Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tales of Beedle the Bard (from Harry Potter 7) available for preorder!

I just preordered The Tales of Beedle the Bard from! It's going to be released at the beginning of December, and I'm so excited that the Harry Potter saga isn't quite over yet! You can also order the special collector's edition that's supposed to be a replica of what it would have looked like in the Hogwarts library.

For those of you who don't know, The Tales of Beedle the Bard was a wizard children's book that was a significant plot point in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Hermione is given the book from a particularly wise character, so she reads it over and over in the hopes of finding a clue that would help the trio defeat Voldemort.

J.K. Rowling originally hand wrote seven copies that were auctioned off for charity, and Amazon bought one of those copies. I'm surprised that they're now releasing it to the public, but I'm happy they are!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince trailer

So obviously, I'm pretty excited...

Although they're probably going to butcher the book so it fits neatly in 2 hours and 30 minutes of screen time, the trailer seems pretty dead-on.

Kinda makes me want to reread all of the books before the movie comes out, as that is the tradition... but now there are seven of them, and who has that kind of time?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Update on my life

So much has happened in my life since the last time I posted. Basically, I moved back to Boston from LA, graduated from Boston University, got a job, and got a car. It was a pretty eventful month and a half!

My new job will be at TripAdvisor, a travel review website owned by Expedia. I'm SO excited to start working there. My title is Product Associate, and I'll be developing new features both on the website and on social media applications like on Facebook. Because the office is in Newton, and I'm very against taking the T an hour and then walking a half hour, I got a car (which was a very long process). Hopefully the commute won't be too bad, but it took me 45 minutes to an hour to drive to my internship in Santa Monica, so I'm used to traffic.

So that's the scoop on my personal life, and the reason I haven't posted in a while. Hopefully I'll be posting more regularly, but I've never been very good at this whole blogging thing...

Friday, April 25, 2008

My advice for writing a resume

As you can tell, I haven't had much time to post in my blog lately. I have been very busy searching for jobs, as I want to have one secured by the time I graduate from BU in May.

Along the way, I did a lot of research to find what the best way is to write a resume. One page or two? Education or work experience first? Include everything or not? Here are some of the basic tips that I've learned that I hope will help some of my friends and peers graduating in May.

1) Keep it to one page
The multi-page resumes are for working professionals with more than a decade of experience. Now that it's graduation season, HR departments are getting tons and tons of entry-level applicants, and only have the time to quickly skim your resume, if that. So keep it to one page.

2) Customize your resume for each job
This may be time consuming, but it's worth it. For example, if you're applying for a research position at a pharmaceutical company, you might want to leave out the experience you had as a graphic design intern one summer. It's irrelevant, and a waste of space on the only page you have to work with. However, if the job description calls for you to make brochures using InDesign, it would make sense to include your design experience.

3) Keep it chronological
There are two main resume formats. Chronological is when you list your work experience in reverse order, so that's from most recent backwards. Functional is when you list your experience by relevance to the job you're applying to. It's best for a college grad to list their internships/jobs in reverse order of dates, because it's easier for the HR recruiter to follow your work timeline. You may not have developed specific skills sets yet, such as sales AND marketing AND account management, so a functional format wouldn't work unless you've been working for years.

4) Highlight your accomplishments, rather than day-to-day tasks
This one's important. Let's face it: you thought answering phones and filing were the most boring tasks imaginable. Well so do the HR recruiters, if you write it that way. Instead, say something like "Created a filing system that increased the company's research efficiency." Never lie, but think big picture. Even though you didn't realize it at the time, all that filing and organizing you did made it easier for your superiors to access files and get their jobs done more quickly. But you probably never thought of it that way.

5) Bullet point those accomplishments
You want to make your resume as easy to read as possible. Bullet point each accomplishment under each job instead of writing one large paragraph. Again, an HR person will only have the time to skim your resume if you weren't referred to them internally, so big blocks of text will not make it easy for them to put you in the "yes" pile.

6) Spelling errors are a NO NO
I've spoken to several HR people and read a lot of books that included quotes from recruiters, and they all say the same thing. Resumes with typos will go straight into the trash. Attention to detail is a skill that many jobs require, and if you couldn't make time to reread your resume, how are you going to make time to reread that press release on the job?

7) Your educational experience goes at the BOTTOM
Yeah, your education was the last four years of your life, so it seems important to you. But employers typically want to know what your work experience is first, so put that way up top. If you're writing a CV, that's different, and is more focused on research and educational experiences. But since I've never written a CV, I'm not going to get into that here.

