Monday, July 28, 2008

My Review

I was going to give you my review of "The X-Files: I Want to Believe". Make no mistake-- I love this film. I was happy the first time, but thrilled the second when I had time to focus and not think, "wow, the filmmakers are behind me and damnit, Duchovny looks hot".

The X-Files grows up. This is a character piece. Sure, it's got a creep factor, but the story is a love story like no other. And I mean love in its purest form, as well as it's most twisted. The parallels between Scully's story and the main plot leave you with some fairly profound notions. This is a thinking person's film -- far closer to October indie films than summer blockbusters. If you are looking for explosions and CGI, don't bother. But if you are looking for character development, suspense, humor, a debate about redemption and love, then give this movie a chance.

But rather than tell you all the reasons I loved it, I thought I'd link to a fellow blogger. I've rarely read a more articulate review of any movie. So, even if you don't care about this movie at all, read this guy's writing: (Do not read if you are trying to avoid spoilers. Major spoilers here).

Have no fear-- I'll be going back to bemoaning my fate tomorrow.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Full Circle To Find The Truth (aka How My Wednesday Ended Up To Be Surreal)

Photo courtesy of gadd1960.

By now, many of you have figured out two things: 1) I love The X-Files and 2) the new movie comes out this weekend. There are characters, actors and storytellers that stay with you, sometimes inexplicably, for years. For me, this ranks as one of my most successful love affairs.

But it has been fraught with danger, as well. And no, I don’t just mean Diana Fowley.

When I moved to Los Angeles, I started doing extra work—not because I had any great desire to be an actress (I’ve always been a hobby-ist at best), but because it’s Los Angeles, and the opportunity to see production from the inside has always fascinated me.

Over the years, I had the opportunity to work on The X-Files on a number of occasions. One of the best days I had on that set was for the episode “all things”. Why was it great? Many reasons. I was friends with a PA, and he took me around the standing sets. I sat on Mulder’s couch. I wandered into Mulder’s bedroom and sat on his bed wondering why he had a brandy snifter full of condoms if the guy was never getting any. Then I read the script sides for the shooting day. Ah… it became much clearer. Plus, Gillian Anderson was directing, and watching her go through the process (working with Kim Manners and directing David Duchovny, in particular) was fascinating.

But despite the joys of the day (which included working two scenes with David), it was also the site of another of those pesky regrets—another road not taken.

Because it was a small shoot, I didn’t go back to the holding area with the other extras when my first scene was finished. I stayed out of the way and watched. But because I was there when Gillian decided she needed another body to cross the screen behind David, I was a logical choice because I was nearby. I was placed and waiting. I couldn’t have been more than 10 feet away from him.

It was a scene where Gillian was supposed to grab his shoulder and turn him to face her. But she was behind the camera, and her stand-in had left to go to the bathroom. So Gillian yelled out, “can someone stand with him?” And I didn’t move because, of course, she didn’t mean me. Why would she mean me? I figured I was a nobody, so I should definitely not do it. Sets are pretty regimented and extras don’t have a lot of leeway generally. That overwhelming feeling of “I’ll get into trouble” kept me from moving. Then she yelled out “Really anybody”. But before I could force myself to move, a guy on the crew moved into place.

While it became a very funny moment -- the crew guy turned David and then the two of them started pretending to be very deeply in love—it’s a missed opportunity that has never really left my mind. It seems like such a little thing, but… No matter how many other times I worked the show, I kept kicking myself for not taking the chance presented to me.

I think the memory of this regret propelled me from the moment they announced that this second movie was going into production. I know it was a powerful motivator in my getting on that plane in February to go to WonderCon. If the adventure was going to be costly or time consuming, I started asking myself the question—will I regret not taking this chance.

I can’t say that I’ve regretted going to any of these events. I’ve met amazing people, and had such fun, again. Yes, I realize it is all fiction, etc – but it has just been fun. Remember fun? I’m not sure I remember often enough.

It was because of one of these chance encounters at the Paley Festival X-Files event that I probably had one of the most surreal days of my life.

