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It’s been a very cold, hard winter for some of us.  Normally the ground in Iowa is frozen only 2 feet down.  But this year it is 4 feet down.   No matter we’ve continued hard at work on “Lost Angels” and Mark and I are very appreciative for all of the interest we’ve had since he lost all of his 3D models last year.  Right after I blogged about how am I going to work in 3D thanks to the Bell’s Palsy he fell ill to, we lost his hard drive full of all of our 3D models for our movie + the special effects he had done when he was on leave of absence (LOA).

But we are moving forward and working hard regaining ground with at the very least 3 key scenes using 3D models to a point, including, of course, the appropriate special effects.  Life seems to be full of these discouraging up’s and down’s.  The trick really seems to be in figuring out how to deal with the constant bombardment of “Life Happens” crap that gets thrown in our way.  It isn’t realistic to expect one to be upbeat and GHF (glass half full) all of the time.  I have gotten much better at this though in recent years I think because I look at the quality of life that I want.  I realize the youth view me as old and this reminds them of what they have to look forward to but don’t want to think about.  The older person(s) out there view my efforts as trying to re-live my youth, or as my brother-in-law Joseph Henry Lilly III put it, living a pipe dream.

Whatever, right?!  It’s my life and if I can make that honest effort towards honest, good goals who cares?  Why criticize me, after all I’m at least trying.  The goal is to complete the task, to fulfill the dreams Mark and I have.  If Joe wants to poo-poo my efforts, or anyone else for that matter again I say, whatever!!!  It’s springtime and the energy is very good.  It has been an honor to have our script at Clint’s company, and Bruce’s company.  The angels above watch over us all and being from California I know that that can’t be easy even if it’s how things are suppose to be.  Sometimes I wonder if they’re as overworked as we are given how many of us there are down here on Earth.

The 2015 Sundance Film Festival is gearing up for a new year, and we can join in or say all that negative stuff that bounces around in all of our heads.  That negative stuff is hard to knock out of us sometimes but focus is key.  Focusing on the goals at hand doesn’t leave time for all of that crap that depresses us, plunges us downward into a bitter spiral taking us to what is only a very bad place if we allow that journey to continue.  So I say to Joe and my sister Robin, whatever!  I am making my movie in honor of Steve.  I am making the music for my movie in honor of Steve.  I shall continue to plug away and find a way to get it all right.   I am a filmmaker, I am committed to my goals.

Spring comes each year and with it the hope for the adventure of one’s goals, the journey to make one’s life better even if it’s only just a little bit.  A little bit is better than none, so I move forward.  Mark and I move forward.  You want to make fun of us, fine.  The master artist’s of old used to say when they were older, like Michelangelo for example, when he was in his 70′s and 80′s that he felt he was just beginning to understand art.  Just at the beginning of learning and developing his art, what he had been doing all his life.  If it takes me my whole life to complete this one movie and I do it right, then it is time well spent.  Therefore a lifetime well spent.  Here’s to success, GHF everyone!

When you decide to do something, think on it, study it, look at it from all angles including the dreaded, “… what if I don’t make it!?  What if I fail!?”

We all make mistakes don’t we?  The key is to know your abilities, know where your learning curves are and how to get them where they need to be, should be, to be a success.  Every time I consider my weak spots I study even more, pick at the work I have already done trying to view it from someone else’s point-of-view.  For example how would Michael Mann do this, or Jon Turtletaub, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, the list is endless.

But really how do we pick ourselves up when we’ve fallen, and in some cases we fall hard.  The questions range from, “what did I do wrong, get wrong?” to maybe for some, what did I say?!?  Was I arrogant when in fact I was just feeling good about myself?  Or was I actually thinking I AM better than…  As a freelance journalist I sometimes wondered what it would be like to work for abc, nbc, cbs, but realized early on that the spin some news organizations put on news isn’t something I could do.

I am not Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters, Brian Williams, Peter Jennings, Huntley, or Brinkley, etc.  I love journalism and good solid news.  But I’m no where near the journalists that they are.  I know this and accept this.  But the handful of stories I’ve done can stand on their own merits.

These questions are all valid even if we don’t think of them, someone else will like a critic.  Or if we are lucky to have a good friend, our good friend will think of it, AND mention it to us.  I mean what we believe should be, isn’t usually that way.  How many of us have had food in our teeth and no one tells us, but how embarrassing that can be like if we’re going to a job interview.  Or have you ever gotten dressed (guys) and forgotten that you’ve gone to work and forgotten to zip your fly?

Details are key to success, but sometimes we can be too good.  Yes, I said too good.  Once I interpreted for a businessman from SD and we flew to China in  2004 to succeed where 3 previous interpreters had failed.  Meaning he wanted good deals, and good rapports with his suppliers.  On the flight back to the USA he told me I was crazy good.  This was before “crazy good” was popular in today’s language, (nowadays you hear it all over from the Today Show to American Idol’s Steven Tyler).

What is success versus what is failure?!  I feel now that I am slowly becoming a success at what I am doing.  But occasionally I am laughed at, read my blog comments and you’ll see for yourself.  (Oh well not everyone is going to agree with my perspectives).  But that being said we each have to define what success and what failure is, for ourselves.  AND then move towards tweaking those definitions because things change, we change, society and societies idea’s change.

Look at how prior to 9/11 most were not afraid.  Now most everyone is and they buy into idea’s like we need drones, or idea’s perpetrated by Georgetown Universities’ Louis Michael Seidman [http://lostangelsmovie.com/lanews/?p=117] in this world who claim that the Constitution is no longer valid and that we live in a different era.  Well it is true that this is a different time.  But freedom is freedom whether it’s the dark ages or the 21st century.

We all want what we want and the real trick is to do just that.  Like for example, how do I make a movie like the “Big Boyz” of Hollywood when they’ve made it impossible for me to get a foot in the door.  How do we protest the status quo’s of this world without shooting ourselves in the foot? Those that are in positions of power have usually been there a long time and plan on staying.  There are those that would see us as the competition rather than thinking outside the box about how there really is room for all of us.  Age, race, socio-economics, religion, etc.  shouldn’t be an issue IF you have what it takes.

Do I have what it takes?  I hope so.  But no matter what I’m pushing onward and forward.  I am growing into all of the “hats” that I wear slowly but surely.  But most of all I DO NOT want to become arrogant> self confident but humble and willing to learn, do better if need be.  That’s a good balance.  I just finished building my sixth computer, (all because of  hackers).  I began learning when I was still ill with cancer, but it was “intellectual” learning (reading/studying) at that time.  I didn’t actually begin DOING the work myself until 2008 when I lost my first computer to hackers.  So Mike Plante was right.  When you have experience you know things.  Can’t know everything, but you know things. Still it’s important to continue to be open to learning otherwise you become obsolete, irrelevant, and potentially laughed at.

So for all of those who laugh at me, my goals, my works, it’s fine.  Have a good laugh, it’s on me.  I haven’t failed but rather grown, learning still, working and learning hard to grow some more and get it right!  I will get it right and that is my decision, my definition, to get it right and who cares?  I care.  After all I’m doing this for me in honor of Steve and all he has done for me, for us.  I have a message to tell, stories for the ages.  Who cares?  I do.  I decide. I define me.  I am not going to let the age-ists, race-ists, socio-economic-ists, religion-ists, etc. get me down and out-of-sorts.  My life is mine, I own me, I own it.  I deserve to have a good life and that is what I am working so hard for.  The journey along the way is but a plus.

I thank all of those who believe in me and my work.  Thanks so much for all of your positive vibes.  KEEP THEM COMING!

Happy New Year!
Best,

Renn

I find it very interesting, sometimes even amusing, when people claim they have never participated in the questionable be it theft, lying, bullying, over-charging, pornography, etc.  [There are just too many questionable things out there to name them all, right?]

