Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Script Changes, Cupcakes, J.A. and Halloween!

Sometimes I forget holidays on days when I have to go to school or work. Holidays seem less important when you live alone or have no children of your own to enjoy them with. Or, in my case, when you are low in funds that Holidays are just meaningless at times. It's not that I don't like holidays, it's just that I never saw the excitement in going out and dressing up and acting a fool in the streets. Maybe I just too jaded in my middle years. I remembered that today was Halloween when I got off the subway to go to my internship (in the West Village). Need I say more? It's hard to miss what day it is when you see many costumed folks walking the streets. And not just children either, I'm talking grown folks!

Yea, I guess I'm just cynical in my old age.

I'm at school now working on my After Effects project for tomorrow. My project was to do DVD authoring and create menus for my reel that I will soon have finished by the time the thesis film is done. In the meantime, I have to compile a set of clips together that will go into the demo reel portion of the DVD. I also had a long discussion with my thesis advisor yesterday about the ending of my screenplay, "Poppin' In." She had suggested some changes that now that I've had a day for it to sink in, I realize now that I have to make some minor changes to the script before I start shooting. As for shooting, I'm still going over resumes for crew members and I'm having my first read-thru with my full cast over the weekend. Which I just happened to schedule on the same day as the New York City Marathon. Oh, the joy the streets will be on Sunday. For the first time this week, I really wish I could clone myself in order to get more work done and somehow, get some sleep time in too.

I started a MySpace page this week along with a Facebook page as well. After I put in all the information on the MySpace, I realized that I should have signed up for an account as a filmmaker in that section of the complicated site. Oh, well. I kinda like the layout of the Facebook better and it's easier to navigate too. I hate doing something because everyone else is doing it, but I've been told by persons I respect that in order for me to get more of presence for my blog as well as for my film company, it's a good idea to get accounts on these pages. Who knows what could happen. Maybe I could get more work after I graduate out of it? Maybe I could meet the man of my dreams? Maybe it could turn out to be a nightmare? (I'm going with the "halloween" theme here -- work with me). Maybe I could be stalked by an ax murder and my body could be hacked up into tiny pieces and shipped all over the world? Yea, I'm morbid sometimes? I'll have to keep you posted on my MySpacing and Facebooking! (are those even words?)

Anyway, yesterday while I was at my internship I was searching for a previous segment to be included in a special we are doing for World Aids Day and I happen to come across the interview from the April 2007 episode that would have made me tell "massa where the slaves were hiding" just to have been at: John Amaechi at the Center! One of my colleagues actually did the segment and met him and told me that he was super nice. Ah, that lucky girl! But in my infinite wisdom, I know that guys that look as good as John Amaechi, wouldn't even give a second look to me. But one can dream. One... can...dream :-)


Today's cupcake selections from CRUMBS are the Twinkie and a Strawberry Sprinkle Cupcake. In a word: LIPSMACKING! I know that if I keep making trips to CRUMBS like this and eating more cupcakes I will be as big as house. Which is fine with me, since no one is looking at me anyway, I may as well get fat and plump. At least with extra weight on me I can keep warm in the winter sleeping by myself.

I wonder if John Amaechi sleeps in a king sized bed? I wonder if he ever read my blog? I wonder if he ever ate a cupcake from CRUMBS with a nice spot of Earl Grey? Hmmm. I know I would never have to worry about keeping warm in the winter with him. Ooh, I sound devilish >:-)

Oh, and BTW, I was just kidding about the selling out the slaves bit. Just me being Silly Billy!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Casted, Crashed, and Cupcakes!

