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Have you ever noticed that life is a constant state of “in-process”? Rarely is there never anything to do, focus on or think about. I catch myself thinking sometimes that if I get to this point, or once I am finished with that project, then I will be satisfied. Then I can relax and enjoy what I’ve done for a little while. Which is both wonderful and frustrating at the same time. Wonderful in the sense that I am always driven to create and expand my experiences, frustrating that sometimes I forget to stop and smell the roses. Some of the biggest gifts that I could ever want are right in front of me right now. The biggest mistake most of us make is comparing ourselves to others, when that is impossible to do… because we will never be anyone but ourselves. We think we should have X, Y & Z by this date or age, or we’ve failed on some level. I like to think that in my own life I’ve already redefined some of my own preconceived notions of success and happiness. I still battle the deeply ingrained timeline that we all carry with us… but when I stop what I am doing and ask myself – am I happy in this very moment? The answer is a resounding YES. And that makes me very proud, because I’ve had to make hard choices at times to get to this point. We create our own lives. We are responsible for our perceptions, responses and feelings. Not your parents, not your significant other, not your kids. I have certainly made bad decisions before, and I am sure there are still more in my future. But the more care and attention I pay to my own life, the more positive karma comes my way. I really believe that this life we are all living is based on what we put into it, how we treat others, and how we treat ourselves. Do good, and good will be returned to you.
FRIDAY!!! Always one of the best days of the week. I have been making a lot of progress on my feature script in the last few days. My outline is pretty solid, and I think I am going to hit page 10 of the script itself at some point this weekend. My loose goal is to do 10 pages a week (to get a complete rough draft by mid-July), but I think I can probably go faster than that. I’d love to have a second rough draft by the beginning of August for some select people to review. That’s the goal anyway… if I can stick to this, then if I happen to make it to the second round of the competition I entered I will be in a very good place for consideration.
ALSO – we saw Bubble for the first time Wednesday!!! I am so very, very happy with what we captured. The story is already present, and once we get the missing pieces from our pick-ups on June 1st then we will really be rolling. I meet with Ted next Tuesday to discuss score/sound, and Jim will also start his work soon on the CGI elements. James will be doing all the titles and branding, which will be very fun to place in. Joe did an amazing job putting all of the pieces together! I was prepared to still be in a very rough stage at this point, but it is looking good. There is nothing more motivating than watching a project turn into something special. I can’t wait for everyone to see it.
James and I have been doing good with our weight-loss, 3 1/2 weeks to go! I might extend that to 4 weeks…we will see how the progress goes. I would still like to get about 6-8 pounds lighter. I’ve been having MAJOR cravings for a sunny vacation near the water. I am also looking forward with all of my heart to Bonnaroo. I think this summer is going to be a fantastic one!
I haven’t done a favorite things list in a long time, so today I want to do one as a reminder of all the wonderful things in my life that I love:
1. Sitting in a park on a beautiful day
2. Making a meal with people that I enjoy being around
3. Watching the yellow ATL airplane make circles around the city
4. Making movies
6. Dreaming of all the possibilities, and feeling as though they can all come true
7. Popcorn and bad TV
10. The comfort of sunshine on my skin
11. Petting Baby Kitty as I wake up in the morning
12. Friends new and old
13. Planning trips with my family
14. Bonnaroo! The countdown has begun…
15. The excitement of doing anything new
16. Challenging myself to do things that scare me
17. Most of all… I am so very grateful to have an optimistic attitude and fighting spirit.
Tonight I get to see the first rough cut of Bubble! I could jump 10 feet in the air with excitement. I will let you guys know how it goes.
This week has been a special one in many ways. I spent two wonderful nights with some of my best friends – Wednesday with Micah, and Thursday with Vero. They both made me dinner (I owe them each countless homemade meals!)… it is one of my favorite things in the world to watch them create in the kitchen. They each have very individual styles – Micah made us some cafe style toasted turkey sandwiches on three seed bread with avocado, bacon and cheddar, while Vero made some homemade veggies with her special top-secret spices, dressings and mole (with Belgium chocolate). Both were amazing treats! I am so very lucky to have them both. They are the definition of unconditional love.
