My Summer Robert Rodriguezing It – June 28th and July 1st

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June 28th-

I was a lab rat again today.

This Deviant Artist has some intense stuff. Check them out http://zasalamell.deviantart.com/art/Lab-Rat-251595866

This Deviant Artist has some intense stuff. Check them out http://zasalamell.deviantart.com/art/Lab-Rat-251595866

Honestly, I was excited. I like being a social lab rat. You do’n’t have to take anything – which is great because I live in fear dying and public humiliation.

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For this particular study, I was told to be there five minutes early because it was going to be a partner study.

I went to union square to do some shopping…

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which is pretty much always a bad idea.

I get to the building five minutes early. She told me that the couple from before is running a little late. I thought it was weird that any two people that happened to get paired in this partner study is already a couple, but whatever. That’s fine. I had a book. I could entertain myself while I waited.

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I always make sure to have a book and a bottle of water in case I get trapped in an elevator. This ensures that you have something to keep your mind busy, something to hydrate you, and something that makes it so you don’t have to establish a pee corner.

After about ten minutes, the other couple left. My partner was still not there. I was starting to feel slightly abandoned.

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Finally, he showed up.

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He was a gawky, lanky, socially awkward young man. He was nice enough, but I can’t say he wasn’t a bit off. It’s not like I was afraid of being alone in the room with him in fear I would get murdered during my partner study, but I did move my chair as close to the wall as I could.

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We were told we would be doing a study for a theoretical trial of a company who may or may not have been dumping chemicals in the water and making people sick.

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I was very happy. I was about to get $20 for 45 minutes worth of pretending I was Erin Brockovich.

We went along with everything we were supposed to do… until finally we came to our personal portion of experiment.

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Basically, they just wanted to make sure we were of sound mind and not serial killers (I’m assuming). We filled out our survey’s quietly. I came across one that I had a bit of moral trouble answering.

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The question was: “It is always wrong to kill a person.”

Don't worry, Mimes aren't people.

Don’t worry, Mimes aren’t people.

Immediately I went to the “Strongly Agree”… but I wavered for a moment.

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Is it ALWAYS wrong to kill someone? What if a person was trying to kill you? Surely it’s not wrong to kill them.

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Or what if a person is listening to incredibly loud house music on their phone with no headphones on the subway at 9am? Surely it wouldn’t be wrong to kill them either.

Instead of “Strongly Agree” I circled “Moderately Agree”.

Now, if I was having trouble answering this question, I wondered what the other half of my couple was putting at this very moment. What if he were circling “Strongly Disagree”, should I kill him just in case it turns out he was the psychotic serial killer he seemed? I mean… he did come fifteen minutes late when he was told to come five minutes early…

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Although, Dexter would never be late to an appointment.

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We finished our experiment, got paid, and went our separate ways. I only once wondered if I should ask him what he put for the “It’s always wrong to kill a person”, but decided against it in case he would have to kill me if he told me the answer.

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July 1st –

Another day of being a lab rat. I’m sort of surprised I can keep myself a float with all of this lab ratting and extra work I keep finding.

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I could see why some people make this their full time job.

$30 to be on a pretend jury? Sure, why not? I was just going to be watching a Law and Order SVU marathon anyway, why not pay me to watch the same thing.

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We watched a poorly filmed “trial” (which I realized had been filmed in the same room that our ragtag group of jury members were being shown this video).

The idea of the trial was that a white (probably important she was white for the study) woman was raped by a neighbor (who happened to be a black male).

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There were some signs that the guy had probably done it, but in the end there wasn’t enough evidence. Unfortunately for some people, that doesn’t matter. It depends on what the jury thinks.

What’s supposed to happen is that you can only convict if ALL of the evidence totally makes it clear that the person on trial definitely, without a doubt, did it.

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So this guy, even though there was some evidence that he may have done it, I was going to have to rule as “not guilty.”

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As soon as I realized this, I hoped we wouldn’t have a situation.

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We weren’t going to be allowed to leave the room until we all agreed.

