Throwback post. “Monsters in the Movies” panel at the Academy.

Monsters in the Movies program cover.

I didn’t know what to say to Mr. Stromberg.

He was nice and I found it helpful that he talked about finding his lead by her appearance in another movie, discovered by the company of a producer I had run into a few times. When Mr. Stromberg mentioned he grew up neighbors with Phil Tippett and what an influence he was on his own career, I thought of pipping up that I had gone to see him speak a few years ago. But I sensed. . . you know, being a geek is not anything these days.

I’ll give you an example.

*

Back in 2007, I went to a casting director workshop, to meet an associate of a particular casting director, not long after it was announced that Bad Robot would be involved in a Star Trek reboot. I figured this CD would cast this film because she had cast previous ones for them. Anyway, it was another I’ll call it branch of her very large office but I figured maybe if I made a good impression, it would carry. I had no theatrical representation at the time, so this was one of the few ways one could get seen, sorta. Before the workshop, I had spoken to another aspiring actress and she watched me go over the list and I said why I wanted to go to this particular one.

“Hmmm. Star Trek?” she repeated.

“Yeah, I liked the original. Are you a fan?”

“No,” she shrugged and I couldn’t tell if she even knew what it was. Then she smiled to herself. “But that could be good for my career!” Her eyes glinted at the thought of it. And she flounced off, that supposed payday already mentally being spent. (I say supposed because I suspect they don’t pay exorbitantly overly scale and lock you down for sequels at lowish rates.)

*

What could once be considered niche nerd knowledge or fandom has become mainstream and lucrative and easy and popular to “like.” People will glom on to just about anything. Even if they truly like something, it doesn’t mean they’re a good person either.

If I mentioned it to make a connection, I didn’t think it would work. There are so many things that can be on a person’s mind or circumstances influencing how they’re feeling at the moment, and I don’t mind rejection that comes with not getting a job, but social rejection in person gets wearing, and I tend to minimize my risk by reading if someone is open to chatting or not. (Sometimes you have to push, in a field where relationships are key and one has none, hoping that you can break through positively.)

But I can tell you. You wandered here after all.

For me, it’s real. I mean, I want to work in the business obviously, but if I wanted to just make money. . . frankly, this is not the best path for a poor, unconnected, neither particularly stunning nor lucky girl.

I do love films. It’s different I think when you’re pursuing a career in them. It’s passionate and distant at the same time. And again, there’s a civilian vs professional difference in meeting your heroes, but I do like seeing people I respect or hearing about how they work so I can use that knowledge in my own filmmaking maybe someday. I ended up leaving the workshop early, with a sheepish explanation, to go Star Wars Celebration IV. (The associate teased me a little, but he was nice about it.)

“Monsters in the Movies” was an AMPAS presentation back in 2010. (This same year I went to their Ray Harryhausen exhibit, but haven’t seen anything along these lines for a while.) Shane Mahan hosted and Phil Tippett was the panelist I was most curious to hear from. No pictures were allowed or I’d certainly post some. I thought it was nice that Mr. Mahan and Mr. Tippett took the time to write out my name. I was worried they would misspell it (I have so many misspellings in my credits and that’s with contracts printed out!) but they got it right.

Mr. Mahan is a Hollywood exoskeleton specialist, overseeing construction of suits in movies such as Pacific Rim and the Iron Man franchise. Phil Tippett was in charge of stop-motion on movies such as Star Wars IV and V (New Hope and Empire Strikes Back) and I though seeing the future of CGI in the first Jurassic Park tests elicited a response of “I’ve just become extinct,” he still works today, on stuff like Twilight and the upcoming Jurassic World. I thought the AT-ATs and dinosaurs were cool. That’s pretty much why I went.

Monsters in the Movies autographed program. Phil Tippett and Shane Mahan signatures.