I forgot how freeing it is to take photos for fun! It’s easy to forget in the day-to-day grind of creating for work or money. I decided to buy a new point-and-shoot camera (FUJIFILM X70) since I was so sick of taking iPhone photos. It’s small so I can bring it anywhere and I love the fixed lens.
I took these photos of a model in an alleyway with natural light. They have a carefree and relaxed quality to them. Exactly how I felt shooting them.
And how beautiful is that red bougainvillea? It erupts on almost every street corner in the spring and summer and brightens my day every time I see it.
After 3 weeks of shooting overnight we have wrapped on Fear, Inc; a horror-comedy feature film. Producing this feature was so much fun! Our nights on set were filled with lots of fake blood and way too much caffeine! Our cast and crew raised the bar way beyond all of our expectations. You can read about the film on Deadline and The Wrap!
Producing this movie with Lone Suspect made the whole process a complete success. We start post-production soon and can’t wait to see it come to life in the cutting room. Stay tuned for Fear, Inc updates!
The last 3 months have been a whirlwind; creatively, emotionally, and spiritually. In late November, I decided after 30 absent years, I would go looking for my father. Coming to this decision did not happen overnight. I would say it took over a year, filled with prayer, being open and honest with friends and family about my fatherless upbringing, and a series of brave, blessed and perfectly serendipitous moments.
One BIG thing that helped move me past the idea of it and towards actually executing my plan was my decision to write about it. As a filmmaker the ability to step back and think about my life like a story allowed me to take action more easily. I decided I was ready to look for him, even if that meant finding something sad. I was ready to know more. I was ready to own my story no matter how it looked or ended. I did not need a happy ending. I needed to know I tried my best to have closure.
Luckily, I have the greatest roommate in the world. No joke! I never had to ask, he offered to come with me to Portland (from Los Angeles) to search for my dad, even though all I had was an address. My only clue. He not only provided me with the security of not being alone, but he made me feel excited about how we had to become old school detectives to find him. Since the subject matter had been weighing on my heart for so long, having him there to make it light and adventurous was exactly what I needed. I will forever be grateful to you, Dave!
Long story short, I found my Dad. It was actually quite easy to find him. The rest is a little more complicated and still unwritten. Complicated and hard, but good!
Right after I had found my Dad, Digital Bolex announced a short film competition called “Fearless Filmmaking”. The winners would have their films showcased at Slamdance 2015. I quickly knew I had to write and create a short film about my experience finding my Dad. I wrote/directed/and reluctantly acted in my short film over the span of 5 days. With the help of my VERY talented friends, we created a short film called “Love & I’ that Digital Bolex chose to showcase at Slamdance!
I know not everyone can relate to losing a father at a young age and finding him 30 years later. But this short film is not about that. It’s about overcoming your greatest fears and pushing yourself past what you know and out of your comfort zone. It’s about living a fearless life. It’s about forgiveness and love. It’s about owning your story.
You can watch it here. I hope you enjoy it! I know you can do anything you set your heart and mind to. I truly believe we can all live a more fearless life. #fearlessin2015
Around 30 woman, mostly strangers, spent the morning enjoying great food (like the cinnamon streusel biscuits with cinnamon honey butter pictured above) and conversation around a theme of oasis, with these questions:
What practices allow you create your own oasis and find your space in the desert?
How do we release the guilt of not having a packed schedule to allow yourself the time for restoration?
We went around the table sharing our opinions and individual stories. The topic struck a cord with me. This summer has definitely felt like a desert for me, where I’ve been struggling to find creative inspiration, where in the past it has come so easily. I feel like I’ve been bombarding myself with so much information (like too much social media) that instead of inspiring me, it has left me feeling drained. I’m excited for the fall. To stop and be still. To find inspiration in myself and the simple things in life, like a long hike or by creating things with my own hands.
Thank you to Darling Magazine for creating a beautiful space for us to open and honest with each other, as woman.
Interested in attending a Darling event? Check them out here.
Also, below is a fun video from the day.
Video by Willow + Niche
Summer seems to be slipping by. It’s been pretty hot here in LA and I’ve been stuck inside working a lot! I plan to take it easy in August and play out the rest of the summer on the beach in Michigan and planning new day adventures in Los Angeles. Since I’m a Michigander at heart, summer always feels like it won’t last forever and I must take full advantage of every single sunny day. Even though that’s not the case here in California, I still try to spend as much time as possible outside soaking up the sun!
So, keep working on that tan! HAGS!
*And Happy Birthday to that crazy guy riding the bike, Sean! Cheers to 8 summers in LA and 32 years of life! You truly are the raddest!
I fell in love with dance through ballet, taking my first dance class when I was 8 years old. I have such a vivid memory of that day, moving across the floor for the first time, unsure of the difficult dance moves but feeling brave enough to see where they would take me, one step at a time. I had this overwhelming feeling of joy, like something new had just sparked inside of me. Almost like I could see a glimpse into the future and how dance would change my life.
Even though we didn’t have a lot of money growing up, my mom found a way to pay for dance classes. Still to this day I have no idea how she did it. She somehow raised three kids on her own, while juggling multiple jobs and finishing her college education. She moves through life with so much grace, that even on the hardest days, she made it look easy.
I think she sacrificed to keep me in dance because she must have known how much I loved and needed it. I lost my father was I was very young, around three years old, and through dance I found a way to open up and express my emotions, instead of just bottling them up. Dance was my therapy. Dance was the way I learned to navigate through all of my emotions. Even now as an adult, when days get too overwhelming and I’m feeling lost, I take a ballet class and cry my way through a warm-up, slowly discovering where to put my frustrations. I focus on centering my thoughts, and by the end of class, I find myself. I leave feeling re-energized and ready to conquer whatever life throws at me.
