Musings

Blog Stress & Grown Up Milestones

Posted on August 22, 2007. Filed under: bacn, California, Family, Musings, My Musings, reunion, travel |

– Daniela and her Mama

I know I haven’t blogged consistently in over a week. This is due in part to an increased focus on supporting my best friends, additional work responsibilities, and being preoccupied with moving and travel details. It’s true – I am moving into my own apartment (no roommates) Sept 1st and last Thursday I flew back to Cali after 2+ year absence.

My blog habits are frustrating me a little because it’s not for lack of content. I continue to read my 200+ favorite blogs, magazines (Fast Company, Wired, Business 2.0, etc.) 2+ books per week (currently in my giant purse is The Tipping Point). I am always pondering all sorts of things related to social media and technology, but not at a time that places me in close proximity to a computer. My original use for this blog was to document my thoughts on new media and important events in my life. Perhaps it’s time I break down and get myself a blackberry, because I cannot count how many times I’ve been in a remote place cursing myself for not having at least a pen and a napkin to jot down a thought.

Twittering these thoughts are an option, and then expanding on them later in a blog post. But I don’t want to contribute to my friends bacn, and in many cases I prefer to mull something over before broadcasting it to the world. If I was able to save a blog entry draft from a mobile device like a blackberry, I would probably blog a lot more than I do now. Hmm. I’ll think about it.

Nomadic Daniela – Coming to an End?

Since relocating to NYC in September of 2004, I have moved five times. Five. Times. Why so many moves? The chaotic life of a transplant freelancer, I guess. But now there seems to be a distinct rhythm to my life and I want this reflected in a brand new scene. I’ve decided that Brooklyn is going to be the place where I take the historic step of living alone for the first time.

Technically I’ve had two apartments that were my own in California, but I was in relationships at the time and so truly, those were shared situations. Now, I’m in the processing of finalizing paperwork on an apartment in East Williamsburg that will serve as my fortress of lady solitude. Me, in a big (relatively speaking) one bedroom all to myself. Me, controlling every aspect of design, layout, and cleanliness. Me, developing my culinary skills in a kitchen that mine mine mine. Me, inviting people over and being able to tell them to leave at my discretion. Me, having the space and security to work on my creative projects.

Ahhhh.

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Girl Antagonists in Cinema

Posted on March 26, 2007. Filed under: Fassbinder, girl antagonists, lists, Musings |

Since the birth of cinema, the stereotype of the female as victim has been explored in countless ways. Females on screen, much as in real life (and to this day) exerted their limited power (beauty, charm, maternal sway) to manipulate those with power into giving them what they desired. And in the 1930’s, no actress epitomized the young female ideal more than Shirley Temple.

In all of her roles, Temple represented the feminine traits that were desirable in a young girl/woman-to-be: beauty, intelligence, social graces, and possessing a strong moral compass.

Noir films and the sinister Femme Fatales of the 1940’s/50’s crossed over from Europe and opened the doors for mainstream American audiences to witness the development of a new type of young female character: The Girl Antagonist.

(more…)

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My Obsession with Obesity, MENSA thoughts and Favorite “D” Palindromes

Posted on March 20, 2007. Filed under: current obsessions, MENSA, Musings, Web 2.0 |

I rarely watch television, but when I do I revel in the bizarre and inappropriate shows that somehow are allowed to air. TLC, my beloved channel of all things giganto, is premiering the second season of Honey We’re Killing the Kids! on April 9 at 9pm. The series focuses on the childhood obesity issue. These unfortunate folks are addicted to food, and I am addicted to watching them eat it. Who is more sick? I don’t know, but it’s awesome. Also check out 627 lb. Woman – Jackie’s Story.

– via cynopsis

MENSA THOUGHTS

edit: I was lazy and did not upload images. If these break later today, let me know because otherwise this entry makes less sense than it already does. Thankyee.

I am not a member of MENSA.

However, I recently stumbled on to their magazine through my creative partner. She is a member and graciously allows me to pursue through old copies of the “members only” magazine which features lengthy articles by MENSAns? of all ages. The topics range from time management, the gay marriage debate, DIY home repair, info on local MENSA-related activities, and works of short fiction/poetry.

MENSAns, according to the magazine, can be doctors, lawyers, trapeze artists, unschooled, gay, straight, punk rockers, priests, autistic – basically they keep reiterating that there isn’t an accurate catch all MENSAn description.

Reading these magazines makes me think about how intelligence is generally measured by society, what an “intelligent” person is supposed to look like, and how formal education is a measure for future success.

