The only real difference between Miley Cyrus and I when we wake up is that she's holding fiance Liam Hemsworth, and I have a fluffy pillow that I borrowed from my aunt because I didn't have room to pack any stuffed animals.
Surprisingly, that thought has popped into my head a few times when I wake up in L.A. Miley and I are both waking up under the same, gloomy June sky, just trying to live the dream. (Of course, that's only if she's in L.A. I don't really follow this stuff) I find that I sleep less here, because no matter when I go to bed, when the first light of the day I feel through the piece of white and black paisley fabric my roommate, Shirley, has tacked above the window, I remember where I am and my mind starts to race.
I love my internship. I work in West Hollywood in a dark blue building with bright red arches, gates covering the doors, and a sign that hangs like a flag over the sidewalk proclaiming the production company I work for. The inside has high ceilings and long stretches of hallway, with chairs and tables packed into every available space. Freelance producers work in in the main room, their desks covered with posters of past shows and movies they've worked on, as well as post-it notes and images inspring their next projects. Everyone has a Mac. Down the left corridor, a small room holds the development team, the department for which I intern. Ravaged for ideas, post-it notes stick-out from books that nearly consume the room. Entire episodes of shows are plotted on post-it notes plastered on a window that glares into the next office over. The two people I directly work for are about 15 years apart in age, but the same in disposition, incredibly hard-working and smart but also laughing through most of the interactions I have, like they are always laughing at some underlying absurdity that is the television/film/entertainment business.
My desk is tucked in a small loft above some of the "editing bays." The company provided me with post-its, pens, highlighters, a legal pad, a light, a garbage can and a someone to work in the loft with me. Greg's a young associate producer for the show who spends most of his time looking up images for art direction purposes and filing out the incredible amount of paperwork networks demand, such as questionnaires on the racial composition for each episode aired. There's a third desk that I'm told is for a third employee, but a new PA, Jeff, sits there from time to time blasting a wide variety of music in his headphones. They're from Ohio State and Penn State respectively. Greg has a bottle opener hanging from a wire that hangs from my desk to his, and I have taken up the habit of send him notes the two feet length of the wire. I explained to Greg the "Call me Maybe" phenomena started by the Harvard baseball team and yesterday he sent me this is an e-mail saying " think you'll like this" a hilarious Second City rip-off.
As excited as I was not to work at camp again, the desk-job has a whole new set of challenges. I leave at 9 to get there by 10 and after the battle to find parking, ascend to my loft where I will remain, until 1:30 when I take my lunch break. Because I'm not getting paid, no one's really breathing down my neck to make sure I only take an hour, but I feel obligated to be back after 60 blissful minutes outside has gone by. The two guys brought me first to a fancy sandwich shopped where one might sample rare cheeses and wines and olive oil, and when I found the sandwich I ordered on a bold whim (something with bree and figs) to be really appalling, they proved what nice guys they were by offering their sandwiches in exchange.
Even though I promised myself I would just bring my lunch, the next day they were going to a pizza place, so of course, I wanted to go. Here, I knocked pink lemonade all over the Greg and his pizza. Between the spilling, and the forcing people to give up the food they ordered, I'm a pretty charming lunch companion.
Sitting at a desk all day is hard. The mornings are easier as I feel like I'm barreling toward that 1:30 lunch, but when I return for the second shift, the post-food sleepiness starts to invade and I curse the U.S. for not culturally adopting the siesta. Somehow three o-clock turns to four, and after another eternity of somehow, four o'clock to five, then five to six. Then I battle traffic home down Santa Monica Boulevard.
It's not that the work isn't fun or interesting. I'm trying to find experts to speak on camera for a show my company's making, and I wind up youtubing a lot of fun things like "Virginian endocrinologists." My favorite video I have stumbled upon so far is this: a very odd promotional video for a personal trainer in Richmond. I have already learned a lot from being there, it's just the constant computer use that gets me down. Staring at the screen all day, trying not to go on Facebook or write, it's a difficult call to focus that I haven't necessarily been able to do.
Yesterday, Jeff and I headed back over to the sandwich place. I wasn't going to tempt my fate by ordering anything, I just wanted to go outside. We wound up sitting next to a man that the Jeff recognized: "Excuse me, man. I just got to ask. You an actor?"
The man, big arms, sunglasses and a dog, bit into his sandwich and said, "Yes. I am."
"Super Troopers?" Jeff asks.
"Yup. That's me." I felt silly because I had never seen Super Troopers, but apparently the guy we were talking to was in one of the most highly quoted scenes, "literacola" : the kid in the pink shirt behind the counter many years later. Jeff, who I've learned is an expert conversationalist, kept the conversation afloat. "So man, you been in anything lately?"
"Eh...commercials usually. Selling things for McDonalds isn't that glamorous but it pays the bills."
"Totally. Do what you gotta do."
"You an actor?" Charlie Finn (Illinois local) asks Jeff.
"No. But this one is." He points to me, who, not really in the conversation, has just been watching it grinning like an idiot.
"Laura. Nice to meet you. Charlie."
"You have any pieces of advice for her?"
Charlie thinks. "Get a dog." he says. The three of us laugh....I internally panic. Get a dog?! That's how to make it in this business....in other words....there is no surefire way to make it, which I've always known, but the realization of the sure luck of it all was somehow all compounded in this completely obscure comment.
"Yeah? Keep you grounded."
We eventually left Charlie and his dog, an adorable French Pug named Wilbur alone, and I went with Jeff as he went to get coffee. I tried to explain to Jeff why that conversation worried me. Jeff shrugged.
"You've gotta just try. Besides, you're not the typical actor type like him."
"How was he the typical actor type?"
"Aloof. You're smart."
Another instant of panic, that was never my Great Aunts' conclusion at all of my second cousins bar mitzvahs. The one word they chose to describe to me was "aloof". In fact, that word has been used to describe me multiple times throughout my life, and I have yet to really figure out what I do that comes across that way.
"You ever see David Cross to his standup about LA?" Jeff asks.
"You should. He just talks about how everyone's out here trying to be "the one" but there can really only be 13 'one's' in a year, so everyone else is just trying to reconcile it and make it work. Like that guy...the guy from Modern Family just walked by...no one cared. I did a double take, but that's just the way it is out here. No big deal."
I of course missed him, but it was Jesse Tyler Ferguson.
We walked back to where I work and Jeff noticed that I was panicing about life in LA as an actress, the chaos of it all.
"Hmm. Well, I'm sorry I don't have a calming effect on you."
That's the odd thing is that usually the people who are calmest, who are just going with the flow, confident that whatever is happening at that moment is enough, and something will happen in the next moment that might even be more than enough, those people panic me the most. Because they represent an ideology I can't grasp yet, but feel I absolutely need to to feel satisfied with life. So much to work on.
On a lighter note...I've started liking celery more.
On a lighter note...I've started liking celery more.