Putting Down Roots

Putting down roots in my hometown wasn’t the plan. Moving home and living with my parents wasn’t my idea. Not living within walking distance of my closest friends was unthinkable; now almost all three have occurred.

But do I regret where I am today?  No, there have been too many unexpected, wonderful surprises for that. I’ve connected with friends I once believed were lost to me and met new ones to adventure with. But do I wish I was somewhere else? Somewhere other than my hometown? Yes. It’s not a steady, conscious thought; just an echo in my mind as I fall asleep; what life altering adventure could I possibly have in a place I’ve always known?

Living at home is easy, I know it won’t last for forever. Reconnecting with old friends is a blessing. Putting down roots in my hometown, that’s dangerous. That means commitment. That means leaving my comfort zone and admitting my personal life plan was wrong.

Roots can be uprooted. I just want mine to last.


Fighting for My Dream

A dream is easy to have when things are going your way. It’s in the moments when nothing seems to be working out that we are faced with the question of, “How badly do I want this dream to come true?” We can say that it wasn’t what it was all cracked up to be, that we want a new dream instead. There’s nothing wrong with changing our minds, if that is what we really want. Or we can stick it out and fight for it.

For the first time, I have to fight for the life I want to have. I’m lucky because I had an easy upbringing; my parents loved me, I had everything a child needs to succeed and then some. But now, now that the protection of schooling is over I have to make a choice that will affect the rest of my life. It’s up to me to provide for myself; no more hand holding.
I have to fight for the life I want to life. I want to live out God’s will for my life, true, but that does not mean I can lounge around the house, surf the net and watch Netflix to my heat’s content as I “wait” for God to show up and tell me what to do. I have to leave the house and actively look for ways to achieve my dream, because it’s not going to show up on the latest Netflix show I’m watching. The only way to know what doors are open is to try and go through them, instead of waiting for a feeling to tell me what to do, because more often than not that “feeling” tells me, “Just one more episode. You can try that door later, after you get a snack.”
Adventuring Note: This was written at the end of this past summer when I began to doubt myself. I began to wonder if I had picked the right career or if it was simply a college pipe dream. About two weeks later, a door was opened in the industry I dared believe I could join, and I excitedly and nervously walked through it.

Five Minute Friday: Change

Change is terrifying, and only the brave accomplish it.
Change only requires one thing: that you give up the belief that things will happen the way you originally planned.
Only the brave accept change because it is full of unknowns that are beyond control. Sometimes change is good and enjoyable, like a new friend or a new job. Sometimes change is hard and painful, like when friends and family pass away and you are left to wonder why you are the the last one to say goodbye.
Change is important, but only the bravest men and women can accomplish it.

Today’s word is change, and the challenge is to write the first thing the comes to mind during a five minute time period, and then not edit it when the time is up.
Some people think of something else when they hear the word change. Feel free to check them out here.

A Look Back: Directing My First Short Film

A little more than one hour ago I just called, “Cut! That’s a wrap!” for the first short film I ever directed.

It’s a little hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that I just finished production on a project I’ve been working on since the middle of August (June if you want to go back to when I first got the idea). There’s a strange bitter sweetness that comes with wrapping production. On one hand you’re glad it’s over and all the stress of ending on time, getting the right shots, and communicating your vision clearly to your actors and crew in the fewest words possible is behind you. On the other hand, you’re sad that such a huge part of the project is over. After spending so much time with your friends creating and breathing life into the project together, the next day is spent going off to the edit suite alone to finish the final process.

Honestly, I wasn’t thrilled when I found out that I was required to take the  ‘Intro to Directing’ class in order to graduate. The thought of directing scared me, and I knew it would be a lot for me to handle. So I picked to film something I knew I was good at: dancing. While choreographing it and rehearsals were fun, everything else I had to do stressed me out to the max. A month ago I found myself so overwhelmed I got myself sick because of it. Directing is hard, and if I have gained anything from this experience it is a new found respect for everything a director does. There are so many little duties that fall under the title of director that it makes my head spin. So to the people who thrive in that environment, I tip my hat to you.

But I’ve learned more than just to have a respect for directors. As we stood around Little Buddy (my car) after we packed him to the roof with our equipment, my friend came up to me and gave me a big hug. She whispered in my ear how proud of me she was and commented on how much I have grown because of this project. I thought about it, and I realized she was right (though I would have never realized it on my own). While I have yet to put my finger on it exactly, I know I have matured in some way. My knowledge of filmmaking has grown, I have a better understanding of my abilities and limits, and I am more confident in who I am. I also have a clearer picture of potential jobs would be good for me to pursue after I graduate college. But there’s something else, some other way I have matured.

I think I have done more than just change. I think part of me grew up. Making this film was not easy, and I knew it wouldn’t be (though I had my hopes). During the upcoming editing process, I know it will continue to be hard because I will want to include every single shot, and every single line and almost every singe take because my cast and crew worked so hard and, by golly!, people need to know that! But that’s not why I make movies. I make movies to tell stories about life’s victories and hardships. So that means “killing my baby,” as some of my professors would say, and picking takes and shots that help convey the story rather than show off my friends’ talent. That is the only way I am able to tell the best story I can, which is what I wanted to do from the beginning.

I have a more realistic outlook on my filmmaking process. I know how much I don’t know and need to learn before I become a professional filmmaker. Yes, I’m a senior in college but that doesn’t mean I know everything yet. I may have head knowledge but I still need the lessons that come with experience. That means failing and messing up in front of people more than once, that means getting back on my feet and trying to learn from my mistakes instead of ignoring them.

Yes, my first film as director has wrapped. Yes, I am thankful for all the hard work people put into this project (you all are amazing!). Yes, I am thankful that I learned more about myself, such as my strengths and weaknesses. But the ride’s not over yet, and I still have a lot more to learn in this next week and as I continue to pursue my career as a filmmaker.