Severus Snape & The Marauders Teaser Trailer Released!

If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know that I produced a Harry Potter fan film this year with my boyfriend, Justin. Our film is called “Severus Snape & The Marauders,” and we are currently in the post-production phase. Justin got to be on a Harry Potter fandom panel during this year’s Comic-Con entitled “Fantastic Fans and Where to Find Them,” where a tiny amount of footage was shown. However, on Tuesday of this week, we released the first official teaser trailer for our film much to the excitement of fans and journalists alike. So far we’ve been covered on Hypable, the BBC’s Anglophenia, and MoviePilot among others, but we’re hoping for more coverage as the word spreads and the trailer gets more YouTube views. So without further ado, I present to you, the teaser trailer for “Severus Snape & The Marauders.”

The Artist’s Way: First Artist Date of the Year

The Artist's Way bookI

When I first moved to Los Angeles, I had a hard time finding work and getting out on my own. I was depressed a lot of the time and often complained to my parents about how I felt blocked creatively. My Dad then sent me his copy of The Artist’s Way in order to nudge me along in gradually becoming unblocked. I began to do the weekly assignments, morning pages, and artist dates and finally found a semi-full time job that allowed me to move out of my aunt’s house and into an apartment with my boyfriend. However, I stopped doing the work and never completed all 12 chapters/steps of the program. Now I find myself in a similar situation and am once again turning to The Artist’s Way for support.

After committing to doing the morning pages about two weeks ago, I finally went on my first artist date yesterday. Btw, an artist date is a date you take yourself on in order to inspire and stimulate your creativity. So, I had a few books and DVDs I wanted to trade-in for some cash and decided to take myself on over to Amoeba Records in Hollywood. It’s one of my favorite places to spend time just browsing and I always have a great experience when I go. They ended up taking all six items I had, and gave me $1 for each so I came out with $6. It was certainly better than getting nothing at all for them. I had also decided that I would use all the money that I got from selling my boyfriend and I’s things for our trip to Comic-Con next month so we could have spending money for merch and food.

I also had a $4 credit from a previous trade-in so I decided to browse around for a while and see if I could find something good to take home with me. I don’t really use CDs anymore so I headed over to the used rock record section. I must have spent two whole hours going through the endless racks of old records looking for something that caught my eye and was under $4. While I was browsing I discovered that a band was sound checking at the stage they have in the middle of the store. I found out that the electronic band, Miami Horror was going to be playing a free show. I’ve heard of them, but wasn’t really familiar with their music so I was stoked to be able to watch them perform.

Miami Horror at Amoeba Records

 

While I watched Miami Horror I munched on the dark chocolate covered pretzels I bought at the Godiva store earlier when I was at the mall. Chocolate covered pretzels are one of my favorite snacks and Godiva’s are especially good. There’s nothing better than chocolate and good music.

Godiva Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzels - Yum!

 

After going back and forth between a few records and even some cassette tapes. I finally settled on an Armenian dance LP for $1 and Crystal Antlers – Nothing is Real LP for $2.99. I was pretty shocked to find that Crystal Antlers record for so cheap. It was in one of the bins under the main stacks and was double wrapped. When I unwrapped it at home, I saw the original price sticker was still on there: $14.99! So score one for me, yay!

Records from Amoeba Artist Date

 

I really enjoyed this artist date because I felt like things just came together for me to make it a special and memorable experience. It definitely made me excited to make my artist dates spontaneous and free-spirited. Tune in next week to see where I go next!

 

Countdown to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Hollywood

If you know me at all or have been following along with this blog, you probably know how much I love Harry Potter. You can imagine my excitement then when I received an email entitled “The Countdown to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has begun!” Although Universal didn’t give an exact date, they’ve stated the WWoHP will open in Spring of 2016. So for those of us who really will be counting down, that’s potentially 9-10 months away!!! Or 303 days. Or 7,272 hours…You know. If we’re really counting…

While I have already been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando (before they built the add-ons with Diagon Alley and all that), I am still beyond excited to have Hogwarts practically in my backyard! Universal Hollywood is only 5 miles from me and I can see the construction driving down one of the main streets in Burbank!! I’m going to start saving up for a season pass because lord knows they’re going to jack up their prices once the WWoHP opens.

Here’s the official video released by Universal today at the IPW tradeshow in Orlando.

Btw, Quidditch inspired 3D goggle glasses?! I know I won’t be the only one who tries to pocket those…

Are you as excited as I am for more Harry Potter theme parks??

