I officially took a look at the fourth and final cut of this amazing little short film and I'm a deeply proud. My editor took the time to create a strong opening sequence, using spoken lines from a poem one of the actresses performed. At first, I didn't like it. But then as I saw more and more cuts, it began to work for me. He introduces the characters in a succinct manner that makes the story more visually interesting. He smoothed out a couple of the sequences, which was a really big help. We experimented with different ways to implement the lovely montage. We cut out some lines and made some beats longer, more dramatic.
I'd like to say, I'm interested in what people will think but, I honestly don't care. I love the colors and the performances and the exterior shots of Ally transitioning from Lisa's place to hers. Everything about this film feels like it stemmed from a place of ease. It's definitely an improvement from my other work. Super grateful for the editing process and how time and commitment to "going at it" can truly make a difference.
21st Century women are not like the girls in corsets we knew years ago. They have a bigger fight in them that can't be contained by social norms. Their voices are louder, their desires more realized and their ambitions bigger. BUT, and it's a big but, I'm beginning to believe that certain things about us have not changed, and never will.
I think a lot of women today, hide or dim their desire to be taken care of. We still long for partners to take care of us, to hold us beneath the comfort of their arms. The definition of "provision" has definitely changed as women, over the years, stepped up into higher positions in the work place. But how we understand love is still very much the same. From what I observe, women want valuable work and a strong place in society, but they don't want the pressure of the mortgage to rest on their shoulders alone. They want pretty things but they want partners who will help care for the beauty of their lives with a similar dedication--even if it's just out doors in mowing the lawn. They want privacy but they want the depths of their emotional pools to be pursued by brave men and women willing to dive in.
This can all be a total crock. These are just my observations from my personal relationships and friendships. But I think, it's true. Thus this post.
Part of me thinks, women want the world and it's just too unrealistic. The other part of me feels like we as a society haven't learned that kind of love yet. The kind of love that sees relationships as mutual and effortful giving experiences. And, most importantly, we haven't learned to see men needing this kind of complex balance too. Which is, dare I say, our failure as women. Food for thought.
After getting a lot of feedback about my "difficult" protagonist, I've decided to write the entire feature length screenplay from scratch. I completely re-wrote their cute meet, redefined their family ties, throughout complete scenes and characters and began to re-imagine their love-dance toward one another all over again. I took out the kid and focused on their families and why they are who they are. I was attempting a comedy and it turned into a romantic drama with some funny moments.
I tried my hardest to let go of wha I think "people want to see" and focused on what I want to see--what I love about Tina and Amber. What I'm discovering is that nothing about this consistent writing and re-writing is laborious. It's not hard or emotionally taxing. It truly is an act of love, crafting out their story, re-imagining their humanness.
Sometimes I think I'm veering too far away from my original intent with these characters. And then I realize, this story isn't for anybody. I can do whatever I want. If I want to re-write their lives, I can. If I want to throw them into one arduous event after another, nothing is stopping me.
For me, Tina and Amber are two women who learn to accept each other and relish in the undeniable beauty of their distinct individuality. I 'll know I'm done re-writing when it feels right.
I can't get enough of Woody Allen's films. Growing up, I couldn't handle the constant talking. But now...I love it. I don't know when that changed, when I began to long to hear him rant and talk about his existential crises' and love for film. Maybe it started when I began to have to create my own body of work. That's it. And getting older with more life experiences myself helps too. When we, as young and invincible 20 somethings, stop and truly put the blood, sweat, and tears into creating work of our own, we begin to have a newer appreciation for those who've done it too--and done it as well as Woody.
This spring, I'll begin work on my SECOND ACTION FILM. I'm unbearably excited. I cannot wait to begin working with the fight coordinator. "Closing Time," like every other story I write, is about a woman who is fed up. Lisbeth, the waitress is fed up with working long hours for little pay only to be disrespected by horny truck drivers. Big, whom I will play, is one of those fed up hungry truck drivers who will not be crossed. They fight and I can't wait til they fight.
Going into my second project in action, I've been encouraged to study Jacky Chan's philosophy on filming fight scenes. Chan believes that American films lack the energy of Hong Kong films because we cut too much to hide our sloppy combat. He argues that the audience needs to see the action and reaction in the same shot--without CUTTING. That requires more time, more practice and definitely more takes. Hong Kong has no problem fronting the money for that, but Hollywood, sadly enough is not as generous.
When I step forward with this film, my goal as the actor is to MASTER the choreography so that I can capture the action and reaction without resorting to cutting. As the director, I'm going to focus on framing. This kind of philosophy requires a greater appreciation of wides, more emphasis on set design and as Mamet would put it, unadulterated staging of the camera.
Fight films to watch: All of Jacky's. And "Haywire" (2011). I love Haywire.
I've been thinking a lot about the heart of an artist. We're a different breed, we who create. The rest of the world can be put into the category of consumers or critics. Artist are creators. We think things can be better, different, darker, funnier, more dreadful, and so on. Our hearts cannot rest until we have used our faculties to truly express that difference and the measure of our creation's authenticity depends on how true we are to all that's within.
The more I write and direct and film my stories the more I notice this transaction, the expression of what's inside coming out. All people, whether we are artists or not, have a lot of chaos within us. Life, human hormones, and circumstances often put us at the mercy of all that we can tolerate day in and day out. It's the role of an artist to give that chaos FORM with a story or a painting or a song. Giving something as abstract as a feeling or experience SHAPE gives a community of people the ability to deal with the chaos.
I wrote "The Fire & the Hearth" (2013) to create some kind of shape to this feeling I felt inside. I gave that feeling images. I filmed images of what I believe people loose when the discover, and truly accept, the reality of infertility. With "Adore" (2015) I gave shape to the experience of falling in love and hitting the ground hard, instead of a safe space.
With every project, I'm discovering over and over again what a gift it is to be an artist--what a privilege this role truly is.