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Tom Lehrer makes me happy

Political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.



Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics
And the Catholics hate the Protestants,
And the Hindus hate the Moslems,
And everybody hates the Jews.

Advice for 2010 Grads Coming to LA; 15 things

The Bitter Script Reader posted some advice about how to survive to move to LA.  I tried to comment over there and it won’t let me, but this is what I said.

1) Get settled so that you’re as comfortable as possible — living out of boxes makes everything seem transient. Have roommates or whatever, but make sure that you’ve got a space, however small, that is yours. Spend some time driving around the city and getting to know places. Find the studios. (Have a car!)

2) I really love Glendale, it’s safe and cheapish. Frogtown is super cheap. North Hollywood is becoming a lot safer, the parts closer to the 134 are totally fine for a single girl to live in.

2) I would say you probably need at least 7k in the bank before coming out here and at least two finished scripts and some outlines for more. Basically, you need enough money that you can go several months without making much money at all and enough written that if you’re too discombobulated to write, you’ve got something to work with. I applied for internships and jobs for 6 months before I moved out and it still took me 3 months to land a part time paid gig, though I did have an internship lined up.

3) Apply to every job you can find, do things for free, take an internship in the industry if you can afford it and then work at whatever you can in the rest of the time. It doesn’t matter if it’s an industry job, making contacts of all sorts is important, life experience, all that jazz. I’m not super social and I don’t like to drink, but working on other people’s projects is a great way to meet people and learn useful skills.

4) Find something else you can do in the industry besides writing. Can you edit? Can you gaff? Find a way to make yourself useful. Pursue every avenue. Learn to script supe, that’s easy and low impact.  Find something you like to do that isn’t writing.

5) A lot of people would say find a writing group. I personally am not in one, but I have a large group of friends who I can get advice from. Writing groups are pretty useful if you don’t have that.

6) Apply selectively to contests, but do apply. I’ve definitely gotten contacts from agents and managers and earned some street cred by placing in contests people had heard of.

7) Mandy.com, realitystaff.com, and craigslist are your new friends. I personally don’t really like the UTA job list, but it’s out there too.

8) Figure out a way to make your commute worthwhile. A voice recorder is great if you can think outloud for writing purposes. I listen to a lot of audiobooks.

9) Do things that have nothing to do with film because people who only talk about film are boring. Read books, magazines, go do stuff that’s got seriously zero to do with film and then you’ll have something interesting to talk about. The reason Hollywood loves young blood is because they have experience outside of the Hollywood system and they haven’t quite yet been turned into normal LA people who can only talk about themselves and movies.

10) Write genre scripts that can be produced cheaply if you’re really out to make a sell.

11) Don’t ever be a douchebag. Don’t have a temper. If you talk shit online, don’t use names.  (Unless revealing scam artists!)

12) Conversely, if you’re working for free, you have the right to be treated well and to learn something from the experience. Don’t be afraid of anyone. And don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself, just don’t be aggressive. Along these lines, know how much you should be getting paid, even if you’re not being paid that. This is useful info.

13) Be on the look out for scams. Not all competitions are worthwhile. Not all agents are legit. If someone asks you for money upfront to be your agent, that guy is a scam artist. (google Eddie Kritzer)

14) If you’re a lady writer with a girly name, I’d recommend using your initials. That sounds terrible, but there’s genuine gender bias out here and I’m super lucky that all the other Ashleys out here are guys. This is especially true if you’re replying to internet ad, because internet people are super creepy.

15) Give yourself deadlines so that you’re not constantly second guessing yourself and make sure they’re reasonable. I, for example, haven’t always been totally sure LA is the place for me, but I’m only allowed to seriously think about moving during the month of August. So I don’t dwell on it in general.

(I never had a problem with the tap water, don’t know what people are talking about)

Academy Awards Predictions: First Female Best Director?!

I think that Avatar’s going to win an awful lot.  Basically it’s going to win unless there’s a really compelling reason to give it to someone else.  That being said, as a technical achievement, the film is a marvel, and I think it winning the technical categories is completely called for.  And of course, most of the wins in the technical categories aren’t really for “best” so much as they are for “most”.  “Most Cinematography” and “Most Editing”.

