A Kick to the Vagina

Yep, I did it. I went there. I said the word “vagina.” I was going to be more polite and use “A Kick to the Gut,” but, honestly, I’m tired of polite. Our current President-elect doesn’t give a shit about polite, so there it is. I’ve been trying to find the words for the devastation I felt when Hillary lost, and I’ve been trying to understand why this loss feels so very personal and so very devastating. It physically felt like a kick to the gut, but it really feels like a kick to the world’s collective vagina.

I am a part of the generation of women who have hit middle age and didn’t think we would still be experiencing this level of struggle at our age. Not struggle, let’s call it what it is: sexism. We experience sexism in our lives, but we still wanted to believe that somehow there was woman out there who could shatter that. It's true, my generation hasn't had to struggle as hard as the women who came before us because they fought the good fight. We believed we were supposed to reap the rewards: equality in the workplace, equal pay, having it all, and the ability to be anything we could possibly want (without having to be polite!). Maybe we were naïve.

In her concession speech, Hillary referenced the inspiration she would like to give to all of those little girls and how they can dream big. And yes, they can. Because they have time to grow up and become president. For those of us who are older, her loss is our loss. Her struggle has been our struggle. We were told, if we got the good grades, if we got the right degrees, if we worked just as hard as men do, then we, too, could do anything a man could do. And yet, after this election, we’ve been told it’s still not enough.

We grew up watching Hillary. We watched her as she became a First Lady who wanted to change what the idea of what a First Lady could be. And she did. We watched her run for and become a Senator. We’ve watched her dot every “i” and cross every “t” on her way to the White House. We watched her pay her dues, gain the right experience, and earn the necessary credentials. And as we grew with her and became our own career women, we also learned that we would have to “dot every “i” and cross every “t” too, because making a mistake may make us look incapable. We’ve learned to work twice as hard and not complain about it. We make our best effort not to cry in the workplace because that might make us look weak, even though, for many of us, it’s just the way we relieve stress. There are plenty of times in my life when I’ve felt like I’ve done everything I can do to make it to the next level. And then, it’s not enough. And when doing everything is not enough, it hurts. It’s a kick. A kick to the vagina.

Some argue that she is corrupt, crooked, a liar, and that has been her downfall. And her opponent is upstanding, honest, forthright and true? We all know that he is not, and if you say you believe he is those things, you, unlike Hillary, have not done your homework.

I want to be clear. I do not hate men. I am so lucky to have had supportive, compassionate, caring men in my life my entire life. Men who believe in my ability to do everything they can do. Men who voted for Hillary too. That being said, after Tuesday’s election, it is clear that there are men AND women in the population who simply trust a penis over a vagina.

It feels like we shouldn’t have to, but I do think it’s up to my generation to pick up the mantle from our foremothers and fight the good fight for those little girls. We shouldn’t promise them it will be easy, because it won’t be. We shouldn’t promise them that they can have it all, because the truth is, they can’t. But they should have AN EQUAL CHANCE. A FAIR CHANCE. To compete in this world for any position they want.

If we show them by example that we are not complacent, that we care, that we are strong, that as women we deserve to be looked at as equals, that love really can trump hate, then they will learn to be strong too. ‘Cause I sure as hell want to see a female president in my lifetime. One who forgot to dot an “i” now and then, and was still considered the best candidate, because she doesn’t have to be perfect. She needs to be smart, she needs to be strong, she needs compassion, and she will need our future support.

A vagina is an amazing thing. It gives birth to new life. So, let’s turn this lingering pain into a positive. Let’s be the example that Hillary would be proud of. Let’s teach our future girls and boys that sexism is not okay, and that "Madame President," like "vagina," is not a dirty word.

Oktoberfest or Octoberbust?

October is usually a festive month: There's Ocktoberfest and lots o' beer, pumpkin carving parties, and, of course, Halloween parties. For me, October has been filled with different kinds of festivals: film festivals, to be exact. I did manage to sit in one biergarten in Texas and sipped some pumpkin spice beer in Vermont, but for the most part, October has been more of Octoberbust.

