31 Days of Reviews: Round 4

Here we go again!

This will be the fourth year that I embark on 31 Days of Reviews. It’s hard to believe that this started as a challenge for myself all those years ago, and it has blossomed into such a regular thing for this blog.

My preparation for this year was a bit different than previous years. October is going to be a very big month for me (I’m getting married). Since I know how busy I’m going to be, I’ve gone a bit further in my prep than usual. I’ve been watching and writing reviews for the last couple months in an attempt to lighten the load.

I don’t have all 31 days planned out, so there will still be quite a bit of work for me in the coming weeks. Hopefully what I’ve accomplished so far will help take some of the edge off though.

Prepare for 31 Days of Reviews 2017!

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3:03 at Stormy Weather Horror Fest

It is a pleasure and an honor to announce that my short film 3:03 was selected as a semi finalist for Outstanding Female Filmmaker at Stormy Weather Horror Fest Summer 2017.

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It really is an honor to have been nominated as a semi finalist. There were a lot of great horror films in this competition, and to be considered on the same level as the other semi finalists is really just the best feeling. It’s hard to really put it into words. It’s just really nice.

Thank you to the people behind Stormy Weather Horror Fest for watching and appreciating my work. Thanks again to the cast and crew of my short film for sticking by me and helping me out so much. Thank you everyone who has taken the time to view my work and share in the experience.

If you have yet to see my short film, 3:03, you can view it below.

Return to Sender: Update and Delay

It has been a while since my last update about my upcoming short film Return to Sender. I believe the last thing I talked about was completing the storyboard, and that was back in the spring.

I had to put the project on hold for a couple of reasons.

For one, I started working the summer camps in June. This was the busiest year I’ve had for those, working two camps a day all the way through the end of July. It didn’t leave me much chance (or energy for that matter) to take the next necessary steps.

The second reason picked up right after the summer camps ended. Back in May, I got engaged to my partner of 5 years. We’re getting married in October of this year. Needless to say, I didn’t have the time or money available to move forward on the film. I had wedding planning to do, and that stuff is stressful!

The progress on Return to Sender has remained at that same standstill. My next step was to move on to casting, but I will be postponing that for now.

Through the winter, I will most likely make another pass through the script to see if I want to make any final changes. Any changes will then be reflected in storyboard revisions.

At the moment, I’m hoping to pick up where I left off with casting at the start of 2018. I’m hoping to get into principle photography at the beginning of spring, and I’m hoping for a late spring or early summer release.

Let’s see how much of what I’m hoping for actually comes to pass!

Lights, Camera, Action Films 2017

This summer though Xcelerate, there were two separate weeks of Lights, Camera, Action camps. That means there are several films, created by the campers now available for viewing.

“Empty” – When a boy wakes up in an empty classroom, he begins searching for answers.

“Summer Star Wars” – A playful homage to Star Wars, complete with goat people and lightsaber fights. The enthusiasm was strong with this one.

“Escape” – A group venture into a haunted college turns deadly when an escaped convict enters the mix.

“No Strings Attached” – Two friends get more than they bargained for after stopping by a pop up antique shop.

North Aurora Days Address

It’s the first weekend of August, so this means that North Aurora Days has rolled around once again.

Depending on how long you’ve been following me professionally, you may know that I covered this festival with E Leal Productions last year, summer of 2016. We had high hopes for that film coverage, but nothing ever ended up coming from it.

Why? You may ask.

It’s kind of a long story, multi-faceted. For one, we bit off far more than we could chew with our coverage. We covered everything over the entire 3 days of the festival. This made it hard to put our shorter videos. There was just so much footage to go through and organize. We had about 10 minutes of video edited, and we still had a ways to go.

On top of that, we had a hard drive crash on us, so we lost a lot of footage. After that, time just was not on our side. The project sat, and sat, and sat.

I had hoped to at least put together a promotional video for the upcoming festival, but once again, time just was not on my side. This goal never came fruition. I continue to be disappointed by that fact.

To continue with the theme of time, we will be unable to cover the festival this year because of previously planned engagements. If anything, we’d love to enjoy the festival for fun, if we get the chance. It really is a fun time.

I have no obligation to give explanation for why we won’t be covering the event this time around, or why nothing came of the footage from last year. We went into the event ourselves. We volunteered our time for no one but ourselves.

