Hello everyone -- It's been a great year. I just finished my first job in Los Angeles working in the editing department on Tropic Thunder, which hits theaters everywhere today. I learned so much and met some amazing people along the way. I'm thankful for having landed such a neat first job right out of college.
Some memories that will stay with me were seeing one of my bosses win an Academy Award for a project he had recently completed, meeting the legendary Mel Brooks and hearing his reaction to Tropic Thunder, hearing Steven Spielberg's reactions to the film after he viewed it in his private theater at DreamWorks, and also seeing how the various stars reacted to the film. Tom Cruise sat silently in the back of the theater with his wife and mother, not really knowing what to think of the Les Grossman character he had created. Every time Robert Downey Jr. called me, he greeted me by shouting, "This is Robert Downey Jr, Film Actor!" All in good humor, of course. I'll also remember sitting in the all-marble waiting room of the MPAA, in one of its several secret locations, (where all Hollywood motion pictures are rated) with about six security cameras pointed at me and several guards standing next to me while Tropic Thunder was being viewed and rated in the back room. I didn't dare move a muscle. I also got to hear a few moments of our scoring on the movie studio that belonged to the first genius of the cinema, Charlie Chaplin, one of my favorite directors. During one afternoon in March, I was driving to the DreamWorks warehouse, and sitting next to me in my car was fake bloody guts and a director's fake decapitated head -- just a typical day in the life of Tim Leaton. I couldn't have asked for a better experience on this project. Ben Stiller was a true gentleman, as were all of my amazing coworkers. Ben was even kind enough to provide me with a great letter of recommendation, and expressed interest in working together again.
My intense schedule on Tropic Thunder kept me working 17 hours a day, six days a week, all year, and even gave me my first grey hair. I didn't have any vacation time this year, so during the past couple weeks I was finally able to return to the east coast and visit my family and Virginia Tech for the first time in a year. That was a long-overdue trip, to say the least. I visited the new memorial on the VT drillfield, with one Hokie Stone dedicated to each of the 32 students and professors we lost at Tech. It's important to put things in perspective and remember that there will always be more important things than work, like the memory of those we lost last year. I'm proud to have been a part of a school like Virginia Tech that stood so strong during a time of tragedy.
Now close out this site and go see Tropic Thunder. But don't take it too seriously though, just be prepared to have a laugh.