Saturday, May 29, 2010

La Primera Semana

The first week in Madrid has been nothing short of amazing. I absolutely love this city for a few reasons. Firstly there is simply so much to see. Each new place I have gone in this city has had something that would be worth a unique whole trip just to visit. Secondly, the nightlife. Madrid's night life is incredibly unique to me. When most parties and clubs in America (or France for that matter) would normally close, Madrid just starts. Most nights have been having friends over for a few drinks around 11. Heading to a bar around 12 and then heading to a club around 1 or 2. Clubs in Madrid don't close until 5 or 6 am so that means the nights could run pretty late.

As of recently my productivity switch has been firmly set in the off position. I like to say I'm either extremely productive or extremely unproductive, and with the burden of the two heavy weeks at Cannes plus the adjustment to the new Madrid lifestyle I have been nothing short of lazy and unproductive. This, however, is unproductive on a mere "work/academics" scale. As far as socially/touristy scale my life has been off the charts. The people in the program are all awesome. On Friday we all went to a club called IndepenDANCE and at a certain point in the night all the lights turned out and it became a black-light dance party. The music in Madrid is quite entertaining. An example of this would be how a bar could play Ghostbusters Pitbull, then Mariah Cary within a few minutes of each other. Seems like they're quite a bit behind on American pop music and there is this one Spanish song they always play. I'd search for it on YouTube but I'm not much of a fan and don't want to have to listen to it again to find it. Stereo Love is the title if you're interested.

Also on Friday: Segovia was amazing. The program included a daytrip to Segovia and the history and architecture of the place was astounding. You can see some pictures up on my Facebook, but the sheer magnitude of some of the buildings just left me in awe. the trip was one of our pre-scheduled IES trips. Segovia itself is a very tourist location but definitely worth the visit. Following the trip we went to lunch at a very nice Ranch which was AMAZING. Everyone in the previous program stated that this lunch is the best one of the whole session. We had fresh chicken, tapas, salad, and a ridiculously good desert that had the hint of a roasted marshmallow. I'm really happy with IES as a program. Relative to others we have an awesome apartment, great planned trips, and plenty of opportunities to do other things around the city. I'm taking a tour of the Palace tomorrow and am signing up for cooking and Flamenco classes. Guess you'd expect nothing less from a program that is populated mostly by Ivy League students.

Not to slow down the pace, we went on Saturday to un Corrido del Torros, or a Bull Fight. While I'm not a big fan of killing animals for sport, I came away from it with a newfound respect (thanks in part to wikipedia entries read from a blackberry). Basically there are 6 bulls killed each time. The audience throughout the course of the fight is a judge. they were quite angry for awhile because some of hte bulls weren't up to par with what they like. It starts with a testing of the bulls strength. The Matador has a team, and each one has their own specific jobs. As they get the bull to run around he sees the strength and speed of it. Then they bring out horses (girls did not like this part) that had armor on and the bull would run at the horses. This would tell the matador what side the bull favors. Here they would also create a wound on the bull to begin to weaken it. Then these other guys came with sticks and would run at the bull and stab it in the back. This wouldn't really hurt the bull but it would aggravate it. finally the matador and bull face off and the matador tries to make some sort of dance with the bull. Here is where the crowd will get crazy if the matador is good. After the bull is tired, he lines it up and kills it with one blow. There you go, now you don't need to visit a bullfight I just described everything that happens! That'll be 25 euro

Sunday was a recovery day from the week. I slept in very late as a result of the crazy night before (we stayed up until the metro opened to save money) and my friend Mike and I tried to get into a game in the Santiago Bernebeu or the stadium that Real Madrid plays in. Basically it was old AC Milan players vs. old Real Madrid players. Some of the bigger names were Zidane and Figo. Unfortunately we hoped getting their early would get us one of hte 5 euro tickets but no luck. There is no such thing as scalping in spain which meant despite getting one ticket for free we could not get in and just watched the game in a bar. But just the setting of the 80K person stadium was experience enough. The metro was jammed with people on the way over and there was an incredibly energetic aroma around the whole block. Can't wait for the world cup! Note to Spanish dudes: mullets are not cool.

