2011 Feature Film shot in Camden, ME
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Category — Inspiration

The F-Word

Last summer was filled with new experiences and steep learning curves but I never once doubted we would make this film. I knew there would be challenges; I’ve participated in enough creative ventures to know that though the memories may be all roses, the journey itself passes through thorns. Nevertheless, during those quiet moments, just as I was falling asleep, I was filled with excitement and awe to be a part of this experience, but under the flutter there was a deep sense of calm. I truly believed that together we could do this.

So why write about that terrible F-word: failure? If you’ve seen Like the Water or simply read this blog, you know this is ultimately a success story. Why feel the burden to write about something depressing and unpopular? Why cast a shadow on the memory of such an artistically fulfilling summer? I’m writing this because I have to. I tried to ignore it. I tried writing something else. I tried giving up on the idea of contributing anything at all. The theme of failure, however, has been coming up over and over. I can’t seem to get away from it so I decided that it was best to deal with it directly: along with the tremendous sense of accomplishment and pride that were part of my personal journey of making this film, I also came face to face with Failure.

The night that Caitlin and I shot our confrontation scene (the “Charlie/Lola fight”) was one of my first experiences on camera, my background being mostly theatre. Our rehearsals had been incredibly dynamic so I was excited to see what this night would bring. Our crew worked away to set up for the shot and we began shooting around 2 AM. At this point we’d been filming for two weeks and I’d spent considerable time on set. I knew how supportive, patient and wonderful everyone was but for some horrible reason when the moment of “action” came, I freaked out! I was overcome with the fear of disappointing everyone, wasting people’s time, ruining the film, proving that I was a fraud and shouldn’t have been asked to be a part of this project to begin with. . . in short, all of my nightmarish thoughts and visions swept over me like a tidal wave. And because I’d been so confident in our project and in us as a group, I didn’t think about or prepare myself for what the moment of “solo” time would be like. I wasn’t at all prepared for the sense of responsibility and ultimately the fear, the paralyzing fear that I would feel.

I don’t like to fail. Many would rightly ask, “Who does?!” But I really don’t like it. There are people I know who are braver when it comes to facing possible failure. This sounds like a value judgment and I really want to avoid making one. I just mean to say that I’ve found that some can roll with disappointment and risk better than others. I’m adventurous and will take huge risks, but risking failure, especially in a public setting, that’s not for me. I hated piano recitals, for example. HATED THEM. My teacher(s) required recitals every few months. I didn’t want to play in public. I didn’t want to be judged. I enjoyed playing for myself. I enjoyed the challenge of learning a new piece, working through it technically and then practicing to the point where I could feel myself in and through the piece. But it wasn’t for public consumption. I’d get too nervous and I didn’t like the attention. I couldn’t lose myself in the music the way I did when I was alone. I tried practicing really hard to perfect my pieces but I still got nervous and my fingers wouldn’t cooperate. I decided that practicing more and working harder was not the answer. Somehow it never occurred to me to practice not worrying so much, not caring if I made a few mistakes (or ten!) in front of people. As soon as I turned thirteen I decided I was old enough to quit playing the piano, so I did! Aside from those piano recitals, I haven’t experienced all that much failure in my life. I’ve been lucky I suppose that most of my risks have paid off. And most projects that were failures were shared ventures, so somehow my pain was mitigated. That night, however, even though our film set was incredibly collaborative, I felt utterly alone and afraid and I couldn’t shake it: I felt I was doing a terrible acting job, I was closed off, I didn’t make spontaneous choices, I was so tense that I started losing my voice (after the 14th take or so . . . kill me now!). Pretty much the only horror that didn’t come about that night was the earth opening up and swallowing me whole. And believe me, I actually prayed for that.

