Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What's it all about?

Ok, I have left my post. I stopped even checking here, so distracted by attending to life, the now, real moments. And sometimes words, or my observations or these kind of notes cannot reflect what is "composting".
And all of this is not so much about marriage, but how and why and the quality of the relationships we each choose to create with one another.
This past week I attended an "International Women's Film Festival" and I saw about 40 of the 80 films (lots were short films) programmed. The way people and relationships portrayed on screen were mostly sad or dark or painful,in my mind. Where is the joy and spirit of coupledom? or acceptance? or real love? Mr Jones, a short documentary about a well known actor/writer had the most balance to me of life with its ups and downs. I appreciated that. And one other that had a sense of humor and depth, as exhibited by writer Lois Brown. But the rest of it seemed dark, dark, dark. I am sure we can find ways to tell good stories with a balance of the dark and the light. It just seems that the light is not in evidence much, be it TV or film festivals.
And my interest is in how we are with one another in relationships? Are we humane? Caring? Kind? I guess that is always my quest around Why Get Married? Or why be in relationship if we feel more darkness than light?

Friday, August 08, 2008

Why Matters

I am pondering why a lot these days. Why get married was my first big question that wouldn't let go and took about 4 years from idea to finished dvd. I still have more questions about why get married, why we seek relationships yet seem to have trouble finding joy within them. Why do we think we are supposed to feel joy if we are? Why do some people plan what they are looking for in a person or relationship, some people "fall" into it, and regardless of how, each seem to have an equal chance of having happiness. Some try to be isolationists, figuring being in relationship is too hard, too exhausting, and has no joy for them. Why is that?
Some find joy in solitude and not in relationship. Some create solitude within their relationships so that they can feel joy.
I bought a microphone for my ipod and plan to interview people for podcasts, asking Why why why. And not just about relationships, but other issues that they feel passionate, want to share and answer a Why question.
Why you ask?
Because I seem compelled.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Wedding Machine

I am working on a short narrative script about a twenty-something couple planning to get married. In scene one they agree to get married and the rest of the story is their journey through "the wedding machine". My writing partner and I are having fun figuring this out from our different life perspectives.
Jim is a father of 3 grown kids in their 20's and 30's who aren't in sustaining relationships and talk to him about those concerns. I come at it from my non-conventional life and am curious how differently young people now can approach weddings and marriage. There is far more choice, and room, and acceptance to mold it all the way you want. Hip hip hooray.
It is fun to write a story that is based on all that I have learned through my research in documentaries on this subject. All I have ever wanted is to reach people on the topic of love, romance and long-term relationships. Telling a story is a new way for me to experiment with it, and it has some freedom and fun I must say.
These 2 characters, Lily and Josh, are becoming real to me. They have likes and dislikes, mannerisms, humor, smarts, and skills in the game industry I am having to learn about. Lily has a mother who I am writing with a traditional view of weddings ( that could change. I am toying with my authoring options) and there is stress on this young couple. Stress they hadn't imagined when they decided they loved each other and wanted to marry. So we are trying to show that, how stress builds, and a couple can be pulled in different directions when they don't want to go in any direction but together.
I am enjoying this creative process, and our deadline is next week, so I best get back to Lily and Josh.
Ta ta for now.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Empty seats at a free screening are sad sad sad.

I was sad to see so few showed up for a free night of films. Is it that in NM people just don't attend free film events? Or that our film line-ups didn't interest people? Or we aren't good at getting the word out when we have free film events? Or that low turn- out for free film events happens in every state no matter what? Or that my expectation of healthy attendance is unrealistic?

I was looking forward to the 6:00 pm-9:30pm screening of several shorts and features Friday night, films produced by women. The evening was sponsored by several state/city funded art organizations. Why Get Married? was one of the longer films in the night's line-up, a Festival celebrating Women. (March is the month for that don't you know?)

Once my documentary screened, many shadowed figures left the theater. When I realized the lights weren't coming on between films, and so many had left, I went out to the lobby in case folks had questions. I needed to get to talk with a members of the audience who might have comments. I made the film for that very reason, to be part of a conversation about Why Get Married? I did have some nice exchanges with several who were happy to see and talk to me. I'm glad I did because by the night's end, many who'd seen Why Get Married? had left due to rumbling stomachs.

It was heartening for me to see how good my documentary looked on this big beautiful screen, and how well it flowed. I haven't seen it in over a year, and one can be critical of one's own work. I sat with my good friend Margaret, visiting from Nova Scotia. Her plane left early the next morning, yet she wanted to spend the evening with me at our state- of- the- art cultural center. There was a Q and A period at 9pm with the filmmakers. She wanted to see what that was like. There were 3 of us left by the end of the evening, facing about 20 people, most associated with the festival in some way or another.

I was sad that a free evening of film, sponsored by over 20 film/art organizations in the city/state were unable to help the filmmakers fill the seats. I am not sure what that means exactly. Too many variables to process I suppose, but marketing with personal outreach seems key key key to getting butts in the seats. Those marketing events need to personally invite specific people to come to these events. We all respond to personal contact as it feels as though our presence matters. Large email blasts, beautiful printed programs or generic posts alone won't do it. I did my best. Maybe my outreach efforts got 20% of the audience that flowed in/out that night.

It was an interesting and diverse film line-up in a swank theater. It was also a great opportunity and venue to have lively energy for the film festival. An audience creates the energy and is important to filmmakers naturally. Without enough people in a theater a screening feels entirely different, like there are energy leaks coming from all the empty seats.

So back to my original question, do free film events equal low turn-out just because they are "free"? Or did we not make enough effort to fill the seats, to make it a packed house, that would create buzz, goodwill and energy to build on for the next event?

My guess is an intermission and some good finger food would help attract and keep an audience for such an event. And fill the theater with great energy.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Love versus Marriage?

Bonnie Eslinger wrote an interesting essay printed in the January 14, 2008 issue of Newsweek, called "Yes to Love, No to Marriage". Although he asked her, Bonnie said no to marrying Jeff, her beloved of 3 years. She loves him, is committed and together they have bought a house, and are planning their life together. Bonnie doesn't want the institution of marriage. Maybe it will get in the way of the committed love relationship she is creating with Jeff?

Bonnie wrote:
" Our married friends say you can make a wedding --and a marriage--what you want, but that is not true. It's a specific institution with defining principles and values. If it weren't, there wouldn't be so-called marriage-protection laws in the majority of this country's states."

I would be curious to talk to Jeff. He proposed to Bonnie last year. To propose, he must have felt at that time, marriage was what he wanted. Or what he thought was the natural next step to take a relationship farther, deepen it? Maybe he hadn't thought there was an option. If we don't get married, we'll break up? And having/not having children together also makes the decision to marry or not marry a different kind of one.

Many I interviewed for Why Get Married? said getting married was the only step we have as a society to say to our beloved and the outside world, "Hey, I really really love this person, and I am serious about our future together. " If this is what marriage is supposed to help us communicate to our loved one and the world these days (because that isn't why marriage was created eons ago) , what does that growing divorce rate (near 60% in some states) also say?

And marriage IS an institution, meaning it is part of an established, old old system, and what it protects and upholds is out of sync with the lives being lived these days.