KICKSTARTER ACTION

Hey friends,

I am writing to you with a call for help! I just launched a kickstarter page for my senior film project—a comedy musical about the Donner Party! This is crucial to helping me follow my dream of becoming a filmmaker. Please read the info at the link and share and consider a contribution! Thanks so much <3

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2029620540/donner-party-the-musical/

The Work Week In Review - Five

This week’s responsibilities:

[x] SPREADSHEETS
[x] Getting farewell ice cream

This week was very different for me. It felt very much like a farewell week, although I still have one more remaining. For almost all of my time this week, I was organizing spreadsheets. One kept track of the Amazon and New York Times Bestseller book lists, while the other kept track of films in development at other studios. It seems like a harmless task, and for the most part, it was. However, there were some little details (like going all the way back to June to see when a particular George RR Martin novel got onto the list) that would take an awful long time. This was for a good cause—prepping for the Fall interns. Things had fallen into neglect either this summer or before we even started, but I did my best to bring things up to speed niiiiiice and efficient-like. This was one reason it felt like a goodbye week; I was doing things for the next batch of kids.

In addition to this, I was sent on the final farewell ice cream shopping trip I would be going on. On Thursday, we said goodbye to the only other summer intern remaining (there is a third but he looks to be on board through the fall). Things have been getting very quiet at the office but I’m told that the new batch will start coming in NEXT WEEK. That means all of a sudden I will be launched to TRAINER status. Wow, time flies! It will be my job to catch all of the new recruits up on what I feel like I just learned yesterday! Of course, I am not lacking in confidence, it just has gone by so fast.

We’ll see how it all goes………..

For now, I will sit back and enjoy TWO concerts at the Hollywood Bowl: Tonight, John Williams, tomorrow Paramount’s 100th anniversary. Good times!

The Work Week In Review - Three and Four

[x] Reading scripts, writing coverage
[  ] Binding scripts
[x] Hole punching stuff
[x] Scanning documents
[x] Making copies
[  ] Copying DVDs
[x] Answering the phone

Hey everybody! Sorry I’ve been gone for a while, but there has been a combination of my work week being too uneventful (compared to last time) as well as being too busy on the other days.

As the weeks have gone on, other interns have fallen away back to their schools—RISD doesn’t start until Sept. 12 so I’ve still got plenty of time here. In fact, so may interns had gone that last Friday, I was the only one there! At that point I really felt the weight of my responsibilities, from having to go out for coffee while I was in the middle of a script, having to go make copies while I was in the middle of a script, and having to answer phones while I was in the middle of a script. It was so much easier when there were others at the desk. Luckily, there is an intern with me on Fridays but he was sick that day so he’ll be back. Still, it’s been sad running off to pick up ice cream for two of the interns going away. I can only imagine I’ll be off getting ice cream for a third next Thursday….

Other than that, things have been slow going. I did read an incredibly hilarious and fun script that I was pleased to find out has been picked up and is in development. I will share the info when it passes through the appropriate channels!

Other than THAT, the script reading and the writing of coverage has gone on as usual and I wish I had more to say :(

Let’s hope I don’t regret that wish!

The Work Week In Review - Two

Duties of the week:

[x] Reading scripts, writing coverage
[  ] Binding scripts
[x] Hole punching stuff
[x] Scanning documents
[  ] Making copies
[x] Copying DVDs
[x] ANSWERING THE PHONE!!!! 

As you can see, it’s been a busy week. So busy, in fact, that this post is coming to you days later than it should. My apologies for all my die-hard readers!

The most significant part of my work week is that I finally shattered my fear of answering the phones! I got stranded at the intern desk, as the others were called away for an extended period of time. When the phone finally began to ring, I noticed that my boss’s assistant was away from her desk, too. I started getting all sweaty and then took a big swallow, then answered the phone.

"Matt Dines’s office," I said in a bright, slightly quivering tone of voice.

"Yeah, this is so and so, calling from blah blah for a meeting with Dines this afternoon."

"Could you spell that last name for me please? Great. Thanks, I’ll let him know."

