Saturday, June 26, 2010

what i've done lately, film-wise.

night and the city.

Over the past year I compiled a list of the more obscure noir films to see, and I'm finally delving in. I've always liked noir-- the look of it, the feel of it, the stone-cold dialogue. I love film noir best but I also love to dig into hard-boiled fiction also. Hammet, Thompson, Goodis, Cain (oooh Cain!!), Chandler were all regulars on my nightstand. I'm not sure why. I'm not sure what about the hard-nosed cynicism and the almost nihlist viewpoint so dryly expressed in these pieces has always attracted me. The cinematography might be one thing-- I'm not one to really go batty for cinematography, but the appearance of a really solid noir is the most starkly gorgeous thing, film-wise. The dialogue is another-- there is a real art to it-- it is concise and to the point, and yet always dripping with outrageous metaphor and wit and tons of Maybe it's because I started developing a pretty dry outlook from a young age (which I have since addressed and tried to shed-- it wasn't so much an earnest cynicism but rather an assumed one, my how-to-deal mechanism--- but then again, that's what noir is too. an expression of the dark side of the working class, the wrong man story where things don't turn out ok for the hopeful chump. it was the how-to-deal mechanism for the post-war world).

I also think it appeals to me because true noir was a flash in the pan-- only really existing just postwar and for a brief period of time. Then realism and neo realism and all that came into play, and every "noir" picture after that falls into the neo category. It can't really truly be the noir genre because it is no longer addressing the mechanism that noir functioned as a result of. Darkness, deceit, and doubt. Hope is sort of spat upon in the true noirs. In some of them the hero is rewarded somehow, though his end is almost always bittersweet. I like detective noir, but my favorite kind tends to be the James M. Cain brand. The kind where pretty regular, working class people get caught up in greed and wind up digging their own grave. It just gets worse and worse, like a classic tragedy that requires the hero's fatal flaw. The ending is always bleak.

Yes, I like those best, which concerns me, because in my life what I consider to be one of the most vital elements of all is hope. I value literature and film that revitalizes hope or creates it-- it is probably one of the most important things an artist can do. I strive to do it myself (even though most of my writing is very dark). And yet I am so drawn to these beautiful, harsh, masculine tragedies.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

hi, stupid.

you're not going to freak out and think that you're not supposed to take this job. money is money. you're not going to freak out because it's taking so long. you're going to stop being irresponsible with your time and you're going to stop living obsessively in your head. you're going to stop thinking about breaking all of your commitments just because they scare you.

you're going to patiently wait for this job, and blockbuster as well. you will work them both and when you have bad days you will just chuck it up to life and not destiny. if breaking bad calls you one day, you can freak out, but for now.... stay the path. do all that you can and for god's sake stop this stupid headtrip.

thanks alot,
Yowza, Warren Beatty. You was a hottie in your time, wasn't ya?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

the dog's lost the leash

this sounds horrible, but sometimes i'm overwhelmed by my own creativity. it's too much for my brain. forming the creations that lie in wait in my head and keeping track of them or worrying about them or deciding which comes first and how things fall on the priority list of my life. OCD, perfectionism, manias, dissatisfaction. i guess i'm not moody in general, but while i'm working on some particuarly creative project i suppose i tend to be so. this week, having finally gotten Bernie 2 and Buckeye Jim out of my head and onto the computer as a finished youtube product (that makes it sound so cheap, ha) i was so happy. i literally woke up happy on monday morning. strangest thing. and when I work on stuff like that, and really get rolling, I can't stop unless outside forces interfere. I haven't eaten during the day for three days because I've been dedicated to editing (I eat at night once I've been kicked out of the lab). And then I go a bit mad and grumpy once it's all over. I tend to go over the projects once they're finished, over and over thinking about things I could have done differently if I had the chance, or, alternately, singing my own paens (this goes for writing projects, too). Either way, I certainly get worked up.

I'm still not sure if I'm the lonely artist type or not.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

cigarettes and chocolate milk.

