This Has Been: March Edition

WP_20130307_003

I’m amazed that it’s already the end of March.  I’ve been so focused on my program and class work, that the time has gone by very quickly, so that even though I am aware of the date, I was shocked to see the 31st my calendar when I flipped the page this week.

This month has been full of getting to know some new people and hanging out with old friends sandwiched between 9:30 to 3(ish) classes every weekday and industry events or random things in the evenings and weekends.

It has become a running joke in our class that Parenthood (see picture) makes people cry. I’ve come to accept that out of our group, I am the one most likely to cry over something. Not so much as joke as a fact if life that one. It’s a trait I got from my mom, who commiserated with me over it. Note if you ever see me crying: do not be alarmed. A lot of times I just can’t control my tears. I’ll be fine, I promise.

I had a first date this month… with a ZipCar.  At the moment I am living in LA sans-car and quickly finding out a lot about how impractical that is, especially in the industry I’m looking to get into.  Sometimes having personal transit is a pre-requisite to getting a job.  I reserved a ZipCar last weekend and quickly learned that driving in LA is not nearly as intimidating as I made it out to be in my head.  So that’s probably good.

This month also included a bit of church shopping.  I was a bit surprised, and very pleased to find a church I like as quickly as I have.  I’m already building a community here, slowly but surely.  I’m hoping that this community can help me to find a place to live soon.  The Space I’m in now was always meant to be temporary, and it’s demise is oncoming.

The good news is that if all works out I can start looking for a more permanent place here in Los Angeles.  I have applied and things look good for me to stay here and take a second round of classes in a similar style to what I’m taking right now, and then I will be able to finish my requirements with a few online classes in the fall.  As long as I can get the permissions I could be graduating at the end of this year.  I’m not quite sure how this happened, but I’m pretty excited.

Of Musical Stories

Music has been a passion of mine since I was an infant.  More specifically, singing.  I sing pretty much all the freaking time.  Ask anyone who’s ever been around me for more than ten minutes.  When I was in middle school I started taking voice lessons and continued through high school.  I stopped when I went to college because I didn’t know how to find a place, but may try to start again sometime because it’s a blast.

Because of this background I am most well versed in Broadway, leading to this: a list of musicals that I know backwards and forwards till the end of time.  I’ll warn you that this list may have gotten a little out of hand.  Or a lot.  What can I say?  I’m sorry I’m not sorry.

  1. The Sound of Music is my all time favorite movie.  Still.  The story is timeless and true, the music is beautiful, and Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer are perfect.  I sometimes daydream about the dance in the movie being a part of my wedding.
  2. Les Miserables.  I was so excited when I heard they were going to turn this into a movie.  So excited.  I learned a few of these songs over the years in voice lessons, but truly learned the soundtrack after having seen it right before it went off Broadway in New York.
  3. Hairspray was my first Broadway show.  That might be a lie, but it was certainly one of the most memorable.  My aunt took me to see it for Christmas one year and I catch myself singing the songs every once and a while.  Sometimes you just gotta Run An’ Tell That.
  4. RENT.  Oh the controversy.  I was not allowed to watch this when the movie came out, but learned most of the soundtrack through friends.  We would sing it during our lunch period and memories pieces to perform for each other.
  5. Wicked is wicked good (I’m also a fan of bad puns).  I’ve been to see this three times and had fantastic seats every time.  Such a great show.
  6. The Wizard of Oz will forever be one of my favorite childhood stories.  At one point I had an audio tape of the movie and would play it on repeat.  I’m not actually sure that this counts as a proper musical, but there is plenty of singing in it, so I’ll go ahead and add it to the list.
  7. Mary Poppins.  I watch/listen to the 1964 Julie Andrews movie version and this was another favorite of my childhood.
  8. Across the Universe is another may not count one, but I know the Across the universe version of most of the songs better than I know the Beatles version, sorry to say.  So here it is on the list.
  9. Once Upon A Mattress was my high school’s musical when I was a junior.  It was a blast.  I missed the auditions, so I was a chorus member, but it was so much fun I didn’t even mind.
  10. Anything Goes was another high school production, but done the year after I left.  I somehow wound up with a burned CD of the music though and can sing along to most of it.  I also saw the more recent Broadway version when it was in San Francisco a few months ago, and that version made me want to take tap.  One day.
  11. Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog is being counted because Joss Whedon.
  12. Once More With Feeling (Buffy musical episode) is also being counted.  See above reason.

