Sunday, April 27, 2008

There are a lot of things I wish to blog about: Billy Mernit's thoughts on 27 Dresses and my response, blogging, blogging and Hollywood, feminist film theory in real life and proof of our patriarchal mindset, what I'm going to write next, the disappearance of M's more eligible bachelor, my year in review, and lots and lots of other things.

Unfortunately, I cannot blog about any of these things. Because I have to go to bed. At midnight in the summer - I know! But tomorrow I'll be embarking on a grand road trip from our little college town down to the Great Smokey Mountains where I will be spending the week camping and hiking. I think I've packed everything, but of course will not know for sure until three hours into the trip when I will suddenly realize I left something vitally important at the house. It will be glorious and adventurous and refreshing - and apparently dangerous. I have been given dire warnings by two of my family members about the dangers of four girls camping by themselves. I'm not sure which is more worrisome - the mountain bears or the mountain men, carrying their women away a la Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. I'm waiting until the day that my own daughter is off trekking through Latin America or backpacking through Europe before I tell my mom all the stories I have from traveling in Europe.

I'm really excited. I'm going with girls I love but haven't seen enough of this past year. I've heard the Smokey Mountains are beautiful. And there are no showers at the state park campground, so the only way to get clean is to swim in the waterfall pools - which is probably illegal but oh well. Not that I do a lot of illegal things, of course.

Oh, and one of the other girls is also a film major. So of course we're bringing cameras.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Apudne te vel me?

Most important news first:

We finished editing "Join This Group?" last night. I'm really pretty happy with the way it turned out. To hear more about our six hour editing adventure, check over at the Lives Agape Production Blog.

I have decided through this whole experience a couple things.

1. It's not so hard to shoot for fun. We had a crew of three, a weekend of shooting, and all equipment we snuck away from the school for the coproducer's "class" that finished last week.

2. Small cast. Us college students don't need no epics with hundreds (or ten) extras. Cast want characters, not cameos.

3. The new way to abbreviate "special thanks" is "spanks." It's already trademarked, people.

4. I don't like editing. I also need a lot of practice with Final Cut Pro still.

5. I also need a lot more practice directing. My actors were great, but I was still pretty uncertain on set and not focused enough on making sure I got the correct performances out of them. I think that's a self conscious issue I need to work on, and I think spending more time just thinking about the project in preproduction will help with that.

6. Restarting the computer really does help in fixing the problem.

7. Reliability and preparedness are key.

8. You know that you've made a good video - at least for yourself - when you still find the jokes funny after ten hours of editing.

9. It really goes so much better when you have fun while shooting.

10. I picked the best major in the world.

The video itself will be online on the Lives Agape website in a few weeks, once it's built. Once it's there, I'll direct you over.

In other news, I've been wandering around the blogosphere a lot. I think it started with Amanda the Aspiring TV Writer's blog, which I found initially through Jane Espensen and then again through Emily. From there I followed her links, and now I feel like I've picked up enough interesting blogs to start bookmarking them on the toolbar. I need to sort through which ones are active and useful, though, otherwise I'll spend inordinate amounts of time online reading about other people's attempts in the industry instead of making my own.

One thing I've realized though, one epithany I've had from reading these blogs, is that when you're out in Hollywood, one thing you're going to need is really great hair*. There are dress code variations across jobs, especially when you're 1. an assistant and 2. a writer, but amazing hair is like, something you can put on your resume under special talents, I think. All other sins a woman commits outside of her body, but having limp, dry, frazzled hair... Pull yourself together, girl!

Facebook has reached new levels of stalkerness. One of my friends had a status up about the web dating service ads on the side, as if they know that she's single. Looking to the sidebar on my page, I noticed there was an ad that point blank asked me, "Over 22 and Single?" They do know. They know everything.

I'm moving out of the dorms tomorrow, never to return - at least not as a resident. I'm ready to go home and see my family, but I have lots of fun things to do before then (that's meant seriously. I am really super excited for these things). It sucks being an out of state student during move out. Not only do you not have any help, I think it makes the end of the year a bit more melancholy. Maybe I just wish someone would take me out to dinner to celebrate another year finished. Maybe I just want a nice free dinner.

This page needs another layout makeover.


I just woke up from one of the most amazing dreams ever. No, seriously. I'm pretty sure most of my favourite people were in it, just randomly, because they're my friends. Lots of funny little moments, including a dog drooling like an uncorked fire hydrant on me - so gross - and finally being blunt like I've secretly been wishing I could be. But the best moment of all was that there were a bunch of Scottish people "in town" to shoot a film, and one of them was Ewan McGregor. Not only did I talk to him - I actually flirted with him. I know, I know - he's a married man - but I can't control my unconscious, you know?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Acta non verba

I love my desk.

