Adventures with Husband: Laughter Could be Driving

Laughter Could be Driving

A friend of mine lives about an hour away. Well, I’d say two of my best friends live about an hour away. But the one friend – Cody’s his name – is in the process of rehabilitating a house before his move-in date at the beginning of April.

So Husband and I went on an adventure.

We arrived a bit later than expected. Mostly because mornings are hard. And when we got to the house we discovered that the plan was to tear apart the front porch, as it has become a general hazard to life, liberty and the pursuit of foot safety.

We spent a happy couple of hours tearing things up, using appropriate hand wear and throwing a lot of stuff in the trash.

Since I have a headache list of food allergies I got to choose the lunch option – Five Guys if anyone is interested – and after eating we were pretty bushed for the rest of the day. So we loaded up the wood and trash and called it good. Husband and I started out for home.

This was a new area of town for us, so when we started back we thought we knew where we were going, but apparently we were out of the loop. Hey look, that’s the exit for our highway home!

It was not the highway home.

It was a twisty, pretty, slooow side highway through farms and gorgeous fields and not the place we needed to be. I checked my phone – hey that’s where we are on the map! And we thought, well, we’ll just take this road up here and connect to the highway.

We took that road.

It did not connect to the highway. In fact, we were forced to wave at our needed highway as we passed over it to the other side. From my momentarily unable-to-load phone we determined that this was not the way we should go, unless we were keen on getting more lost in rural Missouri.

So we turned around. Back to our old friend, the scenic route.

When we arrived back with our old friend my phone loaded and I saw what appeared to be another road further down that would take us back to our highway. We set off, blasting 80s hits with the windows down (did I mention that it’s SPECTACULAR today?). The road we needed appeared in a flash, so we took it happily, still blasting tunes (and I was dancing, not gonna lie).

Yay highway!

I said, “Oh, this is that weird on-ramp thing,” as we made the customary right turn to get back on the highway. We took it at an incredibly fast speed – the highway is 70mph – and as the road fell away there was a split second of comprehension.

This road was not a highway entrance.

This road dropped off into a chasm right in front of us.

This road was perforated with a dozen cracks, holes and blemishes.

We were about to fly off into the next world.

I screamed, “Not a highway entrance!”

Husband swerved. We careened down the center of what appeared to be a completely neglected frontage road, tire narrowly missing the edge of the precipice that separated us from the highway home.

Laughing my head off, unable to even talk, I continued to dance to the music, as Husband dodged pothole after pothole, crack after pointless crack, and we both watched the highway to home run parallel to our path, just beyond the edge of our ability to join it.

I laughed and I tried to speak. And I laughed more. He laughed, somehow perplexed and then elated that this was my response to our near death experience.

Finally a real highway entrance materialized in front of us. We rejoined the highway with smiles and me laughing again, “yay a real highway entrance!”

It was the best driving adventure with Husband so far.

(Feel free to comment with feedback, questions or adventures of your own!)

Filmmaking is for Warriors: Does gender matter?

Filmmaking is for Warriors 2

I think it’s pretty clear at this point that I am a woman. I don’t consider that to be a good or bad thing especially. I am who I am.

I’ve been making films for 10 years. When I started I was a teenager so leadership was relative. I mean, we were all kind kids so me being in charge was just as valid as the next person.

Not that ANYTHING we made back then was good. But that was entirely due to ignorance and inexperience (ain’t nobody blaming equipment or money here – you can make a good movie on a zero budget if you are a good filmmaker).

College made it clear that the film sector, as far as the production side, was primarily made up of men, but there were strong women in my department. I mean, the main teachers were successful female filmmakers. But again, their gender had very little to do with their abilities as filmmakers.

Haters of Hollywood appear to believe that there’s some kind of specialness attached to filmmakers who are considered to be in the “minority.”

Good filmmakers are good filmmakers no matter what race, religion, gender, color, disability, ability, painting techniques, silliness quotient, bilingual status and whatever other demarcation is so popular by which to group individuals.

Are we not all human?

To quote Harry Potter, “…While we may come from different places and speak in different tongues, our hearts beat as one.”

I’m not a better filmmaker because I am a woman. A man is not a less interesting filmmaker or less capable filmmaker because he is a man. This silliness that is rampant in our thinking is just ridiculous.

Filmmaking is for warriors. There is no value distinction between us, just our work.

Filmmaking is for Warriors: CineBeauty

 

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The eye of the camera is a window into the filmmaker’s soul.