I’m writing this post for myself, as a reminder to not take on more than I can handle. It’s a reminder that things can always happen to make situations go differently than they were planned.

Xcelerate 2017: Week 7

Finally! After two straight months of kids’ camps, I’m officially done with Xcelerate summer camps in 2017. It’s been a long, long several weeks. I’ve had my hand in everything from ukulele to Minecraft to cupcakes and science. Some of these areas I was familiar in, and for some of these areas I was simply tossed in. In any case, it proved to be pretty challenging throughout.

This final week put me back in my most familiar camp, as well as a camp where I was familiar with the subject matter. I thought it was going to be a decently easy week, and in many ways I was correct. In other ways, I was very, very wrong.

I’ll start off by discussing the camp I was a part of that was new to me, but also familiar. The camp was called Digital Artists. It focused on Photoshop and Illustrator. I’m no master in Photoshop by any means, but I do use it occasionally, so there were things that I knew and things I didn’t. I have never used Illustrator before so that was way out of my league. On the surface, this particular camp was easy enough. There were other challenges to deal with though that were more personal for me.

Maybe I was just more sensitive to it because it was the last week of camps. I’d been dealing with kids, ages 7-14, for many weeks. It gets hard after a while. Sometimes the kids really just do not have a filter. Sometimes they say or do some pretty mean things. Sometimes it’s intentional. Sometimes it’s not.

The issue I was dealing with during this particular camp had to do with the kids’ respect for me as a teacher. I know I’m not the instructor. I’m just the Assistant Instructor. It was still pretty upsetting to have them simply ignore me whenever they had a question. They would raise their hand. I would walk over. I would ask what they needed help with. They would either completely ignore me or come out and say they didn’t want to ask me the question. In that regard, it was a rough week, especially being the final week. The end was in sight, and I was definitely feeling it.

Other than that, this week found me back in my most familiar camp. It was the second week of Lights, Camera, Action! We had some repeats from previous years. It’s always nice to see kids return because they enjoyed the time they had. Overall, it was a really mature group. That always makes things easier.

Following the new class outline, we separated the full class into two groups. They split themselves up based on what genre they wanted to do. One group wanted to do an action film. The other group wanted to do a scary film. Guess which group I got put with this time? Yep, another scary movie. They just gravitated to me with no prompting whatsoever. I must just give off that vibe.

Since this is my last week of the camps, the instructors I work with told me they’d do me a solid and not ask me to edit the film I helped make this time around. I had edited ‘Truth or Dare’ from last year and ‘Empty’ from the last camp. Not having to edit this one will give me a much needed break, and it will also free up my time to take care of my other mounting responsibilities.

If you’re interested in seeing the final films from the Lights, Camera, Action camps, be on the look out for an upcoming compilation post of those films in the next couple weeks.

Other than that, my time with the summer camps this year is done. We will now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

Xcelerate 2017: Week 6

Week 6 of Xcelerate is complete! The end is in sight. I won’t lie. The fact that I’m getting so close to the finish line is making it harder to wake up in the morning. The list of things I have to do keeps getting longer and longer, and I won’t be able to fully dedicate myself to any of that until the classes are over.

With that being said, this week wasn’t too bad. I had two classes yet again. One of them was a familiar camp, and the other camp was new, but it covered familiar material.

The first class I was working with this week was a photography class. This was the one that was new, but familiar. Throughout the week, the students played a variety of games that challenged their creativity while taking photographs. There were scavenger hunts, a “photo bomb” activity, as well as daily challenges such as taking pictures that interpreted words like “hot,” “blue,” or “wet”.

It was a good time. I think the kids had fun taking the photos throughout the week. On Friday, they compiled all of their prints onto a poster board and had a bit of a show for parents and visitors.

The other class I was working was a familiar one. I was back in the science class (which took part in for two days last summer after a different class cancellation). It proves to be a popular one. There were 25 students in the class this week, all between the ages of 7-10. Take that how you will.

In this class throughout the week, we did a variety of little crafts and experiments. We made a few types of slime, made some chemical reactions, attempted making a watermelon explode, lots of fun stuff. It was also pretty messy. I ended up bringing some old clothes to change into for this class specifically.

There is only one more week of Xcelerate left for me this summer. Let’s hope it’s a good one!