Blog Archive

George

IMG_2639

 

Thank you George for being there yesterday with me. I was rattled and when you said “I saw that son of a bitch” I didn’t feel so alone. When you stopped your station-wagon to give me the description of the vehicle that hit me, I wasn’t thinking about the $500 deductible that I would have to pay to get my car fixed. You told me your name and I was immediately comforted. Little did you know… George is my favorite name.

I was in shock and angry that the Tesla that hit me thought we were playing bumper cars, except my car didn’t have a side bumper and we weren’t at Disneyland. I was emotional because I was reminded of my PTSD  that and I am vulnerable whether or not this was a tragic accident. Nobody got hurt, but the blatant disregard of speeding away, after at the very least, ruining somebody’s day is hard to swallow. And George, you gave me exactly what I needed in that moment. You were angry for me and protective of me in a way that was so endearing,especially coming from a stranger.

When it comes down to it, it’s so basic isn’t it? Being reckless has consequences and we have to be held accountable in order to heal those wounds. Granted, the situation would be a lot worse if I didn’t have the money to get my car fixed. I’m privileged in that way. What if that wasn’t the case? What if- not having a car would mean, not being able to drive myself to work? Or what if I got seriously hurt? The driver didn’t care to bother him/herself with any of these scenarios. The driver was on a mission, and the only  person that mattered in that experience is THEM.

I see this mentality being celebrated and validated and it makes me so nervous. I tweeted something that Marco Rubio said in a debate about “America being a country, not a planet” in regards to climate change and responsibility. Yes, I’m taking it out of context but the underlying theme of a lot of this dialogue is “worry about yourself”, “concern yourself with now”, “the future will happen regardless with what we do today.” Yes, it’s easier to speed away and not deal with the wreckage. But here I am, cleaning up your mess! Someday, somehow, someone will have to deal with it.

George is one of the good ones. George keeps people accountable. George knows when and how to do the right thing. It’s that simple.

My Name Is Kimberly

images

 

I’ve always hated my name. When I think of a “Kimberly”, I see a blonde cheerleader type, bubbly and sweet and ready to count all the ways in which she loves you. I’m not this type. I have brown hair, I’m a total tomboy and I make you earn my love.

 

My mother wanted to name me Kendall, which I would’ve preferred, but my father wanted to name me Melba after his mother who had passed away when he was only 19. As a compromise, they decided on Kimberly. It was a popular name at the time. It was 1978. Kimberly, Stephanie, and Jennifer were modern names compared to Ruth, Barbara and Francis, so…. I get it.

 

Side Note: Years later I named my English Mastiff Melba, after my grandmother who I never met. The old gal lived till she was 13 and half.

 

It wasn’t until my early 20’s that I began to investigate my name and the meaning behind it. I had assumed all this time that it was a boring white name with no real cultural juice to it, which me brings to the other reason my name felt so ordinary to me. My brothers are half Samoan and they are aptly named Kevica and Manaia-Sieva. Yup. I got stuck with good ol’ pom pom shakin’, Kimberly.

 

When I finally got past all the hate and actually looked it up, I found out that my name meant “Royalty” or “The Crown Jewel.” I found this interesting since my favorite color (purple) happens to be the color associated with royalty. And taking it a step further, I had named my companies Drama Queen Entertainment, and When I Am King Productions without knowing the meaning of my name. Hmm, curious…

 

I was forced to accept that the name Kimberly suits me after all. And even though I’ve contemplated changing my name to George (don’t ask me why), I’m sticking with it for now. I will even go so far as to say that I’m starting to like it. Even though, culturally is says virtually nothing about me, if you dig a little deeper, it’s meaning is certainly something to aspire to.

Silicon Beach

11377519_795175913913167_2088386844_n

Anyone remember that part in BACK TO THE FUTURE where Marty goes to the future and finds that creepy sign in front of his neighborhood? Remember that feeling? Like the aliens had moved into his neighborhood and taken over? Well- that’s kinda what I felt like when I saw this sign on the way to pick up my friend at the airport.

Silicon Beach, eh? Has a nice ring to it, I must say. So, why does it make me feel so icky inside? If you’ve lived in Venice in the last 10-20 years, you may understand why I might feel this way. If you haven’t, then you’ll have to indulge me as I go on my little rant.

Some of you may have seen that Google, Snapchat and Hulu as well as many other tech companies are taking over much of the westside including, the famously eclectic Venice and until now, the pretty boring Playa Vista. You may have not known this because it doesn’t really effect you one way or the other. But it is happening. And it’s happening in a big way. It’s affecting the Venice culture in a way that one can’t ignore while walking down Abbott Kinney Blvd, now called “the most famous block in LA.”

Today, the ROOSTERFISH, a local gay bar (THE gay bar) announced they will be closing in May due to increased rent. Although it is a gay bar, I used to hang there with my friends on the patio. They had cheap drinks and a local vibe that I liked. In fact, almost all my old haunts are closed now. The only one still standing is THE OTHER ROOM, but unless you’re there on a Monday early evening, it feels way too shiny and doesn’t have  the neighborhood vibe it used to have. I had to face a very harsh reality today. VENICE IS OVER, kids.

