Tag Archives: TV

Vulture Festival (or TV Writers and A Sing-A-Long)

This past weekend was the Vulture Festival in LA. This was the first year that the event was held in LA and I was invited to come check it out! Vulture Festival is a weekend-long pop-culture event with panels featuring actors, writers, directors, and other people involved in film and TV. I was super excited to check this out and even more excited that I was invited to be press coverage there!

It still makes me a bit giddy to get a press pass for something and this time it allowed me to attend different panels. There weren’t reserved seats for press, so I tried to get there early for the panels I was attending. But because this happened on what ended up being a crazy busy weekend for me, I could only attend 2 panels (one on each day).

The panel I attended on Saturday was with Damon Lindelof (the creator/writer of Lost, The Leftovers, and lots of other amazing shows) and Mike Schur (the creator/writer of The Good Place, Parks and Recreation, and other hit shows).

This panel ended up being pretty incredible. While they both talked about their shows and they had a really great working relationship together, I really appreciated how they discussed the state of the industry. They discussed all the various sexual harassment issues happening now and they both acknowledged that they were a part of the problem. It takes a really good person to admit that you have done things that now looking back could be sexual harassment and that the other person involved might have felt like they couldn’t say anything because the person saying it was someone in power.

They also discussed how one way to stop the power issues that cause sexual harassment is to have more diversity in the writers room and in powerful positions. If it is a boys’ club, there is a risk of that mentality becoming something that isn’t positive. But if women are viewed as equals in the industry, this problem hopefully will decrease.

But there was a lot of funny stuff discussed too. Mike Schur talked about how Damon Lindelof helped him when he was creating The Good Place. And they both talked about how series finales of shows can cause lots of debate. While I haven’t watched a lot of their shows, I was inspired leaving this panel to watch more of them because I want to support creators/writers who really are good people and want to make this industry a more accepting and supportive environment.

And on Sunday, I got to go to the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Sing-A-Long panel.

I knew this one was going to be packed, so I got there early to get a good seat. I lucked out by getting a seat on the end of the second row. This panel included actors, writers, choreographers, producers, and creators of the show. They talked about a lot of things about having a musical comedy on tv like how sometimes the songs are finished the night before the actor has to record them. They also discussed how the show has taken a more serious turn but that there is still comedy in those darker moments.

And throughout the entire panel, they had sing-a-longs with different songs of the show. Most of the time, the actor that sang it in the show sang it at the panel too. But a lot of people in the audience sang too (I didn’t since my singing voice is horrible). But to me, I loved watching how much everyone who wasn’t singing loved seeing their co-stars and co-workers singing their hearts out and having fun.

It’s so clear that everyone on this show has a blast working on it and they know how lucky they are to be a part of something so special. I can only hope to get to be a part of something like this one day.

And one of the coolest things that happened at the panel was that they premiered a song that will be coming up on the show. It was the first time it had been shown and most of the actors hadn’t seen the final cut either. Everyone on stage and in the audience was laughing so hard and I can’t wait for this episode to air (I believe it is the next episode).

I really wish that I had been able to attend more panels over the weekend. I heard amazing things about so many other panels but the schedule just wasn’t going to work for me. But now I know to be on the lookout for when the Vulture Festival will be back in LA because I want to save the entire weekend for it! It was held at the Hollywood Roosevelt and I wish I had more time to explore there. I had only been there once or twice before and I wanted to check out more. There was also an event after each panel at the pool that I had to skip out on because of needing to get back home.

But even though my time at the Vulture Festival was limited, I had a great time and left feeling very inspired and creative. That’s exactly how I want to feel every day!

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Another Netflix Night (or A Comedy Panel)

Recently I wrote about going to the Gilmore Girls panel that Netflix had put on. That was an awesome night and I had so much fun there. I knew that Netflix was doing an entire series of events, but I figured that going to that one was the one chance I was going to have. But last week, I got an email from the SAG-AFTRA Film Society letting me know that I could RSVP for another one!

This time, I was invited to a panel of comedy shows on Netflix. This panel included Alan Yang from “Master of None”, Bill Burr from “F Is For Family”, Chelsea Handler from “Chelsea”, Judd Apatow from “Love”, Marta Kauffman from “Grace and Frankie”, and Victor Fresco from “Santa Clarita Diet”. Even though I don’t watch all these shows (although they have been on my list for a while), I was so excited to go and hear what they had to say!