The only thing I really want to happen is that I really want Kathryn Bigelow to win best director.  She’s only the fourth female nominee in the category.  My preference for Up in a lot of places is just that I think that animated films deserve to be more recognized than they are.  I don’t think Up is nearly as amazing as Wall-E was, but I’m going to pull for animation.  Especially as there isn’t anything here I really care that much about.

Who I want to win in italics, who I think will win in bold.  No italics where I have no preference, or not enough knowledge.

Actor in a Leading Role
• Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart”
• George Clooney in “Up in the Air”
• Colin Firth in “A Single Man”
• Morgan Freeman in “Invictus”
• Jeremy Renner in “The Hurt Locker”

Actor in a Supporting Role
• Matt Damon in “Invictus”
• Woody Harrelson in “The Messenger”
• Christopher Plummer in “The Last Station”
• Stanley Tucci in “The Lovely Bones”
• Christoph Waltz in “Inglourious Basterds”

Actress in a Leading Role
• Sandra Bullock in “The Blind Side”
• Helen Mirren in “The Last Station”
• Carey Mulligan in “An Education”
• Gabourey Sidibe in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”
• Meryl Streep in “Julie & Julia”

Actress in a Supporting Role
• Penélope Cruz in “Nine”
• Vera Farmiga in “Up in the Air”
• Maggie Gyllenhaal in “Crazy Heart”
• Anna Kendrick in “Up in the Air”
• Mo’Nique in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”

Animated Feature Film
• “Coraline” Henry Selick
• “Fantastic Mr. Fox” Wes Anderson
• “The Princess and the Frog” John Musker and Ron Clements
• “The Secret of Kells” Tomm Moore
• “Up” Pete Docter

Art Direction
• “Avatar” Art Direction: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg; Set Decoration: Kim Sinclair
• “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Art Direction: Dave Warren and Anastasia Masaro; Set Decoration: Caroline Smith
• “Nine” Art Direction: John Myhre; Set Decoration: Gordon Sim
• “Sherlock Holmes” Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
• “The Young Victoria” Art Direction: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Maggie Gray

Cinematography
• “Avatar” Mauro Fiore
• “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” Bruno Delbonnel
• “The Hurt Locker” Barry Ackroyd
• “Inglourious Basterds” Robert Richardson
• “The White Ribbon” Christian Berger

Costume Design
• “Bright Star” Janet Patterson
• “Coco before Chanel” Catherine Leterrier
• “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” Monique Prudhomme
• “Nine” Colleen Atwood
• “The Young Victoria” Sandy Powell

Directing
• “Avatar” James Cameron
• “The Hurt Locker” Kathryn Bigelow
• “Inglourious Basterds” Quentin Tarantino
• “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Lee Daniels
• “Up in the Air” Jason Reitman

Documentary (Feature)
• “Burma VJ” Anders Østergaard and Lise Lense-Møller
• “The Cove” Nominees to be determined
• “Food, Inc.” Robert Kenner and Elise Pearlstein
• “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers” Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith
• “Which Way Home” Rebecca Cammisa

Documentary (Short Subject)
• “China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province” Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill
• “The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner” Daniel Junge and Henry Ansbacher
• “The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant” Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert
• “Music by Prudence” Roger Ross Williams and Elinor Burkett
• “Rabbit à la Berlin” Bartek Konopka and Anna Wydra

Film Editing
• “Avatar” Stephen Rivkin, John Refoua and James Cameron
• “District 9” Julian Clarke
• “The Hurt Locker” Bob Murawski and Chris Innis
• “Inglourious Basterds” Sally Menke
• “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Joe Klotz

Foreign Language Film
• “Ajami” Israel
• “El Secreto de Sus Ojos” Argentina
• “The Milk of Sorrow” Peru
• “Un Prophète” France
• “The White Ribbon” Germany

Makeup
• “Il Divo” Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano
• “Star Trek” Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow
• “The Young Victoria” Jon Henry Gordon and Jenny Shircore

Music (Original Score)
• “Avatar” James Horner
• “Fantastic Mr. Fox” Alexandre Desplat
• “The Hurt Locker” Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
• “Sherlock Holmes” Hans Zimmer
• “Up” Michael Giacchino

Music (Original Song)
• “Almost There” from “The Princess and the Frog” Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
• “Down in New Orleans” from “The Princess and the Frog” Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
• “Loin de Paname” from “Paris 36” Music by Reinhardt Wagner Lyric by Frank Thomas
• “Take It All” from “Nine” Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston
• “The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)” from “Crazy Heart” Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

