Monday, 10 February 2014

Why I Work in Film

Photograph by Tony Lee, Save BC Film PSA Shoot February 2013
“Do you love it?”
I looked away. 
“That’s a lot of time to be spent doing something you don’t love,” she added, reading into the blank look on my face.
I tried to explain. It’s hard to explain. 
There’s something about film that turns my crank. The big cameras. The circus (hair, make-up and wardrobe trailers). Working with over 100 people everyday. 
Each path we choose in life takes us somewhere. Eventually. I know that.
Somewhere in film there’s a creative fit for me. I believe that. It has yet to come to me. But I keep looking.
In this business, it’s who you know. Someone will refer you to someone. 
That’s how it works.
The biz first came to me in 1989. A friend suggested I contact a Director she knew working in TV commercials. Based on her recommendation, he hired me to work as his assistant. 
I was hooked.
Soon after I worked on the set of the feature film Bird on a Wire. Here’s where I met my first stars; Mel Gibson and Goldie Hawn.
We’re all people. Real people. I treated them as such.
Eventually I took an office job on the TV Series MacGyver.
That was before computers and cellular phones. 
I answered the telephone, paged producers, photocopied scripts – different colours for different versions, and fed the office staff. I was Craft Service. These days, in the biz it’s known as “Crafty.”
We had writers, editors, production staff and accounting working in the office. There were a lot of folks to feed.
The day began at 7am and usually ended around 7pm. 
It was never dull. I was always busy. 
This I loved.
I left the biz a year and a bit after to help my brother in a start-up. Later got pregnant and married, moved to the Island. Got a diploma in photojournalism and worked in news in TV as there was no film work there.
Years later I move back to the mainland and crept back in. Only to start at the bottom again. To get back in the Union.
Nowadays I stand around at a lock-up. Preventing noise during a roll or someone walking through the shot during a take. 
The days often last 12-15 hours, sometimes more.
My feet develop calluses in places not seen before. 
When I roll out of bed, depending on the day before, it’s either slow or fast.
I pick up garbage. I use a butt sweep. I hide in dark places. 
Film is dirty. We create a lot of garbage. Some shows recycle, most do not.
There’s always food. Too much food. 

No one goes hungry.
So much gets thrown away. So much waste. No desire to change it seems.
Unions dictate our rates. Mine is the Director’s Guild of Canada. I get paid for 15 hours. I’m given nine hours of turnaround. 
Other unions get more.
This translates into a minimum 75 hour work week with 45 hours of downtime. 
Compared to someone who works say 9am-5pm, their work week is 40 hours with 80 hours of downtime. This includes sleep.
So why do so many of us do it? Is it for the money?
For some, probably.
A Production Assistant’s wage translates to $10 an hour. Add on all the Union deductions, Income Tax, etc., we slip by.
So what is it about film that I love? 
Well, we’re a breed of people not afraid of hard work or sleep deprivation. Dedicated to the craft. With strength and stamina to keep going, no matter what. 
Obviously, we love the movies.
Someone has to.
We keep making them.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

The Magic in a Forest Run

Once in a while I stay in bed past 8am. Which is luxury. 
Depending on the state of the soul.
This morning it was failure. The word that rung over and over again in my mind. There was so much I wanted to accomplish yesterday, but didn’t. So I lay there. Eyes closed. Trying to forget. 
An hour later I got up. Groping my way through the hallway, my foggy eyes eventually focusing on familiarity. Nothing had changed from the night before. 
Outside my window the pea soup fog bowl shimmered. Here for another day. 
I did the usual. Made a coffee. Sat down to read. Fed the spirit with something other then the self-imposed misery.
Eventually the sun sparked fragments of surprises through the window. I needed to go outside. For a forest run. 
Today was counter-clockwise of the Lynn Canyon Loop. 
This forest is a work of art. Its canvas is green. Elongated trunks shimmer with tonal bark. Light gleams in the shadows. Every trunk is different. Regal in its stature. 
As I run uphill I think how magnificent our lives are to have this. There is no hatred in the forests. Only love, and peace. 
We breathe in. We breathe out. 
No expectations here. 
Roots show up. Rocks unturned. Birds flee our paths. Leaves scatter fallen. 
At one part of the trail I find myself chiming how grateful I am. Then a myriad of stones come underfoot and I make a mantra in my mind: I am grateful for my feet, my ankles, my knees, my thighs, my lungs, my heart, my eyes, my ears, my hands and my thoughts. 
Another runner travelling the opposite way passes me by. 
Soon I am running downhill. Heels first. Focusing on my feet. 
The foghorns beat on in the distance and I come upon the sounds of the river, the rush of the water. 
I continue on in a steady pace alongside. 
Moments of yesterday soon forgotten.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Soul Callings

I see purple. Then I smile.
Our guided spiritual practice comes from within.
Life is school. Really. 
We grow into ourselves over time. Who we are becomes one. Much like our heartbeat. 
We give and we take. We absorb, digest and process. 
I know I’ve grown up. Or into. 
Waking up in the dark has never been my strong point. Over time, I’ve come to realize my truths. Making 20 minutes in the morning after I put my feet on the ground for a spiritual practice guides my day into opportunities with the best possible outcomes. 
I’m positive. I am free. No judgement. No comparison to anyone else. No ego. Only love and compassion. 
Truths. 
First it is a tall glass of water with freshly squeezed lemon juice and bit of cayenne pepper. I drink it up and thereafter I’m awake. (The Kick Ass coffee comes later).
If it’s a run day I‘m doing it anyway. The Five Tibetan Rites. Once the spine releases and is elongated (I always feel taller after I do these), I move to my pillow for my meditations. First three chimes of my Tibetan bells. Then three minutes of a Kundalini Meditation for Prosperity which was taught to me by Gabrielle Bernstein. Where I visualize and feel prosperity. The debts are gone. Zero. My health is my wealth. 
If I can make the time after, I’ll go for 20. If I can't, I’ll set the timer and go as long as I feel the need. Sometimes it’s two minutes, other times it is six. 
Whatever I have the time to feel in the moment. It doesn't matter how long, it matters that you do it.
I shower myself in white light. Thinking and feeling the love. Spreading it to others. Asking the spirit guides for forgiveness, to myself and to others. 
Developing your own spiritual practice, however long or short it needs to be can culminate into being the absolute highlight of your day.
Trust me on this.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Save BC Film

