Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Past Few Days

To say that the past few days have been busy would be an understatement.  I am too excited about getting a good night's sleep tonight.  It's delightful to be so exhausted from doing what you love.  I highly recommend it.

Here's quick recap so I don't fall too far behind, although it's just the past few days and there are some other updates that I will share soon enough.  Right now I'm wrapped up with finishing the film so it leaves little time for posting updates.  It's a great place to be, though, for sure.

Thursday: Surry's Birthday Party
Thursday was Surry's birthday.  He's the reason I'm working on this film.  Served as a Green Beret during the Vietnam War, and continues to work closely with the Montagnards here in North Carolina.  Since he's done so much for others, it was an easy task to throw him a surprise birthday party.

A few of us have been busy for the past few months conspiring, and I have to say that it was SO much fun!  The look of surprise on his face was entirely too gratifying!  I was absolutely thrilled to see about 100+ family members and friends tell Surry happy birthday, and share stories about the adventures he's had in his life.  We had a toast/roast, and some of the fellas that have known Surry for a long time had me in tears from laughing so hard.  What a great night.

A big, big thanks is owed to my co-conspirators Arita Suwandari and Adam Shepard.  There were many, many others who helped make the evening a huge success and I'm so grateful to each of them for helping make Surry's birthday so much fun.  (My sister helped make cards that told guests where to later find the photos I took that night, Snow's family brought some amazing BBQ from Durham, and we had a beautiful cake from Ilya Koltusky, owner of Sweet Loralee Pastries..yum!)

Surry's one amazing fella, and I'm so happy that we could do something to show him how much we appreciate his presence in our lives.  So many people offered their time, talents and resources to make the evening a total success.  I had such a great time, too!

Friday & Saturday: Music for Abandoned Allies
Annie Beth returned to Raleigh on Friday to talk more about music for Abandoned Allies.  She's been doing an incredible job collecting music from some seriously talented artists.  Not only is she collecting music, she also wrote and recorded what we're calling the theme song for the film.  This is the type of woman you want on  your team.  No joke.  I want to work with people this amazing for the rest of my life.  I'm a huge fan of such a talented, smart and motivated woman.  How she accomplishes all that she does, while being the dedicated parent of four children (all aged 5 and under) is something I simply cannot fathom!

On Friday night we met with Kyle Owen, a young man I know through some of my fellow improvisers.  He has volunteered to help us with music for the film, specifically music without lyrics.  He composed a sample prior to the meeting based on a poem I wrote (that Annie Beth used to write our theme song), and he also shared some music he created in the past.  Today he also sent a new sample based on some of the Montagnard music I played for him Friday night.  It's really exciting to think that we now have a means to score segments of the film! Yes!

When I started this project, I never imagined we'd have so much original music for the film.  What a huge blessing this is to me, to have people working hard on it to make it easy.  When other parts of the project have been so challenging, I am so relieved to have something run so smoothly now.  What a relief!  I can't wait to share it.  Simply can't wait.

Sunday: Shooting Behind the Scenes Footage for 'Bursters'
Today I was lucky enough to linger on the set of 'Bursters', a film by my friend Chris Moore (@ilikefilms), pictured at the left with Todd Tinkham.  They started shooting yesterday, but I could only make it out there for a short time today.  It was incredibly fun to watch.

Shooting a documentary is so different than a fiction film.  If you're lucky, there are scripts, actors, blocking, lots of crew and more.  It's a different energy, but equally fun.  I was really impressed with the level of professionalism, although not surprised at all that everyone is such a delight.  They were very kind to let me capture them while working.  The energy on set had, to me, a similar feeling: the mutual respect, love and appreciation that exists between the U.S. Special Forces soldiers that served in Vietnam with the Montagnards.  The comparison may seem like a stretch, but it felt very familiar today.

There are so many fun film-related things happening in the Triangle.  It's really exciting.  Tonight Kyle returned to my place to loan me a bigger computer monitor (THANK YOU!), and we talked about the film's music and what I might do to repay the favor of having his help.  Reciprocity is a big thing for me, and I want to offer my volunteers something in return for their passion, dedication and support.  I have nothing to give them, so it's a challenge to find a way to offer a hand.  As we chatted, I had a rush of emotion (probably related to getting too little sleep and having entirely too much coffee this morning).  Nevertheless, I realized how lucky I am with where I am at this point in my life.

I am living the dreams I had as a kid.  It's so rare in this lifetime to find such a gift, and few days have gone by where I've taken this for granted.  Rarely is there so great a satisfaction as doing what one loves each and every day.  I am one lucky lady.

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