I've had the immense honor of directing not one, but two shorts in so many months. They're very different projects, which made shifting gears between the two a lot of fun. One is an 8mm silent-psychedelic-coming-of-age story while the other is a proof of concept horror short.
I can't wait to share them with you, but right now I'm diving deep into post!
I'm so proud to announce that The Stranger (short) won the Grand Jury Best College Short Film at Gasparilla Film Festival last month! Thank you to everyone at the festival for believing in this film, and to all the wonderful cinephiles who came out to the screenings!
Check out the full list of winners here.
The Stranger, a thriller feature script I co-wrote with Carolina Garrigo, was a quarterfinalist in the 2018 American Zoetrope Screenwriting Competition! The contest is put on by a production company of the same name founded by Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas. We're so honored!
In the moment, it can be difficult to notice any change or progression. One of the reasons I really like this time of year is the chance it gives me to take stock of everything that has happened. This year in particular truly surprised me.
In January I moved to Los Angeles. I began interning for The Kennedy/Marshall Company. It was an incredible experience filled with wonderful people.
I spent most of February helping revise Asbury University's script "Damaged Goods." I directed a short film for Visible Poetry and had the chance to go on a rock climbing trip to Red Rock in Nevada--a magical pocket of rock and nature.
March brought a visit from family which we spent at Venice Beach. I also taught my first university level course and partook in more pre-production meetings for Damaged Goods. Two of my poems were published in an anthology and The Stranger screened at the TCL Chinese Theater.
In April, I had the opportunity to attend the NAB Show and see more filmmaking/media tools than I could ever dream of. I also attended The Florida Film Festival where The Stranger screened and ran my first half marathon.
May took me to Kentucky where we shot Damaged Goods in fifteen days with a predominantly student crew!
June had a lot of travel. The first half I was in NYC editing Damaged Goods and writing the feature script for The Stranger. Chicago and Albuquerque were also points of visitation to spend time with family. Nikki Lee and I started The New Deal Podcast.
July was a bit of a breath of fresh air. I came back to LA to help a friend make his short before returning to NYC to finish up Damaged Goods' edit. While there, I wrote a feature in a week. Sometimes the inspiration just strikes! The Stranger also won a bronze Telly for directing.
During July and a little bit of August I had the wonderful opportunity to work for a director. I learned so much in those few weeks and met some incredible people. I also started teaching a undergrad and grad level Directing Narrative Film course.
Most of September was spent writing. I pushed myself to finish several scripts this fall.
October I had the chance to visit France and Portugal. That was a lovely adventure filled with a lot of walking and pastries.
November I worked on two horror films. It was vastly inspiring as I find myself writing a lot of psychological thriller/horror pieces lately.
December was spent eating a lot of delicious food, seeing family, and catching up on projects.
It was quite the year, but somehow in the day to day I forget all of the wonderful things I've had the chance to experience. In between all these successes there were a lot of moments of doubt, struggle, and failure. I'm grateful for each; it was a year of learning. I discovered more about the sort of stories I want to tell, and more importantly, the person I want to be.
Here's to 2019 having even richer memories, greater learning, and impossible adventures.
After the success of the film I directed for Asbury University as a part of a production class for their students, I was asked to come on as a professor for an online course: Directing Narrative Film.
It has been such a privilege to discuss the filmmaking process with eager minds and watch them explore what directing is on a deeper level.