Thursday, October 26, 2006

corruption in the wga?

I attended the Screenwriter's Conference & Expo last week and took Jim with me. In addition to the panels that were free with registration, they scheduled a Day of Pixar, which Jim attended, so he had plenty to see and do. I was able to test my iPod voice recorder on a couple classes and seminars, but the battery died after an hour of recording, so all my lecture/seminar recordings are incomplete. Sigh.

On Thursday, there was a special all-day session focused on pitching. The comedic highlight of the day was Dave Johnson's cautionary tale of what not to do on a pitch - specifically, he advised that you go to the bathroom before going into a pitch so that you won't have to pee into an empty Evian bottle while sitting in your MiniCooper in the parking structure. Refraining from doing that means you won't look like a perv holding your penis in your car and you won't accidentally spill urine on your jeans like he did. Yeah, pretty basic stuff, but helpful just the same.

Finally, don't sit/lie on the hood of your car so that the sun will dry the wet spot on your jeans, and certainly don't try to rub it vigorously to dry it, like he did. You never know if the producer you're pitching with will pull up at that exact moment. But if that does happen to you, like it did to Dave, try to wash your hands before the meeting. And if you don't get a chance to wash before your meeting, don't tell the room. But if you do decide to tell the room that you peed into a water bottle in the parking lot and spilled it onto your jeans and didn't wash your hands, tell them after you shake hands, like he did. I'm so glad I was there to get all that down. I'll never pee into an empty water bottle in my car right before a pitch, not anymore.

JF Lawton spoke later that afternoon and got all the paranoid writers in the room riled up. He spoke of the different ways he got ripped off, how other writers he knows got ripped off, and how those in the audience could get ripped off in Hollywood. For those not familiar with his work, this is the guy who wrote Pretty Woman, Under Siege (1 & 2), and the Pamela Anderson TV show, VIP (hey, my sister was a producer on that show!). Lawton was bitter and angry, practically spitting out the incendiary words. The crowd was eating it up.

Then Lawton mentioned that he and eleven (?) other writers are cooperating with the Justice Department and the FBI, testifying against the Writer's Guild on a corruption case. He said that the New York Times is working on a story that tells how elections at the WGA are rigged and that the entire executive board has been stealing from writers, taking bribes in arbitration cases, and dirty dealing with every studio in town. The crowd was working itself into a frenzy. Behind me I heard grumblings, everything from "I knew it, I knew those people would steal my ideas," to "They're out to screw us writers!" He went on to answer questions but kept repeating, "Just wait, the story will be in the New York Times any day now."

Then, just as the crowd was at a fever pitch, it was over. He was gone and the crew scrambled to get the stage ready for the next speaker. The hotel ballroom buzzed with a negative energy. I didn't know how anyone was going to follow that act. Then the next speaker, Robert Kosberg, took the mike and said, shaking his head, "Boy, I thought I was jaded and cynical."

I'm dying to read all about it.

Monday, October 23, 2006

birthday monkey

Today is my fiance's birthday and I'm taking him to Disneyland for the day, then for a Thai massage. He's so hard to shop for, you know what I mean?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

sunday, dwp fountain

On the way home from Griffith Observatory, I noticed that the fountains at the DWP Building were on. I pointed them out to Jim in the car and he said, "Wow." So I pointed my car at the Temple Street exit and before Jim knew it, we were parked in front, I grabbed my camera and was in front of the building, taking a few photos.

Then I crossed the street to the Music Center. The fountains were going off.

What a great way to end a very full Sunday.

sunday, griffith observatory

After leaving Club 33, Jim and I zoomed up to the Griffith Observatory. As Jim mentioned on his blog post, Mack Reed of LA Voice posted some great shots of the newly-renovated Observatory. But Mack took daytime pics and we were there at night. I got up on the roof to check out the telescope and the view took my breath away.

Our friends Helena and Garen came with us and we were the only ones on the shuttle from Hollywood & Highland. I was concerned that the place would be swarmed, but having the entire shuttle to ourselves was only a harbinger of things to come. There were very few people, I guess everyone wanted to see the Observatory by the light of day.

After taking a gazillion photos, I looked for the telescope.

Found it. They moved the dome around while we were in there and I chatted up one of the staffers. He seemed kind of bitter, griping here and there about the current management of the Observatory, but he answered all my dumb questions and was really passionate about his work. Then I checked out the pendulum, but mostly I eavesdropped on the staffers.

Hey look! Saturn and Uranus! (I know, I'm a child.)

Make your reservations asap, they did a nice job on the place. I know I'll be back.

sunday, club 33

Jim already posted something on his blog about our busy Sunday, hopping from the exclusive, members-only Club 33 in Disneyland to the Griffith Observatory, to catching the fountains at the DWP Building on our way home. These are my Club 33 pics:

It was pretty crowded because of Disney's Halloween Time and their Haunted Mansion Holiday, but my friend Berda was celebrating her 25th anniversary of working for SBC and I had never been to Club 33 before, so I was really excited to check it out, crowds be damned.

We were in the dining room at the top of the landing, right next to the elevator.

The waiter was nice enough to keep my champagne glass filled. The buffet was chill, they had all-you-can-eat lobster, crab and shrimp, which came in handy because we were surrounded by members of the Lemon-Butter Club, and a great dessert buffet, too. Balconies lined one side of our dining room and we could look out over New Orleans Square, the other walls had framed photographs and memorabilia.

The toilet was weird. I was told it was shaped like a throne. Not so much.

Thanks again to Berda for the invitation to a great lunch at Club 33 and congratulations on your anniversary!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

slacker bride

I've got two months and 27 days before my wedding and I'm running a little behind in the planning department. I'm not panicked and I'm not turning into bridezilla (but I received two emails asking if I'd be interested in appearing on the show anyway), I just can't get all worked up about planning it. Mostly, I wish I could just show up and eat cake.

