Sunday, June 22, 2008

Between Here and There

I'm deliciously exhausted. The past week was a challenging one, but I feel that quite a bit has been accomplished. It's very exciting!

At Southeastern Camera (Again)
On Friday, I returned the loaner camera to Southeastern Camera and picked up our Canon XH A1. Always anxious to unwrap new toys like Christmas morning, I pulled the camera out right there in the store and drooled a bit before returning to work. What a beautiful way to spend my lunch hour.

Dinner at the Toot-N-Tell
In order to regroup and discuss some of the project details in person, I met Surry and a few of his friends for dinner at the oh-so-tasty Toot-N-Tell in Garner. One of my preferred buffet dinning locales! I've been lucky enough to dine there with Surry and his acquaintances on several occasions. It is one of my absolute favorite buffets in town, and one of the only places I know of that serves baked cinnamon apples and fried chicken that delicious! Perhaps it is the delicious Southern-style cuisine, or the unforgettable dinner conversations, but I have grown conditioned like Pavlov's dog to get excited each time I hear the name 'Toot-N-Tell'!

Surry has an incredible talent for bringing like-minded people together. He finds people that share interests, usually perfect strangers, and has a most graceful way of introducing them to one another, such that they feed off of each other's strengths and knowledge. It is a talent I greatly respect and hope to replicate.

One of his guests, Adam Shepard, I had met a few years earlier (at the Toot-N-Tell, no less). Since our first introduction, he has accomplished great things. His self-published book, Scratch Beginnings, has taken off and is heading in very exciting directions. I recommend reading it, so that when it hits the top reading list you can be ahead of the game! Check out the website and find a way to get your hands on a copy:

Surry has described Adam as having a "fire in the belly" to make the book happen, and it is easy to see why. I read the book earlier this year, and enjoyed it a lot. People can accomplish great things when focused, determined and unrelenting--and it is easy to see that is why Surry continues to encourage young people like Adam and me to find what fosters that "fire in the belly" as he says. Start now, and never stop working towards big dreams. Find a way to make it happen!

Montagnard Thoughts, Day and Night
I now find that the movie and the Montagnards are in my thoughts nonstop. It's grown from a project to an obsession. It's the first thought in my mind when I wake up each morning, and the last thoughts before I fall asleep each night. And, with each step along the way, with each new challenge and lesson learned, I am thankful for all of the steps that have lead to this point.

Our experiences shape us, there is no denying that. Each step in our lives is something that teaches us, and helps us learn how to move forward. My past three years at my full time job has taught me a lot of lessons that I am now applying, and it feels like destiny has had a hand in it.

In the Present, Planning the Future
My thoughts keep jumping forward to the post-production, even though we are not finished with the interviewing process. We'll probably interview at least 4 more people, which I am trying to schedule as soon as possible since our weeks are disappearing very quickly. There are so many additional people we could interview, but for the sake of this project we are staying very focused.

Plans for the next steps are formulating and solidifying, and that feels great. I'm writing these plans down in order to help flesh out these thoughts and share them with Surry. It also helps keep records (like this blog) so that we can look back and appreciate how far we have come in each step of the process.

At every turn, I find myself surrounded by people smarter than I am--oh, how grateful for that I am! My very talented and intelligent friends and acquaintances continue sharing advice and information that is helping this project. And if I could hire them for the work they do so well, I certainly would. That is what makes you really appreciate how Hollywood works; it is an industry based on relationships, hard work, quality and living up to your word--the very things these interviews have covered.

The Buzz
Thanks to social media tools (blogging, Facebook, etc.), I have had several interesting conversations lately. People are hearing about the project and want more details. Word is spreading quickly, and I find that the buzz around the project is helping me stay focused and on schedule. A lot of people are asking about the subject matter, and what we'll do with the film after it's finished.

I'm actually really excited that so many people are asking these questions. I once read that a screenwriter has a lonely job in the industry because he is so autonomous, sitting in a room by himself writing. Well, indie filmmakers who are just getting started (like me) can feel the same way. But, thanks to the web I feel like a part of a greater collaborative team. That's pretty fascinating!

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