Because potential clients need to know I can hold a camera, and look cool while doin' it!
I think I'm truly starting to understand in a way I didn't before what they mean when they say that a career in film and video is 98% rejection. Maybe even 99%. But seriously - I never win any competitions, I don't get accepted to many festivals - it's quite possible that nobody likes my films. But the thing that I realized is that, even if that is the case it doesn't really matter because even if nobody watched my films I'd still want to make them. I'd still LOVE making them. It's part of who I am to create content and I enjoy it so much, I don't think I'll ever stop or retire. In a weird way, once I realized this getting rejected didn't suck as much.
I was listening to a podcast episode (Hello, Pivot Podcast) on perfectionism, and somebody said instead of waiting to produce work that is perfect, "take people along for the ride". Meaning, maybe you're not the best yet (and maybe you never will be) but let people come on the ride with you as your work grows, changes and improves. That is way more engaging and authentic than just showing up as the best in the first place. Let people grow with you. Done is better than perfect anyway.
So all this to say, we submitted to a FilmSupply challenge and didn't win anything. But I got a really great creative trailer for The Year of Artful Comments out of it and a reminder that it was never about winning anything in the first place. It's just about creating work that fulfills me. Also to remind my peers not to compare your behind-the-scenes with someone else's highlight reel.
I've been seeing a lot of these around lately, and with my 24th birthday around the corner, not gonna lie, the fear is getting real. Making one of these lists is a good way to get centered with yourself and honest about what you want to do with your one, wild, life. So here are my 30 before 30s:
1. Go backpacking around the Europe - to be a homeless vagabond for a little while and experience some different cultures and get out of my comfort zone.
2. Take a long camping trip - I want to do a long solo hike through the mountains at some point, seems like a nice place to be alone with yourself.
3. Get Engaged! Yup, I kinda want to do that.
4. Get Married! - well naturally this comes next I suppose.
5. Find financial security - where I'm not rushing to pay the bills before my money is gone, or having to choose between organic food and nice things.
6. Buy a house <3
7. Learn Piano, Again - When I was 13, I was well on my way to being a professional pianist, but I quit to pursue acting and film. I wish I'd never stopped but, I'd like to pick up where I left off.
8. Direct my first 2 feature films - Yep! I said two! I want to have 2 under my belt before I'm 30.
9. Run my own successful business - That's you Primrose Path ;)
10. Plant and maintain a garden - Would love to grow my own veggies and keep things alive. Having a green thumb doesn't come naturally to me...
11. Attend a meditation retreat - While I've built my own, I've never attended an "official" one. I'd like to sit for longer than 10 days and see what opens up!
12. Take a cruise with my besties - I don't know why but I think this would be a total blast being stuck on a boat with people you love (and love to get drunk with).
13. Siblings trip - My sibs and I have been talking about this for a while and I think it would be nice to do a trip just us.
14. Heal from Artful Comments - I'd like to be done with that part of my life in a serious way, and never look back.
15. Have a completely furnished apartment/house! I'm looking at you bedframes ;)
16. Join a book club - Haven't found one I like yet but I think it's a nice idea.
17. Have my own office - I love the idea of having my own space away from home, where I can bring Georgia to work, decorate how I want, and work for myself.
18. Have some fitness goals and actually reach them - I've never been driven to be fit but I'd like to cultivate that.
19. Do a proper juice cleanse - Instead of stopping when I get flu-like symptoms or not reintroducing my diet correctly.
20. Travel to South America! I've always wanted to go to Argentina...
21. Learn to do my own makeup like a real grown-up - What even is concealer and how do I use it?
22. Get my sun tattoo - a tattoo to remind me of my Grandma that I want to get on my left arm.
23. Write a song - I don't have the chops but I'd like to one day.
24. Write a feature screenplay - Hopefully, this will be one of the ones I direct but it doesn't have to be.
25. Repay my parents - I feel so indebted to them and would love to just write them a big fat check!
26. Treat my parents - Additionally, I'd like to take them on a trip or treat them to a really nice dinner or something and comfortably foot the bill.
