Tuesday, March 27, 2018

10 Things We Learned As A First Time Americans In Paris (and Disneyland Paris)

(First, I apologize for the inconsistency with the font size and type. Something is wonky with blogger right now and as many times as I adjust it, it keeps screwing up. Hopefully, it rights itself very soon)

Outside Notre Dame. It was as chilly as it looks

My BF and I just got back from our very first trip to Paris from America. While I was enjoying the everything around me, I kept thinking in the back of my head what I would tell someone if it was their first time going to Paris. Mainly because there were quite a few things that surprised me.

Before I launch into my listicle let me clarify a couple of things:  I only visited Paris proper and Disneyland Paris. If the suburbs or the South of France is much different, it won’t be listed here.
Also, we went in the off-season – not a lot of tourists and it was CHILLY!

1 -  Bonjour
Always always, always say hello first. ALWAYS. The rumor that people from Paris are 
rude is totally untrue. They are incredibly polite. They expect you to be polite too. 
At any time when you need help, directions, a place to sit, even if they are expecting you, 
always begin the conversation with ‘Bonjour’ ALWAYS!! You will get even more brownie 
points if you say, ‘bonjour, excusez-moi, parlez-vous anglais?’ More than once I got a 
genuine ‘Thank you, yes’ in return. 
Chances are they do speak English, just don’t assume. Please, don’t be THAT guy. 

2 - Les Enfants
Toddlers do whatever they please. In the exact opposite of helicopter parenting European parents let their kids go, do, run, climb, and hit anything and everything. They climb over fences and onto boulders, up street lamps, more than once I saw a child running full-bore while pushing a stroller obstructing its view. On the other hand, I also saw kids full-on bite it in the streets and fall off of walls, dust themselves off and just keep going with no tears. God help the child that actually hurts themselves in the process of Tarzaning down a flight of stairs – because I saw that too. That is when the parents get involved and basically tell them ‘that’s what you get for fucking around! Now pull yourself together’.

3 – Les Poochies
Dogs are incredibly well behaved. Parisians love their dogs and most are off leash. I did not see one dog stray away from their owner even when I did my kissy sound that usually gets a dogs attention. Not even a glance away from their owner – impressive. Keep in mind while walking the streets to occasionally look down. They may train them well, but they don’t always clean up their poop.

Actual steps in Notre Dame..ooohh

4 – Training For Vacation
Be prepared to walk a great deal. I trained for this vacation and my heart wasn’t 
prepared for all the steps in Notre Dame. We walked an average of 12 miles every day. 
That’s a buck and change less than a half marathon – every day for 10 days. 
There are stairs everywhere and there are no elevators. Okay, so there are elevators to 
the top of the Eiffel Tower, but that’s pretty much it. 
Think about it - Notre Dame construction began in 1163, that’s 329 years before 
Columbus invaded America. They didn’t retrofit it with elevators. 

Even their metro signs are beautiful

5 – The Metro
The metro and the RER. I’m from Los Angeles, I drive my car. I don’t know the metro here,
 or anywhere. Every time I read about the Paris metro and the RER I took away
 ‘it’s easy’ and ‘there are pick pockets’. Needless to say, I was sure I was going 
to get lost and robbed. Neither happened. There are maps everywhere, and it’s 
so easy to follow. We knew that we were only going to ride the train a couple of times 
so we bought a book of 10 and spilt it – it’s good for both the RER and the metro. 
Just prepare yourself and you’ll be fine.

For the Disney fans (of which I am one), we went to Disneyland Paris (DLP) 
and stayed for a few days on property. Above numbers 1 and 2 carry over to this next bit,
 but there are some new ones.

There's a dragon under that castle - A DRAGON!

6  Beautiful DLP
Disneyland Paris is the most beautiful park. Granted, I’ve only been to the US parks
 - passholder at DL and been to WDW a couple of times – so I can’t say anything about 
Tokyo, Hong Kong or Shanghai. But holy cow the theming of DLP is gorgeous! 
And their rides are better too! Big Thunder and Space are crazytown awesome. 
Some rides are a wash, like Pirates and Peter Pan, but they have a dragon under their castle!
 AND you can climb the castle! The second park, Walt Disney Studios is on its way. 
Crush’s Coaster and Ratatouille are great but they don’t have a lot of attractions right now.
 According to Disney news that will be changing soon.
7 – Dining Reservations? Heck Yeah
You absolutely must get dining reservations ahead of time. They don’t have the online 
reservation available right now and you have to call to make a reservation, but we found 
out the hard way that you need to if you want to eat in a sit-down restaurant. It isn’t so 
much to reserve your table because it’s busy – you need one to get in - period. 
We batted eyelashes and went through the hotel concierge to get the tables we got, 
but we didn’t get all the ones we wanted. And speaking of the restaurants…..
8 – The Food 
We had two dinners in the hotels and two in the parks. The two in the hotels were 
exceptional (California Grill and the Yacht Club). Fantastic food and wonderful service 
– across the board. In the parks is a different story. Both places the food was fine, 
but the service was atrocious. One restaurant we were sure our waiter got fired after 
bringing our drinks because we literally did not see him again – at all. The other one
 it was 45 minutes between everything not even walking by! I understand French servers 
don’t hover but sometimes I want a refill on my wine. 

