Monday, May 25, 2015

There's No Place Like Home

Time has seriously flown since the Goodbye Dinner at the beginning of May!  I'm sorry it took me this long to make my last post about my time in Hollywood!  Over the weekend after the dinner, I did a lot of cool stuff.  I had to do some packing and major cleaning, but there were plenty of fun things.  Some of my roommates and I had a little cookout in the grilling area.  We made a bunch of hot dogs and burgers!  Later on, we went to the hot tub one last time.  On Saturday night, we went out to Buffalo Wild Wings.  I had already eaten dinner, so I just had a huckleberry limeade.  It was tasty!  When we were done, we walked around Burbank and found a bar that was showing the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight.  There were tons of people crowded around outside the bar, but we managed to find a place to stand.  I actually got to see the TV pretty well!  I had never really watched boxing before, but I was excited to see it because there was so much hype before that fight.  I rooted for Pacquiao to win, but I was not as upset at Mayweather's victory as some other people were.  After we had watched a good deal of the fight, a police car drove by and broke up the huge crowd.  We headed for the parking garage and went back to the apartment.  On Sunday, I got a ride to Calvary Bible Church one last time.  It was nice to attend one more service there and say goodbye to the people I had met there.  It's a great church!  Once I was done there, I went back home.  When I was at the apartment over the weekend, I did some work on my final paper for How Hollywood Works.  As I said before, I also had to pack and clean a lot!  Monday was a busy day.  I woke up bright and early in the morning to take my final trip to Universal Studios Hollywood!  The lines weren't bad at all, and I got to do a lot!  I rode The Mummy 4 times that day, and I rode it a total of 11 times in the 3 days I was there!  I rode everything that I wanted to ride again.  I also reserved a spot on my flight that was leaving the next morning!  After I was done there, I did a little more souvenir shopping and then went home.  I made myself some dinner and continued working on my paper.  Later that night, I went out to Bob's Big Boy one last time.  I went there with some girls I had gone with before and another one of their roommates.  It was a fun trip!  A couple of us were just there to get dessert, and I ordered the hot fudge cake.  It was delicious!  We all discussed our plans following the semester and other random topics.  I'm glad we were all able to get together!  After I got back from that, I finished my How Hollywood Works final paper and sent it in.  It felt really nice to have that done!  I also spent some time preparing for my departure in the morning.  I ended up going to bed far too late (technically early), and I didn't sleep a whole lot that night.  I had to wake up at 7:00 to finish packing up and cleaning.  My shuttle to the airport was supposed to arrive around 8:50 or 9:00, but it took nearly the whole time to complete all my tasks.  When I was finally ready to go, I said goodbye to my two roommates who were still there.  One of them helped me carry my stuff downstairs.  I didn't have to wait outside very long before the shuttle arrived.  I put my luggage in the back and found a seat.  I was very relieved to be on the way to LAX!  The shuttle stopped at one point along the way to pick up more people.  The drive to LAX was nearly an hour long - Los Angeles is a huge city!  The shuttle dropped me off at the Southwest departures area, and I went to check my bigger bags and get my boarding pass.  It's nice that you can check two bags for free on Southwest - I took full advantage of the two checked and two carry-on bags!  Thankfully, the line moved quickly.  After that, I was on to security.  That also went pretty smoothly.  I find it funny that they make you go through a full-body scanner and still feel your shirt afterwards!  What could they possibly find in your shirt that the full-body scanner wouldn't pick up?  I suppose there are terrorists who have figured that out, but it's excessive for most people.  I was out of security soon enough, and I went to find my gate.  After I found it, I got some lunch at the La Brea Bakery.  It was a tremendous ripoff!  I would recommend that you NEVER eat at the La Brea Bakery in LAX!  I sat and waited for boarding to begin, and it happened before too long.  I knew I wanted a window seat on the plane.  I had to walk almost all the way to the back, but I found a window seat!  I was happy!  There were no problems on the flight, and I think it actually landed a little early.  The flight attendants and pilots on Southwest planes are cool!  It's my favorite airline (not that I have extensive experience on many airlines)!  When we landed at Chicago Midway, I grabbed my carry-on bags and made my way to the baggage claim.  I swear it was at least a 2-mile walk from the plane to the baggage claim!  I guess that's the cost of having free bags on Southwest!  It took a while for the carousel to start up, but I found my bags relatively quickly.  I texted my mom to let her know that I was ready.  Then I went outside and looked for her van.  After a few minutes, she pulled up!  I threw all my stuff in the car, and we drove away.  She showed me the "Cheers" complete series DVD set that arrived earlier that day!  I was happy to see that!  She also had a dinner for me to eat in the car.  We were headed straight to my little sister's band concert!  After the concert was over, I went to Culver's to get some frozen custard and celebrate my safe arrival.  In the weeks since then, I've done a ton!  The day after I got back, I went over to Bradley to participate in the last episode of Midstate Magazine that Bob Jacobs executive produced.  Midstate Magazine is a weekly newsmagazine show that Bradley produces, and Bob Jacobs created the show.  He was the main Television Arts professor at Bradley for years, and he retired at the end of the semester.  I'm glad I got to be there for his last episode.  After that, I hung out with my roommate from first semester and some other friends.  It was study day, so nobody had classes.  I spent the night there, and finals began in the morning.  I went back home that afternoon.  After another week or so back home, I went on InterVarsity's Chapter Focus Week.  I joined some other guys from Bradley's chapter for the trip up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  We stayed at a place called Cedar Campus in Cedarville.  The whole week was a ton of fun!  It was a cool way to reconnect with God and the other guys in the chapter!  I also met a ton of cool people from other schools!  The day after I returned from that was my older brother's college graduation party.  We had a bunch of family and friends over to eat and celebrate a big milestone!  It was kind of funny that I saw a lot of the people who are coming to my "Welcome Back From Hollywood" Party!  We have a lot of parties going on this time of year!  The next day, my family went up to my older brother's apartment in Lisle, IL.  We helped him move in some new furniture.  The apartment is really nice now!  And the complex is amazing!  They offer so many free things!  The rest of my family left after we ate dinner, but I stayed with Chase.  We hung out for the rest of the night.  In the morning, we got some free breakfast.  For lunch, we ate at the Portillo's in Naperville.  Portillo's is seriously delicious!  Their chocolate cake shakes are irresistible!  In the afternoon, we saw "Tomorrowland" at the IMAX theater.  I'm spending another night at his apartment, and we're coming home on Tuesday for the Weird Al concert in Bloomington!  I'm so excited!  My semester in Los Angeles was a wonderful experience that I'm so grateful for.  I'll never forget it!  However, my return has reminded me of one critically important thing:  There's no place like home!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

So Long! Farewell! Auf Wiedersehen! Goodbye!

