Saturday, December 27, 2014

Goals & Ambitions

Most people define success in terms of financial status. They want to be rich if they are poor, millionaires if they are rich and billionaires if they are millionaires. My day job gives me stability and therefore, I don’t have to compromise my creativity.

I want to make films, write and stay authentic.  My artistic goals and ambitions, more often than not, make me sick with anxiety.  My life would be so much easier if I could get rid of them but who am I kidding? I wouldn't be fulfilled.   My aspirations are either mediocre or unachievable depending on who is giving me their unsolicited opinion. I don't listen to the naysayers and I'm grateful that I have something to strive for.

I have a need to share experiences and moments, ideally through film but that’s proving more challenging than I anticipated.  I don’t give up easily. The last two years I’ve been taking non-fiction writing classes at Santa Monica College, Writers Workshop Los Angeles and UCLA.  I’m ready to take this to the next level in the shape of a book, I hope to have the first draft done by this time next year.  As cliché as this may sound, for me, it’s about the journey and not the finished product. Don’t get me wrong, it is extremely satisfying seeing a film through all its stages but once it’s done, you move on to the next project.  I learn the most when I’m in the process of creating.  I have a feeling it will be the same with a book.

I want to show the abstract and express emotion in my work. I don't know if I can achieve this but I will keep trying. This is harder to do than making money. For now, I will be happy trying to get there.

My next film will be a character study based on my "Eat, Pray, Love" journey. I couldn’t afford to quit my job and travel to exotic places. My pots and pans divorce cost me a lot of money but I managed to eat my way through every restaurant in Culver City and taco truck in Eastern Los Angeles before it was trendy to do so. I prayed my way through hiking trails in Topanga, pampered myself in spas from Santa Monica to Korean Town, splurged on a membership to Equinox and had a fantastic love affair with The City of Angels. I’d like to tell this story visually and do it with a micro-budget; one actor, one camera and inexpensive sound equipment. I need to convince Teri Carson at Dizzydent Films to be my cinematographer and my good friend Karla Legaspy to play the lead since she was one of the few people I kept in touch with at this time in my life. 

I saved the quote below from one of Teri's facebook posts and revisit it when I need a dose of inspiration. 

“For Cassavetes, a film was a tool, a means to an end, not a self-contained statement. It was a practical way of recording moments and expressions, which were the real medium for him. He shied away from using the word “idea” and preferred the word “emotion” to express the content of his work. He thought ideas were the intellectualizing, the formulation of experience, whereas emotions were an immediate, instinctive and direct experience. Ideas as explanations are a step removed from actual experience, and somewhere in-between a truth is lost”.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Write Girl

In September I became involved with Write Girl, a creative writing and mentoring organization. I wanted to give back to the community, maybe make a difference in a girl's life.

I was paired with a bright and talented young lady and every week we meet at the Lakewood Mall for a writing session.  She is smart, focused and her parents are loving and supportive. I am proud to play a small part of her creative life. This greeted me in the mailbox and it made my day.

Writing & Reading

I've spent the last seven weeks in a non fiction workshop taught by Seth Fischer at Writing Workshops Los Angeles. I love the intimate setting of these workshops. The class is taught in a person's home (either the instructor or one of the students) and its limited to 8 students. Wine, cheese and other snacks are provided. The environment is warm and friendly and everyone brings their A game. There's a lot of reading to enhance the week's lesson. Each person's story gets workshopped every other week. I've done some of my best writing in this class. It's a combination of the small setting, the prompts and I've been doing this for a while so I have to get better.

I learned so much from my memoir class at Santa Monica College. I took the same class with Monona Wali six times. The promps were different each semester and she is a great teacher but the class size was getting too big, most of the writers were new and I needed to advance to the next level.

In January I plan to take Writing the First Novel taught by writer Reyna Grande via UCLA Exention. It's a four day workshop and I want to come out of there with the a draft of the first chapter of the memoir and an outline for the rest of it. I've written a lot of pieces over  the past two years so now it's time to get serious and figure out which ones I'm going to include.

My goal is to have the first draft of the memoir by this time next year.