27. Learn to dance - Ideally swing dancing!
28. Take acting classes - Something I really used to enjoy and that I think would enhance my directing a TON.
29. Make a comprehensive list of people who I've wrong or have wrong me and make amends.
30. Do some life coaching at some point for a time.
That's it! I hope you enjoyed this little insight. This reminds me of those old Facebook quizzes people used to do - oh lordy! So, what's your 30 before 30 look like?
Back in November, my crew and I set out from Austin for Glen Rose, TX. It was about a three hour drive, with not much in between. The Texas skies and country spread out around us for miles. We had no idea what to expect for our meeting with Shannon, our interviewee. I had chosen not to do a pre-interview of any kind because I always feel folks are most candid with their answers when hearing them and reacting for the first time. Being the liberal democrats that we are we couldn't help but imagine what horrors might lay ahead -- a Trump supporter?! They could be a dangerous, gun-loving, pussy-grabbing maniac!! Or at least, that's what our worst fears told us.
When we got lost on the highway, I texted Shannon for some extra directions. She was kind enough to send her husband down to the end of the driveway to wait for us in his pickup truck. When we finally saw him, he gave us a friendly wave from the truck and we drove up the red dirt road, eclipsed by desert trees.
When we finally made it to the house, we couldn't help but be awestruck by the sheer size of it. I couldn't help it, my mind immediately leapt to the stereotype: Republicans = money.
But Shannon doesn't consider herself a Republican. She just considers Donald Trump to be the best man for the job, keeping the alternative (Hillary) in mind. Shannon is not a feminist. She doesn't believe that women should occupy some of the same roles in society that men do, for example on the front lines in the military. She doesn't approve of abortion.
Shannon doesn't believe in a lot of things that I do. She said things at times that made me angry, things that made my heart race and I felt as though my face must be burning red.
But Shannon is kind. Shannon and her husband, welcomed us into their home. They offered us food and drink, all knowing that we were there to challenge them on their beliefs. While she doesn't support gay marriage, she'll be there to support her friends who do. While she doesn't believe in abortion - how could she with her adorable 4-year-old Grandson running cheerfully around the house - she would have supported her daughter, had that been her choice.
In the end, I walked away feeling confused. It would have been so much easier if we could walk away and laugh at her. At how ridiculous the things she was saying are. About how she has no ground to stand on. But we couldn't.
Politics, though it seems like it's about the issues, runs a lot deeper than that. Politics is everything you were told growing up, everything you experienced or didn't experience. It's the environment and culture you were raised in. The school you were taught in. The church. As a creator, I don't want to listen to people talk about the issues anymore. Anyone can repeat what they hear on TV. I wanna hear about what's specific to you, to these women. I want to humanize the women who voted for Trump, not demonize them. Only by understanding each other as humans, through empathy and compassion, can we ever hope to close the divide.
When I first applied to the motion picture arts program at Interlochen in 2011, all I had to show for my love of film was a scattered collection of videos shabbily cut together with my favorite songs. Not to mention, a TON OF FILTERS. What was it with over-doing it with the iMovie filters back in the day?!? Sheesh! Anyways, I was always kind of embarrassed to consider them part of my film work because well -- they feel so easy and fun to make, how could they possibly be work? Making these, as I call them now "Video Journals" is like how I imagine it feels to write a song as a songwriter, or to draw an inspired sketch as a visual artist. It just kind of builds inside me when I hear a certain song and then 4 hours later, I have this the above video Fade Away.
One of my favorite teachers at Interlochen, we'll call him A, called them Video Journals which I didn't really understand at the time. But after making my most recent one, Fade Away it finally made sense. So here are a few video journals from back in the day, it's always very special for me to look back at them, and I thought it might be fun for you too. Happy Holidays!