The other big thing that happened this week was… being on the cover of a magazine!! There are no words to describe the feeling of seeing a photo of yourself on something that you read all the time. It is for a fun publication called B-Metro, a Birmingham metro mag. When I was first telling them about making Bubble a month or two back, we had no idea that it would turn into a feature story. Even cooler yet, it’s part of the Women’s Power issue amongst some pretty great company. To say that I am extraordinarily thrilled and humbled would be a major understatement. I think this is a huge stepping stone amongst many for Bubble as it starts out on it’s journey into the world. Pretty soon we are going to be able to see our first rough cut, which will be so very exciting. We decided to push back our pick-ups until June 1st, as to better target the shots we need most. More on that soon as it gets closer.
This weekend I look forward to celebrating my mom, and all of the other wonderful moms in my life. I was given a mother that is accepting, encouraging and loving. No doubt I wouldn’t have the confidence and spirit I have without her in my life. I hope she knows how much she is appreciated and adored. Happy Mother’s Day to all of you out there!
I came across an amazing article this morning shared by my friend Darrell Hazelrig, about “finding what you love and letting it kill you.” I think you will enjoy it, so I decided to share it in my blog today. In one short read in encapsulates the struggle and overwhelming joy that is chasing a creative dream… or anything you love for that matter. It might be painful at times, but there is nothing more rewarding in the end. Beautiful words.
This past weekend was jam-packed with activity, with the biggest news being that I finally got to see one of my all-time favorite bands play – Band of Horses! It wasn’t under the best circumstances though since it was pouring rain and pretty cold outside. At least it was memorable… I will never forget the sea of ponchos and sinking in the quicksand-like mud as he sang perfectly in front of us. I knew every song, every word. Their music makes me so happy.
The sun came out for a little while the next day, so James and I utilized our Six Flags season passes and had a free-for-all all over the park! All the lines for the rides were super short so we literally went crazy jumping on everything in our path. Rides I hate: Batman & The Ninja ( get a headache every time). Rides I LOVE: Goliath, Mind Bender & Superman. Rides that are still to scary for me to attempt: Acrophobia. I just can’t do it. But I promised James that the next we went I would make myself! There is also a new ride opening up this summer called the SkyScreamer, which looks like a nightmare come to life. It’s basically the traditional swings that you see at every theme park… but 24 STORIES ABOVE THE GROUND. I will keep you posted on if I am brave enough to try it out. Probably not.
This week one of my goals is to start getting into a regular routine with running again. While I’ve been maintaining a three miler a few times a week, I’ve noticed that I’m just not as regular as I used to be. Which is fine… going through phases is totally normal for me. You can’t stay super jazzed about something 100% of the time. I know running makes me feel good and gives me more energy, so I look forward to being more fit again.
Also on this week’s docket is to write write write. I want to do some character development exercises and freehand a bunch of notes on paper. I need to revisit my script schedule for an August deadline, and work backwards until I have weekly and daily milestones. There are few things I enjoy more than an assignment, so I think this is really good for me!
Last night I attended Light Dreams at the Alys Stephens Center! It was absolutely beautiful and inspirational… for those in the Birmingham area, you should try to make it tonight if the rain holds out. It starts at 7:30 pm with a parade, then goes straight into the music and show. Wait to eat dinner there as well, because there are several food trucks! Bring a blanket and enjoy the evening surrounded by creative folks. Awesome for the whole family (and free). It was supposed to rain last night, but ended up being perfect!
I submitted my feature screenplay for the competition on Wednesday! It was the perfect scenario b/c they only needed the first five pages of the script (which I had nailed down already), plus a bio, artist statement, cover letter and an in-depth synopsis. They let you know by mid-August if you make it to the second round, and at that time they ask to see your full screenplay. Even if I don’t make it that far in the competition, and I super jazzed to have a deadline imposed on me. I ran into my friend Charles Buchanan last night at Light Dreams, and he said it was probably a good thing that I set out initially with the hopes of writing a book. He thought that it probably made me look at the story in ways I wouldn’t have if only writing a script. I think that is very true… I had to look at my content differently since it was a very new format. I became familiar with it in ways I didn’t expect. It’s really great to now have a direct path to my goal, and bypass the unknown territory of writing a book. I can always do that later if I choose.
