Tag Archives: movies

Watching The Oscars (or Costumes and Twitter)

I’m sure by now you have all seen and read about what happened at the Oscars. If you haven’t here’s a great article about how the wrong film was announced as best picture, how it happened, and what was done to try to correct it. While that is a huge part of what happened at the Oscars, that was only a small time at the party I was at.

I went to Chris and Marie’s house for the Oscars as I have every year for a long time. It’s a great party every year and I’m always looking forward to it. The group of people who go to the party are a mix of those of us who take the Oscars very seriously and those who aren’t super into the awards but love any opportunity to dress up and hang out.

I had an idea for a costume around New Year’s Eve, but it seemed too complicated for me to figure out how to make and I gave up on it. I had another idea for a costume and even went out and bought things for it, but I decided that I wouldn’t be comfortable in the costume. I started researching what movies came out in 2016 (since the only rule for costumes is that it needs to be related to a movie that came out in the past year), and finally found the perfect idea for me!

I went as Anthony Weiner’s twitter account (inspired by the documentary “Weiner”). I had a dry erase board with his twitter profile picture where people could write tweets and I wrote on tape on my body a couple of statements Anthony Weiner had made after his scandals were in the news. It was another easy/lazy costume, but fortunately people at the party found it really clever and fun.

As always, Chris and Marie decorated their house and yard for the party. This year, the theme was Arrival and they did an amazing job making decorations that were exactly like the movie. I especially loved the photo set up they made with the aliens from the movie!

Since there is a mix of people at the party, the viewing areas are split up. There is the quiet room and the regular viewing area. The quiet room used to be much more quiet, but over the years we’ve gotten a bit chattier. We are still very quiet during all the speeches, but we will occasionally talk or say a comment during the show. And of course we are super chatty during the commercials. But my favorite party of the quiet room is that the video is projected onto the wall of a room so we have a giant screen to watch on!

We have ballots to use for the guess the winners contest at the party, but pretty quickly I knew I wasn’t going to do so well with that. While “La La Land” wasn’t my favorite movie of the year, I knew so many critics loved it and I assumed it was going to win more awards than it did. I also hadn’t seen all of the animated, documentary, or short films so for many of those I had to guess. But so many people and films that I wanted to win did and I was really enjoying the show.

Then there was the moment when the wrong movie was announced as Best Picture. I don’t think I’ve heard so much screaming before during the Oscars. We were all so confused (as was probably everyone watching) and we couldn’t believe what was happening. I’m glad that the error was corrected during the show so the producers from “Moonlight” could get up and speak, but I know that it was a moment during the ceremony that will not be forgotten. I know it was an honest mistake, but it was a big mistake.

I think everyone was in shock after the awards were done, but we all headed to the backyard to start the costume contest. We all go around and announce what our costumes are so we can vote. When I announced my costume, I got a bunch of laughs, but I knew that my costume wasn’t going to be a winner. So many people had amazing costumes and I was just happy to see how creative other people can be.

I loved my friend Regan’s Hidden Figures costume (she was with some friends who played other characters from the movie). Their group got first place in the costume contest.

And the funniest costume I saw was actually the costume I was originally thinking of doing! When I went to see Dr. Strange, I immediately thought how cool it would be to go as the cape from the movie. I was trying to figure out how to make a cape look like it was levitating in front of me, but I never could figure out a simple enough solution. But my friend Andy figured out a really easy way to do it and I think his costume looked so much better than anything I could have done!

After the costume winners were announced, the party started to wind down pretty quickly. Most of the people at the party had to work the next morning (I had an early workout the next morning) so a lot of people were trying to get home. I left pretty early too, but since that’s when most people were leaving I didn’t feel like I was missing too much of the party. I went around saying goodbye to all of my friends and walked out to my car.

On a random side note, this was the first party since my car died on New Year’s Eve and it was a little stressful driving home. Even though I have a totally different car, I was still paranoid something would happen on my drive home. I’m sure I’ll feel like that for a while because things like that stick with me. But I got home safely and I’m so glad that I have a car that doesn’t have any problems!

Overall, it was yet another amazing party for the Oscars. I love getting together to watch the show and it makes me feel a part of an amazing community. Most of us know at least one person who works at the Oscars (I know 3 or 4), and we love getting to celebrate movies and be proud of our friends who are there. Hopefully one day I’ll get to attend the show in person, but I know if that happens I’ll probably miss going to the party since that’s what I look forward to each year!

