Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Blog's Still Kickin'

No, I haven't forgotten about the blog. I'll be posting more reflections soon. Until then, here's a screencap from my photo appearance in the Law & Order Criminal Intent season finale, Renewal:

Monday, May 7, 2007

Reflections, Part Two

I've been home two weeks and miss New York already. I knew it would happen, of course. I went through the same thing when I went to Manhattan.

Regarding my favorite thing about New York:
Being able to walk anywhere I wanted! It's a freedom I'd never experienced before. Michigan, being the automobile capitol of the world, is not pedestrian friendly. I hate driving - absolutely despise it. The act itself isn't horrible, I suppose. It's the mannerisms some people exhibit when doing it. The honking, the fingers, the road rage. It's awful. So, I loved not having to deal with any of that. Any place I wanted to go to was within reach by foot, subway, or cab.

Recreational walking is gaining popularity in Michigan. Local counties built bike paths through several rural neighborhoods, but it's not quite the same. In Manhattan, there was so much to do and see. Just walking a couple of blocks was an adventure in and of itself. Landmarks, water, parks, stores, and restaurants were all around me. What's there to see on my bike path? Trees and a ditch. Scenic? Yes. It just feels strange not being surrounded by buildings of all sorts.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Reflections, Part One

The first part in a series looking back on my internship.

Regarding my favorite department:
I loved them all! I can't choose just one. I have to say Art was the biggest surprise, mainly because everybody there was so much fun. It's not what I want go into career-wise, but I truly enjoyed everybody's company. Production also caught me off guard. The hours were long, but there was never a dull moment. I think it forever changed my image of an office environment.

Working in the Writing Department was an awesome experience. My time there was mainly spent in observation, but it was a wonderful opportunity and an honor to watch Warren Leight at his craft. It was enlightening to witness him bouncing script ideas and revisions back and forth with the other writers. The fashion in which script structure is formed is fascinating. Warren keeps a storyboard in his office. He pins a note card with a synopsis of each scene on the cork board, in order that they can be easily moved around as the story changes/evolves.

The set was a great place to be. As my career aspirations lie with acting and scriptwriting, I'd been looking forward to my time with this department since the onset. Unlike Writing, there was more work and hours involved, less observation. However, I did get to view several scenes being shot. Watching the process only further reinforced my desire to be in the industry.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

April 22, 2007 - That's a Wrap!

Packed-up and ready to go, I got up at 7 and called Allstate cab service to reserve a car for 9am. My flight was scheduled for 12:30 and I wanted to leave plenty of time to get there. Yesterday, I stopped by Allstate to see if I should make reservations. She said no, as “we’re open 24 hours.” When I called this morning, I received a different story. “Sorry, Sir, but we’re all booked for today,” she said. So much for Allstate.

At any rate, I found another service online for the same price. They were on-time (early, even) and had me there in less than a half hour (around 9:30). I spent my last few hours in New York doing Sudoku puzzles. So ends my journey…

That’s a wrap! I'll be posting a few new entries over the next week or so, reflecting on my time in New York. Stay tuned.

April 21, 2007 - Talk Radio

I set my alarm for 9am, but ended-up waking at 7. After relaxing a bit, I had breakfast at Moonstruck and got my laundry out of the way. I also started packing, as my time to do that is a bit limited.

Tsahai and I were slated to meet-up at 8pm to see the Broadway musical Wicked. Unfortunately, the tickets for that were sold out. As a second option, we ended-up meeting at one, grabbing some Thai food, and seeing Talk Radio, Eric Bogosian’s (Captain Ross) new play. It was excellent; funny, but very heavy.

Afterward, we walked around the city for a bit, before parting. I’m glad I had the chance to hang out with Tsahai before leaving. I’m sure we’ll see each other again, but I probably won’t be back in New York for awhile.

I spent a few hours walking around Midtown and Times Square, shooting movies and snapping pictures, before returning to my apartment, cleaning up a bit, and packing.

Photo Album

Saturday, April 21, 2007

April 20, 2007 - The Goodbye Guy

As I mentioned in Thursday’s post, I fully intended to sleep-in. And sleep I did. I didn’t wake up until 2pm. My initial plans for the day were to visit the Piers say my last good-byes to the crew, talk to John Roman, then walk down the Hudson River Park, as I did my first Saturday. The good-bye fest ended-up lasting the entire day.

I started out in Art, chatting with the entire crew. At first, only Lyle and Harry were there (and Harry was sleeping), which disappointed me, as I wanted to say good-bye to everybody. Luckily, people started spilling in over the following half-hour. I even snapped a picture of the Art Department crew. Nicole and Lyle finally convinced me to stay for the wrap party on Sunday. I’m slated to fly out Sunday at 12:30, but the party is 7-11pm. It sounds like a great way to see everybody one more time, network, and get cool gifts.

I hopped online and looked to change my flight. My jaw dropped. It would cost an additional $400 to reschedule it for Monday. So, the party’s out of the question. I got a great consolation prize, though. Mary from Locations stopped by and said that all the crew (including me) would be getting a free iPod Shuffle. Not bad at all. It’s blue, shiny, and inscribed (reads “Law & Order: Criminal Intent – Season 6”)

Next, I stopped upstairs and said good-bye to the Production crew. As it turned out, I would be returning there three or four more times throughout the day, so it was an extended parting. Maggie (John Roman’s assistant) snapped a picture of me with the crew. Warren Leight even posed for a few pictures. Leslie Gyson (Production Coordinator and the supervisor of my internship) wasn’t there, however.

She’d gone to set. Before going downstairs to see Leslie, I spoke with John for a few minutes. I thanked him for the amazing opportunity he offered me and we spoke about my future.

Down in the Green Room (the holding area for background and also the lunch room), Leslie and I reminisced about my internship. She had only good things to say about me, which (of course) made me blush. Our conversation and the one with Roman only solidified the fact that my experience in New York was an amazing opportunity that few people are offered. It’s been such a pleasure working with the different departments and meeting so many friendly and hard-working people. I’m very grateful for the time I spent with Criminal Intent.

I topped off my night by joining some of the crew that’d already wrapped for the evening at the Chelsea Brewery (inside Chelsea Piers) and having a few (too many) drinks. I don’t much care for alcohol, but it was nice to have the chance to relax with some of my friends and see them in a non-work context.

Photo Album

April 19, 2007 - Checking the Gate

My last day on-set (and the last officially scheduled day of my internship). The show’s filming schedule had already been extended to Friday, but I requested that day off. They were slated to shoot until 6 or 7 in the morning Saturday, and there’s no way I could pull that off and pack and enjoy the city a little more before leaving Sunday.

We were back in the Lower East Side, returning to the apartments used last week. Most of the day was comprised of interior shots within a tenement building, with a few outdoor scenes at the end of the day. To me, the most interesting thing about the shoot was their exterior lighting. As the outdoor scenes were shot (late) at night, they blew up two huge helium balls (China Bulbs, as the crew calls them), with a light bulb inside.

In preparation for the end of the episode, catering cooked up a wonderful feast for the crew – turkey, stuffing, yams, dressing, cranberries, and all the fixings. Of course, as the night was only half over, turkey might not have been the best thing to serve to an already tired crew. By the time they wrapped at 3:00am, everybody was pretty much done for. Luckily for me, I was able to sleep-in on Friday…prepare for one last fling with the city.

As the 1st AD says at the end of the night, “Cut! Checking the Gate… And, on the good gate, that’s a wrap. Thank you, everybody.” My internship with Law & Order: Criminal Intent has officially drawn to a close. Where has time gone?

April 16, 17 & 18, 2007 - Nor'Easter's Last Laugh

Monday: Morning was a real treat. Despite continuing heavy rain from the Nor’Easter (8.5 inches total in Central Park), the crew decided to film outside a coffee shop. So, everybody arrived, set-up, got the cast wired. Then, after standing in the rain for an hour, getting soaked, somebody decided the downpours and wind were prohibitive to filming, and canceled that shot.

We spent the rest of the day on the soundstages, drying off and shooting in the Squadroom. The coffee shop scene was moved to a restaurant within Chelsea Piers (where the PAs had to fight off an ungodly number of gawkers).

Tuesday: We were back in the Bronx, again. Except, this time, the location wasn’t quite as nice. It was in a somewhat downtrodden neighborhood on top of the train tracks. And, by train, I mean the subway train. In this area of the Bronx, the subway is actually above ground, the tracks hovering thirty feet above the road. Every five minutes, a train would come rumbling by. I wonder how anybody can stand living next to that?