When people initially assess/interview me, they usually assume I completed college or some sort of video/film production program. That is not the case. I finished High School with my diploma when I was sixteen, but afterwards found the experience of college so profoundly boring that I dropped out after two years (over the course of five years). Fortunately, my lack of formal education has never prevented me from pursuing and attaining my goals. I worked in several challenging fields prior to switching to this “business of show” (primarily educational institutions/organizations), where there was ample opportunity for career advancement if I had chosen to stay on. I would have to say that in all of my positions, my educational background has never an issue.

I do not support dropping out of school. In most cases I would think this is kind of a dumb move. In general, when you go through the interview process, being able to demonstrate that you can finish the things that you start is a crucial asset. Particularly if you are of color, it is highly beneficial to finish your degree and apply what you learn to best serve your dreams. It only makes sense in a world where race definitely still comes in to play at hiring time (If you try to argue with me and say it isn’t, you are getting ass punched).

But to put things into perspective, in the three years that I have worked professionally in NYC, I have met all types of successful people in the industry. Some had masters degrees, others were like me and never finished their bachelors. Some never took any college courses. Others never finished high school. However, what all of these folks had in common were three things (to boil it down): Common Sense, a strong work ethic, and an open mind. I suspect that these three qualities are not something you can completely pick up in a lecture.

Nevertheless, my advice to a young person, if they were to come to me all soft and doe-eyed (aw), would be to stay in school. Frankly, it’s just easier for you all around. Being self schooled is tough. You go into the real world and not only do you have to support yourself but you have to somehow educate yourself as well. Because you don’t want to walk around being a dummy. And there is a certain element of freedom on a college campus you aren’t going to get anywhere else. You get to be an adult, experimenting with what life has to offer, without any of the responsibility (if you are lucky enough to be on the ‘rents/state’s dollar).

When you apply to an internship through the school system, it gives you a certain credibility that Joe Shmoe from the Block is not going to get. People are more likely going to take you seriously if you are already in school, working towards your degree. It implies there is a certain set trajectory that they, your potential future employers, can rely on. People like the illusion of security.

As a former Joe Shmoe from the Block, who applied to 8 zillion internships in NYC and managed to get three solid experiences, I cannot imagine doing that again beyond my early 20’s. It was a horrendous experience, and although my lack of education didn’t prevent me from those three (Killer Films, Jennifer McNamara/Casting, Mirabai Films) I am sure that the other zillion or so applications that no one responded to were rejected solely on the basis of me not being enrolled at a University. MTV does not take interns who aren’t in school, neither does NBC, CBS, and many other media companies. However once I had my first real paid gig on my resume, nothing else mattered.

Entry level production questions:

Do you have an NY drivers license? check. Do you know Avid/FCP? check. Can you use a walkie? check. You will be working weekends, is that going to be a problem? No? check. Who referred you? Oh, blank? Ok yeah, I worked with him/her on whozitz.

Ok you’re hired.

Post entry level production questions (no longer green):

Insert-name-of-Trusted-Associate gave us your name. What have you shot on? Do you have any experience with online/digital production? Can we see samples of your work? Nice.

Ok, you’re hired.
Maybe one day I will go back to school. After I get my first Oscar.

My Favorite “D” Palindromes

Dennis, no misfit can act if Simon sinned.

Derek, I like red!

Dr. Awkward

Damn! I, Agassi, miss again! Mad!

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Continuity-Challenged and Misanthropylicious

Posted on March 15, 2007. Filed under: film reviews, Musings, The Host |

So it occurred to me that I have probably mentioned The Host at least five or six times since the birth of the Lair. For those obsessively tracking my every move, I suppose an update is in order.

I did go see it last weekend – at my favorite theater in all of Manhattan – The Sunshine Cinema. I can’t think of a more accurately titled venue. This location surpasses all in terms of projection quality, caliber of theater patrons (for the most part, you can’t always avoid douche bags), popcorn savoryness, and programming. It truly fills me with “sunshine”. When I cross the threshold into my personal church, it’s as close to having an authentic religious experience as I can get being that I have recently reached the pinnacle (hopefully) of my jadednesses. I haven’t stepped into a church since I was ten years old, because even then the sight of hypocrites getting weepy over parables about chubby babies getting sawed in half overworked my delicate gag reflex. Although I will begrudge that the more macabre elements of the bible did perk my interest in the darker themes running through some of my now favorite films.

But digression over. Back to The Host. Bong Joon-ho manages to, for the most part, successfully weave jump out of your seat monster thrills with a heartfelt family story. Up until now, I had never seen a monster movie before where I truly cared about the victims. I just wanted to see them be gobbled up or maimed, but a true personal attachment formed to his main characters, to my surprise, within the first ten minutes of the film. These were more than meat sacks for the mutant to ravage – they were complex people who reached me. I am known to be a crier, but never in monster movies. I wept like a little bitch more than three times during this film, I won’t deny it.

