December 30, 2008

I think I'll just go
Originally uploaded by jbeauchamp
So keeping The Director Is In for almost a year now has pointed out a few things about my movie viewing habits. Some of these I expected, and some of these I didn’t.

To start with I watch a lot of Christian Bale movies. I mostly already knew this though. I adore Christian Bale, not just because I have a harmless, non-stalker-like crush on him but because I do think Bale is one of the best actors working today; typically I enjoy the movies he is in because he tends to be pretty discerning in what he chooses to be in. I also own quite a few of his movies so there’s easy access there.

However, I also have watched a huge amount of films with Robert Downey Jr. this year. I didn’t really expect that until about July when I’d discovered I’d seen Iron Man about five times. The obsession led from there. I remember liking Robert Downey Jr. when I was younger, but I never really and truly discovered his whole body of work until this year. I had really only noticed him because of Chaplin, Ally McBeal & a movie from my childhood called Heart & Souls. Now I can’t get enough of him. Not only do I have another harmless crush on him (lets face it the man was hot in Iron Man) but his movies have done nothing but raise my respect for him with each viewing. Not to mention the inspirational side of Downey, the man has been through hell and managed to come out the other side a better person. You gotta respect that.

Then there is the fact that I tend to dislike very few movies that I see, people that don’t know me or don’t pay close enough attention might say that this is because I am not all that discerning in my tastes. I would actually say the opposite. By having seen hundreds (probably thousands) of more films that the average person sees I think I’ve merely developed a whole other set of skills. Usually I am able to tell by learning about a film, or watching a films trailer if it is a movie that I will like or not. I am always willing to be taken by surprise to like a movie I didn’t think I would like and that had happened. A prime example of that this year is Kung Fu Panda.

Also, the movies I tend to dislike I genuinely hate. I think that this is related to my previous argument. I go into a movie usually having a decent idea of what it is and expecting to like it, promises have been made to me by the trailer, marketing, etc. that I expect them to fulfill. When the movie not only doesn’t meet those expectations but proves to be less than that I start to get disappointed and unfortunately this can lead to me disliking a movie way more than I possibly should. However, again there are exceptions to this. I am a firm believer that my film vocabulary combined with my film education does make me better at spotting a bad movie for exactly why it is bad – in other words if it looks like dung and smells like dung it’s dung, even if it’s dressed up and presented in a nice way.

The thing that shocked me the most, and possibly didn’t shock anyone else in my life is the sheer number of movies I watch. I have not been keeping The Director Is In for a full year (and at first wasn’t reviewing all of the movies I saw) and yet I’ve reviewed over 100 movies. This breaks down to an average of 1 movie every 2-3 days. It would go higher if I had been doing everything since January as faithfully as I am now. This actually makes me scared for how many movies I must have watched while I was in film school because I know I didn’t really slow down, in fact I probably watched more simply because you’d watch them in class, watch them for homework and watch them for fun. And to those who want to argue that film school isn’t work like “real” classes I challenge you this: you try watching a Russian language film with English subtitles from the 1960’s at 9 at night on a weeknight.

The thing is though that none of the above scares me or makes me think that I am “obsessed” with movies. I have always considered movies as my gift from God. He didn’t give me movies, but He gave me my interest in movies. I know at any time of day or night, any time I am tired, angry or anything else that I can turn on a movie and it will make it all better for just a little while. God has given me that little piece of peace, the ability to create an atmosphere that’s all my own.

I am looking forward to the year ahead because I not only plan to continue watching as many films as I can get time to see, but pursuing the greater goal I think that God has set in front of me, a goal that again involves the movies.


December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!!! With luck one day my Superman movie will be made.


December 23, 2008

Best Christmas present ever. Caryn got me my first credit on IMDB. It's completely viewable here.


December 11, 2008

I ♥ Coffee
Originally uploaded by Roll'n'Rock
I get to edit on Saturday! This part of the process always excites me and terrifies me. Even though I know I got great footage I am so petrified that nothing is going to work when it’s all cut together – it’ll be undynamic, there will be no continuity, I won’t agree with any of the choices I made on set, etc. I don’t think I will ever get over that though, I just think that as an artist that is the one bit of insecurity that is going to hang onto me through the process. I am doing everything in my power to stop it but in the end it’s God not me that is going to take that insecurity away. It is God that is going to make my film be what it is, I am just the vessel that uses the talents that He saw fit to give me.

