Thursday, August 31, 2006

same as it ever was

beej, when you get a new tv, i would like to buy yours.

it's a funny feeling, to look around and see what i have in my life.

living in byu housing provides one with all the basics--bed, furniture, it all comes with the place. yet, life barrels on like a runaway train, and i now find myself in a nice little townhouse in a lovely little development much further west in provo than i ever knew existed.
i have my own couches, desks, bed, dresser, walls covered in my own photography, a kitchen stocked appropriately for a single college grad [my parents bought me a pots and pans set when i started at byu 5+ years ago, and i've still never needed to open it. there's always been something endearing about that box of cookery, though. i think it's the connotations that it carries, that bittersweet 'going off to college and starting your own life'....]

i write this only because it can be interesting to stop and look around once in a while, to see where you are and where you've come from.

well, how did i get here?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

the weight of the world

during my second year at byu, i took a directing class. largely not that useful, they divided us into groups and gave us different scenes to direct. when it was my turn to direct a scene for 'casablanca', i had the idea of how i wanted it edited together and was quite nervous about letting an 'editor' do it while i wasn't there.
but when i stopped by the madlab ['media arts development lab'], i was surprised with what he had done--it was better than i could have done. a fact of film making that i learned better than any teacher could have told me: all those names are there on the credits because it takes a lot of people working together to make a movie.

i think i need to learn that lesson again, this time at church.
most sundays i love church and love my calling, but today i felt overwhelmed, seeing a hundred things i had to do and wondering how it would all happen, wondering why we didn't seem to be getting the results we had planned for.
although, i didn't realize how bad it was until two different friends immediately told me i looked tired.
9 a.m. church with 7:30 a.m. meetings doesn't help.... = D

i planned on going to bed as soon as i got home, but have spent the time talking with friends going through various hard times; there's something almost special about how the weight of others' problems is, in someways, easier to carry than our own.

i saw myself in the mirror tonight [which is where i usually see myself, i suppose], and with my round glasses and my hair the way it is, i kind of look like ned flanders.
[minus the stache]


Saturday, August 26, 2006

the tale of the samwise the friendly

'go films' is one of my favorite companies to work for. i worked with them on a movie called 'the outlaw trail' last fall, and, though when i think back, i remember being frustrated several days, i think of it now as one of my favorite features i've done.
oh, the perplexing complexity of the human psyche.

but i loved the crew and they loved me, and so i was a little surprised [and perhaps, 'hurt'] when they started their new one, a movie about rugby that looks like it will actually be something more than a 'utah independant'. when i came on to help them out for a day a few weeks ago, i pleasantly found out that they actually did want me for this one, but, long story short, there was some miscommunication [amongst other things] and yadda yadda yadda, i'm a dayplayer.

they're great people, and it's always fun to work with them. plus, i like loading on features.

i went in this morning, fought jason for control of the camera trailer stereo and lost [but as soon as he took the camera on to set, oingo boingo went in the player] and was talking with some of the other camera assistants.

'have you seen the hobbit?', they asked.

while i don't remember where i heard it, i recalled that sean astin was in this movie for a small bit.
a good day to day play.

in between loading film in the dark room, i began texting my friends, exclaiming that i was getting to work with sean astin and listen to oingo boingo and get paid all at the same time.
with everything loaded and ready, i brought the cases into set and was on my way out to the trailer when ryan [the director] and sean astin came walking in.

now, a general rule of film making is to leave the 'talent' ['actors'] alone. if you don't work directly with them, back off.
so many people can be touchy or finicky [there's actually a bit of irony here....] and chances are you are more expendable than they [although not always true.....]
so i got all excited inside at seeing mikey the goonie walking toward me and tried not to make eye contact and moved a little to the side, still planning on saying hi to ryan, when i hear 'hey, high five!'
i didn't think anyone powerful was behind me, and sean moved toward me.

and so i did what any lord of the rings fan would do--i high fived the man.

now, it wasn't the most solid high five i've given, but it was good enough to warrant me rushing back to the dark room and texting several people again, announcing that the hand used to type said text had just touched 'rudy's hand [i've never seen 'rudy'. should i?]

as the adreline subsided, i realized that i could have shaken his hand, introduced myself, and told him that my sister had a crush on him when she was six.

man, some days we really blow it, you know? ; )

it was a great day on set. the schedule was light, things went smoothly, and sean was great to work with. he would talk with anybody about anything.
at lunch, i was carrying a mid-day report of the film inventory and asked him for a picture [it helps to be friends with the set photographer when you didn't bring your own camera]. he was more than happy to, and went through the inventory list, trying to decipher the different codes we have on there [steve the camera guy used this to grab a few more shots for me, which i thought was cool of him].

one of our last shots of the night was a shot of him and big buddha on the bleachers at a rugby game. we got several takes of them cheering and doing whatever else it was they were supposed to be doing. during some rehearsing, ryan [the director] came around to all of us and said that he was going to ask for 'one more', and when he called 'action', we were all to start chanting 'rudy, rudy, rudy....'

