Oh lordy… at noon today, we will have 24 hours left in our campaign!! It’s insane to think that we have 150 backers as of this very moment that have brought us to 92%. That’s a lot of people throwing love our way. Each share & donation translates into belief in us, and Little Cabbage. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Going into our Seed&Spark campaign, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. Of course you hope for the best, and plan as well as you can. It’s a very vulnerable time. You risk a lot by putting yourself out there – failure being the biggest fear. It ultimately comes down to the project being worth putting everything on the line. Are you all-in, or out? The answer was always IN. No doubt about it. I was willing to fight for it until the very end. I love this story that much. I am so happy that it will be made! However, we certainly need that remaining 8%. Each cent is assigned to something very important. We hope you feel a rush of inspiration to help us out in this last stretch! We would be forever grateful. Click here to check it out. 

I wanted to share with you some folks who went above & waaaay beyond to show their support for us. First is Jonathan Fowler & Shelby McDonald, who donated $500 to see Little Cabbage come to life!! They are long-time friends, and old coworkers of mine. They just opened a new salon in Crestwood (Birmingham) called Beauty Shock. They completely renovated an old building and turned it into the perfect space for their business. Please go see them! They are also the beauty force behind the new Bravo series call Jersey Belle, handling all of the hair & makeup for the lovely ladies. They are so very talented, fun & special. Shelby will be doing all of the hair for Little Cabbage.

Another couple made a HUGE impact on our project… so much so that they quite literally gave us the “green light” on Seed&Spark! You have to reach 80% in order to receive the funds you’ve raised on that crowdfunding site. We were sitting pretty at 71% when Jason & Andrea Richardson jumped in at the Associate Producer level and contributed $1,500!! It was almost too much for my heart to take. Jason & Andrea were the creative forces behind the Call Me music video for St. Paul and the Broken Bones, building & dressing the entire set. Andrea had a specific vision from the very beginning that she executed with ease. They are also excited to be building Chris Hastings’ new restaurant, Ovenbird, which will be opening this Fall at Pepper Place in Birmingham. Chris Hastings is a recent winner of the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the South. They’ve also done amazing work for Heidi Elnora Atelier, Hearst Corporation – Country Living’s New Headquarters and many others. We are so lucky to have them on our team. For those attending Sidewalk, be on the lookout for them! Jason’s company is Richardson & Associates Construction, and Andrea’s design firm is Andrea Richardson Design, LLC.

After tomorrow I can’t wait to start blogging about the Little Cabbage filmmaking process. This weekend some of our key crew are coming to Atlanta to do some preproduction work. We are also so close to casting our other two key roles. That will be a fun announcement to make! We’ve been in full-on preproduction mode the entire time we’ve been raising money, so our lives have been very full as of late. This is the part that we really, really enjoy! I love putting the pieces together of a complex shoot. It’s a puzzle that’s been coming together for almost a year now. I have a feeling this is going to be a very important film for us.

See you again on the flip side of our campaign!! Also… if you’re interested, I wrote a fun article for Bitch Flicks that you should check out! Also, I will be speaking at the AAF Birmingham Chapter’s monthly luncheon next Friday 8/22 on my experiences with crowdfunding. Join me!

My new hair thanks to Shelby McDonald!

My new hair thanks to Shelby McDonald!

Jonathan Fowler & Shelby McDonald of Beauty Shock

Jonathan Fowler & Shelby McDonald of Beauty Shock

Jason & Andrea Richardson, Associate Producers of Little Cabbage

Jason & Andrea Richardson, Associate Producers of Little Cabbage

Set of Call Me - Built & Designed by Jason & Andrea Richardson

Set of Call Me – Built & Designed by Jason & Andrea Richardson

Jason & Andrea Richardson portfolio work.

Jason & Andrea Richardson portfolio work.

Jason & Andrea Richardson portfolio work.

Jason & Andrea Richardson portfolio work.

Jason & Andrea Richardson portfolio work.

Jason & Andrea Richardson portfolio work.

Braves games with friends!

Braves games with friends!

Friday night Braves game!

Friday night Braves game!

The Baby Kitty

The Baby Kitty

Our new friends Brendan & Kristy, from Tasmania!

Our new friends Brendan & Kristy, from Tasmania!

This past weekend I spent time with my family in Birmingham for my sister Christy’s birthday! It was a full house – there were no less than 10 people at my mom & dad’s at any given moment, and we were almost outnumbered by toddlers & small children. :) I love my nieces and nephew so much…would have only been a better weekend if my sister Rachel’s family were with us too! This morning I dropped my mom off for her journey down to Jacksonville to see them for the next 4-5 days. Abi-do, my newest niece, is almost 4 weeks old. I’m sure she is already getting growing up way too fast. I look forward to many Abi snuggles in the very near future!

