Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Milestone in Post Production

The short film I wrote and directed, titled, Milestone is very close to being finished. Alicia is furiously editing it and Banana Whale is providing the music, and there’s color correction happening, and foley being added...all sorts of fabulous post-production things are occurring. So, that means it will soon be reaching its finished line; which is thrilling for me!

I’ve been getting asked a lot about what the experience of directing was like and usually I respond with very short answers like ‘I liked it,’ or ‘I learned a lot’, or some sort of something that was positive but general and allowed the person to get on with their life. Lately however, while sitting with Alicia and going through the fine tuning process I’ve realized something... The biggest thing I’ve learned about directing is that the number 1 thing you need to do is surround yourself with people who are both honest and smarter than you. It can be hard to see the forest for the trees when you are listening to your own words and watching performances that you’ve directed. As I expected, there were moments that I would’ve done differently if I had to do it over again and there were lines that, once they moved from the page to the screen were no longer necessary. While I, on my own, could’ve sussed some of these things out, the fact that I had Alicia sitting there with me, offering her thoughts and concerns helped immensely. With her editor’s eye she was able to not only offer suggestions, but was actually able to put those suggestions into the video so I could see them in action. That was amazingly helpful!

So... to all of you newbie directors out there like me... do not operate as a one person show – surround yourself with people that think like you – only better, faster and smarter. You’ll thank me later!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Best Laid Plans Where You Live

So... I realize that I haven’t written in awhile. I wish I could say that I’ve had a good excuse, but alas, I have nothing to offer you other than being in the midst of some things that made it difficult to take a step back and assess. In short, I’ve been avoiding you. That’s right people... I have been avoiding a blog! But hear we are – almost a year since I left for Ghana.

But I have news... First – check out the cool logo for the film that Melissa Jernigan at OTL created for me! I think she did a great job and am grateful to her for her patience in my not knowing what sort of graphic best summarized the project. Big thanks to her!

Second, while I, again, cannot really get into some of the details of what’s occurred in my situation I will say this. It is a SMALL world out there in a very big way. People talk about how huge NYC is, but truly, NY’ers (at least my friends have agreed with this), often stick to their small neighborhood most of the time. You create your own little safe haven in the midst of the city’s noisy chaos. Certainly for me, I’ve had to work at creating a whole new existence in my own neighborhood. Since it’s the same place that I moved into as a married person, all of my beginning memories of living there were associated with that identity. And then breakups happen and you find out how amazing it is that the simplest things trigger monumental emotional recollections – such as walking your dog, or going to certain restaurants. In the beginning of this process, your neighborhood is like a dysfunctional home that feels both safe and like its inundated with land mines. But then, the more things you do on your own, the more territory you take back and fill with new happenings, the more the “safety” scale tips in your direction. It’s your home again.

Neighborhood, by definition (I even looked this up), means “an area surrounding a particular place, person or object”.

Perhaps that’s why then, while chillaxing around my neighborhood with my dog, I was pretty jarred by seeing my past hanging out with his future only blocks from where we lived. Life winked at me in the form of a very jarring reminder that people don’t operate under the same rules. Perhaps nobody is right or wrong, but you learn quickly that the feeling of safety that you’ve built is shaky. If you assume that people have the same life rules that you do, and you create your world with that assumption in mind, you can, like me, be pummeled by the fact that that is wrong, wrong, wrong! So here I am again, learning something new. I’m growing people! If only the emotional growth could expand to my actual physical growth I’d be smiling from ear to ear! Looking back, there’s been so much disappointment this year – so many surprises that I wasn’t at all prepared for or deserved. There were things that I was so sure of a year ago but now realize I was completely wrong. But I’m not in charge of any of those things. Sometimes I can’t help but let the disappointment wash over me and follow me around, but other times, I’ve realized that what I can also do is simply focus on the things I am in control of and surround myself with people who operate under similar life rules as my own. And maybe that’s not a best laid plan, but it’s the best I’ve got right now.