Saturday, November 29, 2014


When we reveal ourselves to our partner and find that this brings healing rather than harm, we make an important discovery - that intimate relationship can provide a sanctuary from the world of facades, a sacred space where we can be ourselves, as we are.... This kind of unmasking - speaking our truth, sharing our inner struggles, and revealing our raw edges - is sacred activity, which allows two souls to meet and touch more deeply.

-John Welwood

Wednesday, November 26, 2014




Rough Cut - JULIANA

I saw a rough cut of "Juliana" (2014) this week. was rough. "Juliana" (2014) is the first film I shot since "Stay" (2014), a project I am deeply proud of. It came about in response to having been pushed around for so much for the thesis process in "Without You" (2014). I wanted to go back to original film directing, relying on exclusively what I thought and wanted for the film.

The casting, rehearsing, and producing process was far more liberating this time, affirming my need to stand upon my intuition, directing. This was the FIRST FILM I casted solely upon the fact that the actors fit the character, meaning I didn't look for chemistry. I searched for character. This made the casting process easier, being an ensemble piece, but it also left a lot to chance, especially for Ally and Julie. But after being jerked around by everyone else's ideas for WY, I was ready to gladly live and die with my casting choices.

The rough cut - initial thoughts. The beginning was too romantic. I thought, "Jeeze, Ashley. Are you really this cheesy??" I am, dear self. I am :) And then I thought the structure of the film made the whole story seem terribly melodramatic. In film school my directing teacher Tracy Ward, taught us that melodrama is simply "unearned emotion." The intensity of the scenes seemed unearned.

But then, I finally came to my left brain and realized that ALL FIRST & SECOND CUTS are terrible. David Burton Morris, another incredible teacher from my days at AAU said "Sometimes watching a rough cut makes you regret even producing the film!" Which is true. "And then you get over it and watch several cuts and it comes together."

I'm hopeful. ESPECIALLY for the final scene. There is so much good in that final moment between Ally and Julie. It was performed and shot so well. The emotions are so clear. I love it. Told the editor I watched it, like 6 times, which is true. He did great.

To be fair to my wonderful cutter, I didn't give him any specifics on how I wanted it done. Left it to his personal intuition. He did a great job and now the director/editor relationship comes into play to make it better.

So we'll see. I'm hopeful...and ready for something great.

What is good?

"It is only in her work that an artist can find reality and satisfaction, for the actual world is less intense than the world of her invention and consequently her life...The right condition for her is that in which her work is not only convenient but unavoidable.

But once you fully apprehend the vacuity of a life without struggle you are equipped with the basic means of salvation. Once you you know this is the true, that the heart of a woman, her body and her brain, are forged in a white-hot furnace for the purpose of conflict (the struggle of creation) and that with the conflict removed, the woman is a sword cutting daises, that not privation but luxury is the wolf at the door...

Security is a kind of death, I think, and it can come to you in a storm of royalty checks beside a kidney shaped pool in Beverly Hills or anywhere at all that is removed from the conditions that made you an artist...

Then what is good? The obsessive interest in human affairs, plus a certain amount of compassion and moral conviction, that first made the experience of living something that must be translated into pigment or music or bodily movement or poetry or prose or anything that's dynamic and expressive--that's what's good for you if you are at all serious in your aims."

Tennesee Williams in his introduction to "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1947).

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Culture and story development

I've been writing more culture into my screen plays meaning: I've been writing more about WHAT I FEEL about different cultures. I think in the past, I've had a more platonic view of what I saw, not ginning in to the negative things I've encountered and not allowing myself to be completely swept away. Being detached. There are two reasons for that.

1) I don't want to ever loose a grip of who I am - a Cuban American Christian filmmaker from Miami.
2) Who am I to make any judgements or assertions about a group not my own??

But as I've continue to write, I'm beginning to look for more ways to dramatize what it is that I feel about things. Culture, in a character, is a great way to show that. It shows how they think about death, identity, purpose, family, etc.
This monologue gives voice to how I feel about it. 

The Beat Generation & Writing

Since finishing "Adore" I've had more time to read (thank God) and I've been feeding my mind with Bill Murray's "The Type Writer is Holy" an uncensored history of the incredible BEAT generation.

I'm inspired by their tenacious commitment to poetry and quality writing.

I'm a little taken back by their drug usage. Murray claims that they pursued it to reach different areas of consciousness. Not sure if that's true but, I want to know more.