We’ve been posting a lot of updates on our film Little Cabbage through our Seed&Spark campaign, for those of you interested. We have 9-ish days left in our campaign…which is both thrilling and scary!! Over the weekend we reached 59% funded (super close to 60% as I type this sentence). Wednesday will mark the “one week left zone” (ah!). :D I can’t believe it! We are proceeding full steam ahead in anticipation of reaching our goal, especially since the shoot itself is Sept 5 – 7. This month is going to zip by in the blink of an eye., and there is zero time to waste. Just as I thought, I’ve run the complete gamut of emotions so far through this campaign: fear, happiness, highs that no words can describe, worry, confidence, doubt, and immense gratitude. Never a dull moment, that’s for sure. The best feeling in the word is getting that Seed&Spark email saying that someone has supported our project! My heart explodes a little (or a lot) each time. It seriously feels like someone is reaching across the computer screening shouting – I BELIEVE IN YOU. No words can describe it. If you have donated already – thank you from the bottom of our hearts. If you haven’t yet, but plan to, equal thanks to you as well!! Here is where you can help us out and learn more about our film. We also realize not everyone will be able to give – so cheers, good vibes and shares mean the world to us too. We are buckling up our seat belts for the remaining days!

For those of you in Birmingham, AL, tomorrow (August 5) I will be on the Sidewalk salon Social Media Marketing panel at Rojo! It’s free – networking starts at 6 and the conversation starts at 7. Please come! Social media is an ever-changing platform and I’m happy to share my successes as well as things that I could have done better. It’s always a learning & adaptation process. I’m sure some of you have stories to tell, too. I would love to hear them.

I officially submitted Bubble to Project Greenlight last week. Turns out there isn’t as much of a social voting system as I thought there might be (which is a huge relief!). The first step is peer-to-peer review for those who sign up as judges. Then they narrow it down to the top 200 and request 2 minute bio videos. Eventually you are asked to direct/film a scene that they give you… then a winner is chosen. Only at one point in the entire process is there a call to action for votes online, and that only bumps one person up to the finals (the rest are selected internally). Of course there are probably many amazing submissions, so I will keep you all posted on our status. It’s fun to just imagine, if nothing else!

My mom in ATL on the Jackson Street Bridge.

My mom in ATL on the Jackson Street Bridge.

Little Cabbage scene rendering where Madeline receives a magical instrument.

Little Cabbage scene rendering where Madeline receives a magical instrument.

Scene rendering as Madeline & Daniel approach a house in Little Cabbage.

Scene rendering as Madeline & Daniel approach a house in Little Cabbage.

The Bean, Lucy, O'fella, Anna Banana & my mom.

The Bean, Lucy, O’fella, Anna Banana & my mom.

Finally attended my first Secret Stages - it was fantastic!

Finally attended my first Secret Stages – it was fantastic!

Me & O'fella.

Me & O’fella.

My sister Christy with her sweet family!

My sister Christy with her sweet family!

What an insane & glorious week! Fundraising for a film can be likened to a duck swimming – calm on the surface, paddling like hell under the water. And bless James Martin’s soul – because he bears the grunt of my energy. He is a champ  through & through. Our biggest goal for the week is to hit 35% (0r $3,500) by the end of Friday for Little Cabbage (ahhhh!!)…it’s a possibility, but I’m also really proud of how far we’ve come since Tuesday afternoon’s launch. The reason behind the push on the front end is simple: you are statistically more likely to succeed if you reach a certain point sooner rather than later.  If you plan to contribute, but haven’t yet, today would be a really great day to lend a hand. We also realize that a lot of people can’t afford to participate monetarily (or have other priorities) – so we are equally as grateful for shares with family and friends. We’ve discovered some of our most enthusiastic supporters that way! Every day I wake up thinking how in the helllll are we going to reach $10,000? That’s when James reminds me that we’ve done a lot of work to get to this point in our film careers – and every cent of the money we raise goes to pay for folks on our team (at a pretty big discount, I might add), food, equipment  and other necessary items to make a movie. The items go beyond what’s listed on Seed & Spark, since we raised an additional $8,000 before we even launched this campaign (for a total budget of $18,000) through personal contributions and a badass investor who signed on early in the game. There’s nothing quite like the high of someone believing in you that much. It makes you feel like you can do anything. We want to prove her, and you, right ten-fold.

If you can’t donate now, or even later (but I hope you can!), you should still sign up to follow our project on Seed & Spark or join us on our Little Cabbage Facebook page. We are going to start posting fun updates this weekend – behind the scenes pics, storyboards and a diary of sorts as we approach our shoot dates of September 5 – 7. I’ve really enjoyed using Seed & Spark so far – it’s the best film fundraising platform out there in my opinion (and I’ve done this several times!). You will find no potato salads there – just passionate filmmakers sharing their craft with the world. Just preparing our page took weeks of work – making the video, editing it, writing our bios, artist statements, introducing our crew, planning the incentives and breaking down the budget to small contributions took quite a bit of time. Once we did that we had to go through an approval process just to ensure everything was legit. We hope you get a chance to explore it and absorb what we are trying to do!

