begging sucks, compassion doesn’t

Scribbled in black marker on a scrap piece of cardboard, these words burned into my eyes as exhaustion radiated from their bearer’s wrinkled face.

Mercy. Giving without receiving in return will always mean you will be shown mercy later on down the road. It reminded me of the main character in Les Miserables and how much compassion and giving changed a sinner man into a powerful philanthropist and leader. I need to start passing on my spare change.

Today’s journey began in class, learning about the history of film during the 30’s and 40’s, and major developments during those twenty years. I sometimes feel like I am the odd girl out. Like the things being learned and taught are all a part of this unknown realm of knowing that I should have discovered before catapulting into a program with cinema students. I love learning about it. I crave the knowledge that my fantastic colleagues have. Our adventures after class led us to Hollywood on the “Miracle Mile.” If anyone has any insight into why it’s called a miracle I would love to know…

E! News and NBC Universal: You know when you walk in a building and immediately feel under dressed, under qualified, and overly excited? That’s basically what today felt like. Clad in my new Vans (which I’m not sorry about), walking into the clean, white-walled E! lobby was like stepping into the part of Hollywood that I never thought I would witness. How does everyone who works in that building look so pretty all the time? Our professor just so happens to be a main writer and line producer for E! news, and was able to get us into all of the action. His personal tour included entry into control rooms, back hallways, and two different sound stages – the largest of which being Studio A, aka where The Soup and E! News tapes live to the East Coast daily. We met the show’s director and all of the producers…even the teleprompter girl said hello and a few words. I am in awe of the life that these people chose, but I can’t say I would be willing and able to work for a company whose sole content is entertainment gossip. Not for me. Though, there is a lot more that goes into that industry than I thought. Everything was shiny, new, glossy, and good-looking. What a privilege to be able to witness it all in action, and yet I still had no desire to be a part of it.

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American Dad: Unbeknownst to us, our E! News professor, Seth, happens to be good friends with a major high-up for the animated comedy, American Dad! Glenn came down to pick us up from the lobby in flip-flops, shorts, and a “The Who” T-shirt and told us to follow him in the most East Coast Northerner accent. Turns out he was from New Hampshire, and works in one heck of a laid back and comedic office (which makes sense). We walked around American Dad for about an hour, meeting designers, colorist people, illustrators, producers, and more. The people were incredibly open to questions and talking about how they got to where they are. Can you guess the common theme? NETWORKING! Ding ding ding! Every single person ended up at American Dad because they knew someone who knew someone who knew their work and invited them onboard. Sound familiar? Biggest lesson I got out of today: keep doing what you love. When talking to the color director, he spoke about how he went from painting in school to animating for Marvel comics using photoshop painting skills. Basically, the colorists go into the finished black and white animation and fill in the brilliant color palette you see on TV. Actually an out-of-this-world awesome job in my books. I was inspired by these guys in particular. Visual Art majors turned pivotal employees in the making of a big time TV show.

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Black Dog Coffee: Not to be confused with The Black Dog shops in Martha’s Vineyard, MA. This coffee shop made up for my lack of coffee-shoppage this weekend, and also bore delicious smoothies and wraps to feed our post-touring appetites. Mango smoothie infused with ginger tea and the California Wrap (it made me feel native). Side Note: My room-mate showed me a documentary that she made in Urbino, Italy last summer. In it, they featured all kinds of people in the small town, one being a local coffee shop owner who said “coffee is like the opening key to our emotions.” I stand by that statement.

La Brea Tar Pits and the LACMA: So we didn’t go inside either of these museums, but we did check out the grounds of each. My dad has been talking about the tar pits for a while now. After seeing the park, my interest was sparked. Fossils from way, way, way back in the day have been preserved in these pits and put on display in the museum. May or may not be a little kitschy and touristy, but I’m down. Outside of the LACMA we got to the “Urban Light” installation!!! One of the places in LA I have been wanting to visit since day one (still need to go at night!). Funny how a collection of lamp posts close together pulls so many crowds. Most definitely a city landmark and a must-see. There is something whimsical and freeing about the pattern and grid of the structure. I couldn’t help but smile as we wove through the rows and rows of looming lights. I felt like Natalie Portman and Ashton in “No Strings Attached” and I loved every second of it.

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Walking back to our car reminded me of that saying “get lost on purpose.”

  • We ran into a street stand with “fruit in a bag” aka fresh fruit, chili powder, and lime shaken up in a plastic bag.
  • Ten panels of the Berlin wall just so happened to be on display. Four featured original graffiti from the free side of Berlin when it stood nearly 30 years ago, and the other six had new artwork (see photos below). Apparently this is the longest portion of the wall standing that exists outside of Germany today. Incredible to see.
  • Breeze bustled through the trees and the sun beat down on us and I felt like I have found another small part of LA city that makes me feel at home.

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Today’s love contrasted with things I realize I don’t love. Showing compassion, mercy, and giving people chances without doubt means more to me than reporting and gossiping on celebrities in Hollywood. It just does. I hope one day I’m well-off enough to give freely to people who lack.

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