Anne Hathaway

Actually Seeing Personal Heroes - "Thank you, Stu Johnson!" - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Within the past week and a half, I've seen three people in person who, at some point or another, I've basically wished I could be. Or people with whom I've at least wished I could spend the rest of my life. Not even necessarily in a romantic, let's-get-married kind of a way. I just always want to know what they think about everything.

Not this past Tuesday but last Tuesday I went to a book launch event at my acting school, The Barrow Group. One of the co-artistic directors, founders, and excellent teachers, Seth Barrish, was having his book, An Actor's Companion, published by the Theatre Communications Group! And there were tons of fellow Barrow Group students there, as well as Barrow Group alumni. There was a talk with Seth moderated by his friend and comedian Mike Birbiglia (maybe you've heard of him) and there was another famous alumna there: Anne Hathaway. Guys, in case you couldn't tell, she's a pretty big inspiration for me. When people ask what role in movies could I see myself playing, my answer is always Mia Thermopolis from The Princess Diaries. And, you know, you've gotten to know me pretty well over the course of this blog so far. You know by now that I'm pretty outgoing, and I am very proud of being a New Yorker. And New Yorkers do not freak out over celebrity. But... I couldn't talk to her. I couldn't form sentences. I was just thrilled to be breathing the same air as her. One day I'll talk to her, when I've gotten further in my career and I can be... not an equal, perhaps, but something only a few levels below that.

This past Sunday I was texting a friend of mine when he reminded me that he was working UCB's Del Close Marathon, and he could hook me up. So, you know, who am I to say no to an offer like that? I had a busy day - worked on material for an audition, shot an episode of Telemazing - but then I headed over to FIT, met my friend, and he let me into the standing room at the back of the theater. I was watching some excellent improv ("Oh no, it's Schlomo, the bad boy from Hebrew school!" "I cut class... every once in a while." "What a reasonable level of anarchy.") and I recognized Matt Walsh by his mustache and that was cool. And there was a woman performing on stage and I thought "wow, she sounds just like Amy Poehler." Until slowly I realized that the show featured most of the founding members of UCB. And that the woman who sounds just like Amy Poehler really was Amy Poehler. (And, I assume, she still is her.) For the next show (with some help from my friend) I managed to make it up to sit in the very front of the theater, and I saw the Del Close Marathon's final show, Asssscat with said founding members as well as several other big names in comedy, but most importantly I was 20 feet away from Amy Poehler less than a week after finishing Yes Please and it was amazing. I literally cried from laughter. It was amazing.

And then there was two days ago. A day for which I had planned and worked hard and got very lucky. On Tuesday, June 30th, 2015, I saw the taping of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

(Two photos from my seat in the studio... one nice one, and one that came out with a bit too much of what happens when you're too excited for a photograph: crazy eyes.)

Guys, I love Jon Stewart. You already know this. I've written academic papers (plural) about him. I was at the Rally to Restore Sanity. I saw Rosewater in theaters. I've written blog posts about him on this very website. I was going to reiterate everything that he means to me, but... screw it, I just linked to that blog post. Suffice it to say he is an incredibly important person to me. And I've always wanted to see the show live. And on Tuesday I did it! I was fluttery all day! I made friends with other Jon Stewart fans while waiting (for five hours) in line to actually get my tickets! I had ticket #13! I laughed like an asshole and cheered loud and long and, while nobody else would pick it up, I can hear myself in the end broadcast. (If you really listen, I'm the one with the really long, really high pitched "woo" who is almost always the last one to stop doing it.) And it was magical just to be in the studio.

As usual in my posts, I'm not sure I have a point that I'm going for here. I wanted to maybe talk about what they all have in common? But that's not really it. They're all very much themselves, and that's one of the things that we all love about them. I might've talked about charisma, and how they all have it, and how that's what separates the personalities we all love from the ones who we all love to hate? But that seems like such a dry analysis for such extraordinary people. (Don't get me wrong, they are all incredibly charismatic, but that's really not what I want to go for here.)

So I guess the main point of this post is just... to brag about how many amazing people I got to see in the past week. Oops. Sorry, not sorry at all.

(And seriously, if you ever get the chance to see The Daily Show with Jon Stewart before August 6th, you should absolutely take it!!)

Writing and Editing Screenplays - "The first draft is just you telling yourself the story." - Terry Pratchett

Well, I had a whole long blog post written. It was one of my regular Thursday/Friday essay-style blog posts about how one knows that they have finished writing when they don't have a hard deadline that forces them to be done.

And then, somehow, it got deleted. I don't know what kind of combination of buttons I accidentally pressed. I was going to add a tag, and then... nope. It vanished. It was rough, I'd admit. Even for these blog posts that are mostly about showing my personality to anyone who is looking at this website and trying to decide if they like me and my work. I was upset to see it go.

But I was inspired to write such a post because I'm working on a short screenplay now! And you guys, I'm not gonna lie, I like it. It's called "Just the Tip," and it's about millenials as we're beginning to come into adulthood, sexism in the workplace and dating, and what romance is evolving into in modern society. It's about what journalism is and should be, how people treat each other, and the life of a workaholic. And you know what else? It's good. It's not perfect - it still has a few drafts to go before I'm willing to give it to my director absolutely for shooting - but it is good.

The thing that's concerning me, though, is that right now I'm not only the screenwriter, but also the producer. Which means that any deadlines I may have are being set by me. I'm used to projects where someone else gives me a hard deadline for which a piece absolutely has to be finished, and I work on it as much as I can before it, but once that deadline comes it's out of my hands and that's how I know that it's done. But now, I could edit "Just the Tip" indefinitely, and there's really no one to stop me from pushing the deadline back again and again.

Ira Glass once said in an interview that young creatives have a problem where we start creating because we have excellent taste, but we are so inexperienced that our own work doesn't measure up to our excellent taste, and the trick is to keep working past that until we are capable of creating work that does measure up to our taste. (For the full quote, you can read it over here.) I certainly wouldn't disagree with anything he said there. I know that I'm not doing work on the level of writers I especially admire (in writing I'm talking Nora Ephron and Aaron Sorkin, in acting I'm thinking about Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, and Anne Hathaway, just to name a few) and it certainly irks at me when I'm trying!

But the thing is... I know that "Just the Tip" is good. Not great. Not revolutionary. But it's not bad, either.

That is a statement I'm 100% certain I'll be embarrassed of later on in my life and career, when I'm really doing good work and I look back at this time with nostalgia and condescension. But it is also what I'm thinking now, and it would be pointless to deny it.

So my question is... how do I stop when I don't have anyone to command me to do so? Having good taste as I like to believe I do, I know my screenplay isn't ready. And I do know a few specific things that have to be changed about it to make it better, and I'll do those. But at what point do I stop and say that it's done enough and ought to be produced? At what point do I decide for myself that it's done, even if I know it's not perfect, and allow myself to move on to the next project?

That's a question I'm genuinely asking, by the way. If you have any tips or ways of thinking about it, I'd love to discuss them with you!

In the meantime, I'm going to try to decide for myself what I think the... tipping point is.

Puns. You're welcome.

Recipe of the Week: Okay, so it's technically not a recipe so much as an idea, but it's SPACE APPLES.

Funny Vine of the Week: I literally cried with laughter from this. Nbd.