Drive-by Shooting

Yesterday I spent the day bonding with my Canon 7D. I usually leave her at home because she takes away my attention. I turned on the mono preset for black and white shooting to make my random shooting interesting. It also allowed me to monitor my exposer. With the contrast, I could see right where the light was hitting.

We spontaneously went to LA yesterday for a Pink’s chili dog.  I started shooting out the window and made jokes like, “Drive by shooting in LA”. It also help me notice the city details.

When we went to Melrose for a walk I started to snap photos by holding my camera in front of me. At times I had no idea what I was shooting. I was breaking all the rules. The benefit of digital is you can snap as many photos as you want.

Event: Dinosaurs, Lunch and Conan

You never know what will happen in LA. Today I took a trip out to the city with a friend to visit the Dinosaur exhibit. To my surprise, nothing was real.

For lunch we took a drive to sunset to eat at my favorite place. Molly’s opened up in the 20’s. I was sad to learn that they are closing. Eating out side on Molly’s bar is a real LA experience. It’s cool to see the different people who walk up to the window, the small chat that goes on between customers as they sit side by side together. There was this homeless man who walked by and made eye contact with me. I told my friend that the man looked like James Brown, my friend then said, “James Brown is dead.” I’m going to miss Molly’s Burgers. Their food is delicious.  We continued on our adventure to see, “Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop” in Bel Air. The neat thing is film maker and star were going to be there after the film to talk to the audience.

A lot of the staff and people who were in the documentary was there. Watching it with them made the movie experience real. Some people asked stupid questions but this one guy asked, “How do you want to be remembered?” to Conan. He was taken by the question and said he would like people to remember he did the best with what he had and that he was nice to people. “Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop” is extremely funny. I laughed every thirty seconds.

Another great day in LA.

Adventure in LA

Every LA adventure I have is so different. I always discover something new about the city. Yesterday Anabel and I parked the car and walked around the city.

There is this hidden cafe that makes home style breakfast sandwiches. I discovered this place with some friends last summer and since then stop by when I am downtown.

Harlem Place Alley 124 W 4th St Los Angeles, CA 90013

After breakfast we walked to the Art Gallery. We got lost and found Little Tokyo.

City Hall 200 N Spring St Los Angeles, CA 90012

We walked around the block a few times and finally found The Moca Art Museum to see Art in the Street. Its the summer exhibit of graffiti style projects from the 1970’s. The cool thing is that it’s attracting people who wouldn’t normally step foot in an Art gallery. My film camera didn’t do to well in the low light.

THE GEFFEN CONTEMPORARY AT MOCA 152 North Central Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90012

Afterward we crossed the street to El Pueblo. I find this place so fascinating. They sale so many cool hand-made toys, blankets and lots of Mexican restaurants to choose from. It feels like Mexico city.

Pueblo (Union Station and Olvera Street)

We made our way to the car and drove to Santa Monica. We were planning to get in the water but it ended up being so cold. As you can see I am ready to get a tan.

Santa Monica, CA

After the sunset we decided to go see a movie. Anabel noticed this indie theater down the street so we went to look at the posters to see if anything interesting was playing. Anabel made her FB status “I’m @ Santa Monica with Monica @ Monica Theater 4 watching an independent film not quite by Monica :)” It was great to see my name in lights.

1332 2nd St Santa Monica, CA 90401 (photo yelp.com)

Midnight in Paris by Woody Allen looked good so we bought our tickets and stood in line with 300 old people. We were the only young ones there.

To have an adventure in a big city or even in the next town next to you. Be spontaneous and let the city come alive. Walk around and have some child like wonder. The best things in life are free.

Things I like to do

Shop at thrift stores

Take photos with my film camera

Go to church

Visit small coffee shops in different cities

Read self-help books, currently reading, “How to be a Lady.”

Buy vintage dresses

Walk through antic shops as if they were museums

Spring clean my room once a week

See movies at small indie theaters

Listen to older people’s love story.

