samedi 15 septembre 2007

chateau fontainebleu and st. denis

Today, Micefa arranged a day trip to Fontaineblue, just 55 kilometers southeast of Paris. All the kings have lived there dating back to the 12th century. We had to wake up early and be at the office by 9 (blech!). Our profs were there too, and they gave us these scavenger hunt kind of things to do, a 3 page paper with questions to fill out as you go through the chateau. I was not expecting that, I just wanted to enjoy the day and tour and take pics, but some of us felt really rushed and anxious to get the paper out of the way in order to enjoy the day. Oh well. This is a library that we saw:
Besides the homework, I did enjoy the castle. It was so beautiful. I stood at this window of one of the private rooms for the Queen, and I thought about whether she stood were I stood and looked outside, and it felt eery, but cool. Just to be surrounded by so much history and opulence. The grounds as well were tres cool. There was a carp pond, and we had a picnic that my friend Derek planned on this grassy area by a canal. It was so beautiful. We all brought our own sandwiches and stuff to share. I went to a boulangerie nearby and bought a sandwich and this loaf of sweet bread that had candied oranges in it. It was delicious. It was really sunny, and the boys, Derek and Kris, were like, "Let's go in the shade!" And they were totally griping about the sunshine. But us girls, Keisha, Lucia, Megghann, and I were all, "It's so nice out!" And then it was getting really warm, so we were all, "Okay, we'll go in the shade if you boys move everything." And they gladly did. The boys are so hilarious and add a much needed humor to situations. Here's the secret passageway to the picnic spot:Anyway, it was an awesome day trip and loads of fun. Yesterday was cool too, we saw 2 Days in Paris, and it had some good parts. I really like Adam Goldberg, he's a really good actor even though he gets typecasted a lot.

I'm really happy today for two things:
1. Yesterday, a lady asked me, while I was walking down rue de Rivoli, if I knew if there was a cinema nearby. And I said I didn't know, sorry. What makes me happy is that she thought I was a Parisien! She didn't think I was a tourist! And a "cinema" of all things! Film is all around me.
2. My ex roomie, Kathy, said that I looked like a film director today, and that made me happy. I was just wearing a button down shirt, jeans, and my Ray Bans, as you can see in the first photo. Nothing special. But it made me really happy. During one of our conversations when we were rooming together, I mentioned that I was interested in being a casting director, and she said her aunt's a casting director in LA. She said that she'd be happy to help me out and get me in touch with her. So cool! It's all about who you know.

I also visited St. Denis, where I'll be studying. It's quite a metro ride away, but I plan to have all my classes in the morning. I was told that their film department is small but good, kind of like SFSU. I hope to get more into French though, but we'll see. I was told that a lot of IP students have done well in their film program, and I feel all sorts of pressure to do really well too. I'll try my best.

If you haven't noticed on the left, I've been adding more and more photo albums to my photobucket, so you can check those out. I've updated "delicieux" and added a "fontainebleu" album. Enjoy!

jeudi 13 septembre 2007

bonne etudiante

Katia used me as an example yesterday! Yay! It always feels good to be an example. We were going over our homework for the verb tense "le conditionnel" and she liked my sentence. The conditionnal for us Americans would be the "would" verbs. Like I "would like" or I "would have done". My sentence was this:

Heureusement que le train avait un peu de retard, sinon je n'aurais pas rencontre l'homme de me vie. Which translates to, "Luckily, the train was late otherwise I would not have met the man of my life." Beautiful, no?

Anyway, she was glad that I used the "passe conditionnel", which is the past tense of the conditionnel. Also today, she complimented my writing and speaking because I apparently speak French really well since I don't let is sound like English. I articulate. But she also said that I need to speak up. It's funny, I noticed that my French voice is NOTHING like my American voice. My French voice is sort of softer and girly. Yikes, sorry for the French lesson, but you were due for one anyway.

