A Little More Personal: “So…What Do You Want to Do?”

Recently, I have been working on new shows and meeting a lot of new people. Both are equally great things, but meeting new people always comes with the inevitable questions: “Where are you from?” “How long have you been in the industry?” “So, what do you want to do?”

The later is my least favorite question. I have been a production assistant for about a year and a half now, I feel like I should have it all figured out. But the truth is, I don’t. There are so many things I want to do in this industry, but when people ask me that question I freeze up because I feel like I am supposed to have an answer like, “direct” or “write a sitcom.” Something big and looming in the future.

While I don’t know what I want my future job title to be, PA-ing has taught me a few things about myself. I like working on sets where I get to know the lay of the land and with big crews where I get to meet a lot of different people. I don’t want to work with cameras or lighting or anything technical. Anyone who does is a wizard in my eyes because my brain just doesn’t work in that way; I’m not a hands on person and I’ve come to accept that. (Even though I do believe the world needs more female directors and cinematographers, I  just sadly will not be one of them).

I like the creative side of the industry. The side where all the parts of the show come together. Award shows are great for that because I have seen firsthand how the work of each department, from production to transportation to art and staging, contributes to one big show. No matter how many times I see it, the process of transforming an empty theater into a televised event always amazes me. I also like seeing how ideas and interviews become stories and episodes in reality television. Recently I worked on the 3rd season of Hollywood Game Night which was not only fun, but eye opening because I never realized everything that went into making each game a reality. Game producing is a position I never knew existed before, and would not have known about if not for being a production assistant on the show.

Another position that interests me is casting. Casting is so important for a project and yet it is so subjective. It takes someone with vision and decisiveness to pick the right person for a part. Like the decision to cast 10 and 11 year olds Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson in the Harry Potter series. Like the decision to cast little known Aussie actor Chris Hemsworth as Thor (and every other Marvel related casting decision).  Like Tom Cruise in Interview with the Vampire. When I read the book I thought, “This is the worst decision for Lestat, why would they cast Tom Cruise?” Then I watched the movie and understood. Someone knew something I didn’t.

So far everything I  moved to L.A. to do has happened. It’s amazing, but true. I worked on the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards and almost every award show in between. I am going to Texas next month for the Academy of Country Music Awards. I have worked on game shows and talk shows and reality shows. It is time for me to make some new career related goals, even if they don’t involve a five year plan.

Some things I want to do:

  • Work on a cooking competition show
  • Work on a travel show or a show where I get to travel
  • Work on a scripted television show
  • Become an associate or story producer
  • Work on a film
  • Be involved in casting for a book to film adaptation
  • Do social media for an awards show
  • WORK FOR MARVEL (in any capacity)

Hey if I’ve been this lucky so far, the rest will come. And let’s be honest, it hasn’t been all luck. It’ been hard-work-12-plus-hour-days-no-weekends-off-haven’t-seen-my-roommate-in-weeks-even-though-we-live-in-the-same-apartment type stuff.

So I’ve decided when someone asks me, “What do you want to do?” I am going to think of it more as, “What do you want to do next?” not “What do you want to do with the rest of your life?” That’s why I’m in this industry and why I don’t have a typical 9-t-5. I work freelance. I have the ability to change my mind (and career path) tomorrow.

I’m ready for whatever comes next.

Fangirl Friday-1/23

It only took 23 days for me to have my first Fangirl Friday of the new year.

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1. The Rewrite trailer

I love Hugh Grant and his affable Britishness. But that’s not what has me fangirling. What has me fangirling is the fact that he and several other characters in this film say the word, “Binghamton.” And wear Binghamton apparel. And stand in Binghamton locations. In case you didn’t know, Binghamton University is my alma mater, the place where I spent four of the best years of my life. The Rewrite is written by frequent Grant collaborator, Marc Lawrence, a fellow Binghamton alumni. I’m am so excited to see this film that is a love letter to a place that means so much to me and that I miss immensely. The only thing I didn’t like about the trailer were the shots of the Binghamton “campus” which were not actually filmed at my school because I guess it isn’t Hollywood looking enough. (Although 0:39 of the trailer does show the Glenn G. Bartle library, a place where I spent way too much time.)

Also, besides Hugh Grant, the cast also includes J.K. Simmons, Allison Janney, and Marisa Tomei. What’s not to love?