This past week was the last week of my semester here in Hollywood!  It started off pretty nicely, too!  On Monday morning, I got up a little early so I could do my homework assignment for How Hollywood Works.  I almost finished it, but I had to stop with a tiny bit left so we could go to the Disney lot!  When we got there, it wasn't long before we found our meeting place.  Eventually, we started our tour.  We had a guide take us all around the lot to several buildings.  He was very knowledgeable!  He knew a lot about the history of Disney and the animation process!  It was fascinating to hear how animation worked in the old days.  We learned that Disney teamed up with Xerox to make the first copy machine for the movie "101 Dalmatians"!  That's something I didn't know!  They had some pretty neat buildings on that lot!  We also got to see one of the cameras they used in the production of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"!  The technology they used back then was crazy!  Our group got a picture around the "Partners" statue, which was in front of one of the buildings.  I hope we get that picture e-mailed to us soon!  In that same area, there were handprints from a bunch of celebrities who have been designated "Disney Legends".  After we saw several of the animation buildings, he took us to a different area of the lot with sound stages.  Sound Stage 2 is apparently the biggest one in southern California, and it's called the Julie Andrews Sound Stage!  They filmed "Mary Poppins" and "The Princess Diaries" there, so that makes enough sense.  Sound Stage 1 is called the Annette Funicello Sound Stage, and I think he said they filmed "The Mickey Mouse Club" there.  He concluded the tour at a place where we could see the back side of the mountain that the Hollywood sign is on.  It was an amazing tour, and the guy was great!  After that was over, we went to the gift shop nearby.  Some people bought stuff, but I didn't get anything.  When we were done, we went back to the apartment for a short time.  We had plenty of time to get back to the UTLA center for our free lunch, but we didn't waste a whole lot at the apartment!  When I got to the UTLA center, I finished my assignment and then chilled for a while.  The pizza arrived a little later than we expected it to, but I was just glad to have it!  How Hollywood Works normally starts at 2:00, but Phil let us eat pizza and hang out until 2:30.  The main reason for that is that he wanted us to complete our course evaluations by 2:30.  I did mine near the end of that window of time.  At 2:30, we began our last class.  The whole time, Phil talked to us about living and working in Hollywood.  He gave us lots of good advice on how to find jobs and where the cheapest apartments and houses are.  He also spent a huge chunk of time talking to us about tax deductions and write-offs.  Around 4:30 or so, we went back out to eat cake and celebrate the April birthdays.  He was going to save it until after class, but we insisted on taking a break!  He didn't say a whole lot after our break, but I enjoyed the class period.  It was particularly nice for the people who are staying in L.A. or are coming back soon.  After the class ended, I got one last meal from the deli inside that building.  I had many lunches there on the Mondays throughout the semester, but I couldn't have lunch that Monday because of the free pizza.  After dinner, I returned to the apartment.  I relaxed for a while, and I did laundry a little later.  Eventually, I put some finishing touches on my paper for Development.  I might have worked on my New Media paper too.  On Tuesday, I started my day at Glassman Media.  I had to make some more calls to random companies, but I guess it gave me some good experience.  Now I'm a little more comfortable having phone conversations with people I don't know!  Overall, I got to do more of the fun stuff I did earlier in the semester.  I'm really glad I got an internship there!  After I was done there, I went back to my apartment.  I relaxed for a while, and I think I did some work.  I didn't eat dinner because I had more free pizza coming!  Our Development professor had to cancel one class just after spring break, so she scheduled a makeup class for Tuesday night.  I got there just before 7:00 and got some free pizza!  We started late because a lot of people were just coming back from their internships.  It was a cool class!  We had a bunch of desks arranged in a square in the middle of the room, and we had a "roundtable discussion" (obviously, it wasn't literally a round table).  Our professor wanted to give us advice about our careers and our lives in Hollywood.  She went around the square and answered questions from everyone.  She's been working in the industry forever, so she had a lot of great advice!  It was very nice and laid back.  After that class was over, I went back to my apartment.  I think I did some work on my New Media paper.  I wanted to finish it by Tuesday night so I wouldn't have to work on it Wednesday, but that didn't happen.  On Wednesday, I returned to Glassman for my last day there.  I ended up doing the same stuff I did on Tuesday.  Because it was my last day, my supervisor bought me lunch at the food truck outside the building!  That was really nice of her!  After lunch, I spent a good amount of time finishing my paper.  She's very understanding, and she didn't mind me doing that at all.  For the last part of the day, I sat with her at the front desk and talked about my experience.  I enjoyed my semester interning there!  She gave me some copies of a nice letter she wrote about me, and she gave it to Phil and the guy who runs the internship course!  Just before I left there, I talked to Andrew Glassman and thanked him for having me as an intern.  I'm going to be doing some work for him over the summer, and I'm excited for that!  (The work will all be over e-mail.)  After I was done there, I went back to my apartment to prepare for my presentation in New Media.  I made a PowerPoint and put some finishing touches on my paper.  I sent both of those documents in and then went back over to the UTLA center.  The last New Media class dragged on a really long time because so many people saved their presentations for the last week!  The class is supposed to meet from 7:00-10:00, but it lasted an extra 35-40 minutes.  I presented near the end, and I made sure to speed through it.  He encouraged the people later in the class period to go fast, and I didn't leave anything important out, so it's all good.  Because I presented a transmedia campaign to promote "The Peanuts Movie", I brought in some peanuts in little plastic bags.  People really appreciated that!  There were apparently some starving people in there, and I was their hero!  After the last presentation, I headed back to the apartment.  I didn't have any big assignments to work on (finally!), so I relaxed.  On Thursday, I headed out to Karga Seven.  They had me work on final edit reports the whole day.  My supervisor told me to work on one I had already done, but I didn't realize it for a while.  When you're constantly watching clips of tornadoes, it can be pretty hard to remember what you have and haven't seen!  I told her I had already started it, and another one of the postproduction people said it was completely done.  She had me start on another one, and I got a huge portion of that done by the end of the day.  After I left there, the L.A. transportation system irritated me one last time (or so I hope)!  Normally, I take a bus that leaves Hollywood & Vine around 5:47.  I scheduled an appointment for 6:30 with the internship guy to talk about my résumé and cover letter.  I figured that would be perfect - I would actually be there early!  Boy, was I mistaken!  The 5:47 bus decided not to show up!  The next bus, which normally gets there around 6:26, arrived about 10 minutes late!  I was going to be really late, and I was afraid he would be gone by the time I got there!  I got off the bus shortly before 7:00 and rushed into the UTLA center.  Thankfully, he was still there!  He was just about to leave when I showed up!  I printed off my résumé and cover letter, and he gave me some good tips.  I never really know how to make those, but now I have a better idea.  After I was done there, I went back to the apartment.  I ate dinner and chilled for a while, and then I decided to go out to the hot tub.  What I didn't know was that there was a group of UTLA students there!  It was nice getting to hang out with them there!  I'm glad I stumbled upon that little party!  On Friday, I went back to Karga Seven for my last day there.  I began the day by finishing the major parts of the final edit report.  My supervisor was going back and forth a lot, and I couldn't find her for a while.  I decided to finish my last weekly assignment in New Media.  In the afternoon, she and a bunch of other people took me out to lunch!  She appreciated all I did, and she wanted to treat me!  I got a lot of free meals that week!  We went to a place that had pretty good burgers.  After we got back, I worked on a few smaller parts of the report.  Just after 5:00, I stopped working and took pictures with/of a lot of the people there.  It was fun working with them!  After that, I had to get out the door and find my bus stop.  We had our Goodbye Dinner on Friday night, and I figured out that it was easier to get to the restaurant from Karga Seven.  When I got on the bus, it was super crowded!  34 years later, Weird Al's song "Another One Rides the Bus" still makes complete sense!  I just had to hold onto a rail for a while.  At the first several stops after the one where I got on, big groups of people joined the madness!  It was rough standing up on the bus, but people gradually started getting off.  I managed to find a seat before too long.  As it continued going through downtown, more people got off.  By the time it got to the more scenic locations, the bus wasn't crowded at all.  It was kind of a long ride, but I was excited for the dinner!  When I got to The Grove, I walked around for a while.  I had never known about it before.  It's a pretty cool place with a bunch of restaurants and stores and whatnot.  I found Maggiano's and then made my way up to the ballroom we had reserved!  It was nice and fancy!  There weren't too many people there when I arrived, so I chilled for a while.  They brought out some appetizers later, so I naturally gravitated towards the food.  I stayed out on the balcony for a good time, and more people showed up.  At around 8:00 (1 hour after the event officially started), they brought out the salads and bread.  After that, they started bringing out the main courses!  There was all kinds of good stuff to eat!  I had some chicken piccata, some salmon, and a little bit of pasta.  There were a couple different kinds of pasta with meatballs.  Later on, they brought out dessert.  Again, there were so many delicious things to choose from!  I had some tiramisu (that's what I think it was) and a chocolate bonbon thingy.  At around 9:00, Phil got our attention.  Most of the professors got up and gave speeches encouraging us and praising us for our work.  The guy in charge of the internship course also read off some of our accomplishments and summer positions.  At the end, Phil gave an emotional speech similar to the ones the professors gave earlier.  Apparently, the UTLA program is celebrating its 10th anniversary this semester!  We took some group pictures, and then we continued to mingle.  I got pictures with some of the professors and staff members I hadn't taken pictures with earlier.  I hung out for a while, and then I got a ride home.  A bunch of people partied afterwards, but I just wanted to relax and have some time to myself.  I would tell you what I did on Saturday, but I want to end off with the high note of the Goodbye Dinner.  Nothing bad happened - I just want to save it for the next big post.  Tomorrow, I'll post some pictures from the Disney lot!  I hope I'll get some more pictures e-mailed to me soon!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Final Countdown