First I headed to Vermont for ITV Fest, where a misunderstanding almost lost me my promised "Network Notes" meeting with a supposed executive. I did end up getting my meeting after an angry email or two, but by then I was, well, angry. To be fair, the meeting I had did go well, I saw some really good and some not-so-good web series, and some stunning fall foliage. The saving grace of my trip to Vermont, though, was the lovely day I spent with a dear friend. For that, I am grateful.

Then came Austin. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Super Lame Powers didn't make it into the Austin Film Festival, but we decided to attend for some networking and partying anyway. It started off with some helpful crowdfunding and social media panels, and some free wine. But, unfortunately, I developed a sore throat that quickly developed into the chills and sweats of the flu. I spent the rest of the trip shivering my way through 90 degree heat and returned home to a week in bed. On top of that, one of the blog assistants is recovering from dental surgery in which they had to pull most of his teeth. Bad vibes all around. 

So what's the takeaway? I know it's been a rough month for a lot of people and not just me, but I'm also beginning to think festivals and I just don't mix very well. And how does one sustain an independent filmmaking career without the festival circuit? I simply don't know. There were some good moments this month - it certainly wasn't all bad, but I cannot lie: This October has taken a lot out of me. But all I or anyone can do is put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. So, on to November!

Has it been Octoberfest or bust for you?

Fall Means Festival Season Has Begun

Well, that post series slump I talked about over two months ago went on a little longer than I expected, but I've been taking care of important things, including my two blog assistants. Remember them? Hector (aka Mr Brad Pitt of Cats) and Cyrus. One of them got a case of the fleas - yuck! And they BOTH need dental surgery. Maybe that's because I've been paying them in treats. Anyway...

What else has happened recently? Festival season has started! Super Lame Powers was selected for the Network Notes category at ITVFest, and I leave for Vermont tomorrow to take part in the festival! We're not screening there, but I'm excited to go and see other series screening at the festival, connect with fellow content creators, and take in some fall foliage (we don't get that much here in LA). And while SLP didn't get into the Austin Film Festival, both Emily and I will be headed to that next week. 

So, after a couple of months of not doing a whole lot, I'm now on the move to take part in festival season. Should be fun! Hopefully I'll have time to send some updates. 

Off I go to Vermont!

The Post Series Slump

We did it! We decided to make a web series, we made it, and we put it up on YouTube for all the world to see. And now, well, it's done, and I have to admit that I'm experiencing a bit of a post series slump, which is one of the reasons you haven't heard from me in a while.

At first I was just plain tired. The web series took up so much of not only my free time, but also my thoughts, my feelings, my energy and everything in between. Once I had some of that free time back, I did rest a little, I visited family out-of-state, I caught up on doctor's appointments, and I binge-watched Stranger Things. But now, now I'm honestly a little lost. What comes next? What should come next? Season 2? A feature film? Maybe just a plain old full-time job? The answer to those questions is that I simply don't know right now. And while that causes me some anxiety, I've decided to embrace this post series slump. To let myself feel it, clear my head, and then figure out what really is next. 

But in the meantime, a few updates: 

The trailer has been accepted into the Bilbao Web Fest to compete for the Best Trailer competition! We've also heard back from a couple of festivals who have not chosen to screen Super Lame Powers, but that's okay.

And...

I wrote an article as a guest contributor for the wonderful website Ms in the Biz. You can read all about becoming your own filmmaking superhero.

Have you experienced a slump after finishing a big project?

Is Tim Hiding a Super Lame Power Too?

Here it is. The final episode (of Season 1, anyway). Has Tim been keeping a secret? What will the group think about it if he is? You'll just have to watch to find out.

Hope you've enjoyed the ride!

Do you wish you had a super lame power? 

The Final Web Series Episode Is Almost Here

So there's one web series episode left for Super Lame Powers. I can't believe it! I started this journey with pre-production in February, and six months later, I'm going to be presenting the last of six episodes. 

