Fallout Girl's Blog


Editing Wink

Radiation Level: 60i (actually 59.94, or 60 × 1000/1001)

Listening To: Suco De Tangerina by the Beastie Boys

Movie Reviews:  Magic Mike               Ted           People Like Us

I just watched the rough cut of my short film. I have so many emotions going on inside me, this is such new territory for me.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been watching rough cuts of my work for decades.  Only, I was an actress in most of them. Sometimes just the writer.  But never the director.

Writing and directing something feels very strange.  Listening to people say my dialogue makes me oddly uncomfortable.  I know that sounds weird coming from a screenwriter, but it’s extremely intimate, like someone’s looking at me without my clothes on.  I feel responsible for their experience as they watch, sort of like a tour guide, taking foreigners on a trip into my mind.

I guess that’s what filmmakers do, we take people on visual and emotional journeys and hope (and pray) they enjoy the ride.  It’s a new kind of vulnerability for me.

That said, it’s also a lot of fun! I’ve experienced new highs and joys that I haven’t experienced before.  I’m going to do my best to make this little film that I shot on shoestrings and favors as good as it can be.

Thanks to everyone who helped me from the bottom of my heart:)

 


I Auditioned for a Reality Show

Radiation Level:  The power plant is shutting down

Listening to:  White Wedding by Billy Idol perf. by Bootsie

New Movie Reviews:  The Three Stooges    The Cabin in the Woods    Lockout

WARNING:  Do Not Try This at Home!

Did you have a "pattern"? FalloutGirl sure did!

Yes, I did audition for a reality show.  Not totally willingly, however. Here’s what happened:  I was contacted last week by a production company regarding an event in which I took part in the 1980’s.  (I’m purposefully being vague because I’m not allowed to reveal the specific info)  Let’s just say I was a tween before the word tween was box office gold, and the event had to do with a bunch of girls being as absolutely annoying as possible.

The event was televised and I received 15 seconds of fame.  Puny fame, really just small clams.  But for a 12-year-old starting a new Jr. High, it was absolutely toxic.  Not intoxicating – toxic, as in deadly.  I was on the cover of the local paper and the public school kids didn’t like it one bit.  I was threatened, made fun of, cursed at, rumors were spread and I was even beat up.  This was the students’ way of saying, “Welcome to your teens, FalloutGirl – f*ck you!”  This was the original event that made me FalloutGirl and the subject of my screenplay of the same name.  Needless to say, when I heard someone was developing a reality show about this topic, I was gobsmacked and dubious.  But these producers really wanted to meet me, and I am an expert, and it was a very long time ago, sooooo…

To be clear, I’m not a person who desires to be on a reality show.  I did submit a script several years ago to a reality show that was about developing a sitcom, but that’s about the extent of my desire – to get my scripts produced.  So, given that I have a screenplay on the topic about which they were developing the show, I was curious.  Is there an opportunity here for me?  Perhaps.  I decided it was worth taking the meeting to find out.

I was interviewed on camera.  Asked questions about my youth.  Even asked my age!!  (BTW – that’s illegal!)  Then I was asked to engage in the annoying banter. I explained that this was something I did when I was 12.  Not anymore.  I agreed to speak about the past but only if it was clear it was my past not my present.  The young producer laughed hysterically as the goofy phrases rolled out of my mouth. Was it really that funny?

I think the 80’s are curious to young people.  They love the New Wave music, John Hughes movies and even wear some of the odd styles.  The Cold War is romanticized by kids as young as 5th grade.  Why?  Maybe because it was a simpler time.  Less technology (I remember getting my first answering machine), clear enemies (those mean Russians) and the prosperous Reagan era.

So is this why the young producer is attracted to this project?  I guess we’ll see.  It’s odd to me that I would be considered an ambassador of the 80’s, but perhaps that’s what I am by default, having lived through it, participated so wholly in it and where I was totally famous for a micro-minute.    Like, fer sure!

Come on, FalloutGirl, we can be BFF's!


Worm Farms, Chimps and Greenday

Radiation Level:  Deep Seeded

Listening To:  Black Coffee in Bed by Squeeze

New Movie Reviews:  Hunger Games

This week has been something strange.  I find myself constantly doing things I never imagined I would be doing.  I guess this is exciting, however I’m not doing many of the things I really want to be doing.  I have three new screenplay ideas and one takes place in the 19th century…OH YEAH!

