Things I Might Have Missed

Today marks six years since the accident that flipped my world upside down, and I have to wonder who I might have been had it not happened. Back then, all I was was an athlete. Soccer was the only thing I really cared about. But then all of a sudden I couldn’t play any more and I was devastated, confused and spent a lot of time hating how unfair life was.

But I’m not a teenager anymore, and I see all the good things that came out of it. That accident changed my life permanently, and while I may not know what would have happened if I never hit that hurdle, there’s a lot of things I doubt would have happened if I hadn’t.

If I had kept doing sports after school, I would have been riding the bus less and while we already knew each other when the accident happened, Robby became my best friend and later brother because of that bus. And I don’t want to imagine what my life would be like without him.

I never would have played Ultimate Frisbee with the guys at Karns, so I never would have started the Pellissippi Ultimate Frisbee Club. Without the club, I never would have met Haden, Chris, Krissy, Spencer or so many other people. Without meeting Haden, I never would have gone to West Park and I wouldn’t know Joseph and Jacob. I wouldn’t have Krissy supporting me in all my crazy endeavors. And if I’m not a better frisbee player than I was a soccer player, I’m pretty darn close. And on the frisbee field, I get a lot more respect… most of the time.

Without the accident, I would have had the second surgery which is pretty much what led to me making friends in college. It was how I met Daniel, Nate, and Rory, and how we then started “I’d Like to Buy a Vowel Productions”. I know I wanted to enter that festival anyway, but I doubt I would have had the same team, and I doubt that team would have carried on into “A Hard Sell” and “The Fudler Institute”.

I’m sure I would have at least tried to make the Appamobile regardless, but knowing Daniel and having his help sure made the process a whole lot easier.

The only reason I got a RUSH membership in the first place was for physical therapy, and so when Robby and I wanted to join a gym, I knew that was where we should go. And if we hadn’t been working out there that summer before college, I never would have checked the group class schedule to see Zumba®/Hip Hop listed. I was trying to take the Hip Hop class and showed up on the wrong night, but that was okay, because I loved it. And I took hip hop with Jhasta and I decided I had to keep going back. Then they stopped offering hip hop and it was Zumba® every week with Jhasta, and I was hooked. Then I got mom hooked too, and we kept taking classes. Then at school last year, I walked in on a demonstration and wound up teaching. The instructor asked me if I was an instructor and she told me I should be, and then Jhasta said the same thing a few months later. And here I am, teaching five classes a week.

Honestly, the only things I really feel like I missed out on are the things I still can’t do: hiking, bowling and putt putt. I think I can live without those just fine.

And The Winner Is…

This weekend has been just about the opposite of last weekend, and it’s been fantastic.

Last night I finally (okay, it’s only been out a week) got to see The Secret World of Arrietty, which is a good movie but more on that later. (Unless that whole attention span of a hamster thing kicks in… What was I writing about?) Then I went to IHOP for dinner with an awesome friend and was thoroughly amused by the high schoolers at the table behind us, and had several “Dear Girls Above Me” moments. My personal favorite: “Don’t go to prom, don’t have sex, you will get pregnant and die! Didn’t you read Twilight?” Cue Chelsea laughing so hard she missed the next part of the conversation and had to text that quote across the table. 11:11 and I wished that Saturday would go well.

I slept great for a change, then mom came to get me so we could go furniture shopping. We went a bunch of different places, looking at beds I’d already seen and looking for new ones. I finally found the PERFECT bed out by Turkey Creek. It’s a captain’s bed/book-case bed in black with lots of shelves and two drawers. It will be absolutely perfect if I can put the drawers on the other side. The only problem is the price. It’s a little, probably a lot, more than my grandmother is wanting to spend, so I’m hoping we can talk them down. If not, there’s a panel bed in a clearance center I could live with that’s only $199. I still have to get a mattress and everything so we’ll see. But I really want the captain’s bed…

We went home to get changed for the awards ceremony for the 54 Hour Film Fest, that I was really excited and nervous about. I had really high hopes for our team but I wasn’t sure. Mom and I got to Carmike barely before it was supposed to start, and Krissy and Adam were in the lobby waiting for us. The four of us headed on in and got seats down front since me and my four and a half-inch heels were trying to avoid the stairs. Krissy and I were swapping dog stories when a man sitting behind me asked if we were entered in the film festival. I said we were from a team and talked to him for a bit. He asked about my team and I explained I was a director, not an actress. Oddly enough I will pose all day long for a still camera, if it’s a video I run the other direction. And he told me I was gorgeous, which made me super happy even though it was random. Then James, guy running the festival, got up to start the awards, and the man I had been talking to got up to announce the first awards. Needless to say, I was shocked and beaming. They did Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Actress. Then he said, “And the award for the Best Actor goes to, and I love this name… I’d Like to Buy a Vowel Productions!” My jaw dropped open and I looked at the guys before I stood up, and then had to stand awkwardly while he finished his speech. Whoops.