Movie Review – MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max

When my boyfriend, Justin, first showed me the trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road, I admit I was a bit skeptical. Was this seriously going to just be one long car chase? Could a movie like that really have much of a story? I didn’t know much about Mad Max other than it was set in a post-apocalyptic setting in the desert. I hadn’t seen the other films and never played the video games. It also looked like Charlize Theron was the ONLY female character in it, which made me roll my eyes in exasperation. However, I decided to give the film a chance after hearing rave reviews from friends on Facebook and professional critics alike. I went on Sunday night with Justin to the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood to experience it in IMAX 3D.

WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW

Um…so…HOLY SHIT you guys! Mad Max: Fury Road actually turned out to be a truly amazing cinematic experience. I was on the edge of my seat for pretty much the entire film and barely breathed during the heavy action sequences. I loved the creepy weirdo universe George Miller created, especially all the wacko jargon and character names. The bad guy is called Immortan Joe and totally looks like the evil clown from the Twisted Metal video games. He’s got this respirator thing with someone’s teeth on the front and wears clear body armor with badges and metals painted on. He is scary as hell! There are also all these young “war boys” that are basically bred to be his army and do all the dirty work like operate the insane pulley system in The Citadel and drive intense vehicles across the desert. Mad Max is actually captured by some of these dudes and used as a “blood bag” for the sick war boys who have radiation poisoning. I don’t really understand why Max and some of the other characters are healthy while most everyone else is really messed up or sick, but perhaps that’s explained in the early films.

While the majority of the film really was a giant car chase across the desert, the epicness of the action was actually incredibly riveting and original. There were some seriously crazy looking vehicles including one that carried a guy whose sole job it was to play the guitar! The Doof Warrior, as he’s called, is responsible for keeping Joe’s war boys motivated during battle in addition to contributing to the diagetic soundtrack of the film. I can’t think of anything more metal than that. Oh wait, add to that the fact that it’s a double headed guitar that’s also a flamethrower and now it can’t get more metal than that. Whenever the Doof appeared, he stole the show for sure, but the real star was Charlize Theron’s character, Imperator Furiosa.

Furiosa is one of Immortan Joe’s commanders, but she betrays him in order to free the five women he has kept as his wives for breeding. She leads him and his men in a wild car chase across the Wasteland as Joe tries to get back his wives, which he considers to be his property. At some point, however, you find out Furiosa had another motive in making this great escape. She wants to get back to The Green Place, which is where she’s originally from, and is a place completely ruled by women. Apparently, Joe snatched her and her mother from there when she was a little girl, but apparently her mom didn’t make it past the 3rd day. I kept wondering how that happened and what Joe even wanted them for. Was he planning on making Furiosa’s mom one of his wives? Or even making her one of his wives? If so, why does she now look like one of the war boys? Also, how did Furiosa lose her arm? This film leaves a lot of questions unanswered, but I suppose that’s so the sequels can fill it all in.

I keep hearing people call this a feminist film. While I don’t think feminism should be a dirty word, there is a little bit more going on here than just that. Mad Max: Fury Road is a social and historical commentary about the oppression of people in general and women more specifically. This film and the Mad Max universe, takes place post-civilization and post-apocalypse; we have no idea what civilization was like before then. Was it like it is now? Or were people more civilized? Did everyone have equal rights? The point I’m trying to make is that the Mad Max films show what it’s like to live in post-civilization when there are no real rules anymore and people are just trying to survive. Someone always comes to power in these situations because people need someone to rally behind who will make sure things get done. Very often, this person is corrupt because of their attraction to power. However, things might have been very different if another person had seized control of The Citadel, Gas Town, and Bullet Farm initially. A woman might have been more just in her position, but power can corrupt across any gender or race ( The example that comes to mind is President Coin from the Hunger Games).

What makes Immortan Joe a misogynist and likely a rapist too, is that he calls his five wives his property and most likely forces them to have sex with him in order to successfully breed a healthy heir. It seems to me in a post-civilized world where there is no real government or written law, property is in the eye of the beholder anyway and therefore could be taken at any time by anyone. Of course, women nor any person, is not property and should never be treated as such. This is essentially slavery and exploitive in many ways, and obviously no one wants to live like that. So, is it really a surprise then that the Five Wives want to escape from Joe and go someplace where there are only women?

I think what so many of these so called men’s rights guys are up in arms about is the fact that a woman actually saves the women in this film. She is the surprise superhero, and becomes the main protagonist, not their beloved Mad Max. I guess that can seem emasculating to some guys, but if you ask me, they couldn’t have been very comfortable in their masculinity to begin with. Sure Max helps them, as does Nux, but Furiosa would die to protect them all and nearly does in the end. However, I’d like to point out that she does becomes a damsel in distress herself and that Max (a man) has to save her, seeing as he’s a universal blood donor. She still had to rely on men to aid her and needed one to live.

