Filmmaker’s Forum

           This past April I made it my buisness to attend the filmmakers forum at the Florida Film Festival. No, this was not a panel made up of A List directors discussing exotic location travels and how they chose their Hollywood leading actor. This was a panel of up and coming filmmakers discussing the pros and cons of being in complete control. Once a long time ago those A List movie directors had the same struggles as us I knew, therefore I listened carefully.

I suppose one of the more obvious topics that came up amongst these filmmakers was the beauty and horror of budget and backing. Everyone across the panel supplied their own funding mostly. ‘If you ever wait to make a film due to lack of funds then you may perhaps never make that film.’ Similar to a young couple who unexpectedly have a baby. First they fear that they do not have the proper timing and finances to raise a child but in the end it all works out eventually. As many indie filmmakers can confirm you sometimes have to use your own resources even if it means casting your friends and family into your film.

 

Time in general can take several years to release a movie but it should not take years to make a movie under normal circumstances. One of the directors pointed out that when working with actors in a certain age range time is always running out. Youd be suprised just how womanly a girl can look when she reaches a certain age. Youd also be suprised to see how quickly a boy can turn into a man over the summer. When creating a schedule for a film that is shot on your watch and penny one can often forget the elements you must factor into a schedule. Another director pointed that out for when she took her entire cast and crew out to location she didn’t expect such a longer drive than usual. Therefore she was racing against daylight to shoot certain scenes.

 

In conclusion, the filmmakers made their final point so clear that it was a direct message to everyone in the audience.’We are not alone.’ There are others our age, younger, older, more educated, less educated people trying to reach for the moon while budgeting the trip to get there. If we dont take the first step out of our comfort zone, then who will? The film youre currently working on might not be a hit, it might not even be good. However how do you know that one of your next films may be the one to open the right door for you? If we dont do this, right here and right now,  then who will?

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And I thought It Was Mr. Banks Whom Mary Poppins was supposed To Save…

‘Winds in the East, breeze blowing in like something is brewin…aboutto begin. Cant put my finger on what lies in store but I feel whats to happen all happened before.’

Being of English descent and familiar with childrens stories, the film Mary Poppins was always popular in our home. A few years back when the film ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ was released I was delighted at the idea of Mary Poppins related film splashing into cinema for the first time decades. The film revolved around the author P.L. Travers and her early childhood in Australia. Its so ironic that I used to wonder a horrible life it must be for someone so young to see what happened to her father. At the time of viewing the film the character of the father was nothing more than a drunk to me. Now today a few years later viewing the film i see the father in a completely different light.

 

Travers Goff, father of the Mary Poppins author, suffered greatly. A happy married life with children and a promising career couldn’t even save him. Perhaps he was not even meant to flourish in this life, but perhaps in the next. During the day he was trapped managing a bank, that was his job. He hated money for he knew just how much it controlled people, robbing them of lifes true beauty. How tormenting it must be to work with something you hate so much yet must pretend to love. His soul and mind were so creative though. His eldest daughter took on his strong trait of creativity which empowered their connection even more so. At one point he and his daughter sat on the riverside and he warns her on not to give into the ways of the world. ‘This world is just an illusion. ‘ He reminds her to keep dreaming and not let the struggles of reality control her.

 

I finally see what he was talking about. As blessed as I am to be a storyteller I must often come out of my head and deal with reality. The earth itself is still so beautiful but the people inside of it can sometimes be ugly because theyve given into the ways of the world…money, greed, pride,…lies.

 

I now see what can happen to a creative mind when so close to being torn apart. Its like a battle in the mind between good and evil…that kind of battle can take a toll on the human body eventually. Poor Travers Goff was so drained fighting a battle no one knew nothing about. ..and only few could understand if he tried to explain. Unlike Travers this is a battle i refuse to loose. My fears are many but one particular fear comes to mind. In the film Travers arrives home after a long day at the cold heartless bank that he manages to his daughter sitting on the porch day dreaming in her own world. He asks her all the details of the world she is dreaming about. She expresses to him that one day she wants to be just like him when she grows up. With tears in his eyes he looks into hers almost unbearably imagining how she could ever want to be like him. Then he remembers. ..that she knows nothing about the battle he fights. As the tears begin to release he kisses her hand and whispers ‘Don’t’ as if hes almost begging her not to.

 

I fear the day that I have such an interaction with my child. I fear the day that I hide my battles that they consume me leaving my children in mystery. I cant even fathom the pain Travors Goff felt when those same fears he had came to life.

Even when you’re not, you’re perfect.

