I haven’t really been a fan of the V Day. Believing it to ba a Halmark Holiday to spend money in a vain attempt to show someone how you care when you should have been doing that all year. (Yes I’m one of THOSE people) But I think I’m getting twisted now that I’m married. […]
Summer is over and so is the lull, for a bit now too. I think it is like it was in Arizona – too hot to work, to shoot, to film. It still is like this in some was. In others we are like sharks – never stop moving. In particular this holds true to the Indy movements. If we’re smart we are working on several projects at the same time; always something on the burner. And I like it this way. Life in fast-forward rather than in slo-mo. Though in truth it’s nice to know when you can safely take off without having to worry about being called back for an audition, casting or meeting. The traditional “seasons” for the film industry have melded together a bit, and most likely more in the future. (From herein the term “Industry” refers to the film & modeling & even marketing so far as the last one refers to modeling and film/video -NOT the porn industry, no matter how funny that joke is).
Now on to the interesting mélange.
I am exhausted. Pooped, tired, toast, heading for the land of nod, DJ Pillow will be rocking my world. The warning to me was always “life got in the way” of a career in Hollywood. And I’ve managed to bar this for the past 10 years. Now I am married, and as hard as I try not to veer off course, well… life is getting in the way. Le sigh.
It’s 10:11pm and I’ve finally torn myself away from my desk, kissed my husband goodnight, and got to this blog (am I still working?). Most of the time I’m multi-tasking: laundry while working on any facet of my numerous projects, cleaning while on phone meetings, ah hell you get the idea.
Look here’s the thing. If you want to be an artist or even run your own business you have to hustle, and hustle your brains out. That means being über flexible, going from PJs to out the door in full get-up in 30 minutes flat on no notice, it even means finding that right mixture of self-care. My dad always said that you either work 40 hours for someone else or 80 hours for yourself. He also used to describe it as being up to his ass in alligators; I’m starting to understand why.
We have to hustle to survive, pretty much at any level. It’s not always pretty. And I can’t always talk about what I’m doing, working on, trying to do or want to do. Then try to social media about it so that I appear like I’m a busy person who is actually pursued by those who are hiring. Gotta get my name out. Hell we all want to be important. And if I can’t vent my frustration here… well therapists never starve in Hollywood.
And when I tell you what my cohorts and I have come up with some very inventive, crazy, even devious ways to get people’s attentions I could die laughing, especially back in the beginning. Like the time I gift-wrapped my headshot and cover letter in a box with a bow on top and dropped them off at agents’ offices. Or the custom wrapper a friend of mine made (very artfully I might add) and rewrapped chocolate bars. Of course there were also the outright brazen lies that were told to get in to see people; some successful, some requiring an escort out of the lot (not me of course, upon my honor).
Admittedly, my brand of hustle is a little bit like a hurricane. If I’m lucky I’ll be in the eye of it where it’s calm and I can see what’s going on without getting caught up in some sort of madness. Not the best I know, but chaos works for me. Organized chaos anyway. And what I don’t know how to do I have friends and associates that can help me as I can help them. If we’re smart we pull each other up the ladder when we can. Kind of like a reverse Barrel of Monkies if you can picture it. Scheduling is also my friend. I mean I schedule my desk work from my meditation from my auditions and meetings. I need my sanity inside my chaos too.
No matter who we are in this industry there are times when we feel like we are frauds. But that, my friends, is a fucking load of bullshit – and you remember that I said it.
Just keep on swimming. – Dori
Come with me now as I take on my adventure of my 4 hour layover in LAX, Terminal 5, Delta wing.
So shit happens, right? And my flight that I checked into yesterday at noon (my flight leaving at 11:45am) has been “changed”. That’s a euphemism and a broad concept at this point. As I’m writing this I’m still feeling a mixture of miffed, bewildered, and imbaresed; but we’ll get to that last part later. Ironically I was in the middle of writing a blog about traveling for my work when this happened, so I’ll save that for another time.