2. X-Men: Apocalypse casting news

I think X-Men has some of the best casting of superhero/comic books films (outside of the Avengers of course). Famke Janssen’s Jean Grey in the original X-Men series is one of my favorite characters of all time (not counting X3, which no one does). She serves more of a purpose than just “Wolverine’s girlfriend”, she’s a badass mutant with some of the coolest and most dangerous powers. Which is why I am so excited about the introduction of her younger self in the X-Men reboot/prequel series. I dabble in Game of Thrones and I love the casting of Sophie Turner as the young Jean Grey. I think she has the quiet strength and vulnerability that is essential to bring the younger version of this character to life.

I don’t know the actors playing young Storm and Cyclops, but I am sure they will be good choices and I’m excited to see the early years of the Jean/Scott romance.

Honorable Mentions

  • I am on the last two episodes of White Collar and wow what an incredible job they are doing wrapping up this show. I loved the storyline with Rebecca and even though the Pink Panther one in season 6 isn’t as strong I am excited to see how it is all going to end.

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My gosh I am going to miss seeing this man on my TV.

A Little More Personal: 2015 is My Year

Every year I make a New Year’s resolution to blog more and yet here I am, 15 days into the 2015 with nothing to show for myself. But I have a good reason. I’ve been busy. Really busy. As in work-go-home-shower-sleep-and-do-nothing-else busy. My dad’s birthday was 10 days ago and his card is still in my purse. (Sorry Dad!) But I like being busy, especially since it is because I have been working. On the Golden Globes.

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If you would have asked me last year at this time if I could have imagined a life where I live in California and work on my favorite awards shows I would have said, “No, that’s not possible.” But here I am. In California for NINE MONTHS now and quite literally living my dreams. It is the most surreal experience, one that I still don’t believe actually happened to me. The show itself passed by in a blur of faces I had previously only watched on my television screen. The only sad part to me was missing out on actually watching including every bit with Tina and Amy, but it more than made up for it when they walked by me on their way off the stage at the end of the night.

All of this makes me realize  how completely lucky I am (a word I would have never previously would have used to describe myself) and how hard I have worked to get here. This isn’t a #humblebrag. This is an actual brag. I have worked hard, I have pushed myself, and I am proud of where I am going and where I have been. And I shouldn’t ashamed to say it. 2015 is already off to a great start (broken resolutions aside) and I plan on taking every opportunity that this new year brings.

Other things that are great about 2015 so far? Galavant, a show I knew I would like, but I didn’t know I would like SO MUCH. I haven’t laughed that hard in awhile. There are so many little in jokes and pop culture shout outs (John Stamos’ character is named SIR JEAN HAMM for goodness sake). It’s a show that would be great as it is, but is made even better by the addition of musical numbers. Psych fav Timothy Osmond is hilarious and Joshua Sasse is easily one of my new TV crushes. For sure the only good thing about Sundays.

I have also been catching up on a bunch of nominated films including Boyhood (great concept, but didn’t love it overall), Whiplash (LOVE LOVE LOVE, I could watch that final scene over and over again), Into the Woods (one word: “Agony”, the song not the emotion), and The Theory of Everything (Very Good, loved the music but don’t have much else to say).

2015 has a lot of great things in store (and I don’t just mean Avengers: Age of Ultron). I am excited to see what this year brings both in pop culturally and in my life. Either way, I’ll write about (probably months after it happens, but you know, I’m doing the best I can).

Final Words

  • Because I now work on award shows I will no longer be posting my nomination reactions. I know you’re all veryyy upset, but it is something I just decided would be for the best for now.

TV Notes:

  • I can’t wait to watch Agent Carter. Like I said, I’ve been VERY BUSY, but I plan on watching it the second I have time (aka this weekend). Same goes for the Duplass brothers’ Togetherness. 
  • The final season of Parks and Rec started this week and I still can’t bring myself to watch it because the faster I watch it the sooner it will be over.
  • I’m finally catching up on the end of White Collar and WOW is it good. The second half of season 5 has been insane which only makes me more excited for what season 6 and the finale will bring.

Fangirl Friday-12/5

This week I’m fangirling over something old, something new, something Marvel, and something Ru!

1. Something Marvel: 75 Years from Pulp to Pop

I found this little featurette after watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D one night on Hulu and was hooked. I find the story of the Marvel greats Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, and Steve Ditko as interesting as the characters they created. If you like comics even a little bit I would say it is totally worth watching this 40 minute special. Also, it includes a pretty awesome clip from Agent Carter that already has me shipping Peggy (aka the brilliant Hayley Atwell) and Edwin Jarvis (James D’Arcy). (Although obviously PEGGY AND CAP FIVE-EVER.)

Also, just read that the Russo brothers and Joe Johnson will all be directing episodes of Agent Carter so I’m pretty excited. Especially since I know that the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D winter finale will probably end with some large cliffhanger that will undoubtedly drive me crazy/leave me heartbroken.

