The last few weeks have seen the weddings of two of my best friends – Vero to Clint, and Brandi to Jim. First was Vero, which I was honored to officiate in one of my favorite places – the Avondale Park amphitheater. Vero & Clint rode up on bicycles to a crowd that had congregated in anticipation of that special moment. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as they declared to never stop going on worldly adventures together, and always promising to be each other’s best friend. It was a perfect day. The following weekend I hopped on a plane to witness Brandi & Jim say “I do” in Marathon Key, FL. On a sunny afternoon their closest family and friends listened as they spoke self-prepared vows in front of a calm, blue sea. Little kids in the ocean nearby serenaded Brandi with songs as she approached in her wedding dress. It was as dreamy as it sounds.

These two girls mean a lot to me for many reasons. It wasn’t too long ago that the three of us had a standing running date most days of the week, at sunrise. We would talk about everything during those hour-long runs – from break-ups, dreams for the future, to exciting news happening in each other’s lives. We were each other’s support system, always there to share perspective and hope as needed. We laughed until our faces hurt, and cried with each other during some of our darkest moments. I am so happy for these two girls, they have both found someone who compliment themselves in the best ways possible.

In other news, we officially own our house! We’ve been renting the most awesome place for the past two years, and now we can call it our own. We weren’t sure we’d be able to afford it, but circumstances changed in the last few months to make it possible. It’s worth the investment even if we don’t stay here forever. The house is located on a really great street in Reynoldstown (a few streets over from Cabbagetown) and the Beltline will go directly in from of our home. Construction for that particular section will take place by the end of the year, which is really exciting. We feel very happy here and we are so grateful to be able to stay as long as we’d like.

We have decided to move the announcement of our other bit of news for a few weeks, to let things unfold at a natural pace. It’s a new project on the horizon, outside of my feature that we hope to make early next year. More soon on that! It’s going to be a little different in several key ways.

Last weekend James and I did a really funky bathroom installation at Naked Art (in Birmingham, AL) as part of the Tour de Loo series. It’s an interactive scene of the aftermath of a party that included one lonely girl and a creepy mannequin. Brandi, my friend that I mentioned above, was our star. :) You can check out the images here from the backstory, and a few photos of the installation itself are below. Of course the experience wouldn’t be complete without this song playing on loop as people walked through the loo…

Brandi & Jim's wedding day in the Keys!

Brandi & Jim’s wedding day in the Keys!

Beach time before Brandi & Jim's wedding.

Beach time before Brandi & Jim’s wedding.

Lily Bean surprised us all and became an impromptu flower girl!

Lily Bean surprised us all and became an impromptu flower girl!

Proud to officiate Vero & Clint's wedding. <3

Proud to officiate Vero & Clint’s wedding. <3

We are homeowners! Come see us in Atlanta soon.

We are homeowners! Come see us in Atlanta soon.

Deep sea fishing & snorkeling with this babe.

Deep sea fishing & snorkeling with this babe.

My first time deep sea fishing!

My first time deep sea fishing!

Wasting no time - not even checked into the hotel yet and hitting the water!

Wasting no time – not even checked into the hotel yet and hitting the water!

A Dorito scarf.

A Dorito scarf.

Post wedding dinner at Silvertron to celebrate Vero & Clint.

Post wedding dinner at Silvertron to celebrate Vero & Clint.

Prewedding at Vero & Clint's house.

Prewedding at Vero & Clint’s house.

The Keys!

The Keys!

The Green Parrot in Key West.

The Green Parrot in Key West.

Heading back home after our water adventures.

Heading back home after our water adventures.

Vero & Clint prewedding.

Vero & Clint prewedding.

Snorkeling at the Alligator Lighthouse about 2 miles off short in the Marathon Key.

Snorkeling at the Alligator Lighthouse about 2 miles off short in the Marathon Key.

Southernmost point in the continental US.

Southernmost point in the continental US.

Yes, I'll talk it!

Yes, I’ll talk it!

Jim & Brandi on their wedding day.

Jim & Brandi on their wedding day.

My mom sent me my own Mother's Day card!

My mom sent me my own Mother’s Day card!

Baby Kitty is one of my best friends.

Baby Kitty is one of my best friends.

Potty Party installation at Naked Art Gallery.

Potty Party installation at Naked Art Gallery.

Potty Party installation at Naked Art Gallery.

Potty Party installation at Naked Art Gallery.

Potty Party installation at Naked Art Gallery.

Potty Party installation at Naked Art Gallery.

Two major pieces of news are waiting in the wings… but alas! They will have to wait a little longer until my next blog post. Sorry for the tease, but I had to mention it b/c they are on the forefront of my mind. One we will be able to announce early next week (hopefully) on Facebook/Twitter, and it’s un-film related. Lots of stuff happening, and all good!