I went to the microphone and started off explaining our name, which I still thank my mom for. I’m oddly good at public speaking but I talk too fast, especially when I get nervous. I sat down beaming and made sure Adam had got on Facebook to let Warren know he’d won. They started handing out more awards and it was nothing I thought we deserved, though I’d have loved to win. Then James got up again to hand out the elements awards. The line of dialog came first and as soon as he said, “And this was the best because you can’t understand it, but they subbed it so I knew that was it,” told me it was us. I got up beaming and explained we really were shoving food down poor Cole’s face. They proceeded to give out the rest awards and then James got up again. “Now for what you all came for, Best Film” or something to that extent. He explained the whole process for the voting, and that the winning team only won by one point so he had to give a runner’s up as well. The runner-up was the awesome 80s Chick Flick that I loved, and then they said they were just going to screen the winner. He said he’d have to call up there to get it rolling so the theater manager went to start it. James went through all his announcements and started listing announcements to fill the dead air, until he ran out. Then he started talking about swing dancing, which made me laugh. And then someone called for a demonstration, he said “Well, if there’s a girl…” I was about to volunteer when the lights cut out. “And here’s the winning film!”

And to my shock and joy, the slate for I’d Like to Buy a Vowel Productions: The Fudler Institute came up. I cheered and grabbed Krissy in a big hug, us both squealing excitedly. I think Adam was in shock and mom insists she was very pleased. (Pretty sure I heard her cheering too!) We got up to accept our plaque and I couldn’t believe it, gushing all over the microphone.

After the presentation was over, I started texting it out and hitting up Facebook to some very priceless reactions. Daniel and Tyler are tied for my favorites.

I still can’t believe it, and I couldn’t be happier. I am so proud of my team, and so grateful to everyone who helped us on this project. Thank you: Adam and Daniel for sticking with me on all these crazy projects I get myself into, Cole for making me feel better when I was beating myself up for being sick, Warren for a fabulous acting job, Emory for his toleration of us squirting him with a water bottle, Jaclyn and Red Paint for acting in my stuff for the last two years, Nathan for answering a completely random text and helping out even though he had no idea what he was getting into, Krissy for always having my back and helping with everything I do, Zach for trying to prevent me from running into a wall, my mom for putting up with our craziness, and Robin for helping us get the house. Last week I said I felt like karma handed me the ultimate win, and now it really did.

The extended cut of our movie, with the interviews we had to cut for time in the festival submission. http://youtu.be/zrzr6UU78Gw

Tonight at 11:11, I didn’t know what to wish for.

The 54 Hour Film Festival Adventure

So I’ve been really bad about updating this thing… but I plan to make up for it this weekend! For three reasons! One, I am procrastinating doing my homework. Two, I have been stock piling my ideas. And three, it’s 1:40 am and I’m waiting for the side effects of my antibiotics to wear off so I can sleep.

Our first topic? The 54 Hour Film Festival! (And how I seem to have gotten sick in the first place…) I am the head of “I’d Like to Buy a Vowel Productions”, at least that’s what I call it. I founded it and talked people into helping me, I think that puts me in charge. Otherwise my friends probably should stop listening to me. The festival started Friday night but the story really starts Thursday morning, when I woke up all excited about the festival starting only to realize it was actually Thursday. Yeah, I’m one smart cookie.

Thursday night I was incredibly excited, I hadn’t been able to enter a film festival in a while and I had a really good team. I was going to bed and my throat started hurting, but I figured it was no big deal, my allergies play up all the time. I proceeded to spend most of Friday cursing my allergies and counting down until I got off work.

Friday 5 pm, my friend Jacob stopped by work to say hi and I decided to hang out with him instead of bolting downtown for the inception. Mom was already there to draw for us and by the time I got there, it’d be over and I’d have to turn around and drive right back to Turkey Creek. No point. 5:18 the text messages starting coming in from mom. The other team names, how many people were there, and that if you got a genre you didn’t want, you could draw again. She asked for a list of what I would have wanted. I had to pull the list up on Jacob’s phone while I scrambled to answer. Of course she didn’t draw anything I wanted, and I sat dumbfounded looking at “Mockumentary”. I had ideas on the back-burner for just about everything they could throw at me, but not that one. Mom sent me the prop, line of dialog, and action. So somehow we had to hit somebody with a VHS tape and ask why we do that to ourselves. I then had until 6:30 to kill for my team meeting so Jacob and I went to Burger King before throwing frisbee next to Appa in the Doggone Pretty parking lot.