For example I have family who like to tell people how awful I am, and then proceed to spell out to whomever they are chatting with, what in their minds that is.  Some of them grew up using drugs sometimes upwards of 3 or 4 times per week when they were in school.   My sister liked to call me a “prude” because I chose to follow a different drum.   Now her choices were hers.  No one “put a gun to their heads” so to speak forcing these choices.  Robin was my sister, still is, but… I never judged her, never said bad things about her, yet because I made different choices she would claim I was judging her, simply because my choices were different.  I didn’t then, don’t now, nor have I ever believed I was better than her.  So I find it very interesting that she has sat in judgement of me.  When I used to call her and friends would occasionally answer the telephone from time to time.   Logically they would ask who is calling and when I told them I was her sister they would respond with, oh…  you, in a rude manner.

I chose to basically abstain from intimacy as I didn’t want to get pregnant, or have a bad reputation.  Or in another situation I really felt that it wasn’t my place to interfere with someone’s relationship.  I wasn’t being “holier than thou” or “superior” or a “prude”.  It just was the right thing to do in my mind, like not using someone just because they might be rich, or famous, or well connected.  I didn’t use drugs because I didn’t see a need for them.  These were my choices.  It had nothing to do with thinking I was better.  Even now my last efforts to build a working rapport with my sister (which ended about 2 years ago) didn’t go well.  So I have given up on the whole concept that with time comes wisdom.  I only ask myself why she hates me so much?  Why it is that she doesn’t understand that I am merely trying to understand 60 years of her flagrant hatred towards me on so many levels.  She likes to claim that “I dwell on the past”, or “don’t let go of stuff”.  So please explain to me like I’m a 2 year old why you are so proud of your daughter-in-law who speaks Chinese and travels for her company back and forth to China.  Why not me when I have been an interpreter helping to negotiate business deals for over 30 years, and sometimes with world leaders not just corporate.

Well I suppose it is fair to say that one could view my thoughts with this type of perspective.  But really that’s not it.  So let’s say you’re out and about maybe at the mall doing some Christmas shopping.  And over hear someone chatting with someone else and they sound rather superior, maybe even sound bitchy too.  Are they a bitch?  Do you really have the background on this person to make that decision?  Now I will admit that I have definitely sounded bitchy at times, maybe even looked bitchy at times, eek!  I remember when I had cancer (circa 1987-1999) there were a lot of times that I sounded and probably looked like a bitch because of how sick I was.  Sad but true.  But I can tell you truthfully that whenever I realized that I was being “bitchy” I felt awful, even if I still felt bitchy, and I would say to the one(s) that I had been bitchy to, ” You probably won’t believe me ‘cuz of how I just spoke to you, but I am really sorry about treating/speaking to you that way.  I don’t expect you to forgive me, but I hope so”.

I am a lot like my writings, I am who I am.  People can say what they want about me and sometimes when it hurts badly enough, I cry.  I still cry about how my family hates me whether it’s Robin, her husband Joe, my two daughters LauRenn and Jade, or my cousins.  They will say no, they don’t it is the politically correct thing to do after all.  But when Jade was in a car accident a couple of years ago and I sensed something was wrong and called.  I was directed to the hospital where she was being checked out and the nurses put Robin on the telephone.  Robin didn’t call me, and what’s more she asked why I was calling.  I told her I love Jade and asked why she didn’t tell me about the accident… Unfortunately all of my efforts to get to the nuts and bolts of their feelings towards me have resulted in zero, diddly squat, nada, zip, etc.  Cousin Tim hung up on me and told me to never call again.  Pat, his brother, told me to hang up so that he wouldn’t have to hang up on me.  Denny who’s now dead and gone would speak to me, but not believe anything I said and then talk and laugh behind my back.  I know this because he told me this several months before I learned he died.

The interesting thing I learned from my conversations with Denny is this.  After my maternal grandmother passed in 1982 (whose Will I was in and the main beneficiary of, as she and grandpa George had told me when I was 14 visiting in Oregon one year).  Interestingly I was never called, or informed by any means about the reading of the Will.  My sister, cousins, aunts and uncles all went.  Funny too because I was living in Los Angeles, California at that time and my sister, my dad, and others new this, and had my phone number.  But yet never once did anyone call me, especially the lawyer.  Why is that, why didn’t the lawyer telephone?  Well now given that my aunt Carol had been the executrix of my grandmother’s Will you would have thought that she would’ve contacted me, right?  But no.   And since I was the one who asked my grandparents to please give an inheritance to all of the other family members when I learned I was the main beneficiary, clearly it has never been about the money for me.

Denny proceeded to tell me in 2008 how I never showed up at anyone’s funeral.  Not his mom’s, not his dad’s, not aunt Carol’s or uncle Gordon’s (her husband), and asked me why I didn’t even show up at my own father’s funeral in 1986?   I told him I didn’t know he had even passed, no one called me and told me.  Denny further proceeded to call me a liar and told me that he had been informed thus but apparently you simply chose not to go.  Nothing I have said has ever made any difference to anyone in my family.  Robin has had my telephone number always so if there’s an emergency she could call me.  She doesn’t call.  However when Denny died a year ago she did send an email.  Maybe that’s progress, time will tell.

So why bring this up now well it’s the holidays and no one calls me, no family member sends a greeting card (although it would probably be disingenuous anyway).   So I asked my sister during my last attempt to make a good rapport with her why she never contacted me about any of these family members’ deaths and funerals and her only response to me was, ” …well dad was cremated and we went out on a boat in the San Francisco Bay …then she paused and said… why should I be the one to call you?  Why couldn’t Denny, Tim, or Pat”?  I replied with, ” …so you went to dad’s funeral/cremation… AND oh, uh they didn’t have my telephone number”!

Look I believed my sister would do the right thing when it came to important things to me.  Obviously I was wrong.  I was wrong to believe in my family.  I was wrong to believe that with age comes a certain wisdom, maybe even forgiveness.  But I can say this that in as much as I have been terribly hurt by various family members, friends like Sana and Bakel (Ann), and my daughters LauRenn and Jade, that I am finally, actually getting past it all.

I became cancer free, I taught myself to walk again so I could take the bus to physical therapy in downtown LA, I got past all of the depression, and I am creating tools to deal with my PTSD.  So I believe strongly that I can get past all of the bullsh– dished out by my relatives.  I no longer believe in them but a part of me will always love them.  I’m trying to manage that now, get over it I mean.  It’s slow going as you see, but I am making head way a little at a time.  I no longer feel “ugly, fat, or stupid” like they all told me growing up.  Just one of the 2 mantra’s my sister and my parents drilled into me.  The other being, do it right the first time or don’t do it at all.  Do you know a kid that can walk right the first time up and not fall down, I don’t?  My parents were seriously disturbed people but they had tons of friends.  Guess they were doing something right, BS’ing maybe???

People like my cousin Tim who walk around calling people Toxic and say they won’t be around them because of how negative they are should get a reality check and see just how much they are contributing to the “Toxins” out there.  I agree that we need to surround ourselves with positive, good people.  But we also need to give back, pay it forward, this type of thing is very important otherwise where is the compassion, the “turn the other cheek”, the giving that God talks to us about.  There’s a huge difference between being a friend, or giving back, and getting mired in it all and stuck up on yourself.

I believed that this fellow who proposed to me although married, really loved me.  Maybe he did.  I’m wrong about a lot of things but it’s not easy for me to sit in judgement of others when I don’t know their situation.   My life is beginning to come together even though it may be slow.  But like the turtle, I plan on winning.  I still love “him”, always will love him and miss him so.  He told me not to go, I said I had too.  I was wrong.   Do I need to be judged by anyone, no.  People will say and do what they want.  I prefer to venture to suggest that just maybe his hands are tied, sometimes lies are easier to swallow because you don’t know for sure if you are lying to yourself?  You know it’s all hard to say, none of us has all of the pieces.