Honorable Mention (I know a few songs, but would be overshooting to claim the entire show): Oliver!, Phantom of the Opera, The Music Man, anything Disney (because there’s too many to count properly), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Bye Bye Birdie, White Christmas, Splendora, Chicago, West Side Story, Cabaret, Doctor Doolittle, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Fiddler on the Roof, Grease, Annie, Little Shop of Horrors, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Enchanted, and Sweeney Todd.

What are your favorite musicals?  Do you randomly burst into song?

Writing About Writing (week of March 18)

Monday: journal (3)
school – cards
Tuesday: journal (1)
Wednesday: journal (1)
school – beats
Thursday: journal (2)
school – beat sheet
Friday: journal (2)
blog – has been
Saturday: journal (1)
blog – this post
Sunday: journal (6)
school – script

Last week was full of lots of beats going onto cards.  As a class we worked out everyone’s beats and the flow of all the scripts for seven people.  Lots of ideas being kicked around and plots being reconfigured, not all of which is represented in this post.  It’s hard to put brainstorming/plot-figuring into a writing list, but it is an essential part of the process.  This weekend I began to go to script which is a little terrifying.  I officially have two weeks to write around 45 pages.

Hence, this week I’ll be doing a lot of script writing.  I’ve gotten a few pages already, and I’m aiming for about 50, so if I work consistently I should be writing three or four pages a day.  I likely will not write that consistently, but that would be the aim.  I will also be continuing to journal and a little bit of blogging because that’s just the way I seem to roll/I don’t have everything for this week scheduled already.

What I’m Reading: January to March

Since one of my goals for the year is to read 26 books (that’s one book every two weeks for those of you playing along at home), I thought it might be fun to share some of the books I’m reading and liking with the internet.  So far I’ve finished six so far which I’m pretty happy with, and I’ve also gotten a few more in the works.

Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin
This one is sort of an ‘untold story’.  A fictionalized account of the life of Alice of Alice in Wonderland fame.  I’m not sure how much of it is true (and to me it doesn’t make much of a difference), but it follows young Alice begging for the book to be written and then the repercussions throughout her life.  I’m a nut for both historical fiction and grown up versions of children’s stories, so this one was a win/win for me.  Fantastically well written, I would recommend this one to anyone who fondly remembers Alice.

Looking for Alaska by John Green
I have been an avid VlogBrothers subscriber for a while now, but hadn’t read any of John Green’s book until The Fault In Our Stars came out last year.  I loved it and knew immediately that I would have to read his others.  Looking for Alaska is about a guy at boarding school getting to know a girl named Alaska who–nope, not giving it away.  Just read it.  It’s awesome.

Glaciers by Alexis M. Smith
A book my sister gave me for Christmas, Glaciers is a novel following the musings of a young woman.  What it lacks in plot it makes up for in beautiful prose.  You get to know Isabelle, her present and her past, as she recalls memories of growing up in Alaska.  Glaciers is a great book, but it certainly is not for everyone.

Messenger and Son by Lois Lowry
These two go together and are the continuation of the universe established in The Giver and Gathering Blue, books I read a long time ago when I was a kid.  Both look into the world of the village that Jonas sees at the end of The Giver.  Time has past and Jonas, is now the leader of the village.  He helps Matty, a messenger between the village and outsiders to use his gift to heal the wounds of the town.

Later in Son, Claire, a young woman from the community where The Giver began, tells her side of the story as the birthmother of Gabe.  The book follows her journey to find Gabe and runs into characters new and familiar in the process.

