Thursday, April 2, 2009

Spring Break (better late than never)

John Lennon said (or sang, really), "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans." For me, back in October, it was the other way around. I was caught up in life, celebrating my 23rd birthday with some friends from school at the second annual "It's Joanna's B-Day and she loves Halloween so she demands that someone with an apartment in the city throw her a party and that you all wear costumes to get in the damn holiday spirit and supply her with some Captain Morgan and don't you dare forget the Diet Coke, bitches" party. Yes, I'm quite the tyrant when I'm trying to organize a good time. It was at this birthday bash that, somehow, through my drunken haze, I suddenly had a very clear moment and realized that this may very well be the last time I engage in any form on celebration with my college friends before graduation. I began to panic and knew that I had to do something. Step up and plan one last shebang for all of us to do together. Something big. Something epic. AND FAST. Then I got over it and passed out on my pal Ned's couch.

Being a screenwriting major at UArts means you are stuck with the same 15-20 people (depending on how many drop out / are "encouraged to leave" by faculty) ALL THE FUCKING TIME for the next four years. We attend each core class together. We get teamed up in workshops. We know each others' genres, who our competition is, who thinks we have no talent. And if we look hard enough in those scripts, we know everyone's personal problems. Basically, we get fucking intimate. When you're required to pick apart each others' work, telling everyone to their faces how bad their writing is, you form a special kind of bond. The kind of bond that leads to years of counseling and mild alcoholism. But what separates us from most small college majors is that we are so dedicated to our craft (ha!) that we don't really have the time to have fun with each other. Or maybe we do have the time, we just choose to spend it with other people. You know, people we don't associate with all of that aforementioned work.

Despite this, I decided to apply the obsessive-compulsive vacation-planning gene that my mom passed down to me and round up the troops for a week of drunken debauchery during Spring Break. Of course, not everyone agreed, but I was happy to know that I wasn't the only one longing for the last gasp, the last grope, before we rode off into the sunset and faced the "real world" as they say. That sentence was purposely cliche-ridden, but come on - this post is about my Spring Break. Cliches are needed.

Anyway, I could explain in text what went down during that week on the border of the Delaware/Maryland beaches (because who wants to deal with all of that drug nonsense in Mexico and who can afford to go to Disney World or anywhere warm for that matter). However, I'm going to take this blog to the next level and post some personal photos to tell the story for me. Photos are my favorite part of other people's blogs, so why not? I don't flatter myself; I don't really think anyone is going to jerk off to my image (well, not in these pics anyway). And if you do, just don't tell me. I like the mystery of not knowing who's jerking off to me.

Standing L-R: Jen, John, Ned, Lauren, AJ
Kneeling L-R: Me, Brandy
Missing due to the fact that one of the two cars we had broke down 2 days into the trip and there was no way we could all fit into one car so at least one person was excluded from every outing which fucking sucked and led to a lot of unnecessary drama: Emily

That's a sexy bunch, right? Screenwriters are notoriously good-looking. And just to tell you, this is about halfway into the trip, most of us are hungover (hence me not wearing makeup), and this is just after an ultra-competitive round of indoor mini golf.
Props to me for booking this gorgeous, 6-bedroom house, complete with fireplace, elevator, and hot tub. All of which we used inappropriately.
Brandy, Me, and Emily. I am my favorite kind of drunk in this picture. The drunk where you aren't stumbling, incoherent, or obnoxious. The drunk where you love everyone and believe that everyone loves you. And the drunk where you begin to resemble an Asian man.