The Host, for me, was further proof that no matter what genre you are working in, there is no excuse to create a crappy movie. He had all the elements/excuses to blame – a huge budget, CGI, predictable story line, but still – it’s a work of art. It digs deeper than is required and pulls out something that is ultimately genre defying.

…Kurt Loder recently reviewed The Host. I agree with most of it but I feel that calling it a film with “raggedy esprit” only validates stupid moves like it being remade by an American filmmaker. If any of my friends go see the remake they will instantly become my enemies and I will proceed to stone them to death right in front of the ticket booth.

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Anticipating The Host & How to curb your Alcoholism

Posted on March 9, 2007. Filed under: Female Icons, GreenCine Love, Musings, Proximity |

GreenCine has a great interview with The Host’s Bong Joon-Ho!

I am going to see this movie early tomorrow morning, and am trying my best not to ruin it by watching illegal downloads. I have banned myself from this and instead am appeasing my insatiable desire for all things Host related by relegating myself to really in depth interviews such as the one I just mentioned

It’s a good piece to delve into if you are interested in knowing more about why he made this film in the first place, which of the characters does he identify with the most, why the characters come from the working class, and more.

Plus, in the interview he mentions that Korean people are very hot-blooded. This made me laugh because my creative partner is half Korean, and when we were making Proximity, at one point we got in an argument over something technical and she threw a water bottle that nearly hit me. Good times. I wouldn’t want to work with someone who couldn’t get fired up about anything. We are going to re shoot a few scenes after we go see The Host, so stay tuned… But really, can you improve on perfection? ;P heh heh arrogance is a virtue in some circles, I insist.

Making Movies Keeps Me from Being An Alcoholic

…I have had a total of two alcoholic drinks in three months, since I began making short films again. I thought it would be the opposite. Who knew?

ps: I am reading an excellent book right now- Red Light: Superheroes, Saints, and Sluts. Through essays and short stories, it deconstructs female icons, past and present, and re-imagines them for the twenty-first century.

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IMing as Therapy

Posted on March 6, 2007. Filed under: IMing, Musings |

So we all do it, some more than others.

IMing at work.

In some offices, it’s grounds for firing. In others, it’s a slap on the wrist or ignored as long as you get your work done. In cases like mine, I have to be on whether I want to or not. Job stuff comes to me from all angles: as face to face chats, emails, calls, and more often than not – IMs.

So like many of my digital tribe, I am on AIM all day (or meebo, if I remember), and find myself having several convos at once through out the day. One chat window is with an editor – a continuous convo about a particular story. Another is with Alex & Jane – convos related to updating the myspace page. Other windows are with the news digital team about various projects — all different convos, all happening through out the day, often at the same time.

So it’s no surprise that in my chat screen (along with many folks) I have a few additional windows open for personal/non work reasons. Keeps me sane.

Maybe it’s my Little Sister – she’s home from school and bored. An easy way to keep in touch. Sometimes it’s my roommate – checking in with bill questions, updating me on her life, or telling me something funny. Often it’s my creative partner, who is also at her job, and we’ll go back and forth about ideas all day. Maybe a portion of the convo will be continuous, but sometimes she’ll IM me something and I won’t get back to her for hours. It’s fine, it’s how it works in the IM world.

It’s funny the sort of things we tolerate in IMs that we won’t offline. For example, right now as I write this blog my creative partner is IMing me about her experiences as a film extra. I click back in the chat window from time to time to see what she’s writing, but I’m only half paying attention. I will respond to her in a minute or so, and she won’t know the difference. Even if she did, she wouldn’t care.

But if we were in person, this sort of behavior wouldn’t and shouldn’t be acceptable.

To my dismay however, I am finding a lot of online behavior/etiquette seeping into the fabric of offline society…

Examples?

* Carrying on texting convos in movie theaters. Why is talking in a movie frowned upon but not texting?. I hate this. I can’t stand your little clickity clicks, blips, and buzzes. I would rather hear you talk. Then I’m the weird one for telling you to stop texting?! Me?! Why Me?! Am I taking crazy pills or something?!!!!

But to be clear, I feel that it’s absolutely fine to use your cell phone/texting as an excuse to ignore people on the subway. Why is that fine? I am already jealous that your texts work underground, number 1. Number 2, I don’t want to look at you anyway. So yes. Look down. Check your texts. Busy your self, and I will busy my self as well – pretending I care what the billboards above your head say. Any excuse to avoid all human contact in the fetid tin can that is whipping us all around dark corners for over an hour.

Time to head home and drink mucho bloody marys with roommate. Been one of those days.

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