The men in the room I was sure I wouldn’t have much of a problem convincing.  The women on the other hand…

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Since rape is a touchy subject for any woman (especially women who have watched Law and Order SVU and lives in NYC) I wondered if they were just going to immediately decide this guy was guilty whether the evidence showed it or not.

Turns out, there was only one young raver who thought he was guilty.

Everyone else was a firm “not guilty” due to the lack of evidence and shotty police work.

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Once we all pointed out the lack of evidence she quickly said “oh. ok. not guilty” very unenthusiastically.

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We needed to chose one member to be the head juror and go get the college students conducting the experiment and tell them our verdict. Since I had led the discussion, I figured I should have someone else do it. I turned to the guy next to me, who became my second in command to the discussion about how even though we were pretty sure he was guilty that we couldn’t find this guy guilty…

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and suggested he go.

Another woman said, “No, you should go. You’re that person.” She said it with a smile.

I am always that person.

My second in command went anyway. Handing over paper is not the job of a captain.

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Deliberating took us about ten minutes. The students seemed surprised we were all on the same page. I slyly wrote my contact info for filming on the scrap paper we all had to hand in with our notes on it, got my money and left.

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A Quick Note

Dear Readers, Followers, and Random Passerby-ers,

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I’ve been away for a month or two.

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It has been a crazy time, in the best and worst ways, as you will see from the last few posts on my My Summer Robert Rodriguezing It.

But…

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as neurotic as ever, and have more celebrity stories to tell.

So stay tuned.

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That Time I Met Regina Spektor and Adam Green and Had No Idea

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I love music. I grew up around it. I listens to all kinds of it…

But I only know what the really ridiculously famous musicians look like.

Like these guys:

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Maybe that’s wrong of me. Maybe I should learn what these people look like since I listen to their music over and over again and it touches my soul.

Or I could watch more Orange Is The New Black.

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I could do that.

I’m not sure whether I should or shouldn’t feel bad about not knowing what, and let’s face it, most of the popular music people look like. Either way, after this post, I’ll probably only think about it when things like this happen to me.

Let’s start with Regina Spektor (even though it happened second).

30tgn0mI was working at the coffee shop. It was a chance for me to hear new music (since I stopped buying or otherwise acquiring music a while ago). At this point, I had never even heard of Regina Spektor. I’m still not even sure if she was big then, it’s possible I had just never heard of her or she was in her “before it was cool” phase. I did work with a lot of people who lived in Brooklyn.

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Someone else’s iPod was on (normally the person who got there at 5:30am got to choose the music). I was on register. I helped a customer, grabbed her coffee, had a quick chat with her about something and she walked away. No big deal. Just another Wednesday.

I thought nothing of it until one of the baristas came up to me. “Oh my God. That was Regina Spektor. And you just talked to her like you didn’t even care. So cool.”

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He was sure I knew her. I sang with one of her songs when his iPod was on.

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But I didn’t know that song was hers. This particular barista played the same play list over and over and I loved it. Everyone else wanted to mutiny over it.

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He made me listen to Regina Spektor and gushed about how she came in the store.

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This reminded me of another time I had met a musician and had no idea.

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My childhood best friend had asked if I wanted to go to a Devendra Banhart concert.

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I said yes anyway. Since her family had moved upstate right after graduation, I barely ever saw her. I like music, tickets were pretty cheap, why not.

She happened to be on Long Island (yup, I was still living on Long Island with my parents at this point) a few weeks before the concert and gave me all of Devendra’s music so I would be ready for the concert.

Turns out he’s this guy:

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and he’s pretty weird. But I dug it.

My friend had a borderline obsession with him, as she did with every celebrity she loved, and was really into his music.

She even made music video for one of his songs for a class.

Almost 18,000 hits. Not too shabby.

We got there five hours early. We wanted to hang out, but I also had the feeling that my friend wanted to case the place out… See where the artists enter and exits. We found it. There were already two young girls and one old obese woman sitting in lawn chairs at the doors.

