Legal Alien: from The Editor’s Desk
“You’re not in Kansas anymore Dorothy” is what I said to myself as I attempted to cross Sunset Blvd. the other day. Even though I was at the pedestrian crossing & it was my right of way. Many drivers here have selective vision – that is to say, they have no vision at all when it comes to people on foot crossing the road at designated pedestrian crossings. I’ve always known this, it was one of the first things I noticed when I first came here in 1996. Nothing has changed. But I find comradeship with fellow pedestrians who smile & clump near me when I verbalize my horror at yet another near miss by an idiot LA driver. I’ve had some fabulous passing conversations with other pedestrians who feel as I do. We then share a knowing smile, wish each other a good & safe day & go our separate ways’ into the day.
So it was with a quiet sense of glee (no, not the TV musical show but similar) that I went out one Sunday morning to get the paper up on Sunset only to be met by 1000′s of people running in the LA marathon & Sunset Blvd. had been turned over to foot power.
Not a car/bus/truck/van/SVU in sight. It was quite a sight to see all these people making their way along this iconic thoroughfare in various states of fitness & attire very well supported by volunteers working at refreshment posts along the way.
Plates of oranges & cups of water awaited runners as did First Aide kiosks which were very well patronized. Of course there was the ubiquitous Port-a-Potty’s lined up against curb-side with queues of runners (& the odd homeless gent) needing a wee. God love them for getting up at sparrow’s to join in this people-driven (see what I did there ) event.
But seriously now, I am currently getting around via Metro & subway & let me tell you it’s not always smooth sailing. One day I had a rehearsal in Burbank at 10am then a casting in a part of Santa Monica that I’ve never been to before in the afternoon. 5 buses later & my day was done covering enough mileage to rival that Marathon I mentioned aabove. I absolutely understand why a car is needed in LA when I have days like that.
However, one of the things I do kind’a like about public transport is the people watching. LA is a hot pot of kooky weird dudes & dudettes many of whom have invisible friends coming along for the ride. A woman sat next to me the other day on the 222 Sun Valley bus & had the most amazing conversation the whole way to Barham Blvd. hardy drawing breath. The thing is though that conversation was not with me!. I just kept my head down & read my Alexander Technique book.
Something that I can not keep my head down about: a sizable amount of LA femmes, especially Mom’s have a disease…an over-sharing disease whether on the phone or not!…bonding with besties in Ralphs, coffee time at the local Coffee Bean, shopping in Trader Joe’s…..THE WHOLE TIME TALKING AT THE TOP OF THEIR VOICE ABOUT THEIR LIVES & HOW IMPORTANT IT IS & THEREFORE TO EVERYBODY ELSE IN EAR-SHOT or CALLING OUT TO LITTLE JOHNNY or JEAN “JOHNNY/JEAN, GET THE KETCHUP WILL YOU?, WHERE ARE YOU?”…..one word: AWFUL!
….Sorry, I just had to get that out….I’m good now :-). But to be fair, I know a lot of LA women who are hot, clever, talented, funny, smart, thoughtful & damn good girls.
So on that note I’ll finish my blurb with a big kiss’n'hug to you all for a lovely Easter & do read on because there’s some cool networking I’ve been up to lately that I want to share with you all.
A Gathering of Like Minds @ Samuel French on Sunset
I’ve had people say to me that there is no theatre in LA-that’s wrong. Not only is there theatre in LA operating on a number of levels – Co-Op/non-union/union/expenses only/ $100 per show/SAG scale per week + travel/commercial theatre & so it goes; but there is a thriving playwrights community & Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative is at the forefront of development & promoting distinction & good performance writing.
Along with LITTLE BLACK DRESS INK they organized & hosted a truly wonderful Festival of new playwriting on Saturday 29th of March at Samuel French Performing Arts Bookshop…the perfect house for such a wonderful day of readings, networking, discussion & happy mingling between writers, actors, directors, producers & lovers of theatre from the ground up.
It was so well organized & ran very smoothly, with plenty of breaks for chats & networking, refreshments & browsing the bookshelves of Sam French before the next session kicked in.
SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION BIT
Written & directed by Massiel Cordero, NOW WAS WHEN is a gem of a short film I’m currently working in for which I’m so very grateful & delighted to be attached to. Massiel’s script is lean & tightly woven with 3 fabulous women roles for 40′s, 50′s & 70 something actresses played by San Diego actor Karen Schuback, LA actor Rhoda Pell & Aussie gal yours truly.
DOP, Director & 1st AD.
We start filming 21st of April with a DOP from Mexico, 1st AD from China, Wardrobe designer from South Africa & Massiel is from the Dominican Republic.
Legal Alien: Editor’s Viewpoint
It’s raining in Los Angeles – it still is. It has been bone-dry here for many months – something we in Australia know a lot about. So far LA has had more rain in 2 days than it’s had in 13 months.
The nature strips are bouncing back to life and turning green again. The Jasmine is blooming; the small white ‘Iceberg’ roses so very popular in lots of gardens in LA are already in full bloom and the rain has made them go all droopy and water-logged. But the ground is so rock-hard & dry all this rain is creating flash flooding & mud slides up in the Hills & the more elevated urban areas all around the city.
March marks the onset of Spring & while the middle of the day is quite beautiful, the evenings get down to 10F & its a Desert cold that bites like ice, especially if you get caught outside after 4pm. Walking home along Sunset Blvd. from Master class at Howard Fine Studio last night around 6.15pm I was glad of my hand-knitted vest, long sleeved T-shirt, denim jacket, slacks & boots.
Just up the road is Hollywood Blvd. which in a few days will become the location for the biggest show on earth – the Academy Awards. It is a massive event in the business world of US filmmaking because so many deals are made/formed/re-formed/germinated/pushed/knocked over/re-imagined. Deals are made although no one wants to admit that!, but who are they kidding?.
I do love to watch the show though, the fabulousness of all the actors playing ‘dress-ups’ to the max. with awesome gowns & lavish jewelry; & the men in dinner suits worth thousands’ of dollars. Some of them pull it off, some don’t…who really cares except the trashy magazines & gossip mongers all falling over themselves to get the best most sharpest pics’n'critique into their column & onto News stands ASAP.
Every bit of the awards is a showcase, a Cirque du LaLaLand done with a serious side – honoring excellence in our craft at the highest levels of practice – & a shameless tilt to the glitz’n'glamour that is the very definition of shallow. It is a potent seductive juxtaposition best served if you just give in to it &, like a Disney spinning Tea Cup, sit back & enjoy the ride…preferably in my Dior ball frock from the back of my Limo, with Christal or Dom in hand on the way to the Ceremony & Red Carpet entrance with Tom Selleck on my arm.
However, Life’s hard-core reality checks are never far away here in LA. The plethora of homeless people – young & otherwise – is ever-present if you open your eyes to it. Making ends’ meet is wholly evident in Ralph’s as families squeeze every penny out of their tight budgets & the amount of TV advertising devoted to Life Insurance/Income Protection/Employment security is very telling about the state of jobs & financial security still hanging like a noose around the neck of working class America. Politically, the battle for raising the minimum wage is raging but it’s a worthy battle that I hope is won because people here just don’t earn a living wage. The economic environment that once supported $6/$7/$8 bucks an hour has gone. Even with 3 jobs, many working people (more so if you have a family) can not afford to live, pay bills & have a decent life. That is the reality.
Don’t get me started on National Health! But I digress.
I went down to Santa Monica for a meeting the other day & it was great to get a dose of sea air. & if it is possible to avoid 3rd Street & go straight to the ocean’s edge do so first. Better still, get your business done first then go for a long walk along the Promenade that extends right up to Venice & beyond if you want it to. But
Early sunset, Santa Monica Feb 2014
unless you want to experience the madness & crazy crowds & vendors of that pedestrian strip, don’t go there on the weekends…just sayin’.
As I’m getting more settled now I’ll be out & about seeing Indy theatre productions & some commercial gigs as well. & yes, there is a theatre scene here in LA although you do have to look for it & have a car to travel at night to areas like North Hollywood, Pasadena, Downtown to the Mark Taper, Santa Monica arts precinct & various other spots on the map that trying to get to at night on a bus or train is a valiant goal but ultimately a fantasy of potentially nightmare proportions.
I’ll also be writing about the professional development & the business of the Business I’m doing here.