I would recommend both of these books.  While they are aimed towards young adults (remember my love of them?), they both, along with their companions The Giver and Gather Blue pose lots of good questions to readers of any age.  In fact, I almost think that I got more out of them this time around than I did when I had first read their predecessors.  Reading these was like returning to an old friend, a true joy.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
Kind of a “and now for something completely different” moment right here.  Mindy Kaling was, of course, one of the writers of The Office, and currently the creator and star of her own show, The Mindy Project.  The book is a memoir (I guess?  I’m not really sure about the definition of these things) of her childhood and her quest to be a writer/actress on stage or screen.  It covers up to and partially including her time at The Office.  Just like she is on screen, Mindy is entertaining and engaging on a page.  And funny.  Of course funny.  But you already knew that much, right?  Recommended to anyone who enjoyed Bossypants by Tina Fey.

*

I am still reading, though somewhat less lately, I expect to have another review post in a month or two.  In the meantime, have you read any of these?  What did you think?  Any recommendations for me?

Sampling Luther

It’s no secret that I love British TV.  Between my Whovian tendencies and my research paper on Downton Abbey, it’s not a surprise in the least that I think TV shows from across the pond are fascinating.

The culture and norms there are so different from what I’m used to in the U.S. and I love learning about people and situations that are different from me.  The best way for me to discuss this is in a sort of case study example.  Lately I’ve been watching and studying Luther, a show staring Idris Elba (The Wire).

In a word, Luther is intense.  It follows John Luther, the head of the Serious Crime Unit (and later the Serious and Serial Crime Unit) as they work bizarre and inhuman cases.  The show is more graphic and fast-paced than anything I’ve ever seen on American television.  It’s a high-risk high-reward situation as it certainly makes for a thrilling story.

It also focuses a lot on the friendship between Luther and Alice, a sociopath murder.  This relationship is borderline the most bizarre thing in the entire series, even over some of the crimes they solve.

Luther, and British television in general, doesn’t skirt around issues of violence or sexuality.  Graphic crime scenes are just background noise to the crimes being shown.  Scenes will often leave me with a “that escalated quickly” feeling when suddenly two characters go from greeting each other at the door to laying in bed a few hours later.

Besides the way that it approaches social issues, there’s also a really different form of storytelling that’s going on here.  Each season so far (and the upcoming season 3 from what I’ve gathered) has had an ongoing personal plot line going on the side.  Now, this isn’t completely unheard of in any television regardless of country of origin, but Luther does it differently than any show I can think of.

Confession time: For my class right now I am writing a sample script for Luther.  This is kind of terrifying to admit because this show has such a specific style that I’m worried I wont be able to properly emulate it.  And that’s without even the fear that I’m going to screw up some British thing and accidentally turn it more American.

Admitting this is also scary on the level of this-is-the-internet.  While I love the internet, it’s also a very permanent and very public place.  I don’t have any fantasies of someone from the show seeing this and then wanting to see my sample.  But more the opposite.  The worry that if someone sees this I could get in trouble for trying.

A little silly?  Yes.  Because I’m not trying to sell it.  I’m not planning to even shop it.  I’m writing this script as a sample.  A way of practicing something that I hope I can turn into a living down the line.  Practicing the method and the madness that I will apply to another show that probably doesn’t exist yet at some undetermined point in the future.

Maybe someday, far off into the future, I will get to work on a British show.  With people who will help me correct the mistakes I make as an outsider.  Maybe.

Have you seen Luther?  What are your favorite foreign shows?  

Halfway Mark

I never really cared much about my half birthday until a few years ago when my friend and I decided that we were internally 7 and 5 respectively and we turned the next age on our half birthdays.  That said, I am “turning” 8 this year, specifically  last Wednesday was my half birthday.