We have an awesome announcement – Eleanore Pienta has signed on to play Madeline, our main character! She is the perfect person to do it too – Eleanore is full of a creative energy that I can’t really explain… it’s sort of mad scientist mixed with artistic genius mixed with crazy goofball. Not only is she an amazing actress, she has her own choreographed dance-comedy troupe in New York City. Last year she won several awards with the indie hit See You Next Tuesday, and just this spring she starred alongside Tunde Adebimpe and Jason Schwartzman in the upcoming feature called 7 Chinese Brothers. We are SO LUCKY to have her!!

As far as life updates – this past weekend I went to New Orleans for the bachelorette party of one of my oldest & best friends. I wasn’t able to go the whole weekend – but I made the most of the time I was there! We had a blast…New Orleans will always be one of my favorite cities on the planet. I am so grateful I got the opportunity to share in her happiness as she hops on the roller coaster of love. On Tuesday James threw a 2 year anniversary party for the Burger Coalition in our house/backyard! Fifty-five folks partook in homemade burgers and a slew of delicious sides (including April Dominy’s famous banana pudding!). We even had the talented Sweet Auburn String Band playing into the night while folks ate spiked ice cream. People have been trying to give me credit along with James – however, he did this all by himself. He found the sponsors and planned the whole event. He did a killer job! I look forward to many more Burger Coalition anniversaries to come…but it will be hard to top that one. :)

I have a challenge for myself that I accept whole-heartedly: I will make this fundraising process fun. I will surprise myself at how creative I can be with my updates to you along the way. This will be an experience that I will be proud of in the end. I think those are realistic. I am so happy that you are joining me for the process!

The making of the burgers!

The making of the burgers!

Burger Coalition in our backyard!

Burger Coalition in our backyard!

Friends at The Burger Coalition

Friends at The Burger Coalition

Drawing The Burger Coalition Sign

Drawing The Burger Coalition Sign

Bachelorette party enjoying the pool at our hotel in NOLA!

Bachelorette party enjoying the pool at our hotel in NOLA!

Me & Jenny Faye

Me & Jenny Faye

Celebrating Lee Ann <3

Celebrating Lee Ann <3

4

Few things better than roaming the French Quarter at night!

Few things better than roaming the French Quarter at night!

Bachelorette party... watch out!

Bachelorette party… watch out!

Why is New Orleans so magical?

Why is New Orleans so magical?

On Monday I became an aunt for the fifth time! Baby Abigail Rose (Abi-do) came into this world a perfect little girl with a head full of dark hair and surrounded by lots of love. Rachel was scheduled to go into labor that morning, but Abigail decided that she’d come to the party a few hours early. At about 1 or 2 a.m. Sunday night, Rachel & David went to the hospital due to her contractions being so close together. When James and I arrived the next day around 10 a.m., Rachel was already in the late stages of labor. Rachel gets some major props – because at some point her epidural stopped working, and she pushed through like a champ for several hours. My mom and her husband David John were by her side the whole time… and when they came back out to the waiting room after it was finished, you could tell that it had been a rough ride there for a while. I am so happy that everything ended up being ok in the end, and that they now have a healthy baby to bring home.  I can’t wait to see who she becomes. The evening of the birth James, my sister Christy and I all sat on the beach and watched a magnificent sunset. We each took turns predicting what Abigail would do during her lifetime, then we texted them to Rachel & David at the hospital. A damn good memory for the books.

I died my hair pink! It’s only semi-permanent, so it will wash out in the next few weeks. This was my first ever experiment with Manic Panic, and it was super easy. I already had big chunks of blond in my hair leftover from my last professional color & cut with Shelby (in freakin’ April!!!). Luckily he positioned them in a way that you can’t really tell I am 3 months behind getting my hair done. :) He knows me well. Anyway, the pink only really showed up on my blond pieces. The brown parts of my hair didn’t absorb much color at all. The end result was pretty awesome & fun. Maybe one day I will have enough guts to try out a blue or lavender shade!

I’m ready to confess – I’ve been working at a cemetery for the past few months. Not just any cemetery though… Historic Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta (which is also a city park)! I am filling in as a marketing/communications manager and special events support person until the role is filled permanently. That might be me, or it could be someone else. Either way, I’ve found a great home here working with some fun people & collaborating on unique projects/events. It’s been around since 1850 and several high-profile people are buried there (like Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With The Wind and Bobby Jones, founder of the Masters Tournament). It suits me well… I crave working for a cause and a place with so much personality. They also embrace me, with my new nose piercing and temporary pink hair. :) They like my ideas, enthusiasm and spirit (no pun intended). It’s an awesome place to be.

