TELL ME MORE ABOUT YOURSELF-PART 1

The above headline (minus the “Part 1”) is a standard question one may ask another person meeting in two separate yet loosely related situations. Those situations would either be when 1); two single people (or two people who are unattached with somebody else) meet on a first date, or 2): when one is the focused person on a job interview.

The first example has person “A” attempting to creates a cling with person “B” to possibly create some form of romantic type of bonding. (Tradition would call that this form of bond attempt would involve a man and a woman. However, living in this post modern society, any gender can be used although the ideas are the same!) The latter scenario has a person (any gender) attempting to perhaps create a connection with a place of employment. Person A (the job seeker) is meeting with person B (a second party connected to the place of employment in question), and this little interview, much formal and regulated than a meeting expressed in example A, attempts to prove that person A can perform the tasks and assignments that the place of employment desires from their candidate. (Person A).

The two situations create a pair of unique results. In the first episode, “A” and “B”’s little meeting may result in a causal friendship. Or it may result in become more intimate, possibly leading toward a permanent domestic partnership. Or it can wind up as a first-time-last-time meeting. The second example can result in becoming part of a company or corporation, working in a job that is suitable for the job seeker leading into bigger and better opportunities. Or it could be a job where the same job seeker can engange in to just survive in the so-called urban jungle.

This writer isn’t going to devote this column in meeting somebody for friendship, leading into possible romance, (At least not at this time), but will tell one of those eight million stories in the naked city about finding a decent job. So pull up a chair (assuming that one is standing while reading this article), and dig this!

About twenty five years ago, yours truly encountered his first job interview (out of many that would come down the road) that took place in Los Angels proper. At the time of this interview, I (now morphing into the first person mode) was working at a public access TV facility located in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburban bedroom community of St. Louis back at the time what that city was only known as a suburban bedroom community of St. Louis. The parent cable company that hosted our division was going through some management changes. The big wigs wanted to expand their cable services by offering more channels that people would be willing to pay for, or that was the assumption! And our division that provided local programming serving the community it covered wasn’t the cash cow it could have been. So rumors were going around that noted our sect may be eventually axed.

Now I was a bit prepared for a situation such as to what was going on. A few years before, I was involved with another public access Tv production division that was operated by a large cable conglomerate. They were in the process of getting out of the CATV business completely, ready to sell off its firm to a larger corporation. Although the decision to move into other factors was made official by the parent company, my situation in Ferguson wasn’t necessarily certified. However, I wasn’t going to take any chances. So I decided to seek other opportunities. And I didn’t just limit myself to finding gigs where I was located. I wanted to go to a bigger city where I can move up faster within the corporate latter, as well as gaining some bragging rights knowing that the simp that I was could move ahead in the dog-eat-dog world where the TV industry existed.

To set the timeline in gear, this job seeking I was doing (under wraps mind you) stated around 1989. Television at that time was limited to programming delivered by coax cable or via over the air. Home video existed, but that was mostly a movies on videotape market. Any job seeking that I would do consisted of scanning the print media for any possible openings. And if I wanted to apply for an advertised job, I had to send a letter along with a videotape showing examples of my work to a physical address. Once the goods were sent, then I had to wait for the phone call from those powers that be that would be willing to meet with me for an interview–assuming that the receiver of my tape and resume thought my stuff was good enough to arrange an interview that was worth their time!

Around those same moments, I was a subscriber to The Hollywood Reporter, one of two daily “trades” that reported on the entertainment industry. (The other trade was Daily Variety). I personally preferred THR not so much because of their news content as both publications reported the same stuff as movie and TV show reviews, details on whose been promoted to VP/GM of some company, as well as anything else linked to show biz coming out of Hollywood or thereabouts. What made THR better over DV was the fact that THR offered a wider selection of classified ads, mostly advertising job opportunities ranging from lowly office assistant duties to a position of VP/GM for some company or conglomerate that has something to do with entertainment.