Although the women are heading to The Green Place of Many Mothers, which is a matriarchy where no men are allowed, the women ultimately need the help of the men in order to survive. The mothers of the green place are nearly wiped out on their own, which was probably a combination of being snatched by men using them as breeders, fighting with other clans, and starvation. The point is that men and women need each other. THEY ARE EQUALS.  The dynamic on the War Rig with the wives, Furiosa, Max, and Nux is that of equality. Everyone has a job. Everyone is working together. The ones who know how to fight, fight. The ones who know how to fix things, fix things. It doesn’t matter their gender or age for that matter. Now tell me please, dear people of the internet, what is so horrible about that reality? These people have helped each other escape oppression and bring down an evil tyrant. The women are just as powerful as the men, especially given the circumstances. If men would just stop oppressing us and projecting outdated views on what women should and shouldn’t be doing, they’d get it.

Feminism is about equality. Yes there are militant feminists, as there are militant believers of every kind of theology, school of thought, and ism. Extremists are often louder and more media-worthy than their normal counterparts, but that’s why they’re called extremists. They are not the norm. I can’t wait to live in a world where men don’t mock or are surprised by kick ass women. How about supporting a fellow human being who is standing up for themselves and eliminating the injustices of the world? You’re a feminist if you can be unselfish for one moment and imagine yourself in another person’s shoes who may not be as privileged as you because of their sex, gender or sexual identity. Feminism is not a four letter word and we shouldn’t be afraid to call each other a feminist. Letting someone else tell you what you are is an acceptance of oppression.

So George Miller, I applaud you and your film for creating this dialogue between men and women about equality and feminism. It’s about time that a man wasn’t afraid to show a woman fighting on her own terms. Go see Mad Max: Fury Road!!

Birthday Freebies!!!

Happy Birthday Candles on Cake

Photo by Will Clayton

I am kind of obsessed with getting stuff for free. I’ve made it one of my life goals to get as much free stuff as possible. I’m not greedy, I just don’t have a lot of money right now, man! So many different companies give away products, merchandise, and food for free all the time. You just have to know where to look.

One of my favorite places to search for free stuff is FreeFlys.com. No I’m not being paid to say that, I legitimately found their site on my own and use it all the time. I’m just trying to share the wealth here! But anyway, they had a blog post a couple of years ago about birthday freebies. This means that stores, websites, and restaurants will give you something for free just because it’s your birthday! How awesome is that?! All you have to do usually is just sign up for their email list or rewards program. Easy peasy.

I’ve compiled a few of my favorites that I’ve actually used and think are worth it. If you want to see Freefly’s comprehensive list, feel free to check out this post.

1. Jersey Mike’s – Get a Free Regular Sub and 12 oz Fountain Drink

2. Real Mex Restaurants (Chevy’s, El Torito, Acapulco, etc) – Free Entree (Up to $12.99)

3. Ben & Jerry’s – Free Single Scoop when you sign up for their newsletter AND on your birthday!!

4. Buffalo Wild Wings – Free Snack Size Wings (8 pieces)

5. Baja Fresh – Free Taco for signing up AND Free Burrito on your birthday!!

6. Baskin Robbins – Free Birthday Scoop

7. Panera – Free Birthday Pastry

8. AMC Theaters – Free Large Drink

9. CVS Beauty Club – Save $3 on any purchase

10. Best Buy – Free $5 to spend on anything in the store!

11. Pizza Studio – Free Pizza!

12. Medieval Times – Free Admission with Purchase of a Regular Adult Admission (This is where I spent my birthday this year and had a lovely surprise party!!!)

Any really good ones that I missed?? Share all the free things!

Severus Snape & The Marauders Poster Photoshoot!

I haven’t mentioned this on my blog yet, but I am the Producer of a Harry Potter fan film called Severus Snape & The Marauders. We raised money on Kickstarter to make our film and finished production last month. We’re currently in the post-production phase, which includes editing, sound, music, and marketing. I did the photography stills for the production as well as all the posters. On Sunday, we did our last photo shoot for the film at Valley Photo Studio in Winnetka. All of the main cast was there and we had a blast shooting, dancing, drinking breakfast beer, and singing to whatever ridiculous music Paul (our Remus) decided to put on. We shot images for character posters as well as the official film posters and even did a few interviews for our friend, Dr. Janina Scarlet.

Here are a few unedited images from the shoot. I will definitely post the posters when they’re done! If anyone is interested in helping us get the word out about the film when it’s finished please comment or email me! 🙂

Garrett Schweighauser as James Potter
Garrett Schweighauser as James Potter
Dani Jae as Lily Evans
Dani Jae as Lily Evans
Paul Stanko as Remus Lupin
Paul Stanko as Remus Lupin