Film Festival Day (or Being In Charge)

This past weekend was the Beverly Hills Shorts Festival. In the past, we’ve had the festival happen over multiple days, but this time we only had it on one day. This ended up being a good thing for me because this year’s festival was quite the stressful thing. I love working this festival and at least the love and happiness I have overrides the stress I get. But that doesn’t mean that the stress doesn’t affect me sometimes.

As I mentioned before, we had a last minute venue change with the festival. It was an unfortunate situation where our previous contact was no longer with the venue, but they never told us that in their email correspondence. So even though we had emails from them saying that we were all confirmed for the date, there was no record of us since they didn’t work for the venue and had no authority to book events. I’m glad that the venue felt bad for what happened to us and was able to put us in a new venue, but it was still stressful knowing that it was a venue that I hadn’t held a festival in before and wasn’t sure how it would all work.

I had gone to the new venue to see the setup and try to plan out how I wanted things to happen, but still the day of I was stressed more than I would have liked. I wanted to be able to relax and enjoy the festival, but I knew that until I knew that everyone had a good time that I would be worried about things. But the staff at the new venue was amazing and really did everything they could to make sure that the festival ran as smoothly as possible. Things weren’t perfect, but without the awesome staff and management I knew the festival wouldn’t have happened at all. I’ve thanked them so many times already, but I can’t thank them enough. I wasn’t the easiest person to deal with when I’m that stressed out and there were lots of little things that I wanted to make sure were right. But they understood my need to try to make things perfect and really worked with me.

It’s still weird to me to be in charge of everything. When I started with the festival, I was a volunteer. I worked my way up the ranks over the years (I’ve been with the festival for 9 of the 10 years it’s happened) but I still feel like I’m at the bottom of the totem pole. I need to build confidence with being in charge, but for now I have to fake it until I make it.

Since we had a reduced timeframe for the festival (which was because the other venue was supposedly only available for that limited time), we only had 2 screening programs: comedy and drama. And this year, one of my films was submitted and accepted into the festival! I know it sounds like I had something to do with it, but I do not program the films and the programmers don’t all know who I am. So it was exciting to have “Single Parent Date Night” make its festival debut at the Beverly Hills Shorts Festival!

The only downside to having the film in the festival was the way that the venue was set up, our lobby/reception area had about 8 TVs which all were playing what was playing in the screening room. So when our film started, I was surrounded by me. Not the best thing for someone who doesn’t love to watch themselves on the screen, but it was pretty funny to not be able to escape from it.

This wasn’t the most successful year, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t a great festival. Everyone who was there seemed to have a great time and many filmmakers came up to me after the screenings to say how much fun they had. I’m glad that everyone had a good time since that’s all I really wanted to get out of the festival.

I know that we are going to take a bit of a break before the next festival. My co-director and I really want to bring it back to the glory days it had in the beginning. We want to be back in a great venue and have the filmmakers be excited to be screening there. We know we have a great event, we just have to make sure that others know it as well.

Enjoying Movie Nights (or Watching My Screeners)

It’s almost time for the SAG Awards which means I’m getting ready to vote on who I think should win in the various categories. It’s still so much fun that I get to vote on the awards and it fees so special to me. I know that all union members get to do this, but it’s still relatively new to me and feels like a novelty. And I do take it seriously and want to make sure I vote for who I feel deserves to win and not just who is my favorite. I know that no everyone does that, but I look at it as if I might be nominated one day. I might not be a name actor by that point, but I would want as much consideration as an a-list actor might get. So I take each nomination just as seriously as the others.

Usually, I’ve been able to see more of the films before the nominations come out. I get to go to screenings through SAG-AFTRA and the film society as well as thought Women In Film and usually toward the end of the year those end up being the films that are the ones that get nominated. But this year, for some reason I really didn’t get to make it to many of the screenings of the films that were nominated. In fact, I didn’t get to see anything other than shows that were on Netflix this time. It’s just the way that the screening season went. A lot of screenings were times that I couldn’t go, and during the holidays a lot of screenings were the blockbusters and not necessarily the films that get award nominations.

So when we started to get our screeners, I was excited because I knew I needed to watch a bunch of movies. But somehow time was going by and I wasn’t watching the screeners I had. And over the weekend, I realized that I needed to start catching up in order to have time to watch everything before I had to vote. So I have been trying to watch one movie a day if possible to make it through my movies. I haven’t been able to do that every day, but I’ve been able to do it for many of them and I’m finally about halfway through watching all of them.