TWO BIG THINGS: We are launching our crowdfunding campaign next week for Little Cabbage!! It is finally ready to present – and I am absolutely dying to get it out there. We will be trying to raise quite a bit of money this time around – our goal is $10,000. Yes, I am having a heart attack. Those who know me well know that this is where the fear of failure lurks in the back of my mind. But I also feel strangely confident – I hope people want to see more work from me, and James as well. We’ve already raised $8,000 (for a total budget needed of $18,000) through our own personal investment, and two private investors. If you are interested in being a larger donor please contact me either through the form on this blog or on Facebook. This will be a fun & worthwhile journey, but we need supporters to make it happen. As many of you know, Little Cabbage is a prologue to a feature called Electric Bleau that I wrote this summer, which we hope to make sometime next year. Little Cabbage is its own stand-alone story though and the best short script I’ve ever written, in my opinion. It’s an important piece to my career puzzle. More soon – and if you haven’t already, please like our Four x Productions page on Facebook where we will be sharing lots of things next week!

Lastly – I will be going for Project Greenlight at the end of the month. They haven’t revealed all of the details yet, but seems like you submit a 3 minute short film (Bubble!) and then a voting system happens on social media. I have a small shot, but a shot none-the-less… so I am going for it! Project Greenlight is Executive Produced by Ben Affleck & Matt Damon (and a host of others that you can read about here). Here is a quick description of what the competition is, which will air on HBO:

Project Greenlight is a documentary series on HBO – executive-produced by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck — that takes a revealing, uncensored look at the challenges facing a first-time director. The show begins with a digital competition, and will follow the winner from pre-production and casting through principal photography and post-production. Equipped with a Hollywood-vetted script and surrounded by a team of industry professionals, the fledging director must learn to cope with pressure from the studio and producers, surviving on-set politics and leading a veteran cast and crew, while trying to deliver a viable movie – on schedule and on budget.

So, please bear with me for the month of July & August as I go for these very important things in my life. I could really use your support & good vibes, and if I can ever return the favor just let me know. Here we go!

Pink hair. :)

Pink hair. :)

A new family.

A new family.

Sunset on Jacksonville Beach.

Sunset on Jacksonville Beach.

James & I had a cold - extra cautious around baby Abi-do.

James & I had a cold – extra cautious around baby Abi-do.

Miss Abigail Rose.

Miss Abigail Rose.

Happy birthday Robbie!!

Happy birthday Robbie!!

Jason Dominy knows how to cook some butt.

Jason Dominy knows how to cook some butt.

Sisters!

Sisters!

My mom & Owen.

My mom & Owen.

Owen loves James.

Owen loves James.

Evening on the beach with James & Christy.

Evening on the beach with James & Christy.

Home-bound on the bus!

Home-bound on the bus!

Happy!

Happy!

Battle of the beach bodies.

Battle of the beach bodies.

o'Fella!

o’Fella!

James by the sea.

James by the sea.

I feel like I’ve fallen off of the social media planet… which is mostly true, but in just a week or two’s time you are gonna wish I was back in my cave!! Our Little Cabbage crowdfunding campaign launches next week (hopefully, pending approval by Seed & Spark) and we’ve been busting butt to make it just right. The cool thing about crowdfunding is that it makes you trim the fat, forces you to analyze what you really need. We’ve cut a secondary story line that was unnecessary, which knocked off a few pages and a day’s worth of production. It also lowered our overall budget enough to help us feel like our goal to raise is reasonable/doable. This will be the biggest film I’ve ever done, in every sense. I am thankful for James and the few others who have advised me along the way to be open to pushing dates and being flexible on all fronts. We’ve certainly needed to be. In the end the effort will be worth it. This is going to be a crazy film!

Many other fun things have been happening in my world – I’ve gotten the opportunity to help write a TV concept, I’m doing some fun work for a non-profit here in ATL that I really enjoy, and another writing project is in the beginning stages for a feature (that a dear, talented friend will direct). The “Call Me” music video for St. Paul and the Broken Bones has surpassed 100,000 combined views on Vevo & YouTube (woohoo!) and some rumblings are still happening around that. A national magazine might be doing a story on the set construction & design done by Jason & Andrea Richardson, which is so deserved. If so that will come out in September or October. We should also be hearing back soon from some early festival submissions that take music videos. Fingers and toes and legs and arms crossed.

In other life news, my sister Rachel and her husband David will be welcoming their first baby into the world any day now! She is scheduled to be induced on Monday, July 7th, but anything can happen before then. They will be wonderful parents, and I can’t wait to meet that sweet little girl. Birthdays happen in bunches in my family. My dad & red-headed niece Lucy both just celebrated theirs, as well as my “adopted” niece Lauren, then Rachel will have one on July 4th. Now we can add baby Abigail to the batch. :)

I recently got to spend a weekend with some old friends that I really miss. We went tubing down the Cahaba (there isn’t another experience like it in this world) and had fancy drinks & oysters at a favorite restaurant in Birmingham. I laughed so much in that 48 hours – just what my soul needed. Good news for me I get to see them again in just a few weeks!

