Fumbling, But Hopeful

“I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life. And I am horribly limited.”

-Sylvia Plath

kraut

Currently: sauerkraut and wheat bread loaves.

I’m beginning to see how I only write in this blog when I am longing in some way or another.  Ugh.

Days slip by.  Hoping, always hoping.  And avoiding.  And clenching – grinding my teeth, I feel the edges rounding down.  Bad, bad, bad.

I want everything.  It’s deeply troublesome most of the time.  But when I’m high on coffee it’s the best thing ever.  I can do it alllll!!!

Anyway.  I’m pushing myself in some ways lately, and in others I’ve been running in the complete opposite direction.

I’m pushing myself to branch out into LA.  It feels good.  Going to auditions, meeting up with friends – some of them so dear and lovely that I can’t believe I’ve waited so long – , seeking out new places and film events.  It’s gratifying to stretch.  It’s hard, but it gives me a high now and then.

The next thing to do is start looking like a professional (dammit).  Fix up the new headshots and have them at the ready.  Get business cards (wha?!).  Considering getting a trendy Squarespace site for SilverLeafFilms  (or would it make sense to just buy a nicer theme??  I’m a fool when it comes to the Internet…see I capitalized it).

I’m filling my head with good things – reading Great Expectations and watching movies with James Cagney and Greta Garbo.  I’m singing along to Whiskeytown and Slaid Cleaves (and wishing I connected to my own generation better).

And yet – I’ve been avoiding the biggest, most important things.  Editing and preparing for another Indiegogo.  It’s just….it’s fucking torturous.  There, I said it.  Or maybe it’s just getting into it that’s hard.  I’ve talked about it before, seeing all my mistakes on this movie is just godawful.  And that Indiegogo last year….it just about did me in.  I need to trust that we’ll be okay when we launch it  next month.  There are enough people who got excited about this movie last year – they’ll help, I hope?  We’ll find an even bigger audience now that we’ve actually made the thing.

So, this holiday weekend, I’m facing it.  It’s time to edit, time to get going on the film website, the newsletter, all of it.

And yet, if I could meander, just a little while, play some guitar, spend a morning painting, go to a lovely cafe with Charles Dickens….I think I’ll make it through.

God, what a rambling post.  But there you have it.  That’s how things are these days.  Fumbling, but hopeful.

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.

Goals, Clarity: Here’s to not feeling shitty/Here’s to feeling amazing

[caption id="attachment_966" align="aligncenter" width="461"]Selfie with an angel sprouting from my head. Selfie with an angel sprouting from my head.[/caption]

So I’m thinking about goals for 2015.

First:  my god, can it really be 2015 so soon?  Doesn’t that sound like the future?  Didn’t 1998, like, just happen?  I think I heard something on the radio the other day, maybe a science fiction author, saying, “You notice that no one talks about the 22nd century with excitement about the future.”  We’re already there.

That’s another discussion.  Technology is hard on people.  I have a hard time with it.  It gives me headaches.  But it also gives me access to inspiration.  But sometimes I really wish we just lived in the 50s/60s of Bob Dylan or earlier like Salinger where we really we didn’t consume so much (the consumerism was all just beginning!) and there was only one telephone and people had those solid square classic suitcases and typewriters – you know, the fifties! Except for all that female oppression and racism that we’ve evolved out of.

Oh, wait.

Anyway.  Goals.

So I’ve been in a beautiful Desire Map group now for several weeks now (Desire Map – check it out, it’s wonderful, I’ll write about it sometime) and we’re now at the very end where we talk about our goals.  We’re supposed to narrow them down so we only have several big ones to work with during the year….which, for me, is kind of crazy.

Because I am the person who makes PAGES of goals.  I make goals all the time, every day, every week, after beginning of the month, every middle of the month…

I love planning things out.  Seeing it all inked out on paper, neatly in lists, gives me a buzz.

I wish I was kidding.

And, honestly, I’ve created some of the best things in my life using goals, but I’ve also really really warped myself and my confidence by over-planning, by gripping onto goals, and by feeling like a failure on a regular basis.

And that’s just a horrible way to go about life.

