This is an ever-evolving story of a girl writer and her two greatest loves, the movies and travel. As she hikes the trenches of Hollywood, you're brought along for the ride.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Pitching Scripts & Hummingbird Antics

Let me just say that trying to sell a screenplay is exhausting. In fact, I would say it’s more tiring than actually writing the script. Not that this is really news. Pitching a script is sort of like pavement-pounding over hot coals the middle of the Sahara desert with no sunscreen. I guess that must mean that I’m somewhat masochistic in wanting to be a writer, and even more so, for wanting to be a screenwriter. Nevertheless, I march on with whatever tattered optimism I have left.

Between pitching and writing, I would rather be writing -- any day. The ideas are always floating in my mind and I let them incubate as long as is necessary. However, at some point, I have to sit down to type the ideas out. This poses a problem. It's not the writing that is particularly difficult, it’s the sitting. See, I’m not a sitter. I’m usually bustling with activity like a hummingbird.

So, if I’m planning to write and I actually sit down in front of the computer without hopping up 50 times, a la Nicolas Cages' character in Adaptation, I consider that writing session to already be a success.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Grass Is Greener

I want this blog to continue to be entertaining so I’ll put my best words forward. I’ll share the oddness, the high points, the lows, and the randomness of my life, as it’s been…

There are thousands upon thousands of people in the entertainment business, especially here in Los Angeles. However, looking at “The Big Picture” ( good flick, by the way)… relatively few people in the general population get to experience the reality of this fantasy world, we call entertainment.

My initiation came, quite expectedly, at the very bottom of the food chain: Production assistant, that is. Unlike most jobs on the planet, there is no standard ‘job description’ for a film P.A. There’s both dread (and an pleasure ) in knowing that every day will bring surprises of every sort imagineable.

Within a few days of my generic P.A. title on that first film gig, I moved up to craft service. For those of you wondering, craft service provides the cast and crew with beverages, snacks, gum/mints, chewable vitamin C and the like - in between catered meals. If you read US Weekly or Star or any of those other tabloid entertainment mags ( and who doesn’t?), you’ll know that the craft service table is the area that many celebrities are trying to avoid.

The craft service table really isn’t evil though. Most of the time, there are healthy items – like fresh fruit, veggies, crackers, and protein bars. However, there’s something about long hours and general boredom on the set that often leads to temptation – like caramel brownies, wilted cheesecake leftover from lunch, stale bagels, trail mix oozing with melted M&M's, de-glazed Krispy Crème donuts that have been picked over and crumbled by many a crew member. You’d be surprised what you may find yourself eating, and then you’ll wash it all down with Turkish coffee and your four or fifth Coke of the day. By then, the caffeine barely even kicks in... but the sugar high does wonders...

There’s a certain nostalgia in that first P.A. / Crafty job. Certain memories stand out. The first day of filming, we shot at an old prison, and I sat around in an abandoned prison cell most of the day. It had a cement floor, no real windows, and everything (including the toilet) was bolted to the floor. “Yeah, this is glamour,” I thought at the time. “If only people really knew…” Then, someone would yell on my walkie that there was no bottled water left in the cooler ( a catastrophe, for sure), and I’d go from zero to marathon woman in a mad dash toward my car.

I also remember the dubious task of buying chewing tobacco for a few crew people. As an innocently naïve-looking Nebraska girl, I always felt like an idiot at the quickie mart –

“Yeah, I’d like some more of that Skoal’s. The good stuff, you know, the fine cut stuff.”

The cashier would always look at me suspiciously before handing it over.
“Is this for you?”
“Um…yeah…it’s for me…I really should quit, but…you know, it’s just that—“

I’d catch myself starting to babble and realize that I’d better get back to set. The cashier would always raise his eyebrows and say something like: “Hmm-mmm” before handing over the goods. He knew I was a bad liar.

Then, there were the coffee runs, which I won’t even get into.

The best example of showing how ‘green’ I was to the biz, at first, is perfectly illustrated here. We were shooting at a local park when the director motioned me over.

“Go to the hardware store,” he said, and “match this…”

Then, he handed me a clump of grass. I was confused. Was this a trick? A riddle?
No. Apparently, there was a brown patch of lawn near the camera that looked ugly and they wanted to see if they could spray-paint it green, like nature intended, so it would look like the rest of the grass.



Me standing at the counter… looking like a moron.

With the grass still clumped in my hand, I sought out an employee to help me find an appropriate color. I walked out with two cans of “grass paint”, wondering how this was possibly going to work.

