Eff it, life is good

After work, I went to the library to gather more CDs for my dream musical collection I’ve been compiling; Eileen texted and asked if I wanted to go for a walk. Of course I did! The weather tonight was so perfect and we walked all around Clintonville and back to our campus area neighborhood. I stopped by my favorite Indian place to get take out, which I took home and ate while reading more of my book. After that, I decided to take the laptop down to Kafe Kerouac, where I’ve been for the past hour and a half. I live in a very interesting, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood with lots of good food and great hang outs. It’s incredible.

Today I researched film festivals that have a web series category. For a $30 entry fee, I am entering this one and I’m on the look out for others. It’s time to do something with the content I’ve already created and then I can worry about making new stuff.

I might do another web series. Who the hell knows? I ❤ Columbus.

Not bad for a Monday

Meet Candy

Have I told you about Candy? She’s awesome. A force to be reckoned with, I met Candy last summer when I was filming my web series. She showed up to be an extra in the job fair episode, but she came back for a crucial role as the mother of one insane bridezilla in my favorite episode, “I Do, She Did.” We have been friends ever since.

She worked as a guidance counselor for a local college, only to be laid off when the economy went south. The irony! What does a laid off guidance counselor do? Start a new career. Candy used her vast knowledge to apply for every grant she could and is now going to school full time. She is taking classes I am extremely envious of, like cinematography, Screenwriting 101 and more. Tonight she took me out for a belated birthday dinner and we talked about what she’s been doing. She offered to share her class notes with me and I agreed to help her with a short she has to make by the end of the quarter. We have a good friendship, Candy and I, and we share a mutual love and respect for the movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.

After dinner at Aladdin’s with Candy, I went to Kafe Kerouac because I read online about a writers group that meets there on Monday nights. I met Mike, the owner, and original member of said group, which has been meeting for at least six years. He told me they are all writing different things, and that once a month they all do a writing assignment together to bring to the next meeting. The example he showed me looked pretty intense; they were each challenged to come up with an idea for a TV show and map out every episode for a whole season. That’s something that would have taken me a lot longer than a week to do with that science fiction pilot idea I had a few months ago.

I’d seen Mike before at the cafe; I used to go there and wait for my laundry to dry. In fact, I once tried to get Mike’s permission to film the coffee shop scene from “Paper Cuts” at his place but I could never get a hold of him. It all worked out in the end though, and at one point tonight he did mention he’s allowed several film crews on the premises.

There’s four core members of the group, and then some people join for a while before moving on. Everyone brings a single copy of whatever they’d like feedback on (short stories, essays, poems, even plays) and everyone marks the same copy. “Saves paper,” Mike explained simply.

I enjoyed meeting several new people and hearing their ideas. I tried to give helpful comments in writing. I brought ten copies of my treatment and got some helpful remarks; even the questions they asked were beneficial because I saw I left some pretty important details out of my treatment. I might bring my outline next time. We’ll see.

The Kafe is the closest coffee shop to where I live, so you can’t beat that. I walked down with my laptop and worked on some stuff while I waited for the group to meet. I might even start going there instead of Cup O’ Joe…? I’m talking crazy here. Anyway. I’m already looking forward to next Monday night.

“Both Hands,” Ani DiFranco

I am walking out in the rain
And I am listening to the low moan
Of the dial tone again
And I am getting nowhere with you
And I can’t let it go
And I can’t get through

The old woman behind the pink curtains
And the closed door on the first floor
She’s listening through the air shaft
To see how long our swan song can last

And both hands, now use both hands
Oh, no don’t close your eyes
I am writing graffiti on your body
I am drawing the story of
How hard we tried

I am watching your chest rise and fall
Like the tides of my life,
And the rest of it all
And your bones have been my bedframe
And your flesh has been my pillow
I am waiting for sleep to offer up the deep
With both hands

And in eachother’s shadows we grew less and less tall
And eventually our theories couldn’t explain it all
And I’m recording our history now on the bedroom wall
And when we leave the landlord will come and paint over it all

And I am walking out in the rain
And I am listening to the low moan of the dial tone again
And I am getting nowhere with you
And I can’t let it go
And I can’t get though

So now use both hands, please use both hands
Oh, no don’t close your eyes
I am writing graffitti on your body
I am drawing the story of how hard we tried
How hard we tried
How hard we tried

Screenplay Q & A

What went wrong, Lindsay?

Pam, a good family friend (and essentially honorary family member), posted a very good comment on my latest screenplay post. She had a couple questions about my screenplay and I realize I haven’t said a lot about it. Part of this is out of paranoia of my ideas being stolen and part of it is because I feel silly talking about the story when it’s still in its early stages. But, since she asked, and since I love nothing more than talking about it, here goes.

