Saturday, March 19, 2011

To A Lovely Month! (edited)

Two weeks ago I wrote about the 48-hour film festival before the 48-hours were actually over... Before all the conflict and triumphs were through.... And for this. I apologize. I have robbed you all of the best parts of this 48-hour competition. BUT do not fear. I will spill my guts on everything right here and right now. Besides. It should be an entertaining experience.

So. Let me start with this:
(disclaimer 1)
Some names have been changed to protect my ass a LITTLE more. Though I'm sure it won't help.
(disclaimer 2)
I had fun doing the 48-hour film festival. I did. And I wouldn't change the experience in anyway. And I look forward to doing it again next year. BUT, I will never, ever, work with the group I worked with this year again. But. I did have fun.
(disclaimer 3)
I did not write this to ruin the lives of the mentioned people. I can't do that. I don't have that power. I just wanted to tell my side. They are great students and work hard but I felt I was wronged by them as a friend. So this is my side.

Okay. So lets all go back to the weekend of March 4th-6th.

So. When I wrote you all on that week I was extremly tired. Couldn't see properly and we had just finished filming. Julie, the editor, was sitting on my bed uploading all the clips.
Everything had seemed to go well. We all had fun on set and we got to leave set half an hour earlier than we had planned! Sounds like a dream come true, right?
The blanket that was covering up all of our groups ugliest features was soon about to fall off. It just needed one strong breeze.
Enter (we'll call him) D.P.

D.P. was supposed to be the "other" editor, (I'm not going to go too deep into the details of this because this is not MY place. This was between D.P. and Julie... Again, not my place. But I need to mention it for the purpose of the story) so Julie edits half one, he edits half two. Which, in my opinion, is a stupid idea. Editing is like writing. It's an art. You can't write one half of a story and then hand it off to another writer (unless it's one of those books that switches from character to character).... Imagine if three and a half of the harry potter books were written by J.K. Rowling and the rest was written by Stephanie Meyer. Sounds awful right? This also goes for art as well. Imagine if a piece of art was done half way and then handed off to another painter? Picasso to Da Vinci.... Great artists but it wouldn't be a terrific piece of art... It would be weird.
So. When I heard that this was what was going down I was like: You sure? .... But I moved on. We brought all the footage up to my room started uploading it (transfering it might be a better word) Russell left four or five minutes into this. Leaving Julie to name every clip. Organize every clip. and do everything else it is editors do before they actually start putting stuff together (it's a process I am not a huge part of as I am not an editor).
He was going to let her do all the work and then just edit his half and act like it was all hunky dory. On set he didn't even know the script so now he planned on editing without really knowing the script?
But. Julie stayed up all night and edited almost the whole video.
When she told D.P. the next morning he was pissed but he didn't bitch us out or anything. Nope. He waited till ONE AM SUNDAY (the day we were to turn in the project) to come up to MY room and bitch Julie out.
Poor Julie, on almost 38-hours of no sleep had to go through this. After all of her hard work. So. I had Julie talk to him. Then he came up to my room with us and made a few notes on the video.
So again. Not my place. I'm done on that subject.

Now lets got to the next week. This week is all me so I'm going to speak my mind. I'll be polite because the two people most involved are just WAITING for me to say something to use against me.
So. The week of March 7th-13th:

A close friend of mine told me that apparently D.P. and (lets call her) Gaffer had been saying stuff behind my back the ENTIRE time on set. Yeah. Super mature guys.

We can never be 100% about shit-talk but this is apparently what went down.

So. Gaffer was the gaffer, they tape, sometimes help set up lights and all kinds of stuff. So. Often times I would ask Gaffer to tape down certain things (cause it's, you know, her job) and apparently when I turned around she would act (in front of the actors) as though I just asked her to juggle three light stands and a car. Her and D.P. apparently said that I was "snapping" at Gaffer. None of the actors or other workers thought I was.
Also. D.P. was the Director of Photography... But somewhere along the line he became a "co" director I guess... I respected this. I asked him if we needed anything else and if he had any requests. All kinds of things. I tried to work with him as best as I could because, at the time, I respected him.
The whole time I was working with him on this he was telling everyone that I was a bad director, that I wasn't listening to him, that the actors didn't respect me, that I was being mean and snappy.