I mean, I knew the end was near after the NIKKI’S incident. My friend and I were watching football at NIKKI’S on Market street a few months back and I went outside to make a phone call. I went across the street because all the windows were open and the football fans were being their rowdy selves. I attempted to the make the phone call, when I kid you not, two people (one man and one woman) came out of an unmarked door wearing all black and asked me to “hang up the phone and leave the premises.” I was so confused.

me:

Leave the premises? I saw a bum sleeping right here where I’m standing last week.

woman in black:

This is private property, I need you to get off the sidewalk.

me:

I’m sorry, who are you?

man in black:

Ma’m, I need to you leave. You’re leaning on the wall and you’re making our alarms go off.

Right then, I realized that my right foot was touching the brick wall behind me.

me:

Um- this building is vacant. I can see right through the windows.

woman in black:

that’s our building too.

me:

who do you work for?

woman in black:

I can’t give you that information. I need you to leave, now or I will have to call the cops.

me:

Am I being punked?

At this point, they both stepped closer to me to intimidate me. I could see that they had tiny flesh colored ear buds in their ears. I relented.

me:

ok, dude. I’ll leave. But I don’t think you know where you are. This is Venice. The land of hippies and artists and you’re telling me on a Sunday that I can’t make a phone call on a public street?

man in black:

This is private property.

In unison, they walked back into their unmarked door.

I went back into Nikki’s and told my friend what had happened. The owner came by and told us that the building with all it’s windows covered and the sketchy security personal was that of SNAPCHAT. Well, well, well. Now it all makes sense.

Three months later, Snapchat bought up NIKKI’S for it’s employee cafeteria. Such a bummer. The whole Silicon Beach this was becoming a reality. It wasn’t just a fancy slogan on a billboard. I was wrong. It was the land of the hippies and artists no longer.

HAL’S is gone too, and the cool vintage stores on Abbott Kinney. Now, millennials walk down the street in their flat brimmed hats and buy salted ice cream and LUCKY jeans. What a travesty. The rents have been raised and the diversity is sucked right out of it. The only thing still cool about Abbott Kinney is that Robert Downey Jr. has a house there. Or maybe he moved too…probably to Brooklyn.

I know… whah whah whah. But this means something to me! When I moved to Venice twelve years ago, I felt as thought I had found my peeps! People WERE cool, they were’t trying so hard to BE cool. And I’m allowed to be nostalgic about a place that made me truly happy. A place where you could ride your bike and run into friends and not feel like you’re breaking the bank just to grab a bite and maybe day drink a little. Or a lot! Shit- we did that and it was FUN. I even remember going to barbecues at a house on Abbott Kinney full of non- white, not so rich people. It was pretty great you guys. Promise.

I used to be so proud of my crazy little community and the collaboration that came with having so many artists in the same place. I dare say it was magical. I remember one night twelve of us went surfing when the full moon was out and we rode our bikes home in our wet clothes. I remember when they weren’t snobby at GJELINA and Isaac would let us into THE OTHER ROOM on a Friday night in our pajamas. But that’s all done. Now, it’s the man and woman in black demanding Venice locals to get of their “private property.” Terrible. And sad for the community.

But I guess you gotta grow up sometime and move to Mar Vista. Ha.

2015 Year End Wrap Up (The Discovery of DJ Bellum and other fun facts about being an adult)

The best and the worst of 2015 is enough to define me for at least the next 5 years. Although I sincerely hope that is not the case. I’m not sure is it’s a product of getting older or being more aware, but what I learned this year, is that things can turn on a dime and that it’s my responsibility to sit in those moments, no matter how micro they might be so that I don’t get whiplash.

 

I honestly can’t remember my mindset at the beginning of the year except to say, I was gonna DO SOME THANGS. Meaning, it was now or never as far as career and relationship went. “Time’s a wastin” as my momma says, and it was time to get on with things. On January 12th, I got a call (I know cause it was my mom’s birthday). It was the offer to direct an episode of “Pretty Little Liars.” So right there, my year was made.

 

Over the next several months, I prepared. I watched every single episode of the show as well as wrote some scripts of my own to get the creative juices flowing. This was such a dream come true, I didn’t want to blow it. Just to give you an idea about how that phone call felt, well- it was like the hottest dude ever, the one who had been denying me for the last three years, got down on his knee and said… “Will you marry me?” Um- yes, duh, like… I’ll totally, um, marry you, stud.

 

(Note: I’m currently at the local market writing this watching my ex-boyfriend in Scooby Doo… if you stay in the business long enough, you’ll be writing a blog about your year while watching your ex-boyfriend who is BLOND in a movie.)

Back to scene: Meanwhile, I ended one relationship and started another. This is good! Change is good! But my right side was going numb. I was having medical issues and wanted to find out what it was. Now, the only reason I had let my aches and pains go this far was because I have a dancer’s mentality- I’m pretty good at living with the pain. I had to quit boxing, which was a total bummer since it was a great way to get out my aggression. Lord knows I have a lot of it. When yoga started to hurt I knew that I couldn’t avoid the pain any longer. I had to find out what was going on with my body. If this was a movie, there would be this really cool montage of me going to all these amazing doctors, nutritionist, physical therapists and the like, on a quest for answers about my health. It’s not, it’s a blog, so pretend you’re wildly entertained at this moment and then… here we are at a neurologist’s office where he suggests that I do an MRI on my brain (just to rule things out.)