Today (well, yesterday, technically, as it is 4 in the AM now) I finished filming Buckeye Jim, the short I'm putting together about a misfit in California. Shooting went well, as usual. Shooting is rarely difficult-- every time I "shoot" something (yes, I use the term loosely because the action is usually just me running around with a camera in my hand (i hate tripods)) it proves to be a major learning experience-- where to put the camera, what light is good, what particular words provoke corresponding reactions, etc etc. This is the only way I can really learn this stuff. It's true, I did learn alot in my production 101 class, but that was limited, and even then I was using the mapquest approach, and beginning to realize that such an approach is faulty. In other words, there is only so far I can stretch by using the instruction manual. You can explain to me how to do something all day long, and I'll probably only get the gist of it unless I can get my hands on the material. Filmmaking is very much like that for me-- it will probably take a long time for me to get good at it, but I understand more and more of it and what needs to be done each time I hit the ON button on my handy pdf150. Same with editing, which I feel like I understand very well now, but still struggle (enjoying every second, mind you) to master.

Anyway, shooting went wonderfully, in a sort of flukey way. I had written out the shots that I wanted, but hadn't planned any locations nor worked out the timing for a single thing. But everything was spotted by chance- the perfect palm tree, intersection, sign, etc. My precious actors just happened to be at the right place at the right time, and things came out that were better than I had hoped. The great thing is that it's almost always gone like this. And if this is the highest level that my "filmmaking" career is going to rise, then that's fine by me. I'll make silly little youtube videos that entertain myself and my friends and their parents for the rest of my time here. Hurrah.

admitting this is like sand-papering my face, but...

I've never been one to really, truly want a boyfriend. Though I kind of always assumed I'd be married with kids, when I really thought about it, it never seemed all that necessary. I mean, it's a nice thought, but... yeah. Ho hum and all that. I've never been afraid of being in bad relationships, but I haven't seen alot of really solid, wonderful ones. I always figured that planning to be alone for most of life was fine, and if someone came along, great. That's also how I think of men in general-- I never zero in on them the way girls seem to do naturally. I don't "like" guys often at all-- really, truly, I only give in to that notion when I sense that there's something compatible with them. I don't cling to the idea of a certain man, a boyfriend, husband-- more the individual, whoever he may be. There hasn't been alot of those. Only two or three, really (individual-wise), and those, for what it's worth, didn't turn out all that well.

But. but but. Despite all of this, this rejection of concept (which is probably in part earnest and in part fear of rejection itself or just good old fashioned cynicism [ie men suck, romance is dead or stupid, bla bla bla])-- despite this, and the fact that I can't even imagine myself being someone's better half/counterpart/whatever... lately I have this feeling when I come home to my messy little room that, ah, it would be nice to have someone there who is happy to see me, to let me recharge, to say, hey, let's make some food and watch a movie or read together or something. Your day matters to me.

Lately I've been thinking... that might be nice.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Dear Mr. Vince Gilligan,

I love you. You are brilliant.

Please hire me to make your coffee so that I can listen at the writer's room keyhole and become educated on the most mind-blowing television writing--- dare i say-- ever. Please. Seriously, please.

Love, A Fan.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Summer Goals.

So I don't know where I'm going to be by the end of the summer. Hopefully somewhat caught up, debt-wise. My friend wants to be a transient next year-- living in her car and public restrooms, and I might join her in an effort to be her wingman and to save money. At the same time, I so value comfort, the comfort of a bed and a humming fan over my head, of a clean bathroom. Oh, I don't know. I seriously need to begin paying off my massive debts, as well as saving up for travel and future survival. I hate that we have to spend money to survive. Why do we have to eat and sleep, why do necessities cost MONEY? Why can't it just be the extra things? Why do I need to pay for my phone, or my internet?

Oh, who knows. If I am a homeless girl for awhile it will be ok-- I'm homeless figuratively anyway, and if this allows me to save up my money then more power to me.

SO anyway, summer goals:

-Make alot of money. Pay off what I owe so far to Sallie Mae, and make serious dent in personal debt.
-Make the following film shorts:
World Traveler Two (which we just finished filming! editing time...)
The Autographist
Rhymes With Orange (a highly edited, reimagining of it)
Hadley, MemTrim Operator
Buckeye Jim (misplaced cowboy short)
Black River (first 5 pages of my Thesis)

and perhaps Pieces and a short series of Canterbury Tales referential films.