I guess. Maybe I wasn't "good" at it. I have only directed once before this experience. I admit I am not the best director. But. My actors all told me that they did not feel stressed out and that they had fun on set. And I, at all times, did not feel stressed out. We started on time, we had fun but remained focused and we got to leave early.... I call that a success wouldn't you?

So. When I heard that all this had gone on behind my back I was a little more than fed up. I had dealt with these two saying shit behind my back before. Gaffer more than D.P.. And I only feel bad a little bit because I took it ALL out on
D.P. when I should have taken a lot out on Gaffer. Because
her shit-talking has gone on waaaaaay longer. Regardless. I'm sure she knows we're not cool.
So. I started ignoring them. The usual thing I do when I don't like someone. But D.P. texted me and asked "do you hate me?" and I responded "I'm sick of this. I need a break from our friendship". And he flipped out.

I shouldn't have expected anything less than a cardiac arrest from the two but... I was not expecting everything that ensued. D.P. bitched me out over text trying to get me to tell him who told me that he was saying shit and then came up to my room when I had told him I didn't want him to come up and yelled through my door at me.... Cause why would I want that energy in my room? Tell me that? What does talking it out in person going to do? I had made my mind up.

My favorite quotes from the two were:

"We only trash talked about Berlyn with you"


"If she wants to be a director she needs to take constructive critisism" (as though they had told me to my face the problems he had with my directing)

And (my personal favorite)

"I'm tired of this high school bullshit"

Yeah. This is college people.

Even if all of this hadn't gone down... I would still felt that lingering feeling of unacceptance in this "group" I was in, I was planning on withdrawing from the group before the shoot even happened, not fighting with D.P.

I'm not whining about this anymore. I'm just telling all of you that I've started to stand up for myself. I don't need poisonous people in my life.
I know they might wake up one day.... A day where they don't have to talk shit about everyone to feel okay about themselves, and can do their jobs without bringing in drama, and be good friends. When that day comes I will try to be friends again. But right now? I can't do it. I have too much on my plate and too many good things happening to me to be dragged down :)

Moving on. The following week:
March 14th- present.

After everything that happened with Russell and Marilyn had settled. I was hanging out with Julie a lot and talking to a lot of my guy friends (since the school is 90% men). I was invited to two production meetings.
For those of you who don't know what a production meeting is... It is a meeting where the production team meets up and discusses what needs to happen.

One with a guy from my screenwriting class and Julie. Where there is a VERY high possiblity that I will be the lead writer. That is tonight.

The other is with a bunch of my guy friends (basically all the people that I have wanted to work with but never got the chance). And the leader of this group told me, the other day, that I am the OFICIAL writer for the group. I was very excited..... Mostly because I love the group and because the leader really likes me (I like him too) and he's already in the business. The best part about him telling me I was the Oficial writer was that he's only read one of my scripts and it was a joke script about a totally unrealistic reunion... But he loved my dialouge and that's what got me the spot. He hasn't even read a script that I wrote with real characters and an actual plot.... It's all so exciting..... Just thinking about it makes me smile so big.
That's tomorrow..

BUT..... Possibly the biggest news is that last night my team won FIRST PLACE for the 48-hour film festival!!!!!!! I screamed. I was shaking like a leaf for an hour. I almost cried when my mom told me how proud she was.
Even before we won people were coming up and telling me how much they loved the film and that they wanted to collaborate. The leader of the production group I am the official writer for called me and congradulated me.
My guy friends all got second place and I was so happy that I could share that moment with them. They desereved it. Their film was terrific :) The only drama to place.

