Want to hear something super duper cool? No? Oh … okay.
Oh, wait, you do? Awesome!
So back in July, when I was home in North Carolina, I learned about a contest (from my Mom – she’s cool). It was a contest hosted by “Our State” Magazine asking us to make short documentaries showing what we loved about North Carolina. Fun, right?
And today we were announced as a FINALIST! yayyyyyyyyy!!!!
What would your documentary look like for your home state?
Making the Movie
I already had my Flip Cam with me – lovingly named “Flip” – and I thought, what if we were talking about everything we loved, and then the camera comes to life and takes his own journey around NC? So…we did it!
I got my cousin Margot (@Justhewayur14) to pretend to be my sister in the video and her friend Monica to film our little intro. We did about 10 takes before we got the timing right. And then I took them to Bojangles as a “thank you.” I’ve actually worked with these ladies before – I came to their filmmaking class to speak about the film industry a few years ago.
Then my mom and I went on a Day trip to Kill Devil Hills where we spent most of the time filming – but I also ate my first lobster. So that happened.
Besides getting attacked by bees and sweating our faces off (summer in NC!)… it was a great time making movies!
Here’s the final video — What do you think?
And here’s a fun ‘Cutting Room Floor’ extra for you!
We find out later this week if we win the contest… so cross your fingers!
I want to hear what YOU think!
This past weekend was the big premiere of our short film “Business & Professional Women: A History, A Movement.”
Check out the title image for the film – designed by Jen Van Horn.
The screening was amazing to say the least! IMAX hosted us again. You may remember we held a screening of “Volcano Girl” and “Friday Night Fright” at IMAX 2 years ago.
What did you think of seeing a documentary on the big screen? What did you learn about the Business and Professional Women’s Clubs and women’s organizations? ANSWER in the comments section below!
Pioneers in Skirts
Awesome logo design by Camden Watts — a fellow filmmaker friend!
After the screening of the film, we set up a panel in IMAX’s Venture Hall to discuss the future of working women and the necessity of women’s groups. I was able to gather a team of filmmakers — Roguemark and Larry Evans –to film the event in hopes of using the footage in our feature length documentary, “Pioneers in Skirts.”
What did you think of the panel? Did you learn anything new? If you didn’t get a chance to ask a question, what would you have asked?
My post-screening feet want to thank everyone who attended the event! (Sweatpants are a girl’s best friend…)
DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE ABOUT THIS WEEKEND’S EVENT?
PLEASE INCLUDE IT IN A POST BELOW, AND THANK YOU!
I got to interview Kevin Smith…AGAIN! Check it out here:
Huffington Post Live has been good to me. My head pops in at about 8:30 minutes. So grainy. I filmed it at about 6:30am with a ton of lights pointing at me, but it still looks terrible!
If you’ve been reading my blog for the past 4 years (what…you haven’t??), then you’ll remember I interviewed Kevin Smith back in 2011 on his Smodcast radio show. Avid grabbed a group of film students to interview him about directing and other fun filmmaking questions. He sang “girls on film” to me in his excitement of seeing a female director. Look at me! I’m a girl! This Huffington Post Live interview marks the second time Kevin Smith has congratulated me on being a female filmmaker. Can we just be friends now, Kev? Cool?
What do you think of the question I asked him? I asked him about fundraising to make my first feature. I agree that you need to just do it, but I’m not ready to go into even more debt. Thanks USC. I hope to get my movies funded! Key word… “hope.” But you also need to believe in your projects enough to put in your own money. And baby, I’ve been believing for quite awhile!
Oh, you want to buy me a coffee? I will never turn down a FREE coffee. Never!
I’m a poor filmmaker.
Yesterday I was asked to interview Josh Lieb, an Emmy award winning comedy writer, on behalf of Huffington Post Live.
Here’s the whole interview:
My question comes at about 22 minutes.
This must be how they do it on every show using the Google Hangout or Skype technology to have the audience ask questions.