It’s been a fun routine at night (or sometimes before I start work in the morning) to pick out a movie that I want to watch. It’s a luxury to be able to watch these movies at my house where I can be comfortable on the couch (and pause the movies if I need to get something to drink or run to the bathroom). And when my hips have been hurting, it’s nice that I can stretch out on the couch or floor and get my body to feel ok. That’s not something that I can do in a theater, even though I do have to stretch out in my seat when I’m out at a movie or a show. Each time I watch a screener, I feel so lucky that I get to have this privilege and hope that I never get so jaded that I start to expect this treatment.

Most of the movies I’ve watched have been very good. I’m actually sad that some of my favorites are only available on the screener website because I know I’ll lose access to watching it soon. And there are some other films that I’ve struggled to get through and haven’t understood why my friends have thought it was the greatest movie ever or that it was better than all the rest. But whether or not I like the movie, I totally agree that the performances in the films have all been the best of the best and all the actors have been very worthy of their nominations.

There totally are some front-runners in my mind for who I want to vote for already. I won’t vote until I finish watching the movies because that’s only fair. I don’t feel like there is a lot of campaigning by actors and producers to get their films or performers to win. I do get flyers and things in the mail (and I guess you could say getting a DVD screener versus having to watch it on a website is a way to campaign), so I don’t feel pressured to vote any certain way like some other awards shows might have. I get to be an actor watching actors and deciding who is inspiring me the most with their performance.

I’ve got less than 2 more weeks to work on this and I think I’ll be fine getting through all the movies. I do need to set aside time to work on it (which seems like a funny concept to me), but as long as I make it a priority in my off time, I will watch everything before needing to vote. And right after voting, I’ll get to see how the rest of my union actors feel about the performances when the winners are announced. I can’t wait to see what happens!

Movies And Christmas Lights (or A Busy Movie Week)

I recently had a week where I got to see 3 musicals in one week. And this week, I’m going to have a week where I see 3 movies in a week! Fortunately, 2 of those movies will be free (thanks to the SAG-AFTRA Film Society) so it’s not an expensive week. Movies are really expensive now! And while I’ve only seen 2 movies so far this week (the last one will be “Star Wars” on Saturday), it’s been pretty great.

The first movie this week was “Patriots Day” and that was a screening at the SAG-AFTRA Film Society. If you haven’t heard of this movie, it is about the Boston Marathon bombing. I had recently seen a documentary about the bombing so I was very familiar with the timeline and story going into the movie, but it was still a great movie. I think the woman sitting next to me didn’t know the timeline because she was in shock each time something happened.

It’s not an easy movie to watch, but that’s part of the reason I think people need to see it. This is a part of recent history and it shouldn’t be ignored. I know some people don’t love recent history movies, but I think this one was reported about in a censored way so many people don’t realize everything that happened. I think the movie doesn’t get released for most of the country until January, but I recommend being on the lookout for it.

The day after seeing “Patriots Day”, I went to another movie. This time, I went to see “Dr. Strange” with my friend David. David is the person I see all superhero movies with since he knows the story from reading the comics and he tolerates all the questions I ask after the movie is done. I enjoy the movies, but since I don’t know the back story so I tend to get confused.

This movie was the one we had to pay for and we went to the Grove to see it. I usually stay away from the Grove because it is very crowded and touristy. But it was the closest place that the movie was playing and had a time that worked out well for both of us.

We found parking quickly there (which is almost unheard of) and went straight to the movie. It was a good movie and I think the superhero movie that confused me the least. All the things that I thought would be questions for David ended up being answered in the movie! I’m sure that over the next week or so I will think of random questions like I always do, but after the movie nothing seemed that confusing to me. So after the movie was done, we decided to walk around the Grove a bit.

David hadn’t been to the Grove at Christmastime before so I said we had to check out the tree. It’s a pretty giant tree and while they were doing some filming stuff around the tree it wasn’t too crowded over there. We did our best attempt to get a selfie with the tree, but the only way to do it was to hold the camera below us which is really the least flattering angle.

We walked around for a bit longer after that and then headed back to the car. It was a bit crowded there and a ton of families in line to get pictures with Santa (who is in a giant house in the middle of the shopping area) and I didn’t feel like trying to walk through the crowds to see more of the Christmas lights and stuff around.

I’ll possibly be at the Grove again before all the lights and decorations are down, but if not I’m glad I got to check it out this time. I do enjoy seeing Christmas displays even though I don’t really celebrate Christmas myself. And even though seeing 3 movies in a week sounds pretty indulgent, it’s the holiday season so I figure anything goes!