 

It was 4:30 pm on a Friday and the guy at the front desk asked if there was any chance I was pregnant. I said, “Sure, it’s a possibility…?” They insisted I do a pregnancy test before getting my brain scan. I agreed. Either way, I’ll be getting good news today, so let’s do it. The test was negative, so they loaded me into the big machine. It was SO LOUD. You know what I mean, if you’d had one. The only thing that kept me from losing my mind was imagining the sounds as a Bjork song and coming up with dance steps to the different beats. I’m a bit claustrophobic so I was proud for coming up with an interesting way to distract myself.

 

By the time I got out, it was 5:30pm and I asked the imaging dude for the results. He said I would have to wait for my doctor and I think he could sense the panic on my face about having to wait until Monday to speak with him. He asked me to wait in the parking structure and he brought out the printed results to me in my car, and we he ran away and I knew something was wrong. The paper said LARGE POSTERIOR CYST- seven and a half inches long and three and a half inches wide. I began to experience this moment as a filmmaker, carefully monitoring my thoughts, my breathing, and my behavior. In only what was realistically three seconds, I had decided everything in my life that had ever been important and how I was going to do spend the rest of my life (because clearly I was dying.) My life literally flashed before my eyes.

 

I called my boyfriend and then I called my doctor, knowing he wouldn’t answer but then he did. He told me not to worry, that he had been emailed the scans and that I didn’t have cancer and it was not a brain tumor. What I had was called an arachnoid cyst. What the what? “Arachnoid- like the movie, about people being scared of spiders?”, was all I thought. I drove home, thankful to be in rush hour traffic for once. I was still stunned by the fact that 15 min ago I thought I had 15 days to live. Or so I thought… holy shit.

 

This was before I saw an actual image of the scan, which I will share with you now…IMG_1480

 

Yup. I have penis on the brain. That large mass at the back of my brain that looks like a penis, is a cyst. Which isn’t a surprise for a lot of people who know me. But seriously, I found it very interesting that since I was little girl, I’ve said that I think like a dude and here was this very phallic shape resting inside my skull. He’s become a sort of buddy of mine. My trainer and I knick-named him DJ Bellum, cause he likes to scratch the record but stay anonymous in my brain, just chillin’ till the next gig.

 

After that, the year started to move pretty quickly. Summer was here and dang it was HOT. I live by the beach, you see and houses down here don’t have central air. Up until a few years ago, we didn’t need it! Now, with global warming and all that, there are a few weeks in the summer that are BRUTAL. Thankfully, my neighbor let’s me take a dip in her pool from time to time. Thanks Pammy.

 

This summer my beloved Melba passed away. She had a good run (she was 13yrs old) but I was a little sad she wasn’t going to meet the baby… I had just found out I was pregnant. Two weeks later I was in my office (OMG) over at “Pretty Little Liars” and I got a call from my doctor. The nurse came on the phone and to my surprise, told me I was having a girl. That was probably the best day of my life thus far, the one I will remember as “having it all.” It was the night before my first day of shooting. I was prepared. I was fulfilled.IMG_1858

 

The next seven days flew by. The cast and crew welcomed me with open arms and I was happy with my work. We had a good time, and it all fell into place. I was lucky. After that, we edited the show and I ended up hiring the editor on my next project, which I shot a couple months later.

 

“Hey Day” is inspired by my time growing up on a soap in the 80’s, so it was cathartic to write and direct the pilot to say the least. Chrissie Fit played the lead and was the most gracious, tenacious actress I’ve ever worked with and Finola Hughes, was well… Finola Hughes. She’s the greatest. How often do you get to work with or even direct your idol? What a pleasure I tell you. I love her dearly.

IMG_1523

Then, one night, I emailed about a thousand dog rescues looking for a new dog. I was ready. The next morning, I picked one of the responses and drove to Lancaster to pick up my new pup- Jace, who is now “Handsome Jack.” He is my nugget, love bug, Jack-O-Lantern, sweet, sweet boy. And he knows how to charm the ladies. Three of my friends call him their boyfriend (you know who you are.) What can I say? He’s a ladies man. Modest isn’t a word I would use to describe him. Don’t act like you can’t tell from the pictures. As my grandmother would say, “Stop showing your everything Jack!”

IMG_1499IMG_2049 (1)

 

My heart was so full and then it broke. I had lost my baby girl. It was too much. I didn’t need to learn this lesson. I wasn’t interested. But I wasn’t in control. These things happen and no, I don’t believe they happen “for a reason.” I’m still processing, still healing, but anyone who has gone through it knows, losing a baby at 22 weeks is tragic. One thing I am proud of however was that I allowed myself to be happy and to relish the moment. I sat in all that goodness and I can recall those feelings (when I’m having different ones) and hope that it can be like that again.IMG_1458 (1)

 

I finished “Hey Day” and am excited to get it out into the world next year. Spending time with Jack, my emotional support dog (ha) and dancing again (hip-hop) is how I ended out my year. I also got to spend time with my General Hospital family and see my good friend Jason Thompson off, hopefully to greener pastures. I’m really proud of the work we did, not just this go around but over the last ten years. I made a great friend (JT), I gained a TV Daughter (the most precious soul on the planet) and got to tell an important and at times, really fun story.IMG_1773

 

Not to go total Oprah on you, but at the end of this year and the beginning of the next, I am grateful for it all. Tired. But grateful.