I kept fighting, each time feeling more and more defeated but I continued to fight. The problem is that I was fighting myself and descending deeper and deeper into my own hell. What truly breaks my heart is that I was so deeply disappointed in myself and so caught off-guard that I lost all faith and confidence in myself. My many years of work and study, my investment in my art, in my friendships, and in myself, it all counted for nothing. I was simply a terrible actress, a horrible friend and a colossal waste of time and space. It’s terrifying for a rational person who loves to achieve and excel to realize that there’s a powerful place in my psyche where all merit and worth count for nothing. At that moment I was a stranger in a strange land with no currency. I had no worth and I knew it. Worse than that, I believed it.

After Caroline (finally) decided to move on to another scene I sat on the back porch of Caitlin’s house, utterly exhausted and defeated. The sun was rising and the view across the backyard towards the water in the distance was stunning. I was so relieved it was over! Soon my girls were around me. I was dumbstruck and blindsided and for the first time in ages I felt I had no good explanation for or even an instinct about what had happened. Finally my tears were flowing and I once again felt the support and strength of these wonderful friends around me. Caitlin looked at me as I apologized over and over and she said “Sal, don’t apologize. We got the scene! We got it. And believe me, I’ve been where you are right now and I know it feels horrible. I’ve been there. And I’m telling you all these things that you’re thinking right now, they’re not true.” I’m filled with such gratitude when I think about that moment. The terrible thing about feeling that kind of paralyzing fear, that internal scramble and panic as it became clear to me that I was in the act of failing in the most public, open, and humiliating way, is that I lost all sense of being part of a community. I lost all sense of being there with my friends, my colleagues, my fellow artists. It was just me, in a glass cage, writhing in horror at my own pathetic self and they were witnesses to it. That moment was reduced to a “them and me” in the most acutely threatening way. It’s horrible and embarrassing to admit because I love and admire these women. But that moment wasn’t about them. Or our crew. Or the fucking birds that started chirping, marking the hours that had been wasted by my shitty acting. It was about my worst fears coming true: failing publicly when there was so much at stake professionally, personally, and artistically, and feeling utterly alone.

Miraculously, on our tight timetable and budget, Caroline finessed a way for us to reshoot the scene a week later. The experience was much better that time, thank god! I came prepared: I had a $100 bill in my backpack and had warned my dad that if the same thing happened I’d just start running and get as far as my $100 would take me and then figure out what the hell I was going to do with my life!

As fate or the director would have it, the footage in the final film is from that first night’s shoot! I was mortified when Caroline told me this but she assured me that it worked much better in the context of the whole film. Live and learn. I don’t control it all (what?! really?!) and therefore can’t give the “perfect” performance. I’m happy to say that Caitlin was right . . . we got it! I give all due credit to Caroline, to our editor Mikaela, and of course to Caitlin for making the scene work—but I can also watch my work and feel good about much of it. Thankfully, because it’s such a collaborative art form, there was room for me to experience this failure and still have this project be one of the things I’m proudest of. The art of filmmaking. Truly amazing.

Without romanticizing my experience of failure I can honestly say that I’m grateful for it. Grateful to know that I survived it. Grateful to realize how many gifts failure can bring. I was reading a section of Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time recently where he describes an experience of scheitern, most aptly translated as “shipwrecked” or “shattering.” He says that our success in real, genuine thinking, occurs only in and through the experience of shattering/shipwreck. Only through scheitern can we measure any progress. Failure is a time of facing fear. It’s a time of wrestling with the monster(s) head on, a time of experiencing a real-life nightmare. In that sense there’s something exhilarating about it. For a time (which to me felt excruciatingly long) I experienced the underbelly of so many drives, desires, and beliefs and got to deal with myself in an all-out crisis. While it was something I’ll always be grateful for, the shattering was very real and deeply felt, and like a pebble in a pond, the ripples extended out to other areas of my life. It broke my whole life open. The process of rebuilding, however, has made it possible for me to write part of this after a day of surfing in Bali . . . having traveled there after finally taking the risk to fall in love again.

