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Independent film was something that I didn’t really know existed until I was in my early 20′s. While working at a small production company in Rome, Georgia, I discovered that people could actually make movies on their own and find audiences outside of big commercial movie theaters. I was instantly smitten by the whole process and had a deep urge to learn more. So I did. Over the next 3 or 4 years while I lived in Atlanta and eventually back in Birmingham, I worked on many small film projects… usually for friends. It took a while before the thought occurred to me that I could make my own films too. It all happened while I was taking a screenwriting class with Elizabeth Bradley (now Elizabeth Hunter). I never thought of myself as a writer and my arm had to be twisted to even consider being in the class. But behind that insecurity was a very confident person just waiting for an opportunity to make a dream come true. I first started out with a totally random idea to write about these young kids who moved to New York, but I struggled to find their story and what to say. This is when Elizabeth told me the most powerful advice for any writer out there – write what you know. What I knew then was weddings since I was a wedding videographer & editor at the time. I also wanted to write something very dark… but for those of you who’ve seen what I ended up with, that couldn’t have been farther from the final product. From the second that I had the first rough draft of Piece of Cake in my hands, I knew I was going to make it. And I also knew that I wanted someone well-known to be in it. Well, after a live performance by Mo Rocca at the Alys Stephens Center in 2005, I knew exactly who I wanted that person to be. I think within in a two-week period after seeing him in person I had sent his agent in New York the finished script and he had accepted the part. The next biggest thing I did was partner up with Alison Britt, who came on as the producer and played the main character Claire. We had a cast and crew of over 60 people, not including the extras in some of our biggest scenes. Piece of Cake was a huge undertaking, and one that I still think was worth every second of to this day. As for future film projects, I currently have a film called Crush in festival submissions with my friend Rebecca Pugh, and I hope in the next few years to have a feature film in the works based on the book that I want to complete. We will see what the future holds.
As for Mo Rocca, most of you know that he is coming in town again to perform at the Alys Stephens Center this Friday night. I have been given some tickets to give away in honor of this, so pay attention to my Facebook page today at noon, then my Twitter feed tomorrow at noon for some fun trivia. I will definitely be there, wouldn’t miss it. I also have some cute videos from cast and crew with special messages and memories about Mo to share on Facebook over the next few days.
Watch Piece of Cake here! It’s finallllly on YouTube.
I KNOW I CAN!
It’s Friday… and I’m feeling a bit emotional. It’s a combination of happiness and overwhelm. It’s been a big week on the job, but it’s also been a big week in my personal life with the birth of my new niece, seeing my “I Did It” article in Health Magazine, and also the Birmingham Bombshells photo shoot. All wonderful, wonderful things! I know I worked really hard for a lot of it to happen, but I also feel very lucky too.
I’ve mentioned before that I wrote & directed a short film in 2006 called “Piece of Cake” that starred Mo Rocca (and one of my dear friends Alison Britt starred & produced). Well last night my friend Rebecca, who works in the Sidewalk Film Festival office, came across an old promotional video clip that featured me at one of my heaviest times in life. I remember being under intense stress & pressure, and then turning to food to soothe my nerves. I still encounter similar moments from time to time, but I’ve now learned how to manage my stress without eating.
Speaking of overwhelming & exciting creative projects, my NaNoWriMo pace is not as quick as I need it to be in order to reach 50,000 words by November 30. In fact, I’m pretty gosh darn behind. It is starting to bother me quite a bit, because finishing this book should be #1 priority. I haven’t give up yet though, but I might need some words of encouragement!!
I will be 142 pounds by December 1st at this rate, which will have me at 50 pounds lost on The CarbLovers Diet! My strength training has also been going really well. I have a routine now that takes me about 10-15 minutes to complete, and I am trying to incorporate it 3-4 times a week after my runs. While doing the Birmingham Bombshells shoot, I was so proud of my shapely & muscular legs that I’ve been working so hard for!
Tonight I am heading to Third Friday in Forest Park with my sister & Mike, then tomorrow night is our huge annual gala at work (hence being so busy for the past few weeks). Vero and I are going to do 12-13 miles on Sunday for our long run as well. Between all of that, I am going to ship myself to a local coffee shop and work on my book. I WILL FINISH!!!
Am I crazy? Probably so.
Here are my plans:
Now – May: strictly focus on weight-loss goals
June-September: continue weight-loss & start training for Augusta 70.3 (half-ironman) on Sept. 26
August: weigh in at 145-150
October: strictly focus on weight-loss maintenance
November-February: train for marathon & continue weight-loss maintenance
February 2011: run first marathon at Mercedes here in Birmingham
April 2011: race in New Orleans 70.3 (half-ironman) again
April-November 2011: train for Ironman Florida (140.6)… my first FULL Ironman!
The following year in 2012, I will start focusing on time goals & possibly qualifying as an age grouper.
Also- I am going to start naming Fridays “Food & Exercise Diary Fridays” and report what I have eaten all week & my exercise regimen. I think this is better than posting every single day.
On another note- my rosacea acne is clearing up quite a bit! I have been taking the antibiotic Solodyn for almost a month now, and it appears to be working. It does come with some negative side-effects, like photosensitivity & mild headaches, but I plan to stop taking it after 12 weeks of use. That will hopefully get me where I need to be!
One day this week I would like to share more about another personal goal: making a feature-length independent film. A lot of you were around in 2006 when I wrote & directed the short film “Piece of Cake”, starring Mo Rocca (which you can watch in my videos section on Facebook). I am thinking of including this feature film project as part of “The Jen West Quest” because it is my ultimate dream… I think about it every day, and it is a big piece of my heart.
Click here to watch “Dreams” by Brandi Carlile! One of my favorite songs.