Sinea

IMG_0932

I like bad ass women. You probably know this if you’ve read any of my blogs. These women come in all shapes, ages and professions. I don’t seek them out but sometimes one hits me over the head with their bravery, tenacity or grace… like this one did.

This is the first interview in which I plan to do a series of women who inspire me. This piece is about a 25 year old woman, Sinea who I met through one of my good friends. When I first met her a few months ago, there was something about her, some sparkle and intelligence which prompted me to act like an old lady and say “Oh sweetheart, I wish I had it together like you when I was your age.” When you start calling people “sweetheart” and using phrases like “when I was your age”, well, it’s time to throw in the towel and just own the fact that you are now THAT girl.

Shortly after we met. my friend (who is a family friend of Sinea) informed me that on Saturday May 23rd Sinea had been in a horrible car accident in Mexico and was at UCLA hospital with multiple injuries. The driver was in a coma with a 50/50 chance of survival. My heart sank.

After 3 weeks in the hospital, Sinea was ready to come home and her family was unable to provide a place for her to stay. So my friend opened up her home to Sinea and that was where I saw her again…. on the couch. Not able to walk or go to the bathroom, but with that same sparkle she had when we had first met before the accident. The word that comes to mind is GRACE. She is full of it- this girl. I was compelled to ask her some questions.

 

K: Ok- so let’s start with what happened.

 

S: It was a last minute memorial day trip to go to Ensanada Mexico. My friend Dara’s boyfriend had this place in Mexico, his grandfather’s place and a bunch of people were supposed to come and bailed at the last minute. I wanted to get out of town because my ex-boyfriend kept harassing me and like… showing up to my house. And I was still in love with him so I needed to get away so that I could make a clear decision. Dara was like, “Come with us. It’ll be good for you to get away”, and I agreed. We could eat some good food and go ride ATV’s or whatever.

 

K: Yeah that makes sense.

 

S: Totally. So I get to Dara’s house at 8:30 in the morning. I’m always on time because my Dad made me late to everything when I was little and Dara wasn’t ready yet. She took two hours to pack, so by the time her boyfriend Aaron got there and we picked up his friend Dylan, it was already 12:30 when we headed out of town.

 

K: So it was you Dara, her boyfriend Aaron and his friend Dylan.

 

S: Yes, Aaron was driving. I don’t know what route he chose but we ended up by my mom’s house, which is in Chino Hills and it was just like this little sign to me, like maybe I needed to go home. I don’t know… I got a weird feeling.

 

K: Did you say anything to them about maybe turning around?

 

S: No, I ignored it. Dylan and I started sipping tequila in the backseat and I chilled out a little bit.

 

K: Did Aaron and Dara know you guys were drinking?

 

S: No. We were being low key and had about 2 shots each at the most. Anyway, we got pulled over as soon as we crossed the border.

 

K: For what?

 

S: I didn’t know at first. Dylan and I were panicking because we knew there was an open bottle of tequila in the backseat. But apparently Dara’s tags were expired (it was Dara’s car.) I didn’t really understand because they were speaking in Spanish but Aaron speaks fluently and he was talking to the cop. They let us go. I said that we should turn around because I didn’t want to be in Mexico with expired tags but we were already in so we brushed it off and went to the lobster place. I had lost my appetite, everything was going wrong that day so I just got a quesadilla and barely ate. When we left Aaron and Dara were fighting about who was going to drive. Aaron only had one shot and Dara had been drinking. She’s a small girl and she had a margarita so I thought Aaron should drive. So we all got in the car and the last thing I remember was reaching over for my seat belt and I woke up in the hospital at UCLA.

 

K: When did they tell you what your injuries were and who told you?

 

S: I don’t even remember that moment to be honest. I don’t think it sunk in. I may have been in shock. But then I started to comprehend when they told me that they had to do a second surgery on my left hip. They had already done the surgery on my right hip.

 

K: So you were pretty drugged up then?

 

S: Yeah and then my Dad told me that he drove me from Tijuana straight to UCLA and I didn’t remember any of that at all. I guess they paid some guy $20 to inject me with something to knock me out on the way to LA. And then that clicked later on when I was going down for my second surgery… one of the anestesiologists asked me if I was doing heroin. So maybe that’s what they gave me for the car ride. I don’t know…

 

K: What did you do when you found out what had happened?

 

S: Well, at first I asked the nurse, is everyone alive? Aaron was in a coma in a San Diego hospital with a 50/50 chance of living. Dara had a broken jaw and Dylan had a spinal injury. They were all alive.

 

K: What do you know about the accident?