Last weekend Vero & Clint came into town for a quick visit. We enjoyed the Inman Park Festival together, and caught up on recent life happenings. Speaking of life happenings, they are getting married this Friday! I’ve been working hard on my duties as officiant, polishing the perfect words to say aloud in front of their family & friends. I don’t really feel nervous, surprisingly, instead I’m super excited to take part in such an intimate way. It’s going to be a beautiful day.

Since I last wrote we traveled up to Columbia, South Carolina for the Indie Grits Film Festival where Little Cabbage screened. Our close friends Jason & Annette flew in from LA the night before and we all drove up together from Atlanta. They are also filmmakers, who we met at last year’s festival. We were hosted at the amazing home of Jeff & Walton, who treated us so kindly. We loved them so much that it was sad to say goodbye after our whirlwind weekend. I hope this turns into an annual tradition for all of us!

Electric Bleau is officially in a spot where others can read. I’ve actually already gotten some feedback from three talented lady writers in the last two weeks. It certainly wasn’t on purpose, but my list of trusted readers are all women so far (besides James, of course). Three more have it in their possession, and I have two more waiting in the wings. I love that there isn’t a lack of female creative talent in my life, of whom I value feedback and insight from. The feedback so far has been very positive, with one person giving me some especially great structural notes. I am giving the script another stab this week in hopes to have a new draft to present by the weekend. I’m also going to start researching grants as well as submitting to screenplay competitions. My goal by the end of May is to start putting out feelers for casting. I also want to have a preliminary budget drafted to see what we’re working with.

Calorie counting is still going strong, and making headway to goal. May will be our last full month of weight-loss. THANK GAWD. We are mentally preparing ourselves for the maintenance phase. Finish line in sight! It’s certainly not an easy thing to lose weight. Makes you think twice about eating that whole box of mac ‘n cheese.

Bottomless, a short film written/directed/and illustrated by Vero, is ready to be submitted to film festivals as of today! This is my first official producer credit, and it was an honor to help bring this film to life. Joe Walker did a killer job editing it all together, as well as the other respective team members at their specific tasks. It’s charming, endearing, and magical.

Before I go – a big thank you to Portraits by Isadora for writing this special post on why I became a filmmaker. It is so thoughtfully crafted and finely worded. One of my favorites.

And now…. a slew of pictures!

photo

Photo by Portraits by Isadora at the Atlanta Film Festival.

Photo by Portraits by Isadora at the Atlanta Film Festival.

I love the Reynoldstown Beltline. This time next year it will look very different.

I love the Reynoldstown Beltline. This time next year it will look very different.

Caught in the act.

Caught in the act.

Two of our loveliest friends -  Jason & Annette. Fresh in from LA!

Two of our loveliest friends – Jason & Annette. Fresh in from LA!

Art installation at Indie Grits.

Art installation at Indie Grits.

Late night Waffle House.

Late night Waffle House.

Yeeeeehaw!

Yeeeeehaw!

Some ATL friends at Indie Grits after the Little Cabbage/Female Pervert screening.

Some ATL friends at Indie Grits after the Little Cabbage/Female Pervert screening.

Making daiquiris with our new friends - Jeff & Walton!

Making daiquiris with our new friends – Jeff & Walton!

Last of the purple hair! New color coming soon...

Last of the purple hair! New color coming soon…

Azza loves this tie.

Azza loves this tie.

The girls.

The girls.

Where they are happiest - in front of a world map.

Clint & Vero where they are happiest – in front of a world map.

Quick bite with Jason & Annette at Ladybird before heading to Columbia, SC.

Quick bite with Jason & Annette at Ladybird before heading to Columbia, SC.

We love Indie Grits!

We love Indie Grits!

Friends at the Oddbird pop-up at West Egg Cafe (hot chicken!!).

Friends at the Oddbird pop-up at West Egg Cafe (hot chicken!!).

Would you like a cocktail?

Would you like a cocktail?

<3

<3

Inman Park Festival with Vero & Clint

Inman Park Festival with Vero & Clint

I remembered what I left off my prior post… we had an amazing write-up from MovieMaker on the making of Call Me! Thank you to our friend Andy for calling it his favorite music video of 2014! He caught our screening at the Cucalorus Film Festival last November. Goes to show that even if it’s online, it’s important to submit music video work to a few festivals too. Thanks to Cucalorus as well for screening our work, and allowing us to open for I Believe in Unicorns.

This past weekend I attended the Ozark Foothills Film Festival with my dear friends Robyn and Jon. They premiered their new short film Nirvana there, a fest that’s close to their heart. Little Cabbage screened in the same block, which was a huge honor. Nirvana is a very special film as it’s written from Jon’s unique perspective of having lung cancer. It’s even more significant because Robyn plays the main character who is inflicted with this disease. I read an early version of the script sometime last year… and have been eagerly awaiting seeing it on screen ever since. It was just as beautiful as I hoped it would be. On top of that extraordinary experience I got to spend hours upon hours of one-on-one time with them both over the weekend. I love them so much. Conversations with them are like talking to kindred spirits. You should follow them on their journeys through Robyn’s blog! She’s a great writer.