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This line of work that were in called Entertainment may not involve us saving lives or laying our life on the line for others but our jobs are still rather life altering. We dont always make it home in time for dinner. We may miss a soccer game or two. We may have forgotten our own anniversary. We may have had to leave the parent teacher conference early. Our children’s best friends parents may have never met us even though they see our own children more than we do. You get the picture.
This life isnt for everyone. Some people are not up to the challenge. More times than not during that production meeting, on that set, or at the premiere your eye will wander in a direction that it shouldn’t. Your eyes may have wandered to another man that isnt your husband. Maybe it was more than your eyes that wandered.
These are just a few of the many maybes you could come across when trying to balance work and home. Personally i chose work over marriage and children a long time ago and Im more than content with my decision. However if i ever did change my mind I cant help but want to live like Lucy and Desi. They didn’t end up very good i know and they faced all the struggles that I listed I know. Sometimes having those real struggles and still coming out on top makes you feel human. Id feel more human than your average American happy couple.
I often wonder what would Lucy and Desi end up like had they not be famous. Perhaps theyd end up happy and stress free. They’d be sitting on the porch of their home watching their grand children play in the sprinklers, sipping iced tea, holding hands, and basking in their endless love. Fame can break apart a persons soul and a persons family in a heartbeat. I guess Lucy and Desi’s marriage were victims to the fame monster.
Desi once said about Lucy, ‘I love Lucy because despite all evidence to the contrary, I still believe she loves me.’
This world wasn’t good enough for them in my opinion so they had to suffer being apart. They were on the same level of brilliance so strong that no other woman, no other man, or even fame could actually keep them apart forever. Perhaps in heaven theyre sipping their iced teas on their front porch, holding hands, basking in their endless love  and watching the sunset not bearing any ill thought on the human world behind them for tearing them apart.

‘I dont want to be thin.’

Marilyn Monroe  was known for many things  in her time. Her acting  career  may have been successful but her real success  was off screen with her rare personality and memorable presence. At an early age she altered  her looks  and her name to further her career. Her more famous  transformation was coloring her hair from natural burnette to platinum blonde. I strongly  relate as the past few  years Ive lost weight and decided  to  throw my body into weight loss mode where I am constantly looking  to loose weight in some  way. My intention was to be presentable  (aka thin and perfect) when representing my film work. I wanted my career  to  have more opportunities by being beautiful. However  all year  my frustration  grows as the number  on the scale climbs yet my clothes sizes become smaller. As everyone  knows  I am a very old soul and one of the main television station I watch is Turner Classic Movies. One night my mom and I were watching ‘Gentlemen  Prefer Blondes.’ Many people  over the past  few years have told me that I strongly resemble Jane Russel yet it  was Marilyn Monroe I felt more drawn to for some odd reason. In the middle of the film I confessed  to my mom how I envied Monroe for her ability to keep her figure even though  she struggled with depression  (since I gained 16 pounds since  the diagnosis of my own depression  in September.) My mother looked at me alarmed. ‘Oh honey she didn’t  actually  struggle  at all. She  was very happy about her figure.’

I then did some research  into this starlet that I  swore i could never respect. What i learned about  her brought much comfort  to me. Much like myself  she struggled with addiction, chose the wrong men to enter her life, practiced multiple  forms of self infliction, and was at times perhaps to open about  her sexuality. At the time she didnt actually  differ much from Hollywood in terms of her body type. Many actresses  at the time were a size 6 to 12. Monoroe varied from a size 8 to 16. Yet she took pride in her imperfect body and even made it look fun to  carry around a few extra pounds. She may  have let her demons deform her soul but physically she continued to be beautiful.

This year became an emotional roller coaster since becoming so negatively obsessed with my weight. I have everything a girl could ever ask for. I am beyong blessed yet i let a dark cloud come over me and stay over me. The more i obsessed the more dark i became. My darkness was very similar to Monroes. I often wondered if she experienced  the same scenes that i did. Such as crying when she  stepped on the scale, relieving stress with the bad boys while i pushed the good men away, and looking in the  mirror asking myself. ….how did i ever let myself go this far? Discovering that she was still able to be beautiful without  being thin has brought much relief to me. I’m not saying that Im completely cured of my poisonous thoughts. …Im saying that coming to this realization has me thinking more clear. This is a step in the right direction.

The Disease of Mildred Pierce

imagesAnyone who has seen he classic film ‘Mildred Pierce’ starring Joan Crawford would say that all of her problems she caused by herself. That’ not true. . . .it can’t be true. The rare kind of pain that she possessed I am seeing more and more of every day in other people. This kind of pain is so strong that it silently overcomes all of the human body, and everything inside of it.