Wednesday: The crew filmed in the East Village, at a park and bar. As far as breakfast goes, they made the unfortunate decision to have their catering truck serve food on the corner where local homeless are fed through charitable causes. Catering asked me to turn them away, which I felt bad about, but had to comply. Some of them were hungry and just looking for scraps of food. One man even rummaged through the garbage bin. Others, weren’t so nice (the drug addicts suffering from withdrawal). From what I understand, one person even spat on the cook.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

April 15, 2007 - Raindrops

I’m glad to be inside and that I got out and did something yesterday. A nor’easter is centered over the east coast, bringing heavy rain to the tri-state area. Many areas are flooded or will be, by the time the storms end. As of the time of this writing (quarter after nine pm), Central Park has had 5.55 inches of rain.

One week left to go. So bittersweet. I can’t wait to return home, but I’m also going to miss Manhattan.

(Pictures 2, 4, 5, & 8 borrowed from the New York Times web site.

April 14, 2007 - Hangin' with Ms. Liberty

I got up around eleven thirty and decided to make the most out of today. I only have a little over a week left, so my time to explore the city is running short. After stopping by Malibu Diner for a turkey, mushroom, and cheddar omelet, I took the 1 Train to Rector Street. My destination? The Statue of Liberty.

I walked to Battery Park, which was bustling with activity. Anti War and Bush protesters were peacefully walking around, as were environmentalists. I quickly veered away from the crowds and bought a ferry ticket from Castle Clinton. I wasn’t able to get into the actual statue, though, as they have limited observation tours which must be requested early in the day.

The line to board the Liberty Island ferry was exorbanently long, stretching all the way around Castle Clinton and into the park. It moved pretty quickly, though. In the mean time, a black guy with a clown wig and a ukulele entertained the crowds, asking where they were from and making up songs on the fly about their home states. I was probably on-board within a half hour. Anybody who’s taken a ferry ride to Mackinac Island will find the trip familiar. The boat ride was much the same, except with some truly spectacular views.

I strolled around Liberty Island for an hour and a half, taking dozens of snapshots and several movies. People were more than willing to take my picture (and I did the same for them, of course). In fact, one lady even offered without my asking. Don’t ever say New Yorkers aren’t nice. By the time I got back to Manhattan, my memory card was already full – and I still wanted to explore Downtown! I’d done all right for a little while, deleting pictures I knew didn’t turn out well, but I eventually only had good pictures left. So, I went to the J&R electronics superstore and bought another memory card (2gb for $20 isn’t bad at all).

Walking through some familiar territory near Ground Zero, I headed down Wall Street. Going East, I enjoyed the sights of the Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn itself from a nearby pier. Finally, I winded my way back to Battery Park and prepared to head home. On the way to the subway, a man who’d just arrived in the city from China today approached me. He was looking for the 1 Train. As that was where I was headed, I showed him how to get there. We chatted for a bit on the train. He had a thick accent, but was fairly fluent in English.

I ended the evening by ordering dinner from Blue Moon, a Mexican restaurant near my apartment. I had a Mexican chicken stir fry, which was excellent. It was a traditional stir fry, with meaty mushrooms, chicken, red and green peppers, and zucchini.

Photo Album 1
Photo Album 2
Photo Album 3
Photo Album 4

April 7-13, 2007 - I'm on TV!

I’ve been working twelve hour days, so I haven’t had a chance to do daily updates. Here’s a big ol’ update on my week.

Saturday: After a busy Friday, I took it easy on Saturday. Aside from stopping for a reuben, fries, and a milkshake from Eisenberg’s Sandwiches, I did nothing terribly productive.

Monday: The cast and crew was on-location in the Bronx all day. This was my first time through the north end of Manhattan and the Bronx. North of Central Park, Manhattan is mainly residential, it seems. The Bronx itself was pretty safe looking (except for one person who, it was rumored, walked down the sidewalk that night showing his gun to a couple friends).

Morning was incredibly chilly and I was under prepared, leaving my gloves at home. Sal had me stand by the catering truck and take orders until they closed shop, so I really felt the cold. Thankfully, Gary had an extra pair of gloves he lent me.

Tuesday: A tandem day (the end of an episode and the beginning of a new one are shot concurrently), with two separate crews. I was assigned to the filming in the Bronx again. This was Vincent’s last day for the season.

Wednesday: We were on-location in my neighborhood. Local noise (ambulances, construction) made shooting a little difficult, but the Locations Department was good about sorting through hindrances. This was my first day working on the next episode (last one of the season).

The highlight of my day was lunch. I was put on fire watch (basically, it’s where one of the PAs watch the equipment, when we’re on location) in front of the hotel in which they were shooting. In and of itself, that wasn’t very fun, but several people came up and talked to me. One woman, Sheila, visiting from Vancouver, was tickled to see that her hotel was being used as a location on her favorite show (it was her birthday, no less).

Thursday: Quite possibly the longest day of my life. The show went to the Lower East Side and being outdoors was incredibly miserable. Buckets of rain fell from the sky, putting a damper on the crew’s spirits. While I had a waterproof jacket to bring, I was ill prepared for any time outside. My shoes and socks were soaking wet after a few minutes outside, remaining that way all day. As there was a CVS near the catering truck, I invested in a new umbrella.

Shooting went until a quarter after midnight. The morning’s inclement weather didn’t help, and neither did the fact that they needed an animal handler for a dog appearing in the episode. From what I hear, animals and babies really slow down the filming process.

Friday: The show was back on-stage again. And I have to say I enjoyed every minute of it. The crew call was noon and we went until two in the morning. But Harry Darrow from Art made my entire day. He used my picture in a newspaper article that appears prominently in one of the filmed scenes. How exciting is that?

The first scene was shot in the sound stages for the “Mothership” (the original Law & Order). Having never been up there before, I was wowed by the sheer size and elaborateness of the sets. They’re huge (and there’s so many of them!).

Another interesting thing to note – the lighting on stage is incredibly deceptive. At nine in the evening, they were shooting a daytime scene in the CI Squadroom. The lighting in there is so good, I felt like it really was midday and was awake and alert.

Photo Album 1
Photo Album 2

Saturday, April 7, 2007

April 6, 2007 - Downtown & Ground Zero

I slumbered until noon, but decided to go out on the town today. The temperatures hovered in the mid-40’s, but it wasn’t incredibly cold. After stopping by the Malibu Diner for breakfast, I took the 1 train downtown to Rector Street. My original plan was to go north to visit Ground Zero, but I got turned around and ended-up in Battery Park. I’m glad I did, because it afforded some beautiful views of the Financial District, Jersey, and the Statue of Liberty. I bought a framed print of the Manhattan skyline, while walking around the park. Going along the park’s boardwalk, some tourists had me take their picture.

The nice thing about Manhattan is that it’s impossible to get lost, so long as you have a general sense of where you are. I may have been temporarily diverted, but I had all day to explore downtown. I walked north to Ground Zero, walking around and snapping pictures. I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness, recalling the events of September 11th, but I felt I should visit while in Manhattan. The property line encompasses a tremendous area over several city blocks. It’s hard to imagine the towers looming over the street-line.

Across the street at St. Paul’s Chapel, I snapped some beautiful pictures of a man feeding a squirrel. It was cute. The little critter came right up to his hand. I ended my journey going north and viewing the exterior of the U.S. Courthouse, the entrance the Brooklyn Bridge, and City Hall. I also stopped at the Borders at 100 Broadway, where I found an illustrated aerial map of Manhattan, something I’d been searching for since I came to the city.

For something unreal, check out this link. It’s the Chelsea Piers soundstages pre-Criminal Intent. On 9/11 they were used to set-up a makeshift hospital.

Photo Album - More than 250 pictures!

Friday, April 6, 2007

April 5, 2007 - Jonathan Starch Wardrobe Appreciation Day

Happy Jonathan Starch Wardrobe Appreciation Day! You’re wondering what that is, I suppose. I did, too, when I first walked in. A little background: Jonathan wears incredibly eclectic clothing. He’s usually dressed in a bright-colored button-up shirt, a busy tie, a colored beanie, and unusual jeans.

Going up to the AD loft, Zach sported an outfit that looked exactly like something Jonathan Starch, the 1st AD, would wear. I thought to mention it, but figured it was just a coincidence. Then I started noticing more and more people in similar attire. When I inquired, somebody said that I “missed the memo”. It was Jonathan Starch Appreciation Day. Everybody should dress-up like him, in honor of his wardrobe.

