Archive for May, 2012|Monthly archive page

Writing Neverland.

In Uncategorized on May 23, 2012 at 10:04 pm

I’m that girl.




You know. That girl. That girl who graduated high school with a 4.2 GPA saying flowery things like, “I want to express myself and change the world with my words and bring people together through song and dance.”

my friends are right. I’m the frickin’ shorter/paler version of Zooey Deschanel in “New Girl.” Minus the

glasses. I can’t pull those damn things off. They make my nose look weird. Not that I have a complex about it, because I totally don’t. It gives me character. Moving on.

4.2 GPA. My first three years of high school, I was at one of the most academically competitive schools in southern california. A 4.2 was practically considered being a functioning idiot. Still, I was proud of it. Skies the limit. I was going to be anything and everything. Applied to the theatre department and film department of USC, UCLA and Chapman. Auditioned for Chapman and UCLA. Don’t even remember if USC touched me with a 10-foot pole. UCLA did the whole, “thanks but no thanks.” Chapman film wanted nothing to do with me. I finally got in somewhere. Chapman theatre wanted me. Even offered me an academic scholarship. (It still wasn’t enough to cover the tuition, which was around the same price as USC). Turned down Chapman due to finances. Ended up studying broadcast journalism at CSUF.I don’t spend much time looking back on the “what if” in life. You spend too much time looking back, and you end up not seeing where you’re going and eventually, you run into life and it knocks you flat on your ass. So I look forward. I move forward….until recently.

I was looking through old application essays that I sent to all the universities. What did I want back then? What was I looking for? How the hell did I screw things up so badly? The answer was in the words. Between the lines of pretty vocabulary words screaming out all of the beautiful things I would do with my life ‘if only I had a B.A. in theatre’, I found the truth. The truth was this: In all of the mess of words I had typed out and sent to all of those colleges, I didn’t know what I wanted. When you apply to college, you’re supposed to know what you want. Spielberg knew he wanted to be a filmmaker at 3 years old. If you don’t know at 3, then tough, I guess. Why isn’t it ok to write something like, “I don’t know exactly what I want, but I know that I’m a passionate person, and whenever I have a cup of coffee I see my life as a movie. I can write a story from beginning to end in my head. I can create a character at the drop of a hat. I want to make people laugh and cry. I get tummy butterflies just from thinking of a stage. I know I’m confused as hell, but do you have a place in this university for me? I’ll work real hard, I promise.” 

Why can’t you say that?

It’s the truth. Isn’t it best to just be truthful?

Fast-forward 9 years later (Jesus Christ, 9 years????) I’m finally starting to figure things out. I know what I want. If I had to reapply to UCLA, I’m sure I could adequately formulate my dreams into one sentence. 

And if I had the chance to have a doover….doover. I meant do-over, but damn, DOOVER looks like so much more fun doesn’t it? (No effin’ wonder UCLA doesn’t want me.) If I had a chance to do it all over..

hahaha DOOVER.

I wouldn’t change a thing. I wouldn’t poetically write out what I want. The way I feel about theatre today, is the same exact way I feel when I meet a guy I like. I get butterflies. I can’t think straight. I can’t possibly express how I feel, because my brain is swimming. The good kind of swimming, not the “Jesus, Erika is crying on the high-dive for her swim test! Can someone push her off?!”

Not that kind of swimming. The good kind. If I had a doover, I’d still write those silly words that would include, “I want to change the world.” 

This “changing the world” business keeps me up at night. Writing “Princes” was like a spark that hit me about a year ago. Everything in my life took a new focus. It’s like I found my own religion. And I’m obsessed with it. It’s the first thing I think about in the morning, and the last thing I think about at night. I get up at 4am daily to work an 8-hr day, then I head home and write/research/email/push/hustle until 11 at night. And I still don’t feel like I’m accomplishing anything. I always feel like there’s someone else out there working harder. Emailing that extra agent. Writing that extra script. Fine-tuning that extra press release. There is someone out there one-upping me and it’s driving me bonkers. In the end, I’m only competing against myself. 1 year ago, my challenge was, how am I going to deal with the heartbreak if this show completely blows and I’m mortified at what happens on the stage? What if my story is awful and no one is telling me this? How the hell do you produce a play???

1 year later, my concerns are different. How do you produce a play from out of state? International festivals or NYC first? It’s a good change, but I desperately need sleep. I’m also in the middle of writing the Peter Pan project. Started outlining the idea about 6 months ago. Changed the plot 3 times. I’m still not happy with it. Everyday I tell myself, “What the hell were you thinking? This is awful.” People told J.M. Barrie that no one would see a show about pirates and crocodiles and fairies. Maybe I just need to have more faith. 



The new girl.

In Uncategorized on May 7, 2012 at 10:28 pm

I’ve never been considered ‘the new girl.’ Having lived in California for 26 years, most of my friends came from other states. Whenever people met me, they would always ask, “So, where you from?” I would always respond with, “about 20 miles from here.” I’ve always been that girl who was from about ’20 miles from here.’ Which is strange, because I don’t see myself as that girl. I see myself as adventurous. I see myself as someone who is ready to fly by the seat of my pants. Not the girl who managed to stay in the same state for so damn long. I had been wanting to leave California for the past 5 years. Nothing personal L.A, but I visited New York, and the city absolutely stole my heart.

People are shocked when they find out I’m a California girl born and raised. The first thing they usually say is, “That’s weird, I thought you were from the south.” (Apparently when I’m feeling friendly I slip into a thick southern accent.)

