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, June 22, 2011

Quick Takes: Pre-Production

Quick interview courtesy of Smoggy Blogspot featuring Scott Vogel, creator of the series, It's Always Smoggy In L.A. The focus was on pre-production, but it also gets into what it's like working on the micro cinema level.

Alissa Cohen: What are some of the things you focus on during pre-production?

Scott Vogel: I try to get familiar with the script all over again because usually by the time we move into production, it's been 3 or 4 months since the the script was finished and you get caught up in other things, like casting, wardrobe, shot lists and so on... Sometimes you forget to just sit down and really read the story again to remember where the important beats are, how to hit the dynamics and so on...

Beyond that, pre-production's about trying to find the right actors for those particular parts and, if possible, get in a good half-day rehearsal before the shoot.

AC: DIY filmmaking is never easy. At a minimum, what crew positions must you have on-set? What can you get away without? What would you like to have, but don't?

SV: Smoggy shoots are generally at the bare-bones minimum. We get by with just a camera man, sound mixer and assistant director. Sometimes there's a script supervisor or production assistant. Other times, not. What would I like to have? I've worked The Office and Curb Your Enthusiasm, and to me, those shows have the perfect-sized productions: about 15-20 people covering the basics. Most shows have anywhere from 40 to 60 people or more. For what we do, that would be silly, but a crew of 10 would be bliss.

AC: What excites you most about It's Always Smoggy In L.A.?

SV: The most exciting thing about It's Always Smoggy In L.A. to me, is the formula. There are basically no rules beyond keeping the general themes of the show consistent. Other than that, the sky's the limit and we're starting to really explore.

© 2011 by TSV Productions, It's Always Smoggy In L.A.
Published with permission from Smoggy Blogspot

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

LACMA: Beyond Tim Burton

There's been a surge of visitors to the Los Angeles County Museum Of Art [LACMA] lately. Since May, the renowned art museum has hosted a major retrospective of filmmaker and artist Tim Burton. This proves that there are way more Burton fans than I ever thought. Sure, Burton's unique and quirky-goth is interesting, but it also brings to question-- What about the museum's permanent collections and exhibitions?

I wandered down to LACMA yesterday via rail and bus-- which takes some planning here in L.A. [For L.A. residents: Metro Rapid 780 drops you off directly across from the museum. It couldn't be more convenient.] I spent the next couple hours enjoying Free LACMA day [ free general admission to the museum's collection on the 2nd Tuesday of every month] And I never set foot in the Tim Burton exhibit. Sure, I may have enjoyed it, but...

LACMA has an extensive collection of art that kept my eyes and mind entertained throughout the afternoon. I started off carrying a map of the collections, but in my opinion, it's better to just walk around and discover what the museum has to offer. Some of my favorite collections were those of European art, Egyptian art, relics, and artifacts, and Japanese art. The museum has a whole room full of Picasso-- including drawings, bronze statues, and a sculpture or two. None of which escaped what I call, the "phallic Picasso touch." One of his bronze sculptures, which at first glance looks like a multi-tentacled alien, is titled The Cock. [Nice, Picasso. I'm sure you thought long and hard about that title.]

The Egyptian Art and relics from Iran boggled my mind. Several pieces date back to 1500 BC and are in pristine condition. A mummy casket, decorated with strings of Egyptian art is on display. [ So much for that mummy resting in peace... ] The cat figurines the Egyptians sculpted were beautifully crafted and highly detailed. One Egyptian figure was flashing the devil's horns with his hand as if to say, "Think you're so advanced? It started with us."

Japanese Art is housed in a separate building, full of light. It's a picturesque setting for woodblock prints and statues of Asian descent, but not so good for taking photographs-- too much glare. Some of my favorites there included classic artwork from Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, one of the masters of Ukiyo-e, a type of woodblock printing. I also had fun posing with a samurai warrior in full costume and capturing light with a Buddhist statue.

All in all, LACMA is perfect for a day trip. Whoever thinks museums are boring, should give it another try. And if you're going for the Tim Burton exhibit, leave yourself enough time to contemplate the other collections that this outstanding museum has to offer.

is located at 5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90036

© 2011 by KLiedle