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 Michigan. And fresh snow is usually 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!