Posts Tagged ‘film’

One After The Other

Whoa, I feel like I’ve been neglecting this blog! Just have been so busy. Last week, I had to be in 3 different places at the same time every day! And on Tuesday, it was FOUR different places! I’m getting so stressed that it was beginning to affect my skin. No bueno. I can’t wait until things slow down and I can finally relax.

The film we are working on, “Vampariah” is going well. Still lots to do. We finally were able to create a teaser that introduces the leader of the vampire hunters, Kilmore. You can check it out here: Vampariah Teaser.

I finally completed the first draft of my short film, “Not Quite Unrequited.” Yay me! I drafted, re-drafted, rewrote and re-drafted some more to the point where I just could not think anymore and just turned it in to the producer. I’ll be having an informal reading next week so that I can hear what it sounds like outside of my head. Very excited for that because I got some amazing friends/actors to read for me! I am curious what their interpretation will be for the characters.

My next project is a sketch comedy show in which I’m participating in at Bindlestiff Studio. The show is called “Ad Nauseum” with the comedy troupe “Taste Better Wit.” I’m actually quite excited to be participating as sketch comedy is something I’ve been inspired by since I was in high school through Kids in the Hall. I’m not in it that much since I wasn’t able to make a lot of the rehearsals but I’m happy with the parts I have to do. I have to admit though, I am the worst at doing improv but I usually work well under pressure so when the time comes, I’m sure I will bring it. The show starts tomorrow and I’m nervous as hell but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Wish me luck!

Heard a great quote today. “The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.” – Jessica Hische

Inspirecreational Weekend

This weekend has been full of inspiration, recreation, and creativity all rolled into one. I am losing sleep each night and my schedule is going insane. Obviously, filming is going well. We shot a bloody killing scene on Saturday where we ended up spraying fake blood all over someone’s van. That was a serious cleanup job. It’s made of corn syrup so imagine syrup all over your vehicle’s interior. Imagine that? Yeah. Afterwards, I got to see my friend dance in a show called “Tagabanua” at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center. It was a beautiful show with great moves and some kick ass indeigenous Filipino music. Very inspiring, I have to say. It made me want to play kulintang again.

And Sunday, we shot a music video for the band, Seeking Empire. It was on their song “Fairytale.” I haven’t shot a music video since 2007 when I helped with Kiwi’s “Imagine” video so it was fun. This time, it was a lot different though because of all the extras that were there. I’ve never really been around so many model-type women and punk rocker dudes. The band was fantastic and the venue we shot the video at was fabulous too! I got to meet Paul Thomas, the bassist from the band Good Charlotte, so that was cool. I can’t wait to see the video when it is done being edited.

On Monday, I got to play a different side of me. I dressed up in goth to celebrate a friend’s birthday at a goth club called Death Guild. I’ve never seen myself look this way before. It was nice to hear that everybody loved my outfit. I have to admit, I loved it too. I wore a short black dress that had tulle for the skirt part. I wore a wide belt that had a corset pattern on it. I also had a lacy bolero on along with a black headband that had a black flower on top. I painted my nails blood red, wore dark cherry lipstick, fishnet thigh-his and as my guy friends would call it, a pair of “come fuck me” heels. I looked like a Goth Lolita. Overall, I had a blast playing dress up. It cost me a fortune though. I think I spent over $200 on everything but I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish so all is right in the world. I would upload a photo except it’s in someone else’s camera and I don’t have it yet.

Reflection: I never thought I would see the things I see in my life. I know I’ve said this before but it’s truly amazing what one can accomplish if you maintain your focus, passion and dedication. I think my only problem is thank there are too many things I want to do. Sticking to one thing doesn’t seem to be my shtick, given my history. I’m a jack of all trades and things can only get better from here. Thank you, Lord! I am feeling truly blessed to be.

Casting Extras & Faces

What a great first day shoot we had! But first all, let me just say that last week was a whirlwind of ups & downs for the film production. On Tuesday, after enjoying learning all about face casting from one of our makeup artists, Melissa, we found out exactly 4 days before the first shoot that the venue, Temple, decided to boot us out in order to rent it out for some corporate gig. I understand that businesses have to make money but canceling our agreement basically because something that paid more came along was completely shady, not to mention infuriating. Now that I think about it, it’s pretty ironic & arrogant for a place to be calling themselves Temple. May the gods of karma have mercy on you.

