Monday, April 25, 2011

L.A.: Trip the Second (April 2011)

L.A.: Trip the Second

I visited L.A. again over the first week of April for another edition of the ever-so-wonderful BleedFest! I didn’t have anything in the festival this time, but I was listed as co-presenter for a shorts package because they showed a few films that I recommended to them from my festival last year (they showed Lisa Hunter’s You’re So Undead, Ashley Maria’s Friday Night Fright, and Sage Hall’s Candy.) Plus, they were showing a rough cut of I Hate L.A. which let me know kind of what they were looking for in the content for I Hate L.A. Too in which I will be participating.

I only went for three days, but they were awesomely jam-packed! My first full day in L.A., I met up with a friend who took me sight seeing at Lake Balboa. She’s someone I’ve looked up to for a long time and it was great to walk around this beautiful man-made lake just outside the insanity of L.A. with her! Our conversation veered from industry talk to ducks and everywhere in between and I loved every single second of it! Afterward, we went to lunch at a nice little Japanese place called Hanabichi where we had teriyaki salmon and more wonderfully insightful talk. It was an absolutely lovely way to start my weekend in LA!

a swan at lake balboa

My friend had meetings and things she had to tend to so she dropped me back at my hotel. I had a meet and greet later in the day with the ladies of BleedFest, but I had hours to go so I decided to hop on the bus and spend some time at Universal Studios: Hollywood (I’m always daunted by public transportation in big cities I don’t know thing one about, but I like to try them out.) They have a few of the same attractions that we do at the Universal Studios in Orlando, however, Orlando certainly doesn’t have the same amazing views.

Warner Brothers
(A view of the Warner Brothers campus from Universal Studios.)

The great thing was that Universal was running a deal where you could buy a general admission pass and it would get you in like an annual pass for the rest of the year and it wasn’t just for SoCal residents so I have an annual (‘til December anyway) pass to US:H. :D This worked out because while I had hours to spend there, I didn’t get to do everything I wanted, but I’ll be back in June and July so yippee!!

The main reason I wanted to go to Universal was to see the King Kong attraction that Peter Jackson and weta dreamed up. What I didn’t know was that it was part of the studio tour ride so I wandered around like an idiot for a minute, then figured out what was up and got on the second to last tram. The tour is about an hour long and it takes you through their famous backlots and sound stages. Here, I totally got touristy...I mean, they were filming CSI whilst we rode past! I didn’t see any of the actors (it was a Saturday so it was probably B unit stuff), but still...CSI!

LA April 2011 -- Universal Studios: Hollywood

Here are the rest of the photos from Universal Studios: Hollywood:

The tram ride was pretty awesome at points and sucky at others (I don’t care about the Desperate Housewives and I’m STILL freakin’ sick of that stupid Earthquake ride and, up until that point, I hadn’t ridden it in years!) The King Kong attraction was pretty amazing, though I think one of the eyes was slightly out of phase or something.

If there’s one thing that the tram made me truly appreciate, it’s location shooting (well, being indie, really, but we’ll stick with location shooting.) How sucky it must be for these production companies that come in to shoot a scene and have to deal with the tourist bus...especially if you get some stupid people on board who won’t shut up when asked to (everyone on my trip was well behaved, though I did want to shout “I MISS BILLY PETERSEN!” toward the CSI crew...)

I still had some time before I wanted to head out to the BleedFest meet and greet so I hung out at CityWalk for a minute then hopped into a cab and went to Spot 5750. As is my habit and a countermeasure for persnickety LA traffic, I was very early. First one to arrive in point of fact.

Spot 5750 is a swanky, hip Hollywood pool hall on swank, hip Hollywood Boulevard filled with swank, hip Hollywood youngsters. I am neither swank or hip nor am I Hollywood, but soon the BleedFest ladies arrived and it was like we’d never parted company! Our hosts for the no-host meet and greet were the festival directors, the Fies sisters. Maude Michaud and her family flew in from Canada for the festival, which was running a retrospective of her amazing work. Director Katt Shea, Alisha Rayne from, actress Melanie Leanne Miller and a whole bunch of other women showed up for the event! It was so fantastic to be surrounded by all these strong horror folks, y’know? Very energizing!

After the meet and greet, I went back to my hotel and got some sleep! The next day was the festival after all!

I didn’t have any wardrobe malfunctions this time, but I decided to wear a t-shirt and jeans for a multitude of reasons. I’m not one of those people who put a lot of importance on what others wear and while I’m aware that appearances are important in Hollywood, I’ve been to a lot of festivals and most of them are “just be comfortable” affairs where you dress up for the awards part. I suppose I’m still sussing out my place in all of these festivals...

Anyway, I arrived at the venue early specifically to offer them some help if they wanted it so I put out postcards and candies and set up the awards and such. I really like the CAP Theatre in Sherman Oaks. It’s a really nice, intimate little venue. Soon, people started pouring in and the day started off with Maude’s incredible work, then we got to the shorts package which I introduced since I was already well acquainted with two of them (the third was give the screenwriting award and played just before the shorts package), we took a break where I got to talk to the ever awesome Heidi Honeycutt from and the lovely Miss Tara Cardinal.

During the break before the shorts package, the fabulous Kristin Mellian (who was in my first short film Without/Within) and her husband Aaron showed up to the festival! I hadn’t seen her in a few years so it was great that she was able to come out and we could chat for a bit! (She’s a dream to work with, Casting People Who May Or May Not Be Reading This Right Now.)

After the shorts package, they showed partnership award winner Drew Daywalt’s work. If you keep up with indie horror, you know this guy’s name and even if you don’t, you should absolutely see his work. Fabulous stuff, y’all!

Afterwards was the screening of the rough cut of I Hate LA, an anthology of shorts linked together via a thread the Fies sisters created about a runner who has to go to various neighbourhoods in LA, neighbourhoods that are portrayed by the meat of the project which are the short films from directors like Barbara Stepansky, Maude Michaud, and Tyrrell Shaffner.

After the awards part, the festival ended and I went to dinner with the Fies sisters and Ray McDermott from Film, then I went back to my hotel to get some rest before my early-ass flight home the next morning.

It was a fabulous weekend that I didn’t have time to write about until now because almost as soon as I stepped off the plane, I was consumed with projects! I love being so busy. I just need to make sure to not wait so long to blog about things! hahaha!

My next trip to LA is in June, again for BleedFest with a special surprise event that I don’t want to announce just yet. I have more news that I can’t wait to share, but I have to wait for the official announcements before I can squee about anything. :D Whew! I'm exhausted just from writing about all of this and thinking about everything that's coming up, but it's a good exhausted!

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