It's about to get packed up, but the collection of things on it is - well, so amazing. I'm finally using the bud vase I painted in Chicago last year to hold two beautiful pink roses. My worn copy of the Princess Bride, recently returned from another convent, is sitting onto of my hardcopy of my script from screenwriting class. On the cork board leaning against the back of my desk is a sheet of those inch wide stickers with your face on them of me and my best friend up here when we were at a pinball place. 8 mm film hangs from my pencil holder. And I have pictures of the people who are my life are plastered all around.

I'm done with school. It's over. How quickly the year went by. I might wax reminiscent, but another time.

We edited today (I feel like that's a really annoying word to say in real life: "edited." It's because there are three "d/t" sounds in it) and got a rough cut of "Join This Group?" done. We actually didn't watch it all the way through, but the audio - which was what I was concerned about - came out ok. I didn't realize, though, that some of the facilities start closing soon. I'm recording the voice over with the talent tomorrow (we'll see how I do with the equipment all by myself), and we'll layer that on and work on the fine cut Wednesday. My editor is great - she's so familiar with Final Cut.

I went to a showcase of films made for classes over the past semester. It was really cool seeing what some of the other students have been working on. I especially liked the use of locale in one, and I hope that one day - if I have time - I can just wander around and take pictures and let the creative juices flow. In order to choose between a typical location and a unique and interesting location, I need to know where the cool locations are.

I was eavesdropping in feminist film class the other day and heard another girl talk about how our screenwriting program chair had advised her not to move out to LA yet. Among one of the reasons was that when everyone gets out there, they all write the same stories. You can see that here sometimes, people writing the same stories. We have limited resources and are going through similar life issues, which can make it seem dull in this context. But I think there are a lot of opportunities for unique stories using those same resources. It just takes an extra little digging trying to find them.

I realized the other day that I've only stayed awake for one out of class movie this entire semester. I watched all of Vantage Point - barely, I barely made it through the movie. All others I've fallen asleep during.

My Screnzy script - does not exist. I have the six pages I wrote way back when, and that is all. I may be could do it, if I wasn't working long hours this week, working on "Join This Group?", cramming in those last few memorable hours with friends, and suffering from a complete lack of motivation. I hate being this unbusy. It drains my energy and motivation like nothing else.

But I shouldn't whine. I think I'm just annoyed that all my friends are leaving. Really, as much as I wanted to spend as much time with all of them as possible, I should have left as soon as I was finished. Now instead of one good bye for me I have to say good bye multiple times to multiple people. And one of my closest friends is graduating this year, so ever time I walk through the Diag and the sea of 30,000 folding chairs there, I suffer a mini heartbreak. Sometimes I struggle with the balance between letting go and holding on, between running away and carrying useless torches. But you know what? I'm ok with being sad about the end of the year. Because all it really means is that I love this place and these people so gosh darn much.

Monday, April 14, 2008

So True.

What Kind of Guy Will You Fall For?
You tie.

You would fall part for the geek. If you're looking for love, consider spending a little more time studying up in the library. To you, there's nothing more attractive than intelligence, shyness, and kindness; your future love may have four eyes and zero social skills, but he'll make up for it in brains and heart.
You would fall part for the gentleman. Keep an eye out for your love at your next formal or field trip to the opera. Watch out for bad boys who walk on the inside of the curb and don't hold the door for you, and you'll end up with the guy who's suave, sophisticated, and classy through-and-through.
Find Your Character @

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Alex says I only like depressing music. I've been accused of that before. You can't see how they're really happy songs?

What is this
Mass confusion
This crazy way we're living
This emptiness we're passing out
Like candycoatedwaterdrops
I'm spilling out my thoughts
You're spilling out your guts

And I can't help but stop and think that

If the world stopped spinning
If the end was beginning
Would you even notice if I wasn't there?
If the world stopped spinning around

"All that's worth dying for is already dead"
An empty religion you've learned to accept
When nothing means everything, your daily routine
You go through the motions like a helpless machine

If the world stopped spinning
If the end was beginning
Would you even notice if I wasn't there?
If the world stopped spinning around

You're spinning 'round
You're spinning 'round
And I can't help wondering
You're spinning 'round
You're spinning 'round
And I can't help wondering

When the answers to everything are right in your hands
You lose your conviction, but you can't help standing
On the one thing that held you for so many years
You ask for forgiveness and hold back the tears

And I can't help but stop and think that

If the world stopped spinning
If the end was beginning
Would you even notice if I wasn't there?
If the world stopped spinning around

- "candycoatedwaterdrops" by Plumb

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Another one bites the dust.