Monday:  I made a worm farm with kids.  Yes, a farm of earthworms.  At 8am, I took a large styrofoam container out of a science lab fridge and opened it to find it packed with squirmy, blood red worms.  The sight was pretty gross.  But I soon came to terms with these earth-makers and, after letting the kids harass them for a while, we made a farm with broccoli and newspaper.

Because I believe in the power of stories, myths and legends, I insisted on naming the farm.  Most kids suggested calling it “The Worm Farm.”  One particularly rowdy kid suggested “The Cowboy Worm Farm” and I thought that was perfect.  What stories may grow from this fabled farm of Cowboy worms?  I told the kids to think about the worms as they lie in bed and fall asleep.

Or, The Cowboy Worm From?  Love it.

After teaching, I went to see The Hunger Games.  I hadn’t read the books, but I was excited to see it.  Jennifer Lawrence was amazing in Winter’s Bone and it was as if her character Ree was magically transported into the dystopian world of Panem.  Though the film was no Sparticus, it was pretty darn good.  And, oh, those eyelashes!  FalloutGirl has a new obsession.  Anyone know where I can get the ones Katniss wore?

Tuesday:  I programmed a Lego robot to walk.  Yes, using a computer.  Now, having said that, I’m not exactly confident I can actually teach someone else to do it.  I’m really, really hoping the kids already know how to do this kind of thing.

I then taught a class on Leonardo Da Vinci’s Golden Horn Bridge.  I must have a Zome tool in the pocket of every pair of pants I own.

Wednesday:  I taught neuroscience at 8am.  My own neural pathways don’t fully function so early in the morning, so it was an interesting class.  I then dressed up as Ada Lovelace for an educational event.  So. Loving. The. DRESS!

Then I taught a class on math in music.  Ugh.  These are gifted kids and almost all of them play an instrument and are experts in music theory.  Filling up bottles with water and blowing on them  (GERMS!!) didn’t go over so well, especially when they decided to start spilling the water on each other.  Luckily, one tiny little pipsqueak of a girl said she could play the piano that was in the room.  I took off the front panel of the ancient upright, so they could see the guts (I remember being fascinated by this as a child) and let her play.  Mozart, no less!  She was concert quality!  Thank you, dear.  You saved my class…

Thursday:  Taught 5 garden science classes in a row.  This kids are great, they have tons of energy and will literally eat ANYTHING you put in front of them.  I can’t tell if they are underfed or just growing and hungry to feed their cells as they expand.  I did a lesson on seaweed and then we made veggie sushi rolls.  They devoured them.  One kid even drank two containers of soy sauce.  They wanted more.  They want to make sushi again next week.  I was shocked.  I didn’t try sushi until I was 25 and had to learn to like it.  Go figure.

I then met up with RosieGirl and AmishGirl for Pinot Noir and pizza.  There’s nothing like having great friends.

Friday:  I’m going to see a screening of Chimpanzee, and after that, I’m going to see American Idiot with LutheranGirl.  Looking forward to both!

Saturday:  CPR training and certification.

Sunday:  Write Bar Mitzvah screenplay.

Yeah, that’s a strange week.  Even for me…


The Red Market

Radiation Level:  RED

Listening To:  Somebody That I Used to Know (feat. Kimbra) by Gotye

I just finished a book recommended to me by one of the fab geneticists at UCLA. It’s called The Red Market by Scott Carney and it’s not for the faint of heart.  It follows the trail of organ brokers, blood farmers and baby sellers, highlighting the disparity between those who sell and those who buy.  Very few Americans could be persuaded to sell a kidney, despite having a spare, but there are whole villages in the 3rd world where this is the main industry.   Of course geneticists are working on using stem cells to grow human organs, but until this is a practical science, the “Red Market” as Carney calls it, will continue to thrive.

This is literally a 3D printer that uses "ink" made from cells to "print" human tissues (i.e., organs) made by a company called Organovo in San Diego.

I have mixed feelings about the gifting/sale of body parts.  I understand that at the heart of the issue, an altruistic view represents the best of humanity.  I give up some of my blood so that if you are hit by a car, there will be blood on hand to save your life. But moving past hemoglobin, it gets a bit more complicated.

