Cough, Spit & A Fondle

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Today, I realized a few things. Firstly, I have noticed that I have started to consciously swallow drinks. And, by that, I mean, I no longer just swallow water from a bottle or tea from a cup and get on with whatever I am doing. For some bizarre reason, I believe because I think that I have started to gulp loudly when I swallow, I make an effort to control the swallowing. Which, in turn, leads me to focus on swallowing after the third go, lets just say, and I inevitably gulp louder, get the liquid to go down the wrong tube, and I end up coughing, spluttering, and have to spit the water out. In case I choke. All makes perfect sense. To me. In my head. There is a reason for this nonsense.

Moving on, I have also realized, that the 16 block walk to the gym actually does bring up a few random stories. I had just been too anti-San Fran, probably missing L.A like the temptress that she is, to let myself observe the carry on. Unsurprisingly, for San Fran, there is a lot of homeless people on the gym route. Which provide a few interesting scenarios. Again, I was waiting at the lights to cross the road (a mighty place to observe life it seems) when I saw a couple at the other side of the road having a big fight. Screaming at each other. In Chinese. It was near impossible not to watch, or start to slow down walking wise to see what was going on. 

The Chinese woman was freaking out for some reason, although I am only presuming she was, not speaking too much Chinese myself. She did not seem happy, giving me a nice dirty look as I walked up, maybe she was trying to say hello though. Again, the lack of Chinese was a barrier for me. They had a place set-up in the doorway of a bank, with all their stuff there, two shopping trolleys next to the make-shift bed. The Chinese man was backing off, shouting back a bit, but it was plain to see that the woman was kicking him out, of their doorway. They were now taking up the entire path, so she started physically kicking out at him to clear off, threw a blanket at him, then gave one last tirade in Chinese, and the guy gave me. She had kicked him out, he was gone. Across the road he went, to the bank on the other side of the street, and sat in that doorway, with his blanket. Few more words shouted over and back, and it died down. Fight over.

We were all able to go on our way. The path was clear. There were a few of us after building up on the path, waiting for them to finish up, so we could keep walking on. On we went, me drinking back some Red Bull, listening to see if I was gulping loudly for every drink. Few coughs, few splutters, and the can was almost gone. One last drink, and, conveniently, there was a bin to my right. In fairness, I did kind of stop suddenly, but I just noticed the bin, to my immediate right, as I took the last gulp. Stopped suddenly, stuck the can into the bin, but as I did, the person who had been walking right behind me, walked straight into me.

The last big mouthful sprayed out. Not really actually, more it filled up my mouth, caused me to splutter, then half sprayed, half snorted, out my mouth and nose, as I tried in vain to save a bit of dignity and hold it in. Should’ve let the spray just gracefully happen. Must have been quite a charming sight, if anyone had seen it. The person who had bumped into me was annoyed with me, for stopping. I was too covered in Red Bull to remember if I should’ve been annoyed with anyone, probably myself, but it all ended then and there. Continued on to the gym. This was getting more eventful, this was more like it.

Into the gym, did my bit, drinking back the water, needed to refill my bottle up at the water fountain, which is in the downstairs part of the gym. This gym is far quieter than the one in L.A, so you can take your time with the machines. And the fountain. I had a bit left in my bottle, might as well finish it off before I fill her up, so took another big gulp. With my iPod earphones on, I started to think that might be the reason why I was hearing stuff louder in my head, the earphones being on! Which, obviously, made me concentrate far too much on the gulp. And I have already described what happens. Cough, splutter, down the wrong pipe, out comes the liquid. Over the water fountain. Didn’t really get the spout part, but still nobody wants to see someone dribble back over the water fountain. Thankfully, I don’t think the person behind me, waiting for me to finish up, saw any of it. Either way, I gave it a quick rinse. Left it germ and dribble free. 

Leaving the gym and walking home threw up one final piece to this tale. Two days ago, next to the gym, in the bright light of the evening, on a main street, I thought I saw a different homeless couple, getting cordial with each other. As in the full wack. Just with clothes on. Not fully sure, but I was 99% certain. Seeing as they were a foot away from me, in a doorway, while I knocked on the door of the gym, not realizing that it was closed early for a holiday here. I was pretty certain. Leaving the gym tonight, the same couple are sitting in the doorway, not on top of each other or positioned like they were last time. Just sitting side by side. With her hand somewhere. Blatant. Like a hammer.

