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South Hill In the San Fernando

Life at Ithaca College's LA Center

Posted by Andrew Buraczenski at 3:31PM   |  Add a comment

As much as myself and the other students out here have been trying incredibly hard not to think about our approaching departure from the City of Angels, it's one of those things that we just can't help to have on the top of our minds. 

Last week, I was talking to my roommate and we tried to figure out the concept of time and how "time flies by." Crazy, right? I can't explain how we came to that topic of conversation. I guess we were both feeling really philosophical and introspective. There's the mind of an Ithaca College student for you - always daring to be the critical thinker. Overall, we were trying to pinpoint how and why humans perceive time the way we do. For example, when we hiked to the Hollywood Sign our first week out here, well, that single event seems like it happened a long time ago. But, when we look at this semester as a whole, it feels like it flew by. Honestly, I may not be explaining this clearly, but I think most of you will recognize where I'm coming from. I've said it before (much to the chagrin of others), but the LA Program is almost like a vacation, or at least it feels like it to the students. We're not tied down to five or six classes and a multitude of extracurriculars, projects and meetings. A big part of the program is exploring a city where I'm sure the vast of majority of us, including myself, hope to return to someday. We're exploring the city, we're working in the industry and we're making connections that we hope will prove us well somewhere in the future. 

Think about an event that you can truly say was "the time of your life." It can be a vacation, a party, a concert, sporting event ... anything. Got it? Good. Now think about how you felt when you realized your time on that trip or at that party was winding down. You wish more than anything that you can maybe just once, turn back the clock to repeat it all over again. Well, as is the unfortunate case in a non-fictional world without Doc Brown and a tricked out DeLorean, we can't go back in time, but we can relive the memories. I've been going through the blog posts I've written and the pictures I've taken. So, in thinking about these memories, I thought "Hey, why put together a list of the 'top things' of this semester?" Much to my surprise, I'm having trouble coming up with a list. Actually, I'm a pretty indecisive person, so I really shouldn't be surprised, but that's besides the point. The point is: HELP ME COME UP WITH A LIST! What do you want to hear about that I haven't already discussed. The favorite place I've eaten? Favorite place near the water? What do you want to know. No question is too big or too small. 

I could feasibly come up with a list myself, but that would just be WAY too easy. Leave a comment and let ME know what YOU want to know. Cool? Cool.

Posted by Andrew Buraczenski at 4:31PM   |  Add a comment
I just had to buy a t-shirt.

Going to a television taping reminds me of the first time I went to see a Major League Baseball game. Although I can only remember the general event, I’m told that I was just like any other kid taking that famed walk from the concourse, up the ramp in the tunnel and into the stands. The anticipation builds as you walk further and when you finally break out into the open, your eyes are wide and you get goose bumps. I don’t know, but maybe I’m the only person that sees a connection here. Of course, a set in a sound stage is nowhere near the grandeur of a major league ballpark, but either way, it’s still exciting to see, in person, a place you’ve seen so many times on television.


Attending a television taping is A LOT of waiting around.  By the time you move from the waiting area to the stage, you’ve heard the “no cell phone or else” rule at least a dozen times, you’ve gone to the bathroom (because they reminded you of the lack of bathrooms in the studio) and your excitement has built up to a point to where you just want to let it all out. That’s EXACTLY what they want. Television crews and producers have it down to a science. At live tapings, it’s all about the audience’s energy, because the host, the band and the guests all feed off of that. After everybody’s seated, a comedian comes out to warm up the crowd and lay some ground rules. Everything is pretty self explanatory: applaud when the “applause” sign lights up, laugh at the jokes, etc. What’s cool about late night show tapings is that they’re all live to tape. For non-Parkies, that basically means what you see is what you get. If a show has 42 minutes of content for an hour timeslot, than that’s what they’ll tape because little to no editing occurs before the show airs. This also makes for great television. Case and point: Tracy Morgan on Conan. If you didn’t catch the episode, it aired on April 5, ironically, the same day the west coast was shown a pretty messed up version of the broadcast. Myself and six other friends were at that taping and watched the hilarity unfold between Tracy and Conan. Tracy being the kind of guy he is, you just never know what’s going to come out of his mouth. But hey, the show goes as the show goes and unless profanity has to be censored or content cut down in the interest of time, what we see in person is what you get on television.