We signed in about 20 minutes before the show went live. The other interviewers – Mike McCamon (Chief Community Officer at Water.org) and Eric Navarrette (Writer) – were really nice. They tried to help me as my Google Hangout stopped working…it never did go back to normal. I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand Google Hangout… but, for what it’s worth, knowing these guys for a very random 45 minutes, was nice.
Anywho, we sat there on Google Hangout completely silent for nearly 40 minutes waiting for our turn to ask a question. I’ll admit that it did get strange after awhile. Think about it, I was sitting silent on Google Hangout for over 1/2 an hour staring at the faces of two guys I just met. I didn’t know when it would be my turn to ask a question…so I tried to act cool.
Time to Ask a Question
Then they introduced us. I heard “we have some people waiting to ask questions” and then I saw my face pop up on the TV behind Josh Lieb. “Oh crap,” I thought. “That’s my face…act cool.” And then my face just kind of stayed on the screen as if I were staring down at the interview, watching over them – like the Wizard of Oz head. I was the creepy green Wizard of Oz head. Yep.
Terrifying Wizard of Oz Head. Do you see the resemblance?
They jumped to a video of the Water campaign, and I could breathe again. No longer were they staring at my face. Josh Lieb wrote Water.org’s short campaign video, and Mike McCamon worked on the campaign as well. So Mike was the first one up to chat about the Water campaign.
I still wasn’t sure what they were seeing of us in the live show, so I stayed all “Poker Faced.” Here’s an image of what I could see as a member of the Google Hangout. The show would go “blank” when one of us was being featured, so again, I wasn’t sure what they were seeing.
This is what I saw. Note my email with my questions. I didn’t want to rely on my memory. There was also a 5 sec delay between our Hangout interview and the online interview.
Then this happened when I was trying to take a screenshot. I was convinced my whole computer was about to freak out. It did not. But I DID stop taking screenshots.
This is what it looked like if you were watching on your computer.
When it was my time to ask a question, it was one of those “jump right in” moments. Do not hesitate. Just do it.
It was SO STRANGE! I watch most of my TV online, so part of me felt like I was just watching this show, and then suddenly they were talking back to me – telling me to ask a question. Kind of like a little movie I made a few years ago? I said to myself “oh that’s right, I’m a part of this…” and jumped in.
I would totally do it again! I actually “production designed” my Google Hangout screen. I actively put my computer at an angle to add depth, and then moved clutter from behind me so nothing was calling attention from the talent…me. When I logged in, I got a “Oh good background,” from the organizer. I was like, “No big deal.”
Ran Out of Time
You’ll notice we only asked one question, but we were asked to prepare three. I guess they ran out of time, so that’s a bummer. I really wanted to ask so many more questions about his writing routine and his process – especially how he can write multiple stories at the same time. I’m a part of a writing group, so that really helps me. I wonder about Josh!
The way this town works, though, I’m sure I’ll run into him randomly at an event, and I’ll go for it!
Another screenshot of the interview.
Speaking of a Small World — Name Drop Alert –
Josh Lieb was a Co-Executive Producer of the Daily Show with Rory Albanese. I met Rory at UNC-Chapel Hill when he came to do stand up for the UNC Comedy Festival organized by Lewis Black, a UNC alum. I would hang out with these guys every year. Definitely one of my best memories of UNC!
All the performers one year - do you see Rory Albanese and Lewis Black?
And this is me with Rob Riggle. Just wanted to throw that in there.
I did go one year to see the Daily Show live. I sat in the VIP section and asked Jon Stewart a question. I literally had no idea what I was going to ask him the second I stood up, so I rambled and eventually asked when he would be going to the Comedy Festival. He asked "when are you graduating?" I said "this year." He said, "well, then I'll be going next year!" He got a good laugh with that one.
Meh. Oh well. I got to ask Jon Stewart a question! and now Josh Lieb. Cool! The truth is, Josh was probably there when I was there. SMALL WORLD!!!!
Alright friends. I am daring you. NO. Double dog daring you…(triple?)
I dare you — The next time you meet someone, shake their hand and say “It is nice to meet you,” — I want you to mean it.