6:30 just about on the dot, I arrived at the Lovell Road IHOP. The hostess asked me how many. “Well, I’m not really sure. It’s going to be four or six, we’re in college so it’s kind of hard to get a consistent number, and we’re going to be here a REALLY long time.” “Okay, I’ll stick you in the third shift waitress’ section.” “Thank you!” So she sat me down and I waited for the others to arrive. I have no idea in which order but I was quickly joined by Adam, Cole and Warren. We started tossing ideas, and oddly enough the second one we landed on was what we went with. (And no, I’m not revealing what it was. Go to the screening.) But we came up with a list of several ideas just in case, while downing lots of caffeine. I was wondering why I was so oddly tired already. We realized we were going to need more cast than we had planned so the phones came out and we started texting. Most answers were the same “Busy!” “Working. :(” and “Shooting 7 am to midnight”. Turns out we weren’t the only team from Pellissippi. About the only positive response I got was from a good friend of mine and a frisbee player who was a friend of my brother’s (who I’m pretty sure thinks I’m crazy). We hammered out the details on who was scripting and departed after 9 pm. I swung by Panera to say hi to a friend and then headed down to UT. Most of my equipment has been living in my brother’s apartment since we shoot over there so frequently.

I got to Volunteer Hall and hung out with Robby for a little bit. It was very strange to not being stressed over writing a script, but I was worried over the way my throat was starting to burn and I felt hot. He thought it was nothing and he walked me back down to Appa, wishing me good luck. I drove home and packed up everything I thought we could possibly need, planning an early night so there would be no way I could get sick. I hopped on Skype with Daniel, the only other original member of the I’d Like to Buy a Vowel Team and my DP. I filled him in on our plan and we worked out a better idea of who should do what.

7:30 am I wake up with a burning throat, painful swallowing and what felt like a fever. I didn’t want to get out of bed, but what could I do? I went hunting for ThermaFlu before I re-packed everything into my mom’s car so I wouldn’t have to drive and we headed for the shoot, swinging by McDonald’s to get breakfast for everyone. We were shooting in a vacant real estate property so mom would have to be on set with us all day, and she does the anxious, over-worrying mom very well. I warned our cast I was going to be cranky since I was sick as we unloaded the cars. Everyone said it’d be fine, but I was thinking, “No, not really.” I gave out the t-shirts the festival was nice enough to give us and we began stuffing Emory into a make-shift fat suit. It took us an hour to get set up, and I was doing my best to delegate without talking too much. The one cough drop we had disappeared all too quick, that was the one thing I forgot (besides the chef’s hat). We finished the first two scenes and I wound up laying down in the corner by my mom’s desk. Cole put his jacket over me since I was freezing and I finally got fed up enough to go hunt down a blanket. I actually wound up basically sleeping through the first half of the shoot. Daniel said it was the most inactive he’d ever seen me, and the day we met, I was on crutches. Robby’s friend Nathan texted me saying he was sorry he slept too late, and I told him if he could come at all, it’d still be a big help. Krissy was supposed to get there around four.

I told Cole and Daniel we should shoot my stuff soon, in case I didn’t have the energy to later. We started working on my big scene and my phone started buzzing: Krissy, her friend Zack, and Nathan got there within ten minutes of each other but it took me a while to realize the sick person probably shouldn’t be standing in the rain looking for their cars. They both got tossed into the big ending scene, and went along with it great. Adam wanted to film more of my part, and I had to run backwards down a hallway. I was supposed to turn and go around the corner, but knowing me, like that happened. I started to run backwards, and ran smack into the wall before I turned. The second time I felt the wall, then turned just in time. For the third take, Nathan said to just turn when I saw the other room beside me. Great idea, in theory. I saw the second doorway, and whipped to turn, and actually had the split second realization “Oh crap, the wall’s there, OW!” http://youtu.be/Vdv7sEdrda4

We were filming until well after 8 o’ clock. There were several scenes that were ruined by people breaking character and laughing, people off camera laughing so hard they were crying, and just general insanity. Like that’s not typical of us at all or anything. Breaking everything down and getting it loaded took longer than I would have liked, by that point all I wanted to do was get home and pass out. We hugged good-bye and left, Adam taking the cameras and footage with him to edit.

I got home and typed up our credits list, emailing it out as best as I could remember, and crashed.

10 am the next morning my phone started buzzing with clips being sent over our iPhones. (Best trick ever, film it playing on your computer and text the files. AMAZING!) Now I was full-blown sick with a stuffy nose and headache. Adam had been up most the night editing and was nearly done already. I gave him my feedback and he got it exporting. We were really pushing the time limit and had to cut a good three minutes of awesomeness. But it’s okay, that’s what the director’s cut is for!

5 pm my mom went to meet Adam to pick up the files, and took them on downtown to the drop off site. She put it in what I assume was a mail slot with my business card and came home in time to catch the Super Bowl.

By 11 pm, mom and I were starting to get worried we hadn’t gotten an email or call saying they had our movie, so I looked up the number for the director of the festival and handed mom the phone. I didn’t think he wanted to talk to a frog. They had it, and we were the first ones to submit. It was a good feeling, and totally worth a terrible sinus infection.

Well, it will be after the screening! Saturday February 18th at Carmike Cinemas on North Peters, 4 pm! BE THERE!