As you know, I finally got my priorities straight and went to the fan event outside of The X-Files premiere. As the pictures and videos show, I got into the first 500 fans. I had sunburn. I was tired. I probably smelled. But I was so much fun to just be with these people. Apparently the video I had taken in the morning of three of the line campers had made the rounds because during the fan event, Frank Spotnitz actually mentioned seeing it. The news spread, and mentions of it made the LA Times and even on to the TV Guide channel premiere coverage (the reporter actually asked Duchovny about it).

And that would have been enough. I would have been okay with the just having those fan moments. I didn’t have tickets to the premiere. I tried bidding on a charity auction, and while for 2 shining minutes I held those tickets, I eventually lost them. I was resigned to it.

And then I got this email: “I have an extra ticket to the premiere—I don’t suppose you want to go”. It was from a girl I met and interviewed at Paley. We had stayed in touch. And still I hesitated. There were complications. There was a juggling act, financial issues and inconvenience—not to mention the whole “night”, “crowd” and “stress” trifecta.

Then I remembered regret. I remembered what it felt like to not take the chance. And while I wouldn’t be able to say I was definitely going to that premiere until I was actually in the seat, I took a deep breath and said “yes”.

I ran from the fan event to a parking garage where I changed clothing (if I ever become famous for any reason, I have no doubt that the parking garage footage will be on TMZ). And then I walked the red carpet in my red dress with my frazzled hair and dazed expression.

I think I still have trouble believing it. After all of these months of waiting, I was there. I watched that movie with Chris and Frank and David and Gillian and the hundreds of other people involved in making something I loved. Honestly, I think they got almost a bigger kick out of our reactions than seeing the movie themselves. At one point, there was a lot of “WHAT???” yelling going on, and then people starting laughing at us. Duchovny even mentioned our reactions in an interview he gave the next day.

It felt like coming home. There were so many people I had met from each of the previous events that also got in, and I’m not sure any of us could claim to be unaffected by our luck. We laughed. We cheered. We gasped. We may have cried (a little, and very elegantly, of course).

I know what you are thinking: “dude, get a life, it’s a movie”. But The X-Files was never just about the show or a movie. It has always been an experience. The stories have always been about seeing life in a different way. Maybe I finally took some of that to heart. And while I may always look upon that day on set with a twinge of regret, I’ll also have an amazing few months of experiences and an evening that still doesn’t seem real.


Friday, July 25, 2008

The X-Files: Kevin and Bean

Attached is the audio from this morning's Kevin and Bean show featuring the lovely David Duchovny. This is just a temporary post. They'll have the podcast up soon, I'm sure.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Line

2:00pm Update: Roughly 225-250 people are here along with David Duchovny. Ok, he's not with us, but people in line saw him drive up. I think he's hoping to be one of the 500 in the bleachers. ;)

10:45am Update: 175-200 people currently in line. Did I mention I'm still working? yeah.

9:30am Update: Just spoke to Cari. She said there are about 100 people in line right now. Here is a video of the early bird campers!

Sadly, I'm at work right now. These guys are having much more fun. Fox has been generous enough to include a huge fan press conference before the premiere of The X-Files: I Want to Believe tonight. The first 500 get seats. Alas, I'm not sure I'm going to get there in time because of this whole day-job-making-a-living-thing. I did get a chance to visit the line this morning before work. The campers got there at midnight! Now that is dedication. These are my people.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Creating a Movement

Because work is making me slightly crazy right now, I’ve started even stranger imaginings than normal. Luckily, you guys get to share in the insanity. Yea!

Today’s mind wandering topic: how many people would it take?

For instance, at what point does someone become an “important” artist and could that be manufactured? Since art is always subjective, how does someone get elevated to a place among “the Greats”? Why is Picasso revered? Is he revered because something he did was fascinating, or was he revered because enough people said he might be?

