Almost There

Almost There

I am approaching the finish line.  I knew it was coming but it still feels surreal.  The film is done. It is now with the color correction and sound mixing experts.  While they are performing their magic I am working with the team to create the movie poster and the electronic press kit that will be a part of each film festival submission.  We will likely submit to ten or more film festivals around the country. Then we will wait.  It will be late fall or early winter before they contact us with a yay or nay.  Pins and needles time.

Two and a half years. I have had a few misses during this time.  The picture above was one of them. I was being filmed for a possible opening sequence in the Beyond Sixty Project.  It was scripted.  I just couldn’t do it.  They were my words, more or less, but I couldn’t string them together and sound like me.  I would make a lousy actress.  I cannot imagine ever learning to memorize a script.  Maybe I am selling myself short, but I don’t think so.

What I have confirmed is that I do best when I am in conversation with people or when I am just talking naturally, about any subject.  It was the same way in my previous job. When giving presentations to groups, small and large, I would usually have note cards to ensure I covered the necessary topics but did best when talking from my heart.  As long as  I was passionate about the subject it usually went very well.

There has been a tremendous amount of passion associated with this film.  I feel so lucky to have production partners that share the feeling with me. I still work best in collaboration with a team of highly talented people. I could not have done this without them.

Several people have asked me what it feels like to be at this juncture.  It’s hard to explain but I can tell you that when I watched the last cut of the film I became very emotional when the credits rolled. It was the first time I had seen the credits and it was an overwhelming sensation to see all of our names scrolling to music that gets me every time I hear it.  It may sound corny but it’s true.

The biggest lesson learned through this process is that we are never too old to try something new.   I am in awe of all the women I interviewed for the film.  They have such unique stories and I am better off for spending time with them.  Their commonalities are clear.  They are resilient and they are continuing to remain relevant as they age.  They are not willing to call it quits and hunker down into their golden years.  They have a confidence that allows them to say no to things they do not want and a boldness to step out and try new things.  They expect some failures along the way but chalk that up to experience which adds to their resilience bucket.

Where we all go from here is unclear, but as my friend Sara says, if you are open to the unknown things can happen.

Back to work. I hope you have a wonderful day.

Peace and Love,

Melissa

 

 

 

February, Facebook, Fake News

February, Facebook, Fake News

February.  It has been a brutal month so far.

Just days ago, on Valentine’s Day, 17 people died while doing whatever they normally do on a Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.  The families and friends of the victims are settling into their grief right now, forever changed.  Just like the people of Rancho Tehama Reserve, North Park Elementary, Umpqua Community College, Marysville Pilchuck High School, Santa Monica, Sandy Hook, Oikos University, Chardon High School, U of A Huntsville, Northern Illinois University, Virginia Tech, West Nickel Mines School, Red Lake, Appalachian School of Law, Columbine, Thurston High School, Mitchell Johnson and Andrew Golden, Heath High School, Pearl High School, San Diego State, Frontier Middle School, Lindhurst High School, University of Iowa, Stockton schoolyard, CSU Fullerton, Olean High School Kent State, Mesa, University of Texas Tower, have done before them.   I remember all of these incidents.  I hope I never hear of another.  I hope my grandsons feel safe and will be safe throughout the rest of their years in school.  I hope your family will be safe.

I just took a break from Facebook.  I have to keep my personal page in order to have my Beyond Sixty Project page, but I really needed a break.  Do you ever feel that way?  I know Facebook entered into a global fight against fake news about a year ago, but I am not sure how well it is working. To me, most of the fake stuff is easy to spot.  For starters look at the source.  Then fact check the stories before sharing.  What I have learned is I can do a better job of creating a more effective ” filter bubble” for what I want on see on my Facebook feed and I can stop reading the comments attached to some of the topics.  Negativity, hate and disrespect has become the norm for so many.  It saddens me greatly.

I love social media for the connections it provides.  I am able to connect with film people all over the world through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  I have access to tools and information I need for my project instantly.  I am able to maintain a connection with family and friends who live far away through text or social media as often as I want.  I have been reunited with people I care about through social media.  It is mostly a beautiful thing.

In a world filled with tragedy and sad news there are ways to reset yourself without going into hiding and I have been experimenting.  I began meditating each day.  15-20 minutes is all I can do without the restlessness setting in, but it is refreshing and helpful in shooing away the negativity.  I use some of the music from Canyon Ranch, where I first learned to silence my mind (Alice Boyd!).  When the weather is good, taking a mile walk around my neighborhood while listening to music has been a big plus.  Lastly, baths.  I have a big soaking tub and have been using it quite a bit this winter with some salts or bath tea.  20 minutes does it for me.  These examples are simple but I have never been good at doing them routinely and I am glad I am now. Maybe in older age I am finally becoming wiser?

It is good to reset rather than turn off don’t you think?  I am constantly looking for new and improved ways of changing how I assimilate the negativity of the world in my daily life.  If you have any suggestions I hope you will share them.  The older I get the more I realize how important this is. So please tell me what you do!

I am looking forward to February ending.  It will end on two positive notes.  My eldest grandson, Adam, will become a teenager this weekend.   Thirteen years I have known this incredibly wonderful human.  We will celebrate him and be very thankful.

After a bit of a break I am now back full swing into editing the second rough cut of my film, looking forward to all the final steps we need to take before I can report we are done!

I hope you end your February on a positive note or two and do whatever self-care you need to keep on marching and smiling.

