Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Less Say, More Do

As I work hard at my internships here in Los Angeles, a quote from my documentary Making a Mark comes to mind regularly:

"An entertainer, or a performer, is there to serve." -Mark Fauser

Sadly, I feel like much of our lives are spent trying to get ahead of the guy next to us who is a little faster, a little more popular, and a little better. One might say that it's just "healthy competition," but if we are being honest with ourselves, this mindset bogs down our quality of life and our capacity to love.

I hope our culture does not lose sight of how invigorating it is to serve others. Why do we resonate with Saving Private Ryan? Service. Why are we so thankful for our teachers? Service. Why do we feel compelled to give to those in need? You get the idea...

Jesus's "disciples" were fishermen and tax collectors who followed him around and were always bickering and griping about who was the best. I'm sure the author of the Bible left out many of their arguments about fish size, Jewish girls, and figs consumed in one sitting, but we should have pretty good reason to believe that these boys kicked up the dust every time they got together.

When it comes to the story of Jesus washing the disciples' feet, most people comment about how dirty feet were in those times...as if the amount of dirt was what made it an act of service. I would argue that Jesus washed their feet as a silent response to their years of trying to one-up each other. His behavior beckoned them to say less and do more.

In my relationships with others (especially in work environments), I am trying to ask the question "What can I do?" far more than "What can I say?" Saying things usually leads to telling people about my awards, my next big thing, and my opinions. Doing, however, encourages me to consider the bigger picture and the well-being of someone else. Healthy doers make people feel valuable, take the initiative on least-favored tasks, and fight for another's goals.

This blog post doesn't just apply to my work here in Los Angeles. It applies to you, too. Take Mark's quote at the top and fill in your own field.

"A baker is there to serve."

"A mechanic is there to serve."

"A _________ is there to serve."

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Scootin' Along

Today I walked 26,605 steps. Just in case you need proof:

I am so tired right now that I'm seeing two or three of every letter on my keyboard, so perhaps this story would be best told with lots of pictures.

Last night, I visited the legendary Egyptian theatre with my Taylor group. Since I arrived early, I decided to take the opportunity to be a total Hollywood tourist. I started strolling down the Hollywood Walk of Fame, reading the name on each star. In New York City, you can recognize tourists as the people who are staring up at the skyscrapers. In Los Angeles, the tourists are the people hanging their heads down and bumping into things because they're trying to read the hallowed engravings on the ground. 

At the Egyptian, we watched the 1953 version of War of the Worlds followed by an interview with its leading lady, Ann Robinson. I caught her out in the lobby before the show to snag a picture. Of course, I forgot her name (it always happens when I meet anyone remotely famous), so I just said, "Oh my gosh, can I get a picture with you? My name's Keith. Thank you...um...ma'am...for all your wonderful contributions to American cinema." 

After my late night outing, I set my alarm for 4:45am. It didn't seem like ten minutes before I got up, took a shower, filled my car with gas, invested in a car wash (which did NOTHING, by the way), and pulled into Starbucks at 6:30am to pick up coffee for the set of a commercial. A commercial for a revolutionary new scooter that will be released in the coming months. 

My first job of the day (besides parking and re-parking a lot of cars) was overseeing craft services. Thank you, Mom, for providing such excellent catering for my own films and teaching me how a true craft service biz should be run.

Another job was taking a lunch order for about 18 people. I do not have a picture of this to show you because I was too busy trying to read my handwriting aloud to the lady across the counter who was ringing it all up. What a sweetheart. Angie, if you are reading this, thank you for your patience and sense of humor!

In the afternoon, we moved from our Pasadena location to a different area in downtown Los Angeles. Most of my work in during this time was transferring props, clothes, and food from one place to another.

I had the opportunity to be on set and help operate a GoPro drone later in the evening! The guy who owns the drone, Warren, also likes to use it as a handheld camera source since it has its own built-in "Steadicam" function. He watched on the monitor as I chased the talent up and down the block. (Now you know where most of those steps on my phone's pedometer came from!)

So thankful that the producer, Justin, is letting me shadow him this fall and teaching me the tricks of the trade! 

The rest of my day is kind of a blur because my bod was saying, "I'm ready to call it a day." There were a few creepy alleyways, a few parking frustrations, but I as I write this I am sitting in my room eating leftover Chinese cuisine. I'm happy. It has been a good day.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Week One Adventures

It's hard to believe that after anticipating my arrival in L.A. for months, I already have a week of work under my belt. And what a week it has been!

On Monday, I learned about the joys of parallel parking in downtown Los Angeles. After I successfully landed my car in the allotted spot, I was faced with an even more daunting task...getting out of the car. I immediately ruled out exiting from the driver's side, because traffic was zooming past me and I knew that the moment my leg left the car it would get sliced off by a SoCal motorcyclist. I didn't have a skylight, so that method of escape was not an option. The passenger's side door seemed like the best way to go. Unfortunately, it barely opened a foot thanks to a curb that could have protected a small fortress. As I squeezed my way out of the car every lever, bolt, and wire in my Buick's door dug into my first-day-of-work outfit. What's this, a car grease stain on my shirt? I'd better make sure my backside is presentable. To all the people who walked passed me at that moment, no, I do not regularly check out my butt in the reflection of my window. Just trying to make a good impression on the first day of my internship. 

The eventful start to my morning turned into a wonderful day working with my producer, Justin. He is currently marketing a Paramount film, Captive, and he needed me to go through interviews and pull sound bites for a promotional TV documentary. I waded through a lot of material to find some solid clips, and most of them made it into the final documentary! 

Tuesday was a ball. Oops Doughnuts Productions lives up to its whimsical name, because the moment I walked into the office I was greeted with posters, movie props, and toys from wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling. And the view isn't too bad, either (check out my Facebook cover photo). My favorite part of the day was taking a field trip to Hollywood Center Studios, where we got to watch a rehearsal for the Disney Channel show, Liv and Maddie. During the run through, the producers and writers took notes about jokes that got laughs and which ones they needed to rework a bit. I am definitely going to go on a Liv and Maddie Netflix binge so I can appreciate the experience even more next time! 

After the trip to the set, the Oops Doughnuts staff went to a meeting with the director and put me in charge of the desk. When guests came in, I offered them water and made sure they were comfortable. Then the phone rang, and about twelve lights on the phone started blinking. I momentarily panicked because I did not have any experience with phones in a big office. After I gained my composure, I decided the pick up the phone. "Oops Doughnuts!" It was an executive from Disney. "I'm sorry, so-and-so is in a meeting right now, but may I take a message?" I have never been more nervous in my life, but I felt so proud of myself when I hung up the phone. 

Time to say goodbye, because I am going with the other Taylor students to a screening at the Hollywood Bowl tonight. We need to get there early so we can find a place to park. (And then check out our derrières in the reflection of the car, of course.)

One of my jobs yesterday at Oops Doughnuts was organizing their colossal library of DVDs!