Sunday, December 31, 2017

What a Year: 2017 Review

As 2017 comes to a close, I want to acknowledge some of the highlights and low lights of this year that have happened to me. You know the saying, what doesn't kill you, just makes you stronger, and I end this year a stronger person!

I hated my former jobs.
I started this year off just being in Los Angeles for a couple of months. I had a starter job that I took just to be working in my new home state. It soon became a job I desperately wanted to leave, and thankfully, I was able to not only find a new job in late March, but at a place very close to home. You are extremely lucky to live in the Los Angeles area and have a short commute to work. It's a blessing really. But yet again, as I realized my first year in LA would be a year of transition, the second job wasn't much better, but at least it was more manageable than my first job. Knowing the job search in So Cal is like having a full time job because it takes so much time to look for suitable jobs to apply to, and make yourself available for job interviews, often at a distance to travel. The chess game of  thinking of persuasive excuses to come in later to work or leave early, or take a longer lunch, really tests one's level of creativity, and acting abilities. After wasting a LOT of time with interviewers/companies who played unprofessional games, and dead end/black hole interview processes, I was able to land a nice contract assignment at an employer I have been wanting to get into since I moved to LA. This company works exclusively with select agencies, and after a CIA level background check, once you are accepted for an assignment, you have your foot in the door to be hired permanently when the opportunity arrives. I have literally found the company that I want to retire from. Short of having a company that is part of the entertainment industry ring me up and offer me a job, I don't need to apply for another job at another company again. I'm set. So, thank you to the universe for throwing this opportunity my way.

Working on the periphery of the entertainment industry is fine with me.
Although my goal of getting a paid job in the entertainment industry did not pan out - far too many games and it being very competitive, I will be fine with continuing volunteer opportunities and participating in film festivals as side hobbies. In a blog post I'll write later this week, I have the Palm Springs film festival and gala that I'll be attending this week. Meanwhile, I'm waiting to hear back from the Film Independent people to see if I have been approved to be a volunteer with them this year, which will allow me to work at the Spirit Awards in March in Santa Monica. I worked with the group of people who will decide my fate at the LA Film Festival. I can be a part of the entertainment industry in a creative capacity that will allow me access to events that I could have only dreamed of when I lived in Michigan.

Another great thing that happened in 2017, in my new home of LA, are the concerts and events I was able to attend. I saw some great shows at the Hollywood Bowl and at the Rose Bowl. I saw U2 and Depeche Mode for the first time in 16 years! I last saw these two bands back in 2001 when I lived in New York City, way on the other side of the country! I also saw Coldplay give the best concert I have seen in years, and sadly, but fortunately, I was able to see Tom Petty for  the first and only time on September 23. He would die just a week later from cardiac arrest. This year also saw me achieve credit worthiness at a level which allowed me to open up much needed lines of credit so that I can have more flexible spending to meet personal and professional needs. A new credit card allowed me to buy a $650 Hamilton ticket for my birthday in September. Membership is indeed priceless.

Call Me By Your Name
I saw a lot of movies this year, and a few of them were at special screenings where Q&As occurred. My favorite film this year was Call Me By Your Name (CMBYN) - be warned, I will be writing a lot about this film this coming awards season. I have seen it three times so far, and in the new year, sometime in January, I'll see it for the 4th time. The last time I saw a movie at the theater three times was The Silence of the Lambs. CMBYN resonated with me and affected me personally in so many ways that it's hard to describe or share. All I'll say is that it's a beautiful love story that came at a time where I have been exhausted by all the evil that is going on in the world, everyday political news, and my own personal struggles with my mentally and physically exhaustive job search. Love does cheer a heart up and I'm so in love with CMBYN. 

1. Call Me By Your Name 2. Blade Runner 2049 3. Three Billboards in Ebbings, Missouri 4. The Shape of Water 5. Mudbound 6. Wonder Woman 7. The Big Sick 8. Logan 9. Lady Bird 10. Get Out

I will be very active here at Theatre of Zen in the coming months as I prepare to write about my volunteer experience at the Spirit Awards, my voting abilities for the Spirit Awards, and the upcoming Golden Globes and Oscars, and the awards between those two. It's pretty clear to me that I moved to a city that will allow me to fulfill my professional career and ambitions, as well as allow me to pursue my creative interests in support of the entertainment industry, and I'm excited to share my experiences with my readers!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Golden Globes 2018 Nominees

I was so excited this morning to learn that my two favorite films this year have been nominated for multiple Golden Globe awards. Call Me By Your Name (CMBYN) received three nominations in Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Picture. It's too bad that the Best Director ignored Luca Guadagnino, but I think the Oscars will recognize him, he really deserves that honor, even though he won't win. And why not? Because Guillermo Del Toro for The Shape of Water is the director I think should win this year, and his film received seven Golden Globe nominations.