This isn't the first time I have ever won anything. Halloween I won second place for That's A Wrap. Which I wrote and helped direct (though I didn't get any credit). But winning this.... Well it felt so much better. I felt it confirmed everything that I had been thinking.
That Gaffer and D.P. can say all they want but I am good at what I do and people like my work. People like me and want to work with me.
Winning this. After everything that went down those three weeks made me feel like I was walking on sunshine. Made me feel like I had just won an oscar.

For the first time in my life I felt like I truly accomplished something.... Because people doubted me. There was AMAZING competition. There were tears, sleepless nights, yelling, gossiping and so much more. But after all of those panic attacks and everything.... There I was. Standing on stage holding my award, almost in tears.
I wouldn't trade that feeling for anything. Damn, I wish I could feel it everyday.

So, no. I wouldn't want a different experience in anyway, shape, or form. All the fighting, the disfuntction, the unhappiness was what needed to happen for this overall feeling of triumph. This feeling of being someone at my school, being apprieciated and noticed. I'm not saying that you should fight with people to feel successful.... I'm saying that I would not have felt the same way if I had never stood up for myself and taken a "break" from my friendship with D.P. and Gaffer. I would have felt the same way with That's a Wrap.... That something was wrong. Not right. And that I was sharing this victory with people that didn't give me the respect I deserved.

Even if I hadn't won. I would have kept things the same. It was a great experience. I would never want to unlearn everything I've learned from this.

So. Even though it was a hell ride... It all turned out all right. I couldn't be happier. Or more confident. And I think the friends I have now, here in California, are the people I want to remain friends with for a long, long time. The only people I would want to hug more than the friends I have here are the ones I have back home (and my family) who I will be seeing very soon.

Thank you to everyone that never doubted my abilities. Who never talked behind my back. Who was a true friend to me. Thank you. I am proud to have you in my life and I hope you want to stick around.

- Berlyn

P.S. To those of you who might have been offended by any of this.... I apologize. I didn't mean to offend anyone... Just to speak my mind. And to let everyone that there is never a cherry placed on top of a perfect sunday.... There is always a little shit here and there. Nothing and no one is perfect, we can only be the best we can be. Can't we?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Just bury me with all my books, okay?

It's dead week.

I don't know how it works for other universities, but here at WWU the week before finals week is called "dead week." It's pretty intense. Hours are extended at some of the on-campus markets and drip coffee is discounted past 5 pm to fifty cents. It's called the "red-eye special" or something like that. I've been a semi-active participant in this quarter's dead week, but I did not participate in the red-eye special... I made coffee in my room. I don't remember which day it was (because time has kind of been blending together the past couple of weeks), but I remember saying to my hallmate Ashley, "I probably should have only had ONE cup of coffee at 7:30, right?"

Anxiety levels have been high and energy has been low. I had my geology lab final on Thursday, which was the cause of much freaking out (but I got a 95.76% on the final and a 95.5% in lab overall! Yay!) and an extra credit "poster" due on Friday for geology lecture (and just got credit for completing it... hah...). My dear booboo Ashley Hurlbut and I spent a decent amount of time studying for our psychology final and will continue to study more tomorrow. I have two finals on Monday, which I'm not too thrilled about. Economics is at 8:00 am, which our professor kindly reminded us will feel like 7:00 am because of Daylight Savings Time. Then the psychology final is at 3:30 pm, which I am really stressing out about because I don't tend to do well on those exams even though I feel confident about knowing the material. Also, I have an extra credit paper due for psychology on Monday, which I've been working on all day. It's about my professor's book... and is not the most exciting read in the world. I've been writing the essay as I read the book. I intend to have this finished by tonight so I can spend all day tomorrow studying for economics and psychology. Then I'll spend Monday night and most of Tuesday studying for my geology lecture lab final on Wednesday, which I'm also kind of freaking out about.

