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, August 23, 2010

Hollywood Food Porn and a little tribute to a blogger.

Movies likes Julie & Julia and Eat, Pray, Love are being lovingly referred to by critics as food porn. Gooey, Sumptuous, hot and heavy, melt-in-your-mouth... It's become a hybrid of the usual made-for-women movie. In fact, one thing it's proven is that there are a whole lot of foodies out there-- more than Hollywood even knew existed.

I did see Julie & Julia, but no, I have NOT seen Eat, Pray, Love. I immensely enjoyed the book by Elizabeth Gilbert, but the nearly 2 hour 1/2 hour running time of the film and the increasingly tiresome Julia Roberts have turned me off from seeing it. Of course, Javier Bardem may change my mind eventually, but I'll play hard-to-get for now.

[Roberts is in danger of becoming a caricature of herself-- too big a star to believably immerse herself in character. I feel the same about Tom Cruise, but I think it's too late for him. Julia can still save herself...]

Today, though I pay tribute to a blogger I've followed for awhile: Heidi Swanson. Like most women, I have my share of cookbooks. Not all women cook, but most of us dabble, and nearly everyone likes to eat.

I catalog and organize recipes I intend to make someday. Heidi's blog, 101 Cookbooks g0t me inspired to cook again. The recipes she features are generally healthy and mostly vegetarian. She accompanies all of them with scrumptious-looking photos and sometimes an anecdote or two about the recipe.

Long ago, I scribbled down her featured recipe Nikki's Healthy Cookies. It originally appeared on September 14, 2008 which just shows you how long it's taken me to actually make them. Today was THE DAY.

I was originally intrigued because the cookies looked so good, yet they had no flour, no butter, and no egg. What??!!! In fact, double-checking the recipe, I discovered there's really no sugar either-- save for the natural sugar from the bananas, coconut, and chocolate.

Slightly skeptical, I was amazed by how good these cookies actually are! I enjoyed rolling the little bits of dough into bite-sized morsels. It's makes me sad that it took so long for me to try the recipe. It's easy, they're really good, and no guilt here... So, if you'd like to check into some food porn that actually satisfies, check out Heidi's recipe blog.

**Above are my photos of the cookies I made today, but they don't even do justice in comparison to Heidi's photography of the same. However, I did a pretty darn good job... and I think I'll be making these cookies more often now.**

© 2010 by KLiedle
Photo credits: Coconut-Chocolate cookies by KLiedle

Friday, August 13, 2010

Directing: More Than Meets The Eye

Recently, I've been reading quite a few interviews with screenwriters and directors, many of them from My First Movie: Twenty Celebrated Directors Talk About Their First Film with interviews edited by Stephen Lowenstein. Those interviews gave me quite a bit of insight. No matter what anyone says: Filmmaking is difficult--at any, and every level. Always.

Directors don't always know everything: lots of times they're sleep-deprived, tortured by uncertainty and just downright unsure of themselves. But they have to fake it-- all eyes are on them.
Just a few short months ago, I finished The Straight Line, the short film I directed as an episode of It's Always Smoggy In L.A. Clocking in at just under 10 minutes, it's easy for one to think that it was a snappy little piece to put together. I wish I could say so-- it consumed months worth of my time, but I wanted to do it right. Next time, I'll know how to do some things better. I'll be more confident and better able to focus on the task at hand. Sure, I'll still make mistakes, but filmmaking is a constant learning process.

Someone asked me what made it so much work? Directing is more than meets the eye. I didn't even understand this until I attempted it for myself. Directing means that you're in charge of everything and you have to answer tons of questions for yourself, the story, and from other crew members. It's exhausting and anxiety-ridden because there's never enough time. It also involves lots of lists, especially at the guerrilla filmmaking level. Here's a rundown from my first directing project:

*Envision, write, and finalize shooting script.
*Post casting notices in trades and online.
*Go through casting submissions. ( Of which there were many-- including rather scary 'Drag Queens.')
*Call actors to schedule auditions.
* Casting session (1 day)
*Finalize casting and call back actors.
*Set date for rehearsal (difficult when coordinating multiple actors' schedules)
*Set shoot date.
*Go wardrobe shopping with actors; Make purchases.
*Replace/re-cast a role due to actor's scheduling conflicts.
*Rehearsal: Go over blocking/script, wardrobe approval, get signed actor release forms for usage of likeness, etc.), camera/lighting test, photo shoot with principal actors.
*Line up crew (which is NEVER easy it seems.)
* Purchase props/set decoration.
*Purchase prop food.
*Purchase craft service (on-set snacks, drinks, goodies for cast/crew)
*Purchase/coordinate hot lunch for cast/crew during shoot.
*Pre-visualization: Prepare shot-list, do a few storyboards. Make notes for actors, etc.

Day Before Shoot:
*Prepare prop food.
*Check daylight: sunrise/sunset times.
*Call actors/crew to confirm call times for shoot day.
*Charge camera
*Purchase supplies, tapes, etc.
* Tame nerves with a couple shots of whiskey which sorta helped. But not enough.
* Sleep poorly.

Shoot: (2 days)
*One crew member cancels. Off to a good start.
*Begin losing the light (daylight)... stuff I shot in earlier takes no longer matches. Exasperated...
*Day #2 goes smoother. Have to re-shoot Scene 4 due to audio problem. Sets us back about an hour.

*Upload footage.
*Edit first assembly cut of film (this takes a huge amount of time due to my own scheduling conflicts.)
*Editing sessions to re-cut final version.
*Find music for film (takes about a 1/2 day worth of scavenger-hunting)
*Convert raw file to Quicktime and appropriate codecs for web.
*Upload to various web platforms.
*Publicize on social media, with friends, etc.

*Start planning to do it all over again. Obviously, it's a little sadomasochist and a lot crazy, but it's also enjoyable, invigorating, and I will say, worth it in the end.

© 2010 by KLiedle
Photo credit: Sepia Camera ©2010/KLiedle