Sunday, September 2, 2012


I’d been envisioning a relaxing, laid-back Labor Day weekend. My plan was to A) finish sewing on the purple tassel fringe to the last of my bedroom curtains, a project that got derailed when I carelessly used too heavy a kind of thread thereby necessitating a rather severe detour to Ace Sewing on 214 8th St. in downtown L.A. and 2) read Robert McKee’s Story preparatory to finishing the screenplay of Parched I’ve been working on for years and thereby make millions of dollars.

Instead, and sometimes I really do question the notion of a loving God, I thought to START, just dip a toe into, a little project that had been in the back of my mind for some weeks, which was to make a dear down-home video by way of introducing myself to the very good people of New Zealand who are poised, if they can drum up enough interest, to welcome me to what by all accounts is their gorgeous and varied country just after Holy Week 2013. I thought to film the route I take through the streets of Silver Lake to Mass at St. Francis of Assisi and thereby show folks a bit of my neighborhood, routine, thoughts, etc. So off I set, filming several INTERESTING and entertaining segments.

Here are some of the MANY things I learned in the subsequent about 263 hours. Windows Movie Maker (WMM) does not import Quick Time videos which is the format in which my camera downloads (is that the word?) into my computer. What I needed was to convert from mov to wmv, I finally figured out. What followed was many many hours of downloading “free” conversion software which either doesn’t tell you “free” means a carrot and stick to buy their software which actually costs $39.95 or $59.95 or $69.95 and that you are poised to sit there scratching your head before you figure out that the free stuff either imports with a giant watermark all over it, or will only import the first six seconds of your video, or will import one video and then stop till you shell out some dough.

So I shelled out some dough—by this time I somehow had about 80 copies of every clip—and began converting. I had actually taken a class in documentary film-making a few years ago so I had some rudimentary notion, plus that part is fairly intuitive, of the storyboard. But what happened was that though the clip would convert, WMM would not import the damn thing correctly! The last five seconds would get chopped off, I’d get the storyboard in shape and the thing would blank out for a minute, erasing everything, ET CETERA. I consulted Help more times than I can count, I searched online, I figured out to trim the long clips into two parts on Real Player, and separately convert and import those.

I thought Is it me? Am I missing some huge point? Finally, driven to the brink of desperation, and forgive me you more mature types, I googled "does windows movie maker suck." To my complete gratification, pages came up:  "Windows Movie Maker sucks big time!" "Damn! Windows Movie Maker sucks so much!!!"  "Why does Windows Movie Maker suck so much?" "Why does Windows Movie Maker suck so bad?" (Because it's Windows, one person replied).

Somehow this cheered me so much that I tried one more time to import the same two lynchpin clips I'd been trying to import for two days and the process worked perfectly.

This isn't one of the lynchpin clips. But here are some of Silver Lake's secret steps.



  1. That wore me out! I'm getting short of breath.


  2. Here's a colorized version of The Music Box. It might be fun to compare the steps you know to their 1932 version.

    Did I ever tell you I nearly rented a garage apartment on Larissa Dr? Its proximity to the Music Box steps was a big part of the lure.

  3. You need some service like www.nerds or www.geeks or or
    I feel your pain. Good luck.

  4. Heather,
    Forgive me if I missed important news about your mother- is she still with us?

  5. You are my hero. BTW, the video clip didn't show on the website.

  6. Bummer, Erin, I just re-checked and it does work on mine...yes, Bill, you did mention that you'd once lived on or near Larissa; we will have to discuss details! And thanks for asking, Rose--yes, ole Janet is still with us! Happy Labor Day everyone...

  7. Heather, I'm always fascinated by your tours of LA because, as I've told you before, my daughter lives there. You have posted enough wonderfully interesting pictures and descriptions of places in the city that you could publish an insider's look at LA. I, for one, would certainly purchase it. Thank you for helping me grow to love the metropolis that initially I deemed the monster that swallowed my child whole. Tish

  8. I got the video working. I like it! Have a great week.


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