I had a little disadvantage of subscribing to THR. It was sent to my doorstep (or in this case, a PO box) via second class mail. This method of delivery is fine if one is getting a magazine or newspaper sent from one local zip code to another local zip code. I wasn’t located anywhere near THR’s mailing zip code of 90036. I was in zip code 62902, some 1800 miles to the east. This meant that I was considered lucky if I received the Monday edition of THR on the Friday after! There would be times I would find editions over a week old jammed in my mailbox! Of course, I could spurge paying extra for getting my issues sent first class mail, but for what I was shelling out to subscribe (around $100.00 a year), I felt that was enough to spend as it was.

Anyway, I would scan through the classifieds seeking possible opportunities available “out west”, looking for some gig that may be suitable for my needs. The Friday editions of THR had the biggest selection of ads that were mixed in with other ads ranging from production services, gift items (some star’s PA can send over a box of candy to a movie mogul that would say “thanks for the gig” or hinting “I want a gig!”), as well as the real estate ads, offering those million dollar homes to anyone willing to pay for ‘em!

Anyway, one particular ad caught my eye. The job opportunity was being offered by a new start up cable TV channel called Movie Time, a channel that reported on new movie releases. Taking a kin to MTV that featured a stream of music videos with an occasional program loosely related to music, Movie Time would air trailers of new movies with celebrity interview spots mixed in along with other movie related tidbits, such as coverage of a world premier event taking place in Hollywood. Roughly speaking, it would be Entertainment Tonight  twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.

So to continue this little story about yours truly and this job opportunity, we’ll pause right here and pick up this story in the next issue. Stay tuned!

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NEWS AND REVIEWS

    The Skypilot Theatre Company presents Jonathan Price’s ALTERNATIVE ENDINGS, a compilation series of skits, short plays, and monologues that speak about the apocalypse through various means, from natural, artificial, and all points in between.

In this presentation, a selection of ten short stage pieces call as a common thread on how civilization, the human race, and related factions can come to its full and terminal finish. Some of these climaxes are based upon what’s normally assumed as a final end (nuclear type holocaust), while other closures can be by way of technology, artificial intelligence, physical ailments (natural or through human creation), in addition to when mother nature is not as her best! The short pieces themselves are comical in tone, yet learns toward a somber mode, meaning that the laugh factor is set to a milder level. It takes a while for the show’s themes to grab impact. But once it does, its momentum retains its high level while foretelling the notion of “what if?” in a gentler mood with a dash of satire added for effect.

Because of the anthology aspect to this production, a series of six directors take charge, consisting of Kristina Lloyd, Nick Leland, Morry Schorr, Lois Weiss, and Jonathan Price, backed up with a team of stage performers. (Christina Calph, David Caprita, Thomas Evans, Kelly Goodman, Damien Landini, Bruce A. Lomon, Jr., Sean McCracken, Marie Pettit, Randy Pound, Emma Sperka, LeJon Stewart, Dwana White, and LB Zimmerman.) Most of the scenes use minimal props and furnishings, presenting each story spot in a virtual reality of sorts. However, the minimal backdrops isn’t the real issue here. Its the narrative content and stage players that make it all happen.

ALTERNATIVE ENDINGS may speak for the end of the world as we know it in just an hour’s worth of stage time, but doesn’t preach an idea or theory. It doesn’t focus on a right or wrong either! It just addresses the concept that everybody might face an end to everything, be it through outside factors or through human self. That final curtain may be here now, or it just might be late on arrival. And when or if that ever occurs, one will know how to react–or not!

     ALTERNATIVE ENDINGS, presented by the Skypilot Theatre Company and performs at Studio/Stage, 520 N. Western Avenue, Koreatown (Los Angeles) until March 1st. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM. For ticket reservations, call (800) 838-3006, or via online at http://.http://www.SkyPilotTheatre.com

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On Sunday, February 22nd, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences presented the 87th Academy Awards presenting the Oscar for the best films of the 2014 calendar year, held at the Dolby Theater within the Hollywood & Highland complex in Hollywood.

Eddie Redmayne won Best Actor for the feature The Theory of Everything. Julianne Moore won Best Actress for Still Acice. Alejandro González Iñárritu won Best Director for Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance. Birdman won Best Picture.

For a list of all nominees and winners, visit the official web site at http://www.Oscars.com.