Once I got back to set, they did a test patch. After one spritz, everyone agreed that it looked pretty fake. How could they not have seen this coming? Back at the hardware store, I had some explaining to do. I set the spray paint on the counter and explained flatly, “Uh, the paint didn’t match the grass right. Can I get a refund?”

Unlike the grass at the park, I was most certainly green. However, I became seasoned quickly, and with all the jobs and everything else I’ve done since then, I've become nearly as seasoned as Wolfgang Puck's latest dish, yet I continue to learn more...

Saturday, April 21, 2007

My Backstory

Here's the third dose of Cocoa & Caffeine... and with that, I feel as though I should provide a little background about myself to initiate those of you who have stumbled across this blog.

I spent most of my life in Omaha, Nebraska -- smack dab in the middle of the country. Considering how many years I spent there, I still consider it to be home of sorts. My entire family still lives there. I'm feel very lucky to have the duality of both L.A. and Omaha to call home. In my opinion, it's the best of both worlds. Omaha provides a good relief from L.A. traffic, people, and the overall rat race.

I got degree in journalism and advertising, and subsequently spent two of the most miserable years of my life re-adjusting to a post-collegiate life of no direction. I had a degree, but I ended up selling watches at Dillard's at the Crossroads Mall in Omaha. I was at a dead end.

I wasn't the only miserable one, as one of my best friends, Kristen, can attest.

Her blog is at:, Kristen and I spent many "miles" of treadmill-walking at 24 Hour Fitness in Bellevue, hoping that our lives would improve someday ( and spending a great deal of time complaining about the weather.)

In retrospect, I feel that I should apologize to the city of Omaha, because when I was miserable -- I blamed Omaha. I felt that maybe if I lived somewhere else, a bigger city, I'd have my life together -- more opportunity, more excitement. Now, I realize that it was the city's fault. That's just the way life is when you're at the brink of a quarter-life crisis.

Now I know, it doesn't really matter where you live. You might prefer to live in a certain city or locale, but to obtain happiness, however elusive a concept it is, one must really look within. And that's something I didn't realize. Another lesson I learned is that sometimes you don't really know a place until you've left. When I left Omaha, I was in a place in my life that I had to leave. There were no other options for me. Now, of course, I appreciate Omaha in a way that I never did, in all the years I lived there. It's strange how that happens. When I go back, I end up taking pictures of clouds and cornfields and sunsets and cows... because they're beautiful and interesting. It makes me laugh. (One of my sunset pictures is displayed in an earlier post.)

Between temping and selling Gucci watches, I worked on my first film -- a small indie film. I hauled ass doing craft service for the 18-day shoot, working 6 days a week, in Omaha, in the middle of June. It was hard work, no doubt about it. However, for the first time, it occurred to me that my daydreams of working "in the movies" could become a reality. After working another movie, a year later, I dumped a full-time job offer at Kinko's ( of which I have no regrets) and hightailed it to L.A. to give the film business a shot. My parents were far from pleased, but I think they've forgiven me.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

No Writer's Woes Today - Article Updates

Article Updates:
A new article of mine posted in the Los Angeles Edition of Broowaha today. Sometimes you don't get politically charged on certain issues until it hits you directly. Check out my "California Borders - The American Experience" article at the following link:

Other very recent articles are posted at:

As well as my "Greasy Chicken And The Friendly Frenchman" article at:

Monday, April 16, 2007

The First Dose Of Cocoa And Caffeine....

First and foremost, I'm both a writer and a creator. I would be the first to admit that I'm eccentrically creative. Give me some scraps of paper, a pinecone, some paint, glitter, stickers, and a felt-tip pen, and you never know what you might get. As a creative person, I constantly need outlets for all my artistic and literary ideas. It occurred to me recently that I can no longer ignore the blogosphere and new media of these days. This is my new venture!

This blog is for all of you who have the courage to pursue what you wanted to do as a kid and for those of you who need the encouragement to pursue that dream-- whatever it might be. There's always time. For me, that dream was writing, creating, traveling, and "working in the movies." It's a tough, continually-evolving dream, but I've already succeeded because I'm doing it. The scariest part of the unknown is taking that first step...

So, perk up with some cocoa (my favorite) and some caffeine (your choice) and I'll take you on my journey from the prairies and cornfields of Nebraska, where I grew up, to the fast and furious, urbanized film mecca of Los Angeles where I hike the Hollywood trenches every day. May my journey bring you the courage ( and the realities) to pursue your own enchanted journey.