2. Something Marvel Part 2

This week the company I am working for expanded into a new building. In front of that building there are parking spots labeled with names like “Joss Whedon” and “Kevin Feige” (among others). TRY TELLING ME TO BE CALM ABOUT THIS I DARE YOU. Needless to say when I walk to the new building I always go through the parking lot extra slowly. Side note: Joss drives a prius. Because he’s perfect.

3. Something New: ‘Bond 24′ Announcement

The ‘Bond 24′ announcement gave us some new actors (Léa Seydoux! Andrew Scott!), a title (Spectre), an awesome poster, and a sweet new Aston Martin(the DB 10), but the thing I was most excited about was to see that Interstellar‘s cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema has been added to the crew. While I love love LOVE Roger Deakins’ work in Skyfall, I am really into Hoytema’s bold and beautiful style and I’m excited to see what else he can do.

4. Something Ru: Ru Paul’s Drag Race season 7 

Casting rumors for the 7th season of Drag Race were out in full force yesterday with social media clues hinting at the queens who will potentially be on the upcoming season. I am especially excited to watch my first season of RPDR because I can finally #ruveal that I worked on it! I can easily say it was one of the most fun productions I have been a part of.

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Honorable Mentions

  • My obsession with Serial is growing stronger (having to wait a week really did me in) as is my confusion over who/what to believe. I find it so unsettling that I am drawn into these very real events in the lives of these very real people and that there may not be (and probably won’t be) an answer at the end of it all. I’m just waiting for the announcement of Serial: The Movie.
  • Something Old: I watched You’ve Got Mail for the first time over the holiday weekend and I couldn’t stop smiling. Everything from the performances to the love story to the writing was perfect.

Amy Please

I apologize for having missed two Fangirl Fridays in a row. That’s what happens when you work three different live shows with 12+ hour days in the span of a little over a week and then there’s a holiday. But enough excuses.

It is not Friday, but there is something, or should I say someone, I am fangirling over.

Her name is Amy Poehler.

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I blame my sister. (All good things in my life are usually her fault.) She’s not a big TV watcher, especially not compared to me (but then again who is) and she told me, “You HAVE to watch Parks and Rec it is one of my favorite shows of all time.” Coming from her, that is a pretty strong endorsement. I resisted for awhile, but after finishing 30 Rock there was a large void of truly funny television in my life. So begrudgingly I started Parks and Rec the same week I started Breaking Bad for something light to watch in between the heavy BB episodes. I never made it past Breaking Bad season 2 episode 2 because along the way something happened. I became completely obsessed. Parks and Rec has become more than a show to me; through spending time with watching this weird cast of characters I have learned about myself along the way.

The greatest lessons have come from the Pawnee Goddess herself, Leslie Knope. She has taught me that friendship comes above all things (second only to waffles), that is important to stand up for what you believe in even and especially if it is unpopular, and that there is no such thing as caring too much. Ann Perkins has taught me that the best way to have a friend is to be a friend. Ben taught me that sometimes the geeks do get the girl and that life is too short to be an accountant. April Ludgate has taught me that it’s okay to hate people as long as you make an exception for that one special person. Andy Dwyer taught me to have fun and go with the flow. Tom taught me to “treat yo self.” Christ taught me about positivity, Ron hard work, Jerry/Gary about being happy with whatever life throws at you.

These people have become my friends. Like Stars Hollow, CT and Dillon, TX before it, Pawnee, Indiana is a place where I have been lucky enough to spend some time. Shows like P & R are rare. Shows that manage to be laugh out loud funny, but also have a heart. Shows that make you truly care about the characters. It was in season 3  episode 9 with Andy and April’s wedding when I became completely hooked. I remember thinking, “There’s no going back now.” I sobbed when Leslie decide to run for office and her friends volunteered to plan her campaign. I cheered when Tom’s Bistro had a successful opening and he proved Dr. Saperstein wrong. I “aww-ed” at Ron and his new baby rebuilding the 3rd floor. I laughed out loud over pretty much anything involving Jerry/Gary or Eagleton or Ben and Lil Sebastian.

I wish I had watched Parks and Rec as it aired if only to see the way the characters grew and changed over the seasons, but binging was pretty rewarding as it was. As I neared the end of season 6 I almost stopped watching completely because I just didn’t want it to be over. There is one more season left and I am both excited, curious, and terribly sad. I am going to miss this small, weird town full of people I have come to know and love.