Artsy-fartsy. We lucked out and got a few 70ยบ days. Then it snowed. And snow on the beach is less cool than you'd imagine. And also less depressing. Overall, very underwhelming.
Miss July, aka AJ, aka the prettiest mermaid you ever did see. He's single, ladies!
Ebony and Ivory. No, Iesha isn't a UArts Screenwriter, she's John's BFF who came to visit for 2 nights. She has a Mohawk and a nice rack. Hence, I fucking love her. Profane emphasis is necessary for people as awesome as she.
Ned has an inaccurate perception of John. He once told me, "John is so cool and he doesn't even have to try," and then expressed how jealous he was of John's cool ways. John is from Jersey and loves Queen and zombies - he ain't cool. Anyway, when John fist-bumped Ned, Ned shrieked in delight, "This is the proudest moment of my life!" You can't see his face, but I imagine it's an "O" face.
Our family portrait. I can't figure out if AJ is trying to resemble a bratty child who just hasn't mastered smiling for photos yet or if he's going for more of a, "Mommy smoked some funny things when I was growing in her belly" look. Neither, I think. That's just how AJ looks. Again, he's single...
This would make anyone uncomfortable, but Lauren especially.
If I hadn't met John at UArts, I most likely would have transferred and abandoned the whole artsy thing. I'm not going to get all mushy here (I'll leave that for my final "Beat by Beat" interview, which, if you haven't seen, click the link in the previous post), but he's one of my all-time favorite people. Why? Well, one reason is that we both own this shirt. Though my laundry detergent is clearly superior.
This was our "last supper" - our final night out for good food and good conversation. We got all dolled up and talked about our top 10, desert-island movies, 'cause that's how screenwriters do. We're all attempting to look sexy in this pic. Obviously, sexy has many faces.
Okay, I'm gonna be honest - I like most of the screenwriting gals, but I love the boys more. Well, these three at least. And I'm not one of those chicks who claims that she just gets along better with men. We call those girls sluts. J/K, I actually tend to like the girls who get along better with men. But I'm all about the individual - gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, whatever. If you're cool, you're cool. I just happen to prefer these 3 to everyone else at my school.

My favorite moments on this trip and over the past four years at UArts were with these guys. I've known AJ since high school, and our harassment of each other never ceases to make me laugh. Ned is nice to me when no one else is, and I can always count on him to dish about vapid things like reality TV (ANTM and Rock of Love, especially). And John is pretty much the male version of me. Over the remaining years of my life, whenever I get nostalgic about college, they're the ones I'll think of.

Damn, I said I wouldn't get mushy. Anyway, Spring Break has come and gone. I laughed, I cried, I cultivated a shitload of inside jokes that I'll probably forget in a month but right now are the funniest things swirling around in my head. I formed closer bonds with people I once thought I'd never even speak to. And I finally got the chance to see what college life is all about. 2 months before graduation. Oh well, better late than never.

Friday, February 27, 2009

shameless self-promotion

I don't subscribe to the whole Myspace/Facebook culture. I made the decision when Myspace originated that I would never create one, and I take immense pride in the fact that I haven't caved. I didn't realize then that these "networking" sites would one day become so widespread that exchanging links to each others' pages would become more socially acceptable than exchanging phone numbers. What began as a cult has evolved into the norm, and I'm still waiting for the trend to die out.

A lot of people find my aversion to Myspace and Facebook off-putting. What-ev. I really don't mind that you spend so much time shooting and editing photos of yourselves in bathrooms, perfecting your angles, making pouty faces. I participate in this self-absorbed ritual, too. I wish I didn't, but I do. My name is Joanna and I take Myspace photos of myself. I just wish that people would stop deluding themselves and admit why they really created these pages - to judge and be judged.

We all want validation. Some people need to be told that they're beautiful, and they've figured out that by posting photos of themselves - in just the right lighting, or with just the right body parts cropped, or in just the right lingerie - someone is bound to take notice. Some people need to know that their ex-boyfriend's-new-girlfriend is far less attractive/successful/interesting than they are. And some people just want to make sure that somebody has gained more weight than they have since high school. For these reasons, Myspace and Facebook make sense. Just not enough sense for me to jump on the bandwagon. I already have a blog; what more do you want from me?

Anyway, my Myspace/Facebook rant does actually have a point. It just takes me a very long time to get to said point because I abuse any freedom that I'm allowed.

