About a Boy, San Francisco, and Filming On Location

Since I’ve clearly documented my love of all things Olympics (here), it will come as no surprise that I spent my evenings in Florida glued to NBC’s coverage. I even watched the entirety of the documentary about the Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harrding story, which I am just a bit too young to remember. And since I didn’t have anything else to do, I figured I might as well stick around for the pilots of About a Boy and Growing Up Fisher.

Both were interesting in the how-are-they-going-to-make-a-series-out-of-this sort of way, but I was most interested in About a Boy. I’m not usually a sitcom gal, but it was the setting of this show that piqued my interest the most. San Francisco. Anything filmed on location in San Francisco (and yes, it was definitely filmed on location) makes me ask a million questions.

With any TV show or movie set in any major city there are bound to be geographical and logistic questions. For one, where do they actually live? Of course Will would be able to afford to live anywhere with money to spare from a hit song, but with Fiona unemployed, it doesn’t seem like they would fit in the same neighborhood. Where does Markus go to school? The flier said Oakland, but why would they live in the city and then commute to Oakland? Unemployment rules out private school and the lottery system isn’t THAT crazy.

Beyond that there are the unrealistic convenience factors. We already know that characters don’t look for parking spaces. But even so it’s border-line impossible that Dakota was able to find a parking space right in front of Will’s house, never mind on the same block.

These idiosyncrasies are what makes watching TV shows and movies filmed in familiar cities exciting. I hope that About a Boy will be able to keep filming on location, and I am always excited to see San Francisco or Chicago on my TV. When TV show film on location, the local becomes a part of the show’s character and only adds to the magic.

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The Royal Diner

As a part of the summer semester I took my class went around town pitching our original ideas to producers and production companies around town. The last week of class was both stressful and adrenaline-filled. On day two of pitching we pitched to a production company who’s offices are on the Fox lot.

A studio lot is about as magical as you would expect. There are rows and rows of trailers where actors spend their down time and get hair and make-up done. Parking spots are labeled with names of actors, producers, or even just the names of TV shows, saving spaces for trucks of equipment or stacks of flats covered in plastic with labels like “Barney’s Living Room” or “Jay and Gloria’s Bedroom” (#truelife).

For our pitch meeting I carpooled with two classmates and we parked in the adjacent parking structure about an hour before our meeting was scheduled. The extra time gave us the freedom to wander the lot, practicing our pitches on each other, scoping out where our meeting was, and searching to see if we could recognize anyone. Through this wandering we happened through the studio’s backlot.

The backlot is sort of a permanent outdoor set. Most studios have one, and it’s where movies and TV shows can shoot outside scenes in a controlled environment. It’s a place that looks like a city (usually New York), but most of the buildings are hollow save for rigs to set lights. Sometimes one or two of the buildings are what’s called “practical” which means that they can film inside the building and it can be “dressed” to look like wherever the movie or show is set.

“Oh look, this stoop is outside of the bar in ‘How I Meet Your Mother’!” my friend said. We took pictures and kept moving, and as we neared the next corner is when I saw it. “It” being the set of The Royal Diner from the show Bones. I was beyond excited.

Bones was one of the first shows that I would tune in every week for. The show began the first season that I was really following and loving scripted television. Since then I’ve tapered off on the show, but somehow seeing the set reignited that spark. I suddenly missed Booth and Brennan and wondered what had happened to them since I’d stopped watching. But there was more than that too.

Somehow seeing this set in particular reminded me why I was there to begin with. I am in Los Angeles to make television that people love. TV is an escape, but the fictional world of characters can bring up questions that make you examine your own life. They can help people watching to make memories of their own, and they can inspire courage, strength, and love in our lives.

Television is powerful. And seeing The Royal Diner reminded me of that. Just a silly little practical set, but somehow so much more.

A Letter to My Future Self

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This time last year I was in such a different place that I can barely even picture myself. I had a normal, college schedule. I was working for Frequency TV and starting to plan out the semester’s worth of web series episodes. I was filling out applications for study abroad. I was spending long nights in with television and long Sundays with friends from church. I suppose some things don’t change.

Since my life right now would be hardly recognizable by my former self, I want to preserve where I’m at for my future self to remember better. I suppose this is a letter to myself in a way. A letter to my future self so that I can remember where I was and look back to see how far I’ve come a year from now. Perhaps more.

Dear Future Self,

This week in the first week of school. School is a loose interpretation of what’s started this week after labor day, the week after Terra Nova (was it as good the second time?). This week you started two internships in Hollywood and Beverly Hills.