I had the option to bring a guest with me, but unfortunately none of my friends could make it. I used to attend events like this alone all the time, but I’ve gotten used to having someone with me. But I was solo for the night and that was ok. I was able to get in line pretty early so I figured I’d be able to get a great seat. I wasn’t worried about seeing all the Netflix stuff in the space since I had seen it the time before, so once I got inside I immediately headed to the panel area.

So many of the seats were reserved so it was pretty limited seating. But I found what seemed to be a pretty great seat and was happy to just sit and wait for the panel to start.

Since I was alone, I spent the time waiting for the panel reading and working on my phone. They did have food and drinks like last time, but I wasn’t hungry so I didn’t get anything. But it seemed like the snacks were different and they had some sort of fried chicken thing instead of the hamburgers they had at the other panel.

When it was closer to the time that the panel was going to start, people started to come sit down. I’m lucky I got a seat because it felt like about half the room ended up standing in the back the entire time. But because I was sitting and the seats were on a flat surface, I ended up not really having a view of the stage. The guy in front of me was pretty tall and most of the time I was just staring at the back of his head.

But it’s ok that I couldn’t see anything since I just wanted to listen to the stories that the panel had to share. It’s always so inspiring to hear people talk about projects that they have worked on and what the challenges were that they had to overcome. It makes me feel that I’m doing the right stuff when I hear others who have had the same struggles that I have had too. And I love hearing about how working on a streaming network like Netflix is different from a broadcast or cable network. Streaming is still a newish thing but it’s nice to learn about the common things most shows on streaming networks face.

The entire panel was about an hour-long, but I wished it could have been longer. There were so many people up there and I wished they could have had more time to speak. But it was a nice sample of learning more about each of them and it got me feeling like I need to watch more of those shows on Netflix soon. I’m behind on Netflix shows, but since summer is usually quiet for most tv shows I follow I know that I will be catching up soon enough.

Once the panel was done, I decided to wander around the various setups for the Netflix shows to see if anything was different. Most of the stuff was the same, but some were moved around to different areas of the space so it felt new. And of course, I had to stop by my favorite thing from last time: the bubble wall!

It was a different color this time (last time was more blue) so of course I did a mini-photo shoot in there! I don’t know why I love that bubble wall so much, but it just makes me happy!

It was feeling a bit crowded in the space and it was a bit awkward hanging out in there so I decided to head back home. I know that I should be ok at events like that alone, but it’s not as fun when I don’t have someone enjoying all the cool stuff with me. Hopefully if I get invited to more Netflix events I’ll be able to bring another plus one with me.

But even with not really doing much else beyond sitting and listening to the panel, I have to say that this was another amazing night. I love getting to be a part of events like this and it motivates me more and more each time I get to see people who have had success like I dream of having one day.

Another “Gilmore Girls” Adventure (or Netflix FYSee)

I’ve talked about being a big “Gilmore Girls” fan on here before. It’s a show that I loved when it was on the air (my mom and I watched together) and I still love when I see repeats on tv. And when “Gilmore Girls” came back to have a new season on Netflix, there were a bunch of events related to the show that happened in LA. I didn’t make it to all of them, but I did attend the pop up event at UCLA a little while back.

Right now, tv shows are starting to prepare their award season campaigns. They are usually called FYC events (FYC means For Your Consideration). But Netflix is doing something extra called FYSee that is open to people who aren’t necessarily those in charge of nominating shows. They are a combination of a screening, panel with cast members, and an amazing space that has lots of stuff to check out. I got invited to attend the “Gilmore Girls” FYSee event through a couple of organizations I’m a part of and I RSVPed immediately! And my friend Elisa (who is a part of my Pantages group) is a huge fan too and she was super excited to get to go too!

This event was held in a huge space that had different areas dedicated to different Netflix shows.

I think my favorite section was the giant bubble wall (I believe that it was a part of the “Luke Cage” set up). They were the perfect place to take some awesome photos and I think I might have gotten a bit obsessed with how fun it was in there!

The space for the panel was on one end of the space and when we walked in we immediately saw a little set up similar to Luke’s Diner that had some of the things I saw at the UCLA event.

And on the other side was a giant candy bar! Everything was in individual servings and Elisa and I both took a few things to try. Both of us agreed that the pretzels were the best snack.

We went to claim seats in the panel area and while we headed over there we saw a waiter bringing around little sliders to eat. I wasn’t expecting food at this event (there was also a bar) so I was pleasantly surprised by the food options and this was a pretty filling dinner.

Because we went quickly to claim seats, we were in the front row on the side of the stage. I laughed because it reminded me about how we have our Pantages seats toward the front but off to the side.

