Keeping The Faith In Hollywood!

Keeping The Faith In Hollywood!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Presidential Pumpkins And Mid-term Elections

I was out enjoying the first bit of sun after a full week of rain and cold weather when a squad of military helicopters flew over head in formation. I started praying like crazy because that usually is not a good sign. I found out later that President Obama was a few blocks up the street in Glendale giving an interview to a Spanish radio station while stumping for Barbara Boxer. Whew!

Which reminds me, I don't "do" Halloween any more for obvious reasons but a friend requested that I carve a likeness of President Obama on a pumpkin and so I did and presented it to him as his birthday gift. It turned out really good (see pics and video) but I think the one I did of George W. Bush in 2001 was even better (I'm serious). I thought of doing a Sara Palin pumpkin too (still serious) and I still may get a chance to do it. The good thing about this being an election year(despite those hateful attack ads especially here in L.A) is that the political-themed pumpkins can be kept up even after the mid-term elections in early November.

As Halloween falls on a Sunday this year, I'll be in church most of the day enjoying the Word, the Christian fellowship and the glorious praise and worship at Ecclesia Church. Pastor Joseph is doing a wonderful study of I Corinthians Chap 1-4 and I can't wait to hear more. Visit the church's website for more info if interested at . By the way, and have terrific ideas on how Christians can spend and enjoy 10/31 including viewing Christian movies and Reformation Day, Harvest and All Saints Day celebrations. I also found lovely ideas for carving Christian-themed pumpkins at .

No matter your political affiliations, don't forget to vote on Tuesday and don't forget to pray, especially for those in authority!

1 Timothy Chapter 2 verse 1-8

Update: 10/31
Had a great time at church! Brent Johnson shared his testimony of how the Lord brought him out of alcohol abuse and depression and we continued our study of 1 Corinthians Chap 1-4 and the cross. The praise and worship was focused on hymns about coming to the cross, too, with the full worship band in attendance. Then Pastor Joseph said the best thing to the congregation (mostly 20-somethings). As a blessing before we left, he said, "Remember who you are tonight". I will add, "And remember whose you are".

Update: 11/2
Got a call from Morgan Freeman last night and was stoked... until I realized it was a robo-call. Who knows, maybe the President will call next(lol). Seriously though, I can't wait for this election to be over and the insane issues defeated 'cause the Prop 19 supporters are already triggering my asthma.

Jon Favreau and Movie Monsters Panel

The Academy of Arts and Sciences Science and Technology Council presented their Monster Movie panel just in time for October 31st. I've loved some of these movies since childhood(Planet of The Apes anyone?) so I couldn't wait to attend this event. I got there early and got a seat up front as they flashed on-screen black and white stills of Bella Lugosi, Lon Chaney and Boris Karloff in their iconic roles of Dracula, Phantom of the Opera, Quasimodo, Frankenstein and The Mummy, respectively. To my surprise and delight, they also had a full Iron Man suit standing next to a 10 foot golden Oscar statue on the right of the stage. Wow! So of course I relocated my seat to that side to sit right in front of it.

I eventually calmed myself and settled down in my new seat as the lights went down. They introduced the panel moderator Shane Mahan but another guy walked onto the stage from behind the curtains. The guy sits in the moderator's chair then reaches up and takes off his face(literally). Turns out that it was Mahan after all but he was wearing a Tony Stark/Robert Downey mask that they made for the stunt men to wear on Iron Man and so he was unrecognizable as himself. Mahan is too much fun at these Academy panels. Last time he brought in an actual Iron Man metal head and allowed us to try it on.

Mahan quickly got down to business and we watched shorts from great monster/horror movies from the original King Kong and Bride of Frankenstein from the 1930's, through Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde in the '50s, An American Werewolf in London, Aliens and Jurassic Park from the 80's and '90s and up to the present 3D and CG laden fare like Avatar. Mahan explained some of the techniques we were seeing after he introduced the appropriate panelist for each clip. The panel included animatronic experts, visual and make-up artists, producers, directors and actors and they discussed the various effects (stop motion, go motion, puppetering, make-up and prosthetics, sculpting, 3D and CG etc.) that were used to create the various monsters, robots, dinosaurs and aliens and how long it took to accomplish it. For example, there were lots of laughs when actor, David Naughton, described his many hours in make-up and his acting method when developing the transformation sequences for American Werewolf.

All the guests were great but my fav was Jon Favreau of Iron Man fame. They introduced Favreau and he stood up from his seat which was just across the aisle from me. He bounded on stage to thunderous applause (his birthday was on 10/19 so he's due). He brought clips from Zathura which he joked that no one saw and of course Iron Man clips. Shane worked on both Zathura and the IM films with Favreau so it was very nice to hear all the details of the process.