The “Nice to meet you” is becoming generic and insincere. Similar to the “How are you?” No one really wants to hear how I am doing!
I’m done with people saying “nice to meet you” while not even looking me in the face! I find myself trying to stay in their gaze if only just to entertain myself. It’s nice to meet me? Are you sure? Because as far as I can tell you are just working the room, fella! And in this industry, sincerity is a lost trait.
I’m done with it. I’m over it. And you should be, too.
Don’t just try to get the “hand shaking” out of the way. Try to really MEET people. This is, after all, your first impression.
In January, I began putting more focus on my feature length documentary, “Pioneers in Skirts.” [Click here for the Twitter Page and here for the Facebook page.] This is a documentary I have been “thinking about” for over three years. It started out as a short film about the Business & Professional Women’s Organization, (BPW) an organization started over 90 years ago to advocate for women’s rights. As I sat behind the camera listening to their stories, I realized I had never heard them before, at least not from someone who wasn’t on the cover of newspapers and interviewed by Oprah. This was the “average” person who made change happen.
Like the Gandhi quote, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world” – these are those people. I was in absolute awe of them.
I watched the footage again and again as I edited the short film. I realized that we, my generation, never really asked average women who came before us to share their stories. For some reason, we associate women’s rights and advocacy as “feminism from the past.” And those of us who are in our twenties justify our disassociation from the bra-burners because we have nothing to complain about, nothing to continue fighting for. Women are doing okay, right? We don’t want to be perceived as “that girl” who is never happy with the state of women today. C’mon…you know “that girl.”
The past is the past right? No. The only equal right we have to men is the right to vote! I learned that fact when I was working on the BPW short film.
I don’t want “Pioneers in Skirts” to be a call to “fight” – I want it to be a call to support. I have come to realize the women of my generation no longer support each other the way the women of the 60s and 70s did. I want that back. I think we need that back to continue working toward equality and beyond.
Do you, as a woman, feel you can accomplish anything? Or do you struggle with that “family issue?” Or are you afraid of appearing too aggressive? In my preliminary interviews for “Pioneers in Skirts” I met women who have these fears and older women who lived through these fears. So what’s the answer? The answer is support (promise me you’ll still watch the movie now that I’ve given you the conclusion…). We can’t hide in the corner afraid to share our troubles, and we can’t judge each other for sharing. We need to support each other and offer solutions. This is the only way for women to continue a forward momentum toward equality in the workplace.
I swear, if someone says to me one more time, “Oh, look at the hens working together,” I will scream! But you don’t do that. Don’t scream. Don’t do what I do…
Please, please don’t let the bulls**t that people say to you discourage you from realizing women need to stick together. Through “Pioneers in Skirts,” I will share the stories of women being knocked down by words of others and how they pioneered through.
Please keep up with the making of this film. If we all can share this notion of support – and really change our way of thinking – then we can make a real difference. Together.
Before I graduated from film school, I spent some time thinking “How do I support myself after the assignments are due…and student loans have stopped keeping me afloat?” “Oh gosh, how do I pay them off??” I had to step back, stop freaking out, and first decide between the corporate side of film or the freelance side. Two employment routes you can take in this industry.
Some advice I can offer – find out if you’re an “office” person or a “set” person – or both – before you commit to full time employment. I quickly discovered I was both, meaning if I were on set every single day for months, I would probably long for an office job and vice versa.
I used to think that I was just lazy and noncommittal, and maybe I am… but I have also discovered that I need change to stay challenged and excited. What about you? I have a lot of colleagues who work their office jobs and then accomplish their “real” goals on the side. I also have friends who are on set nearly every single day, and are able to maintain a life outside of it.
I know what works for me: I just say, “don’t get stuck.” That’s one fear I have – getting too comfortable in an office job or a job on set and not allowing myself to be challenged to create my own projects. In my year out of film school, I have met a lot of people who say they feel they got stuck and can’t go back to realizing their goals. That’s heartbreaking, but they also drive a Lexus and don’t worry about rent. I can’t allow myself to get comfortable and not strive toward the goal. I also can’t allow myself to get scared of “having no money!” I’m at a point in my life where I only have me to worry about, which won’t always be the case, so I need to take advantage of it now.
