20 Year Anniversary

20 years ago, this month, I had my first internship in the film industry. Twenty. Years. Ago. For what it’s worth, I wanted to put that journey down into words because I have no idea what to make of this amount of time and what I’ve been able and unable to do within it, but I recognize it as a milestone and an accomplishment.

When I entered Oberlin College in 1995 – still seventeen years old – I thought I would be a math and dance double major because I loved them both but I had NO IDEA what kind of a career I could make or would want other than the fact that I didn’t want an “office job” and I had a strong anti-authoritarian, anti-establishment streak coupled with a desire to do something “important.” At the time, Oberlin’s recruiting posters boasted a picture of the globe and their tagline “Think one person can change the world? So do we.” And so that was what I was there to do, without any form to that desire.

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Losing your (festival) virginity

So my short film ACID TEST premiered last Sunday as part of Literally Short Film Festival’s “Local & Fresh” Selection of Texas shorts and I think it went really really well. A short write-up on it is found on the film’s website blog and includes a post about our cast-crew-contributor screening that occurred the week before. So I thought I would use this opportunity to express the anxiety of launching into festival season.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! As a filmmaker, it’s hard enough just to get your film off the ground and into production. Then it’s another beast to get it through post. Then you have this thing, this video file, that you want people to see and you look out into the vast ocean of content and opportunities and you realize you are but a molecule of H2O. And while getting your film picked by a festival is completely out of your hands, there’s all this strategizing and connection-making to get noticed, to get a waiver or a discount…

I feel like I’m in high school all over again trying to get noticed by the popular crowd. Trying to catch the eye of the kid I like. Strategizing how I’m going to lose my virginity. Do I just get it over with? Or do I wait for someone I love? And what will people think of me once I’ve done it?

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Festival news!

ACID TEST has been selected to play at the Literally Short Film Festival here in Houston as part of their Local & Fresh selection of Texas shorts. We are honored and excited to launch our festival season by premiering at a festival where we can celebrate with our family, friends, contributors, and community at large. The Festival Director and fellow filmmaker friend Lorís Simón Salum is a supporter of ACID TEST and I’m so pleased to be included in a festival that celebrates its Mexican roots since the mother character in ACID TEST is Mexican-American.

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Support Short Films! ACID TEST

We are producing the upcoming short film ACID TEST about a teenage girl who drops acid at a concert only to go home and confess to her parents what she’s done with four more hours to go in her “trip.” Set in 1992, the story is about teenage rebellion and parents’ unconditional love and was inspired by difficult personal experiences.

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MM: Walking Away

Today was my last day at work for the Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP) as their Program Coordinator.  It’s the first job I’ve ever quit without some other reason like “I’m moving to another state.”  Moreover, unlike my predecessor in the job, Michelle Mower, who left the position because she was pursuing full-time filmmaking, I’m leaving for a full-time job that’s not in my field.  It’s the proverbial day-job and I guess I had hoped that through my work at SWAMP I would eventually be able to leave the day-job behind.

But life happens, schedules change, finances shift, and I couldn’t work at SWAMP and work my flexi day job and take care of things like…my kids. It was too much.  And what was going down the drain?  My creative projects: my writing, my films.

So I’m walking away from a job in my field that I enjoyed having, that put me in touch with the larger filmmaking community and taking a risk that I will balance my life and focus once again on my own creative juices.  I’ve spent a lot of time in the last couple of years fostering everyone else’s.  And I enjoy that immensely, but I also need to foster myself.

Truth be told: I’m scared.  It’s all on me, no hiding anymore.  Time to see if I can make things happen.  I don’t expect overnight inspiration.  I’m looking for day-in, day-out work building toward something I can be proud of.

Thanks to SWAMP for the support and inspiration I needed these last 7 years.  Not just the 2 I worked as Program Coordinator, but the 5 I was a Board Member.

I never really thought I’d make this kind of decision.  It’s kind of like when I decided not to move back to Los Angeles after my divorce.  It was the right decision, it was the necessary decision, but it was also just a bit bittersweet.

MM: The Business of Filmmaking

movie_mondaysSince March/April of this year, I’ve been putting together the program for the 9th Annual Business of Film Conference presented by Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP) and Texas Accountants and Lawyers for the Arts (TALA).  As the Program Coordinator for SWAMP, I organize this event (contact speakers, create panel lineups, coordinate travel…etc), with the advisement of a small committee and the help of my Executive Director, Mary Lampe.  This past Friday and Saturday, all this hard work was realized.

There were about 75 attendees, 33 speakers, and 10 volunteers/staff.   And while Houston isn’t known for its filmmaking, there IS a lot of filmmaking going on and I know a ton of people who make films but were not at the Business of Film Conference.  I would love to know WHY.  I know that life can sometimes get in the way and people have other obligations.  But there just seems to be a disproportionate number of people who don’t come for other reasons.  So instead of hammering into people why they should come, I’ll explain what I get out of this particular Conference, and why it’s important for me to attend.

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