Friday, January 30, 2009

Past, Present, and Future

I did go to Ithaca on Tuesday, and I took my father with me. We paid a visit to a friend of ours for about an hour. I didn't go to the Workforce office there, but I did do a weekly stop at the office here yesterday. I think it's best to wait and hold off on stopping at that office until I know that the weather will be dry and safe enough to commute back and forth.

Wednesday it snowed like crazy, so I spent a good portion of yesterday morning shoveling. I don't mind it, because it is a good workout.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about future projects, and reflecting on past ideas and projects and why they did or didn't work out. So much has changed for me in the (almost) four years since I made Are You From Bingo?. I realize now it doesn't have to be a crapshoot; I know there's some kind of audience waiting. At this point, it's a matter of committing something to paper.

For awhile, I've thinking about shooting it in Ithaca or Binghamton, but today I've been giving serious thought to shooting it in the Woodstock/Kingston area. I used to love traveling through there when I would travel to New York from Oneonta, and of course, this past fall, I attended the Woodstock Film Festival and since then, I've been looking for an excuse to return. Also, I think it might be easier to get a cast and crew up to that area than further up New York. We'll see.

Earlier this afternoon, I did an interview with Binghamton University's Pipe Dream newspaper, and that went well. Tomorrow night, I'll be going to see Ra Ra Riot at The Smith Opera House. I'm looking forward to it.

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Monday, January 26, 2009


Today I was working on the DVD when I had a brainstorm.

Rather than do follow-up interviews, why not tack on an epilogue at the end of the movie, following up on everyone instead? Then I don't have to worry about anyone's feelings being hurt, and maybe even save some money. I plan on leaving up the fundraiser, because I may still do the Current TV thing. But the further I get into this project, the sooner I want it done.

Tomorrow I'm going to Ithaca. It'll be the first time I've been back since my job ended. I plan on stopping at the Workforce office there, among other things. I'm praying to God that the worst of Winter is over.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Where is the love?

Writing this new script is a whole new game than it has been in the past. When I wrote specs in college and a bit thereafter, I used to immerse myself in the world of the script and its characters. This time around, I still think about the script when I'm working on it, and immerse myself when I'm writing it, but otherwise, it feels like a seperate reality.

In the past, it felt like, something much more powerful, much greater than myself was guiding me in my writing work. I don't hate what I'm writing now, but I feel like that engine that has driven me in the past isn't there right now.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

No FLFF for Me!

There was no I couldn't go out there--I got out to Route 14 and had to turn around. It was too dark, I was too nervous, and I'm a little fatigued (I've been going to bed fairly early). It's hard to feel your foot on the accelerator with your boots on. My mother had told me that if she had known I'd be nervous, she would've gone out there with me.

Maybe another time.

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Today is Thursday, I don't know what else to title this.

Earlier today I went to the Workforce office, handed in my application, and searched for the job leads they had in their books. There isn't much for me, really, but as I said, I plan on making this a weekly stop until I have some kind of employment. Also, I've sent a resume to GrammaTech, a software company in Ithaca. It might be chancing it, but it is full time and permanent. It looks like an interesting company, anyway.

Meanwhile, the Veterans' Home that was operating across the street from my place got busted for operating without a license. According to my father, these people have been running these homes for decades, and from what I've read, the state was very slow to respond to the unlicensing complaint. A TV crew was across the street a few minutes ago interviewing someone.

I may go out to the Billsboro Winery for tonight's Finger Lakes Film Festival Screenings. They are predicting flurries for the afternoon, but tonight is supposed to be okay.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Back Into the Workforce

The interview didn't go too well. Well, it went okay, until she started grilling me about the position I got fired from. I don't think I'll get it, which is fine by me--it wasn't like I wanted to stand in one place all day anyway.

After the interview, I stopped by at the Workforce New York to fill out an application. I finished filling it out here, and I plan on dropping it off tomorrow. Workforce maintains catalogs of job openings. I plan on looking through them tomorrow, and stopping by once a week thereafter until I find work.

Speaking of unemployment, I have decided to put off new interviews until either A.) I have some type of employment or B.) There's enough money in place to carry this out. With that being said, I'm keeping the fundraiser open and working on making the movie available as a download. I plan on writing the interviewees and letting them know, and that I will be in touch.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ra Ra Obama!

It hasn't even been eight hours since the inauguration, and already, I feel better about myself and the country. I feel like I've had a long weekend, with Martin Luther King Day and now today. It'll be back to normal first thing tomorrow, when I go to attend a job interview. I also plan on following up on the interviewees for the DVD.