If you decide to live the freelance life like me, be smart about your finances. For example, for the longest time, I wanted a popcorn maker to make homemade popcorn. My parents have one (from like the 90s) and homemade popcorn is WAY better than microwaveable. I started to ask myself, “Do I really have 40 bucks to spend on one, though?” I discovered that I can easily make popcorn in a pot on my stove (the way my parents did when they were kids…). No official popcorn maker needed, and it’s way more fun! So, not only did I save 40 bucks, but I also saved shelf space. And, when you live in a studio apartment, shelf space is incredibly important!
In conclusion (is this a term paper?), the second you think, “I should buy this,” pause, do some research and see if there is a more economical way of doing or buying that item. THIS is how I am able to live on a budget in Los Angeles! Don’t get me wrong, some days I wish I could just tell that little voice in my head to “shut up” and go shopping! But then I remind myself of my goals and calmly walk out of Target…because this usually happens at Target.
When I began this blog, I gave myself two guidelines:
1. It’s not a journal – like those web-journals we had in school. People just wanted to hear gossip…ugh.
2. Update it at least twice a month…no matter what. (and more if it would bring in an income…until then, you’ll find me on set)
The last you heard from me was October, because – I feel – nothing much had happened in November…and then December. I had no stories to tell and no new conclusions to share. And then, January happened.
In January, I interviewed the University of North Carolina’s women’s basketball coach, Sylvia Hatchell, for my documentary “Pioneers in Skirts.” [Click here to learn about my beginning stages of making the film. Also, keep up on Twitter and Facebook to follow the film’s progress. It’s my first feature, so I know I will learn a lot…maybe too much at one time??]
I totally geeked out while preparing the interview at UNC. I walked around Coach Hatchell’s brand new office staring at the pictures. I even snapped a few of me holding a trophy. Wow… it was heavy.
And then she and I met. We chatted about women, UNC and careers. I was loving every minute! It was a great interview for the documentary – but, most importantly, it was inspiring.
Then I flew back to Los Angeles, bought sound gear to continue paying for rent…and life was good.
Just when you think your life is going great – everything is in place, you know where you’re going and you know how to get there – life reminds you that everything is uncertain.
My grandfather was sick but never that sick. He had been in the hospital before. The doctors would always figure it out and then he would be back home in upstate New York working in his garage.
One weekend, he just kept going back and forth into the hospital. We didn’t think anything of it. This had happened before. That Monday though, January 21st, he died. I got the call from my Mom and my heart stopped. I was in a state of shock. “Are you sure?? Go back and check!” But of course it was true.
I sat in silence when I got home. And then the tears came.
I had to work the next day and thank God I could wear my sunglasses. My eyes watered every chance they had. I took this photo of a bear I saw in the person’s house where we were filming. It was exactly how I felt.
I flew to New York the next day. Cancelled all my work and flew to Watertown, New York for the funeral. It was 14 below up there. The snot in my nose froze. Seriously. We literally could not let ourselves cry while outside. That was interesting…
This is where my story ends. I’m crying just typing this part, and if I try to relive those 5 days in New York, I’m afraid I will never post this blog. Instead I will remain on my couch crying.
So ummmm I’ll transition.
Side note: I do have an interesting story about Southwest Airlines and my grandpa, but that story will wait until I have the guts to write it. Hopefully soon.
Since traveling back from New York, I have felt always a week behind. I’m trying to catch up. I’m in the development phase of “Pioneers in Skirts” – currently applying for various types of financing, including grants. I’m also finalizing a short, “Business & Professional Women; A History, A Movement” to screen in June at their state convention in North Carolina.
I’m doing a lot of production sound work now that I’ve purchased my own gear. I love doing it and am lucky to have found an avenue to make money while remaining on set – a place where I excel and continue to learn. [Click here for some advice I have for employment in Los Angeles.]