One thing that I can say quite objectively is that part of the reason I experienced this shattering is because I was working with women who were much better at risking failure than I. Caitlin was writing her first movie and starring in it; Caroline, first-time co-writer and director; Emily B, acting and also producing for the first time; Susan, acting with us after having been our teacher; and Emily A-W, running the whole production and dealing with insurmountable tasks daily. All of these women were taking huge risks and it’s not that I wasn’t, but my risk felt communal, like we were all in it together. I discovered that for me, truly risking failure is about sticking my own neck out and facing the firing squad (or the chirping birds). What a gift, to have been pushed by circumstance and by these fierce spirits I’m lucky enough to call my friends, to get back on a track where failure is likely to be a more regular part of my life. It’s terrifying and exhilarating and the way I’ve always wanted to live. My life: an adventure! Thank you to everyone who has taught me about failure, by example or otherwise, and thank you to all of you who witnessed my failure that night (or the ripple-effect afterwards) and helped dust me off!

Failure is part of life, a part that I am starting to embrace as fiercely as possible. I’d like to become more expert at failing. What a terrifying thought!! But I’ve taken to heart the words of one of my favorite writers, Samuel Beckett: Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

August 13, 2012   1 Comment

Belief in the YES

We got to premiere our movie in Waterville, Maine at the Maine International Film Festival — an amazing experience for all of us and also a lovely reunion with each other and the various people who helped make this film happen. After the screening which I was newly moved by–we made a GOOD movie on top of everything–the six of us who started the project plus our director of photography and our editor, all women, got up to do a Q&A. Being in front of an audience to answer questions about a film that is dear to your heart and that the audience may or may not have just enjoyed is nerve wracking. I was thankful that the questions were fantastic, insightful and enabled us to talk about the process of making a super low budget, first time movie in some depth.

So there were good questions and good answers, and then Gary Wheeler, one of the wonderful people who gave of themselves to help us make Like the Water, asked a final question of the group: “How did this process change you?” The girls started answering on the opposite end of the line and I started racking my brain for an answer. As the microphone was passed to me I realized the gift that our summer in Maine had given me: a belief in the yes. I’m generally a person who believes that people are going to say no to me. It’s just the way I approach the world. But in order to film our first movie for a very tight budget and in the great outdoors within a month, we needed all the yeses we could get. So I had to start asking for stuff, for free, on a daily basis. The funny thing that I never expected was that the people of Camden, Mid-Coast Maine, and the State of Maine at large offered our movie the yes before I could even ask, cheerfully and without asking for payback. One day when I stopped for gas at my favorite filling station between Camden and Rockland, I was talking about needing a ladder. We had an 8 ft, we had a 10 ft, but we needed a 14 ft for a specific shot we wanted to do. The cashier heard me and asked what I was up to. I told her about the movie and she said, “Well let me go out back and see if we have one.” They didn’t and we ended up finding one someplace else and got the shot we needed. But a week later I was at the same gas station and the same cashier was there and when she saw me she asked, “How did that ladder thing work out?” I was struck that she remembered me and wished us success. She embodied the yeses and the open arms we were welcomed with during our time in Maine.

Those open arms have not only continued to surround Like The Water but have made me more confident in the yes of life. It has changed me. It’s a powerful way to view the world and is due entirely to my experience in Maine making our movie.

August 6, 2012   No Comments

A Real Dude.

I know we’ve talked about so many great women involved in this production but I want to take a moment to talk about a dude. A gentleman and a badass. A real dude.

Ryan Croke

It takes a great, confident, kind guy with a sense of humor to work on a film crew with so many women, especially with a female producer, director and DP. And we lucked out with each person – guy or gal – who came onto this project. I constantly could not believe my luck or why these talented folks would want to jump on board with a first time director but jump – and jump fully – they did.

The dude I want to write a few words about is one Ryan Croke. Ryan had worked before with Eve Cohen, our cinematographer, and we were fortunate that Eve convinced him to come along for the ride. Ryan’s role was that of Grip but with our tiny crew (and even tinier budget) he served so many roles; it feels like false advertising that he is listed in our credits simply as “Grip.”