 

S: I was told that Aaron was speeding and looked down for a second to his phone and slammed into a propane truck.

 

K: What are your injuries?

 

S: I broke both of my hips and I have nerve damage in my right foot from the surgery. I can’t bend or curl my toes or anything.

 

K: What happened with your head? I see you have a Harry Potter scar but what actually cut you?

 

S: I was wearing sunglasses so I think they cracked my face or something. (giggles) And I had a really bad concussion.

 

K: So what are we looking at now as far as recovery?

 

S: August 5th I get a walker, so it will be the first time I get to stand and I’m really excited about that.

 

K: So you haven’t walked at all this whole time?

 

S: I’ve been in bed for 2 months or in a wheelchair.

 

K: Before this have you ever had any physical trauma?

 

S: I’ve never broken a bone in my body.

 

K: So what is that like for you?

 

S: For me it was really hard at first. The first month I cried every day. Because I moved out when I was 17 and I’ve always been independent. I was always the adult in my household. And then for the first time in my life I actually needed… (cries) help. I mean, my parents did the best they could but it really wasn’t enough. And even now I still have to rely on other people and I hate it. It’s humiliating. People have to take out my shit, I have to shit in a pan… I mean. I can’t even go into the bathroom.

 

K: When I was over here a few weeks ago. I was so impressed with you and who you are. You’re obviously very intelligent and have a great spirit. You seem to be dealing with this in the best way you can. You don’t seem angry to me…

 

S: I’m not angry at all.

 

K: Exactly and you have every right to be.

 

S: Honestly the old me would have been angry. Mad at Aaron and the whole thing. It’s even surprising to me that I have no animosity toward him at all.

 

K: Why do you think that is?

 

S: I just know in my heart that it was an accident. He wouldn’t want to do this to any of us. This situation has really been humbling (cries) and just really reaffirmed my spirituality that this shit really had to happen to make me stop running from my problems and really face myself for the first time in my life.

 

( We are both crying now)

 

K: How old are you?

 

S: 25. I just turned 25 yesterday. And I’m finally learning how to love myself. I never knew how to love myself until now. I’ve always been too busy taking care of my Dad or just running from myself.

 

K: Right. Other people’s stuff.

 

S: So when you have to be in bed for 3 months you have nothing BUT yourself and time to work on that. Even though it’s a shitty situation it’s really a blessing in disguise and I needed this. I have faith that things happen for a reason and I’m part of something bigger than myself.

 

K: I respect that way that you are looking at your situation because there are many other ways you could be looking at it.

 

S: Yes… But they are just a waste of time.

 

Currently, Sinea is navigating the insurance game and waiting on a referral in order to get the physical therapy she needs. She is humbly asking for help to pay rent and literally get her back on her feet. If you are inspired by Sinea’s courage like I am, please check out her gofundme page: http://www.gofundme.com/xz8p9f7

 

Thank you for reading and hope to bring you more inspirational interviews very soon!

 

Greetings!

This is my first post.

The Brand Generation

images

It’s been a few years since I’ve been to Coachella. My experiences there were kind of magical to say the least. However, times have changed my friend, and there’s something about being surrounded by drunk celebrities in the desert that doesn’t really appeal to me anymore. Sure there’s the music and there are the hotel parties afterward, but in it’s recent years I feel as though it’s morphed into this- who can wear the coolest flower crown- kind of event.

Granted, I am getting older and I’m aware my view on this may be because I’m not cool anymore. But something else occurred to me while perusing the Instagram photos of the music festival… these kids really know how to BRAND themselves. There’s this very realized version of people, even when they are are so young and it makes sense since they grew up in an age where your persona is everything.

Warning: I’m about to sound super old… but I remember way back when people didn’t take pictures of their food or their new hairdos (I did this just yesterday) for all the world to see. Still, what I wore in high school was an expression of who I wanted to be associated with. To be honest, it was a mixture of that and my own creative self at work, mixed with -me trying to be cool. It wasn’t refined. It was more of a rebellion against how people perceived me “The girl next door who contracted AIDS from her street kid boyfriend on General Hospital.” I wore white doc martins instead of black ones, for example, which back then were considered even more “punk-rock.” Don’t ask me why.

Now, it’s difficult to know that if I had access to social media as a teenager if I would’ve been able to brand myself as well as teenagers do today, but I have to assume that it would’ve been an irresistible way of communicating with my peers. The question I have is: do kids feel pressure to be something so specific at a young age? Do they feel trapped by the persona they’ve created for themselves? Or does it feel like an individual right to freedom and expression?

I suppose my concern is, will this Brand Generation as I like to call it, ever really be able to figure out how they truly feel about things while constantly having to posture to the internet community?  Is it just because I’m old that this seems like it would be a lot of pressure?  As someone growing up in the public eye, I can see how I might be hyper sensitive to these things. But to kids today, it seems so natural, whether you’re a celebrity or a 10 year-old  gamer from Idaho everyone has the potential of being an internet sensation.

