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M. C. Brennan and Jill Cooney, Outfest 2007

In lieu of content I present you with this lovely photo of me and my best friend Jill at the post-show reception after my Outfest reading at the DGA. She's the pretty one, I'm the pale weird looking one. And yes, if you click through to the massive full-size version of this, you will discover that I actually wore lingerie to my reading. It's not just a lingerie-type top, it's real lingerie, under a Donna Karan suit coat. Because that's just how I roll.

So not how I roll, btw.

I'm also wearing my Deer Valley High School 1984 homecoming button. On my lapel next to the Bowie pins. Given the 80s vibe of the script, I figured why not regress?

Regress. Hah. As if I ever progressed.

And PS, that's my mom in the background...
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I'm prepping for tonight's closing-night film Kiss The Bride at the Orpheum. It's the first script to be produced from the Outfest Screenwriting Lab, and I'm looking forward to seeing it; I really like Ty and C. Jay and am hoping they get a great response. There are also festivities, of course, and a last opportunity to see people I've gotten to know and like during these past two weeks. If I sound a little wistful, I am. And terrified, of course, that the momentum I've built will vanish into the ether like so much...vanishing-ether stuff. Like my ability to coin metaphors, apparently.

Last night was Itty Bitty Titty Committee at the Ford Amphitheatre. It was festival awards night, so Bruce Vilanch was onhand with the same high-quality zingers he unleashed in The Star Wars Holiday Special. I don't mean the same type of zingers. I mean the same zingers. Though I think we can all agree a good Cyrus Vance joke never gets old.

I kid. It was fun. And the movie was enjoyable, but I looked horrible in it. [ profile] satoribee is also in it, and she looked good. Me, not so much. Ah, but vanity is not something your finer actors worry about. I was playing an ugly chick. It's called being true to the character, people! You should try it sometime, Penelope Cruz!

There was a pre-party and a post-party and I went. I said hi to people. I'm still not feeling entirely copacetic, so my schmoozing was limited and I mostly hung out with people I know. Tonight I'll have to step it up a bit. Or I could just relax and trust that it'll all work out.

After tonight...well, the future is always a mystery, innit?
badatapologies: (KTTV)
Someone--and for legal purposes I won't identify the culprit, though the audio will make it obvious--used their camera-phone to record a few seconds of the preshow video presentation of my Outfest reading. The quality is terrible but it's all we've got, at least until I convince them to hand over the actual DVD. Here now, for those whose craven weakness of personal character (or what-have-you) made them unable to attend, is 15 seconds of actual footage of actual footage from my Big Hollywood Debut. Enjoy!

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One is inclined to use that played-out metaphor about turning back into a pumpkin, but this morning has not been stellar. Probably the highlight was when my mom invited me to Universal Studios for a day of celebratory theme-park fun, then abruptly revoked the invitation, lectured me to "get a job", got in the pickup and drove away. I'm 5 again! Yay! Fun.

Had a similarly depressing experience a couple of hours later, but we won't be talking about that.

It's "Dreamgirls Singalong" at the festival tonight but I couldn't get a ticket (and, insufficient-gayness alert, I have not yet seen "Dreamgirls" so singing along would be a challenge.) I should keep working on the ticket, go, be seen, yada yada, but no.

They say Rome wasn't bilked in a day, but I feel like I didn't do enough to make things happen, since for all the people I met and all the assembled business cards in my pocket I still have no deal to make the movie, no agent, no writing assignments and just enough money in the bank to get back to Berkeley and buy a gross of those generic frozen burritos from Albertson's. My stupid heart arrhythmia is playing some kind of fucked-up Devo bossa nova. All things being equal, I believe I'm going to have a little lay-down. Wake me when things are better.

PS: I completely adore The Addams Family but I never much cared for The Munsters. What's that about?
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I know you, Gentle Reader. You like to laugh. With, At, makes no nevermind: you enjoy a hearty guffaw. You also get a little tingle in all the right places when contemplating the idea of live staged readings of breathtakingly clever and thought-provoking new work by...well, by me, for one, as well as four other clever Outfest Fellowship-winning persons.

