This weekend, Ameet and I had the pleasure of going to Cancun, Mexico for a wedding, where Ameet was the official DJ. He was so stressed about the gig, he spent hours and hours burning music and preparing. Ultimately, he ended up using only a fraction of what he burned, but it's good because he's more than prepared if he DJs another wedding. It was interesting because this wedding was at an "all inclusive" resort, where you pay a certain fee, then drinks and food are unlimited. It's the kind of over indulgence Americans love, and it's no surprise that the place was full of people from the good old US of A, particularly mid-Westerners. It's strange, because people come to these resorts, and they are basically in a Western enclave, never really venturing out to see the city where the locals live. Heck, they even have a Wal-Mart right nearby. One Wisconsonite told us a story about how he got "lost" and had to take one of the local buses. He said he realized just how lucky he was when he saw how "these people" live. The whole thing made me cynical. Yes, I realize I'm American, too, and that I was a part of the problem by being at this resort, but when you leave place like Santa Monica and San Francisco, you realize how many Americans haven't really traveled out of their comfort zone, where they have to cram on buses and walk (yes walk) to get groceries. To me, going to a resort in a foreign country and never venturing out basically defeats the whole purpose of traveling. But, I guess for most Americans, it's what's safe. And safety is good.


Back in the swing of things...

Finally, it feels like things are back to normal after the holidays. Teaching again, starting a new script and working with my producers to put our business plan together for Raspberry Magic.
A lot going on, but it's good to be busy. Recently, a couple of a people from some big production companies read my work and liked it. Though they didn't buy the scripts, they were very encouraging, and asked me to send more of my material over when I'm ready. This was very good news, because I feel that basically, screenwriting, assuming that you've got the skills, is a game of luck and numbers. In other words, somebody has to really support and champion your idea to push it through. So, keeping a wide array of contacts is a good idea. It's good to be writing again, as well. I realize that when I'm not in the midst of writing something, I am restless. I feel like something in my life is missing. So, I feel a little more settled now that it's winter time and I'm moving forward creatively.


Restless energy

Every now and then, I get seriously restless with life. It's an internal yearning to do something totally new, be some place totally new, take on a new project. I am feeling that way right now, and am basically pining to make another film. Yes, I am slowly chipping away at putting my feature together, but I also want to do something in between (or make the feature now!!). Yes, I have a new screenplay to start, another one that several managers are about to read, but I just want to make something else. When I was younger, it was this restless energy that often drove me into depressive states, where I would ask Ameet what he thought the point of life was. He would often get frustrated with this line of questioning because he obviously didn't have the answer, but now days, when I get into that mode, he tells me to get to work. I guess maybe what it is is that I've had a nice couple weeks to chill, so now it's high time to get into intensive work mode. The problem with writing scripts is that at the end of the day, a script is basically a film that never got made. Yes, I learn so much each time I write a script, and it's nice to have something more, but still... At least with a film, even if it's a short, it's something you've made and can show. So, I have a couple of potential short films in the works, maybe something else for Current TV. But for now, I need to quell this hankering with my writing, and oh yes, a very stiff vodka tonic...


Old Projects...

Several years ago, I wrote/directed a short film called My Narmada Travels, about indigenous people in India losing their land to a large dam. I was fresh out of graduate school when I got a grant from the Human Rights Center at UC-Berkeley to make this piece. Originally, I planned to do something small, like maybe a web-based piece, but when I told one of the producers at Frontline World, where I was working at the time, about it, she got excited, and told me to go for it, that it could potentially air on World. She even gave me a little more money for the film. This was a very tough piece to make. Looking back on it, I can't believe my husband and I packed it up and traveled to corners of the globe where people don't have power or running water. But we did it, then Frontline said they were interested, but never really bit. I ended up writing a story for The San Francisco Chronicle about the situation, and completing the film on my own. It screened in several festivals and even won a couple of awards, but I always felt bummed that it was never really broadcast anywhere, partly because it was so rough to make, and partly because I felt that the film covered an important topic. Recently, a good friend of mine, Robin, who did the music score, encouraged me to post it on the Current TV website for a contest... Though it didn't win the contest, the producers contacted me to air the piece on TV! I can't even explain how happy I was when I heard this. Looking back, that piece was tough not only because of where we had to travel to make it, but also because I did a lot of the work on my own. In other words, while writing and researching the story, I was also learning to use FCP, dealing with audio, graphics and more. On top of all that, I made all the travel arrangements to India, and set up all of the interviews. Now that I think about it, it's not surprising that around that time, I started having serious anxiety issues, and started having severe panic attacks twice a week--the first started while we were sleeping in mud huts in the village. Once we got home, I was super stressed, thousands of dollars in debt, then just plain depressed after my friend Robin blew up at me over a series of misunderstandings. Even now, prepping the film for broadcast brings up feelings of anxiety that I was having during that period. I've been so removed from the feeling, it's strange to feel everything all over again. It reminds me that for the next film I make, I really, really want to have lots of help!! In general, I am just happy that places like Current TV exist, and that they're showing the film.