Moving on, our heroes, Club Mist, saved the day & allowed us to use their club. This place was the exact opposite of the goth look we were going for but to me, that was what was so great about it. It didn’t meet your expectations as to what “goth” is. The scene is supposed to be a goth club scene and yet, the place looked more like a white heaven that a dark haven. Nice contrast. The director, Matthew Abaya, made it all work. I had so much fun getting all the extras for the scenes. The makeup artists did an above & beyond fantastic job with the makeup on everyone.

We were there form noon until 8 pm. I assistant directed as much as I could and finally got to rest that night. Unfortunately, I caught a fever the next morning and have been under the weather ever since. I am constantly stopping to hack a chunk of lung every 2 to 3 sentences as we speak. Salty. Being able to be the one to get the extras for the film really solidified my infatuation with wanting to be a casting director. Moreover, a friend of mine sent me an email today.

It was for a Q&A event with a casting director who works for NBCUniversal. Mainly, it’s geared towards actors who want to know what casting directors look for but it says that you can ask anything you want so I figured hey, why not go to this event and make it a weekend on hump day? It was a very spontaneous decision but I shop by intuition and my intuition told me I should buy a ticket…then a couple of flights, then rent a car, and find a place to sleep. Done, done, done, & done. The event is in Burbank so I’ll have to fly down there. I do not want to drive my car down there & back on my own. Granted, I’ve done it before but I was younger then…ok, only by 4 years but still, I was more balls-to-the-wall back then. Ok fine, I did it for New Kids on the Block. There, I said it and that’s the honest truth. Don’t judge me by my questionable interests. So now, all I need is a restaurant to go to. Hmmm, which restaurant should I try? I just love eating in places other than home. :0)

Here are some pics

Jeff getting his face cast by the amazing Melissa

Michelle getting her face cast also by the amazing Melissa

The only time I’ll ever be behind the bar

Goth people in heavenly setting

Filming Scott & Kitty scene upstairs

Kitty doing her dance

I know, my captions is sooooo creative! Well, it’s 12:20 AM and I’m sick sooo….yeah.

Career Moves

Whenever anyone has asked me “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I have a million answers for them. I’ve veered towards so many different paths that I’m getting lost in my career GPS system. I have wanted to become a sketch comedy writer, a screen writer, an actress, a fashion designer, a preschool teacher, a real estate agent, a restaurant owner, a professional baker, a banker, a hotel manager, a journalist and this is just from what I remember. At this point, it’s time to make a decision.

I’ve recently come across a career that I have never been more excited about pursuing. I think I really want to become a casting director. I don’t know why I never thought of it before. I am comfortable around celebrities, I love watching people audition, I have been on both sides of the spectrum and I loved it a lot more when I wasn’t the auditionee. Currently, I’m helping a local filmmaker on their first feature film & I’m the assistant director & I’m in charge of all the extras for the shoot. My emails are overwhelming but I can handle it. I’m finding that a lot of people want to be extras but when it comes to communication, it’s pretty iffy. You just never know who will actually show up, especially when I tell them they have to come dressed in goth clothing. All of a sudden, that’s too much work and instead of letting me know they are no longer available, I guess I just have to assume they are out if they don’t reply. If any of you ever want to be a movie extra, it’s best to reply.

Anyway, on Sunday, I spent about 3 hours with the fight choreographer, working on the training for the actors. I just went for the workout & boy, was it hard. I don’t think I’ve ever worked out my body so much before. Today, I am sore in places I never even knew had muscles. I ended up kicking, punching, & crawling around the floor like a caterpillar. The workout was reminiscent of those once-popular Tae Bo tapes with Billy Blanks except the Tae Bo workout was a lot easier. Man, the things that actors have to go through to fulfill their roles as their characters require so much work. I have a much higher respect for actors who can grunt through it. I used to think they just walked around onscreen, saying someone else’ words. I never thought about the physical aspect of it all as I’ve only performed onstage & never had to do any type of fighting, jumping, or kicking. I hope this pain goes away soon. I can barely go up & down the stairs due to some stressed calves & weak knees. Let’s just hope my body recovers soon. In the meantime, I’m going to spend my days recovering from this hot mess of a workout.