After casing the place, we grabbed some Brazilian food and caught up.

We walked back with two hours to go and who was in line first?

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We were.

The line formed behind us… and it was long.

A group of musicians walked up to us trying to get into the locked doors we had been sitting by for an incredibly long time.

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But that didn’t matter. We knew where the entrance was. Time to be cool.

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“Hey, you guys playing tonight?”

They looked at each other.

“Yeah.”

“Go around the corner. Your entrance is by the people sitting in lawn chairs. By the way, like you’re pirate outfit.”

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They thanked us and headed toward their entrance.

Later we were finally being herded into the venue.  The girl standing behind us said “Oh my God, I can’t believe you talked to Adam Green like you didn’t even know who he is. That was awesome.”

Adam Green?

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And then I realized why I knew that name.

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Oh shit, right.

Later, when Adam Green came on, he decided to crowd surf. He dove and landed pretty much on top of me, thank god the crowd was able to carry him away.

Was he aiming for me?

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Probably not.

Devendra came out…

Devendra Banhart performs at the Governors Ball on June 24, 2012.

… And was pretty good. It was definitely an entertaining show even though I didn’t know any of the music.

After the concert, my friend and I waited at the door. I remember talking to one of the band members for a moment.

Devendra came out. My friend got a picture with him and told him about the music video and the night was over.

Looking back, I will say that I was probably wrong about Adam Green’s outfit being Piratey.

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He looked more like a captain.

My Summer Robert Rodriguezing It – June 24th part 2

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June 24th – June 28th, 2013

Part two of this very odd day happened more than once.

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On the 24th, I walked out of that acting studio with a new lease on life.

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And I was off to a paid acting gig.

Life was good.

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Sure, I wasn’t going to get any lines or to be Brangelina because of this audience I was going to be in, but I was going to get paid more than Trashy Maury…

in cash…

for a show on a good network.

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I got there on the early side because they tend to overbook to make sure the audience is full, which meant the early bird would get the 30$ for two hours of work.

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I stood on line and watched all the slightly odd people talk to each other.

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The people you meet at these things can be nice.

They can be good contacts. They can be actual actors or people in the business.

Unfortunately, most of them are just people who had a good idea.

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I met a guy who couldn’t pass the cop test – I sat next to him one of the days.

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I also sat next to a social worker who was having trouble finding a job. She did a marijuana study she said she got $300 for.

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You meet a lot of interesting people, but, just like anywhere else in New York, you have to learn to stay away from the crazies.

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They shuttled us around like cattle and pulled 25 of us girls into the studio.

The main guy explained to us that this particular episode of this particular show (which I’m pretty sure I’m not allowed to say until it actually airs) was about getting girls.

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Umm… ok. I guess?

“Oh, and you’re also all going to help us break a world record.”

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Eventually they let us know that we’ll be breaking a kissing world record.

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One girl immediately opts out. They replace her before she’s even walked out of the stage area.

They asked if everyone else was ok to stay.

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Moments later we found out we’d be kissing the hosts hand.

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The 25 of us had to run around the host in a circle and kiss his hand more than 107 times in 60 seconds.

We got it after 2 off camera tries and 2 on camera tries.

So, yeah, I’ve broken a world record now.

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Another taping of this particular show (which I’ll will make sure to mention that you should watch when it actually starts airing) also had a segment with a bug guy.

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Side Story:
My Mom: Oh, Jeff Goldblum is so handsome.
Me: Ew.
Mom: No, wait til you see him in the fly.

This particular bug guy was showing the host things like cockroaches, tarantulas, and scorpions… which kept trying to escape the table the bug guy was letting them roam around on.

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And one point the host, restless from having to do so many retakes, grabbed a scorpion and went rogue with it into the audience. He put it on one girl and she freaked out….

EmmaStoneDNW… as did the producers.

And during takes of the crowd being shocked, laughing, etc (yes, some tv shows have the audience fake things so that the editors can cover mistakes) the co-hosts pointed to me and said – “Ooo girl, you got that laugh down. Are you an actress?”

