Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Born to Write


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.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

On set

The last film set I was on before yesterday, was the set of Revelation Trail.  Then yesterday, I had been invited to document some of the filming for the 48 Hour Horror Film Festival in Seattle for my webseries, Neato Kino.  During the months between those two sets, I felt like I lost myself.

I always have moments in which I don't know where I belong.  Sometimes I'm uncomfortable in public and often, I have no idea what I'm doing in life.

But that always changes when I'm on set.  When I'm on set, I feel like I have purpose.  I know who I am when I am working on a film.  All shyness leaves me and I am comfortable on set.

Between films, I become anxious and panicked.  I lose a part of myself and I try to fill the hole inside me with all sorts of things, whether it be horseback riding, video games, sideshow, or random projects just to keep myself busy.  While I enjoy these things, none of them truly fix me.  Sometimes, I fall victim to more dangerous things to fix me, but nothing works.

And then it all changes when I'm on set.  Suddenly, I realize that's all I want to do.  Every time I'm on set, I fall in love with the process of making movies again and I realize

I belong with movies.

Why do I keep forgetting?  I've known that movies are where I belong since I was a kid and put into a dragon costume for my brother's friend's birthday party video, yet for some reason, I keep losing sight of my goals and dreams.

I'm not the best at screenwriting.  Nor am I the best at directing or the most knowledgeable about editing or cameras, but I am passionate.  Passion alone won't get me to the top of the filmmaking mountain, but it will help drive me to do what I want.

This is my declaration to stop getting sidetracked.  Whenever I begin to lose sight of what I want to do, I'm going to do something to reel myself back into the arms of film.

My focus at school is screenwriting.  I know I want to write and direct.  I'm going to stop torturing myself and do what I want.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Film, it is.

With great disappointment and a heavy heart, I abruptly quit my job as a working student.  Things hadn't been working out for a few weeks and I was intending to put in my two weeks and be professional, but events occurred that made me unable to continue working and living there.  I am incredibly disappointed because I was ready to tackle my equestrian career, but after a lot of analyzation and introspection, I've realized that equestrianism is probably not the career path for me.  I still love riding and horses in general, but I am refocusing my energy back on film.

I am grateful that the job got me to the west coast.  I am in a place where I have alway wanted to be and the film opportunities are much greater out here than in Cincinnati.  The film community in Seattle seems to be pretty active and I look forward to becoming a part of it.

This blog will become less about horses and more about my film career and film in general.  There may be the occasional post about gaming.

Time to pour my blood, sweat, and tears into my art and not my attempt at being an athlete.

Monday, August 12, 2013

You're the best around! Nothing's going to ever keep you down.

I keep going back and forth on what I want to do with my life.  I really want to get to the Olympics for eventing in 2020, but I also really want to start on my media career.  Sometimes I think I'm wasting my time cleaning stalls and working in a barn, but I guess some time within the past two months of me doing so, I've completely forgotten that I AM working toward my Olympic goals.  I'm not going to be a working student forever and I AM going to school for my media career.  I'm NOT doing nothing like I so often feel I am.  I just feel like I'm getting nowhere.

Well, this is me kicking myself back into gear.

I haven't been riding everyday like I should be, so I'm going to start riding everyday again.  My not-horse-time is going to mainly be spent working on my schoolwork.

I'm going to stop letting myself get distracted.  I'm going to write down clear goals and stick to them.

I can do this.

Cue inspirational montage.

Monday, July 29, 2013

End All Be All

I will have officially been in Seattle for two months on August 6th.  I don't miss much about Cincinnati except for Skyline Chili (vegan, of course), HorrorHound, and my pets... and maybe only slightly my family, too.  I have been working very hard here and for the most part, I enjoy it.  However, I'm slowly coming back to the realization that horses are not my "end all be all."

Film is.

With that said, I don't plan on quitting horses or anything like that again.  I still want to compete at an upper level and maybe give lessons on the side while I'm between projects.  I love it here and I'm grateful that I finally found a job to get me to the West Coast (more specifically, the Pacific Northwest)... and I'm still not entirely sure where my decisions are taking me, but it certainly is interesting.

Sometimes, though, I just feel weird because I have all this education and experience for writing, making videos, and media and I feel like I'm wasting it.

So I've come up with a new plan for my life.  I'm going to try to work and live here on the farm until I graduate with my Bachelor's.  I might stay while I'm doing my Masters.  So that could take me from 2015 or 2016.

