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Some really exciting things happened this week… first and foremost, I made some serious headway on my feature script. I expect to have a full first draft by next weekend! I’ve put a lot of time and energy into it in the last few days, and it’s really paid off. I probably knocked out a good 20 pages alone in the last four days. Being near the end really excited me, and fueled the additional energy I needed to push it over the top. All that’s missing at this point are a few holes that require additional research, and the final few pages of the ending. I plan to take the weekend off though to rest my brain, and to give it some much needed breathing room. Once I get the first draft, I will probably go through it one more time before presenting to anyone else for proofing/feedback. I’d like to take it through several rounds of revisions before submitting to any screenplay competitions.
Speaking of this weekend, James and I are heading to Louisville early tomorrow morning for the annual Forecastle Music Festival, and to see my dear sweet friends Lee Ann and Jenny Faye! It should be an awesome time. Sunday we will do a unique Twelve, this time over brunch. Can’t wait to see what Louisville brings to the table. Tonight we will be attending a special launch dinner for Jones Valley Teaching Farm here in Birmingham for their new online fundraising campaign, and St. Paul and the Broken Bones will be performing. I’ve never seen them, which I am very ashamed to admit! They are about to blow up in a big way.
We got two pieces of great news on the Bubble front this week that we hope to share very soon. Also, our full website will be live by the end of the month! There are so many people right now working behind the scenes to make some special things happen. A lot of announcements will take place at the beginning of August, so stay tuned! But there will be one special thing to say next Thursday… I promise to keep you posted.
My good friend (and hero) Laura Kate Whitney invited me to a meeting yesterday afternoon for LIV Birmingham. All I knew was that there would be other visual storytellers present, and we would be brainstorming ideas to engage the community. I found myself in the company of some pretty amazing folks right off the bat, and was flattered to even be in the same group as them. LK has started a great new initiative that enlightens newcomers (and even us long-timers) about neighborhoods in downtown Birmingham that we may or may not be familiar with. When she moved here herself a few years back from Charleston, she needed some motivation to get excited about her new home. So she took that as a challenge, and what she discovered was a place that she fell madly in love with. I think no matter where you reside, LK is a great example of how to make the most out of where you live. Here is her original blog, Magic City Made, where you can learn much, much more about her. No matter where you go, there you are!
I love people with good, positive energy and focus. I find that I am the most happy around people who are pursuing things greater than themselves. Birmingham has many folks just like that, and as I grow to learn more about Atlanta, I find a similar community there as well. While I love an artist or a maker of any type, community builders are a new breed that I find endlessly fascinating. They are selfless warriors constantly protecting and fighting for others to care. They make me realize how important some of the things that I take for granted are on a daily basis… the history that surrounds me, the buildings, the everyday people. They make the previously boring interesting, and the silent have a voice. If you are one of these warriors for your own city or community, then props to you! Your dedication can change and enrich lives.
Sometimes when you are working hard for a goal, especially a long-term one, you can feel like you are spinning your tires in the mud. Am I really getting anywhere? How can I fully understand the fulfillment that is so far out of reach? I think about this sometimes when I am writing my feature script. While I am rounding page 50 strong, I know that once I finish I will still have many revisions to weed through before I have a polished piece. Each page is meticulous, as I pour in every ounce of creativity I can muster in each scene. Writing requires your full attention, and for me that means no music or tv on in the background. It means fully immersing myself in this world I am creating on the spot. It’s interesting, challenging, sometimes lonely, but always rewarding. What I do know is this: I love to write. I think I have good stories to share with unique perspectives. And that makes me happy.
We will have some exciting updates on Bubble later in the week, which I will include in Friday’s post. Until then, make some mountains move!
Happy 4th of July week! My niece Lucy Bug turned the big 1 yesterday, and my sister Rachel’s birthday is tomorrow (on the holiday). My dad’s birthday was last Friday… so lots of cancers to celebrate! Last weekend, after my dad’s 60th birthday dinner, James and I headed up to Nashville to hang out with his parents whose birthdays are also nearby. It was a very special time.