I've entered the final countdown of my Hollywood semester!  Friday of this week is our Goodbye Dinner!  On Saturday the 18th, I slept in and then went to the Dog Haus for lunch.  In the afternoon, I began writing my final paper for Development.  I basically started from scratch, but I made some good progress!  I had over 700 words written when I decided to stop.  I think that's the only productive thing I did that day.  The rest of the day, I relaxed and enjoyed myself.  On Sunday, I slept in a little longer than I normally do.  I had a ticket to the Dodgers game that day, so I couldn't go to church.  When I got up in the morning, one of my roommates was making pancakes.  He gave me a couple, and I enjoyed them!  That was nice of him!  Later on, we got in a car and headed to Dodger Stadium!  It took us a while to get all the way inside the stadium and find our seats.  Once we knew where we were sitting, we got some food.  UTLA gave us $10 in Dodger Dollars along with our tickets, and it was nice to have a good portion of our food paid for!  I got a cheeseburger with fries, but it was nothing special.  According to my dad, some of the Cubs broadcasters talk about Dodger Dogs all the time.  Maybe I should have gotten one of those!  We got to our seats just before the game began.  It was neat being at the game and getting to see the teams play!  The visiting team was the Colorado Rockies.  As time passed, more UTLA people arrived.  We had a decently-sized group there!  Apparently, one of the screens said "Welcome UTLA" at some point before the game!  The guy who bought our tickets told us that would happen, but I didn't get to see it.  The Dodgers got a 2-0 lead early on in the game, so that was good.  However, the 6th inning was by far the best!  There were 3 home runs in a stretch of 4 batters!  It was a home run, a walk, and then 2 more home runs!  We got to see "back-to-back jacks", as my dad would have called it!  There was an RBI later in the inning, and the Dodgers scored a total of 5 points!  They got a 7-0 lead!  The rest of the game was pretty uneventful.  I got thirsty near the end of the game, so I bought a frozen lemonade.  We left after the 8th inning, so we didn't see the end of the game.  I'm pretty sure they ended up winning 7-0, however.  We didn't have much of a problem with traffic, but quite a few people started heading for the doors before we did.  After we got home, one of my roommates and I made plans to see "The Sound of Music" at the AMC theater in Burbank.  We both ate a little dinner, and then we left for the 7:00 showing.  I think there were only 2 showings because it was a 50th anniversary special.  Once we found a place to park, we bought our tickets and headed in.  I still had my free popcorn and drink vouchers from earlier in the semester, so I got my free concessions.  I got to the theater just in time for the beginning of the movie.  The last time I had seen "The Sound of Music" was 3rd grade.  It's a fantastic movie!  I liked it back then, but I obviously appreciated it more now.  I enjoyed it all the way through, and I'm glad I went!  Before and after the movie, they showed a short segment with fun facts and information about the movie.  I only got to see the stuff after the movie.  We left after that.  I think I just relaxed when I got back to the apartment.  On Monday, the second half of the class did their pitches in Development.  Since I pitched the week before, I just listened to the pitches and asked a question here and there.  In How Hollywood Works, we had a guest speaker.  He's the Head of Post Production at Dreamworks!  It was cool hearing him talk about how he started his Hollywood career and how he moved up the ladder.  He really had a lot to say!  He also gave very long answers to our questions, so he took up almost 2 hours of class!  After he was done, we talked about the pre-production process for movies.  Phil gave us an assignment where we have to outline the pre-production schedule for the movie script we read a while back.  I don't really know a lot about that, but I'll get help from the people who do.  He also assigned our final project.  We have to do either a paper or a pitch, and I'm going to write a paper.  It should be pretty quick and painless.  After that class was over, I relaxed for a while.  I did some laundry, as I do every Monday.  I don't recall exactly what I did otherwise.  This past week was very busy and kind of a blur, so that's a general theme.  I think that I did some brainstorming for my final project in New Media once I was done taking care of other business.  On Tuesday, I went to Glassman Media.  I spent most of that day scanning papers.  I might have done some shredding at the beginning of the day, but my supervisor took care of most of that.  She let me go a little early, and that was nice.  After I ate dinner that night, I spent more time working on my New Media project.  I also did my weekly homework for that class.  On Wednesday, my day at Glassman involved organizing supplies and equipment.  I started out by sorting various sets of tabs that could be used in binders.  Once I had sorted those out, my supervisor helped me arrange them in the filing cabinet.  We threw away a bunch of old tabs and ones that didn't belong to a set.  There were a few binders that we figured out we didn't need anymore, so we emptied those and threw all the paper in the shred bin.  Soon after that, I went to a different part of the office and organized a bunch of cords and cables.  I wrapped up some cords and rubber banded them, and then I sorted them as best I could.  We cleared off a set of drawers and put a different kind of cord in each drawer.  They want to consolidate the cords and cables as much as possible, but they have so many that it's going to be tough.  After I was done there, I went back to the apartment and came up with more ideas for New Media.  Because so few people signed up to do their presentations this past week, we weren't sure if the professor would call on random people.  Thankfully, our papers aren't due until this coming Wednesday.  I decided I would be ready for my presentation in case I needed to do it.  It turns out that a few more people signed up than I had thought.  It still wasn't a whole bunch, but he didn't call on anybody else.  He let the 8 people who were presenting have a little more time than the rest of us will have.  Some people had some really nice presentations!  We have to present ideas for a transmedia campaign to promote a property (movie, TV show, video game, etc.) that's coming out later this year or sometime next year.  My campaign will focus on "The Peanuts Movie".  I've got some really good ideas, and I'm excited to present this week!  After that class was over, I went back to the apartment and made some dinner.  I think I just chilled for the rest of that night.  On Thursday, I went over to Karga Seven.  I believe I started the day by recording the text and graphics in an episode of one of their shows.  I know that I ended the day by taking production stills from footage for one of their shows.  Basically, I just had to watch through raw footage and grab screenshots of some of the people, animals, and landscapes that they recorded.  I hadn't done that before, and it was kind of cool!  Watching through raw footage isn't fun, but finding good shots is!  At the end of the day, I went back to the apartment.  I made myself some dinner, and I'm pretty sure I got some more work done on my Development paper.  On Friday, I went back to Karga Seven.  I caught a late bus in the morning because the bus that normally comes at 8:38 must have been extremely early!  I watched through another episode of the same show and took more production stills.  It was nice getting to watch through a completed episode rather than raw footage!  Once I had finished that, they had me watch through another episode and record the text and graphics.  Unfortunately, I didn't get as much done as I could have because of computer issues.  The computer acted up a lot this week!  I didn't end up getting through the whole episode, and they needed it all done by the end of the day, but they took care of the rest after I left.  I worked as fast as I could, and I didn't feel too bad - I've done so much work for them already!  (Not to mention the fact that my supervisor didn't tell me how soon they needed it done until the last part of the day.)  At one point in the week, I also checked a couple DVDs and made sure they worked properly.  After I was done there, I went home and Skyped with my family.  I've been looking forward to going home and seeing everyone, and I wanted to talk to my family.  I had a good time!  There's some exciting stuff going on in my family, and it's good to hear about it!  After I did that, I ate some dinner and relaxed.  My roommates went on a trip to Death Valley over the weekend, so they went on a late night grocery run to prepare for the trip.  I needed some groceries myself, so I went with them.  After we got home from that, I watched an episode of The Middle and took it easy.  On Saturday, I slept in, ate some lunch, and then got back to work on my Development paper.  I got a good portion done!  As my dinner was in the oven, I switched to working on my New Media paper.  That one is even easier to write, and I got a ton of that done!  At night, I decided to stop writing and go to the hot tub.  I stayed there for a while, and then I came back to the apartment.  I watched some TV, but I went to bed earlier than I normally would because my roommates were gone (and I needed more sleep).  On Sunday, I got up and went to the continental breakfast.  Then I got a ride to Calvary Bible Church.  The worship time was nice, and it was another great sermon!  I'm really glad I went!  After that, I had some lunch and took care of some random orders of business.  Just as I was about to continue working on my papers, my roommates got back from Death Valley.  They had a fun time, and they posted some cool pictures on Facebook!  I would have loved to go, but the timing was problematic.  I ended up finishing a rough first draft of my Development paper.  I need to change some things, but I'm glad I got through it!  After I ate dinner, I did some more of my New Media paper.  That one has to be 10 pages long - I have a lot to say, but I hope I can say that much!  Since then, I've been relaxing.  I need to get up early tomorrow morning to work on my How Hollywood Works homework.  For Development class, we're taking a field trip to the Disney lot in Burbank!  We're going to learn a lot about the animation process!  That'll be cool! Then, after we get back, we'll have a free lunch!  Woo hoo!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Two Weeks? TWO WEEKS?

