I attended a city council meeting in little ol' St George, UT. It was a great eye opening experience for me to see who these "master builders" are in this community and where this older generation wants to keep a community while they have their sojourn here for the next 20 years, some 25 more, maybe..
I enjoyed a dream a couple nights ago. I was walking next to a dirt lot that had many labor-intensive people working on it. They all were an older generation. As I was walking with a group of younger people, maybe some, the same age as myself next to this lot. We were actually heckled by this older generation for not being of "hard labor material". So I stopped and slid down into this dirt pit with this older generation, picked up a shovel and started throwing dirt up to the side from below. As I walked in this pit and looked up at this mound (that was actually not appealing to the eye, it was a structure that there were only a few at the top) I had a shovel in my hand and then some rocks started to fall downward on me from above. There were older people casting these stones and exclaiming "What are you doing here" "You don't belong here" and one older gentlemen was in my face in a very negative and intimidating way. As I walked more in this pit and viewed what was built by this older generation, it clearly showed that it only prospered a certain amount and type of people and it was not an attractive place. I could see why, no one else walking along this lot wanted to even take a glance over.
What does it mean? Your guess is as good as mine.
I feel that because of my instance in joining in a city council meeting. I could see clearly how local politicians and city council members act when this older generation was in attendance. Elections were coming up and they knew who they needed to cater to. With this dream I had I could see that what had been built was not something that screamed innovation, it was something that only benefited a few on this structure that was built. From this dream I feel that this younger generation really needs to take their glance over at this "lot" that has been built and see what needs to become better for our society and future generations I am so poor in my knowledge when it comes to city management, right now. It is time for a younger generation to take their skills of technology and infuse that with city management and future planning. The most selfless form of life is creating something that you may never yourself see the benefits of. What a concept right?
She may kill me for showing this photo. This is a moment i fail to realize many times. An individual who may not always get the best of me for reasons due to my inadequicies. Maybe its inner feelings of bitterness through my self sabotaging of "I dont deserve this."
Her long hours of support while I am away, on the road, working and enduring a taxing industry that can rage your ego one day and totally extinguish your fire the next. Yet, I still have a place in her heart that welcomes me.
To the moments of qurrals and petty arguments that are somehow just swallowed up and diasappear. How do I deserve this?
From long days that go by to that moment of reunion which outweighs the loneliness. She is a woman that loves me and I am pretty sure I dont deserve this.
I rarely do this. Actually write what was written in my journal that you should keep very private, yet, I feel that it needs to be public, out there for others to see.. That is the strength with becoming vulnerable, a transparent human being that you can see through. It is not the easiest thing in life to do, we all have shields, armor that we are taught to put up and mask the real us.
I have been embarking on the task of making a feature length film. Why is this so important to me? That answer can be found in the question: Why is that sale so important? Why is showing that house so important? Why is that insurance sale so important? That jewelry sale so important? There are many things everyone relies on and film-making is one of those things that keeps me sane when I am on set and I am that much more clearer minded, happier. That is my environment where I thrive.
"Maven" is really the story of me. What I think about constantly, what I want the world to be. "Maven" is my interpretation of that. It is fun to play the character of Russ. A person that adds to the opposition and edginess to the story, but, Maven is really the story of that innocent us.
This is the time I spend to support my family. Acting, shooting videos, making movies. Your support as an audience can never be fully appreciated and being able to support a production crew and their family is a dream of mine. I can't even begin to thank all the wonderful people involved in this production to date: Tyler for his every visionary mind. Jason, for your sweet and wonderful attitude to just perform and bringing such an amazing breath of life to a character that I could only imagine! Matt, for his resources and equipment to light the production so well! Jason, for his ever willing spirit of just wanting to be on a production and see something happen. Sandi, for her motivation in wanting to create and learn, Preston, for your expertise and vision, there are just amazing people in such a small community that makes me always star gaze. The "Rock" Dwayne Johnson said it best: The NFL was the best thing that never happened to me." So, I can likewise say "Hollywood and moving to LA was the best thing that never happened to me" You can make a movie and tell a story wherever you are.
If you are a writer and have a story to tell, I'd love to hear it, read it, and feel it!