I keep referring to “Rush Week” as “‘Mean Girls’ goes to college,” which, a friend recently pointed out, is not helpful if you’ve never seen that movie. “Mean Girls,” written by Tina Fey, stars Lindsay Lohan before she was crazy. She plays a high school student who, until recently, was home schooled. She begins public school and, in spite of herself, ends up running around with the cool kids. Completely disgusted by their horrible personalities, she decides to exact revenge on the popular crowd on behalf of her real friends, a couple of misfits. My screenplay takes place in a college setting and centers around a college freshman who seeks to go undercover for the school newspaper and write about the five sororities on her campus. She writes mean things about them, they retaliate with mean spirited pranks, she guns for them even harder, she finds redemption and realizes she may have been wrong in her initial impressions of Greek life. It’s based on a real article I once wrote about the rush process at my college that pissed off about every sorority on campus, except instead of thinking I might have made a mistake, it took me a few years to realize I may have been a little too hard on everyone involved.

Q. Are you looking for a commercial “hit” or just seeing if there’s an audience for your message?

A. This is, in my mind, more commercial hit material than my masterpiece. I am really proud of what I’ve written, but I am also writing it while keeping in mind its mainstream potential. This is not an indie film script. I’m hoping to write my “Little Miss Sunshine” down the road after I have some more experience. As for a message, I like to think this is a story about journalistic ethics. But since most people couldn’t care less about ethical journalism, let’s say it’s about sorority girls and non-sorority girls learning to be nice to each other and not dumping pig blood on anyone at the prom. That sounds far more interesting.

Q. What’s your target audience? If you need to expand your world, you might want to think about who exactly you’d like to have read your script. Will your audience be your age? Your dad’s age? Tall? Married? Precocious? (Hannah [my ten-month-old niece] might be interested in eating your script).

A. My audience will likely be the 18-34 demographic – maybe college educated, maybe not. This is a PG-13 script, not R. A web site I read recommended I “interview” my major characters in order to get to know them better, and as a result, write them better. Make them seem more real to the reader. I am hoping to do this exercise very soon because I think it will help my dialogue flow a little easier.

So, thanks Pam, for asking some good questions. I am writing a lot this week, and it’s very encouraging to me to know that people are interested in how it’s going!

Learning to love living alone

The first night being back at the apartment, I couldn’t sleep. It wasn’t even because of the neighbors, like it would be most of the several following nights. But after that first night, I felt a little more used to being alone and started to even enjoy it. I started reading a John Grisham novel that a friend had recommended while I was on jury duty. It’s a court room drama, and it is far more interesting than any of those cases I didn’t get to sit in on in Franklin County. On Saturday morning, before heading to Cleveland, I picked up some audio books from the library for the trip. On the way to Cleveland and back I listened to half of “Eat, Pray, Love.” It was so engaging that I ended up listening to another disc and a half of it when I got home while I cleaned the apartment.

The neighbors, as I’ve said, are still pretty oblivious. There’s at least two of them, and sometimes an annoying dog. One of them is often listening to music above my bed, while the other plays a game on top of the living room. Most nights, the video game noise is far less obtrusive to my sleeping schedule, so I’ll go to sleep on the couch until I wake up at some point in the middle of the night, realize it’s gone quiet, and finally go to bed in comfort. For some reason I can’t bring myself to confront them. When Brandon was there, I was braver; either I’d talk him into knocking on their door, or I’d go up myself, Brandon always behind me. It’s not that I’m afraid of our neighbors; I am just feeling too exhausted to worry about what they’ll think of me, or find new ways to phrase the same request politely, so instead I choose to endure it. Something has changed here; I’m a wuss now. Maybe I always was, but Brandon’s presence brought out the backbone in me.

I haven’t been watching the usual (sad) amount of TV shows on DVD, even though I could. The night I moved in I watched one single episode of “The Office” while I ate dinner, and that was it. Lately I’ve been sort of conflicted about my love of watching episode after episode of shows; it’s absolutely not a productive use of my time, and yet it’s something I consider worthwhile because I enjoy it so much. If only I could limit myself to only watching one or two episodes of something, they would last longer and I could get more stuff done; but, much like a bag of chips, I can’t have just one. So for now, I’m choosing to have nothing at all. Anyway, if I really want to watch TV, then maybe I can take the time to figure out how the heck to get episodes of shows on my iPhone and I can watch something while I’m at the gym. The books I’m reading are helping, and I am getting surprising satisfaction out of shaping up the apartment, although that hobby is quickly getting expensive.