This morning, I purchased my ticket to see Ra Ra Riot at The Smith Opera House in Geneva. The lady running the box office and I talked about guitarist Milo Bonacci's Geneva connections: his former employer, the Cornell Agricultural Experiment Station; how he was in an early line-up of Gym Class Heroes; and how his cousins used to baby-sit me when I was little. To have that conversation must have been a relief for her, since Ani DiFranco tickets went on sale today, and she couldn't keep up with the phones and purchases.

I admit I haven't listened to Ra Ra Riot much, but this type of music doesn't come to Geneva EVER (I usually have to go Cornell's Fanclub shows). I'm looking forward to the show anyway, and stopping in for a cool one at Parker's afterward.

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Classic Sesame Street: C is for Cookie, A Sometimes Food

Did you know that Cookie Monster actually began life as The Potato Chip Monster? Jim Henson first used Cookie Monster in a 1969 commercial for "Munchos", a chip made by Frito-Lay at the time.

According to the Muppet Wiki,

"He occasionally displays an unexpectedly complex vocabulary, however, and is at his most gentrified when in his Alistair Cookie persona, hosting Monsterpiece Theater."

In this particular Monsterpiece Theater, Grover is starring in a production of The Postman Always Rings Twice. Grover anticpates the postman, who marks his arrival by ringing the doorbell twice

"C is for Cookie" is the quintessential Cookie Monster moment. I don't think I need to say too much else.

A couple of years ago, CTW announced that Cookie Monster would now be encouraging healthy eating habits, with cookies being "a sometimes food". Anyone who has been the following clip, however, would hardly consider this very suprising. Here, Cookie Monster pays homage to RUN-DMC while giving props to the USDA Food Pyramid:

The last one is a clip from The Colbert Report. Someone decided to chop it up and give the clip unnecessary visual and sound effects, but most of the report is still there:

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Friday, January 16, 2009

A Real Gem

I've begun to write a new script. After a week of trial and error, I'm finally at the point where I'm writing something cohesive. I'm not going to tell you what it's about, but hopefully, I'll be able to shoot it.

This morning, I went to the Warren Hunting Smith library at Hobart & William Smith. I hung out, like I used to between the time I got fired and got my new job. I looked some old photography books that were published by Time-Life in 1970, and became inspired once again. It has a lot of information in one volume, and it's presented in a way that will never be seen again.

Later, I was casually browsing the top shelf of the PN 1995 section (library nerds will know that's where the movie books are) when I stumbled up Sheldon Tromberg's Making Money Making Movies. Though the book is nearly 30 years old, it had some valuable information on theatrical self-distribution. Even with all the resources out there now for independent filmmakers, information Theatrical Self Distribution is hard to find. And this book was published in 1980. Can't wait to read it.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Classic Sesame Street: Bert & Ernie

Back when I was of the appropriate audience age to be watching Sesame Street, Bert and Ernie were my favorite characters. I think that's because I thought Ernie looked like me, and for a preschooler, the name "Ernie" is very close to "Erin".

Bert and Ernie are roommates who never really seen much on the street itself. There has been speculation over the years that Bert and Ernie might be gay, but I agree with the I Love The '70s commentators that Bert and Ernie were fun loving bachelors.

"Before & After"

In this one, Bert tries to tell Ernie the difference between "before" and "after". Ernie wants to eat the cookie, but Bert tells him to wait until after dinner. Ernie gets the two confused, and eats the cookie anyway.

"Rubber Duckie"

How can make an homage to Bert and Ernie without mentioning "Rubber Duckie", and especially its chorus? "Rubber Duckie, you're the one/ You make bathtime lots of fun/ Rubber Duckie, I'm awfully fond of you...

"Heeeeeere Fishy Fishy Fishy!!!"

Everytime my father would take me fishing with him, I would call out to the fish: Heeeeeere Fishy Fishy Fishy!!!, hoping I would get the same results as Ernie. Actually, I think I was more successful that my father was.

"Bert & Ernie Go Gangsta"

There's a lot of videos on YouTube that have dubbed old Sesame Street sketches with content that might be objectionable (although sometimes not). This one, however, is hilarious, and I have to say they dubbed it pretty well. Bert and Ernie raise the roof!

Next up, Cookie Monster!

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Keep Moving

I've been working on the Are You From Bingo? website, even though I haven't purchased a domain yet. I got Expression Web, which is a huge step up from FrontPage. I actually managed to create a style sheet, a real first for me. This afternoon, I plan on calling the director of the Art Mission to schedule a screening for the movie in the spring.

Also, I have a job next week at First Niagara Bank. It's a part time position for a teller. I'm not too sure about this, but I'll go in with an open mind. After the fall out at my old job (not the temp one I just had), I'm not sure if I'm ready to enter customer service again just yet.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Classic Sesame Street

This past Thanksgiving, I was watching Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV. As the Sesame Street Float made its way down 34th & 7th, I noticed one thing: all the human regulars on Sesame Street are still there, but THEY HAVE GOTTEN OLD.

