Saturday, October 01, 2011


Well, it's been an intense summer and one of which I am quite proud. After a 10 day scurrying to pull together a Walt Disney Concert Hall performance, which was a huge success (YAY TEAM!), I immediately dove into a project for the summer involving inner city kids. 2 days after that, I then found myself immersed in a cable movie, of which I've only recently emerged in the last week. In the middle of all of that, I was handling a house renovation. Needless to say, it was NOT a relaxing summer. But I do have to say it was a deeply fulfilling one.

While there has been many moments, when I found myself screaming for mercy, I never once regretted being involved in the various situations. It felt as though everything was geared for me to grow in tremendous trust not only in God, but also to have faith in the resources I already have. While it's true, I am 100% a deep end of the pool kinda of gal, I really felt myself put to the test… and wondering "Can I handle this?" "Am I just insane, and maybe we'd all be better off if I just openly admitted it?"

But here's the thing… I LOVE ART & MUSIC, I LOVE KIDS, I LOVE HOMES, … and I love finding ways to make it all come together. Somehow, without me even trying, it all happened in the space of 3 months. Last week, I was sitting in a sound studio for 12-14 hours a day, and I was loving it. Well, maybe there was a bit of a love/hate thing going on there, but overall… I LOVE it. I love being a part of all the little decisions that make a movie look and sound it's very best. I love diving into all the details, and being able to to do all the things I can do with the music. It's hysterical, when the producers start arguing about the bird sounds at the beginning of the movie, and we're actually brainstorming on which bird sound from which movie, actually fits. I love dealing with laying in all the music, and finding a mix that rides in and out with the story arc and the characters emotions. It's like surfing a massive wave and finding ways to drop in and carve out an emotional space that allows the viewer to really immerse themselves in the story. I love witnessing the choices that decide how a scene gets cut, and making sure the pacing is just right… not too slow, not too fast… depending on what's being conveyed. I love being surrounded by artists who actually not only LOVE to tell stories, but actually KNOW HOW to do it. Who know how to plunge into the heart of what's being conveyed, and know how to trim all the fat off, so we're not wasting people's time with unnecessary plot lines, unnecessary emotions. And I wish people understood, how delicate an operation it is. Especially when you consider what it's like to stick a bunch of artists in a room, and be able to feel them all feeling each other… feeling you… feeling them. And everybody knows, and little needs to be said. For me, it's definitely home. Or at least one of them. =)

Story-telling and film-making, in particular is an art. Period. No, not just anyone can do it. You really do need to have a bunch of professionals who have been in the business and have dedicated their lives to refining the form. (albeit somewhat obsessively) I hear so many well-intentioned Christian and Catholics say, "Well, if Hollywood can do it, we can do it." But see, here's the thing. The protocols are there for a REASON. The actors… well, yes, they're important. Very important. But it won't matter how good they are, if the writing is bad (Ever seen "Escape from LA"?). And if the chemistry between the actors isn't solid, things fall flat and it's equivalent to throwing pepper and vanilla into a recipe for vegetables. They're all great things in and of themselves, but they don't necessarily GO TOGETHER. Everybody has to be vibing together and whether pre-production or post-production, the personalities involved make a HUGE difference on how well things are going to go. The way you shoot something matters. The angles matter. The lighting matters. The direction REALLY matters… as does the costuming, the locations, every person in the scene whether talking or not, every sound, every movement… alters the overall tone and sense of the story. It's not enough to HAVE a good story, you truly need to be able to TELL it. And you need to know how each choice will alter the overall impression.

I experience the same thing in my writing. Granted sometimes it inspires the merry spirit of procrastination to come rearing it's head, when I get intimidated over a decision for a character… or I'm over thinking my plot lines (because I can be obsessive that way). Nevertheless, creating a story requires a lot of faith, a lot of flexibility and overall… as I said before… a LOT OF SKILL.

So, a quick word to my fellow christians and catholics out there… it's wonderful to have good intentions and to want to come to Hollywood to change things. But you have to be clear on what it is that needs changing. Cause it's not the art form of movie-making that needs it. The story-telling mechanism that's been put in place is better than good… it's built on real skills and real talents. What needs changing is the spirit. The story is simply a tool. We simply need to understand how to utilize it. Yes, we need to know genre and we need to know character development. The formula's are there for a reason. And when it's all said and done, it's about story. Story not politics. Story not an agenda. How I LOVE IT! =)