On my off days, I have to work on making my local film contacts in Seattle so I don't disappear.  I also need to continue working on short video projects for my Youtube and Vimeo pages.  This is all in addition to doing my homework!  I need to stay busy, stay creative, and stay functioning.

Here are some pictures from the awesome EMP Museum.

I'm really loving Seattle.  I just wish that I didn't feel so torn between horses and film all the time.  But I know now that I want to be an amateur equestrian while being a director/writer.  I can do it.  Other people do... right?  And if they don't, they aren't me.  I can do anything!


Saturday, June 1, 2013

I owe it all to the polo club.

In five days, I leave for Seattle to try working at and living on an eventing farm.  I am very excited as this is what I've been wanting to do with my life and I owe it all to the polo club.  I am very grateful to have had polo in my life for the past year as the Cincinnati Polo Club really helped me get back into horses and find my true passions in life.  However, polo is not the equestrian sport for me as I've always been an odd person to play on a team and sports like that make me incredibly nervous.  However, in eventing, it's just the horse and me on the course- and that's the way I like it.

Before I met the polo club, I was a total mess.  I tried to kill myself and was undergoing therapy to try to snap me out of it, but nothing really helped until I met them.  In a strange roundabout way, I owe my life to the Cincinnati Polo Club and the great people within it.  They've all been incredibly supportive of me and really helped me get through a rough time in my life, whether they knew it or not.

I never flat out told them my story, but I never felt like I needed to.  They welcomed me with open arms regardless of how I dressed, what my previous job was, and what color my hair was.  I've never felt like I belonged anywhere or that I had true friends, but that all changed when I met the polo club.  I am sad to leave them behind, but I am incredibly excited to start this new chapter in my life that they have helped create.  I will never forget them and what they have done for me.

They will always be my friends and my family.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Evil Dead (2013): The Film that Made Me Second Guess My Life

I'm normally wary of remakes, but something a friend of mine said within the past few months made me rethink my stance on remakes- specifically horror remakes.  It's great to know that horror is alive and well.  So I excitedly went to see the new Evil Dead (albeit, on Bargain Tuesday, and just before it left the theatre, but I'm broke and so busy that sometimes I even forget to work).

I was blown away.  When it comes to gore, I pretty much have an iron stomach.  I like to credit this to all the action and horror films I was not supposed to watch as a kid, but did anyway.  My current lack of squeamishness could probably also be paid tribute to the multitude of Real Life Torture Porn (AKA animal exploitation exposés) that I watch thanks to my interest in being vegan.

Actually, I'm not sure watching all of the animal exploitation exposés are really healthy either, but that's a post for a completely different time.

Anyway, despite my iron stomach, there were quite a few cringe-worthy scenes.  My inner 15-year-old boy (Yes, I do have one of those!) was cheering while my inner 5-year-old girl was crying for her stuffed pony.

I've been really bad about keeping up with all things horror lately because of my equestrian interests (having an obsessive personality kind of sucks because when I get interested in something, I lose all focus on everything else), but I read somewhere that they did not use any CGI for gore.  I have yet to do my research and confirm this, but if this is true, then I love the modern Evil Dead even more.

The art of gore is something that cannot be lost to computers... and it is wonderful when other filmmakers understand this.

So I'm obviously gushing over the film, and rightfully so, and I felt so inspired after the film that I began questioning my lack of involvement in the film industry as of late.  I have pretty much decided to put my film career temporarily on hold while I rebuild my equestrian career and because of this, I may be moving to Virginia or Oregon to do equestrian things full time.  But now I'm not so sure that's what I should be doing.

I love cinema.  I love making films.  I love writing about films.  This is why I call myself Kino...  film is so much a part of me that I CANNOT ignore it.

I have to remind myself that I can ride horses and make films at the same time and of all people, I should be the one to figure out how to make the two clashing careers work.

There are seven days in a week and 168 hours in a week.  I should be able to save a portion for film, a portion for horses, and a portion for writing.  Maybe I have to make my inner German come out and get very strict with myself about my time management.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Adventures in Eventing

I've had an exciting week!  I should really update more, but I struggle with ideas to write about.  Today is a day where I'm just going to blab and you're going to read what I say because you're bored.

First of all, last Thursday I had my fourth eventing lesson.  I jumped a little over a foot after doing this wicked exercise about straightness.  After I successfully did it, I felt amazing.  I am so glad I found what I want to do and my instructor seems to be impressed with me.  I'm impressed with myself!