The day before (February 21st), the Golden Raspberry Foundation presented the 35th Razzie Awards awarding the Razzie for the worst films released in the 2014 calendar year, held at The Mantalban Theater in Hollywood.

Kirk Cameron won Worst Actor in the feature Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas. Cameron Diaz won Worst Actress in The Other Woman and Sex Tape. Michael Bay won Worst Director for Transformers 4: Age of Extinction, and Worst Picture went to Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas.

The first annual Razzie Redeemer Award, presented to a previous Razzie “winner” or nominee who have since been performing in better roles in better features, went to Ben Affleck (previous “winner” for Gigli) for his parts in Argo and Gone Girl.

For a listing of all nominated films and people as well as its “winners’, visit the official Razzes web site at http://www.Razzies.com

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McFARLAND USA (Disney) stars Kevin Costner as Jim White. He’s been involved in coaching high school sports at a number of schools. However, he holds a slight attitude when it comes to getting his students athletes in gear that was subject to his many dismissals. His latest job takes him and his family consisting of wife Cheryl (Maria Bello) and daughters Julie and Jamie (Morgan Saylor and Elsie Fisher) to McFarland, California, a community located in the central valley area that is prominently Latino and rather poor. Generations of families have lived in this town, working in the fields all day packing produce. Jim isn’t too good coaching the football team as he was assigned to do, but notices that a few of the rag tag kids, consisting of Thomas Valles ( Carlos Pratts), Johnny Sameniego ( Hertor Duran), Victor Puentes (Sergio Avelar), and bothers David Diaz ( Rafael Martinez), Danny Diaz (Ramiro Rodriguez), and Damacio Diaz (Michael Aguero) are fast in their running. So Jim convinces the McFarland High athletic heads to have him form and coach the school’s first track team, and he brings them on from a sorry state to star athletes, leading them up to competing in the state finals.

This feature is yet another one of those “based on a true story” sagas that Disney has a fondness toward making that focuses upon how one person mentors a group of kids from being nearly down and out where they rise to the top of their game; in this case, track & field. The story is itself a period piece, taking place in 1987 where kids of that era weren’t bogged down by technology. However, the age the story leads isn’t really an issue, but concentrates itself as a pleasant melodrama that holds a basic theme (“never give up in spite of what the consequences may dictate”) that viewers of this film can relate to. It’s also family friendly as well with little to no objectionable elements depicted. (One will find more of that so-called objectionable stuff in any recent drama series airing on AMC!) Kevin Coster is in fine form as Coach Jim White. He doesn’t overtake any scenes. He just serves as a leader to a pack of lost boys that would either wind up working in the fields or spending time in the state pen. Although some story elements as written by Christopher Cleveland, Bettina Gilios, and Grant Thompson, tend to fall into the sport film cliché mode, it doesn’t linger there (much), bringing the narrative back into its method of where the underdogs do rise of its top.

Outside of Coster as the lead, all of this film’s cast members are either character performers from the “I’ve-see-that-face-but-I-can’t-place-the-name” stock in trade, to those that haven’t appear in a feature before! (According to this movie’s press kit, Sergio Avelar, Michael Aguero, Rafael Martinez, and Ramiro Rodriguez were chosen from local and regional casting calls seeking young hispanic types!) This film is more story driven than action impelled within the same vein as a quality (and big budgeted) TV movie.

Directed by Niki Caro, McFARLAND USA is the ideal feel good film to take advantage of. Although it’s family friendly in terms of objectionable material, younger kids may find it rather boring, and even a bit hoaky for their tastes. Adults, especially those of a certain age, will appreciate this title more, eligible enough as a selection in the Movie From Grown Ups list as handed out by the AARP. Interestedly enough, Kevin Costner was recently awarded as film star of the year by the AARP in their annual Movie for Grown Ups awards ceremony, hinting that this flick harks toward simpler times when movies had more story and acting elements, and didn’t rely on a load of special effects to make it overall amusing.

McFARLAND USA is rated “PG” for TV-type cussing and violence. Now playing at the usual selection of multiplexes nationwide.

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2015 Linear Cycle Productions.

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