Big news on the Electric Bleau front! It’s now in the trusted hands of a few select others for feedback/notes. I’m scared, and excited. I’ve been working on it for so long… so it’s hard to know where it falls in the grand scheme of actually being finished. Notes can be overwhelming for me, because notes inevitably mean edits and rewrites. The obvious positive side to that is that with each draft it becomes better and better. I don’t know if I’ve posted it yet, but here is my official logline:

An African-American punk rocker from New Orleans in the late 1970’s is given a cursed musical instrument that’s been wreaking havoc on her family for generations.

Ah! There is A LOT of music in this film. My hope is to collaborate with a respected musician on the character of Bleau and the music that she writes. I have someone specific in mind, but not sure how realistic that it is at this very moment. I am about to start working on more casting options, as I feel that process is soon to be upon us. For those that don’t know, our short film Little Cabbage is a prologue story to Electric Bleau, with the harmonica being the shared element.

James is 5 pounds away from his weight-loss goal! I am getting closer, too. I think by this time in May I will be done. We’ve been going strong for over four months now! I think maintaining is going to be a different story for me this time long-term. With James as a health partner, we can keep each other in check. We have a solid plan moving forward.

May is going to be a very special month. Two of my best friends will be getting married (separately, haha) – Vero & Brandi. I will be performing the ceremony at Vero & Clint’s wedding (I’m over the moon!), and I will be in attendance for Brandi & Jim’s in Key West. Both have found wonderful partners. I couldn’t be happier for them both. <3 You can also read Vero’s engagement story here. 

Little Cabbage at the Chattanooga Film Festival.

Little Cabbage at the Chattanooga Film Festival.

Little Cabbage at the Ozark Foothills Film Festival!

Little Cabbage at the Ozark Foothills Film Festival.

Brunch stop in Memphis on the way home from Arkansas to see our friend Brighid!

Brunch stop in Memphis on the way home from Arkansas to see our friend Brighid!

James on Lookout Mountain. :)

James on Lookout Mountain. :)

James taking flight on a swinging bridge.

James taking flight on a swinging bridge.

James and me with our friends Brian & Chris at the Chattanooga Film Festival!

James and me with our friends Brian & Chris at the Chattanooga Film Festival!

Chattanooga Film Festival!

Chattanooga Film Festival!

Elevator shot.

Elevator shot.

See Rock City y'all.

See Rock City y’all.

Me, Jon, Robyn, Judy & Bill at the Ozark Foothills Film Festival!

Me, Jon, Robyn, Judy & Bob at the Ozark Foothills Film Festival!

It’s been a busy few weeks since I last wrote. Little Cabbage had its world premiere at the Atlanta Film Festival, I was in a car accident that totaled our car (I’m ok!), and a million other things seemed to have occurred. The car accident sucked… I hit a telephone pole going about 20 mph and my airbags didn’t deploy. I banged my head really hard on the steering wheel and bruised my knees pretty bad against the dashboard, but luckily that was the worst of it. I get attached to objects like cars and houses. I was sad to say goodbye to the silver Mazda that also once belonged to my brother. She was good to us. You can mark eras in your life sometimes by the things you own or the places you live in. That Mazda lived through some big moments.

The world premiere of Little Cabbage was really special. We had the honor of opening for a feature called Rosehill (also their world premiere), directed by Brigitta Wagner and starring Josephine Decker and Kate Chamuris. We had a great slot at 4:30 on a Saturday of the festival’s second weekend. Even though we’ve had two cast & crew screenings, I was still pretty nervous going into it. We played on the BIG Plaza main theater, a size we’ve never experienced before. Little Cabbage looked and sounded perfect, and we had a great audience reaction.

Today James and I head to the Chattanooga Film Festival for our next screening! LC played last night, and will play again this Sunday in a block at 1pm. Next weekend is the Ozark Film Festival in Arkansas, then we wrap up for a little bit the following weekend at Indie Grits. Yay!

I love where we live in Atlanta. It’s the perfect spot for us right now. A lot of people think that living in Atlanta must be really terrible with what they perceive as around the clock traffic and general chaos. When I lived here 12 years ago in my first adventure, I did live in a place that kept me away from the areas that are so wonderful. I didn’t have many friends and I generally thought this city sucked. Now that we’re in the heart of what I call “the neighborhoods,” I couldn’t be happier. Everything is close by, including the city itself, and we rarely have to fight traffic. There is so much art, life, and happenings that it’s literally impossible to keep up. And the best part… it’s only a little over 2 hours from my real home in Birmingham. I take advantage of that often with short & long visits. For those of you in Birmingham & beyond, come visit us sometime and we will show you all there is to love! I felt like I was cheating on Birmingham for so long by loving this city, but I’ve come to learn that it’s ok to be happy in more than one place. And I’m pretty happy.