Nearly 40 years after its inception, Sesame Street still delights young children. These days, Elmo (who actually has a part of the show devoted to him) and Abby Cadabby rule the block:

Video: Elmo with Abby Cadabby

Things were different when I was little. We had Bert and Ernie, Cookie Monster, Betty Lou, Prarie Dawn, Grover, Forgetful Jones, Big Bird, Mr. Snuffleupagus, The Count, Guy Smiley, Oscar, Telly Monster, The Yip Yips...the list goes on. I would like to direct the spotlight to some old Sesame Street Regulars. Some still around, others have gone by.

Roosevelt Franklin was a very popular character in the early days of Sesame Street. He was gone by the time I was watching the show, but I do remember this song being on a cassette compilation of Sesame Street songs that I had:

Word has it that Roosevelt Franklin was taken off the air because he wasn't considered to be politically correct. Ironically, this video is devoted to addressing stereotypes about Africa:

Nonetheless, he served as a major inspiration for Franklin Delano, the puppet of Gob Bluth on Arrested Development:

Here's another one I found surfing YouTube. This video stresses the importance of "Raising Your Hand". Catchy song, too:

For many years, I thought the next video stereotyped people who lived in cities as greasers. In fact, Sesame Street was paying homage to Bruce Springsteen, and in particular, his song "Born To Run":

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

SXSW 2009

So what's the "big" news? I'll likely be going to SXSW this year. I wasn't planning on going, but my father wanted to visit Austin, and he wanted to take me with him. The whole thing fell into my lap. Who am I to refuse?

I can't wait to see the schedule for this year. Will Andrew Bujalski's movie finally be finished and ready to debut? How about Joe Swanberg's next one (which sounds like a different direction from everything else he's done)? How many movies will feature Greta Gerwig?

Hopefully It'll be fun again this year. I plan on promoting the DVD as much as possible.

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Friday, January 9, 2009

Still Looking

I called Kelly Services Tuesday. They said that the only work around that they recruit for around here is for assembly line work. I don't consider myself to be above it, but I don't think I'm really skilled for it, either.

You know what? I could be happy with a part time job right here. I don't know how long I'd keep it, but at least it would allow me enough security to get what I want done. Yesterday, I sent out a bunch of resumes to the local hospital in response to some part time secretarial openings. Even if they don't find me qualified, maybe there'll be an opening for something else. Even if Binghamton is further away, I don't want to hassle with commuting right now.

Another thing I've been looking into lately is finding work as a virtual assistant. I could go into an explanation of what that is, but here's a video that does it for me. It's a little long, but it explains what a Virtual Assistant does:

Manpower (the temp agency that got me my last job) offers free online classes for their temps. I figured I might take a few classes and brush up my skills while I wait out the next thing. Also, if I decide to dive into Virtual Assistance, it would be incredibly helpful.

In other news, I've been contacting interviewees for the new interviews. I had planned to do the interviews the weekend of March 7th. Then I found out that one of my interviewees is expecting--she is due March 13th. I may have to do their interview early. Yikes!

I have another announcement coming soon...

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Action News Disco Fever

Why am I laughing so hard at this?

On a related note, my heart goes out to John Travolta and the loss of his son.

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Monday, January 5, 2009

What Now?

Earlier this afternoon, I went to H&R Block's Geneva Location to turn in a photocopy of my online application. They told me that the receptionists likely have been hired, but that they would forward my application anyway.

This time, even the old standby isn't pulling through for me. Since I didn't know until December 17th that I would be out of a job, I can't say it was me being lazy. At first, I felt like I was at a loss. Then I thought of a few things:

    1.) I'm going to call the Kelly Office that serves Geneva. Also, I'll go to the temp office in Geneva that I applied to back in October, and I plan on updating my resume.

    2.) Perhaps I shouldn't rule out returning to work in Ithaca, but perhaps find someone who commutes from here. Obviously, given that it's winter, it'll still be very touch and go. I'll probably have to get up extra early, but at least I won't be driving. Before Christmas, my Dad and I stopped at a card shop downtown, and the cashier lady has a regular job that has her commuting to Cornell. Maybe I should get ahold of her.

It seems in the past month, I've had the rug pulled out from under me three times: first getting kicked out, second, losing the temp job, and now, not being able to secure H&R Block.

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Sunday, January 4, 2009

John August on How Spec Sales Break Down

If you've spent any amount of time in the spec screenwriting market, chances are, you read a lot of headlines about Sally Screenwriter selling her spec for a six figure amount. These days it tends to be about $100-$200K if you get lucky; it used to be a lot higher, before studios cut down on production.