I. I forgot my favourite part of filming last weekend. I got to "act" (being the trained actress that I am). "Join This Group?" is a mockumentary, and we take an investigatory spin at one point, "chasing" our uncommunicative subject down. So it's Saturday, just before noon, and we're at the intersection of two of our busiest streets in front of our uni's Union. There's a huge fundraiser going on across campus and an annual marijuana party called Hash Bash in the Diag and it's the nicest day we've had all spring, so there're probably double the people around than usual. Because the camera movement was a little tricky, we probably did about twelve to fifteen takes of me running after my friend, screaming, "Can you talk with us? Why won't you stop and answer a few questions? Hey!" I'd chase him into the Union, and then we'd stop and laugh and walk back outside. One time we came out of the Union and a woman was waiting there, looking confused, until she saw our camera. She said, "Oh, I see - you're shooting something." It was so much fun, filming out in the real world with people who had no idea what was going on.

II. I used the word "uber" in class discussion the other day, in my most academic class, in front of my most respected professor. I kept talking quickly hoping that she wouldn't notice, but I think some of the other students did.

III. This week I had two very polarized screenwriting experiences on Wednesday:

1. I submitted "The 4:05" to a contest here at school. I would like to win contests because I would like to pay for school. I got an email the other week saying that while it hadn't won, it had gone to "nationals" (what does that even mean? It was a university award - how do we go "national"? I think we figured out that it just meant top 10 or something) and if I picked up my manuscripts I would have comments from the judges. Well, that was kind of cool because at least I was getting feedback. So I went and picked them up and took a minute to read the comments.

I've never read such negative comments about most people's work, let alone my own.

I'm a little surprised my script didn't come back with holes in it from the judges' laser eyes. One woman went on and on about how my characters were weird and boring and my dialogue was stiff and force and the plot as paper thin and how the reader is left wondering why this story needed to be told. I'm really not sure what other negative things she could have said - I'm half convinced that she went to the thesaurus from the start.

I'm not really fussed, though. It made me a little hesitant about letting my screenwriting professor see it, but when I thought about it, sure this story needs a lot of work, but I'm willing to do that. Because, unlike that judge, I do see a story worth telling. And I'm the writer, so I get to make that call.

2. I finished my Current Draft for screenwriting class. I also found a better title. I can definitely see how I've improved as a screenwriter since "The 4:05" and all the lessons I've learned. We all stood up at class and dropped our scripts on the table - ah, the sound of completion. My screenwriting professor suggested taking the entire summer away from this script, but I just don't see the time. I am taking at least a week and a half away from it, maybe two weeks. Then we'll see.

And there's Script Frenzy to be thinking about.

IV. Apparently I'm a music sell out because my favourite song is "Drops of Jupiter."

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Tide To-Go Stain Stick is a Gift from Heaven.

We wrapped principle shooting this weekend on Sunday. Only afterwards did I wake up in the middle of the night, anxious I was supposed to be somewhere filming. That was 4 AM in the morning, and I was conscious enough to realize that 1. I was probably probably sleeping and we probably don't need to shoot at 4 AM, and 2. even if we had to shoot I didn't have the equipment anyway! This morning I woke up thinking about filming, too. Let's hope tonight it finally sinks in that we're done.

It went ok.

I haven't watched the footage yet, so we'll see if we need to do pickups at all.

Our screenplays for screenwriting class are due tomorrow. Guess who hasn't started writing their third act yet. Me. But, I do plan on starting tonight, so it'll be no big deal. Hm. This third act is going to be tricky, because it's just a lot of people talking. But then again, lots of movies are just a bunch of people talking. I think reading the script of Garden State helped, especially the plot line about Large and his dad. Because that's really where Large's conflict lies - his father represents his internal conflict about how he lives his life. And when he can confront his father and reject his drug-numbed way of life, that's when he's conquered the conflict, that's when he's transformed. And you know that moment happens when he talks to his dad about it. Ergo, talking with not kill your script.

Just be clever.