Live in other countries for more than a year

Make tea for friends

Ride my bike

Play with my nephews

Fly my kite in different places in the world

Write in my journal

Write blogs

Text Veronica randomly

Day dream

Drive with the music loud and windows down

Give homeless people all my change just to see their smile

Record life and make it in to a video

Analogize movies and tv shows

Skype chat but not video chat

Conversations about God to anyone who is willing to add their input

Make strangers laugh

I like when people call me weird, not normal, unique, different, odd, intriguing, mysterious, and charismatic.

Write letters and send them in the mail

Listen to Explosions in the Sky, Sigur Ros, KEXP Song of the day, movie sound tracks

Hanging out in record stories

Get to work earlier than everyone else

Clean my hard drive

Listen to the Daily Audio Bible Podcast

People watch

Make cd-mixes for my music lover friends

Create sound tracks for season of my life

Color my hair

Go out to breakfast with my parents

Buy sweaters and jackets

Watching Felicity, Wonder Years, My so-Called life, Save by the Bell over and over again.

What do you like to do?

Bobby Roth Directing Seminar

A few weeks ago my sister called and told me about a famous director who’d worked on projects like Prison Break & Lost teaching a class in LA. He plan to talk about working in the tv industry, how he got there, working with actors, and how to direct. I knew this class would teach me what I have lacked. I’ve directed for years on projects but never felt good at it. This class was my opportunity to finally learn from a professional.  I got really excited at the thought of learning from someone who has worked on projects that I enjoyed. A list of questions began to develop inside my head.

Since I do photography professionally, I now have this “creative fund.” It’s extra money that goes to anything that is creative. I knew to get better at my craft,  I have to invest in it.

I took twelve pages of notes. He told us that being a good director is a growth process. One of the major themes during the class was about preparation and doing the homework. He said some thought he was silly when he would have detailed shot list, even to which lens he would use but for him, being prepared made him able to direct better. He did all the thought process before hand so that on the day of shooting, he knew exactly what he needed to capture.  A lot of what he said made perfect sense.

-Have a clear vision ahead of time.

-See it though the lens, every shot.

-Don’t do too many of the same shots, it will wear the actor down.

-Be the leader and a guest when directing on another’s project.

-Use different lens as part of the storytelling process.

-Keep the day of shooting moving forward, don’t allow time to be wasted.

-Casting is key. Don’t base your choice on looks or popularity.

-Look for ways to be re-inspired.

-Don’t miss up confidences, use your own judgment.

-Tie yourself to material that is great.

-Be ready when you get “your chance.”

(Current economics) -There is no longer a safe job, everything is in danger.

-Not just for the sake of it but to tell the story a better way.

-Be comfortable in telling others what to do.

-Find what is best about you and work with that.

So much of the dialog was about his experiences and what he learned from them. At the end of the class we got in to a discussion about the lack of female directors. I really liked what one of the students said, “All of us have our, ‘Oh my God, I’m this.'” I sat there and listened to the discussion and knew what my, “Oh my God, I’m this” is. It’s not the fact that I’m a girl, a mexican, from a low-income area but its.. I’m a Christian. I’m not just a Christian but I’m a seeker of Christ. I live it everyday. I’ve been dumped because I was one, I’ve been dumped by a Christian boy because I was a real one. haha. I’ve had to pass up opportunities on projects because it compromise my morals. Not to say I’ll be uptight about everything, I just know there are some scenes I wouldn’t feel comfortable being apart of.

God has always been faithful and brought better and bigger opportunities for me. We all have our mountains to climb but I know that God will be with me through the journey. “Find what is best about you and work with that.” -My heart for God. My passion and devotion to Him. He’s the Creator who is my inspiration. I don’t know if I will ever be a professional director, but I have a feeling I will be and I have to be prepared for it. One thing Bobby said that ended the class was, “It’s not impossible but it may be hard. Focus on the work, have strength, patience and be professional.”

Update: This morning I had two filmings that I needed to do. I did my homework last night, tested all my gear, packed everything, wrote my thoughts and questions down and got a good nights rest. Today I had the smoothest filming experience of my life. I’m really excited to put these tips in to practice. I’m glad I took the class.

Look for ways to invest in your craft.

Bobby Roth, professional television director and independent film maker.