I know this is not fascinating, and some of you may have way more to do than I do. However, I'm a little bit of a mess when it comes to managing stress. I absorb in four hours what others can take in in about thirty minutes. Projects that take me ten hours can take others two hours. I freak myself out about things, which detracts from time I could be spending doing something productive. While I was quickly reviewing my notes for my geology lab final, my geology lecture professor stopped by a table where a few other students and I were sitting. He reassured us all that we'd "rock" our finals (Get it? Rock? It's Geology! Okay...) and asked about our extra credit posters for his class. Noticing the panic in my voice, he told me not to worry about it and that it will all work out.

Don't worry? Don't worry about it... Such a foreign concept that is. Though, fair enough, he was right. I shouldn't have worried about it, because he didn't even read any of the information on my poster or ask me any questions. I got the same score as I would have if I had listed the lyrics to the Friends theme song. Maybe I should actually try to not worry when people tell me to not worry.

Anyway, I've been pulling my hair out all week trying to motivate myself and give myself enough energy. Right now, however, I have WAY TOO MUCH energy. Right before dinner, I burst into laughter for basically no reason. Samber yelled across the hall, "Karissa! Kim's lost it!" or something like that, and Karissa asked me if I was already going crazy from finals. No, I'm not going crazy from finals. I'm going crazy from dead week in anticipation of finals.

It is dead week and I am dead. DEADDDDDD.

I also do not agree with anything in the book I have to write a paper on... but since my professor who will be grading the paper is the author of the book, I feel like I should probably agree with her... or write her a love letter, at least. I just need her to like me and boost my grade, right? Ha.

Since I've been so tired, though, I've done some semi-awkward things this week. (Kim, awkward? No way!) For one, I slipped on my friend Sam's roommate's backpack. I stumbled, spilled coffee on myself, and, like a true lady, cursed. That was rather embarrassing. I can't remember other specific incidences (either because I was too tired to store them in my memory or because I've tried to block them out) but I do recall feeling like I kept saying a lot of strange things inappropriate for the situation.

I hope I'm not the only person who gets like this during dead week.

Anyway. I need to finish reading my book and writing my paper, so I'm going to say farewell.

For those of you studying for finals or facing your own dead weeks right now, I wish you good luck and hope you can remain sane.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

48-hours of INCREDIBLE mess-ups, tests of friendship, and injury upon injury upon injury.

The past few weeks have been some of the shittiest weeks since I moved to California. People fighting with other people, missing my family, missing my friends, missing my boyfriend, and being busy ALL THE TIME! But.... Per usual... Life will go on.

Hoever (this is my new word. It's like "however" but more slutty.... Lets make this a thing guys), this weekend is very, very, VERY special.

Me and a group of friends have enlisted in the 48-hour-film festival where you write, cast, film, and edit an entire five-minute film in 48-hours. To those of you not in any film classes : five-minutes never feels like five-minutes.... To those of you who are in film classes: Yeah... I ALREADY want to sleep for the rest of my life.

So anyways. My day started off like this:

7:00 Woke up and set my clock back ten minutes.
7:10 Woke up and ventured onto the internet for a bit.
7:15 Finally got up and got in the shower.
8:17 Headed down to meet my group and leave for the school.
8:48 Arrived at school.
9:00 Presentation!

So at the presentation we were told that we would have to add this line of dialouge: "What do you want from me?!", this action: A slap, and this object: A lipstick tube. Fun stuff... Right? Then we got all of our equipment and stuffed it into Mary's car.

The definition of fun by the way, if you didn't know.

Then Ryan and Julie (the editors) and I all went up to an editing suite. They found creepy music for the shoot while I fixed up the script... This was all very convinient because the first line of dialouge was already "What do you want?!" So we just added... Well you know.
We made one of the murderers slap the other one in defense.
And then we pulled a lipstick tube out of the pocket of my "dead" neighbor Calvin, covered it in blood and handed it to Scarlett.