In actuality, there was no memo. This was an exercise in observing assimilation, at its finest. Throughout the day, people from several departments paid a visit to Wardrobe and borrowed a tie and button-up shirt. Lucky for me, I had two button-up shirts and a tie in my backpack (from when Nicole in Art took me to the Gap), so I was prepared for the event. At lunch, people from several departments gathered together for a group photo with Jonathan.

Speaking of photos, check out the albums below. With permission from Gary Rake (2nd AD) and John Roman himself, I went on a picture spree around the main Law & Order: Criminal Intent set. Enjoy!

Photo Album 1
Photo Album 2 - With Flash

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

April 2, 3, & 4, 2007 - Perfect Strangers

I’ve been keeping busy on-set. Although I’m not fond of ringing bells, I really enjoy seeing how things work, touring the sets, and watching them film (when I can). When I’m not on bells, Nicole (the Director’s Guild trainee) usually has me on “lock-up”, which is basically standing by the bay door for the swing sets and making sure nobody comes in when they’re rolling the cameras. So far, I’ve been putting in 8-12 hour days. Tuesday was nice, because they wrapped at 4, one of the shortest days of filming they’ve had. Thursday’s bound to be nice, too, because it’s the last work day of the week. The Screen Actor’s Guild observes Good Friday, so everybody’s off.

Photo Album

Saturday, March 31, 2007

March 30, 2007 - Prison Break

Today’s crew call was at 11:30, so I didn’t have to come in until 11. Sal kept me off the bells today, for the most part. Save for Scene 35, I got to stand and watch as the show was being filmed today. A light mood lingered on set. Because it was Friday, everybody was pretty slap happy. Vincent was in a pretty talkative mood, today, as well. In-between scenes, he chatted with the crew and even held a debate with one of the PAs, Zach.

Later in the evening, I had Zach take my picture in the holding cell on-set. I did the traditional pose, holding the barred-gate, one as “The Thinker,” and one lying on the hard wooden slab bed. And, no, the cell doesn’t actually lock-up. I asked Gary (an Assistant Director) that question.

After work, some of the crew went out for drinks. I hate drinking, but came along to be social. I had a Long Island Iced Tea and was pretty much out for the night. That’s why I don’t drink. 120 pound people and alcohol don’t mix.

Photo Album

Thursday, March 29, 2007

March 29, 2007 - The Grass is Greener Outside the City

I got up at 6:15, far too early for my tastes. I was a walking zombie for my first few hours. The crew was told to arrive at 8am. Preparations began early, as filming took place in Stanton Island today. A courtesy van drove us in, arriving sometime around 9. I saw lots of interesting sights along the way. We passed Ground Zero (it encompasses a huge square of land), went through the Battery Tunnel, and over a large suspension bridge.

Stanton Island itself is incredibly scenic, at least from what I saw of it. I wish I’d brought my camera, because their first filming location was beautiful – a wooded lake. It was something I certainly didn’t expect to see so close to the city. Watching the cast and crew do their thing was enjoyable. I learned a few new things about setting-up shots, preparation, and lighting. I never knew so much work went into outdoor lighting.

Sometime after 2 o’clock, the crew moved to another location, a nearby house in an older neighborhood. I have to say it was a welcome sight. I haven’t seen freestanding houses with grass and trees (and property!) since leaving Michigan. The locals loved having the show film there. Dozens of people stood along the sidewalks, watching. The crew had a few of them appear as background in a few shots. There was lots of downtime for Vince and Kate, while preparations were underway inside the house. Residents used this opportunity to take snapshots with them and get autographs. Vince and Kate seemed to enjoy it. They must’ve posed for dozens of photos.

The weather today was nice. It started out a little cold and breezy, but warmed up to around 60 degrees. Even though it wasn’t hot, I was surprised to come home and find out that I got a pretty bad sunburn.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

March 27 & 28, 2007 - Last Stop

Tuesday: My last day in the Art Department. Not much to report. Nicole and Sara were nice enough to let me choose where to order lunch. Taco Bandito was my choice. I love their taco salads.

Wednesday: I started work as a Set PA today. They had me come in at 10:30. I didn't leave until 9:30 at night, after they'd finished shooting. Gary (2nd AD) said I'll be working 12-14 hours on set. So, I guess I can kiss my sleep goodbye for a little while.

Most of the day, they had me sit by the bell. When they were filming, I hit the button three times and turned on a light. For rehearsal, it was twice. Once to cut. I did get to sit-in on the filming a little bit. I watched from the "Video Village," the room where the script supervisor and producers sit and watch for consistency (also doubles as a holding cell set). Vince, Katie, and Eric were in and out of the room frequently, so I got to catch glimpses of them in their downtime.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

March 24 & 25, 2007 - Gotta Go Eat at Joe's

Saturday: I had a broccoli and cheese omelet at Moonstruck. At one, I met-up with Heyward from the Production Office to see a movie. He wanted to see 300, but ran a little late on the subway, so we ended-up watching Premonition. It wasn’t bad, but it was rife with plot holes and loose ends. After the movie, we grabbed some Chinese at the Joy Grill.

Sunday: Today was my day to sleep-in. I didn’t get up until one. After taking it easy for a little while, I went to the Laundromat at 3. While my clothes were in the wash, I stopped by the Paradise Café and bought a coffee and some carrot cake.

Later in the afternoon, I went downtown and bought a couple slices of pizza from Joe’s Famous Pizza (around 6th Ave. and 3rd Street). Nicole said I couldn’t come to the office on Monday unless I go there and try their pizza. Several weeks ago, I asked her where a good pizza place was and she recommended Joe’s. I never ended-up stopping there, so she gave me an ultimatum. I have to say that, while they were decent (I just had two slices of cheese pizza), they were nowhere as good as the pizza I get back home in Michigan.

Photo Album 1
Photo Album 2

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

March 20, 2007 - Pre-Spring Equinox

I woke up feeling off-kilter today. I should have known that meant something was up. The whole city was a little off. People, in general, were cranky. I think it had to do with the Spring Equinox. Maybe it has the same effect as the full moon.

At any rate, the Art Department kept me pretty busy today. I went on several runs. They sent me on three trips to Photomax to have some pictures and a slide developed. I also went to B&H and a scrapbooking store. For the most part, I walked (or Stan drove me), but I took the subway downtown to pick up a CD from a photo agency. They had pretty tight security. I had to wait downstairs until the doorman was able to get in contact with them (which took about 10 minutes).

Sunday, March 18, 2007

March 18, 2007 - Tenement Museum

Earlier in the week Tsahai invited me to go to a museum with her today. We were scheduled to meet-up at 11:30 in the Lower East Side. I took the F Train to Delancey Street, but not before going in the wrong entrance (went to the Uptown Side and had to use my Metro Card again to go to the correct place). After Tsahai arrived Downtown, we went to the Tenement Museum at 97 Orchard Street – my first museum experience in NYC.

It was a guided tour showing three generations of tenement apartments and the conditions in which immigrants lived. The most interesting part was an audio clip they played, a speech a former resident gave. She lived there 50 years prior, as a child. Shortly after, the tenements were abandoned (landlord couldn’t bring the building up to code) and remained empty until 1988, when it was turned into a museum. She happened to be walking by as they were renovating, and offered to help with the conversation.

After the tour, I did some gift shopping before Tsahai and I stopped for lunch at a nearby Chinese restaurant. Although it was cold outside, I decided to walk back to my apartment, instead of taking the subway, so I could catch some of the sights.

Photo Album

2007 March 13, 15 & 16 - New Duds

Time for a recap (yes, I prefer daily posts, too):

Tuesday: After work, Nicole took me to The Gap and had me try on different shirts and pants for my headshot. She said I’ll need them for any interview I do in the future. I bought a blue button-up short (which actually looks really good on me), a white one, and a pair of jeans with buttons, instead of a zipper. What a weird concept.

Thursday: This was to be my last day in the Art Department. I left begrudgingly, because I enjoyed it there, oddly enough. It’s not what I want to go into career-wise (I want to be an actor/scriptwriter), but everybody there is a lot of fun. Nicole snapped some pictures around the office for me. Also, before I left, Nicole gave me a hat she’d been having me wear to flatten my hair.

Friday: Ingrid from the Costume Department had me come in at 10. After grabbing a spot of breakfast, she sent me on my way right away. The department’s driver George took Katie, Cameron, Evelyn, and me to our destinations. She needed me to pick-up some receipts from Lord & Taylor, a suit from 21st floor shop, and then return it the studio. I took a cab back, which was good, because it was particularly nasty outside, a mix of snow, sleet, and hail, creating white out conditions. Cars were slipping and sliding all over the place.

