Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Real Life Begins

High School Graduate: Gap Year Begins

This past year has been an uphill battle in terms of living a balanced and healthy lifestyle. I overcrowded my plate, lost touch with my social life, and crammed in every possible project I could. There were undoubtedly oh so many rewarding moments (some of the best of my whole entire life thus far), but overall I learned a valuable lesson: one's mental state is more important than a project! There were points during the year where I didn't know if this extreme stress and anxiety was worth it, but I am happy to say that I've learned that this "extreme stress and anxiety" is not innate within the nature of what I choose to do with my time, but rather, is a self-created, self-imposed, controllable spoonful of poison. I reject that poison. Instead I will eat chocolate and drink tea.

"We're Okay" Premiered and Released

I graduated from high school a little over 2 weeks ago, and these past 2 weeks have been the most balanced 2 weeks I've had in the past 2 years. I know that's a bold statement, but I honest to goodness feel like a twisted weight has been lifted from my back and from my eyes. Did that metaphor make sense? Who knows. Ha. Well, I finished and premiered my senior thesis film "We're Okay." It deals with teen depression, sexuality, and warped body image. I am here to vouch that as a teenager the high school years can be extremely tough. We are in a society that unfortunately bites at the confidence of everyone in one way or another. The characteristics and ideals our culture values comes in opposition with the reality and truth of what it means to be a human. There is no blanketing checklist that can identify and define every person. The beauty of being here on earth lies in the fact that it is in our great and mighty multitude that we find diverse personalities and real individuals. Before I continue to rant, here is We're Okay. I hope you enjoy!:

We're Okay has already been accepted to two festivals: Mass Hysteria (Live Stream Event, June 6th 2014) and The Serile Filmului Gay Film Fest (Cluj-Napoca, Romania, November 10th-16th 2014). Can't believe I have a film that's gonna be screened in Romania?! Who would've guessed! Ha.

48 Hour Film Fest

Most of my team at the 48 Hour Film awards last year after winning Best Cinematography. We were pretty happy.
So for the 5th year in a row I will be competing in the 48 Hour Film Fest. I made a promise to myself the first year I competed (and bear in mind I was only 14 years old!) that I would compete until my team won best film. Over the course of 4 years my team has won Best Director, Best Actress, Best Makeup, Best Sound Design, and Best Cinematography. I hope to win Best Film within the next 10 years.... cross your fingers for us, ha! But in all seriousness: I actually do this competition not for the awards, but really to reunite with my crew. They have become my family and this competition becomes a time for us to join back together and create something. Most of these people I do not get to see anytime during the year, so it truly is a once a year reunion.
Team All Around Artsy does crazy things.
Wayne, producer and gaffer, did indeed fall into the waterfall.
Wayne Culpepper (my producer and gaffer) has been helping me to secure locations, additional crew, and equipment. I don't want to give anything away, but we've secured something that I have only dreamed of having the privilege to use sometime in my life. The thing we have secured... well, never in a million years did I think I would have the chance to work with one at this time in my life! I hope I've stricken your curiosity. Mwahaha. You'll just have to wait and see! The competition is June 20th-22nd. Thusly, the film will be released online a few weeks later.

Wish my team luck on the 48 Hour Film! If you're interested in seeing what my team has done the previous years, here is the one we did last year:

Other Projects

As always I am working on a ton of projects. I'll try to summarize each project in a couple of sentences:

I've always dreamed of seeing the mysterious Blue Ghost Firefly that only appears for 2 weeks in the summer in certain areas of the South. So I made a short doc of my friend Wayne (who is a professional photographer) capturing the blue fireflies on camera, along with doing a light-painting photo shoot of Miss Whimsy (that's me) in the woods. Currently in post.

I was planning on making a short doc on No Kill Nation, an organization that is trying to stop the use of euthanasia within dog shelters, but after getting in contact with a local animal rights group I just got hired to shoot a doc for them. More info to come.

I am making my own doc on these 8 year old twin "brothers" but one of them identifies as a girl already. Having a meeting with the mother tomorrow. Very excited about this one. Gender identity is one of my favorite topics.

My best friend and greatest mentor Brad (he was my first film teacher and taught me oh so much!) wrote a short story that we are adapting into a short (possibly animated) film.

I wrote a short about a coffee-addicted insomniac who ventures to a stargazing field in the hopes of escaping coffee, only to stumble upon and fall in love with a sleeping narcoleptic boy. I applied for a large grant. Wish me luck. If I don't get it, I'm still gonna make the film. Nothing will stop me. Mwahaha.

I just started taking hammer dulcimer lessons. This is random, but I recorded a composition using my dulcimer, melodica, guitar, and vocals, and it's my favorite composition I've ever made. I will probably be putting it into an upcoming film.

I've been in contact with so many different and amazing individuals in terms of internships and jobs. I never thought I would be granted so many oppurtunies and options. I have no fear going into this gap year (*note that this gap year is possibly eternal) because I have an abundance of inspirational oppurtunities!

This past November my film Girly won The Mosaic Film Experience film fest in Grand Rapids, MI. Well, a few weeks ago they got in contact with me and have offered me a job! They are going to pay me to fly out to the fest in November and be a guest speaker. This is a dream come true.

Directing Reel

I cut together my first directing reel which features clips from over 10 projects of mine! Here it is!

Well, there are probably a lot of things I'm forgetting to mention, but, oh well. I'm gonna get back to work. So many random things to do! I love it! By the way, I'm in a coffee shop right now. What a suprise, right? At this point I think it's safe to stay I spend half of my life in coffee shops. Rather than being a coffee connoisseur, could I call myself a coffee shop connoisseur? Ha.

Love you all! Feel free to comment or email me any questions! Have a lovely day, and remember: stay hydrated!


  1. Fantastic blog. You are one creative and might I add busy lady.

  2. Enjoyed this, except would you please de-animate me and put my feet back on the ground? You're moving so fast my old head's spinning around and around. Got my curiosity aroused with that something you secured-- good luck racing along with it--can't wait to see the results.