We will see what the coming months bring, and I will stick to my two guidelines for this blog. See above if you have already forgotten them…
Two nights ago, I woke up at 2am because a person was walking on my roof at my apartment building. Now, this wasn’t a normal walk. This was a “I’m creeping up on you slowly but somehow catching up” kind of walk…I think. At least, that’s what it sounded like.
Let’s just say I’ve been watching a lot of horror movies lately. I love Halloween, and now that I’ve moved to Los Angeles – aka Halloweentown – all these scary adventures are at my fingertips. We did 6 hours of Halloween Horror Nights last Sunday. 6 hours of walking through mazes that smell like poo (seriously) and have creepy people covered in blood trying to grab you. Why do we do this?? Why do we like it so much??
I like getting scared, like the rest of these crazed Halloween folks, but I don’t want to actually BE scared. I don’t want to actually think a murderer is on the roof. I just watched “When A Stranger Calls.” I can’t run like that girl!
My Made Up Scenario of the Murderer
I had completely convinced myself of an entire scenario: A security guard was walking on the roof, looking for people to shoot. If he sees anyone or anything moving, he’ll shoot it – kind of like the stories of shooters in the news.
In my mind, he did not look like this…although his stare does scream “obsession.”
He looked like this. Take note of the hat.
I thought to myself in my little bed, “If I call security to tell them someone is walking on the roof, then he’ll ask my apartment number. If I tell him, then he’ll come and kill me!” Then I thought, “but what if he hears me inside my apartment? Hears me breathing? Somehow the killers can always hear breathing… Clearly the roof isn’t that thick. Can he shoot me through the roof? Can a bullet go through a roof? Maybe I should go hide under something. Nothing in my apartment is bullet proof…is it?”
All at 2am.
Finally the man stopped walking around – and looking for people to kill – and went back through the roof access stairwell. I heard the alarm as he tried to turn it off. Maybe so no one would know he was up there? No witnesses??
I kept quiet. And he was gone. Then I went back to sleep and had a dream about a bear. Ugh.
The next day, I saw one of our maintenance guys – pretty cool guy – and I told him I thought a murderer was on the roof, or a security guard. So he called and let them know not to walk on the roof again since it’s waking the tenants. But nothing was said about a murderer.
So I haven’t been proven wrong that this security guard was looking to kill. Maybe he was thinking it on that roof? But lost the courage? Maybe he saw a baby squirrel in a tree and had a moment of remorse? A character arc maybe?
What I did notice, though, when the maintenance guy called the security dudes — he told them my apartment number, and that I was woken up by the walker.
Thursday night was an amazing event held by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
Do you see Jerry Lewis in that pic? Well… can you see him in the image on the screen?
The truth is, I didn’t know much about Jerry Lewis’ career. I’ve seen his movies and his telethons, but I had no idea how huge of a role he had in the advancement of filmmaking. He was one of the first to use this significantly smaller (soon portable) sound recorder (check out the pic). He told us stories of how excited Paramount was to adopt the now cheaper technology — and how much they loved him for introducing it!
His biggest stand on technological development, though, was that he would never incorporate a new technology that would take away jobs. He would never bring in something new, if it meant he had to fire one of his friends.
I truly respected his love for his crew. He joked how they would mess around and make fun of each other, but there was love there. I liked that.
Now, back to the “You shouldn’t yell that at the Academy.”
I went to this event on my own. I wasn’t 100% sure I would be able to go, so I didn’t make plans with another person (that’s my excuse on the surface…but the truth is, sometimes it’s more fun to go solo!). I found a seat on the aisle, met the various people around me, and settled in. There was one seat left open next to me. Remember that for later…
As I sat waiting for the show to start, I realized that the people around me were super on edge. They were agitated by the simplest things. They were rude, pushy. Plus they all smelled like my grandmother’s perfume…
I had enough time to come up with this conclusion: The people in the room could fall under 5 categories.