Red blood cells. Photo: Annie Cavanagh

I used to feel very strongly that selling body parts was the lowest of the low for only the most desperate of human beings.  It struck me as worse than selling sex.  When my sister sold her eggs to a fertility clinic in 2000, I was disgusted.  I couldn’t understand how one could just give their DNA away to the highest bidder.  It was the closest thing to sacrilege I could understand.  But she was young, healthy and beautiful, surely her DNA would be in high demand.  It wasn’t until after her untimely death that I realized her decision to sell her eggs was an unforeseen gift (or eerie premonition) on her part.  I now take comfort that perhaps part of my sister still remains on Earth in her genetic children who have inherited the same lovely bone structure and creative flair that made her so admired.

A fertilized human egg after 5 days. Photo: Dr. David Becker

The human body is the most sophisticated, elegant, unintelligible thing in our solar system because through it, we experience cognitive life.    As of 2011, no one has found anything more desirable, pleasurable or painful.  To have life is to have everything.  All evolution is to further ensure its propagation.  Until the sun explodes, we’re hit with a meteor or drown on a hot waterworld, humans will do whatever they can to continue, extend and better their experience of life – FalloutGirl included.  But hey, I’m only human.


In the Mood…for WHAT???

Radiation Level:  10 Years Today

Listening To:  MASHUPS!!

I was searching for a mashup of Hey Jude for a bar mitzvah video I was working on and decided to download a few MP3’s to listen to at the gym.  If you’re not familiar with mashups, they are two popular songs mixed together by some ambitious DJ.  I like mashups because they provide a new way to experience an old song, giving it new life.  I will say however, that just because you CAN mashup two songs, doesn’t mean you SHOULD.  Case in point: The Police.  Spin teachers at YAS are constantly playing Police mashups and they NEVER work. Sting’s voice is often too subtle to appropriately balance whatever rocker’s screech the DJ has mixed in.  Besides, Police songs are too complex on their own and don’t need some nerd with an iPad reinventing them.  That said, my favorite one that I think works beautifully is NIN’s Closer mixed with The Beatles’ Come Together.

THIS MASHUP however, had me laughing my balls off at the gym.  I don’t know why I think it’s so hilarious, but, damn, give it a listen.

When I heard it, I wasn’t watching the video, I was sitting on a spin bike with my iPod.  I debated as to whether or not to include the vid in this post because I wanted you all to experience it like I did, but I decided the vid adds to the wackness.  (And as you know, FalloutGirl is all about the wack.)

I have very strong memories of each of these songs.  In The Mood was the name of a musical review I did in High School.  I sang  (a solo) the fabulous Carmen Miranda song Tico Tico.

I also tap danced to Rhapsody in Blue and Swing Danced to In the Mood.

In my 20’s I was enthralled by RATM and saw them at Lollapalooza when I was on mushrooms (I was never more miserable and nauseas in my life.  I started crying, bawling really.  Needless to say, I never took mushrooms again – HORRID!)  But I loved cranking the song Killing in the Name Of on my car stereo and singing along.  So testosterone ridden!  And ANGRY.  SEXY ANGRY.  I guess that’s why this particular pairing of the two songs tickles me.  Only a twisted mind would do such a thing.  And I heart twist.

FalloutGirl wants to know what you think of the mashup…


Jack’s Beans

Radiation Level:  Growing

Listening To:  Edge of the Moon by Tori Amos

I started teaching a science class to young ones yesterday.  Garden science.  Okay, not my favorite of scientific topics, but of course there’s that whole “kids today don’t understand where food comes from” aspect, so it’s important.  The lesson was to dissect a lima bean then create a “garden” in a paper cup to grow the lima bean.  With the younger kids, I first read them the story of Jack and the Beanstalk.  Most of the kids know it, but it’s inherently dramatic, so it goes over well.  After the story (which garnered applause from one of my classes) we got into the science.  Soil, osmosis, sunlight, plant embryo, etc.  At the end, each kid had their very own ‘cup-a-lima-bean garden’.

Then, once all the classes were finished, one first grade boy came back to me with his mother and 4-year-old brother in tow.

The small boy’s English was a bit stilted, clearly his second language, but he was eager and curious.  He asked me if his little brother could also have a lima-bean-garden.  I said, “Sure”.  As I was putting soil into the cup, he leaned over and whispered to me, “But don’t add the bean”.    I looked at him confused.  He explained, “My brother is very little.  If he climbs up the beanstalk, he may fall off.”

