In death

I am in a constant state of up-and-down. My emotions run over me in ways that I have most certainly experienced, yet it feels so foreign, because there’s something new that’s affecting them this time. I have lost many friends and family over the years, as have we all. Some of these deaths have been natural and as time saw fit (my grandfathers for example). Some have been completely unfair such as my “Other Mother’s” passing a few years ago - she was hit by a drunk driver in the early morning in Seattle - and this past weekend’s tragedy of my friend who was killed while helping someone on the side of the road. He and I haven’t even really spoken since I left Colorado back in the early spring of 2001. We commented on each other’s facebook posts from time-to-time, but there were no conversations of note. The thing is though, there didn’t need to be. We knew we loved each other. We LOVED each other. Just as he loved every single other person who crossed his path. That man loved and you knew it. He was such an incredible light in an otherwise dark world. He was beautiful. And I know that I am most definitely not the only person who is affected by this. But my goodness, this one hurts.

I found out on Sunday night. I couldn’t stop shaking and crying. I texted friends, I texted my youngest brother; I was not alone. I went to work on Monday and had moments where I cried in my cubical, or in the hallway walking to the damn bathroom, but work helped because it gave me something to focus on. It wasn’t enough though. Today was easier. I was a volunteer filmmaker at a local event to introduce high school girls to STEM. The morning was tough, I couldn’t stop thinking about him as I pulled my camera out of my bag, set my white balance, and went on to chase high schoolers around with a camera. As the morning wore on and I focused more on what I was there to do, my brain and emotions stopped working so hard and I really connected with the event, the program, and the excitement of the young ladies who were learning about new opportunities. I actually forgot about MYSELF until it was time to pack up and head home at 2pm. I worked from home for about an hour-and-a-half, before attending a panel on AR/VR and where it is heading world-wide and more importantly, here in Boise. I networked, I promoted myself as a filmmaker, I learned about AR/VR something I know very little about.

…and then I got home. And it hit again. I forced myself to eat, because tomorrow I see my personal trainer again and I need to consume the right amount of carbs, protein, and fat. I am an incredible cook and tonight’s dinner was a bland plate of shit. I got into an argument with my roommate. I am in no way angry at him, but he said something that made my mind explode with anger toward the person he was talking about and my own situation. I felt defeated, disrespected, and disheartened. I was done. I am done. At least that was how I felt after OUR - scratch that - MY - yelling outburst.

Then I started writing content for a project that I am incredibly blessed to have been asked to participate in. An incredible friend whom I met for the first time in New York last month invited me to collaborate with her and other women+ on a project of great proportions. She knew him too. She feels it too. We text each other. I’m pretty sure that we’re crying together. Writing for a project that I believe in helped tonight. As soon as I completed that content, I received a message from the director of a local nonprofit that I’m working with on a project in March. My energy immediately changed and I felt life returning to my aching heart.

I think it’s going to be like this for a while. This one hurts. Landen was light. He gave so much of himself to everyone and to this world. I want to be like him. Last night I danced for him. Tonight, I will do the same. And tomorrow night, and for many nights in my future. I will dance here in Boise, on my various travels around the world, I will dance, and I will help carry his light, because I believe that is now the duty of every single person who has ever met him. Carry his light. Let’s make this world a beautiful place, because that’s what Landen did every single day.

What the hell, America?

I have to talk about this.

(Below is a screenshot, not an actual video)


I’ve stared into that face. Throughout my childhood and my adulthood. Absolute contempt for our fellow persons. That look hurts and I have spent a good portion of my day crying about it between video edits of a PSA for the Wassmuth Center for Human Rights about how Idaho is too great for hate. I.AM.WORKING.FOR.FREE.TO.MAKE.THIS.SHIT.STOP.

(This event did not take place in Idaho.)

I can’t look at that kid’s face. It hurts deep in the depths of my soul. My own family members have looked at me with that contempt.

I grew up a white Hawaiian in Hawaii. When I moved to the Mainland, I was a brown girl with an accent. One of my teachers, in elementary school, told me that I needed to “get rid” of my accent because it made me sound STUPID. A teacher. Someone I was supposed to trust. That accent only comes out now when I’m excited, or angry. It’s fun when I recognize what I’m doing - depending on the situation I can laugh about it, or remind myself to tone down my anger.

