Thursday, April 29, 2010

i'm starting to realize i've met alot of celebrities.

OK. So there's this brilliant show called Breaking Bad. I've blathered on about it here and to people I know. Of course, my taste isn't generally shared by many of my friends so I watch it mostly by myself. My mother got me into it, actually, by telling me what an interesting show happened to be on the air with Hal from Malcolm in the Middle, and oh, one of the characters has CP, which is a major draw for mother. Anyway. The show is a massive critical hit, with Stephen King (curse his name) going crazy over it and the Emmys going crazy over it and everyone in the Hollywood screenwriting circle going crazy over it. In short, writers like this show. SO I thought it was pretty exciting that some kids at our school decided to get ahold of the lead actor, Bryan Cranston, to come speak.

This was SO COOL because Cranston is weirdly a part of alot of conversations I have about showbusiness and the state of things right now-- I love the writing on BB and I think Cranston (and the guy who plays Jesse Pinkman) is a pretty remarkable actor. In season 2 there is a scene in particular that blew me away and is so opposed to his comic work on Malcolm (also fantastic) that I couldn't stop thinking that he is a really talented person who is finally getting his due.

Anyhoo. So he showed up here and gave a great talk, about an hour and a half, about his career and acting and the creative world in general. I will say this, the man's entertaining but he DOES indeed like to talk. Alot. It didn't matter though, because most of what he said was very educational and interesting and encouraging. I feel like recently there have been alot of professional encouragements like this for me, and I can't help but wonder if that's setting me up for something or providing me with tiny nuggets of comfort to chew on during the dry spell that is to be the great What Happens Next. Anyway. Lovely man. Afterwards, some people stood around for pictures and talk and more inquiries, and when he rolled around to me I introduced myself, mentioned how moved I was by a Malcolm rerun I watched recently about the death of Hal's father, and dicussed BB a bit. In closing, I mustered up all of my hutzpah and asked him if he was aware of any PA jobs or writing internships with the BB writers. He brightened at that and told me to wait around.

After he had talked to everyone it turned out I was the only one left, so I walked out with him to his car. I ended up talking to him for a good 20-30 minutes about work, graduation, Breaking Bad and writing in general (MY THESIS?!). He said he would pass along some information to me through the fellow that organized the thing tonight, shook hands again, and went his merry way.

I dont know if anything'll come of it, I tend to doubt it. He said that he wasn't even sure when the writers were setting up this specific office in LA (to work on next season, I suppose). I don't know if they DO need anyone, or if there's a shot in hell that they'd hire me, but I don't seriously doubt that Cranston will do what he said and pass along the information (he's attempting to be a writer currently himself, and spent a bit of the Q&A time ranting about a movie that he had written that Nickelodeon was trying to chop up and destroy). So I am indulging in some day-dreaming on the subject.

He said quite a few things tonight that I think will be very good to remember, but 3 of them I found particularly striking:

1) in reference to breaking bad, he mentioned that the arc that the character Walt is undergoing is redemption in reverse-- being dragged into a dark, downward spiral. Walt goes from milk-sop child to this grey character, meant to go on to full on evil man, drug lord. As he quoted the creator of the show, Vince Gilligan (?), it's Mr. Chips turning into Scarface, and that's why television is the right medium. It's feature-quality material, but with television there's enough time to show a full-on, believable, rich change of that magnitude.

This got me thinking about alot of my ideas, namely my just-finished thesis, which is about the beginnings of redemption of someone considered really evil. Even though I really do think it would make a crazy-good feature, it really is a massive arc that is not allowed to happen sutbtely at all, it is jammed into 110 pages. What about television? What about really good, weird, WESTERN television?! WHAT?!?!??! BRILLIANT YOU SAY? Yes, says I.

2) He refers to people in other, non-entertainment professions "civillians." I love that.

3) He was talking about the work he did to pay the bills before he got good acting jobs. One was a videographer for a dating show, a waiter, bla bla, and one was working downtown loading trucks on a graveyard shift. He had to be covered head-to-toe and everything was big and scary and dangerous and even the punch-out machine frightened him. There was only a slit for his eyes in his suit, and the whole experience was soul-sucking. "It was great, though," he said, "Because all I would do while I worked was daydream about being an actor." And he reminded us that that's all we can do in situations like that, and that we in fact NEED that. We need time to daydream about what we're supposed to be and what we love. And he told us that very earnestly. It was a good thing to hear now.

Anyway. I don't care if a job comes of it, though I hope it does. But it was pretty cool and pretty damn surreal to chat up Bryan Cranston in the parking lot of LMU.

I've been in a good mood for days. In fact, my good mood has outweighed my downer moods big time this semester. That's a good way to go out. Life is wonderful, even if you have no idea where it's going.

...cheesy, I know, but earnest.


Emily Gant McGuire said...

I notice you don't reply to my comments, but I want to read your thesis. I didn't know you were writing it. I thought you only had to write a thesis for graduate school or beyond.
That's so cool you got to meet him! Even if he doesn't pass on any information to the writers, networking is something you'll have to do from now on, so it's good practice.
Love ya darling!

Katrina said...

i DO reply to your comments, I just didn't see the last one.

i would love for you to read it someday. i want to polish it first. it's weird, heavy stuff and i don't know what anyone outside of my little writing circle is going to think of it.

i know. i hate networking. i hate it!!!!!!!! but i liked him. we'll be friends when i'm successful.

Sonja said...

I've finally put Breaking Bad on my Netflix, after listening to you and my brother rave about it. I hope to start watching it today. :)

It's so cool you were able to speak with him one on one - absolutely fabulous and fantastic.

Erin said...

That's brilliant. He sounds so cool and getting to talk to him one-on-one must've been lovely!

Sonja said...

Breaking Bad is not what I was expecting. Still withholding judgment though I do find it at times hilarious.

Katrina said...

Sonja. What. You don't like it?! No no, give it a chance, give it a chance. My mom showed me one of the episodes and I thought it was odd, but after watching a few more, especially some of the more intense ones, I was so very very hooked. Season 2 is amazing. Actually, all of the seasons are amazing. Haha. WATCH ON, CHILD!

Sonja said...

Oh, I do intend on watching more, I just haven't decided if I like it (though I do realize it is an incredibly unique television series) -- I find it both shocking and good. Maybe it's because I'm so used to that actor as being Malcolm's Dad...and then he's strangling someone to death :p

Katrina said...

that's the weird magic of it, and also what makes it kinda funny at times, I think. you know? Malcolm's dad! What are you doing!? Shouldn't you be yelping and running right now?! there are some really dark episodes... the acid bath. have you seen that one yet? that kinda turned me off and made me more interested, all at the same time. BUT OH MAN season 2 is incredible. you gotta at least stick around for Jane.

Sonja said...

Oh god the acid bath -- I actually had to listen to that part while fixedly staring out the window. :p And the thing is, it is hysterical and it just feels so weird and just a tiny bit wrong to be laughing about it (which is, I guess, the point of dark humor?). Ken seems to enjoy it a lot so I'm pretty sure we'll continue watching it until we're caught up.