10:00 - Group goes to IHOP.

None of us had eaten. Hence why we went there. But we couldn't shoot at that time anyways, the script takes place at night so... Daylight was a no-no.

Anyways. I'm not going to talk about IHOP... I thought I should just give a breif synopsis of the film. So... Here it goes. It will be up on youtube after the film festival.

So. The film starts with Rita, a twenty-something pretty girl, is dragged into an alley way by a mysterious man. The man has a knife to her throat when another man appears. It is another murderer, Phil. These two murderers proceed to argue who's alley way it is and who gets to murder Rita.

It's a REALLY dark comedy... But.... It's also "cute" cause I write cute stuff. The idea was thought up when my friend Julie and I were talking about a competeing murderer and rapist fighting over a girl in an alley way. We changed the rapist to a murderer so we wouldn't offend anyone. But... Phil's a necrophiliac so....... Similar.

One of the characters is based completely off of one of our friends here. Sam. He's great. He's SOOOOO funny and he's from Vermont and he's just so sweet. His character walks in murders a guy then walks up to the original two murderers and Rita and talks to them all politly.
Sam's great.

But everything else in the script was baisically me, sitting in front of my computer, cracking myself up.

10:30 - went back to dorms and gathered all of the things that we needed (though we still forgot the flashlight).

11:30 - We left for the location (an alleyway).

12:00 - Arrived at the alley way.

We blocked and talked and dillydalied for about six hours until the sun went down/ our actors came. It was AWFUL.

2:35 - Scarlett (our lead actress) calls and tells me she'll have to be late.

3:40 - Actors arrive....

Yeah... That was fun. We got all the actors there super early to rehearse then Scarlett had to leave and couldn't return until six. So we worked with the guys. The two guys bickering read through lines and stuff. Sam and Calvin (my neighbor) got to practice their "fight" scene. Where Sam kills Calvin.

That lasted till....

5:40 - Everything is set up and now we wait for Scarlett.

There was this one adult from Singapore that WOULD NOT LEAVE US ALONE I almost tore his face off. I finally told him to leave. It took much argument but he left. I mean, the guy was like, I'm a director, I've done this before, I'm making a feature.... ARG SO ANNOYING!

6:00 - Filming starts.

The first section of filming went perfect. The only problem was a few lines and continuity stuff. After that, anything that went badly was a combination of competitiveness, annoyance, and exhaustion. Half of our camera work looks like a five year old did it and whenever I yelled at people they were all hurt about it. I'm small, I have to yell.

Shit... I'm so tired I can't even see straight.


11:18 - Filming ends.

We were all pretty much dead. I hadn't sat for six hours at tha point and I had needed to pee since seven but hadn't. We planned to leave at midnight but.... We left early.... It as nice :) So.... We left...

11:35 - We all head home.

No all that is left to do is editing and seeing if we need to go back and get another shot. Yeah... The other shot thing might happen.

12:00 - Home, tired.

1:00 ish - started writing this blog.

Now I'm trying to think of a way to phrase my happiness and excitement towards this project. There are so many great things about it. I mean... I wrote the script and directed it but....... Those aren't the ONLY reasons it's great. I'm really excited about the project because I'm 99% sure I am quitting the production company afterwards :D

What I have learned from this shoot is that you can't always get what you want... You have to deal... Cause if you don't.... Someone might poison your muffins. You never, ever know.

For me, this experience has broght me back to what I said waaaaay back in October..... THIS is where I want to be and WHAT I WANT to do.... I'm happy being on the verge of total exhaustion. It takes me away from all the pain I have been feeling for like ever and brings me into the creation of something new.

Anyways.... I can't see straight... So I guess I will talk to you all in a few week.

- Berlyn

P.S. I reference three murderers in the script. The green river killer was one of them and half of the people had no idea who he was lol. Yep. I am from Auburn, WA totally.