What's that, you ask? It's "Beat by Beat"! So, WTF is "Beat by Beat"? Don't worry. It's not porn. Well, not really. "Beat by Beat" is a student-produced reality web series competition featuring 15 screenwriters (yay, me!) who are divided into 4 teams to create a pilot episode for an original series. Every other week, a new episode will be added to the site, chronicling our journey. If you're not confused, I applaud you. Basically, no one knows what the screenwriting process entails, and this is our way of showing the world how fun and cute and quirky and hilarious and obnoxious and demented and twisted and pathetic and brilliant we really are.

All of us lil' screenwriters are whoring that site out to everyone we know. And those with Myspaces/Facebooks (i.e. everyone but me) have been able to reach a hell of a lot more people than I have by word of mouth alone. I initially thought that I was at a disadvantage because of my lack of technology-based networking capabilities, but then I thought, hey, my blog is just as good a place to whore out my work as any Myspace or Facebook. So, ha. I get to have my integrity cake and eat it, too.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Soundtrack to My Life

I should be doing homework. Lots of it. I am in total denial of all the shit I have to do before I leave for Spring Break. I should be job hunting. I should not be watching "Rachael Ray." I cannot cook; who the fuck am I kidding? So amidst all the shoulds, I figured it was time do some of what I call "productive procrastination." Productive procrastination includes anything enjoyable that distracts me from the anxiety that comes with normal procrastination. Confused? Allow me to clarify.

Normal procrastination - folding laundry, shopping for necessary items, basically anything that you HAVE to do at some point but is less time consuming and/or emotionally draining than all the other things you have to do in a more timely manner. Productive procrastination - shopping for UNnecessary items, attemtping new makeup techniques, masturbating... if you can get in and out in under 3 minutes. If it takes you longer than this, it becomes a chore, and then it would be considered normal procrastination. And sad. And probably cause you more anxiety than whatever you're attempting to distract yourself from. ANYWAY...

I suppose the inventor of blogs was on to this phenomenon... assuming he/she was a writer and needed a creative outlet to hone his/her skills while killing some time. I really love the phrase "killing time." It is my "cellar door." If you don't know that reference, you're way cooler than me. Back to the topic...

I've been wanting to update this bitch for MONTHS, but haven't gotten around to it because I was busy doing all the things that are worth writing about. But instead of writing about the myriad of interesting things that I do, I will now share with you "The Soundtrack to My Life." And listen up, kids - you can make your own! Just pull up your i-Tunes or whatever other new-fangled music library you may have on your computer, select "Shuffle," and hit "Play" for each new category. No cheating - if I can disclose my horrendous musical preferences and resist the urge to edit the not-so-interesting selections, you can, too. Here goes...

1) Opening Credits
Sugar – System of Down (apparently my movie took place in 2003 at the height of my punk-imposter fashion era. I associate this song with nothing but good memories, and so far, I like my movie.)

2) Waking Up
I Miss You - Incubus (when I wake up, the only thing I miss is sleeping. Usually.)

3) First Day of School
Tiny Dancer – Elton John

4) Falling in Love
Which Will – Nick Drake (if my movie suddenly jumped to the present, this one is so dead-on that it's fucking scary.)

5) Fight Song
Deathblow - Deftones

6) Breaking Up
Pink Maggit - Deftones

7) Prom
Birthmark – Deftones (so this game loves Deftones, I see. Perhaps they are about to go on tour and paid me a shitload of money to put their music all over my soundtrack. And on a sidenote, if this was likely going to be played at my prom, I probably would have gone.)

8) Life's OK
Rubber Mallet – Alien Ant Farm

9) Mental Breakdown
The Good Fight – Dashboard Confessional

10) Driving
1000 Miles – Vanessa Carlton

11) Flashback
Tainted Love - Marilyn Manson

12) Getting Back Together
Nowhere Man – The Beatles (this fits with practically anyone I could get back together with. Sorry, exes...)