This past week behaved much like every other week I've had here - it got away from me in a hurry!  On Sunday, I got up and had some of the continental breakfast.  Later in the morning, I got a ride to church.  It was really nice going back to Calvary Bible Church after having not been there the last couple weeks!  The sermon was nice, and I enjoyed it!  A little while after the service let out, I got a ride home.  I made myself some lunch, and then I think I relaxed for a while.  In the afternoon, however, I finished up writing my story for my pitch in Development class.  Then I practiced it several times.  I'm glad I took the time to practice - the time limit was 5 minutes, and my first try at the pitch lasted 14 minutes!  Over the next several tries, I managed to gather my thoughts and get rid of some unnecessary portions.  I practiced it a bunch more, but it seemed like I was consistently falling in a range of 5-6 minutes.  I eventually decided that was good enough.  I took some breaks in between to eat dinner and do a few other things, so it was late by the time I was done.  I never got started on my final paper for that class, but I was prepared if I needed to pitch on Monday.  When Monday came around, the whole class drew numbers to see who would make their pitches this week.  There are about 32 people in the class, so we tried to go 16 and 16.  I drew #6, so I knew I was going that day!  After the first 5 pitches, I went up to do mine.  I'm happy to say that it went very well!  I was confident the whole time, I said everything I needed to say, and I finished it in time!  I got plenty of compliments from my classmates, and my professor also thought I did well!  The few bits of constructive criticism were appreciated!  It felt really good.  We got through a total of 15 pitches this week, so we'll need to try and get 17 in this coming Monday.  After that class was over, I got some lunch.  In How Hollywood Works, we got back to a more typical class.  We started out with our usual weekly discussions (which didn't happen the week before), and then Phil talked to us about more contract stuff.  We learned about the stuff included in contracts for directors, actors, and other positions.  He told us that John Travolta can be very hard to work with!  He said that John's a nice guy, but he can be very demanding.  If the examples Phil gave were true, I can see why!  After we talked about that, we discussed the structures of various places where Hollywood people work.  He gave us quite a bit of information, but we don't have much more to learn - in next week's class, we're going to have the Head of Post Production at Dreamworks as our guest speaker!  That'll be cool!  (Although I figured out he doesn't really work in animation - I was hoping he worked on Shrek and whatnot.)  Once that class was out, I went back to the apartment.  I did some laundry, as I always do on Monday.  Laundry is an annoying thing that never really goes away - now I appreciate my mom doing the laundry a whole lot more!  I can't wait to come back home for the summer and take some time off!  I made myself dinner and did a few other activities.  I don't exactly remember, but I know it wasn't anything productive.  Once I had washed, dried, and folded my laundry, I went out to the hot tub.  After that, I came back to the apartment and eventually went to bed.  On Tuesday, I did some interesting work at Glassman Media.  It seemed like it was going to be a very slow day, but then Andrew Glassman dropped by and gave me a research project.  He wanted me to look up information for a new show he wants to develop.  He had me look up general information and then try to find a good possible host for the show.  I had to call a guy I didn't know at all and ask him for information!  Soon enough, however, I got what I needed.  All that researching stuff took up the better portion of my day there.  After that was over, I went home.  I made dinner and then did ANOTHER load of laundry!  Every once in a while, it builds up to the point where I need to do 2 loads of colors.  I don't exactly remember much about that night, but I do remember the hot tub incident.  I was in the mood for the hot tub the second day in a row, but it didn't work out.  When I left, the one closer to my building had already closed.  The other one is open an hour longer, so I headed for it.  After the journey there, I discovered that half of Los Angeles had the same idea!  There were probably 20-30 people in the hot tub, and I just wasn't going to fit!  I turned right back around and headed home.  I didn't do much else that night.  On Wednesday, my time at Glassman was similar.  I spent the morning doing research and watching YouTube videos related to my assignment.  I managed to collect a whole lot of information!  For the later parts of the day, I covered the front desk and tried to think up titles for the show.  There were hardly any people there, and my supervisor let me go early.  She was getting ready to leave herself!  I walked back to my apartment and made some dinner.  If I had gotten off at my normal time, I wouldn't have had time for dinner before our final New Media field trip!  After I ate dinner, we took off for the Vortex Dome at the Los Angeles Center Studios!  The funny thing is, the Karga Seven offices are at the Los Angeles Center Studios!  I knew exactly where I was!  The Vortex Dome is a 360-degree dome that they use to show short videos and presentations.  (It was more or less an IMAX theater).  There was a lady who told us some stuff about it, and then she showed us several video clips that were made for 360-degree domes.  All of it was cool, but I loved watching the videos the most!  After she was done presenting to us, she let us have a look at the technology.  They have some crazy stuff going on there!  It was a neat field trip!  When it was over, we went home.  It was already after 10:00 when we got back, so I didn't do much afterwards.  On Thursday, I had a good day at Karga Seven.  When I got there, they had me record details on the graphics and maps that showed up during an episode of one of their shows.  Once I got through the whole episode, they had me record all the text in an episode of another show.  There wasn't too much text, so I also got through that whole episode!  After that, I made a final character bio and updated some documents.  After I got home, I went to the convenience store in the south clubhouse to pick up some bread and some hamburger buns.  Once I got to the room, I logged into my Jeopardy! account.  Jeopardy! online testing took place this past week, and Thursday was the only convenient day for me.  After I logged in and prepared for the test, I made a sandwich quickly for dinner.  Just after 8:00, the test began.  Overall, I felt that I did well.  I know the second half of the test was better!  I got questions right throughout the test, but I think I got more right in the second half.  I stumbled a few times, but I did much better than I did when I took the test in high school!  I tried the Teen Tournament test back then, and it was horrifically hard!  Anyway, I'll keep checking my e-mail over the next couple months and see if they want me to audition!  After the test was over, I just relaxed for a while.  However, I actually tried to start one of my final papers that night!  I typed up a good amount, but when I looked at the example papers, I could tell I wasn't doing it exactly the right way.  That's why I didn't spend too much time doing it!  By the way, the Line Producing class that I normally audit didn't meet on Thursday night - the professor is in China!  He had to go on a trip there, and he also won't be back this coming Thursday!  He's going to move class to Friday so he can still make up at least one!  On Friday, it was another nice day at Karga Seven.  The whole day was devoted to working on a final edit report.  Those take an obnoxiously long time to complete!  I didn't finish it after a whole day of work on it, and another lady had already started working on it!  I'm not sure if they'll have me finish it this coming Thursday, but at least I have most of it done!  After I came home, I watched TV and made some dinner.  I hung out with my roommates and a friend for a while.  Some of them went out, so I've been relaxing since then.  I need to do some serious work on Saturday - I want to get a nice start on my final papers, and I have a busy Sunday ahead of me!  I'll be going to a Dodgers game and seeing "The Sound of Music" in a theater for its 50th anniversary re-release!  I really can't believe that the goodbye dinner is in two weeks!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Another Week Gone