On one of our rare days off during our six-day shooting weeks, Ryan joined me on the front porch of the Mountain Street house in Camden, where we unwound each day by talking of life and film and drinking our free, sponsored PBRs. On this afternoon, before we joined the rest of the group for a lake swim, I got to hear about an incredible story Ryan was bringing to life through film.

I cannot begin to do Ryan’s friend Grant’s story justice, so I am not going to try. Ryan has promised to share his story in another post shortly but in the meantime, please do see his link below. Ryan spoke to me of Grant’s life – his injury, his recovery, his spirit, his continued athleticism and his joyful, adventurous living. Ryan’s celebration of this inspiring man reminded me of the power of documentary film, not just narrative, in portraiture, in expressing the gift and challenge it is simply to be human. Grant’s story and very person could hold one captive for hours, as it did me that July afternoon last summer with Ryan on the porch. Through his filmmaking, Ryan will be able to share this story – a story which really needs to be shared.

Each day I was in great awe that this cast and crew, most of whose experience greatly outweighed my own, were here serving this film with me and giving their every fiber of energy and talent. Hearing their stories of their own film pursuits was pretty awe-inspiring as well. Here was Ryan, having flown across the country to give his summer to work for next to nothing in Maine, taking on every responsibility that could come up on set and never losing his chill, positive vibes. Such a rock to each person lucky enough to meet him, such a giver. A true gentleman. And a badass. A real dude.

June 15, 2012   No Comments

Big Girl Panties

Last summer scared the shit out of me.

I believe in fear.  I believe that it can be an extremely creative energy.  I know that when I get asked to do something and it scares the hell out of me, I have to do it.  Why?  Because every time I have felt extreme fear and moved through it, I have had the most rewarding experiences of my life.

Last summer was one of those experiences.  As the time to go to Maine drew near, what kept running through my head was: who the hell do we think we are????  We were 6 friends who had a bold vision, but no practical experience of getting a film made.  We were sure to fail miserably!!!  Oh God what have we done????

This is what I told myself and the other actresses on set:  it’s time to put on the big girl panties.  It’s time to live a life of bold dreams, no regrets, full of life force and vitality.  We pushed ourselves to our edges, and demanded that of our tribe members.  I did many things I have never done before:  acted with my students (terror!), howled and keened and wept and stormed (horror!), swam naked in the lakes (nausea-inducing!), took a Zumba class (?????!!!)… the list goes on…

Here’s what I learned:  every day I was scared, and every day I went to sleep feeling more alive than I ever have.  This idea of the big girl panties is so useful to me-that when I feel the little bratty part of myself taking over, when I feel fear and I start a little temper tantrum inside, and I fight to keep myself safe and small, I think of Maine.  I think of how I witnessed the women in my tribe stepping up in a big way.  I believe in their bigness, and I believe I stepped up too.  I believe in my bigness.   I silence the brat by taking bold steps despite the fear.  I believe in my big girl panties.

May 29, 2012   No Comments

STAY HUNGRY

I can confidently say that the experience of making Like the Water changed my life. We set out, a group of women friends, to make a film that utterly bucks the trend. We didn’t really know that’s what we were doing, mind you. We thought we were making a movie about a young woman’s journey into herself that might speak to other women like us.  In the process of making the film, we also wanted to demonstrate – despite what every women-centered reality show will have you believe – that more than fighting, we collaborated with one another, supported each other, and were as a team much greater than the sum of our parts.

Finding funding for a bunch of first time filmmakers who are gearing their story towards an otherwise under-served (and therefore, mostly unproven) audience is an uphill battle, to say the least. We had many moments along the way where we nearly threw in the towel. We talked of pushing back production to the following year, of changing the parameters of the project and making a short, of scrapping it all together. And this was where it was crucial that we were a team: one person would dig in her heels and say, “No, we’re not giving up yet.” As individuals we sometimes fell prey to our fears, but as a group we were hungry for something larger than ourselves, something that would demand we all grow into the space it created.