I have faced racism on so many levels. I have faced hatred. There are people in my life who absolutely would rather I not exist. That’s the look I see on this kid’s face. That’s why this hurts so much. What the hell happened in our country? Nathan Phillips, the Elder that this kid is staring at is a respected member of our society and this nation. What happened, America? We are better than this.

That damn hat says it all.

I will keep working to make this country a place that we can all feel peace. A place that we can all feel love. If it is only the few of us that open our arms to those who are persecuted, so be it. There are so many of us who care, who love, and who want to heal. Keep fighting, my friends. This shit makes me want to stop and give up, but we can’t. We have to keep fighting for peace. We have to keep fighting for our respected Elders. We have to keep fighting for our futures. We have to keep fighting to wipe that smug look off all the damn bigots in this country.

I love you all.

It's been a while

Let's see... since my last post in January about going to Sundance to show parts of my short film, The Unlost, a lot has happened.

In February, I travelled to Rome for work and spent two extra days exploring the city before heading back to Boise.

In March, I travelled to Cambodia for a week for a volunteer service project.

In early April, like this past week, I travelled to Las Vegas for NAB.

As of now, I have no solid plans for future travel, but I'm leaving it open for possible festival showings of The Unlost, more travel for work, and possibly more volunteer travel. For now, I'm content sitting at home with my dog at my feet and my three cats ignoring me, while I edit together a few documentaries about my trip to Cambodia and what 17 volunteers from Boise were doing there.

We only returned from Cambodia on April 1st, so I'm still trying to process my trip and what we all accomplished there. I was back at work that Monday, spent a week working and dealing with post-3rd-world-country-body-issues, then on Sunday, April 8th, I was in Vegas experiencing the world on a completely different level than that of Cambodia. Let's just say, my brain, heart, and soul are still processing everything. The world is a magnificent, yet heartbreaking place.

Without delving too deeply into the service project (I'm saving that for my documentaries) I will say that spending a week carrying around my own toilet paper and urinating in a hole in the ground, was a stark difference from walking through crowds of people wearing suits spending loads money on film equipment. I'm not saying that either of those lifestyles are wrong, or right, they're just different. And to walk into a bathroom in Vegas while attending NAB, was it's own experience after waiting in line to use a bowl of water to flush the "toilet" in Cambodia. Both of these aspects of the world are a part of my life, and both for similar reasons - FILM. I went to Cambodia to volunteer for a human rights project, but to also shoot a documentary for the non-profit organization that organizes this project. I went to NAB to look at all the cool new equipment, software, and hardware that is available to us filmmakers so that we can create these documentaries. It's a beautiful juxtaposition. And it's my life in this unexpected year of 2018.

While I have been quiet on this blog and in my personal life, it's not to say that nothing is happening. More than I expected is happening and I'm doing my ultimate best to keep up with all of it. I'm transitioning from full-time student/full-time employee for a large company, to full-time employee of a large company/full-time freelance filmmaker. My days, nights, and weekends are filled with film, while I also do my best at having a personal life. Those leaves from last fall aren't going to rake themselves.

Going to Sundance

Well, my ability to post nightly didn't last long, but hey, when you've got nothing to say, seriously, don't say anything at all. Life is moving at a speed that I'm having a very difficult time keeping up with. Between working more than 12-hours a day last week due to three big video projects, and starting pre-production on three music videos that are due sooner-than-later, I haven't even had time to clean my bathroom. I'm not complaining, I'm just stating that I'm balls-to-the-wall busy. I guess every time I wished upon that star and said, "I want to be a filmmaker," I didn't take into account how and when that would all happen. Because it's happening right now.

Tomorrow morning, I leave for Park City, Utah, to join the Idaho Reception at Park City on opening night of Sundance 2018. Clips from my film The Unlost will be showing along with other films that were shot and created in Idaho. The event is put-on to promote Idaho and all that it has to offer for filmmaking opportunities - location, talent, location, talent, (cheap locations)... you get the idea. My film has it all: incredible talent and a location to die for. I am thrilled beyond belief and honored to have been chosen for this event, which is in it's second year.

I'm going to Sundance.

Clips from my film will be shown.