I went to another H&M the other day with Lucia and Keisha and bought a cute black sweater vest in a SMALL! Yay! It totally fits. Tonight, we're going to go see 2 Days in Paris. It's written and directed by Julie Delpy and stars her and Adam Goldberg, who is hilarious. Awesome!

Tomorrow, we're going to Fontainebleu, and it should be really cool and fun. My friend Derrick planned a picnic.

mercredi 12 septembre 2007

faire du shopping

In an attempt to look more French and less like a tourist, my friends and I decided to do some shopping. Now, I know my money situation isn't that great since it's all going toward my rent and food, BUT I do think that a nice pair of every day flats are in order. In America, I love standing out and being unique and individual, but here I don't want to be treated as a tourist but as an inhabitant and in order for that to happen, I must look the part. I have a pair of fancy flats that Mom sent me (thanks Mom!) but they're really for dressier occasions, so just one pair of flats to get me through the year, I think, are sufficient. Goodbye sneakers!

The other day, Lucia, me, and another girl named Elizabeth who's also at a Cal State went down to Rue de Rivoli to check out the H&M. They had some cute stuff, nothing I really wanted. It's funny because all three of us are losing weight! Lucia is wearing a pair of jeans that she brought that were too small for her in the states, and now they're getting loose! As for me, a pair of jeans that were tight for me back home are now baggy and falling. Yay! I have to wear a belt. We all walk A LOT, and we go up 6 flights of stairs to class every day. I also have three short flights to my studio. Yay for hidden excercise! I'd like to buy pants later though when my current pants get really baggy, which I hope to God happens.

Oh! But I must say this, this boulangerie (breads, pastries and such..) that I go to sometimes across the street is really tasty and cool!! I was getting a tasty tart for dessert, and I had to repeat myself a couple of times, and she was like, "Oh, I understand, it's just this guy's talking (and she motions to this tourist by me) and I couldn't tell what he was saying, but I heard you, don't worry." And I thought that was so cool that she understood my French. Lovely. They make tasty sandwiches too.

Also, my prof made fun of me today in front of the class! It was a bit embarassing. She got a chair out for me because she wanted me to write on the board, and I'm short. And then she said I was too timid! Gosh, these French really speak their mind. Anyway, it was funny, and everyone was in such a crazy mood (even the prof!) because we were all tired. She didn't assign homework and just told us to go to sleep at 9.

lundi 10 septembre 2007

you will not believe this.

I can't even believe it. In the post right below this one, I ended on these questions: "Does it get anymore cinematic than this? Can there be any more signs?"

Apparently, there can. God's turn around time on signs (for those who believe in them) is pretty fast since I was just an extra in an Indonesian film set in Paris. What the heck?! Seriously, this can't be happening!

I was walking home, when I saw a grip setting up some lights to light a street near my house. I asked him, "Excusez-moi, vous tournez un film?" (Are you making a film?) And of course the answer was yes, and I told him I was a film student. Then he told me the name of the film, but I didn't understand it, and I bid him "Bonsoir" and I went home. I watched, from my window, more lights being set up. And then it came, the decision, the moment that separates the shy, Prufrock Elaine and the brand, spanking new French Elaine, the Elaine who is the total opposite of American Elaine. I grabbed my coat and camera and went back outside.

I watched for a while the light set-up and the camera set-up across the street. The actors and some of the crew looked Asian while the rest of the crew was French. The director, a woman no taller than me, was the director. She was Asian too. I saw her directing the actors in English and another language. Inspiring. I watched for a while, then when I saw this guy (Asian) with a DV cam filming (most likely for behind the scenes), I made my move. I figured he didn't speak French, so I could at least talk to him in English.

I came up to him and started talking in French (to be sure), and he said he didn't speak French in English, so then I started speaking English to him. He told me the movie was called Lost in Love, that it was an Indonesian film. After, I watched a bit more, and I saw this much older man eyeing me. Probably a producer, I thought. I wasn't sure if this was either bad or good. The worst part would be he would tell me to leave, and I'd be fine with that since I could just watch the filming from my window. He came up to me and asked if I was French, and I said no. Asian? Yes. Indonesian? No. What are you? Filipino.