The Hollywood office feels official and real. The Beverly Hills office feels glamorous and exotic simply because of it’s location. This is your life. You are really working, really living, and really existing in part in this industry. And I hope that’s still true. Plans for these two internships include working hard and finishing my final semester strong.

Meanwhile, you’ve also been starting to meet with your old class – Drama writing, SiLA – weekly. Not that you’ve got anything to show for yourself yet, but it’s a work in process. Writing hasn’t been coming easily lately, but you’re hoping that a more solid schedule with school will help that along. Or it will hinder it, it’s hard to know right yet.

You’ve been blogging fairly consistently for the past year. It’s been a great system without really putting much of a system in place at all. July and August were harder months, but you seem to be back for September…. for the most part.

Every day is a choice to either write or not write. Unfortunately, lately the choice has been not. It’s not that you don’t want to, it’s just a choice that you seem to be making unconsciously. Focus. I believe that it can happen and that means that you much believe too. Pray about it. Never stop praying.

Speaking of prayer, this month you are set to join the church you’ve been going to in LA. You’ve been going to MOSAIC since Easter, and from then to now you’ve joined two community groups (one neighborhood, one college), gone on two retreats (SHE retreat and Terra Nova), and have been attending the early evening service and the mid-week service. They’ve just begun a weekly Wednesday gathering.

The community there is fantastic. Lean on them when you’re uncertain. Grow into those relationships. I hope you have already, but always lean in. Lean into your MOSAIC community and the old Columbia friends in whatever way possible. Go play Ultimate Frisbee. Because you haven’t been to a yoga class since you left San Francisco and it’s starting to show. Because what you really need is a good session at the climbing gym, but no one seems interested. Because living alone can be great, but also isolating.

In fact, I don’t even know that you live alone still. You do now. With a tiny studio apartment and no air conditioning. It’s a love/hate thing. Perhaps you are settled now into a house with four roommates. An apartment with one. Or still the same, ever the same. Whatever it is, right now you are living alone and for the most part that is a good thing. All the mess is yours and there’s no one to tell you to clean it.

You have been using a scooter to get around. It’s a wonderful thing. The time that’s lost in speed (not much) is gained back by squeezing between cars while they wait at a stop light. Your scooter seems a bit rickety sometimes, but it gets the job done. Once or twice a week you park it at the pump closest to the convenience store, pay two dollars in cash, and fill the entire tank. You don’t think that will ever get old.

I hope you are still living, working, and thriving in Los Angeles.  It wasn’t quite what you had been imagining, but it seems that God’s imagination is better than yours.  Go where he leads you, always say in reply, “Here I am Lord, send me.”

Here is what you were, and here’s to whatever you’ve become.

Much love, and God Bless,
Your Former Self

Good-bye Summer!

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I’m excited for summer to be over. Fall has pretty much always been my favorite season. It comes with pretty colors, cooler temperatures, and the ability to wear lots of layers.

Now that I’m in the land of perpetual summer, I’ll just have to settle for slightly cooler temperatures. It’s no secret that I’ve been hating the heat here in Los Angeles. I don’t have air conditioning, so I’m dealing with open windows and a few fans. I’m dealing with it by eating lots of homemade popsicles, hiding in air conditioned places, and trying my best not to move.

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Heat isn’t the only reason I’m excited for summer to be over though. This summer in particular has had more than it’s fair share of craziness, and I’m excited that all that crazy seems to be winding down. I started the season in Los Angeles, went back to San Francisco, and then returned to LA again. I’m done moving for a while, and I’m so glad to be staying in one place for a whole year.

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This summer has included some pretty awesome things. I got to reconnect with old friends. I got to spend time climbing, yogaing, and photographing. I got a chance to learn from some truly fantastic people, and get to know some people who I’m certain will become some of my dearest friends.

This summer gave me a taste of what the future could be. Conversations with smart, creative people and growing into my own work and experience. And while I’m excited for all of those things, right now I’m just glad that fall is on the horizon. My last semester or remote learning will give some structure to my life, and (hopefully) the change in season will give me a bit of a break from this heat.

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The best thing I did to help, was actually coincidental. I cut my hair to go along with the #hairforhazel and #itgrows back campaign, and wound up with a cute (slightly uneven) bob. Not only is this fantastic for wearing in general, but this style also fits neatly under my helmet so now I don’t have to worry about my hair getting caught in my helmet or jacket. I donated 12 inches of hair, sent it off last week. I hadn’t been expecting to go short again, but it seems to have worked out to be perfect timing.