That being said, halfway is a great place to check in with my goals for 21, the things I thought of when I turned 21 that I wanted to do during the year.  From this post, my goals were:

  • being intentional about my choices
  • establishing a habit of devotionals
  • scheduling time to get things done
  • routines for… health, beauty, photography, and blogging

How’s that for vague and ambiguous?  I’ll start with the things that I’ve done.  I’ve done very well with establishing a habit of devotions.  While I don’t know I would claim to have a routine for blogging, I have been keeping up with it quite well.  Meanwhile, photography has majorly stalled.  There has been no movement on beauty routines and any movement made on health over winter break has come to a screeching halt upon moving to Los Angeles.  I will claim to have been pretty good at scheduling over the fall semester, but that took a nose dive over the break.

As to “intentional choices”, the most ambiguous of them all, I’m really not sure how to respond to it.  I made the choice to come out to LA to do this program, something I didn’t foresee last September at all.  I spent a lot of time praying about it, and especially praying about where my life will go after moving.  Will I stay here or go back to Chicago?  As I’ve said multiple times through this transition, I have a lot of options and none of them suck (at least from my perspective).

But does praying over a decision make it “intentional”?  I’m not sure.  What about other choices I’ve made?  Since September I’ve gone to industry events in Chicago and LA.  I’ve made many knitted things and spent time with friends and family near and far.  I’ve gone home for Thanksgiving, and then spent two and a half months living at home.  I’ve started and finished many a television series.  I’ve planned and plotted a few of my own TV shows (both in reality and in the hypothetical).  What makes any of these things intentional?

The think that seems to be missing from this intention equation is what the intention should be leading toward.  It’s hard to have intent without a goal set in that intention.  So what was my goal in setting this intention last September?  Honestly, I’m not sure there was one, and I’m not sure what I would add to it now.  In intend to make the most out of the opportunities that have been given me, but that’s still not measurable.

Perhaps the best way to go about it is to say that instead of making my choices with “intention” whatever that means, I want to consult God when making be decisions.  That is measurable and solid.  With changing to that as a goal, I can say that I have done that so far this year, and I hope to continue doing it.

I don’t know what opportunities will be available to me in these next six months, but I know that whatever choices I make I want them to reflect God’s plan for me.  He has a perfect plan for my life and He will tell me what to do next.  I don’t know where it will lead, but I know He’s got this.

And who am I to mess with God’s plans?  Nobody, that’s who.

Writing About Writing (week of March 11)

Monday: journal (1)
school – table of plot
Tuesday: journal (0.5)
email – thank yous
Wednesday: journal (2)
Thursday: journal (1)
Friday: journal (1)
emails
Saturday: journal (2)
school – treatment
blog – this post
Sunday: journal (1)
school – treatment

Last week was not quite as full as I thought it was going to be.  We weren’t writing anything specific in class, so I didn’t do as much school writing as I thought I would.

This week should amp up a bit.  We will start writing cards and we’ll probably start on scripts by the end of the week.  I also want to start applying for internships, which may or may not entail a little bit of writing.

What Moves You der Film

 

I didn’t know I was waiting for this until it arrived.  They have just released the trailer for the documentary shot during What Moves You, the Eurythmy conference I participated in last July (read my thoughts).  I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited for a movie in my life.

When this showed up on my Facebook feed last Saturday I watched it on a loop for a half an hour, doing the movements from the pieces they show, recognizing and remembering the things that went on during that month of preparing and performing; seeing people I knew, and even a clip of myself and getting so excited despite understanding only a small handful of what was said.  I shared it with every social networking platform I have an account with, liked it, subscribed to the channel, and now I am sharing it with you all.

It has been just over seven months since we took our bows on our final performance, but the relationships I gained and strengthened over the course of this program, the knowledge I came to, have made it an unforgettable experience.

Eurythmy is a strange language to speak, but I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the project that is bringing it to a slightly larger stage.

As I eagerly await the next announcement of this movie, I can’t help but wonder in where it will take me.  In many ways it is too soon to tell what taking part in this project has brought me, but I have seen in myself already a better awareness of the world, a pride in what I’ve been a part of, and connections all over the world.

