First Act: Complete

First acts are probably the easiest. And I write short anyway. This one clocks in at exactly 22 pages, written in just over a week. 9 days coming out to over 2 pages a day, though that’s certainly not how it was written. 12 last weekend, 10 this weekend. Nothing like my 15 page a day peek last summer, but then, I have a full time job and several part time gigs.

I am going to polish it up and send it to the manager guy sometime this week. Although it’s a first draft kind of, it’s not really.

I first wrote out the idea as a short film, which I shot 2 summers ago. Then, last summer, I wrote out a 4 page treatment and character profiles. And then, last fall, I did 40 index card outline. And then I hand wrote it the last month. So the typed version is not really a first draft, but it still feels fresh, new and exciting.

Hopefully I can get some feedback before I send it off to more judgmental eyes.

Tomorrow, the editor starts on the show I’m working on. I’m hoping to get to know him at least somewhat.

Sometime this week I need to meet with the actress whose reel I’m working on. She has some notes on it. Unfortunately, for what she’s paying me, I can’t afford to spend much more time on it, so hopefully when we meet this week we’ll be able to put it to bed.

I also need to finish this assembly/rough of the short I got last weekend. I’m about halfway through, but I wanted to be done tonight.

I also wanted to have the pilot for this web series written. I just need to sit down and bang something out, even if it’s crap, to get it off my plate. I’m just having a hard time drumming up enthusiasm for a 3 page script. It’s so little to work with.

The web series that I worked on and was going to post supervise and edit isn’t going to be happening. The deal they were getting was just unmanageable, which is a shame.

I have no idea what I’ll be doing as a job come Nov. 2. I spent the day e-mailing back and forth with my G.G.Aunt Margaret. I’m learning a lot about my family history and it’s all very cool and strange at the same time.

Tonight was the last night of my antibiotics for my weird strep, which the doctor thinks may be the cause of my severe fatigue and dizziness. Thank God, because I’m having to really focus on keeping it down. Nothing like knowing you can’t throw up because you’ll lose your medication.

Obviously I’m still a bit bummed on the Nicholl Snafu but I’m excited that there are possibly going to be phone calls this week. I really should have busted my ass to get a new draft of Bible Con done, but who knows, I may have gotten rid of whatever made it SF material.

And their cock up (sorry, too much Gordon Ramsay) was good in the sense that I broke 200 visitors in a day by posting it. And I discovered a few new screenwriting resources because message boards linked to me and sent traffic my way. DoneDeal and Zoetrope, if anyone is curious. I’ve never been much a part of the online screenwriting community because I know so many writers in the flesh, but it could be a cool avenue.

And if I haven’t said it before, Greg Beal is a class act — he’s everywhere online apologizing, explaining, and taking people’s thoughts into consideration. I’m really impressed with him. Now, if he could get some different people working the phones…

Tales from the way out there wierdness that is my life

My Great Great Aunt just friended me on facebook. I’ve never met this woman, never heard of her, never knew she existed. She saw my picture on someone else’s friends list and asked who I was because I looked so much like my grandmother, her niece, Cleo.

I never met Cleo, who died when my mom younger than I am now. Mom never had many pictures — Cleo’s death left her an orphan, so I don’t really know what Cleo looked like other than she had red hair in a bob. Mom’s grandparents, who I only know as Pa and MeMa, died when I was young.

MeMa would be this woman’s sister. Pa died 3 days after I was born, having been asked to stay alive long enough for my mom to get in the car and drive her newborn the 8 hours to meet him. He met me and died the next day. MeMa I knew when I was very little, but I don’t have any memories of her. She was the only grandparent I ever had, and she was my great grandmother.

So today I was surprised to find out that, no, no grandparents, but yes, a great great aunt. And I was also surprised to find out I look like Cleo. I find it cool that I look so much like her that, though I was an apparent stranger, this 84 year old woman asked about me. And I find it cool because she’s like ancient history that I know nothing about yet am connected to.

Busy Weekend; Bad day for a Migraine

Friday was crazy. I got asked to write a pilot by a web producer, to write a polished first act of a feature for a manager, to edit a short, to add something to a reel, and that it’s possible that I will be promoted to Assistant Editor in January and that I will be responsible for the deliverables for the show I’m working on starting Monday. These are all good things, but suddenly my off days are very full.

I feel terrible today. I have the worst headache I’ve had in years. I missed my morning call about the trial drug I’m taking, I’m really hoping this doesn’t cost me being able to be in the trial. But seriously, my headache was so bad my eyes were watering. I took some Advil. And then I irrigated my nose. And then I took a decongestant. And then I found a bottle of Vicodin I had from a previous injury.

This stuff is magic. I still have a little bit of a headache, but I am functioning again. Albeit at a reduced capacity for coordination and thought, but still. I should say that I’m already prone to being totally dizzy and having zero coordination. Which is to say, on Vicodin, I am kind of hilarious. I’m like a tight-rope walker trying to balance who is also very talkative.