After dropping off the outfit, I had to go to a costume shop called Abracadabra on 21st St. @ 4th Ave. Even though it was yucky out, I walked there. The store’d actually been robbed the night before, so it was a bit messy, but interesting to look at. The rest of the day, Ingrid had me take costumes that’d been used on the show and restock them back into inventory. The show literally has thousands of outfits. Around 4:15, she sent me on one last trip before going home. She needed me to return a maternity outfit to a store in SoHo. I took a cab there, but walked bad. It was still as awful out as ever, but I still prefer to walk.

I expected to be with Wardrobe for a full episode, but Leslie Gyson called me in the evening and said Art needs me back. That’s fine by me, because I’m not sure what more I could get from Costumes. I felt I got a pretty good idea of what they do in the day I was there. Besides, I’ve enjoyed my experience in the Art Department thus far, so I don’t mind returning.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

March 12, 2007 - Jude Law

I went back to casting, today. The original intent was for me to sit in on another Producer's Session, but they ended-up having me tend to the front office, answer phones, and fetch auditioners. Ann asked me to come in at 2pm. I planned to stop by the Art Department around 10:30 and chill for a little while but, since I couldn't sleep past 7:30, I went there earlier.

Following work, Nicole offered to give me a haircut. She said I looked like Jude Law and tried to capitalize on that. It turned out really well (although I'm bad at styling it). I'll post a picture soon.

Monday, March 12, 2007

March 9-11, 2007 - Sushi & Dirty Laundry

Friday: My first sushi experience. As you might recall, I ordered sushi awhile back, but couldn’t eat it, because it’d sat out for several hours. I can’t remember the names of everything I ordered. One was called a California roll, with avocado and crab. The other two had shrimp and raw salmon. They came with soy sauce and wasabi, which were supposed to be mixed together. I preferred them without the sauce, because it was too salty.

Saturday: My cold had cleared somewhat and one of my friends from my Who’s the Boss? website (wtbr.com) was in town to see Tony Danza in The Producers, so I gave her a call. We met up at Times Square and had lunch at a nearby Chinese restaurant. It was nice to see her again. I’ve known her for several years online. We met in person once before, when Tony Danza had a Who’s the Boss? cast reunion on his talk show. His audience coordinator set aside 20 seats for people on my site. Several of my friends from there pooled together some money and paid for me to come see it, as well.

Sunday: I got up at one and went to breakfast at Moonstruck, but the highlight of my day was my trip to the Laundromat (but not really). It was really a nondescript day. I bought a couple light bulbs, went to the grocery store. Woot.

Photo Album

Friday, March 9, 2007

March 6-8, 2007 - Baby, It's Cold Outside

So, it's been a few days since I've updated. There's a perfectly decent explaination for it... There really is. I've had a cold. At any rate, here's a recap:

Tuesday: I actually have very little recollection of Tuesday. It was miserably bitter, I'm sure. The entire week has been, though, so that's no surprise. Oh, wait. Stan took Sara and I on a run. Harry needed a book from B&N to use as a prop. While browsing around, I found another NYC guide for myself. I think I've purchased more (new) books here than I have in my entire life.

Wednesday: Josh from Accounting had me stuff envelopes. It was about as exciting as it sounds. The highlight of my day was my trip to B&H. Nicole had ordered some supplies and needed me to retrieve them. Everybody in the office says B&H is something I need to experience while in NYC. Stan was my chauffeur and he had another stop to make, so I didn't have much time to look around. It was an odd place, though. They have tons of electronics equipment, but it's laid out in nonsensical fashion. Plus, the entire store has a retro mid-90's feel to it, moderately out of date. The check out line is a confusing labyrinth, with a customer call-out similar to Whole Foods Market (sans the TV screen).

Thursday: I was in Casting for the day (got to sit-in on another Producer's Session), so I didn't have to come in until noon. Given that I was under the weather, it was nice to have the opportunity to sleep in. Unfortunately, the extra rest didn't come easily. Notice my pessimistic side kicking in. For one, the heat radiator made a God-awful racket, clunking this way and that. I have no idea why it was so noisy. It's been quiet the past few weeks. On top of that, there's a new tenant in the building who seems to be quite taken with the beauty of the hallways. He wanders them aimlessly, day and night, belting out off-key tunes of some unknown nature.

Monday, March 5, 2007

March 5, 2007 - Whole Foods

A production meeting was held today, in preparation for the next episode. Following the meeting (it starts at 1 and ends around 2:30), things get busier around the office, as Les and Harry relay the concepts that were discussed throughout. This episode calls for some pretty elaborate sets and costume, so it should be interesting.

Sara and I went to the Whole Foods Market to restock the office food supply. There’s always a large assortment of goodies, there. They tend not to carry a lot of national brands, as they’re more about organic, healthy food. The store is always crazy busy, but they were chaotic today, with little to no room to move. One of the more interesting things about the market is their checkout queue. They have people form three separate lines, then wait for an overhanging television to assign them a cashier number. It’s actually pretty efficient.

This evening, after I’d returned to my apartment and was relaxing, I heard a strange bell keep ringing. It sounded like the one that goes off at the neighboring post office all the time, so I ignored it. In fact, it’d actually been coming from the hallway. Somebody got stuck in the elevator and was sounding the alarm. Oh well. Next time I’ll know to call for help.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

March 4, 2007 - Empire State

I got up fairly early today, shortly before eleven. After showering, I took the subway up to 34th Street, then walked from there to 38th Street and over to 5th Avenue. I walked around CompUSA for a little while. I was going to have brunch at a nice diner I saw at 35th Street and 7th Avenue, but ended-up stopping at a Chinese restaurant on 35th (Hyo Dong Gak) and ordering Sweet & Sour Chicken.

Next stop – the Empire State Building! It’s a place every New York tourist has to see, so I decided to go today, as I was in an exploratory mood. I walked in, snapped a photo of the famous entryway, then took the escalator to the second story. There was a large queue line set-up, but there weren’t any people waiting. Next, I had to go through airport-like security, where I was required to take off my belt and put my electronics in a bucket.

At the ticket window, I purchased the standard option for $18, which was a pass to go to the 86th floor observatory deck. There’s another deck above the 100th floor, but that would have cost an additional $15. Besides, the 1st deck is the one most people see anyway. It’s the one shown in Sleepless in Seattle. Before going to the elevators, tourists are required to pass through a gift shop, with a vast assortment of overpriced key chains and T-shirts. They’re got a real racket going on there.

There was almost no wait to get on the elevator, even though several dozen people were going up. The ride was smoother than I’d imagined (aside from my ears popping). It took just under a minute to go up 80 stories. People are then required to transfer to another elevator that goes to the 86th floor – but not before going through a photo area, where tourists have to have their mug shot taken in front of a green screen.

The 86th floor presented me with yet another gift store. This time, I actually bought something – a book with photographs taken atop the Empire State Building. It’s nice, because every other page is in black-and-white with labels on all the major buildings and neighborhoods.

The deck really does offer spectacular views. I took dozens of pictures. It was a little difficult, though, because it was bitterly cold outside and the winds were howling at 40 or 50 miles per hour. I managed to capture more than 20 shots, though. One of the more interesting things – pigeons love it up there. More so, people love to spoil the pigeons. There was even a lady letting them eat breadcrumbs right out of her hand! People also like to leave their mark on the concrete barriers. Somebody even etched their MySpace address into the fencing.

When I left the building, it felt like it was five o’clock when it was actually three; not because I wasn’t enjoying myself. I just lost all sense of time.

Photo Album

Saturday, March 3, 2007

March 3, 2007 - Central Park

I enjoyed getting to see a new part of the city the other day, so I decided to go back there again, walk around, and snap some pictures. But first, I went for brunch (breakfast, really, but it was one o’clock) at the Malibu Diner. It was warm and sunny out, so Manhattan was bustling with activity. The restaurant was packed. I ordered a French Toast Sundae, which included two thick slices of cinnamon French toast, with a scoop of vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate ice cream, and topped with whipped cream. I also ordered a side of ham. It was delicious, more desert than breakfast, but very filling.

