Thursday, September 11, 2014

The MBC Gals Storm LA - by Hilary and Rachelle

From Hilary

This past weekend, Rachelle and I attended Story Expo, a writer's conference in LA.

But let me back up. One of the reasons I love Rachelle is that she encourages me to try new things. Like paddle boarding a few weeks ago:

Paddle boarding in Mission Bay! Hilary's first time. 

So. A few months ago she called and said she wanted to go to this writers conference and she wanted me to go with her. I've been wanting to go to a conference for a long time, and this seemed like a great opportunity. So I perused the classes, enrolled, set my schedule, and began planning!

From Rachelle

I was SO glad she came with me! I've been to these things before and it's kind of a mixed bag of emotions - on one hand, it's a dreamland for writers, and on the other hand, there's no one there to share it with. And man, did we share! We talked about writing over breakfast, on every 15 minute break between classes, during dinner and before bed. We compared notes, told stories from the other writers, and shared stories of weirdness that took place in our classes (like the homeless person who snuck into one of my classes and pretended she was there with her sister, all while yelling profanities in the hallway when being escorted out) and the very tiny man in one of Hilary's classes who kept turning around to stare at everyone else in the class. This was a far better conference experience than any other I've attended.

From Hilary:

Friday morning, I caught the 6 a.m. airport shuttle. Of course, the man and woman sitting in the row in front of me were talking about terrorists flying airplanes, a college student crashing his motorcycle and smashing his head into his body cavity and the Arizona girl who accidentally shot her shooting instructor when some idiot decided it would be cool for her to try shooting an Uzi. Great convo topics, guys.

I got on the airplane and 2 other passengers were talking about earthquakes in LA. Thanks, guys.

Welcome to LA! Time to Par-TAAAAY! 

Rachelle picked me up at the airport and we headed to the hotel where the conference was.
We're here! 

We had lunch at the hotel restaurant and it was delicious - plus they had some really fun pictures on the wall, which, of course, we had to emulate.

Movie stars in the making.

From Rachelle

Hilary looks exactly like the woman in the picture behind her (as we were both trying to do). I, on the other hand, look like a pathetic, lonely puppy begging for food. I want to say a public "thank-you" to Hilary for this birthday lunch - which was on her. It was her birthday, and she used a Visa gift card to buy. THANK YOU! The fish tacos were delicious. 

From Hilary

Friday night we were both really tired so we went up to our room and went to bed early. Par-taaaay!
Saturday was packed with classes. Rachelle got to see a really cool speaker (more on that in a minute). That evening, Story Expo put on a dinner for the attendees and we got to network. We met a producer from the reality show Dance Moms and that was pretty fun.

From Rachelle

I knew nothing about Dance Moms when this conversation began. This woman I met at the conference was with us, and boy was she into it. She seemed to know every episode and every mom and kid on the show. Hilary knew enough to join in, and I, on the other hand, had to smile and nod while the producer guy held my empty plate of pasta for about 20 minutes (quite the gentleman). I felt super cool. 

From Hilary

Then Rachelle talked me into going down to the hotel bar for a glass of wine, which, of course, turned into 2. She really had to twist my arm.

From Rachelle

She's right, I had to twist her arm to go downstairs to the bar. It was 8:45 p.m. and I said, "no way, I can't go to bed this early." It was SHE who order glass number two, but she did not have to twist my arm to do the same.

From Hilary

The whole event was so inspiring. There were tons of writers - most of them writing for passion and working a different day job to pay the bills (like me!). The teachers were wonderful! They were so passionate about writing, so willing to share advice, and so much fun to listen to.

And you seriously can't beat a girls' weekend. We had so much fun talking, laughing, talking some more. We talked about husbands, writing, kids, more writing, exercise, family, writing. SO. Much. Fun.

From Rachelle

Talking to each other is something Hilary and I are both VERY good at, and unfortunately it's not something our children let us do very often. We have to be driving solo on our way to Costco (and hope the other one's children are in school at the same time) to do so. We talked over Thai food, talked in our pajamas like we were having a slumber party, she talked me into doing a pitch to a movie producer (and succeeded), I tried to talk her into the same (and I did not succeed). We are very lucky girls to have such a bestie relationship AND be writers AND be moms. We will be attending this conference next year (this is the first she's heard about it, but yes, she's coming). 

From Hilary

After waiting in a SUPER long line for the car rental to drive home - an hour during which I stood behind a very good-looking man (tall, muscular - I mean, really - too bad I didn't get a picture but that would have been creepy) - I hit the road.

I saw this rainbow on the way home and felt even MORE inspired.

From Rachelle

Beautiful ending to a beautiful weekend. If you were wondering, I met, shook hands with, and talked at length with the legendary screenplay writer Joe Eszterhas (highest paid screenplay writer in Hollywood). Highlight of my weekend (aside my from time with Hilary!). The ending of my trip was driving two hours home and walking into my backyard where my boys ran at me with open arms screaming "Mommy's home!" Best feeling ever :)

Rachelle and THE Joe Eszterhas

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