Sunday, December 14, 2014

I am raised by bats: a blog about fitting in

Most of my life was spent in the goth scene and with circuses, sideshows, and theater. I made great contacts in this circle of people and as I got to know the people in these communities (and believe me, a lot of them are difficult to get to know), I kind of felt like I belonged (more so with the performers than the audiences). Some time between touring with FreakShow Deluxe and wrecking my car in a tornado, I started feeling pressured to be "normal" and to do things the "normal" way. For example, getting a job with a corporation, working my way up the ladder, and then retiring when I'm 60.

This did not work for me, so I started working with horses again... something I hadn't done since I was a teenager. No matter how much I loved the horses and how much I wanted to reach the top level of riding, one thing grated my soul and kept crushing me regardless of how much I didn't want it to matter. I did not and do not fit in with horse people. From a polo player continuously asking me why I make myself look the way I do to uptight eventers snubbing me every time they saw me in the barn or accusing me of not taking proper care of their horse, it was plain obvious that I didn't fit in this world of polo shirts and ballerina buns.

However, for the first time in my life, I attempted to fit in. I cut off my mohawk. I dyed my hair black instead of pink. I even bought shirts with horses on them, and God forbid... A POLO SHIRT. I thought that my suicide attempt was the lowest point of my life... Apparently these moments that followed were the lowest.

I quit the barn that I was working at and shortly got a job at a doggie daycare. I didn't fit in there either. People stabbed me in the back and the management delayed my 90 day review so long that it was nearly 6 months when I finally got it... and when it was given to me, it was just a blank piece of paper with a line through the middle. I stopped trying to do a good job after that point. It didn't matter anymore.

But while I was working there, I was also doing the things that I wanted to do. I became more involved with the Seattle film community (when I was on the horse farm, I couldn't do anything except look at horses). I went to events and concerts and I started seeing glimpses of where I belonged.

After I quit the daycare, I attempted more corporate jobs. Naturally, I failed any interview I got because I am not a corporate person and I don't think I can even pretend that I am anymore. I focused on my school work, making films, and networking with some people that were kind of like my old life.

Then I went to see Voltaire. I used to go to his shows every time he came to town in Ohio (sometimes once a year), but I hadn't in a long time because of depression and all of the above garbage. Seeing Voltaire again, talking with him, being in the creative atmosphere of Voltaire, the Nasty Habits and Jeff Ferrell, reminded me of what I originally wanted from life and who I really am. It reminded me of where I belong.

I belong with artists and creative types-- and not really just ANY artists. I belong with subcultures. I belong in the underground. I belong where I can do what I want and not get crap for it... and I'm not going to pretend that I am a corporate video person or that I am anything other than myself.

So what if that means it makes me less desirable to major companies? That's not what I want to do with my life. I want to make films and enjoy myself. Life is way too fucking short to sell your soul to a corporation... even if it pays good money. I'd rather be happy and scraping by than forcing myself to fit in again. That's a fast track to another suicide attempt.

Friday, November 21, 2014

So many books to read, so little time

Actually, I have ample time now that I am technically unemployed and on Tuesday November, 25, I will have graduated my third attempt at college. I suppose it wasn't really my third attempt at college, considering I finished the first round (technically, twice as I have my associate's degree and a professional certificate). I only dropped out of one program and that was largely because I was getting absolutely nothing out of the school other than annoyed and depressed. So I suppose this is my second attempt at a bachelor's degree.

'Lo and behold! I am successful! I have finished all of my classes and am now waiting for my final grade. I am a "pending graduate" according to Full Sail's system. I am not only graduating, however. I am also the recipient of the Advanced Achievement Award on top of my two Course Director Awards.

Receiving the notification of the award was a bit uplifting as I have technically been homeless for half the time I have been in school. Full Sail's handbook describes the award by saying it is "usually indicative of a student most likely to succeed." If only everyone knew that I am actually fighting to succeed because I feel that I have no other choice. It's either succeed as being a writer/filmmaker and be able to support myself or not try at all and die in the icy cold streets while the uncaring corporate poseurs of Seattle turn up their noses.

