Friday, November 30, 2007

The Flying Club Cup


So I finally did it: found a job I can call my own. I might’ve hit my ass on every step of schlock the film industry has to offer in order to reach this point, but I did it.

In a marketplace where new media is reportedly replacing film – the most successful people in town think of at least six webisodes before breakfast – I’ve somehow managed to snag a job that seems refreshingly old school. I’m reading actual books all day and getting paid for it. Because the company I’m working for is a production machine, I’ll learn a thing or two about development in the middle of all that reading.

And the best part about it, really, is that I did it all on my own. Everybody kept saying, “It’s all about who you know, you won’t find a job without connections, blah blah blah.” But I applied online, nailed the interviews and writing samples, and made that job mine.

Ta da.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Love Song of the Buzzard

There are few things at this point in my little life that intimidate me more than the parking lot at LAX. To abandon your car in the swallows of the lot for a long term amount of time requires a drop-off at Lot C, an endless abyss of slots that stretches on for miles upon miles. From there, you take two shuttles to the flight terminal, check in, finagle through the wearisome process of airport security, and board your plane.

It all seems simple enough, unless you’re like me: exceedingly paranoid about forgetting where you left your car. My only precaution against such an oversight is to write the parking space down in three different locations, and then repeat the space as a mantra until I am positive it is tattooed in my memory. Lot C – C18, Lot C – C18, Lot C-C18, Lot C-C18.

This chant was repeated throughout my entire Thanksgiving break, always in the background of my mind as I flew 3,000 miles home to greet my family and carried on with the rest of my vacation. Thankfully, it stuck, as I was able to retrieve my car several days later from Lot C, space C-18.

But as I drove out of the lot, I was forced to confront my fears when I saw a family of four whose car had obviously been misplaced. The parents were screaming at each other, using their hands as visors as they looked in opposite directions, and the two young daughters were trailing behind, struggling with their rolling suitcases under the beams of the afternoon sun. My heart went out to them, it really did, and I even considered for a split second offering my services in their search.

I wonder now how long it took them to recover their car and if maybe they’re still trailing through Lot C, trudging up and down the labyrinthine (a nice word) aisles, screaming at each other.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Faded Picture, A

There were two quintessential LA shows this week at the Echoplex, a concert venue within walking distance to my house that could easily double as a roller skating rink. The first show, on Tuesday night, featured Mika Miko and No Age, a couple of bands that I’ve wanted to check out for a while, neither of which disappoint.

The next time, we went back to see Entrance, the Seeds, and Ya Ho Wa 13. Everybody was dressed in costume, the beards and dresses equally as flowy, for the main attraction: Ya Ho Wa 13, a legendary psych rock band from the 60’s that used to be a cult. It was quite the spectacle, even though it looked like they just went down the street to the park and gave a couple of homeless people some beer to stand on stage and play the tambourine.
Just as equally tactile, but in the worse way possible, was a 3-D viewing of Beowulf. The first half hour was all right, if only to see what 3-D film involves. But then I realized I hadn't blinked in thirty minutes. From there, I took off my 3-D goggles, shut my eyes completely, and settled into a one and a half hour nap.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mine Mine Mind

Some people have been asking me lately, “Why don’t you go to grad school? You’d have no trouble finding a job if you went to grad school.”
Well, the thought of grad school gives me the shakes. Shelling out an ungodly amount of money, putting real life on hold, studying who knows what, with no definite guarantee of finding a job on the other end, who needs it? Yet when my half hearted attempt at freelancing started to grow old, I decided I could use a little more order in my day-to-day life. But I don't necessarily think the world needs another Urban Planner.

So with that, I finally sucked it up and went to an employment agency. Nothing seems more worthwhile to me at this point than finding someone else to find me a job. After a rigorous computer test (I can type 75 wpm, but my Excel skills are lacking), I met with a fast-talking New Yorker who told me she’s going to amend my resume then send me on my way. What I once thought looked like an “eclectic” background, evidently makes me seem like I have no “focus,” with a little bit of music here, some publishing and film there.

Fortunately enough, I am able to turn down jobs at this point in my life, something I’ve already done a couple of times in the hopes of finding the one. By my own accord, I went to a few more interviews this week, some Canadian TV here, animation there, and, finally, one gig that I’m crossing my fingers and toes for: Someone would actually pay me to read novels all day and say, “Hey, this should be a movie.”

And if that doesn’t pan out, I’ll try temping, which will at least give me the opportunity to shove my little foot in the door somewhere. Then maybe my elbow will follow, shoulder, hands, the rest of it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Puddle City Racing Lights


Because it’s mandatory that I have a California drivers license, I carved out an entire afternoon for the DMV today. With me, I brought two scripts, a magazine, and a novel -- that’s how much time I thought I would have. Wasting away at the LA DMV is apparently a myth, however, seeing as I was in and out of there in less than an hour, with hardly any time at all to crack a script. I probably could’ve made it out of there faster, too, if I didn’t have to concentrate so hard on the written driving test.
You are going to make a left turn from a dedicated left-turn lane when a yellow arrow appears for your lane. You should:
a) Speed up to get through the intersection
b) Stop and not turn under any circumstance
c) Be prepared to obey the next signal that appears

Questions like these made my palms sweat and my mind clash. What makes a left-turn lane dedicated? In LA it seems illegal not to speed up for the left turn once that light hits yellow, but to not turn any under circumstance seems a bit extreme, and the third option just seems like filler.
So that was the sixth question I missed. The state only allows you to answer six questions incorrectly, which means I just barely scraped by, which is good enough for me. And, of course, during the height of rush hour, I almost spent more time in traffic on my way home than I did at the DMV.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Rough Stabs

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


This week, due to the WGA strike, Los Angeles is in a greater turmoil than when half of the homes in Malibu were covered in ashes. I have yet to encounter a single person who is unaffected by the strike, which is only going to get worse. What on the surface seems like such a frivolous remonstration – miners, nurses, cab drivers go on strike, not bourgeois writers – is in fact completely warranted. The writers should get paid for their work, all of it; to me it’s that simple. And every time I pass by Paramount on Melrose, I honk to the picketers to show my support, simultaneously kicking myself for picking the crummiest possible time to move to Hollywood.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Bridges and Balloons

Yeah, after living in Los Angeles for only a little over a month, I'd forgotten that the rest of the country is experiencing actual seasons. So it was with great pleasure that I felt leaves crush underneath my boots in Seattle last weekend. Other notable satisfactions include: catching up with old/close friends, making apple crisp, drinking real coffee, late night lemon drops, joint haircuts, Pho, local oysters, book dissection, and basically reliving a town that I once thought I had memorized.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Opposite of Hallelujah


After a month, I feel like I’m really starting to ease into my Los Angeles lifestyle. Driving, keeping order on directions, and the freeways’ concrete tentacles, is a little less intimidating. With every week, I’m a little closer to not crashing my car.

Unemployment – also a lifestyle in itself – is bearable so long as you find creative ways to spend your time. There’s always the random PA gig and it seems like every schmo in this town has a script that needs “fresh eyes,” which is easy money. As the initial shock of not getting what I want has worn off, I’ve grown slightly more used to rejection on the job front. I guess that’s what I signed up for when I decided to enter the most competitive industry in the goddamn country.

In all honesty, though, it seems like it’d be awfully challenging to truly have a bad day here. The Los Angelinos are a determinedly happy group and the scenery does not allow for it to be otherwise.