It’s been two years since I’ve sat down to write one of these.
Confession: there were drafts along the way, in between, thoughts I had that never were shared, but this is the first blog entry in 2 years that will make it’s way out there. When I visited you last I was riding on the high of the fastest grossing entertainment property of all time.
I suppose that when the dust had cleared, I didn’t know how to top that, and so I didn’t know what to say here next. For every mountain you climb in this industry, there is usually a plateau to follow.
Unfortunately, in our bigger faster more world that’s not that interesting (even though in reality it’s only the boring-old-work that counts). But I believed the myth that I was only as good as my next project for a while, and so I got to work and put my smart girl blog pants aside.
I had written a script with my best friend Mary (who’d left the industry a few years back to pursue the bigger calling of holistic food and medicine) and our friend Rob (who is perhaps the most prolific screenwriter I know – if you are looking for anything to produce, knock on that guy’s door, he’s sure to have a great script in the genre you’re seeking) years before. It was something that Mary and I first put together from two stage plays that I had written in high school and college.
We thought we’d write this little thing. Something to create our own break. Ha!
Ten years later, I am finally realizing that little (ahem, BIG BIG) dream. And I am making it happen in part because I have declared that I will do so.
Last year around this time, when I had no one on my team, when I was working back at another restaurant because the offers weren’t coming in, and a girl’s still gotta pay the bills, when all around me life felt overwhelming and like it was happening to me rather then for me, a small voice, a light of belief in the darkness, whispered ‘speak it:’
‘This coming year is the year I start production on ‘Born That Way,’ I told the universe.
I had no money to make a movie. I only had a script and a dream and an audacious belief that if I put one foot in front of the next, that I could somehow realize that script and dream into a living, breathing piece of art.
What could I do to start the process?
I could dye my hair. That’s right. I could dye my hair. It sounds so small and inconsequential and maybe even anti-feminist on the surface, but hear me out. It was the only thing at the moment that was in my control regarding the film, and so I did it. I had long pictured the character of Sophie who I was set on playing, a woman who grew up in Tanzania amongst the Maasai, the child of missionary parents, as a brunette. As a lifelong blonde myself, I knew that blondes get way too much attention. Sophie was shy, wished to blend in, didn’t like to stand out.
It’s a judgement yes, but the film is all about judgments – the ways that we judge ourselves and each other, and so I ran with it and I changed the smallest of things – and with that made a leap into action.
And so it began. I started an Instagram for the character. I headed back to NYC for a spell because the story was set there. I joined an amazing network of female filmmakers with the intention of finding my team. Within Film Fatales, I found my director and the director of the films within the film that make up Sophie’s world. A Fatale showed me the work of her animator, who perfectly embodied the spirit of Sophie. As luck would have it, Jordan and I had attended the same arts high school in Virginia.
Coincidence is kismet is destiny.
With each step, my confidence and power grew.
I declared it so. I set out to do it. It became.
That is the way that everything happens in life. We create our reality. If we believe that we are stuck, we will be stuck. If we believe (and take the actions that are in line with that belief) that we can make a movie, we will eventually make that movie.
It’s a scary time in the world. There’s a lot of reason to believe that it will never get better. But if every one of us believed that it could be different, and then took a step in that direction, it could, in fact, shift.
And then take the first action.
Write it down. Put it on your wall. Read that dream every day.
And become it.
Take the first step. And then the second. And become your vision of what you want your world to look like.
Right now my vision includes checking back in here with much more frequency — and soon. I’m sorry I was away. I missed this place. There’s much much more to come. Sweet sweet dreams, all, until the next time.