Thursday, September 9, 2010

That's how I hurt my back. Doing roundhouse kicks over a chair.

So, I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news. I’m going to go ahead and give you the bad news so we can work our way up. My script didn’t get chosen. Big whoop, I say. I’m actually kind of relieved about it. I felt rushed and forced to submit a story that I didn’t really want to tell. So now I can sit on the idea a little longer. That’s it for the bad news. Not so bad, right? Now for the good news. I got assigned as the D.P. on a project! Whoop, whoop! For those who don’t know, the D.P. is the Director of Photography (Cinematographer).

To borrow (copy) from a book I’ve been reading, Movie Speak by Tony Bill, the D.P. assumes control of all aspects of the cinematography, sets up the shot, directs, the lighting, talks to the director about camera moves, etc. In addition to all of that I will also handle the storyboarding, setting up lights, and creating the final color grade of the film.

It’s gonna be awesome. I’m really excited to get to work on this script and begin learning every aspect of the filmmaking process so that hopefully I can start making my own back at IWU.

Speaking of getting to work, I took the 2-3 mile hike up to Sunset Blvd. or as I like to call it, the BPZ (Beautiful People Zone), to start my internship at Asylum Entertainment. I got there early and chilled out in the lobby of the Director’s Guild of America (DGA) building so I could stop sweating (the entire 2-3 mile hike is uphill) before I headed to the 2nd floor which houses the Asylum offices. After some routine paperwork (I got to sign a confidentiality form!), I was shown to my desk, shown to my co-workers and boss (Emmy and Peabody-winning boss), and then was shown to my work. Which was.....watching tv! Yes, that is what I did all day. I watched shows produced by Asylum and took notes on shows like......*remembers confidentiality form*....oh yeah. That’s all the intel you’ll get out of this guy. I’m a man of my word.

At 5 o’clock, I began the walk back to Park La Brea, I just let gravity do most of the work, and I saw a few interesting sights. The first one actually occurred when I was headed to McDonald’s. I came across a real life hippie woman. As I walked past her, she gave me the peace sign (who still does that?). “Hey man,” she said as if wanting to be viewed as a stoner/hippie stereotype. “Do you want to help rid the world of nuclear weapons?” I mean, that sounds great and all but at that time one of those new berry smoothies sounded even greater. So I just muttered, “No thank you.”

*sidenote/interupption: it’s 12:30 as I write this and someone just went past my apartment building shouting the F word very loudly.

Anyway, so now some stoner/hippie in Los Angeles thinks I love nuclear weapons and junk.

*other sidenote/interupption: the new smoothies at McDonald’s are stankin’ good.

Another interesting sight I had was on the corner of Fairfax and Santa Monica on my voyage back to the A.P.T. I saw a man, sitting at the corner, indian-style, chanting very obnoxiously with his hands raised to the sky. He also had a pug sitting on his lap.

Shortly after that, I came to a spot on the sidewalk where a tree was rendering half of the sidewalk inoperable. I noticed I was on a collision course with an amazing long haired fellow that was coming the opposite way. Sooooo, I stepped off to the side and let him through first. As he came out from behind the tree, he smirked, clenched his fist, and laid on his chest cavity. He didn’t bump his chest like some meathead sports celebration, he just simply laid his fist on his chest. I don’t know if it was some kind of new agey gang symbol. Either way, we had a mutual respect, me and that long haired dude. Respect.

Other interesting adventures include my first use of public transportation. Kyle (roommate #3) and I went on a late afternoon downtown adventure this past...Labor Day. We hopped on a bus and headed east, right to the heart of Los Angeles. We had no idea where we were going. We just knew we wanted to see stuff. The first stop on our tour was the famous bench from (500) Days of Summer.

Taken with 17 days left of summer.

Then we aimlessly wandered around a small section of downtown. We saw the famous 2nd Street tunnel (used in Terminator 2) and the Walt Disney Concert Hall (from The Soloist). Oddly, everything was closed on Labor Day, all the restaurants anyway. So, we asked a security guard if there were any good Chinese eateries nearby. He told us to go to Chinatown. What a smart alec. Eventually, we found ourselves inside the Omni Hotel asking for directions. It’s a four diamond hotel....which sounds pretty impressive. And it was impressive. I used their bathroom. I probably wasn't allowed but they seemed to think I was a guest because everyone kept opening doors for me.

Long story short: we gave up on finding food downtown and just went home and found a Chinese place a few blocks away. Sweet. And. Sour. Baby.