It was a struggle to figure out what Going Home was truly all about. Clearly, I wanted to return home to document the house, because my parent's choice to sell it had been weighing on me. But after looking through all the footage and attempting to construct a story, I was left with a combination of images that lacked focus, packed no real impact, and held no meaningful epiphany. This was of course due to the documentarian like style of the film, and the choice to pursue an idea in it's purest form; as just an idea. I knew there was a meaning behind and a connection between the images I was capturing and the way that I felt about losing my childhood home, I just had to discover what it was.
It wasn't until I discussed the film at length -- which, by the way, is an EXCELLENT way to figure your shit out -- that everything clicked. From before I even returned home, I knew I wanted to go exploring the abandoned school house at Stewarts Point - I was inexplicably drawn to that idea and once the footage was captured, I knew It was central to the film. The desolate colors and compositional opportunities were striking. I don't know that I would have been able to pinpoint it if my boyfriend hadn't pointed it out: that I was attempting to link the images of the schoolhouse to my feelings about saying goodbye to my childhood home... OH. DUH.
Once I knew that my mission became a lot more clear:
1) Choose, design and arrange the shots in the beginning of the film to parallel the schoolhouse shots at the end of the film.
2) Build in the fact that the parents are selling the house by calling and asking my siblings to reflect on it.
3) Lastly, develop a score that will reoccur during the final shots of the film, and hark back to the opening shots of the film; thus linking the two "houses" together.
And we've done it (at least I hope we have).
It's been really shocking how many thematic elements I captured without even meaning to, and even placed them in structurally "correct" places throughout my edit. Here are some of my favorite happy accidents that occur within the film:
THE PIANO: This was a really neat coincidence. I filmed the piano in my house because playing piano was a huge and important part of my childhood. It's also a part of my past that I've come to really miss and wish I hadn't left behind. I filmed the piano in the living room days before Adrian and I went to visit the abandoned schoolhouse. And even upon exploring the schoolhouse it never dawned on me that there was a piano in both locations. Luckily I was intuitive enough, or just intrigued enough, to film them both in detail, making my editing job a lot easier.
MY FATHER THE PACKRAT: One of favorite sequences in the film are the few shots of my Dad's "office". My Dad has three offices I'll have you know. 2 of which are basically filled with historical documents, paintings, filing cabinets, childhood toys and memorabilia -- to the point that he can no longer use them as an office. There's a moment later in the film where my Mom suggests I keep an old sweatshirt, "the beagle shirt" and I tell her I considered it and she says I'm turning into my father. The film is also littered with collected voicemails and home video footage, so clearly the pack-ratted-ness has rubbed off on me. If I'm making a film about the difficulty of abandoning my childhood home, then clearly I have a hard time letting go, just like my Dad.
SYNCHRONIZED SPEECH: There are exactly three times throughout the film where I speak at the exact same time as my mom and say the same thing, with the same inflection. Although one is manipulated and created through editing. Can you spot all 3?
DRIVING SCENES: My good friend and excellent filmmaker (AND also Primrose Path team member) Evan Yee was kind enough to point out that there are three driving scenes, one at the beginning, one in the middle and one at the end. Each one gets closer and closer to the windshield until in the last one, all we see is through the view. This progression speaks to the whole idea of moving forward, especially since we are physically moving forward in the car as well as through the camera setups.
THE WEATHER: Please Mr. Sun, could you add a little diffusion to that? I'd like the light to be a bit softer. As filmmakers we always wish we could control the weather but alas... However we can edit the weather to our advantage. If you notice, the first and last "days" in the film are brighter, while the two in the middle are all rain and fog. That's because the first and last days in the film are more positive, about the warmth and happy things that come with returning home. The middle two days are the introspective days, where we explore the death of my grandmother, the loss of old friends, and the gloom that settles in alongside the memories. Editing these days so they are more succinct and appear in a certain order is something I can control, but the actual weather matching the content of what I was filming? Priceless.
