Monday, July 21, 2014

Newsy things!

First off, I self-published a short book of poetry.  It is called A Portrait of a Poison and can be purchased through Smashwords.  Most of the poetry is incredibly personal as I wrote a lot of it while depressed and suicidal.  The book itself has been a long time coming and I hope you enjoy it.  However, some of it may be triggering to those with mental health issues.

Secondly, I have been writing for the new horror lifestyle magazine, Living Dead Magazine.  I have been providing the content for the News of the Dead blog everyday.

Third, my 48 Hour Film Project film will be screening at SIFF Uptown in Seattle on Thursday August 7 at 9 PM.

That is all for now.  I hope you all are having a lovely summer.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Top 6 horror accounts to follow on twitter

I've been spending a lot of time on Twitter lately and I've been catching a lot of great horror accounts.  When I am going to follow someone, there are a few key things I look for:

1.) Does not solely post links or promote.
2.) Seems to have a human behind the account (someone with a personality!)
3.) Just... not annoying in any way shape or form.

The Horror Honeys
@horrorhoneys

The Horror Honeys are a group of hardcore females that run a blog and podcast all about horror.  The Twitter account is lead by the "Head Honey" and she can tweet up a storm occasionally, but it is all entertainment.  Her tweets have personality, are informative, and she talks back.

The Soska Twins
@twisted_twins

The "Twisted Twins" are the directors of the film, American Mary.  While it may be debated whether or not their films are actually horror, it cannot be denied that they certainly try to prove their nickname true.  They tweet some behind the scenes stuff from their filmmaking adventures, which means that if you are looking at your Twitter feed at work, you might want to just not do that if you're following them.  Today, I was scrolling through and saw a picture of a penis and balls wrapped up in something.  You have been warned.

Steve Barton
@UncleCreepy

Co-founder of DreadCentral.  He Tweets thoughts!  Yes, an actual person on Twitter!  He seems like a guy you can get into a good conversation with that isn't, "Jason Vorhees! Mneeeeer."  In other words, he seems like an intelligent being that happens to be a huge horror fan... and throws insults at people that you can't see.

Andy Deane
@Andy_Deane

Lead singer of the goth rock band, Bella Morte and horror author.  He's also a huge horror fanatic.  He tweets spooky photos and he's great to talk to... and a great guy in general.  He's doing the music for my 48 Hour Film Project this year and if all goes according to plan, every film I make thereafter!

Clive Barker
@RealCliveBarker

This would not be a very good list if it didn't have some well known horror entity.  The truth is, most of the well-known people just end up retweeting things that show their old work or themselves with a fan.  Clive Barker's Twitter Feed actually contains stuff... but if you go right now, you will mostly see exactly what I just mentioned because he just had a contest involving such things.  Does Clive Barker himself actually run the account?  I don't think so.

Tom Savini
@THETomSavini

Because it's Tom Savini.  That's why.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Fresh blood for Seattle 48 Hour Film Project

I'm participating in the Seattle 48 Hour Film Project this year and I'm intending to shake things up in the Seattle film community.

I could have joined someone else's team and easily been placed as a PA, but I want to write and direct.  That is what I've been going to school for and that is what I'm going to do.  So I started my own team.

While searching for potential crew and cast members, I was reminded of why I dropped out of film school.  I had a lot of experience and skill obtained from my associate's degree, but because I was at a new school where no one knew me, I was placed as a PA on a student film while other people in my class with less experience were placed as grips.

Despite the fact that I had so much film schooling before I went to this new school, I still had to go through all four years of production classes (including all of the basics, which I had a great foundation on), and that was just absurd.

Even later, trying to get onto anyone else's production, student film or not, people seemed to not want to take a chance on me.  Everyone thinks that "just being on the team" is good enough.  For me, it's not.  I want to do what I want to do and I won't be happy unless I'm doing just that.

I imagine that for everyone to have the best experience, they should be doing what they want to do.

