Starting a new tradition

Yesterday we started a new tradition for our little posse here in LA, that of seeing a movie together every fortnight.

Coming off Oscars hype and with some Best Picture nominees that we didn’t get to see, we’re all geared up to see a film together on a regular basis as a little bonding session.

Our first film together was The Adjustment Bureau at the Cinerama Dome at Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood. It was a really lovely love story for the blokes and the chicks. It was billed as more action flick than it actually was, and despite some ridiculous moments that were laugh-out-loud funny, it was a nice film. I really liked some of the themes of persistence and forging your own path that it touched on, and I saw similarities to my favourite book, The Alchemist.

Post cinema session, we went to the Bowery Bar just down the road a bit for a debrief where we all shared our thoughts and ideas on the film. The group deconstruct of a film is such fun, and being with some technical experts only made it more interesting for me. I’m going to learn a lot!

Since we hadn’t had enough, we followed it up with a preview of Jane Eyre at the Australians in Film screening in Beverly Hills. We raced through the doors just as the film was starting. It was our second close call to make the film. One day we’ll make it on time and get better seats rather than having to climb over the back row in the dark and slide into the chairs.

Oscar time

I got to watch the Oscar’s live for the first time tonight, and just a few miles from the epicentre of action at Kodak Theatre.

Without an invitation to an Oscar’s party, my housemates and I made our own fun with nibbles, steak and salad and pavlova for dessert while watching the coverage on our brand new TV.

I was extremely happy that Natalie Portman took out the Best Actress award, and gave a lovely speech befitting such an elegant and graceful woman. Black Swan was the first film I saw after I arrived in LA, and it was quite amazing.

I also liked that Inception and The Social Network were recognised for various awards (the full list is here) as I thought they were neatly put together. However, there were so many major contenders that I hadn’t seen, like The Fighter, The King’s Speech, Winter’s Bone, Toy Story 3, True Grit or 127 Hours. In fact, I have only seen three of the ten films nominated for Best Picture.

So now that I’m in Tinseltown, my resolution is to see more Oscar-worthy films so that next year I can be really informed in my picks for the awards. Here comes the popcorn.

On the job, reading scripts

I read my first script today. Well not technically the first, but my first script as a PROFESSIONAL in the film industry.

It’s an upcoming project for Yellow Brick Films and it is a horror/thriller, the one I was doing research for a few days ago. We’ve already ascertained that this genre is not my strong suit, but reading a script whilst thinking “how will we make this work, where will we find this location, who will play this character” is very different to seeing the end product with the special effects, clever editing, eerie soundtrack and gruesome visuals all rolled frighteningly together with the intent to make me squeal and squirm.

Being such a novice and with only one previous script read under my belt, my friend Richard Gray’s early version of Summer Coda in 2006, I wasn’t really sure how I should approach the task.

  • Should I just read and read and read my way through the hundred odd pages of Courier New typfaced script or pace my way through it with loo breaks and coffee pit stops?
  • Should I read it onscreen or print it out?
  • Should I make notes, comments and suggestions as I read?
  • Should I proof read it (I am a pretty talented proof reader and usually struggle to hold back proofing urges all the time, particularly when reading restaurant menus) and pick up the typos? 
  • Should I read it while munching on popcorn, just to get in the cinema swing of things?
Reading scripts
Isn't this how they read the scripts in Entourage?

In the end I read it onscreen (common sense and frugality dictated that I wasn’t going to print out 100 pages if I was paying for the ink cartridges). I read it all in one two-hour lounge session on the couch with an already brewed pot of coffee and only small breaks to get some chocolate and respond to a message on Skype from a friend with “Am reading Richie’s script for a horror/thriller right now, otherwise I’d suggest getting on for a chat” and to tell my brother to be quiet because I was working (even though it looked like a big old internet surf session). 

My long-held aversion to the Courier New font was overcome. For some reason it did not bother me one iota, far unlike receiving email replies in that font after my messages in clear and simple Arial. I think that font just works for scripts. So I will accept the industry standard font and embrace it … but only for scripts.

I made some notes as I went, marking down the page numbers with my questions such as “Is this mystery character Amanda I haven’t read about before supposed to be Claire, did she have a name change?” and making  a couple of brief comments. Not even a page though. I mostly immersed myself into the script, cheering on the bad decisions the characters always make in a horror film. Only once did my concentration waver, and I put that down to a crick in my back caused from un-ergonomic posture on the couch.

So now I’m excited. I’m revved up and ready to make a movie, even if it is one that might scare me half to death at the end, or bludgeon me to a bloody pulp in the process.

I’m scared just thinking about it

I don’t do scary movies very well. I am big on anticipation so I jump, scream or break out in a petrified sweat before the scary bit even happens. 

The thought of sitting in a darkened cinema being surrounded by frightening sounds, screams and super scary activities makes my skin crawl. Perhaps because I get so swept up into a film that it becomes my reality for a couple of hours is the reason why I don’t like scary movies. I can’t make that delineation between what’s real and what’s not and so I feel like I could be a possible victim in the storyline.

One of the more memorable moments was when I watched Jurassic Park on a school outing to the cinema in Year 9. It was during the scene where the kids are hiding in the kitchen and the raptor is stalking around outside them. The moment the raptor’s head appeared in the round porthole window, I screamed loudly. I was the only person in the cinema screaming. And I got teased mercilessly for that.

So it’s quite ironic that I am researching horror films right now. Just looking at the poster art makes me a little squeamish, so I’m thankful for the bright sunshine and birds chirping outside. Many of the titles are somewhat familiar, but I’ve only watched a handful of them.

So if you’re a horror fan, maybe you could help me out here. What type of scary movies do you like? What are your stand out horror films and why?