Sometimes more than one opportunity presents themselves at the same time and you just have to buckle down and get sh*t done. I feel like I am in that mode right now. Climbing the ladder, and trying my best to enjoy the view along the way. When I look down I see how far I’ve come, when I look out I appreciate all the new things I can see, and when I look up I see nothing but stars.

Tubing with old friends!

Tubing with old friends!

Little Cabbage crowdfunding video in process!

Little Cabbage crowdfunding video in progress!

Grant Park farmer's market goodies.

Grant Park farmer’s market goodies.

Azza is 1 year old! James got her a catnip mouse.

Azza is 1 year old! James got her a catnip mouse.

Let’s get to the good stuff right off the bat:

Top 5 Bonnaroo Moments
1. Watching a huge Buzz Lightyear balloon fly high into the sky during Elton John as he played Rocket Man. This isn’t just any Buzz Lightyear though… this space dude has been soaring above the crowds at Bonnaroo for years (as someone’s personal totem). I always look for him wherever I go. Combine that with the exhaustion of the last show of four days straight of music…and suddenly your eyes get misty as you salute this helium hero floating to his final fate.
2. Experiencing St. Paul and the Broken Bones live out a dream. Paul told the crowd of thousands screaming them on that he’d been a volunteer at Bonnaroo for several years just to be a part of his favorite festival. His dream all along was to finally attend one year as a performer – which happened this past Friday, June 13th. Their set was full of energy and magic. Paul cried happy tears of appreciation about halfway through, in turn making me (and I’m sure many others) cry as well. What a special thing to witness.
3. There was a double rainbow on the first full day! Who can’t get excited about that? :)
4. Riding the ferris wheel with James during The Naked and Famous.
5. Relaxing on our partially deflated inflatable love seat on a hot, steamy Saturday afternoon. Half of our bodies were on the cheap carpet we bought for our “living room” space, and the other half was sprawled out on the cushions. I am sure we looked ridiculous… and happy.

To sum up our experience, VIP camping is 100% worth the extra cash. Main reason: the bathrooms are in air-conditioned trailers. You also get all sorts of VIP access to stages, cool areas, multiple entrances, free showers, guaranteed close access to Centeroo and even free food/beer on special nights. We will never do general admission again. (Ever!) Once again I failed to make it up late any night. That makes me tremendously sad because you can hear the crazy sets happening until the wee hours of the morning from your tent. I am just too exhausted from the sun, walking all day and heat to make it past 11 p.m. This is a major fail for me. I wonder how people do it… b/c it is way to hot to be sleeping all day in your tent. I suppose they probably have extracurricular enhancements to help. :D If you ever attend Bonnaroo – remember to make priorities, don’t try to do everything every day. It’s impossible. All in all, it was a damn good year and we can’t wait to go back in 2015. (Pro tip: get an inflatable chair!)

This week’s focus is to get our crowd funding campaign ready for Little Cabbage!! We are doing something very special for our pitch video and we can’t wait to share it. While we’ve raised quite a bit offline through a few investors (that we so appreciate), we will have a decent amount left to raise. If you are interested in becoming a larger investor, please let me or James know! We plan to launch July 1st on Seed & Spark if all goes according to plan. It will be a 30 day long campaign full of fun & nail-biting (on our part). Little Cabbage is a prequel short film to our first feature-length planned for 2015. It’s an important step for us – and very different from anything we’ve done before. If you can spare a few dollars, we would be forever grateful. Each of us will also be investing quite a bit to make this happen. If you don’t back your own project – who will?

There are several other exciting things brewing behind the scenes, still in the very early stages. Sometimes I wonder how we even juggle it all… but that’s what you do when you want to make things happen. It’s impossible to predict what will unfold six months down the road, but it is possible to dream and hope. I’m pretty good at that part.

James watching The Naked & Famous from the ferris wheel.

James watching The Naked & Famous from the ferris wheel.

Rudy Huxtable

Rudy Huxtable

Living room + inflatable love seat.

Living room + inflatable love seat.

Our tent.

Our tent.

Our campsite flag. :)

Our campsite flag. :)

Sunset over the What Stage. Photo by James

Sunset over the What Stage. Photo by James

Happiness! Photo by James

Happiness! Photo by James

Rainbow over VIP camping.

Rainbow over VIP camping.

St. Paul and the Broken Bones performing at Bonnaroo!

St. Paul and the Broken Bones performing at Bonnaroo!

Happy campers.

Happy campers.