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All in all, it was six hours of my life, I made $90, broke a world record, and didn’t get a scorpion put on me. Not a bad way to make some money.

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My Summer Robert Rodriguezing It – June 24th part 1

1rodriguezJune 24th, 2013

A week or so ago, I panicked and started to apply for internships, not just jobs.

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I don’t know what I was thinking.

Well, what I think I was thinking was that I wouldn’t find any one to give me any money and then I wouldn’t be able to pay my rent.

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This had stemmed from that fact that at the beginning of the summer I applied for a writing gig and an editing gig.

I got to the second round of hiring. For one I had to write celebrity news stories for a blog. I wrote those up, sent them out, and was confident.

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For the Editing one, I had to take a movie clip and so people would want to see the movie AND be able to tell what the movie is.

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But, in the end, I didn’t get either of the jobs.

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That’s basically when I decided that internships that were paid, but boring or had a stipend were going to be applied for.

An acting studio replied and asked if I wanted to come interview.

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So I went, got to this tiny, weird building a few blocks from Penn station.

I got upstairs and saw this beautiful office in front of me…

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Unfortunately, where I was interviewing was down the hall.

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I opened the door to this  tiny studio. It looked like an eccentric Broadway star turned hoarder lived there.

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A girl my age or younger interviewed me… except, it really wasn’t an interview. It was a “you have the job if you’re not going to murder anyone or be annoying” kind of thing.

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After seeing that I wasn’t going to murder anyone, she was asking when I could come in and told me what I’d be doing there.

huhHuh? I have the job already? Was this not an interview?

I intervened and mentioned the stipend that the ad talked about. I explained that I needed to work for pay because I had to make rent.

The girl said “Oh, I’m not sure. I’ll have to ask her about that.”

I left feeling like I had a job thrust upon me that I wasn’t even certain I was getting paid for.

Fast forward to today where I am standing outside of the dingy building, wondering what the hell am I doing here.

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I get there 5 minutes late (probably because I wasn’t particularly interested in being there. It was like when that ok looking guy asks you on a date and no one has asked you out in a really long time so you say yes and then realize your mistake ten minutes later).

No one else is there.

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I sit down on the bench and wait ten more minutes and finally someone walks in. It’s this old, hippie looking costume lady. She informs me that shoes are optional here.

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A half an hour later the girl that was training me finally comes in.

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And that half an hour was long enough for me to realize that everyone that worked there hated being there.

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I had already decided at 10:30 in the morning, that I was never going to return to this internship that I had somehow been tricked into taking in the first place.

The girl told me how the stipend was the boss, whom I still hadn’t met or spoke too at all, paying for my monthly subway card (which I had just bought two days earlier on my own) and they needed me a minimum 3 days per week.

Then she explained how we send all the emails and make all the calls through our own phones.

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I spent the rest of the day in a semi haze of not listening while I performed a bunch of tasks I would never do again.

The acting teacher was a morbidly obese, possibly insane woman. I could see why everyone hated being there. I actually felt bad not breaking out all the kids who had pay to go to this school. They seemed a little odd anyway, though.

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Lucky for me I had to leave early because I had a gig (yes, a paid audience gig) at MTV that I had to get to.

Normally I would feel enormous guilt walking out of somewhere knowing I would never return to… but not this time. There was no ac, phone, computers, payment and an abundance of crazy people. I walked out with a song in my step.

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Join us for Part 2 of June 24th where I help Break a World Record on a new MTV2 show.

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That Time George A. Romero Bought a Birthday Present For My Mom

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I grew up on a steady stream of horror movies.

When my sister and I wanted to rent Grease…

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My mother protested until we rented The Exorcist again.

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Ever heard of The Mist?

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My mom told us that story on a foggy day on our way into the super market.

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I wanted to be Lydia as a little girl…

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And I knew exactly what to do in case of a zombie attack…

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Although fast Zombies threw me for kind of a curve ball.

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But this was all thanks to my mother.