Click.

I WISH I GOT CONFETTI FOR DOING THAT! It was seriously nerve-wracking, because I’m sure it was a high profile dude on the other line and I didn’t want to waste his time with untrained intern nonsense. I’m happy to report that it went down without a hitch. From then on, I was comfortable to orient myself towards the phone, and I’ve been answering ever since!

Not long after my first revelatory phone call, we were invited to join other MGM employees in the private screening room (WITH THE COMFIEST CHAIRS EVER) to see an advance showing of the new film Hope Springs, which MGM did not directly make, but was involved with in some form of distribution of financing. It was a really cute, sweet movie with an older target audience, but it really is applicable to any couple! Definitely check it out and support our wonderful studio! I do have some level of bias, but I wouldn’t waste this much real estate if I didn’t truly enjoy it.

That afternoon, I was asked to do some grocery shopping for Jon Glickman, which I easily obliged to as it granted me a one-on-one hello with him.

All this good stuff was just Wednesday! Thursday was relatively uneventful, just reading scripts and doing coverage for the most part.

On Friday, there were mysterious buzzings of a half day. Suddenly, around lunch time, the assistants yelled, “Alright everyone! Down to lunch!” Usually everyone just trickles out around 1 PM but this was a mass exodus to the 2nd floor. I had no idea what was going on until we emerged on a rooftop plaza, complete with 2 tables of catering. Cous cous, beef, hot dogs, FUN DIP, popcorn. It was pretty awesome. As awesome as it was, I STILL had no idea what was going on. After sitting and eating for a while, Roger and Gary called for silence. They then proceeded to give very sweet speeches about how much all of us 300 employees meant to them. It was a very wonderful moment and a testament to how down-to-earth these seemingly “big shot” studios can be. I don’t know the case with the other studios around town, but I am happy to be here with MGM.

They granted us a half day as a cherry on top, and after swiping some more fun dip, I went out to the movies with an intern buddy of mine.

It was a really great week, leaving me with a smile on my face, just thinking about it again! I’m currently entertaining the wonderful Matty McNamara, fresh out of RISD’s Film program, as he is down here interviewing with producers and editors to try and weasel his way into this seemingly impenetrable industry. Best of luck to him and thanks for reading!

The Work Week In Review

Duties of the week:

[x] Reading scripts, writing coverage
[  ] Binding scripts
[x] Hole punching stuff
[  ] Scanning documents
[  ] Making copies
[  ] Copying DVDs
[  ] Answering the phone 

It’s been a pretty quiet week at MGM. I started out on Wednesday finishing a script I started on Friday, but when that coverage was complete, I got a request I wasn’t expecting: read a novel and have a summary prepared for lunchtime Friday. I can’t tell you about the book, but I can say that it was certainly a book I would not have picked up on my own accord! I spent the next 48 hours blasting through the 500 pages (most of which was done in the office, admittedly a distracting environment when you’re surrounded by buzzes of upcoming films and news about the current productions). Boy was I tired after that.

Another one of the interns had their last day this week, and the numbers keep dwindling. I saw a schedule for the month briefly, and I believe in a few weeks it will literally be just me. AHHHHHHHH! At least I’m meeting more and more people in and around the office, so it’s becoming an increasingly more comfortable environment.

One of the more amusing anecdotes surrounded some office drama. I have no idea the context but two of the important fellas in the office were dropping a whole lot of very loud f-bombs, causing the co-chair, Roger Birnbaum to come out and close their office door, saying “Hey guys, why don’t you take a walk around the block, cool off? We have children over here!” And he gave us a charming smile. Sweet guy!

Everyone at the office has gotten Olympic fever and so they stream it on their iPads or TVs or what have you, so I’ve been getting the lo-down on all the events, based on happy cheers breaking out around the floor or seeing angry fist shaking.