All of this lead, kind of bizarrely, lead to a feeling of empathy for the homeless folk. For the following reason, which I could relate to, a bit. Kind of. Not that this has ever happened to me, obviously. However, do you remember when you lived at home, and a girl wanted to come around for, eh, a cup of tea? But you didn’t think the best place to bring the girl for a cup of tea, was to your place, for various reasons. You were left wondering, where should we go? Where could you go? Probably not their place, for the same reason. More than likely at the age where a cup of a tea in a hotel was too expensive, have you seen the prices, or you simply would not have thought of it. What were you to do? Have a tea party outdoors? Dodge. Fun once, perhaps, but after a while, probably get a cold. So, what are those without any home, meant to do? Not fair really. I know it is probably not top of their list of priorities, but still, amongst many other problems, that must annoy them.

I am not making fun of the homeless either, far from it. Just observations. I’ll wrap up by saying I got a bit of good news myself today. I now have a marketing company in L.A waiting for my sitcom pitch, to help me with my viral campaign. Plus, I have camera men and lighting crew waiting in the wings to help me out with making a scene or two. Wuu to the huu. Good to have the pressure on. Must get the script finished and get back there. Time is ticking! My Mastercard is running out! Oh Jesus. (That is meant to be a brutal dumb joke. But, now I think about it, it also makes sense. Take it in the dumb joke way. If you get it. Always fun feeling the need to explain a joke). The End.

Song of the day. This is a ridiculously good song, which hopefully will not be wrecked by drunken sing-alongs too soon. I am still scarred from hearing the people in the apartment below doing muffled karaoke for a few hours yesterday. They were horrendous. Mundy & Damien Rice were sang over and over, ruined a few good songs

The Gardener by The Tallest Man On Earth

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Shut Up & Do The Right Thing!

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Pulitzer prize winners, Larry David, and I suppose all those who have a clue about the art of writing, this may not be the post for you. Anyone with a clue. However, if, like me, you were fairly clueless until recently about writing, you might get a few tips from this blogaduu. Finally, finally, after months of knocking on my door, looking for a chance, this post is getting the nod. Big day. Most of this might all seem pretty obvious, but when one chooses to, 99% of the time, ignore the obvious, it can seem revolutionary, once spelt out for you.

Around this time last year, I began to think about writing a sitcom pilot for a college style idea which I had. Not actually write it, just think about writing one. Eventually I wrote the pilot by November last year, roughly. I like to mull things over, think them through. Looking back, I was completely clueless, as to how to approach the sitcom writing. Two feet, head first, jumped in, going in blind, swinging like a drunk man, throwing jokes and structure around with absolutely little to no meaning. This time around, I am as clueless in one sense, but at least have more structure and advice to nudge me in the right direction. Hollywood has provided one source of help at least for free if nothing else. One might say that it is serving its purpose well.

First time around trying my hand at a sitcom pilot, I thought my knowledge of viewing every episode of my favourite sitcoms would put me in good stead to make my own. Surely. To accompany this cast iron theory, I even read a screenwriting book, for the movies I would write and star in after the sitcom, just so I had all bases covered. Started off by making a loose episode outline for myself, while half drunk on a plane. Logically, the next step was to fill it up with scenes of differing lengths, most of which did not really seamlessly gel together as they should, and off I went with it, delighted. Pilot in hand, line up the bids. Looking back at it, I may have mostly been happy with my great name for the show. Surely that alone would get it made!

Surprisingly, I got a bit of good feedback for the pilot. Thumbs up, pat on the head, ruffle of the nicely combed hair, and a bit of stage progression, as in it was passed up a level in a department. However, that was more or less as far as it got with the television stations I submitted it into. Should’ve really thrown the towel in then, pr***s. Shattering my dreams. Might as well give it another go, plus, this time around, I had my blog to work with, the sitcom would write itself! All I had to do was pick three stories out, A, B and hopefully a C, link them somehow, and write them down. My pilot! Happy days! Should take a few days max.

So, for the past week, I have been formulating and developing the pilot episode over in my head. Start off by introducing the characters to the audience, work in their back story, build it up nicely, few jokes along the way, and good to go. I had the blog to back it up, momentum was building, they could reference the blog if needed. Dumb as a mule, so I was.

Somewhere along the way, I made a call to my helpful guide in L.A, to tell him all about the great progress which I was making. “Stop, you need to listen to me, here’s what you must do” I was told. Started off by informing me mainly of the what not to do’s. My week of work was immediately crossed out and had to start afresh. Thank freddie funk it was, seeing I was going down the wrong path completely. And then what I should try to do. Firstly, and this is key, it is not a pilot episode which I am really looking to write. I do not want to bore any reader with character introductions, background stories, build-up or any of that. I simply want to impress the reader enough with my writing, so that from that one episode, or first 10 pages, the reader will ask to see more, meet me, or at least be offended enough to take notice. I do not want to be just another quaint script in front of someone, that they will forget about within 15 minutes hour. Key one was to stand out, don’t hold back.

