The Upward Swing of Productivity

A cousin of mine remarked on Facebook today that business people like to say, “I’ve been swamped” way too much. I think a lot of different industries have different phrases when it comes to being busy. In the restaurant industry, when a server is overwhelmed by his or her tables, the server says, “I’m in the weeds.” When writers have too many deadlines, they say, “I’m buried.” Actually, I don’t really know that writers say that. The writers in the movie Shattered Glass said that and I thought it was pretty cool so now I try to say it.

I haven’t had time for personal writing lately, because I’ve been buried. As much as I’d like to think that I’m the kind of writer who can just come home from my day job and put in another eight hours in front of another computer, the reality is that I’m not quite there. That could very well mean that I’m not driven enough, but I think there’s something to be said for trying not to burn out. I love writing – I do! – I just need a little time away from it once in a while. I will say this: There are few better feelings than finishing an article I’m proud of. No matter how late it is or how tired I am, the small accomplishment of knocking out an article always lifts me up and is always an occasion to celebrate. Typically, I’ll just step outside for a smoke.

Recently, I watched Woody Allen’s new film Whatever Works. The following Monday, I had to be in LA for Press Day at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, where most Press Days are held – or so I’ve experienced thus far. Anyway, Patricia Clarkson, Evan Rachel Wood and Larry David made up the panel and there were about 30 journalists in the room. Like any Press conference, no one reporter can really control the interview. As such, you get a wide range of questions that don’t necessarily cut together into a compelling story angle. One of the journalists – I think she said she was with E! – threw out a really random question about vampires and what the Hollywood industry finds so interesting about them. How in the hell that works out into something people want to read or watch on E! is beyond me. Then there are also the foreign journalists who speak in slow, sometimes broken English. One Asian lady didn’t realize that Larry David was Jewish and asked him about his preparation for playing a Jewish character, going so far as to ask if he spent more time with Jews in order to study them. Larry David of course responded with something sardonic about learning the Jew’s mysterious ways and even getting bar mitzvah’d again. Anyway, the point of all this is to convey how it’s sometimes difficult to find a coherent narrative thread throughout the interview to put down on paper. So that usually means I’m up all night listening to portions of the entire Press conference over and over again, mixing and matching segments in my head until I can find convenient segues to tie them together. With that in mind, it’s nothing short of a small victory that these articles turn out as readable as they are.

On top of the writing, there’s also the long commute to and from LA. I used to dread the idea of living in the big city. Now it’s all I can think about whenever I’m stuck in traffic. Imaginary signs that read: “You’d be home by now if you lived here” supplant all of the billboards for gentlemen’s clubs that line the freeway as I crawl along. If I should see flashing fire truck or ambulance lights in the distance, my first thought is, “Somebody better be dead to justify this traffic.” And if I’m headed home from a late night event, I mentally prepare myself to do a slow paced slalom from hell on the freeway as Cal Trans night crews shut down lanes first on one side for one stretch of the freeway and then the other side for a another stretch down a ways. All of this time and energy put into driving really kills my productivity. On the upside, all of this experience on the freeways means I make amazingly great time no matter the distance I have to drive.

Of course none of this is to say that I dislike what I’m doing. On the contrary, I love going to special events and screening movies. Recently, I got to go to the Young Hollywood Awards, which is the first time I’ve seen Adam Lambert post-American Idol. I’m still impressed that I covered him before his fame and fortune while he was cutting his teeth with The Zodiac Show. Also, recently I got to screen Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen at IMAX no less. With any luck you’ll see my review up on Buzzine late tonight.

Brief Celebrity Opinions

I recently caught a blurb that quoted Megan Fox, saying, “Stop comparing me to Angelina Jolie.” On one hand, I think that’s a fair request. Being an A-list actor is a tough career to come by and I can imagine how bitter of a pill it must be to swallow when you climb to the pinnacle of your personal mountain only to find it overshadowed by someone else on a greater mountain. On the other hand, I think that Megan Fox still has a lot of ground to cover in terms of her profession as an actor. She’s pretty to look at – no argument there – but let’s see her carry a melodrama. I can almost guarantee that it wouldn’t be as pretty. So when Megan Fox is compared to Angelina Jolie, who is far and away a better actress, Megan should take it as a compliment and start branching out into roles that will challenge her acting chops.

As for pure hotness between the two ladies, I think that’s a toss-up if we’re being fair and comparing Angelina Jolie and Megan Fox in their respective physical primes. If, however, we take into account personality then Angelina wins hands down. Megan is sexy, but Angelina pulls off the attitude better.

Working Author

I’ve recently been working on the Web design for another site that’s similar to this one and I’m thinking of following the design I’m making for them. Basically, I want to turn the top portion of the front page of this site into a kind of hub for the entire site. That way, visitors can be instantly updated on what’s new without having to look in respective sections. Moreover, it’ll seem like my site is updated more frequently. Anyway, look for changes soon.