Thursday, May 29, 2008

Baffling

There are times where I sit in front of my computer for hours trying to brainstorm or organize the elements to a brewing screenplay. Months of formulating the details in my head need to pour out onto the blank screen. It's tough work.
Last night, I half-consciously plotted the last 2/3 of my story in under an hour, just jotting down what seemed natural and necessary. I followed a low point with a high, then another low, and a high. Characters hit arcs, got their payoffs, the story rounded itself out. Sure, most of the work was done over the past few months, but to flesh it out, especially in my tired, beaten mindset, finally brings me solace. Usually ideas sound good in your head but read poorly on the page. I think this one's gonna read much cleaner than the last one.
...And now I get to start online classes on top of a full work week. The procrastination's gonna have to stop, or else my screenplay will continue to be a mere beat outline in 2 months' time.

Monday, May 26, 2008

No nuggets for me

In 1849, this area was filled with people panning for gold nuggets. 159 years later, it's still pretty easy to find nuggets. However, these are different nuggets. Magical nuggets. Nuggets that are offered to you if you walk around Golden Gate Park. Nuggets that don't make you rich, unless you're the one selling them. Nuggets that you don't get at McDonald's or in the sands of the bay. Four times today I got offered nuggets by the seediest characters. Unlike the 49ers of yesteryear, I refrained from capitalizing on these nuggets. I think my destiny lies elsewhere.
Perhaps in synchronized roller skating? Also found in Golden Gate Park.


What a loopy day! My friend Jenny from KU--she is on the rise at Facebook, graduated '07 and commutes to Palo Alto each day. She knows the Haight/Golden Gate area well. She doesn't socialize with the nuggeteers, though.We opted for skewers and slushies.

Oh, and this one's for Caitlin. Man, I love this city!

The world is getting smaller... also, my butt cheeks

Slowly, steadily, familiar faces are coming into view. Some in the shape of old friends passing through town, like my friend Holly who visited this past week, or my best bud in the whole world Kevin who is stopping through next weekend. Tomorrow I'm meeting a KU friend for lunch; she moved out here a year ago. I knew doing this whole thing "alone" would be difficult in missing friends. At least in Europe I had 25 KU kids along with me, you know?
But the beauty of this experience is that I'm really not doing it alone at all. I think yesterday I met 7 or 8 of my aunt's good friends and carried quality conversations with each. Aunt Amy even set me up to meet her friend's niece for lunch today. This girl is in the same boat as me, living with relatives and experiencing SF life. However, she's been here almost a year, so she showed me lots of ins and outs of the Embarcadero neighborhood after we ate in Chinatown. I anticipate meeting up with her again; see, already I'm branching out... with help! The relatives are captaining this vessel I call my body, and they're experienced in the SF waters.
But I don't want to branch out too much. I like being "long lost big brother" to the three kids, skirting off to a little league game or watching a movie they picked out (Legally Blonde and Dirty Harry were this week's selections). It's nice to have the familiar faces here and there to remind me of Kansas, but truthfully, I kind of like starving myself of that commodity. It's only practice for the future.
One week in and it feels like it's been a month. I mean that in a good way. So much has occurred in the past 8 days that it would normally occupy multiple weeks. I'm meeting people, learning about film festivals and publishing companies, walking up hill both ways, toning these butt cheeks to chiseled perfection. Just you wait. You'll all want to be my friend again when I'm home.

Friday, May 23, 2008

JPG Blog 1 & 2 & 3 & 4

I'll be linking my JGP blog posts for easy access. Feel free to check out the entire blog, but here's my current entries.
And oh... got photos? Upload them people! Join JPGmag.com or everywheremag.com and upload your best photos, travel pics, stories, anything! Get published, make $100, subscribe!

Mourning Cornell Capa

JPG celebrity siting

Polaroid Portrait Theme

What's New Theme

Thursday, May 22, 2008

That which I wanted...

...is mine.

The coveted internship with 8020 Publishing I was after is now occupied, and I am so lucky to fill the seat. I'll be editorial intern for JPG Magazine this summer (3 days a week vs 2 with the Film Society), and today was Day 1. The crew was so nice, the staff is so young and hip and creative. My editor is even a fellow Jayhawk (shh, don't tell me that it helped get me the gig; I like to think I earned this one over the last few weeks).

I'll be blogging over there, watching over the 150,000-member online community of photographers and managing a few ditties in between. I'm very excited for a job that doesn't require me to pour anyone any coffee. We sit all day with our AIM windows open, messaging from across the room as we interact over the web site. Today was great. A definite step forward in my own little world.

