I’ll see you in court

Well, hopefully not. I’m being summoned for jury duty for two weeks starting March 22. Have you ever had jury duty? Do they really need you that whole two weeks? Should I bring a book to read? I mean, are we talking a lot of down time or will I be in a court room all day? I’ve talked to one person who had a first hand experience and a couple people who know second hand, and it sounds like I won’t know all the answers to these questions until I get there.

I am really hoping I’ll get to work on my screenplay during that two weeks. If I can, it might not be so bad.

In the mean time, I’ve got a show to do. I’m on stage in less than two hours, and there will be family members there to document the event. This makes me feel good and bad, all at the same time. Thanks, family!

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New Year’s Resolutions

I made a list of things I’d like to do in 2010. In no particular order, my new year’s resolutions:

  1. Put more money in savings
  2. Lose 15 more pounds by March 21 (my 24th birthday)
  3. Be a better listener
  4. Be better at keeping in touch with friends and family
  5. Buy fewer clothes, even if they are ridiculously on sale
  6. Cook more, go out to eat less
  7. Read more books, watch less crap on TV
  8. Finish a screenplay and attempt to sell it (key word being attempt)
  9. Blog more. Write more.
  10. Give more money to charity

Year in Review: 2009

This was the second year of The Sleeper Hit’s existence, and this blog documented a lot of changes in my world in 2009. Granted, 2008 was my first year in a new city, living on my own, buying a car, etc. But 2009 brought lots of new things as well. After all, 2009 was the year I decided to make movies and actually did. As I did last year, here is a recap of the inane and the important, a.k.a., the things I deemed worthy of blogging about.

January: Brandon started his job at OSU. Coincidentally, we stopped cooking dinner in the apartment around the same time. The pipes in our old place froze. Obama was sworn into office. I started the screenplay for “Beacon Alley” (untitled at the time) and read lots of books about how to write screenplays. I cut nearly a foot of hair off, and so did Brandon. The Sleeper Hit turned one year old.

February: I left my car unlocked and someone rifled through it and stole my faceplate but not my stereo. I discovered Club Trillion and did not do much work for a of couple days. Owen and Jamie found out they would be having a girl, which I totally called. I discovered my undying love for curry and finished writing “Beacon Alley”.

March: I began seeking donations from local businesses for the movie but got poor response. Casting for “Beacon Alley” took place this month, starting with heroine Becca and ending with villain Melissa. Brandon and I went apartment hunting and found our new place near campus. I switched from Live Journal to WordPress. I joined and promptly quit Twitter. A generous friend donated some gift cards to use to buy food for cast and crew on shooting days. I bought a high-def camera. Filming for “Beacon Alley” began.

April: Brandon bought me a new faceplate for my car stereo. Surly Girl allowed me to film at their place. Filming took place every weekend this month and I woke up shaking with fear every day of it. During the actual filming I felt awesome, and even better after we wrapped for the day. I named my production company Wilmer Productions, an homage to Owen’s former Willow Films. We made t-shirts. I juggled moving out of our old apartment with the final days of filming. It was slightly stressful.

May: I chose the name “Beacon Alley” after taking a photo of a street sign by our old place. Editing began. I co-hosted a baby shower for my sister-in-law with my aunt. I ran into many technical issues and discovered the importance of lighting. I got the idea for my web series, “Paper Cuts”. I threw a cast party to debut the trailer of “Beacon Alley” and scheduled the premiere with Studio 35. I watched the “Glee” pilot and flipped for that show before the rest of you bitches. Count it. I re-joined Twitter and saw the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

June: Saw the Decemberists with Brandon after he won tickets from CD101. I began casting for “Paper Cuts” and met my muse, Taylor. Editing of “Beacon Alley” continued, and I wrote the first four episodes of the show. Met Monsterbeard who advised on my scripts. Watched a lot of web series. My beautiful niece was born. Participated in Cincinnati’s 48 Film Project and met the awesome folks of Plum St. Productions: love at first shoot. Michael Jackson died.

July: Production of “Paper Cuts” began as editing of “Beacon Alley” wrapped. Showed episodes one and two before the movie at the premiere, which was well attended to my relief. My blog stats hit an all time high the week of the premiere as people googled “Beacon Alley” after presumably seeing it on the marquee at the theater. Brandon and I planned a fall trip to Colorado.

August: Filming of “Paper Cuts” continued and involved casting new extras for each episode, one of which included child actors. It was weird. Brandon dressed in a borrowed tiger suit. I had a last-minute cameo in episode six after a friend had to cancel her role as a bridezilla. Filming wrapped at the end of the month. I lamented majoring in journalism rather than engineering or nursing or some other field that is still hiring.

September: Realized I had somehow gained ten pounds over the summer. Brandon’s gallbladder attacked him in his sleep. Went to Ft. Collins, CO and San Francisco, CA to visit friends on my first-ever vacation as an adult. I tried to write a one-hour TV show pilot while in California. Got one of the worst sunburns of my life.

October: Plum St. Productions exploded into prominence. I helped them with their short film, “Gnomewhere to Hide” and loaned them my camera. Got an iPhone and began using it to help me lose weight. Brandon got his gallbladder removed and his parents paid us a visit for Halloween. Became obsessed with roller derby after seeing “Whip It!” and visited a retro rink by the interstate.

November: Spent time with my dad on a sad anniversary. Spent Thanksgiving in Chicago with Brandon’s family again, saw Second City. Became very interested in both improv acting and stand up comedy (influenced partly by seeing “Funny People”). Started announcing my weight loss progress (or regress) on my blog. Actually lost some weight.

