Tag Archives: screenings

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!

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.

More Friends More Fun (or Still Building My Social Circle)

I’ve talked before about how I’ve had to work hard as an adult to make friends. I lost a lot of my friends when my best friend from college and I ended our friendship and it was tough for me to start over. I was eventually able to reconnect with people I had lost track of in the past (social media was a huge help in doing that) and also went out of my way to make new friends. And after a while, I had a ton of amazing friends that I am incredibly grateful to have in my life and continue to push me to be the best person I can be.

Because I have so many amazing friends now, I do get lazy from time to time when it comes to making friends. I meet people at events and we friend each other on Facebook, but then we never really hang out. And my schedule is partially to blame for that because I’m still over booking myself a bit (I think life will calm down after Thanksgiving).

But lately I’ve been in opportunities to not only meet lots of amazing people, but to get to spend time with them and build real friendships. The SAG-AFTRA Convention is the perfect example of this.

I spent so many hours with my fellow delegates. A lot of the time, we were exhausted from long hours and lack of sleep which helps to put everyone’s guards down and make friendships much easier to start. I did know some of my fellow delegates going into the convention, but through the convention (and the fun of the gala), I got to know so many more people and I’m happy that I’m already finding time to hang out with some of them!

I had the chance to work with one of my fellow delegates when I did coaching for my audition I had recently. While I had an hour of coaching, I was really there for like 4 hours because we were having too much fun hanging out and getting to know each other.

I’ve seen delegates at the SAG-AFTRA Film Society screenings I’ve gone to lately. I’m sure we’ve seen each other at the screenings in the past (most of us go to as many screenings as we can), but since I didn’t really know them until the convention, I never really paid attention. Now, we are all running into each other at each screening and usually we also end up trying to sit together. It’s nice to have friends at the screenings with me since we usually have to wait in line to go into the screening (sometimes for a pretty long time) and there is always time to kill once we are in the theater. And while I’m always prepared with a book, I’d rather use that time to be social.

With it being the start of awards season, I’ve got a lot of screenings coming up. And I’m making a serious effort to try to reach out to my friends (old and new) to come and be my plus one for them. For the past few screenings, I’ve been able to bring a different friend to each one and that’s been pretty awesome. I get that one on one time with a friend while we are waiting for the movie to catch up on life and be silly. And that’s something that I know I don’t do often enough.

I know I always say this, but I have to make my social life a bit more of a priority in my life. These screenings are helping, but once screening season is done I don’t want to neglect my friendships. I don’t know what I’ll do to fix this problem. Maybe I should start going out after I do my late afternoon workouts, but usually by the time I get home all I want to do is shower, eat dinner, and be lazy on the couch for a bit before going to bed. My weekends are getting a bit packed with work obligations until Thanksgiving (seriously, I don’t have a free weekend until after then) but I’m going to start trying to schedule things with friends more in advance so it’s on my calendar and becomes a priority.

Even though I always have the concern about not spending enough time with my friends, I’m glad that right now it’s not a huge issue and that I’m aware of it enough that hopefully I can make sure that it’s not an issue in the future.

Beverly Hills Shorts Festival (or Remembering To Breathe After Being So Stressed)

Saturday was the actual screenings for the film festival. In the past, we’ve had screenings the entire weekend, but since this was my first time running the festival, the other co-directors agreed that we should cut it back to one day (I’m very grateful that they made that decision).

The screenings were at 3, 5, and 7 with an awards ceremony at 9. But I wanted to get to Busby’s super early so I could make sure that everything was in order. When I arrived, the ballroom was all set up for the screenings.

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It was only bright in there because the curtains were still open. While the screenings were going on it was nice and dark.

I also tested the DVDs we were using. The biggest fear that I had was that there would be some sort of technical issue during a screenings. It’s happened before and I’m sure it’s happened again. But I’ve never been the person who had to fix it (or who had to listen to an angry filmmaker yelling).

I tried to stay calm while waiting for the volunteers to show up for the first shift. I killed time by making phone calls and playing a couple of rounds of Candy Crush.

And before I knew it, the festival was starting. Since I couldn’t be in 2 places at once, I stayed outside at the check in table while the films were going. But I always had a volunteer inside in charge of making sure there were no technical issues. I also had a volunteer run the Q&A after the screening.

While I didn’t get to see any of the films during the festival, I’ve been told by the volunteers and filmmakers that there were no technical issues during the entire thing. I had no angry filmmakers and nobody demanded a refund of their ticket (yes, that’s happened in the past as well).

I got to host the awards ceremony for the first time (I’m normally just hanging out watching it). It was so much fun getting to pass out awards (not all the winners were present, but those who were were so enthusiastic that they won).

And then it was done.

I’m still in shock that I managed to do it. I’ve been nervous for so long about this and honestly, I think it went smoother this year than any other year (that could be due to the fact that we ran all the screenings off of DVDs and only had one day of screenings). There are a couple of things that I’m hoping to improve on for next year, but I’ll have an entire year to prep for that festival.

I also wanted to just say on here how grateful I am to all my volunteers this year. I know that the festival would have been a disaster without them. Not only were they rockstars in doing their jobs, they also helped to calm me down.

Now I get to relax at Thanksgiving with most of my family.

BTW, if you are a filmmaker and want to submit your film for next year, let me know!