An Update from the Movie Trenches

character card jerry med

Oh my, where do I begin?

Our days are a million things lately.  My thoughts are swarms of flies.  These last weeks have quite possibly been the hardest parts of the movie so far, I can’t lie.

I mean, of course pre-production and all the anxiety is tough and then filming and keeping your head and vision and dealing with nonstop obstacles is tough – but everything coming together at the exact same time with a very, very set deadline has been surprisingly brutal.  But it’s good!  We’re finishing the movie.

But man, is it a beast.

Just two days lately:  Monday (Labor Day) and Tuesday


6:30am – Wake up in a general flurry of thoughts – where will we get an HD projector and a screen?  How much is a keg of beer for the premiere/where we do get it?  We need to buy Compressor so we can crunch this movie down for Vimeo immediately for our folks who can’t make the premiere/film fest submissions (never in a million years did I think we’d be talking so much about file sizes…but of course we are…).  I need more RAM for my computer because it is dying!!!  I post questions on Facebook – how can we show this movie in Door County, and how in LA can we watch our movie on a nice big screen before our premiere?

10:30am – We run to the grocery store and grab crackers and hummus and Oreos because we’re recording the score today!  I’m all packed to spend a day in the studio with my laptop, two external hard drives, and a mouse because my trackpad is barely functional.

11:30am – I get a text from my mom that my childhood home has been sold.  I cry for a while really hard.  Then I tell myself I do not have time for this.  Fifteen minutes later we record a video on my phone while driving, letting everyone know that we’re recording the score today.  Hooray!

12-9pm?? – Chris records the score with our amazing engineer Scotty.  Chris and I have been working on this for weeks – him writing and me making adjustments so that it fits right with the mood of the scenes.  He plays guitar, mandolin, piano, Scotty adds a little light rhythm.  It sounds beautiful.  I’ve never done any of this kind of recording before, and now I see just how hard it is, how specific it is.  It’s a long day and by the end of it, my ears are tired but happy.

chris in the studio

All throughout the session I’ve been editing the blooper reel.  I’ve also been texting with a possible new tutoring student who’s contacted me via Craigslist.  She’s in a panic in her freshman year of college and keeps texting me photos of her book and asking if I need to read it in order to help her???!???  Sigh.  We agree to meet the next morning.

10:30pm – We get back home and make some Spongebob Squarepants mac and cheese that was on sale for 88 cents a box and I pass out almost immediately.


6am – Awake with a buzzing brain again.  Send photos to the newspaper asap!!!  You forgot to invite some people to the premiere!!  How on EARTH can I be more creative running this Indiegogo??  We definitely need to eat some vegetables for dinner at some point!!!   Finish the blooper reel a week ago already!!!!!

I make a character card for my dog and do some Facebook and twitter posts.  Emails.  Texting with Mom about where we’re going to spend Christmas.

I grab a can of tuna and some grapes and almonds and head out for work.

9am – Tutoring at Starbucks.  We talk about what makes a good thesis in a paper, comparing and contrasting, finding themes in pieces of writing.  She looks at me like I’m completely insane and she keeps calling her professor crazy.  Her other friends only have to learn about MLA format citations.  I avoid telling her that they’re not in a good English class then.  I spend a lot of time explaining to her that this is college.  By the end, I think she’ll be okay, though she still looks doubtful.

11am – 3pm – House cleaning.  My steady job five minutes away from where we live.  I listen to two amazing interviews with some directors I really admire on Marc Maron’s WTF – Lynn Shelton and Lake Bell.  (Seriously, check these out, they’re amazing)  I pet the cat.  It meows sweetly, urges me to pet it, then hisses and claws me, drawing blood.  I hate this animal/love this animal.

3-5pm – I come home completely exhausted.  It’s over 100 degrees out today in LA and our air conditioning is broken in the car and we’re told it costs almost $1,000 to fix it, so….we’re not.  I can’t even imagine what it’s like to have a spare $1,000.  I turn on the A/C in our window and search for the dumbest things possible to look at on the internet right now.  I mean, I literally googled “People.”  Ugh.  That’s me tired.  I also look at all five of my credit cards, pay some, organize due dates.  I’m trying not to buckle under this, but there’s no end in sight to how expensive this movie is.

5-10pm – It’s a blur of work on the movie again.  I finish the blooper reel and I’m delighted by it.  These people are hilarious and I love them all.  It’s set to Pure Prairie League’s “Amy” which reminds me of Door County and of my mom’s college records that I used to play in my room as a teenager.  I go through endless footage of me driving around on Logerquist and EE Roads in Door County, looking for just the right shot to make our poster.  I make a big list.  I’ll deal with that tomorrow.  Chris gets back sometime in the middle of all this.  9 maybe?


10pm – There are a million things I didn’t get done today, but we still haven’t had dinner.  Just to get out of the apartment, I go with Chris to Papa Johns.  We get a deal on the pizza and we watch a little bit more of the movie The Drop.  It’s a good movie and takes our minds off things.  Excellent one to reference for bar scenes.  I want our next movie in Door County to be a darker small town thriller, so I’m collecting references these days.  It’s good to think about the future.

The end!


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.

photo (70)


Well well.  We did some filming and now we’re back.  Is that enough of a post?  Ha.. If you want to read more about the actual film, check it out over at the Silver Leaf Films blog but this is me in between projects:  tired, a little raw.  This is the creative person running around pulling […]