Oh Nothing, Just Our PMSTA Trailer & Stuff

I am so proud to announce that the trailer for our October show is now live! I had so much fun working on it that it inspired me to want to do more in film. The director of the film, Matthew Abaya of I Don’t Care Productions, is also going to be doing a feature length film called “Vampariah” and he asked me to help him with casting. I can honestly say I was ecstatic! Besides the screenwriter, casting was also one of my dream roles to take on when it comes to making a film.

I’m excited to begin holding auditions and getting through this process, more than excited. So excited, I went out and bought a book called “Producing & Directing the Short Film & Video” to catch me up on all I need to know. There is a 4th edition to this book but this one was 40% off and mama can’t pass up a bargain like that. Let’s just see what I’m going to learn. I hate when I read and nothing has entered my mind because I’m drumming up a to-do list in my head. Am I the only one that happens to? Anyway, before I go off on a tangent, check out our promo below:

I Just Want To Create

I added a couple more items to my Etsy page and am excited to continue making more things. I’m constantly looking for inspiration but I don’t have too far too look. It is all around me. I could be inspired by a piece of chewed gum, you just never know. Here are the pics.
Sterling Silver Chain with Silver Wire Pendant
Sterling Silver Chain with Silver Wire Pendant

Choker with Turkish silver cross & antique silver tubes
Choker with Turkish silver cross & antique silver tubes

India Glass Bead with Heart Charm Bracelet (Sold)
India Glass Bead with Heart Charm Bracelet

I really want to venture into making jewelry for men and things that are edgier. This really isn’t my style, too bridal. I like the choker though but it’s so plain to me. Ah well, in time. Today, I’m going to teach myself how to make wire wrapped rings like this one:

wire wrap ringPhoto from Michigan Bead Supply Co.

Another thing I wanted to address. I had been encouraging a friend of mine to write a script because he is so humorous & zany. He kept saying he would and had been coming to me for advice on a script is written. I wasn’t sure he was taking my words to heart until last night when he told me writing was harder than he thought but he was 33 pages in and had 70 – 80 more pages to go. I was so shocked & proud of him. I cannot wait to read his script!! I’m pretty sure it will have wacky scenes and crazy scenarios and he tells some pretty funny stories just for the sake of comedy. Love it!! This has been encouraging for me. Now I feel inspired to continue with my own script. It’s only halfway done for now but I can’t wait to see what happens in my story. I am constantly inspired by events surrounding me, things that happen to me, and the people I come in contact with. When my film goes up, it’s possible my friends will recognize a situation onscreen. Yes, it’s that easy. :0)

Sonoma Film Festival 2011

Just got back from the Sonoma International Film Festival. It was worth every dollar today and I’m extremely glad I was able to go. I had to change around the schedule of 10 people just to be able to go but since we had moved it, an old friend of mine was able to make it so it worked out. I got an all day pass because since I wasn’t familiar with this festival, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get a ticket to just see the program I wanted to see. How devastating that’d be if I drove all the way up there only to be told it was sold out. I’ve only really had experience with the Asian American Film Festival just prior to this one and their short programs are always sold out. I was not willing to take any chances on missing The Dungeon Master.

My best friend came with me and we enjoyed an overabundance of Sonoma food. Together, we enjoyed quiche, spaghetti, ice cream, milkshakes, Bellinis, juice, steak, bread & butter, olives, soup, croque monsieur and salad. Yes, gluttonous sinners, aren’t we? We went thrift store shopping for rich people’s stuff but found nothing we really wanted to take home. (Maybe I just prefer the ghetto lyfe?)

Anyway, all in all, we saw about 20 short films today so we are pooped out on short films. My top favorites were The Dungeon Master(no bias intended), Sexting, Touch, Fishing with Supermodels, Run, Tapeworm, The Doctor, and The Reshoots. I wanted to mention that for Sexting, Julia Stiles did the longest monologue I’ve ever heard and I applaud her for that one. She was so great in it!

