Sunday, November 02, 2008

The last leg

I am home now. Back in Los Angeles and back to my real life. My day to day job is script supervising. It was wonderful to take the month of October off from script supervising and just be a director. In January I start pre-production as a director for my next feature and I am now so charged up and ready to tackle my next project. This tour was so so good for me on so many levels. Just getting my work out there and into these new audiences, hearing their thoughts and feelings on the story taught me a great deal about my strengths and weaknesses. Its always nice to get the reminder that you are on the right path. Being a director, or any artist really, is a very vulnerable experience. I can go from confident to terrified in a matter of seconds. My time on this tour, both at the screenings and in the car with my thoughts, cemented my goals and the path I have outlined to reach them. Its hard to get that perspective in LA, where it seems everyone has the same goals as you do.

Day 9 - The drive from Paducah to Watkinsville was by far my longest drive on the trip. My Grandfather (The best Grandfather ever) grew up in a small town in Southern Tennessee. I wanted to take a longer route to Watkinsville so I could stop and see the house he grew up in and the cemetery. The people buried there are the people I get my height from according to my Grandfather. I love being 5'9" and they need to be thanked. I seriously considered the extra miles but ultimately decided I couldn't add another three hours to my drive. Sorry Grandpa. I hope I get into the Nashville Film Festival so I can have another chance to see it.

I got into Watkinsville in the later afternoon and arrived to my nicest accommodations to date. The Ashford Manor Inn is the most beautiful Bed and Breakfast I have ever seen. Ornate and classy, I never wanted to leave. I spent lots of time just walking around the gardens and strolled through the cute downtown. Love Watkinsville.

The screening went really well out at the High School. Very nice people there who engaged in some great post screening discussions. Its so fun to hear people talk about the symbolism and about how they were worried it would be a sad movie and were so glad that it make them feel better about the sick people in their lives. Its absolutely the most rewarding thing to hear people get specific about why they enjoyed your film.

Day 10 - The drive to Clemson was only two hours. I had such great intentions. I was going to get so much work done. Instead I took a long bath in the enormous tub in my Clemson hotel room and watched HOURS of CNN. Serious addict at this point.

I joined some of the Clemson University Faculty for a Mexican food dinner. The food was great. I am kind of a Mexican food snob and coming from LA, the par is set pretty high. Tasty. The screening in Clemson was the biggest yet. It felt like close to 100 enthusiastic yet polite students packed into the theatre. They were great and asked very good questions at the Q and A. One young girl came up to me afterwards and gave me the biggest thrill of my whole trip. She told me she was an aspiring filmmaker and asked for my advice. I was so touched. I gave my best impromptu answer. But the truth is, female filmmakers have it tough. There are so few of us and its hard to be taken seriously. To think that I could inspire this young woman to go for it, made me feel amazing.

I went to a college bar afterwards with a group of students and faculty. I had a great time and enjoyed rich conversation about everything under the sun. I proved to be a total grandma as I was yawning after one beer and was taken back to my room early while the rest continued to party. What can I say, it was day 10.

Day 11 - I drove straight to South Carolina State University from Clemson. Since the coordinator there offered to let me stay at her home, I just hung out in the art department/ planetarium building until my 5:30pm screening. The students there were so great. I had never visited an HBCU before and I really enjoyed the perspective. Although I became kind of embarrassed that my film does not offer much in terms of diversity. This is something I will pay more attention to in the future for sure. The students never mentioned it. How sweet of them.

My film was projected in a planetarium. This was very appropriate because there is an important scene in the film that takes place in a planetarium. It was cool to watch it this way. Once again great questions and post screening conversations. The students genuinely liked it and got in on a very deep level.

After the screening I went to dinner with the coordinator Ellen and a student named Harriet. Thanks for dinner Harriet! Then went to Ellen's BEAUTIFUL home to sleep. It was nice to be in a real house again. Then next day, an easy but long flight home.

In Orangeburg a student asked me to write down a quote from the film that spoke to him. It reads "Travel is more than the seeing of sights, it is a change that goes on deep and permanent in the ideas of living.". Its always been a quote that I enjoyed but in this context it seemed especially resonant. My time on the Southern Circuit tour was fantastic. It is such an honor to have been chosen. Many many thanks to every sweet soul I encountered. I had a great time and am so glad that you enjoyed my film.