Check JPG out for yourself, or even 8020's other publication, Everywhere Magazine. This is impressive stuff from very impressive people.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I am Monica Lewinsky, You are Confused

How am I like the world's most famous intern? Well, while we differ in our personal strategies, our bosses have the same names. At the Film Society, I'm under the lead of Bill and Hilary. Hilary, of course, calls the shots, but Bill is my direct supervisor. I don't demand the same supervision that Monica did; I'm content with press releases, news clippings, and freebies in the form of film screenings.
What a perfect day this was--other than the fog. The fog refuses to vanish, so even though I got as close as 50 yards from the Golden Gate Bridge as I explored the streets and beach before work, I still only saw the bridge itself but not the supports. Things were much more accommodating at the Film offices, though. It's going to be great. I join the crew at an interesting time; since it's a non-profit, there are dozens of interns who help operate. The festival ended a few weeks ago; months of coordination culminated in a successful 51st annual San Fran International Film Fest, but now many of the crew is off to seek other endeavors. So I begin the new transition into the summer and regular season; Festival hoopla will pick up around January, but for now I'll help wrap up the loose ends from the 51st. Everyone met me with a smile and was as helpful as ever; the outgoing interns were exactly that--outgoing. Their sense of humor, as well as their diverse perspectives, made the day. Mostly, I read info packets or perused databases to get a feel for the publicity team; starting Thursday I'll start my first assignment of reeling through over 30 hours of video footage from awards ceremonies, honoree interviews, etc to find highlights and to backup all of the material for archives. That project will last a few weeks, but I'm excited to absorb things that I missed by just a few weeks. It's my own backstage pass into the festival, except I don't have to dress up in a suit and tie for the occasion.
To appropriately conclude the eventful afternoon, I took Lombard Street back home. Lombard is, of course, the world's crookedest street and quite a marvel. My mind was jogging from everything I have had to absorb, back and forth while my eyes spin madly at everything around me. Lombard felt appropriate.
I'm planning when I should waltz into Francis Ford-Coppolla's American Zoetrope or LucasFilms to poke my nose around, ask a few questions. You hear stories about successful filmmakers who "broke in" my literally breaking in to a studio lot to watch the action. I plan nothing illegal, but would love to chat up somebody about my perspective as a college grad looking for work in the field.
Just now, I watched a film that screened at the festival, called "Up the Yangtze". I get to check out most of the films as a perk of working for the Film Society, so keeping entertained with movies won't be an issue this summer. I'm especially thrilled to have access to some films that might not otherwise come my direction. I'm a dire needs of a revamped art-house appreciation. My life is dictated by which mainstream, over-hyped movies come to the Midwest rather than the more genuine, less studio-driven things like Indiana Jones or Iron Man.
Is it ironic that I just said that after talking about snooping around LucasFilms for guidance? Yeah, it is. About as ironic that I'm an intern for Bill and Hilary. Some things you just can't make up. But if there's a functioning road that has 8 sharp turns on one hill, then there's a lot of room for the smaller ironies of this life.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Like a Sponge

Lots to absorb on this first full day by the bay. I'll get pictures later, but I hope this tour of my living situation appeases you meanwhile.
Walked around the neighborhood, ate like a king, saw cousin Eddie play ball and accompanied the other two to their favorite local dives... all of which have more personality than the entirety of Mass Street. What an authentic city.
Film gig starts tomorrow, with Tuesday's interview to determine a possible second internship. Things are looking up, looking bright. Unlike the fog that settles over the city by midday.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Here I Come

First time to California -- and for 3 months! Hoping it's like nicotine x10.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

What a difference a good camera makes

Thanks Jenny for letting me schlep around your equipment for a couple days. It meant a lot that you insisted I do it and I didn't even ask you for the favor. It's nice to take some good photos while picking up some basic photography lessons.







Trusting myself

My problem is that I glorify everything. I blow my life out of proportion, or seemingly do so. Of course, this blog serves to externalize the internal, so realistically I'm just putting down what goes through my head. Readers can say that I over-exaggerate, but in their own heads they are worrying about their similar concerns.

If you pay close attention, you notice that I am so concerned about being happy and being successful by my own definition. Sometimes I don't have the confidence to trust myself.
I need to leave a lot up to fate and work ethic. Whining about my odds or about the future won't get me anywhere. It is imperative to trust day to day decisions and know that in the big picture, those little victories are what equal true happiness and success. Today I told someone that after I graduate, I refuse to take a job that bores me. If I'm always making decisions that better my life and I'm laughing and avoiding stress and I take the mental initiatives to succeed, I will one day look back and be wholly content. I look back now, and I do feel wholly content up to this point. Even the misfires lead to a happier life, because you know how disappointment feels and thus strive for the opposite.
I just needed to externalize this. It's in my head, and it looks good in writing. I promise less melodrama.