***

So sweet and funny.  I added four beans to his:)


It’s Me…Or the Brain!!

Radiation Level:  Floating in Formaldehyde

Listening To:  Coal War by Joshua James

Okay, let’s catch up.  It’s the end of summer and the next few months are going to be busy – YAY!

1.  I’ve started writing (okay, I have one page, but it’s a start) my spec sci-fi TV pilot. The little research I’ve been doing on the web about cloning has been fascinating and I’m hoping the UCLA genetics center will let me drop by and ask some questions.  (What to expect?  Blog posts about cloning and my bitching and moaning about how hard writing is)

Come on FalloutGirl, you can do it!  Baa-a-a!

2.  I’m loving a new TV show called Dark Matters: Twisted but True on the Science Channel.  Check it out if you want to see the guy who stole Einstein’s brain and took it home in a lunch box.  BOOM!

It’s great on rye toast!

3.  I got a new job that Fallout Girl HEARTS.  I’m writing screenplays for bar mitzvah videos.  If you’re not familiar with the bar mitzvah industry, I’ll can tell you it’s thriving.  The newest craze is to make a short film starring the bar/bat mitzvah child.  Some of the films are spoofs on real movies and some are totally original.  I was dubious about getting story notes from a 12-year-old, but it turns out that I love it.  And my boss is great.  I hope there’s lots more to come.

4.  I’m going to be teaching a class to gifted kids where we’ll learn forensic science, then write a screenplay using the science and then shoot a movie!!  That is gonna be fun backwards and forwards (fun-nuf).

Lights, camera, gas mask!

5.  I’m *hoping* to make a little va-ca to Ireland and visit RosieGirl.  Not sure yet if it’s even a possibility, but could be a great time if I can get all the stars to align. (What to expect: Usage of all my airline miles and photos of cold but green Belfast)

A real castle. WOW!

6.   After the awesome theater experience I had in Arizona, I can’t help but think about writing another pl__.  God, I can’t even write the word.  Hmm.  I’ll have to keep thinking on that one.  (What to expect:  A new one-act pl__, if I can get myself to write the word)

So that’s the current scoop.  I’m hoping for lots of adventure.  Hear that, gods that be?  BRING IT!



Chocolate Thunder from Down Under

Radiation Level:  Hurricane Powered

Listening To:  Sara Smile covered by Bird and the Bee    

Prescott, AZ was a blast.  Yes, real fun.  I couldn’t quite fit into the gold pants, but it didn’t matter.  For two whole days I was a produced playwright.  Two shows in a 200-seat house, entirely full.

KodakGirl did an outstanding job putting the whole thing together – truly impressive. And I’m terribly grateful.  My actors were wonderful and my director totally insightful and all were sincerely committed to making the play work.  On all levels.  Ah!  It was so UN-Hollywood. And fantastic.

The little plane!

As I was sitting in the audience, waiting for my play to start, I was nervous.  A new kind of nervous I had never been before.  Let’s see if I can explain it.  After hitting the “send” button on my email with the play attached as a PDF, I had nothing more to do with the process.  Ring Around the Collar existed without me, had a life of its own.  See, I’m an alfa-female control freak when given the chance.  Anyone who’s worked with me knows I care about the costumes as much as I do the words.  I want my hands on ALL OF IT.  Not that I don’t trust others, it’s just that I envision it a specific way.  I want to communicate my truth of the story/characters and sometimes that comes down to something as small as if an actress is wearing lipstick or lip gloss.  But all this need for control was taken out of the equation, given that it happened in another state (geographically and mentally).  And I loved it.  There was a profound freedom in this distance.  It served the play well.  But I was mostly worried that the play wouldn’t get any laughs.  Even if the actors had been unrehearsed or miscast, the jokes are the jokes.  If they aren’t written correctly, it’s MY BAD.  But the audience did laugh. And seemed to enjoy it.  I finally settled in and enjoyed it, too.

Thank you for this breath of fresh air.  We all gotta breathe once in a while.


Gold Pants

Radiation Level:  Lowered

Listening To:  X Insurrection by Machines of Loving Grace

You may know my gal-pal KodakGirl is producing an all women’s play festival called Dirty Laundry that includes FalloutGirl’s play Ring Around the Collar.  I will fly from LA to Prescott on a nail-biting 19-seater jet and pray for zero turbulence (note to self, skip breakfast).  My travel companion will be another fancy playwright, OpheliaGirl.  This is going to be a blast!