And the experience of producing a micro-budget feature: the generosity of spirit, the personal risks, the hard work, the advice, the solace, the humor – the whole village it took to make it happen – gave me the confidence to strike out on my own and found Seed&Spark, a production company and digital platform I hope will help other filmmakers like us tell their stories their way and build their communities as they go. Building this new platform has me doing a lot of reading on everything from start-up funding to new financing models to personal narratives of filmmakers. Yesterday I read something in a Venture Capital advice column that put Steve Jobs’ famous words on what was perhaps my most valuable lesson from the women of Like the Water:

“Stay Hungry.”

Don’t give up. Don’t celebrate to early, either. Know that it will demand more than you think you have. It’s a long road and at every turn you benefit from putting one foot in front of the other because sometimes that’s all you can do.

I have many days where I don’t feel like doing anything, sitting alone in my office with the demand: “Make something happen!” But I’ll get an email from Caroline about a great offer of support from a film festival colleague or an update from Susan Main on a class she’s teaching in Italy or news from Caitlin that she’s booked another amazing acting job and I am reminded that we succeed because we are hungry to do more, to excel, to turn our ideas into realities.

And so I write the next iteration of the business plan. Or I call the person I’ve been shy to call. One foot in front of the other. Hungry.

 

May 22, 2012   No Comments

All Roads Lead to Maine.

Tenants Harbor, Maine.

I received the news of the Maine International Film Festival invitation while at my parents’ home in Exeter, New Hampshire, only a short 15 minute jaunt to the border of the great state from where our film was born. With not a moment of hesitation, we jumped at this serendipitous opportunity to bring our film back to the state where the incredible generosity and spirit of its residents allowed our work to come into existence and constantly surpass our (already high) hopes at each step of its life.

As I drove to Maine this past Friday night, a wave of nostalgia and excitement hit me as I returned to LIKE THE WATER territory. This past weekend I went to Portland to attend the Camden International Film Festival’s screening of Tyler Hughen and Kahlil Hudson’s LOW AND CLEAR, an exquisitely shot and edited portrait of two men, their friendship, their expeditions fly fishing. LOW AND CLEAR was the SXSW Audience Award winner at the 2012 festival for Best Documentary and very worthy of its accolade. CIFF, under the great leadership of its Founder Ben Fowlie (who we lucked out to get as an extra in some long overnights and hot days last summer in our film) brought LOW AND CLEAR and one of the film’s talented co-directors Kahlil Hudson on a tour of Maine to Portland’s Space Gallery, Rockland’s The Strand and North Haven’s Waterman’s Community Center. I got to catch this film at its kick off in Portland.

Seeing a great film in the state of Maine? What more could one ask for on a Friday night!

After a packed screening and Q&A, we headed to a brand new bar in Portland, LFK, launched by some folks involved with LIKE THE WATER, including Johnny Lomba who led the way with music for our film during our shoot and last Fall and Kate Smith, our talented Production and Costume Designer. LFK just opened this past week and in the massive crowd that was a Friday night out in Portland, I got to meet the owner of the home on Tenants Harbor, where we shot the Lobster Bake scene in our film. An easy consensus among cast & crew, this Maine picturesque location quickly became a favorite two days of our group. We found ourselves having to take moments to ask one another if this was actually our reality – this place too beautiful for words (snap shot above!). Because of his friendship with Kate and his naturally generous disposition, this man had given over his family home to a film crew for two days of intense shooting –never having met us, no questions asked, no hesitation, simply saying “Yes, by all means. It’s all yours.” Incredible.

Maine. The state that has not slowed for one moment in its generosity and support of our work there. It was good to be home. I hope others find such incredible luck in their lives to find a road to that leads them to Maine.

May 20, 2012   No Comments

Trust Your Own Taste

Along the way we have not only found advisers and mentors whose expertise has been invaluable, but we’ve also often found their advice saves us from succumbing to the plague of self-doubt with which any young entrepreneur and probably every young artist is intimately familiar. There is always that voice that says “What makes you think you’re so special?” or “Why would anyone care what you have to say?”