I'm developing a rhythm. I started my Script Frenzy screenplay last week. I finished writing for the day just over 5 pages. However, I decided that I wanted to take it in a different direction. So I sat down yesterday and started again, with the same opening image. After a few hours I had finished my opening sequence and hit the pagination key. It ended just over 5 pages, almost to the line the same length as my previous opening sequence. Am I learning something - or was that just dumb luck?

I just watched a new episode of Scrubs. Carla is by far the most interesting and complex character.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

It's been a rough past couple of weeks...

Beholding your beauty is all I long for
To worship You Jesus with my soul's desire
For this very heart you've shaped for your pleasure
The purpose to lift your name high

Hear and surrender in pure adoration
I enter your courts with an offering of praise
I am Your servant come to bring you glory
As is fit for the work of your hands

Now unto the lamb who sits on the throne
Be glory and honor and praise
All of creation resounds with the song
Worship and praise him the Lord of Lords

The spirit now living and dwelling within me
Keep my eyes fixed ever upon Jesus' face
Let not the things of this world ever sway me
I'll run 'till I finish the race

Singing unto the lamb who sits on the throne
Be glory and honor and praise
All of creation resounds with the song
Worship and praise the Lord
Now unto the lamb who sits on the throne
Be glory and honor and praise
All of eternity echoes the song
Worship and praise him the Lord of Lords

Holy Lord
You are Holy
Jesus Christ is the Lord

Now unto the lamb who sits on the throne
Be glory and honor and praise
Call all the saints to join in the song
Worship and praise him the Lord of Lords

Lord of Lords
Lord of Lords
Lord of Lords

- "Lord of Lords," by Hillsong United

Saturday, April 05, 2008

15 Movie Quotes

Emily did this meme, and someone else too, I think. Nobody tagged me, but I'm doing this anyway. I tried not to repeat movies.

1. "You changed my life. You changed my life, and I've known you four days. This is the start of something really big."

2. "I am no good at goodbyes."

3. "You and I are substitute people."

4. "Look at those bodacious ta-tas!"

5. "I love that you get cold when it's 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it's not because I'm lonely, and it's not because it's New Year's Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible. " (You need the whole thing. It's just too good.)

6. "This is true love - you think this happens every day?"

7. "Oh, boo-hoo. Now I feel really bad. Bad llama."

8. "My problem is that it's 2 A.M. My problem is I'm asleep. I'm on a tour bus with eight stinkin' men. Rule number one: Don't propose to a girl on a bus, you got that? Rule number two: Don't tell her it's because you had a bad dream."

9. "Before you came into my life I could make all kinds of decisions now I'm addicted I have to know what you think... What do you think?"
"I think your the most selfish human being on the planet."
"Well that's just silly. Have you met everybody on the planet?"

10. "You just had a near-life experience!"

11. "There he goes off to his room to write that hit song 'Alone in my principles.'"

12. "I don't like sand. It's rough and course... Not like you." (Ok, ok, that one's a joke! For real now)

12.5 "Oh, she ain't my wife, warden. I keep asking her, and she keeps saying no."

13. "There'll be no living with her after this."

14. "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."

15. "Because it's a book about a man who doesn't know he's about to die. And then dies. But if a man does know he's about to die and dies anyway. Dies- dies willingly, knowing that he could stop it, then- I mean, isn't that the type of man who you want to keep alive?"

Thursday, April 03, 2008

I looked really chic in the coffee shop --

-- until I pulled my computer out of a plastic Old Navy bag. My friend once called me a rich hobo, because I carry my really nice computer around in a plastic bag. I swear, I'm going to go buy a proper carrying case tomorrow.

I wanted to post "Swallowed in the Sea" lyrics, but I just posted them in the past few months. So why don't you just go listen to that song for a couple of minutes and then come back?

In feminist film theory class today, we talked a lot about how the "happy ending" for women in films most often comes in the form of a stable heterosexual relationship, even for women who are portrayed as independent and anti-patriarchal. We used the example of Sex and the City, about how the entire show is supposedly about these four women with fabulous girl friendships, fabulous shoes, and fabulous independence from men. But at the end, they all end up in some sort of "satisfying" heterosexual relationship. It started to worry me at first, because, not being in a relationship right now and not having marriage on my list of immediate post-graduation plans like my best friends (I really am *so* excited for their weddings - they're almost too far away), I've had to think about my life plans in a slightly different way than I used to. I want to make sure that what I do after college is something that I'm passionate about, something that I feel is in God's will, something that makes a difference. Just because I'm not in a relationship doesn't mean that I need to feel like I'm missing anything - but I think many girls fall into the trap of thinking about their lives as what they do - until they get married. As if post-graduate life is a happy, eventful, but empty Act II until they finally meet Prince Charming, have their fairy tale wedding, and live in their happy ending.