A Night At The Bowl (or Movie Music With Friends)

I really was hoping to make it to a couple of shows this summer at the Hollywood Bowl, but after going to see “The Little Mermaid” earlier this summer I hadn’t made it back until this past weekend. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go, but time and money were limited this summer and things just didn’t line up.

But the show that I got to see this past weekend was the night of John Williams, which is one of my favorite shows ever! And I really lucked out with my tickets. I knew that several of my friends had already purchased tickets, and once I found out the night they were going and where their seats were I went online to look for tickets. There was only 1 seat left in their section and it happened to be the seat right next to them! So I bought that and we were all able to sit together!

Even though I was going to the show with several of my friends, because we were all coming from different parts of LA I ended up getting there by myself. I took the Bowl bus over (which is probably the easiest and best way for me to get there) and it just happened that we all arrived at about the exact same time! We met up right as we were going up the first set of escalators which could not have been timed better if we planned it!

Our seats were toward the top so we had a bit of a walk to get up there. I don’t mind the high up seats since they are cheaper and you get a great view of some of the fun things that happen at the John Williams show. And once we finally got to our seats, I was excited to see that not only did we have a great view of the stage but we had a great view of the Hollywood Sign as well!

Bowl and Sign

I usually don’t sit on that side of the Bowl, so seeing the sign (and the Griffith Observatory) was a treat for me!

The first half of the show was conducted by David Newman. He had some great stories to share with everyone and there were some fun musical tributes. There was a section that was just clips of Paramount movies to the score from “Forrest Gump”. They also played the first 10 minutes of “Star Trek Into Darkness” and had the orchestra play the score live. I really liked that (it reminded me of seeing “The Little Mermaid” earlier this summer) and that score is just so dramatic and wonderful to hear. I’m glad that was one of the parts for the show.

After intermission, John Williams came out. In the past, he conducted the entire show but I actually enjoyed seeing 2 different conductors playing music from movies I love. Even though the music sounds the same, there is just something different watching it live with a different conductor. And once John Williams came out, there was just one thing everyone was waiting for.

Star Wars

“Star Wars” music live really is the highlight of the show every year. So many people there bring light sabers with them (including several of my friends) and I love seeing all of them glowing while the music is playing. I usually hate glowing things at concerts, but this is different and special. It almost enhances the music when you see so many people enjoying themselves.

Besides hearing music from “Star Wars” we also got to hear the score from “Superman” which was something I remembered hearing at one of the shows a few years ago. It’s another beautiful score and I just sat back and enjoyed the music.

There are always at least a few encores at the show (John Williams really hams it up but it’s so much fun to see everyone screaming for him to come back out). The final encore every time I’ve been to the show has been the score to the closing scene of “ET”. And this year was no different. The score builds up to such a dramatic finish and you can just visualize the movie playing as the music is happening. And the closing of the score also lights up the inside of the Bowl with a rainbow (similar to how the end of the movie has a rainbow). I just love seeing it and it makes me happy every time.

ET

The show was really just as amazing as every other year that I’ve gone to see it and I’m glad that this has become a bit of a summer tradition. Since the season for the Bowl is pretty much done now, I doubt I’ll make it back there until next summer. But getting to go twice in a summer is still awesome and I’m glad that this is something I’m able to do pretty much every year!

Women In Film (or Brunch and Ghostbusters)

Continuing with my busy weekend, I also had my Women In Film mentoring group brunch on Sunday! We’ve been trying to be really good about meeting up every other month, and we’ve learned that meeting for a weekend brunch works well for us. This way, none of us have to drive in rush hour traffic and we aren’t tired from working all day. Also, going out for brunch means that we don’t have to all prepare food and I don’t have to super clean my house!

I was really excited for this brunch. I got to tell everyone about “Single Parent Date Night” (some of my fellow mentees actually were donors for the Kickstarter too!). I told everyone about the filming process and how we really lucked out with finding some amazing locations and getting some incredible crew members. The budget we had for the film was pretty small, but I don’t think that the film will look like that.

I also updated everyone on the day job situation and how I’m very torn about doing the next level of improv classes at UCB. The classes aren’t cheap and I’m thinking that maybe taking a different class with that money would be a better use of my money. I have until December to take the next level of improv classes without having to redo the first level, so I’m not rushing to figure out what I want to do.

