Monday, February 20, 2012

The Morning After

IT WAS ON THE SET OF THE MOVIE "SCREAM", back in the Spring of 1996, that I learned to drink coffee.  During that two-month shoot, we had been working 12 hour days, with one month of those "days" being all-night shoots starting at 6pm and ending at 6am.  Those chilly evenings in Tomales Bay, California, sent me straight to the craft service truck in search of a hot beverage, and in my desperation to stay awake around three o'clock in the morning, I found myself attempting coffee for the first time, mixed with a little half and half and hot cocoa powder.  In these pre-Starbucks-monopolized times, we deemed it the "white trash mocha".

After two months straight of that vigorous filming schedule, which included the hour commute from my parents' sunny house in Martinez to the windy shores of Sonoma County, we finally wrapped principal photography in mid-June of that year.  On my last day on set, after many hugs and goodbyes, I did my final drive home for the last time from Santa Rosa back to Martinez and crashed heavily.

The next morning I threw up.

For the first time in my life, I had experienced what I call, "Movie Hangover".  After one works so many insane hours on a movie set, at a break-neck pace, the body adapts to high levels of adrenaline and stress.  Once this insanity is over, the body goes into a deep relaxation mode and must re-learn normacy.  For me, it would be a little while before I could adjust back to the typical, day to day civilization, and after this stormy, but exciting movie experience, I wasn't sure if I wanted to.

My whole life I had always found myself being chronically bored with the conventional 9 to 5 mundane work week and school schedule.  I found "regular hours" depressing and predictable.   I learned that only when thrown into fast paced situations, did I feel alive.  I did not grow up in chaos at all, so it wasn't an "addicted to dysfunctional drama" type of thing. If anything, I felt as though I grew up with very little drama, and the actress in me was craving a more creative and colorful life.   And when I took a "PersonalityTest", and scored high in the "Phlegmatic" tempermant, my results read: "Strengths: Works well under pressureNegatives: Only works under pressure."   It hit the nail on the head.  Had I finally found my calling in the insanely paced entertainment industry? Finally?

And the movie hangover would continue.  After coming off of film sets such as "Bicentennial Man", (which answered the question, "what does the 16 hour work day look like?")  and the movie set of "RENT", (which religiously stuck to its 6:30am call times, a first in my 15 years in this business), I would find myself doing the zombie walk for about two weeks.  Sure, I had made a decent amount of money in a short period of time, but I was too tired to spend it all and my apartment looked like a tornado had hit it.   I couldn't think past the moment, let alone the day.  My brain would become tapioca pudding. It was mush.

And yet, like a little addict, I recently found myself doing it again, but this time, in a much shorter time frame. 

I just finished working a three day shoot on the set of the indie film, "Roman's Way" this past Saturday.  When I finally got home, I closed my front door, shut my blinds, fell into my bed, curled up in the fetal position, and turned off the world. I would do the zombie walk for the next 24 hours before returning back to the reality and am grateful that I had today, Presidents' Day, to just veg out and catch up on my thoughts.

A three day shoot may not seem like much compared to a two month shoot, but believe me, the post-creative-stress-syndrome symptoms are the same:

Our Director, Kerwin, after initial filming had wrapped.

Someone please help Tony, our leading man:

Before I step in and take over, because this movie had no parts for females:
(Can I pass for a boy?)

And now our editing crew has stepped in to finish up our film, and as I type this, we are still at least $3,000 shy of our fund-raising goal to compete this movie! Please, if you can contribute anything to this project and support creativity, even if it's just a dollar, it would be much appreciated! Our deadline is in three days! Yikes! 

Donate Here

If online donations make you uncomfortable, just email me the amount at, and I will contribute on your behalf and collect from you later.

For a complete set of pictures from the set of Roman's Way, you can check out these facebook links:

Filming may be over for now, but...
The show must go on.
Me, on stage, in my natural habitat.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

750 Words

Well, what can I say, writing comes naturally to me.  I am participating in this 750 words a day exercise from the website 750 Words and I wrote 750 words in 12 minutes.  And, to think, I thought this would be time consuming.

It's all part of my participation in a course I am taking called "Emerge"- expanding my creativity. I love writing.

I am also to write 2,000 words by the end of the week. I have already written 1000.  And now I am blogging.

So much to do today.  Laundry. Rap. Tea Party. Brandon's movie tonight.  History paper. Oh, and reading. Who has time to read?  And I am also working on a short film this week.