In conclusion! I thought I might add that I was in the hot tub tonight, minding my own business, when I look over and see this man sitting opposite me:

Recognize him? He’s Conrad Ecklie from CSI (Grissom’s arch-nemesis)!

Also, here a few things I overheard in the office today:
"That's how I hurt my back. Doing roundhouse kicks over a chair."

"And that's why I don't drunk Tweet anymore."


This is where I work.

This image could scar 1000 children for life.

Video Dump!!

Walking down Hollywood Blvd. (crazy amount of people)

More Hollywood Blvd. (People gathered around Michael Jackson's star)

(500) Days of Summer

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What an adventure, gang.

What an eventful few days it has been here in Los Angeles. First off, I'd just like to clarify: It turns out that every weekday is trash day here in Park La Brea. Yes, every morning I'm awaken by the sound of hydraulics, scraping metal, and falling debris. Here's the Garbage Truck from Hell:

At the beginning of the video you hear just how loud he can get, he was relatively quiet when I was recording him.....Almost as if he knew...

The lack of sleep hasn't been dampening my fun in Hollywoodland. So fear not. I'm having plenty of fun. I just finished my first big homework assignment: writing a script for a short film (6-8 pages; no more than 10). I, of course, utilized all the real estate that I could and ended up with a 10 page script. Out of the 46 or so students at LAFSC, only 4 will have their scripts turned into shorts. Part of me really wants my script to be picked. But another part of me doesn't. I really like the story that I've constructed and if it gets picked, I'll have to hand it off to my fellow students to work on. I won't have much say in how the script is interpreted by the director. Alas, this is the life of the Hollywood screenwriter and I'd better get use to it.

I found my new favorite place to write this week as well. In the basement of my apartment building, in the laundry room. Nobody is ever down there. It's relatively quiet and it smells nice and I can sit down there and write while I wait for my laundry to dry. And it's pretty creepy down there; which can be inspirational at times. (I say this as if I've been down there more than once.)

Besides writing and laundering, we had several great experiences as a group this past weekend. First off, we all traveled to Hollywood Blvd. and got a tour of the Kodak Theatre.

If you don't know what the Kodak Theatre is it's where the Oscars are held every year. And it was elegant. Super nice. Well, the actual auditorium was under construction (Cirque De Soleil is moving in for 10 years and they'll be performing at next year's Oscars.....You didn't hear that from me.) No pictures were allowed in the theatre which is a shame but I guess when you have so many celebrities packed into one place, security is an issue. Probably the best part of the tour was walking down winner's lane. Its the hallway where stars have to walk through after they win there award. I walked down the same hall as Denzel Washington, Kathryn Bigelow, Danny Boyle, the Coen Bros., Clint Eastwood. It was awesome! Of course, I wasn't carrying a little golden dude (Oscars weigh 8 pounds) in my hand but I still got to take the walk.

Later that evening we trekked up to the Hollywood Bowl (as seen in Yes Man) for a concert by John Williams. If you don't know who John Williams is I guarantee that you've seen at least one of the many movies he's scored. Let's see do any of these ring a bell?

- Jaws
- Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope
- Superman
- Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
- Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi
- Raiders of the Lost Ark
- E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
- Home Alone
- Hook
- Jurassic Park
- Schindler's List
- Saving Private Ryan
- The Patriot
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Yeah. He's awesome.

Class has been pretty informative the last few days. We've talked about equipment and workflow and crew positions. I applied for crew positions for our big projects this semester. First, I applied for Director of Photography (DP)/Cinematographer. If I get it, I'll be in charge of pretty much everything involving the look of the film. I'll supervise lights, I'll storyboard shots, I'll operate the camera, and I'll probably get to do the final color grading of the film as well. (an aspect of film that has very recently gotten my attention). If I don't get that, then I also have editor to fall back on. I'll be in charge of not only cutting the footage and putting together the final cut but I'll also be the script supervisor on set. That means I'll be in charge of continuity making sure props and actors look consistent from shot to shot. My final option is sound editor. I really have no experience in audio which is why I signed up for it. I would love to learn more. As a sound editor I would be in charge of recording sound on set, editing it, mixing it, ADR, even foley.

Internship update: Since I'm car-less in Los Angeles. I decided not to try to intern at Dreamworks. The more I thought about it, the more I thought that the animation world just isn't right for me. So, I'll be interning at Asylum Entertainment.