Afterwards I got a pic of my two metal men, Iron Man and Oscar, just before security told me not to (lol). Then I got a chance to meet Jon Favreau and to pump him for some more info on Cowboys and Aliens (they're still editing). I did get a picture of him(sort of) and all the shaky video you can handle(lol). I shook his hand, too and I'm never washing it again :D

God is amazing!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

3D Film Festival at LA Film School

I attended the 3D Film Festival this weekend at the L.A. Film School on Sunset Blvd. and met the writer-directors, visual artists and 3D guys from How To Train Your Dragon (HTTYD)among others. The festival showed 3D movies for FREE including HTTYD, Despicable Me, Hole and Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga' Hoole. I got to attend a few great panels and saw previews of upcoming 3D films and explanations of 3D technology. At the closing party I got a chance to network with industry professionals and I actually stood near Joe Dante, legendary director of Gremlins and The Hole 3D, as he debated the merits of 3D conversion.

Thanks to Alex Winter for the “heads up” tweet of this free event as he was on one of the panels earlier this weekend.

West Hollywood Book Fair

I headed to the 9th Annual West Hollywood Book Fair this pas Sunday at West Hollywood Park, 647 N. San Vicente Boulevard on one of the hottest days of the year.

Entertainers Panels:
I was pretty bummed that I missed seeing some special guests like actress Molly Ringwald (The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink), author James Ellroy (L.A. Confidential) and actress and author Victoria Rowell (Drucilla Winters from The Young and the Restless). I also (thankfully) missed Sarah Silverman as she promoted her new book. I just don't get her brand of humor at all.

Comic Book Panels:
I was lucky enough to catch the Comics on Comics panel featuring Mouse Guard creator and artist, David Petersen, and dark comic book writer, Joshua Dysart (Conan, Swamp Thing, Hellboy). This panel was fun as well as informative and reminded me of a Comic Con panel. Mouse Gaurd is described as Stuart Little meets LOTR but I thought of it as warrior mice with swords and knives. The Mouse Guard books and comics have such great detail and art that it seems it would translate well to a feature film. Petersen said that there is some talk of it but he didn't give any details. Dysart described his visits to Uganda while researching his new dark and violent comic about child soldiers called The Unknown Soldier. He kept looking at me the entire time though and I got a bit concerned until I realized I was wearing an African print top my mom made(lol). I can't say Unknown Soldier is ever a comic I would buy but Dysart seemed very enthusiastic about it. Personally, I like comic books that help me escape reality not sink me deep into it. I do pray for the children and Ecclesia Church plans to show the documentary Invisible Children: Stories of War in October so I will help in that way.

Writer's Panels:
I also attended one of the 4 Writing Room workshops for writers' titled Flying Solo: Your Passport to Freelance Success and led by book author and freelance writer, Jen Jones, who fittingly enough once worked for Jenny Jones on her TV show. Jen's session was great because she answered all the questions I had about freelancing and offered new ways about breaking into the business She offers a 6 week online class that's starting soon and she also does classes for MediaBistro as well as for her self through her company, Creative Groove. Visit Jen at

Live Performances and the Teens of 826LA:
I milled around the fair a bit in the time between the panels and saw some very questionable exhibits (porn, alternative life style etc.) but it doesn't predominate the fair as most offerings were PG-13. The Book Fair offered many stages or tents which housed author panels, a large variety of exhibitors and even live performances. Among my favorite live performers were the circus group who strolled around on stilts ala Cirque du Soliel as they handed out fliers for their classes. My others favorite live performances was the on-stage poetry and essay reading from teens from 826LA , a non-profit working with students ages 6-18 to build their skills and interests in literary pursuits. I was so impressed by these young people that I complimented them and signed up as a volunteer. I also found out that Judd Apatow is on their board and that he'll be doing some fund-raisers for them this year. I was inches away from Apatow last year at an Academy panel and he seems like a real down to earth guy.

Star Wars Tribute:
The piece de resistance was Obi-Shawn, an actor and Star Wars enthusiast (to put it mildly) dressed as Obi-Wan in full desert tunic and light saber. Obi-Shawn also brought his Star Wars inspired car to the Fair complete with an R2D2 replica in the back as well as vanity plates. Hurrying along behind him was Yoda, carried by a guy from the L.A. Sci-Fi club (I can't make this stuff up). A small crowd quickly gathered of young and old alike as Shawn approached the car. The car door opened with R2's trademark beeps and whistles and Obi-Shawn jumped in and buckled up with Yoda riding shotgun. I thought the car was just a homage and didn't run but Obi-Shawn revved the engine and they drove out of there... to “ a galaxy far, far away” (I couldn't resist). I swear I heard the Star Wars theme as they drove away and for a minute there I was 13 again and seeing the movie for the first time. Needless to say we all waved at them until they were out of sight. You must check out the pictures and videos in the side-bar 'cause it's too cute. For more information about 826LA visit them at and for more info on the West Hollywood Book Fair, visit and "May the force be with you"!

2 Thessalonians 3:16King James Version
Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.