Wednesday, November 30, 2005


i will be in chicago from tomorrow (December 1) through December 7 for work. I'm shooting a series of christmas specials for the travel channel so it'll be lots of crazy lights, crazy santas and lots of trees. so if anyone wants to try and get together (i'll be staying at the InterContinental on Michigan Ave), give me a call at 818 749 5077. i don't know what email access will be like so phone is best.

yay for chicago! boo for 30 degree weather (it was 75 in LA today)

Monday, November 21, 2005


After 6 days of waking up at 5am for work, today was the first day I was able to kind of sleep in. I'm still technically "working," but it's just equipment pickup for the bullriding adventure tomorrow, when I fly out to Oklahoma. It's amazing how nice it feels to sleep, knowing that you don't have anything pressing to make you leap out of bed.

Tuesday and Wednesday I worked on some shoe commercials for a Mexican shoe company. It was nice to be back on a set, despite the usual production problems. It's nice to travel and to be operating, but there's something in the order and rightness of a film set. There's a routine inspite of the changes of each shoot. Plus, I got to hang out with some grips that I hadn't seen for awhile. Film in LA forces you to make mini-families out of each show, where you become fairly close but then not see the person for ages, if at all. It's like a little reunion each time you work with someone again - most of the time a feeling of pleasure and happiness at seeing a familiar face. Unless the person is a total tool, then it's dread.

On Thursday I started work on a short film that I joined from a friend passing my name along to the DP. It was a 1st AC gig on a panasonic sdc 900, which wasn't complicated at all, so I gladly accepted. One of the weirdest shows i've ever been on. Period.

The concept of the film involved a kid being admited to a psych hospital to undergo electric shock therapy and causing his doctor to die through various mental manipulations. The cast was "names" - Daryl Sabsara (of spy kids fame), Margo Kidder (the original Lois Lane), Margaret Travolta (yes, John's sister) and 2 other gentlemen who have been in a million movies and you recognize on sight but can't place them. All very cool people. The crew, for the most part, was pretty good. The DP was not familiar with video and tried to overcompensate, which led him to be neurotic and bossy, which pissed a lot of people off. I got along with him ok, but he was hard to support because I didn't agree with how he treated a lot of the crew. He brought in an operator so he could concentrate on lighting, and that guy was awesome. Bryan definitely made the show much more bearable and I don't know if I could have survived it without him.

The first 3 days went relatively smoothly. Lots of issues, but thankfully none in camera. Focus was kind and the camera behaved, so we just had to watch other departments scramble around with limited equipment and poor communication between keys. Good times.

It was yesterday (sunday) that was the kicker. We started out in Norwalk, at the mental hospital where our first 3 days took place. Shot there for about 5 hours, then after much hemming and hawing, moved up to a house in Studio City, up in the hills. (the whole move, to get everyone from A to B took about 3 hours) The house was one of those odd architectual creations that rich people think are awesome but are completely unfriendly and uninviting. The only redeeming factors were 1) the view of the whole san fernando valley 2) the giant sliding glass doors that opened up the living room and 3) the hot tub that had the water flowing over the brim so it had the infinity effect. Anyway, we got to the house, figured out where the first shot would be and the adults went off to plan. That led to a stedicam op being called on an hour's notice and more hours spent trying to figure out that shot. That went off relatively smooth and we moved into closeups.

Here's where it started to go wrong. We set up to do the closeup of Daryl, and in the scene he walks through the kitchen with a knife and scares his mother. I set up the camera and we were setting Daryl's mark. I leaned down to place the mark, not realizing that he was holding the knife. Yep, you guessed it. I stabbed myself in the head with the knife. Just a little cut, not deep but it bled a lot and still hurts like hell. The worst part about it is Daryl felt really bad, even though it was my carelessness that caused it. I told him he had a great story to tell how some AC pissed him off so he stabbed her. That at least got him smiling. We finally got the shot, with my poor forehead with its bandaid.

Then we moved back to the basement, to redo the first shot with the stedicam. While setting it up, the homeowner (who was now drunk) started to argue with the producers over the rate and payment for the rental of the house. The homeowner then cut the breaker box twice, causing the director to scream at him, "we'll pay you your fucking money." One producer and the homeowner started to yell at each other and the homeowner pushed the producer. This led to an all out brawl, with the producer punching the guy in the nose and the producer's shirt being ripped to shreds. The other producer (note: both producers were ex-marines) got the homeowner in a hold and finally subdued him. All this time the guy's girlfriend (who was the location contact) was screaming at the top of her lungs, which made it sound like someone was being killed. We got the hell out of the house as soon as possible and went to a bar down the road to unwind.

Strangest shoot ever.

Spending the morning recovering, then lots of errands this afternoon. Flying super early tomorrow, but it gets me into Dallas around noon, then Ardmore, Ok sometime early afternoon. Yay for seeing Josh!

Friday, November 11, 2005


Josh called me today and told me, due to a change of schedule, he isn't coming home before thanksgiving. not happy. i can't do anything about it, nor can i blame anyone since it's just a change of scheduling. it just sucks. it's not even 2 weeks until i go out there for thanksgiving and i'm working next week so the time will pass by faster, but it would have been nice to see him.