Well first of all I want to let ya'll (that's "Southern" for "you all") know that I have completed the principal casting for my thesis film. It's a comedy short called "Poppin' In" (interpret the title any way you may see fit). The three leads are (shown from left to right) Amon McDade-Johnson, Sharon Gee, and Wayne Chang. As most of you know, I wrote the script with Wayne in mind after working with him on my PSA earlier this year. He is very talented and very funny (despite the dramatic look on his face in the photo). Amon and Sharon both came in and gave exceptional readings. Originally, I got literally hundreds of submissions for these roles and saw countless actors before the decision was made to cast them. I know one day, when they are rich and famous and living the "celebrity life" I will remember the casting process and thank my lucky stars that I "knew them when." I'm really excited to be over the casting hurdle for now, however I still am not clearly out of the water yet since I have still have to cast two canine roles. I know people must think I'm crazy because I've been going to almost every pet supply store, pet hospital, and pet beauty parlor in Chelsea (and there are tons of them in that neighborhood) leaving fliers advertising for the two lovable dogs to play in the film. I feel somehow, something good will happen soon. I sort of feel it in my bones. Hopefully cameras will start rolling very, very soon.

Today it finally happened: my portable external hard drive that I have to bring with me to school everyday since I started--crashed, sort of. It's was inevitable to happen since the year warranty expired a few weeks ago. Everyone else in my class has gone through the same thing. But thanks to the helpful resources from the IT department here at school (where I'm writing from at the present time) -- Mike, in particular -- I was able to salvage all the work that I have stored on my 250GB drive. Whew!!!! It had to do with the connection cables and not the drive itself, so instead of having to purchase a new hard drive, Mike suggested that I walk around the block to CompUSA and purchase a fire wire enclosure for a fraction of the cost of a new drive. I brought it back to school and he replaced my hard drive in the new enclosure and
violá: it worked! Was I ever relieved!

Anyway I think the reason why I didn't freak out initially when I plugged in the unit into the Mac this morning and it didn't work was that I was completely relaxed. This is due in part to my very good friend Paul Andrew Lucre, who gave me a meditation CD last night. Paul is visiting for a few days and he gave me this CD to help calm my nerves. It's called "1-Minute Meditation" (I think) and but the time I listened to all of the different segments (22 in all) I was so relaxed that I farted! Needless to say, I'm feeling very mellow today.

My new find this week: Crumbs! I'm a big cupcake ho. There is nothing like a delicious cup cake that make you want more. So much so that you dream about eating another one. I was a big fan of Magnolia Bakery down on Bleeker Street in the West Village, until I discovered Billy's Bakery in Chelsea on 9th Ave and 21st Street. Then I bit into a cupcake from Buttercup Bake Shop on 2nd Ave and 51st Street and was floored by the savory taste (thanks Osmond!). Then I tasted what I think is the ULTIMATE in cupcake perfection: CRUMBS. There are several locations in the city, but the one I frequent is the one close to school across from Bryant Park on 42nd Street in the ground floor of the Grace Building. Lately, though, I've noticed that the lines are getting longer and longer (just the way Magnolia became after Carrie and Miranda gorged on the tasty treats on an episode of Sex and the City). But I have to admit, they are slightly pricier, but they are bigger than the average and the variety of choices is unbelievable. But get there early if you want to get a Boston Creme or Red Velvet. Okay, I may not be a fan of the Boston Red Sox, but I do like that cities' creme delicacy. Those Boston Creme cupcakes are so good from Crumbs it would make you slap your mama!

I'm getting hungry just thinking about those cupcakes now. Gotta go, bye!



Okay, I just bit into a Boston Creme cupcake from the above mentioned bakery and to quote Riley Freeman from "The Boondocks" (after tasting his granddad's latest hamburger concoction, "The Luther")
: "Whoa. This is what crack must feel like"

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Final Quarter Begins! (Warning: Includes Spoiler about Sex and the City movie)

It seems like only yesterday that I started attending film school and in a few short month (providing that I finish my thesis film) I will be walking across the stage accepting my Associate of Applied Science degree. I never imagined myself at 43-years-young, finally becoming a college graduate, so to speak. I have been investigating schools so that I can further my education and get my bachelor's degree because I really like going to college better than I did when I was 18. I guess it's true what George Bernard Shaw (pictured, left) once said, "Youth is wasted on the young." Because when I was young and in college I never took the time to realize just what a valuable opportunity I was afforded. Now, 20 plus years later I have the chance to do it again and I am LOVING IT!!!!