Anyways after my first week I'm starting to find that Madrid is a city that is ALWAYS happening. Literally everyday there is something that you can do that is completely new. While I wlil be traveling I love this city and want to make sure to get the most out of it! I haven't even covered half of what I've seen but I'll try and not let it go so long next time...sound familiar...before I post again! Nos hablamos pronto!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bienvenidos a Madrid

So after a long night in Cannes I finally made it to Madrid. Instantly I can already say that I love this city. After taxiing over to the city I reached my apartment and especially in the context of my place in France, the Madrid flat is AMAZING. There is so much space it's almost ridiculous. It's 2 bed 2 bath and not only that but there is a washing machine and a living room and a pretty sweet view (we're on the 6th floor).

My housemates are really cool and I've been recently hanging out with Alex who knows the city up and down and has been here since January. We've been going all over the huge city and each section has something new and amazing to see.

The IES Program itself seems really well organized. On orientation day we were walked through everything we would need to know and we were treated to lunch. This Friday we're traveling to Segovia as a group and the group itself has a lot of cool people. I'm the only person from a Cali school, but most of the other students are from ivy league or others like UNC. My classes are also good, Spanish is basically the same as it is back in the States but our teacher is really really cool. And the film class is interesting cause it's going over the basics of cinema in another language. I have free internet as well so I'll be much more easier to contact. Except as most of you know if I'm not incredibly busy then I'm incredibly unproductive thus why it has taken so long to write in this blog.

First impressions of Spain:

-It's incredibly nice to be able to communicate with the natives in their native tongue. My Spanish is not incredibly good but it's good enough for nearly anything.

-Spaniards aren't as mean to us Americans as the French are but it'll definitely be challenging to meet some locals

-The architecture is stunning all over the place, it has dozens of buildings that in America would be the centerpoint of one city.

-the food is good. Lots of bread once again, there is a kind of sandwich called a Kabob which is really really good but besides that they have lots of foods with Chorizo and bread and tortillas espanolas and tapas and other fairly delicious foodgroups.

so yah I'm having a great time. Last night we went to a bar called Penthouse which overlooks the whole city and it was really beautiful. Luckily I have people tha tknow how to get around but the public transportation here is really good. Like BART but it comes every 3 or so minutes.

Anyways I'm about to take a nap then get ready for the long night ahead of me. The lfiestyle here is to not leave the house till after midnight and that'll take some getting adjusted to. In France it was non stop but with all of the free time in Spain I definitely need naps, or will for awhile. I'll keep all of you updated better though I promise. Hasta Luego!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Last Days in Cannes

Today is the final day of the Cannes festival journey and wow has it been a blast. Despite a semi-slow start, this whole experience has given me invaluable contacts and tools that I will be putting to work for years to come. Definitely happy I went through it and I'm incredibly excited for the next adventure to come: Madrid.

But before I go off to Ethpanya, there's some things to fill you all in on. The flip video is done and you can all see it here:

I'm happy with how it turned out but I will be editing together another cut in a bit with some added funny content that I couldn't fit into the 3 minute time crunch. Turns out that the winners of the contest were all experimental art films which were good in their own respect but there was no way my film was going to be picked in the long run. I'm just happy I was able to make it with Godfrey and it was definitely a blast to shoot.

On Friday night there was a huge party for all Short Film Corner members on the beach with free drinks and food. It was awesome and I met even more people there, it was cool getting an actual invite and being on the list to a pretty big event.

Last night I was planning on going to Monaco, but I decided against it last minute. Nicola still came down and we were able to get a drink and go to dinner with all my friends before he headed back. I've justified not going 1. To spend the last night of the festival with the friends I'd met and 2. To go to Monaco when I can actually afford to. To make up for it Nicola and I went to the casino and I won 20 euros at Roulette!

So a large group of friends and I went to this nice place up in the hills of Cannes and after that a few of us went to the Black Pearl, a pretty VIP bar where a couple that had recently gotten engaged had bottle service. Very legit. I'm going to miss the always looming promise of free incredibly VIP parties at all times that we might not be invited to but know are there.