We screw up and we get up again.  We screw up and hopefully get up again.  Then there are those of us who fall down and don’t just hit the ground we slam into it head first ploughing through all of the gluck.  Who catches us?  Who helps us find our balls to slither out of all of the holes we’ve dug ourselves into?  Life is like war that way isn’t it?  Isn’t that why so many drink, or take drugs?  Isn’t that why there are those who can’t take the pain anymore and eliminate themselves from the face of this beautiful planet like Phoebe Prince and so many others who are in terrible pain?  And I don’t mean emotional pain only, but so many beautiful people killing themselves because they’re in such great pain.

My sweetie Mark has taught me how to deal with pain and I tell you there are no blueprints only determination, commitment, love, and moving forward trying to get past it all.  He and Steve are my hero’s and I will forever revere them for their determination, commitment, compassion, and love they’ve given to me to help me through so many painful experiences be it family, cancer, car accident…  It wasn’t until Wyoming 2009 that I began to feel some real hope and I have been blossoming again since. Re-learning what life is about, and what it’s for, and why it is important to feel hope, faith, and most of all love.  Sundance gave me hope, doesn’t matter that I didn’t make their program line-up.  Their email gave me faith, that I can make my movie and get it all right even if it’s slow going.  To give hope>which leads to faith>is love after all.  Doesn’t matter that it’s a stretch, there is hope now.  We all need hope>faith>and to love one another as I have loved you.  Do we remember the golden rule?  Do we practice it in our daily lives?

Media, press, all of you who pay attention to the Sundance Film Festival let’s move forward, let’s move on.  It’s Christmas time, it’s Ramadan, it’s soon going to be 2014, a new year.  You don’t have to stay mired in someone’s silly perception of nudity and art on film.  My relatives will always be related to me because we share the same blood after-all like it or not even if we don’t speak to one another.  You the media, the press, fans of Sundance, and others just move on and do what I am trying to learn to do, move on.  Forget the BS, forget the cute words and names people have gloated in using about SFF 2013.  Maybe 2014 SFF will be a hit, maybe not, maybe mediocre, who knows but they’re moving onward so shouldn’t we?  Do you really want to be a sheep rather than the leader?

After 30 years of giving us wonderful talents, great films, and opportunities we all have benefited in some form from Sundance like the channel, or the multitudes of film festivals that have sprung up over the years.  Mr. Redford doesn’t deserve to be kicked while trying to pick himself up from being shot down last year.  2014 is a new year let’s all make it the best year possible and just move on, all of us.  Maybe somewhere in the mix one of us will get it right.

We all live on this planet together and each of us will die here.  What do you want people to remember about you?  What is your legacy?  Mine is to survive well and keep the promises I have made to myself.  I will make this movie as well as I possibly can and honor our dear friend Steven J. Campbell.  I will love those truly that truly love me.  And maybe, just maybe… I will get lucky and hear from “him”, that one who said he loved me so, do you think you could ever love me the way that I love you?

I can’t predict the future but I can tell you this much, next year will bring me all the closer to getting over all of them.  All the “Haters”, all of the naysayer’s, all of the “toxic” people that I have wanted to build a good rapport with and find themselves unable to get past themselves to meet me half way.  You can’t make anyone care about you.  You can’t make people like you, love you, help you, or naturally we would all be in a much better place than this world is in now.  I can only make a difference in me.  And should something I do, hopefully something of a positive nature, affect or effect someone else in a positive way, more the power to us all I say.  This Earth needs goodness and mercy and love so very much.

Here’s to all of us trying to do just that.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!

Best,
Renn

Working out one’s personal baggage isn’t easy.  It’s hard, hard work.  I don’t think I have ever been one to take much of anything, or anyone for granted throughout my life on this Earth except maybe the love of my two daughters: LauRenn and Jade; and the couple of ladies I had deemed once to be my dearest friends: Sana Christian, Ann [Bakel] Wirsing, and Julia Pace.  I thought we were all very close and that I could count on them for almost anything.  As the years have passed I learned the hard way, I have been very, very wrong about all of them.

Some people say that taking someone for granted is as simple as expecting… expecting for example those things from them that they typically do in whatever your relationship with them is.  I don’t agree.  What people do typically in a relationship I define as trust, dependability, consistency, etc.  Sana for example told me two years ago that I was her best friend in the world.  I was rather chagrined at this remark as I had not had the opportunity to speak with her in several decades so I didn’t believe that this could be possible at all.  However I gave her the benefit of the doubt as we renewed an old friendship. Sometimes we chatted into the wee hours of the night getting caught up on all of the time we’d missed out on regarding each others lives.

I’ve always trusted her.  She told me she really missed me so I continued, although maybe naively , to trust her.  When I told her I was going to the Sundance Film Festival 2011 I asked her if she still knew anyone in Utah.  She said yes, and would find one of her friends there for me to stay with so I wouldn’t have to pay the outrageous lodging prices in the Park City, Utah area.  When late November/early December 2010 rolled around I called Sana to ask if she had had the time to find a friend I could “bunk” with for 2 nights and 3 days?  She didn’t answer any of my calls, or reply to any of my voice mails, even though she told me this was her “slow” time of the year.  Plans change.  It just would have been nice (considerate) if she simply would have told me.

By May 2011 I was finally able to get a hold of Sana and I asked her why she didn’t keep her word?  Why make this offer to help someone out, and then not even return my call to say something had come up and she couldn’t follow through?  Sana made a comment that to this day I don’t understand as it seemed out of context with the question.  She said she was jealous of the relationship that I have with my husband Mark.  I asked her why?  She had a wonderful family, very close friends who help her out when she needs help.  Why on Earth would my relationship with Mark be something to be jealous of?  She said she had been married twice and it didn’t work out (I only knew of her first marriage and husband).  I told her how sorry I was about it.  But added that you have a great family, brother and sisters, parents, cousins, etc. and great friends.  So I have something you want, and you have relationships I thought I had but don’t.  It’s all good.  She became quite upset, I then cried and tried to figure it all out with her while on the phone.  Bad idea.   We parted and haven’t spoken since.

I’ve thought about Sana a lot.  The word and relationship of “Friend” means a lot to me, and I cherish those that I deem friends.  Nothing is ever as simple as one explains when there is a falling out.  Her parents were like actual parents to me, and I felt most honored for their friendship as well.  All five of these women are treasures to me yet people who absolutely baffle me.  LauRenn, Jade, Sana, Bakel, Julia, I have chosen to distance myself from after repeated efforts to find a workable rapport with them.  My hope with Sana was to give back, or “Pay it forward”, whichever you choose to call it.  But to collaborate on my music with her, to include her in my movie with the hope of helping her career after all of the wonderful things she and her family have done for me.

I think all 5 are wonderful people who, for whatever reason, have very misconstrued idea’s about all that has transpired in my life.  So I think about some of the others in my life that I have been very close to and ask myself logical and basic questions like: if I were to run into them how would it go?  What beyond the usual pleasantries that are expected in getting updated, or reacquainted, would one dare to say?

I believe I am a genuinely grateful person.  When I think of the 12 years that I had cancer, the car accident of 1987 that caused me to not be able to walk for 6 months but God willing I was able to teach myself to walk again so I could get to physical therapy… and my abusive ex-husband, yeah, I’ve been blessed.  My two wonderful daughters that I once knew once upon a time, a long, long, time ago and still love very much too.  Who carried that Christmas tree home dragging in the street like the Charlie Brown cartoon at Christmas time.  So I have my moments when I feel discouraged like everyone else.  So what, I still make an honest and concerted effort to remember and focus on those positive times and experiences even if I have been baffled by people.

Moments like how my life would have been so very different had I simply accepted a wonderful man’s proposal of marriage when I was very young, about 20 something.  But he was married and I didn’t want to be “…that “other” woman…” imposing on his families lives.  So I do wonder if he remembers me at all, at least sometimes.   Each one of us has a story to tell.  Movies are stories… some are true, and some are not.  I believe that the people at Sundance try to do their best to make the right choices for their program line-ups. I believe they try to choose those they feel deserve the opportunities given all of the types of submissions they receive.  I believe that there are those that try to do right by the filmmakers with what they have to offer.  Maybe I am being too naive, again.