This final episode comes with a lot of emotions: relief, exhaustion, a sense of pride, a touch of sadness, and the question I've been asked a lot lately. What now? Well, first is a nap on my couch with the blog assistants. They insist I haven't been cuddling with them enough over the past few months. Most of the festival submissions are finally in, so this summer will involve a waiting game to see if Super Lame Powers will get to screen elsewhere. 

And there are, of course, thoughts of season 2. These characters still have plenty of complaining, fights, sparks and surprises left in them. But getting a web series off the ground is a pretty large undertaking, so I need to hit the pause button, gather my thoughts and my energy, and see where Super Lame Powers will go from here.

Do you want to see more web series episodes of Super Lame Powers?

Can the Group Help Gideon Hear No Evil?

It's episode 5! Can you believe it? We're down to our second to last episode, and I'll tell you a secret, this is one of my fave episodes of Super Lame Powers. I hope it makes you laugh, and I hope you enjoy! 

Have you ever helped anyone Hear No Evil?

Web Series Goals

I know I haven't posted much lately besides the web series episodes for Super Lame Powers, but there has still been so much to do, even after the editing. It's the not-so-fun part of the post-production process: the color correction, the sound mixes, the rendering and the uploading and the posting. And possibly one of my least favorite parts of all time: the marketing. 

I've already talked some about my discomfort with the spotlight when our web series was on the big screen. It's simply not in my nature to want to market myself. Actually, even though I write this blog, I don't really like talking about me at all. But this is about Super Lame Powers, so I make myself post and post and post: to Facebook and Twitter and Instagram (3 Instagram accounts! though one of the blog assistants, aka mrbradpittofcats, might argue that he does all that work) and various industry networking groups. I've gone to coffee shops and handed out postcards. I've proudly sported my Super Lame Powers t-shirt around town. I've even done a little PR, but has it been enough? 

In asking that question, I've had to ask myself what exactly is the goal of this web series. So many goals have already been fulfilled: hiring a great cast and crew, a successful shoot, hitting all my deadlines, etc. But what is the ultimate web series goal? Which got me thinking, I haven't blogged about my feature script, Reviving Jillian, in a while either. Not because it's not still on my radar, but because I've been so focused on the web series. And really, the next step, the next goal, is to direct that feature.

But to reach that goal, I had to create a calling card: something that says, hey, look, I can direct! And that calling card is Super Lame Powers. And the best place to tell people that with an indie project is at film festivals. So, my attention now turns to film festival deadlines and telling even more people about my web series goals and my directing goals. If the web series gets accepted into any of those festivals, I'll hopefully be one step closer to the next project: directing my first feature. 

Do you have any goals you're trying to reach?

Episode 4: Jackie Can Make Sparks Fly...

But not much else! Episode 4 includes more fights and more fun, and yes, sparks. And like the tagline says, people won't be flying. Not in this web series. Because flying is super and not that lame. So, sit back, relax and watch some Super Lame Powers. 

Want others to join in the Super Lame Powers fun? Share episode 4 with them!

Super Lame Powers Completed Production = Happy Exhaustion

When I started this blog last August, I started it with the hopes that one day in the next couple of years, I would find myself on a set of something I had written (in this case, co-written). Barely 8 months later, I find myself in the completed production phase, which translates to happy exhaustion. I could not have been happier with the way this web series shoot went, and I owe it all to the people who showed up on that set with me. 

But with any production, shooting is really only half the battle. Now I have a bunch of awesome footage that needs to be edited. I'm going to leave that for tomorrow though, as I step over to my couch and take a nap with the blog assistants. In the meantime, here are some production stills...

Photo credit: Justin Long

Photo credit: Justin Long

Included in the photo are Dean Fernando, the DP; Justin Lamb, the Assistant Director; Edwin Baker; the camera Operator; and Ernesto Ramirez; the Sound Recordist. Oh, and me, the Director : )

Photo credit: Jared Long

Photo credit: Jared Long

The Clapboard.