November 18, 2009

Hi there –

Gosh, I guess I’m not very good at keeping up my blog – the truth is, I feel kinda guilty when I’m spending time writing this when I could be -gulp – editing, or seeking new clients to do web videos for, or trying to drum up new ways to find a Film Producing partner. But today is a good day – admin work is done and I have the rest of the day booked for editing and I may devote an hour later to seeking new web video clients, so here’s a quick update on what I’ve been up to lately.

Been spending most of my time wrapping up two web promo video clients, as well as editing. The web videos have been fun – my friend Bill edited one for a local pleasure boat builder, Custom Advantage Marine, and the second I am still shooting but am almost done and thus spent the afternoon yesterday inputting the footage into Avid and beginning the edit.  I love that I take way too much footage – it gives me many editing choices, and it’s fun to play with cool shots and practising camera moves. Although yes occasionally I curse my camera moves – I have to learn to hold the camera still longer – but I have some beautiful footage taken out in the Autumn woods recently. The video is for a group called Woods West, and features environmentally friendly sustainable forestry practices. It’s been really neat to learn about sustainable forestry, and to film horse logging and – yesterday – recently harvested logs being put through their paces at a sawmill and becoming usable lumber. I consider myself lucky to practice my skills in camera work, story and editing out in nature’s glory. I may use some of the shots in the drumming doc – just as scenics, etc. It is going to be a beautiful video for Woods West.

In other editing news, I have completed the second cut of Dreamers and today am diving in head first to cut four more minutes off the film for CBC. I will have to be rather ruthless – but I do plan to make a second longer cut for film festivals, which I will also be doing today before carefully considering what else to cut in order to fit CBC’s programming needs.  May I just add that Dreamers is astonishingly beautiful – I have little self-confidence in a lot of areas of my life, but I am so proud of this little film. I shot it as well as Directed it, which in film circles in mostly a big no-no, but I did not know when I would get to shoot another drama and I really knew what shots I wanted, so I went ahead and did it anyway. And I am very proud of my work. But at the same time I could not have made this sweet little epic without the assistance of many people in the cast and crew. Specifically I would like to give a big shout out to all the cast of the film – everyone – with a special nod to Connor Youngerman and Sarah MacPhee or, as I know them, Brendan and Mary. Some of my favorite footage of these two will be used in a montage that depicts the passing of time, but I think much of this will have to go in today’s CBC cut, which breaks my heart. But alas that is the life of a filmmaker. I must distill the story down to its very essence. But I will keep that footage (or most of it) for the longer cut which will make the rounds at Film Festivals. I LOVE faces, and I took some sweet ECU’s of Mary’s and Brendan’s eyes…and it leaves me breathless, these shots are so sweet and so revealing of character. Sigh! The heartache of trying to carve out some kind of career is all redeemed when you get to see the fruits of your labours and ‘it is good’.

Drummerboyz has been retitled ‘A Time To Drum’, reason being that I am writing a drama about a rebel drummer that is more suited to the title Drummerboyz. Also the doc evolved, as docs spanning a particular time period often do, and the new title is more suited to what I have sitting on my hard drive awaiting editing. I can hardly wait to dive into the edit, but I must finish Dreamers and get it off to its composer and sound designer asap, then I can move onto the drumming doc. I have rather strangely discovered that I LOVE editing – how surprising – but it is through the edit that your story really comes together. It can be tiresome and frustrating, but mostly is simply addictive…as a matter of fact, I have discovered that when I am editing I get really annoyed when I must stop to make a meal, go to the bathroom, answer the phone, talk to people, go to karate, etc. So is this a problem? Cause like I love talking to people. Eating. Going to the bathroom. Seeing my friends and getting a good workout at karate. Etc. Should I be worried? Even sitting here now I can feel the pull…the Mac is on and awaiting my presence…Dreamers is calling…

Oh before I go I must tell you that I recently discovered the most amazing singer songwriter ever…besides my lovely wonderful son who is carving out his own niche in the singer songwriting world, that is (check out his music on his web page, the band name is An oiche, I think the website is http://www.anoiche.com). Anyways this particular singer songwriter is Liam O’Maonlai, of the Irish band Hothouse Flowers. So yes he has been around for a while, but he is new to me. And my soul thanks him, wholeheartedly and with much love for his talent and for the fact that he is sharing his music with the world. I am hoping to use two of his Gaelic tunes in Dreamers, but alas he is not easy to reach. I had met him at Celtic Colours in Cape Breton recently, and he seemed interested in perhpas including some of his music in my film – I think he would be very pleased, because oh Lordy the film is that much more beautiful with his haunting, soulful melodies on board. But yes I am actually still awaiting translation too, to be sure his music fits the film – working on that – in the meantime I am just enjoying his voice and haunting piano. I think in fact that it can be a curse to be an artist and to FEEL things so deeply.  I ache to feel this music and to see those heartbreaking close-ups of Brendan and Mary in Dreamers, but then these feelings don’t translate well to other areas of my life, because let’s face it, us artists feel things TOO deeply and on a whole different plane than most folks, and so unless you can find your own kind to divulge such thoughts to, then the world can be a lonely place sometimes. Where I live, in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, there is not even a Cafe suited for artists’ hangouts…Jars of Clay helps fill the void but it is not yet quite there…and so…and so. Oh life on PEI, the most serenely beautiful place in the Universe, and yet so many of my artist friends are struggling to make ends meet, to pay the bills, to find the will to survive one more day. Yet another reason for me to have some kind of success in film, to hire my friends because they are multi-talented but you know what happens, after a while you stop thinking that you are multi-talented, and you sink further and further into that deep, dark hole of financial insecurity and lack of faith.

On that note, I need my creative juices awakened and faith in myself restored, and so for the next many hours I will happily ensconce myself in Steve’s lovely sunny dining room, wrapped in my wool plaid blanket from Scotland for warmth, with little striped purring Oliver at my feet, and I will edit. Late in the day I will reawaken to a hastily prepared meal and then karate, but it will take a bit to come out of that deep creative place in the soul. So please – be patient with me if my roundhouse kicks and my katas aren’t completely in the game.


PS So it would appear that many of the Triumph Street band members were likely suffering from H1N1 Flu during their World Championship performance…wow. That’s dedication. Christopher himself was very sick – but they didn’t really know what they had til people who were still ill went back to Vancouver and were tested. Suffice it to say Christopher missed three nights at Lord Todd’s bar partying with the Aussies, ha ha! And he still looked pretty happy when he marched on the field for Worlds. Love that kid!

PPS Am packing my camera nd tripod for a trip to Grande Prairie next week, where Christopher is working and saving some money to go back to school as he lives with his Dad. Wow, I am already feeling the fear from that particular part of the visit, although I am looking forward immensely to seeing my only son and filming the last few shots of the drumming doc with him. I have not seen him since April, although we talk on the phone almost every day. Miss that kid…