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.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Are We Doomed To Repeat Ourselves?

People may not seem to remember, but before there was Hilary, there was Elizabeth Dole. During the early bit of the 2000 U.S. Presidential Race, I was working at a country club--one of several that I would work at in the coming years. That particular day, I ended up being the server for one of Elizabeth's breakfast campaign fundraisers. As she was in Florida campaigning, guests had to make do with her husband, Bob Dole.

My sole job was to make sure there was enough coffee, cream, rolls, and fruit juice available to make people feel well-fed and happy enough to part with a good chunk of change. Dutifully, I hovered by the breakfast table as Bob Dole gave his fundraising speech. That was back in the day when he was doing those erectile dysfunction commercials for Viagra.

"Some of these guys on CNN, they even frighten me," I remember him saying as I checked the supply of decaffeinated coffee.

Afterward, I briefly met him...he introduced himself and shortly after he shook my hand, a secret-service agent swooped down, out-of-nowhere, and flew to the other end of the room in high-speed Batman motion. I was terrified, but when I looked up at Mr. Doles' face, he was still chattering away, as if nothing had happened.

Here was a guy who, faced with the possibility of being first gentleman, said "all I ask is that I have a car to toodle around in and a beeper so I don't get left behind anywhere." He was someone who could have been president if he'd displayed his humorous side early on instead of being so serious all the time.

Elizabeth Dole eventually dropped out of the presidential race. Seven years later, we still have not seen our first female president. And now we face the possibility of Hilary and Bill gracing the White House with their presence {again} in a similar role reversal. Is now the time? Hopefully the American public doesn't support Hilary solely on her gender. I hope we're smarter than that.

But after years and years of Bushes, even the Clintons are looking better all the time. Lately, even our movie choices have been better than our political candidates. Now it's looking like both politics and Hollywood are riddled with sequels.

What if 2012 saw Chelsea Clinton running against the Bush twins? That would be worse than another Rambo ( yet oddly more entertaining...) Even Bill Clinton seems funnier these days... at least funnier than I remember. All I know, from experience, is that no matter who's running, one should always be on the lookout for those shifty-eyed Secret Service agents.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Alternative Sources Of Income

A Bout About Blogging

When I began this blog, a friend of mine excitedly exclaimed, “Welcome To The Blogosphere!”

I was already a writer, but blogging was uncharted territory-- an entirely different animal than anything I’d done before. I was hopeful about this new blog, albeit a little nervous at first. Would I be able to keep up? Could I come up with enough content? Would my content even be interesting? At first, the enormity of the entire blogging community overwhelmed me. But fear of the unknown has never stopped me before. In fact, the challenge continues to both motivate and intrigue me.

Although, I didn’t think that I would dive into blogging nearly as much as I have in the last few months. However, this blog has been a nice venture away from my other writing. Through blogging, and networking through other blogs, I’ve also discovered alternative sources of income that I never would have known about otherwise. Alternative sources of income are what writers like myself need to keep us going while we peddle our writing…a tough job in and of itself.

Just recently, I finally qualified for the site: When I first learned about, my blog was too young to qualify. (You’ve got to be up and running for at least 3 mos. and have a minimum number of posts.) Yet, I remained really excited about it and kept a memory of them in the back of my mind for the day when I did qualify.

I love writing anyway and the idea of getting paid for posts that I would write anyway seemed like a fabulous idea…and well, it is a fabulous idea.

Through Payperpost, you never get forced into hawking lame products just to make $. You just peruse their opportunities to find something that you’d like to write about. You submit your post, get it approved, and BOOM! there’s money in your Paypal account…anything from $5.00 on up, depending on the opportunity. I've also been able to discover some websites through them that I might not have found on my own.

I’d also highly recommend registering as a content producer at They pay people to write articles for them--pretty much any topic of your choosing. I’ve had tremendous success with them so far and since I’ve certainly gotten my share of rejections for my writing along the way, it’s nice to make even a token bit of money for writing.

With either of these opportunities I’m certainly not going to be retiring early, but it’s nice to make $5.00 here, $10.00 there…along the way doing something I love to do anyway. My goal for this year was to write something every day, and I’ve accomplished that so far. I’m planning to use the bit of money I’ve made to continue to reward myself for writing. Through it all, I’ve encouraged myself to make writing not only a priority, but a daily habit.