While I’m super goal oriented, as most of you know, there is a lot to be said about flexibility. Plans can be laid down all you want, but things rarely go the way you expect. And even if what you end up with is 100% different than what you set out for, that doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Sometimes we can only get where we need to go by going the wrong direction first. And, there is no “right” way to one destination, either. There is always the path of least resistance, then there are other routes that vary in scenery and difficulty. Each provides us with different lessons and experiences. They are all valuable.
I FORGOT TO MENTION! You can now watch Crush online, since it’s done with film festivals. Click here to see it… Rebecca and I hope you love it as much as we enjoyed creating it.
Happy last day of April, 2013! This month held a lot of action, that’s for sure: a movie was made, trips were taken, conferences attended and spring events galore. Looks like May will be just as active on similar fronts, but I am taking the time to make sure some duty-free days are built in. This girl loves to rest just as much as she loves to do. Give me a day to sleep in, a morning of TV and an afternoon in the park and I am as good as recharged. If I don’t get my days of rest, then I become stretched too thin.
This past weekend I had the opportunity to visit my sister and her family in Columbus, GA, which is always a nice retreat. Sunday we did Twelve in ATL… a wonderful event for a rainy night. We opened our windows so we could hear the rain and occasional thunder roll while enjoying some delicious food. Each Twelve never fails to disappoint… even when we only have eleven! We knew eventually the magic number of attendees would be broken, sometimes things happen last minute that you can’t help. That just meant one extra portion of each dish, so someone got a lucky helping each time.
This month we will be working on pick-up shots as well for Bubble, scheduled for the 19th. It will be so much fun to see everyone again, and to also get everything we need in the can. I can’t wait to see it all put together in the first cut!
James and I are back on the weight-loss bus for the month of May… we are so close to our goals that I can taste it! The goal is to be at our dream weights by Bonnaroo, something we both really look forward to every year. I have increased what I want to lose by a few pounds, so I’d like to do 10 more in the next 5 weeks. James has about the same amount as well. Luckily, we’ve both been really good about keeping off what we already lost earlier in the year. It’s so awesome to have a partner to share successes with, as well as to understand when hangry (hungry + angry) hits. It will be so nice to be DONE.
Today I submit my screenplay for the competition I’ve been telling you guys about. I don’t want to say what it is b/c of jinxing factors, but keep your fingers crossed for me! I won’t know until later in the year, I’m sure. Even if I don’t win a slot to work with established writers, it was still good to get me refocused on my future goals. I was talking to James this weekend about my book, and whether or not it is even necessary. My umbrella goal is to hopefully make a feature, and adding a book into that process seems arbitrary. My thoughts were that it would help finance production, but honestly I think I can find a way to make it happen without having to take that route. Plus, there is no guarantee that my book would sell enough to have been worth the effort. So it isn’t set in stone, but my idea is to just tackle the screenplay and bypass the rest. That way if I do get selected for this competition, I will have something ready to work on come January. And even if I don’t get to make this specific feature myself, I will still pursue other ways to have the story made (by another director or studio, etc.). Lesson learned is this: I can only focus on one thing at a time to give it true justice. Putting unrealistic timetables on things doesn’t help at all with momentum. As long as I’m creatively fulfilled by a project in front of me, then that’s what matters!
Last night I had one of the best unexpected evenings. After a quick lunch with Vero, I asked her if she wanted to hang out later on. Of course she volunteered to make dinner at her place, and I took her up on it. Shortly after arriving at 6, we opened a bottle of red wine and she cooked up some delicious vegetables with her famous seasonings and dressings. I love sitting in Vero’s kitchen while she cooks, there is something very peaceful about watching her do her thing while smelling the aromas our upcoming dinner. Plus, she always puts cheese out. This particular evening the wind was strong since we were expecting storms later in the night. Vero opened her windows and the breeze came in at leisure. She had some fantastic French tunes on surround sound… and I was pretty much in heaven. After dinner, she gave me her famous “tour de chocolate” where she gives you tiny samples of Belgian chocolate and you have to guess the flavor (saved only for special occasions!). I probably tried about 8 of them, with thyme being my favorite. Once we were done consuming things, we went into her living room and watch Beasts of the Southern Wild (my second time to see it). I kept saying, I am going to leave in 10 minutes… about ten times. I ended up watching the whole movie with her while she prepped her Magic City Art Connection pieces. As I left her house, the wind picked up even more creating spooky sounds in the trees. It was just a wonderful night all around. I went to bed peaceful and happy.