Last night, because my unconscious just can’t let me have stress-free sleep, I dreamt about being in Prescott.  In the dream, it was a group of us girls getting ready to go to the big show.  Hair.  Makeup.  And of course, what to wear, what to wear?  I looked in my suitcase and saw that I brought a pair of gold pants.  With spandex.  I’ll back up.

When I was in my twenties, I used to rock a pair of vintage Fredrick’s of Hollywood gold spandex pants when I went clubbing to places like Club Fuck. (Yes, that was a real club)   Sounds like cheesy disco garb, but I had the bod back then and the pants were quite coveted.  I still own them.  Not as part of my wardrobe, but more as a memento of my former self.

So, in my dream I was trying to decide if I should wear those pants to my play. Am I too old?  Am I too fat?  Am I too hootchy?   Now that I’m awake, the answer is a resounding NO, DUH!  But in the dream, it wasn’t so obvious. Okay, Carl Jung – what the heck does this mean???

These are my pants, but sadly not my ass.

In my 20’s, I was an actress.  I was excited about the future.  I was hoping I’d have a great career.  Everything was a new experience.  Being a struggling artist was cool.  Independent film was thriving.  On television, the sitcom was king.  I was young.  President Clinton was balancing the budget.  The dot-com bubble was inflating.   I was optimistic about the future.

CUT TO:

Now.  Economy tanked.  Independent film dead.  Reality TV rules the tube.  Jobs (not just writing ones) are hard to come by.  Partisan bullsh*t ruining Washington, ruining our country. Bye-bye space shuttle.  Wild weather making me baffled at how many people think global warming is a hoax.    I am disillusioned.

So maybe this dream about the gold pants is symbolic of a happier time in my life, one where hope beat cynicism and only good things awaited. me (and the country).  Maybe somehow, writing this play, as insignificant as it is, has brought back a touch of that 20-something attitude?  Letting me know that optimistic girl is still alive inside of me?

To everyone who is contributing to Dirty Laundry, my unconscious mind thanks you from the bottom of my hippocampus.  Now, the big questions is:

DO I WEAR THE GOLD PANTS TO THE SHOW? 

Let me know what you think!



Scripts are Blowing Up. Seriously.

 

Radiation Level:  Explosive

Listening To:  Running Up That Hill originally by Kate Bush, covered by Placebo      

 

As if it weren’t hard enough to get read in this town.  Now I have to worry about lit agents calling in the bomb squad???  Not sure why this didn’t get covered on the local TV news, but I find it fascinating.  And frightening.  I’ve reposted the story below from the Los Angeles Times. 

 

Beverly Hills police blow up screenwriter’s laptop, script

August 11, 2011 |  1:31 pm 

 

BhBeverly Hills police blew up an aspiring screenwriter’s laptop and script when investigating a suspicious package Thursday morning on Rodeo Drive.

The screenwriter, who was not identified, apparently left his briefcase — with the computer and script inside — unattended at a talent agency office.  Beverly Hills Police Lt. Tony Lee said police, not knowing what was inside the briefcase, detonated it as safety precaution.

Lee said the owner was distraught when he learned what happened to briefcase.  The case was found near the intersection of Rodeo Drive and Little Santa Monica Boulevard.

Several streets were closed and nearby businesses were being evacuated, causing traffic jams in the area.

Sources familiar with the case said the man had been harassing the agency in an effort to get the script read and were concerned about “irrational comments” concerning the agency.  — Andrew Blankstein

Irrational comments?  It’s a friggen’ briefcase.  I think this post 911-mentality is being taken a little too far.  I know there are crazy writers who are obsessive and stalkery (just read the Facebook page for the Nicholl Screenwriting Competition – they had to actually BAN SOMEONE) But seriously, the BOMB SQUAD?  And why would the guy leave his laptop?  Did he mean to leave the briefcase? I guess crazy begets crazy.  

So now this guy doesn’t have a script anymore, unless he backed it up on a cloud somewhere.  Admit it, aren’t you just a little curious to read it? Maybe I should blow up my own script and see if I get in the news?  Man, this is a tough town.