A disclaimer, and a family rambling

As I predicted, the blog is suffering from an identity crisis right now. Hopefully in a week I can pick it up again, or find the motivation to spruce it up with more features, but I hate giving anything half an effort, so if this page starts getting bare, it's because something else is occupying my time... which is good.


On another note, I've been in North Dakota for the past few days. It's so great here. I am reminded why a few years ago I considered coming to Minot State University. I absolutely adore being around my family. This isn't some kiss-ass post because I know they all read this, but I am sincerely writing the truth. Sometimes I get too above myself mentally and find I can be a jerk or big-headed for no reason; I think it's some of the people I spend too much time around at school. 
And where I hope to live after graduation, it's easy to get pinheaded because of the people you're around. My family is the kindest bunch of people, and they're all so successful and creative and funny, and most importantly, so loved. It humbles me so much to see these people and to experience their selflessness. My cousins always make time for me, even in their busy schedules and for how popular they are among their local friends. My Grandmas are sweeter than sugar, and always force feed me anything filled with sugar that they no doubt toiled over. My aunts and uncles are role models, both as parents and as motivated individuals. They have raised brilliant kids with warm smiles and infectious personalities, and I consider those kids my best friends. This is true even though I see them once or twice a year. As I go through this life and find friendships fading in and out, it's bliss to hold onto these. I'm afraid of the future and its uncertainty. But I know I want my eventual family to mimic my current family. Above everything else in the world that I ever could work for, I truly want this the most. 
I'm going to ask a favor of you. If things ever get gray, and I doubt where I am or what I should do, remind me the one thing I want the most. I experienced it this weekend, and I was as content as I ever remember.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

How "Back Dat Ass Up" saved my life

To know me is to know that I have a pretty bad taste in music. It's improving, honestly. But scan through my iTunes library and you will discover an array of garbage, crap, and backwash. There's some solid stuff in there, some good folk singers or 70s classics, but I won't deny having a dozen or so Britney Spears songs, among other bubblegum fodder.
I enjoy having music for every mood, and that fodder is the right amount of fluff that my mind needs at points. Sometimes I need the mental escape, and having the Pussycat Dolls tell me to "loosen up their buttons"-- or ask me if I wished my girlfriend was as hot as them--is the perfect fit.
And for exercising, my generation doesn't use Van Halen or the Stones for workouts. No, we use Timbaland, Timberlake, Nelly, Nelly Furtado. Rap and R&B are the tunes of the treadmill these days, and I've made an entire iTunes playlist entitled "groove" that hosts all of my songs from these genres. It's what I listen to when I work out, and I just switch to the next song if the current one doesn't match my pace--there are nearly 1,000 songs from which I choose.

So yesterday as I left the house to go for a run, my playlist was a few songs in, since I just finished my stretch. The next song up was "Back Dat Ass Up" by Juvenile. Yes, yes, it's an intellectual song about a gentleman who enjoys the ladies so much that he requests they kindly maneuver their derrières up against him as they dance. Score one for those of you who criticize my songbook; I'm trimming the fat later this week to free up disk space.
Well, I didn't want to hear that song at this particular moment in time, so I stopped to find another. Typically I keep running and switch the tune, but I had just left the driveway and felt no need to begin my run while tampering for the right beat. I estimate being stalled an extra 5 seconds before finding a satisfying choice.

On the very next block, as I grew into my pace, I was halted when an SUV abruptly backed out of its driveway. The driver, a girl from my graduating class, wasn't looking for pedestrians as she "Backed Dat SUV Up", wasn't slowing down, and wasn't apologetic when I glared at her for nearly flattening me. She missed me by a few seconds. Five maybe. To quote Juvenile's lyrics, I wanted to shout "Ho, who is you playin' wit?"
And for once, I can defend my bad taste in music. I can justify having Juvenile in my iTunes library. I am thankful that my playlist wasn't immediately catered to my needs, and that I stalled to find the right fit. Because if not for that fodder, that fluff, that garbage... I'd be flatter than a Britney Spears melody, deader than Tupac or Biggie. Fo' rizzle.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The bug

All I want to do is travel. Travel, travel, travel. Document it with words, video, photos, forever ingrain it in my head.
Right now I can only think of moving around and seeing new things, trying new foods, meeting new people. The newness excites me. I believe I have come to hate being still. I'm even distracted that I can't think much of films right now.
This is one reason I applied for a few travel/photography-related internships in San Fran. There's so much to see, and it's not all where I am!