- Read/finish reading the following:
Crime and Punishment
East of Eden
American Psycho
Snows of Kilimanjaro
The Dubliners
May Day (by F. Scott Fitzgerald)
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Invitation to a Beheading
Birchwood (the last book I should have read for my Irish Gothic class. Yeah, never finished that one)

Also, I want to start on James Joyce's Ulysses. I have been advised not to attempt, but after sampling it and reading ABOUT it for my aforementioned Irish class, I must must attempt. It is a challenge. I'm sure I won't understand it in all of its complexity without making a proper study of it, but I can at least start chipping away.

-Lose alot of weight. I've been trying to get up early to run to the beach, but I'm really sucking at that. I may start biking and then make the transition. I'm also thinking of going on a mostly vegetarian diet. The people I live with are attempting it, so I may follow their lead. I just can't move to New York and not be drop-dead gorgeous and at least somewhat in shape.

- Concert wise, I'm going to see MGMT, Blitzen Trapper (a grad present), and PAUL FREAKIN MCCARTNEY IN SAN FRANCISCO!!!!!!!!!!

- Continue to submit stories to publications, and edit and refine my thesis and my Rusty script. Send out to contests and whatnot. Finish shorts, and send those out as well. Work on Fritzybaby, my new original script, as well as finish up Clara (no rush on that one) and begin another new one, like the Pluto one or the Anti Flirt League. I'm not sure on that-- but I need something else, something original to add to my portfolio.

I'm also still toying with the idea of transforming my thesis (Black River) into a series. HM.

- See a list of films that Dominic and I have assembled to watch throughout the summer. There are a number of obscure classics on said list that I haven't seen! Argh. The Killing Fields! How have I not seen The Killing Fields?! (this will be kept track of on my cinema blog, Cinephiliac.

-Start/work on 'Zine with my friend Emily McGuire. FINALLY! We've only been talking about it for a year.

-Try not to go all that many places, other than where I must.

Find amazing gifts for the following birthdays:
My sister's
My Mother and Father's
Marianna, Dominic, Kate, Jon. Damnation, why are so many people born in the summertime?

- Keep an eye out for internships, and continually fax my resume/cover letter to the Breaking Bad folks.

Sigh. This is doable. Isn't it?

it's a cycle. it's cyclical!

I have discovered that I am a person who needs to be constantly occupied and moving forward-- if I pause for the rest and comfort that I long for it ends up biting me in the end. When I'm busy I want nothing more than to curl up and be away from things, but once I am I become all the more anxious, which apparently makes me depressed. I guess. I try very hard to see myself from the outside in times like this, to see how unreasonable I must seem, how overly sensitive I am to things. Not outwardly, usually, I now have a handle on that, but when I'm alone all I can do is focus and fixate on all of the rejection I suddenly feel from the world, and all I want to do is flail for somebody, or get a post-it from God reminding me that I'm doing everything right. I know the weird rejection I feel is mostly in my head, and that my reactions to it are unhealthy, but I don't know how I SEEM when I'm like this. I don't know how these things effect my life exactly, or if I'm even making any sense at the moment. It just feels like paralyzing anxiety, a hyper-self-consciousness.

I was muttering to myself today about how some people I know are terribly moody, but that I'm not moody. I'm emotional, which is quite different from moody. My emotions are intense, they do not change rapidly and with no provocation. So perhaps that intensity can be called sensitivity-- however, this conclusion does confuse me as I feel like I know and understand many sensitive and overly sensitive people, but that I do not identify with that. Sensitive people like a number of my friends usually react at the drop of a hat and feel insulted to their core if a word comes out wrong. I am usually maternal towards those of my loved ones that are this type, and love them because, like me, their emotions are heightened, but nevertheless there is at times the nagging, somewhat exhausting feeling of eggshells beneath my feet-- beneath everyone's feet-- around people like that. That, for the most part, is not me. If there is one thing I know about me it is that I am an incredibly flexible person-- to schedule, mood, atmosphere. Though I feel that I care passionately about important things, and am actually quite opinionated, I can roll with anything and care very little about having anything "just so." I gave up on control and most means of self-promotion a long time ago. It is one of my strengths, and one that allows me to be able to build friendships with many different types-- I attribute it to my family life.

