Monday, October 29, 2012

Holy Grail of Script Supervising

Hypothesis: no matter how many questions you're ready to answer you will always be asked the one that you have no clue about.

Derivation: when that happens I spit the first thing that comes to mind. 70% odds on my side. Also, for one, if I wasn't paying attention to it it's minor. Second, actors seldom want the truth. Third, no one will ever know until way after wrap and the only person there is going to be an oblivious editor who doesn't care anyway.

Thesis: lying is key to a successful, healthy life as a Scrip Sup, and it makes everyone happy, especially me.

Myself crushing in the kitchen with sound mixers extraordinaire Icemen Audio. Photo credit @chova85.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Trying to change, for a change.

Ok, this is experimental. My home smells like fish, badly. I took out the trash, turned on the ceiling fan and lit my BBW Beach Cabana three wick super powered candle but it just won't go away.
Reason being fish is all I've been eating lately.
LA changed me. Seriously.
I probably haven't cooked meat in five months. I love meat.

I guess this town forces to have you ground yourself to something. Everything spins around so fast and you don't wanna get thrown out to the edge. That something people hold on to most of the times is within them. The one thing you can really trust to keep you sane.
Someone gets spiritual, someone looks for energy in the gym, someone smokes to find clarity.
I, like the many other pathetic wanna-bes that punctuate this city turned to a healthy all round life style. But come on you know I'm for real and all the other pale skinned, fakely shabby fucking hipsters have nothing on me. I do get to rub elbows with them on the path I've chosen but I'm gonna throw a big fat disclaimer out there: my reasons are ethical, medical, and most of all true, theirs is just a way to spread the word that they are vegan, whatever the fuck that means.


I'm making a habit of starting posts and then leaving them to dry in the sun so a dog can come and chew on them, like beef jerky.
The point was that I had introduced every inch of my body to a new lifestyle. Then I went home to Italy and fucked it all up. Food is just too good.
Now that I'm back and working there's no room to be picky as any crew member knows when it comes to crafty, it is what it is.
I was being so good at going to yoga classes, skinny little blondes didn't even make me throw up in my mouth anymore, I also bought a Groupon for Cardio Barre classes, that I haven't printed out yet, but fear not! The offer doesn't expire till December and I am sure I will find my way back Master Jedi.
As my fridge is empty, any day is a good day to go out and restock on healthy foodery. And I might just do that, someday.

But in the meantime if you are being a good girl here's what you might find very helpful.
My Fitness Pal is a little (FREE) app that will keep you on track.
It's easy to use, fun too if you like me are batshit crazy and like lists and forms and boxes and check marks.
It is in no way a nutritionist or accurate but it does provide you with an idea of how much exactly you've been staring into the fridge per day. Which I find very useful as I tend to get hungry easily and forget that I have just finished stuffing my face like minutes before.

Here's how it works:

You set it up with your height, weight and desired goal, so the alien inside your iPhone does the math for you and comes up with a calorie plan that fits. Mine was too low, but I kept it as a reference, knowing that I would go over it anyway, at least I would stop when really needed.
Everyday you fill in your diary with info. All kinds of info. What you've eaten, neatly divided per meal, how much you've exercised, personally if I walked 5 minutes to my car I would put that in there, how many dumps you've taken. Just kidding. And thus you have an exact map of meaningless aspects of your life. 

How to add foods you ask?
Here's the lowdown. There is an online database, updated daily worldwide, so any kind of food is already in there. For those of you in the US there's a bunch of popular restaurants' dishes too, like I don't know Starbucks, Corner Bakery, and for the brave Jack in the box or In & Out, the healthy stuff... You just select it and BAM!
The food you're looking for is not there and you're too lazy to look up nutritional values and type them in? Calm the fuck down, there's an amazing feature. Barcode reader. Yes your eyes do not fool you. Select, place your phone in front of a barcode and BAM!! Product's there.
It's the simplest thing I'm telling you!


At the end of the day you have a whole lotta bunch of charts to show you your progress and shit, by day, by week, and in regards to your set goal.
Unfortunately you have to have a pretty amazing constance. I lasted three weeks, then as you can see I went missing, in Rome, with some carbonara up my ass.

Friday, August 24, 2012

I guess I should start calling LA home now

I started this post on March 6th.