The following metaphor sunk in with me, so I will re-use it now. If my blog, full of stories, were to be the ingredients, and I was to bake a cake out of them (sitcom series) what I wanted to do was pass around the best slice of the cake to people, something that they will want more of. Not the first slice, or the last one, but the best one, so I should fill that up to the brim with the best I could deliver. No point in holding back, this was the one to get your foot in the door. Shove as much good stuff in. Just make it all work well. The best slice of the cake!

My original idea was kind of scrapped (first episode, the pilot of me arriving in L.A etc) and a whole new approach had to be taken. Being honest, initially my brain stopped churning for a while, annoyed that I had used it up and then discarded all the good work we did together. A few days I think I felt my brain was close to bursting, literally, and I was covered in frogs at the time. (Twitter reference about a dream, follow on!).

Instead, it is now time to push boundaries. It is far easier to tone down than it is to tone up, as the skinny girl said to the fat girl in the gym (don’t worry, that will not be used in the script, ha). Every scene needs to serve a purpose, what is the objective of the scene, does each scene have an element of high conflict (all straight out of a book, but good to be re-told at this time). This raised the bar even more – to be clever, make sense, push boundaries, obviously make people laugh, and all within the time schedule for a sitcom. Once again, like breaking L.A, it sounded almost too easy. 

Thankfully, I have a good few stories that did not make the blog cut. They will now be highly useful for the new approach. Or at least give me food for thought to go along a certain line or angle for the story. I also spent far too much time last week thinking up of a clever name. Absolutely pointless if the rest does not deliver. However, I think I now have both for the show, the name, and also, the outline of the episode that I am writing is coming together. As in today I was able to write out the gist of 17 scenes, all of which linked and were what I was looking for, wuu duu! (I wrote this a few days ago, a new approach again has been developed!).

All I need now is to fully develop it, along with dialogue, and I will be flying. Again, almost too easy. Sure. I have miles to go, but getting there slowly. It is all about the threads coming together in the end, A, B and C. Highly funking frustrating to do, but now that I think I have one cleverly worked out, highly satisfying!

So, up to this point, I had more or less written a few days back. Since then, the writing has been frustrating in the main, pretty good in the minor. However, at least now, I have figured a way out to stop my brain from exploding. My problem has been transferring the brilliant scenes and story line, from my head, to paper. Dumbly, I was more or less, going from the scene in my head, straight to what the characters were saying. For some reason, only today, did I start writing scene snippet outlines, which makes the whole thing far more do-able.

After studying individual episodes of different sitcoms for guidelines, I now have a few structures in place. You would be amazed at how short some scenes actually last in a few sitcoms, but which are vital and brilliant to the story line, all of which is tough to get down. One last thing, and I’ll finish on this, is the tough part of narrowing down what to leave in. Like this post, initially there was no structure. Rambling on, with snippets of humour. Every line of this sitcom has to be funny or necessary. Otherwise it is chopped. Which is tough to do. Cutting frivolous dialogue has been a big challenge of late. All about discipline!

Thats it. I was going to give one last point about how useful it is to always have a notebook with you for ideas or dialogue, but I have already said above that would be my last thing, so I won’t. 

Hopefully this songs will buck you back into life…

The Turning (Chew Fu Refix) by Oasis

And one from the latest Heineken ad… 

Just A Friend by Biz Markie

The Prefrenders

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I am starting to feel bad for the blogaruu about writing which I have waiting in the wings. It is getting bumped down, nightly! Originally, again, I had planned to put up the blog about the writing tips, how the sitcom was going, great differences I could see between my first effort and now, some interesting bits of trivia I was after picking up, etc, etc. However, while just in the shower, a phrase came to me, so I wanted to use it, and get an old blog out of the way. A blogaruu which I suppose has slowly built up. 

Obviously, this is not directed towards the majority, all 6 of you. It is more for the small annoying minority, who don’t even read the blog really! Also, don’t get the impression that from the tone of the blog, that I am in a bad mood. Far from it. Today has been pretty good. I got my first page or three of dialogue down for the sitcom, happy enough with that. Only another 25 or so to go. Going well though, all about the re-write! And I got to see a homeless couple, ahem, in broad dusk light, standing up, on a semi busy street, which is always fun. I could do with a change of topic though, for my own sake. So, might as well get an old rant out. Not even a rant really. Just an issue with pretend friends, or the prefrenders as I would now like to call them.