This quarter I am only taking 4 classes, Internship, Video Production & Editing II (a/k/a Thesis class), Literature and Composition, and Sociology.
This has only been my first week of taking all this courses but so far, I can tell that I'm going to get a lot out of it. Originally when I came here, I never saw the reason for all the general education courses, but now I see why it is required. It only enriches you as a human being when you open your mind to subjects other than the your major field of study. And, in all honesty, every general education course I've taken here has helped me more with my film studies and helping to become a better writer, director, producer, and most important, it's helped me to become a better man. Something that I never expected that would happen.

For instance, my Internship class basically is a class that meets once a week with Professor Dillon and we discuss ways of working toward our personal goals in addition to how to make the best use of your individual internships. This past week at my internship I participated on an project for an upcoming segment to be shown on the show. In the two and one half hours that I did camera work for this segment, I learned SO MUCH about things that I, in my 40+ years, had no concept of before. I wont' go into detail about it, but it was eye opening for me. There are certain things you just can't learn from reading a book solely. Not to say that reading books aren't good -- my head is buried in a book almost all the time now --
but life is a great experience when you just LIVE IT!! It's amazing the things you can learn.

I'm really looking forward to both of my GEN ED courses this quarter (even though I passed English Lit & Comp with a B while I attend Pace University in the 80's). The Literature and Composition course will only aid me in becoming a better writer and the Sociology course will aid me in seeing my world better.

Celebrity Alert today includes a SPOILER--you have been warned: Today outside on 40th street in about 10 feet from the building they closed down the street between Sixth Avenue (or Avenue of the Americas) and Fifth Avenue because they were filming scenes for the new "Sex and the City" film. I saw little Sarah Jessica Parker (Carrie) in "wedding gown" and Cynthia Nixon (Miranda). I heard that Kristen Davis (Charlotte) was there but there were too many people and I didn't see her there. I think Evan Handler (Harry) who plays her husband was there too. There were so many spectators around there, that I'm sure someone has footage already up on the web. I hope they've finished out there because the street was way too congested. However, big budget filming brings income to the city of New York. So I shouldn't complain.

Too bad I didn't have my camera with me. Oh, well....

Monday, October 1, 2007

Thesis Pre-Production, Internships and Very Little Sleep

It's been a little while since my last entry because school was crazy the last two weeks of the quarter. I had to finish my thesis script, get an internship, compile my reel, finish an EPK, scout for locations for my thesis film (in addition to most of the preproduction stuff), and volunteer what "free" time I had at the IFP Market for school credit. Needless to say, I haven't gotten a lot of sleep these past few weeks. Even though I'm on my school break until next week, I'm doing some hours for my internship at the LGBT Community Center Media Center. They produce a monthly television show called "Out at the Center." It's pretty cool and I'm honing my skills as a preproduction/postproduction person.

As far as grades go, I did pretty well this quarter 3 As, 1 A- and 1 B+. I was shocked that I got As in both my general education courses (Western Civilization and Verbal Communication). Okay, I'm not "that" shocked about the Verbal Comm (a/k/a Speech) class because I love to talk anyway, but the history course was a challenge for me considering all the other stuff that I had going on this past quarter. The B+ was for my Video Production/Editing I class (a/k/a the EPK class) considering I had 2 professors for that class, I'm a bit shocked that I got such a low grade, unless you count the times that I didn't make it to class for a couple of sessions. I am happy about the Script Development class. I think I worked really hard for that grade by turning in an excellent Director's Notebook for my thesis.

Speaking of Thesis, I'm casting again for my new film. It's a comedy short that I plan on entering in all the LGBT Film Festivals. But again, I'm having the problem of casting like I did when I was doing the PSA back in March of this year. This time I'm having trouble finding middle-aged Asian women, African-American males (between 25 to 35), and a pair of bulldogs. It's funny how some people don't even read the cast breakdowns clearly because I can't tell you how many people want to audition for the roles of one of the canine characters! Go figure!

I plan on having my first round of casting this coming weekend. For more info check out the casting notice at craigslist