Twas second hand information. Supposedly a fact.
Brad Pitt was coming to Vancouver to shoot a movie.
Not unknown for YVR. Celebrities making movies here. We’ve had a few.
Imagine the snowball economic affect a movie with a star of this caliber would have on our city!  
He wouldn’t travel alone. Nope. Brad Pitt would not travel alone. My logistic mind thinks he’d bring some of his family and/or friends. A few assistants. 
Fan groupies could likely follow. Maybe Paparazzi. Hollywood press types. Entertainment Tonight.
Wonder if he'd rent a house or an upscale full-on hotel suite. Order room service. Or bring his own chef. 
Likely there'd be a production office. Along with all the technical requirements involved – probably hire a few locals to help out. I bet there’d be flowers. Deliveries of a traveller’s home conveniences; such as dry-cleaning, electronics, entertainment – besides all the usual meals, coffee and tea necessities.
Am betting he would visit a restaurant while here. Maybe an art gallery. Possibly a gym. In Brad's interest, some furniture stores.
You have to wonder what kind of cha
-ching they would spend on a night out don’t you? Am figuring that someone who makes millions on movies certainly wouldn’t live like a student when they’re working somewhere other then home. 
Oh, but Vancouver was passed over on that movie deal with Brad Pitt to shoot here. Something to do with their budget and our Tax Credits? 
Do you think if all the studios that we've built sit empty they'll get turned into furniture stores?
"Start the car! Start the car!"
 

Then the recent hearsay, we get it back through our own homegrown indigenous manifestos.
Oh yeah. Here's hoping. 
Cha-ching!


Thursday, 28 February 2013

Power Truths


I lied.
This came to me during meditation.
It’s true. I wasn’t honest with myself. How I really felt.
The memory that erupted the floodgate of realization shattered my physique. It was years ago but it came back to me like it was yesterday.
We were sitting in a funky breakfast eatery in Little Italy in Toronto. My soon-to-be husband and I. It was a hangover day. We were eating up the grease. Two very intriguing individuals walked in. They had an artist’s air about them. Proud, confidant and dressed in colour. I looked. I gawked. I admired.
My fiancé caught my glare and gashed my ego.
“You don’t like artists do you?” then he added in a snarly tone, “Bunch of wing nuts.”
Young at the time, flirting with love, ironically I really thought he was the one for me - my true love, I responded uncomfortably. It was neither in their defense, nor in my favour.
Was I lost?
The truth is I was. I wasn’t listening to my inner guides. To my intuition. To my heart. I wasn’t telling him how I really felt. I do admire artists.
In a power struggle with love and fitting in, I’d given up my soul. I thought I loved myself, but I didn’t really know. It turns out when I look back, I wasn’t being true to myself - in any of my past relationships.
I did marry that man. But it didn’t last.
My spiritual journey took time.
Earlier this month I had the fortune of attending two evening talks with the same two young and very spiritually savvy women. This may sound contradictory. I am sure they are both younger in age them myself; yet full of more wisdom and spiritual intuition then I ever had at their ages.
Gabrielle Bernstein from New York at one point waved a hand in the air announcing she was a P.S.A. (Public Service Announcement) for meditation.
Danielle LaPorte a Vancouver native swung on the jive on grooving to the way you want to feel. Not comparing yourself to others. Setting your own state of being.
I gulped it all up.
Even though, I had entered the room feeling at the time, “Cripey another couple of women talking about women’s stuff. Here we go again…”
Yet, as much as I have already seen, heard and read before – these two captivated my soul.
This was in Vancouver.
Gabrielle Bernstein signing her latest book "May Cause Miracles"
with Danielle LaPorte in Vancouver.
Photograph by Jane Victoria King
A few days later I was in Victoria and I saw them both again. Together on stage for the opening night of the Victoria Yoga Conference.
I had taken my mother and a close family friend.
They did it again.
Be true to yourself resonated once more. Even though I always thought I followed my heart, did what I felt was right, I came to a realization that sometimes what the mind says overpowers the way the heart feels.
The head shouldn’t rule the heart. We should listen to our heart.
In Vancouver I bought Gabby’s book the “Spirit Junkies.” It’s by my bed. I read it before I go to sleep.
A few days after I returned from Victoria I went to Indigo and bought Danielle’s book, “The Fire Starter Sessions,” which I read in the morning when I wake up.
I am almost finished the two of them. True enough, I’ve gleamed more entrepreneurial spirit from both.
The message is loud and clear.
Be true to yourself. Listen to your inner guides. Meditate.
In my practice I’ve released all of my regrets. Forgiven everyone I can think of. Crossed the highway to gain a daily morning spiritual practice that I look forward to. Honoured my fears, but not let them rule me. Woken up each day with gratitude and gained a spring in my step knowing I know how I want to feel.
Holy love, holy health, and holy wealth.
I don’t compare myself to anyone else.
This is me.