Best Picture
• “Avatar” James Cameron and Jon Landau, Producers
• “The Blind Side” Nominees to be determined
• “District 9” Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham, Producers
• “An Education” Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey, Producers
• “The Hurt Locker” Nominees to be determined
• “Inglourious Basterds” Lawrence Bender, Producer
• “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness and Gary Magness, Producers
• “A Serious Man” Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Producers
• “Up” Jonas Rivera, Producer
• “Up in the Air” Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman, Producers

Short Film (Animated)
• “French Roast” Fabrice O. Joubert
• “Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty” Nicky Phelan and Darragh O’Connell
• “The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)” Javier Recio Gracia
• “Logorama” Nicolas Schmerkin
• “A Matter of Loaf and Death” Nick Park

Short Film (Live Action)
• “The Door” Juanita Wilson and James Flynn
• “Instead of Abracadabra” Patrik Eklund and Mathias Fjellström
• “Kavi” Gregg Helvey
• “Miracle Fish” Luke Doolan and Drew Bailey
• “The New Tenants” Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson

Sound Editing
• “Avatar” Christopher Boyes and Gwendolyn Yates Whittle
• “The Hurt Locker” Paul N.J. Ottosson
• “Inglourious Basterds” Wylie Stateman
• “Star Trek” Mark Stoeckinger and Alan Rankin
• “Up” Michael Silvers and Tom Myers

Sound Mixing
• “Avatar” Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson and Tony Johnson
• “The Hurt Locker” Paul N.J. Ottosson and Ray Beckett
• “Inglourious Basterds” Michael Minkler, Tony Lamberti and Mark Ulano
• “Star Trek” Anna Behlmer, Andy Nelson and Peter J. Devlin
• “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers and Geoffrey Patterson

Visual Effects
• “Avatar” Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones
• “District 9” Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros and Matt Aitken
• “Star Trek” Roger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh and Burt Dalton

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
• “District 9” Written by Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell
• “An Education” Screenplay by Nick Hornby
• “In the Loop” Screenplay by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
• “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” Screenplay by Geoffrey Fletcher
• “Up in the Air” Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner

Writing (Original Screenplay)
• “The Hurt Locker” Written by Mark Boal
• “Inglourious Basterds” Written by Quentin Tarantino
• “The Messenger” Written by Alessandro Camon & Oren Moverman
• “A Serious Man” Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
• “Up” Screenplay by Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Story by Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy

Project Runway! Season 7

I’m very excited that there’s a new season of PR starting tonight because last season sucked.  Reasons this season will be better:

1. It’s in New York again.  LA sucked.

2. Michael Kors and Nina Garcia are in like every episode.

3. It couldn’t be worse than the last season.

4. Heidi is preggers.  This always makes it better for some reason.

5. The gays over at Project Rungay say it’s awesome and they’ve seen episode 1 already.

Quote I’m most looking forward to: “I’m sweating like a Baptist preacher!”

What I’m doing today

Reading the live blog of the Prop 8 trial: http://prop8trialtracker.com/ It’s fascinating, the arguments are incredibly well-crafted on the pro-gay marriage side.  The judge is whip smart and seems to be really curious as to why the state is in the business of marriage in the first place.  I’d always sort of been leaning that way, that religions should be in the business of ‘marriage’ and states in ‘civil unions’.  They’re making some good arguments as to why the state does do ‘marriage’, I’m almost convinced, even.

God I want to be able to watch the trial.  The most amazing argument from the trial is essentially a feminist argument.  That the roles in marriage have been made gender neutral and equal, so what marriage is is going to be changed less by gay marriage than it was by equality of the sexes.  I’ve always felt that gay rights were a natural extension of women’s rights.

Also following the NBC nonsense.  Maybe the entire thing is an attempt to get free publicity and increase viewership.  I’ll tell you, I’ve developed a healthy respect for that Conan O’Brien character.  And not just because he picks apples with Mr. T.

http://www.tmz.com/2010/01/12/conan-i-want-to-work-for-nbc/

My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of The Tonight Show. But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction.

Fair enough.  Of course, he’s even better on the intro to his show last night, in which he ripped NBC a new one.  My favorite line was “NBC announced that they expect to lose $200 million on the Winter Olympics next month. Is it just me or is that story hilarious?”