1) Due to unemployment and the lack of cable, i often find myself watching Oprah on my days off since the only thing on other than news is Martha, and i'm not a big fan. Oprah is the lesser of 2 evils (not by much) but today's show may have changed that. The first half of the show was about Beyonce's new fashion line and the 2nd half was about The Color Purple. Not just about the book, or the film. But the new broadway show, which, coincidentally, is produced by Ms Oprah herself. One of the worst instances of self-promotion I have EVER seen. Me Me Me Me. Wow. I was ashamed to watch it.

2) It's friday night and i'm sitting on the couch, drinking wine, knitting and watching bad ABC tv. I need a life.

3) I now can't remember what the 3rd point was due to the wine. oops.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

When I went to the mall today to look for something to wear to JW and LeAnn's wedding over thanksgiving, I stopped by JCrew and saw that this sweater I have been wanting was on sale for over half off. Not that I need any sweaters in LA or anything, but it was so cute and green. Of course I bought it, and since I didn't buy anything for the wedding, I felt like I came out even in the end. Ah, shopper's logic.
So many things to comment on...


I have been in vegas for work for the past 2 weeks, so in addition to being my normal lazy self, I did not have internet access in the "fabulous" Excalibur hotel and I did not feel like paying for internet, so no updates. But here I am...

The reason I was in Vegas was for the TLC show I've been working on, which actually has a title now: "Beyond the Bull." Much to my surprise, bullriding is actually quite addictive and after spending weekend after weekend around these guys, you actually form quite an attachment. I feel like after the show is over, I will still follow it to some degree, especially since Josh is addicted to it and going to an event is nothing like anything else you've ever been to. The production value is amazing (pyrotechnics, lots of music) and the crowd knows more about the riders than any other sport. The riders are also extremely approachable and most sign autographs at the end of each event. Now that the season is over, it will be weird not to have the events to look forward to each weekend (not to mention the work). Oh well.

Vegas was the finals for the season and there were 8 rounds of rides to follow. The winner was a guy named Justin McBride, who has come close to winning the past couple of years but someone always eeks out ahead. His last ride was amazing - he basically was bucked off but refused to let go so he rode the bull sideways for the last few seconds. Then, after the buzzer at 8 seconds, he jumped off, and there was this huge dogpile of riders and bullfighters, which happened right in front of my camera so I got the best shots ever! There was confetti and million dollar bills dropped from the ceiling. The crowd was screaming and you couldn't help but get totally wrapped up in the excitement of it all. Amazing.

The last assignment for the show that I have is to help cover the wedding of one of the riders over Thanksgiving. I was planning on going to Oklahoma anyway to spend Thanksgiving with Josh so now my flight is being covered and I get paid to travel. Not too bad. It will be interesting to see his life out in Ardmore, where he's been basically living for the past 4 months.


Otherwise, I'm back in LA now and it's weird to see all the Christmas stuff start to come out. I drove through Griffith Park the other day and it was eerie because they have the trail of lights stuff out, but not set up completely, so it looks like a graveyard for tacky Christmas decorations. Palm trees and Christmas don't really go together, but a few of the regular trees are changing color so that's nice to see.


Yesterday was elections on a series of propositions in California and I was happy to see that all were defeated. I actually voted, the first time since the 2000 election (I was out of state for the 2004 election and never got my mail-in ballot), so I actually felt like I kind of knew what was going on. The biggest defeat for me was Prop 73, which would have required a minor to give parental notification in the case of an abortion. No one, especially a minor, should have to put themselves in danger of an abusive situation just because a bunch of old men deemed it to be that way. Sure, you want every parent to be supportive of their child, no matter the situation, but that's just not the case and I would rather avoid the issue than for it to take someone getting seriously hurt or killed for the law to come back on the chopping block. It will be interesting to see how Arnold handles this setback, especially since the props have gotten dems even more riled up against him.


After voting I went and saw Jarhead. Beautiful movie that was quite good. The Iraq stuff was amazing and there are some amazing visuals with the sand (don't want to spoil the magic for those who haven't seen it). Jake Gyllenhaal is fantastic and can carry the film and Peter Sarsgaard is a perfect compliment. Even Jamie Foxx, who can be overpowering, fit in to the ridiculousness of the film. (And yes I did need to look up how to spell Gyllenhaal and Sarsgaard).

After Jarhead, I went for something lighter and saw North Country. Not as good. Charlize Theron was good but it felt like another "make her not as attractive, yet still more attractive than anyone else in the film and let her cry to Oscar glory" film. It was also cut oddly, with a lot of flashbacks and flashforwards that were more confusing than helpful. There was also the rally the troop speech at the end that never seems to fit. Definitely better pictures than this one this year.

Today it's raining so I need to determine how motivated I am to getting out and about. Don't have too much to do, but I should go to the bank and the grocery store for the things I forgot yesterday. Maybe I'll walk with an umbrella (shocking!) and not have to deal with my car (which is getting "washed" so yay!). I also bought a huge basil plant at trader joes yesterday so maybe i'll figure out something to make with basil (yum!). Later gators...