8) Have a "skills" section
Since it's best to list accomplishments rather than day-to-day tasks at each job you've had, a section on your skills would help to include what you couldn't fit in your bullet points. So if you know how to use HTML, Excel, and PowerPoint, and you are fluent in Spanish and French, this is where to fit in that information.

9) Don't have an "objective" section
As an entry-level college grad, you don't want to box yourself into a corner, and an objective statement is the first way to do just that. Say you're applying for a position that filled up yesterday, but the position is still listed as open on the website. If there's a position open in sales that your skills would qualify you for, but you had the objective of being a "media planner," your resume will probably go in the trash instead of being forwarded to the sales department.

I've already spoken to people who are listing things that are better or a severe exaggeration from what they really did, with the excuse that a "resume is just a conversation starter." Wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. You will get caught in the interview when you can't answer a question about something you included in your resume. You will be embarrassed. And you will have wasted your time as well as the employer's time, so you'll probably never be hired there in the future.

You will hear different things from different people, so there's no one formula to follow. These are just some things that have worked for me. So how's my job search going? I'm not saying online until I secure a job. But these resume tips have definitely helped me get noticed in the HR shuffle, so hopefully they'll help you, too. GOOD LUCK!!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

I met Kevin from "The Office"!!!

Last night I went to a sports bar in Hollywood called Big Wangs and met Kevin (Brian Baumgartner) from The Office. He was a really nice guy, and didn't seem to mind at all that my friend Kelly and I interrupted his night out for a photo.

Hollywood is amazing! I love how started seeing celebrities after I stopped looking for them. :-)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

American Idol Gives Back... and I was there!

I can no longer complain about not seeing celebrities in LA. I got to go to the taping of American Idol Gives Back on Sunday (it aired tonight at 7:30pm) at the Kodak Theater (where the Oscars are!) because I know someone who knows someone.

Here’s a complete list of all the celebrities I saw wayyyy up close:
- Brad Pitt
- Reese Witherspoon
- Billy Crystal
- Robin Williams
- David Spade
- Terri Hatcher
- James Denton
- Greg Grunberg
- Miley Cyrus
- Maroon 5
- Ryan Seacrest
- Paula Abdul
- Simon Powell
- Randy Jackson
- Fergie
- Snoop Dog
- Gloria Estefan
- Maria Carey
- Jesse Spencer
- Sarah Silverman
- Jimmy Kimmel
- Carrie Underwood
- Annie Lenox

I can now leave Los Angeles feeling complete!

Here’s some trivia about the show, airing Wednesday at 9 EST, that you won’t see on TV:

The audience’s reaction to Reese Witherspoon is not the initial surprise. The first time she walked on stage and began her speech, the crowd went NUTS, but something went wrong with the audio, so Reese shouted, “Pretend you didn’t see me!” and they had to redo it.

o Brad Pitt started to get annoyed that the girls in the crowd wouldn’t stop cheering for him because he couldn’t start his speech. Even though they left the footage where is microphone fell off his shirt and someone had to run out in fix it, they also edited out a lot of the cheering.

o Band for TV (the performance of Terri Hatcher singing Carrie Underwood’s song “Before He Cheats” with James Denton, Greg Grunberg, and Jesse Spencer) couldn’t be there for the show at night, so they prerecorded their performance around noon with seat fillers in the audience. Terri Hatcher was really nervous before singing, but she did an incredible job! On the second take of the song, Jesse came up to her during the first verse strumming his little electric violin and gave her a really seductive look. As soon as Teri looked at him, she burst out in a fit of giggles and said, “He’s so distracting! Look how gorgeous he is!”

o Maroon 5’s performance was also prerecorded. Unfortunately, it was cut, even though the performance was great. When they brought out Maroon 5, the production crew wasn’t ready, so they were waiting onstage for a while. The lead singer couldn’t figure out how to have his collar to hid the bug microphone, and he kept saying, “Well somebody better come over and fix this!” When nobody did, someone on stage just walked over and popped his collar. During the actual performance, the lead singer was looking directly into my eyes the whole time (no really, I swear… either I was his line of reference since I happened to be sitting at eye level a few rows back in the center, right in front of the microphone, or he literally was looking into my eyes).

o John Legend had a solo performance before Fergie joined him. But they cut the entire thing. I guess someone sitting at a piano and singing is too “boring” to air unless you’re Annie Lenox.

o Much of the audience booed during John McCain’s video. Because of this, they cut out all three candidates’ videos.