We got our raw footage back from our editor Joe Walker, which is essentially untouched video from our shoot. This weekend James and I will go through it all and make/compare notes that we will then share back with our post production team. I am really looking forward to absorbing it all and seeing what we captured in a relaxed atmosphere. Joe says the footage is phenomenal… which makes me feel so excited!
I got my 23 and me report back, but that might need to be a blog post all on its own next week. It was a lot of fun to read my results, I learned a lot of valuable information about my ancestry and overall health. More on that soon…
Bubble is a wrap!! What an amazing long weekend of hard work and payoff. I couldn’t be prouder of what we accomplished and captured, and how dedicated every person on set was. I think I grew light years as a director on this shoot too, learning from the best of the best all around me. This is the first technical-heavy film I’ve made, which throws in several new considerations each time you roll camera. Chris Hilleke, our Cinematographer, and Jim Roberson, our Art Directer, moved some pretty big mountains in a short amount of time. James and I don’t have enough thanks to express.
Speaking of Mr. James… this film wouldn’t have been possible without him. He has been at my side since the first words escaped my mouth about the intentions of creating it. He has been producer extraordinaire – fundraising wizard, cheerleader, organizer and planner. He alone has been 99% of my emotional support throughout the process. Thank you, James.
We officially put all of our captured footage in the hands of Joe Walker, our editor, yesterday afternoon! We still have a long process ahead of us for post production, but we hope to have a finished film in the next four months. Jim Roberson will be busting it on special effects, Ted Speaker on score, James on title credit design, and Joe will be orchestrating it all as editor. Soon James and I will be able to view footage and make all of our notes so they can proceed with their creative magic. I can’t wait to see it all unfold!!
For all of the others who were there by our sides, and there were many, THANK YOU. You made each day fun and your work was greatly appreciated. And last but not least – Jill Marlar and Olivia Pope, our main characters, delivered stellar performances beyond expectations. It was as if the stars were on our side for every aspect!
Since production has wrapped, I’ve been trying to catch up on my rest while tying up a few loose ends here and there. I am still on an incredible high, one that I hope stays with me for a while. This is my true profession – filmmaking. I can feel it in my bones. It isn’t an easy thing to break into, and there is no defined path to tell you where to go next. You just have to pave your own way. I have some thoughts on this for the short-term and long-term, which I am planning as we speak. All I know is, when you find something that you love, keep doing it…. and do your very best.
Somehow I thought I would be more worried, being only two days out from our shoot. Not that my mind isn’t racing every second of every day, because that is definitely a reality. This is an enormous challenge of epic proportions (especially Sunday), one that I would normally be scared to death of. But I somehow have peace in knowing that everything is going to work out. In fact, I am excited to be working on something that takes every ounce of creativity and organization that I have developed over my 34 years. Not only that, but it’s also utilizing the same energy from some über talented folks into one big ball of awesomeness. It’s a force to be reckoned with. All we can do now is buckle down and stay focused on the task at hand!
This week was also full of other kind of news – one beyond my wildest dreams (more on that in the coming weeks) and another that kind of broke my heart. Regarding the latter one, I think it was a big big big blessing in disguise. Instead of letting it discourage and bring me down, instead, it forced me to think outside of the box… and actually in the direction of my dreams. I think someone or something was looking out for me on that one, even though it appeared to be a set back on the outside. Maybe in this case I was lucky that I didn’t get what I asked for. Either way, I have full faith in my future and the path that I’m on. I am very, very lucky….and thus very, very grateful.
Now, time to have some fun!! Be sure to send us positive energy and thoughts this weekend.