I released my very first short film during what we called the Day of Learning near the beginning of the semester. Amber wrote an unofficial script, we contacted some actors, and we shot the film in one afternoon/evening. Then I edited and produced it in time to play it on a loop in one of the buildings on campus all day. Beyond the accomplishment of releasing a film, I got the privilege of meeting Steve Taylor (filmmaker, songwriter, musician with connections to Newsboys and such) and he watched my film. Not everyone can say that happened to them on the day they released their first film.
Filming for TENTS plodded along for a while; we mostly shot on the weekends at first. Then post-spring break hit and BAM. 6 hours of filming on a Saturday followed by 3 hours on a Sunday and 2 hours on a Monday night. That didn't happen all the time, I promise...but it happened at least once and guys, we have learned a crap ton about the words "Action!" and "Cut!"
But we cannot ignore the pleasant elephant which has crushed my motivation to write lately, which is the film release schedule. Thursday, March 12, 2015 was my 21st birthday as well as the day that I released the first episode. Since then, it's been a steady process of editing each episode, contacting our incredibly talented composer (Andrew Currier), and getting ready to release each episode. So far, we have two live on the Vimeo channel. The third episode is coming out this Thursday, and then we will take a break for a week to honor Easter break as well as give the editor (me) and the composer a break from thinking about this stuff!
The reception of this series has been unbelievable so far. More than 100 people have watched the two episodes that have been released, and there have been numerous people who have stopped me on campus to ask about TENTS. I've had more than one professor watch the episodes and tell me how much they appreciated them. My production team members have had similar experiences as well. It's amazing what God has done with this project. I would say many more words about it, but most of them would be repetitive.
So what am I learning from all of this? Well, one thing that is not as obvious is that I have learned how to write quickly without sacrificing quality or quantity. That may sound strange, but you have to realize that I am taking four classes that require journals and page-long responses every day. Sophomore Justine would have freaked out...heck, first semester junior Justine would have, too. But this semester has given me a great deal of practice. I've learned how to write 350 words in 15 minutes and get a decent grade for it.
That's not me bragging, that's an observation as well as an affirmation of my major. I am a writing major who can juggle three jobs and 18 credits with a film project riding heavily on my mind. It is possible to be a full-time student and still create good art. I don't have to tell all of you that. But I'll bet there is at least one person out there who needs to hear it.
Here's a fun note to close the broad, vague summary of my life: I will be living in a plex next year! I'm pretty pumped to continue living with Julia, and adding Nicole, Victoria, and Clarissa to the group will complete that satisfaction quite fully. I'll also get to work with most of my roomies at the campus newspaper, which means Plex 21 might take over the world next. So look out, everyone.
1. So I don't feel comfortable talking about why at this point, but I have some pretty heavy questions weighing on my mind about next year. Don't worry, I'm not leaving school and joining an indie filmmaking troupe. (But if one ever calls, Julia will have to tie me down to keep me from following them.) However, some circumstances with people here have caused me to wonder about a few decisions that I might want to make before the end of the year.
2. I'm so weary. We have one more day of filming that has eluded us several times due to schedule conflicts, but I desperately want to finish so that I can check that off the list. Filming takes a ton out of you, and wondering how it will go is even worse.
3. I have a couple of friends who are going through some pretty brutal stuff this semester...and I love them too much to just sit back and watch them hurt. So please pray for them...even if you don't pray for the things I'm dealing with right now. They're important people.
God loves me, and God's love is enough.