Progress Report: James and I are almost on day 100 in our lifestyle changes to reach our goal weights! I think I have roughly 5 weeks left and I will be finished. I still haven’t weighed in… and I’m not certain yet that I ever will. I can become obsessed with the scale, and it’s been liberating to just go by measurements and how my clothes fit. James is weighing in, and he is down about 30 pounds. I am probably about the same. Some days it’s easy, some days it’s hard. Glad the finish line is in sight! We will continue to count calories for three months when we are done (raising our daily consumption, of course) to help establish good habits.

I feel like I’m leaving off something important in this post. If I remember, I’ll add it in next time! My feature script Electric Bleau is making progress. I hope to report some new happenings this month other than writing updates. She’s almost ready to present to others! That will start a whole new process and timeline, officially launching us into preproduction. Bottomless, the short film I’m producing and that Vero’s writing & directing, should be completed for the most part this month. Joe Walker is busy putting together the final scenes as we speak. All very exciting!

Lastly, one of my FAVORITE things that I saw at the Atlanta Film Festival was Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck. Obviously not an indie film… but amazingly well-done. It premieres on HBO May 4th. There is also a limited theatrical release starting on April 11th.

11

Game of Thrones Season 5 Sneak Peek, as part of the Atlanta Film Festival! (Also – HAPPY BIRTHDAY Wendy!!) Set design by Molly Coffee.

Atlanta Film Festival with friends.

Atlanta Film Festival with friends.

Jon, Robyn, me, & James on opening night of the Atlanta Film Festival.

Jon, Robyn, me, & James on opening night of the Atlanta Film Festival.

Me and o'Fella!

Me and o’Fella!

Friends at the Atlanta Film Festival.

Friends at the Atlanta Film Festival.

Photo with Brigitta, director of Rosehill!

Photo with Brigitta, director of Rosehill!

Us on stage with the cast & crew of Rosehill, the feature that Little Cabbage opened for.

Us on stage with the cast & crew of Rosehill, the feature that Little Cabbage opened for.

Little Cabbage World Premiere! Photo by Josh Carples.

Little Cabbage World Premiere! Photo by Josh Carples.

Lane, Robyn, & me at the New Mavericks Atlanta Film Festival brunch.

Lane, Robyn, & me at the New Mavericks Atlanta Film Festival brunch.

James and me on opening night of the Atlanta Film Festival.

James and me on opening night of the Atlanta Film Festival.

Azza daydreaming.

Azza daydreaming.

Me & the Bean!!

Me & the Bean!!

My new Alabama shaped earrings from Naked Art!

My new Alabama shaped earrings from Naked Art!

First glass of wine at the Atlanta Film Festival.

First glass of wine at the Atlanta Film Festival.

Top porch livin'.

Top porch livin’.

Cilantro & Lucy!

Cilantro & Lucy!

People say that the girls in this mural look like me.

People say that the girls in this mural look like me.

The Filminism panel at the Atlanta Film Festival.

The Filminism panel at the Atlanta Film Festival.

James and me after the world premiere of Little Cabbage!

James and me after the world premiere of Little Cabbage!

THE SUNSHINE, WARM TEMPS, give me all of it!! While I love a floor heater, white powdery snow (that never came this year), and warm beverages…the spring-like weather this week has been very welcome.  I just couldn’t take another cold, wet, overcast day. I’ve never been a sun bunny (transparent skin to prove it), but I dared to venture out in a summer dress today, soaking up the rays. It was heaven-sent.

James and I are over halfway to our weight goals! At this rate, we will still be finished by the end of April/beginning of May. All we’ve really done is calorie count, cook at home more, and incorporate foods that are more filling (while still enjoying things that we love). We are adding in exercise to our weekly routines (I’ve been doing a good job at strength exercises, hopefully allowing me to run longer distances in the near future). I feel really good about my health and well-being right now.

I finished the first presentable version of Electric Bleau and passed off to James a couple weeks back. Since then I’ve completed a newer draft, and I’m about to start on the next. James is a great sounding board. Just when I think I have all of my elements together, he presents ways that it can be even better. Right now I am really focusing on the structure. Electric Bleau is a complex and complicated story… much like the short films that I’ve done in the past. One thing that I want to do this time around is be clearer, while not spoon-feeding my audience. There is a fine line. I want to be less abstract and more forceful with my intention, while retaining the magic and mystery that I love. My next goal is to get the green light from James by the end of March to start showing it to other people for notes. I am working really hard to get to that point!