The final day was very emotional. I went to the beach for the first time all trip with the roomies and the Mediterranean was incredibly cold yet refreshing and I attempted to battle the farmer's tan that has been looming during work as a result of having to wear shirts all day. But it was relaxing, the day was our first day off and so a lot of people traveled but the main event was at 6pm: the going away Ampav party. This was a blast, and it was because of this party and the resulting parties that I almost missed my bus in the morning. My alarm became incorporated into my dream. It was a bad combo. But I've made it in. And I have free fast internet!! Look forward to many more updates in the future. Ciao

Friday, May 21, 2010

Flip Video and more

Sorry for the slow diminishment of my updates but the days have been just as jam-packed as ever. Every three days our work switches shifts and recently I was rotated to the night shift. During these shifts very important execs come in and I've learned how to serve ze proper way. But besides this I've been busy attempting to finish up my flip movie which has been fun but stressful. Starring in the film is Godfrey, a stand-up comedian. You might recognize him from Zoolander ( He's hilarious and the video is hilarious but the only problem has been keeping it to the 3 minute time crunch. I'm going to be cutting a longer version soon but essentially the plot is about a filmmaker who comes to Cannes expecting to get into everything only to find that his pass is all but useless in the premier events. This is a reality that all us students have faced but we've been able to find ways around it.

Tomorrow Nicola is coming down and that's exciting. I think I'm going to make a day-trip to Monaco and check it out. Supposedly Monaco makes Cannes look like the slums and that is no easy feat. But as you can see by my facebook picture I've been able to meet a few stars. Just because I didn't want to bug them I've held off on getting pictures but Ryan Gosling was the ONE person I needed a picture with haha.

What else? Well I worked an all-night producer party which was definitely an experience. I got to see all of these important producers get completely hammered and dance the night away. Unfortunately networking with drunk producers is not the best, but my networking with other producers has worked out great. A really cool producer named Steven Kaplan bought me and my friends martinis at the very VIP Majestic hotel. Another hotel, the Carlton had an unleashing of all new Andy Warhol art and that was awesome as well. It's crazy being in the center of such an important event where literally EVERYONE is. An access Hollywood report (which was filming on the beach right next to the pavilion) was talking about how Lindsay Lohan is here and sure enough one of the students saw her at a party.

But I've definitely decided that the next time I come back here I'm going to have a movie in it or nothing at all. There are so many cool parties happening all the time (last night there was a Grey's Anatomy party with the whole cast) but most are invite only even if you know where and when they are. No worries though, I've had a great time...and surprisingly enough I've only seen a handful of movies. With all of the events happening all the time it's hard to devote a good amount of time to just one thing. Still recovering from Karaoke last night with all the students which was wicked fun! I belted out some Maroon 5 and it was a blast.

Oh yah and mom and dad, I haven't really done anything for IES so I'll need to be caught up tomorrow when we talk. Love you all. Cheers.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Settling in

While there's so much still to talk about as everyday is jam packed with events, things are starting to settle into place. Work has been fun and I've been seeing many of the same faces and have been starting to build good relationships with people. The workload and sleepload has been beginning to get to me and naps are becoming a necessity. And I've just been finally learning how to get into the more important parties. Just last night I ended up going to a screening about a German rapper. Then following this I used an invite to go to a Scandinavian party by myself. I ended up meeting these really cool producers and when I left I saw these super fun British fellows that I had been hanging out with earlier and we all ended up getting into another VIP party on the beach (where Benitio Del Toro was). This was a very awesome experience.

The days are beginning to fly by with movie screenings, work, and parties taking up large sections of my day. Not only that but I've been working as well on finding a place to pitch my feature to get funding and distribution. I'm also going to be making the flip camera and the film will be called the Cannes't film festivals and it's going to be starring Godfrey a pretty bigshot stand up comedian. He's absolutely hilarious and the film will be as well. Should be done Thursday!