There were more layoffs at my job at the beginning of the week. We closed an entire out of state art center and laid off two in-house artists here. It sucks because it makes me really unsure about my future with the company. Even though I’m the new girl I’ve been safe thus far because of what I do within the art department.

I don’t want to be at this company for long, I want to be a paid feature film director; but until that happens a job would be a great thing to have. I will be thankful to God while I have this job and remember every day that I am trying to get ahead in another industry not this one.


December 3, 2008

I am a giant dork. I found out I am probably going to get to see an assembly cut of my movie next weekend and I am practically exploding with excitement. Now I need to get off my lazy butt and actually start finishing other things like the press kit and getting Kevin the credits for the posters.

I am really lacking my usual enthusiasm for any other projects right now and I feel bad about that. I love Caryn’s web series and I want to be heavily involved in it but part of me is so focused on End that I can’t get my head in the game for anything else. I am trying, because I don’t want Caryn to think I don’t want to be a part of her project, but my brain and my time just can’t take on much more right now.

Truth be told, the current economic crisis has me terrified that I will finish End and it will be fabulous but that no one will buy it because studios are putting out fewer and fewer movies and it will make them even less likely to take a risk on a female director.

However, I know I need to put my trust and faith in God and everything will turn out for the glory of His plan not mine. To quote my own film: “Everything is going to be okay.”


November 26, 2008

tuned_ (53 of 73)
Originally uploaded by bobby7881
I’m like a little kid at Christmas right now – and it’s only Thanksgiving.

I have a new Baz Luhrmann movie to see in theatres tonight. I don’t care if it’s good, I don’t care if it’s bad; I just want to spend almost three hours of escapist glory staring at what I know will at least be beautiful images and a sweeping story. If it’s not that great I’ll forgive it because I’ve been Baz-less sinceMoulin Rouge! in 2002. Too bad his Alexander the Great story was killed by Alexander because I’m sure that would have been fun.

On top of this giddiness for Australia I have a four day weekend ahead of me! Four whole days to watch movies, read books and decorate for Christmas of course. Plus I am going to have to put up my newly framed graduation present.

The fall semester of my senior year at CSULB we held our 10th Widescreen Film Festival and Wes Craven was our Artist in Residence; because of this I have these great quarter sheet posters and booklet written by Wes from the event. I wanted them framed for graduation and we finally got around to it. That was the semester I fell even more in love with the work of Wes Craven than I already was. I can’t wait to get the frames up. However, I pulled the booklet apart and framed the pages, so that one is huge.

I’m also all dorky because it’s raining. I like the rain. What can I say – I’m southern California born and bred – we don’t get rain often.

October 5, 2008

I saw a preview screening of Baz Lurhmann’s new film Australia tonight. I think it’s an amazing movie, but more than anything as I sat there watching half finished special effects and the visuals that can only be attributed to someone like Baz I just kept thinking “God I have to do this with my life.” I cannot wait until I get to be the one that tells the stories that enthrall people in a way that takes them completely out of the world for two hours and makes them see a whole different kind of beauty in the world.

I was in a room with Baz tonight and I just about died. As we exited the theatre I realized that Baz was on my left talking to someone. I freaked to Christopher but was too shell shocked to say anything, so being the brave one Christopher went up to Baz and shook his hand.

I love being reminded that my idols are actually flesh and blood individuals. It reminds me that what I want to do with my life is doable; these people do it and if I try hard enough so can I.

God please let me achieve this.


November 24, 2008

So I realized today that by the time November is done I will probably have watched in the ballpark of 20 movies. That is a new record for me. I probably watched about that many or more when I was in film school, but when you can guarantee you’re going to watch 2-4 movies a day in classes that’s not hard; I haven’t done that since I graduated.

I do have the philosophy that the more movies I watch the more it increases my film vocabulary. I think that I have to see what others do in order to really learn what the medium can do.

I saw one of the most unique films I’ve ever seen this weekend; I watched Brand Upon the Brain by Guy Maddin. I really can’t tell you what it was about, or how exactly it was semi-autobiographical, but it was fascinating. Not only was it unique because he does things like place himself in the films, and use silent film technique, but I found the way he edits so dang fascinating I considered sharing the film with my editor but since I don’t want End edited that way I decided against it. I really can’t make up my mind about that movie though. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a movie that’s thrown me like that. I can’t say it was bad, but I can’t say it was enjoyable either.