Following breakfast, I took the 1 train to 59th street and walked around Lincoln Circle. I stopped by the mall inside the Time Warner building, which I’ve heard is the most expensive structure in the world. I spent a few minutes at Borders books, before moving on to the CompUSA at 57th. I walked up to 67th Street, past the New York Opera House and went to Barnes and Noble, where I bought another book on sitcom writing/acting.

I ended the day by taking a stroll through part of Central Park. Just like everybody says, it’s huge. I’m sure I didn’t make a very big dent in it. It offers beautiful panoramic views of the city, but was secluded enough to make me forget I was in the middle of a concrete jungle. There were trees abound, several trails that led off the walkway, large hills, and scenic lakes.

Photo Album

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

February 28, 2007 - New Territory

Busier day than I’ve had in awhile. I went on a run with Shannon, got to see some new places. He went to a lighting warehouse, which had every kind of fixture and lamp imaginable (including some cool Art Deco stuff). Then he had to go to Bed, Bath and Beyond in Lincoln Center to look at curtains for an office set. The area has lots of upscale high rises and businesses. I forgot my camera, so I’ll have to visit again, take some pictures. Finally, he went to a prop house, near the studio. I’ve never seen so many rare antiques under one roof.

In the afternoon, he had me categorize prop photographs by category (yawn). Not exactly the most exciting job. I did make a run to pick up a prop from a set the show was filming at, though. Aside from fearing for my life (not really, but it was a seedy nightclub in an ugly neighborhood), it was interesting.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

February 27, 2007 - Acting for the Camera

As far as actual work goes, today was pretty slow. I went on a run to the Post Office, but that was about it. Harry and I talked a bit about my career aspirations. He has a strong background in Broadway theater, with over 25 years experience. He told me to forget about stage acting, if I'm serious about TV. I need a head shot and to start looking for bit parts. Nicole suggested Craigslist. Sounds like the people here are good consultants about anything television related.

Monday, February 26, 2007

February 26, 2007 - That "Taxi" Bridge

When I got to the Art Department, Nicole and Harry were seated around the table, eating eggs, Polish sausage, and turkey bacon. I had a piece of sausage and some bacon, but didn't much feel like having eggs.

First off, Nicole had me go on a run with Stan. He needed to deliver a package to a filming location in Brooklyn. Since I'd never been over there, she figured this would be a good opportunity for me to see it. Apparantly, going over the Brooklyn Bridge is a huge deal that everybody should experience at least once in their lifetime. Walking across it is also supposed to be required for any tourist. I'll take their word for it. At any rate, we had to bring the package to a corrections facility. We walked in, then were interrogated by a big corrections officer. Fun stuff.

I ordered a chicken Caesar wrap for lunch, but have been craving a Chicago deep dish pizza. I haven't had one since I left home, a few months ago. According to everybody in the office, they're impossibly difficult to find. Nicole ordered me to visit Joe's pizza this week and order 2, maybe 3 slices of New York pizza. "Best pizza in town," according to her. This sent Sara in a Wikipedia-searching frenzy, researching various pizza styles.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

February 24 & 25, 2007 - Public Urination and Spice

Tsahai and I went to see the move The Number 23 at the AMC, 19th and Broadway. The movie itself was stupid, but it was fun to actually hang out with somebody from work. Afterward, we grabbed some dinner at Spice (Thai). On the way home, I encountered some colorful people. One person was standing in the middle of the sidewalk, trying to gain attention, "Help me! I just got out of the hospital!" On 18th, another man stood in a corner, watering some non-existant plants. I guess Chelsea gets a little crazy on Saturday nights.

Sunday: I didn’t get up until 1 today. It’s the weekend and I felt like sleeping in. I went to breakfast at Moonstruck, had a ham and cheese omelet. The rest of my day was pretty uneventful, thanks to the fact that I had to go to the dreaded laundromat.

Friday, February 23, 2007

February 22, 2007 - Chopsticks

My first day in the Art Department. I'll admit I don't much care for the idea of getting up early, but I can tell they'll be a fun bunch to work with. When I came in, a group of people were sitting around the table, eating scrambled eggs and bacon and swapping humorous anecdotes. Nicole, the department coordinator, said to dig in, but I'd already eaten. She had me run an errand - go to a camera place to retrieve a lens. On the way back, I picked up a coffee and cookie from Paradise Cafe. Nicole chided me for this, not because I made a personal stop (don't be silly), but because I was eating a cookie for breakfast (I had a bagel, fruit, and Crème of Wheat. I'm fine).

When I got back, I ordered lunch and worked on a little assignment from Nicole. She had me highlight everything in the current shooting script I thought the Art Department handled. Afterward, I compared it to the list the Production Designer Les had written. I picked up on the usual stuff (faxes, photos, and printed matter), but a few things surprised me. For example, Les noted that Art was responsible for a computer and stereo system, something I thought Props handled. Nicole explained that the responsibilities can sometimes become blurred between departments. If an actor uses the computer during the episode - that is, if it's actually scripted, then it would furnished by Props. But, since it's just background clutter, Art takes care of it. Interesting. Using that logic, would faxes and the like become Props, once handled? As I said, it's murky.

For lunch, I ordered spicy pork chops, from Republic. The meal came with chopsticks, but I opted for a fork and knife. I've used chopsticks once or twice while here, but would hardly call myself proficient. When I told Nicole about my lack of skill in this matter, she was so surprised, she spilled green sauce all over herself. Then, she promptly informed me that I was going to learn how to use them. She wadded up a piece of paper, put it between the chopsticks and rubber banded them together, effectively fool proofing them. It worked. By the end of the meal, I was eating rice with them. I have to say I prefer normal utensils, as eating is too leisurely an activity with chopsticks. I take after my dad and prefer to eat like a racehorse.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

February 21, 2007 - Bouncy, Bouncy Ball...

…rolling to and fro. Where it goes? Nobody knows. Well, actually, they (I) do. To Art. Leslie’s sending me to the Art Department, starting tomorrow. I was supposed to be with Casting for two episodes, but I guess art needs me more. Quite frankly, I think I’d learn more about what I want to do (TV acting/scriptwriting) in Casting, but oh well. I’m sure I’ll have a fun and educational experience in whichever department she sends me to. Besides, I’ll get to go back to Casting when they hold their producer’s session, so it’ll be the best of both worlds…minus the sleep. Leslie asked me to come-in at 9:30. Mind you, I was used to coming in earlier in the Production Office, but Casting had me in at 11 every day. I’m going to miss that extra hour and-a-half of rest…

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

February 20, 2007 - Gone Postal

I started the morning by going to the post office to get a single, solitary stamp, but they were packed. Crazy packed. So, I decided to go later, if I got off work on time.

Things were pretty slow around the casting office today. They’d already done most of their audition sessions for the upcoming episode, so there wasn’t a whole lot to do. I read some of one of my new sitcom writing books, worked on a springboard and an (awful) outline for one of my scripts. For lunch, I ordered a hot roast beef sandwich with stuffing and gravy. It was, um, every bit as good as anything you’d get from a hospital cafeteria. That’s not to say it was bad, just nothing exceptional.

Ann let us go at 4, since nothing big was going on. I went back to the post office and they were actually busier than this morning, with a line wrapping halfway around the lobby. To avoid the lines, I went to their automated stamp machine and paid $7.80 for a book of 20. It gave me my change, but no stamps. At the inquiry window, the guy working there had me fill out a form and said to go to window six. So, I waited in line for half an hour. The lady at the counter promptly apologized and said I didn't have to go through the line. She was already informed of the issue and had the stamps all ready. Oh well, it was an exercise in patience (and sitcom fodder).

Next up, I went to B&N to exchange the book I bought the other day for another copy. It had a box cutter indentation I didn't notice (must've been at the top of a box). After, i took 18th street back and noticed that there's yet another B&N just one block over from their Union Square location. It's more university geared (has used college textbooks), kind of depressing looking - like a thrift store. But, they had a new copy of an out of print book, The Frasier Scripts - 15 scripts from the show Frasier. So, I picked that up. It'll be a good reference book for sitcom formatting and storyline crafting.

Photo Album (The church is Guardian Angel. You wouldn’t know it from the pictures, but they had a fire Friday)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

February 18, 2007 - VGA - Video Gamers Anonymous

I’ve been lazy in journal updates the past few days, but there’s a good reason – there hasn’t been much new. I went out for Chinese on Saturday night…witnessed a random act of aggression on Friday… Guess that one could use a little elaboration. I was walking home after visiting Barnes and Noble, when this 40-something guy picked up a bunch of snow, packed it into a tight ball and threw it at a cab, shouting obscenities at the driver.