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What was the best thing that happened to you this summer? Are you sad summer is ending, or excited about fall?

Right Now…

Santa Monica

Shifting my life around to fit better in LA. A little nudge in that direction, a little tug here, trying to find the best way that my life fits here.

Planning out my schedule. This fall will be at least one, possibly two internships and 9 credit hours of online course work.

Organizing my finances. Because apparently I’m almost an adult now. Whatever that means.

Trying to get back into the groove of blogging, but I keep running into chronic lateness.

Spending days at a time without leaving the apartment, writing, tooling around on social media, and watching Fringe. A few other summer shows, but mostly Fringe.

Hanging out with one of my best friends who is visiting on her way back to Seattle.  Which involves…

Swimming in the ocean.  Not something I would have done on my own, but a lot of fun all the same.

Printing pictures for the first time on the photo printer I’ve had for over a year. Including some underwater pictures we took at the beach.

Yearning to get back into yoga, and getting excited whenever I see a studio relatively near me.

Wearing shorts and tank tops around the apartment, because it’s too damn hot for anything else.

Hating the heat. My body does not respond well to heat (sunburn, heat rash). I know I chose this, and I’m dealing with it, but I was clearly made for temperate zones.

Eating simple foods to keep the burners and oven off.

Loving my new shorty haircut.  I cut it all off to donate to Children with Hair Loss, following along in the #hairfohazel and #itgrowsback campaign that is happening around the new The Fault in Our Stars movie.

Riding my scooter new around town when I leave the apartment.

Going to fancy LA premiere parties. Like you do.

Describing delicious food as a “good life decision”. In and Out. Watermelon.

Spending less by eating in as much as possible and going to free things. Like sitcom tapings and parties with friends.

Feels Like Home: Work Space

As I am only just now getting to the point where I feel like I’m living in this space instead of just inhabiting it, I want to take some time to show how I’m using it.  Since the whole apartment isn’t ready to be shown yet, I’m going to be doing this in stages.  Today the part that’s ready is my works space.

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The entire wall to the left side upon entering the apartment is taken up by a long table that serves as a media space and a desk/work space.  I never work and watch TV at the same time, so my desk being so close to the TV isn’t a problem.  I love the way it looks when I come in, clean.

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On the media side I’ve got a cart (it was in the coffee table section of the store, how bizarre, right?) loaded up with my printer and all the devices to hook up to the TV.  I love that all my electronics are on a cart that I can pull out when I need to use the copy function on the printer or re-arrange the cords in the back.  Makes my life that much easier.

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On the desk side of things these drawers are slowly filling up with knick-knacks and office supplies.  In general, the top drawer is pens, chargers, and other often used items, down to the bottom drawer of envelopes and “bulk” extra items (more business cards, box of pens, ect).

The pillow was a gift from my grandma because she heard I was going to go to London to do study abroad…. Well, that was the plan.  It moves around and is sometimes swapped with a city-scape one I have that’s the same size and shape.

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Currently on my desk top I’ve got my laptop and mouse, my journal and phone, my planner and notes, along with a water bottle and a cup for water.  I always try to have water on hand while working, that way I don’t have to get up.  Just planning ahead.  And planning for the rest of the week.

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Lastly the stuff on the wall above the desk area.  This will change and evolve over time, but for now there’s not much to see.  A cool looking logo from a company my class toured (top left), and a sticker from a speaker (bottom, snakes).  I’ve got a “Come Back For Me” notice from the LA county shelter (more on this later in the week), and my American Airlines info is covered with a white post it.

The Want/Will/Wont list guidelines are derived from this episode of Sexplanations (awesome web series, check it out).  It’s a system of figuring out what you are looking for in a situation and then something to consult when making decisions (I’m not explaining this well, watch the video).  The Ideas/(?)/Understand/Summary chart is a new system of taking notes I’m trying.  We’ll see how it goes.

The table is a desk from IKEA.  The cart is also from IKEA and is listed as a coffee table.  The TV and Blue-Ray player are from Best Buy.  My printer is an Epson Artisan 730 I got on sale at Staples.  The blue basket and the lamp are from Target.  The chair is from a thrift store and the London pillow, backpack (Osprey‘s Flap Jack Pack), and my Roku were given to me.

Studio Tour

The recordist in me wants to be sure that every step of this process of moving was recorded. The blogger in me looks at all the pictures of an empty apartment and doesn’t quite know what to so with it. And so we come to this post, a combination of the two, sharing pictures of my apartment before the boxes and flat-paced furniture.