Conan was the last taping I would go to out here, unfortunately, but I'm glad the run ended with a bang. I could not have been more excited to go to the show. Conan has been the one host who I've followed ever since I started watching late night television, so it was awesome to see him in the flesh. And when seeing him in the flesh, you realize that yes, he is actually as tall as he looks on TV. One thing that sets Conan apart from the other late nights hosts is his amazingly loyal fan base, a trait that his show's producers definitely use to their advantage. When I went tapings of Jimmy Kimmel and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, both hosts came out before the show to talk to the audience and get them pumped up. Leno even has a staff member standing by with a polaroid to take photos of him with a few lucky fans. However, when I went to Conan, the studio audience doesn't see him until the cameras are rolling and he comes walking out from behind the curtain. So, of course, the audience goes NUTS, as you can probably see on TV. And that's exactly what they want you to see: people jumping up and down, clapping, screaming, and chanting "CONAN, CONAN, CONAN!" For the record, yes, I did wholeheartedly participate in that chant at the taping. It was well worth it, as was the rest of the experience. Yet another thing I can't wait to do again when I end up back in LA one day.


Posted by Andrew Buraczenski at 11:47PM   |  Add a comment
View from Griffith Observatory

Like any city, LA can be viewed from a number of different angles. And right from the get-go, I’ll tell you that my least favorite angle is the one you get when stuck in traffic on Highland. Between all of the adventures I’ve had out here, I’ve always managed to find a way to view things way off the ground, flying high like a G6. Yes, I did just make two Far East Movement references in one post. WIN.

I’ve always been afraid of heights. But maybe I’m now getting over that phobia. Surprisingly, my first aerial view didn’t even come from the plane on my flight into Burbank. We came right down through the infamous Los Angeles haze, so needless to say, views during that descent were less than spectacular. However, as much as it pains me to think about my flight home, I am excited to literally get a birds-eye view of this great city. Much to my surprise, I’ve learned my way around over the last three-and-a-half months, and have come to identify the different areas and landmarks of the city. So, I am excited to see all of those places and wish them farewell from the air.

Ironically, the building in which my two internships are housed both have roof access. HOW COOL IS THAT?! Granted, one is only three stories high, but the other is … one, two, oh yeah, THIRTEEN stories off the ground. Coming from a guy who’s been on top of the Empire State Building multiple times, I’ve definitely been more terrified to look down at the street below. But hey, the Live Nation building is one of the tallest structures in Hollywood, and being on the roof provides some pretty incredible views. From there, I can see everything that’s worth seeing in LA: the Hollywood sign, Griffith Observatory, the downtown skyline, Century City, Hollywood Boulevard … the works. What’s cool about being on the roof of the Fanscape building is the awesome view you get of Beverly Hills. The mansions of that community literally dot the hills, providing me with a pretty cool sight, but I’m sure the view would be just a little bit better if I happened to be the proud owner of one of those houses. ::sigh:: Someday.

In my opinion, the view that trumps them all comes from the Hollywood sign. Two weeks ago, my roommate had friends visiting from home, so we took them on the hike to the top of the sign. Unfortunately, the weather was nearly as nice as it was on the day of our first hike in January, but is was still awesome to gaze out on the areas of the city we could see. Since the first hike, we’ve obviously done the vast majority of our trekking around LA, so it was cool to see the different places while enjoying time in the fresh air and with good friends. That night, we took a drive back up that mountain range to Griffith Observatory, a MUST GO for any and all ICLA students, especially at sunset or at night. We missed sunset, but managed to go once the skies had cleared up a bit. Believe me when I say, I could barely put my camera down. And from the looks of the resulting photos, it seems as if the days I served as The Ithacan’s Photo Editor served me well. I guess it just goes to show that when you least expect it, all of your Ithaca College experiences will someday connect.

Posted by Andrew Buraczenski at 6:34PM   |  Add a comment

Since we are living in the land of the silver screen, I guess it's pretty easy to see how we can become wrapped up in the film industry, not just through internships, but through a lot of other cool things only Parkies can do. So let's get to actually telling you about it.

The first ultra cool thing happened a few weeks back. On of the film classes took a trip to the Writer's Guild Theater to sit in on a panel of Academy Award nominated screenwriters. Because we're from Ithaca and we're awesome, the theater was nice enough to give us enough spots for the class and then some, to be filled by some lucky students. The extra seats were filled based on a random drawing of names that were submitted to Holly. Well, guess whose name was one of the ten that was picked? Bam. I mean, I'm used to having cool experiences fall into my lap back in Ithaca (I guess it's the nature of a Parkie to get used to this kind of thing), but never was I expecting cool things like this to come my way out here in LA. Actually, keep that in mind ... the whole idea of being surprised and not expecting something. I'll talk about that in another story.