At any rate, I decided to explore the town a little, especially since I have an extended weekend (President’s Day is a SAG holiday). I tried a new place for breakfast, the Malibu Diner, on 23rd Street, between 7th & 6th Avenues. I ordered a ham and cheddar omelet and, lo’ and behold! I finally found a place that uses real ham! Took long enough.

Next, I went to the Barnes & Noble at Union Square. The place is huge, encompassing four stories. I browsed around awhile, bought a book on script formatting. Next, I stopped by the nearby GameStop, then walked south to 8th St. and 4th Ave. I went to the Kmart there, just for the hell of it. It’s as awful as any local Kmart, but laid out more like a Montgomery Ward store (for those of you who saw one, before they went out of business).

I hopped over to the GameStop at 8th St. and 5th Ave. (can you tell I’m a video game addict?) and browsed a bit. Finally, I went to a Dunkin’ Donuts and bought a coffee and donuts. As per usual on my excursions, I snapped a couple dozen pictures as I went along, so be sure to check out the gallery, below.

Photo Album

Thursday, February 15, 2007

February 15, 2007 - Producer's Session

Today, I got to see the real meat of the Casting Department…an actual (producer’s) casting session. It started at 10, ran through 1:30. The episode’s writer, director, and one of the show’s producers was there, along with Kim and Ann. I just sat there and observed, but really enjoyed seeing peoples’ different interpretations of the parts in this episode.

Right off the bat, the first person was incredibly talented. You could tell what he knew what he was doing, and had the years to back it up. That kind of set the stage for the rest of the sessions, with most of the people auditioning doing an incredible job (although there were a few weak links). The director definitely seemed to know what he was doing, too, and would often ask actors to do their scene again, but from a new perspective, with different emotions and motivations.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

February 14, 2007 - I <3 My Valentine

I experienced my first Manhattan snowfall today. Ick. Three inches isn't bad...in Michigan. And fresh snow is usually pretty...in Michigan. Here, it just turns into instant brown mush...everywhere. By night, the snowfall had stopped, but road conditions greatly deteriorated. Piles of mashed potatoes lined the curbs, blocking-in parked cars. Drivers were going at a really slow pace. Some couldn't even make it down the street, without getting stuck in the slushy mess.

Kim had a couple dozen interviews today, but they weren’t formal, like yesterday (which were called Producer Sessions). It was just her and the interviewee. My role in the sessions was to bring the actors in to see her. In the mean time, Ann had me do a lot of copying. Other than that, it was another pretty routine day.

Warren Leight stopped in for a few minutes this afternoon to speak with Kim. I was surprised to hear him suggest me for one of the roles in the episode they’re casting. Now, I’m sure he was just joking around, but it was still nice that he even gave me a passing thought for a gig on the show.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

February 13, 2007 - Auditions

My day started by sorting agency submissions, with the help of fellow intern Kirsten. Things didn’t really get exciting until 3:00, when interviews started. The casting directors (Kim & Ann), producers, writer, and Kirsten watched 20 or so auditions, lasting until 6:00. I sat in the front office, answering phones, and directing people to the waiting room. I think I would have learned more sitting in on the auditions, but I’m sure there will be plenty of opportunities to do that over the next couple weeks.

I’d like to give a shout out to Rich, who turns 21 today: Happy Birthday!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

February 10 & 11, 2007 - Hollywood

Saturday: I had to try my hardest to sleep-in. Initially waking-up at 11, I dozed off until 1. My day didn’t really start until 4, though. I didn’t want to be cooped in my apartment all afternoon, so I went to the GameStop across from the Manhattan Mall, at 33rd St. & 6th Ave. A new city simulator City Life: World Edition (like SimCity, but in 3D) came out and I wanted to buy a copy. Afterward, I walked around the mall for a little while. It’s your ordinary mega mall (e.g. Lakeside), except on a vertical scale. There are shops on 6 or 8 stories (2 below ground) in a square, overlooking an indoor courtyard. Above that are offices, also with a view of the area below.

On the way home, I stopped at the Ridgeway Diner and had a gyro. It was actually pretty decent. Gyros sometimes make me sick, either due to the grease or the spices in the meat. Maybe it was because they used beef, instead of lamb, but I felt just fine after eating it.

Walking back, I contemplated whether I should do my laundry that evening, go to the grocery store, or just veg in my apartment. I almost went with the third option, but despise washing my clothes to much, I decided to get that out of the way. I’ve been doing my laundry at home for years and don’t have a problem with that. I just hate going to an actual Laundromat, fighting with the crowds, and sitting around waiting for my clothes to get done. I’m usually there upwards of 90 minutes. And yes, I bring my DS with me, but it’s still not a pleasant experience.

Sorry, no pictures today. I didn’t bring my camera, because I wasn’t sure if it would be bright enough, but the afternoon light wasn’t prohibitive.

Sunday: Having already done the laundry, I took it easy today. I got up around noon, showered, and then went out to breakfast at the Hollywood Diner (near the place I went to yesterday). I ordered a Monte Cristo. It was nowhere near as good as the place I’m used to back home, but it wasn’t bad. They were incredibly busy (it was Sunday afternoon, after all), so I sat at the counter. For as many people as there were, I can’t complain about the service.

I stopped by D’Agostino’s and did some grocery shopping (my fridge and pantry were severely under stocked), then spent the rest of the day relaxing and playing my new game.

Photo Album

Friday, February 9, 2007

February 8 & 9, 2007 - Baby Vomit

Thursday: My last day in the writing office was a busy one, albeit not particularly exciting. I spent the first couple hours of the day researching for a future episode. As per usual, I can’t say what I was looking into, but I think that, depending on how it’s written, this could be a great (bizarre) story.

In the early afternoon, I attended a production meeting, in which the heads of every department gathered together to see what exactly is needed for an upcoming episode – background, props, locations, etc. Kate said these meetings can run three hours, but this one was only an hour and a half. I took meticulous notes for her, but I doubt they were of much use (I’m a lefty with crappy handwriting and a bad case of carpel tunnel).

I did a lot of copying – duplicating the article’s I’d printed, printing scripts for the meeting, and making copies of a previous episode and collating them by color revision. The end of my day was spent finishing the organizing project I’d started for Leslie yesterday. I could have gone home at 6, especially since I was almost done, but decided to go the extra mile. I was still there at 7:30, so Tom suggested I stay and order dinner. I didn’t have much left to straighten up, but I wasn’t about to turn down free food.

Friday: Casting has wonderful hours for their interns (this department frequently hires interns). While I may have to come in at 9:30 once in awhile, they won’t usually need me in until 11. It’s nice to get that extra hour of sleep.

The current intern, Aubrey, has been there about a week. As the space in the 2-room casting office is limited, we share a desk. Kim and Ann gave us several projects, but casting, like waiting, is a lot of stop and go. Not that I wasn’t busy. Kim started me out by having me organize agency photographs by age. As the submissions’ resumes don’t have ages, I had to guesstimate. The subjectivity made me feel shallow, but such is the nature of the business.

For lunch, I ordered a taco salad from Taco Bandito. I love their salads. They’re quite generous, come in a taco bowl, and are cheap. I had enough left from my $10 budget to order two soft shell tacos. I put those in the fridge to save for dinner. The rest of the day, Aubrey and I switched back and forth on the Macbook, entering the names listed on audition tapes and DVDs into a database. Ann let us go at 6.

I forgot to bring my tacos with me; realized it a block from the office. I didn’t feel like going back and decided to finish the split pea soup I had the other night. I heated it in the microwave for 90 seconds. The bowl was scalding hot, but the soup was still cold. Reaching up to put it back to nuke it some more, it slipped out of my hands, spilling all over the adjacent wall, counter, and floor. That was a fun clean-up project. Looked like baby vomit.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

February 7, 2007 - Organized Chaos

For the most part, today was a slow day around the office. I read another two scripts and helped Carmen make twelve copies of a news packet, totaling more than 1200 pages. Basically, the writers keep an eye on major newspapers every day, looking for stories that might lead to new episodes. I’ve also been scouring the New York Times Online over the past week, looking for interesting articles.

At one point, Kate went down to set to discuss the plausibility of a scene with a crew member. Afterward, we toured one of the swing sets being built for a future episode. I can’t say what its purpose is, but it’s quite extensive. For a temporary set, it’s huge.