It looks much different now, though still unfinished. I’ve put together the furniture, went to get more of it, and finally called the cable company to hook up the TV, but here it is in all it’s white-washed, empty glory. Hopefully in a few weeks I’ll have a new, put-together apartment to show off

I love my front door. The frame around the peephole was there when I moved in, and I adore it. I’m still contemplating a name for this apartment, and I’m considering “The Framery” based on the front door.

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When first coming into the apartment you see the windows and exposed brick wall (and my mom, hi mom!), two of my favorite things about the place. To the left is the kitchen, on the right is the walk-in closet, and bathroom. Now we’ll go left.

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The door to the kitchen. This is probably the wall that I will put my desk and TV up against. I’m envisioning a really long table sort of desk that I can put the TV on one side and do work on the other, with some sort of storage under the TV. I’m not sure I’m describing this correctly, and I’m not sure this piece of furniture exists, but I’m searching.

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Into my tiny kitchen! So far I’m uncertain about the tile counters, but in love with the double welled sink. Not as deep as the one in my last apartment, but still awesome.

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Shot, reverse shot, the kitchen from the other side. I’d like to turn the space by the window into a dining area, but the refrigerator may need to be moved to… next to the stove? There’s not really anyplace else for it to go, so I’m still thinking on that one.

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Back in the main room, the space on the left is where my bed is now, and the closet is full of clothes. I want to get some sort of folding wall to separate the closet from the main room, but all the ones I’ve seen look like they came out of a nursing home. And not in a cool, hipster sort of way either, more in a might fall apart any second sort of way. Another thing to contemplate.

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Through the closet and on the left is the bathroom. Yes, that is a window in the shower. I’m still not sure how best to deal with this. Mostly I’ve been showering facing the other direction. The window faces an alley, but I’m still on the first floor, prime vouer-tunity.

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The medicine cabinet above the pedestal sink. Also a selfie on the day I moved in. Cause I’m super fly like that. Aaaaand we’re going to end on the selfie. Why not?

Actually, I’d like to end on a picture of the inside door of the apartment, but I didn’t seem to have taken one when I moved in and to take one now would mean revealing some of the stuff I’ve put in since I moved in. I’m torn here, but I think I’ll wait until it’s a little more set up to take that picture, then share it.

Thanks for indulging my recordist side, next time it will be full of things and you can insult/applaud my taste in interior design. Promise I wont take offense.

This Has Been: June 2013

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This month has been bizarre. And also awesome. From hanging out and going to yoga with friends to working my way though some fantastic TV, and MOVING TO LOS ANGELES, I’ve had a great month. A few of my favorite happenings around here:

  • I went to a screening of Much Ado About Nothing (I wrote this review from a festival screening, but still went to see it again once it came out in theaters).
  • Yoga is awesome.
  • I said goodbye to my home city.
  • And hello to a new one through memories of past moves.
  • I quietly launched a new series about cooking. Recipes and the like in the works!
  • Speaking of in the works, I also talked a bit about how I approach blogging and how that’s changing.

My biggest goal of the month (moving to LA) was passed with flying colors, I moved into a new apartment on the 19th, signing a years lease to live in the City of Angels. Well, if you count a handful of boxes and some IKEA furniture “moving in”. Most of my stuff is still in Chicago, so I’m trying out minimalist living for a little while.

Two of my goals involved organization and planning. I wanted to plan out my day the night before, and put together a new focus for the blog. Day-planning was successful to an extent. I didn’t plan every day, but I did notice a great increase in productivity on days that I did plan for. Encouraging, now to make it a habit.

Blog re-focusing was a little more vague than I had intended, but I did come up with some new blogging goals of having series/reoccurring topics on the blog. Some of this I’m still trying to figure out, but you can see what I’ve got so far in my new page on series/topics. I also am trying to be sure that new content is more heartfelt. By showing more of myself I hope to be able to connect better with you all.

My other goal was much more concrete. I wanted to post two vlogs onto my YouTube channel. So far I still don’t have any subscribers there (be the first!), which is fine because I’m still trying to figure out how my channel fits in to my life. This was not a success. I posted one, and filmed a second, but haven’t even edited it yet.  Editing is probably going to be the bane of my YouTube existence.

Another goal that was met this month – well met a few months ago, but I discovered was met this month – was making the deans list.  I got a letter from school saying that I made the deans list for the spring semester. This was one of my birthday goals, so I’m glad to hear that I made it! Just the summer and fall semesters to go, we’ll see how I do.

What did you do this month?  I’d love to hear about you guys in the comments.