Find an artist or a piece of artwork. Have a five year old throw paint around onto something. You don’t even have to like it. You just have to be willing to write about it. Now, find 10 other people willing to write about it in a positive or speculative way. Is that enough? It probably isn’t enough, unless half of the 10 people are respected art critics, and then you might get noticed. However, the odds that you’ll find 5 art critics to agree, and plunge ahead with the experiment are slim. So, we’re back to 10 ordinary people. Is that a movement?

How about 50 people writing about it? If they write on the internet and send in letters to editors of art magazines, does that constitute a movement? It might if the editor of one of the magazines then does a follow-up piece on the artist or artwork.

100 people? Now, 100 people talking about something to the right people could generate some interest.

What do we have? We have a piece of art and an artist who doesn’t like the limelight (because it is past her bedtime). We have 100 people talking about it in various forums; an art flash mob, if you will. How would you take it to the next level? Have a piece by the same artist put into an art auction. Have the 100 people call the auction house to show interest. Suddenly, words like “promising newcomer” are bandied about. Keep in mind that prior to this event no one of any standing has said anything about the work (and they don’t know it is a product of your five year old). But if there is enough buzz, suddenly people will start trying to explain why it appears to be promising. If 5 of your original 100 people competitively bid at the auction so that the sale price exceeds expectations, you will start generating ink. Of course, you run the risk of getting labeled populist or fad. That could kill the momentum. But if you’ve literally let your five year old swirl paint onto a canvas, do you really care? Not if this is just an experiment.

Want to take it to the next level? Steal it. Sure, police don’t really love being involved in scams like that, but as long as you aren’t defrauding an insurance company, and the owner is in on the experiment, you’ll probably be cleared eventually. Ok, fine, not a good idea. But a theft of a piece of artwork by a “promising newcomer” who just sold something for five times its valuation would start to lend credence to the idea of burgeoning greatness.

Take it out of the art context: would 100 people talking about something be enough to fuel even greater interest in a new gadget, a piece of clothing, a particular company, a movie, a book? Collusion is such an ugly word—I prefer organized response.

I know. This is why I’m an analyst. I spend a lot of time with “what ifs”.

For instance, what if women were tired of the dating situations they found themselves in, and as a group demanded a change? If 100 women decided that they would accept no dates without a week’s notice, and they lived in a small enough city, that would start to become the norm. If 100 women, in this small enough city, decided that one night stands would not happen, then this would go back to being the norm (again, given a small enough sample population). You see how this could be extrapolated.

We got to the miserable place we are in the dating world because women either actively decided to change their rules, or felt like they couldn’t fight against a changing tide. What if a community of women collectively decided to change things again? Of course, it would take a far greater number than 100 women in Los Angeles to change the dating culture—although 100 women at a time declaring that they are holding out for Mr. Darcy might be interesting.

I’m not suggesting that a Lysistrata moment is imminent. I’m just saying that if we want men to be more like Mr. Darcy, we can’t shrug and settle for Mr. Wickham instead.

How many people would it take?


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Lint Strikes Again

I don't suppose anyone else is responsible for this lint video? They don't mean this video, right?

I haven't decided if I should be mortified or not. I'm thinking that someone else is totally responsible for this instead. Probably... Or... yeah, it might have been me.

Anyway, the article, which includes an interview with David Duchovny, in Men's Health Best Life is brilliant if you skip that lint part. Kudos to raintoreadby for scanning it. You can catch it on the newstands, or head to the Haven for some recaps:


A Bridget, 3 Tourists, A Clown and … Elvis?

I’ve taken this latest round of Albert Ellis experiments very seriously. I started with the great X-Files fans at the LA Film Festival, and decided that because that went so well, I should try meeting the general public.

What the hell was I thinking?

I’m a hermit for a reason. People scare me. More than that, they confuse me. But I will admit that I did learn a lot today.

For instance, I can’t tell you how many people told me today that they don’t really go to the movies. It was wild because they were standing in front of what is, arguably, the most famous movie theater in the world (Grauman’s) when they told me that they just weren’t really into movies—movie stars, yes. Going to the movies? No.