Right now I am at the Angel City Brewery mini-bar near Gate 69A. My original flight has left the building and I am enjoying a much need IPA. A screaming beeping sound is going off behind me for a reason that I refuse to turn around to find out. No more today please. And I am thinking to myself, “How in the world could they change to a smaller plane without telling us?” A now overbooked plane to the point. I’m not so much bitching and complaining as, well, bewildered. And no, asking for volunteers to give up their seats is not informing us. Sorry, not sorry Delta.
At any rate here I am. Transferred to another flight 4 hours from now. Looking for a distraction. Where’s my beer?
Still nursing my IPA. People watching is a natural choice at this point. I reflexively default to this a lot actually. And when you do this you start to notice details. Men wearing their suit jackets, not wanting to pack them and risk wrinkles. The woman with that extra tote bag which she knows she can easily conceal within her little purse but we all know is really a third bag – who are you trying to kid? And I am facinated by the shoes people wear to fly in (in which to fly – whatever). It’s like the “traveling clothes” one would wear a hundred years ago. Me, I’m a boots or flats kinda girl. I don’t like open-toed shoes on airplanes. Aside from my big feet getting in the way everywhere (hey I’m tall) I also get cold easily. But in SoCal this seems like a popular choice for others, along with sneakers. Comfy is a good way to go. I saw a girl with wedges – also a good choice – but the woman in kitten heals is obviously a woman who hasn’t considered the possibility of standing for any length of time in a crowded airport. I’m thinking she’s traveling first class.
I also like eavesdropping. Not my fault. People talk loud.
F*@k. How did I forget to bring my Ewok backpack! I’m going to a geek convention for the love. That kid walking by with his Chewbacca backpack jogged my memory of what I left behind on the back of my door (props to him BTW). And thank you to the guy sitting next to me who helped me spell Chewbacca- I never claimed I could spell.
Isn’t present-tense writing fun!!! 😃 And our teachers said it wasn’t possible. Pesha.
After the beer I put on my makeup. Though admittedly not before I caved and bought from one of those perfume, makeup, booze kiosks. It was all so shiny. I’m not sure but I think I took my sweet as time putting on my makeup. Luggage unchecked I had it all with me. Normally I don’t travel all made up, but hey I had some serious time to kill. And I look fabulous my Dearies. Mwah!
Food, I need food. I get my nummies and sit down at the Lemonade Cafe that is in an entirely different part of Terminal 5. Much more cheery in my opinion and brighter too. Nastolgic music is playing from the late ’90s my ultimate teenage years. I remember this part of 5. It’s where my husband and I departed from on our honeymoon not long ago. Normally I wouldn’t chill at a table as they are in such high demand, but there seems to be a lull at the moment.
I find eating en mass a tad odd. Everyone masticating seems strangly grotesque to me. Maybe it’s all the moving moist mouths (yeah that’s right I said moist). Maybe it’s the the fact that everyone is making the same exact motion out of unison. Maybe it’s both. It doesn’t keep me from my brisket though. I pay attention to my own food. Ooo! Cake! Side thought – since when did Lemonade start serving Bourbon? Airports.
My new flight was supposed to depart an hour ago. We deboarded the plane. Malfunction we were told. Everyone was laughing to keep from crying possibly. I was too tired to do either. Upon waiting for news of our fate peopled started to circle the gate like hyenas; hungry, needing, eager with anticipation. We scrambled back onto the plane with wry comments of, “Have you flown with us before?”, “Better luck this time,” and “Deja Vu!” We won’t get in until well after midnight. I may actually laugh; later though I think.
There is not pretty bow on this tail. I just don’t care enough. I am exhausted, with all the emotions that come with that. I’m in and have to be up in 4 hours, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Good night and good luck. Now where’s my Ambien?
If you live in southern California and are like me and my friends you have some kind of annual pass to Disneyland (you also raised an shaking angry fist to the sky the day Disney got rid of the SoCal Annual Pass. Nooooooo!!!). You go every chance you get, know the best ways to Fast Pass, know the “top 10 things you didn’t know about Disneyland”, maybe even the characters’ photo schedules; but did you know about the unofficial days at Disneyland?