To What Moves You: here’s to the hope that we will all be friends for many years to come.  Here’s to the connections we’ve made and are holding onto.  To where we’ve been and where we’re sure to go.  You are all in my heart every day and I cannot wait for the day when we meet again.  Because of course, WE WILL MEET AGAIN.

Angel the Series: The End

1-Ats-cast-angel-23812426-587-295

As I did with Buffy last summer, I’m taking some time to analyse it’s sibling, Angel.  Angel is a completely separate beast to Buffy (in more ways than one).  It is oft-times darker and more sinister, but also arguably more diverse in a multitude of ways.  My adoration for the Buffy-verse starts here, with my Buffy series last summer and continues with Angel.  Other topics covered on Angel: Beginning; The Team, The Villains  and The In-Betweens; Death; Shanshu Redemption.

And so another good thing comes to an end.  Angel was a thrilling, heart wrenching ride to go on.  There were a few moments of absolute agony in which I actually called friends in tears (I don’t have a television problem. nope) because of something that happened.  Angel erred on the side of sinister and depressing at times, but at it’s core is a message of hope, attempting to continue in the face of adversity.

I’ll admit that I actually finished Angel right before the end of last semester.  It’s taken me longer to write about it than it took to write about Buffy.  There are a multitude of factors involved in this, but I’ll admit one of them being my own uncertainty over what to say.  There were times when it simply didn’t hold my attention as much as it’s predecessor had.  Yet I don’t regret watching for a second.

Angel brought up morals and ethics in a way that very few television shows can.  If you’re willing to look into it, you see the overarching questions and can choose your own answer.  In essence, Angel achieved what all good shows should strive for (IMHO).  It allowed audiences to ask themselves what they would do if they were put in that situation, knowing all the while that they would never actually have to answer.  In this way, it was able to ask big questions without needing to give real world answers.  Allowing viewers to ponder without the guilt that can come with more true to life examples.

Angel is a fantastic show with a huge heart.  The characters and their lives touched me in such a way that I will carry their lessons and strengths with me always.

My Alternative Life

When things get stressful I look for a way out.  I turn an idea into a not-very-well-thought-out plan to escape my life.  I’ve never acted on any of these, and doubt that I will in the foreseeable future, but here are some of the plans I’ve come up with to escape my life.

  • Backpack the Adirondack trail from start to finish.  (When living on the east coast)
  • Drop out of school and go to culinary school.  (Reoccurring throughout my first year of college, especially around finals and when unfinished projects were due the next day)
  • Just find some younger politician and start working as their secretary.  (Because one of my role models in life is Donna Moss of The West Wing)
  • Become a nanny in San Francisco.  (Because I’m good with kids and I freaking love that city so much)
  • Move to [Cambodia, Tokyo, India, or Morocco] and blog about it.  (Mostly sophomore year, especially around the time of Freq Out, but also through last semester)
  • Buy a live-in van and become a climbing bum.  Blog about it.  (A dream in high school that returned after climbing in Colorado)
  • Become a ride operator at Disneyland.  (Mostly while visiting there)
  • Sleep on my friend’s couch in Berlin and hide from their immigration agents by becoming a perfect German girl.  (After reading about What Moves You reunions all over Germany)
  • Drop out and go to Eurythmy school.  (A few months ago, after going to a Eurythmy performance)
  • Or just do Waldorf Teacher Training and hope for the best.  (In the same vein as above)
  • Ride the Trans-Siberian Railroad from end to end.  (Always)
  • Just move to LA and start working.  Do I really need a degree? (Still considering this one)

These day dreams are all a form of escapism.  I think of all the things I could be doing that would be more fun than writing an essay or a script.  Of all the places I would rather be than in my bedroom facing a mountain of homework.

I consider it a tribute to my awesome friends and family that none of these have ever actually come into being.  Whenever I start to think more seriously about one, someone will drag me back to the present.  My friends remind me of all the good things in my life.  My family encourages me to stick it out when school gets tough.  And I can’t thank them enough.