Leslie Knope is one of my favorite characters/heroes/role models. I can’t stress this enough. Despite all the crazy sitcom-ey things that happen to her, she seems so real. She is frequently wrong, she is passionate beyond belief, she is organized and has strong opinions and loves her life. Obviously Leslie and Amy have a lot in common or at least that’s what I’m getting from the chapters I have been listening to in the audiobook version of Yes Please, her memoir. Amy Poehler is unapologetic. She is loud and opinionated and funny.

Reading Yes Please could not have come at a better time in my life. It says everything I need to hear as a 20 something still trying to figure it all out and find my way. She gets it. I mean she really gets it. Especially about being young and female.

I get worried for young girls sometimes; I want them to feel that they can be sassy and full and weird and geeky and smart and independent. And not so withered and shriveled.

Amy is all of those things. She knows and talks all about ignoring the voice in your head that tells you you’re not good enough and surrounding yourself with people who are passionate and talented. Following your dreams takes hard work and blood and sweat and tears. Lots of tears. These are all things I’ve come to know well, but it’s nice to hear it from someone I admire. I’m not finished with Yes Please yet, but its already made me laugh and cry so much it’s almost dangerous to listen to while driving. 

So thank you, Amy. Thank you for this amazing television show with one final season and thank you for teaching me that it’s okay to be the smart girl at the party and that looking silly can be powerful and that the best way to change the world is by being yourself. You’re a woman worth fangirling over.

Final Thoughts

  • I haven’t gotten to the chapter in Yes Please about Parks and Rec yet, but I can’t wait.
  • If I thought I was ruined for life by fictional characters before, Ben Wyatt is a whole other level the likes of which I have never experienced before. BRB FOREVER LOOKING FOR MY BEN.

Fangirl Friday-11/14

I’m having some feels this week.

1. THIS.

1.5. AND THIS

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(Both from the Doctor Who season 8 finale that was equal parts awesome and devastating.)

2. Margaret Atwood’s Maddaddam Trilogy is becoming an HBO series

Apparently this news was released back in June and for some reason I am just finding out about it now. Atwood is one of my favorite science fiction/fantasy writers and the Maddaddam Trilogy was fantastic, especially Oryx and Crake. Can I be the first to suggest Dane DeHaan to play Crake?

3. The Hollywood Film Awards

Airing on television for the first time this year and “officially kicking off award season,” the HFAs will have attendees such as Robert Downey Jr., Chris Pratt, Ben Affleck, Keira Knightley, Shailene Woodley,  Christoph Waltz, Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Eddie Redmayne. I’ll have to keep my fangirl-ness in check though because I’ll be working the show! (Although if I find myself anywhere near RDJ all bets are off.)

Catch them tonight on CBS at 8 pm ET.

Honorable Mentions:

  • I didn’t see Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. this week or A LOT more fangirling would probably have gone on.
  • The ‘Blank Space‘ music video is kind of perfect and I’m not embarrassed by my basicness.

To Infinity and Beyond: ‘Interstellar’ Review

There was a moment as I was walking into the theater this afternoon where I started to get worried. I haven’t been this excited to see a film in a long time and I thought, “What if it doesn’t live up to my anticipation? It can’t possibly be as good as I think it’s going to be.” I had no reason to fear. Interstellar blew me away. It was better and bigger and grander and more ambitious than I possibly could have imagined and I loved every second of it. It was one of those films that left me in awe with a smile of pure joy on my face. In the hazy post movie glow it is easy to call this one of my favorite films by Christopher Nolan just because of the pure spectacle of it all.

First there are the visuals. This is where inevitably Interstellar will be compared with last year’s Gravity. Except you cannot compare the two. Gravity doesn’t even come close. Whereas last year I didn’t think anything would thrill and excite me visually as much as that film did, Interstellar did all that and then some. I can say without a doubt that is one of the most visually appealing films I have ever seen to the point where I was gasping aloud at some parts. Hoyte Van Hoytema is a master with a camera and it is his cinematography combined with the incredible special effects that really make this film. See it on as big of a screen as you can, you won’t be disappointed.

Warning:

Okay, time to get into the good stuff.

Interstellar is by no means a perfect movie, but it is a perfect movie-going experience. I have already seen people complaining about the Plot Holes and Implausibilities and I find myself ready to take up arms in defense of Nolan. I believe in a science fiction world where the rules are set up by the creators of said world and you just go with them. This is not to say I do not look at films critically, but I also don’t go into them nitpicking every small mistake. I admire people like Nolan who have the sheer audacity and brain capacity to make a movie this complex and keep even a little of it straight.

