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.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Film New Zealand

This will be the shortest of my posts as Im in New Zealand AND using a German keyboard to type which makes it somewhat difficult...long story. Since Ive been here I did have a chance to tour the studio facilities of South Pacific Pictures, the largest film production facility in New Zealand. They produced Whale Rider and currently film several longstanding tv series that air domestically in New Zealand... including Outrageous Fortune and Shortland Street. I will have to see if I can watch them online somewhere as neither of them air in the States. However, both shows are incredibly popular here. Shortland Street has been on the air for 15 years! Now that Im beginning to see more of New Zealand, I cant imagine why there isnt more filming here...the filming community seems to be extremely accommodating and the landscape is incredibly varied! Some parts remind me of Flagstaff, Arizona with all the pines and then other portions remind me of Scotland and Hawaii...New Zealand is such of mixture. I want to film here so I can come back!!!! So...FILM NEW ZEALAND!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Off To Kiwi-Land

I am leaving for New Zealand TODAY! I'm in dire need of an adventure and New Zealand seemed to be the most appropriate place ( and farthest away! ) While I'm away, I am not sure how often I will be able to post. Although, I'll be a world away, I'll be back quicker than I'd like to be, I'm sure. Be sure to visit my travelogue at travelpod
( See the travel pod link on the left of this page.)

I'll have the chance to explore South Pacific Picture's Studios in Auckland, home of the largest film production facilities in New Zealand and explore this amazing, magnificent country.

From a location standpoint, please take a look at some of the tremendous films that have come out of New Zealand ( besides the obvious Lord of the Rings Trilogy.)

My recommends would include:

The World's Fastest Indian (2005)
Based on a true-story, this film follows 67-year-old grandfather and New Zealander Burt Munro (Anthony Hopkins) as he flies across Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats on his customized Indian Scout motorcycle.

Whale Rider (2003)
A Maori tribe must contend with the distinctly non-traditional concept of having a female leader.

The Piano (1994)
Holly Hunter (who won a Best Actress Oscar) plays a strong-willed 19th century Scottish expatriate who arrives in New Zealand with her daughter (Anna Paquin) and her beloved piano. Although betrothed to a farmer (Sam Neill), Hunter falls for former Maori tribesman Harvey Keitel.

Once Were Warriors ( 1994)
A disturbing drama about a woman who fights tooth and nail to keep her family intact with her marriage a shambles and her psyche bruised and betrayed.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Swimming With Guppies

Every now and then, I'll do a post that I'll call, From the archives, that reflects my naive, little observations of Hollywood ( before I lived here ) and bizarre L.A. stories that have actually happened to me. Luckily, I've kept good writing journals over the years...

While still in Nebraska, I'd snagged an interview for a development internship with Baltimore/Spring Creek Pictures. The timing could not have been more perfect. I was planning to visit my friend Kristen in Hawaii and I was able to get a layover in L.A. to scout out the prospects of the internship and L.A. itself. Alas, here's the first installment of From the Archives...
My hastily scrawled directions led us to the studio gates of Warner Bros. At first, I thought, this can't be right, but we pulled up to the studio gates and sure enough, they had a drive-on pass for me. The entrance to Baltimore/Spring Creek Pictures had these huge, thick, gray doors with no windows or anything. It was just slightly intimidating.

I entered and walked down the hallway passed all these framed movie posters. Then, my interviewer led me to a conference room where I sat down at this thick, glass table. Later, he brought me a glass of water. Every time I took a sip, it would clink back on the gigantic, glass table and echo into silence until one of us spoke again.

The room also had a rather long, glass fish tank. I found it ironic: The aquarium was huge, but the fish were so tiny. Basically, everything was made of glass and everything was gigantic. I stared at the fish. I wasn't swimming with sharks yet; I hadn't even graduated to swimming with guppies. This was the first test.

At one point, my interviewer stretched his arm across the gigantic, glass table in order to hand me two scripts. I had to actually stand up to reach them. That was how big the table was -- a two-mile wide ocean of glass between me and my interviewer. I was told to do script coverage on both screenplays and submit the writing samples to them within the week. (Script coverage in a nutshell: read the script, write a logline--the plot in 2 sentences or less, write a detailed synopsis, and give it a rating of "Go" or "Pass.") I thanked my interviewer and told him I'd send the samples right away.

Then, I wandered around, trying in vain to find the "Friends" set. I found what I thought was the set of "Friends" on this studio "city street", but it turned out to be a TV movie.

Later in the week, I was in Hawaii, writing script coverage on the beach. I faxed the results back to Baltimore/Spring Creek. A month later, I was told that I got the internship. They'd been impressed, but I actually had to turn them down because I got an offer to work on another movie. Because of this, I still believe that good things happen after I return from a vacation.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

REJECTIONS & fond memories of my Viewmaster

I’m proud to say that I’ve just been rejected by Woman’s Day. Yes, life will go on… I tell myself. I’ve just brushed away a tear.