Tom Heller has produced such films as Win Win, 127 Hours, Monogamy, Precious, and Mother and Child. You may notice a thread connecting these movies: they’re all good. I chased him down to see if he could tell me how to be like him, since his is a career I truly admire not just in its accomplishment but also in its integrity. He met me for coffee one bustling afternoon near Washington Square Park right around when NYU was getting back into session. I had a thousand questions from the broad to the granular, all of which he answered with patience (lucky for me) and expertise.

When I asked him what advice he would have for a young producer, he recounted the start of his own career in films as a talent agent for writers. He said he would often gamble on a new writer, lesser known, based on his own feeling about their capabilities. He said he would pick up some clients that colleagues told him he was crazy to pick up. He stuck to his guns. He told me, “You have to trust your own taste.”

This small stretch of monosyllables would make Shakespeare proud. First of all, it’s iambic. Secondly, it packs into a few words a life’s worth of struggle, and all of the seeds of the principle to guide it.

As we launch into our post-production phase and start to think about putting our little movie out into the world, these pangs of doubt can become more acute. However, Tom’s advice continues to be a beacon: we have a story to tell, and we have to trust in our own way of telling it .

 

September 2, 2011   No Comments

The Grand Finale.

While the incredible work and spirit of our actors and crew has never ceased to amaze me in how much work outside of their roles everyone is willing to take on to get through the shoot and have a great film result, it is really the dedication to the story that constantly moves me. We are a young group, freshly (many of us first timers at our positions) into the world of filmmaking and the respect, patience, generosity and flexibility with which we all merge into each day on set never slows. The actors and crew serve as art department, props, costumes, clean up, our DP arts, our AD grips. We started this project as simply a project and it quickly developed into a film as our script evolved and as the film we needed shoot to capture this story grew exponentially. Our crew and cast remained the same man power and as a result, it is the biggest collaboration and most work I’ve ever been a part of. Successfully so with what we have shot this summer. I feel honored and indebted to each person I get to serve this film with every moment of every day.

I have to share the work around our final shot that began at dinner last week and resulted in Wednesday night’s magic. While the shot was a huge success, it really was the spirit about which this came about and was executed that tells the most about how this film has worked. Under the incredible leadership of our DP Eve Cohen, our crew has been working long hours and stepping into bigger roles than they had signed up for. Even with all this work, they took the time to make Eve and my dream come true of the last shot being from the middle of the lake looking back to the dock. Over dinner after 12 hour days, Eve, Liam, Ryan, Ari & I daydreamed, drew, plotted until we had a plan. Most of my contribution to this was simply beaming, eagerly nodding, asking how I could help and buying drinks. I will not do justice to all the steps that went into pulling this off (and hope Ryan shares his brilliance in this coming about) but in brief, our crew dedicated their day off to pick up a boat in Camden’s harbor, Alli & Conor drove it in her truck out to Jefferson, while the rest of us caravanned (with bathing suits, towels & beers in tow) and we spent the afternoon setting up the boat, kayaking, canoeing, swimming and shooting rehearsals of the scene with our handsome crew posing as the beautiful girls. It was the most fun I’ve ever had. Though we did wrack up: a canoe overturn (almost a concussion), a foot sliced in half, many debacles with the boat, massive spiders & general hilarity which added to the greatness of the day.

The day of the shoot there were thunderstorms, so we waited a second day. Cables, the Sony F3, the EX3, lenses were not going to be put in the water when lightning was overhead. The next day we went down to the water, the crew working with the greatest focus and care. The actors, so used to helping anyway they could, were landlocked while the rest of us were in kayaks, canoes, boats in various formations for both scenes. Our other essential crew who were not in the water hid behind trees along the shore, their work an equal part in bringing this moment about.  We shot the scene and then the finale (which had to be a one take wonder due to actors & wardrobe getting wet) we had one chance for it to be pulled off. Eve & Ari took their positions with the cameras, the rest of us formed a line to hold up the cable between the two so it didn’t land in the water and we were ready to go. The actors’ and crew’s shared passion for all the creative, logistical work to bring about this moment and all the work of the actors to get to this shared space was so thick in the air, that we got the shot.