Today marks the second week of my glorious return to Los Angeles.
On the night I got back I was so shitfaced from the flight I went straight to bed. When I woke up I felt kind of stoned. First of all it was 5:00 am, a time frame I don't chew on easily. Second, I wasn't sure where I stood in relation to the place I woke up into, it felt like I knew it, in some sort of etherial way, like I had once dreamt of it. That kind of threw me off a bit. I floated around its lavishly dirty locales (two months and counting without a single dusting - but I have to admit it looked better than I expected, which was basically a single comprehensive rolling hay bale of lint) and since I couldn't really make out if I was awake or not, I went to get a new phone deal and a car. Upon my retreat to the palace I took a breather and realized that I had indeed not seen it in my dreams, quite the contrary, I had lived in it and made it much my own. A wave of recognition crushed my skull and everything suddenly started to get a lot more real. So real in fact that I got hungry, and wanted to make soup, only to discover that I had no gas. Apparently you have to pay bills in the US, tsk.
Cue day two. I took a trip to the Gas Company because they had to cross check two photo IDs before they could issue me any services. By any means the US government cares to make you feel like a vicious cockroach. When that was settled I found out the first available appointment with a technician was going to be in a week. Jesus H Christ. Ok Ralph's, load me up with frozen meals. Thank the begeezes I had purchased a microwave before leaving. No cooking ability at home gave me the opportunity to space out, thus making it possible for me to gather an LED TV, a 3D blu ray player, a Keurig, cable TV and a gazillion knick knacks to make my place much homier. So when gas finally made its way back I was totally dolled up in a bubble of joy. Not to mention that my week in the making gas guy found out the heater in my living room was slowly killing me via carbon monoxide. Bad bad bad rental agency. Should I sue? Come on it's America!!

The Oscars kind of marked the end of my big transition. It was so over the top to be here, just a couple of blocks away from the real thing that after that glorious Sunday things shifted back to a lower, steadier gear. As they should.
To begin with, Stacy Keibler was wearing gold. And a big fat flower on her hip. When her man is up for an award a lady does not outdo him. Take Angelina, and let's please forget about her leg for a moment, who stood aside and let nominated Brad Pitt walk the carpet alone and get his press and shiz. Now we know you're not really dating George, Stacy, but since you're pretending you should pretend well, and with class.
Then I saw Penelope Cruz, and once again she butchered the English language. Now these are things that fuck with me. She is allowed to come and go as she pleases, she practically lives here, and doesn't even care to learn how to speak. I'll tell you more. I went to Sears the other day looking for power strips, so I approached this sales assistant, regularly employed, possibly possessing permanent residency, Lord have mercy even citizenship, and told him what I needed. This is what he responded: "Can you ask someone else? I only be in America one year. I no speak English". Should I comment? No, because I totally could. In fact I will. One thing is to make it to immigrant status before I do, I will bitchslap you, but not hate on you. One entirely other thing is telling TO MY FACE that you are legally allowed to stay and work in this country, and you have in fact already been hanging around for a complete earth turnaround, and you didn't even bother learning how to fucking speak English... when I am quite frankly an asset but was cornered like a motherfucker and almost asked to pee on a stick to be allowed back in the door. How does that happen? HOW DOES IT HAPPEN??
Back to the Academy Awards, ok, they were obsessing over telling us how much they love the movies. Will you just go back to buying tickets to the theaters America? So they can spare us. Thank you very much. On this matter I actually read the tweet that summed it all up,  wrote: You know what part of the Oscars should remind people that they love movies? THE NOMINATED FILMS. Amen.
And just as a side note everyone I know texted me about the lady dedicating her Oscar to Italee. Yes, we thug.
One more thing that strikes me every year is how all the technical winners always manage to stand up and walk to the stage, no matter how emotional or astonished. They cry and smile and overall healthily react to the win. It's a huge thing for them too you know. And then there's actors. Oh actors just have to add that twist. They have to. Octavia Spencer, I kind of like you. But what about the fact that you need help to be extracted from your chair and wobble your way up like a huge truffle with disabilities. You just wanna milk the very last drop of that standing ovation, attention whore. Actors.