This brings to the thing that really stumps me… youtubers. To the naked (old) eye, this may seem like a bunch of talentless narcissists word vomiting all over their computer screens. However, kids are fascinated with these types of personalities/online celebs. Thus, it perpetuates the issue of  “being famous for being famous.” Of course there is nothing wrong with every person who ever lives having their 15 minutes of fame, but do these people have any real talent? Do they have anything to say? In spite of this new culture, my hope is that young people continue to develop their talents and crafts in a way that’s maybe not so public. We should all be allowed to fail and pick ourselves up again, in private… right?

I don’t have children (yet) but I know this is an issue that is not going away anytime soon or possibly ever. Communication is good, no doubt, and the internet provides a forum for endless communication. I guess what I’m really getting at is privacy and the ability to have an experience that isn’t exploited every five seconds. Like Coachella for example, can we experience the music more and talk less about our outfits (Day 1 and Day 2).? That is the reason you go to a music festival- to see musicians and bands you love perform and inspire the crowd… right?

Love to know your thoughts. Email me info@kimberlymccullough.com

2014 Year End Wrap Up

Howdy folks! This year I decided to go through all of my pictures on my phone from 2014 and see if I actually did what I set out to do. I encourage you to do so yourself (it was kinda fun) If there is such a thing as quality time versus quantity, I experienced a rich year full of moments that will go down in the “never forget” column. This was not by accident per se. If you read my year end wrap from last year, you would know that 2013 wasn’t the greatest year for me. But one little gift that defeat and loss can bring is — perspective. I was stripped to the bone, brought back to the basics of life, reminded of what really mattered to me. For me, as for a lot of us, it comes down to spending time with the people that I love. I’m going to give you a taste of what my year was like by showing you pictures of the faces who bring me joy and some of things I encountered on my journey to replenish my spirit and basically GET ON WITH IT.

As the great Kin Shriner once said “Change your hair, Change your life.” I started out the year with a hair cut. One of my favorite people Anzhela gave me a cut my long hair into a cute bob on my last day at General Hospital. I was free!!!!!!!!

photo 1-1photo-27

 

I got an opportunity to shadow the Executive Producer and Director of Grey’s Anatomy Rob Corn. It was a complicated episode involving the separation of conjoined twins at the head. Rob is not only a talented director but also an incredible boss that governs with class and kindness. Rob introduced me to Debbie Allen who was on set one day and I got to thank her in person for giving me my first two jobs in the business (Fame, and the People’s Choice Awards). Pretty sure she had no idea who I was, but it felt so great to shake her hand and say “Hey- I was a dancer and now I’m a Director… like you. Thank you for giving me a shot when I was 6 years old.” Oh- and I also met Michael Medico (who was shadowing with me) and I don’t care what he says, he’s stuck with me. Since General Hospital shoots next door to Grey’s, I got to have lunch with one of my favorite kids on the planet… Brooklyn Silzer.

 

photo-31photo-22photo-25

 

 

I took 2 trips to Santa Cruz this year. One in the winter with my friends and one in the summer with my nieces. I fell in love with this place once again and hope to be able to live there at some point in my life. A really special thing that happened was my nieces got to meet my God-children. We all went to the boardwalk and went on rides courtesy of my friend Becky who I’ve known since high school. Natalia, the mother of my God-children, who I’ve also known since the 7th grade, Becky and I had our own little La Mirada reunion as the kids played.

photo-22photo 1photo-9

 

I went to Arizona twice this year as well. Once to Sedona with my road dog Danielle (that’s a whole separate blog entry) and the other to participate in a retreat with some gorgeous horses. The first time was to cleanse my body, the second trip I focused on healing and letting go. I left a ton of muck in that red dirt!

 

photo-21photo-4

 

This year I had some great memorable times with my friends.

Me and Danielle (road dog) at my birthday party.

photo-29

 

 

Some of us at San Onofre, my favorite surf spot. Zoe taught me what “Beer O’ Clock” was. I was happy to comply.

 

photo-19

 

Here, my dear friend Minae is rubbing her scent all over my new car. She’s territorial. We also got to celebrate with her at the premiere for TMNT. She was so badass as “Karai.”

photo-8

 

A bunch of us ladies had a pre-game session in the bed of my truck at the Beyonce/JZ concert. It rained on us but it was magical. We didn’t even care if they were not really together… we saw Beyonce’s hot bod in silhouette!

photo-7

Then there was the kick off to a great summer when I went to Europe on a solo trip. On the way I visited my favorite couple, my cousin and her new husband in Brooklyn and jet off to  soak up some culture.

photo-18

 

I went to Paris and Amsterdam alone which allowed me to make new friends. I even passed by Natalie Portman in Paris, which is always a plus. Can’t be mad at that Dior face. And Claudio- this one’s for you “Fame is a bitch.”

 

photo-16photo-17

 

I came home and immediately went into a shadowing assignment on Pretty Little Liars with Arlene Sanford.

photo-14

 

Family starting pouring into town for my brother’s wedding and it seemed like everything was all good in the world. I was working and playing with the same intensity and I loved it.

photo-13photo-26

 

The next couple months were all about family. I spent time with my brother who was visiting from Samoa and my nieces. I even survived Disneyland!

photo-15photo-11photo-12photo-10

 

This is us back in the day. Dang we got old!