It’s inspiration-mania then panic and then burnout and deep disappointment, over and over again on repeat.

So this year, I’m getting much clearer on what I want.  I’ve narrowed it down and refined the essence of what would make this year fucking amazing.

[caption id="attachment_967" align="aligncenter" width="461"]photo (69) One of the best days of 2014 – shooting the wedding reception scene from June.[/caption]

 

And it’s taken a while.  A couple weeks.  Because I stopped and started a lot.  I have a lot of residue stuck to my brain about what I’m supposed to do and supposed to want.

Especially when it comes to my body.  And books I’ve read.  And plays or pieces I’ve written.

And the failing numbers in those areas have really screwed me up and hurt me for days on end.  But I still automatically want to set up a reading program for myself – classic literature, one book a month, go.  Or exercise rules – 4 workouts a week that make me sweat – but what about this week where I feel really run down and can only do light yoga and walk a little before my head starts to throb?  Or guitar – play every day, one hour.  Well, yeah, if I wasn’t editing a movie/auditioning/writing/trying to read/cook healthy meals/survive on 3 day jobs/work out every day too, then I could make that promise.

No.  There’s so much I want to do.  But I can’t do it all.

So then comes the subject of pain.  As in:

What caused me the most pain in these last several years?  What was I most envious of?  What did I resent?  What did I long for?

And with those thoughts, I got very very clear.

So, here are my Goals for 2015, as I see it now:

1) Self-Support – So that means clarity and organization in two areas – money and home.  Because I have felt like a complete mess in both those areas for…a while now.  And nothing has caused more overall pain (read: constantly broke/terrified/unable to do anything) or more general every day gnawing pain (read: I cannot think straight in this damn apartment).

2) Finish June and send it out into the world – Ha!  It will be just that easy.  No – I know that  this is going to be my passion project of 2015.  We made it in 2014 (hell, I finished writing it, pre-production, and production in 2014) and in this next year I have to edit it, find music, raise more money, get sound and picture post work done, market it (as in, find a better title, make a better poster, fix up the website), and send it out.  It’s gonna be HUGE.

3) Go Pro in Acting and Writing – I mean, just look in my last post for the acting business.  I have so much to learn and do, where I do even begin?  And then writing – I’m actually simplifying.  Write a blog a week and write a solid screenplay to send out to competitions this year.  That’s all that’s required.  If further inspiration occurs (and I know it will), then I’ll follow it.  But I’m not setting myself up for disappointment.

And then I have two I guess what I’d call “intentions”:

Adventure – As in, I need to explore LA.  I need to have fun here, go to new cafes, live music, more theatre and film events, galleries.  And I also desperately need time away from here – day trips, big hikes, weekends away.  Maybe even finally try rock climbing or surfing.  This past year I spent a hell of a lot of time with my nose to the grindstone and this year I want to have fun.  Granted, this winter and spring will be computer heavy with the movie, but I will be ready to break out come May – and before that in little pockets.  It’s gotta be a priority or I might go insane.

Music and Expression – As in, I gotta play guitar and sing or I’m going to regret it forever.  Every year that goes by that I don’t work on this is increasingly more painful.  I desperately want to make music and understand it and I have an amazing bluegrass/rock musician boyfriend, so get on it already.  That said, I’m not making a schedule, I’m just checking in every week and seeing if I feel good about it or not.

Whew.  Okay there.  Goals, boys and girls.

With that, I’m pretty tired.

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Work Weekend

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Sometimes you work against the world’s flow.  Example – this weekend, big holiday weekend, cookouts and beer.  The last hurrah of summer.  Not for me.

Well, for one thing, it’s nowhere near the end of summer here.  It was 90s all weekend and it will continue to be hot in Pasadena for most of September.  And I absolutely despise the heat.  Almost always, from about 3-6pm, when the heat is worst (it lingers in the apartment), I sink into the worst kind of depression – headache, stomach ache, complete purposeless.  I honestly have moments of longing for death or some kind of unconsciousness during this time of day.  I lose track of myself, I lose the ability to appreciate beauty or food or art.  In other words – there is no reason to live.