Speaking of, watching with me in the Burbank living room it was mostly kiwi actors, out here for
pilot season. They're all so pretty without even trying. Gracious, from within their sundresses and impossibly sculpted perfect fake bed hair.

Back on March 6th, this is where I was going to go with it:

- actors depress me, because they always look better than you, they are funnier than you, they have better answers and nicer jokes. They also most of the times have less brain, but that, not always I find easy to remember.

- coming down from the Oscars high was hard. The little animals of the forest retired in their warm burrows and left me out in the cold. No one seemed to remember I had once lived here, despite my describing all the newfound memories of me actually inhabiting the land. And then I discovered Food Network and I pondered a change of career. But that didn't happen. I'm too greedy to share meals with others.

And this is what I'm gonna say now:
- bye!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Oscars red carpet

I walked on it the other day. Yes ma'am. It's pretty soft. Very carpety. I thought it would be more like a thin fabric, instead it has real texture, like 1/4 of an inch hair length. You could feel the depth, even from underneath a sea of cellophane. It looked like a freaking serial killer's dungeon in fact, every single Oscar was being suffocated. Exhibit A.

It was pretty clear from the get go that something was up. If you didn't know better you would almost say that a bunch of celebrities were about to go through. The whole lot in front of the building was blooming with pop up sheds, eight wheelers and satellite dishes the size of my dining room table, like a huge film production was seconds away from shooting the most expensive scene in movie history. The valet parking at the mall had been shielded with a velvety huge red curtain and to find a spot for our car we had to go all the way down to the center of the earth to parking level 5 where a Balrog was luckily pulling out so we could take his place.
I was curious to see what goes on around the area a couple of days before the event. It's my first Oscars in LA you know. I've had a bunch of firsts in the past year but this one is like EPIC. I've grown up watching the Oscars from 2 - 6 am on a school night by myself, every year, it was the closest I could get to Hollywood on the other freaking side of the world. Then when you live here you want to play it cool and pretend like you're used to this stuff, that you see it everyday. This is what Angelenos do and it's a pretty contagious behavior. I was like that, for a split second, riding the escalator to the Kodak theater and then I set foot on the carpet and it was MAGIC. I can't even explain the rush I felt but maybe some can understand. It was like being sprinkled with fairy dust and then finally hitting your happy thought and start flying. But taking off was hard, from street level it basically looks like a county fair.

It is fascinating as kind of a mystery, like a very elegant woman who doesn't show too much of herself. And overall very mystic. Happy and sad at the same time. Especially when I climbed up the Hollywood and Highland passageway and I had the full disclosure on the lady parts.

It was enthralling to see what they were doing down there, like being privy to some kind of ritual. They were probably briefing people that will direct the flow tomorrow, maybe hypnotizing a bunch of bystanders into joining Scientology, I don't really know. But all the same it was painstakingly hard to watch. Me, me, me. Me too! I was screaming while falling off the ledge and out of the cruel, ephemeral bubble that I like to call fucking blind ambition. No briefing, no stroll, no nothing for me. So I snapped a pretty picture of the pretty view and took off to Sephora where I have drowned my sorrows in a gallon of tinted moisturizer.

The pretty view!

By the way I got one of the employees of Sephora practically admit that they close the store at 2 pm on Oscar day and then just stay in there to watch the street go on fire. An this is their position from the hair products section. A little black uniform suits me, ya think?!

At the end of the day I came home to my cozy gas-less stove and stuffed myself with 300 gr (that's 0.66 lbs for those of you who still like to defy logic) of Gelson's roasted chicken and some left over salad. Which was supposed to be a healthy kind of meal and instead took me 48 hours to digest considering I gulped down quantities that would make a truck driver blush.

This is just half of the chicken by the way.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Let me in!