This way to secret V.I.P. fanciness 

9 – Castle Club
If you’re contemplating upgrading to a club level in the on-site hotels, holy crap, do it! 
My wonderful boyfriend, while checking us into the Disneyland hotel, upgraded us to the
 ‘Castle Club’. Worth every godamn penny. Breakfast every morning 
(besides Starbucks or a buffet, early morning café isn’t easy to come by), tea every 
afternoon, awesome view of the castle and its fireworks (at DLPH), VIP fastpass
 (meaning, we didn’t have to go through the kiosk we just showed our pass at the FP 
entrance and they let us on – unlimited) and our own concierge and they were awesome!! 
10 – Photo Pass? Maybe Not.
If you’re thinking about getting photopass, maybe skip that. If you have children 
and plan on doing several meet and greets – sure, that will be fine. We get memory 
maker when we go to WDW and stop at every roaming photographer in the park. 
We utilized the shit out of that thing and get our money’s worth. At DLP – and this is 
what surprised me more than anything – there are no roaming photographers, none. 
Not one. Not in front of the castle, not in front of ‘photo places’, not even when we were 
having breakfast and Mickey walked in. Maybe because it was off-season, but we saw not 
one cast member with a camera. Unless you just want selfies, or want to ask a stranger
 to take your picture, you aren’t going to get your whole party in every shot. 
All you get are ride pics (and they aren't very good). It was really surprising. 
After we got back from Paris something strange happened. I’ve gone through vacation
withdrawals before but this time it was different. I miss Paris like I lived there and miss 
home and I was only there for a few days! That’s the closest I can come to describing
 how I feel now. It’s feels unfair that it’s so far away and I envy the people who walk down 
those tiny streets on a daily basis. 

Such a beautiful site. I mean the tower, and me too! 

If you ever get the chance to go to Paris, jump at it! Enjoy every moment of it, drink it all in.
Go see the tourist stuff, but give yourself the opportunity to sit and enjoy a glass of wine 
in a small café and watch the rain fall.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

I Know This Story

     I don't like being here again. Being out of a job, looking for employment. Besides being not fun it really does chip away at a person's mental state and belief in themselves. Seeing a perfect job and knowing it was made for you, but not getting an interview. Hearing, 'We'll get back to you next week' and not hearing anything about it, for going on three weeks. Then you question what you should do - do I email, do I call, should I wait, did they forget about me, did they get hit by a bus, don't they know that waiting kills? After an interview, and you send the usual thank you card and nothing in return. Nothing, just waiting. At the whim of everyone else's busy schedule, while you wait.

     I'm trying to do more than just be at the whim of someone else's plan. I do keep writing and planning, I just did a once over of the kitchen trying to figure out where an overhead camera could be mounted over the stovetop. I'll keep filming and submitting because I know what I want. There's a buzz in my ear that I've had ever since my contract went up and no one asked me to stay at my last job, 'You are much better than this'. I think it carries me through. My desires are right on the cusp of reality I need to push it to make it so. Sometimes the push confuses me.

     Does that sound odd? It's like the first few moments of the day I have to claw out of despondency and sometimes by then the view is cloudy - I know what I want, but I don't know what to do. So this blog is the beginning of me making some kind of a plan. I'm breaking down the wall of myself to get myself so I can be myself. Yup - this is all about me (if you came to read about something about you, come back later).

     I do understand that everything ends. TV shows, relationships, good times and bad times, everything ends. I'll sell a screenplay, or finish the short make an impression and someone will give me money to do what I want - or, someone will hire me as a creative producer, or a writer and then I'll do something else that I want. Either way, the tide will change and I'll get a job.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Gun Laws Need To Change

Finding a concise letter to send to my congressman expressing my view on the need for tighter gun control laws isn't the easiest to find online. So I pieced together something that I'm going to send and you can certainly use.
Links to the original letter can be found here

I don't like to go on and on when I'm trying to make a point. This might seem too abrupt, and I don't know about you - I'm sick and tired of this continuous conversation and the seemingly endless violence that is happening month to month anymore.