I absolutely love my eventing lessons and how amazing my instructor makes me feel.  She's so positive.

Since I've decided that eventing is what I definitely want to do and I want to make a career out of it, I found a working student position in Virginia for an upper level eventer that occasionally takes lessons with Olympic riders.  The position could end up in a paid position, which I'm really interested in.  I've pretty much decided that if she offers it to me, I'll take it.  We're still in the interview process, but I'm crossing my fingers that everything will check out okay.  She seems to be interested in me!

Saturday, my husband and I went to see the cross country day at The Rolex Kentucky 3-Day Event.

Here is a picture I took of Boyd Martin and Trading Aces.

Me with Phillip Dutton after he signed my Modern Eventing book!

Stay tuned for a book review of Bittersweet Farms 1: Mounted!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Eyeshadow Primer: Urban Decay vs. Sobe Botanicals

I'm vegan, so when the discovery that Urban Decay's eyeshadow primer potion was not vegan surfaced, I looked for an alternative.  Someone recommended Sobe Botanicals to me.  I love the Sobe primer potion and I have used it for a number of sideshow gigs.  However, even though I bought vegan eyeshadow from Urban Decay, they still sent me a sample of their non-vegan primer.

A night of boredom and possibly creative insanity gave me an idea.  How about a test to see which stands the test of time?  Or rather, the test of sleep.

Urban Decay claims that their primer potion will hold up for 24 hours.  Sobe Botanicals makes no such claims, but I thought it'd be nice to see how well it does.

 I put Sobe on my left eye and Urban Decay on my right.  As you can see, Sobe had left my eyeshadow a little brighter than Urban Decay.  (Please excuse my faded pink hair and my mess of eyebrows.)

After about five hours of sleep, this is the result.
Urban Decay left no creases in my eyeshadow and it looks relatively the same after five hours of tossing and turning in bed.  Sobe Botanicals, however, has creases, but is still bright.

Because Sobe Botanicals is the vegan option (and mineral/natural option), I would still take it over Urban Decay until I found something vegan and more durable.  But it sure would be nice if Urban Decay would find a way to keep the awesomeness of their primer and make it vegan.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The horses I have loved

Horses are very important to me and they always have been.  I love the way they look, the way they move, the way they smell.  I love their soft noses, their mirror-like eyes, and the way they know what you're thinking.  They are kind, honest creatures- much unlike humans.  They do not judge, they don't care what your label is, and they don't care how much money you make, or if you live with your parents.  They care about how you ride, if you ride, and their basic needs.  If you take care of them, they will take care of you.  They're amazing, beautiful creatures.

I rode horses regularly from when I was eight-years-old up until I was 16.  I can remember the name of each horse I've ever ridden and their personality.  Cheval was a grumpy, red horse.  Butkus didn't like being near other horses.  Field was a beautiful grey Arabian who lost his best friend to a lightning strike.  The electricity went through Charlie and paralyzed one side of Field.  I rode him once, but he was my favorite.  Juice and I were buddies.  He taught me to jump and really helped me become a balanced rider.   He was the first and only horse I've ever fallen off.  I loved Winton, even though he seemed to always be disappointed when I brought him his tack.

Dallas was another favorite.  He seemed to tolerate me very well.

I rode Domino and Tara at camp.  Both of them had babies, which made me consider that the camp was not the best place for horses or people.

I was completely horse crazy.  I read books about horses, watched movies about horses, dreamed about horses...  they were a part of who I was.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Welcome to the new blog

Another blog?  What is this, Kino?  Why do you keep doing these things?

Well, this is the new, all-encompassing, everything about Kristen McFarland (Kino) blog.  Here I am going to post my life story for those who are interested, write about my passions, and not limit myself to one subject.  This is my new and official blog.  Accept no imitations.

I am 26-years-old, married, technically homeless (in the sense that my husband and I do not have our own place, so we live between our parents' houses), a creative writing student, an equestrian, a photographer and filmmaker, and just too awesome for this world and words.  I've been told that I'm a modern Renaissance Woman and that my résumé needs to be multiple pages to describe everything I can do.  I carry multiple business cards for different situations.

I have a hard time distinguishing between "hobby" and "career," so I just blend everything I like to do together and hope I come out on top.

I'm here to tell you that it's okay to be a multi-faceted individual.  It's okay to not be a one trick pony.  It's okay to do what you like to do.

It's okay to be you.

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