with those you just met or haven't seen in years. A bottle of rose brought a light flush the cheeks while I enjoyed the fuss free atmosphere of this busy bistro. And after a soothing message, I'd recommend that you skip the lines and call ahead then treat yourself to valet.

Party in the Hollywood Hills
Drink top shelf, laugh it up, and find your way home the next morning in a posh mercedes benz. Confession: I some how managed to be separated from my favorite pair of stilettos. Last seen on a caucasian male, average height, stocky build, midtwenties.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

back to the data mines...

Rest assured, I am no longer unemployed. The fine folks at The Daily Reel, a online magazine that writes about on the online short filmmaker, have agreed to take me under their wing as the new editorial assistant. After a year of working on set, I may actually have chance to put my journalism degree to use.

Well maybe not... I have a feeling I am going to be watching alot of short films and replying to emails. But regardless, I have a chance to combine two of the things I am passionate about in life, film and writing. And I will even get paid to do it.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

la job search

Though still content with my lack of employment, I do need money eventually. With this in mind, I have started to job searching process.

First I thought, well maybe I should get a job waitressing or bartending. It's something I have tons of experience doing and it would give me enough time to continue to live the life of the prosperous. I'd still be able to surf, see friends, and keep up on my blog (which in times of production falls to the bottom of my "to do" list along with the rest of my life). My search lasted three days.

Day 1: I spent hours on craigslist sifting through available positions and sending out resumes to anywhere that seemed reasonable. Barista, food runner, server, bartender, I can do it all. Feeling ambitious, I even schlepped myself out into the heat to stop by the Talking Stick, a coffee shop in Santa Monica. When I couldn't find the storefront, this was my first bad sign. After driving past the establishment twice, in either direction, I parked to car when I found a similar address. Walked about a block before I found the dark storefront, a "band" playing in an open cafe. The cafe was no bigger than my living room and the "band" sounded like a middle school garage band. I panicked and drove home.

Day 2: Still more time devoted to Craigslist. Most restaurants want potential employees to come by after lunch and before the dinner crowd, which gave me four solid hours in the morning to read and re-read posts that stuck out to me and to print out more resumes. My first stop, Luna Park, a bar/restaurant on La Brea that was looking for a daytime bartender. Parking out front, I walk into an empty restaurant. I notice a few guys filing out applications at the bar as a man interrupts, "You are looking for me". Slightly frazzled, I replied, "No, well I guess". "If you can to apply, you are looking for me" he continued as he handed me an two-page application and a two-page questionnaire. I fill out the service questions first, basic how to be a amicable, polite, and efficient worker sort of answers. Upon finishing the create your own answer questions, I realized that a) I haven't been behind a bar in years! All of my in-depth knowledge of scotch and mojitos was somewhere buried in the lower right lobe of my brain and I was using the upper right. I couldn't get a single question. Most embarrassing question to which I forgot the answer: What kind of grapes produces Chardonnay? Wait for it... the answer: Chardonnay. It was really that bad.

Having already sat down and waited to meet the manager, I decided to just write a note in the margin promising that I do in fact know all of these answers. Cute, right? Luna Park is now filled with about 20 other applicants and I know I am doomed. I sit down and enthusiastically introduce myself and explain my pathetic questionnaire. The man knows his stuff. When he saw the Monkey Royal, a coffee shop I had worked at in New York, he asked me what avenue it was on. He knew the bar next door. And he also knew the Indian bistro that I had worked at. I gave the manager a firm handshake, confused as to whether or not I made any impression. It seemed promising, but how could I possibly compete with a room full of actor/models who actually answer the questions. "You should hear in about a week and a half," he said as I exited the cafe. A week in a half!! I have never worked a job in the food business that I had not been hired at instantly. That seems like forever in such a fast- paced business. But that is what I heard him telling the applicant before me, so I got back into the car to fight traffic going west to the Beverly Center.

The Grand Lux Cafe was hiring servers and baristas. I walked up to a mildly flamboyant host, preoccupied behind a waist high concierge desk. When I asked if there was a manager available, he told me that the they weren't doing interviews today. Then why was it posted on Craigslist? I smiled and didn't say anything. Instead, I greatfully accepted the restaurant's application form to bring back with me the next day.

Now dinner time, I had no choice but to head on home.