This brunch seemed to be full of updates from everyone. It was really great to see that everyone is doing amazing and making big strides in their careers. I still love that we have our meetings every other month and I really hope that we are able to continue to do these for a long time.

After brunch was done, I asked the group if anyone wanted to go see the new “Ghostbusters” movie. Since we are members of Women In Film, I figured going to support women in film by seeing a movie was pretty fitting. Not everyone could go, but 3 of us got into my car and drove a few minutes away to where there was a screening starting 20 minutes after we finished our meal. The timing was really perfect so I felt like it was fate that we were able to see the movie after brunch.

Ghostbusters

I know that “Ghostbusters” has gotten so much hate, and I really don’t understand it. If “Spiderman” can be remade lots of times why can’t “Ghostbusters” be done once? People claimed that the new movie ruined their childhood, but that makes no sense. If you don’t want to go see a movie, don’t see it. But all of us who went love the actresses who were in it and were excited to see what they did with the reboot. We didn’t care what the random reviews online said (and most of those were done before anyone saw the movie so they can’t be trusted) and we were just excited to see the movie with an open mind.

Honestly, it was an amazing movie! All of us really enjoyed it and were laughing throughout the movie. Yes, it had similar elements from the original but again we see so many remakes that it’s not a big deal. If it was a remake without any bits from the original movie that would have been very weird. And they had some fun new stuff and we all loved seeing the cameos from the original cast members.

But the biggest deal to me was that “Ghostbusters” was just an awesome movie that happened to star women. There was no romantic comedy element to it, nobody had to be saved by a man, nobody fell in love and changed their life, and as a friend of mine put it no woman ended the film scantily clad or in spandex. The women weren’t supermodels, they were real. And you could have replaced the women in the film with men and it would have been the same movie. That is so rare and special.

I had the best time seeing “Ghostbusters” and I’m so glad that we went to see it after brunch. It was the perfect thing to do after the meeting and I think we all felt so inspired after the credits were done. I know that many people won’t see the movie because there are women in it or that they saw all the negative reviews that happened before the movie was released (almost all the real reviews are positive), but I’m happy that we went out and supported women-led films with our money that afternoon.

It really was the perfect morning and afternoon for me. I got inspired by my fellow mentees and the steps they are taking in their career and then I got inspired by seeing “Ghostbusters” and how amazing it was.

A Day At Universal Studios (or Trying Not To Let One Negative Thing Bug Me)

Even though I had a full day at Disneyland on Sunday, on Monday I had another big adventure! I had scheduled an outing to Universal Studios with my Disneyland buddy June and some of her friends!

When I was new to LA, I had gotten an annual pass to Universal Studios a couple of times. Then when I worked there at Halloween Horror Nights in 2007, 2008, and 2010 I had free tickets from working. But since my last season of working in 2010, I hadn’t been back to the park. They had made a bunch of upgrades and changes over the years, but this month they opened The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter so I figured it was time to go back to check it out (it also helped that Costco is selling an annual pass for $94!).

Overall, I think the day went pretty well. But there was one thing that got to me. But first, the good stuff.

As soon as we got to the park, we made a stop to get lunch (we got there around 12:30). We could have chosen to eat somewhere outside the park, but we figured why not have some fun and eat somewhere inside. We originally thought we would eat at the restaurant in the Harry Potter area, but the restaurant had a pretty long line so we decided it wasn’t worth it. We ended up at the restaurant in the Simpsons area of the park and we all got some pretty yummy burgers!

After getting some food, it was time to have some fun! The first ride that I went on was the Transformers ride which had been built since the last time I was in the park so it was new to me! This ride is a simulator ride that does move around a track and has both a 3-D movie and sets combined. I really like simulator rides and I thought this one was extremely well done! The sets and screens blended together nicely and it really felt like we were moving the entire time! I wish we had time to go on it again, but since I have an annual pass I can now go on it whenever I want.

After that ride, we headed back up to the upper lot to meet up with one of June’s friends who was joining us. We met up at the Harry Potter section of the park where we got some Butterbeers to cool down in the heat.

Butterbeer

I thought it was pretty good and I think I’ll probably get it again the next time I’m at the park. We also wandered around the area a lot admiring how cool it looked and seeing all the kids use their wands to make things happen in the store fronts.

Wizarding World

We did ride the Forbidden Journey ride, but more about that in a bit. We also rode the little rollercoaster in that area. Even though it is a kid’s coaster, it did go pretty quickly and I thought it was really fun.