So now that I've seen all these celebrities, I feel like I can leave LA having had the complete LA experience. Sorry for the lack of pictures... we weren't allowed to bring in phones, cameras, or purses.

Friday, February 29, 2008

This is hilarious: Jimmy Kimmel is $@%#ing Ben Affleck

I HAD to point this out. This aired as part of Jimmy Kimmel's show after the Academy Awards as a retaliation to a song on his girlfriend Sarah Silverman's show. Not only is the song funny, but there are so many cameos that make it hilarious, including Harrison Ford, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, and so many more.

Busy busy in LA!

Here's a quick recap of what I've been up to!

President's Day Weekend:

Went to Universal Studios with a bunch of friends, and had a great time. They're doing an amazing promotion where you buy one day and get the entire year free, so now we get to go as often as we want. It's a pretty small park with only two major rides, which is unfortunate, but the studio tour makes it worth it. Wisteria Lane, the street from Desperate Housewives, was closed off, but I can't complain because it means that filming has begun!!
Went horseback riding at the Sunset Ranch, which I would recommend for any tourists in LA. It was sort of scary, as we were riding up on the Hollywood hills, and all the horses insisted on walking right along the edge. But even though I was afraid of dying half the time, it was a lot of fun, and the views were spectacular, so it was definitely worth it!
Checked out the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, which isn't really a big deal, because it was something like my fifth time there. Even though it was a week before the Oscars, they already had the bleachers set up. I took some pictures, and it was just nice to walk around in great weather.
Oscar Weekend
No, I did not go to the Kodak Theater. First of all, I would have had to enter a raffle back in September for a chance to get in the bleachers, which I wasn't aware of at all. Secondly, it was rainy and gross that day, so they had these huge tents set up, so we wouldn't have been able to see anything even if we tried.
The show itself was a bit boring, and the montages looked like they'd been rushed, because I saw a bunch of editing mistakes. But I was very happy that Daniel Day-Lewis won for best actor, and No Country For Old Men is an amazing movie, so I was happy it won for best picture and directors, and that Javier Bardem won best supporting actor. And I loved that Atonement won best original score, it's an amazing soundtrack. I was hoping that Cate Blanchett would win best supporting actress for her performance in I'm Not There and that Ellen Page would win best actress for Juno. And congratulations to Robert Elswit, who won best cinematographer for There Will Be Blood! It was great to hear him talk about his experience with the movie last month.

Friday, February 8, 2008

According to Disney's Michael Eisner, the writer's strike is over

This is what Michael Eisner said on CNBC last night:

"It's over. They made the deal, they shook hands on the deal. It's going on Saturday to the writers in's impossible (the rank and file writers) will turn it down. A deal has been made. They'll be back to work very soon. I know it's over."

The only thing left is for the WGA to ratify the deal, and then the writer's strike is OVER. Which means that this city will come back to live, everyone will get back to work, we'll get to find out what happens next in our favorite shows, and the Oscars will go on!

Why couldn't this have happened a month ago? Then I might have had an internship at ABC... le sigh.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Stuck in Traffic with Dwight Schrute

As soon as I walked into my internship this morning, one of the editors said to me, "We need you to run an errand first thing." Ugh. I hate driving in LA, so I wasn't too happy with the situation, especially since the office I was going to was right near where I got lost on my way to my Spyglass interview.

So I was driving (well, rather sitting) on Wilshire Blvd., less than a mile away from my destination. It was bumper to bumper, but I needed to get into the right lane. Someone let me in, so I waved that thank-you-for-being-the-only-nice-person-to-let-me-into-the-lane wave. I've made it a habit to look at all the people around m
e when stopped at a red light (you never know, Orlando Bloom and I might someday have a friendly conversation at a traffic light), so I looked in the rearview mirror to see what kind individual was in the car from behind me.

It was Rainn Wilson, the actor who plays Dwight Schrute in The Office.

I was so amused that I immediately called my boyfriend Bryan who watched every episode of The Office with me. When he picked up, I said, "Guess who's in the car right behind me? DWIGHT SCHRUTE!" Bryan thought it was awesome, which it was, even though I have no way to prove it (I had my camera with me, but I was in traffic, and I'd rather, you know, live).

So for future reference, even though he was talking on his cell phone while driving (which is legal in CA), Rainn is quite a courteous driver. And I've finally had a celebrity sighting in LA.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A week of rain and a celebrity sighting (well, sort of...)

Beware: Long entry ahead.