Seriously.

Think of it this way, Peter Jackson took on the awesome beast that is LOTR and he created images like this;

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What you’re seeing is Mr. Jackson’s soul, as it experienced Lord of the Rings. He saw the mountains like his home of New Zealand, the Orcs like creatures brewed in the ground mixed with the warrior prowess of the Maori, and the captivating beauty of the land of the elves like the hidden paradises around which he grew up.

But he didn’t just envision the look of these things, he envisioned how the audience would see these things. Take the following for example:

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Boromir is currently the coward in this scene. He gets a basic CU (close-up), which is traditionally from the mid-chest to the top of the head. Legolas on the other hand is defending his honor, showing that he is honorable and the one to pay attention to of the pair. He gets a closer CU.

He probably also gets that because someone thought he was prettier. Well, he was cast as the Elf.

Do you see how Mr. Jackson is showing you his soul? He shot The Fellowship of the Ring in a specific way so that you would feel the same way he feels about everyone and everything on screen.

But he didn’t just do it in a basic, boring, lets-cover-all-the-angles way. He created something gorgeous. CineBeauty – the act of using a video camera to create something beautiful.

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Even hideous, creepy, evil things are somehow beautiful as seen through the eyes of filmmakers like Jackson.

There are so many things in the cinematography of the Fellowship of the Ring that are beautiful. And I haven’t even seen it in years. We could talk about the use of lighting to convey good vs. evil. We could talk about hero shots and sweeping angles and maximizing tension and showing the connectedness of a team…but this is just a post scratching the surface of beauty and the soul of the filmmaker.

What is CineBeauty to you? What other movies and filmmakers create gorgeous visuals to tell their stories? Go watch a movie and find out.

Filmmaking is for Warriors: Introducing Baby Cam #1

10 years this summer. That’s how long I’ve been living the good life and making films. Yep, that’s my first set. Aren’t we adorable?

Whats Life Worth
Sometimes it’s easy to make films. But mostly it’s like climbing a mountain while getting shot at by snipers and Stormtroopers in the freezing rain without the right kind of ropes and helping a 2-year-old climb next to you. Yeah, I’m not gonna comment on whether the 2-year-old is the cast or crew or your own childlike heart.

Maybe it’s all three.

Filmmaking is for Warriors 1

This is baby #1. She’s the best little workhorse of a camera that I’ve ever encountered. With the look of a cinema camera, the ease of use of a DSLR and the perfect in-between size from consumer to pro, the Sony FS100 gives guerrilla filmmakers like me the versatility we need to make a legitimate-looking film without the hassle of dealing with millions of dollars (what am I talking about, that’s not a hassle…).

Sony Handycam NEX-FS100UK Digital Camcorder – 3.5″ LCD – CMOS – Full HD [Camera]

Now, I didn’t originally get this beast from Amazon, but I have bought several of her accessories through the company and they have all arrived in good condition. Also, Amazon is cool because with Prime you can get things shipped cheaply and swiftly.

You should be asking me now what’s up with me calling a camera my baby. Well, you try braving the wind, rain, cold, snow, water, ice, woods, tics, blazing hot sun, grouchy cast and crew, lack of food, lack of water, lack of coffee (why is the coffee always gone?), car trouble, location trouble, cops, lost actors, lost crew, lost mind and forgotten shotlist and see if you keep thinking of the beast-that-never-stops-going as anything less than your own baby.

This thing is the only way you can tell your story. Treat it with respect. And you can show the world things like this. Filmmaking is for warriors ya’ll, we gotta fight to make the best story we can.

Kevin StillMargie Still

And that my peoples, is my Baby Cam #1.

As always, feel free to comment with feedback, comments or projects of your own!

Adventures with Husband: Plaza Selfies

It’s fragile sometimes. Marriage. Why? Well there’s 2 people involved.

So one of the things that my Husband started doing was planning adventures. He currently has an Adventure Box, where he keeps these incredibly complex adventures safe until we have a day in which to run around the city.

Adventure box

It’s good to know some fun things to do with your spouse. One of the adventures Husband planned was a selfie adventure. This involved following a drawn map with a tiny, paper spyglass thing that he made to well-known locations on the Plaza.

Map

The Icons he drew referred me back to a Legend with an explanation for each.

Failure at kissing selfie

We set out on our adventure across the Plaza. I found out super fast that taking a selfie while kissing is super difficult to do (kissing selfies should really be a thing).