This past week flew by, and I only have about 3 more left!  Sunday was Easter, so I met up with a girl in the UTLA program to get a ride to the Saddleback Church campus in L.A.  We left nice and early so we could beat the rush!  It was a pretty nice service - the worship was great, and Rick Warren related his sermon to Easter in a neat way!  (We watched a video of his sermon.)  After it was over, we went outside and had some fun with the Easter festivities.  They had a bunch of Easter eggs for the kids, and there was popcorn, snow cones, and cotton candy!  I got a bag of popcorn, and the girl I came with got a group picture with the Easter Bunny!  Once we had done what we wanted to do, we headed back home.  I had some lunch and procrastinated for a short time.  However, I got back to work on my Development paper pretty soon.  It went okay - I had some periods of writer's block, but I made a lot of progress.  I took a break for dinner, and then I did a few other things.  A little later, I finished my paper and made a few revisions.  I'll be interested to see what the professor thinks of it!  I got an A on my last paper, and I'm happy about that!  After that, I didn't do much else.  On Monday, I started with Development class.  I was hoping we were going to discuss the script we wrote about for our paper, but we didn't talk about it at all!  We started by discussing movies we had seen over the weekend, and then we talked about making a good pitch.  If you recall my earlier posts, we also spent some considerable time talking about pitches in How Hollywood Works.  My Development professor had some other tips and different advice for us.  After we talked about it, she made a pitch for a movie she's been interested in producing.  Then we split up into groups and attempted pitches for the movie adaptations we've been working on.  The second paper we wrote was coverage for the material (I chose "Dad is Fat" by Jim Gaffigan), and our final paper will be a more in-depth treatment of our imagined film.  I wasn't really ready to pitch it because I hadn't totally envisioned the movie, but I did my best in discussing my ideas.  The people in my group liked what I said!  We're going to pitch our movies this coming Monday and the week after.  It's going to be a random drawing, so we all have to be ready this Monday!  After that class was out, I walked over to the Dog Haus for lunch.  It had been too long since I had eaten at the Dog Haus!  How Hollywood Works was a special class.  Instead of opening with our usual discussions on movies, our internships, the box office, and the entertainment industry, we spent the whole time listening to a seminar on "No Budget Filmmaking".  It was basically just a talk encouraging us to make the most of our limitations and spend as little money as possible.  Although the speaker calls it "No Budget Filmmaking", you obviously need some money to make a movie.  He told us about a bunch of different techniques and rules, and he showed us clips from many "No Budget" movies.  It was definitely interesting, but I'm not venturing into film.  UT is a big film school, and most of the UTLA students are looking for careers in movies.  After that guy's talk was over, I went back to my apartment.  A short time later, my roommates and I went to the grocery store for another shopping trip.  I didn't have to buy too much, but I got myself a few things.  I saved about 25% on my total order because I have a club card!  It's pretty nice!  After I got back from that, I got a couple loads of laundry in the washing machines.  I made some dinner, and I sat down to watch the NCAA Men's Basketball championship game with my roommates.  We were all pretty annoyed that Duke won!  I was all for Wisconsin, and I would rather have seen Kentucky go undefeated than Duke win again!  Anyway, I did some other stuff after that.  I may have started on my pitch for Development class, but I can't remember.  On Tuesday, I went over to Glassman Media.  It was another day of scanning stuff, shredding stuff, and doing other random tasks.  However, I left a little early so I could go to a taping of "Clipped"!  It's an upcoming TBS sitcom set in a hair salon.  I've never been to a sitcom taping, but the main reason I went was that the show features George Wendt, who played Norm on "Cheers"!  He plays Buzzy, who used to own Buzzy's (the hair salon where it's set).  In fact, the show used to be called "Buzzy's"!  He's a main character, but the star of the show is Ashley Tisdale.  The whole experience was really neat!  I got there just early enough so that I could be seated.  At the beginning, we met the audience warm-up guy named Roger.  We later learned that he does stand-up comedy, and it makes sense - he's really funny and good with audiences!  We started it off by watching the pilot of the show.  It was good!  After that was over, we stood up and gave the cast a nice ovation!  It was cool seeing George Wendt in person!  They got ready to shoot the first scene, and it was interesting to see how they prepared for it.  We watched them do several takes of the scene, and then they moved on.  During all the breaks between takes and scenes, Roger interacted with us.  He told us to ask him questions, so I put up my hand and asked him one.  We had a funny exchange, and he referenced back to me a few times later in the night.  They had pre-taped a few scenes, so we watched them as they would appear in the episode.  Sitcoms without studio audiences film out of order so they can do all the scenes in a certain location together, but they go in chronological order for the studio audiences.  As time went on, we continued to see several takes for every scene.  Sometimes they'll change a line between takes, so I'll be interested to see which funny lines they use in certain moments!  We saw the taping for the show's third episode, and I think that's cool!  The show apparently premieres in the third week of June, so I'll look out for it!  Near the end, some pages came out to give us pizza and water bottles.  It was nice that they fed us!  We also got candy afterwards!  When they were filming the last couple scenes, the two sides of the audience had a competition to see who could cheer more loudly.  Roger told us he would give out some backstage passes for the louder side, so I went wild!  I seriously wanted a backstage pass!  My side won the contest, but I didn't get one.  However, he did hand out some other random goodies, and I got a DVD!  It had 4 Ice Cube movies, and I'm not much a fan of Ice Cube, so I probably won't watch them.  It was still a nice souvenir!  He gave a few people cover pages from the script for this episode - that's a cool thing to get an autograph on!  Once the episode was all done, we cheered for the cast again.  Some of them walked around and signed autographs, but George Wendt sadly didn't.  I brought a piece of paper, too!  I was prepared!  I would have loved autographs from him and Ashley Tisdale, but the taping was still fun!  Also, I think it's cool that "Clipped" is set in Boston - it's the second George Wendt sitcom with that setting!  All in all, it took around 4 hours.  When I got home, it was fairly late.  I went back out to the UTLA center so I could grab some things I stored in there, and then I went back to the apartment.  Wednesday was a more normal day.  I went back to Glassman, and they had me sort a bunch of posters and signs that were in the back room.  Then I did some more scanning and shredding.  For a while in the afternoon, my supervisor had me sit at her desk and answer the door if anyone showed up.  I spent most of that time coming up with a possible class schedule for next semester.  I had some difficulties because a lot of classes I want to take meet at the same times.  I eventually got something worked out.  After I was done there, I went back to my apartment for a short time.  For the New Media & Emerging Entertainment class, we took a field trip to a place called 3ality.  It's a place that develops 3D technology and records movies in stereo (another name for 3D).  A lady came out to talk to us, and she showed us some of the stuff they've developed.  It included trailers for various 3D movies and other 3D clips.  After she showed us the videos, she took us to the workshop where we looked at 3D cameras and saw how they use them.  It was interesting stuff, but it was a little over my head.  Some of the UT students understood a lot more because they've taken classes on 3D technology.  After that, we went home.  I made some dinner, and then I just relaxed for a while.  On Thursday, I had another post office adventure.  On my way to Karga Seven, I stopped at the post office near Hollywood Blvd. so I could claim a package my mom sent a while ago.  The whole situation was annoying - the first time they tried to deliver it, they took it all the way back to the post office rather than leaving it at the south clubhouse!  Because my mom didn't require a signature, they could have left it at the south clubhouse!  We tried to schedule a redelivery a couple different times, but it never happened!  When I got to the post office, I gave the lady a slip they had left in my mailbox.  It took a very long time, but I finally got my package!  After I got it, I continued on my way to Karga Seven.  They had me continue working on character bios for the tornado show.  Near the end of the day, they also had me transcribe a video clip from a new show.  I got most of the way through it.  During my lunch hour, I Skyped with my academic advisor so I could discuss my classes for next semester.  She gave me some good advice!  I register on Monday, so I have some more time to decide.  After I was done there, I headed home.  In the evening, I went to the Line Producing class that I usually audit.  It's just cool listening to the professor and all the experiences he's had!  I came back to the apartment after the class ended.  After I ate dinner, I went out to the hot tub with my roommates and some friends.  We had a nice little hot tub party!  Some of us went to the pool to cool off a bit.  After I got back from that, I chilled with my roommates for a while.  On Friday, I had a normal day at Karga Seven.  As far as I know, I'll never have to go to a post office again (this semester, anyway)!  I began the day by transcribing the rest of the video clip, and then I finished up the character bios for the season.  I wrote the majority of the character bios for Season 2 of the tornado show!  After I completed both of those tasks, I watched some video clips from another show and took some still shots.  Once I was all done, I decided to get dinner at the Qdoba next to the subway station.  It had been a very long time since I had eaten Qdoba, and it was delicious!  I love their Queso Diablo!  After I ate there, I went the rest of the way home.  Soon after I got home, my roommates (and most of the other UTLA students, apparently) went out on the town.  One of the UTLA students had his 21st birthday this past week, and the celebration was huge!  He wasn't the only guy to turn 21 this semester, but his birthday became a big event!  I stayed back at the apartment and did my own thing.  I watched some TV, relaxed, and eventually got around to working on the pitch again.  I had some really good ideas!  On Saturday, I slept in as usual.  After I got up, I made myself some lunch.  In the afternoon, I took a bus and got my hair cut.  I love how they cut my hair at the Burbank Barber Shop!  I had a long time to wait before the next bus came around, so I stopped at Porto's, which is an insanely popular bakery in Burbank.  It's actually the bakery that provides the goods they serve at the continental breakfast on Sundays!  I had heard it was very popular, but I got a true picture of that when I went - it was around 2:40 in the afternoon, and there was a line out the door!  There were so many people in there!  Eventually, I got to the front of the line and ordered a piña colada smoothie and a chocolate croissant.  The chocolate croissant was so tasty!  The smoothie was good, too.  I got a bus back home, and then I chilled for a while.  Later in the afternoon, my roommates and I went to the pool.  A while after that, I went out to Bob's Big Boy.  I was in the mood for a Super Big Boy and their heavenly Cherry Coke!  Then I came back and relaxed.  On Sunday, I'm going to attend church and then do some homework.  I need to finish and practice my pitch, and starting on my final paper wouldn't hurt!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Happiest Guy on Earth