And now, on with the show.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Sunday Reflections

Life feels like it's been moving very fast lately, so I am grateful to have a moment to pause and reflect on this current season I am in.

1. I started school two weeks ago.  American History 1865-2008

Tuesday nights at Merritt College in Oakland.  More reading than I know what to do with.  For the most part it's  interesting, but discussions in class are not my long suit and my mind goes blank when called on.  Fortunately, I love to write and there will be alot of writing papers in this class.  It's usually when I start typing, that my thoughts flood to the surface.

This Tuesday night class was the only one that was open by the time I registered for school.  Ironically, all the online classes were filled.  What does this say about today's students?  No one wants to sit in a classroom to learn about history? People are too busy? Crazy.  I would rather be in class for this topic and I don't even like discussion groups.

Oakland is a very diverse area, so I like to play, "count the white people" sometimes.  I counted five white people in my class last Tuesday night if you include me- a half Mexican.  It's like a freakin rainbow.  Toto, we are no longer in Martinez. 

And of course, as in most night classes that I take, there is always one "older" person.  One gray haired ex-Vietnam vet, who knows everything who bonds with the teacher because they are around the same age.  Yeah, we got one of those in class.  Teacher's pet.

I can't wait when we start talking about the cold war, Russia, communism, etc.,  That is the part that interests me the most.

2. This hand is your hand.  This hand is my hand...  In an episode of FRIENDS, Joey insists that he has found his "Identical Hand Twin" in Vegas and he is going to be a millionaire.  Now, I didn't quite find my identical hand twin, but I did do a little hand modeling in a commerical that is to air today, during the Superbowl.  I signed a "confidentiality agreement", so I won't say too much else.  But if you happen to see female hands on a steering wheel in a car commercial, you could be looking at my my hands....

3. Speaking of hand modeling and wierd ways to make money..... I had been praying about possibly taking a creativity class at my church, but I didn't have the funds to pay for it.  Then boom, I got the hand modeling gig.  The check came in the mail yesterday.  It pays for my creativity class.  Where God guides, God provides.

4. And continuing on the thread of God's provision....  I will be doing some background work on an American Express commerical tomorrow in the wine country.  Since I am union, it pays well.  I will be portraying a "restaurant patron" and no, we don't get to eat the food.  Usually food is a prop on a plate and it just sits there all day and you do not want to eat it.  With this paycheck, I will buy a pair of boots that don't have holes in them.  I hate shopping and I will wear shoes, socks, and jeans until they tear apart.  It's time for baby to get a new pair of shoes!

5. I finally rinsed the seashells that I collected last week from the beach in Santa Cruz.   Okay, so I pretty much pillaged the beach last week and when I got home, I put my plastic bag of seashells in the kitchen sink to rinse later.  But then life got busy, and the next thing I knew, a whole week had gone by and boy, if you don't rinse those shells right away, well, did you know that seaweed just WREAKS? 

So I put the bag in my refrigerator.  Then my refrigerator smelled. 

Favorite shell that I found (if you don't count the starfish that Tati and I released back into the ocean):

Speaking of Tati....

6. Words With Friends is highly addicting.  So what if Tati has an 100 point lead on me? At least I am winning against my mom and my mom's friend from high school.  Two out of three ain't bad.  Now if I can just figure out how to decline a rematch, so I don't end up having five games going with my mother at one time and three games going with Tati....

7. Support our short film  A group of my friends and I have entered a speed film making contest. We have to make a film in one week and we desperately need to raise funds before filming starts on February 16th.  I have collaborated with this group of people before and it's alot of fun.  To read more about the project, go here:

8. It's gettin real in the Berkeley Y Parking Lot....  DJ Dave, originally from Berkeley, came out with a rap called "It's Gettin Real In The Whole Foods Parking Lot" and the video went viral on You Tube.  As in standard hip hop tradition at the Berkeley Y, my girl Pegeisha and I will be be performing a parody rap take on this about our own Berkeley Y Parking lot.  I just need to finish the lyrics so it can be ready a week from today for our February Birthday Hip Hop Interactive Tea Party. 

In my last blog, I said I was tired.  After reading all of the above, THIS is why I am tired. But it's a good kind of tired. I am also getting over a cold, so that might have something to do with it. And the fact that I went to Art Murmur last Friday Night and was out late last night for Peggy's 28th Birthday.  Now it's Sunday afternoon, my apartment needs a cleaning, the Superbowl is going to start in a few hours, I have to read about History and get my wardrobe ready for the American Express shoot tomorrow.

See ya.