Dream Big

“Dream Big” has been circling my mind. One of hashtags the Bentonville Film Festival is using is #DreamBigBFF.

As actors, writers, directors, artists, all who reach for the unknown looking for ways of expressing the depths of the imagination, the phrase “dream big” becomes an endeavor; in dreaming big, artists try and take that dream, and actively translate it to an audience with their medium of expression.

These dreams and expressions hopefully reveal truths. Once those truths reveal themselves, we can let go of that particular dream, which is sometimes more difficult than the actual creation of it in the first place.

On this springtime Friday filled with dreaming, I’m rereading Prospero’s speech in Shakespeare’s The Tempest:

Prospero:
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d tow’rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

Being “…such stuff As dreams are made on…” one of the trickiest things to learn is having the passion to dream, the perseverance to take that dream and turn it into reality, and then the discipline to let go of that creation that will, like our life, dissolve.

Intentions

We’re getting ready to show Lez Bomb at festivals.

Holy sh*t, people are going to finally see this thing. 

And with that, fear creeps in. At lighting speed. “I’m fucking terrified.”

IMG_9946

As my teacher so succinctly put, I had/have an intention. And I’ve stuck to it. That’s the grounding root of this tree, reaching far below the unpredictable surface of this industry.

Having a clear intention provides stability when externalities come flying into the equation. Another teacher of mine once said when he teaches a yoga class, after class, when people say “I enjoyed your class,” he always responds in a way that takes it away from himself. “I’m glad you enjoyed class.” There’s a subtle difference, but in putting the enjoyment on the other, (vs. “‘I’m glad you enjoyed my class”) it takes his ego out of the equation. He teaches with intention. Whether or not the students enjoyed the class is outside his control.

We can’t control responses. We can control mindfully taking each step forward with intention. I have to remind myself daily. With the weekend upon us, I encourage one mindful step at a time. Happy walking.

Interior Design

Over this past holiday weekend, my wife and I redecorated our bedroom. Redecorate’s a generous way of putting it; we never decorated in the first place. Our bedroom was a mess of paintings and art thrown together to fill the big-white-wall when I filmed Girl Night Stand in the space years ago.

Sidenote – from one filmmaker to the next, don’t shoot intimate scenes in your intimate spaces. I digress…

Wikipedia defines Interior Design as “…the art and science of enhancing the interiors of a space or building to achieve a healthier and more aesthetically pleasing environment for the end user.” I’ve fallen in love with the term “Interior Design.” Through the lens of yoga, and trying to get a handle of our own interior workings through meditation, breath control, mantra, etc., our day-to-day’s the art and science of enhancing our personal interiors to achieve a healthier, and most definitely, aesthetically pleasing environment for the end user [you and me].

Our surroundings are a reflection of our interior workings, in many ways, self-created. The process of redoing our bedroom was a beautiful meditation on this. We had an idea, it seemed overwhelming, but it was just a matter of tackling the endeavor one step at a time, taking the images in our head and bringing them to fruition. The most simple way of putting it – turning our dream into reality. Interior design’s a wonderful demonstration of this concept, which carries through in all aspects of life. First, there’s an idea. Next, we have to figure out how to bring the idea into the world. Finally, we must take action.

I’ve been reading Ray Dalio’s Principles. Last night, as a perfect summation of the weekend, I read “Learning how reality works, visualizing the things I want to create, and then building them out is incredibly exciting to me.” By gaining control of our own interior, and seeing a life that matches with that interior, it’s up to us to take that interior design, take action, and externally design a life that matches with it. Through trial and error, slowly, your dream home (and life) take shape.

Book I’m currently reading: Principles

Favorite song of the week: Playground

Favorite recipe of the week: Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash substituting the sausage with Beyond Meat to make it vegetarian.

Commencement

Commencement: a beginning or start.

I love to break up my morning writing sessions with a good commencement speech.

There’s so much promise in a commencement speech, sending graduates off into the world with wisdom that hopefully inspires choices that lead to actions, that somehow equate to success and happiness in their future.

The fact of the matter is we don’t need to graduate from anything to indulge in a good ‘ol commencement.  The dawn of each new day allows us to indulge in such on a daily basis if we choose.

With that knowledge comes great responsibility – it means that every day, upon rising, we set off on an adventure.  Remember those choose your own adventure books? Every day we step into our own story, and choose our own adventure.  Our personal story is our own choosing.  It’s terrifying!  Do I choose to wake up and reach for my phone, check my e-mails, etc.  Or do I wake up and decide to slay a dragon on that particular day?

I’ve been consciously trying to partake in activities that make me uncomfortable.  I went paddle boarding last week – paddled hard and got nowhere, real fast.  My fiancé and I were not informed how bad the current was.  But it was an adventure.  It was something I’d never done before.  And then I went skimboarding for the first time in ten years.  I HATE being bad at things.  It was rough. But it forced me to dive back into that childlike playfulness I often loose track of.

Now, in fairness, I was on somewhat of a vacation – which inevitably provides time to play and have adventures.   BUT – creating space for a daily adventure, even as mundane as an early morning walk vs. the immediate jump to e-mails, creates space for us to choose our own destiny instead of blindly walking into a fate determined by habit vs. our own free will.