December: Visited my mom’s parents in Cleveland with my brother and his family. Lost the ten pounds I’d gained over the summer. Brandon got new glasses. Wrote 2009 Year in Review. Oh, wait…

Exciting new project coming to Plum St.

Last week I proclaimed I would write ten pages of one of my screenplay ideas before this Friday. I ended up going home and doing it that night. I even started with my opening scene. So far, of my college script idea, I have a freshman girl being dropped off in front of a dorm, meeting her new roommate, taking a first-year tour, and meeting with her adviser. It sounds terribly boring now that I’ve put it like that, but hopefully the script itself is much more entertaining. I will be out of town for work tomorrow night but maybe I can get a few more pages done Thursday evening.

On Friday, I’ll be heading down to Cincinnati for one night only to help shoot Plum St.’s second commercial for KT’s Barbecue and Deli. This time, they’re getting paid. If you do good work for cheap (or even free) and show you’re committed to doing the best you can, you can prove yourself to a client who might be inclined to keep you on board long term and reward you for your efforts. Plum St. is demonstrating this excellently. Additionally, the guys ordered their brand new camera online last night, so on Friday I get to bring my baby back home!

Plum St. has more than commercial work lined up; two of their writers created a web series, and it’s pretty awesome. Much like “Paper Cuts,” this web series has a background in journalism. And lucky for it, Plum St. is actually hiring. The production company gave “Superhero Issues” the green light last week and we were all sent drafts of the first five episodes to write notes for. I’ve been wanting to read the scripts ever since I heard about the project and now that I have, I am pleased to say it will make for an extremely fun project. There’s a lot of wordplay in the writing and I hope the guys can find actors with the talent (and especially the comedic timing) to pull their well-written jokes off. Also, Brian asked me if I would be interested in guest directing one of the eight episodes, so if that pans out I’ll be even more enthused. More details to come.

Friday the 13th has nothing on Wednesday the 11th

Spending the day with Dad was a good idea. I’m glad he asked me to come down. The local authors meeting was pretty cool. I got to talk to other writers about my work and it felt good to have people listen and at least look interested, and they had some advice to give me on how to sell a screenplay. I can’t decide which screenplay to start first, the hotel one or the college one. I think both ideas would be fun/funny enough to keep me interested, and I have decided I want to have ten pages of one of them written by next Friday. I have scattered scenes written for both, but neither script has an opening scene at this point. Is it okay if I don’t start at the beginning? Too late. I want my laptop back. I’m going to have to borrow Brandon’s and take it to Cup O’ Joe for hours on end, like I did to finish “Beacon Alley” last winter.

All in all, Wednesday was kind of a good day. I probably didn’t need four hours in a car by myself, but I wasn’t feeling sorry for myself the whole time. Sure, I listened to a lot of music that made me think of my mom, including the song I posted yesterday by The Weepies. But I also listened to other music that cheered me up, like Guster and No Doubt. On my Facebook status that morning I posted a line from a Jordin Sparks song, “Tattoo,” a pop song that I am pretty sure isn’t about anybody dying, and I listened to Pink’s “Who Knew,” which I am pretty sure is. So what, I like pop music. Sue me. “Tattoo” came out around this time two years ago and it made me think of my mom then: “You’re still a part of everything I do; You’re on my heart just like a tattoo.” The Pink song came out around that time as well, and I can barely stand to listen to it: “If someone said three years from now, you’d be long gone, I’d stand up and punch them out, because they’re all wrong… I’ll keep you locked in my head, until we meet again.” On the way home, I listened to that My Chemical Romance CD, “The Black Parade,” which I got from Dennis last year. It took me by surprise at the time; somehow it made me feel better when I first heard it, and it still did on Wednesday. I remember I kind of poured my heart out to Dennis back then and he was really cool about it. So, thanks to Dennis for letting me ramble on via e-mail when I was in a new city with a new life and a big issue to come to terms with. And for all the awesome music, of course.

I read my entry from last year’s experience and I can see I fared much better this year. They say that first year is the hardest, which I can now say to be true, in my case. I got a lot of nice e-mails and notes from people who were thinking of me that day, and if you were one of them, I thank you for it. It would be awful to me if Nov. 11 came and went and no one remembered. I expect down the road it will be easier but these first couple years, it’s nice to know other people are remembering and thinking of her.

An unexpected project

This Sunday I will be making a short video for a class project as a favor. My high school friend Brad’s wife needs it for a psychology class. I’ve cast two parents and need two teenagers for the video which will be about “parental discord.” Since I am not a psych major I can’t elaborate on this. But what I gather from the script, it has something to do with parents who have traumatizing shouting matches in front of their kids. Since my own camera is still in the hands of those on Plum St., my wonderful aunt is letting me borrow hers for the day. We’ll be shooting from 2-4, in time to go to Studio 35 for their showing of “Blazing Saddles” on the big screen.

Tomorrow, on Black Wednesday, I will be going home to visit my dad, who is hosting a meeting of some local authors near our hometown. There is a surprising number of them in southeastern Ohio, and they like to meet up once in a while to discuss their current and/or future projects. So, instead of reading more back entries of Postcards From Yo Momma and laughing through the tears, I will be hopefully getting some inspiration to work on a screenplay. It’s about time I set myself a deadline. It’s easy to say, hey, I’m going to write a screenplay this fall and winter, but what do you do when it’s almost March and you’ve been hibernating all season?