Monthly Archives: December 2008

Holiday Swag & Re-Gifting

In the interest of full disclosure, this is not my tree.

I’m not usually all about the holiday prezzies. I love giving them, but since I’m not a big fan of surprises, I don’t really like receiving them. Every year I get this and this from my crazy Jesus-loving relatives. And, while I can work the glitter crayons into one project or another, I still can’t seem to re-purpose the other gift.

This year, however, I got some very fun and shiny toys, including a gift certificate to take a class here and tickets to see Jane Fonda in this exciting play. My fancy Broadway friend gifted me one of her house seats to see her in this. Which, did you know Noel Coward wrote in FIVE DAYS? And, before its West End run, only ONE SENTENCE had to be changed? That’s my goal, write something in its entirety where an editor only needs to change one sentence (ed. note: I edited this post at least twice. Make that three times, once to add in this note).

Speaking of editors, my publishing friend gave me a beautiful hardbound copy of this book as well as Jane Eyre and Sense & Sensibility. I also got some of this, half of which I donated to here and here. And, I received one of these and as a result, donated the books I won’t be reading again to this lovely place.

I gifted myself this class, which a friend/class alumnae told me will result in: “Your brain is going to gently open up like a flower. And your pen is going to flow with milk and honey.” Hopefully, I’ll leave with enough skills to impart some wisdom to the young minds over here, where I’m super excited about volunteering, if I can sneak out of work in time for the training session.

So, while the gifts were fun, and perhaps gave me a new appreciation for surprises, it was the re-gifts that truly made me the happiest.

Here’s to a great New Year filled with LOTS of re-gifting, beyond the holiday season.

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A Carousel of Time

Yesterday a child came out to wander …

By the start of 2006, I had officially shed my past. Well, at least my career past. I no longer “worked in film,” or “used to work in film.” I was a book publicist and freelance carousel-1researcher. I had never know any other life besides film and, after a particularly insane Devil Wears Prada moment with my boss, I knew I had to give myself a chance to see what else was out there. So, I joined a the publishing arm of a semi-corporate, family-friendly company.

The people I worked with had vague ideas of what I had done before. When they complained about not being able to place a book review in O Magazine, I silently smiled and remembered when I had that secret assistant power to get Oprah on the phone. It took two little words, (my boss’s name) and magically, a short time later, a very familiar would come through the other end of the line.

While my co-workers talked of cold walks to the subway, my mind went back to the hours I spent in New Jersey sandpits in negative-degree temperatures trying to recreate the Gulf War — complete with high-speed camels, military cars and tanks and famous actors freezing their asses off in army fatigues, while making it all look very real.

I went from approving double-truck ads in Variety for Oscar season to listening to sales teams talk about the best day to place an ad for a book in the NY Times. From multi-million dollar budgets and hundred-million dollar grosses to selling a hundred thousand copies of a book. It was odd territory. Something — I was determined to believe — I could get use to. But everyday my cubicle became more and more claustrophobic, the corporate environment more stifling. At first I rebelled, trying hard to connect both of my worlds, but then I gave up and began hiding pieces of myself, censoring my thoughts, my actions, my passion, and my past. I started losing who I was and that scared me.

So I took the leap.carousel

I quit.

Then, the child moved ten times ’round the seasons …

I spent time as a research assistant for a writer. A little more creative and interesting, and it gave me time to lick some wounds and figure out what to do next.

I moved briefly into copy writing for a daytime talk show, where I learned my limit of suffering, restraint and how much I valued myself as a person. Though the ending was awful, it was possibly the best test of self-worth I’ve had thus far.

More time, more freelance writing, websites, developing and networking. But even that wasn’t enough. I was still drawn back to my past, my passion. It’s odd to know exactly what you want to do with your life when you’re 14 years old. Especially when you don’t really know quite what the industry is about to begin with. There’s a vague notion and a dream. I’m convinced for people like me, it’s pre-programmed in our DNA. It’s like air, water and love all mixed together — we cannot live without it.

Finally, I stopped denying myself and got back onboard the carousel.dscn21421

And promises of someday make h[er] dreams …

Now I’m back to sixteen hour days, (sometimes weekends), constant craziness, complaining, laughter, and running the gamut of emotions on a daily basis. It’s exhausting, exhilarating and I love it. I’m working with people I worked with ten years ago on my first film (as a 17-year-old intern). A producer I worked with on my second feature — as a 22-year-old newly-minted college grad — whom I hadn’t seen since then, embraced me and exclaimed, “My god, you’re not a kid anymore!” She had taken me under her wing back then, my anxiety-ridden, lowly-assistant self, and always watched out for me. Now, I’m working on a different level. People are listening to me, respecting me. It’s interesting and weird and such a fulfilling experience. I guess, really, it’s just life. But sometimes it’s wonderful when it feels like so much more.

We can’t return, we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and ’round and ’round and ’round
In the circle game …

Holiday Shrubbery

That’s what we call the office Christmas tree. The rule is each department must make their own ornament to add to our shrubbery. Contributions include: a mini trash bag (from our trash-removing PAs), a check request for Santa for one million dollars from accounting, a photo collage of our actors from casting, a small map from our locations dept, origami in the shape of a gift box from our art department, a paper airplane and travel memo for Santa plus nine reindeer from the travel/housing person, a mini palm tree from our LA office, a garland of Liza Minnelli’s eyes from set dec, and a sign marked “redemption,” because we’re really going to need it after this job.

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