1. People who are there to have a good time.
2. People who are there to be seen.
3. People who are hoping they don’t do anything embarrassing.
4. People who think the world owes them something.
5. People who think everyone around them is a God in the industry. (and then the crazies who think THEY are the God).
hmmmm….kinda sounds like all of the people in this industry…
About 20 minutes into the talk, just as Jerry Lewis was telling us how he fought Paramount Pictures from selling his Ladies Man set (see pic above), an older couple sat next to me. They had to split up because there were no available 2-seats, so a much older man was now sitting next to me. That’s not a problem, of course, except that he couldn’t figure out how to turn off his phone. I didn’t know what kind of phone it was, so I couldn’t really help either. Now, I wish I had tried… but I didn’t want to miss Jerry!!
– to help tell this story, Guy 1 = New Guy & Guy 2 = Guy who I talked to earlier –
Here we go.
Guy 1 sits down and tries to turn off his phone. He can’t. The light stays on and annoys Guy 2. Keep in mind that we are in a lit theater, so I’m not sure why this light was so annoying. I really think this Guy 2 just wanted desperately to get angry with someone.
A few minutes later, the phone was still on.
Guy 2: Will you turn off that phone?
Guy 1: I’m trying!
Guy 2: It’s like a bright light in my eyes!
Guy 1: Then don’t look at it!
(People are staring at us)
Guy 2: Fuck you!
Guy 1: Fuck you!
(little bit louder now…)
Guy 2: Fuck you!
Guy 1: Fuck you!
(People are now turning around shhh-ing them and yelling “fuck you” back)
Guy 1: Tell him to shut up!
Guy 2: Fuck you!
At this point, the 7 security guards are now surrounding us and staring. Standing practically on top of me. Guy 1 puts the phone in his pocket. Keep in mind that I’m on the edge of this row – sitting next to two angry old men – as I desperately wanted to just hear Jerry Lewis.
Everything got quiet finally, and then over came the “head” security guard – with gorgeous hair.
Head security guard with unnaturally beautiful hair: (to Guy 1) That cell phone will not come back out of your pocket.
Guy 1: I had to take the battery out. It wouldn’t turn off and this guy won’t close his mouth.
Guy 2: (giggle…)
Pretty Hair Security guard: The phone does not come out of your pocket.
He stepped away. Every one was quiet. All I could hear was the heavy breathing from Guy 1 and then, oh yes Jerry Lewis! The fighting and yelling “Fuck you!” was over!
Thank you one million security guards
Back to Jerry –
He talked about his “Not Listening Stick” he would use to hit the actors if they weren’t paying attention to his direction — basically, if they are in their head instead of listening to the director. Clearly that cannot be done today.
Randall Kleiser – the director of Grease – was a student of Lewis’ at USC and talked about his class. That conversation consisted a lot of Jerry Lewis asking Randall to repeat himself and talk louder. Again, like my grandmother… a lot of “What?!” But then when Jerry would get talking, every word was golden. He talked instead of in passion, but in action. Yes, he was passionate, but he is also a do-er. I appreciate people talking about how they took action rather than their theory of the industry. Both are great, I just like to hear actual experiences from the successful people!
The Q&A session was the most amazing ever. One actor got boo’d. (dear actors, do not raise your hand and say ‘i am an actor’ – you will get boo’d or grunted at – not by me, just by this so called Hollywood elite). One man stood up and faked a British accent. One 10 year old stood up and just said hi – Jerry teased him. And then, of all people, Hope Holiday stood up to say hi! Basically everyone was standing up to say “hi,” rather than ask a question. But it was fun nonetheless.
When it was time for Jerry to go, we all stood up to applaud. In a matter of 5 seconds, about 20 security guards (where were they hiding??) lined the stage, staring at us audience members, daring us to charge the stage. Really? Is that a thing? People charge at Jerry Lewis? We could no longer see Jerry… but he was still talking somewhere behind those security guards!
I think my favorite part of the night was the moment all of my USC friends randomly found each other at the end of the night. None of us knew the other would be there, but we somehow managed to find each other and make a huge circle in the lobby. I wanted a group hug…but they weren’t down with that. Whatever.