Making a Movie and Finding My Pace

Making a Movie and Finding My Pace

For those of you who have followed me since the end of last year, thank you! For those of you who have joined more recently, welcome! Hanging in with someone who is working on a film project can be a bit of a time commitment, and I appreciate yours. I hope you will stay for the finale.

When I started this project a year ago I thought I would be finishing up about now. To me, a year seemed like more than enough time to complete the film. I looked on in astonishment earlier this year when I met with Directors and Producers at Sundance who gave me their film timelines. Five years, three years, two and a half years. Why did it take them so long?  It took me some time to digest that news and look at my project in a more comprehensive light. Remember, I came from a corporate culture where everything I designed and implemented was done quickly.  I was very used to producing quality deliverables in short time frames. Why should this be any different?

December 31 will mark one year since I “retired” from my long career and headed out to follow my dream.  I never saw this as a hobby or part time gig, but rather my new job. Since the end of last year, I have developed the idea for the film structure, partnered with a production company, set up my own LLC, trademarked the Beyond Sixty Project, spent more time with entertainment lawyers than I wanted to and completed the first six interviews for the film, including the post production phases of the process.  Oh, I almost forgot one of the more exciting aspects of this process.  I am ready to ink a deal with our first sponsor!  Even with all of these milestones completed, I still questioned the timeline.

I had the opportunity to speak with an established Film Director out in LA a couple weeks ago and she implored me to get off the phone, go stand in front of a mirror and and tell myself that I have accomplished more in the last 11 months than any new film director or producer she has worked with, and she has been around the business of filmmaking for a while.  Needless to say, that call left me feeling pretty positive and a bit more realistic about time frames.

My production partners have kindly cautioned me to not get ahead of myself more than once. They were right too. We have a nice balance together. I am lucky to work with them and draw upon their experience when it comes to production timelines.  I think my pace adjustment is now almost at a level of comfort.

Recently a friend asked me what I hope to accomplish with the film. The answer was easy. I want to produce a high quality, full length documentary film about women over sixty.  I want to help tell their stories of resilience and continued relevance.  I do not want to re-tell the stories of famous women. I want to help tell the stories of women that people would not recognize if they passed them on the street.  I want this film to bring to light the incredible strength inherent in so many women and maybe figure out where it comes from.

There are lessons to be learned from women, especially those who have stayed in the game past sixty and continue to be relevant and in pursuit of challenges and personal improvement. I hope young women who see the final production will be moved to seek out older women as mentors.  I hope older women who see this will be inspired to try something new no matter how old they may be.  I hope men, young and old, will walk away with a deep sense of appreciation and admiration for women’s struggles and their hard earned accomplishments throughout history.

At this writing I have completed my first six interviews and have several more to go.  It has been incredibly rewarding spending time with each woman and I am humbled by their honesty, self-awareness and willingness to share their stories.  While they each come from different geographic locations and family backgrounds, the common thread of resilience is always there.  I am fascinated by this and in the process of researching this trait in women throughout history.

Now back to scheduling my next set of interviews, editing current footage and meeting with my partners to continue on to the next phase of this wonderful project.  Thank you for sharing in my journey and stay tuned.

May your day be filled with all good things!



Light and Happy or Doom and Gloom

Light and Happy or Doom and Gloom

I flipped a coin today as I was torn between the above titles naming my blog topic choice. Light and Happy, or closer to light and happy won.  I am thankful for the win as I could not bear another hour at the keyboard discussing the latest in the race for the Presidency or other trending topics about women that include the gender wage gap, violence against women, efforts to kill Roe v. Wade or the garden variety discriminations bestowed upon women each day. Today I will write about happy (mostly).

Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being defined by positive emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.    Did you know that March 20th has been designated as the International Day of Happiness? Not sure everyone got that memo.

Thomas Jefferson was into it. He was the one who coined the phrase “the pursuit of happiness” in relation to the 1776 Declaration of Independence. He saw it as much more than just an emotion. He felt it was a right.

We shouldn’t have to chase or hunt down happiness. If we stop for a moment and quiet our minds we may find it is right there waiting for us.

This past week, for me, hovered mid-point on the Happy/Gloom Meter. I spent most of the week working on my film, reviewing recent footage, screening interviews on the phone and wrapping up a sponsorship negotiation. Not intense joy but happy, interesting, fulfilling and motivating. So why wasn’t my meter pointing more toward the happy end? It was the unsolicited phone calls that I received and continued to listen to. Back to doom and gloom for just a minute.

I usually don’t answer the phone if the caller ID gives me reason to believe it is a robo-call, but my curiosity got the better of me and I started answering and listening.Throughout the week I received robo-calls and live calls from both political parties. The robo-calls were the worst, especially the ones with a Presidential wannabe actually yelling into the phone. Negative and disturbing.  I listened through all of the calls because I became curious after the first.They were all pretty awful. Did they assume at this point I didn’t know who I was voting for? Did they think that their messages were helpful to me in any way? By roughly the 18th call I decided I would not answer another and was feeling pretty cranky about the whole “in your face” style of communication. The needle on my meter was headed in the wrong direction.

It’s pretty easy to be affected by the gloomy assaults coming at you daily through television, news, phone calls and the stressors of your own personal issues.  So how do we maintain a sense of contentment and possibly intense joy? Are there things we can do to balance out the negativity without hiding from it?

For me it doesn’t take too much.  Quieting my mind is my go to.  Simple meditation helps and I try to do it once a day.  I learned the simple techniques of quieting my mind and connecting to the positive years ago when I took a class at a retreat.  It’s not complicated and it works. The music I use while I meditate is now enough to settle my mind. On equal par with meditation is taking a walk.  As much as I sometimes avoid this because I am “too busy,” I feel totally rejuvenated and more peaceful once I have done it. I am lucky to live in a neighborhood that has beautiful trees and zero traffic. Last week I got out there only three times but it was so worth it given the fall temperatures and beautiful foliage display. Having fun is also tops on my list. Laughing is key. I am drawn to people who know how to have fun and will laugh along with me and I seek them out regularly. And lastly, giving. The more I give the better I feel.  It can be as small as making a favorite meal for loved ones or helping a friend with an issue or supporting a cause. Giving of yourself can be very satisfying.

This all sounds pretty simple and it is. Feeling fine with what you have and secure with where you are going and what you offer to others brings a great sense of contentment, maybe even bordering on joy.

I hope you have a beautiful day and find that your dial stays in the happy and light zone. Would love to know what you do to keep it pointed in that direction.