My Crazy Night Part 1

23 Jan

I’m always up for an unpredictable adventure so when my friend, Cara, asked me to go to her alumni event for Penn State, I said yes. It was all the way in Westwood and I let her drive us there in her 1991 Geo (which sounds like a prop plane when we’re on the freeway, by the way). I had a feeling it might be a good networking opportunity because she had mentioned there might be some film people there. We got there early and the turnout was okay, but I felt awkward and a little like a fake because I was at UCLA for a Penn State event and I’m a USC alum! I tried to blend in. I noticed everyone looked a little bit like they spent time in the midwest. My kind of people, or at least they used to be. (Cara told me later that Pennsylvania is not the midwest, but a Mid-Atlantic state). I laughed. I’m from Chicago and these people looked midwest to me. Not that that was a bad thing! It was actually quite refreshing from the usual LA hipsters and people who try to prove they are artistic by weaving leaves into their hair. (More on those types later).

Anyway, everything was going along swimmingly except for when Cara left me to go the the bathroom. I picked up a nearby magazine about the Penn State Communications program and stared into it, feeling a little lame. Then Fran caught my eye. A short woman with salt and pepper hair, Fran immediately asked me what I did. I talked about the documentary I’m editing. I told her I wanted to produce. She was a curator at the Getty doing work on photography exhibits. It sounded fascinating and she was talking about how everyone has to go to Petra before they die. I was thinking Petra might be that place that Indiana Jones has to follow the Nazis to in “The Last Crusade.” It’s in Jordan. I know that much. I really tried to make a favorable impression on Fran, but really I just wanted to sound somewhat intelligent. Somehow we got onto the topic of smoking in China. Fran was concerned with pollution there and told me Shanghai and Beijing were quite terrible in terms of breathing conditions.

Shortly after, Cara returned and the three of us went into the theater where the panel was about to begin. As the President of Penn State started introducing the distinguished guests, I started to pay attention to their credits. When he got to the last panelist, my jaw about hit the floor. I was starstruck as I put the name together. “Jack Abrams. These days he says he’s more of JJ’s father to most people.” Wait, what?! JJ? JJ ABRAMS?! ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?! I almost wet my pants. I know that you might think that that’s a total exaggeration but I’ve been a fan of JJ Abrams since “Regarding Henry.” “Felicity” changed my life. Sydney Bristow felt like my older sister and I wanted nothing more than to be her. I once got my hands on an original copy of an “Alias” shooting script when I was working at ABC and someone had left it on the ABC bridge where they were shooting. I still have it. JJ’s script he wrote for “Superman”? Own it. “Lost”? Um yeah. Saw every episode. Twice. Opening night of “Cloverfield,” I was at the theater. I’ll watch anything with his name on it. I thought “Mission Impossible 3” was the best and freaked out when I got to see Keri Russell back in action. I’ve been a JJ fan since before JJ was JJ. I’ve converted many of my friends so that they, too, are now JJ Abrams fans. I used to sneak onto the set of “Felicity” not to just see Scott Foley or Scott Speedman or even Keri Russell, but to catch a glimpse of JJ! JJ makes me want to write and produce! He’s his own brand and I knew he would be before he was! I would take casual walks passed the “Alias” office which later became the “Lost” writers office in hopes JJ would see me, tell me how brilliant I am, and hire me on the spot. That didn’t happen but now I had a chance! Now I had a shot. I was in the same room as his parents! They probably know him so well! I started sweating. Everything went blurry. I had to talk to them. Was this going to be like that time Steven Speilberg came into my class and I really wanted to ask him a question but totally froze up? I hoped not…

Stay tuned for Part 2 of MY CRAZY NIGHT!


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