Movie News; January is Entertainment on Crack

December is a relentlessly slow month in Los Angeles.  It can be refreshing or really painful if you need to be working.  January, however, makes an attempt at making up for all the hours not worked in December.

Today:

Sarah Palin will have her own show on Fox News.  “It’s wonderful to be part of a place that so values fair and balanced news,” Palin said in a written release.

Spiderman 4 is NOT happening anymore.  Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire are off the project.  They’re going to reboot the franchise, which seems insane considering it’s not even a decade old, but whatevs.  This also means no more Kirsten Dunst!!!

All signs point to the Arrested Development movie happening this year.

SNL film MacGruber is looking good from early reviews, apparently as good as Wayne’s World.  Which is good, since the SNL movies of late have included The Ladies Man, Superstar, and Night at the Roxbury.

I’m sure you’re all aware of George Lucas on The Daily Show and the horrifically funny youtube review of Phantom Menace.

The 2010 WGA nominations are out.  Only 79 scripts were eligible to be nominated, versus last year’s 267.  Shockingly, Avatar is nominated for Best Original Screenplay.  But thank God!  That screenplay has been released online!  And it has a deleted sex scene

NEYTIRI
I am with you now, Jake. We are mated for life.

JAKE
We are?

NEYTIRI
Yes. It is our way.
(innocently)
Oh. I forgot to tell?

He rouses up, making her look at him.

JAKE
Really, we are?

NEYTIRI
We are.

JAKE
It’s cool. I’m there.

Weekend Recap: Nominate me for Awards!

I am still sick, I have been sick for so so long.  I mean, I’m 87% better.  Which is to say I’m not totally exhausted but I’m still coughing and my nose is still icky.  I finished my course of antibiotics, so I’m guessing there’s nothing to do now but hope.

My posting is probably going to be erratic at best starting Tuesday — I’m going to be in South Carolina for a week.  I’m hoping to start getting some feelers for raising money there.

I was on set all weekend, shooting two different things.  I was script supervising the pilot for Alice and the Monster, which is from the same creative team as Gold: The Series, and then I “starred” in a makeover shoot from which I got a super cute dress that I wore to my company’s holiday party.  So, huzzah.

Also, you can nominate Gold: The Series and/or my editing of Gold for the Streamys.  They’re pushing for Gold to get Best Comedy and Best Ensemble.  Under individuals, you can nominate me for Best Editing, and you can nominate the super awesome Frederick Snyder for Best Director.  The site address is http://www.goldtheseries.com

That’s all for now!

PitchQ: Highest rated of November; A winner is me

So, I guess I won this contest of the highest rated pitch of November on Pitch Q.  They didn’t alert me or anything, nor did I know I had comments, I just happened to go to the page and see my face all huge and pink on the front.  So… yay for me!

http://www.pitchq.com/?pitch/&4490

I also got a note that I cannot decipher.  I’ll assume it was useless.

ScriptSavvy: Delay

I submitted my script to ScriptSavvy way way back in October.  Like October 2nd.  It didn’t really occur to me that it could be 2 months before I heard anything from this monthly contest.  But they say worst case scenario, you find out by the last day of the month after you submit (Nov 30) and you should get your feedback/analysis before that.  Which meant that today I should have already have gotten my feedback and would hear the results.

Dear Ashley,

We had hoped that we could announce contest results on time in spite of the holiday, but it looks like Thanksgiving has put us a bit behind.

Those of you who ordered feedback or analysis will be receiving it in the next couple of days.

Results will be announced on the website before midnight on Wednesday December 2nd.

Please accept our sincere apologies for the delay. We are working very hard to make the announcement as soon as possible.
Sincerely,
Donna White, Coordinator
http://www.ScriptSavvy.net

No real worries, but dern.  You know?  It’s fine, it’s a two day delay.  But still.  It’s not like they didn’t know Thanksgiving was going to happen.

IMDb Update

1. I truly hate the new designs for individuals on IMDb.  It’s ugly and difficult.  But there is a way around it — go to by type on the side.

2. I’ve updated and added a bunch of credits to my IMDb page.  At the prompting of one of the actors in my short musical “Lord of Dreams” I’m trying to get that up again.

3. I’ve worked on a ton of Reality TV in the last year.  Sheesh.

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