Anyway. So I keep coming back to these defining words and becoming more tired with every examination-- am I emotional AND sensitive? Am I really just sensitive? Is that what's making me suddenly question everything, sitting up late at night with a fast-beating heart and a deep sense of loneliness that I reserve for these hours? Or am I anxious? Too self-conscious? Crazy? Bipolar? Whatever it is, it's all part of the stupid cycle for me-- I'll be rolling along productively just to stop in my tracks and become consumed by my thoughts-- brain cannibalism of the self, haha. I don't like it. But the only thing I can do is yield to it, and know that bizarre urgency-- the destructive, erratic me-- is followed by imagined rejection-- lonely, penitent me-- followed by gloomy me, followed by the me that wakes up tomorrow afternoon in a scatterbrained state, with the weight of weird pain generally evaporated. Still, even with the comfort of that future state I get so tired of this lack of progress, this tiresome cycle.

Perhaps if I continue to write about it I will be able to pinpoint it further, and therefore harnass and bend it to my will.

Time to watch some Netflix sweetness and wallow until sleep comes.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

actual conversation with client.

(disabled) client (for the 100th time that day): "do this for me, my finger hurts. oh ow it hurts!"
me: "i'll pick it up for you, but you have to take care of it yourself."
client: "you're a meanie."
me: "it's too bad that you think that, but you still need to take care of it."
client: "you say too bad about my finger? well, it's too bad that you're so fat."


it really was a funny moment. which of course left me feeling like a kid that got stoned by the other children at recess, but still.
this is going to be a very interesting job.

modern inventions.

oh, technology. this is the word i use to refer to my life, such as it is, at present. i'm not sure why. everything seems to go according to the turning of wheels and when the wheels don't turn I feel miserable and overfed (even though I'm starving, most days, now that I can't pilfer food from the old cafeteria).

But things are good.

Since the eve of graduation I pretty much failed at updating, mostly because life became very busy (wonderfully so!), with very little internet connection. I've seen so many friends and family in the past month (it's been a month since I graduated!! what?), gone hither thither all around SoCal, and sent so many thank-you notes and to-do lists that my mind has been spinning. In the words of CAKE, wheels keep on spinning round, but in the words of everyone's favorite Partridge, I think I love you.

First, Graduation was a wonderful day. Hot and harried and a tad embarrassing at times, but wonderful to feel the relief that great accomplishment brings, even though it may be only partial relief (as the financial part will continue to trail after me for some time). More wonderful, so wonderful, was the sight of the faces of people who came to stomp their feet and raise their voices for me, me, me in my little tasseled cap.

My Aunt and Uncle, who didn't even attend their own daughter's graduation (there's a story there-- they're actually good parents, but my cousin had a tremendously delayed ceremony) drove up from San Fransisco to buy me lunch and cheer in their Texan voices. Most of the Mueller family, a unit of fostering, who have become even dearer to me in the past few months than I thought possible, toodled up from all sorts of places. They bought me the most fantastic present, something I would never have thought of: a beautiful passport (that is, they made me a symbol of it and gave me the funds for passport pictures and the pass itself). My friend Jon, notorious for shunning sentimental things such as "visits" and "events" arrived sporting the tie that I demanded he wear, with his beautiful (and damned stylish) girlfriend Megan in tow. They both wrote me a pair of the most wonderful letters I have ever received, both of which have a place on the equivalent of my mantle (my top, crooked bookshelf). His mother, Mrs. Mueller, hauled the fat purple family van all the way with my favorite Bernie and her own, well-expressed words of sentimentality in a signature card. My dear Kate(syface), after moving her own dormroom all the day before, drove all the way from Azusa to LMU at 3:30AM to have a quiet moment of reflection and celebration (LMU's piece of the Berlin Wall was admired in the dark) before she crashed on my couch in order to wake up at 7 the next morning. My beautiful Sunchild Maureen showed up in bright yellow with a gorgeous bouquet of fanastic flowers that she had carefully chosen and arranged for me (she's good at such things), with her little sister Faustina at her side. Aly, even with her intense desire to avoid all things LMU, returned in all of her loveliness. They all showed up in LA before 9AM. They all sat. They all dripped and endured in the sun. They all cheered for me, me, me.