The coming weeks are going to be a lot of fun, and mark the beginnings of festival appearances for Little Cabbage. First on the docket is the Atlanta Film Festival where we open for the World Premiere of Rosehill (3/28, 4:30p at the Plaza Theatre). Then in rapid fire we head to Chattanooga, Ozark and Indie Grits. We hope there is even more good news to share soon.

One thing that I live for is the possibility of opportunity. This year I’ve put my name & work in the hat for a few select things that I hope come back around. I am starting to realize that this feature might take a little longer than expected to be completed (but faster than I anticipate, I’m sure), so in the meantime I want to continue creating.  One of those projects is producing Vero’s first animated short film, called Bottomless. We first talked about doing this last year in Wilmington over Creme Brulee. Next thing we know, Vero’s created a fantastic storyboard and Joe Walker has signed on to help. Complete with an original score on the accordion by Carrie Hill, this little film is going to be pure joy.

Before I go – I have a few shout-outs! First – check out my friend Stacey Davis’ Seed&Spark campaign for her upcoming short called The Sibling Code. I’ve known Stacey for many, many years. Not only has she served on the Sidewalk Film Festival board for as long as I can remember, but she also helped me on my first short (Piece of Cake) in 2006 as our entertainment lawyer. She’s as legit as they come. I know this film will be absolutely brilliant. Second – I am working with a couple of talented female filmmakers in Atlanta to expand a supportive/creative collective called New Mavericks (as a branch of the Atlanta Film Festival). If you are interested in learning more or taking part – find us here. Third – we were on NPR, y’all! Listen to our segment talking about Little Cabbage in Harmonicas and House Fires.

We have a new baby - meet Dorito!! She hails from a bush in Midland, Georgia.

We have a new baby – meet Dorito!! She hails from a bush in Midland, Georgia.

ATL NPR!

ATL NPR!

Cilantro smiling in the sunshine.

Cilantro smiling in the sunshine.

Check out James' new website housing all of his beautiful design work: iamjamesmartin.com

Check out James’ new website housing all of his beautiful design work: iamjamesmartin.com

Electric Bleau pass-off!

Electric Bleau pass-off!

Art from Bottomless, written & directed by Vero.

Art from Bottomless, written & directed by Vero.

Art from Bottomless, written & directed by Vero.

Art from Bottomless, written & directed by Vero.

Spring cartwheels.

Spring cartwheels.

BK is a Birmingham baby.

BK is a Birmingham baby.

3 year anniversary ferris wheel ride!

3 year anniversary ferris wheel ride!

New Mavericks supports women involved in various aspects of the Atlanta film community to achieve a strong voice in the local industry.

New Mavericks supports women involved in various aspects of the Atlanta film community to achieve a strong voice in the local industry.

For those of you who missed it, I now have purple hair. :) I’ve done purple several times before… but never quite this vibrant. I have friends of all ages who sport fun rainbow colors on top of their head with grace and style. However I still find myself passing by mirrors doing double takes, forgetting that I’m the color of a Grapico. It’s a very complimentary color to my skin tone (which tends to be on the red side). I’m sure most of you would agree that in the next 5-10 years (or even less) hair of any color and style will be the norm. It won’t be seen as a rebellious statement anymore, but rather a thing of beauty and as a personal identifier. I certainly didn’t do it to rock any boats… I just love color. I am actually pleasantly surprised at how many people genuinely like it, too. Big thanks to Shelby McDonald of Beauty Shock, who always makes me a more attractive person. ;)

Good news!! If you haven’t seen Bubble, or would like to see it again, it is joining the Film Festival Collective in March! That means that if you have XFINITY/Comcast, you can watch it ON YOUR TV AT HOME through On Demand. This was made possible because we screened Bubble at two Film Festival Collective qualifying fests – Indie Memphis and Indie Grits. Thank you for showing our work! Also, Seed&Spark just announced a partnership with iTunes which will lead to distribution options for S&S funded films (like Little Cabbage). The way in which we watch film and our access to independent work is changing at a rapid pace.

Little Cabbage got more exciting news: we are official selections of the Atlanta Film Festival and the Chattanooga Film Festival! Heart explosions. It’s pretty hard to get your films screened in any festival, so we grateful when we are granted the opportunity to show our work. We do not take it for granted.

I didn’t accomplish my goal of having a finished presentable draft of Electric Bleau by my birthday (Feb 17). However….it is going to be ready to pass on as of this Sunday, March 1st!!! I needed a little more time, and I’m glad I allowed myself to extend the deadline. I am trying to practice a little bit of patience, which is hard when the next steps of the process are so exciting.

I have a few things up my sleeve that I can’t wait to share. One is a collaboration that is coming to fruition (yay!) and the other is in story development (potentially my second feature). I’m doing exactly what I have always wanted to – juggling various projects in different stages of production. This is what I love, and I want to be doing it all the time…which requires balance, responsibility, determination, and grace.