ALERT: One week and one day away from leaving for BONNAROO!!!!!! One week and one day away from being in the land of ferris wheels, endless music, tent life and corn dogs. One week and one day away from crazy people doing crazy things, in a crazy mini-world. Strange LED lights, port-o-potties, and $7 showers. Well, actually, this year our showers are free b/c we are VIP! First time ever. We will have access to air-conditioned areas, wi-fi zones, special seating at some stages and guaranteed close camping to Centeroo. Last year’s walk to and from our tent did me in energy wise. General camping can have you as far out as 1.5 miles away from where all the music is, and that’s just too damn far in the 90 degree heat. Also this year we will spend Wednesday night in Chattanooga, since VIP isn’t allowed access until Thursday morning. So we will be staying in the adorable Chattanooga hostel called Crash Pad. At the festival, I am most looking forward to: St. Paul and the Broken Bones, The Naked and Famous (blog title named today after one of my fav songs), Elton John, Washed Out (!!!), Jack White (holla Mandi), Chvrches, Broken Bells, and so many more that I won’t bore you with. See the full lineup here.

This week I am finding my groove again – balance with work, personal projects, creative efforts, social time, quiet time, and exercise. Change, especially multiple occurrences at once, always takes an adjustment period. I love to be busy. I want nothing more than to be putting my mind on something that requires every bit of my attention. I also want to learn to love to be still. I am driven by excitement and the prospect with what can be done in a certain amount of time. I want to do, do, do. I am a climber. I’m just now getting to the point where my view is a tease of what’s to come if I keep up the effort. But shouldn’t I also enjoy where I am? Yes. And I try to, but I have to constantly remind myself. My biggest enemy is exhaustion. It’s always looming and I have to fight it back with rest and attention to all areas in life that are important.

This past weekend I got to see my sister Rachel in Jacksonville, FL where she lives with her husband David. I miss her so much. She is due with her first baby in early July – Abigail Rose. <3 I snapped some baby bump pics for her while I was down there (a few of which I included below). I’ve always said that she is an angel…so beautiful inside and out. One of the most genuine, kind and giving people that I have ever met. She will be a great mom.

My family at Calloway Gardens - always a favorite meeting place of ours.

My family at Calloway Gardens – always a favorite meeting place of ours.

Me and the bug!!

Me and the bug!!

Pregnancy photo I took of my sister Rachel in Jacksonville Beach, FL.

Pregnancy photo I took of my sister Rachel in Jacksonville Beach, FL.

Yellow flower.

Yellow flower.

Selfie with my mom & sister at Rachel's baby shower!

Selfie with my mom & sister at Rachel’s baby shower!

Abi-Do is coming soon.

Abi-Do is coming soon.

Pregnancy photo I took of my sister Rachel in Jacksonville Beach, FL.

Pregnancy photo I took of my sister Rachel in Jacksonville Beach, FL.

Pregnancy photo I took of my sister Rachel in Jacksonville Beach, FL.

Pregnancy photo I took of my sister Rachel in Jacksonville Beach, FL.

James Martin flyin' high.

James Martin flyin’ high.

I love this guy.

I love this guy.

Boulevard Tunnel - Photo by James

Boulevard Tunnel – Photo by James

That dog Cilantro. Photo by James.

That dog Cilantro. Photo by James.

Azza is judging you. Photo by James.

Azza is judging you. Photo by James.

Two weeks into being back home, life is already very different. Almost immediately I took on a contract job (which I am loving!!) that requires me to be in an office Monday – Friday, 9 – 5. This opportunity could turn into several different things… but only time will tell the direction it takes me. In the meantime it’s just what I needed/wanted to give me a secure start back in Atlanta. Plus, it is a fun fit for my interests and skills.

I desperately need a routine and normalcy again… in the sense that I need to build in my creative and exercise time. In Wilmington I had nothing BUT time to work on whatever I wanted to. That sounds like the perfect scenario – but even in complete freedom you need some sort of structure. Or at least I do. As much as I hate to admit it, a schedule suits me. Otherwise I worry about things not moving along as they should. Right now I am thinking a lot about Little Cabbage and making sure it stays on track to shoot in early August. There is a lot to do there, mostly in the way of financing. We are looking for creative partners/investors for this film – so if you are interested let me know! We’ve already found a few people who are all in, but we still need a couple more. This film is going to be an exciting ride for everyone involved. It’s a crazy (awesome) script with a lot of potential…that leads into my first feature film!

We have a few more tricks up our sleeve as well for future/upcoming projects. I really enjoyed our experience with creating the Call Me music video for St. Paul and the Broken Bones. It’s so different to have something immediately release as opposed to doing a year of film festivals first. In the month that it’s been public, it’s gotten almost 39,000 views on Vevo & YouTube combined. That’s way more than any short film we’ve ever created. So why even make films if our reach is smaller? I know I’ve only done one, but music videos still remain a collaborative project in my eyes. Essentially someone is handing you the content to work with, and you interpret it in the most unique voice you can. In film you have full control over every aspect. However – I LOVED working with a song as a vehicle for storytelling. In the end it’s just two very different mediums, even though the process is similar. I want to do much more of both.