That last statement brings me to my next topic. I am reading Bridget Jones' Diary. I am about halfway through and I have to say that this is the most uninteresting piece of drivel that I have ever read next to Pride and Prejudice. Are there women that are actually like this? How can someone be so focused on gaining the attention of men, criticize themselves for being that way, and then go right back to it? It is so shallow and epitomizes the stereotype of "chick lit." It embarrasses me as a reader, a writer, and a woman. The book itself does not bother me as much as the quotes on the cover that say, "Fielding has rummaged all too knowingly through the bedrooms, closets, hearts, and minds of women everywhere."

Who are these women? Do they actually relate to this? I don't think I know these women.

My question is this. Do I bother finishing it? Does it get better? I saw the movie when I was a teenager, but I cannot remember a single thing about it other than the fact that my brother caught me watching it and said, "Are you feeling okay?"

(On the flip side, however, Bridget Jones has a job where as I do not.)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Neato Kino rocks... again!

Neato Kino Films did it again! We participated in the 48 Hour Film Horror Project in October. For the most part, it was a pretty smooth weekend, yet again. I met with our trusted editor at LeftJet Studios for the kick off event. After the rules were presented, genres and elements were given. I pulled Found Footage out of the hat, but because we were shooting on a Red Epic, we opted to go for the Wild Card.

A found footage film would have been a waste of such a good camera. The Wild Card ended up being Cannibalism, which was not my favorite subject to work with because it's difficult to write a decent cannibalism film without comedy, but I could work with it.

The kick off was actually my wedding anniversary, so my husband and I decided that we would write the film together. We came up with a pretty solid concept and plot right away, so we left to get a few props. When we got back, we finished the script and sent it out to the cast and crew.

The next day, we were to begin shooting. Our location was a house mid-renovations, so we had to arrive early to move things out of the way and keep everything safe for the cast and crew. We didn't expect to have our camera until 10 AM, but it was there when we arrived at 8.

We moved things around and started preparing, but when it was about time to begin shooting, it was brought to my attention that no one brought sound equipment. It was a minor disaster that was quickly averted by one person driving home to get a microphone and a cable and another person pulling a Zoom recorder out of their car. Talk about super heroes... We were talking about reworking the script to make it a silent film!

After that hitch, the shoot went very smoothly. However, we were in a race against the sun as it was trying to leave us shooting in the dark. Our last scene had to be shot outside (and last), so we did the best we could. We didn't get as many shots as we needed or wanted, but it worked out. It also started to rain during the last scene. It didn't rain the rest of the day-- and we were shooting in a green house, so the rain was loud. We took what we had and then went straight into editing.

Storm, the editor, and I stayed up all night until we had a final cut of the video. We sent it off to our composer around 6 AM and then took a nap. While we waited for the music to come back, we slept briefly and worked on editing the rest of the sound. When the music arrived, we edited all of the audio even further to make it mesh.

About three hours before turn in, we felt like we were at a stopping point. After looking at it for so long with barely any fresh eyes, we had no idea what else to do. So we ate and then took the film to LeftJet. We hung out at Office Depot and then went back to LeftJet to wait until the doors opened. Naturally, we were the first to turn in.

A few weeks later after the initial screening, we received notification that we won an award. A few of us attended the awards screening, which was followed by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and we discovered we won for Best Sound Design.

Talk about irony!

We didn't make a trailer this time around and the film is not yet public, but we will let you know when it is available. We are working on making it even better and sending it off to film festivals. Watch out world!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Neato Kino Films rocked the 48!

After about 10 years of wanting to do the 48 Hour Film Project, I finally did it.  I even got my film in on time!  My team consisted of people I had never met before and crazy enough, we all meshed well and worked great together.  There were a few hiccups during editing and we didn't end up with enough time to color correct, but I am still proud of this film.

I drew comedy, but you'd never know from the trailer.  I actually love how misleading it is.

We had NO issues during filming.  The worst thing that happened was someone knocked over a bottle of Dr Pepper.  I struggled with coming up with a story for awhile, but once I got going, I was finished in about 20 minutes.

During the final render.  Premiere hung here forever.

We made it half an hour before the deadline.

Here, I'm thinking, "Please give me horror."

The actors cooling off.

Storm edited while we shot and Emily refused to give up Frank.

The required prop.

We ordered three vegan pizzas.  Only two of us were vegan.  This was all that was left at the end of the shoot.

Render cat.

It was sunny and a brief shower complete with thunder from nowhere.

Wardrobe malfunction!

This is probably my favorite scene.

Screening this Thursday!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...