I danced my way through high school and straight to college, where I studied dance, since it was really the only thing that I was truly passionate about. Somewhere along the way, I discovered filmmaking, realizing it was the best way for me to explore and combine all of the arts, instead of just focusing on one.
I was right about dance. Even though I never became a professional dancer, like I dreamed about as a little girl, dance will always be a huge part of my life. Dance has taught me how to trust myself, how to let go, how to feel free and at peace. Dance fuels my soul and has made me physically and mentally strong. I still take ballet class once or twice a week, and I am lucky to have found one of the best adult ballet classes in Los Angeles.
So thank you, Mom, for the gift of dance. Did you know how it might change my life and lead me in all the right directions? Thank you for everything you sacrificed. Thank you for believing in me and encouraging me. Thank you for always making me feel safe, loved and happy. And thank you for always knowing exactly what I need.
Happy Mothers Day, Mom! I love you more than you will ever know.
Photo cred: Left, my first recital, 8 years old, taken by my mom.
Right, 23 years later, taken by Christin Olive Photography
I love how a long, successful day on set makes me feel so fulfilled. Work is not work when you love what you do! It also helps when you have a hard working and insanely talented crew to create with! Can’t wait to share my collaboration with the oh-so creative Aaron Shinn & the incredible new technology from Matterport! This is a shot from our beautiful location today in Silver Lake. As you can see, it was horrible.
Getting a tattoo was always something I said I would never do. And not even for any particular reason. I think I just liked the excuse of “what could possibly ever be good enough to tattoo on my body?” Man, I’m so dramatic some times! Anyways, I could never answer that question, so I never got a tattoo… until recently! What’s crazy about it is, it just happened naturally.
So the story goes, I just happened to be in the neighborhood of a good friend, so I text him to see what he was doing. He told me he was getting a tattoo “as we speak” and that I should come meet him to check it out. So I did! As soon I set foot inside the tattoo parlor, I new I had to get a tattoo. I can’t explain why. I just knew. And then instantly I knew what. Years ago my same friend had gotten a tattoo of a star on his right hand where Detroit, MI would be on his “hand map.” For those of you who don’t know, us Michiganders always show people where we are from by using our hands as a map. Like this:
Right then and there I knew I had to get a star on my left hand to represent where I am from, Marquette, MI. In seconds, my crazy-over-thinking-of-why-I-could-never-get-a-tattoo speech had diminished and I knew what I wanted and why.
I feel so lucky and proud to be from Marquette, MI. Not only is it one of the safest places to grow up in the United States, it is out-of-this-world beautiful. Lake Superior is the largest, deepest and greatest of the Great Lakes! She surrounds Marquette like a blanket, making us all feel safe and hidden, like we grew up on a secret Island in the middle of nowhere. The people of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (known as Yoopers) are truly the nicest, most genuine, happy-go-lucky people I have ever met. Maybe there’s something in the water…
The little star on my left hand not only represents Marquette on a map, it also represents how blessed I feel to have grown up in such a beautiful community. That little star will always remind me where I’m from, guide me when I’m lost like a northern star, stare back at me when I’m dancing in ballet class reminding me to shoot all of my energy out through my fingertips, and something I will forever share with one of my closest friends, who I also share a life time’s worth of great memories (some of the best years of my life). Complementing hometown hand tattoos may only be skin-deep, but the meaning is truly immeasurable.
We just wrapped principal photography for ‘The White Orchid‘ Movie in beautiful Morro Bay, California. This is the second production from Santana Films, which is a collaboration between the Humphrey Bogart Estate and filmmaker Steve Anderson.
I had the pleasure of working as an Associate Producer on the film. This title means a lot of things when you are working on an Indie Feature. My position allowed me to “float” and help different departments when they needed me, while simultaneously keeping a sharp eye on our Director/Fearless Leader Steve Anderson, making sure he had everything he needed. Working so close to Steve Anderson was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Not only did he write an amazing one-of-a-kind script, he brought great energy, positivity and patience every day, which created a productive and peaceful working environment on set.
We traveled for 4 out of the 6 weeks of production to Morro Bay, Big Sur, San Francisco and back to Los Angeles (where most of the crew call home). Four weeks was the longest I had ever been on the road, let alone away from my home and the comfort of my own bed. While I was away, I learned a lot about what I actually need to be happy and feel content. The cast & crew were lucky enough to stay in comfortable, small, homey hotels that made us feel like we were attending summer camp. In the comfort of my cozy hotel room, with my dog Rocky by my side, enough clothes to last 2 weeks, a job that inspired me and made me want to jump out of bed in the morning, I realized I didn’t need much more than that, especially at this point in my life.
Sometimes are lives are filled with so much more “want” than “need” that we lose our bearings on what that “need” actually is. I am so grateful for my experience on The White Orchid. I can honestly say I have gained 30 new friends and an endless amount of priceless filmmaking & life lessons. I can’t wait to see how this story ends. Making the movie was just the beginning.
Check out The Hollywood Reporter Article that came out today about The White Orchid!
Also, “like” The White Orchid Facebook page and show your support by staying connected to what is happening with the film’s journey to its premier!
Thank you Hank Fortener for this beautiful inspirational post about New Years resolutions. My THEME (focus for a year, not resolution) for 2014 is FIRSTS. 2014 is my year of FIRSTS. There are so many things I have never done and need to challenge myself to do. I’ve spent most of the last 10 years being a “we” and not an “I” or an individual. I’m excited to get to know myself and challenge myself to do a lot of “firsts.” My list is endless. Time to get out of my comfort zone, challenge myself and face my fears. Hello, 2014. Nice to meet you and the new version of me!
2014 is my year of FIRSTS. Like what you are reading now, my first Blog post ever!
What is yours?