Big news – I have officially reached the halfway point of my feature script!!! I am very happy with the work I’ve done so far, and am excited about getting the rest of the story on digital paper. I have a working title, but I am not quite ready to share just yet. James actually came up with it during a brainstorming session a month or two back, and I have a feeling it is going to stick.
Today we take off with my family to go glamping (glamorous camping) on Pine Mountain in Georgia. James and I will be staying in a yurt, basically a glorified tent with air conditioning. Even though it’s supposed to rain most of tomorrow and Friday, I’m looking forward to unplugging and being with family.
This week we were able to share some promotional images for Bubble! Click here to read about where we are, and I’ve included the visuals below (click images to enlarge). We should have a completed film by the end of the month. I’ve started to get a little more excited about it than I should be…so I’m trying to remember that the process of it being born should be just as gratifying as it being completed. Every time we get to see it now something extraordinary is added. I really don’t know how we got so lucky getting the team that we did. However, I am usually pretty good at spotting unique talent.
Last but not least, James and I attended the Sidewalk Film Festival’s sneak peek yesterday evening at Rojo. We got to see about 10+ feature trailers, and I left feeling inspired and excited for the fest. This year is not to be missed, if you are an independent film lover! I can’t believe Sidewalk is 15 years old. Without this festival, I am pretty sure I wouldn’t be a filmmaker… not because I wouldn’t want to be, but because I wouldn’t even have known what independent film was. Birmingham is very, very lucky to have it.
Since we will have a wifi connection in our yurt (haha), I will be posting again later this week. If you live in the US, I hope you have a wonderful 4th!
I feel like I start off every blog post at the beginning of the week with “what a weekend”… but, what a weekend! It’s always a good sign when you dedicate Monday to zero social activity just to rebalance your life. There was so much food involved on Saturday between Yard 54 and PushStart that I could probably do a 72-hour fast and still feel pretty full. Having the honor and privilege to eat such amazing meals isn’t lost on me, I appreciate and savor every moment I’m given. Through these food initiatives I get to meet so many new and amazing people, each and every time. I am so grateful!
Sunday afternoon we went to Six Flags with some out of town friends and had a wonderful time. All the lines were super short, the weather was perfect (and overcast for the most part) and I dared to ride two new things that have always scared the pants off of me – the SkyScreamer (swings that go 24-stories up) and Acrophobia (20-story free fall). Both were such crazy sensations. I literally thought I was going to die as we fell on Acrophobia, as tears streamed down my face. The SkyScreamer took my breath away and was the closest experience I’ve ever had to flying. Here’s a little video Lauren took of us on the swings.
This weekend Jim continued his post production work on Bubble and we got to see another cut on Sunday with the first real images of the bubble itself. He is so very talented… I almost can’t wait to see everything all together. This week James is submitting his first round of custom lettering for the title and credits (yay!). This film has been such a learning experience, diving into new realms of technical and artistic requirements. I have loved every second and I know that I will use these new experiences in the future again.
Since this week closes out the month of June, my goal is to make some serious head-way on my script during my free time. Keep me in your thoughts and send the creative vibes over!! I want to be finished with my first draft by mid-July. Time to knock some work out. I also want to refocus on my health – what I’m putting into my body and getting into great shape again. I feel like I didn’t quite make my end goal at the beginning of the year, but I am close. My main concerns are to just enjoy the process, to love the food I am eating and to look forward to exercise by doing things that I love. It’s really as simple as that.
Last night we got to see another cut of Bubble, this time with some special effects markers from Jim Roberson! We still have a bit of a process left, but our anticipated finish goal of mid-July is definitely a reality. In the meantime, we will be sending some rough cuts to a few select fests and keeping them updated as we make progress. Next week our goal is to have a rough cut with enough of the visual effects to understand our direction and intent. I have a feeling though that once the music is placed in by mid-July, it is going to be a game changer. Right now Bubble still mostly exists in our heads, but it is all unfolding at a great pace.
While working on my feature script this week, I killed a character that I really, really loved. It was a strange experience… and I found myself trying to rationalize keeping the character alive, if even for a little bit longer. But it was necessary, and as I did it I mourned for the loss. It’s probably a good sign to feel so attached. My progress and pace for writing this script has surprised even me, honestly. I’m over a third of the way into it with a clear direction of where I want to go. This feels much different from my attempts to write it as a novel, which I think is a positive indicator of a good decision to ditch that effort. Once I’m finished with the revisions for this script by the end of summer/early fall, I have another story that I’m dying to jump on.