Yesterday, I met with the director of the short and got the footage. It’s a romantic comedy, the lighting looks good and there are some good performance moments in what I’ve seen. It’s 4 hours of footage to subclip and log and it took me 12 hours just to get the back up done. But, I’m hoping F will be able to take a little bit of the subclipping work off my plate. Like a subcontractor ha. I also met with the actress, showed her my rough idea for her reel and got another project from her. She seems happy, so that’s good.

I also got 12 pages of the first act for Dyke for a Day written, so I’m excited about that as well. I’m trying to finish it this week. Luckily I write fast when under pressure, so hopefully banging this and the short web pilot out won’t be too difficult. I’m just so Zombified from the headache and the vicodin that I’m not sure I’m useful.

I’ve been watching a lot of Hell’s Kitchen and Flipping Out. I must just love angry people because Jeff Lewis and Gordon Ramsey seem so adorable to me. I want little teddy bear versions of them to have walking around and yelling all the time.

I’m very concerned, having not heard from the producer, that Gold is not going to be happening this fall. I was really looking forward to being the Post Supervisor for that, but maybe there’s enough on my plate already. I’ll probably hear about the Nicholl this week.

It’s so damn hot in my apartment. I’m tempted to use my new cubicle space as my writing home. Maybe there’d be less distractions there.

Tomorrow: Doctor’s Appt at 8 AM, Starting story assistant job at 9 AM (probably will be late), and all that other stuff on my plate.

A portrait in how it is the little things that make a difference

I have been working at this company for just shy of one year.  I just got my first promotion from the depths of hell aka logging.  Logging is basically transcription.  It’s a potentially useful service, in that you have people who have seen all of the reality footage that a show shoots.  They write what happens so you can keyword search.

Theoretically, you could also go to the loggers with questions if you were looking for something, but none of the shows actually seek to do so.  This is a shame.  Of course, considering what they pay the loggers, that is above their expected skill level.

So, now that I’ve been promoted to Story Assistant, I actually get my own desk in it’s own cubicle.  I even have my own extension and a drawer in which I can leave things.  Apparently, these things are normal for people to have, but previously, I came in every day to a room with a few computers where I would be unable to leave, say, a jacket because it got cold, or a water bottle.  I had to get special permission to be able to put a lamp on the desk.  The room was so dark.  No windows, no skylights, no sign of whether it was day or night.

I switched to the Dvorak layout for my keyboard because I’ve been struggling with wrist problems, but gave it up because I had to physically bring in my own keyboard every day.  Couldn’t leave it.

I’m also now going to get information on the insurance policy that the company has.

So my own cubicle with it’s own set of drawers and a skylight may not seem like a paradise to many, but for me, it is so much better.  Today, people actually talked to me like I wasn’t a troll — they like my hair.  I may not be getting a pay raise, but I’m definitely getting better treatment.

Darn copyright laws

They’ve already taken down that The Soup/Naughty Kitchen clip apparently. I can see it because it’s mine but apparently no one else can. Boo.

http://kanyelicious.appspot.com/http://ashleyfmiller.wordpress.com

I officially have my own cubicle at work and that is very exciting. Weird working for a place for 11 months without ever having your own space. I will now be able to leave my jacket at work for when I get cold instead of lugging it to and from work every day. Huzzah.

Girlfriend’s gonna decorate!

Up and Down; Script, Web Series, Inktip; Allergies

So the webseries thing keeps ping ponging back and forth between happening and not happening.  If it does happen, I’m probably going to lose my Thanksgiving.  Theoretically also my Christmas, except I’m not willing to give up my Christmas and my Thanksgiving.  So.

There’s another short that I’ve been contacted about.  I just got the script, it’s cute, but quite long for a ‘short’.  I find that to be a common problem.  Short shorts get shown more!

And!  Excitingly!  A producer/director team contacted me to read my script.  This was from an ad on Mandy (see the link on the sidebar) and they contacted me very quickly.  So far Inktip has been a complete disappointment.  The script has come up on maybe 6 people’s searches, and no one’s read the synopsis.  It could be a problem of the logline, but, seeing the company names, it just seems like it’s not being found by people who are interested in comedy.

I took a benadryl and a claritin this morning, meaning I had two antihistamines in my system when I went to get my allergy skin test done. My reaction was so terrible that they called everyone who works there in to see.

Dr: Are you trying to win a prize?
Me: No allergies would be a good one, you got that?
Dr: Oh. Um, well.

And, for people like me who can’t get enough of other people’s medical melodrama, you can click here for the picture.

Always Something

Last night I had a long production meeting about a webseries that I’ve been tapped to be the Post Supervisor/Lead Editor on.  Which is exciting, but we’re not sure when the production is actually going to get produced.  So, right now, there are 3 different web series that I’m theoretically on board for but that aren’t quite getting produced just yet.  I’m still hoping that something comes through in the next couple weeks, but we’ll see.