Peace and Love to all,

Melissa

 

 

 

 

 

 

And Just Like That, 2017 Turned Into 2018

And Just Like That, 2017 Turned Into 2018

Have you noticed that each year seems to go by faster?  Apparently there are scientific explanations as to why it feels that way.  One explanation is based on our experiences and how often we repeat them.  Think back to when you were a kid and list all the “firsts” you experienced.  First time you rode a bike.  First time you drove a car.  First time you flew on a plane.  Like many experiences in life, they are repeated.  Again and again.   The psychologists say all our firsts are so exciting that we make incredibly vivid and lasting memories of each.  As the years go on, and we repeat each experience over and over, they don’t make the same impression they did when we were younger.  Everything becomes a fleeting and fast series of every day motions.  Maybe some of this relates to how 2018 showed up so abruptly.

Here it is and I am reflecting a little on 2017, as most people do.  My second year retired from Genex.  My second year as a filmmaker.

I don’t miss my old job anymore but  I do miss some of the people and have done my best to stay in touch with them. So far it’s working and I like to imagine they will always be a part of my life.

I love my new “job.”  I am getting better at it.  I have made a few mistakes along the way and have enjoyed learning to correct them.  My film is now in the rough cut stages, very rough cut!  I screened it with people in or related to the film world recently and received very positive and crucial feedback.  It was nerve-racking watching them watch what we had cobbled together.  I wanted them to like it but I also wanted someone to talk honestly with me about the rough spots, and they did.  What a great group of individuals.

Now we are working on those rough spots for the second rough cut. Hopefully soon we will be ready to find some comfort in a final cut and begin to plan for final processes including color correction, sound correction and music scoring.  I try not to think too far ahead regarding distribution but those discussions are looming.  I am staying focused right now on completion and shushing the little voices in my head screaming, “who is going to buy this??”  I am not sure where it will end up but it has been a true labor of love and a learning experience I never thought I would experience.

I think about next film opportunities often.  I have a couple of ideas and I think they are good ones.  I have met and talked with a number of experienced film directors from around the country and have learned so much from them.  I wouldn’t mind tagging along with a couple of them as they make their films,  Each person has a different approach and seeing that in action is how I learn best.  I will let you know how all that pans out.

So here I am in January of 2018 reflecting.  2017 was a good year.  Aside from a pesky case of chronic Lyme Disease I am ok.  My family is healthy.  My grandsons, almost 13, 9 and 7 are active and funny and I am so lucky to live near them.  John and I went to Venice and the Austrian Alps this summer which was amazing.  Then I topped off my birthday week seeing the total eclipse of the sun in Ravenna, Nebraska.  Whoever thinks that is a non-event, not worth traveling for, hasn’t done it.  It was John’s dream and I tagged along and was blown away by the experience.  I will do that again if I can!

My partnership with Expressway Productions in Philadelphia is strong.  We had a good year together.  We are both feeling positive about the film and excited to make it to the finish line.  We ended the year at Expressway’s 7th annual holiday party.  The theme was The Magnificent Seven (Western).  John and I are now proud owners of some pretty cool western gear.  If we go to Shyamaween later this year you will be able to pick us out in  the crowd pretty easily.

The Philadelphia Inquirer did an interview and gave the film some press.  Thank you PI!

Outside of my personal sphere it has been a pretty troublesome year.  Disturbing politics, fake news, #MeToo, fires, earthquakes and hurricanes have taken their toll.

At this writing, over 100 days since the hurricane, about a third of the population in Puerto Rico is still without power.  Try to imagine that.  I know of people who lost property in the CA fires.  I know of people who lost their homes and cars in Houston.   When I hear people complaining about the weather being too cold or the inconvenience of a snowy day or week all I can think about is how lucky we are to be where we are and to recognize that inconvenience is nothing compared to what so many people are going through.

So long 2017.  You were hard on a lot of people.  I hope that 2018 will be a kinder and more gentle year for everyone.  I wish you good health and lots of laughter as we make our way through 2018.

Thank you for sticking with me and The Beyond Sixty Project.  It means a whole lot to me.

Peace and Love,

Melissa

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Retirement

Retirement

After two decades as a Vice President at the largest Managed Care case management company in the US, I was ready to say my good byes.  I had cleaned out drawers, bookshelves and cabinets, packed all personal belongings and filled one and a half paper shredders.  I was ready.  I was the perfect age for retirement according to US statistics and I had a Medicare card tucked into my wallet to prove it.  Although my company didn’t require retirement at any age and I never felt pressure to leave, I was checking my calendar and knew if I was ever going to do anything different now was the time.

I had a plan and had already put it in motion.  Retirement, in the defined sense, would have to wait.

As I write this first post, almost two weeks post-retirement, I am happily partnered with a talented production company and we are making a Documentary Film.   It’s on the record: I am a Documentary Filmmaker. There I’ve said it.

So this is retirement.  For me.  No sitting on a beach sipping fruity drinks or taking up golf.  Not right now, anyway.

The film project is underway and we have created the “teaser” that will be the entrée to the larger project.  What’s it about?  The Beyond Sixty Project is a series of interviews with women over the age of 60 who have incredible stories of resilience and continued relevance today.  It has been fascinating meeting with them and spending hours listening to their stories.  I hope we do them justice in the film.  So far I think we have.

I am prepped and ready for the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT later this month.  I have always wanted to attend and now this will coincide with networking opportunities for my project.   Stay tuned as I blog about the happenings at Sundance and the journey of The Beyond Sixty Project.

Melissa