I had a really wonderful birthday. I kept it on the quiet side, which is what my soul craved this year. I did get to see some dear friends in Birmingham one night that left me on a high for days. I feel loved in both cities. It’s nice to have two places to call home. James took me out on the town for birthday low-calorie adventures, included a vegan pop-up dinner at Sound Table that changed my LIFE. It was so amazing. If I had access to vegan food like that three meals a day, I could easily make the swap. Vero also took me thrift store shopping (I have so many awesome new things!) and made me a delicious veggie dinner. I am lucky. I haven’t gone vegetarian or anything, but I definitely don’t eat meat every day.

The coming weeks will be full of writing and polishing for me, while keeping some other projects in motion for the future. My freelance work is still coming in, and very rewarding. Grateful for everything I have – the people, the work, and the passion projects.

Birthday Tour de Chocolate w Vero & Clint!

Birthday Tour de Chocolate w Vero & Clint!

Jump Zone with my brother Dave, Amber, Lauren & The Bean.

Jump Zone with my brother Dave, Amber, Lauren & The Bean.

Purple hair. :D

Purple hair. :D

Birthday wish: Jeni's Ice Cream for dinner.

Birthday wish: Jeni’s Ice Cream for dinner.

The Abi-do!

The Abi-do!

Atlanta filmmaker friends.

Atlanta filmmaker friends.

It’s birthday month!!! We are officially t-minus 4 days until I turn 36. There is even the small possibility of snow in Atlanta!

I set a goal for myself about a week ago that I would finish a presentable version of my feature script Electric Bleau by my birthday, and while it’s gonna be tight, I think I will make it. On that day, I want to pass off a printed version to James…the first person ever to set eyes on the full story. There will still be work to do after that point with revisions and rewrites, but in my mind that’s entering a whole new phase of the process. My second big goal is to read James’ notes and make the appropriate updates by the end of February/early March. At that time I want to pass it off to 2-3 other people for additional notes. The ultimate foreseeable goal is to have an accurate picture in March of when we might be able to film it. I am hopeful about the timeline at this point.

Starting this Monday we will have some exciting news regarding Little Cabbage! We will have two festivals to announce next week, then another at the beginning of March. This week we completed the official LC website, many thanks to James. We are so excited to start enjoying the festival circuit and savoring the satisfaction of audiences watching our film.

James and I are still on the calorie counting boat, doing really well. Some days are harder than others, but overall time is going by pretty quick. I may have said this before, but I never did an official weigh-in to start off with…only measurements. James is going to do his first weigh-in this Saturday (tomorrow) and I think I will wait until March. We are officially having the occasional adult beverage. We have also started incorporating moderate exercise. Results are starting to show! James and I have started a new funny habit of watching Survivor in our down time. They too have limited consumption habits, and it’s comforting (in this situation) to watch people worse off than you are. ;) We like to pretend we are living on an island campaigning for a million dollars.

A few quick things before I go! If you love cocktails and you don’t follow The Sipologist (James’ blog), you should! He just started an Instagram account this week as well. Speaking of tasty beverages…if you live in Birmingham and love craft beer, then you should definitely check out Eat / Drink Birmingham. Not only can you enjoy all kinds of craft beer from Alabama brewers and local bites (to your heart’s content), you will be the first to enjoy the brand new St. Stephen’s Stout. It’s a collaborative craft brew by ALL of the statewide members of the Alabama’s Brewers Guild. This group is the force behind the craft beer movement in Alabama and 100% of the profits benefit your ability to enjoy local brewer’s products. Not to mention that this event is being put on by Amber Schreckbach, a dear family member of mine & mother of The Bean.

See you guys on the flip side of 36!

fireside

Roasting our feet by the fire.

Happy

Happy birthday to my niece Anna Banana! Photo by Christy Schreck.

J&J

Inside a tree selfie.

jentree

Photoshoot outing in North Georgia. Photo by James.

james

Photoshoot outing in North Georgia

mixology

Vintage cocktail guide from my grandmother to James (belonged to my great grandparents).

I am feeling good as month 1 rolls off the calendar. January was externally quiet, but internally loud. Insecurities lurked in the darkness as we awaited news from several fronts, toying with my confidence at times. While we are still waiting for what’s to be Little Cabbage’s journey in the near future, I now feel a strange calmness and sense of excitement.

Electric Bleau’s second draft will be complete for sure in the coming weeks. I have a feeling that once that draft leaves my hands, the pace is going to pick up at lightning speed. Sometimes I look at other filmmakers I admire and wish that I was more like them, but I have to remember to be myself. They are successful because they’ve embraced their own style and continue to polish their voice. I have my own style too, and it’s ok to be a little different. Every indie filmmaker has their unique way of living day-to-day while still pursuing their passion, their own journey full of obstacles and successes. The more filmmakers I come to know personally, the more beautiful the individual struggle truly is. I am certainly not alone in what I’m trying to do. There are endless levels of what can be perceived as a successful indie career – and it all lies in the eyes of the beholder.