Since my wedding planner decided to quit his job and travel around the world for a year, we had to get a new one. And the new one is great, don't get me wrong, but I just don't think she understands what she's dealing with here. She said something during a meeting about Jim's and my "spiritual path" and I almost did a spit take. I started to laugh, so Jim poked me in the ribs so I'd behave but it had the opposite effect. Wait, which one am I again, Beavis or Butthead?

We're not going to elope, but sometimes I wish I could just snap my fingers and it's January 14, 2007 and it's all over except for the honeymoon. That's another thing. We were considering Thailand because we wanted to stay at this resort where we can learn to train elephants and another where monkeys bring us coconuts and beverages. Then they had this military coup and Jim didn't care about monkeys so much. We were over at my mom and dad's the next week and my mom told us she was going to school to be a travel agent.

"Great," I said, eager to get the travel arrangements off my list, "we'll be your first clients. We want to honeymoon in the Maldives, probably at Kuda Huraa for a week, on the luxury catamaran, The Explorer, for a few days, then that new resort that opens in November, I forget the name."

My mom turned to my dad, beaming, "Great! I've got my first clients already!" Then she turns to me and with a straight face, asks, "Where are the Maldives?" Sufficeth to say, we're looking for a new travel agent.

I think cake tastings are the only good thing about planning your wedding. It certainly isn't the budgeting. Jim and I ate cake all last week. We finally picked a cake designer/baker and that has me excited. Sometimes I wake up in the morning thinking of cake. Not the wedding cake, just cake. Jim's been laughing at me because he'll look over and catch me with this beatific smile on my face. He'll ask, "What are you smiling about?" and I laugh when I realize the answer is, "Cake!" Happened at least three times a day, every day last week.

There's still so much to do besides cake. Jim hasn't picked out what he's wearing yet and although I picked out my dress weeks ago and it's now hanging in my closet, I have grown to hate it. I must have been in the throes of temporary insanity, because I picked up a tiara while I was at it. Me, in a tiara. In an un-ironic way.

Jim and bridesmaids reassure me that everything's going to be fine, we've got plenty of time. Then we received a card from my cousin Maria, who is getting married in April 2007. It was a "Save The Date" card. Did I mention that we just managed to get our "Save The Date" cards in the mail a day or so before we received hers? In addition to the reminder, Maria secured special airfare and hotel rates and included that information with the card. Yeah, we suck.

Maybe I'm somewhat in denial and I'll start to really panic about a month before and work up to a nice buildup by the wedding day. And I was really hoping to avoid being one of those sedated brides.

shopper shuttle excursion

My friend Camille, who owns and operates a great shopping service called Shopper Shuttle, called me, "There's a winery near the Camarillo Outlet that we want to check out. Would you and Jim like to help us evaluate their winery tour and tasting, make sure it's something we can recommend to our customers?" Hmm, let me think, wine and shopping, and someone else drives. Without hesitation (and without asking Jim), I jumped up and down, yelling, "Yes! Yes! Count us in!"

Jim made a face when I told him about the shopping part. "Don't worry, there's a Nike outlet, a Levi's outlet," I took a deep breath and lied, "And I'm sure there's a Mac store there, too."

As it turned out, Jim was sick that day and stayed home in bed. The winery tour sucked, the people that worked in the restaurant there were rude, and the woman who gave the tour looked and acted like the witch who tried to eat Hansel and Gretel. No lie, she bitched out a woman because she left her stroller at the bottom of the stairs and let her kid wander more than six feet away from her. I thought she was going to drop-kick the kid on her way back to our group. We were really taken back by her outburst, but grew extremely uncomfortable when she stage whispered nasty things about "those people" to our tour group. Once out of earshot, Matt (the only guy in our tour thanks to Jim being "sick") impersonated her voice, saying, "How did you get out of the oven, little girl? Get back in there!" Highlight of the tour. Needless to say, that winery didn't make the cut.

At least the drive up there and back was beautiful. We took the coastal route, here's the group, looking at the seascape on the way back.

Looking back where we came from, then south towards Los Angeles.

Shopper Shuttle is taking reservations for Thanksgiving weekend shopping excursions. I'll probably take their Shuttle to the Camarillo Outlet for their Day After Thanksgiving Sales, since their stores open at midnight. I went last year, got there around 2am and didn't come back until 7:30am. However, I went shopping at South Coast Plaza with my mom right after breakfast, from about 8:30am until midnight. That's what, almost twenty hours of shopping? And probably about nineteen more hours than Jim is willing to do. So I guess I'm going shopping with the Shopping Sherpas again that weekend.

Monday, October 16, 2006

mail bag

We get email:

Dear Vagina Monologue:

I realize you're in the throes of wedding planning bliss, but could you maybe update your blog already? Tell me about the trannies, hookers, drug dealers, corpulent security guards, lofties, their dogs, increased police presence, and kooky behavior on the piss-soaked streets of rapidly-gentrifying downtown. Where's your astrologer? Are you still hanging out with your drug buddy? Where is your supersecrelatenighthangout? Where should I go to get the best burger/sushi/thai/chinese/bbq/mexican/armenian/pizza after 2am downtown, and do you think Fiore's is better than Pinkberry, location aside?



Yeah, sorry about that. I blame it on work. But now the television project that I was working on is over. They wanted to extend my contract, but I wasn't feeling it. Feels good to turn down work I can't get excited about. Most importantly, I finally turned in the screenplay to Bigshot Producer and they like it. She called me the other day to get my input on casting. The next few weeks could be very exciting.