I just had to go somewhere. Screw classes. Screw film school politics. I can sleep in my car. Drove past Santa Barbara to a state park beach. $10 – I’ll nap til the afternoon and be on my way.
Posts Tagged ‘california’
America, like South Africa, has worlds within worlds within worlds, like a cultural Russian doll. The outer layer is my least favourite, although it can be fun. I like the others more. But you don’t really see them when you’re driving around in your car, even whizzing past on a bike. That’s why I decided to talk the five miles to Cinco de Mayo celebrations in Santa Ana, the not-so-little Mexico of Orange, CA.
I saw yellow butterflies, and baby squirrels (so cute) and lots of bright wild daisies and jasmine and men selling flowers.
Rabid bats are plaguing California! Well actually, one rabid bat was discovered after it died, and someone bothered to figure out why it snuffed it, NPR recently reported. But of course it’s news, because well, it’s awesome news, offering great punning opportunities, and in the past, people have died after being bitten.
This is America, so a few searches turned up some cool signs, advising people not to fondle bats, no matter how adorable they were.
The question I have, though, is this: How do you tell if a bat is crazy? Do they fly all over the place with their eyes closed? No, they do that already. Or, do they start bumping into walls suddenly? Swooping down to steal fat people’s hamburgers?
Maybe you know for sure if you find a bat in your kitchen, making itself a cup of coffee or reading the newspaper.
I have no idea what these pictures are of. That didn’t stop me offering my opinion.
I wasn’t there. I don’t know exactly where my fellow student and cinematographer Alex Griffin was when he took these photos. Maybe you can tell him? (Here’s all the detail he supplied: “The first bunch are actually in a bathroom. Very odd. Had a sign asking not to take anything down.”)
Somewhere in California, I suppose.
Thanks, Alex. If anyone else wants to send me photos of signs to blog about, feel free. I’m keen. You may not be!
Do I have to blog about it every time I go to Los Angeles? Well, probably, until it stops seeming like a place of magic and dreams; everything I expected of it and more.
Been going to LA a lot at the moment because the Writer’s Guild is holding a weekly interview / screening / discussion series with famous TV writers – last week was an amazing session with Steve Levitan of Modern Family. Today I got roped in to checking out Friends‘ Marta Kauffman and David Crane. And I didn’t expect it to be half as amazing as it was. I loved it so much that I now… briefly wanted to watch the whole 10 episodes of the series for (believe this or not) the first time. I doubt I’ll actually go through with it though, don’t worry.
Anyhow, we wound up at Barney’s Beanery afterwards. It is awesome – and proof that America will turn anything – ANYTHING, NO MATTER HOW ALTERNATIVE – into a commercial undertaking. The place is basically a collection of all the USA’s rock ‘n roll glorification, thrown together in a faux dive bar atmosphere, with a technology coulis.
Of course, you want it to seem “real”, right?
Orange trees are awesome. They’re laden with fruit at the moment, and covered in blossoms. Multitasking. And everywhere things are going crazy. The world feels new. Yeah, I have those kinds of songs in my head. So shoot me.
The days are lengthening. The nights are cool instead of chilly. The sun is giddy in the sky. I am beginning to think about the sea and look forward to playing in cold, salty waves again. And tonight, while filling a not-awkward silence with awkward conversation all of my own making, I remembered nasturtium sandwiches and spent a while attempting to explain why anyone would want to eat them. My mom used to make them for us. They were really simple when I was a kid: Fresh, white bread, preferably warm. Spread with too much butter. Cut nasturtium leaves and place on top. Eat! There’s a fancy pancy version here where you blend the leaves in with cream cheese and place the flowers (which taste sweeter) on top as garnish, which I might have to try with my new discovery, queso fresca or “fresh cheese”, which is like salty ricotta that doesn’t stick in your throat – really delicious.
Anyhow, I remembered playing treasure hunting with my little brother and stopping to eat nasturtium sandwiches in the shade of a saringa tree, and that, among other things, not all of which are memories, made me smile.
But anyway, for whatever reason, it’s good to feel this way today.
I drove to LA for a meeting yesterday morning. I felt like a real screenwriter. You know, driving to LA with a pitch to meet a director in a coffeeshop. On too little sleep. Let’s just say it – it felt real and unreal.
