Thursday, August 14, 2014

summer 2014: dedicated to my ten year old self

when i was ten years old i asked my stepmom, "how many people does it take to make a movie?"

knowing that i was about ten pages into my first screenplay, she quickly responded with, "...A LOT of people. it takes a lot of people to make a movie."

she probably didn't give much thought to her response. she may have been in the middle of a conversation with someone else or working on a big project or who knows what, i have no idea. but i'm pretty sure she didn't give much thought at all to her response.

she probably had no idea how much her response affected me. it shot me down and kind of devastated me. it is a vivid memory from my childhood. i had chosen my three best friends as my main actors and i had already asked my friend's dad if i could use his camcorder. i had a yellow legal pad filled with script lines. think little miss sunshine. i was dead seriously willing to make a movie and i was so excited at that idea. of course i was also working on song lyrics for my hit song that would surely appear on radio disney that next year, so i got a bit too busy to make my movie happen.

it wasn't until the next year that i sang in front of the whole school during an assembly, "america the beautiful" that i realized i absolutely could not sing. my best friend, one of the actors i had cast in my movie, told me she defended me in front of the mean boys making fun of my singing voice by telling them i had a cold.

i did not have a cold.

i would guess it was that year i began to be self-aware and started to lose the ability to dream without a care in the world. as life went on, that movie dream slowly started to die.

flash forward to last fall when i had some time to deeply reflect on where my life was going. we were in portland and jared was attending bicycle mechanic school. i spent most days reading, doing some homework, going out for casual jogs, and exploring the city. if that wasn't a time for reflection, i don't know what is. i found myself spending a lot of time reading about film production. i learned about typical positions and roles on movie sets and read a lot of firsthand accounts from people who had worked in the industry.

my impression was that film sets attract bratty people, that the work is long and hard, that gigs are unpredictable, and that you can never have a guaranteed career, because you can only jump from one gig to the next. despite all that, i was still interested in working on a film set. i remember thinking about the idea of working on a film set and feeling like it was such an unrealistic opportunity. at the time, i literally did not know a single person who worked in film.

then in may, earlier this year, i got a message from my friend asking if i might be interested collecting vintage furniture for a low budget film. i immediately got that stupid sick feeling you get when you know you can't say no but you're not sure you can do what you're being invited to do. you know that feeling? and then it all happened so fast, i gave him my email address, a few days later i got a call from the producer, and then before i could blink i was contractually obligated to purchase props for an actual feature film.

after spending the last several months (which is what we in the business call "pre-production" [said as uptight as possible]) purchasing furniture and props for their movie (and doing a screaming job staying within their budget, might i add), and managing the difficulty of the gig exploding into twenty times the work of that which i originally agreed, i find myself halfway through "production", which is the part where the lights and cameras appear and the director sits on a director chair and people with actual clapper boards actually yell, "action!" and "cut!", yes this is that part.

and i think i will take some time to write about how awful and wonderful this last week has been, and how i've learned from this experience, and how in some way i will never do this project ever, ever, ever again, and how in some ways, i will do another movie project again in a heartbeat. but not tonight. because it's 12:06am, but feels like 2:06am, and my body needs to rest.

because for now i am making my ten year old self proud, and doing something that i can say i've always, always wanted to do.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

a note to any and all future or current employers (movie director, i'm looking at you):

days off doing absolutely nothing besides whatever the hell i feel like doing are absolutely necessary for me. and if i don't have one of those AT LEAST once a week, i start to blow things off.

i'm sorry

that i'm not sorry about that.

my husband is not human, he is a robot who is capable of working inhumane hours, then running errands until collapsing into bed for a few hours until he sits straight up and goes about everything all over again. he is a robot and he is unstoppable.

i'm a hard worker. but i'm not a robot.

i need breaks.
i need leisurely uninterrupted lunch with my girlfriends.
i need hours of browsing pinterest and not realizing it's been hours.
i need sleeping in.
i need time to clean my house and swing in my hammock.

and at this moment, i seriously need a vacation.

