Makin a Move!

Hello all! I’m just dropping a line to let anyone who keeps up with my blog know I’m moving on over to Posterous. You can now find my rantings at http://geekcinema.posterous.com/

Why make the move, you say? Simply because it is much easier to post. Which means I’ll do it more often. That is all…

But, seriously, some cool stuff over there already….

A moment of seriousness.

I am tired. I am tired. I am tired.

And at some point, I may have to concede that the film business really is for rich kids. Because ever since I’ve been working my way into the business I’ve been met with nothing but drama, betrayal, and money problems.

My online soap-box voice is hoarse at this point. I can’t yell “anyone can make films” anymore. Because it’s not true.

I keep getting “punished” for doing the responsible thing. In New York, I had to take a job at Trader Joe’s because I couldn’t survive on the 50 dollars a week that an indie film was paying me. What happened? People started talking about me. They started saying I didn’t have what it took. Well, if they were talking about money, then I guess they were right.

Fast forward a few years to South Carolina, and I’m going through the same bullshit again. I had to take a job, because being unemployed when it is avoidable is the least responsible thing a person could do. I couldn’t keep relying on my mom and my friends.

I’ve tried to keep making films with a full time job. For a while I spent every spare moment I had working on producing a film that I believed in. I completely burnt myself out, but I was ok with it. The film got through production and I thought I could relax a moment. And I thought this was great, since my day job was requiring some late days due to meetings that I could not avoid (Those late days are ending today, by the way). And instead, because I wasn’t keeping the best eye on it for a moment, once again people went behind my back. Once again, I was taken out of the loop just long enough to get stabbed in the back.

In the past few months a few things have happened that just blow my mind. I have been made fun of for having a real job and not being able to commit all of my time to film. I have also been betrayed for this same reason. And my response to both of these events is: did I ever say I couldn’t get it done? No. I know deadlines. I know how to insure I can meet them. And I know how to meet them without biting more off than I can chew.

But I guess my timeframe doesn’t work for everybody else. Perhaps everybody else should re-evaluate what is important. I want to make films. I do make films. But not at the expense of my responsibilities. My bills. My debt. I can’t do that to my friends and family anymore. And, believe me, I still owe money to people from my time in New York and am just trying to get myself together enough to be able to start paying them back.

As much as this may sound like surrender, anyone who really knows me knows I could never give up on film. I keep coming back to it because I can’t imagine not. But in some ways, it really is time to put away childish things. I need to finish Paradox in Noir and make it the best short I can and then I need to continue writing features. I need to build up what I can in the way of a portfolio of sorts so that some day I don’t have to worry about the day job. But that day hasn’t come yet, so I must stay the course. I can’t get ahead of myself. I can’t let anyone else get me ahead of myself either.

I am a brilliant filmmaker. You know how I know? Because I CAN work a fulltime job and still, somehow, manage to run head to head with these jokers. Imagine what’s going to happen when I don’t have to worry about the day job.

I dreamed a dream of Dr. Crusher

So here’s the thing. One time, I had a dream in which I was at a Star Trek convention. For those of you who know me, this is nothing out of the ordinary. Anyway, at the convention was Gates McFadden, who played Dr. Beverly Crusher on Star Trek The Next Generation. Also, for any who know me, you probably know that Dr. Crusher was one of my favorite characters on the show.

So in my dream, i was extremely excited about the opportunity to meet Gates Mcfadden. And what’s better, I had the perfect item for her to autograph. A STTNG paper party plate with her face on it (these don’t exist, I’ve checked). So I wait in line, and when I get up to her she won’t sign plate. And she’s quite rude about it. I still wonder if she was symbolizing some sort of gate in my dream due to her name.

So I was extremely excited when I saw more and more TNG actors pop up on the Dragon Con guest list. Unfortunately, Ms. McFadden has still not shown up on that list yet. I’d like to ask her what her problem is.

Incidentally, a different dream I had a long time ago involved Tim Burton telling me the secret of life while his body guard Tom Cruise stood watch in an abandoned warehouse. Mr. Burton never wrote me back either.

It’s Your Birthday and I’ll Vlog if I Want To

Shut up Wesley, I’m vlogging!

The Sickness

Blogged yesterday on the production blog. Thought I’d post it here as well.

Lots has been happening lately in the world of Apocalyptic Everything. But not all of it has been about filmmaking. Interestingly, most of it has had something to do with the phrase, “The Sickness.” I shall explain.

1. I’ve always had migraines. Annoying to deal with, but I’ve gotten used to it. I’ve got my routine. As soon as I get the migraine, I close myself off in a dark cold room with a cold compress, take some medication, usually throw up, pass out, and wake up a few hours later feeling weird, but not feeling pain anymore. But last week, I had a migraine every day for a week. And when it wasn’t a migraine, my head was still hurting. Needless to say I am very glad that this “sickness” is over. Even though I’ll probably never know what caused it.

2. My camera was also “sick” last week. This resulted in being delayed on two commissioned projects, one wedding video and one music video (which you’ll see below). But all in all, my Sony VX2000 has been an awesome camera. I’ve had the thing for 7 years and it still makes a great picture. And I’m glad to report that it’s once again back up and running.