Since day one of my eloping with Andy and Colin Todd, I have heard from certain people “Oh, best of luck, hope it goes well, see you in a few weeks though, when you cop on, and give up, haha. Only joking, best of luck.” Or maybe along the lines “You were on the radio/in the paper. Fairly crap being honest. Keep it up. Were they that stuck? Only joking, well done, buddy.” Which is fine, we all have our own begrudgers. Who joke around. And then pretend to be great friends with us. This happens to everyone. Good work. Sound. The Prefrenders.

Since being in L.A, and starting the blog, I have noticed more and more ways that people turn into prefrenders, it is ridiculous. Personally, I would far prefer a buddy saying straight out, off with you, enjoy, don’t come knocking on my door when it goes belly up though. I would also be more of a fan of a randomer who I don’t know, telling me he/she thinks I am an idiot, read the blog, they think its crap, you have no chance, give up, go home. No problem either with that.

This new annoying minority go along these kind of lines, which I have noticed more and more. They might ask me how I am getting on, any stories for them, is it good in L.A? They never read the blog, no time to read it, or for it, I can tell them now though, they have a minute or two to spare. Ok, thanks for squeezing me in. One of the reasons I set up the blog was to avoid re-telling stories over and over, but seeing as you asked, let me mull… And I might tell them some story, they tell me a bit of news, and I tell them another story. Conversation, to and fro.

Now the annoying bit, and it has happened a fair bit recently enough. I tell a story, of how I was here or there, did this or that, seeing as they asked, and they will jump in, interested about a certain aspect of the story, maybe the Maxim party say, and tell me… “Oh yeah, I read about that, what was it like?!!” It was cool… I thought you said a minute ago you never read the blog? “Oh, yeah, well, I read that one, didn’t bother reading the rest though, the others were crap.” Oh, so you read a few more too? Why bother saying you never read it at all so, out of curiosity? “Well I read a good bit of it, but I would never tell you that.” 

Makes sense. Almost too much sense really. Why bother to pretend either way? You read the blog or didn’t? I am not that pushed if you didn’t bother (I am). However, I can’t see the point of pretending to not have read it, other than the fact the person is just a prefrend. Don’t think for a minute either that I am trying to show everyone the picture that I just drew, which is crap, look, God, its so crap, look at it, tell me you think its crap too, because I think its crap (I don’t, I think it is a fine work of art, I’m just fishing for compliments) kind of thing we all used to do when we were young.

The last thing I want is compliments (not fully true I suppose but for the sake of this rant) seeing as I can feed them to myself all day long (true). I would far prefer to be told, for example, where improvements could be made. Or just say you think it is crap. But with no “Only joking, best of luck” tagged on. Or to not say anything. I do not mind if you don’t read the blog (I do, dearly, only light at the end of the tunnel for me, read on!). Just don’t bother to waste my time or yours. No more prefrending! Time is too precious, I could be busy procrastinating instead of having these fruitless conversations.

On the upside, or maybe the downside, is that none of them will admit reading this to me anyways, so it will just be the elephant in the room. You know who you are though, we both do, ha. And to the other readers, for bearing with this post, I tried to upload a cool picture I just drew for ye, but wasn’t able to. Well, it was fairly crap, maybe you might like it, I think it was crap though… I’ll email it to you if you like. So you can tell me it is good. Cheers.

Too easy to give Brass Pocket or MGMT as song of the day for the phrase I delightfully made up. So, it shall be the last three songs which I, eh, just bought. A nice eclectic blanket mix (That name also came to me in the shower, a great place for inspiration! Debatable if it is good inspiration though, I do suppose)

Orange Shirt by Discovery

Don’t You Want Me by Human League (Less and less videos are being allowed from Youtube, it is mighty fun hunting!)

And, finally, Make Love (Remix) by Daft Punk

Back To Basics

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Enough with the laziness by me, and the articles about me. This blog is not really about me. It is more about the stories, I am merely just the idiot involved in them. I was going to do a highly interesting blogaruu, all about writing, the tips I have acquired, the difference between when I first wrote a sitcom pilot, and how I have advanced in my ways this time around. But funk that, too boring, at least until tomorrow’s blogaruu that is. For now, I will re-tell a meddle of tales which have somehow occurred even while I have been holed up in an apartment, furiously trying to put a sitcom episode together, venturing out minimally.

Thankfully, this weekend, while I was stressed out with the writing, and struggling to build the pieces together, a friend kindly decided to visit me. A really nice friend, shows up now and again, particularly when I used to have exams before and stressed a bit. Or maybe if I was after a few heavy nights out in a row, this friend might come stay with me a few days, just to nurse me better and ensure I thought twice about going out and hurting my body even more. Now and again, he would just show up, unannounced, for no particular reason or occasion, and stay indefinitely! Sound buddy, we all have them I’m sure.