This blows my mind because it’s the one thing that will actually get me out of the house. I see a movie a week—more during Oscar season. So, I was shocked to hear so many people say that movie going wasn’t on their radar screens. Taking pictures of movie star footprints, however, was absolutely part of the deal.

I approached a number of people to speak on camera, and they refused. Turns out tourists are suspicious of youtube/vimeo videos—and probably with good reason. These people were wise, yet unhelpful. On the upside, I definitely managed to talk to my 50 strangers in a single month this time around. I even managed to add some men into the mix.

I learned that when you arrive at a parking garage and someone asks you if you are with "Californication" you should say yes, instead of no. :) But it was a promising way to start the day, even if I didn't get a chance to stick around tonight to watch them shoot at the church.

Oooooh, but I did get asked out! Elvis said he would definitely see The X-Files movie if I went with him. Um…

In the end, the video has highlights from interviews with Bridget, three genuine tourists, a clown and Elvis.

Would I lie to you?


Summer Movies and Elvis from Kate Dating on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Apartment Living

No one my age should still be living in an apartment. The joys of communal living should be foisted on to only the very young because as an adult, you just hate making the compromises.

I hide from my neighbors. This is a well-known fact. But I met one of them last night. She came by and she very nicely asked if I could be quieter in the mornings. Of course, I said “sure”, and apologized, since I do get up just after God every day. Then I asked what it was—I was thinking that I let my alarm go off too long, or maybe the TV news was too loud; something along those lines. Nope. She said she was actually surprised how petite I was (ie weeble sized) because it sounded like a huge man was clomping around in the mornings lately. So, either I’ve been in a mood more than usual in the last couple of weeks, or she has mistaken my closet doors rolling back in forth for footsteps (as I have been trapped in clothing indecision more than normal).


Naturally, I don’t want to annoy my neighbors—not because I’m an inherently good person, but because I don’t want them stopping by for any reason. So, this morning, I found myself tip-toeing around my apartment. I’m gently closing the door to the bathroom. I’m worrying that my shower might be too loud.

Seriously? I’m in my late thirties. I get up before the sun. I work 24-7, and now I’m freakin tip-toeing around my apartment. How did I get here? This can’t possibly be my life.

Why couldn’t the complaint have been that my energetic sex life is keeping her awake at nights? You know, besides the obvious that dinosaurs roamed the earth the last time I had a date. I don’t hear anyone complaining about the acrobatics going on in 217 (p.s. glad to hear that one working out for you—you go with the morning sessions!).

How about, “The paparazzi are all over this place when you and Duchovny get together to work on your new projects. Could you guys stop collaborating on your next Oscar winning movie before 10?” I’m flexible. I’d be willing to meet with David earlier in the day.

How about, “wow, I didn’t know you were the most famous concert pianist in the world! Could you stop practicing after 11?” Sure, I also don’t do that, but I bet I could live with that one.

Nope, it’s me going about my normal daily activity that is annoying people.

So, now I’m tip-toeing for the rest of my life.

Shared walls = the destruction of the rest of my sanity.

Kate, absurdly tempted to start slamming doors.

(seriously, 217, it sounds like you're going to break something...)

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Well, That's Love For You

Huh. Let me just summarize this: a 64 year old man, currently spending life in prison for one murder, having admitted in the past to killing several western tourists, is engaged to be married to his lawyer’s 20 year old translator who he met 2 and a half months ago.

I see. An admitted murderer has seemingly very little difficulty in procuring his next vict… um… spouse, but I can’t get a guy to carry on a conversation with me?

Well, I suppose dragging out the relationship for 10 years before committing would seem a bit ridiculous since he could technically be in prison the rest of his life. I mean, what else does he have to do, really? “No, honey, we shouldn’t get serious, I have prison laundry to do” just sounds like a dodge. And since she’s obviously not put off by trifling details like the killing of people, she’s likely to be very flexible when he isn’t able to spend as much time with her as she would like.