A lifetime is a series of commencements leading up to an ending that’s as climactic as you make it!  Step into your own adventure book and write the page-turner worth reading.

Table Building

Table Dimensions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My girlfriend and I have been building a table this past month.  On the weekends, I’ve essentially been taking shop class 101.  We found a slab of wood on our way back from a ski weekend up in VT, and with the help of crafty friends, we’re close to having a dining room table.

View this post on Instagram

Making our dining room table. @aineod8

A post shared by Jenna Laurenzo (@jennalaurenzo) on

Thankfully, I’m dating an engineer.  Where I see in pretty colors and shapes, she sees in numbers.  Creativity meets practicality and functionality.  In terms of the sexuality spectrum, my friends inform me that building a table has pushed me beyond the point of return in terms of “lezzy behavior.”  My cousin and her wife recently built a coffee table, so I’ve pretty much entered into full on lesbian competition.  Who’s table is bigger?  Size matters.

View this post on Instagram

Table building day 2.5.

A post shared by Jenna Laurenzo (@jennalaurenzo) on

The sanding process has been enlightening.  As you sand away the man-made lines created from the slab’s retrieval, the material returns to a state closer to it’s original self.  I once was told I should go to bed each night reflecting on the day and ask myself if my actions during the day brought me closer or further away from my self.  I try making choices that bring me closer to myself, each day, slowly learning how to sand away the influences and impressions of others that don’t suit me.  As a writer, I get notes about each scene needing to propel the character forward, revealing to the audience who this character is.   Each scene must serve a purpose.

Life’s choices lead us to actions, and those actions should propel us forward in a narrative we’ve carefully thought about.  Otherwise we’re just mindlessly wandering.  I’m a huge fan of a good wander and wonder session, but I’m a firm believer in taking those sessions and applying them to action.

As we chisel away excess that doesn’t serve the table, and stain the piece to highlight it’s natural beauty, our table is getting closer and closer to it’s state of perfection.  The table will never be “perfect,” but in it’s imperfection with it’s individual nuances, it’s an original that will achieve it’s own state of perfection being that it is it’s own true original.

As our own originals with unique personalities, all we can do is chisel away that that doesn’t serve us, and strive towards our own version of perfection, building our unique narrative each day, and reflecting upon that story each night.

Water with Lemon Production & Play

Photo by Cory Schwartz © 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I watched my WATER WITH LEMON pilot script come to life over the weekend.  The amount of work that it takes to write, raise money, cast talent, lock down crew, coordinate schedules and so on, is pure insanity.  It’s 9 months of labor for the birth of a frantic, monster baby, you can only hope will rock everyone’s world with laughter.

Oh yes, this is me and Paul Calderon who played POPS.

Photo by Cory Schwartz © 2012

The production process has a million moving variables, none of which you can hold too tightly.  The pre production process is filled with highs of excitement followed by lows of disappointment when those highs fall through.  In terms of a spiritual practice, the process is an ideal microcosm to work with.  But really, what process isn’t?

It’s important to find the sense of “play.”  In yoga class a few weeks ago, the teacher went on and on about animals and how scientist are confused why they “play;” there’s no future reward in it.  They wrestle, tackle, and laugh with one another for what seems to be for just the pure joy of the moment.

Through pre production, production, and then post, it’s hard to find this sense of play and joy within the moment.  It all feels like it’s for some promised reward in the future.  But that reward is a moving target, it’s non-specific, and it’s not actually promised.  There’s a potential, yes, but there’s no definite.  So why not play?  Drop the anxiety, anticipation, regret and such.  Just enjoy the process.

When my stress level went through the roof, the best advice came from my girlfriend who I bamboozled into sitting in the background as an extra.  She text, “make the best of this.” So simple.  Hard to remember at times.  But we should really make the best of every moment, dropping the past, forgetting the future, and finding the play within each moment.

WATER WITH LEMON

It’s time for a new web series!

As the fourth of July passed, I couldn’t help but reminisce about last year’s hot, sweaty, 4th of July shoot.  It was the first day filming PARKER & MAGGIE.  Mistake number one: shooting on a day everyone has off, is partying AND there are fireworks.  Sound was a challenge!  Number two? Get a make up artist – especially when people’s faces are sweating off.

A year has past, and I’m all the more wiser.  With that said, I’m bringing a new project to the table: WATER WITH LEMON.

Working in a restaurant can really suck the life from you.  It’s downright demoralizing at times.  I’ve literally taken 30 second breaks to cry in the bathroom, regroup, and get grounded.  BUT I’ve taken the experience and turned it into the inspiration for this web series.  The various bars and restaurants I’ve worked at over the past few years have served as inspiration.  The people I’ve encountered, worked with, argued with,  given attitude to, received attitude from, and wanted to punch, have been some of my greatest teachers.

Restaurant work feels like team sports.  Everyone bitches about the work, the boss/coach, and the demands.  But at the end of the team, the teams laughs about the struggles they endured together, and how NO ONE ELSE understands.

I want to bring to life the humor of that sentiment.  And so was born, WATER WITH LEMON.

Please “like” on FACEBOOK to keep posted on the project.

And most importantly, help this idea become a reality.  Become a backer on KICKSTARTER.

I can’t tell the story without your help, and I can’t begin to express my gratitude for those who’ve already supported.