This year, besides the screenwriting, I’ve opened myself up to doing all sorts of writing. Why limit myself to only one source of rejection when I can have them all!

Actually, I'm okay with rejection as long as I still believe that someday it will lead to success. Every time I get a rejection notice from a production company, magazine, or any other publication, I embrace it because I truly believe that every “rejection” is that much closer to an acceptance or an ‘option’ ( in screenplay world.)

Plus, it proves that I’m actually doing something. You can’t get rejected if you didn’t show up at the party, now, can you? For a while I was hanging rejection slips on the fridge, but now I just kind of file them away. I’m doing an experiment to see how many rejections it takes to get to the center of the Hollywood game.

According to my online research, on “how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop", Mr. Tootsie Roll Owl suggests that one can reach the center with 'three licks and a bite.'

Now, I don’t know how that relates to making it in Hollywood or writing, but frankly, it scares me because “3 licks and a bite” kind of sounds like it could relate to success in Hollywood, but I don’t think I’m willing to go there…

Although I’m almost certain that some people in Hollywood have succeeded utilizing Mr. Owl’s advice...

Other recent rejections I’m proud to state:
JANE Magazine
The New York Times
Goldie Hawn – unless I become my own studio tomorrow or sign up some A-list talent ( none of which is likely as of this moment.)
South Pacific Pictures – New Zealand ( I obviously need to write in more Maori characters, but I still like ‘em…)

My favorite excuses for Passing on a script:

1. Great writing, but your movie’s just too small for our current slate.

(Now, really, aren’t all movies the same size? I mean the aspect ratio of all theatrical motion picture screens are the same size. Are they saying that MY MOVIE would be only be distributed via Viewmasters? That might actually make it stand out!)
Bring back the viewmasters!

"I just thought the main character was way too pathetic. I couldn't relate to him..." Nor could I tell you the middle or the ending of the story because frankly, I didn't get that far, as my coverage so blatantly suggests...

( We are all pathetic. Think of how many pathetic characters there are! Two words for you: WOODY ALLEN. ‘Nuf said.)

I'll just stick with my old Viewmaster. I still have all the old cartridges in the round, cardboard canister. Maybe I can finance the movie myself and distribute directly to Viewmaster... Now, that would be a concept.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Doll Face

This is an amazing animation short film. In the pursuit of perfection, we sometimes lose site of our true selves.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Orange Wall

My boyfriend painted the dining room wall this screaming, blood-orange color about two years ago when he was shooting his feature film, American Actor
He said it made the wall “read” better on film.

Fine. "It’ll be back to a normal color soon", I thought.

Months went by. We never got around to re-painting… maybe it’s because we were redoing the floor and getting rid of the nasty carpet. Soon, two whole years went by--all the time, the orange wall stood.

Then, a strange thing happened… the orange wall didn't bother me that much anymore. In fact, when I really thought about it, I discovered, with some horror, that I actually kind of dug the orange wall. It’s different. It's daring. It’s not afraid to stand out.

I knew it was here to stay when I came downstairs one day to find a photo of Jack Nicholson hung on the wall. He’s got that quintessential Nicholson look on his face and he’s holding a match in his mouth.

I do my writing on a laptop in the dining room. When I procrastinate too long, I have the orange wall glaring back at me and then there’s Jack with that match in his mouth intimidating me into compliance.

Even when I’m having a bad day and I feel like fighting the wall and Jack with the nearest samurai sword because the words aren’t coming, I have to admit that although they’re both creepy, I like them. I don’t know why. For a solitary activity like writing, it’s nice to have some writing companions, I guess. Writers can’t be too picky for companions. I’m currently writing a suspense/thriller sort of story so, in that case, maybe Jack and the orange wall will help things along.

So, I’ve settled with the orange wall and its companion for now. It’s like the Lucille Ball of our home furnishings, if she were home d├ęcor in say, The Shining.

Friday, May 4, 2007

A Requiem By Kurt Vonnegut

I'm currently reading Kurt Vonnegut's novel, Breakfast of Champions, which I would highly recommend. It's entertaining, quirky, and oddly prophetic in many ways, especially considering the overpopulation and the current environmental issues we're facing on the planet today. It's also kind of like a picture book for grown-ups with humorous drawings by the author. If you liked I Heart Huckabees and entertainment of a Charlie Kaufman-esque nature, you'll dig it.

It's difficult in some ways to sum up the story because it's simultaneously all over the place, yet everything seems to connect brilliantly. It's basically a story about "a meeting of two lonesome, skinny, fairly old white men on a planet which was dying fast..."
( as Vonnegut puts it in the very first line.)

In honor of Vonnegut, I'll share a Requiem he wrote that I found in a copy of Whole Life Times this week. It's something I'm going to clip, but I'll share it with you now...


When the last living thing
has died on account of us,
how poetical it would be
if Earth could say
in a voice floating up
from the floor
of the Grand Canyon,
"It is done."
People did not like it here.
~ Kurt Vonnegut