Overall, the experience continues to improve and I’m really enjoying myself. That said, I’ve also been very giddy every day I leave, peeling out of the garage to bright, sunny, palm-tree-lined streets! I couldn’t help playing this as I left on Wednesday http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiGS3-POSsw&feature=related

A brief yet enjoyable detour from my own musings…

(Source: pantyfire, via keepcalmandstruton)

Hiking the wrong trail, Fender bender…but what a sunset

Whew! I had quite a day yesterday. Having spent Monday lounging around my room, getting finally comfortable with my room and routine, I figured Tuesday would be a good day to get out there and enjoy LA.

Note: I listen to my iPod for most everything I do, so I’ve decided to incorporate what music drives me through these events.

First off, I decided to hike up to the Hollywood Sign. That said, I was impulsive and used the first guide I found online. For my uphill music, let this play on another page while you read http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfldAqkBwuc Turned out, I picked the hardest, most strenuous route. It was a 5-mile roundtrip hiking up the canyon around the sign, much like hiking up College Hill for 90 minutes straight.  There were times I had to sit under what little shade there was but the trip up had some incredible views:

For the trip down, I was excited to hear this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mehbMnHWac It always gets me riled up and I was reallllly excited to get the hell down the mountain. It still took a while, but at least it was a faster trip :D Unfortunately, I was downwind of some horses on a trail ride for part of it, but my manly horse riding experience trained me well. To me it was like wafting a rose garden.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwRPc2041Sc
I finally made it back to my car and I really really wanted to get back home to a shower. I was caked in dirt and sweat. But that wasn’t the worst. Tired and dirty (neither of which was an excuse), I REAR ENDED A GUY AS I TRIED TO CLOSE THE SPACE BETWEEN US AT A RED LIGHT. I was scared! My heart was beating and all I could think was duhjfgdfjgkjdfhgjkdfgdflsd I AM IN A RENTAL! Upon pulling over and investigating the crash, it turned out I only hit the guy with my license plate and he didn’t really get scratched! All was well and I just hyperventilated back home. Wheeewwwwww.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQnvCghQXrY
All cleaned up, I set back out around 5:30. It was my intent to get up to the Griffith Observatory, about an hour or so across town, racing the sun. It is a hotspot around that time of day because it is perched high up on a mountain ridge and you get a beautiful, unobstructed view of the city. The only problem was that I was out questing for the Observatory in rush hour traffic. It was a constant battle of choosing when to stay in the bumper to bumper traffic and when to weave through the side streets. My patience got the better of me and I ended up doing lots of weav…….ahem, exploring

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvyCMgAajqk
I finally made it to the top, where the Griffith Observatory awaited:

It seems bright, but at this point, sunset was about an hour away.

I waited and I waited, slowly watching the sun set, serenaded by The Righteous Brothers.

It got closer and closer:

Until…….

It vanished. Check out the photo album on Facebook if you can!

Also check out my two panoramas of the observatory!

http://360.io/q25x4X
http://360.io/Kpamx5 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2hXZYhE59k
All that remained was a ride through the nighttime city. This music is great for reviewing the facebook album or the panoramas ;)

It took forever, but here is a GIF of my ride up the Pacific Coast Highway! I have limited means here so it is small and lo-fi but gives a sense of the great scenery! It also unfortunately does not loop so refresh the page if you want to see it again.

It took forever, but here is a GIF of my ride up the Pacific Coast Highway! I have limited means here so it is small and lo-fi but gives a sense of the great scenery! It also unfortunately does not loop so refresh the page if you want to see it again.

The First Day

I DID IT. I’M IN.

So, what was it like on the first day of working for a major international studio and financing company?

I was out the door at 8 AM to try and beat the traffic and get to work on time, but I was a little early for traffic and I pulled into the garage by 8:15. A rather empty garage at that. I rode the elevator up to the lobby where I was greeted by a security guard with a very large golden version of the MGM logo on the wall behind her. It was a rather empty lobby. The guard beeped me up to the 6th (and top) floor, where I found an empty reception desk. While I waited for a receptionist, I couldn’t help but ogle the wall of Oscars not far from the desk. MGM’s Oscars include Best Pictures for Gone With The WindAnnie Hall, and The Silence of the Lambs, to name a few. Being in the presence of those was a bit intimidating. Behind the wall of Oscars were framed film stills, with the likes of Marlon Brando, Peter Sellers, and Marilyn Monroe greeting me. AHHHHHH

Anywho, a receptionist came from around the corner and called in my internship coordinator, who came to give me a tour around the place. I was to later learn that not only was the Creative Department up on this top floor, but the offices of Roger Birnbaum, Gary Barber, and Jon Glickman were just around the corner!