Although, come to think of it, this friend has yet to really visit me down in L.A. Maybe he knows that his kind is not welcome down there. Or that his kind is never seen in Hollywood, once in a blue moon maybe. Usually, if this kind of friend was to call over for a few days, in Hollywood, you would probably expect to lose a few friends over it. Anyways, this time around, my friend decided to set up shop on my right cheek, ha. Thankfully, he did not bring any family members, or other friends, along with him. He came alone.

Which, perhaps, is why it might have brought so much attention. Or subtle attention. My friend, on my right cheek, has half made me realize what it must be like for a big lunged girl. When a friend like mine comes for a visit, like big lungs, people’s eyes subtly drift away from your eye-line, and take a little peek now and again. Although, probably all in my head, but I only really care what goes on in my head most of the time anyways, so thats what counts. Over the weekend, I noticed a slight change in the encounters in the gym. The weirdos were no longer asking me strange questions, or giving me strange looks, instead, they were directing them towards my friend. In a bar the other night, while deep in conversation with a girl, I noticed she was slyly giving my friend the eye. Obviously, being fair and all, I slowly gave her lungs the eye back.

While in the shop yesterday, one lovely lady behind the counter asked me about my friend, what was he background, where did he come from? I have learnt that at times it is fun to say “Oh, my friend on my cheek, I never even noticed that, thanks for pointing it out, thats a …” and reversing the awkward little moment back onto the other person. However, the easier and less complicated option is to, simply, make some story up, usually the more extravagant the better. Not sure why, but it gets a better response than the truth. Any of the following have gotten sympathetic responses, as opposed to “Oh,ugh, ok, ugh”… Cut myself shaving… Walked into the door… A cat scrawled me in the face, lucky enough really!

Moving on, that is quite enough about my friend, who should be gone by tomorrow, I am kicking him out. Another thing which I have noticed in San Fran, is that the weirdos here are far more along the lines of normal weirdos. And by saying normal weirdos, I mean that in a bad way. As in the weirdos in L.A have all, so far at least, been fun weirdos, who I end up having a bit of banter with. They just seem like the kind of folk who went to L.A in hope of pursuing their sitcom and film ambitions, ended up over-staying there visa, and ran out of money. Those kind of weirdos. The kind of weirdo which I am counting down to soon becoming, I cannot wait!

However, the more normal weirdos in San Fran, are weird in the sense that they freak you out more. They seem like they will take the banter the wrong way and you will end up on the news because of it. Or on the side of a milk carton. If they do that sort of thing anymore, not really sure. I noticed this a few times in the past few days. First time around, was while waiting to cross the street (which, if my records are anything to go by, is a great place to pick up writing material). While standing at a busy street, waiting to cross, I got the sense of the girl next to me just staring at me. Not looking across the street and slightly to her left towards my direction. But directly at me. I gave a half look to my right, to make her flinch and look away. Did not work a tap. So I then turned to almost face her. Which also did not work, in fact it made it worse. Seeing as she gave me a freaky smile. She seemed to be in either her late teens, or early 30’s around that, I’m not too good with guessing. Besides all that, her smile was similar to this…

Sweet Smile

Bear in mind this was before my friend came to visit, so she could not have been staring at that. And there was no desire involved by either party. It was just pure freaky weirdness. I noticed the exact same smile today, twice, in quick succession. I was at a local car wash with my cousin, which is a phenenomen that can only be seen to be believed. The Mexicans have the car washing business down to a fine and efficient art, at least 8 cars hand washed to perfection in 10 minutes. While using the bathroom at the car wash, I was left with the unfortunate scenario of the lock not working. And the door being slightly too far from the toilet to block it with my foot. And the actual toilet facing the same way as the door, so if someone walked in, they would walk in and just see you and what it was you might do in the bathroom.

Which, obviously, meant someone could and did walk in on me. As they would. Some weird looking dude. Who, had a little look down for himself at little old me, and gave me a creepy smile, similar to the girl at the zebra crossing. Only when I asked him – Do you mind? “No, not at all” creepy smile… Funk off – did he eventually leave. Weird thing was, this happened less than 30 seconds later, but a different dude. I did not care how many bottles of water I had been storing, it could wait, time to get out of there. Worse part was, when I went back outside, I noticed the two of them sitting together on the same bench, they were friends, with freaky smiling faces. Did the first guy send weirdo two in? Not sure. All I know is that they were highly weird. The normal kind of weird which one would come to expect. Like this, without the purple…

Lovely Chap

End of the rambling, some lefting updates tomorrow are in order. Head down and write on, it is slowly coming together nicely! Maybe that is why I am a bit giddy now and rambling on about complete and utter… Ok, I must go sleep, have to get up early and hopefully see my friend off.

