Wisconsin

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As always, I’ve let too much time pass and what was once interesting is not so anymore.

Three weeks ago (? I think?) we went to the Wisconsin Film Festival.  It was great, it really was.  I would love to go back to that festival with June.  It was a whirlwind, we were just in Madison for a weekend and we loved the films we saw (Uncle John, Bloomin Mud Shuffle, and the Found Footage Festival were all wonderful).  Then we saw our film screened during the shorts presentation and…ouch.

I mean, Christ, I’m glad I can laugh it off a little now, but there’s nothing like seeing other more professional films screened alongside your $300 (max) budgeted film to get a little humility knocked into you.  I mean, the sound, the color issues – everything we thought would be “indie but okay” was definitely NOT okay to me.  Do I admit the truth here?  Ugh, sure.  It felt really shitty.  All our sound issues (we had a bad mic – we were actually testing it for June) and color problems (we did little with color correction and we need pro help) were fuckin magnified.  To be fair, the other films had budgets (as we learned during the Q&A) of generally $1,000 to $10,000.  And we had about $200 to $300.

Still.  Ay yi yi.  It was a good lesson – never show anything you’re less than proud of.  So – if we get in anywhere else, and we will, those problems will be minimized by some (cheap) pro help.  It’s frustrating because we just did not have the money to fix it.  It cost enough just to fly there.  So sad to admit, but true.  I’ve maxed out credit cards making June.  But, hey, I should be getting a little tax return so hopefully that can smooth out our issues some.

I do think Cam was well-received though, despite its issues.  And I think people were impressed with what we did on so little (which is the point, Rebecca!)  It’s funny how you work on something for so long and you lose perspective.  I think I lost perspective on just how weird it is.  It’s really unsettling and it’s hard to know if it’s funny or just uncomfortable.  I guess that’s what I liked about it when I wrote it.  That said, I’d be happy to never see it again.  But I tend to be that way about everything I make.

Ugh, I’ll write about it another time.

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I guess I can’t seem to mask my slight depression I’m going through at the moment.  I mean, I always have it, it’s always around.  Moods.  I’ve always had heavy moods.  But I guess I’m just grieving right now.

A week ago I left my family home forever.  That sounds so dramatic, but it’s the truth.  And it feels dramatic.  My family was in that home for 24 years, since I was four years old.  Everything happened there.  My dad died there.  We grew up.  We came home.  It was a touchstone, it was security.

I think I might be in a little bit of shock.  I walked through the house in my last days there after I packed up my bedroom and I watched the ghosts run past me, vignettes played out in lights and shadows.  My dad popping around every corner (“Hey, Beccaroo”), my brother and sister and me running around as little kids, chasing the dogs, the shadow of a cat around the legs of a chair, my mom in the garden with cuts up her arms from the roses, a warm and dark dining room with candles lit for Christmas dinner and all of us at that same table year after year.  All gone to the present anyway.  Swept up in time.  Good bye.  It’s all been gone for a long time anyway.

Still.  It’s heartache.

And being out here, in this apartment by the train, well, it hurts a little more than it used to.  There’s so safe room to return to anymore.  It feels like depending even more on my dreams, which honestly feel like a lot of bullshit that I made up sometimes, more than any real kind of possibility.

And yet.  Here I am.  There’s some kind of faith (and knowing) that propels me forward.  And boxing up my room did not kill me.  It felt like it could even be a fresh start.  Like I could let go of the bad years – and there were some bad years – in that bedroom.  Dark teenage angst I’d just as soon never see again.

And I believe I am supposed to be here.  Even if California is a sacrifice and could never be a real home.   Even if I dream of prairies and mountains.  Wisconsin.  Colorado.  Here I am.  Anyway.  Making movies.  Failing and continuing.

I feel dark and light.  I guess I’ll keep going.

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Glad That’s Over

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Well.  The rough cut is done.  It’s a mess.  It’s rough.  But I got through.  I spent this last month killing myself on this damn movie.  Was it worth it?  I don’t know.  I got sick regularly from staring at the screen for so long and often found myself lying on the floor of my apartment, hopeless with a piercing headache and a stomach in knots.  I routinely went from euphoria to complete and utter hatred for this film.  (Confession: I still do)

The movie right now is at two hours and six minutes.  Yikes.  I need it at about an hour and 45, tops really.  Less though, please let it be less.  We’ve loaded sound for about one third.  There are two fantastic music sequences right now, well, really three if you count the wedding.  The color is all over the fucking place and needs major work.  But – we made a rough cut.  And now I’m taking a couple weeks off (heading to the WI Film Fest in Madison on Wednesday).

And that goal of submitting to IFP?  Sad news is we didn’t do it.  Happy news is – that deadline got us to the end of a rough cut.  I never would have pushed us so far had I not been aiming at that submission.  In the end, as in yesterday, the due date, we had a million problems (we’d been working on it for days) trying to get the film down to around 1 GB to put onto Vimeo.  We just don’t know what we’re doing with something so big.  We got it down to a little over 5, but then we started losing major quality and it looked awful.  It’s a learning curve.

And truth be told, all day yesterday (and throughout this month), I’ve had a sneaking feeling that we need to stay in LA.  I understand that IFP would have been life changing, but we would need serious help getting to NYC for three separate trips – and when we run our next Indiegogo we’re gonna need all that money just to help us with Post.

And, honestly, I don’t want to keep leaving LA.  Already I’m going to leave for a couple weeks this summer so I can say goodbye to my family’s cottage (where we filmed June).  But I want to be here.  (I mean, I don’t really – all afternoon yesterday Chris and I were fantasizing about moving to Colorado, but anyhoo.)  I want to immerse myself in the acting business and the filmmakers all around us.  God damn, I want to do a play so badly.  And I want to find mentors HERE.  (I don’t have a community here yet and it’s so so painful, I can hardly take it.  That’s what you get when you leave all the time.  I made tons of awesome friends in Door County while filming, but…guess what?  I live here, so I don’t see any of them anymore, and LA is as lonesome as ever.  No more of that.)

Whew.  Anyway.  Cut to the chase – the rough cut is done and now I’m moving forward with my life.  Which means – acting and writing are back in focus.  I have a new script I’m working on.  I’m on a mission to read a play a week and a script a week.  I’m studying the business of acting.  I’ve created deadlines for myself to get new headshots and to audit some classes (hoping to save up for a class this fall) and to start getting involved in Film Independent and getting to more film festivals and events, etc.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep editing for about 2-3 hours a day.  I’m much better with this kind of work mixed into a full day of other activities.  I’m not a “lock yourself up until you finish” kind of person.  I used to think that writer’s retreats sounded amazing – but no way.  I could never ever do that, just hang out in a cabin and write.  I would write for two hours TOPS and the rest of the day I’d go hiking and read and watch movies on my laptop.  I’m a moderation all the way kind of person.

The truth is, this last month was more than draining because of the work involved – it drained my soul.  I sound like a high maintenance artist, but I need beauty.  I need it or I die.  I need time to read poetry, to paint, to meander with literature, to play guitar, to write, to cook elaborate meals, everything.  I am not an editor.  I know what I want in this movie, but this nitpicking technical work is not me.

And now that I can relegate it to a few hours a day, I can’t tell you how free I feel.  Space.  Yes.

And I promise to write here more now that my life has been returned to me.  Later.