So I have a few first timers on my team with decent positions because I don't want to be like everyone else in the film community that doesn't want to give new blood a chance.  Just because they aren't proven in the community does not mean they aren't proven elsewhere (school, the internet, whatever).  And as long as you have the drive and passion, I think you can accomplish anything.

So we're doing this.  And it's going to rock.

All the doubters and naysayers can think and say what they want, but Neato Kino Films is going to blow the pants off of Seattle.  They'll never see us coming.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Amazing is just persistence?

I've been on a Maggie Stiefvater kick ever since a friend on Goodreads recommended The Scorpio Races to me.  I just finished The Raven Boys and now I'm starting the Shiver trilogy because I pre-ordered Sinner, which is a stand alone companion to the trilogy.

She is one of the most inspiring authors for me that I've come across in a long time.

Seriously.  Watch this and tell me you don't feel that she's amazing.


That art?  Hers.  Music?  Hers.  Story?  Hers.

It's maddening.  It drives me crazy that I can't be this amazing...

And yet, my husband says that the only thing that separates me from those that I admire is their persistence to get things done.

So obviously, I'm just not doing enough.  Ever.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A note about high school and peer pressure.

I was eight when I began horseback riding.  I rode every weekend once or twice a week and it was one of the only things I did that made me feel whole.  I competed in shows and was not all that bad, but I never competed outside of the schooling shows at my barn because I didn’t have access to any other horses.  By the time I was 16, I was one of the oldest students at the riding school.   The girls in my class were at the very least, four years younger than me.  Everyone that I had grown up riding with graduated to their own horses and riding more competitively or just dropped out from the horse community all together.  I loved riding, but because of the age difference, I didn’t relate to the girls in my class and I didn’t make any friends at the barn.

I had a few friends in high school that I got along with and we were all into acting and theatre.  My friend Beth and her older friend, Ame, had this idea to go audition for the Ohio Renaissance Festival.  I thought it sounded fun, so I went along.  The casting directors gave me “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” as my audition piece and I improvised to the best of my ability by using the entire audition space as the cottage.  They really enjoyed my audition and I later found out that I was accepted to be a member of the cast.  I was incredibly excited.

However, there was a problem.  Rehearsals ran every weekend from the spring until summer and then the festival ran from summer until fall.  That was the entire season of horseback riding.  Not wanting to skip out on my lessons and shows, I decided against joining the cast.

One day, Beth came over to my house and we sat in my room.  We were writing a novel together and she pulled out the character development worksheets she was using at the Renaissance Festival for her character.

“We should use something like this to create our characters!” she said.

I thought it was a great idea.  She then told me all about the rehearsals and how much fun she was having.  She and Ame seemed to be getting even closer.  I was jealous.

That school year, my friends started drifting away because I was becoming more interested in goth and punk music.  I hung out with a different crowd because my other friends were busy with the Renaissance Festival.  I became really close with two girls, Ashley and Abby.  We didn’t have much in common other than our interest in music, but at that point in time, music felt like it tied everything together.

Abby smoked and had her license.  She drove me around town with the speakers booming Marilyn Manson and KoRn and introduced me to boys that dressed like Brandon Lee in The Crow.  We had a lot of fun and got into a lot of trouble together, but then a new word was introduced to our vocabulary.

Poseur.
Suddenly, everyone who wasn’t us was a poseur.

“His outfit is entirely from Hot Topic.  Poseur,” we would say.

“She doesn’t know who Peter Murphy or Bauhaus is.”

It just kept escalating from strangers to people we knew personally.  Eventually, we used it on each other.

Ashley had made a rainbow skirt for me to wear to a school dance and I refused to wear it.  She became furious with me and spread rumors about me calling all the girls in our circle poseurs.  She said I called Abby a poseur.

I sat in English class, reading over an assignment and then a note landed on my book.  It was two pages long, front and back… and it was a list about everything that made me a poseur.  At the very top of the list was, “You like horses.  You can’t be goth or punk because you like horses.”