On a completely different topic – James and I saw “Fed Up” last week. It’s yet another documentary about the food industry and the whack lies we are being told about diet & exercise. Everyone should watch a film like this every once in a while, even if it is slightly dramatized. Fed Up was full of great (and scary) information that we all need to know. The biggest take-away I got from it was to look for sugar content in foods that we buy. It’s no surprise that simple carbs metabolize differently than whole foods… but I didn’t realize just how many foods they sneak sneak sugar into. The biggest culprits are diet foods (“low-fat”) products. Anyway – you should check it out if it’s playing near you. It will make you rethink what you put in your mouth and the true cause of the obesity epidemic.

This past weekend we went on a mini vacation with James’ mom & dad to the mountains in Tennessee. It was a great, relaxing getaway… and a long overdue visit with his parents. As we were cruising down the river on our pontoon day-rental boat, with a beer in one hand and a fishing pole in the other, I thought to myself that it doesn’t get much better than this. I have a catalogue of moments like this one in my brain that I always reference in dark times. My mind overflows with many, many fond memories ready to be remembered at a moments notice.

Just for a little extra inspiration, you should check out the Protect Your Magic project. I discovered my first messages on a long walk home one day from work. Here they are on Instagram & Twitter.

Clever Girl

Clever Girl

James loves nature. :p

James loves nature. :p

Vulcan with some of my favorites!

Vulcan with some of my favorites!

Check out the feature story on Call Me in this month's B Metro Magazine!

Check out the feature story on Call Me in this month’s B Metro Magazine!

Me & the bean.

Me & the bean.

Happy Mother's Day to Jamiejean916! Besties since the 70's.

Happy Mother’s Day to Jamiejean916! Besties since the 70’s.

Tennessee vacation.

Tennessee vacation.

A purple, prickly flower.

A purple, prickly flower.

Twinsie freaker.

Twinsie freaker.

Check out the Protect Your Magic campaign - http://instagram.com/protectyourmagic

Check out the Protect Your Magic campaign – http://instagram.com/protectyourmagic

Don't you want to eat it?

Don’t you want to eat it?

I am back in Atlanta!! Right now I am sitting on our back porch enjoying the warm breeze, watching our dog Cilantro do some damage to sticks. Our cats Azza and Baby Kitty are watching closely from the other side of the screen door, soaking in some sunshine. It is good to be home. There are so many things to share!

My last week in Wilmington couldn’t have been any better. It just so happened to align with their Surfalorus event, so I got a good dose of all of the faces I’ve come to love so much. The Cucalorus folks threw us a wonderful going away party late Saturday night – hamburgers were grilled, fancy drinks were served and fun music blasted from the speakers. I had several meaningful conversations that night that I will always remember. Everyone wrote short messages for us on our Cucalorus screen prints as a goodbye gift. It couldn’t have been a more perfect send-off.

So what exactly did I do in Wilmington for the last 2.5 months? I took advantage of an opportunity of a lifetime – taking part in a creative residency where all I was responsible for was writing my feature script. In January of this year I saw Cucalorus post that they were officially starting the residency program and taking applications. I remember saying to James that I was interested, but didn’t have the first clue as to how I would pull off leaving my day-to-day life for this adventure. It seemed a little too good to be true honestly. I went ahead and applied anyway – and was eventually accepted. Other things in my life miraculously aligned enabling it to be a reality. Next thing I knew – I was off to Wilmington! Not only did this residency allow me the luxury to focus 100% on my writing, but it also brought some unexpected challenges. I was taken out of my comfort zone, I opted to not have a car during my stay, and my budget was super tight. I think Dan, the director of the fest, put it the best – it makes you come face to face with your true self. It’s not always pretty. There were a few moments when I didn’t know if I could do it anymore, but I stuck it out. My reward for facing those demons were twofold – solid friendships were formed, I discovered new things about myself that I admired, and most importantly, I finished what I came there to do. I officially have a first draft of my feature film Electric Bleau, which is a companion feature for our short Little Cabbage. Pursuing a creative idea or passion project comes with many unique challenges, more so than one would think. Most people from the outside would say that it looks like fun, how they wish they were lucky enough to do things like that. The truth is that it’s work, just like anything else. Doing things that you love is a choice, not a luxury. The rewards just happen to be greater though once you’ve completed your task. Unexplainable joy like none other you will experience. I do not make money at this point in time making films. In fact, it costs me money and a great deal of my spare time. But I love it with all of my heart, and I have no plans on stopping. Is there any greater sign that you’ve found your true passion? At 35, it feels good to say that I am honing and developing an area of my life that brings me tremendous happiness. THANK YOU to Cucalorus for this amazing opportunity. If you are interested in doing it yourself, the application will be up soon on their website. They have shorter week-long residencies available for the summer. The fall will welcome back the longer sessions of 2-3 months, which will also coincide with the film festival itself in November. They are looking for folks who have a film-related project to work on in any phase. If it benefits or features Wilmington in some way, even better… but it isn’t necessary.