Day 3: I applied to everything I could find on craigslist. I even sent my resume in to Starbucks. After skipping out the now weekly volleyball with my unemployed friends, I was determined to at least make progress. At 1pm I left to go to The Brass Monkey Cafe, only attractive people need apply. I fought traffic for the next hour as I treked the three miles to the area known as Koreatown. Hot, tired, and frustrated. I park my car and walk to the dark ominous door. A sign for the $11 prime rib special was hung on the brick next to the heavy copper door. Am I really that attractive? I go to open the door, then stop. I don't want to fight this traffic every day. This is stupid. There has to be somewhere closer to my house. Or at least not in Koreatown. I got my car, forgeting to prevalidate my ticket, parked again, paid the flat rate of two dollars for 5 minutes and off to The Grand Lux Cafe.

I waited an hour before a manager became available to meet with the 30 something people now crowding the streetside corner of their restaurant. The place was beautiful, in a big commercial chain restaurant sort of way. And beauty comes at a cost, I heard a manager joke that it was 15 million dollars worth. If that was actually the bill, I would want my deposit back. I sat in a booth reading a book as the other applicants sat patinetly waiting. Another 30 minutes passed before I spoke with a manager. He gave me a 150 question multiple choice test. I finish the test 30 minutes later. What next? Before I take it upon myself to leave, I ask one of the employees facilitating the interview process if I should wait. He told me in 20 minutes they should know why they would like to return on Thursday. I pick up my book and breeze through two chapters. I had just about had enough when the second manager who had been conducting interviews came up to me, folder in hand and introduced herself. We moved over to another booth and I answered more questions about struggle and achievement as a food server. "If you don't hear from us in 24 hours, just assume we went in another direction," she said to me as I slung my day bag over my shoulder and shook her hand.

3 hours. I was at the Grand Lux cafe for 3 hours. And the second round of interviews were on Thursday. So if they were going to let me know in 24 hours, does that mean they made a decision. And how long would I have to make mine?

The Grand Conclusion: Time for a new career path. With a BA from NYU, passion, creativity, and experience working with "A list" celebrities, there has to be a better way to end my unemploment in this crazy town.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Surfing without a leash

This morning I dragged myself out of my hot sticky sleep into the stale humid car and arrived at Venice beach before 9am (a nearly impossible feet for the unemployed). There I met my friend BG. A fellow New Yorker, I instantly bonded with her at a music cafe on Cuenga a few weeks ago. She moved to LA (which I refer to as lala land) a month before I did and she lived near my college in the area I liked to shop (SOHO). This girl is amazing and has so many stories to tell. Today I decided that in 5 to ten years, approximately once I have earned success in life of a career, I will through it all away to write a memoir of BG's life. She has already agreed to a 50/50 deal. And now that I have it in writing (my writing of course), I will have to hold her up to her end (i.e. continuing to prosper and have an amazingly interesting life).

I arrived in Venice in a fully caffeinated state and parked my car in the usual spot (I have a friend that lends me his driveway... I usually only take him up on it when he is out of town). I had no idea where I was meeting BG so I started hoofing it in the general direction of where she was staying. A friend of hers is out of town and BG stayed there last night, knowing we were going to hit the waves early in the morning. Ampted up on the pure thrill of battling the big blue, BG and I grabbed her friend's boards (which she had agreed to let us borrow, of course) and made our way across the street to the beach.

The weather was perfect, not too hot with pretty clouds streaking across the sky. The water was warm, warmer than I remember it being all summer. And the tide was coming in and bringing some beautiful 4-foot waves with it. The only problem.. I couldn't strap on the board. BG's friend had lost the leash in Mexico on their last surfing trip and it was a loaner so who was I to complain.

Surfing without a leash is much like going up a creek without a paddle. At first you are optimistic, "It's no big long as you have something to float on things can't be that bad." Then after your first wave pulls the board from under you, it turns into slight annoyance, "How the he%% am I going to get anything done if I spend most my time in the water". And after running back and forth against the tide as picture perfect waves roll in behind you, you realize the absurdity of the situation, "Some one is going to get hurt. This is a bad idea. And I am way to tired to care anymore."

After the third of fourth game of fetch, I swam out to beyond the break point to find BG. She was sitting on her board, feet dangling into the dark water. I parked myself next to her since there was no risk losing the board in these deeper waters. Trying to not look nearly as annoyed as I was feeling, BG and I chatted about beginner board techniques. Mostly, talking about how do you not go flying onto your face when you are cutting into or out of big waves. When this large man with a hairy back and a major case of plumber's pants (or in his case, shorts) parked his board behind mine. Which would have been fine if he didn't place himself in such a way that if a big set of waves came in....he and his board would land directly on top of me. I learned this in my third day of surfing: Never park directly behind any one because some one will get a board to the face. In fact, I had accidentally smacked BG with my board earlier in the week by unintentionally utilizing this illegal formation.