We had gotten there a bit early so there was a bit of time to wait. But we used that time to enjoy our food, catch up, and just enjoy being at a fun event. And when things were getting started they played a pretty funny clip from one of the episodes of the newest season before the panel started.

The panel was Lauren Graham (who played Lorelei) and the moderator was Mae Whitman who starred with Lauren Graham in “Parenthood” and also had a small part in the new season of “Gilmore Girls”. The panel started with Mae Whitman asking Lauren Graham a bunch of really great questions about coming back to a show after many years away and how the production worked. And then the Q&A was open to the audience.

I’ve attended a lot of Q&A events where the audience can ask questions and sometimes they can get a bit ridiculous. But this audience was really great and had some nice and insightful questions to ask that I was interested in hearing the answers for (instead of asking questions like how they can get a job on that show).

After the panel was done, there was about an hour before the screening started. I was originally planning on trying to stay for the screening, but I’ve already seen all the new episodes at home since they are on Netflix. And it was getting a bit late for me so I was tired. Elisa was feeling the same way I was so we took time to go around all the various installations for the Netflix shows and have some more of the amazing pretzels!

I loved how much fun this event was. I know I’m so lucky that they opened it up to people who aren’t necessarily those who are nominating shows and I really appreciated how they made this a fun mix between a formal event to nominate shows and a fan event. It was a great opportunity to learn more about a show that I love and to make me want more episodes! I have no clue if Netflix will be doing another season, but if they do I hope that there are more “Gilmore Girls” events for me to go to!

Dancing With The Stars (or A Workout Friends Hangout)

I haven’t watched “Dancing With The Stars” since the beginning, but I have been interested in this current season. The son of my late acting coach is one of the stars this season and I was so excited to get to see him on the show. And as soon as the cast for the current season was announced, I went online to try to get tickets. I was put on a wait list for tickets and was hoping I’d get tickets in time to see Chris on the show. Sadly, he was eliminated after the first week and right after that I got the email that I could now get tickets.

Even though Chris was eliminated, I figured it could be really fun to go to a taping. I’ve been to many tv tapings before, but I never had been to a live show. I knew that it would be really cool to see how everything happens during the commercial breaks and decided to get the tickets and then just enjoy whatever stars were still in the competition at that point. I asked around to a couple of friends to see who could come with me, and 2 of my Orangetheory friends were able to go! So it was Orangetheory night at “Dancing With The Stars”!

The way that all tv tapings work is that they give out more free tickets than there are seats. They assume there will be no shows (or in my case I ordered 4 tickets and only needed 3) so they ask you to get there early to try to get in. We got there about an hour before we were supposed to be there by, and that ended up being perfect for us. Even though we heard the speech multiple times that not everyone would be let inside the studio, the 3 of us ended up being the last 3 who got in! It’s so crazy that we were the cut off point, but I’m so glad we made it!

There were no phones allowed inside the studio so I don’t really have that many photos from the taping. We were in the first balcony toward the side behind the judges. We had some moments where the view was blocked, but we could see most of the stage. And when we couldn’t see things there was a tv monitor that we could look at so we could see what it looked like on live tv. I know so people want to be seen on tv when they go to tapings like this, but I didn’t care to be on tv. The only time you could almost see us is when they showed the entire audience. But unless you knew where to look, you’d never see us.

Yeah, you can barely see the 3 of us between those red arrows.

When I got my tickets, I didn’t know what the theme for the show would be. But it ended up being Disney night and that seemed so perfect to me! Each of us had Glow with the Show Mickey ears to wear during various parts of the taping. I was so excited about that because I never had those ears before. But when the taping was done we were told that we didn’t get to take them with us. Oh well. I only wish that I didn’t have to turn my phone in to security before going into the taping so I could have taken photos with the ear. They were super cute!

The advantage of going to a live taping is that you know exactly how long it would be (unlike going to a sitcom taping where it can be 5 hours for a 22 minute show). Neither of my friends watch “Dancing With The Stars” and I think they were a bit worried that being there for 2 hours would feel like a long time. But it really flew by! All the dances were so amazing and there were a couple of live singing performances at the show as well. And of course, I loved the music because they were all Disney songs. I knew pretty much all the songs and was excited to see how the dances matched with the songs.