Anyways I'll post the next time anything I forgot. Love yah

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Night Life

So I had that last entry written yesterday but wanted to put some finishing touches before I posted it. I only have time to write these now cause I'm missing happy hour at the Short Film Corner, but there are plenty of those and if I don't write it now I'll get swamped! There is so much happening all the time!! And sorry to slack on the pictures, I'll try to post some in previous blog entries as well I just usually don't have my camera when I work on the blog.

Cannes is right now THE most happening place in the world. How to prove it? In a club about a 30 minute walk from the festival two nights in a row Kid Cutty and then TI were playing...pretty ridiculous. I've never seen so many yachts, huge ships, fancy bars/parties/clubs in one place. People have also been dropped off by helicopter. Last night I even saw a castle party.

So with this in mind I've been having a good deal of fun. It's been hard/impossible to get into the very important parties because we usually roll deep with a large amount of people and the bouncers don't like that. But I've been working on figuring out how to get past that and get into the coolest ones. A group of us got into a club two nights ago that was very exclusive. On the menu there was a drink that cost 25 thousand euros! Absolutely ridiculous! But for the most part there are a few bars that most of the students go to and we usually frequent those, but I'm just waiting to get my VIP invite to a party which is bound to happen soon.

At the American pavilion things have been picking up. I got our first few customers and they have all been very important and very cool to know. Omar Benson Miller, who I'm sure you'll recognize if you look him up, is the coolest and just yesterday I gave a copy of my Lukewarm DVD to a producer!

Each pavilion besides the American pavilion has their own little events. For example, the Irish pavilion has Guinness for 2 euros, the Russian pavilion has happy hour at 4, the Japanese pavilion has happy hour at 5, and the Turkish pavilion has the happy hour at 6. This means there's a lot of free food and drinks and a nice way to meet people.

I'm really excited for the upcoming days and don't worry I'm keeping healthy. There's been somewhat of a throat virus going around but it's nothing to serious and I have my Robitussin. There's always something to do which is actually the hardest part of the festival: deciding. Tonight I'm heading to another premier and it's cool to hear about everyone else's cool stories. Someone just got an internship with the Weinsteins. Haven't become best friends with an exec yet, but there's still 8 days left and I'm sure to make the most of them.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Robin Hood, red carpet, and more!

So my first day of work turns out the VIP room is super exclusive...I didn't have any customers :( Everyone I work with is super cool though, and I mean really really awesome so we keep each other entertained on the long six hour shift. When I got off some friends and I spent the day exploring all of the other pavilions. On the street there was this cat man, picture below, who would chase down anyone that took a picture without paying him. He literally ran at an American tourist and the tourist was attempting to quickly pull out some change and he really got in his face and tried to delete the picture! I got this one cause I'm sneaky.

The festival is basically held in two big buildings. One is made for the theaters and the other one contains the markets. The theaters are incredible and luxurious, and the market is an experience in itself. Every country has films they are trying to sell (my favorite so far is Juan of the Dead) and there are posters and booths everywhere. Here you can ask about market screenings, which are not apart of the Cannes festival and are just focused on showing to sellers and potentially get tickets. These are different from the festival screening in that they are not guaranteed to be good. And let me tell you, I'm SOO glad I did the Short Film Corner, it has given me an incredible amount of perks and a great way to share my work with others. I'm not really trying to sell Lukewarm but if I was this would be the place to do it.

So the big event on the first day of course was the opening of the much anticipated Robin Hood! The Red Carpet was star studded to the max, with Kate Beckinsale being the only one I really cared and my housemates arrived a bit late for the watching but through some exploring we were able to come across a window to watch a bit of it. Every student wanted to get a ticket, and I ended up getting mine through the lottery put on by the short film corner. I basically get points that I can put towards buying tickets and they refresh each day. So yah I got to go dressed in the tux to the red carpet event! The red carpet was intense, and crazy enough it started raining right when we got there. That coupled with the epic soundtrack made the whole thing quite an experience. The film itself...not so much. I would not suggest seeing it, which hurts me to say with all of the potential it had. But yah it was more about the experience itself which I'll remember for a lonng time.