 

photo-24

 

I went back to shadow on PLL, this time with Roger Kumble and I really fell in love with the crew.

photo-3

While I was there, I found out I got a job Directing an episode of KC Undercover!

 

photo

I also did a reading of a TV pilot I wrote called HEY DAY and we had a great turn out. The ball was rolling, people!

 

photo-2

 

Oh yeah, and….

I met up with Amy and Jocelyn in Vegas where I learned that people with kids party harder than those without.

photo-5

My friend Lesli wrote a book. And quoted me in it. Who knew I had any relationship advice to give?

photo-4

And I became a part of a posse– We roll deep.

photo-3

I left the best for last… babies, babies, babies. Three new souls came into my life and I got to meet them all fresh out of the hatch.

photo-30photophoto-5

 

And there’s Melba, my “life partner” as Vanessa Marcil calls her. The constant in my life.I nub her. You can probably tell from my Instagram pics. She’s a 13 year old English Mastiff and she’s still going strong. Still putting up with me.

photo-1

 

And then there’s the person who makes me feel like this. Truly happy; warm and cozy by the fire and yes- checking my phone for any sweet texts that may come through.

photo-6

Coming off the heels on getting to do what I love the most last week (Directing) and looking at all these perfect moments, I am grateful for an awesome, awesome year. Thank you for letting me share my life with you and I wish everyone a wonderful holiday and wrap up to the year!

 

Me with Trinitee Stokes who plays “Judy” on the upcoming show KC Undercover.

photo

 

 

Me with the awesome stunt team. Yes- there were a lot of stunt in a half hour sitcom.

photo-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

On the shoulders of Giants!

HistoryDiversityWSC.ashx

 

The founder members of the Women’s Steering Committee: Nell Cox, Lynne Littman, Susan Bay, Dolores Ferraro, and Victoria Hochberg.

 

Last night attended the 35th Anniversary of the Women’s Steering Committee at the DGA. It was a  celebration of sorts. The night was honoring the women who started the committee 35 yrs ago as well as three renowned female Directors: Patty Jenkins (Monster), Mimi Leder (The Leftovers) and Betty Thomas (Private Parts). Yet, there was an undertone of sadness and defeat that was addressed, but not harped on.

Yesterday morning, I received the DGA (Directors Guild of America) monthly publication, and on the front cover was the heading- “Employers Make No Improvement in Diversity Hiring In Episodic Television: DGA Report.” This isn’t the first I’ve heard or seen of these bleak numbers. Two % of episodes of television are directed by minority females. The fact that I fall under this category, (yes, I am half Mexican) makes me feel both privileged and terrified. “Privileged” because I’ve been given a shot and am now a member of the DGA, and “terrified” because so many of my colleagues are NOT working as directors and the numbers have not improved significantly in the last few years. In fact, they are getting worse.

When I was 17 and made my first film, I had an understanding of how difficult it was to get a film made, mainly because I had to convince 50 of my friends to come to a dingy club in Hollywood at 2 am and pretend dance until 6am. In order to get them there, I had to throw a party at my house in La Mirada and then bus them in so they had no escape. It was fun to me. One of the most creative parts of film making is convincing other people to do things for you after they’ve already said no three times. That part I was willing to take on and make a part of my life- forever. I always knew I wanted to be a filmmaker. What I hadn’t considered is that I was going to be a part of a movement.

Now that I’m sorta “in the mix” as they say in the Directing pool, I am realizing, accepting, contemplating- however you want to put it- what these numbers actually mean to me personally. What are the odds that I would pick such a difficult career to break into? Kind of makes sense, considering my personality. I enjoy breaking through barriers, not taking no for an answer, proving myself and surprising other people. It can be empowering. What I’m really starting to realize is… this is not about me.

I am a part of this very small piece of the pie, whether I like it or not; whether I’m talented or deserving, or not. And gender bias is a real thing whether I’m working or not. This thing is much bigger than I, and women before me have given their all to try and change it. It’s not fair, and it’s not right. So how do we change it? How have the women who we honored last night been able to break through and KEEP WORKING?

Martha Coolidge who moderated the panel asked each of the women HOW they did it, essentially. Their stories were fascinating. Brett Ratner wrote Patty Jenkins a check for her first film. Steven Spielberg mentored Mimi Leder. Betty Thomas lied and said she was Directing a show that she was actually shadowing. The show runner got wind of this and eventually hired her to direct an episode. If you’re looking for some common denominator in their stories- which I was, it all came down to connecting with someone in authority to hire these directors, believe in them, mentor them and HIRE them. So, if women directors are not getting hired, then the disconnect must be that there isn’t enough of this happening. Meaning: show runners have to take personal responsibility to go out of their comfort zones and hire more capable women. We are out there! There are show runners who are doing this. The big one everyone knows about is of course, Shonda Shonda Shonda Rhimes. I say her name three times because she has the authority to hire 3 times over, with 3 shows on the air. She does more than her fair share of hiring women and minorities to direct her shows.