Horse picture

Pig statue

Cheesecake factory kissing

Penguin picture

Crazy face after penguins

Benjamin Franklin

Almost last kissing

This is the sign for the Tesla car place. It actually wasn’t on the map, but we got really excited about the electric cars. See, way too excited.

Tesla sign

How might you go about planning an epic adventure for your significant other? Take a cue from this guy and use your imagination and wiles. I mean, he made a map that included mandatory kissing selfies. That’s pretty wiley if you ask me.

last Kissing

Marriage is fragile sometimes. That’s why Husband is a genius and plans adventures, even if we can’t manage to win at kissing selfies.

12 Months of Movies: December

I guess you’ve probably noticed the gap between September and December.

Life. As it happens. Is rarely the way that you planned.

Actually those are song lyrics, but they’re good song lyrics. We have filmed a movie every month since September, but we haven’t finished editing them. October’s movie will be in post for a while, and is titled Fail the System. November’s film is an art piece that lacks a few imperative components. It has a crazy story of its own.

But this, this is December. And we finished a fun little film that I am very proud to call my own. We had some notable awesome help. We had a great location given to us by Officeworx, downtown KC.

So here it is…Three Single Guys.

As always, feel free to comment with feedback, critique or projects of your own!

12 Months of Movies: September

In September we made a film that turned out a lot longer than I first anticipated. We worked with a fantastic new actor, who continuously went out of his way to be helpful, offer suggestions and step out into the street to make this film special.

When I wrote this script I was thinking about one of my best childhood friends who was deployed during some of the really bad parts of the War on Terror (not that any part is good, mind you). I am also married to a veteran, my brother is a veteran and my grandfather fought in WWII.

So here is SPC Lisa.

As always, feel free to comment with feedback, suggestions or projects of your own!

12 Months of Movies: August

August happened…A while back.

I think I’m losing my momentum. It’s been a rough summer. The fall is turning out very well, and I have little good reason to be delayed in making or posting my films, but I am. I am.

This is something that turned out maybe not like I wanted. And I’m not exactly surprised, but I shall let you decide how you like it.

As always, feel free to comment with feedback, suggestions or projects of your own!

Fail the System: A short film with a long process

I’m working on the short film for October. I’ve been working on the short film for October since…June 12th. Originally I wanted to write a short about a very controversial subject that I have never seen in a film. But when I started writing Working_Title Red I realized that I had to have a primary storyline that was more accessible to a general audience.

I wanted to write a drama. So I started doing research on dramas, especially dramas that were dialog-driven, which is not the way I have been writing for years. The above show was recommended to me. I watched A LOT of it and found that the representation of family drama is the best I’ve seen onscreen.

This show, Broadchurch, was also recommended to me as a quality drama. It’s about a small English town that experiences the murder of an 11-year-old boy and struggles to come to grips with the reality. It is one of the most cinematically beautiful stories I have ever seen. The editing is superb, the acting is flawless and the writing is arresting.

It’s also one of the most depressing things I’ve ever watched and I had to take it in parts to better deal with the emotions it brought on (I don’t like watching things that make me that sad, but it was very good).

The following images I found as a reference for very good cinematography composition. The DefineFast Productions film will employ this kind of style.

So what is Working_Title Red about? Well, it became Fail the System, and it is about a sister and brother who work together to outwit a devious college professor and deal with some serious relationship issues. Yes, a drama. With dialog. Although it is not as dialog-driven as something like Gilmore Girls.

Since Your Sister Sent Me, a short film DefineFast made in 2013, I have not made anything this intense as a large-scale project. The cast and crew is currently being assembled for this and I am excited to see it become a reality.

Just a little info into the process of making a short film. As always, feel free to comment with feedback, critique or projects of your own!

12 Months of Movies: July

I know it’s been a long time. I’m sorry. I got involved in a project in July that turned out to be a bigger commitment than I realized, along with a lot of other things (Like moving. Which I did this weekend).

Since I wasn’t the writer, producer or director of this project, I was hesitant for it to count as my July film. And it happens to be a web series, so that’s a thing. BUT, I was brought on board as the Cinematographer, which was HUGE. I’ve never been the cinematographer for anyone else’s project (Except commercially and for the TV show JDtR, of course).

So I really enjoyed working with the people from Masked, a modern retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel. I do have my own short films planned for August, September and October. 🙂

As always, feel free to comment with feedback, suggestions or projects of your own!