Well, then, Gentle Reader: Make a beeline for The Directors' Guild of America tonight at 7pm for a LIVE STAGED READING from all five Outfest Screenwriting Lab Fellowship scripts!
7920 Sunset Boulevard, between Crescent Heights and Fairfax. Tickets are $12 and available at the DGA box office.

See M. C. Brennan live and in-person, along with her friends, relatives, well-wishers and hangers-on! Ask for her autograph in a conspicuous matter! Hop on board this rocket, baby, we're going straight to the top! Etc.

A reception will follow in the DGA lobby. There's parking available under the DGA building for a mere $5. Hope to see you there.
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I've reached my physical tolerance for exhaustion. Probably not a good sign with another six festival days ahead. I'll admit a wee bit of discouragement has crept into these affairs as well. I try to set a fairly high standard for myself and my work. Maybe it's not realistic. But, as my beloved Kit Kelley so aptly quoted, I don't want realism--I want magic. I spent my whole life putting everybody and everything else first. 38 years of coming last in my own story. I'm not going to do it anymore. I didn't come out here to turn my life story into a maudlin TV movie for Lifetime. Go fuck yourself, Meridith Baxter Birney.

I was pretty sick all day. I did make an important phone call, but I had that heart thing and was pretty wiped out. My friend Jill is in town from Berkeley for the reading and we went to dinner at Real Food Daily, a vegan restaurant in West Hollywood. It was tasty, but naturally I found out midway through the meal it contained buckets full of mushrooms, to which I am highly allergic (as longtime readers scoring at home are no doubt aware.) So that didn't help anything at all. Still, I had a nice time with Jill and her friend, and we talked a lot about my Big Hollywood Experience. And I played and sang some music, which is a rarity. Fucking stage fright. But I'm pretty weary of that whole hiding my light under a bushel thing. I think the bushel's pretty sick of it too. I've been so embarrassed about being transgendered, about even existing, that I didn't want to act anymore or sing publicly anymore because I was afraid of what people would say, or afraid I wasn't good enough. I'm done with that.

I'm exercising my perogative and skipping the HBO panel in the morning on the grounds that I'm deathly ill from the aforementioned mushrooms and the mitral valve crap. Plus, Wednesday being the most important day of my life (until the next one), I need to rest up. My mom and sister will arrive mid-afternoon. I'll be at the DGA around 6 if not earlier, should you care to loiter in my presence. There is parking in the DGA garage for $5. Also, and this is important news if you're coming to the reading: There will be a reception in the lobby afterwards with the writers, cast, directors, and the usual film festival perks. So we will get a chance to mingle. Sadly, unless they are planning a whopping surprise, some of the acclaimed [ profile] mcbrennan repertory company will not be able to attend, so you won't get to meet the real-life Ricky, for example, or the Principal with the wandering hands, or Jamie Farr or the Reverend Jimmy Swaggart. My apologies. Hopefully my bloated pixie visage will be sufficient.

I'm going to try and sleep. Ugh, what a time for the fucking mushrooms. Hopefully I'll be well enough to attend my own...reading. Yes. See you there!
badatapologies: (caitie austin 2006)
It took a week but I got my first LA parking ticket. Sayonara, parking cherry. Also, there goes lunch for the rest of the trip.

The HBO breakfast was attended by many small bejeweled dogs, all of whom I presume have 2-picture deals at Paramount. It's at The Standard on Sunset and nobody checks IDs and it's 8:30am-10 every day this week so come and network tomorrow. Sit with me and loudly ask me how's my friend Steve Buscemi.

I'm tired. Staying home all day. Phone calls, lunch, maybe a nap. Possibly some melodramatic weeping. Oh, and a huge warp-speed punchup on The People's Choice (which has improved markedly since you all read it, btw.) Trying to pull a bait-and-switch.