And while the dances were awesome, I did love watching the crew during the commercial breaks to see how quickly they changed over the set. There was a big clock on the screens during the commercial breaks so they knew exactly how much longer they had to do everything. They were super efficient and you can tell that they practice a lot to do the set changes in the time they had. And while the show was live, it was neat to see the choreography that the cameras had to do. There was a lot of work with a steady cam, but it was also interesting to see how the stable cameras worked with the steady cam and to see the camera work on the floor and then look up at the tv screen to see how it looked for tv. I know that I’m a bit of a nerd with the behind the scenes stuff like that, but it really is amazing how much work the crew does to make everything look as perfect as it does on tv.

Once the live taping was done, we were excused from the studio pretty quickly. It took a bit of time to get our phones back (the security team was super organized but there were so many of us in line to get phones) but we were quickly on our way out of the studio. Even though we were only in the taping for 2 hours the entire time including being in line was about 5.5 hours. It was still a shorter day than most tv tapings, but it was still a good chunk of time.

Even though Chris isn’t a part of the “Dancing With The Stars” season anymore, I have been watching the show this season and will continue to watch this season to see who wins. There are a lot of amazing dancers and stars on the show still and I’m excited to see what dances come up next! And if I get another opportunity to go to another live taping, I’d probably do it. It was a fun thing to do and I know I have other friends who couldn’t go this time but would love to go with me!

Game Of Thrones The Musical (or A GOT Newbie)

A little bit ago, I wrote about my friend Erin and her “Once Upon A Time: The Rock Opera”. Even though I don’t watch the show the spoof is based on, I had so much fun and it was really great! It’s not easy for a spoof show to be something for fans of the show and newbies alike, but that’s exactly what Erin did with the rock opera. So when Erin told me that she was a part of a new spoof show, I said I wanted to see it even before I knew what the show it was based on was!

This time, she was a part of “Game of Thrones: The Musical”. I’ve never really seen “Game of Thrones”, but that didn’t stop me from being so excited to see the show! Erin was so generous and gave me a ticket plus an extra ticket to bring a friend. And I ended up bringing my friend Camber who is familiar with the show. I figured that she could help explain anything to me that I wasn’t able to understand.

The show is at the Macha Theatre in West Hollywood so it was pretty easy for me to get to (plus they have a parking structure right across the street). The theater had a nice bar (I can’t drink right now but Camber was able to get a great drink) and when the doors opened we were able to get some great seats in the second row where we had a perfect view of the stage.

And just like with the rock opera, this musical was designed very nicely for fans of the show and people who didn’t know the show. There were plenty of jokes that I didn’t get but everyone around me seemed to think were hysterical. But more often than not I felt like I understood everything and was able to follow the storyline of the show.

There were 12 original songs for the show and they were all so funny and I was laughing so hard during almost all of them. Again, the songs had some inside jokes that I missed but I never really felt like I was excluded or lost while watching. That is such a hard balance to find because they didn’t want to dumb down the show for newbies like me to understand everything.

When intermission happened, Camber was able to explain some things to me that I didn’t understand and also explained some of the jokes. I was telling her how my friend Erin was in this and my friend Ace (Erin’s husband) was in the show as well. I was showing Camber the photos from when I saw Ace in “Aladdin” at Disneyland and she thought that was pretty funny. Ace’s character in this show is nothing like Aladdin.

The second half of the show, was just as good as the first. And when it was done I was a little disappointment because I was enjoying myself so much! I never really cared to watch “Game of Thrones” before, but now I really want to! The show is based on a lot of the first season, so I’m thinking about watching the first season and then going back to see the musical again. Then I will be able to get so many more of the jokes!

After the show was done, the cast came out to take photos with everyone. Of course, Camber and I had to take advantage of that!

I got to talk to Erin and Ace after the show to tell them how much I liked it (they both knew I don’t watch the tv show and were pleased to know that I didn’t feel too lost watching it). I really wanted to talk to them more and tell them more about my favorite parts of the show, but there were so many people who wanted to talk to them and I didn’t want to take up more of their time. But hopefully I can tell them later (or they will see this post and know!).

If you are in Los Angeles or will be out here between now and March 12th, I highly recommend checking out the show! The tickets are cheaper if you buy them online (and you can use the promo code “king” for an extra discount!), plus then you don’t have to take the risk that the show will be sold out at the door! And if you aren’t in LA, you can download the soundtrack to the musical. The lyrics are so funny and I think that any fan of the show will love the songs. But I really do think everyone should go to see this show. It’s tough to find great theater that is affordable, and this is one of the better shows I’ve seen. I could see this being on a tour and being a big hit soon. So if you go now, you can say that you knew it before the world knew about it!

