Writing Through Things

Recently, many people have been asking me to describe what my upcoming short film is about. As I struggled to find the words to describe it, I realized that, at its core, it’s a home invasion story. Once I realized this, I looked back on my previous short film 3:03. I realized that my past film was also a sort of home invasion story.

Suddenly everything clicked together for me.

A couple years ago, I had an experience. I was living in an apartment, and one day, while I was alone in said apartment, one of the maintenance workers just walked in. He didn’t knock. He used his own key. I had no advance warning. I was at my most vulnerable. I no longer live in that apartment, but for the rest of my time living there, I never felt safe.

While I was processing that immediate fear I was feeling, I wrote the script for 3:03. It was filmed in the apartment where the event occurred. The film was about a woman who woke up in the middle of the night to a disturbance in the hallway outside her door. It was heavily based on a nightmare that I had.

At the time, I took that at face value. I thought it was just based on a nightmare that I had. It’s only now, in retrospect, that I’m realizing that my scripts are reflecting the fears that I’m working through in my own life.

I guess it makes sense. Every film that I’ve written up to this point has been based off of real experiences I’ve had. From a creepy public restroom and streetlights turning off around me, to a sort of home invasion, it’s all been based on true events.

Maybe that’s why people say my films creep them out. Maybe it’s because the feelings are genuine. For me, it’s very real.

Of course, this got me thinking about the horror genre. I started thinking of all the recurring themes that come up in horror films. Good horror films reflect real life fears at their core, and this is why the genre has such a loyal fanbase. Watching a good horror film can allow the viewer to process fears in a safe setting. In that same way, horror films can be therapeutic for their creators as well.

I’m not sure exactly when I’ll be done with my phase of writing home invasion films. I’m not even sure yet what my next project will be. Since I don’t have anymore home invasion stories up my sleeve at the moment, perhaps you could say that I’ve worked through the fear at this point? I guess we shall see.

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2017, Year in Review

As the remaining hours of 2017 fade away, I always try to take time to reflect on the accomplishments I had. I don’t typically write them on this platform, but this year, I felt this was the most appropriate place.

This was definitely a long year. It feels so foreign to look at events that transpired in January, and hold them in the same year as events that happened in November. I think this is why it’s such a good idea to reflect.

In the first few months of 2017, I worked with E Leal Productions to finally finish a project that began in 2011. Reborn, a film project that was the launch pad for so many of the people in my network, was finally complete. We held a screening for the cast and crew. It served as a reunion for so many of us who had moved on. It was also a culmination of many years of experience.

Shortly after the Reborn screening, I worked on some employee appreciation videos for Clare Oaks. Through this, we were able to use some of our new equipment. The people involved in this video project were so wonderful and accommodating. It was a great experience.

In the spring, I helped produce Exit Interview for Jason Rugg. It was a submission to the My Rode Reel competition for the year. The shoot day was long and difficult, but as a crew, we were able to finish everything that we had set out to do. The aches and pains were worth it.

Throughout the summer, I worked the Xcelerate summer camps for the 5th year in a row. This was definitely the most difficult year for me for a variety of reasons. The class load that I had this year was the largest it’s ever been, and it covered a variety of topics that really expanded my comfort zone. We’ll see what the upcoming year has in store for me on this front.

While handling all of those summer camps, I finally put together a trailer and poster for my short film, 3:03. I needed to put together these promotional materials in order to start submitting to other festivals. I’m still waiting on word from many of those submissions, but the experience has been a great one so far. The film was actually a semi finalist for Outstanding Female Filmmaker at the Stormy Weather Horror Fest in the summer season!

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In October, I produced another short film for Jason Rugg. This film, titled Pin 5:29, was a submission for a Film Riot competition. For this particular entry, the film was condensed to 60 seconds, but a longer, director’s cut is still on the horizon to show off more of the director’s ideas. It was a fun shoot, and I feel like it went really well. It was a great example of expanding experience.

As the final months of 2017 approached, I found myself heading back to the pre-production plan for my upcoming short film, Return to Sender. My pre-production work for this film began at the end of 2016, but was put on hold for a variety of reasons, mostly stemming from my work load at the summer camps and my personal life. I also got engaged, planned a wedding, and got married this year! It was a big year!

It’s nice to be getting back in gear for that project! I know I’ve said this before, but this time I’m hoping to stick to it.. Let’s hit the ground running in 2018!

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.

3:03 Needs a Trailer

Last year, I started work on my latest (as of 2016) short film 3:03. Due to its original purpose, I didn’t really go about promoting it the same way I normally would. Hence, here we are in 2017, and 3:03 still doesn’t have a trailer.

I only recently created a poster for 3:03, and uploaded some stills. Since the film is only 3 minutes, I never even thought about making a trailer for it, until now.

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I would like to submit 3:03 to a local film festival. It would be the first film festival I submitted this particular film to (although I had planned on submitting it to my alma mater’s festival that apparently wasn’t held this year). In order to submit the film to this particular festival, it needs a trailer. This causes a bit of a dilemma.

How should I go about making a trailer for such a short film? I don’t want to give away the surprises that make this one stick out. Right now I’m leaning toward a very minimal, maybe abstract approach. Similar to the poster, I will probably lean on the success of my last short film that had a festival run. I’m pretty sure my name doesn’t hold enough weight on its own yet.

In any case, I will need to create a trailer for 3:03 soon enough, so I’ll update again once that has been completed.

3:03 (2016) Online

At last! Now that the My Rode Reel competition is over, I can finally promote my newest short film as a film, rather than a contest entry.

After taking some time to add the new E Leal Productions bumper to the beginning of the film, both 3:03 and the Behind the Scenes video can be seen on Vimeo.

If you want a deeper look into the film’s production, check out the behind the scenes video below!

MyRodeReel 2016 Recap

So the competition for My Rode Reel 2016 is officially over. All of the award winners have been announced, and neither 3:03 or Taco Night received any awards.

We are slightly disappointed, but not entirely surprised. It was a really stiff competition. There were a lot of entries (over 1200), and a lot of those were really well produced. Statistically speaking, our chances were pretty low, but that doesn’t negate the fact that some really great things came from it.

For example, Taco Night ending up ranking 35th out of 1224 for the People’s Choice Award. That’s pretty amazing. Watching it climb through the ranks was pretty great. Jason Rugg did a really good job directing that one, and I’m glad to have helped produce it.

3:03 didn’t fare as well in terms of popularity among viewers, but as I mentioned before, I received some really good feedback on it through YouTube comments. The YouTube comments really stick out to me because the words are from people I don’t know personally. One of the comments was that 3:03 made them feel something even after it was over, and I consider that to be a massive win. That’s all I can ask for.

Plus, it just felt really nice to be back in the swing of things, making short form narratives. Other than my Crash the Super Bowl commercial, this was the first personal narrative project I’d worked on since Lights and ms and me. It was nice to be back in that creative seat again.