Donna in Hollywoodland

The blog from Los Angeles and Hollywood by Donna Grayson

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Movie & Dinner in West Los Angeles

This morning I ran errands. Mainly the Post Office, to get some postage stamps for the postcards I am mailing out to Casting Directors next week. The line was really long. So I got to use the internet connection on my new cellphone, and read the news. Just what I bought it for.

My friend who works for a Big Big Big studio invited me to a free employee screening today of The Interpreter .
I met her over to her house,and we drove over to the studio. Its fun to be on a Movie Studio Lot. But really weird too, because since today was Saturday, the only people there were those going to the screening. The entire Big Big Big Movie Studio lot was empty.

I think The interpreter was one of the best movies I have seen in a while. I like seeing movies where everything is top-notch.
Well, Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn .... how can you miss ?

After the movie, I said to my friend "I really wanted their characters to get together."
She commented that it really is nice to see a movie where they don't get together. Then theres not a steamy romance to distract you from a good story line.
After thinking about it, I agreed.

I have to say that I really thought Catherine Keener .... who plays Sean Penns partner in the movie was wonderful. I appreciate seeing a strong character actress in a really good role.

We drove to West Los Angeles, in the Westside Pavilion . And we had dinner at Sisley Italian Kitchen .
I got this salad with a chicken, apples, pears and celery on top. It was so pretty I had to take a picture.

Theres a pile of lettuce under the flatbread crust ... tho you can't see it in the pic.

Then since I had been a good girl, and had ordered a Salad for dinner... I got a slice of Cheesecake. It was the Italian kind of cheesecake, not to sweet... and there were berries on top.
Yum Yum.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Oldie Clips

My evening was spent watching Archive footage presented by Sabucat Productions .
The screening started over at Egyptian Theatre at 8 pm.

My volunteer gig for the evening was to do the marketing survey, which I really like to do. I get to talk to all the customers that way. Even if it is to only ask "How to find out about our movie this evening?" Most people give the answer, and hurry off to get their seats. And then some people like to chat for a bit.

Since tonights screening was mentioned in the Los Angeles Times , we had a really good turn out. And since it was alot of Archive footage of old movies, it appeared to me that many people were somehow related to the entertainment business. So I actually had some nice interesting chats with a few people.

The screening was really great.
There was Greta Garbo's screen test.
And very early footage of Mae West singing in a nightclub.
Also, some great home movies of behind the scenes at the original Star Trek TV show.
There were some scenes where Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock was just laughing and smiling.

I loved seeing some of the old commercials. And what was really weird was I remembered some of them. Its strange when a lightbulb goes off in your head and you say to yourself "Hey, I remember that" - and then you realize it was over 30 years ago.

Now what ....

I tried to go to the Juice Fountain on Selma and Vine for lunch. They have great "To Go" sandwiches and salads. I like to grab their green salad with beets and carrots, and get a scoop of chicken salad on top.

As I am walking up Vine, I see all these police cars and yellow tape.

I see a woman in a suite with a clip board and some kind of name badge. She is saying to another woman, "Well, they made us evacuate all our employees. There was a Bomb Threat at the Senior Services office."
The entire block was sectioned off.

I walked back.
The line at Baja Fresh was to long. So I had to get Jack In the Box . Darn, I am trying to stay away from fast food.

Damn the terrorists for ruining my healthy lunch, and making me eat to much fat and salt.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Casting Director Postcards

Ran over to New Image Graphics to order postcards. I need to announce my latest happenings to Casting Directors.
I haven't really done any self advertising in a while, and I need to get on it.
Especially now that I have something to announce ... Mainly the Commercial Acting Class that I just finished, and my role in The Michael Jackson Trial Reenactment .
They said the postcards would be ready Monday night.
After that I will be busy with the mailing.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Fire ? Did you say Fire ?

What a day... I had an audition in the morning. Then I return to the office after taking Friday off, and Monday being a Holiday.
So there is so much to get done. I am so busy.

Then I hear a voice that sounds like it is coming from a walkie-talkie, and one of the words it says is "Firetrucks".
I say to my coworker "Did you just hear something ? Is something going on ?"

I dash out of my office, to find all my other coworkers pressed up against the windows on the south side of the building.
The high-rise building across the street from us in on Fire.

Its been abandoned for years. I guess the building wasn't up to code. I remember around Thanksgiving one year it had caught on fire, and thats when the fire department shut the building down. So the owners sold it. And they have been trying to figure out what to do with it since around 2002.
Its to close to other structures to be able to implode. And the cost to dismantle it would be so high, thats impossible. The latest rumor I heard were that they were thinking of turning it into residential. Its on a prime piece of land, Sunset and Vine, and it just seems to be one big Turkey.

They had Sunset and Argyle completely blocked off by the police.

