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.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Action Until Completion [And The Story Of My Pillow: A Romance]

I woke up this morning at 11:30 AM with a deep pillow crease on the side of my face. I couldn't have been happier.

I've been working nonstop for the better part of a month. Last week I logged 87 hours ( 60 of which were in 4 days.) I'd forgotten what it was like to have a day in which I didn't have to go anywhere or do anything.

'Feast or famine,' as they say, especially in the entertainment industry. At least this year, there has been a pilot season.

I said goodbye to one such pilot on Friday. I'd gotten to know the crew pretty well. During production, we passed the time by taking bets on how many 'takes' the director would get to before moving on. It became laughable-- in a very expensive way. (I appreciate the efficient directors I've worked with in the past all the more.) Minutes clicked by, $ signs escalated and after awhile, all anyone wanted to hear was 'Got it!' to 'Moving On' to 'Wrap.'

[One particular day, I'd worked from 1:00 PM one day until 6:00 AM the next morning. I was walking around like a zombie, contemplating yet another cup of coffee. At that point, no amount of money meant more to me than going home to collapse and smoosh my face into the side of my pillow. ]

The amount of prep and money that went into everything was unbelievable-- especially this pilot, which I've been told, is one for the record books-- as far as budget. They hope it gets picked up. Most of them don't. I'm just glad it's not a medical drama.

A phenomenon that is quite clear this year: A-list stars and directors migrating to TV. It used to be a step down, an invisible line that no one dared cross. Dustin Hoffman, Sissy Spacek, Kathy Bates, Jon Voight, Forest Whitaker, Kevin Kline are all headed to a TV set near you, if their prospective shows gets picked up. The Laura Dern/Mike White series, "Enlightened," has already gotten a greenlight from HBO-- who ordered nine episodes.

There is no doubt that TV, especially cable, is getting better. I didn't think there was any hope once "reality" set in. I never even watched TV--considered myself more of a film person. However, series like "Mad Men," "Big Love", and my latest obsession, "Breaking Bad" have all changed my mind. Luckily, some audiences have had their fill of non-scripted programming.
Production days in the L.A. area are up --- due to newly passed incentives. Most of the increases were commercials and TV. Now if we can just get the features to make a comeback.

Copyright © 2010 by KLiedle
Photo credit: 8litres/flickr

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Off With My Head! [ or 3-D When Will It End? ]

I may be one of the few, but I never saw Avatar in 3-D. In fact, I never saw it at all. The worst of it all is that I could've seen it for free because of my job and yet--

I just wasn't all that interested.

Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland intrigued me. Wouldn't it be grand?!! Then, the reviews started coming in and I thought twice. Hmm...maybe not. Oh heck, I still wanted to see it. I wasn't expecting to be blown away, nor was I expecting to go running out of the theater screaming in horror. I set my expectations low and thereby asked only that it be entertaining.

Alice was my inaugural experience with 3-D technology. Indeed, it was an entertaining somersault down the rabbit hole. It was dark and twisted, yet missing some of the essence of the original story's most endearing characters-- i.e. the White Rabbit and Alice, herself. The film was in 3-D, but many of the characters still felt flat and two-dimensional. Alice skulked through most of her days and Anne Hathaway as the White Queen was horrendously miscast in my opinion [and I normally enjoy Ms. Hathaway's work.]
The jabberwocky made it all worthwhile. It's as though it flew off the cover of a heavy metal album only to be slayed by an armored Alice invigorated with female empowerment.

I didn't notice it so much then, during the movie, but apparently my brain doesn't like being tricked by 3-D technology. I exited the theatre with the mother of headaches. It was throbbing, pulsating, and no matter what I did-- it wouldn't go away. At points, I wished the Red Queen in all her 3-D glory would proclaim: "Off With Her Head!" and take me out of my misery. My headache lasted all day and well into the evening--and I NEVER get headaches which made it even worse. "Never again will I do 3-D," I thought to myself.

Now it seems that avoiding 3-D will become the newest challenge for moviegoers like me. Studios are chomping at the bit to convert their studio releases to 3-D. To me, it's irritating-- not only because of the headaches or the extra 3-D surcharge, but because it makes studios believe that technology trumps story and character. Moviegoers can be put under the spell of technology and spectacle for a time. For many, however, the novelty will wear off and they'll realize they've been duped by Hollywood's latest stunt.

Copyright © 2010 by KLiedle
For All Things Alice Illustration credit: shebrews/flickr
Shebrews does Alice-inspired illustrations on vintage paper. Visit shebrews photostream to see the full collection.

For more about emerging 3-D Technology:

Dolby -Dolby 3D Digital Cinema
XpanD Digital Cinema
Some theatres are now experimenting with XpanD Digital Cinema.

The 3-D headache was brought to me by Dolby Digital 3D. For the lucky few like me, 3-D headaches are now appearing at theatres everywhere.

The common causes of headaches are allergy, emotional stress, eye strain, high blood pressure, a hangover, infection, low blood sugar, nutritional deficiency, tension, and the presence of poisons and toxins in the body.