I go into birthday month with great enthusiasm and hope. I intend to focus hard on getting the ball rolling on several fronts. I want to push my comfort levels and personal perceptions in writing, directing and ultimately storytelling in general. Electric Bleau surprises me each time I pick it up. I think it’s a really good script… I’m already proud that it will be my first feature.

James and I are still doing great in our efforts to become healthier! We are now about 5 weeks in, with no signs of slowing down. I am still not drinking alcohol, which is a huge food trigger for me. I don’t intend to give it up for much longer, but I have to admit, the momentum feels good and I honestly don’t miss it (not too much, anyway). :) I’ve certainly lost weight in the past all on my own, but it sure is nice to have someone to do it with. I am really enjoying cooking together and planning weekly meals. I think we are close to breaking the habit of eating out for 75% of our meals – which saves us a lot of money and ultimately pounds. I am trying not to think too far into the future, so we are taking it week by week, day by day with the full intention of seeing it through to a comfortable place.

Also- HAPPY BIRTHDAY to all of my January family & friends! Damn, there were a lot of you.

My mom & dad on an afternoon walk in Birmingham with the pups.

My mom & dad on an afternoon walk in Birmingham with the pups.

Beltline walks are in season.

Beltline walks are in season.

Happy birthday Grandma!

Happy birthday Grandma!

Birthday decaf coffee for James!

Birthday decaf coffee for James!

Birthday walk with James to feed the turtles.

Birthday walk with James to feed the turtles.

Tour de Chocolate with Vero! Always a favorite. <3

Tour de Chocolate with Vero! Always a favorite. <3

January – the first month of the year, and for most people the month to initiate great change in their lives. January can also be a very sad time as some of your expectations either don’t start off or gain momentum as you had hoped. It’s a month to keep your wits about you, as it will test you more than any other month of the whole year. As a serial and experienced January goal-maker, I have started to redefine how I look at a year. I’ve also come to realize that almost any goal will need to be reevaluated and redefined multiple times before the final outcome occurs. The real question is – are you going to stick with it? Is it important enough to ride the roller coaster for? All big dreams and goals take sacrifice, usually more than you could have originally imagined. But you wanted it for a reason, so don’t give up under the pressures of a moody month!

This month for me is the equivalent of being poked continuously in the ass by pins and needles. This month will set a tone for Little Cabbage, especially in the few weeks to come. We’ve had a few big wins already – we are a finalist in the well-respected Hammer to Nail competition for the winter quarter (huge!) and we’ve already gotten our first festival acceptance (to be announced very soon). We were also nominated for the “People to Watch” category for the Georgia Entertainment Awards. With that being said, there are a handful of pending festival notifications that are hugely important to us that should arrive before the beginning of February (and a few after that). Please please please send us all of the posi vibes!! I know we will need serious momentum going into the feature Electric Bleau later this year.

I am happy to report that James and I started eating better in late December, and continue to follow through with that commitment. We both cut out alcohol until James’ birthday (which is this Thursday!). I might go even longer as my skin is looking really great, and alcohol is an eating trigger for me. I’m pretty sure that I will cut out red wine forever from my diet because of the reaction it causes to my rosacea. This is a sad, sad fact in my life. However, I look forward to finding other drinks that my body agrees with more without the negative consequences. :)

In other news, I’m keeping busy with a lot of great freelance work and writing. My freelance mostly consists of design and video work for some amazing nonprofits here in Atlanta. I am looking to add a client or two potentially in the coming months, so keep me on your radar if you hear of something fun! I really, really want to have a solid second draft of Electric Bleau finished by the end of January/early February…so that’s high on my radar. Once that’s complete, then I can start getting some notes from a few respected peers as well as starting the conversation about how to get it funded. I also want to start early this time around on casting. I already have some big ideas!

Special night out with some long-time best friends - Jenny Faye @ Susan!

Special night out with some long-time best friends – Jenny Faye @ Susan!

My mom having a tasty beverage in Destin!

My mom having a tasty beverage in Destin!

Family pic for 2015! I need to photoshop Amber's head in. :)

Family pic for 2015! I need to photoshop Amber’s head in. :)

Welcoming in a new year surrounded by peace & love.

Welcoming in a new year surrounded by peace & love.

Happy Birthday Jeffrey!

Happy Birthday Jeffrey!

A slumbering BK.

A slumbering BK. Photo by James.

Sunset

Sunset

The Bean has endless energy.

The Bean has endless energy.

Happy New Year from Abigail Rose!

Happy New Year from Abigail Rose!

Annual cornhole tournament.

Annual cornhole tournament.