And sure, it might not work out (thought the meeting went well) but I’m just enjoying this. This is the time when, even if I’m consumed by panic, there’s still time to dream. Everything could still be perfect. And LA is a wonderful place to dream because in LA, a dreamer is never alone, although not every dreamer can afford the coffee.
I sat next to two old guys. They were discussing something one of them had written. On the left, two women gave each other notes on a screenplay. A few tables down, two Americans had an intelligent political discussion about Libya. Then went back to discussing a movie they’d like to make. Dreams, dreams, dreams, everywhere here.
If I’ve learned anything in the last four years is that nothing – no matter how wonderful or how terrible – is impossible. I could… find love? Maybe when I’m not looking for it, cause like, I need it like I need a hole in the head. Another hole in the head. It’s possible.
Or I could wind up a struggling screenwriter, working somewhere, writing something, living in a small but beautiful apartment in an area with really good fish tacos within walking distance.
Or they might send me home to South Africa, where I could… write that movie nobody here ever sees. Or that movie that wins a foreign movie Oscar. Same thing really – except then South Africans won’t watch it either.
I guess I hung around for a while. I bought three different colors of nail laquer so that I could paint all my nails different colours. Then I left. And on the way, I passed this writing on the wall: THIS IS NOT AS GOOD AS IT GETS.
I’ve discovered Adrenaline – the miracle drug that has remarkably few side effects, unless a slightly stiff neck or the odd bruise counts. In the last few weeks I’ve been to Disney, Skiing, and to Six Flags, where the rollercoasters stretch for a mile.
These places are so artificial they make Venice look like a real city. But often they’re exactly what I need.
The pros and cons of movie making… what I learned from the last month of filming all our final projects.
Well let’s start with the cons: You can never control the results as much as you’d like to. The hours are long, and always longer than you expect. You don’t get to sleep. Creative egos are bound to lead to clashes. And technical stuff will always trip you up at the very last minute. So, nothing I’m not used to from working as a journalist!
The pros make all the cons worth it: The end result of what you made with other people is better than anything you could do alone. It doesn’t matter how long filming or editing or writing takes, because you love every minute of it. Sleep is overrated, unless you have nothing better to do. Creative egos challenge you to do your best. Technology allows amazing new things to be done every day, reviving that sense of wonder you had as a kid.
I took a whole bunch of photos of signs, but I’m sure you’d rather watch movies than look at photos. So I’ll post links to those I was involved with. And a few I just happen to think are really good, too.
Mine – Steal My Heart
I wrote, directed, edited and produced this – on a $30 budget. But I could not have done that without the help of my amazing cinematographers, actors, and everyone else who helped me out – all credited. Not bad for a 4.5 hour total shoot time. The editing took a little longer!
John Nodorft – Rifle Ave.
We talked about it a lot, and I co-wrote the screenplay with him. He did what every writer dreams of having done – he made it happen even better than I could have imagined. He is now my hero forever.
Ezra Lunel – Lucky Guys
Very much a work in progress. But I love what he’s doing with this so far. He and I workshopped his initial idea in a over coffee. Then he let me go mad writing, gave me frequent and fast feedback, and made me star in the movie at the end. It was great working with him – the actors will back me up here. And the movie was shot by John Nodorft – so it looks fantastic. Designed to be watched full screen.
John McKay – Punchline
Suspect you’ll only be able to watch this if you are his friend on Facebook. I helped write the screenplay, and learned a lot about how collaboration works in the process. Sometimes you got to just let go, and let the director make the final decisions. The results may surprise you.
That’s what I can find. I guess I’ll add others as they show up.
I had nothing to do with these, but I like them
Kennedy Phillips – Autopilot
Daniel McDonald – Sorry I Forgot Our Anniversary
Mike Fitzgerald – Niko and Claudia
Also liked but can’t embed vimeo on stupid wordpress.
Sarah Wilson Thacker – Freeze Dance
Windsor Yuan – The Day After
Charles J. Gibson – First day
Bruce Meyers – Cousins
Ah, finals week. The more stressed I get, the more vulnerable I am to sillyiness. I find myself surfing sites like Texts from Last Night and People of Wallmart. I click on every youtube link a facebook friend posts. I reply to discussions that I should really stay out of, exposing my ignorance of American culture. What’s next – enjoying Christmas music? Let’s hope I don’t lose it that completely…
Anyhow, this perfectly suited my mood. Posted by @orangecountygal, someone I follow on twitter, but have never met. Add her if you haven’t already.