Re tomorrow's reading, the serenity prayer is valuable in many situations.
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Please note the extremely filtered nature of this post. If a word of this gets out, it's all memes from here on out. Thx.

Okay, not so much a redaction, just an acknowledgement of the First Rule Of Blogging: Never blog in anger. See, I received my training in the theatre, and am used to working with a tight-knit group of professional actors and reliable friends. These are people who have an interest in what's on the page and who take their jobs seriously. So moving beyond that into the realm of...let's call it "personality" not a choice I would have made. But you go to staged readings with the cast you have. And three of my four actors range from quite competent to downright outstanding. (And all trained in regional theatre!) And the fourth? um, he means well. I'm assuming.

I suppose the trouble, again, is the schism between film acting and stage acting, and I strongly prefer the latter: you get it at least some semblance of right every time. Man up and get off book. Know your character. The lines are not suggestions. Crap, I'm doing it again, sorry.

I suppose in post, you can assemble ten sloppy takes into one passable one. Sadly there is no post available for the tragic victims of Wednesday's reading. Pray for them and for me, friends.

So it was a rough day like that, but an illuminating one--it reminded me immediately what I'm giving up if I let this script go without iron-clad attaching myself as director. Sobering, yeah. There's a marvelous sequence in Ed Wood where Ed is trying to direct Plan 9 and everything is going wrong. The Baptists who financed the thing are ruining everything, tinkering and futzing and driving Ed bats. When they see Ed in his Angora director-doll outfit they flip out, and Ed runs away to Musso & Frank to drown his sorrows. There, in the corner, is his idol Orson Welles, who in a few well-chosen words convinces Ed to fight for his vision.

Well, friends, life imitates art, because in my own moment of despair tonight I spent a good ten minutes talking--I shit you not, alone, just me--with Steve Buscemi and Kathy Kinney. I went to the gala screening of the late Bill Sherwood's wonderful Parting Glances at the DGA, and through an improbable series of events, accidentally found myself next to the film's stars at the post-show reception. (They were doing what I was doing--hiding from the maddening crowd.) So I nervously introduced myself and we talked about their film, the 80s, my script, and my desire to direct the thing myself. Buscemi had a lot of extremely helpful advice about directing, setting the tone on a set, putting the right people in place and then getting the hell out of their way so they can do their jobs, knowing ultimately you'll have the final say. Kinney and I talked about acting and articulated what I'd been feeling all day--"Casting is everything," she said, "But you're an actor, you get that. You have to cast people you believe in." They were very encouraging, and at no time did they ask security to haul me off, as they probably should have done. It made my night.

In keeping with the whole life-imitating-art thing, I shall now go off and direct the worst movie ever made.

I also snuck into a high-dollar VIP donor party, did my cute pixie thing and got yet another potential producer on the ol' MCB bandwagon. WHO THE HELL AM I? And what have I done with [ profile] mcbrennan?

Anyway. I need to go to bed. HBO panel breakfast thing at 8:30am. Then I think I'm taking the day off from Outfest to talk to some legal personages and do a lightning-fast polish on that old standby The People's Choice which is also mysteriously in demand. Tune in for more showbiz drama tomorrow, folks.
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Meet Chad Allen: Check.
Dance with Tori Spelling: Check.
Pray with Tori Spelling, who has just been anointed some kind of reverend or something: Check.
Drink something pink: Double check.
Say "Holy shit, was that Barney Frank?": Check.
Gaze just a moment too long at Wilson Cruz's ass: Check and check.
Flirt with Suzanne Westenhoefer: Check.
Momentarily forget where I am and wonder why none of the guys are hitting on me: Check.
Watch some pretty girl dance, wish I was a pretty, normal girl like that, then suddenly realize she's transgender too, just way better at it. Check.
Fuck up my "bad" eardrum by getting too close to the speaker, re-re-re-rendering me unable to hear on that side, except for a constant, maddening RINGGGGG noise: sadly, Check.
Hug all my gay male friends, then suddenly realize that somewhere along the way I've become Grace from "Will and Grace" only fatter and funnier and with actual boobs: Check.
See a really enjoyable movie at a really cool theatre: Check.