Leslie gave me an organizational project. She has a cupboard in the office that was a disaster area. I sorted through boxes with old cell phones, ancient computer parts, and random assorted oddball items. To be honest, I love that kinda stuff. Obviously, I’m not learning anything related to the acting or scriptwriting fields in doing it, but it’s good to sit down and consolidate piles of junk, once in awhile. I only got about halfway through it, so I’ll finish tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

February 6, 2007 - Fish & Chips

Today was as slow around the office as yesterday was hectic. Kate didn’t have much for me to do, so I read four or five scripts. We talked a little bit about the scriptwriting process and what goes into writing a good script (structure, story, organization). After putting in our lunch orders, Kate, Carmen, and I previewed the new L&O:CI episode Albatross (premieres tonight). Other than that, Cathy had me fill out some envelopes and stuff them with contracts. Like I said…not much went down.

Now, you want to talk excitement? I went to Best Buy after work and bought Final Fantasy VI Advance for my DS. Woot! … Yeah! *cough* Sorry

Monday, February 5, 2007

February 5, 2007 - Lunch Special

Why don’t I start with lunch? I ordered an onion and mushroom burger, but it would be a good long while before I’d get to eat it. The day started slow, but promised to pick-up in preparation for the 2pm episode read-through with the cast. I perused another script, printed sensationalistic death stories from the New York Times online. Carmen brought my meal at 1:00, but a passing glance was all I got to see.

Leslie called me up front to help Tom fetch catering for the read-through. This time, they ordered from an Italian place. After we got back, I helped arrange the buffet table in the conference room, now prepared to hold on my lunch until after the meeting (Carmen said I could sit-in). About quarter ‘til 2, Kate sent me on another errand. She needed me to deliver a couple scripts to Warren, as he was not able to attend the meeting in person.

The front office sent me with some money to Warren’s house. On the way, I asked the driver if he could wait for a few seconds, while I delivered it the package. He looked at me, then kept driving, which I took as a “yes.” However, when I got there, he said he’d already stopped the meter. Rude. At any rate, I ended-up walking to the cross-street and hailing another cab. This guy was markedly nicer. It cost $5.30, so I gave him $7.00 – or so I thought. I apparently gave him $11 by mistake. So, he pulled back over to the curb, told me I over-tipped him and gave me back a $5. I tried giving him another dollar tip, but he wouldn’t take it. Good to know there are still pleasant people out there.

I’m glad I got to attend a read-through. I was a little hesitant about sitting-in, as the meeting was already in-progress when I got back. I’m passive and don’t like to interrupt, but Carmen pushed me in. The read-through is just what it sounds like – the writers, producers, assistant directors, and cast sit down and flip through the script to get a feel for it and see if there are any glaring errors. I especially enjoyed Eric Bogosian’s (Captain Ross) reading, as he put a great deal of inflection into it. I could actually picture him performing it on-screen.

Following the read-through, I ate some of the leftovers from the meeting. I had some veal, calamari and potatoes. It was my second time eating squid and I can honestly say I enjoyed it as much as the first (read: not at all). I’m not fond of the consistency. It’s like eating cartilage. Breaded, it tasted like clams, which I’d prefer eating over this.

I saved my hamburger for later and what a disappointment that was! I expected an onion and mushroom burger and got an undercooked ranch and pepper jack burger with bacon…on bread, no less! Oh well.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

February 4, 2007 - ...And We're Back

My computer's running smoothly and I'm back and ready to update again! I'll just cut to today's events, because the past couple days have been pretty slow.

I got up at 12:30 (love the weekends) and went to breakfast at the Chelsea Square Restaurant, which is across the street from Moonstruck Diner on 23rd St. at 9th Ave. I was pretty hungry, so I had the "Hungry Man's Breakfast": French toast, pancakes, or waffle (ordered pancakes), bacon, ham, sausage, and 2 eggs. It was decent and I certainly enjoyed their coffee. Only thing I didn't like was the ham. For some reason, they give thin deli ham, not the real deal. Same with Moonstruck Diner.

I'd originally planned to just go out to eat, then come back to my apartment and veg. But, as it was a nice (albeit cold) day, I decided to walk around town a bit. First, I went to Best Buy at 23rd and 6th Ave. (a.k.a. Avenue of the Americas) to see if they had any good new games. One thing I noticed about the stores here is that they're not as well stocked as the ones back home (with the exception of Barnes & Noble). Maybe it's just the way they're laid out. Places like Best Buy and Circuit City are spread out over two stories and have to conform to the pre-existing building structure, so maybe the design just makes it seem smaller.

After walking around in circles for half an hour, I went across the street to Barnes & Noble. Unlike the one in the Citibank Building, this one is only one story (with the exception of an upper-level Starbucks overlooking the store) and more cramped. I ended-up purchasing a couple more books on teleplay writing.

Finally, I walked down to Union Square (14th St. between 4th & 5th Ave.) and browsed around Game Stop and Circuit City for awhile. Union Square is a nice shopping district, with an eclectic mix of old and new buildings, all surrounding a large park. I took the long way home and photographed the park and local scenery.

Photo Album

Thursday, February 1, 2007

January 31, 2007 - Short Note

Today's post is going to be short, because I'm in the process of backing-up data to reformat. I had some computer problems yesterday. As soon as I get everything running the way I like it, I'll start blogging again (should only be a day or two). Side note - Everybody at the office sang "Happy Birthday" and surprised me with a cake. That was incredibly nice. If you're reading this from work, thank you!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

January 30, 2007 - It's Somebody's Birthday...

…but it sure didn’t feel like it. Everybody at the office (Warren’s and at the Piers) wished me a happy birthday, I received cards in the mail, greetings online (including a wonderful picture montage), phone calls, etc. But, I still felt an overwhelming pang of sadness. I think it’s the first time I’ve truly felt home sick.

I was at Warren’s office from 10 until 8. It was very much a repeat of yesterday, so I don’t have anything new to report on. I had planned to go out for a prime rib or filet mignon after work, maybe even some cake but, depressed and tired, I just went home. There, I planned to order takeout (because Progresso soup for the umpteenth time, on my birthday no less, just seems wrong), but ended-up going out for Chinese again.

Monday, January 29, 2007

January 29, 2007 - Extended Assignment

No sooner than I came into the office and prepared some breakfast, Warren approached me and said he was heading over to his other office to discuss Mary Grace’s new script with her and fellow writers Jackie and Siobhan. He invited me to take a cab with him and sit-in on the meeting.

Warren told me that the writing department would be busier over the next week, since Mary Grace (his assistant) was working on a script. So, he requested that I stay with them for another episode, as originally planned. I’m glad about that, actually, as I was just starting to get into the swing of things when Leslie called and told me I’d be moving to another department. Besides, it’s not like I’m not going to get to work with Art. I’ll be with them after my cycle with Casting (which will last 2 episodes).

When we got to his office, Warren sent me on an important mission: Starbucks for coffee! I’m not really a big fan. They’re too expensive and their coffee is uber-strong, but I’ll take a free jolt of caffeine wherever I can get it. The first time around, I had a Venti coffee with cream. Like I said, far too strong for my taste (although I’ve had worse). Later, I went on another coffee run and got a cinnamon dolce latte, as I enjoyed the (“free”) one I had the other day.

Back at the office, the dissection of Mary Grace’s new script was well underway. It was, I believe, MG’s first draft, so much of their talks were about how to trim it down. Most scripts are initially too long and need a weight loss treatment of sorts to bring them closer to the 45-minute (or thereabouts) requirement for airing. Each page of a script is divided into eighths, with one page being equivalent to one minute air time.

A read-through meeting was scheduled for 12:30 at the Piers, so Warren left before lunch. As per usual, we ordered pizza and salad from Waldy’s. After lunch, things were a bit quieter, as Mary Grace, Jackie, and Siobhan worked on script revisions. My job was to answer the phone, a somewhat rare occurrence today. In the mean time, I familiarized myself with the script MG is working on and read through some of the new book I bought on sitcom writing.

Late in the afternoon, Siobhan asked me to do some research for a potential future episode. I went on Warren’s Mac and Googled the requested information until about six, when MG said we could call it a night. I got home at 6:15, had a can of Progresso (lazy). Finally, Steve Staeger from Oakland University’s radio station called to do a phone interview with me. Keep an ear out for that on Friday!

It’s (almost) somebody’s birthday,
I wonder who?...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

January 26 & 27, 2007 - A Wicked Adventure

Friday: Not much happened today. Mary Grace had me do a little research for an episode she’s writing. Also, Leslie called and said I’d begin working with the Art Department on Tuesday. I don’t know what exactly I’ll be doing, but Tsahai seemed to think it would involve some graphic/Photoshop work. Sounds fun, although I was just getting into the swing of things in the Writing Office.