With actors like Caitlin FitzGerald, there are so many moments when everyone on set is moved to tears. I experienced the most beautiful acting moment, yet again on this set, when our four lead actresses approached the lake and shared a word-less scene on the dock before our finale. The crew’s baited breath and the space they created for these actors to step into as well as the actors tender care of one another and admiration for the crew brought this moment to fruition. On the other side of the dock in the water, I sat in a kayak, pulled by Sheldon, as Ryan pushed the canoe with Eve & Ari who were shooting this scene from our man-made (literally) water dolly. The crew’s, actors’ and my joy at what the crew had pulled off to bring about this moment was palpable on set and as a result in this moment in the film. We are each a filmmaker serving this story and I am one lucky, lucky girl.

The crew of our film sets up for the final shot.

August 6, 2011   1 Comment

Frances F Denny and why micro-budget can be awesome

This project has afforded us a tremendous opportunity to bring together talented friends from across the country, many of whom, like Jee Hwang, are donating their time and images to our story. Micro-budgets aren’t all bad, you know – we get to work side by side with many of these friends and learn from them as we go. I had the pleasure of acting as an impromptu camera assistant a few weeks ago, something that in a big-budget film I would never be asked to do.
In our story, one artist is a painter, and the other is a photographer. We have enlisted the gloriously talented Frances F. Denny to take the photos for our film. She has not only taken the time to photograph each of us (go take a look at the “Our Team” page, recently updated), but her incredible eye will become part of the visual landscape of our film. Her work is broad and irreverent, intricate and colorful.
Do yourself a favor and take a look at her website.

We had a wonderful time with her in Central Park, and can’t wait to reveal the next round of photographs on the big screen!

May 28, 2011   2 Comments

Asking the “Why”

A good friend and filmmaker Adam Leon has given Caitlin and myself some invaluable support in our endeavors and in one of our first conversations around this film he asked the question “Why?” This crucial question is what every artist should ask him or herself before adding to the vast sea of expression that mostly only contributes clutter but on that rare occasion beauty. So often artists go astray by focusing on the “How” rather than the “Why”, an understandable mistake with the daunting work it takes to pull off such an endeavor, but unforgiveable for the art.

Caitlin, Emily, Susan, Salome, Emily, Eve, Liam & I will each answer uniquely, yet this question is what brings us together to create this film. Now. We have a story to tell – as women, at our age. And the medium of digital film is how we can, in fact must, tell it. The (please indulge me for just one moment) absolute beauty of working with this troupe is that they constantly ask the “Why” at each step, and then proactively accomplish the “How” simply to serve the “Why.” This film is coming into existence because of its six specific core female artists, now joined by our talented Director of Photography Eve Cohen and Assistant Director Liam Brady. Each collaborator has a generous, intelligent, passionate yet grounded voice, and the film that we are creating is a direct product of this particular chorus today. This story is the universal feminine, in a way that film never allows the feminine to be portrayed. I find an urgency for us to tell this story with these women this summer because our voices are right for it at this moment.

With age does come wisdom, or, at the very least, a more weathered, cynical perspective. The 20s are a time of incredible growth – evolution into one’s adult being at a rate truly unfathomable until experienced – resulting in an awareness and deeper appreciation of the world and the self. It is this exact moment between our eight artists that will culminate to create a specificity and truth that would weaken with time and age. The rawness of our main character’s journey must be told while this story is in my and Caitlin’s recent history, before time begets a more critical perspective on what is so palpable to us today. There can be no all-knowing tone of forgiving judgment in how we tell our story – in the writing, the acting or the filmmaking. This is the collective “Why,” and that Why is personal for each of us involved in this cinematic creation.

 

 

May 25, 2011   1 Comment