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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Where Have All The Readers Gone?

Unlike many, I found out about the demise of Jane Magazine from the print edition of Advertising Age. Immediately, I went to Jane's website where nothing seemed amiss. But denial is a powerful notion…

Jane Magazine? Yes, dead she is…

While I won’t miss her all that much, I always appreciated Jane’s cattiness and fresh attitude. But, like Angela Hayes ( Mena Suvari’s character in American Beauty), I always felt like Jane was just trying too hard to be hip.

I suppose I was right since now she’s alone…and without a job—heck, even Mena’s got a job, while Jane's been reduced to selling Glamour subscriptions on her website.

As, Ms. Fashionista at put it, Jane’s demise is “Fitting for this day when Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan are considered heroines and the response for young girls when asked what they want to do when they grow up is: ‘be famous.’ "
Famous for being famous. That's what it's all about. That's just pathetic....seriously what's the world coming to? (Even Jane tried to save herself by putting Paris on the cover.)

But, being a writer, I should also mention that I’m also the proud owner of my very own rejection letter from Jane Magazine. It was like I didn’t make the cheerleading squad, but alas, the varsity cheerleading captain talked to me! Rejected? Nah, I should feel privileged. (Hmm…Is that rejection slip worth more now?)

Honestly, I probably won’t miss Jane, but I will miss Premiere and I still miss Life Magazine. (That sickly, little, sad, revival supplement in the Sunday paper made me cringe.)

I have to admit I love magazines and I read lots of them, but it’s getting harder and harder for even the successful ones to compete in this digital age. Of course, I’m not the only one who’s noticed. Like the celebrity websites that take bets on the next famous person to keel over, the folks at keep a running tally of the magazines who’ve died and who might be next. Their commentary is humorous and inviting in an addictive way, but it’s also downright sad…

There’s nothing like flipping through a magazine or paging through a book or struggling to read the newspaper with outstretched arms. You can’t do that online. Not to mention that a magazine or book’s worth of that fluorescenty light emanating from the computer screen can’t be good for anyone’s eyes.

Fifty years from now, for those of us who are still around, we'll be blind (from all that computer reading) and iPod induced-hearing-impaired and then what will we do?

Until then, all I ask is: Please don’t take away my SELF Magazine. I’ve been a subscriber since high school, and I still look forward to every issue…even though yes, I know they sometimes repeat and I don’t always learn something new, but it’s like predictable, comfort food for my soul.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

La-La-La Bamba and the Magic Mystery of the Netflix Queue...

Recently someone asked me to make some recommendations for their Netflix queue. They had subscribed to the service not that long ago - and apparently- they had run out of movies! OK...seriously, how does that happen?

And does that happen? I mean, to anyone else or is this some isolated incident?

It's certainly not something that's ever happened to me. There's also currently 80 movies in the queue. I'm really trying not to add anything new until we get that pared down a little. Half the time I don't even know what's coming in that little red envelope.

We also only get one movie at a time which is dirt cheap and fits our sometimes crazy work hours and creative lifestyle. Which brings me to another thing I often wonder: Who are these people that get 8 Netflix movies at a time? Do they have jobs? Or is it that they have ten kids or something? In that case, well then, yes, I could see maybe running out of movies...but still--

Our movie tastes are "all over the map" and I keep track of every movie we see, Netflix and otherwise ( in my little planner). From 2006~ the standouts were:

~Mildred Pierce
~Diabolique --1955 original French version, Dir: Henri-Georges Clouzot ~ I've seen it many, many times!
~The Butterfly Effect
~Thank You For Smoking
~An Inconvenient Truth

Guilty Pleasure:
~La Bamba --Come on! It's a good story ~ and the moment they flip for who gets to take the plane always gets me...

~ The Weatherman -- Nicolas Cage/Hope Davis super-quirky dramedy ~ Netflix actually sent this on accident and it ended up being better than the movie we'd originally intended ( I know it was better since I can no longer remember what that original movie was...)