Saturday: I got up around 11, because the agent who I’m renting my apartment from asked if they could do a showing at one. I cleaned the place up a bit in preparation. They were only here for ten minutes, but I’m glad I did. They peeked in the closets, so I’d rather they be neat and tidy.

Tsahai told me to meet her at 46th & Broadway at 2:30, so we could pick up discount tickets to see the musical Wicked. I took the F-train at 23rd up to the 47-50th Rockefeller Center exit and walk around the Concourse mall for a few minutes. On the way out, I found a $5 bill laying on the ground. As nobody was around, I figured it’d been there for awhile and claimed it for myself. Then I headed over to Times Square to wait for Tsahai. She called around quarter to three and said she was running late, but that she would pick up the tickets and I could reimburse her.

Since I had several hours until the musical, I went exploring. I stopped at Toys ‘R’ Us in search of any cheap clearance video games. Sometimes they have some pretty good deals, but not today. The store is huge, though, spanning three stories. It even has indoor amusement rides. Afterward, I went to Starbucks and treated myself to a Cinnamon Dolce Latte. I’m not a big Starbucks fan, because they’re exceedingly overpriced, but I figured I’d treat myself with the “fun money” I found.

I headed back to 30 Rock and went to the Game Stop in the basement area. It’s a train wreck in that store; not very well organized at all. Then, I tried to find a Barnes & Noble, which was supposed to be on 8th Ave. between 48th & 49th Street. They’d gone out of business, though. So, I walked around randomly, looking to see if maybe it’d been relocated. No such luck, so I searched for a restaurant, as I felt a little faint and hungry.

I went back to 47 & Broadway and decided to eat at Olive Garden. Yuppie? Yes. And certainly not unique, but sometimes familiar is good. They had a 20 minute wait, so they gave me a weird disc-shaped thing resembling Simon Says and said there was a waiting room on the 2nd story. When it flashed red, he said to go to the 3rd level and they would give me a seat. I was surprised that, one I had a table, the service was exceptionally fast. I ordered the cheese ravioli and it was ready within minutes (and was almost too hot!). While I ate, I called my mom and had her hunt me down a B&N online. She said the closest one was at 54th St. & 3rd Ave. in the Citibank center. That area was vaguely familiar to me, because I was there last time I came to the city (saw a Who’s the Boss? reunion on the Tony Danza Show).

Since it was only quarter after five after I finished eating, I had plenty of time to peruse B&N. On the way there, Tsahai called and said the ticket booth didn’t have discount tickets for Wicked, so we wouldn’t be seeing the play that evening. I was disappointed and midly annoyed, but at least I got to have a little fun on the town. Since I was already near the bookstore, I went there anyway. I bought a book on sitcom writing for myself and a couple of books for somebody special’s birthday (And, no, I will not give you any hints as to what I got! You know who you are). Around 6:30 or so, I decided to call it a day. I’d done a ton of walking and was exhausted. I hunted down the 1-train (forgot where, specifically, it’s located) and headed back. Midway, I had to switch to the 3-train because the 1 wasn’t making stops where I needed to go.

Photo Album

Thursday, January 25, 2007

January 25, 2007 - Action!

Today was probably one of the most exciting days I’ve had, so far. Things were slow before lunch. But, while I was eating, Kate called me out, because Marsha Norman (a writer for the show and the woman who wrote The Color Purple) was going to set and she’d asked her to show me around. Of course, I’d already been there several times and met many of the staffers, but Marsha was really nice to give me a tour and introduce everybody, so I played along. We went into one of the swing sets and watched as a re-shoot (a rare occurrence) took place. She had one of the sound people give me a set of headphones, so I could hear what was going on.

After they crew finished filming that scene, Marsha took me to the main/permanent set (the squad room), where Kathryn Erbe and Eric Bogosian had gone to rehearse. Marsha informally introduced me to them. Vincent D’Onofrio joined them a short while later. They practiced their lines from the sides (parts of the script, containing only the scenes to be shot that day) that’d been printed the previous night. Then, they went to their trailers to memorize lines and their “2nd Set” (can’t remember if this is the correct term, but they’re actors paid to stand-in for them while the crew prepares sound, lighting, and blocking) came in.

Meanwhile, it was break time, so I joined the crew and had some food from the buffet table that’d been set-up. I was still a bit hungry, as I didn’t get to finish my lunch. Within a few minutes, everybody had finished prepping and the actors returned to set. I watched, as a certain scene was filmed a dozen or so times. There were a few periods where filming ceased, because the actors found the blocking, as scripted, created some inconsistencies. A few takes later, they came up with an acceptable solution and everything went smoothly from there forward.

About 4 o’clock, they’d stopped shooting for a few minutes, in order to move to a different scene. I figured I should probably head back to the office and see if they had anything for me to do up there. Warren had the novelist/writer from the other day back to discuss Acts III & IV, so I sat-in and observed. Carmen took notes and, as with last time, I created scene note cards for Warren to put on his cork board. At 7:30, they’d hammered out the last detail for the episode, adjusted the sequence of events to their liking, and called it a night.

January 24, 2007 - Joy Grill Club

I finished reading through a script at the main writers’ office, then Carmen and I headed to Warren Leight’s other office to observe. His assistant Mary Grace set me to work right away and had me run to Duane Reade’s to pick up some AA batteries for their label machine. When I got back, she was going to have me type out some stickers for document folders. However, Warren arrived at the office to speak with a writer, so she had me sit in. The two discussed a future episode, which this person (a novelist, writing for the show for the first time) was currently working. As they talked about various scenes and the order in which they should be presented, Warren had me write note card summaries and put them up on a cork board, under their corresponding Acts.

They finished up around 3:30, after which Carmen and I went back to the Piers. Of course, I made a stop for coffee at nearby Ruthy’s Bakery (located on the first story of the building). Back at the office, Kate didn’t have anything else for me to do, so she sent me home early. I spent most of the evening relaxing, but did step out for a little while for dinner. I ate at the Joy Grill, a small, cozy Chinese restaurant right around the block from my apartment. I felt like trying something new (there’s implied sarcasm here) and had egg drop soup, an egg roll, and sweet & sour chicken, one of my favorite Chinese dishes. The service was excellent and there were plenty of leftovers; definitely a place I’ll want to dine at again.

As an aside, my birthday is coming up soon (30th). This will be the first time I’m alone on that day. Mildly depressing, if you ask me. If you’d like to send me a card, my address is: 215 West… just kidding. :P

Photo Album

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

January 23, 2007 - On Broadway

The big project I completed today was to move all the “sidesmaster” binders (contain complete scripts for an episode) from the writers’ area to an unused office, to clear up some space. Some new shelving was installed in the room for that very purpose. Other than that, I did several odd jobs around the office and help tidy up, but I feel somewhat awkward. There’s markedly less to do in the writing department than production, so I ended-up reading scripts or seeking work from production in my down time.

My real day started at six, of course. Ten or so people from CI came to see Marsha Norman’s play, The Color Purple. From what I’ve heard, it’s a successful Broadway musical that’s been on for more than a year. A small group and I from the office got together and walked to the subway and then to Broadway. Times Square is a completely environment than my downtown neighborhood. It’s crazy. I’ve never seen so many people crowded into such a small space. When I first arrived in New York, I thought there were a lot of people congregating on the sidewalk at all hours, but Times Square makes my area look sparsely populated and comfortable.

The musical was excellent. It was certainly a well put-on show; high budget, no doubt. I’ve seen musicals before, but nothing on this caliber. All the sets were electronically operated and didn’t require anybody to help move them, which kept things flowing nicely. The orchestra was wonderful, as were the speakers (which may have been a little too powerful, as I left with a slight headache). The choreography was amazing. It’s unbelievable how talented everybody was with dancing and singing. To have to do that day in and out is an unbelievable feat.

From what I understand, the winner of a previous American Idol attended tonight’s show and there was a big commotion surrounding that. I’ve never seen Idol, so I found it mildly amusing that people were getting so excited about catching a glimpse of this person.

Meanwhile, my leg, just above my ankle, recently began bothering me. I don’t know if I’ve just been walking too much or I sprained something, but it’s not pleasant. I can walk, but it’s not a terribly pleasant experience. It started hurting a little yesterday and got worse throughout the day today. Hopefully, it’ll start feeling better soon, but I can’t just stop walking if it doesn’t.