Stories are very personal either way and I believe with all of my heart that SFF and Mr. Redford given the circumstances of last years’ 2013  festival tried to choose well and deal with the submissions they had.  Okay there were those who scoffed and nicknamed Sundance, Porndance, but why?  Is an art film porn?  Tell me when you’ve seen a movie, just a regular movie and you watch the love scenes, or the romantic scenes like in the movie “It’s complicated” with Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin, is that porn?  Where and when does an artful film become porn?  Who makes these decisions, and who, more importantly, gave them that power to decide what is artful and what is porn?  The moral majority, churches, government?  Do we really want them meddling in our personal decision0-making?

Our Constitution is suppose to have certain rights which our Declaration of Independence refers to as inalienable rights.  Have you watched the movie “The American President”?  Being an American is not an easy choice you will have decisions to make, choices, sometimes daily decisions.  If you don’t like that “artful” movie don’t watch it.  Remember the saying “One man’s trash, is another man’s treasure”?  We all make mistakes, not one of us hasn’t made a big mistake in their life be it personal or professional, right Mr. Redford?

So big boyz of Hollywood, all of you entertainment journalists and your networks, media folks> be it internet or otherwise, Joe Public, etc. try to remember what Sundance has done these past 30 years.  Try to remember the many talents, the many wonderful stories>movies, and cut people a little slack.  Try to remember and focus on the good or the glass half full.  Only one year out of 30 years of Sundance talents and films became questionable, hm… that’s pretty darn good odds I would say.  Let’s not make this personal and be the professionals we claim to be.  By the way tell me, who hasn’t watched an artful film in their lives, or porn for that matter?  Answer me that.  I have known a lot of “Christians” and even “Muslims” and “Buddhists” that have watched, and liked porn.

They say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions then that might just explain why I’m still alive, neither Heaven or Hell wanted me, so they threw me back to get it right.   Come on everyone it’s the holiday season for some Christmas, others Hanukkah, or Ramadan, etc. and the Sundance program line-up for 2014 is about to be announced.  Let’s look to the future of filmmaking, not it’s past.  Look at the talents and consider the possibilities.  All film festivals have their place which is great for us all, and Sundance helped to pave the way.  Who knows maybe the 2014 SFF will bring us some surprising stories, or talents.  But give all of the negative a rest and let’s get back on track with a positive perspective.  Hugh Grant got a second chance after getting caught with Ms. Brown afterall.

All of the good memories of my daughters will always be tucked snugly in my heart where they will remain blanketed with my love.  My three once “best” friends likewise will always have a warm home in my thoughts and prayers.  And the one very special man that got away, well, I don’t know if he will ever know how much I have always cared for him but I pray for the angels to watch over him… always!

Happy Holidays Everyone! Have a very Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year to you all!

Renn

 

Have you ever gotten upset because someone tells you “No”, or “Wait”?  I used to when I was much younger as it seemed to me that it was all about control.  I don’t think any of us wants anyone to have control over us.  Bruce Lee has always been one of my hero’s because he had such tremendous self-discipline,  patience, and a great sense of humor.  Qualities most today could care less about developing yet quite often qualities we all need on a regular basis.  I enjoy laughing.  Not stupid, giddy, air-head like laughter but just fun, enjoying life laughter.

At first I laughed when it was suggested to me to wait on submitting to the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.  It took me only about 30 seconds to realize yeah, this person is doing me a favor.  Our need to rush into things, where does that come from?  Where does this need to hurry, hurry, hurry or we’ll miss out, come from?!?  I’m not missing out on anything.  I am living my life, my way, and hopefully soon my movie will finally be edited.

Mark and I were making great progress on all of the CG and special effects when he suddenly got hit by Bell’s Palsy.  He woke up one Tuesday morning about a month ago and we thought he’d had a stroke.  This was about one week after it was suggested that I wait for the 2015 SFF.  Call it what you will, Bell’s Palsy is very similar in its own way to a stroke.  The eyesight seems to be the hardest aspect to regain.  So whereas we were both moving forward fairly quickly on “Lost Angels” both in CG and shooting key scenes for it, and I was looking at submitting to the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

Now I thank Mike.  Of course Mike had no way of knowing what would happen, just as we didn’t.  But he gave me pause to stop and think.  I thank him for his experience and understanding.  No one could have foreseen yet another boulder trying to trip up the progress of our movie.  Life happens right?!  But Mike helped me realize that passion, eagerness, although good qualities… can likewise trip us up in our efforts to move forward to achieve our objectives.  Not everyone who “plants” an idea is doing so with knowledge or understanding.  I know that Mark and I had absolutely no clues that he was going to develop Bell’s Palsy.

But the suggestion to wait one more year. I began running over in my mind all of the details that just maybe we could complete, and add to tell our story, our movie, a bit better.  Not clutter it up with too much detail but simply flesh it out a bit better.  Then Mark suggested that I take over the CG and special effects.  Man oh man, like I’m him.  Like I’m the one that can do anything… everything? LOL!!!  He tells me that he doesn’t know when his vision will be clear and stable enough.  Okay I understand that, your vision is blurry and your eyes water all the time.  But do the CG and special effects?  Okay I did some on the “disjointed” 10 minute short like the laser.  I can do a fair job of eye-balling something to get a straight line.  I can also texture/surface.  But building the 3D models/animation, and all that, well that’s something entirely left-brained.  That’s a whole different world of art.

It is what one does with the suggestions, how one deals with them, that is what matters most.  Since Mark developed Bell’s Palsy he doesn’t know when his depth perception will allow him to work on our movie again.  So we’ve discussed it and I’ve been the one elected to be his eye’s and hands working the CG and special effects until his vision stabilizes.  Sometimes I cry just because I don’t know how many more hats I can possibly wear.  It all is so very overwhelming at times.  I’ve spent years trying to learn 3D and CG.  My skills are limited.  I want to do justice on our project, “Lost Angels”.

Mark wants me to take over the CG and special effects ‘cuz he doesn’t know when he’ll be able to get back to it.  He tells me he needs me now to do this.  I tell you this is not an easy decision.  I will try to do my best on all of it.  Just please don’t laugh at me.  I have never pretended to be able to do all of this stuff.  I approached people who could do these things but they didn’t want to.  So it was up to us to learn how and move forward.  Now there’s this.  I can’t exactly tell Mark “No”.  He tells me I can do this and do it well.  Like I’m some kind of genius or something, ha-ha LOL!  I just laugh and say “Yeah, and I’m a penguin”.

GOD how I need you!  I need you so I can honor Steve.  I need to be able to have the skills to make his dream come true.  I want to give back to Mark and Steve as my way for thanking them for everything they have done for me.  Why  can’t we ever get a decent break.  Why?!?  But we’re moving forward, slower, yet forward.  Help me to not screw up Mark’s CG!  Oh God, why am I so very right brained?!  I absolutely refuse to give up.  Not going to give up.  Must move forward like the Tortoise and the Hare (obviously I am the Tortoise).  I may not have Bruce Lee’s discipline or patience.  But I do share his determination to learn and get better.  Thank you God for my determination, dedication, and most of all…  I am grateful to you for Mark and Steve.  Always.

Here’s looking towards SFF 2015!!!

Best,
Renn

I’m shooting my “Poker Scene” and having loads of fun!  So here we are moving along on our film and I get this email from a Samuel Weizman.  So I cautiously reply with, “…are you the Samuel Weizman that co-produced the Speilberg movie DAD”?