I get to see my family and friends in Birmingham this week as well, which makes me so happy!! It’s good to be home, but I do miss my Wilmington – the little spooky town by the sea, full of creative folks and inspiration. I will also miss my Mandi – the other half of Jendi (or Mandifer, which ever your prefer). :) My little sister from Wilmingtonia, with an amazing doc in the works. We spent a wonderful day yesterday in Atlanta, memories for a lifetime!

Residents with Dan, the director of the Cucalorus Film Festival.

Residents with Dan, the director of the Cucalorus Film Festival.

The Goat Farm, ATL

The Goat Farm, ATL

The Walking Dead epic shot.

The Walking Dead epic shot.

Surfalorus

Jendi at Surfalorus

The first draft of Electric Bleau is finished!!!

The first draft of Electric Bleau is finished!!!

Our last Main Brain!

Our last Main Brain!

Accidental shot that I really liked.

Accidental shot that I really liked.

Mandi at The Goat Farm, ATL

Mandi at The Goat Farm, ATL

I will miss Izzie.

I will miss Izzie.

I painted this for Cucalorus in honor of their 20th year!

I painted this for Cucalorus in honor of their 20th year!

A few of my best girls in Wilmington.

A few of my best girls in Wilmington.

The Goat Farm, ATL

The Goat Farm, ATL

Dan, the director of the Cucalorus Film Festival, waving goodbye to us!

Dan, the director of the Cucalorus Film Festival, waving goodbye to us!

Our last Main Brain.

Our last Main Brain – table read for Electric Bleau!

My hood!

My hood!

Cucalorus going away party!

Cucalorus going away party!

One of our favorite building in Wilmington - was used in the film Blue Velvet

One of our favorite building in Wilmington – was used in the film Blue Velvet

Mandi at The Goat Farm, ATL

Mandi at The Goat Farm, ATL

The music video we did for St. Paul and the Broken Bones called “Call Me” is officially live on Vevo & Youtube! James and I are so proud. Today our credits will be added as the team behind making it as well. A big moment for us. We will also be posting something fun tomorrow that I think everyone will love.

Speaking of James, I got to see him last weekend for a short rendezvous at the Indie Grits Film Festival! It had been almost a month since I’d last seen him – which was far too long. Indie Grits was a really fun fest. We made a lot of new friends that I hope to see again soon. By the end of summer Bubble will probably see the end of its festival life, which is bittersweet. It’s had a good run – for which we are very grateful. We have several submissions still out there, so we hope to show it a few more times before it goes online.

This week has been a roller coaster of highs and semi-lows. Monday was chock-full of good news…that I wish I could share. But I will say this: our next short film, Little Cabbage, is coming to life beautifully. We are raising some of the funds through investors then the remaining amount via a crowd funding campaign in June. One piece of the good news is that we found a lady who jumped on board immediately as our first Executive Producer! It was pretty fate-like how it all happened too. She believes in me as a female director from the deep south, where she lived for a time as well. We are so thankful to her.

My time here in Wilmington is almost up. I leave on Sunday, May 4th back to Atlanta where my fur babies await. Was my time here spent wisely? Absolutely. I have gotten so much done, and by the time I leave my feature-length script first draft will be almost complete. Have I told you guys the name yet? If not, it is to be called Electric Bleau and it is mostly set in New Orleans. Wilmington has been the perfect place to write it too, since it has a lot of similar characteristics as NOLA. Lots of Spanish moss, spooky historic homes and an abundance of water surround this little town. Doing a nearly three month creative residency is no joke I’ve come to learn. It’s basically like moving to another city short-term, and with that a lot of change and adaptation. I hope my transition back to Atlanta is smooth. I am sure I will have to find my day-to-day routine again and comfort zones. I will miss the new friends in Wilmington who’ve essentially become like family. I will especially miss Mandi, my roommate in the Cucalorus Pink House. She has become like a little sister, and it’s been so exciting watching her documentary (Guns in the House) come to life. It’s going to be damn good.

My next post will be my last from Wilmington, so I will tell you more about what I’ve done here then!

Indie Grits Film Festival

Indie Grits Film Festival

Indie Grits Film Festival - photo by James!

Indie Grits Film Festival – photo by James!

Indie Grits Film Festival

Indie Grits Film Festival

Indie Grits Film Festival

Indie Grits Film Festival

Indie Grits Film Festival

Indie Grits Film Festival

"Call Me" is live on Vevo & Youtube!

“Call Me” is live on Vevo & Youtube!

Petal Heart

Petal Heart

New Wilmington friend

New Wilmington friend

Birmingham's Best Blog 2011

Birmingham's Best Blog Finalist 2012

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