Song of the day is… Confusion Girl (Don Diablo Remix) by Frankmusik

Subtraction…

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A clever family member suggested the following way to get the articles below onto le blog, so here they blow …

(Click on the bottom two to get a disturbingly fuller view)

Echooooo

Corkonian

 

And, finally, a song, to wind it all up… Stuck In The Middle With You by Stealers Wheel

Broiled Egg

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To start with, I would like to thank all 13 people who completed the trial poll since it has been posted, two posts ago. Mucho gracias to those 13. As for all the others, just know that WordPress gives daily readers figures, I shall be noting this for the future. While I am at it, I suppose, I would also like to thank those who put their sitcom name suggestion into the hat for the big prize I put on offer. Ha. Thanks to all those entries. Although, it is a one man show after all, so the lack of entries will not be held against anyone.

Now that that is out of the way, I must tell you my head is broiled. Seeing as  I am on the healthy eating route these days, saying it is fried just no longer sounds right. In case you do not yet know, as with most things I have been doing lately, I am learning by numbers, slowly but surely, as I go along. The same applies to this writing malarky. Especially when I am trying to be clever and come up with an immense sitcom episode that I can pass around to people in L.A, to show off my writing work. Tiring work I must say, my brain is not happy with me. 

So, seeing as it has been a fairly long day for my writing brain, I have decided to give it a bit of a break tonight. A few funny stories have been building up, along with ridiculously good writing advice, which I feel I should pass along, seeing as I got it for free myself. Just not tonight. Instead I shall post two published pieces of work, which a few people have been asking for or asked to see before.

The first is a watered down article I did for a newspaper back home a while back, edited on but not too bad I suppose. The second is an interview I did (electronically) for a new magazine, The Corkonian! Unfortunately, for some reason, I cannot upload them up as the pdf files I have, complete with newspaper/magazine design and all, so text alone will have to do.

Article first, followed by the interview, wuu…

My life in

La La Land

Mark Hayes, 25, from Rochestown, has decided to chase the

American dream — and moved to Los Angeles to become an actor

and writer. Here, he reveals the ups and downs…

“HI… Merrick? Or was it Eric?” No, my name is Mark, I say. “Oh sorry! Omar, I apologise, have you done much acting before Omar?” No, none really, I have to reply, giving up on the whole name thing. I have a commerce degree though, and a Masters in e-business, I’ll be fine! “Ok, have you done much writing before?” Again, no, not really, I wrote a sitcom pilot though, plus I blog a bit now too, I’ll be fine! 

This is a typical conversation I have at the start of every acting class I’ve bragged my way into for free here in Los Angeles. As you can imagine, the teacher is highly impressed by my background in the fine arts. Although, mostly, they struggle to understand my Cork accent, so they might not get what I’m saying to them — which reminds me, I must talk my way into some free accent-coaching classes soon.

In mid-January, I decided to move to LA to give acting and writing a go. I had no previous experience in either, but it was always something I wanted to do, and I decided it was now or never. It didn’t matter that I knew no-one here, had nowhere to live, hadn’t a clue how to break into the business, and had no job lined up. I’d be fine, right? I unknowingly moved into the gayest part of LA, West Hollywood, living with two sisters who are models — it all balances out! Since then, to borrow a lyric, “My life got flipped-turned upside down”. It has been bizarre, brilliant, frustrating, overwhelming, exhilarating and absolutely nuts! And that’s on a quiet day.

I have gone to acting classes taught by some of the most prestigious teachers in the world (not that I had any clue who they were, or what Method or Meisner were). One teacher likes to reel off the actors who hire him to coach them through their movies — Will Smith, Gerard Butler, Jennifer Lopez — he can now proudly add my name to that list… if he remembers it! The more classes I go to, the more I see how do-able it all is, not a million miles away like it might seem back home. As long as you can half-act, it seems, and are lucky enough to get a break, or have the right person like you, you have a good shot. It’s only half a million miles away now!

My idea for writing was to develop an Irish sitcom. Thanks to living in LA, I now have a plethora of material to work with. Almost as importantly, living among successful writers has benefited me considerably. They have given me nuggets of advice here and here, how to get your foot in the door, what steps I must take to get a writing career up and running, etc. Again, it’s no longer a dream a million miles away.

The most eventful part of LA so far has just been daily life. Previously unthinkable encounters or situations are presented to you on a daily occurrence. I now regularly play five-a-side soccer in Robbie Williams’s house. I’m sharing drinks with actors from TV shows I like and watching soccer matches with musicians from bands I love! I’m trying to chat up my hot actress neighbours — one of whom was in Neighbours — as if they are regular Joe Soaps. In case you’re wondering, famous actresses give the cold shoulder the exact same as a regular old Josephine Soap would do!