But yesterday, and this is important for all of you and I'm sad I didn't let you know that we were all on the Today Show!! If you go online or something and watch today's episode, we are all in the background. Matt Lauer was here as was the French Ambassador from America. Someone said it was put onto the Ampav site, I'll look around and let you guys know if I see it. The festival is just getting started and I'm already incredibly excited

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Finding out what I'll be doing for the next 2 weeks

So today was the day that I realized the rest of this program is going to be amazing. First off, I will start posting pictures soon cause it's all kind of hectic with everything getting settled. Most of my pictures have been just scenic (without me) and noone really wants to see those anyways so I'll wait to get some good ones before I upload. These days have been pretty open but in my free time I've been busy meeting as many new people as possible. I love all the people here, they all have a similar drive and passion and they're from all over the country.

Some impressions of France:

-the French really do hate Americans. Or if they didn't before they do now. Not all of them of course, but they're definitely annoyed by us. This isn't without reason though haha cause I could see us being annoying. We're not used to the sidewalks that can only have one person at a time go down and any large group of people would create more commotion than the typical person might enjoy. Really wish I knew more French, but at least making an effort helps I guess. We're staying in a place called Cannes La Boca which is outside of the actual city so the majority of the people speak NO english. Hand signals have been clutch and the nicest people have been the shop owners...gee I wonder why

-SOO MUCH BREAD. Every meal has bread: croissants, baguettes, pizza and anything they call "American" which means they just put fries and ketchup in a sandwich haha. I have not gone a meal without having some form of the above bread items. I feel like there is only more bread to come. Not a bad thing necessarily just something to get used to. And btw wine is cheaper than water, which is pretty ridiculous.

But to cut to the important stuff my job for the next two weeks!! I'm in a group called the elites. Basically we get to work under a very important man in the American Pavilion and serve the red carpet/VIP section members. This is basically waiting but only waiting on the VIP people. Every head person has said that this is literally the best job to have and I couldn't be more excited. It kind of sucks cause when people ask what job I got I try and not sound like a tool and just say I'm a server cause other people's jobs do not involve keeping the cream of the crop happy. But humbleness aside there is no other job I'd rather have. In addition to serving the Red Carpet Members, we also have responsibilities keeping the TALENT happy in the green room, which means the actors/stars/anyone that is going to be in the round tables/anyone who wants to get away from everything. Who knows who I might be serving! But I do know Mark Strong (the bad guy from Sherlock and Robin Hood) is going to be here on Wednesday at a round table for students. He's so amazing! We also fill in at important events such as the ribbon cutting ceremony on the opening day and parties thrown by the American pavilion.

I don't want to build it up too much but it sounds amazing and already I've heard rumors of a Dulce and Cabana party, a Black Eyed Peas Yacht Party, a VIP Pool Party, a Lionsgate Executive party and plenty more. This is going to be a packed week but I'll try to fill you all in on the highlights!

Anyways I have work at 7:30 tomorrow and I need to get some sleep! The big premier of Robin Hood is tomorrow and the festival officially kicks off. Wish me luck and I might get a ticket to the premier!

Monday, May 10, 2010

First post from across the world

So the last blog entry WAS written in Heathrow, I just didn't have internet to post it haha but after the flight I knew what they mean by calling those flights "Red Eyes". It was pretty harsh, but I'm beginning to recover now. The whole leaving at Saturday at 1pm thing and arriving Sunday at 6 thing definitely messed with my head and I'm still not sure how the whole time traveling worked out but I'm here now and so far it's been absolutely beautiful!

The first night was chill, we all just got there and hung out...met each other and crashed after some social time. Today we woke up and got split into groups and explored the little town we're in. I'll post pictures but it's quite quaint. Turns out people speak a lot less English than expected...good thing I know how to say "Please use a clean syringe" in French. Aw that book I bought has been a source of endless entertainment. Anyways we had a lot of lectures today and don't worry mom they are extremely strict on safety and drill the locks into our head. Almost literally.

