So. An update is in order.
A long overdue update.
Sorry ’bout that. Life has been hectic.
Where did we leave off?
It’s been so long that I can’t remember, so I’ll just begin with this:
I have a job! I’m an adult again! Hooray!
Or something to that effect.
In all honesty I’m only getting about 12 – 15 hours a week right now at about $8/hour, but… it’s better than nothing and I’m not in a factory. I also have my evenings and weekends free to do whatever I please, so I honestly have no room to complain; many people would love that opportunity.
Other than work (which is a job cleaning houses if I haven’t already said that in a previous blog– I honestly can’t remember), I’ve been spending my time in front of my computer doing tons and tons of networking and friend-making.
I’ll tell you why.
I’m in Wilmington, NC.
Which is affectionately known as “Wilmywood” to the movie business. It’s basically the Hollywood of the east, which is actually really freaking cool. They’ve filmed tons of stuff here, a few being: Dawson’s Creek, One Tree Hill, Eastbound & Down (which is actually in production for season 2 right now), bits of Iron Man 3, Sleepy Hollow (currently in production), and lots of other things that I really have no time to list.
About me and why this is important.
Well, a couple summers ago I had, what I thought, was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help out a few friends who were making an independent film. (Not that kind, pervs.) I got to help out doing a lot of things that I had no knowledge of. And when I say no knowledge, I mean NO KNOWLEDGE.
And yet there I was, thrown into the crew on the set of a movie. The crew was very small; there was only about five of us. We all had to cover multiple jobs, whatever they may be. I did some grip work, some lighting, and a lot of 2nd AC (assistant camera) jobs.
It was all very, very exciting and new. I had no idea what I was doing most of the time. I had to learn special lingo, which was all very odd. For example: Apple boxes. They have nothing to do with apples. So for about 99% of the time when I was told to go retrieve something from the truck, I had to ask what the heck it was. And then I had to try and remember it for the rest of the time I was helping out, which was a little overwhelming.
I made a few friends during that weekend and I learned a lot. I still remember the day the DP (director of photography) actually trusted me enough to carry his camera. I bear-hugged that thing with my life. It was probably one of the most nerve-wrecking moments of my life.
When it was all said and done, I just marked it off as one of many moments in life where you sit back and think “Wow, that was a blast!” but you never really think of it as being something you’ll every be able to do again.
Fast-forward to my current life in Wilmington and I find myself surrounded by film opportunities every day. This city is literally buzzing with entertainment business. Whether it be feature films, nighttime television or commercials, it’s going on.
Since moving here I’ve already been a background extra in 2 projects: An independent film and FOX’s Sleepy Hollow which premieres this Fall. Now, to be completely honest, I have absolutely zero desire to be an actor. I don’t want to be on TV, or in movies, or whatever.
Not at all.
I want to be behind the scenes.
I want to be the person who helps capture the winning shots.
I want to be a part of making the magic happen.
When did I discover this was something I wanted to do as a career? Honestly, it wasn’t until I moved down here and realized that there was an opportunity for it. I had looked into film school prior to moving (after hearing they film movies and TV shows here), but I’ve always been one who would rather not spend thousands upon thousands of dollars for a piece of paper that says “Yup, she paid out the butt for this paper, and it doesn’t mean squat in her field of work!” (Yes I realize a film degree can come in handy in a few areas, but for the most part it’s not required.)
And so I did the next best thing.
I Facebook’d like it was my JOB. I’m talking sometimes 5-6 hours a day.
And I prayed. I prayed hard, every single night that God would begin to open doors if this was where He wanted me to be.
I fully believe there was purpose behind me getting the experience I did those 2 summers ago. It was more than just a fleeting moment in life.
It was the start of a life that I had no intention of living, but yet… here I am.
Since discovering all the wonderful people on Facebook (casting pages, local film groups, local film makers, people currently in school for film, etc.) I have met a few who are willing to give me the opportunity to come work with them when they begin production of their works. There are rewards for people who are open to learn and do whatever it takes to get something they want.
Now, these people aren’t working on huge block-busters, but hey… it’s a start. Any experience I can get is going to set me on the path of bigger and better things in the future. The gigs won’t be paying to start out. I’ll be doing everything completely free-of-charge. Which is okay with me. Sure, the hours will be long sometimes and I’m sure it’ll be hot, frustrating, overwhelming and hard, but in the long run it will be incredibly worth it.
I am in complete awe of all the doors God has opened in a matter of weeks.
I literally went from a life of no direction, to feeling like I finally have purpose and a place to call home.
In Ohio I felt like I was stifled. I never felt like that was where I was meant to be.
Wilmington feels like I can actually make a life here.
It’s big. It’s hot. It’s missing a lot of things I had relied on back home (Hello, US Bank?), and it has strange things I’ve never seen before. (What the heck is a “Harris-Teeter”?)
But you know what the number 1 thing this city has that Ohio didn’t?
I don’t know know if I’ll ever make it to be on the crew of a major motion picture. I would sure love to, but from what I’ve read, those jobs are all about who you know. Networking is the best thing you can do in the film industry, and that’s why I’m trying my hardest to get out there and get experience so that one day all my hard work and determination will pay off.
All my life I’ve been simply fascinated by behind-the-scenes stuff. I remember growing up watching a show called “Movie Magic”. I loved seeing all the animatronics, puppets, props, sets, models, and everything it took to capture a scene. I was more interested in seeing how a scene was made than I was in seeing the actual finished scene. That fascination has carried on into today. Had I been smart I would have pursued it a lot earlier in life, but… God has His plans and I am no one to question them.
I still get lost in movies.
I sometimes have a hard time focusing on the plot because I’m too busy watching the stuff going on in the background. Or I’m looking for mistakes. Or reflections of the camera crew in doors, windows, puddles, cars, etc. And a more recent habit is picturing how the scene was set up; where the camera was when the scene was shot, what they used to take the shot (did they use a dolly or jib?). And sometimes I try to count how many angles they use in one single scene.
So as you can imagine, paying attention to epic movies like Lord of the Rings becomes incredibly hard, which is why it took me literally YEARS to be able to watch the entire trilogy successfully.
Now that I have seen the entire trilogy, plus The Hobbit, I have been completely enraptured by film. I love everything it takes to capture the magic. The fact that you can get people from all over the world to come together to make a masterpiece is incredibly amazing.
I want to do that.
I want to take a story on a page and turn it into a visual journey.
I want to travel to distant lands seeking the perfect landscape to give a face to a vision.
I want to be a part of timeless adventures that stand the test of time.
I want to work so hard every day that I come home completely wiped out from redoing a scene multiple times from every angle possible just to make sure we got it just right– even if it means a 16-hour day in rain or snow.
I want this job even though it means my name will be listed way after the audience has left the theater, and no one will know who I am and all the necessary work I put into entertaining them for 2 hours.
You see… I want this not for recognition or money or fame. I don’t care about that.
I care about the art.
I want this job for the simple fact that I love it.