~Dreamgirls -- You can call me a snot, but I just didn't see the wonder and amazement that other people saw in this movie. The music was good and kudos to Jennifer Hudson, Eddie Murphy et al...but that constant singing and showiness got a little tiring for my tastes.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Vintage Preservation

Over the long, July 4th holiday, I did quite a bit of cleaning and clearing out. I lugged piles of clothes to Crossroads Trading Co. on Ventura Blvd. for consignment--only to have them turn away every last article. So last year...I guess. Then, I was forced to pack up all the clothes again and head to the thrift store, Out of the Closet--only to find out that the location nearest me was closed, as in GONE! Grrr.... I finally succeeded with a drop-off at Salvation Army, but by then, I was no longer in a charitable mood; I was biting my lip and trying hard not to hiss at people.
While further clearing out the garage, I thought about a framed, vintage movie poster I got several years ago. Then, I realized that I wasn't exactly sure where it was. I scoured the garage, our entire place, and started to panic. Did someone walk off with it? Did it make it through all my moves? After nearly giving up, I finally found it up in one of the storage cabinets--covered in a layer of nasty dust, but otherwise perfectly preserved.

It is a poster print of the silent film, The Fleet's In, starring Clara Bow. Purchased by a friend of mine at a silent auction, the poster was a completely unexpected gift in the first few months after I'd moved to L.A. After finding it again, I decided to do a little investigation of my own since my poster and I were going to get re-acquainted and all...

The poster was leased to the Unique Theatre in Wisconsin in 1929 by the Paramount Famous Lasky Corporation ~ a production company that operated circa 1927-1929. I couldn't find out much about the Unique Theatre, but one mention stated that the site of the original theatre is now a bowling alley which I find quite sad. My investigation also led me to another site called Cinema Treasures which can be found at

Included on their site is a list of vintage theatres ( past and present) around the U.S. Many of them, like the Unique Theatre, have closed or otherwise been demolished. I'm all about progression and modernism, but certain things should be preserved. When it comes to motion picture history, I get a little sentimental. Luckily, I own a small piece of that history. Through all the years, my Clara Bow poster's probably been through more moves than I have and it's still trucking along... and Clara's still smiling.

You won't find my poster, but reproductions of the The Fleet's In posters, are available at
All Posters.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

A La Mode : A Bit About Casting...

Talent Managers (and a little bit about the casting process...)

Like most writers, I have a day job and many different side jobs. For one, I work as a talent manager’s assistant. What exactly does that entail, you might wonder…
Answer: Lots! But for now, I’ll focus on how the whole submission process.

For those who are unaware, the Casting directors in the film/television/commercial industry primarily work with Breakdown Services Breakdowns is an online directory and list of all the projects that are currently casting roles. Casting directors post new projects and roles on Breakdowns. It's constantly being updated. In the meantime, Agents and Talent Managers have all their clients’ photos and resumes uploaded into an account with Breakdowns.

Usually, I take great care in scanning the breakdowns throughout the day and reading the roles thoroughly to see where one of our clients might fit in. A definite plus to having a talent manager is that we usually have fewer clients than the typical agent. That means that when the role comes up, it’s more likely that I’ll think of a particular client.

If it’s a good role for them, I’ll submit them either electronically or with a hard copy photo and resume. Many casting directors do electronic submissions these days, but there are a few that still work with hard copies (and actually prefer them.) You cannot flub much with casting because if your clients consistently don’t fit the role descriptions, casting will start ignoring your submissions.

When one of our clients is requested for an audition, casting alerts us in one of two ways: by calling or sending what’s called a cmail through the Breakdown Services system. At that point, I call the actor to see if they’re available. If so, I confirm them with casting, download their sides ( “lines” for the audition) and send the actor all the particulars about the audition, including information about the role/project, any special notes, etc.

Sometimes, I get just as excited about an actor’s audition as the actor themselves. For instance, yesterday, I got a cmail requesting one of our client’s for an audition THAT DAY for a possible recurring role on UGLY BETTY. I gave the actor all the info and then sent them a blackberry message: “Knock ‘Em Dead At Mode!”
Talent Managers are members of the TMA here in Los Angeles. Like agents, talent managers can represent actors, musicians, voice-over artists, writers, directors, and below-the-line talent (such as a production designer or editor.)
Unlike agents, talent managers cannot negotiate a client's contract when they book a job. Although many of the duties of agents and talent managers cross-over, this is an important distinction. In that case, talent managers have to fall back to a client’s agent or hire an attorney to negotiate a client’s contract.

For Actors, Breakdown Services also handles Actors Access

Also, check out--




Vintage Camera -- Photo Credit: Eskimo Demus