Unsurprisingly, LA is a tad fake at times. People do not always say “Hi, how are you?” when you first meet them. Instead, it might be “Hi, who are you?” Even though I’m getting more used to it, it’s weird having a girl whip out her iPhone and Google your name to see who you are, checking if it’s worth talking to you. She’ll have a bit of trouble finding someone called Omar/Eric/Merrick!

All in all I have realised LA is like no other place on Earth. You never know what to expect. It can obviously be tough and overwhelming at times. However, I see now it is very do-able, and once you’re here, things just start to happen for you, as long as you’re smart and adaptable. I must say, LA all the way!

 

● All Mark’s tales so far can be read in his blog “Enough Talk, More Writing” on his website http://trickaduu.com

 

FROM CORK TO LA

MARK HAYES

WHERE IN CORK ARE YOU FROM?

Rochestown. 

WHEN DID YOU MOVE TO LA?

January.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO LIVE IN LA?

I wanted to give acting and writing a go, even though I never really tried either before. Plus, being LA was an added bonus.

WITH NO PRIOR EXPERIENCE, WHAT MAKES YOU THINK YOU CAN BREAK INTO ACTING?

I have faith in my abilities! I figured if there were so many bad actors in movies and on TV, surely there was room for one more.

HAVE YOU GOT ANY WORK YET?

Not a sniff.

WHAT DOES YOUR AVERAGE DAY INVOLVE?

I have no average day really. It usually just involves a random comedy of errors, which is why I set up my blog, http://trickaduu.com.

WAS IT DIFFICULT TO LEAVE YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY?

They had a big going away party for me. The day after I left. It was tougher for them I imagine…

WHAT IS THE MAIN DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LIFE IN LA AND LIFE IN CORK?

Weather, people, food, quality of life, random daily encounters with famous people, value for money. Not too much really, so.

IS THERE AS MUCH RECESSION DOOM AND GLOOM IN LA AS THERE IS IN IRELAND? IF NOT, WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS?

There’s not really as much doom and gloom in LA as there is in other parts of America I’ve been to recently. LA is a bubble of optimism/people fooling themselves, so the recession is kept out. People don’t really moan here so I haven’t even heard one person mention the big ‘R’.

WHAT’S THE ONE THING YOU MISS MOST ABOUT CORK AND LIVING IN IRELAND?

Moaning about the recession.

HOW OFTEN DO YOU COME HOME?

Everyday. I am not homeless yet.

HOW HAS LIVING ABROAD CHANGED YOU?

I don’t have to go online anymore to buy nice clothes.

WOULD YOU DO IT ALL AGAIN? WOULD YOU DO ANYTHING DIFFERENTLY?

Its not fully done yet! If I could do one thing differently, it would be to choose to win the lotto before I left.

HOW DOES THE HEALTHCARE COMPARE? WHAT DO YOU PAY AND HAVE YOU EVER HAD TO USE THE US HEALTHCARE SYSTEM?

Pass.

WHAT ABOUT WORK PERMITS ETC., DID YOU FIND IT DIFFICULT TO GET CLEARANCE TO WORK?

Phone a friend.

HOW DOES YOUR WEEKLY SHOPPING BILL COMPARE TO THAT OF SOMEONE IN IRELAND?

I can’t remember the last time I did a weekly shop in Ireland. The food here is cheap though, plus it’s good quality as well. I could buy a mountain of food for myself to last the week for about $70? Trader Joe’s all the way!

WHAT ABOUT SOCIALISING, WHAT DOES THE AVERAGE NIGHT OUT INVOLVE AN WHAT DOES IT COST?

A lot of my nights out have been either hit or miss in LA. I think the nights where I have tried to do my own thing have been the worst. And also the ones where I have spent the most money. Other nights, usually if I head out with my roommates, I might be at a table in a cool club with free drink, no charge at the door, and not have to worry about a cab home. Just one of many perks living with two sisters who are models. A reoccurring theme on most nights out involves girls asking me “Who are you?” and then Googling my name in front of me on their iPhones. I have gotten used to the look of disappointment on their faces at this stage.

WHERE DO LA DWELLERS GO ON HOLIDAY?

Mexico, Hawaii, or Dingle usually.

DO YOU PLAN TO REMAIN IN LA OR WILL YOU EVENTUALLY COME HOME FOR GOOD?

I plan to stay here for as long as I can, or need to, but I have no clue how long that will be. I could be sent home by the time this article is published!