And there was, of course, my parents. I cannot express my joy at knowing that they had a front row seat (figuratively.... they were more or less in the middle of the seating arrangement...) to my ascension in the ranks of life and my penitent* acceptance of my degree (with honors. although the stupid announcer guy didn't say so). They flew in the night before, and each wore precious straw hats to the outdoor event.

The night before was immensely stressful-- my finals had just come to an end and I quickly ran about trying to clean everything and prepare for the next day. My room-mate was having one of her many meltdowns of epic proportions (relationship issue. she had a rough time last semester, poor child), so she retired early. I stayed up to clean the bathroom, pack, dye my hair red (which it desperately needed), and receieve the honor of Kate's presence. In between, I had a farewell cigarette with my suitemate Diana. Though she had occasionally been the bane of my existence in regards to peace-keeping in the apartment, I think we may have been friends. We talked about life and the future-- though not as deeply as one might imagine on the eve of such an event-- and sat in front of a discarded television that some slouch had dropped, screen-down, on the pavement and hadn't bothered to clean up. We watched this manner of television for awhile, that and the smoke, until the wee hours. She invited me to her future hypothetical wedding. After she'd retired, Kate arrived, and we both crashed.

I woke up to my room-mate screaming over the phone at her ex at around 6, and realized there was just no more sleeping to be had, so we all got up and got beautiful, robbed, and hatted. Like cattle, we were herded into the gymnasium, and like cattle, we were ushered out in groups to the main part of campus. Thankfully it was the morning, but there was almost no shade and the sun was harsh. The awards were given. The pomp and circumstance of the professors outfits must have adhered to Catholic tradition, though I didn't understand the robes and what their significance was. The main speech by our chosen speaker (the governor of massachutes--- yeah...?) was not terribly inspiring at first, but he concluded by saying some truly encouraging things. He acknowledged the state of our country and the world, and that we would have struggles, but then he reminded us of the greatness that had arisen from just such struggles and situations (great men, great minds). The valevictorian spoke also, and I most definitely dug his speech. Firstly, he ironically referenced a quote about self-discovery that I had used as the basis for my application essay to LMU (!), and he then concluded by reminding us that while we're out in the world, we should remember to focus not just on WHAT we want to be but on WHO we want to be. It was a great full-circle moment that brought to mind the first speech I heard at LMU from an amazing Jesuit-in-training who urged us to work towards bettering the whole of ourselves rather than just our abilities or our capacity for facts. Anyway.

Then we marched. The film school went first, as we are the smallest, the great, the elite. My moment was swift-- I gave up the card with my name on it, I stepped forward to shake the SFTV Dean's hand, my name was said, then the Dean of the school handed me my sacred document and congratulated me (cue pentitent look with furrowed brow- me). Crazed cheers rose from three parts of the audience, and I heard my name faintly, though the sun made sure that I could not see. I then trotted down the stairs and was met by an overwhelming sea of happy teachers, many of which I knew, the happiest of all being Karol, my thesis class teacher and my most favorite in the world. It was nice to hug her goodbye. I wanted to speak to her afterwards, but time did not permit. I took my seat again, but the rest of the school had yet to cross, and it became a melting, painful ordeal. I would have stayed for the entirety, but I began to recieve distressed text messages from folk who were preparing to leave or dying in the sun, so I made sure that I had seen all of my senior friends walk, and then I slipped away. I was greeted by my crowd of beaming children, all so happy, all so stylish, all so proud of me, despite the fact that I was so sleep deprived that words had quite a battle getting out of my mouth.

My parents got to meet everyone that they hadn't met before, and everyone helped me pack up the remains of my garbage. Alas, I wish the whole thing had been less harried, but I wouldn't trade it. I said my quick goodbyes to the few little ones that I cared for at school, and then off to lunch, a quick tour of the school for my family, and off off verily yeah into the WILD BLUE YONDER (Aka Ventura).