I will be there promoting Idaho, my film, and myself as a filmmaker.

Shit can happen. Fun will be had.

Although it's always been a dream, I had never imagined that I would even get this close.

The Unlost doesn't stop here, I am in the process of submitting it to multiple film festivals around the world. It is a film that needs to be shared. Until then, and with only one night in Park City, I'll continue on my path of creating videos for a large corporation by day, and short films and music videos for friends by nights and weekends. Life is moving. Film is being created. I am blessed.

Before I left work today, I stopped by my studio to tear-down after today's shoot and prepare it for an upcoming shoot next week. Being in my studio is my quiet time. It is my peace. I meditate as I set-up for a shoot, without realizing that meditation is what's happening. The same thing happens when I tear-down a shoot. My happiness abounds in my studio, which I have nurtured and built for three years (anniversary date: January 12th).

In thinking about tomorrow and my trip to Sundance, tonight as I locked up I said goodbye to my HP studio as I know it today and hello to a future of possibilities.

Projects Galore!

Not much happened today, yet so much happened that I'm kind of shaking my head in wonderment at how I'm going to accomplish everything at work and with my independent film projects. I can do it, I mean hell, I just completed 32 months of full-time work/full-time school. It's not impossible, it's just a lot. I'll take my breaks when they're handed to me. Or, when I can create them myself. Speaking of, I'm going to bed. Late again tonight, for a 5am wake-up, but hey, I'm used to this. ;-) Plus, early morning wake-ups mean time for yoga. And that's my new thing now. And I'm loving it.

Day 3

I'm doing it tonight, because I said I would. I actually have a lot to write about, but I find myself at 10:30 at night needing to get ready for bed. Last night's five hours was not enough to survive. Well, I actually did alright on five hours of sleep, but it's not fair to get back into that habit so quickly. While I was in school, I was pulling 4-5 hours of sleep a night. I managed to make it through, but I was exhausted every day. There were a lot of afternoons where I would fall asleep at my desk. I don't think my eyes shut for more than a couple minutes, but it's never good to attempt to function in that manner. It's not fair to you and it's not fair to your job. So, I'll keep tonight's post short.

I talked to an ex-pro football player at the gym tonight for over a half hour. He had a lot of wisdom to pass on regarding fitness, nutrition, and life. A lot of what he talked about was in regards to football and training and training and training, which can be translated to what it takes to be a filmmaker. Practice, practice, practice. Every film we create, every opportunity we have to participate in a film project in some capacity is more practice for our art. Even if we don't feel strongly about the project, or just plain want a weekend free, if you committed to that film project, do it, with all your heart. At the same time, don't overcommit yourself. If you want a weekend to yourself, book that calendar for YOU! I need to remember to do this, my weekends are booking up fast.

Another thing he mentioned in regards to working out is quality over quantity. This is in reference to doing reps, like lifting weights. Don't speed through your weight lifting in order to do more reps, but lift with a slow and intentional purpose. The more intentional your lift, the more muscle you'll build. Again, this can be said for filmmaking. Don't rush through a film project just so you can say you shot something this month. Or because you feel left out because everyone else is making a movie and therefore I have to make mine!!! Make a quality film! Not more! Understand that pre-production takes more than just considering where in your living room you're going to shoot your scene. Production takes more than just showing up with a camera. Post-production takes more than just slapping a few clips together. Of course, there is a time and place for those productions and if done right, can be one hell of a film. There are 48-hour film contests that force a group of filmmakers to create a film in 48 hours, or less. These are valuable experiences, and I must say, some of the films that I've seen created for our local 48-hour film festival are crazy-good. These experiences, in fact, have helped me with productions at work. More often than not, I receive a request to create a video in less than a week, while also creating other videos, answering emails, attending meetings, and doing any other number of things that must be done in a 40-hour work-week. It's insane, but I do my best work. I give as much quality as I can, while delivering quantity. But in my personal films? Quality over quantity - always.

And that's more than I expected to write tonight. 11 minutes and this is what I wrote! Let's see if I can get in bed by 11pm tonight, so I can grab 6 hours of sleep!

Still Going Strong!

Made it to my second day of blogging! And that's about all I have to say about that.