The production was in the house of someone with cats.  I am very allergic to cats, I don’t understand why people have cats.  It’s like rubbing peanuts all over your house.  Sure, not everyone is allergic, but a lot of people are, and the ones that are have a real bad reaction.

Anyway, I was already woozy and weird and now one of my eyes is swollen shut.  So I called in sick to work, because I didn’t want to drive with one eye only kind of working and then have to sit in front of a computer in an allergic haze.  Yeah.

I’m trying to get in to this medical research thing about allergies.  I’m going to get a skin prick test today.  Seriously, anything for money out here.  I was disappointed when the ad for an adult film editor was taken off craigslist.  Hey, it’s work!

K.  I’m going to crawl back in bed for a while.  I’m hoping my eye returns to a normal size before I’m supposed to go to the doctor.

Some days in LA

I don’t hate LA.  I mean, I mostly hate the town of LA, and I most assuredly hate the utter lack of organization and the awful public transportation and traffic and parking. But I like the people.  There are parts that are seedy and gross and feed off of the slimy outgrowths of crushed dreams, but there are all those dreams the slimy outgrowths feed off of in the first place.  There are people here who are talented, smart and funny.  They may not be the majority but there are more here than anywhere else I’ve lived.

One of the toughest things about being new here is your inability to help others.  Like, if I meet someone smart or talented who should be making something of themselves, it’s not within my power to simply hand them to an agent and say “Really, this guy is amazing, you have to build a career for him.  He won’t disappoint.”  There are so many people I know that I would do that for, without even asking something in return.  Because they’re good and deserve a shot and real support.

Instead it’s like, yeah, you and me buddy.  We’ll wait on the sidelines and hope someone tags us in and we get a chance to get the ball.  And if we get the ball, hope to hell we score, because we may never get tagged in again.

In which I meet famous (ish) people

My work involves watching a lot of footage. I mean, a lot, a lot, of footage. There are several kinds of reality shows, but the kind I work on, the docu-soap, involves just following people around for months and months and months. And someone (me) has to watch all of the footage that they shoot. So, if there are 7 or 8 main characters whose lives aren’t always intersecting, and you film every day, every week from May through September… well, that’s a lot of footage.

So, I get to meet someone in a show I’ve been logging since May. Which is completely exciting and a little weird. I mean, I know way, way too much about this guy. Not like, I watched a show with him in it, but like I’ve watched hundreds of hours of his life. So, he’s going to be at a major deficit in knowing about me. It’s kind of like I’m an unwilling stalker meeting my willing victim.

Also, Max Adams totally commented on my post, which is like being famous. And I’m friends with Dave White. So I have a little contact with famous (ish) people.

I once exchanged e-mails with Anne Rice. I’ve met and hugged Ben Stein. This was before he made Expelled, I’m not sure I’d be so thrilled if I met him again. But at the time, I was a huge Win Bin Stein’s Money fan. I almost stepped on Kristin Chenoweth when I worked at Warner Bros. She’s really short. Mary Louise Parker almost barreled into me on the same lot.

I got to meet Jon Stewart and Mr. I’m a PC himself, John Hodgman. The sweetest most adorable man alive.  I really wish to meet Mr. Stevie Colbert because he’s from Charleston, but that might not happen.

JH: Are you another one of Josh L’s family?
AFM: No, I’m a friend of Josh’s family.
JH: I call him Mr. L.

<3

<3

I'm a mac, he's a PC

I'm a mac, he's a PC

My mother met Princess PuffySleeves Christian Siriano.

Christian Siriano and Mom

Sick, Job Worries

Ugh.  I partially hope it’s swine flu.  But not really.  I’m just woozy, it’s my main symptom.

There are some cool things in the works career wise, including a web series that I may be able to edit/color correct the entire series and be paid.  I might even get to DP, which would be exciting, I miss DPing.  But, the contracts are in negotiation, so I don’t wanna jinx it by saying too much.  The people are really cool and I’m hoping to get their input on my Nicholl script at some point, probably after the next draft.

Max Adams, the girl who is one of the more famous (and cutest) Nicholl winners and who, weirdly, shares a name with a guy I went to Film School with and who holds the record for worst punishment ever at West Point, is also on Word Press.  I hold secret hopes that this post is about me, though I’m sure it probably isn’t.

There’s some mild chaos at work in my department, I’m hoping it gets resolved in a way that doesn’t lead to me losing my job.  I’d much rather leave for a better job than desperately search for any job that’ll have me.  If you got here because I sent you my resume, hi and welcome!

I’ve gotten nothing but sleeping and lazing about done in the last few days.  I’ve been watching an unbelievable amount of movies and documentaries about Tudor England.  I’d be hard pressed to explain my obsession but I’ll go ahead and blame the fact that I thought I looked like Queen Elizabeth as a child.

swine flu