Monday, November 13, 2006

National Novel Writing Month Excerpt

Ok, so I'm a bit behind schedule, but things have picked up considerably in the past few days. Here's a sample:

So this made Val a rarity in LA: a local. And that was somewhat unnerving, as she looked the part of the small-town, moved-to-LA-to-try-and-get-a-break ingénue. Like many aspiring actresses, Val didn’t let the fact that she was nearly 25 (pushing middle-aged by LA standards) get in the way of being called an ingénue. She had jet-black hair (with highlights put in last week just for her role as “Girl In The Bar” which was upgraded to “Rion” when the director and producers decided that opening with a musical montage wasn’t going to work—CSI: NY was doing that the night before this episode would air.) The aforementioned eyes were a very dark-blue. Braces from age 11 to 13 produced a perfect smile. Below that, don’t ask: they’re real. She had a natural light-olive complexion, and avoided the tanning beds. She didn’t spring for the full-color IMDB headshot because she thought black and white was too classic a look to get away form.

Her first acting role: “Pre-teen #3” in a Sunny D ad in 1992. Her parents weren't big fans of an 11-year old taking on a full-time career so, outside of a few commercials and one stint as an extra on Buffy The Vampire Slayer before her senior year in high school, she didn’t start acting full time until the new millennium.

Halfway through 2001 she had full-time representation from Marty, and by 2005 she was getting enough SAG guest-role parts to move closer to the studio lots she had commuted to from Pasadena. Not on her own mind, this was still LA and rent, especially in places where you could feel safe without wearing a bullet proof vest, was doing its damndest to keep up with Manhattan (though semi-regular emails from a former HS classmate confirmed her suspicious that it could be worse.)