My favorite part of filmmaking at this point in my career is concept development and writing. I think I am a decent enough director, but I have a lot to learn in that department. My goal over the next year is to do just that – shadow some established directors and apply to take part in director workshops/labs. This will also allow me to make some contacts outside of the realm I am currently in. I don’t want to take on my next production without stepping my game up.
This week I’ve found myself in the company of friends who know how to make things happen. I love hearing about other people’s projects and dreams… their energy fuels my own ambition. I also love seeing the vulnerable side of people who seem unshakeable. Even though these folks do amazing things, they aren’t immune to doubt and fear. This makes me feel better, because I often encounter those feelings. To search for a greater purpose is deeply ingrained in us as human beings. All of us struggle equally with identity, no matter how great our accomplishments. In a strange way, this brings me comfort. It also gives me permission to relax and just enjoy who I am right now.
The transition from Bonnaroo back home is officially complete! I pulled into town around 8 this morning, and was so very happy to see Baby Kitty’s sweet little face. It’s hard to believe the amount of experiences we had over just a handful of days. We ended up being pretty far out from Centeroo (where all of the music happens), but we didn’t let that get us down too much. Next year we are going to seriously consider either VIP camping or an RV, both of which will guarantee us a spot near the entrance. It was a powerful five days full of music, fun and the outdoors… but I am SO glad to be near working plumbing and air conditioning again!
I feel rested and refocused, ready to jump on this week and make some stuff happen. I always end up asking myself big questions while unplugged from the world, like… what happiness really means to me, or what am I doing to make my life the best possible. Is a good life consistently reaching for bigger and better things, or is it savoring here and now? Probably a little (or a lot) of both. I have so many “here and nows” to be thankful for. Adventures, friends and family. And love. Lots and lots of that. I’m such a do-do-do personality… always moving on to the next thing, then the next, then the next. I love the high of accomplishing something challenging. Defying boundaries and climbing walls, destroying preconceived notions and assumptions. The folks I envy most though in this life are the ones who take joy in simple things. Who constantly invest in their own energy and freely give it away to others. People who follow their passions just for the personal fulfillment, not validation from others. I have some distance to go with some of these things, but they are hot on my radar.
What is my passion? What is my ultimate purpose? … and do I need to know these answers in order to truly live? James said something last night that really made me think, that five years ago it would have been impossible to predict what we were doing at that exact moment in time. It’s too hard to see into the future, which I often try to do. And what good does it do us anyway? I think the real compass is authenticity, finding out those big and small things that make us happy… then doing them as often as possible. If you follow happiness, then you will always be on the right path.
We roll out today for Bonnaroo – AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I woke up at 5 a.m. this morning wide awake, no chance of falling back asleep. I can’t wait to be there, tent set up and chillin’ on our little make-shift front porch. Four straight days of music and fun. Vacation time! Follow our pics on our hashtag #MWBonnie on Instagram. Hopefully I will have decent cell service, but usually I do not.
Our plan is to head that way around 4 pm today and stop for a dinner, then arrive around 8:30 in the entrance line. It’s anyone’s guess as to how to best strategize getting a good camping site inside. My first year we were stuck on the far edge, about a 30-35 minute walk from the music (Centeroo). Last year, James and I got super lucky and landed really close… only a 5 minute walk. The only real difference was the way we entered, but unfortunately that is beyond anyone’s control once you arrive. The staff and police officers designate which line you get to be in, which ultimately determines your fate. If for some reason we do get farther out than we’d like, Bonnaroo still makes it pretty easy to get around via golf cart shuttles.
We’ve purchased two battery-powered fans this year to help us keep cool in the tent. We are also going to try to put up a tarp to block the morning sun as best we can, like so. Keep your fingers crossed for us, should be interesting. It’s nearly impossible to sleep past 7 a.m. with direct June sunlight hitting your tent, and temps are expected to be in the upper 80′s the entire trip.