I had the fun of telling people my Christmas wish was to get a picture lock for Christmas and having everyone besides my geek friends be all confused. They kept asking me what that was and someone even wanted to know where they could buy that.

I do sometimes get a secret joy out of my geek vocabulary.


November 6, 2008

I had my first official-style writer’s meeting on Sunday thanks to Caryn.

We’ll be shooting her web series The Adventures of Cory & Sid in January and Caryn made the progressive move to try and have a team of writers just like she would have if it were a full length sitcom instead of a 5 minute per episode web series. I am thankful that she didn’t decide to have a team of directors. That would have made me sad. While Sid & Cory is not my baby it is a fun series, and I get to work with people I adore while flexing my director muscles.

What was best about the writer’s meeting was getting to sit in the room with the three writers (Caryn, Samantha & Seth) and getting to hear them go through their scripts out loud and give each other ideas or laugh at each other’s jokes. There was no stress of actors or worrying about blocking, or anything else that could stop a typical rehearsal or read through. This was just the three creative’s checking to make sure their stories still worked and even to get some of my input on them. I was able to put my two cents in saying what problems we might encounter or not to worry about certain things because we can shoot it a certain way so the audience will get that even though it’s not in the stage directions, etc.

I also liked being in LA on a Sunday morning. Watching the traffic from the sky scrapers, and feeling the buzz of the city. While I go back and forth on moving to LA I really think that I need to some day. I love being there and I want more of the cities within LA to unfold to me.

But I guess I should concentrate on finishing my movie before I worry about moving into the city.

I also had the stressful director moment this weekend when my editor called me with a problem on End. I’m crossing my fingers to hope that it’s nothing big and I know that post is always problematic, but I still stress. However, I think it’s part of my job not to pass that stress on to other people but as a director try to take their stress away (and put it on me) so that they can continue to do their jobs effectively. It just makes me nervous because unlike a studio film where if something goes wrong we can reshoot we cannot. Not just because of budget but because the location has changed, the actors schedules, etc. We have what we shot and we have to love it and live with it.

I just continue to pray that God does His will with End and allows the film to take us where it will. God’s like that and I know He’s there, even for my typical director psychosis.


October 21, 2008

"La Collina"
Originally uploaded by Andrea Pompilio
I would have to say that the most annoying thing about this stage of my “career” is being so in between everything. It’s really hard to keep your faith when you don’t have anything concrete on your side.

I know that I want to make films for the rest of my life, but I have no idea if that will happen. I am going to try my hardest for it to happen but I have no proof that it will.

I have only hope and faith that God wouldn’t have given me this passion if I wasn’t meant to be doing something with it. God has not directed me to another path, has not told me that I’ve wandered astray – God has not done anything but build my passion and drive to be an artist.

As much faith as I have it’s still hard, especially when I hear my friends having doubts; I know that they are supremely talented and just need to keep trying like all of us starving filmmakers, but I can’t help but have sympathy for them. I know a great deal of my worries are easier to deal with for one reason – I have God and they don’t. When I don’t have a job that I wanted, when something doesn’t happen that I think should have, when the day job throws a curve at me I know that I’m not in charge of things, God is and that releases a burden from me. For me that makes things make sense in a way that I don’t think it does for my friends. I see order in the chaos because I see God directing it all – I may not know how or why, but He’s there. I wish that my friends had that too.


October 14, 2008

Originally uploaded by mrbosslady
Well, I am still sick and yet I have not been calling in sick to work though I probably should be. Call me crazy for trying to save my vacation time for the holidays. So while I try to get motivated enough to do some sort of physical movement other than type (and it doesn’t look like that’s happening) I have lots of time to think.

I keep saying that I want my life to change, and I do in certain ways – I want to be a full time director, I want to make movies. However, I think I need to be careful to thank God for the ways my life has already changed, or been changed by the things He has thrown in my path – things I never expected.

I never expected to go to film school; out of nowhere God revealed to me that he did have a plan for me and it was movies, I’d had blinders on. So I did what an uber-geek like me does and researched and applied to film schools. For the first time in my life I had a purpose, a goal and an outlet for a passion that had been consuming me for years.