Moving Through the Ages

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I don’t remember the first time I moved. Memories of swimming in a kiddie pool with neighbors in Chicago runs together with running around the crazy daisy with my sister in our yard in Milwaukee. Playing tag with my mom runs in our condo turns to teaching myself how to dribble in the driveway. I have no memoriy of packing, moving, and leaving. Only vagueities of both places.

I remember when I was told that we were moving to New York from Wisconsin. I was wearing a red dress and I sat in my moms lap and cried my eyes out. When I finished crying we set off the library. We checked out stacks of books on New York. Eloise, and Lyle, Lyle Crocodile. We got sticker books with bagels and hot dogs, buses and subways, guide books that told about famous landmarks in the city. When we arrived in New York we were greeted by a doorman, a balcony, and a phone that cackled like a roster. Maybe it wouldn’t be as terrible as I had envisioned.

When we went house hunting in DC, I announced to our doorman that we were going to Washington. “Which one?” I hadn’t realized there were two. I wanted a house like in my favorite books I imagined a place covered with ivy like in the Secret Garden and a well in the backyard like in Little House on the Prairie. We got a colonial-esque house on a street lined with cheery trees. After a two year contract we were out and on our way back to the New York tri-state area.

I don’t remember much about moving from Washington to New Jersey. At that point, with moving every two years I had become desensitized to moving paraphernalia. I do remember laying on my sisters bed, facing that wall and crying a little bit. I quickly dried my tears, not wanting anyone to see my feelings.

We had only ever really spent two years in any city at that point, so I went into friendships in New Jersey with the idea that we would move again in two years. Two years past, then three, and four and I came to the realization that I was stuck in the suburbs. At least for the foreseeable future.

I had just gotten back from camp when I was told we would be moving again. I wanted to tell everyone as soon as I knew. I was so excited to explore a new city and learn a new place. I was adamant that we live within walking distance to the bus or train. Even with three homes in less than two years, I was so ecstatic to be in the middle of it all. When I graduated high school I spent my last days in San Francsico planning to set up in Chicago for the next four years.

Since starting college I’ve lived in four apartments and returned multiple times to the house I left in San Francisco. The process of moving quickly has turned from large-scale production to small-scale to do. At one point I finished moving the last of my belongings into an apartment with a granny cart and a backpack.

Now this sea-saw of transitions is settling into equilibrium. I just signed a lease for a year. A whole year. And I’ll be living here the whole time as opposed to going home to San Francisco for extended summer breaks and thinking of it as a sloppy second. I am amazed that this new home is not in Chicago, but in Los Angeles, a city of traffic and heat I don’t even quite fully understand yet.

I have to keep telling myself that I’ve found a place to live in Los Angeles. And somehow with everything, I have decided that I will make this place home. It’s been a long time coming, but I’m excited once again to get started in this new city where I can begin to build the kind of community that I will thrive in. Are you ready for this? Don’t answer that, because ready or not here I come.

Writing About Writing (week of June 10)

They say if you want to be good at something you need to practice every day.  I started Writing About Writing as a way of keeping myself accountable for how much I was writing outside of my school work.  Everything counts.  Emails, journals, scripts, blogging, even excessive tweeting.
Over time this space has become a way of keeping track of weekly goals in other areas of my life as well as writing.  A statement of what I’ve done, and what I want to do.  A weekly record of my successes and failures, for better or for worse.

Monday: journal (1)
blog – welcome
Tuesday:journal (3)
Wednesday: blog – Kitchen Sink
Thursday: journal (2)
Friday: blog – WAW intro
blog – 4th of July draft
Saturday: journal (2)
blog – new approach
blog – summaries
blog – this post
Sunday: journal ()

Last week I wanted to focus on blog content and planning my move to LA.  I would say that was at least half successful.  I definitely spent some time with my blog content this week, writing some full posts and some drafts for the next weeks and even a bit into next month.  I was also able to come up with a pretty solid editorial calendar for July that I think will be manageable whilst in classes.

I didn’t quite get as much put together as I had wanted for LA, but I did manage to scrape together a plan.  Mom and I are already well on the road and will be meeting with a building manager later today.  Step 1.  What happens from there will partly depend on how well that meeting goes.

This week will be focused on relocating to LA.  I’ve scheduled this week so I don’t have to worry about any last minute blogging, and I’ve even set some of next week so I can focus on moving.  That said, I also want to take really good notes on what is going on this week so I know what to do and who to call in the coming weeks.  Most notably that’s going to mean going over my notes every day to remember what’s going on.  Back to school we go.