Labels.  In high school, everyone has a label.  I never tried to fit in with a crowd, but I was labeled as a goth before I even knew what goth was.  I was stunned.  I didn’t know I was trying to be anything or anyone other than myself, but the girls around me started whispering and laughing at me.  They repeated the “poseur” word over and over.

I stood up, threw the note away, looked at my teacher, and then walked to the bathroom.  I spent the rest of class in the bathroom, crying.

For the rest of that year, I ate lunch alone and found solace in the internet.  I wrote about my problems in blogs and let the world comment on them.  I started cutting again and I didn’t care who knew about it.  Then spring was  around the corner.  Beth called me and I was so happy to hear her friendly voice.  She invited me to audition for the Renaissance Festival again.  I agreed.

Once again, I was accepted and this time I decided I would quit horseback riding.  The note did not entirely influence my decision, as I felt I was ready to move on from the riding school anyway, but the note was definitely in my mind.  During my last lesson, my mother was reading a book on the bleachers, occasionally lifting her eyes to make sure I was doing okay.

I watched my instructor raise the jumps.  She placed a blue barrel beneath one to distract the horse and then told me to go first.  I was chosen to be the example because I had just won a blue ribbon in the horse show the week before.  My mind had been wandering from the fact that it was my last lesson and I hadn’t even told my instructor yet to the note at school and my lack of friends.

The horse and I cantered to the jump.  I felt like my horse knew what to do as he and I had gotten along great for the past few years, so I just let him carry me.

Big mistake.  I stayed center, expecting lift off, but my horse darted to the right and I crashed to the ground.  I was told to stay still, but I got up anyway to do it again.  This time, I almost fell off again and my instructor moved on.

I was disappointed with myself, but I thought it didn’t matter because it was my last lesson.  I wouldn’t be coming back, so why bother trying again?  I got off my horse, untacked him, and went home to prepare for an entire summer of working at the Renaissance Festival.  I said, “I wanted to try something different.”

I didn’t ride again for nine years.  I am able to see how each action and decision fit into the next event and it is one of the only things that I’ve ever done that I regret.  I wish I never stopped riding just to have friends.  The current me wishes I could go back in time and tell me that I don’t even speak to those people anymore, that I am back to riding as an adult and it’s the most difficult thing to remember being good, but starting at the beginning again.


I want to use my experience to inspire kids and young adults to not fall victim to peer pressure.  I want them to be themselves and follow their dreams.  A lot of people put an emphasis on relationships and friendships in high school, but I discovered that those relationships don’t really matter.  Don’t quit doing what you love for other people.

Ten years ago, ten years later. You are my light.

Out of plain curiosity (and writer's block), I decided to look up what I was doing ten years ago to the day in my Livejournal.  I don't know if that makes me cool because I've been blogging for over ten years or if that makes my existence very sad.

Ten years ago, I was 17 and still trying to get my driver's license.  Driving stressed me out more than anything and my parents were not the most calm people to have in the car with me.  I believe I failed my driver's test three or four times and I had let my temps expire a few times as well.  Driving was not interesting to me and the pressure on me to drive was intense.  It was even worse because around this time ten years ago, my father was in a car accident that caused him to lose his license for awhile.

My father had decided to add more pressure onto my driving by saying, "We need you to get your license so you can drive me around."

I was in my senior year and failing my Government class because of lack of interest.  I honestly can't even tell you what was studied in Government class.  Naturally, I assume it had something to do with the US government and how it works or doesn't work.  I only remember two things from that class.  The first was when my teacher picked her nose during a morning study session before a test and rolled the booger between her fingers for the entire hour... and the second was when my teacher demonstrated how she walked downtown because she was afraid of getting mugged.

Instead of studying whatever was deemed important, I spent the class reading books about vampires.  I might not be able to tell you anything about hanging chads and whatever that had to do with one of our classes, but I can tell you just about everything you'd never wanted to know about Anne Rice's vampires and beyond.