My favorite part of the day was dinner at The Girl & The Fig, and meeting The Strong brothers, Rider & Shiloh. Like I said before, I am so conditioned to be comfortable around celebrities now by NKOTB members like Donnie Wahlberg and countless other celebs, that I didn’t even get those heart palpitations that I used to get. It’s a little tragic but still a win-win. I know exactly when I can approach them & when I cannot, much unlike my Will Friedle dream. One thing I regret saying to them was, “It was so much better than I thought it would be!!” Ava, why the hell did you word it like that? As if you thought it would be crap? No. I thought it would be amazing & awesome, but I didn’t know it was going to kick ass and floor me. THAT’S what I actually meant.That’s what happens when I get excited about speaking my mind. My words just go all kinds of wrong. I hope they knew what I meant. When I was talking to Rider, I almost wanted to reveal to him how much I love his buddy, Will Friedle…but I didn’t. I didn’t want this kat to think I was trying to pass along a message or anything. It just would have been funny to bring it up but I didn’t want to act like a fool. Who knows what people really think of you after you’ve met them, right? Two sides to every face, yo.

Seriously though, I could have chopped it up with him all day, him AND his brother. They’re good folks. I’d just like to pick their brain for at least an hour, to learn more about the filmmaker world, the artist world, the creative world through their eyes. As for my take on The Dungeon Master, they killed it. You could tell they put a lot of thought into every aspect of the film. Dialogue was so real, premise left you wanting more, actors were on the ball, makeup & special effects were aligned with their vision, loved every single moment of it. I just wish I could see the rest of it because I felt like when the power goes out at the climax of the movie! I need resolution! I wanted to scream at the end of it, “NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!” Haha! They also won for Best Comedic Short film, big surprise. I’m so so proud of them, never even had a doubt that they would win something for it, it was so good.

During the Q & A, they mentioned their next project was going to be “Searching for Jake Ryan.” Without even knowing what it’s about, I already fell in love with it. What 80’s movies lover doesn’t know Jake Ryan? Granted that Sixteen Candles is a chick flick but I’m sure even guys have watched this movie. I strongly believe that even if it meant they watched it alone in their room, wearing nothing but underwear, eating popcorn with jalepenos & nacho cheese with bottomless cups of Coke, then denying they had ever even heard of the film upon mention. Rider told me I was their biggest supporter of The Dungeon Master. That threw me for a loop but I’m glad he knows I’m being supportive. I only support it if I believe in it. I hope they will be able to shoot their feature up in NorCal, at least parts of it anyway. If they decide to hold any auditions, I would definitely send all my friends their way and they’d even do it for free.

Hearing that they did this film on a zero budget and pulling favors from friends reminded me a lot of how my friends & I do things at Bindlestiff Studio. It inspired me to keep going. Just grow a crew and make art. That’s all there is to it. I fuckin LOVE this life. LOVE it with a passion. Glad I wore my lucky nail color today. :0)

Me with Rider Strong

Me with Rider & Shiloh Strong
Oh god, I need to lose some weight before I see NKOTB next month!

Food, Film & Fab

Well this weekend will be filled with food for me so diet is temporarily going out the window. Last night, I went to Station Cafe, and this weekend, I will be making pot stickers, lumpia, and chow fun with friends, going to The Boiling Crab, and also checkin’ out The Girl & The Fig in Sonoma. Food, food & more food! Oh geezus.

However, what I’m really excited about is going to the Sonoma International Film Festival where I’ll finally get to see The Dungeon Master, a short film made by Shiloh & Rider Strong! I love the geek-friendly premise of the film and I’m excited to see them in person. What I love most about the premise is that they delve into an area of adulthood that is often considered an embarrassment or immature. I read that Rider was quite the expert on Dungeons & Dragons in his youth. It must be so nostalgic for him to revisit & intensify a childhood game like this; coming full circle. I can’t wait to do the same with my own short film; with a different theme, of course. My obsessions are so ridiculous, they’ll have to get expressed one way or another. It might as well be in film, shown to the public! I’ll bet there are others out there with the same obsessions and it’s up to me to find them. Thanks for inspiring my journey, guys. This is going to be a fabulous weekend.