I have to believe the good guys are going to win, and if you are a loving human and feel as if you would be the person who would step up and step in if the situation presented itself, then you must believe that too. Thoughts and prayers have turned into BS and now is the time to do what we can do. Even if it's as simple as contacting your congressman.

Doing this is us, being the good guys.

Dear Congressman,

The time for reasonable restrictions on gun ownership is long overdue. We’ve already endured far too many mass shootings of innocent Americans. How many more of these tragedies must happen before our representatives in Washington do something about it?

Although President Obama's 2015 executive gun control actions are a step in the right direction, they should not be blocked nor upended. Especially the gun show loophole. The president’s entire list of proposed congressional and executive actions must be enacted. Continuing down the current path to more tragic executions in our schools, theaters and nightclubs can’t be tolerated. Reducing gun violence can be accomplished without jeopardizing the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment.

One omission to the presidents executive order is a test taken to prove a person knows how to own a gun. Gun owners should bear the responsibility of demonstrating they’re worthy of carrying a firearm. This must include appropriate training at an approved firing range before granting of a four-year maximum state license. At a minimum, this training should include education about firearms and testing on the range. Testing should also be conducted at the time the license is renewed. We already require this of all automobile drivers, and no less should be expected of gun owners. On a similar token, all firearms must bear appropriate serial numbers, and all sales and transfers must be registered. Once again, we already require this of all automobiles, and should be doing the same for all firearms.

While the rights protected by the Second Amendment must be respected, it’s not a blank check. The Second Amendment was enacted in 1791, more than 200 years ago. Gun technology has advanced significantly during this time, but the laws and regulations have just not kept up. Guns are inherently dangerous in the hands of the wrong people, and those people must be prevented from buying and owning them. Included in that group are convicted felons, the mentally unstable, and anyone who can’t pass a thorough background investigation. A bright line must be drawn in the sand that those people can’t cross under any circumstances.

 Your strong support is encouraged and respectfully requested for expedited passage of his plans for reducing the escalating level of gun violence across our nation. It can’t happen soon enough.

the good guys.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Every Day

    I'm trying to keep a daily regime of writing everyday.  I read articles about writing, 'write everyday'. Elizabeth Gilbert wrote an article about her busy schedule on her book tour, 'write a half hour everyday'. If you are a writer, write everyday. Every. Day

    What happens when you don't have an idea? What do you write when you don't know what to write? How do you write everyday when, what you were writing suddenly loses all oomph? No, seriously, I'm asking. I was in the middle of a script and the floor fell through - honestly, it feels like it's gone. What do you do then?

    Do I take up something else and call it 'writing' - I don't think I can. I think that's cheating. Ever feel like something that goes beyond writers block? It just feels dismal and blank. Now I'm just trying not to fall in a great big hole of 'I'm not good enough'. The thing that I think most people go through. You know? That - okay I won a pretty well known contest, was it a fluke? Am I actually good enough? BLECH!!!

    If someone actually reads this blog, I'm taking advice. Seriously, any and all. If you are a creative sort - painter, writer, filmmaker, is there something you do when you've hit a wall? I'll try it. Let me know.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Friday, July 3, 2015

Friday, May 15, 2015

I Can Talk About This

     So, lately to keep up the writing chops, I've been entering writing contests. Usually the kind that gives you perimeters (Genre, character, etc) and you have an amount of time to write, and turn it so many pages. I've done okay in the ones I've entered, I've always placed, but I've never moved on to the finals -- until now.

     I'm pretty excited about this one. Here's the Link and there's my name (6th one down). There are so many aspects to this contest that I like, the mentoring, the script gets developed as the contest goes on, I'm really looking forward to it.

     I haven't forgotten about The Collector. Sitting down with my VFX Sup we realized there's a ton more FX's than we originally thought. So we need to refigure the edit and shoot the green screen footage. Which also requires more money. Remind me of all this when I want to shoot another short with VFX in it - do it MINIMALLY!!   And make sure the VFX signs off on the costume used for the green screen shoot, before it gets made -- yup, there's too much green in it. Godamnit!!
Live, learn, more on.

     Anyway, I'll update on how the mentoring is going with the writing and how that contest susses out. Wish me luck!