Sunday, September 27, 2009

It is better to give of yourself than to recieve..

...but, if you must receive, I personally prefer deep dish pizza, scotch, cigars, or any object with the word "CHICAGO" emblazoned upon its surface.

But, since this is my birthday, I do have a little gift that anyone out there in cyber-world can easily give me.

Last August I helped out on a public service announcement about breast cancer that some fellow USC students were shooting for a special contest.

Well, the cut is finished and the contest has started.

Go to this link and vote for the video ONE MILLION STRONG

(it's the first video)

Then, you know, email this post or the link to a bunch of people and have them vote and see the ads. It's a good cause people!

Take a look at the others (two are NYU students...stupid NYU...the other USC student is actually a good friend and did a great job, but I gotta cheer my team on), cuz its definitely an important cause.

It'd be awesome if One Million Strong won cause I gave a good week to help put this together and work as a 2nd AD on set (I'll do a whole post about that on-set experience sometime soon).

Funnily enough, I'm actually going to be volunteering at church tomorrow, so in case anyone calls or texts or whatever I may not be able to get back to you until later.

Why am I devoting my big day to the Big Guy? Well, its really just a coincidence but i do suppose I've been around for 25 years and owe the Man up top thanks for that.

Or, it could be an ego thing since the church is called "St. Mark's".

Either way, I'm sure any good I do during the day will be undone tomorrow night when I plan to patronize a few local establishments with various peers of mine. Man, so happy to be Catholic....those alcohol-fearers don't know what they're missing.

Friday, September 25, 2009

My Kind of Party

It's no secret that I have a small amount of civic pride when it comes to sweet home Chicago.

In fact, you might even say that I think its the greatest achievement of a civilization in the history of mankind.

Either way, I love my hometown, and make no secret to the sunbathed masses out here that, like Douglas MacArthur to the Philippines, "I shall return!" to the city of deep dish and big shoulders to make movies and TV eventually.

So, you can imagine that when it came to my attention that a party for Chicagoans living in L.A. and working in show-biz (people like Jeff Garlin, Joe Mantegna, etc.) was going to be held this week in Santa Monica, right in my own backyard practically, it wasn't a matter of IF I would attend, just HOW.

Luckily, the woman who ran the event was in charge of the Illinois Film Office when I interned there waaaaaay back in 2006. After a few calls, some begging, some pleading, and some collective bargaining, I was able to secure a ticket to this fantastic, custom-made event, and attended this past Monday night.

There's a Sun-Times article about it here, but let me tell you it was AWESOME!

Firstly, it was hosted by the Melman brothers, who were behind the popular Hub 51 in Chicago (I've been there!), who have opened a brand new Lettuce Entertain You restaurant called Le Grand Orange in Santa Monica. Boy, did they know how to throw a party: deep dish from Lou Malnati's, Italian beef and hot dogs from Portillo's, 312 Goose Island beers.....I was in heaven.

Oh, and there were some people there, too. And since it was a pretty small venue, I got to at least rub shoulders with everyone, and had at least a few quick exchanges, including discussing deep dish with Joe Mantegna, talking Second City with prez Andrew Alexander and did some catching up with former Mainstagers Joe Canale and Molly Erdman from my interning days there.

One big regret was not saying hello to Jeff Garlin, who left pretty early. He's one of my favorite Chicago, guys, a great Cubs fan, and due for a REALLY funny season of "Curb".

I also got to have a pretty nice talk with former Fox morning show hosts Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano, who were on TV every morning before I headed out to catch the bus to good ol' St. Pet's.

Of course, since those were the people everyone wanted to talk to, I spent most of time chatting with a great assortment of random people who all shared a common interest in the City of Chicago and working in the entertainment industry.

Though I didn't make any blockbuster deals, I got to meet some pretty cool people, learned a lot from those who have a few years on me experience-wise, and made a couple of contacts that could always help out down the line (I mean, who would have ever thought that organizing location files in the James R. Thompson bldg 3 years ago would get me into a party in Santa Monica this week?).

Of course, as the Sun-Times article points out, the real attraction last Monday was former Monster of the Midway DICK BITKUS. With so much chatting going on, I wasn't able to snap many pictures, but there was one I was sure to nab.

We were both pretty drunk.

God, I love Chicago.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Welcome to TV Land!

Hey, so I'm finally back on the air after a protracted hiatus! There is a whole lot that's been going on and that will be going on, but for now just going to give the overview.

Many of you who I've talked in in the past months probably already have a good view of what my plan is for the semester, and for those who don't I can pretty much sum it up in two magical letters:


I have decided that, for the most part, this semester will be dedicated to that most beautiful of glowing boxes: Television! It's probably best described by Homer Simpson as "Teacher! Mother!...secret lover..."

With a narrowing of focus on my part to seek a career in television writing (at least initially) I have a 3 pronged plan this semester to master all there is to know about the amazing medium, and I'm calling it Project Snake. You may ask "why?"

Well, cause Project Snake sounds cool. Duh.

But, also, because my 3 pronged plan is made up of three S's..they are as follows: Staahl, Sander, and Smallville...SSS. Make sense yet? I'll show you what I'm talking about:

1. Staahl - As in Jim Staahl, a Second City alum + comedy actor/writer, who is teaching my Sitcom Class, where we learn to write a spec script for a sitcom on the air....(I'm trying my hands at '30 Rock'). Funny guy, good teacher, and he's been on "Curb Your Enthusiasm" before! This "S" could also be known as "Sitcom" or "Spec".

2. Sander - As in Ian Sander, the executive producer of the CBS show "The Ghost Whisperer" and longtime mover and shaker in the world of television who is teaching a class, appropriately titled "The World of Television". This class is going to feature an in-depth look at how TV shows come to be, from the initial pitch and pilot to the longevity of a series and syndication. It also great because Ian is a fantastic teacher who loves to tell stories and has a cool, realistic view of the TV industry.

and finally.....

3. Smallville - As in I have an internship at the writers office for the CW show SMALLVILLE! Yep, 2 days a week I will be schlepping up to Burbank to the Warner Brothers building and doing some daily intern duties to assist in the writing of a prime time television show. (And hey, its no Emmy's powerhouse - though it has won for sound editing and visual effects - but its a show that has been on the air for 9 seasons....I'll take that any day). Been there two weeks so far and really, really enjoying it.

Now, there is a lot more to be said about each part of Project Snake (which is actually sounding more gay each time I use it....may have to come up with something else....), but I just wanted to lay down the initial framework for the semester and some really cool things on the horizon.

*There's also a fourth "S" that is not TV-related but will be a big part of this semester. Hint: it rhymes with "Flielberg"!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Blogger Ends Posts on Account of Scotch, Plans Triumphant Return

Hello friends,

Well, its been about 3 weeks since the last post (which, to admit, wasn't much of a post) and due to August-related activities in Chicago, a busy start to the semester, a bottle of scotch, and a curious lack of comments on recent posts, I've been on a bit of a hiatus.

Will get back to business come Monday with lots of exciting news and "hilarious" commentary.

In the meantime, quick question:

Has anyone ever heard of a fellow by the name of Bill Brasky?