Happy July 1st everyone! With the clean page that is the start of a new month, it seemed like as good a day as any to finally update you on the progress of my spoken word short films that I mentioned in my February post, Location, Location, Location. While filming did not begin in the spring like we had originally intended, my friend, Adam Johnson, and I finally got the bulk of the footage completed for the first video entitled, What Have I Done? So, I’m here to give you a behind the scenes look, while the project heads into post-production.
What Have I Done is a poem that I wrote around three years ago; up until that point, I had written plenty of poetry, but never one intended to be a spoken word. The first in my repertoire of its kind, this poem holds a very special place in my heart; I didn’t know it at the time, but this piece opened up a very specific outlet for me to be able to combine my passion for writing and theatre, while still sharing messages that are based on my personal experiences. I have had the vision concept behind this video for so long, that it is hard to believe I’m finally seeing it come to fruition, and I can’t begin to tell you how stoked I am to share it with all of you! For now though, all that I can let out of the bag are some images of the process and some lessons that I’m learning along the way.
Lesson #1: The Show Must Go On
Pretty much everyone has heard this phrase, but it especially strikes a chord in those that have had experience with live theatre. People forget lines, entrances get missed, buttons pop-off…but no matter what happens, you have to give the audience the performance they deserve! With filming, these issues aren’t exactly the same due to retakes and editing, but to a certain extent this same phrase applies; you can’t always choose your conditions and circumstances, but you have to make the best of the situation.
In this particular instance, that means attempting to give a truthful performance while wearing all black on what felt like the hottest day of the year so far… I was dripping, people! Not to mention, I have issues with being up close and personal with birds (Rooster attacks can emotionally scar a person, ok?), and the building in which we were filming just so happens to be the current home of several flocks who probably didn’t enjoy me trespassing. But, sometimes we have to let go of our romanticized ideas of perfection, and…
Despite everything going on around you, when you believe in what you’re doing…
the show must go on!
Lesson #2: Film is Like a Jigsaw Puzzle
I have always loved films…seriously, to the point where my friends know not to let me go near the five dollar movie bins or I’m doomed! However, a love of watching movies, and even a love of acting, cannot fully prepare you for the great undertaking that IS film. I’m so thankful I’ve had the opportunity to experience both stage and film because it has truly given me a chance to respect the challenges that arise in both types of performances.
Some may think that film actors have it easier because if they mess up, the mistakes can just be placed on the blooper reel and the shot gets done over again. While there can be more chances to get the take right, it can actually be quite difficult to deliver the same lines over and over again, while attempting to have the same intensity and honesty every time. In my very first short-film experience, I had maybe two actual lines, and I was there for at least an hour and a half; similarly, for this video, we were on location for around four hours for what will probably be about a five to ten minute finished product. You have to be patient with the process even if it’s tedious at times, because film really is like putting together a puzzle… the finished product must have each of these smaller pieces to look as beautiful as it can; every new angle, the specific lighting techniques, the transitions, and of course music, all play very important roles.
Lesson #3: Be Inspired by Others
If you don’t feel that any of the other lessons apply to you, please at least hang on to this one…
Your dreams are important…so are theirs!
Who are they? You know – the people around you who seem to keep showing up as your best support systems, or the friends that have been in your life for years, or maybe just the passionate people you meet along the way…most likely, they all have dreams too. Listen to them, be inspired by them, and maybe just maybe, ask them to join you! I used to think that my art was better kept to myself, although something inside wanted to share it, I guess I was embarrassed and I also thought people wouldn’t understand. Not everyone will, but that’s okay, because it’s those that do who end up changing how you see things too. Proverbs 27:17 says, “as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” We can only learn so much on our own.
I for one could not have done any of this without Adam. I was lucky enough to know someone who has an eye for film and who isn’t afraid to passionately pursue things that are outside of society’s box. We have been able to bounce ideas back and forth, and I’ve been able to indulge in gaining knowledge in fields other than my own areas of expertise. For all of this, I am truly thankful.
I’m also excited to announce that I have some other talented friends who will be featured in either this video or the upcoming ones, so stay tuned! And, don’t forget…
Let people in, don’t give up, and let your dreams grow wings!