Of course I knew I wouldn’t get a reply because that Samuel spells his name Samuel Weisman, no Z.  So then I receive a telephone call.  I wasn’t home at the time but again, of course, no voice mail was left.  Then when I don’t call him back (he’s supposedly in Italy) I begin receiving emails from a “Jessica King” who claims to be representing “Angel Funding”.  I have now received at least 3 emails from “her”.  When “she” doesn’t answer my questions I, of course, no longer effort communicating with “her”.  Suddenly this past week I end up with 3 trojans attached to my computer in different locations all of which are about bad stuff including “killing my CPU”.

Look I want more than anything to make this movie especially in a timely manner.  Although I may not be the brightest star in the sky I am not stupid.  So here I am in a catch 22 type situation where to some I appear stupid for not replying “properly” to these people.  However after losing 3 computers to hackers, tell me why I should?  I was at the very least respectful in the couple of emails I sent them, and my questions definitely logical.  But if after all of this time all those who contact me about my project “Lost Angels” can’t be more respectful of me, giving me at least the basic information I need to KNOW that they are legitimate in their intentions and trying to be fair and honest with me.

Tell me then why, even though I’m a nobody, why should I pursue acts of stupidly pursuing “contacts” who claim they want to finance my movie when my gut tells me that these people are most likely shysters?  What ever their intentions are they clearly are not interested in respecting me and my partner.  They clearly don’t view us as intelligent thinking people.

When I wrote my blog/article on Louis Michael Seidman I didn’t make any pretense of knowing much less understanding everything he clearly knows and understands.  I simply responded to his statements intelligently as my thoughts and perspectives state in this blog/article.  So I continue to walk that very fine line between trying to get a break and actually getting a break.  Will it ever happen… who knows.  But I do know that Frank Sinatra said it very well, “…I do it my way”.

My way is:  No shysters; No users; No manipulators; No deceit or dishonesty; etc.  I haven’t worked this hard, learned these many things, tried to make myself known to the industry powers that be, only to lose it all to shysters, deceivers, liars, and thieves in wolves clothing.  I don’t like being poor but I’ve seen first hand that money isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  It buys things and people. It helped my sister to get her masters degree.  I lost 2 daughters to people with money, position, and all the right connections.

Jack Benny had fame and fortune but when I was a little girl and stuck my hand in those pies cooling in his kitchen windows to taste them.  His fame backfired on him causing him some definite embarrassment.  Point is I want a stable financial life but I’m not going to sell my soul to get it.  I’ve been to Hell (and not by my choice).  I barely got out of these Hell by the “…hairs on my chinny chin chin” so I’m not going to make that choice now.  I’m not better than anyone else, nor worse, just different.  I have no need to judge, not my job, that belongs to someone else, thank God.

Fame, fortune, position, money, all of it is good, can be good.  But when it’s bad, it can get very ugly, very fast, and backfire.  I don’t need bad already had way too much, way more than my share.  So I’m gonna continue working on making this the best possible film that I can make and hope you all and your friends and families will want to watch it when I’m done.  And if it’s the only good thing that comes of my life well then at least I will have had at least one good thing, right!

Make it a good day!

Best Renn

 

Perception, what is it?  I can probably define what it isn’t better than what it is.  It isn’t objective.  Often times it isn’t friendly or positive.  Perception is a combination of different influences that have affected an individual, like for example: your parents’ idea’s, are any of them yours too?  How about your church, friends, teachers, etc.  get the idea?  Of course you do, you are smart.  We all have perceptions.  The problem really becomes just how much of a perception that you voice, or better yet, keep to yourself because it would be politically incorrect to voice it, is truly all your own where no one has influenced, or imposed their own idea’s onto you.

I always find it interesting to learn what someone thinks of me, of what I do.  I learned a long time ago not to take people’s perceptions of my work personal.  Too bad I haven’t yet learned how to do that on a personal basis, but it is a work in progress.  Their perceptions of me tend to be so different from my own.  I believe going to a high school or college reunion is nearly always a lesson in futility.  There are always those who try to impress and those that don’t.  There are always the social butterflies and the wallflowers.  The arrogant or those that feel they are superior and those who feel inferior no matter how truthfully you compliment them on whatever it is that you feel is worth complimenting them on.

I’m curious why it is when we see someone less “fit” than the expected standards (and there are many of those standards around) to we chuckle even to ourselves.  The person who is wearing “cool” clothes for example, but clearly does not have that “cool” look about them be they a male or female.  How about the “challenged” individual, do we scoff at them sitting in their wheel chair drooling, or walking funny?  Or do we help them out instead if we see they need help?

I recently spoke with some old friends from college, Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah (and not the previous two ladies I have blogged about that I thought were once my friends).  There was the polite chit chat, the politically correct smiles.  But genuine, I have to say no.  Any friendship there was, is now clearly gone and I would say forever.  What there was in friendship must have served a purpose once, for them.  As for me I don’t need purposes or reasons to be a friend.  I either am your friend or… not.  Nothing in between, no games, no pretenses.  I simply like you or don’t need to waste each others time.  People can be scarier than most any animal.  Animals live by instincts as we all know.  Instincts to protect their loved ones, eat, survive, multiply, etc.

Whereas as people have instincts, they obviously have needs.  But people also concoct situations that range from the ridiculous to other extremes.  What is gossip about anyway?  Why is there even a need to feel superior?  My daughters feel they are superior, to what I am not sure other than I know they feel superior to me.  My youngest is of the belief that she is Asian.  Well she is half Asian, half Caucasian.  Isn’t that interesting?  Cauc>Asian.  Wow!  Has anyone ever realized that the word Caucasian includes the word Asian?  This makes it all the more ironic for my youngest huh?  She doesn’t even need to put down on her paperwork that she is Asian as it is summarized in the word CaucAsian.

To deny her western self’s existence possibly thinking how “Buddhist-like” it is to focus on her eastern self.  If Jade had the timely opportunity to meet Siddhartha she would have learned that denial does not lead one to the truth.  One must accept all as it is, like it or not, in order to find truth.  I accept that my two daughters just like my sister, brother-in-law, and a couple of formerly close people I once called friends, do not like me or care about me.  Nor do they find a positive in having any form of rapport with me.  I accept this truth.  But it does hurt.  Truth hurts.  Most people do not really want to know the truth.

I think if Alanis Morrisette’s song, “If God were One of Us” were true where God is living with us here on this planet.  I think most of us would not know it, many of us would not believe it if they were told, and definitely there would be those who would not care.  Some people might even be angry about it, if it were true.  I think that God would want to see which of us really is truly trying to be as they say, “good”.  Again, perception can be everything and nothing at the same time.  It really depends on who is doing the perceiving, and what the perception is about.  Truth seems to bend with each individual as each person seems to have their own idea’s on everything.  What right is, wrong is, good or bad is, beautiful, ugly, smart, dumb, the list is endless.

But perception is very important.  Not the bullshit we dish out, but when the perceiver’s cut through the bullshit, that which is left is —- what?  Truth?  I don’t know.  Existentialist authors Buber and Roussou had a lot to say about these types of things. As a journalist I used to think people wanted to know the truth about “things”.  I’ve learned that is bullshit.  It’s the truth about things that causes cynicism, depression, etc.  No people do not want to know the truth about things.

Sundance is like this.  They are thought-provokingly truthful.  You either learn that you want to make your film(s) or not when you receive that rejection notice.  You know when you enter, or rather submit your piece(s) that you stand a chance of zero to …. of getting into their program lineup.   That’s okay because life is in general is a crap-shoot.  I choose to gamble safely taking risks that I know will not kill what little ego I have left after my two once precious daughters abandoned our once wonderful relationships for greener pastures with relatives that can bail them out of troubles of their own making.  I will always love my two daughters, always.  But trust them, never again.  Can’t.  All relationships have two things in common:  respect, trust.  This is where it all
starts whether it be business, political, religious, friends, or intimate friendships.  All relationships start or end, here.