Bonus Round: Drive past the site of my very first paid employment, the McDonald's store my Uncle used to own at 330 S. Broadway: Check.

Thanks to a lifesaving tip from [ profile] e_ticket I got a cute haircut immediately before the event. I woke up this morning and had this uncontrollable urge to lop off six inches. Jesus, what is it with me?

I love getting this note at 4:30pm: "oh, by the way, we're filming you tomorrow at 11 before the rehearsal so please have a presentation ready." Totally out of the blue. So I will be writing and rehearsing a brief introductory monologue in the next...oh, say, all night. And showing up camera ready. Could we fold a few more hours into the morning so I can sleep off the party first? No? No intradimensional temporal beds handy? Hm. Pish.

I found out this morning that they had lined up Mink Stole to play my grandmother. Er, Kit's grandmother. But they decided to cut the scene for time. I found out those two things in the same sentence. Verily, Hollywood giveth, and Hollywood taketh away. When I go to direct the feature, though, you can bet I'll be giving Ms. Stole a call.

I have to sleep. I didn't drink much, but I feel a kind of queasy euphoria about all this that I have no idea what to do with. Scary. Fun, but scary. Honestly, just between you and me, I looked out at this sea of stylish hipster fame and wonderful festive debauchery all around me, the swirling lights and bartender-models and giveaway-Mercedes and thought--"jeez, you know, I'm just this geeky girl from the trailer park across from the racetrack, I got this outfit from the Salvation Army, are you people sure you wanna let me in here?" For some reason they did. One thing about my life, it's always full of surprises. I wonder where we're going next.
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The Writers Guild Of America would like to remind you to get your tickets now for the upcoming Outfest Screenwriting Lab reading from my script on July 18th at the Directors Guild of America.

Seriously, how did this happen? I'm just a simple, naïve girl from the wrong side of the trailer park, a girl with only a typewriter, a brownie camera and a dream. A dream of entertaining millions. A dream of making America laugh and cry. A dream of tripping over two Oscars, an Emmy, a Tony, an MTV Moonman and a Cable ACE award on the way to my bed full of hundred dollar bills, where a shirtless Johnny Depp will spoon-feed me Ben and Jerry's Strawberry Kiwi sorbet while Jude Law slooowly massages my...


A dream of entertaining America...

We all know the Clampett-colored truth, but if anybody asks, I'm driving a Jag and staying at the Chateau.
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I'm very pleased to report that my screenplay "Dramatis Personae" has been awarded the 2007 Outfest Screenwriting Lab Fellowship.

I'm even more pleased to report that selected scenes from my script (and from those of my, Fellows?) will be presented in a live staged reading during Outfest 2007. The only thing that could make this better? If you chose to attend, dear reader. Here are the particulars:

Wednesday, July 18 at 7pm at the Directors Guild Of America, 7920 Sunset Boulevard, between Crescent Heights and Fairfax. Tickets are $12 and are available here.

Don't miss your chance to see the world premiere of five great scripts, as well as a priceless opportunity to see me paralyzed by social anxiety disorder in a prestigious and festive setting. Close Personal Friends Of Caitie should expect a seemingly endless barrage of email and telephone reminders of this event as it approaches. Thank you all for your continued encouragement and support.

Edit: For the true Caitie Completist, on Sunday, July 22 at 7:30, you can see me on the big screen at Outfest in Jamie Babbit's Itty Bitty Titty Committee. Savor my 15 frames of fame while enjoying a funny, intelligent and riot-grrl-energetic take on feminist politics from the acclaimed director of But I'm A Cheerleader.

Afterwards, I will be hosting a Q&A on background acting at the Rock and Roll Denny's. You're buying.


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August 2009

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