She is going to kill me for putting this up here.

She is going to kill me for putting this up here.

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This was our 2010 Christmas tree. I was 23. My sister was 20. My mother was… 29…

So when I was 19 and heard George A. Romero….

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Father of the Zombie genre…

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Would be at the Huntington Cinema Arts Center (I’m From Long Island) To show The Crazies…

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No, the original version.

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And talk to the audience afterwards, I just about

Lost.

My.

Shit.

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I went with childhood best friend and fellow movie buff/maker, Ally, and some other people who I just do not remember. My guess would be our friend Alex (who was a good 8 years older than us) and his friend Mad Max (not sure if this is what we referred to him as to his face or behind his back) who was in love with/stalked Ally.

But that’s another story.

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We went. We watched The Crazies. George and the old lady that had played the little girl answered questions from the audience.

Then we got to meet him.

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We stood on line (yes – ON line – Something I didn’t know was an odd thing to say until I started dating an animator from Maryland) -

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We stood ON LINE for what seemed like hours (it wasn’t). I was planning on getting George to sign my hip and I was going to get it tattooed on to me (probably the next day)…

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Until someone that worked there said it was $15 per signature.

We thought surely he was kidding. We’d been standing ON this line for hours (probably a half hour at this point) and figured someone would have mentioned it earlier.

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They weren’t kidding.

That’s when I realized I had exactly $15 left.

This was about the same time I realized my mom’s birthday was the next day and I’d yet to get her a good present.

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I wanted to get my mom a good birthday present….

But I also wanted George Romero’s signature forever on my body.

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I went with the present for my mom (which was obvious by the title of this post).

All I had on me was a flyer from the Huntington Cinema Arts Center, but that would have to do. We get up to George (who was a giant and had been drinking all night — You would too if you were surrounded by nerds asking you ridiculous questions).

Ally and I took pictures with him.

Then I handed him the flyer.

“I was going to get you to sign me, but I only have $15 left and tomorrow is my mom’s birthday. She’s the reason I ever got to see any of your movies. So if you could just sign this for her – That would be amazing.”

My hero looked up at me.

“What’s her name?”

“Geri.”

“How do you spell that?”

“G-E-R-I.”

He paused momentarily. I thought it had been from the booze, but instead it was a thought.

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“Don’t we have anything nicer to write this on?” he mumbled to himself(?).

He then turned and said it louder to the girl selling the pictures.

“I don’t know, George. You make the rules, George.”

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He pulled out a wod of cash and tossed some at the girl.

He turned to me and said -

“Go ahead, kid. Pick out a picture.”

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And that’s how we got to here.

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She framed it.

And also probably here.

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Little DEAD Riding Hood. Halloween 2009.

George A. Romero was in Land of the Dead with Simon Pegg…

Who was in…

Eh, who cares about Kevin Bacon right now? GEORGE A. ROMERO bought a birthday present for my mom!

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My Summer Robert Rodriguezing It – June 21st

175810__robert_lJune 2s1st –

Today was a surprisingly long day.

I was supposed to be doing my usual nothing…

funny-Fry-meme-free-timeBut, as it would turn out, I would be doing a full day of being an actual Production Assistant instead.

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A few weeks back I had applied for a production assistant job in Brooklyn that was paying $200 for the day.

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They emailed me back saying “I’m sorry, we got the budget wrong. It will only be $100 dollars for the day, are you all right with that?”

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Of course $100 is still fine.

I waited for weeks for a reply and didn’t get one until 9:30pm last night.

Unfortunately, I didn’t see it until 10:30pm.

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The email said that one of the PAs dropped out and they really needed my help. Since call was at 6am and it was such short notice, they doubled the day rate (basically just making it the original rate) to $200 for the day.

money-cant-buy-me-happinessI immediately went to bed and got the kind of sleep where you wake up every hour because you’re afraid you won’t be able to wake up as ungodly early as you need to.

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I got to the shoot in Park Slope 25 minutes early and decided to get some breakfast and coffee while I researched the dating website that I had never heard of before that I was about to work for.