Since we know nothing is perfect, we know therefore that Sundance is not perfect.  It is a corporation after all even if a non-profit corporation.  But if you want to know if you have that spark of potential in filmmaking, Sundance is a good place to start, always.  Other film festivals are very good places to submit to.  Options are good, always, even if scary.  As for me, my heart belongs to Sundance.

Recently it was suggested to me that I do this very thing and submit to another film festival.  Traitors are among us, LOL!  I have actually mulled over this for a time now.  But which one(s)???  I don’t know there are so many good ones: the LA Film Festival, the Tribeca Film Festival, the Santa Barbara Film Festival, etc.  Ah, so many choices.

It goes without saying that when my movie “Lost Angels” is finally done I will again submit to them.  I hope but cannot expect.  It is not my place to expect.  Don’t want to set myself up for disappointment.  Friends that are true friends are like a butterfly.  If you chase after the butterfly it flits away.  But if you sit quietly in the field it may just come round and sit gracefully upon your shoulder, right Mr. Redford?

So I am shooting hard>editing>compositing>CGing>etc. and going to get this right while sitting in my little field of life, quietly waiting for my butterfly to come round.  Truth or dare, I still believe in the truth in us all.

Tell me, would you roll over and die (figuratively speaking of course) just because people don’t want to hire you because you’re in your 40′s, 50′s, or soon to be 60′s?  Not me.  I have my disappointments to be sure and if I weren’t a survivor I would probably give up.  I think though that my biggest motive for pushing ever onward is my natural passion for the arts which I learned at an early age I have a little talent for.  So maybe one day I will be able to say I do something well, maybe…  To be sure Professor Gunn and people like our sponsors give me strength to push forward.  After all what do I have to lose, my life?  Been there, done that, almost.  Next?!?

I am shooting one of my last key scenes, not my final scene, but last key scene for “Lost Angels”.  There are those who tell me to stop, to give up.  There are those who contact me in a very circuitous manner and tell me how “stupid” it is for me to continue making a movie at my age.  Whatever.  It’s my life not yours, my time not yours.  Get over it since you could care less about someone in their 50′s.  I get so tired of the negative stuff continually thrown our direction most of all from my family who has absolutely nothing nice to say about me, about Mark.

My most recent efforts interestingly enough to find a way in which my sister and I could have some kind of “neutral” workable rapport was from about August 2009 through to February 2012.  I thought that if she were older she would “get over” her sibling stuff, whatever that is, that has made her so bitter towards me throughout my life.  Didn’t happen then and from what I understand from listening to her, will never happen.  What really surprised me was my brother-in-law who said he has been the “driving force” behind it all, whatever that means.  I have always loved my family even through the bad times because we all have had bad times at one point in time or another with members of our families, right?  So logically it didn’t cross my mind that I was being naive why would it.

Not anymore though.  I now understand thanks to my family that no matter what I do in life in terms of trying to make something decent of my life in-spite of all the crap I have been through besides cancer.  They my family will always feel disdain and contempt for me and Mark.  I find it strange because when I work on “Lost Angels” I get such a positive rush of energy and want to share what we are doing with them.  But my telephone conversations glaringly point out the obvious reminding me to not even think about picking up the phone, bringing to mind a couple of conversations with my sister wherein she mentioned to me that she didn’t want to hear anything about my movie, my art, my whatever as she simply wasn’t interested in any of it.

So I look at my email from Sundance telling me that they had become fans of our project, “Lost Angels”.  I read the “blurb” if you will, saying we were “predicted” to get an Oscar.  Then I say to myself half-heartedly that what they think doesn’t matter.  So what if the only person I have to share good news with is only my sweety Mark, it’s enough so I tell myself.  I focus on my shoots, editing, compositing, titling, helping Mark with the CG, and all that good stuff and just suck it all up for another day, another week, another month until it is finally all ready.

I love all of my old friends whether they have passed and gone on to higher ground or not.  I love the thought of the family I thought I once had that appeared for all intents and purposes to be close and loving and supportive even though it wasn’t.  I will probably never know why, despite all of my efforts to reconnect with those I love and care about, have failed.  I certainly will never know why there have been those when I have called to reconnect, laugh over the phone at me.

But I will keep my word to Steve, to honor his memory and all of his efforts to become a filmmaker, even if it is the last thing I do.  And I will give it my best, my all despite all of the discouraging comments.  I will submit to Sundance again even if they turn me away again.  I get it.  I’m not young, fresh, pretty, all that stuff people buy into that makes you popular and dreams come true.  People say the key is making the effort, keep trying, keep at it.  Sometimes like today that is hard to do, very hard.

So many things to do.  So little time to get them done in.  Moving forward.

Best,

Renn

Okay a couple of days have passed, and I’m past the disappointment.  Over that and moving on.  Shot very hard yesterday and today and had a great time even though the heat index here was 107* degrees.  My cast and I have only one scene left and then we have the cake, everything else is icing on the cake.  All the post work, CG, special effects, compositing, and a handful of details that will flesh out our movie “Lost Angels”.  Details like humor, visual textures, contrasting images, etc.  I realize now that all of my attempts to get employed in a professional position with my skills and talents have been for naught.  But since becoming cancer-free in 1999 at the age of 46 it didn’t seem like that would be the case.

I thought logically that all of my abilities would prove useful to someone, somewhere on a corporate level.  Clearly and most obviously I was and still am wrong about that.  Who knew right?  I mean all of you guys who read my blogs does it ever cross your mind that by the time you hit your forties, if something serious were to happen to you, you’d become obsolete, a dinosaur of sorts?  I have known for sometime that people do not care for the “older” persons in our world.  I’m not blind or entirely ignorant of how our society deals with all of us.  I have likened my aging process to what we have all heard, “my golden years”. Meaning to me that I’m old enough to have the experience I need, and still young enough to do the job right which for me includes being current with how things are now.

However my thought as I was growing up was to try to develop as many of my talents, and other skills, as possible and maybe then I could avoid this worst case scenario… of being obsolete, or disposable.  And yes, I realized at a young age that it was and still is all about WHO you know that counts.  So given that I was this little girl who got to tag along with my grandparents when they did stuff be it visiting friends or going to someone’s place for dinner, or an event, etc. I would watch and saw so much.  I guess it is the artist in me coupled with the fact that I am terribly shy.  I have learned since the 1980′s how to “chat” about things like work, projects, stuff like that.  But people, it’s very hard for me to simply “chat” with people.

I saw from this childhood point-of-view that so many of those my grandparents knew were in pain.  Oh they had plenty of money and fame.  They had “friends of a type” and lots of fans.  But real friends, friends they could turn to if they needed even just an ear to listen for that day when something awful happened?  No they did not have a true friend as it used to be called.  But my grandparents could always be counted on, and if they received a phone call from someone of their friends they would be there for them in a heartbeat.  My grandparents were much smarter than I and I think it is because they grew up in the Mid-west.  You learn things here that you do not learn in the cities.  Certain types of survival skills and I don’t mean hunting.  Maybe that’s why so many of those that hail from the Mid-west went on to be some of the greats,  I don’t know.  It is a very tough existence here in the Mid-west.

I live here because my husbands work brought us here.  The Mid-west has grueling work but work none the less.  I was brought up very “old school” you know where integrity matters.  Hard work matters.  Honoring your word matters.  You know stuff like that which in today’s world seems like a joke.  Which is probably why so many of you don’t understand why someone like me would be so disappointed that I don’t get a break.  I don’t care so much if you laugh at me ‘cuz I do realize you don’t understand you come from a different generation, a different world than what I grew up in.  People write and tell me that my blogs are a waste and I should give it up.  It is a waste to you?  A waste of your time and energy?  Maybe my blogs are a waste to many.  So they don’t have to read them right?  Go do that which you would do and be on your way.  But the handful that tell me they help them, that’s a good thing even if I am not told how my blogs help them. Although I wish at least some would.