Last night, I had a very productive and social evening. I went to the gym, to Cup O’ Joe’s, and then to my aunt’s to watch the new episode of “Glee” with her and my cousins. After that, I had an interesting experience. When I got home after 10:30, the neighbors were in full swing over the living room. They must have gotten a new game, one in which the point is to blast things up as loudly as possible, because all I could hear and feel were these shuddering, inconsistent rumbles through the walls.

Annoyed, I decided to plug some headphones into my computer and sat down at my desk to work on my screenplay. I told myself if they were still that loud by 11:30 or so, I’d finally go up there to ask them to keep it down in the future. Several pages later, I suddenly realized I didn’t feel the rumbling anymore; they had stopped. I looked up at the clock to see it was nearly 1 a.m. I’d outlasted them. Not only that, but I’d made some pretty decent headway on my screenplay. Victory at last! Who needs sleep, right? You’ve got to admit, waiting it out might not be the worst strategy in the world if it means I am making good use of my time. But I know some of you will disagree, so I leave you with the promise that I will confront them next time, when I really do need to go to sleep and can’t afford to sit and write for another two hours.

Funk folk

When I was in college I had the privilege of not only knowing, but living with, the amazing person known as Levi Funk. He was one of the most fun people I knew in college; he was at the same time always with a sense of humor and yet able to be deadly serious when he saw you needed him to be. Also, he played guitar in his room and made up spontaneous songs about our housemates so he was especially enjoyable to be around (“Meryl, yeah, she is writing a paper…”).

Harmonica and guitar – at the same time

Also, small world: I went last night because I saw on Levi’s Facebook that he was in town. My friends Becca and James saw it and decided to go too and we sat together at the show. Incidentally, Eileen and Levi went to high school together, AND he works at WHIZ with a girl I went to high school with. I guess that’s southeastern Ohio for you.

At last night’s show, which was at The Shrunken Head (formerally Victorian’s Midnight Cafe), we heard at least half a dozen very young, local musicians. The only woman we saw perform was the benefactor of the night’s event. She is raising money to help fund a trip to Uganda to make a documentary. You can follow this project’s progress on its Facebook page. I also bought Levi’s CD (a steal at $5) so I am looking forward to listening to that.

On top of getting to see James, Becca and Levi in one place on a Monday night, it was a pretty good time.

Well THAT was awesome

My weekend visiting The Cleve was everything I had hoped and more. The occasion calls for a photo montage.

Four ladies heading out on the town

First: Jessi, the lady we were celebrating with and for, with the theme, "Moving On"

Also, Jessi's roommate Jess, who apparently went to my college yet whom I have no recollection of; she is awesome, as it turns out

Liz, another Muskingum friend

And finally, me. You know me, right?

We did some shopping Saturday afternoon and then went to Coventry, an area of Cleveland I’d never been to before. We ate at the Winking Lizard and then went to Panini’s for the rest of the night. On Sunday, we went to Melt for lunch as I said we would, and oh my God, it’s just as amazing as I was led to believe. Hopefully we won’t have to wait as long to be seated next time though, phew.

Some random lines from the weekend:

“I don’t believe in virtual tacos.”
“You’re my favorite!”
“I can feel it in my ears!”
“There’s a dead Rob in my stock pot?”
“I don’t think they make black alpacas. Hey, its not like they make them in a factory somewhere and ship them to Targets all over the world! Then when they don’t have any you can be like, ‘Why don’t you have any in stock?!’ ”

(Maybe you just had to be there.)

Francis Dunnery, “Good Life”

Softly now,
You owe it to the world
And everyone knows that you’re my favourite girl
But there’s some things in life that are not meant to be
I’m not meant for you and you’re not meant for me
Here’s to our problems
And here’s to our fights
Here’s to our achings
And here’s to you having a good life
From me
Good life

Softer now,
You owe it to yourself
And don’t think that you will be left on the shelf
Cause there’s someone for you and there’s someone for me
Like me you’ll meet them eventually
Here’s to your lover
And here’s to my wife
Here’s to your children and here’s to you having a good life
From me
Good life

Baby Baby Baby Baby
Baby Baby Baby Baby Baby Baby

Louder now,
You’ve lost all your pain
You’re married with children and happy again
And now I’m regretting the move that I made
Fatal mistakes are so easily made
Enough of my problems they only cause fights
Forget that I rang you
And promise you’ll have such a
Beautifully happy and painlessly romantic
Good life
From me
Good life

(From the “Scrubs” soundtrack.)