But I'm really REALLY excited for the festival and find out what job I get bright and early tomorrow. Keep you all posted! Au Revoir!

Blast from the past

Ah! So….where to begin?! I’m actually writing this from Heathrow right now and can I say I really want to come back to London at some point in my traveling future. Giving I seem so lost AND I speak the language it’ll be a wonder when I’m one of the travelers unfortunate enough to have no idea what’s going on both location and language wise : (.

But let’s start with my horrific flight. Okay so the flight itself would not have been bad at all I mean it was a bit bumpy but that never really bugs me. What really made it a patience-testing experience, however, was who was sitting next to me. So there was this nice French lady there with here kid. And I was all for it, he seemed cute enough. The kid was in the stage where he could talk, but it was mostly gibberish. He was young enough to not really understand lots of things, but old enough to be annoying. I’m usually pretty patient, but at the point in time where the lights went out on the plane the little kid lies down sideways towards his mom and every 5 minutes, stretches out his feet/switches positions and kicks me. If this happened only a few times it would've been fine but it happened over and over again and the mom kept apologizing each time! Stop your kid from kicking me and that’ll be your apology. Luckily this was only for the last 4-5 hours of the flight (sarcasm). Combine this with watching A Single Man/Shutter Island and I was seriously considering taking some drastic action. They better not be transferring to Nice, and if they are they better not have checked in at the same time as me again. My rage has built up to the point of no return.

But besides that begun my script and got farther on the story. It’ll hopefully be pretty good once I start writing things out. I tried to video blog a little but it’s kind of awkward in a busy airport. Maybe I’ll get used to it. Anyways I’m writing this now so I don’t have to later. Just copy and paste whoo!! But hopefully all of the annoyingness has gotten out of my trip’s system (if my trip were a living thing) and we’re good to go. Please give me new seat partners for Nice.

UPDATE: Heathrow to Nice was nice and smooth and incredibly relaxing!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Wow how could I forget...

Some of you don't even know where I'm going! And because I'm tired of writing it out, or at least my fingers are tired of writing it out, here is the breakdown:

First three weeks starting on May 8th:

I will be traveling to Cannes, France where I will be interning and participating in the Festival de Cannes!

After May 23rd:

I will be flying out to Madrid, Spain where I will be studying abroad for Six Weeks (ending on July 4th I believe, Viva America)
On the weekends during this time I will hopefully be taking trips to various Spanish cities.

After studying abroad:

I will be traveling Europe! My plans are kind of up in the air but I really NEED to go to Barcelona and hopefully other sections of Spain as well as visiting Italy and taking a roadtrip from Milan to Rome!

This all ends on August 2nd when I arrive back to America!

No puedo esperar!

Last/First Entry...before Europe

So it begins, I'm officially a blogger now. To all of you reading this, and by all of you I mean mom and dad with the occasional family member/random visitor...Hi and welcome random visitor btw...this will be my last entry before I head off to Cannes!

I'm pretty much super excited, although it hasn't hit me yet that I'll be going away for nearly 3 months without really knowing anyone at the programs I'm going to...but at the same time I couldn't be happier. After a week spent preparing I'm ready to go, and I hope to keep this blog updated in some sort of fashion as I experience new adventures. I'll be putting Rosetta stone to the test, although somehow I don't think I'll live up to any of my Spanish hopes. French is fun to speak although I have no idea how the pronunciation works, I'm definitely gonna perfect using that little French phrase book slyly and give off the appearance of a cultured American.

But all this aside I have a few things I need to do still, 1 being decide on a pitch for a three minute short. I'll most likely make up something on the plane and hone it in once I get to Cannes but here's to hoping I make it good enough to actually win back some money or at the very least get a free video camera.

Anyways, this has already been to long...I'm actually typing this in my room which is kind of lame. So I'll sign off for now. See you in Europe!*

Ryan Turner
no longer a blogging virgin

*I won't actually be seeing you in Europe, unless you are already there in which case I might, but it's a big continent so don't get your hopes up. Or through skype...but that's more metaphorical, not physically seeing you.