This past week has been another fun one!  My Development class was canceled on Monday, so that was nice.  I still got up around when I normally get up on Monday mornings.  I messed around on my phone and watched GSN for a while.  I made myself some lunch, and soon after that I registered for Jeopardy! online testing!  I can take the test at 8:00 p.m. on April 14, 15, or 16.  I tried the Teen Tournament test when I was in high school, but it was so hard that it scared me off for a while.  I'm going to try again and see if I feel any better about it.  I read a little more of the script we have to write a paper about in Development, and then I went to my How Hollywood Works class.  After we had our usual weekly discussions, the last two groups presented their pitches.  We talked about certain clauses and guarantees that come in most contracts for several positions - producer, writer, etc.  After that, Phil told us the stories behind the two scripts that were pitched that day.  The script I read had the most interesting story - when Phil worked at Disney, he tried over and over again for many years to get it produced.  Eventually, he just had to give up on the project.  However, some good did come out of the situation - he met his future wife and brother-in-law in the process!  His wife is the one who wanted to produce the movie, and his brother-in-law wrote the script!  Once that was done, I walked down to Gate 8 of the Warner Bros. Studios to make sure I knew where I'll be going when I see a taping of "Clipped" this coming Tuesday!  "Clipped" is an upcoming TBS sitcom set in a hair salon.  One of the main cast members is George Wendt, who played Norm on "Cheers"!  When I figured that out, I had to get a ticket!  That'll be so great!  When I found Gate 8, I turned around and walked back to the apartment.  I relaxed for a while and made some dinner.  Monday is my laundry day, so I got a couple loads of laundry going.  I believe I finished reading the script for Development that night.  On Tuesday, I started my day at Glassman Media.  It was another day of organizing and sorting stuff.  We got most of the equipment in order, and we started putting together boxes of stuff to throw away.  At one point in the day, my supervisor called my mom and told her what a great job I've been doing.  She likes to call the parents of her interns and let them know what's going on.  She said she only calls the parents of the good interns!  She had a lot of good stuff to say about me.  Near the end of the day, I didn't have much to do.  My supervisor figured out about the upcoming UTLA event - later that night, we were going to ask questions to a panel of cast and crew members from "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"!  I told her I had never seen the show, so she let me watch an episode on my laptop!  I watched the pilot episode, and it was pretty good!  After that, it was pretty much time to leave.  I went back to my apartment and relaxed for a short time, but then I returned to the same building.  Down in the UTLA center, there was pizza and other food for us to eat.  I got my food and then settled in.  Just after 7:00, the panel came in.  We got a e-mail with the list of people who were coming, so there were no surprises.  Most of the main cast members (Andy Samberg, Terry Crews, etc.) weren't there, but Melissa Fumero (who plays Detective Amy Santiago) was there.  The other two cast members were the guys who play Hitchcock and Scully.  The crew members on the panel included the director, the line producer, two staff writers, the editor, a casting associate, and others.  It was really neat!  They had really great answers for all the questions, and they were funny!  That was one of my favorite events this semester.  After that was done, I went back to the apartment and did my homework for New Media.  I didn't do much after that.  Wednesday was another day at Glassman, and I got to come in half an hour late because my supervisor had to run some errands in the morning!  I started off the day by scanning a bunch of papers and making a bunch of copies.  I did that for the whole morning and the first part of the afternoon.  After that, I got back to organizing the equipment.  I think that I'm pretty much done with that after all the work I did this week.  Thankfully, I got a little more help this week.  I assisted my supervisor with a few things, and everything went well.  When I was done, I went back to the apartment.  I bought one item at the convenience store in the south clubhouse, and then I made dinner.  Later on, it was time for New Media class.  It was a really fantastic class session!  We had a guy who works in virtual reality come in and show us some stuff!  He showed us a video, and then he gave us a little introduction to virtual reality and what's going on with it now.  He had a virtual reality headset with a regular phone as its screen!  Everybody in the class got the chance to put it on and watch a short video of 360-degree virtual reality!  It was a great experience!  He also showed us some useful apps that relate to virtual reality.  Within the next year or so, it will be pretty easy and cheap for regular people to experience it!  All that we learned in that class was so cool!  We also heard a little bit about the field trips we'll be taking over the next couple weeks.  That class is just amazing!  After I returned from that, I didn't do a whole lot.  On Thursday, I went out to Karga Seven.  This week, I actually got a ride to Hollywood and Vine because I didn't sleep in late!  I spent the whole day working on more character bios.  In one more day of work, I'll have written the character bios for most of an entire season of the show!  Once I was done working there, I came back home and just relaxed.  I could have gone to the Line Producing class that I'm auditing, but I chose not to this week.  I was tired after walking home, and I wanted to eat dinner and enjoy myself.  I was highly looking forward to the upcoming trip to Disneyland!  We got our details about the trip during the day on Thursday, and I was so excited!  The bus was going to leave the UTLA center at 6:30 the next morning, and it was going to leave Disneyland at midnight!  It was going to be a very long day, but Disney days are supposed to be long!  I watched another episode of "The Middle" that night, and I also started on my paper for Development class.  I wasn't entirely unproductive!  I went to bed earlier than I normally do because of the early morning that was coming.  My alarm went off at 5:30 in the morning, and I got up soon after that.  I got dressed in my Splash Mountain t-shirt, and I was ready to go!  I grabbed a granola bar and then headed over to the UTLA center.  They wanted us to check in at 6:15, and I got there a bit early.  I hopped on our bus (which was pretty nice) and waited for the other guys to get there.  A few minutes after 6:30, the bus took off for The Happiest Place on Earth.  Once we arrived in the parking area, we took the tram to the park.  Everybody gathered in front of the main gates, and Phil arrived to give us our tickets.  We got Parkhoppers, so we could go to both Disneyland and California Adventure!  We also got $10 in Disney Dollars to use how we pleased!  Then we set off for the park.  I got with a group that headed straight to Space Mountain.  Before we got on the ride, we got Fastpasses for it so we could ride it again later.  It was a nice short wait because the park had just opened.  After we rode Space Mountain, we went over to Star Tours.  By the time we got off that ride, it was already time to use our Fastpasses!  We went on Space Mountain again, and then we went over to Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters.  After that, those of us in the small group who had the Puppetry workshop broke off and headed towards Toontown.  In order for UTLA to get funding for the Disneyland trip, all the people who go have to take a workshop.  Our original choices were puppetry and acting/improv.  At some point, the acting/improv workshop fell through, so the people who signed up for that workshop had to take a tech theater workshop.  I chose puppetry to begin with, so I wasn't affected.  All of us who got to Toontown early went on the little kiddie coaster there.  Then, at 10:00, we headed behind the scenes for the workshop.  It was so neat!  The guy who taught it has been a professional puppeteer for 39 years, and he did the puppetry work for Salem the cat on "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch"!  The workshop lasted a couple hours, and it was a lot of fun!  After it was done, we were free to roam the park as we pleased.  I wanted to get lunch, so I went over to the New Orleans Square area of the park.  After I ate lunch, I went on some rides in that section of the park.  Soon after that, I went over to Splash Mountain.  I discovered that it had a single rider line, so I jumped in it!  It took a little longer than I expected, but it was much faster than the 85-minute standby wait!  After the ride, I got a Fastpass for later.  I continued going through the park and riding all the biggest rides.  I made it a point to go on the Pinocchio ride since I had taken a puppetry workshop!  Once I had ridden everything I wanted to, I went over to California Adventure.  I went straight to the Tower of Terror, and then I wandered the park and rode some other rides.  For dinner, I stopped at a place that had hot link corn dogs.  I had one, and it was so good!  After I rode the most important rides there, I returned to Disneyland so I could use my Fastpass for Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye.  After that, I turned around and went back to California Adventure to see the World of Color show.  As always, it was absolutely fantastic!  The park closed after that, so I went back to Disneyland to see Fantasmic.  It was less than an hour until midnight after Fantasmic ended, so I rode Pirates of the Caribbean one last time and called it a day.  I got to the bus with 4 minutes to spare (my cell phone died during Fantasmic, so I had to estimate the time - I did a pretty good job!).  A couple minutes after midnight, the bus left for home.  I basically crashed afterwards.  It was such a fun, incredible day!  I slept in on Saturday morning, but it wasn't any longer than I usually sleep in.  I actually felt more awake in the morning, and I had to roll over and go back to sleep more times than I normally do on Saturday!  Right after I got up, I Skyped with my family.  Everyone was gathered at my grandparents' house because they were celebrating Easter a day early.  It was great to talk to them!  I can't wait to come home and see them again!  After that, I watched some GSN and made lunch, and I eventually continued working on my paper in the afternoon.  I got roughly half way through it!  After I ate dinner and wrote some more of my paper, I went to the hot tub and relaxed.  Sunday is Easter, and I'm going out to the L.A. campus of Saddleback Church again.  I also need to write the second half of my paper on Sunday.  I went to Disneyland on Friday, and things are going pretty well for me overall.  I might as well be The Happiest Guy on Earth!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Busy is the New Normal