I'm writing this on my cell pacing up and down the aisle in the aircraft that is taking me back to LA. By the time this goes up I will probably have been back for a while, let's say 10 days, that much Time Warner needs to come put its leeches back on me. 4 hours have gone by, 6 to go. I almost had a heart attack when I found that out. I've watched an episode of Once Upon a Time and one of Smash. Mah, and super yawn. And had a thought in between. What am I looking for in America? How is my happiness defined? I think I'm so cool that I'm pursuing this dream but in reality, squeezing all the bs out of it, what is this dream? I am alone, on the other side of the world, attempting a line of work impossibly hard to tackle. I may have been lucky in my first 7 months out here, striking all the right moves and being in the right place at the right time, and sometime I rest on the thought that I've made it. But that, my foolish self, was only the top of the iceberg. I made what? Do I have what it takes to step up the game? Do I have enough drive to face what's coming? The struggle, the loneliness, the pity parties. I don't know. What I do know is that Belle in that asylum cell will turn around any minute and start screaming "my baeiby, they've taken my baeiby". Sooo, in order to try and forget about that I'm hopping into season 5-8 of Entourage. Hour 5 of 10 shall begin.

Leaving Europe: The Alps.

Flight update, entering 7th hour, having oat bites, cheese and mild chilli flavored. Half way in my fourth consecutive Entourage episode. They just tripped at Joshua Tree National Park which reminded me that I love knowing the places movies and tv shows mention, I love being where it's at. And I also just realized I haven't had a coffee since this morning. I probably should go for one, all I've done is eating. I'm eating a shortbread cookie right now. Ok, coffee, let's catch up.

One hour from LA. Laptop battery died so I turned to a magazine on which I was merrily reading about American Pie Reunion when this hideous turbulence hit. It's. Freaking me. Out. What is it troubled air, what do you want from us? You are shaking a gigantic 10-storiesque thing. You wanna hear it?! You win, you are the bloody king of the skyes, the kong of puffy clouds. Now let us go forth! Please?! Ok, ok, I admit it, I ate a second shortbread cookie with my coffee and now they're passing with another meal. I'm a pig. Happy?! Be gone now.

Entering California: Some desert.

Obviously clouds were looming under us obscuring my view.

And so I'm home. Up at 5:45. We didn't crash so that's good. And I got readmitted into the United States of effing America. Just to remind me I had landed in LA I baggage claimed my suitcase next to Christina Ricci, who was wearing zero makeup thus making me look like a VS Angel after a 16 hour flight, thanks C! Her clothes were dang though. This is my mom's joke: she must have flown in Pan Am.
Also my friend HH picked me up and as awesome as she is she let me borrow her two days old iPad so I could hop online, and publish this I guess before I even called Time Warner, which I'm going to do, today. After I get in the shower and dismantle all my Christmas decorations. Toodeloo!

Monday, February 20, 2012


Here we go. Six months in the making, I would have thought it at least would have tiny arms, a Humpty Dumpty of sorts. Alas it does not, at least it's very thin, you gotta know what matters in a baby.

And so I am in that place again. A foot on the door and a bag that's way to heavy, just as much as my thoughts. This is a dream coming true don't get me wrong. 18 months in the States. Sometimes I go around flaunting my achievement and people feeling my excitement go "how many years are you allowed to stay?" and I beam "18 months!" and they spit "oh, just that. I would have assumed way more by looking at you". And they just don't know that when I left for LA the first time in May 2011, with cardboard bags and an address scrambled on a piece of paper, I didn't know what the heck I was doing, I didn't know where my crazy, unconditional hope would take me. And most importantly they haven't been in the States, they don't know how it works, they haven't been at American Consulates where 1 out of 3 people petitioning for visas were denied, in front of my own eyes, just when I was about to go ask for mine. It's just 18 months alright but it is a huge achievement. And yes I'm patting my own shoulder right now, as much as it is inconvenient for my back pain. Six whole months of continuously providing documents and answering questions, most would have given up several times by now. A dream come true indeed, so why is it so hard to go meet it?

I'll admit it, I tend to like dwelling in nostalgia, I'm a 19th century troubled writer born in the wrong time-space continuum. So I'm dwelling away. Surprisingly this has mostly to do with my parents. They are not getting any younger and I hate being so far away from them. And this is where it gets twisty because I also LOVE being far away from them. Meaning having my own space, not having to listen when I don't want to and overall just having a chance to breath and be my own way. I guess it always just boils down to one big truth, always present, always valid, LA and Rome are just so fucking far away. Too much.


Meanwhile check in has opened and I got myself an aisle emergency exit stretch your legs seat! I'm taking off in 24 hours!! Forget my parents! WOOT WOOT!!