SF Int’l Asian American Film Festival

The 29th annual Asian American Film Festival begins next week & I’m thoroughly excited! I LOVE this film festival. I’ve decided to volunteer for them this year. I figured this would be a great opportunity for me to network and learn a little bit about the film industry before I decide if I want to enter this world professionally. The festival will run from March 10th – March 20th in multiple theaters around the Bay Area including Sundance Kabuki in San Francisco, Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, and Camera 12 in San Jose. I’ve been attending this festival for the past 10 years and it has never disappointed me. I usually catch the comedy shorts program but over the years, with so many vast & intelligent topics surfacing, they had enough to start grouping the topics of the short films together. For 2011, the shorts programs are 3rd I South Asian program (South Asian/Indian), Chicken Proof (comedy), Future States (transmedia experiment), Life, Interrupted (human spirit), Living Life Large (portraits), Play/House (family dynamics), Silent Rituals and Hovering Proxies (texture of life), Suite Suite Chinatown (Chinatowns), and Tainted Love (love).

This year though, I’ve decided to skip the shorts progam and opt for a Hong Kong-based feature length film called “Break Up Club.” No, there won’t be any Asian Molly Ringwald look-alikes twirling her overdyed auburn hair or any rebellious Judd Nelson types carving Chinese characters of symbolic meaning onto wooden desks. It actually stars Fiona Sit and Jaycee Chan (Jackie Chan’s son, fyi) and it is “a tale of a mysterious Web site,, that will reunite estranged lovers if one party enters the name of a happy couple and agrees to separate them in exchange.” – Center for Asian American Media(CAAM). Sounds pretty intriguing, right?

I love Hong Kong films, but my favorites are the comedy films with Stephen Chow in it. He is hilarious!! If I could, I would almost marry that fool. He’s an amazing actor and an even more creative comedian who is now directing and producing his own films. He’s been doing this for over 20 years and during this time, with each film, you can witness his progress in honing his comedic timing down to an exact science. He’ll make you cry he’s so good!

My favorite film with him in it is “All’s Well Ends Well” but I wouldn’t suggest watching that as a first Stephen Chow film. He was still at the beginning stages of learning his comedic timing in this one but I just like it because I enjoy the plot. If anyone ever decides to check him out, I would suggest watching “Shaolin Soccer” or “Kung Fu Hustle” in which he starred in and directed. Alternatively, one can watch him in “Fight Back To School,” “God of Gamblers II,” or “All For The Winner.” And those aforementioned are just the tip of the iceberg. All his films have English subtitles so they’re perfect for me. While I do speak Chinese, I can’t, however, read nor write it.

Wow, all this Stephen Chow talk has got me wanting to go watch his movies now. Hmm…I wonder if there’s a Chinese version of Netflix out there. Ah well, doesn’t matter. I own copies of many of his movies anyway. I think I’ll go watch “Take Me Home Tonight” this weekend. Topher Grace is one of my favorites but no one can hold a candle to Will Friedle, at least not in my book. ;0)

Influential Figures

I met Lise Swenson yesterday. She was the substitute teacher for my screenwriting class. She gave us some background about herself and told us about her dreams & aspirations. She is the director of a documentary film that was made back in 2002 called “Mission Movie.” She talked a lot about how to create a movie that fits the audience you want your film to appeal to and I agreed with her 100%.

She said that if you want to write a movie and get a broad audience, your characters need to appeal to them as well. Having a bunch of older, unknown actors in the movie as opposed to having a bunch of beautiful, young actors in the movie is going to make a big difference in terms of your marketability. I really never thought of it that way at all even though it is probably your most basic of basics in choosing what kind of film you want to write.

We also watched a documentary called A Screenwriter’s Journey. It was about Waldo Salt, one of the world’s the greatest screenwriters. It talked about how Waldo Salt was a Communist and was blacklisted for refusing to testify before the House Committee of Un-American Activities. He eventually realized that Communism was a betrayal but still, he could not write for Hollywood, causing his spirit to plummet to zero. Salt struggled to write during the blacklisting under a pseudonym but even after the blacklist was over, he tried to write again and wrote 3 of his worst movies: Tara Bulbas, Wild & Wonderful, and Flight from Ashiya.

It wasn’t until 1969 when he did the screen adaptation for Midnight Cowboy starring Jon Voight & Dustin Hoffman and won himself an Oscar for it in 1970!! What a great comeback! I was truly inspired by this story. His ups & downs proved to make quite a roller coaster of a life but he kept on going until his passing in 1987. Just 6 months before his death, he won the Laurel Award for Screen Achievement, which is the highest award you can receive from the Writer’s Guild of America.

I hope one day, I will be able to pump out something beautiful on paper in a language that can move even the most callous of souls.

“To search for truth you must first have lost it” – Waldo Salt