She had two roommates (but it was a four-bedroom place—the guest bedroom was still set up for guests, despite Caitlyn’s urges last spring to turn it into a mini-recording studio), Caitlyn James, an aspiring actress/musician from the typical Red-state girl-moves-west-to-make-it-big mold, and Autumn Reeser, who was having the best luck of any of them, career-wise. She had a series that was picked up in 2004 (it didn’t make it, but had still be more success than any of them to that point) and then in early 2005 found out her original guest-staring role on The OC had been upped to a full-time role. Sure, there were some fears that the fourth season would be the last season for the show, coupled with the usual internet-based cries that the show had jumped the shark at numerous points during season three, but for Autumn it was big-time progress. The evidence of how much progress was on display, sitting as inconspicuously as a box containing wildly expensive items can sit, next to their mail on the coffee table when Val got in from work.
“Are those…?”
“Christian Louboutins? Yeah, I’m afraid there’s a Prada bag and 3 pairs of 7 jeans in there too.”
“I didn’t want to splurge, but at the same time…”
“You did?”
“It’s cool.”
“How’d the shoot go this morning?”
“Not too bad. You’d think after all his time in the business Troy could get through a scene without fucking busting out laughing though.”
“They need you tomorrow for reshoots?”
“Yeah, 5am again.”
“Geez, sorry.”
“We do what we’ve gotta do.”
“I have to go back into town again tomorrow. It still kills me that USC is where we shoot all the scenes at Brown.”
“Southern California in October, New England in October, it’s all the same right?”
“Wardrobe seems to think so. I think that’s the real raison d’etre for these boots being here. Nothing like standing outside in 80 degree weather in a cashmere scarf and wool coat. I hope Josh was kidding about CGIing our breath when it’s supposed to get really cold.”
“What are they going to do about snow?”
“I don’t know. They keep the scripts hidden. Snow machines maybe?”
“Where’s Caitlyn?”
“Because I hope they would CGI the stuff, that’d be…oh. She got that audition for the prostitute that gets a mysterious illness on House on Friday.”
“Aren’t they all mysterious illnesses? Wait, better question: heart of gold?”
“Yeah…oh, yeah, probably. It’s going to piss House off, naturally. But she’s got that so she’s out celebrating tonight.”
“Thank G-d she’s not method.”
“Yeah, no kidding. Do you think anyone’s ever done that?”
“Wow. I don’t know. You don’t have any stories do you?”
“Hey now, be nice. Besides Mischa never really hung out with those girls anyway.”
“I’m really trying not to make the joke.”
“Thanks. Did you eat yet?”
“Um…no, actually.”
“Well look, I’m in a splurging mood, you up for Lobster Bar tonight?”
“If you’re twisting my arm…sure.”
They took Autumn’s car, a 2005 Lexus RX hybrid—another splurge, purchased right after her agent called with the news that she was not full-time on The OC—to Koi. Koi was a mixture of modern architecture—especially the marble fireplaces---with traditionally Japanese and general oriental style cues. It was also fairly packed, even for a Tuesday night. It was evidence of how much celebrity Autumn had that they had to wait only half an hour for two seats at the sushi bar.
“So, since this is splurge kind of day, I insist you get the baked lobster rolls with me.”
Autumn had changed into both a pair of the jeans and the Louboutins and a powder blue Ralph Lauren Purple Label shirt. She insisted that Val borrow a pair of Manolos and Val broke out a black Donna Karan blouse and Diesel jeans. They ate slowly, bites as a mere distraction from the converstation.
“So Rachel’s lending me her Wonder Woman costume from season one.”
“Cool. Wardrobe didn’t keep it?”
“Nah. They wanted to, but Seth and her pitched either a very convincing fit together, or asked Josh for a favor or…I don’t know. But the point is: Rachel got it, and I get to be Wonder Woman for Halloween.”
“Lasso of Truth?”
“Oh hush, I’ll find something for that.”
“If only it’d work.”
“Yeah, no kidding.” Another bite. “How about you? Any costume ideas?”
“Yeah…maybe. I don’t know. I keep drawing a blank and I really don’t want to go with one of those Sexy Formula costumes.”
“The…what? Sexy formula?”
A bite.
“Oh, I didn’t tell you about this? The other day when Caitlyn busted out her Sexy Snow White outfit—basically Snow White, but with a mini-skirt instead of a dress, and a lot more cleavage—”
“—God, two-and-a-half-weeks-without sex and she’s already trying to give it away—”
“—and it got me thinking: 98% of all women’s costumes are just ‘costume name’,” here Val broke out some exaggerated hand gestures, “plus sexy. ‘Bunny’ becomes ‘Sexy Bunny.’ ‘Pirate?’ ‘Sexy Pirate.”
“’Sexy nurse,’ ‘Sexy referee’…”
“’Sexy custodian’?”
“That might be part of the 2%...”
Another bite.
“’Sexy auto mechanic’?”
“Seen it. Short shorts, a tiny, tied up shirt with a name like ‘Bambi’ or ‘Tiffany’—something ending in ‘-i’—and some fake grease. Guys salivate.”
“Hmmm. ‘Sexy Granny’?”
Val laughed, it was a lilting colaltura, not a flutey, mezzo-soprano-ish giggle.
“Part of the 2%.”
“’Sexy morbidly obese.’”
“Probably not a costume, but yeah, 2%.”
Another bite.
Two, actually. Or, one each.
“’Sexy chest wound victim’?”
Val had a flashback to the Gregory Dark porno Steve had tried to show her and shivered. “Sadly there’s a market.”
Autumn furrowed her brow. There was another bite, this one polishing off the last lobster roll, with a dab of wasabi.
“You want the hat trick don’t you.”
“Maybe. I just think I’m missing something obvious, but I keep coming up with stuff like ‘mummy’ or ‘doctor’ and it’s too obvious they’re wrong.”
“’Sexy Taylor Townsend?”
Autumn arched a ‘brow.
“Sexy Teletubby!”
“Nice. I was going to offer ‘Sexy sumo wrestler’”
“Oh, yeah, those inflatable things?”
“Yep. I think they had them on the Real World.”
Another arched ‘brow.
“What? I watched the Real World. I thought you knew all my dark secrets already.”
“Clearly Miss Rose, some secrets should stay hidden.”
“Says the girl who was on Undressed.”
A last bite. Then coffee.
“What brought on this latest splurge?”
“Must their always be an ulterior motive?”
“Sweetie, we live in like, the Ulterior Motive capital of the universe.”
“Oh come on now, that’s a bit harsh…I know we’re supposed to be cynical but still…”
“Ok, maybe I’m putting it wrong. But ‘What you see is what you get’ isn’t about to be LA’s new motto.”
“Arnold’s getting re-elected…”
“See? That right there is a great example of the problems we have. An 80s action movie star becomes governor, and we pretty much go along with re-electing him because we like Leno’s jokes…any chance the projections are off?”
“Times says it’s a done deal. But hey, it’s still a few weeks off. Maybe he pulls an Equus and comes to a press conference naked on horseback…”
“Wait…plus a what?”
“Oh, you know, that play from the 70s? I was reading online about how Daniel Radcliffe is going to play him in some London revival. Nude horse-riding scene and all.”
“Wow. Random. Harry Potter and the Existential Nudity.”
“Ha. Yeah.”
“Is he 18 yet?”
“Settle down…I thought young guys weren’t your thing?”
“Oh fuck off.” Val clapped her hands. “You totally got me off track.”
“I did?”
“Yes. I was trying to get to the ulterior motive behind this latest Carrie Bradshawian splurge.”
“’Bradshawian’ I like it.”
“Thanks…but we must focus. The subject at hand. Splurging.”
“And we got all the way to former British child stars and nude politics…”
“Autumn…” Val made an exaggerated show of drumming her fingers on the table.
“Oh. Movie audition. Payback from the DFH-slash-promotional thing last week.”
“What movie? When?”
“Slow down Nancy Drew.”
“Is it one of those fucked-up Kaufman things I saw on the coffee table?”
“I wish. No, it’s a supporting part in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie.”
“Yep. They have a script for Whedon, and they want to get Richard Kelly to direct it. Sarah loved working with him on Southland Tales, and obviously there’s no movie without her…”
“Richard Kelly?”
Donnie Darko.”“OH…”

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