It’s not that I’m bitter; I’m just curious what technique he uses. I’m confounded by the idea that an imprisoned serial killer has a more active social life than I do. Sure, he gets out more, clearly, but other than that, what am I doing wrong?

I guess I’ve been relying on things like the concepts of smiling and witty repartee should anyone ever show enough interest that those tools become necessary. Perhaps I should just let myself go, let the white hair come in, and start carrying around copies of “UnSub’s Weekly” to appear more attractive. Perhaps striking up some prison correspondence might do the trick?

Then again, my spirits should be bolstered – this truly proves the supposition that there really is someone for out there for everyone.


P.S. The story with the headline “thousands prepare for the apocalypse” is not related to me being asked out. Have no fear, that particular sign of the end times has not occurred.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Sex Sells

Sex sells. There is no doubt about it. If you can make something look sexy, you are more likely to be able to sell it. The more damaging or needlessly expensive the product, the sexier the campaign has got to be. Cigarette companies have gone two ways—manly, rugged men and sexy women. I’m not sure how the image of a good looking woman blowing smoke in your face is a turn on, but then I’m not a guy.

But at what point does it become ridiculous? A sexy woman draped across the hood of a Ferrari makes sense. It’s selling an image. You want a perception of sexy to help bolster your confidence if you are going to shell out that kind of money for a vehicle that is going to spend most of its time in the garage. But would you use sex to sell a Camry? Eh, probably not. In fact, I’m willing to wager that people might be appalled at the vision of soccer mom bent over the hood licking her lips. It just doesn’t work.

Coke can be fun, urban and/or family related. But then Diet Coke also had Cindy Crawford. So, diet is sexy, and regular is fun.

Shoes have to have a sexy image. You aren’t going to sell stilettos if you point out that your back, knees and hips will enter arthritic hell by 25 if you wear them all the time. Instead, ads have to focus on calf muscles and the promise of appealing to the opposite sex. And in that vein, you never see ads with a woman kicking some dude with stilettos—the real advantage to wear weapons on your feet. But would sexy be a big selling aspect to orthopedic shoes? Eh.

Alcohol? Definitely. You are never going to show the image of the morning after the night before and sell alcohol. Not that it would universally impact sales of alcohol, but I’m betting there would be at least one or two people, who might be a little mortified to see themselves in an ad that reads “if you want to wake up with vomit in your hair, and wonder who that nasty, naked guy next to you is—try our vodka”.

No, alcohol companies go another direction. For instance, this direction has appeared many times in Los Angeles and New York (including Daily Variety) in recent months:

For men, this ad may say something enticing like, “Belvedere Vodka will entice a vapid model to consider giving you a blow job.” – if you find the approach of someone vacuous and drunk appealing, that is. If you don’t, well… To me, this says something along the lines of “Of course, I’m drunk. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be considering going down on a stranger in this day and age where 1 in 4 people in New York have Herpes.” Or “Belvedere Vodka makes the possibility of gonorrhea of the throat so much more entertaining”. Maybe I’m just cynical. Maybe they are in a long-term, loving relationship, and he’s kind enough to provide a mirror for touch-ups after responsibly imbibing. Yep, that’s definitely what the ad is saying.

It’s not that I’m against this. I’m just wondering how much we are going to push the envelope. Sexy ED medication ads make sense. Sexy incontinence medication ads do not.

Does it work mainly with male focused products rather than female focused products? Do women order more things through UPS because the ads made the drivers look hot and appealing? Maybe, but I doubt it. Can we use this to our advantage? Is there a way to make sexy and responsible synonymous? Because if there is, that’s what I’m buying.

P.S. And if we’re sticking with straight sex appeal—let’s get Duchovny, Hamm, O’Loughlin, Lea and Clooney out there selling some products. I need a good floor cleaner, and I’m willing to be swayed.


Happy 4th! I’m trapped in Malibu because the streets appear to be closed headed back toward my part of the world. So, I’ll be lounging, pondering, and plotting my attempts to take over the world.