When we left Harry Potter, we headed down to the studio tour.

Studio Tour

One of June’s friends had never been on the studio tour and they had changed things since I had been there, so we were all pretty excited to go on it (plus, we got to be in the shade and got a bit of a breeze when the tram was moving). The studio tour is such a classic. I love getting to see the various backlot spaces and the fun things that are added to the tour (like King Kong) are always entertaining. And I love going past Bates Motel since that is where I worked for 3 years.

Bates Motel

Since the last time I was at Universal Studios, they had added a Fast and Furious thing to the tram tour at the very end. It is done similarly to King Kong with giant screens wrapping around the tram (and they even have a screen in the very front unlike in King Kong). It was really fun and a cute addition to the tram tour, but I do miss the avalanche/Mummy cave that used to be there.

After the tram tour, one of June’s friends needed to head home. We walked around the upper lot a bit checking out all the fun little signs that Universal has added to make the upper lot more fun (and more like Disneyland).

Universal Streets

Then we headed over to Waterworld to watch the show (and enjoy the shade in the stands). The show has been around for a while and it hasn’t changed much, but it’s still really fun to watch the performers doing the stunts.

Waterworld

Ok, now time to talk about the not-so-fun part of my day. The first ride we rode in the Harry Potter area was the Forbidden Journey ride. When that ride opened in Florida there were dozens of news stories about how fat people were being turned away from the ride. I knew that the ride here had similar restrictions, but a couple of my friends who are 2 sizes bigger than me rode the ride and had no issues. And I searched a bunch of online forums and it seemed like my measurements would fit into the seats just fine.

Harry Potter

I loved walking through the line (we took our time since there really wasn’t a line and we wanted to see everything) and right before you get onto the ride there is the “fat police” who looks for heavier people and makes them try a test seat to see if they fit. And yes, I got picked out by the fat police.

I’m sure the employee was trying to be nice, but it was pretty humiliating especially since everyone else walking through the line saw what was happening. And honestly, I fit into the seat just fine. I just wasn’t able to close the harness to the level they needed it to be closed for really random issues. First, the seat tilts back and since my hips don’t bend all the way I had to be part way out of the seat to get the harness to come down. And my arms weren’t able to get the harness all the way down (there was maybe an inch between me and the harness) because of the angle of the seating. But when one of June’s friends came over, she was very easily able to push the harness down to the level that they need it to be at. The employee said it would be fine for me to ride so we headed on our way down the ride.

When we got to the ride, I had the same issue with not being able to get the harness down to where my body is. I asked the employees there to help and they said they weren’t allowed to push down the harness (again, there was like an inch between my body and the harness). They were trying to take me off the ride when I finally convinced them to let June’s friend out of her seat so she could press the harness down for me. Even after everything was fine, there were 3 employees asking me if I was sure if I wanted to ride the ride and if I was ok. Yes I wanted to ride the ride! I was just mad at them because they wouldn’t help me pull a safety harness down (and I understand that maybe they legally cannot touch a safety harness, but I was still annoyed).

The ride itself was fun. I loved the half movie half real set aspect of it and even though the 3-D has been getting negative reviews I didn’t think it was that bad. But honestly I didn’t enjoy the ride as much as I could have because I really felt awful for being called out by the fat police.

I’m so insanely grateful for June and her friends for being so cool about all of it. They never made me feel bad and they also agreed that it was pretty ridiculous that they refused to help me. They didn’t make it feel like a big deal and after we were on the ride they never brought the subject up again because there was no need. But even though we weren’t talking about it, I was still thinking about it.

Now that I know that because of the tilt of the seat it is difficult for me to pull the harness down, when I ride again I’ll sit down first and have a friend help me pull it down. But this also means that I cannot go to the park alone if I want to ride because I need the help. Honestly, I think even if I was 100 pounds less I’d have the same issues because my hips literally won’t bend that way when I’m sitting tilted back. So it’s not even as much of a weight thing for me as it is a hip issue thing for me.

I really tried to not let the fat police incident ruin the rest of my day at Universal, but it definitely put a damper on my day. That one tiny experience was really the only negative thing about the day and it sadly is one of the bigger memories.

Hopefully the next time I go to Universal I will have a better experience and will have better memories of the day.