And Sunset and Vine had quite alot of fire trucks

As we watched the fire, we joked about the Mr & Mrs Smith Advertisement on the side. "Its all a publicity stunt. Pretty soon, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are going to come flying in to save the day."
You almost expect that, since their pictures are on the side of the building, dozens of feet high.

And it wasn't long before a helicopter advertising a completely different movie flew past. I guess they figured to try to make the most of all the camera crews that were filming the burning building. I was surprised they were allowed to fly so close, considering all the other helicopters that were flying about.

Here's a news link on NBC4-TV. It amazing to see the firefighters on top of the roof surrounded by all that smoke. They sure got up there quick, and had the fire out in about 20 minutes.
The smell just lingered longer. Our offices were smelling like burnt rubber and we could see alittle smoke. But then our building turned off the airconditioning, so our air cleared up soon.

The employees at Nickelodean across the street all left. We were thinking about going. We were all still there. Then next day the parking lot attendant told me the rest of the building had voluntarily evacuated. "But your company, you were the only ones who stayed."
And yes, because I had the audition that morning, I still stayed as late as I could. About 8pm, fire or no fire.

Commercial Callback - Singing and Cues

Yeah !!! I did something right. I got a callback for the commercial.
My agent called me last Friday as I was running around taking care of the Automobile Smog-check. So last night I left my boss and a coworker a voice-mail, saying I would be late this morning.

The callback was once again in West Los Angeles on Bundy. And I allowed myself plenty of time to drive there. It was at 10 am, and I was worried about the morning traffic. I wore the exact same thing I wore last Thursday. I had it waiting on a hanger, just in case.

This time when I arrived, there were less people there. Instead of a gazillion people all dressed in black - there we only a billion. No, No, No ... They had it whittled down to around 50 .

When I got there I signed in. There was a man and woman engrossed in conversation at the sign-in table. They were holding everyone up.She seemed more engrossed in him, than he and her. There was a line behind them, and it was getting jumbled because of the wait.
A young man was standing in the jumble. I said "Are you in line?". He said "Yeah".
I said "Oh, okay - well, then I'll get in line right after you, since you were here first."
The look on his face was one of shock and amazement. An actress being kind to another actor... actually being polite and considerate waiting my turn. He looked like I had just handed him a big bunch of money. It must have been a while since someone in the industry had showed him alittle compassion.
Yeah, being nice to one another in the entertainment industry ... well, I was not entirely without motives. I figured I could build up some Karma so maybe God would look down and smile on me during the audition.

Our audition instructions now had changed. They wanted us to go into another room and listen to the music playing. And then actually sing the choir parts - outloud - even if we were awful. No more lip-syncing to what was recorded like we did last time.
Its been awhile since I have been in a vocal class. I mean, if I knew this was going to happen, I have some practice cassette tapes and I would have been prepared and done my vocal exercises. But no... it was Surprise, Surprise. ...

After rehearsing the song in the room a few times, I had quite the wait. I just sat there patiently. I thought of reading Yahoo news on my new cellphone, but no - I was not in the mood. So I just sat there and waited.
The guy across the way was chatting with a young woman. He seemed to be down in the dumps, and reminded me of a young Woody Allen . He was saying something like "I mean, look at everyone - they obviously don't even know what type they want yet. How can they not know what they are looking for when this is the call-back already."
I wanted to say "Ahh, its a Choir. And every choir I have ever seen always has a variety of different looking people in it."
But I didn't . I would just occasionally grin at him. I was trying to get to the "Calm" zone.

Then it was my turn to go in. My group was a total of 6 people. We had to wait outside the room while the group before us finished.
Why is it when people get nervous, they say really stupid things, and act really weird ? There was one guy in our group who was doing just that and talking really loud and making really bad jokes.
The Casting Assistant kept "Sush-ing" him. Just on the other side of the door where we were standing, people who were auditioning. And The Producer and Director, and who knows who else. The general rule of thumb is That if you can hear them, they can hear you. So I just stood there looking at the floor, as if to say "hey, I'm not the one making all the noise".

Finally, it would my groups turn to audition. In the room was the camera person, and three people on the couch. Those three people seemed really laid back and relaxed. Somewhat unusual for a Call-back situation.
The camera person gave us our instructions, and started the camera.
Oh-Oh, not good.... when we were to walk in on our cue, he didn't tell us where to go or where to stand. He was filming. And so I just did what the really tall guys in the group were doing ... and I ended up in a bad place, blocked behind the tall guys. The other short women who was now also blocked from the camera, tapped me on the shoulder. We moved up to the side. I wasn't sure if we were supposed to be there.

It was all so confusing, because we were singing acappella, with no musical accompaniment at all - and I was just realizing it, while trying to figure out where to stand.