So until next Viva Voce Blog, cheers & chookas for any gigs/classes/auditions/jobs you’re doing.
Jane E. xx
I attended a screening & discussion of SECRETS & LIES organized by Australians in Film with the Executive Producer Tracey Robertson & director Kate Dennis on the discussion panel. The 40 minute pilot was very well received by a nice turn-out of Aussie actors, writers, directors, & fellow US creatives – I went with Jacinta Marasco, a Melbourne actor I met at Margie Haber Studio in 2009.
I did enjoy the pilot & I can understand why the production has been picked up for a 13 week season being shot in the US with 2 very high profile US actor heading the cast list.
The editing was top-notch, beautifully controlled with a razor sharp ‘eye’ & touch for splicing at the precise moment to keep the narrative moving along without any disengagement from the plot or character arc. Thus contributing in preserving the murder-mystery tension well & truly alive. Bravo.
The setting – Queensland, dripping with humidity, light, sunshine, rainforest greens giving a perfect frame for the parochial domestic landscape & neighborhood where a terrible crime (?) has been committed. Fabulous use of this environment to put us all there, in the moment. Bravo.
That’s just 2 of the elements that have contributed to the success of this project. The evening was moderated by Screen Producers Australia Executive Director Matt Deaner.
Do keep an eye on this production.
Hello Dear Colleagues, Associates and Friends,
I’d very much like to share a ‘Life Event’ that is happening for me this year as it now seems the right time to do so.
In September 2013, after years of applying & working hard to make it happen, I received my Immigrant Visa (aka Green Card) which now allows me to live, study, teach & work in America on a long-term basis.
Having spent the past year packing up my life in Sydney I will be exiting Sydney on February 7th to base myself in Los Angeles for the foreseeable future.
I’ve been visiting LA on a regular basis for 5 years now studying at Margie Haber’s studio, establishing a network of colleagues & friends, & generally laying a foundation that will now help to give me a ‘landing pad’ so I can move forward in my private & professional life on the other side of the world.
Of course I’ll still be very much connected to Australia – a play is already slated for later this year which I’ll come home to do – & I’ll be writing my Blog too but it will now have a truly international ‘voice’ & I intend to share lots of news & information about the business in LA & the US in general.
And if you should visit LA do get in touch via email or Facebook message before you leave & we’ll take it from there.
It is my intention to honour this very great opportunity given to me by the Universe &…I’m going to work hard & give it my all.
But I’ll always be an Aussie gal :-).
LOCAL PLAYWRIGHT, LOCAL PRODUCTION TEAM, LOCAL ACTORS, LOCAL THEATRE VENUE
Actors Kim Knuckey & Lynden Jones together in The Maintence Room
Written by Sydney playwright Gerry Greenland, directed by Allan Walpole & co-directed by Christine Greenough & starring Kim Knuckey & Lynden Jones, THE MAINTENANCE ROOM is a two-hander that really does have a fantastic production team attached.
Playing @ the King Street Theatre from 7th Nov to 30th Nov, Tues to Sat @ 7.30pm & Sat. matinee @ 2pm
Have a very successful season & big chookas to you all. See you there everyone.
WEST SIDE SHORTS IN MELBOURNE
Tom Vogel @ ANGRY PRODUCTIONS does it again. A great film festival crammed full of interesting & varied short films for $5 at the door – what a bargain!. Dinner & drinks available at the venue. Drakon Pictures, starnow.com & the Comedy Lounge will be sponsoring some great prizes on the night.
PROJECT SCI-FI BLASTS OFF IN NOVEMBER
Filmmakers this is one for you: do you have what it takes to make a SiFi flick in 1 month?…if so & this sounds a bit crazy & fab then contact Tom Papas @ firstname.lastname@example.org to get all the information. To register yourself & your crew go to www.project-scifi.com & take the challenge to make a far-out weird’n'wonderful Sci-Fi flick in 1 month. Prizes….$10,000 in cool cash & WD products.
You got to start on November 1st & wrap by midnight November 30th 2013.
Awards ceremony is on Friday 13th December (that’s a fitting date for Sci-Fi screenings) at which all the finalists flicks will be screened.
Tom Papas is festival director & can also be contacted at/on: +61 407 295 520, SKYPE:screenmyshorts.