So  I don’t have any “juice” in the industry, currently, or any other profession for that matter.  So are you saying get over it already, give up?  Are you saying to me that I don’t matter simply because I am 50+?  I realize there are those who don’t fully “get it” about my last blog, the disappointment and all.  Truthfully I write in order be able to see my thoughts about what’s going on in my life hopefully a little more clearly.  For those of you who feel or think I “vent” or “dwell on the negative” have you ever sat back and simply put down in writing what you are thinking, what is going on in your life?  What  I mean is do you ever try to objectively write it all down be it professional, social, educational, familial, etc.?  Try to figure out a solution?  Most people blog stuff about “boyfriends” or getting a cup of coffee and just what they do everyday.  That’s not me.  I realize that at my age nobody is going to care what I do everyday.  So I write for myself and try to use what I read to learn from it, grow from it.  Try to get “over it” as they say, yes most assuredly.

But when things don’t make any sense then I can’t help but wonder about it all.  For example twice in my life I have been invited mind you to teach a couple of universities.  The second time I was recommended by a beloved professor of mine, Richard L. Gunn for the film school Brigham Young University was putting together around 2008.  Dick was always a great friend to me.  In college I used to sit in his office while he worked and he and I would discuss and debate various things going on at that time be it in the world or at the university.  I didn’t know that he liked my art, I got my degree in fine art and graphics.  But he told me in 2008 how much he loved my art.  He told me that prior to the letter of recommendation that he had only given one other person a letter of recommendation.  Dick was highly revered both at BYU and his Alma mater.

So when Dick Gunn spoke people listened.  But I didn’t get the “job” at BYU.  Turns out I had a former mission companion who really wasn’t fond of the idea that Dick wrote a letter of recommendation for me when he wouldn’t write one for her.  Vindictiveness?  Jealousy?  Envy?  Who knows but so it went.  Dick passed away this past spring a very sad loss to all of us who knew him.  I just wish I had been able to see him at least one last time before he flew north like the angel he is.  As far as my former mission companion is concerned she refuses any contact with me.  So much for being “Christ-like” right?

My goals have never been to offend anyone. I simply thought that I could manage my own life and get the breaks I actually deserve based on my own merits of studying, learning, (these are not one and the same things), implementing, honing, and continuing to study, learn, and hone.  I guess I was wrong all along.  Now I’m almost 60 and those with “juice” probably laugh at my blogs.  I say this only because since their are those that have all the right connections I’m sure they will use them unlike me who simply didn’t want to use anyone.  I wanted people to know that I cared for them because of who they are, not because of what they have, or become, or could do for me.  So most people would view my take on getting ahead as fairly stupid given I did once have contacts.

Well okay, I get it.  I actually got it way back then when I was growing up but thought too “old school” I guess.  I thought that if I refused what people offered they would realize that although it was foreign to be turned down they would realize I was being a genuine friend.  I thought that would matter to them.  Apparently I am wrong.  You see although I love what Sundance has to offer the “nobody” in terms of learning opportunities, honing one’s skills.  I have learned, maybe the hard way, that thinking I could obtain a decent position with them given that I have many skills and abilities was stupid.

If my age is truly not a factor regarding all of the positions I have applied for at Sundance, and been refused.  Then where is this “door” that has been left open for me?  At this point how can I even begin to believe that there is a “door” there for my movie to be considered for their program line-up when all of the scenes have been shot and CG completed and all the editing done?  How?  Yet I have an email, something tangible in writing, that claims they became fans of my project.  I have this other wonderful “thing” where we were predicted to get and Oscar this year.

So all things being equal for those of you who laugh at my blogs/articles, who tell me I dwell on the negatives.  Are you telling me that these incredible contradictions where I have 2 of my sponsors as references on my applications to Sundance willing to vouch for me, then all of these “job” application refusals, wouldn’t cause you to be in a quandary, or puzzle you?!?  Are you telling me that if you were me, let’s just pretend for a moment ok, you wouldn’t be disappointed, puzzled, call it what you will.  It’s not stupid to wonder how your age is NOT a factor, a road block.

Not everyone I know that is in the industry did I meet through my grandparents.  As I got older and went to college, and after, I met a few wonderful people in the film industry.  I figure they don’t remember me.  But in addition I have heard that things (rules, policies, etc) changed so much in the 1980′s that they cannot just pick up the phone and call me, IF they remember me at all.  So again, another catch 22 you see.  Well although I really wish they did remember me it is not my place to expect that they do.  So I move forward with the hope that maybe one day they might.

I have one major scene left to shoot.  It is key to the whole movie, the entire concept of the movie franchise.  Freedom and our rights as people are very important to me.  So when someone once said about 4 years ago that my movie is science fiction.  I told them they are wrong.  I said point blank “Do you know what our government is doing? Creating? Trying to invent? Do you have any idea what our military is working on?  Do you question why our government created the Patriot Act or the Digital Media Copyright Act?

They answered with “No.  But I don’t watch the news, I don’t want to hear about these things.”  I said then you are part of the problem which is why I brought up Gandhi.  If you do not have the information, much less the access to it. How can you possibly be informed right, with ALL of the information you need to access the situation at hand.  In other words if you were to read or learn about something that mattered to you let’s say for example the idea that “GPS’S” are being included in medical vaccinations (flu shots) because now the scientist has been able to make a GPS so small that it can be injected into you flowing through our blood regularly and everyday.

Wouldn’t this be a violation of your rights?  Wouldn’t this technically be considered a criminal act against we the people, of the world?  I bet if anyone searched on the internet about “GPS’s in flu vaccinations they would find that this information is out there.  But for how long, and when will the information be modified becoming just more of our government’s propaganda that this level of monitoring is necessary to protect us all?!?  Although governments have always done things without consulting the ordinary person.  The United States of America supposedly set itself apart when it starts a marvelous historical famous document with, “We the people…”.

But this is why during the 1970′s there was such a push by our government to make these type’s of claims from people called “conspiracy theories” and discredit that individual as if they are crazy.  If they (the government, or official) can shoot the messenger, then the message won’t get out.  So you don’t have to care about your freedoms and rights, that’s true.  But shouldn’t you?  Shouldn’t you look at what’s being done around you and try to “pick your battle” to give some balance, some effort to protecting your rights?  You might say, what can one person do?  Again I say look at Gandhi, and others who made a difference.

I’m not saying become an activist.  I’m saying get informed and care about your lives.  Care about this planet because it isn’t in good shape.  Even Earth needs its freedom even if it is only from toxic waste and pollutions.  After all how much can it take before it implodes?

So Sundance has made it glaringly clear that not only don’t have a use for me, but don’t want me.  Okay.  They don’t want me working for them, with them that is very obvious to me.  But I will still continue as a strong proponent of them because maybe some young person along the way will apply or submit to them and share some of my idea’s.  So I will always wish the best for them and those at Sundance that I am hoping still are fans of my project…

But I’m going to finish this movie which is all about freedom.  Not freedom to hurt anyone like our governments, military’s, and law enforcement do.  That is not what I am speaking of here, nor am I suggesting it.  I am speaking of freedom of speech, freedom to cross the state line without papers proving that you have the right to cross that state line.  Freedom’s which everyday we take for granted like healthy foods not genetically engineered foods, polluted waters full of chemicals whether we drink it or bath in it.  The most basic of freedom’s is what I am speaking to.  The ability to share information without being put on a “list” simply because it has a word in it that our governments choose to take out of context.

It’s summertime and very beautiful here.  Been shooting hard with lots of good people.   My husband and I are working hard on our movie, Lost Angels.  I don’t know if any of you have checked out our 10 minute trailer at IMDbPro but no worries, it’s coming along nicely.  I just wish it were possible to work on it full time.  Unfortunately we will not be able to submit to SFF 2014 this year with my husbands medical expenses and 2 scenes left to wrap.