This year we plan to stick it out through Sunday night and leave Monday morning. I’m excited about this because it gives us one extra night to relax and enjoy being there. Tuesday we resume life as usual! See you all on the flip side…
This Monday kicks off a weeks of fun, one that I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time! This Wednesday James and I head off to Bonnaroo for four days and five nights of music & camping. This will be our second year to go together, and my third year in a row to attend in general. Bonnaroo almost exactly marks the new chapter in my life that started in June, 2011…so it is a very significant event for me. Our car is officially packed and spirits are high! Looking forward to heading 2.5 hours northeast on Wednesday afternoon.
I am happy to report that I’ve been keeping on track with my writing! I expect to hit page 40 on my feature script before our trip… that’s my goal, anyway. If I do, then that means I’m on schedule to have a completed rough draft by the end of summer! And possibly even a revision or two under my belt as well. Once I get it in a good place, I want to start submitting to script competitions/fests to see how it stands up. My hope for the latter part of 2013 and all of 2014 is to travel around with Bubble, and possibly my feature script, to make as many connections as possible in the film world. I’m ready to open some new doors and go to the next level…whatever that may be. I’m up for the challenge and open to opportunities.
My running is almost back in full swing! I got my headphones back which had been MIA for a few months, and that made a huge difference in my energy levels. Very few things compare to the high of running with music that motivates you to push harder and go farther. It’s adrenaline and freedom in its purest form.
Speaking of running, last night James and I ate waaaaaay too much at The Burger Coalition’s one year anniversary dinner in Birmingham! It was such a wonderful night, the perfect event to cap off a very successful initiative. Congrats James & Dan, I hope year two is equally as rewarding as the first!
We had a pretty amazing pick-up day for Bubble last Saturday, shooting from about 3 p.m. until 3:30 a.m… then finally hitting the sack around 5. The birds were chirping and little hints of the sun were visible as I started to close my eyes. Once we wrapped, the five of us remaining sat down for a celebratory beer on set and just talked about our journey to that moment. The production on this project has been such a unique experience since it is so technical in nature. As our composer Ted Speaker said, this is definitely a “tone film.” It is highly experiential and reliant on abstract concepts. I am especially grateful to have expanded my knowledge working with such specialized artists. I am also humbled beyond words that they chose this project to dedicate themselves to.
Next week is Bonnaroo, only 8 days away from being unplugged from the everyday world! It’s hard to think about anything else other than the complete freedom it brings. Being in an environment like that totally resets my brain for creative thinking and dreaming. It recharges my soul, gives me new ideas and reignites my ambition. One of the things I love most about the festival is that everything you want to do is close by… no driving or transportation required. It’s a mini universe full of colorful people in natural elements. It’s also very much a survival type of situation, which has always fascinated me. I love environments that take me away from modern-day comforts, breaking down my basic needs to the bare minimum. Simplicity opens up more room for growth.
One awesome thing about keeping a personal blog is that it forces you to reflect back on the events of the past week or so… jogs the memory of things that I might otherwise forget. As I was importing photos from Instagram for this post I found myself asking, did that really happen only a few days ago? Then I relive the experience as if it were happening all over again. I see people’s faces that are so important to me, some of which I might take for granted by getting to see so often. What a treasure it is to get to spend time with these folks. I hope I am a mere reflection of what they are in my eyes.
This past weekend James and I went camping as a practice run with our new tent before Bonnaroo (which is only a week and a half away!!). I just can’t explain the joy of looking forward to this festival each year. To know that I will be almost completely unplugged from the world while being surrounded by amazing music and people almost makes me explode with happiness. The sunshine, food, roughing it in a field, ferris wheels, corndogs… it’s all a part of the experience. I’m armed and ready with my SPF 1,000!
This weekend we will be filming our last pick-up shots for Bubble. It will actually be a full day’s work, as if a shoot in and of itself. I’m looking forward to seeing the team again for our little family reunion. Once we have all of our footage in the can we will be one step closer to having a finished movie! Wish us luck as we capture some pretty important scenes. It should be a lot of fun.
Tomorrow is the first day of June – JUNE!!! Where is this year going? I hope you are taking advantage of every second. I am definitely trying my best.