Our DP is filipino, the guy said (awesome!!!). His name--the line producer--was Yousef, I think. His accent was thick. He told me all about the film, and we sat and talked film industry. I told him I was more interested in screenwriting, and he told me, "No, get into cinematography. Work with a camera crew." I thought that was funny because that's what I wanted to do technically and just write on the side. During the break, he said, he'd introduce me to the DP and the rest of the crew.

He took me closer to the filming during set-up for the next shot, and he introduced me to the Indonesian crew: the cam crew (including the filipino DP), the script supervisor, the make-up girls and PAs. They were all really nice and thought I was Indonesian too. He introduced me to some of the French crew: this really funny AD who actually bisoued me, which was nice since he was cute too, and the art director.

I took pics, hung out like a PA except with nothing to do. It was really fun being part of a film set again, even though I wasn't really part of it. I love the camraderie, the work, the excitement. It made me miss my SFSU Cinema Collective. The sound guys, who were French, were really funny. And some of the French crew were passing out candy and putting the wrappers in each other jackets. I love that kind of stuff. I love being on set because it's fun work especially when you're with good people. I watched from the monitor the shots, and I actually stood behind the director! She's only 21--how AMAZING is that? But one of the girls was all, "Yeah she's 21; she's still learning."

It was past 12am already, and I was set to go home when one of the girls (dang I forgot her name!) she asked if I wanted to watch one last shot that was going to be filmed up the street. Why not, I'm already here, and I love this stuff. Once again, sleep is denied in favor for the love of filmmaking, we used to be out late filming for Collective. So I walk up with the rest of the crew up the street when one of the French ADs says to me in English, "We need you."

I was like, "What?" Then I realized, oh they probably need extras. It was late, and there weren't many people around, so they probably need people for background. He asked me, "Parlez-vous francais?" I said, "Un peu." And then another French AD asked, "Vous buvez francais?" (Do you drink French?) I told him that I didn't understand, and then he said, "Well, you will now." He told me to follow him, and we headed to a cafe/bar/brasserie. They told me where to sit down, and they said I could order anything. I ordered a beer with some of the other crew members who were acting as patrons as well. It was so cool! I've never been in an huge film with an adult crew, only student films. before. It was exciting, and lovely, and so...encouraging just to have this experience. I feel, again, that God is letting me know that I'm on the right track, that all this is meant to happen. Thank you God.

Yousef asked for my number and said that he'll send me a message about the next shoot tomorrow. He joked around, saying he'll text me the call sheets. He said I can hang around and watch because he wants me to learn. He actually is one of the main guys at this film school in Jakarta, and most of the crew are his students. They're here till the 15th. This is so freaking cool, you don't even know!

a shot from where I'm sitting in the cafe

dimanche 9 septembre 2007

movie night!

Wow! So, my landlord Chris told me that they're going to show Some Like It Hot at this roman type arena just 10 minutes away from my house, so I invited some friends to come. It was really fun, and I've never seen this film before, so that was pretty cool. They actually projected the original film with French subtitles and didn't use a dvd. That was excellent. It's funny because they do stuff like this--show films in public places--in San Francisco, and my friend Stacy would always invite me to see these films with her. I've only went once, and we saw the first Indiana Jones.

For the first time since I've arrived, I didn't feel like some tourist. There we were, us Americans surrounded by Parisiens watching Marilyn Monroe under the stars. And for the duration of the film, we were connected by this love of cinema. And the language that we spoke or our home country, all that stuff that divides us, melted away because we laughed at the same things, stayed silent while Marilyn sang, and applauded at the end of the film. I've never felt more at home thousands of miles away.

This morning, a Japanese film crew was setting up outside with their cam, taking shots of my rue and filming my landlord's band. Outside, my landlord's band is playing "La Vie En Rose". Does it get anymore cinematic than this? Can there be any more signs?

All this is happening for a reason, and it's all beyond me, and it's happening, unspooling like film. Thank you God.