Yes, I’m dramatic about my moods.   And I’m beginning to realize that the moods are here to stay.  I don’t want to play the artist card, but dammit, I will.  Because this is how I work.  Morning: Eyes open.  Immediate depression in thinking about everything I have to do.  Followed by guilt that I should wake up grateful to be alive.  Forced positive thoughts while making coffee.  Coffee kicks in.  Suddenly everything is beautiful, sunshine, god I love sunshine, the light falling just so, everything I read in my books and see on the internet is an inspiration.  There’s somuchtodo!!!  Later, coffee wears off.  I have to work.  Whatever I have to do, I have to do it and I can hardly bear to look at it.  Drudgery.  Then lunch – a break, a little light in the middle of the day.  Chocolate always to finish it off.  Little buzz.  I can do this.  Then sleepy time after lunch.  God, I hate my life.  3pm hits and the sun is at its hottest.  What is there to live for?  Nothing.  Nothing at all.  Art is nothing.  There is no purpose.  We work for food and shelter and then we die.  Art is no comfort.

Jesus.  Definitely didn’t need to spell all that out.

[caption id="attachment_920" align="aligncenter" width="560"]Josephine.  Chris asked me to water her while he's away.  Oops.  I'll do it later. Josephine. Chris asked me to water her while he’s away. Oops. I’ll do it later.[/caption]

So you can see why mood management is so necessary.  Especially for a holiday weekend where everyone else is out having a jolly time with family and friends and I’m staring at a laptop for hours in a very dark apartment, organizing film clips, converting them, loading them into Final Cut, cringing, trying to cut scenes together and figure out what we’re missing (answer is: a lot) and looking at all the idiots on Facebook for distraction.

From what I can tell, an awful lot of creativity is mood management.  Catching the positive wave and doing as much as you can while you’re on it.  And then gently turning the daily resistance into a better, more inspired mood.  And taking the really really depressed moments with a grain of salt and getting out and going to the movies or reading a book at a cafe.  You can’t get any work done when you’re distracted and headache-y and hopeless.  You have to refill somehow.

Anyway, one thing I’ve been finding helpful lately is reading a little Anais Nin from time to time.  And, first, I’ll confess, I haven’t read much of her stuff.  Just one of her diary compilations, Fire.    I’ve honestly been reading this book for probably something like ten years on and off.  Just a couple pages at a time, really.  But it helps with the artist temperament, it really does, to read the point of view of someone who is so unapologetic about her passions and her frustrations.  I love her freedom, her frivolity, and how she seems always primarily concerned with the work and how she feels.

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I’ll leave you with a few underlined bits from my book:

“Today I have seriously considered becoming a high-class cocotte.  I want money, perfume, luxury, traveling, liberty.   I don’t want to be a shut in at the Villa Seurat cooking for imbeciles like Fred, and Henry’s timorous and bourgeois, weak, whiny friends.  And the waste.  I can’t lead such a wasted life.  I need to create constantly or enjoy myself intensely.”

“Then it seems as if we are making dinner again, and I am slicing eggplant and striving, thoughtfully, for succulence.  And we fall into a deep peace, lying on the couch, talking about opium – the opium of sleep and the opium of action.  Henry had said, “When I am sad I go to sleep.”  And suddenly I understood that when I was sad I had to act.”

“I know that I go through life like a drunkard.  I’m drunk on illusion.  But no matter how drunk I am, there are things I can’t help seeing, ferociously real things.  I close my eyes, and I reel, I reel, I reel.  I believe, I live in a fever and turmoil, I rise into ecstasy, but all the time there is the face of reality staring at me with ugly eyes.  I know that if I open my eyes I will be intolerably hurt by the ugliness.”

“Importance in modern books of moments de bonheur simple.  Glorified because as rare to us, the neurotics, as ecstasy and tragedy are to others.  Harriet Hume eating from a bag of cherries, Colette’s cup of chocolate, my cup of coffee at the Roger Williams’.”

Beat Up, Thrilled

Well, we survived the short film shooting and we survived editing our Indiegogo…and now we are healing. Or trying to, in between major hustling to get this Indiegogo out into the world and also keep up with the day jobs.  I can’t write much now because I’m about to go check out a Shakespeare play […]