Friday, October 29, 2010

Meeting Joan Darling

Lea-Ann Berst, club president of BPW/Raleigh, and Joan Darling,
one of the first female directors in Hollywood, at the BPW/Raleigh
dinner meeting on Tuesday night.
What a wonderful evening I had Tuesday night, thanks to Lea-Ann Berst (@MarketSleddogg) of Sleddogg Marketing Management.  

Lea-Ann is a woman I truly admire and appreciate. She's the club president of BPW/Raleigh, a nonprofit that strives to support and educate women in business. Lea-Ann was kind enough to make sure I knew about last night's October dinner meeting because of Abandoned Allies.

The meeting featured Joan Darling, one of the first female directors in Hollywood who worked on plenty of shows you'd recognize: M*A*S*H*, MARY TYLER MOORE, TAXI, and MAGNUM P.I. She was nominated four times for an Emmy and twice for a Directors Guild of America award; winning one Emmy and one DGA award.

And guess what?  She's also an improviser.

Her speech was about a lot of things that made my heart soar.  I wish I had it on video so I could watch it repeatedly. I could listen to her talk for hours.  

During her speech I found myself mentally interviewing Joan Darling on-camera about her life. She is absolutely fascinating, and I feel she has a great story to share with women in business. Darling graciously gave me a printed copy of her speech and some advice when I met her after the meeting ended. What a thrill it was to meet her!

Joan Darling has literally done what I dream of daily.  She has done everything from improvisation, acting, directing, teaching and is now finishing up a book. From Broadway to Hollywood, she's experienced so much--yet is generous, kind, humble, feminine and caring.  She's a big deal, but doesn't act like it.

Thank you, Lea-Ann, for the shout out during the meeting, and for being so kind to extend a personal invitation to Tuesday night's dinner meeting. It is something I have been happily reliving all week long!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Recording Session with Bill Leslie

Today we recorded the narration for Abandoned Allies. What a thrill to have this completed!  

Our voice talent is Bill Leslie (@wralbleslie), a talented musician and anchor at WRAL. He is so professional and kind.  We are so lucky to have his voice in our film.  When he started reading today, I literally got goosebumps.  It's wild to watch this project come to life, and take on a life of its own.  What a thrill to hear Mr. Leslie read the narrative script!

Bill Leslie. Photo from
Greg Elkins, of Desolation Row, recorded the session for us to be sure the audio is of the greatest quality. He hears things I don't, which is great.  You want someone like that on your team, folks.  Let me tell ya.  

I'm so grateful to both of these men for lending us their time and talents. A very special thanks to Sally Smith and Greg Hutchinson for connecting us to such talented people.

With the narration complete, we'll now be one step closer to picture lock.  This means that we have all of the interview clips in order, and they aren't likely to be rearranged again.  (I'm tweaking it to death.)  Once the final cut takes shape, we'll add the music, lower thirds, subtitles, opening segment and end credits.  At that point, it'll start to look more like a finished film than a bunch of talking heads.

Once we finalize the film and submit it to a festival of choice, we can start to work on the things like branding, marketing, communications, event planning and such.  I predict these efforts will start taking shape in early 2011, and am really looking forward to it.

You know how to make a film great?  Work with awe-inspiring people who are kind, professional, smart, and talented.  Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you are, but aren't afraid to give you honest criticism.  This, I think, is one of the keys to making films.

What an honor it was to work with our committee of people to make sure the script was right, and all of the folks bringing that script to life.  I'm so grateful to all of the people helping us create Abandoned Allies.

Stay tuned, folks.  This film just keeps getting better.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Lunch with Jim McQuaid

Today I had the pleasure of eating BBQ with Jim McQuaid (@TurnipVideo), a fellow filmmaker who lives in the Triangle.  He came bearing gifts of film making wisdom, and his films on DVD!  I'm so thrilled to have my hands on his latest work, Eight Lessons in Living Together.

Earlier this year, Jim and I cohosted a networking event for filmmakers.  (Here are some photos from the event.)  He's also been super supportive during these recent months when I struggled a bit with life and the balance of making my first film.  He recently offered to join me for lunch so we could chat about film making, and I'm so thrilled he did.  It was just what I needed, and I'm so grateful for his company and words of advice.

It was really fun to hear him talk about Eight Lessons, and his plans for the film now that it's finished and on DVD.  (Psst, you can buy a copy here, which would make him quite happy.)  He's got "a good head on his shoulders" as my dad always says.  It was so helpful to hear about his plans for the film, and future events he's planning.  (He's working on something fun for January, which I'll share with you when more info is available.)

Working at Designbox has helped me realize something very critical: I'm a people person.  (Duh.)  This isn't really news to me, but it's an important lesson for making future films.  I like, crave, and need to be around other people in a balanced way.  Coworking from Designbox has been such a great gift!  I'm so humbled and grateful for the opportunity.

These past months have kept me holed up in a room editing video, and I think that made me a bit sad.  I got caught up in a vacuum.  Editing video and being in the same room, alone, for hours on end...this is not one of my strengths.  But it is work that needs to be done.  What a joy to be doing this work from Designbox now.

Thanks for the lessons, Jim.  I'm looking forward to watching Eight Lessons!

Day Four of Coworking

This is the second week of coworking from Designbox, thanks to shovemedia.  I'm thrilled to be here again, working on the finishing touches to Abandoned Allies.

Our big priority this week is finishing the narration.  Last week I hustled to finish the script, sent it to a few of our trusted advisors, and combined the edits to make sure it's an accurate representation.  I'm sending that to our voice talent as soon as possible, as we have a recording session scheduled for tomorrow.

This is thrilling news because it means that we can get even closer to picture lock, which means that we can then add things like the lower thirds, subtitles, and music--you know, the things that make it look and feel more like a film.  After those things are in place, we'll add the opening segment and the end credits to have more finalized rough cut!  I can't wait to get to that day, and hope that it comes very soon.

We're still hurtling towards the pre-Thanksgiving deadline.  There's much work to be done, but I think we'll get there.  This team is a great one, and I have confidence in them.