Yes my dears, a time when people en mass come together to celebrate their collective state of being, hobby or fandom. We get to dress up, take a group photo of hundreds, meet up and explore “The Happiest Place on Earth” with people who love the same things we do; which just makes it even better. Days like Bats Day and Dapper Day and two weeks ago for the first time Derby Days. Oh my but my friend TJ and I love us some Roller Derby and we were not about to miss out on this. So after I begrudgingly shelled out the money for the SoCal Delux annual pass (I want my regular pass back! Wha!) we made a be-line for Sleeping Beauty’s Castle where everyone was taking the massive group photo commemorating the first of many days to come when ruff and tumble women in muscle shirts, hot pants and striped knee socks come together in blissful harmony at the happiest place on Earth.
Ok, that’s a lie. We were both lazy and took forever to get to D-land -fabulousness takes time you know- so we missed the group photo, Ugh. I have no idea what anyone was wearing except that some awesome Roller Derby team shirts and the special Derby Days t-shirt walking around did catch my eye all day. And after weaving our way through the human soup that was California Adventure at mid-day in July (I think I understand now why they got rid of the regular SoCal pass) we decided to do Disneyland our way. Which means we headed straight for ye old watering hole that is the UVA Bar in Downtown Disney. A haven amongst the horde of tiny humans. Precious though they are they can’t drink, so we were safe for the time being.
The next bit is a little fuzzy. There were more drinks than we had intended. Personally I felt the click and then had a couple… no, a few more. Neither one of us drink like we used to so this was either a good idea or a bad one, I still haven’t decided. Still though it did make the next part a bit more interesting. And I swear we were still walking straight… as far as I remember.
Sooo, we may have harassed a cast member as we entered California Adventures; but I still attest that he was being a dick. Though admittedly if we had been completely sober we probably would have let it slide; but being accentuated we weren’t in any mood to let him ruin our Disney experience. Anyhoo…
Ride, ride, ride… The Mad T Party! I’ve always wanted to go. A virtual club for everyone that combines everything we ever wanted; the cray Wonderland of our youth with good music and drinks. We skipped the drinks and jammed to the White Rabbit spinning tunes and the Tweedle twins MCing then weaved our way through the other revelers checking things out till we found the croquet players – stilt walkers riding pink flamingos. I love stilt walkers! We are sideshow performers, it’s a thing. Thanks to the ever tall croquet team we stumbled upon the Cards area. Amazingly you would be surprised how difficult it is to build a house of cards out of giant cards with four-year-olds as your aids. I know, right!?! This quickly deconstructed in the slow-motion fighting with the cards as our weapons. The cast member weren’t too hot about that and stopped us; but the kids were having a grand old time – all of us kids. Hey we were dressed … interestingly and playing with children, we wanted to not appear creepy to their guarded parents watching. I’m not sure we succeeded. Aaaaaand time to leave.
Back to Disneyland! Have you ever turned left as you enter Space Mountain? Wow, we felt like VIPs! It’s zip, zip, zip and you pop out at the front car and totally skip the indoor line. Thank you awesome fire breather we met at the UVA Bar for your generosity and the VIP pass you gave us! (I do so love the people you can meet there while taking a break) Space Mountain is our go-to ride and you must be in the front car for the best experience. Whipping around in the dark not knowing what is coming next is so thrilling. The drinks we had made it a slightly new experience which can only be described by the look on my face as the picture was taken at the end of the ride. I’m usually so hard-core about it. We made it to Big Thunder Mountain as the fireworks went off (must sit in the back), made an unsuccessful attempt of filming the ride in the dark and made it to the rest of our favorite rides before we ran out of steam. That would be about 10pm folks. I know, we’re getting old.
