Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Who Am I?

Who Am I? That's a question that I've been asking myself for the last several months. Who Am I? Inherently, I know who I am. I have always known who I am, but as with all things in life, aspects of myself change. Some of these changes are forced on me without my willing participation and some of these changes I put on myself. I love change. My life has been nothing but change. My life started changing the moment I escaped my mother's... well, you know. Take a deep breath and go! That is how we all enter this world - as moments of change.

I realized that I wanted to be a writer when I about seven or eight years old. I would rewrite episodes of Pippi Longstocking.

I knew I wanted to be a director when I would force my younger siblings to act out the parts in my scripts, while I, of course, played Pippi.

(I'm pretty sure the above video was created just for moments of secret blog writing while sitting in a cubical at work.)

I had no doubt in my mind that I wanted to be an actor after watching "James and the Giant Peach" on a stage in Hawai'i. I had no idea that people could ever have so much fun in the middle of the day! When James climbed on that ginormous peach I knew I'd found my calling. Funny that years later I married a man who can't eat peaches.

(The above video is not the production I saw, nor is it a production I was ever involved in, but it is very reminiscent of what my childhood brain saw.)

All of the above moments occurred before I turned nine and moved from Hawai'i to Washington with my family. The culture shock was shocking and I had to answer many questions about living (or in my case NOT living) in grass huts and hunting pigs with my bow and arrow. I did none of that, unless you count almost living in a school bus at the base of a beautiful green mountain and hunting octopus with a spear.

The first play I was involved in was in sixth grade. I was a total loner and enjoyed playing by myself on the playground. My teacher noticed this and forced a group of girls to ask me to play with them. I conceded to the offensive gesture and joined their group. They were rehearsing for a play that one of the girls, who just happened to also have the same name as me, had written. They graciously allowed me to be the narrator. We performed this play in the cafeteria and as soon as it was over, I went back to being a loner on the playground. I had my own plays going on in my head. I was solving a murder and trying to find a missing clock and I didn't need any help at all - just my own imagination. And a good ear to hear the recess bell ring.

(I was a huge fan of the Nancy Drew books.)

In junior high, a couple of people I knew asked me to try-out for a play. I agreed and we quickly became friends during our after school rehearsals. I did two plays in junior high and had a lot of fun! Once in high school, I lived for the theatre. I was involved in every play from the moment I stepped into that school until the moment that I graduated. I was, as most people knew me, the DRAMA QUEEN. And I guess I also made a big deal out of things. It was in high school that I realized I wanted to make movies. I wanted to be the STAR!

After high school graduation, I moved to Colorado with my family and got involved in a local dinner theatre. I acted there, I worked there, I played there, I met my best friends there, I met my love there, I drank before I turned 21 there, I learned to smoke there, I grew up there. Two years after being cast in my first play at this growth-inducing theatre, I moved to San Francisco with my (then) boyfriend. We set off to be movie stars in California. Every actors dream! And we were about to live it.

I turned 21 shortly after embarking on our California adventure and learned very quickly what it meant to support yourself. With $32 in the bank, my boyfriend and I struggled to find jobs. It was a time when jobs were plentiful and within a couple of days we were both employed and printing out headshots and resumes to send off to production companies. I dabbled in a couple of short films - had more auditions than actual call backs, but that's beside the point. We were living the dream!

Two years later, we packed up and moved to Anaheim. Not Los Angeles, mind you, Anaheim. Because it was cheaper. I managed to score one audition and never made it due to a two hour traffic jam. I left three hours before my audition and I still never made it through that door. That was it. I never gave up, but I had to work A LOT to pay my half of the rent. It was a crazy time and I wouldn't trade it for anything else in the world.

In 2005, a year after I married the boyfriend I moved to California with, we moved to Boise. Why the fuck did we move to Boise?! Boise is cheap, cheap, cheap, and we were new business owners. I am, obviously, glossing over a lot of my life here so as to keep this post about who I am as short as possible. So, yeah, while living in Anaheim, we started a business. There, I gave some context. The business had nothing to do with filmmaking.

Our business died in 2009, along with a ton of other businesses. The economy collapsed around us. We tried desperately to keep it afloat, but it didn't work. We closed and immediately set our sights on being our own film production company. We had dabbled in film work during the time we had our business, but we just made little videos for ourselves and our customers. Nothing special. In 2009, after not knowing much about filmmaking, we found a contest online for a 10 minute short film. We figured, why the hell not?

We spent a few weeks in pre-production, about a week in production, and a couple of weeks in post-production, then shipped our finished film off to the contest. While waiting to hear back on the results, I worked at the local zoo flipping burgers for minimum wage just help make rent. It was a very special time in our lives. One day, while grabbing something in the back of the kitchen, my 18-year-old manager (I was 28) looking on, I checked my email on my new handy-dandy smartphone. And there it was. The email we were waiting for. Our film made it to the top 10 best films submitted to the contest. My heart stopped, I stepped outside, and screamed toward the giraffes who stood in the enclosure next to me. It was at that moment that I knew we were finally on the right path.

Fast forward to August of 2013 and we've made a ton of short films, a few music videos, and a trailer for a feature film that we hope to someday produce. I can't say I'm living the dream, but I'm getting pretty close.

Our production company, Two Cats Fighting, can be found online at:


I started this particular blog back in 2009, just as we were closing our business. I decided that it needed a makeover, meaning, I wanted to completely start over with posts about filmmaking. So, here goes...

I am a filmmaker.