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Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris
September 15th 2011
Published: September 16th 2011
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View from our balconyView from our balconyView from our balcony

Everything looks so classic in black and white. Especially everything in Paris.
What to write? It feels as though not much has been happening, but of course, life marches on. The apartment is set up and almost all organized, and at least Guillaume and I aren't sleeping on the couch anymore! He is working too much and I'm not working enough, but hopefully with time things will even out. So what have I been up to? Well...

Moving! We left our old apartment in Issy-les-Moulineaux for our new place here in the 15th. It's 2 rooms, on the 5th floor, no elevator, so we asked for as much help with the move as we could get. Luckily Guillaume has a lot of strong guy friends and we were able to get it all done in a weekend. It took another week for us to put everything back together, but the apartment is coming along. Everything we have is Ikea, which was really nice. I know that in North America, Ikea what you get when you can't afford "real" furniture, but here, you HAVE to have Ikea, otherwise you wouldn't fit anything in the apartment! The stairways and doorways are narrow and winding, and the elevators barely fit 2, if there even IS
Boxing upBoxing upBoxing up

Goodbye old apartment, you were good to us.
an elevator. It wouldn't be possible to have a comfortably furnished apartment if you didn't build the furniture inside, because the spaces are just too small. So say what you will about Ikea, but I don't know what we, or any Parisians, would do without it!

Volunteering! I've gotten really involved with an Anglophone association here in Paris, WICE (www.wice-paris.org), where I have recently joined their marketing team and am doing some light design work. It's quite fun, a women's organization at the base and most everyone involved is an expat, so there is a lot of common ground. I am the youngest person involved, and they seem to really appreciate my perspective. Because most of the women are wives to men here on assignment (ambassadors, bankers, highly-paid professionals), I believe I am making some really good contacts, so we'll see where this may lead.

Interning! Every Monday I am an "Art consultant" with a gallery in the 7th, ArtSpace Galleries (www.artspace-galleries.com), where I mainly sit and greet anyone that comes by, while doing about 4 hours of work for the gallery. This can be anything from adding artist contacts to their database, to PR and design work.
Look at those guys go!Look at those guys go!Look at those guys go!

So nice to have guys around for a move! They took care of all the heavy things, while I took pictures.
I'm really trying to get graphic design experience, as this is a field I am very interested in. The problem in entering the field is that you have to know and have all the necessary design programs. My computer is old (by computer standards... I bought it in September, 2006), and cannot support the newest versions of photoshop or adobe. These programs are also very expensive, so I've been teaching myself how to download, instal and use open-source free ware like GIMP and Scribus. I still have a lot to learn, but I have the motivation, passion and intelligence to tackle these projects and it's always exciting to see my work being published and used after I'm done. We'll see, assuming I can get the programs going on my computer, I may become one of the graphic designers for the gallery!

Acting! Probably the most exciting opportunity to come up for me is the chance to be in a movie! A real movie!

Here's how it began: In August, I was starting to volunteer with WICE when we received a phone call from someone looking for a young American woman who knew how to type with all ten
Museums!Museums!Museums!

I have also been going to museums, since so many of them are free here. Plus, I can never turn down a good 'ole dino exhibit!
fingers. Nancy (the secretary at WICE) had me listen to the message and gave me the number to call. It turned out to be a production company making a movie about typists in the 1950s, and they needed an American. Still unsure what it was all about, I showed up to the address I had been given, to what turned out to be a screen test and audition. I typed on a computer and on an old vintage typewriter as Johana told me to try and look like a champion, look over-confident, look a little bitchy. So I put on my bitch face and typed like the wind. She loved it, and I got a call back for a costume fitting last week. She told me that they still hadn't decided on any of the rolls, but they wanted to see me in costume and with the hair style before they made any decisions.
I showed up to the address Johana gave me, Eurocostume, a huge warehouse just north of Paris. For those of you who love vintage clothes (like I do), this warehouse was a dream come true! I felt like a kid in a candy shop. Perfectly
Walking Around!Walking Around!Walking Around!

Of course, I keep wandering the city, and when I do, I take my camera.
maintained vintage clothes from the 1950s and 60s as far as I could see. Johana introduced me to the director, and he then presented me to the costume designers, 2 older women and 3 younger interns. He told them that I was here for the role of the American, and after getting my size and measurements, they all disappeared into the racks of clothes and came back with armfuls of dresses for me to try on.
I went into a fitting room (really just 2 cardboard walls) and undressed while the ladies brought me different things to try on, dresses flying on and off and over my head just as fast as I could manage. After each dress, the one costume designer who was working with me would stand back, look and perhaps give me different shoes or glasses. If it pleased her, she would then present me in front of the director, who made the final call. Every dress was met with a critique, "too severe", "too informal", "too girly", "Not chic enough", until they found something just right. While they were scouring the racks for just the right look, I was sent to the coiffeur for my
Learning GIMP!Learning GIMP!Learning GIMP!

I've downloaded and installed the program as well as various scripts which I am teaching myself to use. This is the Lomo script so I can make my pictures all hipster and shit.
hair. They had a wig ready for me, and I sat still while the lovely old woman quietly pinned and adjusted everything until it pleased her. Again, in front of the director and then back to the dresses.
It took a few hours, but I was in heaven. I've always loved playing dress-up, so this was really the most fun I could imagine having. After that day in the costume warehouse, I felt that even if I didn't get the role, at least it was fun to have made it this far. During the metro ride home I imagined my conversations on late-night couches "Well, David (Letterman, of course, but we'll be on a first-name basis soon), it all began while living in Paris and volunteering with WICE..." "Yes, Oprah, it was quite exciting! And all in French!". And then yesterday, I got the call.
"Salut Sara, c'est Johana!" (She's always so happy on the phone) "Je voudrais bien savoir si tu es encore interessée de faire partie de notre projet" (I'd like to know if you still want to be a part of our project) Of course I said "Oui". "Ah bon, alors bienvenue sur l'equipe!" So
Costumes!Costumes!Costumes!

This is my candy shop.
welcome to our team! I'd made it! I'm in!
I've got a lot of training in front of me, hours of typing everyday in order to become the "champion du monde", and they've already signed me up for classes that I start on Tuesday. The movie is going to be filmed in Belgium fat the end of December, so I'm assuming I'll be taken there and put up for those few weeks, which will be fun. I'm looking forward to meeting everyone and just seeing where this goes. Of course I'd always fantasized about being a movie star (haven't we all?), but I never thought it would happen. Let alone in France, in a French film, speaking French! Thank you Madame Shields*, if I ever win an oscar I'll have to dedicate it to you!





*Mme Shields was my high school French teacher, and I guess the reason that I'm here in Paris, if I were to trace every motivation back to the origin.

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17th September 2011

Sara! Networking is quiet honestly half the battle and from where you stand, you already have a pretty good advantage. We should never be shy about going for or asking for what we want (better pay, different opportunities, a new challenge etc.) Go get it. Much love!

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