for a lot of actors, it would be easy to quietly smile, or even look 'amused' in an almost patronizing way. but sean smiled, then laughed, then jumped up on the bleachers and started calling out plays [i'm guessing it was some reference to the movie. i should see it, shouldn't i?], and finished by jumping onto the ground and spiking the [rugby] ball.
the behind-the-scenes guys loved that one....

under 12 hour day, met sean astin, and i even got a shirt [much to the joshing chagrin of the regular crew members.....].

i recently found out that mary lynn rajskub was on a movie some other friends did out here earlier this summer. now, to get a picture with her, that would have me giddy.... [although i doubt she'd be as amiable as sean]

Saturday, August 05, 2006

out of my element

on thursday i saw m:i:iii at the dollar theater. i loved it. absolutely loved it. i composed an enthusiastic entry on it as i sat there, enjoying the two and a half hour rollercoaster ride [by myself, sadly, but that didn't hamper things much]; and then i never got around to writing. on friday afternoon, my roommate and i went to x-men 3 at the aforementioned theater. while not as good as the previous day's cinema or superman returns, it was nevertheless a fun one to enjoy. and between these two rather kickin' sequals and the long previews for pirates 2 before both movies, i'm getting quite excited to see johnny depp prance around in his eyeliner and boots again... [i haven't seen the first one since we were shooting nappy d.... i should buy it....]

tonight i suggested we watch 'hero', as a friend curiously looked at the box sitting on the floor below the dvd racks. people were up for it, but during this morning's stake activity, buzz of 'the ballad of will ferrel the race car driver' stirred, and when the mantle of leadership fell upon me, i sacrificed what i wanted for the desires of the others and suggested we go see 'the legend of bobby ricky'.
besides, with all of my artsy foreign black and white movies that i have, perhaps i could use a good will ferrell movie. i like to laugh.

as i write this, i pause to reflect on the anomaly of the situation: there have been several movies i've wanted to see this summer, nearly all of them being largely well-received blockbusters and general good fun popcorn movies, and all of them i have waited to see until they got to movies 8, where i can more easily afford them [and 'prairie home companion' is slated to be there soon; rest assured, i am watching the schedules for the week it comes, for it will be one week only]. yet i somehow paid full price on a saturday night to see the newest will ferrell movie.

do not get me wrong, this situation had several things going for it: i generally like will ferrell; i can't recall the last movie of his i saw [if any], but he has made me laugh before, and since hometeaching his counsin last summer i'm a little more sympathetic to him. and, as anyone who watched me dance the 'time warp' in front of the class during sharon's 'intro to film theory' will recall, the environment is itself part of the movie experience.

being someone who was more interested to see robert altman's new movie this summer than just about anything else, this was not my usual crowd around me tonight. but that's kind of fun. the dudes giving each other high-fives after the action movie previews made it feel more like an amusement park, and that added to the experience. even the guy right in front of me, with his arm around his girlfriend, yelling out attempted quick wit quips that fell silent didn't bother me the slightest [now, those kids in front of me on the opening night of 'return of the king', that was a different story for a different posting].

the movie? it's a star vehicle. the conversation i just had with mark was rather interesting. i didn't laugh at much, and remember general crude humor and abrasive language, but the amount that i remember and that he remember vary somewhat. he states it was a lot worse than i remembered it being. count that as a blessing, he says.
i think i will.
cardboard plot that does its utilitarian supporting job, stock characters in a standard snl veteran movie, and nascar humor that mocks the culture without alienating those who do worship it. there were a few lines i found genuinely funny, but i could not remember a one as we walked out of the theater. [conversely, we quoted 'royal tennenbaums' for over a month after having seen it only once].
never did the theater erupt or even burst into laughter. the closing credits held the theater full for a few more minutes as the above the line names flashed by, showing out-takes and bloopers that elicited an actual laugh from me.

in light of the combination of this sort of movie and a group of friends who had never been to the movies with me before, i did not stay for the entirety of the credits. i was curious to hear what my friends thought, since this was more of their style. as they met me at the bottom of the stairs, apologies came forth along with affirmations of the overabundant vulgarities and, worst of all, the overriding lack of funniness.

so maybe it wasn't me.

as phil dropped us off, i reminded him that, the next time i say 'let's watch 'hero' tonight', let's watch 'hero' that night.

this week alone, i have added to my dvd library 'schindler's list', 'the house of flying daggers', 'adaptation', and 'sense and sensibility', all for less than the price of tonight's ticket. on my dvr i have 'apocalypse now', 'the conversation', 'the last samurai', 'erin brockovich', 'a night at the opera', and 'raging bull'.

true it is, that a fool and his money are soon parted.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

direction to perfection

i was frustrated that i didn't have much of a selection of music tonight, but, driving home, i found a great song on the radio and, for the first time in a long time, turned it up nice and loud and played my steering wheel like a drum as i sang from my heart.
it felt real good.

i also liked the friendly police man who didn't mind that we were parked along the street atop the nice neighborhood hill but who did wonder what we were doing 'sleeping on the hood of our car'. we explained we were just looking at the stars and enjoying the view, and he was cool with that.

i like the feel of listening to nick warren in shanghai as we speed down the street light lined roads of north orem, of doing a donut in a work zone that we ended up in by mistake, and the feel of profundity.