Yes, the film starts with Mildred’s cheating husband leaving her and her two children but that is not where the pain came from. Matter of the fact him leaving was the best thing that happened to her! She had been fired from being a full time wife so now she can pursue being a full time restaurant owner.  Her business skills were so perfect that even the soon to be ex husband could not deny it.  If life has continued like this she would never have this disease I speak of. Life did not continue like this for Mildred Pierce though. Her youngest and most gentle child passed away right in front of her eyes. Her last words were ‘Mommy.’ That one word repeated itself in Mildred’s head through the success of her career. No money could ever bring her back so her wound could never be stitched. She continued to bleed out slowly and silently in everything she did for the rest of her life even though she had one other child.

Veda was her eldest child but really she was never a child. Veda never showed any love for Mildred, and it got worse after her baby sister passed. That’s how the real disease began, when Mildred became desperate for Veda’s love. Veda’s love would always have an impossible price though. Mildred’s downfall came from her attempts to fill that price even though she knew she couldn’t afford it with all of the money she had.

Next time you say to yourself at the end credits of the film, ‘Well Mildred brought everything upon herself,’ remember how inaccurate it is. You could say that Im reading to deep into it I suppose that’s fair. However I’m still right to say that it was not Mildred’s fault because she had an incurable disease. ‘Mommy’ is the name of the disease. For once you become a mommy and that job is taken from you when that child is taken from you, the end is only that much closer.

What’s A Neverland Girl?

tumblr_myh1lzcOu41qbn2z7o1_500              The film Saving Mr. Banks was released this week and many Disney freak like me were waiting for it forever. I was waiting for it for other reasons besides loving Disney. I was waiting for another film that I could relate to (one hasn’t been released recently where I could relate to.)

I saw the film Mary Poppins in 1995 while I was in my playroom during a typical Florida summer thunderstorm. Even though my mother was in the next room working I was scared of the storm, a fear I still strangely have at 22. Completely captivated by the film I of course watched it many more times. All I could think about while watching this was about how I never wanted to grow old. From that day on, when I was 4, I would always have a fear of growing old. About a year later while visiting Disney World, which was a 3 hour drive from our house so we were Disney regulars, my mother put the film Peter Pan on before bed. Feeling the same excitement that I did a year previously from watching Mary Poppins I felt that same fear of growing old. I know how strange it must sound that I fear growing old while I was on the Walt Disney World Resort property.

When we arrived back home I told my mother my fear of growing old. I explained to her how it started. It took her about a minute to explain to me that it was not a fear of growing old I was feeling but it was a fear of growing up. She was right. Years later on my 14th birthday my parents asked me what I wanted for my birthday. They were joking because they knew that I wanted to visit Disney but I answered, ‘To never grow up.’ Two years later we moved to a town where our house is less than half a mile from Disney.

So now at 22 I feel old even though I know that Im not and will never be. Yes I drive a car, do laundry, clean the pool, workout, I went to college and have been working ever since . . . so yes I do all of those ‘adult’ things. Secretly though I know that Im not an adult. My soul is old and my heart is still four years old. I never want to grow up. That’s what a Neverland Girl is.

This Makes Me Alive

lg-the-blessed-2The other night I found myself frustrated as I was putting away my clean laundry. I’m always neat and organized for the most part but I couldn’t fit my clothes into my drawer. Just as I was a bout to get annoyed and give up the thought struck me. . .I have so much clothes that I cant fit it into my drawer. (Yes we do make a trips occasionally to the Salvation Army along with goodwill to donate bags of clothes between the three of us.)

I have so much clothes that I cant fit it into my drawer./ Some people only have one outfit if that.

We have food in our fridge and pantry along with cookbooks./ Many can’t afford a stove or a fridge let alone have food.

We have cars to bring us to work and doctor appointments./ Others take the bus.

I’m saving up for proper audio and lighting equipment./ Others are trying to make rent.

My degree sits on my drawer in the way of my TV sometimes./ People are fighting to get into school.

I have to clean the pool this weekend./ Most of my friends have to go to the neighborhood public pool.

My parents always take each others sides in the rare occasion of an argument./ My parents are alive and love me just as much as they love each other because all my friend’s parents are divorced.

I have to wake up early for church./ I live in a country where I’m allowed to go to church. (Hoping it stays that way too.)

These are all just some of the things I pondered about while standing in my room with a handful of clean laundry. My moment of frustration quickly turned into one of my highest moments of gratitude.

Psalm 118:24

This is the day The Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.