So, woo hoo! My name was added to the guest list. And although I didn't know most of the screenwriters by name, I certainly recognized the films credited to them: The Black Swan, The Town, The Kids Are All Right, The Kings Speech, The Fighter, The Social Network ... wait ... I recognized Aaron Sorkin's name. Seriously, what communications student doesn't know his name? I first learned of Sorkin years ago when his name come up on the television screen every time I watched an episode of The West Wing with my parents. Now, I got to see him in person. The mastermind behind the famed NBC drama and The Social Network. Wow. Speaking of wow, once the panel actually started and a question came to Sorkin, he mentioned something that blew away practically everybody in the theater ... including his fellow screenwriters on stage. So he says, the final draft of Sorkin's screenplay of The Social Network was his ONLY draft. Wait, what? We couldn't believe it, and judging by the looks of the other screenwriters, neither could they. But I think they realized, this is Aaron Sorkin here. He's no rookie. Needless to say, that was one of many, many, many cool fact and stories we heard that night. 

Ok, on to our next cool silver screen moment. We were extras in a movie. No big deal. It's not a summer blockbuster or anything, but instead, a Lifetime movie about the lives of the soon-to-be-married Prince William and Kate Middleton. Now Regardless of whether or not this movie starred Matt Damon and Natalie Portman or two other relatively unknown actors, it was still cool just to be on a movie set. It's a hustle and bustle seen like no other ... except on the California freeways. Oh, wait. That's actually far from a hustle and bustle. The movie didn't cost us anything aside from some rather expensive parking on UCLA's campus. All we had to do was show up in "preppy attire." That part actually threw me for a bit of a loop. Never have I ever been consider "preppy," so I was at a loss of what to wear until I came across an article on Scott, one of the Kardashian sister’s boy toy. In the article's attached photograph, he was seen walking down the street in a pink shirt, with a white sweater tied around his neck. quintessential preppy look. So what did I do? I took one of my button-downs, borrowed one of my roommate's sweater and voila: instant University of St. Andrew’s preppy student circa 2001. Not really, but I did what I could do. You see, as extras, some of probably weren't even in the shot. We won't know until the movie comes out next month. But, through the illusion that is the movies, we sat in an auditorium to give it the appearance of being a full-lecture class. We were told the scene is the first day of the semester and William and Kate are in the same Art History class. They didn't know of each other at that time, so it's actually a scene early-on in the film. I'll post an update when we find out when and where you can watch the movie. And if you do happen to watch it, be on the lookout for an old, black Apple Powerbook. That's me pretending to use it. Overall, it was a really fun experience. They did a few takes and that was it! In and out of the auditorium in under an hour. Now to wait and see how our slightly-better-than-elementary-school-acting turned out. 

Posted by Andrew Buraczenski at 6:34PM   |  1 comment
The forecast

I’m back, I’m back. I have a few posts that’ll be put up in the next few days, but for the moment, we have a pressing issue to discuss.

It’s going to rain … for more than a day. For more than three days for that matter. And the icing on the cake? It’s going to rain on a Saturday. This is blasphemy; this is madness … this … is … Los Angeles? I guess so.

I do admit, we have all been extremely spoiled for the last six weeks, and all good things must come to and end. In all seriousness, it was just a matter of time.

But so I’ve found, there is a bright side here. According to Holly, Administrative Assistant at the Pendleton Center, it’s good to have a few days of straight rain. In the past, when LA has been on a dry spell for weeks on end, fires have popped up, thus ruining the plans of SoCal residents, and Ithaca students. So putting it in perspective, a few days of harmless rain is far from some more dangerous scenarios.

And come to think of it, there’s another bright side here. Having a rainy day during the weekend will actually force us to do something indoors. Because let’s be honest, we’d be perfectly content spending every single weekend outside.

All in all, I think it comes down to this: karma. I’ve taken plenty of low blows at our friends and family back in Ithaca having to endure freezing temperatures, snow and ice, and now it’s our turn for some bad weather. But hey, it’s no biggie. We’re still on vacation. 

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