The past week has been full of various events, tasks, and other things that have kept me busy.  On Tuesday, I went to Glassman Media.  I changed up my schedule, so now I work at Glassman on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and Karga Seven on Thursdays and Fridays.  Tuesday was a change of pace from my usual days at Glassman.  I typically have been busy the whole day, but my day was a bit less structured.  There was a bunch of equipment that needed to be organized, so I helped out with that.  I sorted some of the equipment, and we put some bags together that people will be able to check out.  They have cameras, chargers, batteries, and other such equipment.  Once we had everything arranged in a bag, my supervisor entered the information into an Excel spreadsheet.  She had some trouble printing the documents, so I helped her out a little bit.  It took me a while to figure it out!  Excel can be confusing!  In addition to that, I helped prepare some boxes that they needed to ship this past week.  That was okay, but not as exciting as what I've done before.  They asked me to organize some more after I was done getting the boxes ready.  The guy who was supposed to help me gave me vague instructions and didn't provide much assistance, so I did what I could.  After I was done there, I went back to the apartment and had a quick dinner.  Everyone in the UTLA program was required to attend a screening of "The Walking Deceased" at the UTLA center.  It's a movie that spoofs the TV series "The Walking Dead".  It was entirely made by UT alumni, so it was a big deal.  We watched the movie, and then we got pizza and asked questions to some members of the cast and crew.  I wasn't a fan of the movie, but it did have some good moments and humor.  After that was over, I went back to the apartment.  I did a little homework afterwards, but that was about it.  On Wednesday, my day at Glassman was basically the same as Tuesday.  I spent some time organizing equipment and some time getting those boxes ready for shipping.  They were completely ready by the end of the day, so that was nice.  I made a little progress on the equipment, but I'm hoping I don't have to mess with it much more.  After I was done there, I went home and had another quick dinner.  At 7:00, I had to go back to the UTLA center for my New Media & Emerging Entertainment class.  We started out by watching a depressing documentary on the visual effects industry.  One of my roommates is in visual effects, and he has recently started worrying about job opportunities.  The documentary certainly didn't help!  We got on to fun stuff after that.  We split up into groups, and we had to come up with a transmedia campaign to promote an event the professor told us about.  We had to list ideas of how we could promote the event pre-launch, during, and post-launch.  Each group had to get in front of the class and do a short presentation.  It was fun!  The professor also brought in some mini cupcakes, and that was cool!  After that, I just took it easy back at the apartment.  Thursday started off with a special errand.  Before I started at Karga Seven, I had to go to the post office and get my passport renewed.  My mom scheduled an appointment for me at a post office that's right along my way to Karga Seven.  I just had to stop at a different subway station and walk a little bit.  I showed up for my appointment at 10:30, and they got to me pretty fast!  I showed them my birth certificate and my application, but then I hit a roadblock.  They needed a passport photo, but they couldn't take my picture there because their camera was broken.  They told me how to get to a Rite Aid just down the road, so I walked there and got my passport photo.  Thankfully, it was very close to the post office.  Once I had my photo, everything else went reasonably well.  There were a few problems because I don't have a California ID and they weren't familiar with my bank (CEFCU).  I'd think it should be pretty easy to renew a passport as long as you're a United States citizen and resident, but this is the federal government we're talking about!  Soon enough, however, I was good to go.  They kept my birth certificate, but they're going to mail it back to my house soon.  My renewed passport should be there in 1-6 weeks.  On my first day of Karga Seven for the week, I did more of my usual work in postproduction.  I spent the time recording the text in an episode of their show about tornado survivors.  I also worked on character bios.  That night, we had another mandatory event.  We all had to go to a networking "mixer" at a bar in town.  (I put the word "mixer" in quotation marks because I think it's way too cutesy.)  When we got there, I spent plenty of time eating.  They had some free food, and I hadn't eaten dinner beforehand.  After I ate, I just sort of wandered around and talked to a few people.  Most of the people I "mixed" with were other UTLA students.  However, I did meet and talk to a few UT alumni who were at the event.  I knew I probably wouldn't get much out of it, but it was okay.  It was late when I got home from that, so I didn't do much else that night.  Friday was a more typical day at Karga Seven.  My supervisor was originally going to have me transcribe some videos, but I reminded her that I was supposed to work on character bios that hadn't been done.  That's what I ended up doing all day.  They changed up the format that I'm supposed to use for character bios, and it's much less labor-intensive.  In any case, I would rather write character bios than transcribe any day!  I was glad to do it!  After I got home from that, I essentially collapsed on the couch.  It had been a long week with a lot of random stuff!  I was tired and feeling very lazy, so I just watched GSN for a long time.  Eventually I decided that I wanted dinner, so a friend and I ordered $10 box from Pizza Hut.  I also threw in one of their "Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies"!  When I saw that it was going to take an hour, I kicked back and watched an episode of "The Middle".  I've gotten into that show since I went on the set visit!  I like it a lot!  The pizza got there about when I expected it to, and we devoured it!  I like the $10 boxes because they come with breadsticks and cinnamon sticks.  The chocolate chip cookie was also delicious!  After I ate that, I continued to laze around.  On Saturday, I slept in as usual.  I watched some TV and made a lunch from the little food I had left.  In the afternoon, I read a bunch more of that script we need to read for my Development class.  I impressed myself - I read over 60 pages!  I took a break from that, and then one of my roommates got back from something he had been doing.  I desperately needed to go grocery shopping, so we had planned a trip.  I was surprised at how much I bought at the grocery store!  This was the first time I had ever gotten a cart for myself!  I made a little list before we went, and that was also a first.  People at Jewel always say, "I only came here for a few things," and now I know what they mean!  All in all, I spent about $95.  With my Vons card, I saved $6.55!  I'm hoping that trip will get me through most of the rest of the semester.  After I got back from that, I made dinner using some of the food I had just bought!  I went to the hot tub and pool at night.  On Sunday, I got up and ate some continental breakfast.  They're not serving it next Sunday because it's Easter, so they had an Easter theme going on.  After that, I watched a sermon on my computer and had another "mini church service".  I would normally have gone to church, but this Sunday was special.  It was Huntington Beach day!  Just before noon, I took off with a little group to Huntington Beach.  It was me, 2 of my roommates, and another friend.  When we got into town, we went to Target to buy some stuff for the beach - a cooler, drinks, and whatnot.  We grabbed lunch at In-N-Out Burger, and then we went to the beach!  After I put on plenty of sunscreen, I spent the day adventuring in the water, playing sand volleyball, and throwing around a football.  There were some crazy waves out there!  I got battered a few times!  We stayed at the beach for quite a while, and we left for home in the early evening.  It's about a 1-hour drive, but it took a little longer on the way back because we had to detour for a while.  There was a big accident on the highway that caused a major jam, so we went around it.  Google Maps didn't exactly give the best directions, but we found our way.  When we got back, we ate at a restaurant called Gindi Thai.  It was fairly fancy and expensive, but we all found something affordable to eat.  They had delicious Pad Thai that was reasonably priced!  3 of us got that, actually.  Once we were done there, we came back to the apartment.  I tried to wash the remaining sand out of my trunks, and then I took a nice shower.  The sunscreen seemed to work fairly well, but my back and my upper chest are pretty red.  I didn't put sunscreen on those areas, so I can't complain.  (Usually I'll have somebody else sunscreen my back, but I skipped that.  I don't typically put sunscreen on my chest or stomach.)  It doesn't hurt now (the same night), but it could in the morning!  My Development class is cancelled this Monday, but I plan on getting up about when I normally would.  I still have one class on Monday, and it's also the day that registration for Jeopardy! online testing begins!  I'm going to give it another shot!