Once the camera was stopped, they switched a few people around. And I was wondering if they were going to give us better instructions on where to stand. But they didn't
So one of the guys said "Did we just screw that up? Did we stand in the right place ?"
I never heard an answer. So for the next two times, myself and the other short girl just did the same thing. She said something to me that we needed to be standing where the camera could see us. So I guess we were in the right spot, even though we weren't with the other two tall guys auditioning for the choir.

We actually got to film it twice more. The three guys were talking between themselves as we auditioned. I heard one of the three guys say something to the another "Yeah, yeah - she's singing. I can hear her."
I sang as loud as I could. I wasn't sure if they were talking about me or the other girl.
And then they made some mention about people not knowing the lyrics. We had been told to keep the lyrics in our hands. So I just didn't even look at the lyric sheet again for the rest of the time. They didn't have them posted on the wall.

All in all, the guys who auditioned us were very nice, and low key. This was really a non-stress audition. They seemed really nice, and made a point to even say good-bye to each one of us.
But I left kind of feeling that it didn't go so well. Mainly because we didn't know where to stand when we came in on our cue. And also I wish I had known they were really looking for singers, not lip-sync-ers, and I would have practiced.
I guess if we had messed up, they would have said something. But I still left feeling "Dang, we screwed it up."

Later, I was looking at LA Casting and I saw a casting notice for band players in this commercial. And they wanted people to actually play the instruments. So I wonder if they did decide to go with real singers who would sing in the choir, and not just lip-sync. I will be watching for this commercial, I really want to see how it turns out.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Monday Holiday and Crash

I wish I could tell you that I did something exciting on the holiday day off - but no. I am flakey enough and ashamed to say that I did not do something in honor of the actual purpose of today. It was on my mind, and I had really thought of going to a church service in honor of the day to honor our soldiers. And I just didn't have time enough this week to make any special plans of any other sort.

My main purpose ended up being to tidy up my apartment as much as I could. I even broke out the Scrubbing Bubbles .
My promise to myself was "Get the apartment cleaned first, then you can treat yourself to a movie. No cleaning, then no movie".

I ended up at an early evening show at the Arclight Theatre to see Crash .

Okay.... I so wasn't expecting that. I guess I thought it was going to be something different. Because I was kind of shocked.
The acting of course was really good. But the subject matter really was depressing. Especially since so much of it takes place in Los Angeles.
And I don't think people in Los Angeles are like that, or people in the rest of the U.S. for that matter.
I tend to see most people I meet in L.A, and in the world in general, as basically good - at least the people I run across. Sure everyone every where has their share of problems, and their "things".. But this was way too much. Almost everyone in this movie in prejudice and just not a good person. People are more complex than that.
It got to the point, where I just couldn't take it, and I was debating about leaving early. It was depressing me that much.
But I am always a sucker for good acting performances, so I really wanted to see the movie for that point alone. So I did stay until the end of the movie.

And I understand that the director was really making a point about Prejudice. And he wants to get the viewer to think.
Just be warned if you are going to see this movie ... it is really Heavy.

And thinking about it .... seeing a movie about Prejudice - a movie that made me so uncomfortable that it actually made me think about how we all treat our fellow human beings - well, that was a good way to spend this Memorial Day after all.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Sunday on Hollywood Blvd

I have to admit that I slept through church this morning. Since I had stayed so late last night at the Egyptian watching Gone with The Wind, I just felt like sleeping in today. At least thats one thing I am getting accomplished this holiday weekend... getting caught up on my lost sleep.

I was due at the Egyptian Theatre to do a couple of volunteer things.
First up was helping out at a table they had set up at the end of the courtyard right on Hollywood Blvd. Mainly to hand out the movie schedules and get people to sign up for the mailing list.

When I got there two of the other volunteers, Bruce and Elliott were there.

Later, we were joined by Barbara - and I went across the street for a short break

(Thats a green Godzilla pinata above on the right, to help promote the Sci-Fi Monster programming we have coming up.)

Later on, two women from showed up to take our picture. It was a special promotion, because to get the picture I had to go to the website.

As for the table we were doing ..... it was a surprisingly light day for people traffic along Hollywood Blvd. We had figured that with the holiday weekend there would be alot of people coming into Hollywood to hang out.
Looks like they all went to the beach instead.

About 4pm, we closed down our Info Table. I was also volunteering to be Ticket Taker for the movie, Casablanca . But as it turned out, many of the other volunteers for this shift were MIA, or running late, or called in and canceled, or who knows what. The line for the movie was very long, running down the courtyard. So some of the volunteers that were done with their shift had to stick around and help. These old classic movies are always really popular.

After all the customers went in, I went and got my free volunteer soda and popcorn ... and heading on up to the balcony to watch Casablanca on the big screen. This is the second time I have seen it. But the first was on television.

The little TV screen, just can't compare with a Theatre screen ... especially for viewing a great classic movie.


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