People are also shocked that I’m a California girl, because they say I’m “too nice.” That’s where I have to draw the line. It makes me so upset that Californians have a reputation for being such complete assholes. To every person who has acted surprised that I was born in California, I say the same thing, “Any true Californian doesn’t fit the typical mold of ‘asshole’ that you’re looking for. If you want to point the finger at someone who lives in California and call em’ an ass, point the finger at someone who moved here from out of state with a false perception of what it is to be a Californian and therefore projected their assholiness all over the place.”

I no longer live in California. I moved to Boise, Idaho on accident about 3 months ago. I say ‘on accident,’ because I was visiting my family and ended up falling in love with the town so I never went back to California. That, and California was too damn expensive. While there’s things that I miss about the city (like living a couple miles away from any movie studio or going to the same vet as Eric McCormick), I have truly found a town that I can call ‘home’…at least for now. I’m moving to NYC by the end of the year. The nice thing about Boise, is its an inexpensive place to live. I once overheard a person out here complaining that they spend $500 on rent (To own a HOUSE.) I paid $1,000/mo last year to have a studio apartment across the street from the Warner Bros. water tower. Lets face it, saving my pennies now to end up in Manhattan later is well worth it. But now that I’m here, I gotta say something about this whole Californian thing. I feel the need to set the record straight.

 Californians. We’re not jerks. We’re really not.
And sure, the last 2 years I lived in California I complained about a lot of things. The traffic. The obnoxious amount of vegan restaurants everywhere. Everyone claiming to be an artist.
That’s when I realized something. All of the things I loved about California (The beach, graffiti on the freeway, having access to Japanese food 24/7, etc) were all things that were tangible. They were all things I could experience. I started to realize that it was the people I didn’t care for. This is in no way a bash toward my friends who moved to Cali from outta state. I don’t have friends who are assholes, just sayin.’ This is, however, a bash on the people who came to California to make their dreams come true (nothing wrong with that), and while doing so, decided to make us all look like jerks (something majorly wrong with that). Hollywood is the place of dreams. I get it. If you want to be a movie star, you’ve come to the right place. I grew up in California. My hometown was Monrovia. The same street where they filmed, “Picket Fences,” “Without a Trace,” and “Legally Blonde” (yes, my town was the land o’ Harvard) was the downtown district that my little brother and I used to hang out in growing up. Cameras and lighting equipment was something I was quickly jaded by. Being successful in this town had nothing to do with bumping into the right person on the street, flashing your pearly whites, and going to the launch party for a new vodka. This town was about working your ass off. I’m grateful I grew up near L.A. It made me well aware of the fact that my dreams were a possibility. All I had to do, was work hard enough. And I did. I busted my ass in college. Picked up my degree in journalism (that I am STILL paying off), interned for movie producers and a news show. Worked more than 1 job at once while juggling theatre productions at night. Found a way to work for two major movie studios. Wrote a spec script for “How I Met Your Mother.” Wrote my first play, and self-produced the show in 3 venues in under a year. Studied at Groundlings and South Coast Repertory. Did it all. And I still haven’t “made it.” If you think I’m giving up, you’re crazy. It’s just a part of the game, and I’m more than happy to play. Here’s what I got tired of: Sitting in coffee shops while I’m trying to write (I was paying so much in rent to live by the WB water tower, that I couldn’t afford internet, so I would go to Starbucks to use the free wi-fi) and having to listen to a bunch of pretentious “artsy types” go on and on about that next screenplay they’re writing. Nothing wrong with writing a screenplay. Go for it. Just please don’t advertise it to everyone at Starbucks. These are the people who are perfectly capable of affording their Wi-fi. They’re literally just at Starbucks to have an apple box to stand on. These are people that are usually from out of state, and think that living in L.A., means you’re suddenly a writer, or you’re suddenly an actor…and that you’re suddenly entitled (you’re not). These are the same people who think that you’re only a true Californian if you’re jeans are designer jeans and cost more than your apartment. These are the same people who believe if you aren’t out every night spending $10 on a vodka martini, that you aren’t living in your 20’s. These are the same people who are ok with spending $20 to see a movie in 3D, but can’t fathom the idea of investing the money in something that will push your career forward.
This is what it means to be a true Californian: We don’t go to the beach every weekend. Not because we don’t want to, because we’re not going to sit in traffic for 2 hours just to pay $10 to park the car and lap sit just to get a good spot in the sand.
We aren’t all vegan. We aren’t all health-conscious. Some of us love a good hamburger that was grilled by a restaurant with a B rating.
We don’t all drive like assholes. Actually, I do. I’m a total asshole driver. Which has made driving in Boise completely awkward. No one uses the horn out here. No one. I’m the kind of driver who wants you to honk at me if I zoned out when the light turned to green. Its just good manners. If I’m not paying attention to the road, I expect the person behind me to be doing so. Its just common decency.
We aren’t all pretentious art lovers. I don’t go to museums for my art. I love the art on the highway. I love street art. In fact, that’s one thing I miss living in Boise. The graffiti art here is commissioned by the city. There’s actually a street called, “freaks alley” which is chock full of commissioned art. I like my art dangerous. I like my art dirty. I like my art to be illegal.
Phew. I said it. True Californians aren’t all jerks. And hell, the people who live there from outta state aren’t all jerks either. And I just had a realization, what if I’m the new jerk in Boise? What if I’m about to contaminate this town with my Californian ideologies? What if I screw up New York too? Only time will tell I guess. I guess what I’m trying to say is, next time you meet a person from California, give em’ a big hug. They’re not an asshole. And next time you meet a person who is just moving to Cali from outta state, give em’ a hug and whisper in their ear, “we’re not all pretentious. Let’s keep it that way. Please just remember to be yourself while you’re here. Wear ratty jeans if you want. You don’t need to spend $200 on your haircut. Just be yourself.”