I expected to go to UCLA film not CSULB but God had other plans. I got waitlisted at every school I applied to except CSULB. So I went and was none too happy about it. Yet it was an amazing experience that I can never regret, the only thing I can regret was that it seemed to short. God knew what He was doing and put me in a place that I never would have imagined myself being and I think I am a better artist because of it. I know I am a different artist because of it.

I spent my senior year listening to all the exciting things Paramount was doing, so I told myself to try and get a job there after I graduated. I did it. I would have never expected it but I became a studio page – audience wrangler and tour guide and I loved it. God again knew what He was doing; I spent a year becoming comfortable around a lot, learning I could be a public speaker and getting over the last vestiges of my shyness. I am a more confident person because I was a page. It sounds stupid but it was the best learning experience of my life. It didn’t lead to the jobs I’d hoped for, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t well worth my time.

I worked in a place I commonly refer to as hell; I didn’t want to , I didn’t think I was supposed to but I did, and God blessed me. He blessed me with some of the best friends I’ve ever had in my life. He taught me too that I need to keep pushing to achieve my goals.

I made three short films in a period of 2 days; God blessed me with a cast and crew that were so devoted that we pulled it off and I learned so much more as an artist than I could have otherwise.

I just shot a feature film in eight days; I never expected to do that, and do it well but so far it looks like we did. God blessed me with a cast, crew and friends that enabled me to do that and hopefully exceed at it.

I know it’s too early to tell where God is taking me next, but I can only hope that He keeps me where He wants me because even though I like to complain I know it’s been a pretty good trip so far.


October 12, 2008

I'm tired. I'm sick. More than anything I don't want to go to work tomorrow. I just want to curl up in bed and watch movies; right now I have Dead Alive and The Exorcist from Netflix. I am trying to do all horror movies from netflix this month.

I am having Christopher call our editor today. I need to make some serious inroads in editing as I am getting itchy feet and want to have things more done than they are now. I trust him, I just want to see the forward movement my self. I'd call but I am about to start coughing my head off so I'm going back to drinking water and staying in bed.


October 9, 2008

Okay, so everyone is always so down on the fact that it's so hard for people to become directors, or that no one can become the next Kubrick (or another iconic director). It annoys me. I get that it's hard. I get that not everyone can do it.

Wanna know my take? I've always thought this and it has been my defense since college.

It has to happen to someone - so why not me?

Seriously, if no one ever tries to become a director, to make the movies that matter no one will become the next Kubrick or even break into the industry. You have to try if you want to make it.

I will not give up, no matter who naysays.


October 8, 2008

So this would be my first entry, and it’s probably going to be different than my future entries because I want to make sure my background and who I am is understood.

I am a resident southern Californian, in my mid-twenties and I have been enraptured by the movies since I was born –at least that’s what it seems like. However, I didn’t realize that I could actually make movies as a career until I was 19. It was then that I realized I wanted to direct. Don’t think that this came out of the blue, no I’d been writing, painting, drawing, creating, doing theatrical make-up, and helping my screenwriter brother for years so the only new thing was the revelation that I could make movies my life.

As such I went to the film program at Cal State University Long Beach and graduated with a hellva GPA, and spent the year after graduation working as a page for Paramount Pictures. Those three years at school and Paramount changed my life and I am forever indebted to God for making me go through all of the stress, pitfalls, joys and experiences that were born out of that time. I would not be the person or director I am if not for it.

However, becoming a director is not an easy thing to do. Getting into the industry is not an easy thing to do. I have had great professors and mentors that believe in my talents as a filmmaker and one thing that stands out is how they told me if I want to be a director then I have to make a movie; I can’t wait for someone to give me a film, or notice that I perhaps might want to direct – I just have to do it. So, being the tenacious individual that I am I’ve made that my goal. I’ve made a movie, I’ve made short films, and I’ve gotten a team of trusted people that we all have the same goal – to make our mark on the entertainment industry.

If I fail it will not be because I didn’t try. If I don’t make it to my goals it will be because this is not what God intends for me. However, God has not revealed to me that I am on the wrong path, so I am continuing to push, to try and get noticed, and to try to break out of the monotony of the “normal” and do what I love.

That is what this blog is dedicated to. My trials, tribulations and other encounters as I strive to fall in line with God and get where I think He wants me to be.