There were a lot of things that I took away from last weekend’s WMC Fest. One thing that really struck a chord with me was the importance of doing your own personal projects. I’ve always been pretty active about doing my own thing, sometimes as an excuse to try new skills, sometimes just because I have what I think is a pretty cool idea. I’ve kept the boys in crazy hockey logos, made a 5′ wide mural, did this word art project, and am working on a Firefly poster series. It’s something that I never put a lot of thought into, but have always done. And I’ve gotten a ton of work based on doing these side projects. Hell, I even had a bride book me to shoot her wedding based on photos of my husband’s mustache.
I talked to a few people at the Fest about this 15-Second Film that I did. Some years ago, American Express and Tribeca Film Festival teamed up to do this 15-Second Film competition. The website is long gone, but I did find this write-up on it. I found out about the contest the day before the due date, and I almost didn’t do it. But I thought it would be fun, and who cares if I didn’t get anything out of it. I watched a few of the entries, and a lot of them were just 15 seconds of a sunset, or their kid, or whatever. I thought that was pretty boring, and lazy, so I thought I’d do a narrative. In 15 seconds. Because I’m a chronic overachiever, is why, okay? John suggested that I have army men attack the vacuum, and then I stayed up all night making this:
Is it my crowning achievement as a filmmaker? Not really. But I had a blast doing it, and, as it turns out, I was a finalist in the competition. I won an iPod, and Martin Scorsese looked at something that I made (I imagine him nodding with approval). I got hired at an agency because of this video. Trying to tell a story in 15 seconds is a challenge, and one I’m glad that I attempted. Later, in graduate school, we had to do a 45-second film. And I said, “45 seconds? Piece of cake.”
Side projects, kids.
Some number of years ago, my dad wrote a short story called “A Thin Camel.” The gist is that not only CAN you take it with you, you MUST. Upon finding out that he’s recently deceased, our protagonist also learns that he is responsible for transporting everything he owns to his final destination. When I found out that I’d be doing a thesis film for my MFA program at Chatham, I knew that I wanted to tell this story. It ended up being a nice little film about the afterlife, with some decidedly Buddhist leanings.
I spent two semesters writing the screenplay (and accompanying thesis text), and most of the summer shooting. Recently, a classmate was asking for photos from our projects, and I dug out a few (which I shot on film! Like a caveman!)
The Jeep should have gotten a credit. We used it to haul gear and people (we were shooting out in the woods, a trip my Neon wouldn’t have survived), as a catering table, and even to shoot from when we needed a higher angle.
For all the hard work and long hours that went into this project, I had an amazingly fun time shooting it. Thus far, it hasn’t made it outside of my graduate class, but Dave Dietz is working some audio magic and we may be screening it some time in the not too distant future.
Some time last year, I decided to pick up some film and play around with my old Minolta 35mm. So when Thrice came to town last November, I figured I’d see if the nice folks at Diesel would let me take the camera in. As it turns out, they pretty much don’t care. I hadn’t been there since it’s been revamped (I want to say it was Nick’s Fat City before?).
This is actually the third time we’ve tried to see Thrice (we have only managed to see them Once). The first time they canceled, the second time we canceled. This time I saw the whole show standing on a 2 inch outcropping at the bottom of a post. Once I got up there, I couldn’t get back down, since the floor was so packed.
Since I went ahead and waited 8 months to get these developed and scanned in, I can’t remember much in the way of a set list. Except that they did “The Earth Will Shake”, which is one of the more awesome things I’ve heard live. And “The Weight”, which I was personally excited about. I think John’s vote for favorite went to “Daedalus.”
It was badass, is all you need to know.
This was also the first I’d ever heard of The Dear Hunter. A capella four part harmony? You have my attention.