Wrapping Up An Awesome Year Of Movies (or Still Loving SAG-AFTRA Film Society)

This past weekend was the final weekend of screenings for this season of the SAG-AFTRA Film Society. I’ve written about the Film Society in the past and how awesome it is. It’s one of the few union perks that cost above and beyond your membership dues, but it’s totally worth it! Right now they are taking applications and it is $115 for the season (which runs May-April). Each season there are about 4-6 first run movies a month that you can go to see and you can always bring a plus one.

I’ve been a member of the Film Society for a couple of years and it really is one of my favorite things. Movies are so expensive so paying for the season is so much cheaper than buying all those movie tickets. And since it’s a one-time annual fee, I go to see more movies than I probably would have anyway because I know it’s a free night out. You almost make up the cost of the membership after seeing just a few movies since they do show 3-D movies in 3-D (and in LA 3-D can cost about $25 a person). So to me it’s obvious that I would sign up for it each year.

I think this past year I went to more movies than I have the past few years. Part of that is due to having my friend David (I met him at Orangetheory) who likes to go to movies pretty much as much as I do. He’s already called dibs on any superhero movie that I get a screening for, and since most people haven’t called dibs on other movies he ends up joining me a bunch. We’ve seen a bunch of crazy movies this past year, and it’s better to have someone else driving home with you so you can discuss the movie and rant or rave about it. And I’m glad he goes with me to superhero movies because he knows the back story of them and doesn’t care that I ask a million questions after the movie since I’ve never read the comic books.

The second to last weekend of Film Society I saw 2 movies. First I saw “Midnight Special” (which was good but I was a bit confused at the end) and “Hello, My Name Is Doris”. I absolutely loved “Hello, My Name Is Doris”! Sally Field was amazing in the movie and I loved the journey that her character took! Without giving away a lot about the movie, the final few seconds were my favorite. It was not how I expected it to end but it made the movie wrap up beautifully and really showed how her character grew. I walked out of the theater with the biggest smile on my face and couldn’t stop thinking about how much I loved the movie! It’s one that I think everyone should see but a lot of people might not because it’s not a big blockbuster getting a ton of promotion.

For the final weekend of Film Society, I went to one movie: “Batman v Superman”. This was one of the movies that David had called dibs on if I got a screening for it so as soon as I saw it was coming up I let him know. He was so excited to go see it, but I was feeling a bit worried because of some of the negative reviews I had read online (and a friend who posted a major spoiler that I was afraid would ruin the movie for me). While I did think that it might have been a bit long, I really enjoyed it. There was a lot of good action, I liked seeing all the superheroes working together at the end, and it actually did make sense to me that Batman would be fighting Superman (I didn’t get it before the movie). After it was done, David and I both thought it was a fun and entertaining movie and it helped get both of us excited to see the Justice League movie. I still have some questions about the movie, but none of the things I’m wondering about ruined how entertained I was watching it.

Since I’m already signed up for the next season of Film Society, the movies will be starting up again in a little over a month. I know that I’ll be taking advantage of the membership as much as I have in the past and I’ve got another great year of movies coming up.

I’m aware how lucky I am to have this option for me plus the screenings I get for the SAG Awards voting. Not everyone has that luxury and it’s something that I really do appreciate having and I try to share my plus ones with as many friends as possible. It’s fun getting to bring people to screenings who have never seen them before and seeing the experience through their eyes. Hopefully this season I’ll have more friends joining me and more movies that make me just as excited to be an actor.

My Christmas Eve and Christmas (or A Late Night Target Run)

My Christmas plans were pretty low-key this year. I was going to have some friends over to watch movies and we were going to order Chinese food. Nothing too special, but I was looking forward to a fun and relaxing day at home with some fun company.

On Christmas Eve, I enjoyed a workout in the morning and then really didn’t have much as far as plans go for the rest of the day. I went to the grocery store (where it was insanely crowded!) and then spent the afternoon reading and watching some stuff on Hulu and Netflix.

Then just after dinnertime when I was watching a show on tv, my tv died. I’m not sure what happened. All I know is one second it worked and the next the screen was black. I could turn the tv on and off, but the screen stayed black. I couldn’t get the menu to come up or the input to change (so it wasn’t a reception issue). I looked up what I could online and nothing looked good to me. It seems like one of the graphics cards inside of my tv might have broken but I wasn’t going to spend money trying to find out.

So at 10pm on Christmas Eve, I headed to Target prepared to deal with all the last minute Christmas shoppers. I picked Target because they were pretty much the only ones open that late and they had a tv that would work for me in stock (and I needed a working tv for the movie day the next day).