 Follow Mark’s LA adventures, updated regularly at:

http://trickaduu.com

Songs of the day – I have been busy in between writing attempts at getting all kinds of stuff, hit and miss – so here are 2 which I have recently acquired…
Gives You Hell (Remix) by The All-American Rejects
Ms Jackson (Cover) by The Vines 

Horrendously Good Looking

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One day this week, I believe it was yesterday, not fully sure, I watched a random DVD. Something about going through the decades of music, and giving you the history of the era for each song or album that was the best or biggest hit at the time. I was running very low on procrastinating material. Anyways, the introduction to the DVD claimed that it would be “an informative and fun journey” or something along those lines. Straight away, that threw me off. Those two adjectives, in my view, don’t really go together. Informative, and fun. Surely, it is one or the other? The DVD was absolutely horrendous, had to be turned off after a few minutes. Watching the Pope visit America, and looking at album covers from that era (instead of hearing the actual songs) was neither informative, or fun, for me. The most fun was had throwing the DVD disc out the window.

Instead of watching the DVD, I went to the shop nearby, to pick up my photos from the disposable camera I have been lugging around with me in L.A recently. While waiting for the girl behind the counter to locate my present of photos, another little random Asian woman kindly came up to me and gave me a great compliment. Well, I think. Depends what angle you look at the compliment from. Highly obtuse would be my recommendation. This was it… “I must say, that is a really nice mullet you are trying to grow.” Ha, what a compliment. Again, nice and mullet? Can they really be used side by side? Or, seeing as I finally get a chance to use the word, in such a juxtaposition?

Two things hit me straight off. Firstly, there was the fact that she was actually wearing a Bon Jovi t-shirt at the time. And secondly, I had never met this bizarre looking Asian girl before, that I know of, so not sure if she would just mock a random stranger with such ease. I could be wrong. Which made me think she was being genuine. Which led me to wonder, what are you meant to say to that kind of comment? My initial reaction was to tell her thanks, you are horrendously good looking yourself, in hope of confusing her back. But, as she seemed genuine, it threw me off a bit… Eh, pardon? Mullet? No, this is just my hair, it is flowing a bit alright but at the moment, getting a haircut is not a priority. Mullet, though? No. Maybe. No.

“I love mullets, you could have one so easily if you wanted. Just trim the sides down, it would look great. A lot of people don’t like that look, but I do.” The compliment was being developed by her, so I started to consider it for a minute. Looked in a little mirror next to us, maybe a mullet would be a good look, tucked my hair even more behind my ears, then snapped out of it, and just told her I would mull it over. Hardy har, I thought it was quite clever at the time myself! Don’t think she got it though. Anyways, before she left she told me all of her favourite guys who sport a mullet – Bon Jovi & Billy Ray were the only two I remember or knew of – and that I should try the look out. And that maybe she might see me in shop the next time, who knows… and gave me a wink along with two “Bang-bangs” with her fingers. Well, no wink, and only one bang-bang, but still, all quite tempting. Oook, thanks.

All of which led me to ponder on the way home, what if the roles were reversed. What if I had just came up to her in the shop, and gave her a double barreled compliment? If I had remarked, I must say, sorry to interrupt but I like your rather jolly arms. And as for those chins of yours, don’t get me started… divine! But, don’t worry, I have a thing for larger women, so these are actually compliments. Jaysus, I’d love to get you up on the Wii Fit sometime, see if you get the obese rating. That would be hot. Maybe you and I could do something sometime, bite to eat perhaps? Think about it anyways, mull it ov.. actually, chew the fat over it (? horrendous, I know I know), and let me know. Bang-bang.

Not fully sure now, but I think, I think this peculiar scenario, coupled with the other little phrase from the DVD, got my brain thinking along one train of thought. Which all helped me to solve a conundrum. And that conundrum was… the name for my sitcom. So, that, my friends, is the fun and informative story of how I thought up of my sitcom name. Or at least the one top of the shortlist. Top by a country mile.

As for the informative and fun together attempt, at least I tried. In vain and unsuccessful, but I tried. And like the DVD disc, feel free to throw your laptop out the window after reading my effort to crack them both.

Enjoy these two songs which have, amongst many more, kept me ticking over all day…

Everywhere (Fleetwood Mac Cover) by Vampire Weekend

I would highly recommend getting the original version of the next song, if you don’t already have it. I could only hunt down this live version… (For Bob, who at least waited until after this song to be kicked out) … Unless It Kicks by Okkervil River

If anyone has their own suggestion for the sitcom name, feel free to leave a comment! If yours gets picked, you might win a magnificent prize. Surely ‘might’ will get me out of any legal contract if it every came to it. Might do, we shall see!