So we're talking about this in class, and even though we talk quite a lot about how women are defined as "the other" in relation to men and how we're the dependent in this patriarchal society, for some reason today more than other days I was seized by this sudden fear that I would define my life by the waiting for and hopefully marriage to some amazing man (he will be amazing, just in case you were wondering). And my defensiveness kicked in - I don't want my life's happiness or importance or fulfillment to be defined by anyone, not a man especially, even he will be my husband. I don't want to feel like my pre-marriage years were any less fulfilled because of the lack of a man. And my independent nature started to question whether I want to be held back at all by any relationships, so as not to define a life well lived by the influence of anybody else -

And this is where something else kicked in. It isn't having a man, really, that makes life worth living - but it is the relationships. Yeah, they're scary and they mean being vulnerable and I can try to get defensive about needing them, but I do. I can't even imagine a life where I didn't have the close relationships I have now. One of the main reasons my life is so different than it was a year and a half ago is because of the openness and intimacy I've had with my friends. Everywhere I look and everything I've learned has reinforced that loving others is a secret key to life. More than my career. More than my comfort. More than my independence.

So yes, I do want my life to be defined by others. By their needs, by their love, by their friendships, by their lives.

Still, until that last love story is written, I'm not living any less.

Why are there strawberries on the Equal sweetner packs?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

April Fool's Day!

I feel like the end of winter semester is so much longer than the end of fall semester. We've been "ending" ever since the week or so after Spring Break, I feel. I don't like it, or the massive amounts of work I've been dealing with. Therefore, I blog.

Script Frenzy started today. Whoops. I sorta know what I'm going to write about, though. I would have some time this weekend to write, but I'm shooting. I would have time next week to write, but my screenplay is due, I would have time next weekend to write, but the following week I have two 8 page papers and three exams. Maybe the weekend after that. Yes, maybe by the 18th I'll have started my screenplay for Script Frenzy.

One of my biggest pet peeves is knowing that I had things I wanted to blog about but forgetting what they were once I actually sit down to write.

I found out a couple of weeks ago that one of my friends might be moving out to LA after December graduation. That would be kinda fun, having someone I knew out there that will be familiar with the area.

I finally got my fourth main actor for "Join This Group?" committed. Of course, it means pushing up the shooting time on Sunday, like we had to on Friday as well. But hey, we've got the actor. Whew. I can't even hardly think about shooting because of all the academic stuff I have due this week. There's still a lot to do - hey, let's not even think about post yet, m'kay? I was going to have a whole week after exams finished to sit around campus and do nothing. Absolutely nothing. I was going to write and watch movies and edit. But I thought over things more practically and realized that it would be better if I worked that week instead of during exams. So now my post exam week will be all about working, watching movies, and editing. I will probably get too lazy to write.

I took a nap this afternoon and woke up with a crease that ran from above my eyebrow to the corner of my lip. I had class in ten minutes. I did not manage to get the crease to go completely away.

I'm reading the screenplay of Garden State right now (it's like research and learning... but also relaxation!). I love this movie. Lost it. The more I watch it and read it and study it, I just fall in love. Brilliance. If you disagree with me, I pretty much will dismiss you - as a person.

Sometimes I want the old studio system back. You know, when talent would contract with a studio for a length of time, not for individual projects. Maybe it's the sense of stability that appeals to me. Really, I think I just like the collaborative nature of that system, always working with the same people. I would love to have that here on campus, a group of film students who all work together and are committed to each other's projects. There's a loose sense of that. We'll openly call for help with productions. And I'm lucky enough to be close enough friends with a couple of other film students that we can shoot a 6 minutes short on the weekend no problem. But what I really want, what I really think would be cool, would be to have a group of 8ish students who are all committed - no washing out - to a project that spans a semester or even a year. A group of people who've caught a vision together. And the pursuit of that vision is not a chore or a job or work. It's a desire.

I'm not a very practical person, though. I'm the one who'll come up with the big idea, get really excited, and may eventually lose momentum, especially if I'm on my own. I'm not always that good at sharing my big ideas either. But maybe, maybe we'll try with this. We'll see.

So much babbling. I wonder sometimes how you put up with it all.

Overheard in a Screening (Christopher Strong):

"Courage conquers death."
"But not love."