Thank you again Erin, Ace, and the entire cast of “Game of Thrones The Musical” for inviting me to see the show this past weekend! I had an amazing time and I really am hoping that I can come back to see the show again before you close!

Gilmore Girls Time! (or A Fun Afternoon At UCLA)

I think pretty much everyone has heard by now that “Gilmore Girls” is coming back with new episodes on Netflix. I’m really excited about this! “Gilmore Girls” was one of the first shows that I can think of that my mom and I watched together but in different locations (she was in the Bay Area and I was living in LA) where we would talk after the show to discuss the episode. My mom and I have always been really close, but having this show to connect us when I moved away from home helped to keep our bond strong.

I may get to watch one of the new episodes with my mom since they premiere the day after Thanksgiving and I’ll still be in San Diego then. But we probably will still be watching most of it separately and then discussing the show after we finish it. But either way, knowing that one of my favorite shows is coming back (even if it is only 4 episodes that are 90 minutes each) is making me so happy!

There have been a lot of “Gilmore Girls” related events happening leading up to the new season. There were the Luke’s Diners that popped up all over the country for the day, but I wasn’t able to make it to that due to work conflicts. And more recently there was the premiere of the first episode of the new season, but I couldn’t go to that either. But when I heard that there was going to be an event at UCLA where they made it look like Stars Hollow (the town in the show), I knew I had to go!

I got my tickets and then shared online that I was going. A few of my friends got tickets, but it quickly sold out so it was going to be a small group of just the 3 of us. One of my friends was going to get in line early for us, and then my other friend and I were going to meet her there so we could go in together. But then my friend who was supposed to line up came down with a horrible migraine/cold and was stuck feeling horrible in bed. And my other friend got stuck at work and then needed to take her car in to be fixed. So I ended up going alone, but that was fine.

I was shocked at how many people were in line when I arrived! I got there almost an hour before the event started, and I was questioning if I was even going to make it inside. The event was limiting people to 45 minutes inside and we figured they would let a few hundred people in at once (I heard a rumor it was 350 people each time), so I was hoping I wouldn’t be in line for too long. Fortunately, I ended up being at the end of the third group that got to go inside. So I did have to wait a few hours, but my book kept me pretty entertained.

And once I got inside, it was totally worth it!

festival-of-four-seasons

I used to work at the WB studio as a tour guide, so I got to see the Stars Hollow set every day at work. And they did a great job making this area look similar to what the studio lot looked like.

stars-hollowtown-sign

There were a couple of fun photo opportunities including a gazebo that was in the center of the space they were using. I didn’t do that photo since there was a huge line since the photos were with cast members from the show. But I did take advantage of the photo setup they made with umbrellas (if you watched the show, this was a reminder of when Rory jumped with Logan off of the tower). Some of the umbrellas were hanging from the trees so it made it look like you were falling back to the ground, but they were a bit too high for me to reach. So I took advantage of one of the umbrellas that was not attached to the trees.

photo-setup

They also had a Luke’s Diner set up. They were serving coffee in Luke’s Diner cups, but since I don’t drink coffee I just took some photos and admired the attention to detail they put into the area.

lukes luke

There were also some swag type things you could get. Besides the coffee (people loved having those cups and I bet they were planning on saving them), there were bags of candy to get and buttons with funny sayings from the show (I personally got the vicious trollop one).

kirk-buttons

They also had a Stars Hollow Post Office set up with postcards that you could send to anyone you wanted and they would pay for the postage.

gilmore-girls-postcard

I really wanted my mom to have one, so I grabbed it and didn’t mail it since I would see her before the postcard got to her.

greetings-from-stars-hollow

There were also props from the show in a tent that you could go through. And the last thing that I did was going to the photo booth where you could get some cute free photos.

photo-booth

It’s tough to see it in my photo, but 3 of them are me holding signs with the various boyfriends’ names (Team Dean, Team Jess, and Team Logan) and me doing a frown. The last photo is me holding a sign saying Team Rory and doing a thumbs up. They had a lot of other cute fun signs to choose from, but since I was doing the photos solo I wanted to think of something cute I could do with one sign at a time. And this came to me and I went for it! The photo that printed out is a bit faded (maybe they were running low on ink), but since the entire event was free I can’t complain about any of it.

Before I knew it, the 45 minutes for my group was up and it was time for us to leave. While I’m sure I would have had an amazing time with my friends there, I had fun on my own and I’m so glad I went.

It’s almost time for “Gilmore Girls” again and this just got me even more excited for the new season to premiere!