Anyway, I was under the stress of driving, things going on with my family, and then I didn't care about school.  I knew that passing Government was important and I eventually brought my grade up, but I just did not care.  I felt like everything was going to shit... but in my journal, I acknowledged that I had Chris, my boyfriend (of one month at the time).  I said he represented hope in my life and I didn't know where I would be without him.

I predicted that I wouldn't get my license.  That I'd fail government and be writing depressing poetry and blog entries for the rest of my life (which at the time, I assumed would be very short).

Ten years later, I have had my license, but I no longer live in an area where it's necessary.  I passed Government (with what, I don't know)... I haven't written a poem in a long time.  Maybe I should change that.  I'm still writing blogs and in Livejournal, and I don't think I'll ever stop.

I also still have Chris.  Ten years later, we're married.  Today, as I was ten years ago to the day, I was feeling depressed.  This time for different reasons (such as living behind the couch on an air mattress in someone's living room, not working on any projects, not being an established anything, and presumably going to be in debt and a starving and struggling artist/writer for the rest of my life), but as I had before, I turned to Christopher.  He keeps me hopeful.

He keeps me alive.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Born to Write

School.

When I was a kid, the word just meant bullies, incompetent teachers, and many trips to the nurse's office to be sent home.  I feigned illness a lot just so I could get out of gym class or to avoid the bus ride home.  I was often terrified to go to school.  Kids would call me names and steal my stuff.  One kid actually stole my math textbook and coincidentally, I almost failed because I didn't have it.  What did my teacher do about it?  Nothing.

School was hell for me.

Then I reached high school.  Freshman year was okay, I got along with almost everyone, and my grades were decent, but I still wasn't that into it.  As the years went on, I skipped class to edit video, I'd read books during the boring classes, school assemblies, and even church.  I didn't stay home as often, but after awhile, I stopped getting along with everyone.  My friends and I started fighting and once again, I almost didn't graduate due to my lack of interest in my studies.  I did, however, pull it together near the end of senior year and scrape by.

I went straight to college for electronic media and animation.  I was incredibly excited about my media courses.  I had spent most of my free time growing up making videos and websites, so the classes came really easy to me.  I got mostly As and I tried really hard.  I received my Associate's and everything was dandy.  But I struggled with getting a job in the media field.  So after some experimentation with the circus arts, I decided to go back to school for film to receive my bachelor's.

I was initially thrilled to be going for strictly film, but the professors were not excited about the film industry anymore.  They all seemed old, jaded, and resentful toward their lack of involvement in the field.  It was depressing, and so I left.  I dabbled once again in the circus arts and figured that I did not really need school to teach me how to approach media people.  I made contacts all over through the internet, film people, television people, everyone.

People invited me onto their projects and things were looking up, but my career wasn't taking off as quickly as I would have liked and there just was not enough work in Cincinnati.  Paid or otherwise.  Once again, I decided to go back to school.  This time, to hone my craft of writing since my previous courses lacked any good writing courses.  I chose Full Sail University online, and while it is an expensive school, I have found that it is my favorite school.

Never before have I been so excited for my courses.  My lowest grade is an A.  I have even made some great friends through Facebook who also go online.  I've never had much school spirit, but I am proud to go to this school and I want to be even more involved.  School is no longer a place of hell for me.  Now it's a sanctuary.  I find solace in my homework much like I find solace in watching films or reading books.

It's strange, but I love it.  I keep getting asked how I'm so successful at school and I have not been able to come up with a direct answer until now.  The reason I am doing so well is because I love it.  I do procrastinate a little bit sometimes, but when I do my work, it gets my full attention.  Most of the time I am so excited about class that I start my homework as soon as I am given it and I spread it out through the week.  Part of it is time management, but the biggest reason I am doing so well is purely that I love what I am studying and I love my school.

My teachers have been great, the class materials are interesting, the online platform is compelling and I can work at my own pace.  Some people blame my success on the fact that my classes aren't that difficult because it's a "for profit school."  Some people even believe that I'm really just average and the school is just trying to boost my confidence by giving me good grades.

I don't know if any of that is true.  All I know is that I'm doing what I was born to do.
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