To my surprise, Target was emptier than I’ve ever seen it. I’d guess that maybe there were under 10 shoppers in the entire store. So it was pretty easy for me to get to the electronics section and get a new tv.

Target

Not only was the store empty, but the tv was about 30% off! I wasn’t expecting that at all based on the prices online so that was a nice surprise. I used the money that I had leftover from paying my 2014 taxes to buy the tv (it wasn’t an expense I planned for or really had in my budget). That money was originally going to go toward another acting class, but maybe after I pay my 2015 taxes I’ll have leftover money to do that.

I spend the rest of my Christmas Eve night getting the new tv set up and the old tv out of the living room. It’s a much bigger tv than I’m used to, but I think it looks nice.

New TV

On Christmas, I started my day by baking some cookies to bring to all of my neighbors. They are super easy meringue cookies and they are very fast to get together (they just take a long time to bake).

Christmas Cookies

Then it was time for the traditional movie and Chinese food day. It was perfect and lazy and exactly what I wanted to do.

The last thing I had to do after Christmas that related to my last minute tv purchase was to get rid of the old tv. Obviously since it was broken I couldn’t sell it or donate it. So I had to go to the e-waste disposal site in LAX to get rid of it. It isn’t super close to me, but the drive has a pretty awesome view so I can’t complain.

Ocean View

While I would have rather not had to get a new tv suddenly, it really did work out well for me. I’m sure that any other day I would have been at Target anytime soon it would have been very crowded. And I doubt that the discount I got on the tv would have lasted much longer (I think it might have been a deal leading up to Christmas). So if my tv had to break randomly, it was a pretty ideal circumstance for me and now I have a nice big tv for all my future movie days/nights at my house.

Watching Some Inspiration (or A Weekend Of Screenings)

I realize that I’m pretty lucky with the screenings I get invited to. Some of them are because I am current on my SAG-AFTRA dues and I get to vote for the SAG Awards. Some of them are through Women In Film. And some of them are because I pay to be a part of the SAG-AFTRA Film Society.

Most of the screenings I go to (with the exception of the voting season for SAG Awards) are through the SAG-AFTRA Film Society. Prior to this past weekend, I had been to lots of movies through them. Most of them are either in theaters right now or about to be in theaters. And on the rare occasion those screenings include a Q&A.

Late on Friday night, I went to go see “The Walk”. I knew the story pretty well because I had seen “Man On Wire”, but I think that this film was pretty awesome. The screening was in 3D and my palms were sweaty the entire time the walk was going on (the friend who joined me said that he was barely able to breathe that time because he was nervous). It was a fun movie to watch and even though I was really tired Saturday morning I’m glad I went out to see it.

And on Saturday I got to see “Steve Jobs”. I was looking forward to this movie because I love the actors who are in it. I picked a screening time to go to that worked out with my schedule and was ready to go. But then a few days before the screening I found out that the screening time I was going to was also going to have a Q&A with the writer, director, and 3 of the actors in the film.

I was excited to attend the Q&A (which fortunately was after the film because it’s always weird when it’s before the movie you are seeing), but I knew that that movie was going to be extra crowded because of that.

I got to the theater pretty early and was a decent way back in the line, but I managed to find a pretty close and centered seat.

The movie was amazing. I had read the biography of Steve Jobs that the film was based on, but the movie was so different from what I expected. It pretty much takes place in 3 distinct acts (each act is a somewhat real-time representation of a certain day). The pattern of the movie was fascinating to watch and it felt like the movie flew by.

And soon as the credits were done, the Q&A started.

Steve Jobs Screening

It’s always fun to hear about the making of a movie, but what truly inspired me was hearing how they did the rehearsal process for each of the acts. The actors had over a week of real rehearsal time (not being distracted by wardrobe fittings or other things) where they were in a rehearsal room with the set being marked out by tape. This way, the actors had time to get used to the dialogue (and there was a lot of dialogue) and not have to worry about taking up time on the set while the crew was there.

They got to do this rehearsal process for each of the acts (rehearsing for the week or so prior to filming that section). This is not normal. Most movies don’t really give actors real rehearsal time to work on their characters, lines, and relationships. But hearing that some directors feel this passionate about making sure their actors had what they needed to do the best performance possible really made me happy. I can only dream that I get to have an experience like that on set one day.

Normally when I go to screenings, I have fun because it’s a day or night at the movies. This past weekend, going to the movies inspired me to keep going and keep pursing my dream. Just seeing the passion in the filmmakers’ and actors’ eyes proved to me that I’m on the right path.