13) Wedding
The Fight Song - Marilyn Manson (we have the number 13, Marilyn Manson, and "The Fight Song." I believe that my movie-marriage will not end well.)

14) Birth of a Child
Jesse’s Girl – Rick Springfield (Jesus, let's hope not. But wouldn't that be an interesting plot point... likely resulting in the upcoming death scene.)

15) Final Battle
The Rules – The Backyardigans

16) Death Scene
You’re the One - SWV (my movie just landed in the $1 bin at CVS.)

17) Funeral
Satellite – Dave Matthews

18) Closing Credits
Minus Blindfold - Deftones

So what did we learn? This game is occasionally on-point, usually bullshit, and wants everyone to think that I have an unhealthy Deftones obsession. However, it is thoroughly enjoyable, and I encourage you all to participate in this particular version of productive procrastination.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

steady goin' nowhere

Today I received my first official screenplay rejection. Boo-frickety-hoo. Professional rejection doesn't hurt nearly as much as I anticipated, but that probably has a lot to do with the fact that my school has conditioned me to expect rejection pretty much since day one. Or it could be that I'm still in the sanctity of my sheltered little bubble where I don't have to pay for my own living quarters... or food... or even the paper upon which my rejected screenplay was printed, so the idea of rejection doesn't feel like a life or death scenario. And before you completely write me off as a spoiled brat, I must add that, yes, I know that I am incredibly fortunate to have a highly reputable production company at the top of my shit list. Ah, shit lists. Almost as fun to compose as "people to kill" lists. Only I'm not as cool as Steve Buscemi and his lovely red lipstick...

Everything is at a standstill. Everything is in limbo. I have no fucking idea where I will be 6 months from now. I am constantly changing my mind about what I inevitably want my life to look like and what needs to be done in order to eventually get there. I'm trying to look for a job, but as soon as I find something halfway decent, I'm unable to motivate myself to go through the application process. This sounds like laziness, but it's more apprehension than anything else. How can I commit to something when I know there is most likely a better opportunity that I'm missing out on?

I can't even say for sure who will be in my life a few years, even a few months from now. Nothing is guaranteed. So many people have been removed from my life in the past few years. Too many good people died, most of them young. Some not-so-good people died, too, but I've discovered that it's a lot easier to like those people once you know you'll never be able to argue with or talk shit about them again. People moved and "started their life." They got new girlfriends, new goals, new outlooks, and both gradually and all at once they were gone. There was also a massive falling-out, one that still hurts - not like it used to, but just the fact that I'm aware of it every single day is a constant reminder of personal failure. If all these people are gone, some of whom I swore would be part of my life forever, what's the point in looking forward?

Maybe I shouldn't be looking. Maybe shit just needs to happen as it should. All of my options are swirling around in my head, but I'm not excited about any of them. Had I just been offered a shitload of money for that damn screenplay... Oh well. Back to good old square one.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I have arrived. I am officially welcoming myself to the glamorous and elusive world of blogging because, let's be honest, if I don't welcome myself, who will? Seriously, when people start these things, assuming they don't have 5,422 friends who already identify themselves as "bloggers," how do they know that someone will actually take the time to read? I guess you can badger your friends and family into reading (my current plan of action), but even then, it's a gamble. I'm sure a lot of people who "blog" (ugh, I still feel pretentious using that word as a verb, hence the quotes) claim to do so merely as a venting mechanism and if other people happen to care, it's just an additional pat on the back. I call bullshit. I cannot possibly imagine publishing the stories of my life and displaying them in a public forum for my own personal satisfaction.

Before "blogging" became a part of my vernacular, I "live-journaled." Unfortunately, my Live Journal is still in existence, floating around somewhere on the Internet, though I haven't touched it since 2003. Anyway, somehow, though I can't remember how (damn all those drugs!), people read it. And kept coming back to read new entries. And COMMENTED. Because I consider myself much more interesting and somewhat better at writing since the days of Live Journal, hopefully people will read this thing. I've built it, they're supposed to come now, right? Isn't that how it works? We shall see...