We push onward ‘cuz it’s our life.  It’s what Steve, Mark, and I want.  What we have wanted since we met in 1988.  I feel I am beginning to grow into a filmmaker  but have so far yet to go.  My daughters LauRenn and Jade never seemed to understand our desire to want to be more, to be better, to strive for a good quality of life and use those things God gave us to help us have that better life.  We want to be more than someone else’s employee, more than people working to pay their bills.  It has never been about ego or thinking anything like that.  It’s simply our passion, our hope, our love for it all.  The art of shooting, directing, editing, CG’ing, the fun of compositing, etc.  I’m no Hitchcock, Bruckheimer, Spielberg, Eastwood, Scorsese, etc.  I’m just me trying to be the best me I can be and no matter what I do my hope is one day to have done something I can be proud of.  Something that says I was here and in my way give something back to God after all he has given me.

I want to tell a story about us all, about freedom and how we all deserve to live freely.  Have you ever wanted to do something, hope to do something and then give up ‘cuz you have absolutely no way to do it, or afford to do it, or maybe taken seriously therefore again, can’t do it?  Our sponsors have made the ability of pursuing Steve’s dream which became our dream to make films and in so doing hope to honor Steve.  He made me his partner although I had cancer at the time and other challenges.  I believe he must have seen something good in me but I’m not sure what as at that time in 1988 my life was various levels of Hell that I would not wish on my worst enemy.  And although my life has been a roller coaster all along like it is basically for all of us with tough and rough circumstances since the 1980′s.  I am bound and determined to try to make something good and useful of myself, my life, my talents, even though it would seem almost as if all the powers that be don’t want that to happen.

I have spent these past few months working at Wal*Mart.  It is a grueling job at best, a glorified stock “boy” where no matter your age or conditions their expectations are that you, (meaning all employee’s) must be able to perform equally well despite personal, physical, age, other challenges.  While their policies say that they take your conditions into consideration there are those who clearly have their favorite employee’s.  I go home every night in such pain, my feet, legs, hands, arms, back.  But knowing that all of my work is helping us get ahead, pay the bills, help us move forward on our movie.  Contradictions seem to exist everywhere.

My husbands doctor said he had a “Miraculous Recovery” and  I definitely believe that.  He is a good man although most who meet him consider him to be very ordinary I know how wonderful both he and Steve are.  How they saw through all of the crap in my life and chose to help me anyway to the best of their abilities.  I do not feel obligated to them in any form.  I do feel driven to give to them the respect and honor they have given to me and help them achieve all that I can towards their goals.  They have always been there for me so why would I choose to do anything less than to always be there for them?!?

Some people have commented, “”Why don’t you try to get a better job?  Something within your skills?”  I have tried to apply for better jobs, positions if you will, this year and during previous years.  When I was transitioning between Arby’s but before I was hired at Wal*Mart I even applied to a couple out of state  including at Sundance, with the goal of using my skills and talents towards each and every job I applied for but also with the hope of learning and becoming a better filmmaker thanks to the different programs they offer.  All of  the jobs/positions I have applied for at Sundance I have been told they hired a candidate that better suited that position.  Of all the jobs/positions I actually applied for and I actually got at Sundance I was offered the job of telephone operator which I had to turn down thanks to Mark’s medical situation, they said they would keep the door open for me.  I told them thank you and I truly mean it when I say that this was a lovely gesture.

Recently in July I gave it another shot by applying for a position at Sundance and one I am very qualified for because it is not only Corporate Development but includes obtaining sponsors and such, something I have been told by my sponsors I am very good at.  Still all in all this is the reply I received even though 2 of my sponsors are actually references listed on my Sundance applications:

Dear Renn,

Thank you for applying for our Assistant Director, Corporate Development position.  At this time, we have chosen to pursue other candidates that better fit the needs of our company.

We appreciate your interest in our company, and encourage you to apply with us as other positions that fit your unique qualifications become available.

Sincerely,

Human Resources Department
Sundance Institute

Truthfully I am not bitter, just very disappointed.  We all experience disappointment however with all of my efforts to study, learn, hone, get experience, etc.
I never seem to be good enough at anything when I apply for a position be it at Sundance or some other corporate entity.  So would someone please enlighten me as to just how I do not best fit the needs of a company like Sundance?!?  Maybe it’s my breath I don’t know.  I have been a die-hard proponent of Sundance especially in recent years.  Prior to recent years my health was too bad to be able to be a proponent of much of anything.  But of the 10+ applications for positions, and one “job” listing I have submitted (telephone operator being the only actual “job” I applied for), my qualifications, experience, references, etc. are never good enough.  I am never good enough.  I really think it has got to be my age (I will be 60 December 29).  One can actually say that maybe the candidate that got the job was better qualified ‘cuz maybe he/she lived or was from Utah, I don’t know.

Now I am not trying to sound arrogant here, nor boastful but since I lived, and worked, and went to college in Utah, ‘cuz my dad made my sister and I become Mormons.  I served a mission therefore it seems like my qualifications apply to the region quite well.  But also since I do have worldwide credibility as an interpreter/business negotiator speaking Mandarin Chinese thanks to designing in Taiwan, and business negotiations in China in general.  And since Sundance clearly wants to become more of a global player having established themselves in England and appearing to want to establish themselves in a broader context in Europe maybe even Asia.  I don’t know but it seems that my established connections in China (given we, former clients and I, still chat and laugh from time to time via the phone and email) could have been useful to their goals.  But who knows apparently my applying to Sundance was not only a waste of everyone’s time and energy but vain attempts thinking my connections, talents, skills, or whatever, might be a good thing for both of us.

Vanity aside (should you happen to think I am being arrogant or boastful, when I am actually none of those things).  I am going to push ever onward and forward on our movies even if nobody wants me, my talents, skills, connections.  I love Mark and Steve and all that they have believed possible for me, and us.  I will and am continuing my journey with my movie Lost Angels and the important stories therein that I am trying to share/tell and communicate to all of you.  I hope you will join me in viewing them when they are done and released be it in theaters or dvd or downloads.  My goal is to get the message across and hope you all understand how important our freedom and our rights are.

Gandhi was wonderful the way he pulled an entire country together but at a terrible loss.  I hope our journey together will not result in such misfortune and loss given the direction our country is going.  Where people decide I am not worth their effort to work with.  It is certainly strange when people see a movie and decide a person is a threat.  I may be almost 60 but inside I am a 20/30 something and decidedly determined, some might call stubborn, about my life and where it should go.  I have recently learned some things about my family that are absolutely appalling.  In spite of all of their negative comments about me, my husband, and rude comments referencing me and my husband I shall push ever forward even if all falls upon deaf ears.

I am alive, well, maybe not in the greatest shape but certainly far better off than 10 and 20 years ago health-wise.  I’ve learned much and if I really do have “fans” at Sundance they should know that I still love and appreciate them and their support whatever that may be.  And even though my words herein seem as though they are Anti-Sundance, they are NOT.  I will still be a strong proponent even if I am confused as to why I am never good enough, skilled enough to get work for a better quality of life.  It is in fact this confusion as to WHY I can never seem to get a decent break that confuses me given how hard I have tried to learn and hone my skills and talents through all of my challenges.  There are those at Sundance I will always respect and care about because of how supportive they have been in the past.  Things change and I cannot make anyone care about me.  I am just glad someone there said they would keep the “door open” even if it isn’t exactly the door I was hoping for.

I apologize if this blog/article offends anyone, it isn’t meant too.  It is simply a fact of my life whether my age is a factor or not that I didn’t and probably never will have a job at Sundance or elsewhere that gives us a better quality of life so I must do it all myself or die trying.  Do I resent the individual that “got this job/position” because Sundance felt this choice was a “better candidate”?  No.  I simply do not understand as I have said before why I am never good enough as hard as I study and endeavor to learn and be better at all of the things I can do.  Why can’t we seem to get at least a decent break, a break where we may be working our “butts” off but go home at night knowing that our skills and abilities are being used well and productively.  Guess I’ll never know the answers to so many questions.

Have a wonderful week!

Best,
Renn