I apologize that this continuation of my L.A. story is later than intended. Not recommended: looking through old journals to "check" something. Your mind will go back to where it was when the pen hit the paper, and if it wasn't a rosy period then you can expect swirly-head for the rest of the afternoon.
Just before I went back to Oklahoma for Christmas at the end of 2001, the executive producer of the show I was working on for MTV told me that he would be starting a feature film for Paramount after the first of the year. In a generous and soul-altering sweep, he asked if I would join him.
I had been in Los Angeles for a little over four months, and still hadn’t found my footing. That fall, the world had changed, my heart re-broke, and I had barely taken it in. Every day I woke up, showered, and reported to a job, but I was a shell of myself. The heartbreak from the previous spring coupled with the enormous changes to both myself and my country put me in a zombie-like state. There are whole chunks of memory missing from that time. The mind does this for protection when you’re going through grief and shock.
I accepted my boss’s offer because I needed the job and it sounded like a good opportunity, and wasn’t I chasing “good opportunities?” The movie was a big screen version of a popular television show that I had only peripherally heard of, but had never watched. As I learned more about it, I was suitably embarrassed but not enough to turn down the job. For this, I am thankful for a numbness that kept my proper upbringing in the back seat.
In the first few days of 2002 I started as a production assistant on the raunchy and groundbreaking movie. Dr. Megan had also joined the crew as an assistant to the Director and the featured talent. We were two of only eight girls on the staff. Not only was it unsurprising that this was a boy-dominated set, it was appropriate. My first exposure to these guys and their humor was jaw-dropping.
I was unimpressed. I made it clear, I’m sure in a haughty way, that I did not think any of these men were cute or funny or interesting. I said out loud, to my co-workers and the cast, that this was only a job for me. A few of the more outgoing characters started to chip away at my steel veneer and after about a month I was committed to the cause.
It was a rowdy cast and an irreverent crew. They broke all the rules of traditional production, a fact I didn’t truly understand at the time and would haunt me professionally later. But these people, they shook me awake. Sometime in February of 2002, some part of me emerged for air as if I had been in deep, deep water.
I guess in some ways I had.