Tonight is my first night without homework in nearly three years and guess what I've been doing since I got home? Sitting at my computer. I'm working through my director's cut of my thesis film, The Unlost, so have been sending messages to various people who still have a hand in post-production. I've also actually answered personal emails, which is something I completely neglected for the last 32 months. I'd answer anything important, but most of the time, I would mark my emails as unread and hope that I got to them in a decent amount of time. It's weird that I don't have any homework to do, yet I still find myself "working" on my various film projects after working all day at my day job on those film projects. Okay, continuing to work on films after I get home is not weird, that's just what I do, but still... I guess I have a difficult time sitting idle.

I bought a few books to keep me busy and help me realign with myself. I want to practice mindfulness and experience peace in all aspects of my life. I want to be the best version of myself that I can be. And while I was still ME while I was in school, I wasn't the best me. Life was rough. I would work, a lot, then come home and immediately sit at my computer to start my schoolwork. Weekends were riddled with homework and film projects and I got to a point where I was a big bucket of stress and nothing could stop the train that I was on. Perhaps that's why I'm having such a difficult time coming down from all of it. I'm not just a talker, I'm a doer. If I say I'm going to do something, I go out there and I do it to the best of my ability. So, I'm constantly doing. And I'm okay with that. We'll see how well I keep doing this blog - I still have my doubts. 

Speaking of practicing mindfulness and making me the best version of myself that I can be, I'm going to step away from this computer and start a yoga regimen from one of the books I bought last week. My goal is to be able to stretch again, feel good about myself, experience peace, AND lose those extra pounds I gained by the time I need to wear my nice pants again. So I don't have to buy new ones. I have about a month-and-a-half. OMG! I can do this.

New Year, New Blog

Well, here it is: The first day of 2018 and the first day that I *attempt* to blog *almost* every day for the entire year. Why? Because I feel like it. I think this will be good for me and I missed out on blogging about the last three incredibly difficult yet fulfilling years of my life. In 2014, I produced a feature film (still in post-production (more on that later, I'm sure)) and started creating videos for HP as a contractor. In 2015, I was offered a full-time position with HP (same as my contracting job, only now I'm official!), got a divorce, started attending Full Sail University, and dated a wonderful man. In 2016, I continued with school, broke up with that wonderful man, "dated," decided I didn't want to date AT.ALL, my grandfather passed away, and I found out that my neighbor was dealing meth out of his house. In 2017, my neighbor's house caught fire (the entire neighborhood is pretty sure that it was set intentionally), dealt with swat teams running through my yard, got back together with that wonderful man, traveled to Prague for business, the man moved in, I continued with school, shot my thesis film, and graduated from Full Sail University in December with a Bachelor of Science degree in Digital Cinematography. GPA: 3.9. That entire time that I was in school? I worked my share of full-time job.

And here I am, now in 2018. School is over, I still work full-time for HP creating customer-facing and internal videos, my thesis film is in post-production with the director's cut, and I'm in pre-production on several short films for various friends. Today is my last day of an 11-day "vacation" from work (including weekends) and it was not nearly enough to wrap my head around the fact that I now have a bachelor's degree. Something I've been wanting since high school, but it was always out of my grasp due to life and that beautiful thing called "perfect timing," which doesn't exist, by the way. People keep asking me, "what are you going to do now?" Like, everyone I talk to. That's the question and honestly, I don't have the answers that anyone is expecting from me. No one in Hollywood offered me a job right out of college; I'm not moving to California, not this year as far as I can tell; and I'm still working full-time and have no plans of leaving a steady job with benefits. I own my own house, I have a sensitive dog that goes to day camp three times a week, and I have three really annoying cats that still need my complete support. There is an incredible independent film community in Boise, and right now, I owe a lot of people some short films for all the work they did for me on my thesis film. So what am I going to do now? Make movies for my friends, keep working, and attempt to sell this house despite the mess next door.

That's my life in a nutshell! I worked on my New Years resolutions, but I'm going to ruminate on those for the next few days to make sure that I've covered everything. I went to the gym today to start losing all the weight I gained from stress eating and drinking while going to school and I made my yearly-supply of veggie broth, something I haven't made since I started school. I'd say this year is off to a pleasant start, full of thoughts and silent moments in my head; wondering what's next?