I got there just as two others did. One was definitely the wardrobe guy. He was too chic to not be. I decided, in my head, that the other girl was his assistant.

She wasn’t.

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She was someone important.

I walked in and met the woman I’d be working for, who was absolutely adorable and looked so familiar. She said we’d be putting our stuff down stairs and then I would be going to get the bagels and coffee for breakfast.

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Most people get angry on a set when this is their first job. I tend to not understand that. If someone is paying me $200 for 10 hours worth of work, I’d give them a sock to creepily smell if they asked for it (and an extra $20 – It’s only a sock, after all).

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Not only will I happily get bagels, but setting them up and handing them to everyone will get everyone to know me. It’s kind of like feeding a cat, they don’t necessarily want to hang out with you… but they know that you feed them so they’re going to come over once in a while.

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I put my stuff downstairs and start talking to two people who look like the cool kids. Maybe this dude and chick are the other PA’s. Maybe the one is the camera guy (always a good friend to make).

He started looking for a pen, I offered one of the two from my hair. — Here is a tip for the industry by the way – always carry a pen.

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First off, it makes people think you are smart. I’m not saying carry a pen because no one will think you’re smart unless you do, but what if a girl wants to give you her phone number? What if you get offered a job? What if you meet Ryan Gosling in the street?

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That shit could happen.

Not only all of that, but having a pen shows the people above you that you are always prepared – and they never have a pen so you’ll be their new best friend.

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Anyway, this guy didn’t need a pen, but we laughed about it and I told a story from my waitressing days about a pen stealer we had at work (a part of my schtick). He laughed. I excused myself.

I find the producer again to do some bagel talk and she says that I should meet the creative director for the company…

Turns out it was the cool kid I was talking to down stairs.

il_fullxfull.452037265_l9de“Scott? Oh, yeah Scott and I already met. We go way back.”

He continued the joke as he shook my hand.

The producer’s face was priceless.

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As I’m waiting at 6:45am for bagels that weren’t supposed to even be picked up until 7am, a girl walks in. She comes over and introduces herself as the other PA. I immediately forgot her name. I wasn’t doing this out of spite or because she wasn’t high enough on the totem pole, it was just 6:45 in the morning and I assumed I could catch it again when the producer was talking to us (and I did).

The first thing, after a free breakfast that I ate even though I had a small breakfast a little over an hour earlier, that we did was start wall paper-ing the most beautiful brick wall I had ever seen. As we ghetto-rigged the wall paper with tape, I got a little sad…

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Then I realized that we’d be helping the set decorator/prop lady all day.

We got moved outside and help make flower arrangements, mix drinks, and salads look pretty. Then we finished the wall papering and made milk shakes out of melted icecream (for set).

At lunch, the PAs, per usual, were last to the table, and the only two spots open were next to the creative director.

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He loved awesomely bad movies, so we had a lot to talk about at lunch. This was not the first time talking about movies like Troll 2…

Or The Room…

had gotten me an “in spot” at the lunch table.

The creative director suggested I watched a terrible Animal Planet show called “My Cat From Hell”.

It was truly an awful suggestion, that I thanked him for it many times.

After that I kind of just had to walk a bike around Brooklyn.

I kept talking to the other PA about how hard it is to find PA jobs and that many of them don’t pay. I almost said something to the effect of “but thank god this one does”, but for some reason the air felt odd… so I didn’t.

I also had to skip being a paid audience member of Trashy Maury – But if you’re going to offer me $200 for the day or a $25 gift card for the day… I’m gonna take the $200.

Later I found out the other PA wasn’t getting paid. What must have happened was they put out the ad for $200 a day, then saw who would take $100, and then figured they might as well try to get people to work for free… which worked pretty well until the other PA dropped out (which ended up working out pretty well for me).

All in all, it was a great time, getting great experience, with great people… and now I have a dating website to recommend and a great terrible show to watch.

After adding her on LinkedIn, I also found out where I had seen that producer. Broadway.

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