There's a ton of books on how to write a script, and plenty of books dealing with how to sell. Some even mix the two elements (Michael Hauge). There's very little information provided, however, on what to do once you do break in. After all, only a very small percentage of people who write scripts actually manage to break in.

A couple of weeks ago, John August (Go, Charlie's Angels) posted an item at his blog that deals with what happens after you've made a sale.

The six figure sales, after all is said and done, is just figurative. The writer doesn't recieve the whole amount unless the movie is made, and even then, the money goes to agents, managers, and lawyers first. This particular quote stuck out for me:

Nearly every screenwriter I speak with has a similar story — you’re never as broke as when you first start making money.

And here's another:

Once you start making money, there’s a natural instinct to upgrade every aspect of your lifestyle, which has probably stalled out in a post-college, heavy-Ikea phase. Don’t. You’ll burn through your money and wonder what you spent it on. Instead, buy one thing you really want and can afford. Make that your reward.

Someone should have told me this when I was writing my big spec in college: after I paid off my student loans, my plan was to travel around Europe. Maybe I could still do that on a spec sale, but not in the way I had it all mapped out in my head. If someone had told me this seven, eight years ago, however, I would've been in for big dissapointment of my life.

At my age now, though, this information hardly disappoints me. If anything, hearing information like this makes screenwriting look more like approachable (if still very hard to get into) occupation.

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Friday, January 2, 2009

Back to Work?

For the last week and a half, I've had a chance to chill out and enjoy the Holidays. But today is January 2nd, and the Holidays are officially over. It's time to face one cold, hard fact: I am without a job.

Another cold, hard fact: It's cold.

My search for a new job has been compounded by the weather. At least in the fall, I had the advantage to commute back and forth as I pleased. But it's January now, and so far, this winter has not been kind.

I filled out the application for H&R Block online a week ago today, and as soon as the local office is open, I plan on following up on it. I also looked into becoming a sales associate for Procard International, which sells health care discounts. While this might give me some real security, it's also based on commission. It may be worth a show, but with the economy being what it is, is anyone interested in buying these sorts of things right now?

Of course, there's also my unemployment hearing. The last time I heard from the Department of Labor was the day after Thanksgiving. I may try to follow up sometime next week, and put together some notes for my hearing...whenever that will be.

I'm not as worried as I sound, but I am concerned.

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Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008: Year In Review, and Hopes & Goals for 2009

In spite of some bad things that happened to me this year, I have to say that 2008 was a very good year for me. In fact, this is probably the first time I've been able to look back and say I've had a really good year.

I attended two festivals this year--South By Southwest, and the Woodstock Film Festival. I also took an improv 101 class at UCB Theater in New York. I'd like to do 201 at some point, but right now, I have other things to focus on. For six weeks, I got to work at a job I actually liked.

Goals for 2009

Get the DVD done. It's actually the priority for me right now, other than continuing to look for new work. The sooner the DVD gets done, the sooner it gets out there. The sooner it gets out there, the sooner I can move on to future projects.

The Next Movie. Realizing that the scope of the DVD, it's priority has receded, but still really important. I have an idea and some locations where I want to shoot, but that's about it at this point.

Keep On Working, Hopefully In Jobs That Don't Suck. The last job, I liked. Unfortunately, economic conditions forced me out of that situation. As I have mentioned, I'm working on a stopgap measure, but it would be nice to continue to have a job (or jobs) that I like. When my old supervisor returns from vacation, he's going to appeal to the corporate office to get an extension on the project. But returning there is more of a "no" than a "yes" at this point.

Go To Tribeca & Take Improv 201 at the UCB Theater. This is a longshot at this point, but I'm interested in going. It's all going to depend on my employment situation, and whether or not I can make the time to go. If so, I'd like to do both about the same time.

I have two New Year's Resolutions: To keep losing weight, and make The Bondy Blog regular reading. I've been trying to become fluent in French for a couple of years now, and If I can make a habit of reading the blog, I'll master the language.

Hope 2009 will be a good year for you as well.

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Happy New Year, Everyone!

Happy New Year, Everyone!

I didn't really do much last night--I read two chapters of Gore Vidal's Lincoln (which I got for Christmas), watched the Ashley Dupre interview from 20/20, and parts of That's Entertainment! on TCM, which I also DVR'd (I'll watch the whole thing next week):

I rang in New Year's with my mother, and I did a dance a midnight. Here's a special New Year's gift to you from me. It's Guy Lombardo in what I believe was his final Happy New Year's broadcast, ringing in 1977. Boy, would I have loved to have been in Times Square then!

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