What struck me most about the office was that you can see the impact of MGM’s financial issues before its latest revamping, and I do not mean this in a bad way. It is just a much more modest operation—the heavy-hitters are within feet of the assistants and each other, who are also within feet of the interns. Everyone is soooo down-to-earth and super nice, there is no stuffy exec nonsense going around at MGM. This obviously leads to a wonderful work environment.

So far my duties include:

[ ] Reading scripts, writing coverage (reviewing the script, should the studio wish to pursue it)
[ ] Binding scripts
[ ] Hole punching scripts
[ ] Scanning documents
[ ] Making copies
[ ] Copying DVDs
[ ] Answering the phone

and that’s all I know so far. I answer to Matt Dines, head of the creative department, which pursues potential ventures for the studio. I’m sure there’s some kind of implied NDA, but I CAN say that I heard much talk about the Carrie remake (currently in production, with Chloe Moretz and Julianne Moore), as well as the RoboCop remake (soon to be in production). Exciting stuff!

The most exciting part of the day was getting my MGM badge, which is really just to use the elevator without restriction BUT IT’S STILL EXCITING.

The interns all share a desk (looks like there are up to 4-5 per day) where we share phone duties, data entry on the computer, and write our coverage. They had all been there since late May, so I was super late to the party, but they were all very welcoming and I didn’t feel like an outsider n00b.

My work for the day:

[x] Reading scripts, writing coverage
[  ] Binding scripts
[  ] Hole punching scripts
[x] Scanning documents
[  ] Making copies
[  ] Copying DVDs
[  ] Answering the phone 

All I pretty much did was read a script, which took about 2ish hours for about a 2 hour movie, so that felt about right. I got started on the coverage and had a quick interruption to scan some receipts. IMPORTANT STUFF. Went to lunch for an hour and finished the coverage around 3:30-4. Then I started reading another script and all of a sudden it was time to go home at 6! I drove home in equally easy-to-get-through traffic and parked for the night.

This is definitely gonna be a great place to be, especially with the close proximity to the bigwigs. I’m still nervous because I haven’t done much of my duties yet, most worrying of which is answering the phone. The other interns do it with a high level of familiarity, that I’m sure I will learn, but in between I fear I will be counter-productive in keeping with all the formalities. WE’LL SEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

L.A. Driving 101

So, now that I’m no longer excited about being stuck in traffic, I thought I’d impart some wisdom I’ve acquired while roaming the streets:

1. DON’T TAKE LEFT TURNS UNLESS NECESSARY
Seriously, very few intersections actually have a signal for left turns and with a near-constant stream of traffic from the oncoming side, only one or two cars tend to make a left turn per cycle. It is actually probably faster to make three right turns around the block to orient yourself properly!

2. AVOID THE HIGHWAY/FREEWAY FOR SHORT TRIPS
Back home, if I wanted to go to my old high school, I would hop on the highway to cut a few minutes off the trip downtown. Here, the freeways seem to be slower than city streets! I went down to an asian market and my GPS told me to hop on I-10, it’ll be fast, right? When I got to the on ramp, cars were backed up to get on about two intersections before it. In my trip to Glendale, there were definitely areas of solid congestion, but between regions it flowed pretty well. Getting from point A to point B in LA is definitely not worth a trip on the interstate!

3. EXPLORE THE RADIO, BRING AN IPOD, HAVE SOMETHING ON YOUR MIND
If you do none of these, it can get pretty rough. I found myself headbanging to heavier music and almost tearing up to Fraggle Rock within the same block. Maybe I’ll put my Fellowship audiobook to good use…… 

If you look closely, you can see my fraggle tears