- Just kidding -

PS: Don't you hate that airlines keep the right to change your seat at the last minute for whatever reason? I fought for this semi uncomfortness and I'm going to bite you BA, hands off!

Back to packing.

My least favorite game...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Consider Script Supervisors

I am going to be honest, I love my job and I proudly typecast myself as one of those people who get offended by all those cocktail compliments like "I don't know how you do it", "you must be so smart" when invariably at decisive times everything turns all "yeah well, we'd love to have you on board but we didn't make a budget for a scripty" or "we had to cut on some things so we decided we could shoot without one".

When I moved to Hollywood I was shocked at how much, even over there, this type of ignorance on the influence of a script supervisor and what they do or don't do was overruling among recent cinema graduates, the filmmakers of tomorrow. At this point in my career these are the people I relate to on a day to day basis and as they move up the ranks with their instant replays and god complexes I am terrified for the possible future of our craft.

Now award season spun a thought. Why are we not being recognized by any institution?

For someone who's not familiar with what we do, here's how Ana Maria Quintana describes our kind on Cameron Crowe's blog:
First of all and most importantly you need to have total knowledge of the script. You are responsible for breaking it down in every department. Props, wardrobe, make-up, hair, set dressing, time of day, time of the year. 
Once we start production, we are involved in all the rehearsals, set-ups and shooting of the film. We keep detailed notes on the shooting day, scene numbers, take numbers, camera information, lenses and filters. We describe each scene and make notes on each take. All of our notes are given to the Editor to use for his or her assembly, and the Director will later refer to them during his or her cut. The notes will tell them the good takes from the bad, the incomplete from the complete, what each take had that was particularly good or bad, and any other notes that might help distinguish the shooting scene during the editing process. 
During filming, we are responsible for all continuity of the scenes being shot. Since most films are shot out of order, it is up to the Script Supervisor to preserve the continuity at all times, in every department and for every aspect of the film. Everything from make-up, props, wardrobe, hair, time of day, and pace from one scene to another, is under the scrutiny of the Script Supervisor. We must have a full understanding of all camera angles, direction, and progression. This is to make sure that the action cuts together. We must also make sure that nothing is left out from the script, that all the shots the Director wanted and needed are completed. We cue actors during rehearsals and make all changes on the script. During the shooting, we make sure that the actors match their actions with their words, cigarettes, cups, etc. Any movement with their hands or body must match in all the angles at all times. We also prepare a production report for the Producers that shows the scenes shot, the scenes that need to be shot, the screen time shot everyday, page count and set-up count. 
Above all, we must always be present for the Director to make sure the script is available to them, and to make any notes that he or she might give you at a moment’s notice. We observe, we take notes, we report, we are always on, we seldom leave a set. We sometimes play psychiatrist, mom, sister, confidante, or girlfriend. And we are the only one in our department.
I bet you're gasping for air, it's a long quote I know, and it has to be, due to the overwhelming amount of duties we are honored to perform. But nonetheless I think she has left something out.
We are indeed a department of one and as such we are considered among key personnel (the heads of the different departments). Like all keys we are required to make very specific important contributions. We are knowledgable about filmmaking, and passionate (otherwise we wouldn't be able to do the honors trust me) and if allowed we can be instrumental in assisting director and DP in their creative decisions.
I don't mind the bureaucratic part of my job but that is not why I do it. I do it because a script supervisor gets a real chance at being the most rounded breed of filmmaker. Our demanding responsibilities toward the rest of the crew and the integrity of the project make us active players. We are not note takers. G
iven the director is willing to hear us out we are often asked to have a say in critical stylistic decisions, we have a trained eye for image and we know the script by heart. Sometimes we are able to raise pivotal script issues and are able to help writer and director in changing it for the better.

I believe we do nothing more, but also nothing less, than a DP, an editor, a sound mixer, a costume designer or an art director. We provide as important input for the technical and artistic success of the product. This is often sadly underestimated or worse totally ignored. Especially by our own peers.

Our DP friends, editor friends, sound mixer friends and makeup, hair and art department friends are all recognized by our community every year. We are not. Not even amongst ourselves. It is not an award that defines who you are but it can be a way to be rightfully represented in the film industry.

I believe our value has to be put on the map so that we don't have to be made fools at cocktail parties ever again, hence this award season I want to take a stand.
This year consider us.