Brash in demeanor, I felt slightly violated by this man. He harped in on our conversation, with our casual surf banter, and tried to inform us with his unequivocal knowledge. Don't get me wrong, I love expert advice. I am very patient with people and I think that listening to others is such an important tool to learning in life. But there was something about this man that didn't sit right with me. (This man would later be referred to as fat man on a little board.)

BG wasn't ready to go and so I paddled to shore to get the keys so I could get my wallet. Then go to the store and get a leash. A big task, but it was worth all the effort. The waves were just that good. Walking to the board shop, which I'm guessing was about a half a mile away, I wondered if I should have left BG by herself. Personally, I think it's always better to surf in pairs or always at least have some one around just in case...

The moment you have that thought, the "She's a big girl. I'm sure she'll be fine" reassurance, is just when the just in case... actually happens.

To Be Continued...

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The not so secret life of the unemployed..

For many, unemployment is a time of panic and uncertainty. Pouring painfully over job websites, sitting impatiently next to the phone, the unemployed are ready to drop everything to attend a spur of the moment interview.

Not this girl. In my case, unemployment is a rollercoaster of self-amusement. I started my epic by watching three straight days of television. My daily routine consisted of falling out of bed a few hours past noon, crawling to the kitchen to make breakfast, which I would eat on the couch. After shoveling nutrients into my famished body, I'd stay on the plush lime green sofa until I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer. At which point, I would move back to my bed. Record, fast-forward, click, and repeat.

At the end of day three, I decided that I had caught up on the three years of television that I had missed while slaving away for school or film production. And found a friend, more like my roommates, and went to a bar. Social drinking is another past time that I have had very little time to indulge in. My first realization: bars just aren't the same without an impermeable cloud of cigarette smoke. My second was that I am not in New York anymore. I have been so busy working since I arrived in LA that I just haven't given much thought to the change of social scene. Case in point: No designer labels or stilettos necessary. Maybe a few places in Hollywood or up in the Hills might require a killer pair of sling backs but at Molly Malones or any other local pub, flip flops are acceptable footwear. And better yet, you barely do any walking in said flip-flops. So unlike the stilettos culture of New York, your feet aren't as hung over as you are the next day. Overall, the night was unexciting. But to the newly unemployed, the lack of excitement only made it better.

Once motived off the couch, I began to run errands, pay bills, and make peace with the ocean. After a few days of playing beach volleyball and surfing, the sun had sprinkled a sufficient amount of happy nutrients into my system and I felt at ease.

It's a ruff life for the unemployed. Meeting new people, actually cooking diner, reading, or going for a nice long run.

My unemployment has been like a vacation. And like any good vacation, I will have a heart attack and fall rapidly into reality when my bank account dries up.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Big Foamy Blue

After two weeks in the water, I met my match with Big Blue.

Balanced on my belly, pulling up my sagging bikini bottoms, I saw it rolling in from behind. The ominous dark blue water slowly lifted out of the ocean and formed a beautifully even curl. It was almost as if an invisible ice cream scooper cut into the ocean to serve it in rations. Some surfers braved the wave while others fell behind and to wait for the next one. I watched in awe as these wet suited-wonders skated across the 6 foot wave. And then it came crashing. I squinted into the sun and waited for the white water the tumble my way. The shear force of the rolling water is enough to drag me and Big Blue to shore. I want to look back, but I would loose my balance. I didn't know when the water would hit. I tried to trust my hearing, a rush of static noise approached. The water was being pulled out from under me as I grasped the sides of my board. Pressing my weight onto the center with my hands, I was floating on a foaming cloud. I stood facing a crowded beach. I owned this wave. It was mine.

A feat I would want to repeat as many times as possible. Suddenly all the Beach Boys songs make sense. Everyday that I am not at the beach, I stop and wonder why. I need a bumper sticker that says, "I'd rather be surfing". That is until the novelty wears off... one day at a time.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The final curtain...

Last night was the Next wrap party. In the usual wrap party fashion, I put on a flowing little number and made an effort to look elegant for just one evening.

When a job is over, it is strange to think that you may never see these people again. As you wonder about the room drink in hand, you meet wifes and husbands and see small glimpses into the alternate lives that your co-workers lead... just in time to say goodbye or if your lucky see you on the next movie.

The party was at the Social Hollwood on Sunset and the turn out was less than expected. With 6 different rooms, there were people that I saw at the beginning of the night and then they dissappeared into the crowd. But I wasn't exactly looking for them. I was to busy sipping white wine and shaken my skirt on the dance floor.

To the cast and crew of was fun. See you on the next one if we're so lucky.