Thus ended our first Derby Days at the “Happiest Place on Earth.” We completely lost out on the Derby Days experience; but had our own –interesting- one. Somehow we promise to make up for it come Nerdy Day or Shiny Day in the Parks or maybe even Villains’ Day. And I swear on my mouse-ears I’m never drinking that much at Disneyland again. Ooof.
Who are we kidding here? For a geek in Los Angeles – or anywhere in California – it really comes down to one weekend … SDCC (or San Diego Comic Con to the lay people). This is the biggest convention of this niche in these United States, nay… THE WORLD!!! And it happened this weekend!
Running from Thursday (Wednesday for the Preview night – if you’re lucky) through Sunday. A grand total of 5 possible days and nights of complete and utter Epicness.
From what is lovingly referred to as “The Floor” where the artists and vendors hold sway; where SWAG is the golden word, celebrities become gods, and the touching of Stan Lee’s shirt sleeve can make you a legend. You get to see the Heavy-Hitters and Independents in the comic book and gaming world, along with such eye candie as full size statues of Mystique, Boba Fett, and Iron Man. Every year there’s a new experience to take in.
Then upstairs to the rooms great and small for Panels of all geekie nature. Choose a panel on Cosplay Makeup from the masters themselves, or Comic Book Podcasts record live for their fans. But then of course there are the master panels for TV/Film Fandoms. Waiting in line for hours in hopes to get to the front in time to get a seat. We are the true and loyal ones.
SDCC is a sensory overload playground.
Cosplayers in every possible aray of color, media type, imagination and variation, they bring to life the characters they love with the ability they have to make it happen; it is to be commended. Outside are even more people in even more geek-ware and costumes. En mass they ebb and flow along the convention center sidewalks and streets. Winding their way up into downtown San Diego where there is much more to be found. Pop-ups and stationary events now happen around the convention center. Shows promoting themselves have pop-us with obstical courses and SWAG booths. While Nedist opened the ballpark up becoming almost a tiny video version of SDCC. Awesomesauce!
Schedule for celebrity interviews go up for and you rearrange your life for what could be to see 3 out of the 5 members of the Firefly crew be together in front of your very own eyes. Oh the glory! (The original fandom, arguably – well after Buffy of course)
Then my nerdlings there are the parties. Oh my the parties! From public and private to studio only (you’re either on the list or you’re not… ooor you find a way in, I’m not saying – but totally worth it). And if it’s your business this is where the real business is done. Business cards are passed out like Tic-Tacs, and deals are sealed with a Vulcan hand shake.
And in the end we take ourselves back to our respective homes and nurse our “Con Flue”. Because with that big of a horde in one place for 5 days… not all of us are going to make it back unscathed. We might lose some of our lot to a bed-ridden illness for a week. But it is a risk we gladly take. Because if I can claim a Miss Marvel #17 I will die smiling with my Tank Girl boots on.
The only trouble with this?
I didn’t get to go this year!!!
In Hollywood the term “back to one” means once again from the top – from the top of the scene, from everyone’s beginning marks/points, from the starting point, from square one even.
So, after ten years in LA, Hollywood, Lala Land, I’m taking my Mulligan and going back to one. You know that old saying, “If I knew then what I know now…,” well I actually get to do that. Sometimes you get that luckiest of all chances to take all of your experiences and lessons with you and take a do-over. To take the world by storm, or even by insidious infiltration, I have now found my opportunity to do just that.
Make no mistake my dear ones, I am taking off like Wile E. Coyote on an Acme Series 1 Rocket… and this blog is coming with me. It’s time to know exactly what it is to be me. Me, a female geek in Hollywood (remember that definition as it’s an important one from the here-on-out).
And I am going wherever this journey leads me.
Sincerely, Meghan Ashley (AKA: Mystique, Serenity, The Meghan – Yours Truly)
Luck: (noun) – the point where preparation meets opportunity.
“…No fairy to bless my fortune,
only I may find the way.
No cookie to guide my future,
only I might know my way. …”
My Fortune Cookie Was Empty
– Ashton Avery