Do I have a lot of questions? Sure, but I also feel like the film set up everything we needed to know and let us go from there. I like a movie where I can figure out what is going to happen before it happens, but that still manages to surprise me at the same time. The premise of the film starts out fairly simple: the world is running out of food because of dust storms and crop blight. It comes off as vaguely “Be careful this can happen to us/climate change-ey” and under another director it would be much more heavy handed, but with Nolan this was never about saving the Earth. This film is about the next great adventure and that is space. We need to find another planet to save the human race and that is where Matthew Mcconaughey and co. come in.

We don’t get much background on Mcconaughey’s Cooper other than that he was a NASA pilot and is now a farmer who really hates his job. What he does love are his children, Tom and Murph, played in her younger version by Mackenzie Foy and her older version by Jessica Chastain. Murph could have just been there as the character to make us care, to show us that the personal stakes are high for Cooper, but she is so much more. Her connection with her father is one of the driving forces of the film and as many a girl can tell you there are very few things in this world like a girl’s bond with her father. Foy plays an important part because she makes us invested in their relationship early on. Her anguish at Cooper leaving and later Cooper’s explanation for why he didn’t really tell her why are heartbreaking. Chastain rounds out the part as a woman recovering from abandonment by becoming a more than capable scientist. Before we even saw Chastain on screen there was no doubt in my mind who intelligent, curious Murph would grow up to be.

And that is the most heartbreaking part: Murph grows up while her dad is off on a failed mission to find an habitable planet. To Cooper, Brand (Anne Hathaway), and Doyle (Wes Bentley) it has been mere hours, but on Earth it has been TWENTY THREE years. As the astronauts watch the transmissions from Earth and we see the changes in the characters lives and physical appearances many a sniffle could be heard throughout the audience. (Confession: mine was one of them.) This movie is science fiction with a cost. These people are not exploring for the sake of adventure, they are leaving their entire world behind to save it without knowing if that is even possible.

Matthew Mcconaughey sells this especially well. Cooper undeniably has a thirst for adventure, a desire for something more, but he is also painfully aware of what he is leaving behind. Mcconaughey as the skilled and semi-cocky pilot seems natural, but it is in the quiet moments where he shows Cooper’s emotional side that he really shines. He is also not a perfect character. He abandons his children with the slightest opportunity and disregards the opinions of his fellow astronauts essentially compromising the mission (although without all that we wouldn’t have a movie).

Anne Hathaway is good as Dr. Brand, but I felt something lacking in her performance. Her character was an interesting one in that she was allowed to be both scientific and emotional, but she also lacked depth. I felt more could have been made to compare her relationship with her father (Michael Caine) and Cooper and Murph. I cared about Professor Brand because he is Michael Caine and really little else. Although I did find myself as devastated and shocked as the characters when it was revealed that Professor Brand didn’t really believe in Plan A and had tricked them all along.

While Interstellar works on a large scale with it’s superb effects and loud crashing score, it were these small, human moments that really made the film. The characters and their motivations. The constant setbacks and disappointments. The species will to live. And underneath all of that the sense of adventure, the desire to know what else is out there. There wasn’t struggle to understand the science because I took it with a heavy dose of fiction. Also, I found it hard to worry about the physics inside a black hole when I was busy wondering if the characters were going to make it home or solve the equation or get off of Hoth Dr. Mann’s planet alive.

But the real reason I loved Interstellar was the pure escapism. There was a point where I found myself genuinely shocked to see the other seats around me. For a moment I had been completely transported away from a theater in Los Angeles, California to a the unfathomable depths of space. That alone is worth the price of admission.

Rating:

No Milk Needed

Final Thoughts

  • I don’t think Nolan will win Best Director for this film. I do hope/think it will pick up awards for sound, cinematography, and editing.
  • I don’t know if it was just my theater, but the music was LOUD. So loud that it drowned out a lot of the talking.
  • I have so many questions about Plan B: Would the new species of humans be taught/raised or would they just be sent to the new planet to live on their own? Would they be taught about Earth and the old humans? What would they think about it all? Would they learn anything or would we just mess up this next new Earth?
  • Once I realized Doyle was Wes Bentley I couldn’t take him seriously because I just kept picturing him with his Seneca Crane beard.
  • Everyone seemed to love the robots. I thought they were alright and very weirdly shaped.
  • What Clooney got himself sent into space and now everyone wants in? I see what you’re doing Matt Damon.

Favorite quotes:

  • “The world doesn’t need any more engineers. We didn’t run out of planes and television sets. We ran out of food.” (This one just stuck with me throughout the whole film.)
  • “Do not go gentle into that good night; Old age should burn and rave at close of day. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”-Dylan Thomas

UPDATE: I just watched the trailer for the first time and boy am I glad I avoided it. Some of my favorite/most jaw dropping scenes were in it so I’m glad I got to see them on the big screen for the first time.