Saturday, September 11, 2010

Dear Lemon Lima at Carson Newman College

I’m just flying back to LA after my brief trip to Jefferson City Tennessee (home of Carson Newman College and perhaps the friendliest folks I’ve met in a long while). My journey started with an hour-long drive from the Knoxville airport to The Minnis House, a charming bed and breakfast in New Market, where I stayed for the duration of my trip. My GPS failed me as I somehow managed to get lost finding the place. Thank god for the friendly kids at Subway who steered me back in the right direction.
After a restful nights sleep on a surprisingly comfy memory foam mattress (I want one now!) I ate a homemade breakfast, courtesy of Kim Stapelton (the owner and resident mom of Minnis House) and headed into town to meet Mark Borchert, a professor and my host at the college. I had the pleasure of speaking to Mark’s Intro to Film class where I showed a few clips from Dear Lemon Lima and discussed the joys and woes of independent film producing. The students were incredibly engaged and my nerves quickly settled as hands popped up to ask questions, relieving me from having to hear myself drone on for the better part of an hour.
I then met up with my sister’s boyfriend’s aunt (can ya follow that!), who drove in over an hour from Lenoir County to have a drink with me and come to the screening later that evening. Trying to find a cocktail was a journey in and of itself—Jefferson is apparently a dry county so alcohol can’t be purchased anywhere in the city. Needless to say we satiated our thirst, had a lovely fireside chat and headed back to the college for the screening. I was pleasantly surprised to see many of the kids from Mark’s class back to see the rest of the film. The film was well received and I held a brief Q&A session afterwards.
Once the auditorium had a cleared, I hung back with Mark and a few of his students who told me of their aspirations to become writers, directors and tech gurus. Jason, one of the senior film students, was heading to Los Angeles the following semester for a “semester abroad” type program wherein he would receive credit for his yet-to-be determined internship in LA. One thing I noticed while visiting Carson Newman was that every time Mark introduced me he always mentioned that I had “come in all the way from Los Angeles.” This, without fail, was followed by “oohs” and “aahs” as if LA was some far off magical place that wasn’t a 4 hour Delta flight away. And maybe it’s because I grew up in LA and have worked there for the past 5 years that I’ve become a bit jaded, but LA just hasn’t had that magical something for me for a long time. It’s where the girls are fake, the guys sleazy and everyone is trying to be someone they’re not. But in Jefferson, LA is where dreams come true and the possibilities are endless. As I saw Jason light up with excitement for his impending internship, I was reminded of what it felt like to be 19. When anything was possible and when all of your dreams would come true. I feel old and cheesy writing this--but as I head back to LA, where breakfast is a tall soy latte, alcohol flows-a-plenty and sitting in an hour of traffic to see a friend seems unfathomable, I realize that over the past year, I’ve gotten to travel all over the country and abroad with a movie that I love and got to produce. So, I think I'm a pretty lucky girl and maybe dreams really do come true in lalaland.