First of all, I'm sorry I haven't been posting very often. The wireless card in my laptop died, and every time I tried connecting to the internet since getting to LA, my computer blue screens and crashes. So I finally invested in an ethernet cord. Yay!

Last weekend, my friends and I went to an open house for established and aspiring cinematographers. Being a bunch of aspiring directors, writers, and advertising creative directors, we didn’t really fit in, so at first we just goofed around and pretended to be important (“So I got your script the other day…”).

But then we met Robert Elswit, cinematographer of There Will Be Blood. He talked about his experience working with Daniel Day-Lewis, who has to be one of the best actors ever. All of his performances are amazing, and he’s known to be so devoted to his roles that he stays in character when he’s not even on set. He literally becomes his character during all of production, and that takes serious dedication. I remember hearing that when filming Gangs Of New York, he always spoke with that crazy New York accent, even in normal conversation.

So Robert Elswit said to us, “You’d think he’d be a crazy guy in, you know, real life. But a couple of weeks ago, we were all at some event, you know, with our spouses… and he was talking to me and my wife. And I realized I’d actually never spoken to him off-set or had a normal conversation with him until right then. And you know what, he’s actually normal when he’s not filming anything!”

So that was really awesome, but that was the last sunny day I’ve seen here. It’s been 45 degrees and raining practically nonstop for the past week-and-a-half. And I don’t mean normal rain; we’re talking downpour style, like ack-I-can’t-see-three-feet-in-front-of-me-while-driving style. And I know that I’m supposed to be grateful to be out of the Boston cold, but honestly, it hasn’t been much better here. It even snowed here yesterday morning. 75 and sunny? Psh, talk about false advertising for LA.

So the rain means that everyone, including celebrities, go into hibernation mode. It cleared up for the two hours the actors were on the Screen Actors Guild red carpet (which is actually really eerie if you ask me… was this really just a coincidence?) But it’s been interesting to see how LA people react to the rain. There was one day when the rain stopped for a tiny bit, so my friend Alex and I practically ran to the Grove to enjoy some time outside. Of course, it rained as soon as we got there, so we sat down under a canopy and ate some sushi. It was pretty hilarious to see the LA natives reacting to the rain like it was acidic or something.
Stay tuned! Should get better now that it's going to be sunny again!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Welcome to La La Land!

I can’t believe I was still in Boston just a week ago. So much has happened, and life’s been pretty hectic. I moved in to a spacious apartment in Park LaBrea on Sunday, and my suitemates are awesome. I share a huge room with one girl, and we have a walk in closet that you could practically live in.

It’s still so surreal that I’m here; I’ve wanted to do this program since high school. The weather is gorgeous, the palm trees are beautiful, and the smog isn’t TOO bad (but it definitely does exist). Some of the other people in the program have already seen celebrities (including Steve Carrel from The Office in the 7-11 across the street, B.J. Novak from The Office at the Grove, and Marcia Cross from Desperate Housewives), but I still haven’t seen any.

Driving in LA is crazy, especially since I’ve only ever driven in a suburb before. There are tons of rules I’d never heard of before. Because of the intense traffic, there are strange rules. For example, there are some left turns that you can’t make during rush hour. But I’m starting to get used to it; except when I went to an interview at Spyglass Entertainment, and accidentally ended up on the freeway. That was scary. But most of the time, driving around here reminds me of Entourage. Which, of course, is awesome.

My two internships are going to be awesome. The first one I got is Goodspot, which is a movie trailer production company. They specialize in lower-budget films. I’ll be helping to design trailers, select fonts for use in trailers, and with other office tasks. I’ll have an even better idea for what I’ll be doing when I start next week. The internship I got just today is at The Ant Farm. This is another movie trailer production company, but they make the trailers and posters for many of the mainstream movies. They’ve done Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Shrek, The Kindgom, and so many more. They work on 50-80 movies at a time. I’ll be working in the music department, helping to organize the music database and suggest songs for use in the trailers.

So big news relevant to the writer’s strike: the director’s guild has made a tentative deal with the AMPTP. So hopefully this will have a domino effect, and the writer’s strike will be over very soon. It’s definitely easier to find out the latest insider news over here. It was also strange seeing the picketers for myself this morning on my way to The Ant Farm.

So if I don’t disappear in (1) an earthquake, (2) a forest fire, (3) a riot, (4) a gang fight, or (5) the smog, (yeah, BU spent like 5 hours warning us about the dangers of LA) I’ll post again soon. Despite the awesomeness of being here, I do miss Boston.