Sunday, October 2, 2016

NCCU Alumni Kick Off

In a country where race relations are getting increasingly worse - where police brutality is (almost) the norm and there is little justice for those who need it the most, you seldom see moments of grace. You seldom see moments of respite. Here was one. Last month I helped my fellow alumni's put together a picnic to kick off the 2016-17 alumni year. I'm looking forward to a year of community and awareness and the joy of investing in future eagles.


When I was filming today, both Max and Anna mentioned the idea of having a signature moment in a film as a director. Like a cameo or something in the frame at a key point in the story that says "Directed by Ashley." Both Hitchchock and Shyamalan do cameos. In fact, Shyamalan usually does a very important cameo - he's killed someone important or done gives a key line. Not sure what Scorses does or even Malick... But when I think about what my signature could be, I don't see myself making spotlight appearances. I see a signature move with the actors.

I can't remember when I first saw this image of Paul Newman kissing his wife, but I do remember what I felt - the intimacy, the vulnerability. How easily it made me feel safe and loved and cherished just by looking at it. The older we get, the less we move, the less we crouch down and kneel and kiss and lean and spoon. So seeing this couple leaning in like this on the bed, fully dressed gave me the vision of everything I want to see in a couple - the willingness to lean in to another person.

I think that is my signature. It's already featured in two of my films. Can you see the influence?

"Hostage" (2016 ) - coming soon!

I shot and directed my new short film today :) It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed, so very much, working with these two actors. I connected with Max and Anna through mutual friends and gave them an idea, simple enough to do sans audio and crew. It was just going to be me and a camera and our ideas. I emphasize our in this pitch because I wanted it to be a collaborative event. As a director, what I find the most fulfilling in creating any new project is when actors and DPs and editors take the ideas off my hands and make them their own. When that happens, when a story actually moves from the page to the heart of all collaborating on it, I pretty much disappear. And as a director, I am only a tool in the box used to help all of these people in their experience of the story. It's glorious.

The best part about today was working on the train scenes. It was tricky trying to film around the patrons, trying not to disturb them and get noticed. We had a few different shots, two different scenes, one scene that required a bit of direction. It was enough chaos to make me regret even writing those moments in the film. And after going back and fourth a few times up South Pass to Allen station. We finally got on the train to come back and again it was crowded. This time Max and Anna were in charge (little did I know...) and they looked at each other started the scene. It was like a football play. I squeezed in wherever I could, got the shots and gave my direction. Max swore some of the  passengers were fixing their hair when I told Anna, out of the blue, to fix her hair in the back :) When it was time to get off for the final tracking shot where Anna follows Max (Queen chase King) it was seamless.

I'm looking forward to editing this. Check out the stills and if you haven't seen my latest film "Payasos en Primavera" (2016)  see below!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Currently reading...

I've been reading a lot of books lately. There are some books I read for escape. Those are usually Georgia Beers romances. They are perfect. Whenever I need a full trip somewhere else I read "Too Close to Touch" and I'm back in time with Kylie and Gretchen and everything is perfect. Wehenver I need a good cry I pick up anything written by Toni Morrison. I also read her when I want feel more connected to the people around me. There is something about her writing tha tmakes me feel more human, an oxymoron that that is. When I want to be free I read Jack and imagine what it must have been like to have been on the road with him, or sitting in the cabin with him at Big Sur.  When lifeneeds to change and I want to grow closer to Christ I read books by Piper and MacArthur. Each pages is convicting, each sentense worth highlighting.

But, when I just want to think about good things but not exactly super deeply, I read books blike the one pictured above. And it's pretty good. I'd rather be reading something good for my heart than nothing good at all, or something like the tabloids and such.

Office decor

When I was working with Betty in the after school program, she would often mention my eye for specific things. I didn't realize it til she pointed it out that I do like pretty things. Or...I like to make things beautiful. And she was right. I do. I grew up with a mother with a keen eye for interior design. I always lived in a beautiful place. Miami, North Carolina, San Francisco, beautiful. Even where I spent my summers in Pennsylvania as a kid, things felt beautiful. 

And I suppose that's how I feel about myself too, and God's mercy and his grace. He makes all things beautiful.

These flowers lasted three weeks strong on top of my desk. Aren't they beautiful?

Dog-sitting adventures

I recently had the privilege of dog-sitting this handsome pup. He was awesome and smart. Makes me want a dog of my own, soon!