Getting Out Of A Funk (or Focusing On Happiness)

I think you could all tell from yesterday’s post that I’m in a low point right now. I hate when I have bad days like that, and I think the way that I get into a funk is why I was diagnosed with severe depression in the past (recently it was decided that it was a misdiagnosis because it’s not very severe or often). I’m still working on getting myself back to where I was before, but at least I’m working on it now.

Food is still a huge issue. I’m hoping it gets better soon and I’m working on some new ideas to make things easier on me and not requiring as much thought. When I have to think about food, it makes things worse. Meal planning should be best, but then I end up not wanting to eat what I plan. I’ve got some ideas from friends that I’m testing out and it’s really just trial and error right now. I’m trying to focus on the idea that at least I’m working on this instead of giving up like I have in the past.

I’m also working on focusing on my happiness checklist. I do fill that out every single day still and it’s a good reminder that even on days where I isolate myself from everyone there are things I can do that make me happy. My happiness checklist is an app now (it’s easier to do that than to always carry around paper to fill it out) and I do try to look at it midday to see what I’ve done and what I will be doing to make sure that at least a few things will be checked off every day.

Fortunately with the checklist, some of the things are pretty much a guarantee for me. Writing these posts (or other blogs I freelance on) are a part of that checklist. And reading is one that I get done every single day without fail. I’ve been reading a lot lately because it is an escape for me and it takes my mind off of things that are stressing me out or making me upset. Thank goodness for my library card to get e-books because I’m going through more books a week than ever and I don’t want to spend thousands of dollars a year on books!

I read a pretty big variety of books. Right now, I am reading 10 pages of an eating disorder recovery book every day, but that’s not my main reading. I read a lot of fiction and I try to get some non-fiction in there from time to time. If you want to see what I’m reading, I’m trying to stay up to date with my Goodreads account and tracking what I’ve been enjoying. Books have always made me happy and I’m glad that they continue to do so.

And I’m letting myself be lazy and watch tv and movies after work. It’s not the best thing to do all the time, but sometimes you have to just do it and not worry about the lack of movement and activity after work. I finally caught up on all the Olympics and ceremonies so I’m moving on to other things. Most recently, I watched “Stranger Things” on Netflix. Everyone has been talking about it since it came out last month, and I’m finally catching up.

Stranger Things

I’m happy to say that it is just as good as everyone has said it was and I wasn’t disappointed at all. I had to break up my viewing since it was 8 hours of a show and I didn’t have 8 hours without needing to work or sleep. But I think the way I broke it up (2 episodes one day and the last 6 the next) worked out well. It is a bit scary at times, so I don’t recommend watching it right before going to bed unless you have something happy to watch right after this and before needing to sleep (which is exactly what I did).

I am feeling my mood getting better, I’m not feeling as sick as I was earlier in the week, and the food is still not ideal but it is better. Overall, I think I’m on an upswing to things and I’m just hoping that it will be back to normal soon. I’ve got some fun things coming up next week so I think if I’m not back to normal by then, those fun things will improve my mood right away!

Netflix Luncheon (or Rebels and Rule Breakers)

Through both SAG-AFTRA and WIF I got email invites for an event that Netflix was hosting this past weekend that featured the women of Netflix shows. The event was a luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire hotel and since the luncheon technically didn’t start until noon, I figured I should accept the invite because my work shift would be ending at 11am that day (I don’t miss work to attend events so I do miss out on a bunch).

There was free valet for attendees at the hotel, but it was so packed that it almost took me 30 minutes to get into the valet area and get out of my car! Fortunately, the pre-reception was still going on when I arrived so I checked in at the front, got my table number, and headed inside the room where the event was.

Netflix Event Beverly Wilshire

I had never been inside the Beverly Wilshire before, so I was so impressed by the space and the set up in the room. There was a bar for drinks, but I ended up spending my time before the luncheon started looking for friends of mine. Fortunately, since there were invites from a couple of different organizations I ended up knowing quite a few people there. Most of them were people I knew from the SAG-AFTRA convention because they were there representing the union at the luncheon.

At noon we were instructed to go to our tables and sit down so the presentation and lunch could start. At each of our seats, we had a card that on one side had the people who would be speaking and on the other side the menu of the lunch.

Netflix Speakers Neflix Menu

I knew who would be there speaking ahead of time because it was on the invite for the event, but I was still so excited to hear everyone speak. The panel was done in 2 segments and each woman there shared a bit of her story and a bit about how she feels about being a rebel. Being a rebel in the entertainment industry can mean so many things, and each of them had such a wonderful viewpoint. I loved hearing about how women are afraid not to be polite so they don’t try for things or ask things that might be a bit bold. While women shouldn’t worry about always being polite, there’s no need to not be gracious. Being polite and gracious are different things, and I never thought about that.