For most of my life, 20 or so years, I have always wanted to be involved in the film making process. Who knows why I am so intrigued by it? Not a day goes by where I am not thinking of a story, a shot, a script, a character, something that has to do with making movies. For the past 6-7 years I have been on this journey of pursuing acting professionally. Living in southern Utah, I recognized it's challenges, first and foremost, the challenge that there is simply just no market whatsoever here, sadly. I knew that travel and determination would have to be the key. I've been a part of some amazing productions, worked with talented and skilled professionals from around the country and have learned so much from them. I feel it's only a matter of time before I have to start putting those lessons I've learned to action and actually produce a film myself.
Going down the road less traveled, to me, doesn't mean a literal path to success, but that of the road less traveled in your mind. Going down those ways of thinking that challenge the status quo. It is status quo to go to school, obtain a degree and settle into something comfortable for the rest of your life until you can retire. This way of thinking was a road I did not want to embark on. I chose differently. It has not been easy. Going against the tide is hard work and many times filled with frustrations, sadness and loneliness. Success, itself, is a lonely road. That is why many who embark down it, start to see that is what it takes, some continue, others turn back or stop. I have come to realize that even if I continue to fail and fail and fail, I will exit this life with no regret that I never tried. Because I know that in those many fails, there will be so many unknown opportunities to the rewards of success.
Maven will be my first feature that I have written and directing. The story basically was written about a 1 and a half ago. For some reason, this character of a mid-age man, Maven, socially challenged kept coming into the forefront of my mind. Over time and infusing some real life experiences from yours truly, Maven was born. I have had an awesome time doing multiple read through's with other readers and writers. Using their suggestions and letting that collaborative energy do what it is best, creating.
Pre-Production is more important than production itself.
Being able to use southern Utah as the main place for filming has presented some lesser challenges due to the smaller community feel which is perfect for the story and the various locations we will be filming at. There are so many building blocks involved with making a film, I know there are some pieces I am missing but that is the joy in building something, you learn as you go. I love the independent film making spirit. You get to work at your own pace, find your own place and just make a movie. Making a movie is not rocket science as some [pretentious] people make it sound to be. Telling a story is the core of movie making, not the equipment, nor all the technical jargon. An audience goer could care less if something was shot on a RED compared to a SONY or even a Black Magic camera, that just simply isn't in the mind of the average movie goer, story is. Hopefully Maven can be a story that offers something to someone. It may not be for everyone, but then again, what is? I have found that if you try to cater to everyone, you will always end up short handed. If you can do your best to deliver something to someone. You will see what success looks like. Let's make a movie!
This year I was able to take part in the Guerilla Filmmaking competition for Southern Utah media alliance. Honestly when I signed up for it, I did not have any inclination of what I would be filming with the theme : "We're Family"
I met Brian Grob, a local writer in southern Utah and I sent him the theme and inquired if he would write a story. He did. He sent it over and it was this estranged father and son story. We made some adjustments back and forth and this film was a perfect opportunity to literally "build" a film from scratch. I took on the role of director and collaborated with a DP named Tyler Wynn, our sound guy Jordan Hurd and the writer Brian Grob and we held auditions to find our actors to bring the story to life, Rich Hill, Daniel Scott (his debut film!) and Amber Bird. It was great to do rehearsals even for a 5 minute short. That was the challenge, how can we tell this dramatic piece in 5 min?!
The more I have come to understand the art of filmmaking has been such an eye opening experience for me for understanding life itself. Yes, there are films for pure entertainment and "time fillers", but, there are also films to challenge status quo, tug at emotions, invoke thought, etc, We all came together, paid strict attention to our pre-production needs (which is more important than filming the movie itself), finding the right location, a make up artist that can breath more life into our actors (Dawn Weidauer), editing, music and sound design that can create an atmosphere for the finished piece and with hardly any budget, sound and music that is royalty free and public domain.
We place 1st at the Southern Utah Guerilla filmmaking challenge. Hard work, dedication and simply letting other people excel at their talents and creativity is the cause of the placement. That to me is what is takes to be a director, you are a composer of an orchestra that needs to allow others to perform their instruments to make something beautiful. A wonderful and grateful shout out to Adam Mast who puts on these events and to all the filmmakers who take part in this event in southern Utah. I always look forward to what you come up with and the work and dedication that are poured into filmmaking!