Didn't catch these motifs the first time? Watch the film again here:
Feel as though you have seen everything under the sun? Netflix, HBO and Hulu are all dried up? Well, it might be time for you to delve into the depths of YouTube. Last night was my first trip down the rabbit hole and I'm happy to say I already stumbled upon a web series I'm freakin' obsessed with. It certainly helps that I already fell in love with the adorable, awkward and lively lead actress Elise Bauman, when I saw her in Almost Adults at the Austin Film Festival. Cute as she may be, she's not the only reason I love this YouTube sensation Carmilla.
For one, the cast is almost entirely made up of lesbian female characters -- yes! Secondly, the blend between reality and the mythical world is seamless and at times comical. I mean it's so obvious by just a few episodes in that (SPOILER ALERT) Carmilla (Natasha Negovanlis) is a vampire, but lovable and oblivious Lauren (Bauman) doesn't figure this out until MUCH later.
Carmilla is a vlog-style web series adapted from a novella by the same name, much like it's predecessors Nothing Much to Do and The Lizzie Bennett Diaries. But while these other web series' feel confined and lacking because of their format, Carmilla is enhanced by it and thrives on it. Like a studio sitcom confined to it's one set, Carmilla feels familiar and natural. As a viewer, I don't desire to see more outside the room, I feel perfectly content in the space we're in.
I'm looking forward to seeing where the story takes me, as well as where this new genre does. In the same way that VR is pioneering a new front in media, web series' are pushing boundaries and changing the relationship between viewer and creator -- or rather feaux creator (the character inside the show, Laura). I hope to find a web series that pushes this boundary even further and uses the medium to its maximum potential.
Seen a good web series recently? Comment below so I can check it out!
Ciara MacDonald and Savannah Power chat about the struggles of pursuing artistic dreams -- everything from "making it" to "making rent" -- Come hang out with us :)
This week we discuss religion, depression and anxiety, and how genius my Dad is.
We have a special holiday treat you to watch this Halloween! From the Primrose Path archives, Night Shift, adapts one creepy reddit story into a 3 minute horror film! Directed by Savannah Power, with sound deign by Samantha Doyle this mini-thriller doesn't play around.
Read the reddit strand that inspired it all but WAIT -- watch the film first because you wouldn't want to spoil the fun ;)
By Cranklowza on Reddit
I was about 15 minutes from finishing the night shift at work when there was a massive crash on one of the windows in the office so I get up and go to check it out. Someone has thrown quite a sizable rock through one of the windows on the front of the building. This is made especially weird because I'm working in the industrial district at 11:30 at night with none of the other businesses open. I go back to my desk, put a quick call through to security to let them know and decide to head home. As I'm leaving the building I'm freaking myself out about it more and more and end up running to my car, getting in and taking off. I'm almost home and I've started to calm down a bit when I realize that I didn't unlock my car when I got in. It had been unlocked the whole time. I do a quick check with my hand in the backseat for any possible murderers that might be hanging around there but there's nothing there.
Fast forward 30 minutes: I've called a friend of mine who says he is out drinking so I decide I'm going to join him. I jump on my bicycle and start riding over. I'm doodling along the road on my bike, it's a nice night and I'm in no big rush, just enjoying the moonlight when I hear someone riding behind me. I straighten up and stick to one side of the road. He passes me really slowly and, when he is right beside me, he shoots me a smile I can describe as purely fucking insane. I kind of flinch and am taken aback as he rides on. That's when I realize. He is riding my mom's bike.
Needless to say, I sprint the fuck home. When I get there, sure enough her bike is missing and one of my car's doors is open. The back left one. I was driving, and had no need to open that door.
The Sound Design
Now that you're familiar with the story and the film you can give us your expert opinion on it's sound design. During the making of the film, I thought it would be interesting to make an alternate version with an entirely difference soundscape. Both versions are so unique and awesome that we feature one on our Youtube and another on our website!
For a little fun we thought you might want to give them both a listen and decide for yourself which one is your favorite!
Watch Them Here, Vote on in the comments section
I've finally begun editing this project and thought I would share some thoughts with you on it.Read More