I’ve always been scared to not be polite, so this was really hitting home for me. I know I’ve been paid less than my co-workers because I didn’t want to see rude or pushy to ask for a raise. I’ve been treated badly at day jobs because I didn’t want to make a fuss and tell HR that I’m being harassed. I’ve tolerated guys saying pretty bad things to be because I didn’t want them to think I wasn’t being nice because I’ve heard far too many stories of women being shot or attacked by men after they reject them (because to some men, rejection is rude and women shouldn’t do it).

I had already been making strides to being more bold in the past. More recently, I’ve been very outspoken about friends that I’ve wanted to work on projects with. The short film I’ll be starring in soon is because on a phone call with my friend Christopher I said that I was mad that he and I hadn’t worked on a project yet. He said he didn’t have anything that fit me, but next thing I knew our short film was written and now we are in pre-production. I’m going to be in another short film this year because when a friend mentioned that they were working on getting it to pre-production I asked what part there is for me. That isn’t the nicest way to ask, but it was effective and I’ll be playing a small part in that film now.

This entire luncheon was so empowering and really got me thinking about how I need to work on finding the balance between being polite (which is what I’ve been told I have to be) and being pushy (which is what I need to be to help further my career). I don’t have the answer on what that balance should be, but honestly I hadn’t been working hard enough in the past on this to make it work for me. I’m so inspired by what all these women said at this luncheon. I know that if I make a couple of small changes in how I interact with others (and how I network) that it can be a huge impact in the auditions I’m getting and the parts that are being offered to me.

The panel part of the luncheon was only about an hour or so long and after it was done we all were told to head back up to where the pre-reception was for desserts and drinks. I was able to find more of my friends at that point and I think all of us were equally inspired by what we heard (both men and women were at the event and I only heard very positive things from everyone).

We know that diversity is more than just women, but getting more women filmmakers and having women’s stories told in film and tv is important. Just this week, a pilot for a new tv show was rejected because it skewed too female. That’s is horrible. I’ve never heard of a pilot being rejected because it was too male. There’s also all the hatred that I don’t understand toward the all-female “Ghostbusters” movie. Some people don’t think that women need to look up to other women or are complaining that men have nobody to relate to in that movie (there are male characters and if they have to watch an all-male cast they can watch the original movie). And some people think that while women will watch shows about men, men won’t watch them about women. This has been proven wrong by movies like “Bridesmaids” that have been big successes.

These are all attitudes that need to change in order for more women to be writing projects, directing projects, and playing characters that are no just the girlfriend or the pretty one to look at. I feel like this change has started, but there are so many voices speaking negatively regarding gender diversity in film and tv (who want to keep it male centric) and I hope that those people will see that putting more women in front or behind the camera will not diminish men but will in fact create more projects that everyone can be in.

 

Grease Live (or A Fun Night In With Friends)

Since almost all of us use a DVR or watch tv online now, it’s so rare for me to watch something live. Unless it’s an awards show, I’m usually watching a recording of it. I know that most people also watch sports live, but I rarely watch sports (I do watch the Super Bowl for the commercials).

But when NBC started to do live musicals (even though they are taped delayed for the west coast), I got really excited to watch them. While I didn’t love The Sound Of Music or Peter Pan, it was still really excited to live-tweet along with others about what was happening and feel like I was a part of something special. And when The Wiz ended up being so great, I got really enthusiastic about live musicals on TV.

FOX did Grease Live this past weekend and for the first time I decided to have a viewing party at my house. I figured it could be really fun whether the musical was amazing or was a bit of a disappointment. So I invited a bunch of my friends and said that I would provide the drinks if they wanted to bring snacks.

My friends Rayshell, June, and Amanda (who I know from Orangetheory) came over to watch on Sunday. And even though none of my friends had met each before, it ended up being the perfect group (and all of them ended up bringing dessert treats to share!).

As soon as Grease Live started, I made a joke about how the green screen wasn’t that realistic looking. But as soon as the camera pulled away and I saw that they were acknowledging that this was a live event happening all over the Warner Bros. backlot, I knew that this was going to be something special. For all the other live musicals, they never really seemed to treat it any differently than having a play being taped. But Grease Live really did seem to want to show off all the hard work that they did.

After that initial joke about the green screen, there wasn’t much joking among the group. We did joke about funny moments and character choices, but it was all in a very positive way and more enjoyment than snark. I didn’t even end up live-tweeting because I was so enthralled by the show.