Monday, July 28, 2014

i've been thinking a lot about privilege recently--and how privileged i am. it's like a physical weight that i attempt to remedy by working hard and not complaining and sharing what i have with others and doing things like simplifying my belongings and inviting people over to eat dinner in my home.

because i can't change that i have been very privileged. but i can share what i have with others and work hard to not let all these opportunities and head-starts go to waste.

Friday, July 25, 2014

just because they are pretty.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


image via

If you have ever wanted to help end the atrocities of sex tourism as well as sex/human trafficking (all gentle euphemisms for what is actually entailed), donating to Exodus Road is one truly effective way. If you have ever experienced "the sadness and outrage about the abundant inequalities between [your life] and the people around [you]", read the posts linked below.

"Many of you have asked how you can help, and trust me when I say that I know what it feels like to hear about these things and fantasize about selling everything, moving to the other side of the world and jumping in wherever you can, wherever you’re needed. Put me to work, I want to say. It’s what my mother said to me on Sunday afternoon. But the reality is that the overwhelming majority of us cannot leave our obligations at home. We cannot move our children or leave our jobs or stop attending to the tasks that keep the cogs of our life in motion. Couple that with the fact that the majority of us don’t have the expertise or experience needed on the ground. However, they do. You can send them in your place."

Read Heather's firsthand depiction of a red light district in Thailand and her conversation with one victim here.

And read more about how you can help here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

testimony + In Which I Write With Capital Letters

As a Mormon, all my life I've felt obligated to know what I believe, and to be able to spout out a complete list of sincere belief on cue. It was as if one could possibly know for sure everything about everything, and to be sure of your convictions meant you were doing something right.

But what about not knowing? What is there to be said for being honest--that plenty of people just do not know FOR SURE? What is there to be said for the vast unknown, the mystery, all that is bigger than me, what is there to be said for that?

As a Mormon, I have in the past professed to believe things that I sincerely did not know. At the time, I did not think I was lying. I thought I was being faithful and that I had a "believing heart". As my faith first began to grow heterodox, I would frequently attempt to make lists of Things That I Knew For Sure. And every time I got frustrated and gave up because I could not create The Right List and The Complete List. My Mormon obligation to Always Know what I believed was still driving me but I simply stopped believing many things I was supposed to believe. I began making lists of questions and doubts and soon those lists grew longer and longer until they were far longer than any list of beliefs I could be honest about.

My daily prayer became, "Lord, I believe. Help Thou mine unbelief." By the minute, that was my prayer. That Mormon obligation to Always Know what I believed was still driving me and I could not stand the thought of being called upon to share my beliefs and responding that I just did not know what I believed. The funny thing is that only in the Mormon church would I ever be called upon to share my beliefs, and on top of that, only in the Mormon church would I ever be ashamed to admit that I just did not know.

Eventually I made peace with my incomplete lists of belief, and very long lists of questions and doubts. And that peace grew into respect. I began recognizing the characteristic of "simply not knowing" in other people, and surprised myself by admiring it. Because it was honest.

And I began to respect that part of me, too. Because I was telling the truth. I did not know.

Today, I don't have a list of Things That I Know For Sure. Today, I can tell you what I'm sure I believe, but it's not much, and too ethereal to even be able to compile into a list. Today, there is no list. Today, I respect myself for not knowing everything for sure.

Today, I believe in God. A God who expects me to be honest, to love, and to do my best.

To be honest about what I believe, and what I don't.
To love broken people and creatures that have no voice.
To love not just my brothers, but my enemies.
To do my best with what I have and be okay with that.

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PS- I wrote an Open Letter To My Orthodox Mormon Friends, Family, and Loved Ones as a guest post on my friend, Stephanie's blog. You should read it here, if you're interested.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

posting for posterity--

let it be known that life is best when simple.

but when it's not, messes have a unique beauty all their own.