Dad left that Sunday, and mom stayed for a week. She mostly helped me make my new room "nice" by insisting that she help organize my stuff, buy me a secondhand desk, and fix my vaccuum (mothers...). In return, I made her watch Sherlock Holmes and we oohed and ahhed appropriately over the latest episode of Breaking Bad. Finally, we went to the Hollywood Bowl (MY FIRST TIME THERE!!) to see James Taylor and Carole King in concert, which was the most magical experience in the world. Firstly, the Bowl is a phenomenonal, historical place that has evovled so much over time (it's also, incidentally, HUGE), and secondly, James Taylor sounds just as wonderful in person as he does on a record from the 70's. Carole King, whom I have never really bothered with aside from It's Too Late and So Far Away, but she blew my mind at the show. She is a performer, utterly, and it was magic magic magic seeing her and Taylor perform their songs together (an equal amount-- all of his hits and all of hers-- hers included songs she had written for other people, such as Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow, You've Got A Friend, Jazzman, and Natural Woman, along with the GG theme (love!!), Beautiful, I Feel The Earth Move (AMAZING PERFORMANCE!!), the other two aforementioned classics, and the freakin' Locomotion!!). Sweet Baby James is a hilarious and precious man-- he made little jokes throughout and basically made the case for being the most huggable musician in the world. His rendition of Steamroller cracked us up, Fire and Rain made me cry, Mexico was !!!, and of course, of course, of course, hearing him perform Sweet Baby James was the most satisfying concert experience ever (topping Bob Dylan's Rolling Stone and Mr. Jones. Well, okay, maybe tying). It was the most soothing, gorgeous, profound performance (that song. those lyrics. damned tears in my eyes), topped off by-- I could not believe it-- a sweet, magical falling star slipping lazily over the bowl just as Taylor played his final chords. Not only was the concert brilliant, but mother had a marvelous time, and I can't imagine a more appropriate event for the two of us. Again, very full-circle-- when I think of my childhood and my mother, James Taylor fills my ears. How right that on my introduction into the real real world, singin' could work just fine for me?

Mother left two days after the concert, and a week later Emily came. In between I had the chance to see my friends Josh and Sonja, the latter of which I hadn't seen in a very long time. It was refreshing to talk to her and to hear her unique and intelligent perspective on life, and the time spent over coffee with her was energizing. It's so good to talk to a fellow writer, and someone who is trying to make sense of the world through art. Sonja is driven in that way as I am, and though our perspectives differ, I respect her so much. She also bestowed upon me a most fitting gift-- a shirt with a bummed-out ex-planet Pluto with the words "it's okay, Pluto. I'm not a planet either." --- the perfect gift to remind me to keep to my quirky screenwriting ideas. It was also great to see my only fellow-graduate friend Josh (hi Josh, if you're looking for your name) to comiserate about the big bad world and what lies ahead-- he is also a talented person who I foresee will do great things... unlike me, he has the drive to do it, something I admire more and more as time goes on. Hopefully he will give me a ride on his coat-tails.

Once Emily arrived, we had fantastic times, none of which I have time to recall (nor do I reckon anyone would be interested to hear), many of which consisted of flouncing around the beach attempting to tan, much of which included eating massive amounts of good food. I will say-- the most California day we had was grabbing coffee, swinging by to pick up crates of strawberries, and hiking up to the Ventura Cross (The look-out point for all of Ventura). We ate our strawberries, wore our fashionable new sunhats (yes, Megan Jackson in all of her stylishness influenced me to buy one-- a pink floppy one. I am still pondering whether or not it was a sound decision), and basked in good company and conversation. It's so comforting to have a best friend who knows your history. Even though our world views are vastly different (not just conservative me versus liberal she) our friendship is and always will be the same. I will be her maid of honor one of these years, and someday I'll dedicate a book to her. As we've been friends for about eleven years running, it seems appropriate.

After my dear red australian bird left, I went into the process of getting a job. Much has happened. Ups and downs. Floods of thoughts and ideas written on scraps of paper-- but nevermind, this is too long already and coffee bean is closing. I will say this-- I am proud of myself. I am looking forward to what I might do-- but even more so to who I might be. I've been a bit down, a bit lonely and girly (damn the male species) and worried and grouchy and existential lately, but not hopeless. Never that. I'll never get it figured out completely, but I can try.

More sooner rather than later.

a Graduate.

*what i have been told my face expressed at the moment of receiving my diploma. then again, i suspect i look perpetually penitent.