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Spring Break to Remember

My week of Spring Break went pretty well!  I spent most of my time Tuesday through Thursday sleeping in and relaxing.  It's always nice to catch up on sleep when possible, and I enjoy being able to sit around, watch game shows, play on my phone, etc.  Quite a few people traveled and had grand adventures over the break, but I was content just lazing around and enjoying my free time at the apartment.  On Tuesday, I did a bunch of laundry and went over to the north clubhouse around 5:00.  They were having a St. Patrick's Day party, and there was some free food there.  I had corned beef, cabbage, and other fixin's for dinner.  A free meal will always guarantee my attendance!  On Wednesday, I went over to the building where the UTLA center and Glassman Media are.  I had scheduled an advisory meeting at the UTLA center, so I went there and did that.  Just before the meeting, my supervisor at Glassman called me and asked me if I could come up to the office once I was done.  I went up there after the meeting so I could sign some forms.  The week before, she told me that they would be preparing for a big presentation over the weekend of the 21st and 22nd.  She said they would pay me if I worked that weekend, so I told her I would be happy to do it.  I signed a confidentiality agreement and filled out some information so they could pay me.  Before I left, I also rented E.T. on DVD from the UTLA center.  I relaxed for a while after that.  Later that night, I watched E.T. for the first time in several years.  It's such an excellent movie!  It's actually ranked #24 on the AFI's list of Top 100 Movies.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it made me sad when I remembered that Universal Studios Hollywood got rid of the E.T. ride.  They still have it at the park in Orlando, however.  On Thursday, I returned to the UTLA center and Glassman.  We're only allowed to rent the AFI Top 100 Movies for a day at a time, so I had to return E.T.  I had to go back to Glassman to sign a few more forms.  I spent the rest of the day chilling.  I know I went to the pool and the hot tub either on Wednesday or Thursday.  On Friday, I got up relatively early and went to Universal Studios once again.  Since I got a season pass for the price of a 1-day pass, I figured I'd take advantage of it!  The lines were really short, and the Jurassic Park water ride was open!  I was very excited when I saw that - it was closed for renovations when I went the previous Saturday!  I immediately rushed to get on the Jurassic Park ride.  I wanted to get a locker to hold my stuff, but the lockers at Jurassic Park cost $5.  That's incredibly stupid because the lockers at the Mummy ride are free!  The Mummy ride is close to Jurassic Park, so I walked over there and put my stuff in a free locker.  Then I went on Jurassic Park twice in a row.  I walked on both times - I'm a big fan of single rider lines!  (However, the regular lines were also extremely short.)  I didn't get too wet the first time, but I got soaked on the second trip!  From there, I immediately went over to the Mummy ride.  I went on that one twice in a row as well.  I hadn't seen the single rider line for the Mummy when I went on Saturday, so I thought it didn't have one.  I eventually discovered it when I saw a little girl enter it!  It was early enough in the day that the regular line was still short, but single rider lines always get you a seat more quickly!  Once I had ridden it twice, I retrieved my stuff from my locker and did some other things.  After I had lunch, I saw the "Special Effects Stage" show.  It was neat and informative!  I saw all of the shows once, and I did most of the rides at least twice.  By my count, I rode on the Mummy seven times!  I only did Shrek 4D once, but I think I did all the other rides (including the studio tour) twice.  It was a fun, fast-paced day at the park!  In the afternoon, I left the park and walked around CityWalk for a while.  I went back to the magnet store and bought some more souvenirs.  Later on, I took the tram away from CityWalk and caught a bus to the McDonald's a mile and a half down the road.  I decided to take advantage of the Filet O' Fish Fridays at McDonald's!  My Filet O' Fish meal cost less than $5!  After that, I headed back to the subway station.  UTLA offered us free tickets to Laugh Factory shows, and I signed up for the one on Friday night.  It started at 8:00, but they wanted us to be there by 7:30.  After taking the subway and a bus, I arrived at the Laugh Factory.  They have a 2-drink minimum, so UTLA paid for our tickets and 2 non-alcoholic drink tickets.  Most of the other UTLA students are of legal drinking age, so they were not too thrilled that they had to down 2 non-alcoholic drinks.  I, for one, was happy for the free beverages!  All the comedians at the Laugh Factory were pretty funny, and it was a great show!  After the show, I wanted to get a ride back to the apartment rather than taking public transportation.  A girl offered to take me home, but she invited me to go out with her and some other UTLA people.  They were planning on going to a pub I had been to before.  I obviously wasn't going to drink with them, but I went along for fun.  Sadly, the place they had in mind is 21 and up after 10:00 p.m.  They took me to another place that didn't exclude underage people.  It was a nice little karaoke bar and restaurant.  I had fun there!  It was cool seeing other people get up and sing some karaoke songs!  The environment of the place was really nice.  I ordered some churros, and a few people in our group started looking at the book of karaoke songs.  They pondered getting up there and singing some karaoke, so I thought about it too.  One guy in the group went up and sang a Brooks & Dunn song.  When I got my hands on the book, I saw that they had the "Cheers" theme song!  I couldn't resist!  I got up there and sang it, and I got some applause afterwards!  (Most of it came from my group, I'm sure.)  They all said I did well!  Not long after that, I got a ride back to the apartments.  I want to go back to that place sometime!  There could be more good karaoke songs for me to sing!  Over the weekend, I did PA work for that presentation Glassman was preparing.  Saturday and Sunday were both long days!  I worked from 10:00 - 8:30 or so on Saturday, and I worked from 10:00 - 8:00 on Sunday.  I made some good money, and it was so much fun!  I wish I could tell you guys more about what I did, but I have to be very confidential.  After I got off Sunday night, I treated myself to some Bob's Big Boy and finished my homework.  Monday marked my return to classes and the end of Spring Break.  In my Development class, we talked about a script that we had to read over the break.  We learned how to give notes to screenwriters, and we have to read another script and type up some notes.  Thankfully, it's due in 2 weeks because next week's class is canceled.  We started off How Hollywood Works by having some delicious cake to celebrate the March birthdays!  Then we had our usual weekly discussions and talked about movie business.  We finished class by hearing another pitch and learning the information behind the script.  Spring Break was refreshing, and I'm ready to get back to work and make the most of my time left here!  It's scary how little time we have left!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Whole Bunch of Pictures

Hi, everyone!  It's been a while since I've posted pictures, so I decided I should upload an assortment of photos tonight!  These are mostly arranged in chronological order, but I put all the "Psycho" stuff together.  The pictures of the Bates Motel are from my Universal Studios trip.  Enjoy!

This is a picture from the UTLA bowling night on January 30.

This is another picture where basically everyone is making the "Hook 'em" sign.

This is the obligatory "silly picture".

This is the typewriter used to write the novel "Psycho".

This is the letter opener the author of "Psycho" had on his desk.

This is another artifact from the "Psycho" author.  I forget what exactly it was.

This is the Bates Motel sign.

This is a shot of the Bates Motel.

This is "Norman Bates" walking out from the motel.

This is a view from the Castaway, the fancy restaurant Phil took us to just so we could see the view.

This is another view from the Castaway.

This is a partial shot of the car dealership set for "The Middle".

This is a close-up shot of the dealership.

This is the fountain from the "Friends" theme song.

This is another shot of the fountain.

This is yet another shot of the fountain.

This is the giant "WB" sign on the Warner Bros. lot.

This is a partial shot of the main DeLorean used in the "Back to the Future" series.

This is another partial shot of the DeLorean.

This is the costume and cane Emma Thompson used in "Nanny McPhee Returns".  Mom, I took this picture just for you!

This is a sign just outside the entrance to Universal Studios.  Everyone was taking pictures at the time, so I just settled for a decent shot.

This is the rotating globe outside the park.  The word "Universal" is showing in this shot.

This is the word "Studios" on the same globe.