We live the best neighborhood full of amazing murals.

We live the best neighborhood full of amazing murals. This one is by our friend BlackCatTips!

Georgia Entertainment Gala

Georgia Entertainment Gala

Walk on the beltline w Pam, James & Cilantro!

Walk on the beltline w Pam, James & Cilantro!

2014 was a daring, rewarding, and fun year. There were certainly challenges and sad happenings, but overall it leaves me with a sense of pride and gratitude. I will attempt to name some of the high points:

On the passion project level, we killed it. I finished (for the most part) a feature script that I hope to start making in 2015 called Electric Bleau during a creative residency with the Cucalorus Film Festival. I spent 2.5 months in another city focused on this alone, leaving my normal day-to-day life. James helped make this possible – and for that I can never thank him enough. Speaking of James, together we made a music video for St. Paul and the Broken Bones (was it a dream?) and we tackled the massive short film project that is Little Cabbage. We learned lessons that we will take with us into 2015, and shared experiences that we will remember forever. Damn – we are a good team.

Professionally I took some risks. I left my 9-5 in January for the creative residency, then relied on freelance for the remainder of the year. I’ve done fulfilling marketing/design/video work for places like Piedmont Park, Historic Oakland Cemetery and Zoo Atlanta. I also did some writing that I am proud of. Because of this freedom and flexibility, I was able to step back and take a look at what I really want in the short-term and long-term. There are still questions that need answering when it comes to money-making possibilities in 2015, but I am actively pursuing several options. Ultimately I want to do work I love, that financially enables me to keep following my dreams in film.

Experience-wise, 2014 was full of new places and people. Bonnaroo remains a high point for us each year, and we plan to go again in 2015. My trip out to California in April for the Sonoma International Film Festival was a remarkable one, and just so happens to be where I met our Executive Producer on Little Cabbage. James and I have met & made so many new filmmaker friends this year…and each one of them inspires us to be better. Speaking of friends, my pool in Atlanta continues to grow. I feel like I am part of a community here of like-minded folks, which is more than I could have ever asked for after leaving Birmingham. I really, really miss Birmingham. I see her growth from afar, and it makes me proud. I go back as often as I can, and it fills me with a happiness like nothing else. Several dear friends got married this year, too. Those were very special moments for us.

In 2014 we lost and gained some people in our lives. My remarkable Aunt Shirley passed away in January. She was a strong woman who always stood up for what she believed in, and was a true fighter for love and life. I remember seeing her last Christmas, and our final hug goodbye. It was as if she knew. The service was packed for her life celebration, there was a special magic in the air. She is missed and remembered by many. In July we welcomed my newest niece Abigail Rose, born to my sister Rachel and brother-in-law David. A highlight from this year is playing future game for her on the beach the day she was born, predicting all of the wonderful things she will do in her life. She is a sweet little girl full of hope & promise.

This is my last paragraph, I swear! I do want to state a few of my intentions for 2015. I know not everyone believes in resolutions, but I thrive on visualizing the future. I want to make my feature in the next 365 days…at least have it in the can. I want to do more short form pieces – maybe another music video, maybe a commercial or two, maybe an actual short film. We will see what opportunities present themselves. I want to be healthier, and in a weight range I am happy with. We’ve already started making steps towards this. I want to spend quality time with my family and friends, creating more memories and appreciating them. I want to keep exploring, keep having fun, keep dreaming even bigger. I want to take challenges, failures, and disappointments with grace and turn them into something positive. I want to embrace being in my mid-30’s. I want to release hate, fear, anger and resentment when they arise. I want to forgive easily….including myself. I am ready for 2015 and everything it brings.

Dad & Owen

Dad & Owen

O'fella's first birthday!

O’fella’s first birthday!

Lily loves James' snowman cheese ball.

Lily loves James’ snowman cheese ball.

St. Paul and the Broken Bones in Atlanta, playing at the Fox ballroom!

St. Paul and the Broken Bones in Atlanta, playing at the Fox ballroom!

Christmas selfie.

Christmas selfie.

Sloss Furnace + James

Sloss Furnace + James

Sloss Furnace

Sloss Furnace

Anna & Lucy at ZOO Atlanta!

Anna & Lucy at ZOO Atlanta!

Hanging out with cute animals.

Hanging out with cute animals.

2014 selfies in print form from James.

2014 selfies in print form from James.

Cilantro has a new best friend named Cincinnati Fred.

Cilantro has a new best friend named Cincinnati Fred.

Lots of amazing food explorations with James' family! This is an awesome burger joint called Terry's.

Lots of amazing food explorations with James’ family! This is an awesome burger joint called Terry’s.

Brainstorming 2015 dreams & goals with James.

Brainstorming 2015 dreams & goals with James.

Birmingham's Best Blog 2011

Birmingham's Best Blog Finalist 2012

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