3. I’ll be going to training on June 6th for my “sick” new day job. Production will be paused for the month of June for out of town and in town training. Not sure if I’m allowed to talk about the job much more than that yet. If I said more I might have to kill you.

4. On to the video! I just completed a video for/with Brodie Chase, a wrestler here in Greenville and my personal trainer. It’s for his newly formed bad guy group, The Sickness. But I’ll let the video speak for itself.

Stay tuned for several projects still coming up. I’m hoping to get the pilot shot for Precinct Z before I leave. As for Paradox in Noir, it’s looking like principle photography will be happening in July or August.

My name is Rebecca, and I am a filmmaker.

I have been intending to talk about identity and filmmaking for several weeks now, and I finally have a little time to devote wholeheartedly to it. This is important, and I don’t want to mess it up.

I have been on many journeys over the past few years. There are the physical journeys, moving to New York City. Moving back to Greenville. I have done that a couple of times, actually. And each time I left New York, part of me considered it a failure. That I was giving up. But that mind set was only there because of the emotional and mental journeys I have also been on. I won’t go into detail about all of the journeys, only the ones that pertain to film.

The next phrase I am going to use is false. And I will explain why a little later.

I have wanted to be a filmmaker since grade school.

I did everything I knew to do along the way. I attended the Fine Arts Center in high school where I got to learn the basics. I went to Bard College, where I learned from some of the most punk rock professors about the nature of filmmaking. Not the surface level technique stuff, mind you, but the heady questions. The deep stuff. It wasn’t about how you were filming something, it was about WHAT you were filming.

I recently found a journal of mine from my college years, and in it I recorded my advisor’s answer to a question I posed. I want to quote my whole journal entry below.

I just asked Adolfas [Mekas] if I was making progress. If I was doing what I want to be doing well enough.
He said my progress was better than most of my peers, but his interesting comment was about doing what I want to be doing.
“Evrybody wonders that. You’ll wonder why all of your life. You’ll be 85 and still wondering, why film?”
I guess the question is not to ask why. I guess there actually is no question. Just do. Move through the self doubt. Adolfas said it would always be there.

I feel like I knew myself better back then than I have more recently. My younger self, for once, had more of the answers than my older self. Once I got out of school and began working in the industry something happened. I started thinking I didn’t want to be a filmmaker. I started thinking “what if I find a related field instead?” This thinking led me to my Master’s degree in Entertainment Business.

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate my degree. I think it definitely helps to know the business side. But I also think I got it because I was running from myself. I had twisted things around so horribly in my head that I managed to convince myself I didn’t want to make films anymore.

So how did the change happen? I think it happened for many reasons. When you start working on movie sets you’re at the bottom. You’re the lowest of the low. And there are a lot of hits to your ego at the bottom. So it was probably partly due to that.

What probably affected it more was how it started feeling like a daily grind. Like any other kind of job (only with way more hours). It didn’t feel like it did in school. It didn’t feel free or rebellious or fun or even smart anymore.

But neither of these reasons are the root of the problem. The root of the problem comes back to that phrase earlier that I told you was false:

I have wanted to be a filmmaker since grade school.

A phrase like this can single-handedly shake your filmmaker identity to the core. Because at 22, at 23, at 24, every year up until this one, at 28, I was still saying it. “I want to be a filmmaker.” When what I really should have been saying since the first time I shot something, since the first script I wrote, was

I AM A FILMMAKER.

It’s a simple as that. And it’s as complex. Identity can be impossible to figure out if you’re looking at the facts wrong.

You’re a painter if you paint. You’re a musician if you play an instrument. I know this. So why was it so difficult for me to see the same as a filmmaker? Honestly, it’s the system. That system tells you how many hoops you’re supposed to jump through to “make it.” How many years you’ll have to be a PA before moving up one rung to gaffer or grip or AD or 2nd AC. It’s fishing for a promotion just like any other job. And it’s not for me.

Because once I accepted those four words, I AM A FILMMAKER, my world changed. I am now back in that mindset that I had in college. That view of film that my advisor and all of those other punk rock professors had taught me. For that matter, every single one of my film professors are filmmakers, and not one of them went the “studio system” route. And how successful are they? Their films pop up in the Whitney Biennial all the time. They win awards. They get screened at the most interesting and funky venues.

Now truly is the time to embrace this mindset. Thank you, internet. Thank you, blogging and vlogging and Twitter and YouTube and Vimeo. Thank you, accessibility. Because of technology, I don’t have the hurdles that my professors had. I can get my films out there.

Since I have embraced this mindset I have become unstuck. No longer is it “when I become a filmmaker I’m going to do this.” Now I have four projects in the works simultaneously. Now I feel like I can walk out my door and shoot.

The most important advice I can give anyone that’s right behind me in the identity development of a filmmaker is what my advisor told me. You’ll always wonder. You’ll never feel safe or comfortable. But you’ll also always just know, because you’ll never be happy doing anything else.

My name is Rebecca, and I am a filmmaker.