Now- Mimi Leder, Patty Jenkins and Betty Thomas didn’t become Directors because someone felt sorry for them. They became Directors because they ARE directors and their talent got the attention of someone who could hire them or write them a check to make a film. I say this only because there have been some not- so- savory comments I’ve heard about only hiring the person that it best for the job, blah blah blah… if it were only that easy. It’s all about proximity folks. Just like a great education, and most things of privilege. If they don’t know that we exist, how can they hire us?

Mimi Leder was a script supervisor ON SET. Patty Jenkins was an assistant camera operator ON SET. Betty Thomas shadowed for a year on one show ON SET before she got the chance to direct an episode. These women were around and in their face. So when I look at what they did and what they are doing now, I am hopeful. I am also more confident that I am on the right path. I am very lucky that I was chosen to be a part of the DGA/Disney/ABC Directing Fellowship Program because it has allowed me to be ON SET for the last 2 years. Not only am I getting a front row seat to some of the greatest directors and the best shows, but I am making myself known. I am putting myself in proximity to those who have the power to hire me.

You may be wondering why the industry is involved in a heated discussion about  this. Well- because it’s important. Five women thirty-five years ago, thought it important enough to sue the studios and it is important today. Why? Because just like Congress, the entertainment industry, in front of and behind the camera, should reflect positive images and stories in which their viewing audiences can relate. Exploring other points of views helps a culture to mature and become more compassionate and empathetic. And if it is about me, maybe even just a little bit… shouldn’t I have the chance to do something I love and something I’ve dedicated my life to studying? It’s not about the world owing me something, it’s about wanting the chance to give back to the world- to show em’ what I’ve got!

Directing is a tricky profession. Sometimes it seems like lighting has to strike in order to just be on set DIRECTING. Martha Coolidge said last night, “Directing is addicting,” to which the panel giggled and a hush came over the crowd. The she said, “It’s true. Sometime, someone will have to deal with that.” We all laughed. It is addicting. Which is maybe why we deal with all the waiting and all the “No’s”. One of the original five WSC members said, “I have had the great privilege of making a few films I am proud of.” And I thought, wow. I hope I get there. That’s all I want to be able to say. What an honor.

So, here I go! On the shoulders of giants- Mimi, Patty and Betty- here I go!

 

Just One Of The Guys

“The only difference between you and me. When I look at myself, all I can see… is that I’m just another lady without- a Ba-by.” – Jenny Lewis

“Just one of the guys” is the first single released from the album THE VOYAGER by Jenny Lewis. I’ve always been a fan of her and felt a sort of kinship with her. We both grew up as child actresses and have now gone on to the something different. Jenny went on to write and perform music, and I’ve gone from being in front of to behind the camera.

In fact, I used to see her at auditions all the time when we were kids and she was always so lovely to me. Granted, we were both 10 but you’d be surprised at how nasty some little girls can be. I was so stoked the first time I saw Jenny perform with her band Rilo Kiley. She looked so comfy up there with her guitar, the only girl in a all guy rock band. I thought… I feel you girl. I’m so happy for you that you broke out of the industry and are doing your thang and doing it soooooo well. I never got a chance to tell her that, but I support her by buying all her albums and signing my heart out to her songs when no one is listening of course.

And once again, I have to say… I feel you girl. I am also kinda plagued by the “one of the guys” syndrome. Add to that this damn biological clock and everyone around me popping out babies. It’s enough to make a woman crazy! I was in my garage the other day, looking at all my surfboards, skateboards and snowboards and thought– whoa. What happened here? Have I actually succeeded in becoming one of the guys?

I believe it all started back in the day when I would come home from work and there would be anywhere between 5-15 dudes skateboarding in my front yard. My mom spent a lot of time with me at work and my brothers took advantage of the situation by inviting all their friends over to skate and eat cereal. At the time, I was working a ton on General Hospital which teenage boys did NOT think was cool. Soap operas were what their grandmas watched. I remember getting asked more than once a week if I could cry on cue and how may times I thought about my dog dying. I didn’t have a dog at the time…

I wanted to be cool. I wanted to be like them. I wanted to skate.

So I bought myself a pair of Van’s half- Cabs and learned to ollie. I still got made fun of but they couldn’t call me a princess with high tops and a skateboard in my hand. Try it- I dare you. And that’s sort of how it went. Now, here I am with a garage full of toys and no baby.

Of course there are many other reasons and circumstances why I don’t have children (not wanting them isn’t one of them) but what I find interesting in Jenny’s song is the direct correlation to being “one of the guys’ and being childless. The good news is, I’m not scared of paddling into a wave or boarding down a mountain. My brothers taught me so much about being tough, taking risks and hell- a lot about the culture of skateboarding. It was a welcome contrast to hot rollers, photo shoots and kissing soap hunks. It’s probably what kept me grounded in retrospect.

And as far as the baby thing goes… I’ve had the privilege of watching some of my dearest friends children grow up. I’m close to so many of them and they bring so much joy to my life. I’m an Auntie, a Nina and a God mom. And I hope to have my own little stinker some day.

Here is a pic of a little girl I met when she was born and the next one is a pic of her yesterday. She just turned 7 and she is so beautiful.

 

bona baby

Bona

 

And far as Jenny Lewis goes… I hope to see her in her My Little Pony suit and guitar one day soon. Keep on Keepin on.