I plan to see Call Me and Shape of Water at least once more in the theater in the coming weeks. If I see CMBYN once more, it will be for the fourth time and that will be the most I have seen a film during its theatrical run. Another film I wanted to see that received several GG nominations today is I, Tonya. I had a ticket to see the movie on Saturday along with the cast Q&A, but Toyota in Pasadena found something broken on my car and thankfully the warranty covered it, but, it added on 3 hours to my already long visit at the shop. So I had to cancel the Q&A.

I'm so happy to have found some interesting films and performances to support this Oscar season. I am no longer focusing as much attention on another actor who seems to have put acting on hold, and this just allows me to enjoy the work of artists who deserve the praise for their brilliant hard work.

The Screen Actor's Guild (SAG) award nominations are this Wednesday, and if CMBYN does well there in the acting categories, it's safe to say that both Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer will receive well deserved Oscar nominations in January.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

My Twitter Brand Change

I created my Twitter account way back in May of 2009. And since I'm a creature of habit, I have been using the same name handle (@FassFass) and an image of an actor all this time. As of today, I changed my Twitter to @Theatreof Zen and I uploaded my own personal picture. Now that I'm in LA and really exploring the world of film with a first hand perspective, I need my Twitter account to reflect a bit more professionalism, and correlate it to my actual hobby of being the editor of this blog. It's been a long time coming and it's a relief to finally make this change to focus on my branding. I will continue to focus on current events, politics, and the entertainment industry.

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Reasons I'm Living in LA!

As the month of November is coming to a close, I find myself stopping and thinking to myself that one of the primary reasons why I moved to Los Angeles is to be a part of the machinations of the film industry. I have accepted the fact that I will not find a career job within the industry, but I could still enjoy it very much by being on the periphery and enjoying film screenings, celebrity Q&As, and attending film festivals. Just in the past week, I have made big decisions that will permit me to be a part of a fascinating world that is part of the entertainment industry.

Firstly, I went ahead and joined Film Independent at the Film Lover level so that I can vote in the upcoming Film Independent Spirit Awards. This is a big step in the direction I need to take to become even more active in the industry, meet people, and be exposed to more films via free screenings so that I can write more about the films I love. Additionally, at the Film Lover level, I will receive screeners of the films that have been nominated for Spirit Awards. This is a huge deal, and a lot of responsibility comes with this voting ability. So I'm super excited about this next venture in my hobby life. I have been so disappointed and stressed out with my job search and with my other blog in which the muse of my blog has taken a different turn in his life at the moment. But all that be as it is, I'm grateful for my love of cinema which has allowed me to escape the crap of life and enjoy beautiful films.

Timothée Chalamet

In recent weeks, I have seen the Justice League (B+), and The Shape of Water (A), and Call Me By Your Name ( Review: A) - a film that I will see for a third time this Saturday, which will be another Q&A with cute Timothée Chalamet and director Luca Guadagnino. I love this film so much, and with Timmy winning the highly coveted and influential NY Film Critic's Circle Best Actor on Thursday, he now seems to have a clear road to receiving an Oscar nomination, and with enough good will and luck for him, he could actually win. But that's a different blog post at the right time.

And another big event I'm looking forward to is driving to my beloved Palm Springs to attend the Palm Springs Int'l Film Festival Gala on January 2nd. As I write this article, the general seats are still available at $350 a pop. Trust me, this is a good bargain because when I attended the Gala in January 2016, I had to pay $1000 to attend, and I was squeezed in as a favor. But I got my ticket weeks earlier and I will be attending with my Canadian snowbird friends again. Timothee will be an honoree for the Rising Star Award - Actor, and Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) will receive the Rising Star Award - Actress. More celebrities will be announced, but you can see the tentative list here. I consider myself to be so lucky to be able to attend an event like this. And then I will drive back to Palm Springs to watch a few movies Jan 5-7.

Being in LA is allowing me to live out my interests of participating in events that support the film industry. If I can't be in a paid creative part of the industry, I can be a spectator up close.