I loved seeing them all over the backlot (I know it well from working there as an actor and back in 2005 as a tour guide and being there for the SAG-AFTRA Gala) and shared fun facts about the backlot with my friends. And I loved seeing them use the tour guide golf carts to get from one stage to another (they even drove my favorite cart, #9)! I did have a moment where my heart felt like it would stop when the golf cart started to tip in the end of the show (I know how unstable those golf carts are), but fortunately the cart didn’t tip over.

It didn’t feel like a live production because of all the hard work the cast and crew had done over the past few weeks. They had everything perfectly choreographed and timed out so that the audience only saw what they wanted us to see and nothing was delayed. I mean, look at how perfectly the associate director did the camera moves for just part of a song! I know that every cast and crew of a live production work hard, but this one just took things to another level. And since the sets were full rooms (not just the set facing a wall of cameras) it felt so different from all the other live musicals (although I did say that in a way that made it feel less like a live production at times)

My friends all agreed with me that this was the best live musical that we’ve seen on TV. There was very little that we would have changed about the show and we all had a great time watching it. And I think that getting together to watch the live musicals will be a new tradition (another adventure with friends to add to my goals list!) and we are already planning on trying to be together for the one happening in March.

I really went into watching Grease Live thinking I wouldn’t love it, but I’m so happy that I was wrong and it ended up being such a fun thing to watch and experience with everyone.

Fit2Fat2Fit (or A Book and TV Show That Get It)

I while ago, I heard of the book “Fit2Fat2Fit“. It was the story of a personal trainer named Drew who gained 75 pounds so he could understand what it was like for his overweight clients to lose weight. Immediately I was interested and got the book to read. I read it so fast and loved the message that the trainer shared.

Fit2Fat2Fit

So many trainers and coaches out there have never had to deal with a weight problem. They don’t understand the mental and physical toll excess weight puts on a person. They see someone overweight and think that the person is uneducated and just needs to be taught how to work out and eat better. They think it’s just as simple as that.

But that’s not the case at all.

Compared to most of my friends who have never had a weight issue, I’m possibly more educated about nutrition. I can guesstimate calories with the best of them. I know what is good, what is bad, and what is ok as a treat. Every bite I take I know if I should be ok eating it or if it’s something that I need to think of as an ok indulgence. I know the food pyramid, how many servings of each thing I should have each day/week, and how many calories my body takes to be alive. I might not be the most educated on what workout routines I should do, but I’ve got nutrition and food down. I may have an eating disorder, but I don’t have a lack of education.

Lack of education may be the issue for some people, but it isn’t for the majority. We know what we should and shouldn’t do, but there is something else in our bodies saying otherwise. And unless you have been there, you don’t get it. I try to explain it the best I can on here, but I know that the voice in my head is so much louder and more persuasive than I could ever explain.

That is why I loved the book so much. Drew didn’t understand at first that when you are heavy, you might not have the same motivation or energy to work out. Or if you are used to eating fatty foods that your body craves them and that eating healthy doesn’t give you the same joy that food has given you in the past (and you have depended on that joy from food). Once he gained the weight and tried to immediately get back to his old routine, he realized that it was not as easy as that. People don’t need to be educated, they need to be understood and guided to a healthy lifestyle.

I’ve been lucky at Orangetheory that none of my coaches have judged me or have tried to talk down to me because of my weight (that has happened with coaches/personal trainers in the past). They understand that I have an eating disorder and am working my way toward recovery. They get that I need support but not lectures. But I know that not everyone has that experience. As much as I think that all trainers should do this experiment to understand what their clients go through, I understand that it isn’t realistic. But I think reading the book can help them get it.

I’ve loved the book for a while, but I discovered last week that now there is a TV show on A&E with the same name about the same concept. A trainer takes 4 months to gain as much weight as they can and then work with an overweight client to take the weight off together. I’ve seen the first episode so far, and I really enjoyed it (and didn’t hate-watch it like I do with other weight loss shows). The trainer didn’t quite understand that things would be hard when he gained weight at first. But once it was time for him to get back into his regular routine and try to lose the weight, he got it. He understood the food withdrawal and the exhaustion of exercise. He became more empathic about what clients might be going through and saw the journey from the client side instead of the coach side.

I’m sure that all the episodes will follow a similar format, but I think that it is an amazing show to watch. I know that people will still judge me and other’s based on appearance, but hopefully they can understand the issues we face just a little bit more.